Letter to President Trump

Filed under: President Trump on Saturday, February 18th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off



Dear President Trump;

I am writing to you from Israel, where I have lived for the past 18 years, as one who voted for you via absentee ballot from Philadelphia, PA. Please understand that my prayers are with you, as well as with the current government here.

I am writing to you, Mr. President, regarding your response to the question posed to you by the young reporter who is an observant Jew and who represents Ami magazine (if I heard correctly).

In my humble opinion, you misunderstood this young man’s motivation regarding his question. In fact, I’d bet my last NIS (shekel) that this young man and his family voted for you. I have no doubt that this reporter meant no slur against you and meant only good and kindness in asking his question regarding what government actions are planned to be taken against antisemitic threats on institutions through the US where Jews frequent — Synagogues, community centers, etc.

I know that you recognize that antisemitism is a heinous canard and I know that throughout your lifetime, you have been a rock-solid supporter of Israel. I also know how outrageous the media, and the democratic party have been toward you — they all need to, as the saying goes, “get a life!” They need to “get over it” and move on.

This young man meant no ill-will to you. I repeat, he meant no ill-will. When you seemed to “blow him off”, equated him with the rest of the fake news media and told him to sit down, you may have crushed him and his self-respect and self-worth in ways which you would never want to happen to you.

Mr. President, please know that I am 68 1/2 years old — my birthday is 2 May, 1948 within days of Israel’s modern-day statehood. As a Jew myself, and knowing that your daughter and son-in-law are Jews, we share a history and heritage as well as centuries of expulsions, mass slaughters, pogroms, mass exterminations of millions and more. These have left scars upon we Jews, as a people, as a nation, and those scars have manifested themselves in diverse ways, whether by solidifying observance of our Torah and strong identification with Israel and our biblical roots, or, unfortunately, rebelling or by way of Marxism, liberalism, progressivism, atheism.

Mr. President, I hope that you will accept what I am about to write in the spirit of love and admiration with which I mean this: I know that as you begin your presidency, you are busy with appointments and with cleaning up the myriads messes of the past eight years — as you say, “draining the swamp.” But I urge you, as a staunch supporter, to first sit down with Ivanka and Jared for a meaningful, frank discussion of their deepest feelings as Jews and the evolutions of Jewish history. Once having achieved, intellectualized and absorbed such a discussion, I humbly ask: if you feel as if an apology to this young reporter might be appropriate?

With much respect, and high regard,

Moshe (Mark) Burt (United States Ex-pat)
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel
Skype: mark.burt3

P.S. This will be posted to my blog which has a small readership (less than 100), aside from my weekly commentary on the Torah portion. I will be forwarding this to Ivanka and Jared only via link on Twitter.

Parshat Mishpatim 5777: The Placement of Sanhedrin Visa Vi The Beit Hamikdash

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, February 18th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parsha Mishpatim is being sponsored by Baruch and Yaffa Swinkin and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated lilui nishmas for Baruch’s grandfather Micha’el ben Yaakov. To the Swinkin family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
**********************************************

Parshat Mishpatim 5777: The Placement of Sanhedrin Visa Vi The Beit Hamikdash

by Moshe Burt

In the vort on Parshat Yithro, this author listed two citings from Yishai Chasidah’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Jewish Personalities (pages 306-309) which provide a fitting introduction to Parshat Mishpatim. Yithro, for whom our previous parsha was named, was positioned and merited to express insights to Moshe Rabbeinu which were crucial to the evolution of Torah’s judiciary system. Chasidah cites Midrash HaGodol on BaMidbar (perek 10, posuk 30) which gives insight into Yithro’s righteousness, kindness and integrity. After a drought year in Midian, Yithro the Priest stated;

This has been a year of drought, and I borrowed money which I used to support the poor. If I don’t go and pay my debts, I will be desecrating the Name of Heaven.

This citing expresses a paradigm for kol Klal Yisrael to aspire to emulate, both with respect to repayment of debts incurred, as well as with regard to caring for one’s brethren in times of crisis — both on a national and individual level.

Chasidah also cites Yerushalmi Brachot (Perek 2, posuk 8 ) which writes of Yithro;

When B’nai Yisrael do Hashem’s Will, HaKodesh Borchu searches throughout the world, and if he finds a righteous person among the nations, he brings him and attaches him to B’nai Yisrael. One of the examples given was Yithro.

So, it was much more than Yithro’s past governmental experience as an advisor to Pharaoh, his kindnesses to Moshe and his craving to join B’nai Yisrael to find Divine Truth which positioned him to counsel Moshe as to formation of a Judiciary. Yithro’s advice to Moshe was fully backed by his own actions in standing on honesty, integrity and principle.

In advising Moshe Rabbeinu on how to judge B’nai Yisrael, Yithro spoke;

“You will provide out of all the people able men, such as fear Hashem, men of truth hating lucre (gain, money, riches); and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” (Sefer Shemos, Perek 18, posuk 21)

Yithro, through his kindness, honesty and principle merited to advise and format the Judicial system of B’nai Yisrael, which stands as the paradigm today for the way a Torah law enforcement and judicial system must be.

Finally, there is the oft-cited Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro which Torah Gems notes regarding the appointment of a judicial system, and the application of that lesson to all of us:

“The Torah did not mention ‘G’d-fearing men’ because only Hashem knows what is in man’s heart.” (Torah Gems, Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Parsha Yithro, page 131)

R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l, in the new Hirsch Chumash, Sefer Shemos (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman, page 361) expresses the spirit of our Parshat Mishpatim through a profound comment on the concluding posuk of Parshat Yithro:

“You shall not ascend with steps upon My Altar, so that your nakedness will not be uncovered.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 20, posuk 23)

Without morality and modesty, justice and humanity in society will be sought in vain. With immorality the heights of My Mizbeiyach will never be mounted.

Rav Hirsch then cites Sefer Breish’t, Perek 6, posuk 11 and writes:

“And the earth was corrupt before Hashem’s countenance, and so the earth was filled with wrongdoing” — the oldest and gravest experience in the history of man.

Bearing all of this in mind, the exposition of the law to B’nai Yisrael begins in Parshat Mishpatim.

In our parsha, many basic laws of civilized existence are enunciated for B’nai Yisrael. The overriding purpose of the Mishpatim — the civil laws, it seems, is to protect the moral fiber of society by regulating relationships between men, both on a national level as well between individuals, encouraging truthfulness, sincerity and kindness while condemning immorality and deceit.

Our Parshat also provides indication of the placement of the Sanhedrin, the location where deliberations and judgements regarding the civil laws take place.

The opening posuk of our Parshat reads:

“And these are the judgements that you shall place before them” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 21, posuk 1 as rendered to English in The Saperstein Edition – The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary)

Rashi provides these comments on the opening posuk of our Parshat (The Saperstein Edition – The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary, page 248):

Whenever it [Torah] says “And these,” as it does here, it adds on to that which has been stated previously. Thus, “And these” of this posuk implies, just as those which have been stated previously, the Ten Commandments [Asseret HaDibrot], are from Sinai, so too, these commandments that the Torah is about to state are from Sinai. And why was Mishpatim, the section that deals with judicial cases, juxtaposed with the preceding passage which deals with the Altar [Mizbeiyach, but apparently written by Rashi as HaMikdash]? To tell… that you should place the Sanhedrin adjacent to the the Beit HaMikdash.

The Saperstein Edition – The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary (page 248) provides a footnote to clarify Rashi’s comments which cite Mechilta, Tzeidah LaDerech and Be’er Mayim Chaim:

Mechilta [indicates] some editions (including the first printed edition) of Rashi read HaMikdash; others read HaMizbeiyach. Since Rashi’s question involved the juxtaposition of the posukim regarding the Altar and and judicial cases, it is logical that his answer should speak of the Altar. According to Tzeidah LaDerech, the word HaMikdash is a copyest’s error; HaMizbeiyach is the correct version. However, Be’er Mayim Chaim states that Rashi could not have written HaMizbeiyach for that would have pinpointed the location of the Sanhedrin in an area of the Courtyard where non-Kohanim are not permitted entry. By writing HaMikdash, Rashi means “in the Temple environs,” an area that includes the total Courtyard, even those areas that non-Kohanim are permitted to enter.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense, both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
_______________________________________

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Yithro 5777: Teshuvah, Chesed and Wisdom — With Life’s Breath, It’s Never Too Late

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, February 11th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parsha Yithro is being sponsored by Dr. Dov and Debbie Rosen and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for hatslocha for children of Ramat Beit Shemesh.. To the Rosen family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
************************************************

Parshat Yithro 5777: Teshuvah, Chesed and Wisdom — With Life’s Breath, It’s Never Too Late

by Moshe Burt

Parshat HaShevua Yithro continues in a similar vein to Parshat Beshalach but with emphasis on both Yithro, and those two bad boys, Dasan and Aviram.

On Parshat Beshalach, this author cited Rav Aba Wagensberg who discussed the translation of “V’amar Pharaoh L’B’nei Yisrael…” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3); about the disparate translations as rendered in Chumashim vs based on Yonasan ben Uziel, i.e. “And Pharaoh will say about the Children of Israel…” (Chumashim) or “And Pharaoh said to the Children of Israel…” (based on Yonasan ben Uziel).

Based on the rendering of Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3 as R’ Wagensberg cited Yonasan ben Uziel and renderings of translation of Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 22 and posuk 29 we find the following:

“The B’nei Yisrael came within the sea on dry land; and the water was a wall for them, on their right and on their left.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 22)

“The B’nei Yisrael went on dry land in the midst of the sea; and the water was a wall for them, on their right and on their left.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 29)

According to these translations, and R’ Wagensberg citings of Yonasan ben Uziel which indicate; there seem to have been two crossings of the Reed Sea: the crossing by almost all of B’nei Yisrael, and a second crossing where Hashem apparently parted the sea to enable Dasan and Aviram to cross and join with the rest of B’nei Yisrael.

Again, as R’ Wagensberg cited commentary of Yonasan ben Uziel:

Pharaoh was talking to Dasan and Aviram who remained behind. They were also the B’nei Yisrael. However, later we find Dasan and Aviram together with the Jewish People in the desert during the story of leaving the Manna overnight (Sefer Shemot, Perek 16, posuk 20) and during the episode of Korach’s rebellion (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posuk 27).

On our Parshat, R’ Wagensberg also spoke a number of years ago regarding how Yithro, destined to be the architect of B’nei Yisrael’s Judiciary system (in order that Moshe not himself have to rule on all the myriads of halachic issues and disputes among B’nei Yisrael, thus freeing Moshe to teach Torah and to rule on only the most major issues), sought to become a Jew.

As R’ Wagensberg related years before, Yithro, who had saved the young child Moshe from possible death at Pharaoh’s hand after an incident involving Pharaoh’s crown, and who had taken leave of counseling Pharaoh and left Mitzriyim when Pharaoh began plotting against the Jews and had provided Moshe with asylum and with a wife, was aware of Hashem’s parting of the sea and B’nei Yisrael’s victory over Amalek.

Yithro, who had tried every conceivable avodah zora in search of the one true belief, understood that the Jews would be very particular as to who could join their ranks. But he recalled the evil nature of both Dasan and Aviram in Mitzrayim and, when he heard that Hashem had again parted the sea — for Dasan and Aviram, he felt that he had a good shot at joining the B’nei Yisrael.

In a previous vort on Parshat Yithro, this author cited from sefer “Ner Uziel: Perspectives on the Parsha,” Rabbi Uziel Milevsky z’l writes on our Parsha Yithro (p. 380-383) indicating that were Yithro to have come to join the Jews after the singular events of Yetziat Mitziyim or the K’riyat Yam Suf, it would have been unlikely that he could have been accepted by the B’nei Yisrael due their concern as to what his true motivations might be; i.e. whether his motivations were sincere, or whether he was just anxious to be on a winning team, or on the right side. This latter type of motivation is not unlike many athletes who, when reaching free agency status seek the best remuneration deal, i.e. to earn more than their peers, or to join onto the team which has either gone all-the-way or is perceived as “the team to beat.”.

This concern for one’s true motivations in converting seems to this author to be why Rabbi Milevsky cites indications that B’nei Yisrael didn’t accept G’erim during the reigns of David HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech when B’nei Yisrael was at the zenith of prestige and power in the world.

But when Yithro came to join with the B’nei Yisrael after their difficult war with Amalek, one could reckon that the B’nei Yisrael saw that his motivations were true, pure and sincere to throw his lot with B’nei Yisrael out of recognition that their connection with Hashem was the one true path.

A commentary of R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman), on page 304, Sefer Shemos, Perek 18, posuk 11 provides some background behind Yithro’s joining B’nei Yisrael:

“Now I recognize that Hashem is greater than all the gods; for I recognized Him precisely in the evil that they [the Mitzriyim] plotted against them.”

…Yithro recognized Hashem’s greatness precisely in those miracles that showed the Mitzri’s hidden machinations against Israel [which] were well-known to Him. Yithro now recognizes that all of the plagues… were closely related to the poverty, slavery and the status of strangers that the Mitzriyim had intended to inflict upon Israel….

The makkos [plagues] thus revealed to Yithro not only Hashem’s omnipotence, but also His omniscience. He sees the inner thoughts of men, nations, princes and fashions their fate so as to teach and educate them.

“Measure for measure” is our sages’ expression of Hashem’s way of repaying a person for his deeds (citing Sotah 8b) and it is this way of Hashem that Yithro now recognizes.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (Parsha Yithro, page 179) explains further noting and expanding on a Rashi citing of Gemora (Zevachim 116a):

What did Yithro hear to make him come to join the Jewish people? The miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea and the war with Amalek.

What was unique about what Yithro heard, didn’t all of the other surrounding nations hear about this also? The answer is, said Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman (Ohr Yohail, Vol. 2, Vayakhail, page 139), that they heard and remained the same. Yithro, however, didn’t merely hear, he took action…. Yithro picked himself up and changed his life.

Yishai Chasidah’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Jewish Personalities (pages 306-309) cites a Midrash HaGodol on BaMidbar (Perek 10, posuk 30) which gives insight into Yithro’s righteousness, kindness and integrity. After a drought year in Midian, Yithro stated;

This has been a year of drought, and I borrowed money which I used to support the poor. If I don’t go and pay my debts, I will be desecrating the Name of Heaven.

And so today, there are lessons we can take from the Yithro model of teshuvah, chesed and wisdom.

Chasidah also cites Yerushalmi Brachot (Perek 2, posuk 8 ) which writes of Yithro and his merit and place among B’nei Yisrael;

When B’nei Yisrael do Hashem’s Will, HaKodesh Borchu searches throughout the world, and if he finds a righteous person among the nations, he brings him and attaches him to B’nei Yisrael. One of the examples given was Yithro.

On this last citing of Chasidah, can we also see in our times one or more stark examples of Hashem bringing B’nei Yisrael “a righteous person among the nations”, should we merit it by doing Hashem’s Will, even should this person’s true righteousness be obscured from the view of the nations? Do we comprehend that such “a righteous person among the nations” can only be as righteous and affirmative toward B’nei Yisrael as we are collectively and governmentally righteous and affirmative toward each other and toward the governed? This author thus repeats again that “a new American president and his administration can only be zionistic as the government of Israel.”

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Beshalach 5777: Future or Present Tense; One or Two Crossings of the Reed Sea?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, February 4th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parsha Beshalach is being sponsored by R’ Moshe and Marla Braun (Moshe Braun – Fine Judaic Art) and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of Marla’s birthday on 14th Sh’vat. To the Braun family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
*************************************

Parshat Beshalach 5777: Future or Present Tense; One or Two Crossings of the Reed Sea?

by Moshe Burt

This author heard a vort a number of years ago from Rav Aba Wagensberg on our Parshat Beshalach. At that time, he rendered translation of Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3 which differs from the rendering in most Chumashim.

Last year, R’ Wagensberg again discussed these renderings in a written vort on our Parshat.. Below are both the Chumash rendering and the rendering by Rav Wagensberg based on Yonasan ben Uziel:

“And Pharaoh will say about the Children of Israel, they are confined in the land, the wilderness has locked them in.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3 as rendered in Chumashim)

“And Pharaoh said to the Children of Israel, they [the Jews] are confused in the land, the wilderness has locked them in” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3, as rendered by Rav Wagensberg based on Yonasan ben Uziel).

Notice the difference, and the hebrew in the Chumash (transliterated here):

“V’amar Pharaoh L’B’nei Yisrael…”

Rashi explains on the posuk as formerly rendered in Chumashim (Rashi on Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3 as per The Sapirstein Edition — The Torah with Rashi’s commentary, page 148):

Pharaoh will say… — When he will hear that [the Jews] are returning to their rear, About the B’nei Yisrael, Although the prefix [Lamed] usually means “to” or “for”, the phrase ” L’B’nei Yisrael” means “about” the B’nei Yisrael…. We find other instances of the [Lamed] prefix meaning something other than “to” or “for”. For example; “Hashem y’lahcheim lahchem” — “Hashem will wage war on your behalf” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 14), the word lahchem which begins with the [Lamed] prefix means… on your behalf.

R’ Wagensberg writes on the former rendering and provides commentary citing Yonasan ben Uziel and other commentaries:

This verse is troubling. If all the Jews already left Egypt, how can it say that Pharaoh said anything to the “Children of Israel?” All the Jews were already gone.

At first, Dasan and Aviram (two Jewish men who were trouble makers) did not want to leave Egypt. They enjoyed Egyptian culture and desired to remain behind with the Egyptians. So, when the Jewish People left Egypt, Dasan and Aviram did not join them. Rather they remained behind with the Egyptians.

However, when Dasan and Aviram heard about Kriyas Yam Suf, they had a change of heart and wanted to join their Jewish brethren. After all, there were no Egyptians left anyway. So, Dasan and Aviram went to the very place that the Jews were standing prior to Kriyas Yam Suf. They too wanted to cross. Suddenly, the most incredible thing happened. There was a second Kriyas Yam Suf for Dasan and Aviram! (Sefer Beis Avraham Beis Aharon, citing the Ruach Chadashah on the Haggadah Shel Pesach, found in the Pesach Machzor “Beis Yisrael”, under “Nissei Hayam”, #19, citing a Midrash that we do not have in print today).

….After the Jews left Egypt and reached the seashore, God commanded that they begin to turn back towards Egypt in order to make Pharaoh think that the Jews were unsure of themselves and vulnerable to be attacked. This would tempt Pharaoh to chase after them, thus setting the stage for Egypt’s destruction. Pharaoh’s scouts reported this
turnaround to Pharaoh, at which point the verse says, “And Pharaoh said to the Children of Israel, they [the Jews] are confused in the land, the wilderness has locked them in” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3).

Yonasan ben Uziel (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3) says that Pharaoh was talking to Dasan and Aviram who remained behind. They were also the B’nei Yisrael. However, later we find Dasan and Aviram together with the Jewish People in the desert during the story of leaving the Manna overnight (Sefer Shemot, Perek 16, posuk 20) and during the episode of Korach’s rebellion (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posuk 27). If Dasan and Aviram were not with the Jews during Kriyas Yam Suf, how did they catch up to the Jews afterwards? This supports the notion that there was a second Kriyas Yam Suf for Dasan and Aviram. (See the Baer Mayim Chaim, Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 29 and the Maharil Diskin, Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posuk 14 who agree with this approach).

The Shvilei Pinchas says that this explains why the Torah “repeated” the miracle of Kriyas Yam Suf a second time.

Actually, the verse did not repeat anything. The first mention of the miracle refers to the first splitting of the sea, whereas the second mentioning of the miracle refers to the second splitting of the sea. This is not a repetition; it is a continuation of the story.

Thus we have two crossings:

“The B’nei Yisrael came within the sea on dry land; and the water was a wall for them, on their right and on their left.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 22)

“The B’nei Yisrael went on dry land in the midst of the sea; and the water was a wall for them, on their right and on their left.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 29)

R’ Wagensberg concludes:

This also explains why the first reference of the miracle mentions the water before the dry land. It is because the first verse is talking about the Jewish People who trusted in God and jumped into the Yam Suf before it split, while it was still water. Only afterwards did it become dry land. However, the second reference of the miracle mentions the dry land before the water because the second verse is talking about Dasan and Aviram who did not trust in Hashem.

They would never jump into an ocean. Only after they saw that the sea turned into dry land for the Jews, were they willing to enter.

However, the big question on all of this is, “How did Dasan and Aviram deserve to have a Kriyas Yam Suf just for them?” These two characters were trouble makers throughout. When Moshe saw an Egyptian beating up a Jew (Sefer Shemot, Perek 2, posuk 11), the verse says that Moshe looked to see if there was anybody watching. The verse says that there was nobody around.

Then, Moshe killed the Egyptian (Sefer Shemot, Perek 2, posuk 12). The next day Moshe saw that word of his killing the Egyptian had leaked out (Sefer Shemot, Perek 2, posuk 14; Shemos Rabbah, 1:30). Pharaoh sent officers to apprehend Moshe and have him executed. Moshe would have been killed if not for a miracle that occurred (Shemos Rabbah, 1:36). How did word leak out if the verse says that there was nobody around? Well, there was one person who did witness Moshe kill the Egyptian; the Jew that was being clobbered by the Egyptian. That Jew acted as an informer and told Pharaoh that Moshe killed an Egyptian and deserves to be punished, even though his life was just saved by Moshe. That Jew was Dasan! (Shemos Rabbah, 1:33). Dasan is the quintessential paradigm example of a snitch.

On the next day, Moshe sees two Jewish men fighting. Moshe called each one of them a Rasha (wicked); (Sefer Shemot, Perek 2, posuk 13; Shemos Rabbah, 1:29). Those two Jewish men were Dasan and Aviram. Dasan and Aviram were bad. They should have died with the four-fifths of wicked Jews who perished during the Plague of Darkness (Sefer Shemot, Perek 13, posuk18; Mechilta, Tanchuma). How did Dasan and Aviram survive the Plague of Darkness? And again, how did Dasan and Aviram deserve to have their very own Kriyas Yam Suf?

The Jewish slaves were considered to be the lowest class of people. Above them were Jews that Pharaoh appointed as police officers to ensure that the Jews maintain production. These Jews were given whips and clubs to hit the slaves with if they slacked off. This would ensure that the quota would be met. Then there were Egyptian officers appointed over the Jewish police officers. If the slaves did not reach the quota, the Jewish police officers would be whipped and clubbed by the Egyptian officers for failing to do their jobs.

The Jewish police officers did not have the heart to whip the Jewish slaves. When the quota was not met at the end of the day, those Jewish police officers were beaten by the Egyptian officers (Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posuk 14). Those Jewish police officers, who were still bleeding from the blows that they just received, complained to Moshe and Aharon for making matters worse (Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posukim 20-21). Who were those Jewish police officers? Rashi (Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posuk 20, based on Nedarim, chap. 9, “Rebbi Eliezer”, pg. 64b, Rebbi Yochanan quoting Rebbi Shimon ben Yochai) says that they were Dasan and Aviram!

Although Dasan and Aviram had many character flaws, there was something virtuous about them. They were willing to take a hit for a fellow Jew! Because of that, they did not perish during the Plague of Darkness. This honorable quality that they did possess was so great that the sea actually parted for them a second time.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Amona and the “Regulation Law”: Another Yassamnik Expulsion!

Filed under: Expulsion, Eviction, Disengagement, News Reports, Police Brutality: Amona Compendium on Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Yassamnikim entering Amona

As the cruel, merciless Yassamnikim descend upon Amona, I read this AM where the “Regulation Law” passed 2nd and 3rd readings in committee, but will not be voted on until Monday, 6 February. By then, all of residents of Amona will have been displaced and their homes bulldozed and destroyed.

Thank You Bibi and Bennett! And don’t think for a second that President Trump is not watching this closely, having in mind his upcoming meeting with Bibi. The world is lookin’ at a bunch of Israeli political hypocrites who don’t believe in the Jews’ Divine-Given right to all of Eretz Yisrael with all their hearts, souls and beings.

Again I invoke: President Trump, Kushner, Friedman, etc. cannot be more Pro-Israel than the government of Israel. IMHO, we can forget about the American Embassy moving to Jerusalem as long as a self-hating, self-deprecating, 2-state-advocating Israeli government rules.

Parshat Bo 5777: The Two Bloods — Bris Milah, Korban Pesach — a Paradigm Validating Worthiness in Our Times?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, January 28th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua — Parshat Bo is being sponsored by Ayton and Ayelet Lefkowitz of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated Lilui Nishmas Ayton’s Grandmothers: Chana Michla bas Zeev Yitzchak and Miriam bas Avraham and his Grandfather Klonimus Yechezkel ben Yehuda. To Mishpochat Lefkowitz, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
.
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Parshat Bo 5777: The Two Bloods — Bris Milah, Korban Pesach — a Paradigm Validating Worthiness in Our Times?

by Moshe Burt

Parshat Bo is the one which, for me, annually relates to that nutty parody, composed by Guess Who, of a crazy tune which played back “in the Old Country” a few decades ago, “Does Your Korbon Pesach Lose It’s Flavor Tied to the Bedpost Overnight?” (Actually, the real title to the song was “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?”) Here’s hoping that readers of this Parshat HaShevua will click on the above YouTube link for a bit of levity.

Just a note here for historical perspective: from the point where Moshe experienced the revelation of the Burning Bush on the 15th of Nissan in the year 2447, to Moshe’s first approach to Pharaoh, through the ten plagues (the asseret makot), to the Jews’ liberation from the Egyptian slavery and oppression: there spanned exactly one year.

Over the years, this author has opened with this nutty parody because it cuts right to the chase, to the very heart of our Parshat. The lamb was seen by the Mitzriyim as one of their myriads of “gods”. Therefore, Hashem mandated the Mitzvot of taking the Korbon Pesach, publicly, slaughtering it and applying the da’am on Jewish doorposts. The going up from Mitzrayim (Egypt) to “…a land flowing with milk and honey …” — the Yetziyat Mitzrayim is as relevant to the National entity (B’nai Yisrael) today, as it was then, as it relates to emunah (belief in) and yirat (fear of) Hashem.

On the 14th of Nissan, 2448, in the afternoon, the Jews took the lamb; the Korban Pesach, which they had each tied to their proverbial bedpost on 10 Nissan, shechted (slaughtered) it, applied some of its blood to their doorposts and hastily ate it, roasted over fire with Matzot and bitter herbs with their loins girded and with shoes on their feet and staff at hand, on the evening which began the 15th of Nissan. That night began the final mako, the plague of the Egyptian first-born. The B’nei Yisrael left Egypt in the morning of the 15th of Nissan.

Rabbi Mordechai Katz, in his sefer L’lmod U’lamed (page 72) begins a vort on our Parshat:

Hashem was willing to save the Jews from their Egyptian captivity. But were the Jews ready to accept Hashem as their G’d? How would Hashem know, for man has Free Will with respect to fear of G’d. How could Hashem be sure of the Jews’ loyalty?

There was really only one way to be sure. If the Jews would offer to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of Hashem’s word, they would be worthy of His assistance. It was for that reason that Hashem asked them to prepare the Korban Pesach, the Pascal Lamb, publicly.

With B’nei Yisrael chomping at the bit for the redemption, for freedom from Mitzri bondage, Hashem directs them to take the Korban Pesach, and to perform Bris Milah on all males. Hashem commanded that the Korban Pesach must not be eaten by anyone who is uncircumcised. Indeed, taking the Pascal Lamb and slaughtering it publicly, in front of the Mitzriyim, and performing Bris Milah on Jewish males provided justification, validation of the worthiness of the Jews for Hashem’s liberation of them from bondage and for Jewish nationhood.

The Sapirstein Edition Chumash ( page 114-116) renders Sefer Shemos, Perek 12, posukim 12-13 and follows with Rashi’s comments and footnotes:

“And I shall pass through Egypt on this night [15 Nissan], and I shall strike every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from man to animal… I shall execute judgement — I, Hashem. The blood will be a sign for you upon the houses where you are; and I will see the blood and skip over you… when I strike in the land of Egypt.”

“The blood will be a sign for you” — It will be a sign “for you,” but not a sign for others — From here we can see that they only put the blood on the inside. It was “for you alone in that it was not visible to one standing outside the house.”

And I will see the blood — All is revealed before Him. “I will focus MY attention to see that you are busying yourselves with My commandment regarding placing the blood on the door frame and because of this I will skip over you when I inflict the plague upon the Egyptians.”

“And I will see the blood” — …This verse implies that Hashem will take into consideration the merit of their fulfilling His commandment. It does not speak of actually seeing the blood. (cited from Maskil L’David)

Rebbetzin Shira Smiles, in her sefer “Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos (pages 29-30) relates a citing from the Navi Yechezchel (Sefer Yechezchel, perek 16, posukim 6-7 regarding Rashi on Sefer Shemos, Perek 12, posuk 6):

“I have passed by you and I saw you wallowing in your bloods and I said to you ‘By your bloods you shall live.’ …. and you [were] naked and unclothed.”

Our sages (citing Yalkut Shimoni, Shemos, page 195) explain that “unclothed” means stripped of Mitzvot. Hashem initially determined that Am Yisrael was unworthy of being redeemed. Therefore, he “clothed” them, enabling them to earn the merit to live through the performance of the two Mitzvot. Note that the word “blood” in this posuk is actually plural “bloods”, referring to two Mitzvot that involve blood…. Korban Pesach (the Passover Offering) and Bris Milah (circumcision): B’nei Yisrael’s implementation of these two “bloods” was the combined accomplishment that gave them life and sanctioned their salvation. Fittingly these verses from Yechezchel are recited at both the Pesach Seder and at a Bris Milah.

The Targum Yonatan… specifies [Commentary on Sefer Shemos Perek 12, posuk 13] that since circumcision was a requirement for males to participate in the Korban Pesach, both the blood of the korban Pesach and the blood from the Bris Milah were used in that fateful night. Further, regarding the placement of both bloods on the doorposts,

Moshe told them (Sefer Shemos Perek 12, posuk 24) “Ushmartem et hadavar bazeh lechok lecha ulevanecha ad olam” (“You shall observe this matter as a statute for you and for your children forever”). From this…, we see that these Mitzvot have eternal significance.

But there was a third Mitzvah to the Yetziyat Mitzrayim. In the Sefer “Inspiration and Insight” — Discourses on the Weekly Parashah by the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal, Shlita, Z”l, Rav Segal (page 113) renders translation of Sefer Shemos, Perek 12, posuk 39, as well as Rashi’s comments and Yirmiyahu Perek 2, posuk 2:

“They baked unleavened bread with the dough that they had taken with them from Egypt, for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not tarry there; nor had they prepared for themselves any provisions for the way. (Sefer Shemos, Perek 12, posuk 39)

This tells the praise of the Israelites, that they did not say “How can we go out to the desert without provisions?!”

Rather, they had faith and went. It is regarding this that the prophet states (Yirmiyahu Perek 2, posuk 2), “[So said Hashem:] I remember for your sake the kindness of your youth, the love of your bridal days, how you followed Me in a wilderness in an unsown land.” What reward is stated afterward? “Israel is sanctified before Hashem, the choicest of His crop” (Rashi ibid.).

Rav Segal then writes (page 113):

…They became a nation whose pure unquestioning faith earned them their Creator’s praise. More than one million men, women and children headed for the Wilderness without provisions, not knowing how they would survive. They followed Hashem’s command in the way of a young child who unquestioningly accompanies his father on his travels.

The child doesn’t worry how he will survive, for he has complete faith in his father’s judgement. Such was the pure faith of the Jewish nation…

Rebbetzin Smiles writes in the same vein, in her sefer “Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos, (pages 33-34), by making reference to the term “mesirus nefesh” which is translated as “giving over the soul.” She writes citing a Shabbos HaGadol drosh in 1900 by Rabbi Pinchas Friedman:

Giving over your soul to something means making a statement of total committment. Serving Hashem with “mesirus nefesh” means coming to the deep realization that serving Hashem is all that matters to us. It matters more than life, and from that realization stems the act of serving Hashem “bechol nafshecha” (with all of your soul) (Sefer Devarim, Perek 6, posuk 5) — even if it means giving up that life… We also realize that the service of Hashem matters more than the selfish aspects of our lives.

So what is the sequel today to the “two bloods”? The Pesach Seder is accessible to all, whether at one’s home, with friends or even in the local Chabad House, and Bris Milah is routinely done on all Jewish males on the eighth day (or if complications of birth occur — as soon as the baby’s health permits)?

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his Sefer “Growth Through Torah” on our Parshat Bo (pages 161-162, 166, 168-169) provides some possible answers. Firstly, Rav Pliskin cites, renders and comments quoting The Ramban on Sefer Sh’mos Perek 10, posukim 16-17 regarding the suffering from the plague of locusts:

“Pharaoh called to Moshe and Aharon and said to them: ‘Now I beseech you, forgive my sin only this once, and pray to the Almighty that He may only take away this death.’” (Sefer Sh’mos Perek 10, posukim 16-17)

The Ramban comments…: Pharaoh realized that it was only Moshe who could intercede on his behalf with The Almighty. For this reason the first part of the verse [posuk 17] is written in the singular. But Pharaoh spoke derech mussar (in a polite and tactful manner)… and asked both Moshe and Aharon to pray for him and for this reason the latter half of the verse is written in the plural.

Rabbi Zissel of Kelm [a pillar of the mussar movement]… cited this… Ramban (Chochmah Umussar, vol. 1, page 456) and added that…. we should learn from Pharaoh. …He needed a favor from Moshe, and Aharon was not able to act on his behalf, he still spoke in front of Aharon in a manner that would not imply any slight to Aharon’s honor.

This sensitivity should be our guide in dealing with other people.

If Pharaoh, the perpetrator of the enslavement and persecution of Am Yisrael, could make his requests in such a polite and tactful way to seek relief from Hashem’s plague, so much more so must one Jew, or one sector of Jews, speak to another in a polite and tactful way, free of coercion, invective or polarization, derisive name-calling or actions, so as to not slight the other’s honor.

Rav Pliskin then makes a point by rendering Sefer Sh’mos Perek 12, posuk 28 citing a comment by Rashi on the posuk:

When you want to have a positive influence on others make certain to model that behavior yourself.

“And the Children of Israel went and did as The Almighty commanded Moshe and Aharon, so they did.” (Sefer Sh’mos Perek 12, posuk 28)

Rashi comments…, “so they did” refers to Moshe and Aharon. They also did as The Almighty commanded about the Paschal lamb [the Korban Pesach]. The Torah tells us this as a lesson to anyone who wants to have a positive influence on others. It is not enough just to tell others to do good deeds. Your own behavior should serve as a
model for them to follow. (Hagigai Osher)

Action is much more difficult than words. The best way to influence others is to be the type of person you wish others to be.

Rav Pliskin seems, to this author, to be conveying that negative actions, such as coercion or derisiveness by even a few of one sector toward those of other sectors or by the government toward any and all sectors of Am Yisrael, or by the injustice of mental or physical torture of Jews during interrogation without proof of a crime committed, achieves the very opposite of presenting a positive influence on others. Such actions make for disunity, divisiveness, polarization and downright hatred within Am Yisrael. It seems to this author that those who claim to hold themselves out as closest to Almighty, or those who proclaim themselves as purveyors of “justice” and law in a “democracy” must, therefore, hold themselves to a higher standard, a higher calling. In short, that now somewhat famous “sports-entertainment” quote makes the point: “To talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.”

So how do we define “mesirus nefesh” (giving over the soul) today, in a context of B’nei Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael? Is it making aliyah? Is it commitment to selfless kindness L’Shem Shemayim and V’ahavtah L’rei’echa Kamocha toward one’s fellow Jews, regardless of sector? Is it connecting with, and possessing Eretz Yisrael, just as our ancestors “followed Hashem’s command” into the desert with “complete faith in their Father’s judgement”? Is it inserting one’s own body, at risk of billy club beating or arrest, to prevent further expulsions of Jews from Our Land? Is it one chayal (soldier) acting to protect his fellows by making sure that a murderous terrorist is permanently eliminated? Or, is it all of the above and more? Is it even possibly the painless right of ALL Israelis to vote, whether in national or local elections — 1 Jew = 1 vote, in unity, with ahavat chinom, FOR Jewish life, even against foreign attempts to subvert an election or cause surrender to appeasement, or political/governmental/military cruelty to the righteous, with equivocation toward resultant bloody terror?

Rav Pliskin renders Sefer Sh’mos. Perek 13, posuk 5 and cites The Chofetz Chayim regarding B’nei Yisrael, Torah and Eretz Yisrael:

“…To give you a land flowing with milk and honey, and you shall do this service.” (Sefer Sh’mos. Perek 13, posuk 5)

The Chofetz Chayim commented on this verse…. The Torah and the Land of Israel are one unit. Their relationship is as the relationship between the body and soul. A soul cannot exist alone in this world. The body alone is just dust from the earth. It needs the soul to give it life. The soul of the Jewish people is the sacred Torah. The body is the Land of Israel… The Land of Israel without the Torah, however, is like a body without a soul. It is just a piece of land. Only when both exist together is there a complete unit.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Va’eira 5777: Hashem — “…Faithful to Exact Payment”

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, January 21st, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua — Parshat Va’era is being sponsored by Binyamin and Tracy Skriloff and dedicated for a total, complete refuah shlaima for Binyamin’s neice Zeesa Baila bat Mindel Pescha. To Mishpochat Skriloff, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
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Parshat Va’eira 5777: Hashem — “…Faithful to Exact Payment”

by Moshe Burt

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch z”l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman) renders Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 6, posukim 1-3 (pages 79-81 — the last posuk of Parshat Sh’mos and the opening posukim of Parshat Va’eira:

“Hashem said to Moshe: Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh; for by a strong hand will he let them go, Indeed, by a strong hand will he drive them out of his land.”

“Hashem spoke to Moshe and said to him: I am Hashem.”

“[And was so] even when I appeared to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov as the All-Sufficing G’d but had not become known to them as that which My Name [Hashem] Signifies.”

The Sapirstein Edition Chumash with Rashi explains, and provides commentary in footnote #6 relating to Perek 6, posuk 2; “…I am Hashem”:

Rashi on the posuk: “I am Hashem” means ‘I am faithful to exact payment…’

This Divine Name implies that G’d is eternal. It contains within it the words, “He was, He is, He will be.” Because He is eternal, He is not subject to the strictures of time, but is able to punish or reward at whatever time He desires to do so.

Thus, the Name implies that he is faithful to exact payment and to give reward. (Gur Aryeh)

This seems to refer back to commentary of The Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, Sh’lita, z”l regarding Chanukah in his sefer, “Inspiration and Insight,” Discourses on the Holidays (pages 104-105):

The Greeks wanted the Jewish people to forsake their Torah way of life in favor of their [the Greek] own culture which glorified the physical and extolled indulgence in temporal pleasures. The Greeks were quite content to allow the Jews to remain alive — as long as they abandon those mitzvot which are at the core of Jewish belief. This decree, writes Bach, (based on a Baraisa) was, in fact, a Divine retribution for the Jews having become lax in their mitzvah observance. The mesiras nefesh, self- sacrifice of the Chashmonaim to preserve Torah life and restore the service to the Beit Hamikdash brought about the great miracle of their victory over the Greeks and the discovery of the flask of oil which miraculously burned for eight days. Thus, Chanukah is a celebration of the spirit, a yom tov which commemorates a victory of the spirit led by warriors of the spirit, the Chashmonaim.

Thus we learn about reward and punishment which we have come to know well throughout our history.

The Sapirstein Edition Chumash with Rashi continues with further Rashi commentary on Perek 6, posuk 2:

…When it is stated in the context of fulfillment of the commandments, for example , “And you will keep My commandments and perform them, I am Hashem.” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 22, posuk 31) It means, “I am faithful to give reward.” (Toras Kohanim, Acharei 9:1)

The Artscroll Stone Chumash provides additional commentary on Perek 6, posuk 2 from both Rashi and Or HaChaim (page 319):

Rashi explains that “Hashem”, the Name revealed to Moshe, represents G’d as thr One who carries out His promises, for G’d was now prepared to fulfill His pledge to free Israel and bring them to the Land. But although the Patriarchs were told that G’d’s Name was Hashem, they had not seen Him in practice as having kept His promise, for the time had not come for the Land to be given to them. Nevertheless, they [the Patriarchs] had perfect faith that when the proper time arrived, He would do so.

Or HaChaim commented that G’d’s essence is represented by the Name Hashem. Even though the Patriarchs knew that Name, only Moshe had the degree of prophecy that enabled him to comprehend its significance to the highest degree possible for man.

The question in our times is, when the reward? When are we deemed worthy? When is His desired time to fully Redeem us in Our Eretz Yisrael? How much longer must we endure subversive governance: governance seemly dedicated on all levels, including the military, to the subordination and subversion among the governed of belief in and the Will of Hashem?

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Sh’mot 5777: Coalescing Accounts of the Evolution of Jewish Enslavement in Mitzrayim, the Lasting Canards and Lessons for Today?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, January 14th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua — Parshat Sh’mot is being sponsored by Yitzchak and Leyla Gross of Wynnewood, PA to commemorate the Yarhtzeit of Yitzchak’s Mother: Chaya Yita Sarah Bat Aharon. To Mishpochat Gross, many thanks for your sponsorship, your kindnesses through the years in helping facilitate Sefer Torah recycling, and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
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Parshat Sh’mot 5777: Coalescing Accounts of the Evolution of Jewish Enslavement in Mitzrayim, the Lasting Canards and Lessons for Today?

by Moshe Burt

In previous years, this author has indicated through various historical accounts, such as here and here, such as R’ Pliskin’s citings of R’ Chayim Shmuelevitz, by Rashi, by Rabbi Uziel Milevsky z’l in his sefer “Ner Uziel”, by R’ Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, z’l in the “New Hirsch Chumash”, the Kli Yekar regarding Parshat Vayechi, citings of the Slonimer Rebbe in Rebbetzin Smiles’ “Torah Tapestries”, historian Daniel Pipes, etc., that it is difficult to ascertain the precise time in Egyptian history, and which Pharaoh reigned at the outset of the cruel oppression and slavery of the B’nei Yisrael.

These various accounts allude to various versions of history as to how it was that the “new” reigning Pharaoh had no recollection of Yosef having saved Egypt from famine, whether this Pharaoh was actually leader of a foreign nation which had conquered Egypt, or whether this Pharaoh had convenient politically expedient amnesia regarding Yosef, or was a new indigenous Pharaoh. Accounts also vary as to whether the B’nei Yisrael remained together in the “Jewish province” of Goshen, separated from the Mitzriyim, or whether they (other than the Levi’im) assimilated into the heartland of Egypt. And this author questions: How could it have been that the Jews could have assimilated in Egypt, discontinued Bris Milah, adopted Mitzri idolatrous ways and sunk to such a lowly moral state had they all remained together in Goshen?

In short, the various accounts regarding both Egyptian history and the possible Jewish assimilation into the Egyptian heartland may have set the stage for the evolution of various anti-semitic canards which have plagued Am Yisrael throughout our periods of galut. And this possible Jewish assimilation into the Egyptian heartland, and loss of certain moral standards, may have led ultimately to the Jews’ loss of self-respect and self-esteem as well as considering themselves in a lowly manner leading them to being subjugated by the Egyptians.

R’ Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, z’l, in the “New Hirsch Chumash” renders and comments on posukim early in our Parsha (Sefer Sh’mot, Perek 1, posukim 8-9, pages 4-5):

“Now a new king rose up over Egypt, who knew nothing of Yosef.”

“And he said to his people: Lo! the B’nei Yisrael are a nation, too numerous and too mighty for us.”

“Now a new king rose up over Egypt” — V’yakam…al Mitzrayim” definitely does not imply a normal, legitimate succession to the royal throne. “Koom al” always denotes a violent overthrow. It seems therefore, that the old dynasty was overthrown and that the land and people of Egypt fell to the power of a foreign dynasty which had invaded the country.

Had the new dynasty been an indigenous one, Yosef would not have been unknown to the new king. It is typical that the explanation for all of the enmity against the Jews… is that the king knew nothing of Yosef. The [Egyptian] people did know Yosef, and did not look askance at the Jewish province [Goshen] and at the Jewish people growing in it. They [the Egyptian people] considered the Jews benefactors, not as intruders, and did not feel deprived by the Jews’ prosperity.

…The Egyptians were undoubtedly more powerful and more numerous than the Jews living in Goshen — unless we assume… the foreign ruler brought with him to Egypt the people of his own foreign tribe…

The king turned to his own people, the invaders… he said: “The Egyptians we no longer fear, for they are already under our power. But in the outlying province a tribe is growing too strong, and we will not be able to defeat them so easily.”

…Generally all of the phemonena of history are as old as history itself. Whenever a tyrant sought to oppress his subjects, he would deliver another people whom they [the indigenous subjects] in turn could afflict, and thus they [the indigenous subjects] would feel compensated for the oppression coming from above. This policy was the source of many of the decrees [throughout history] whose purpose was to afflict the Jews.

Similar considerations may have been motivated by the instigator [Pharaoh] of these, the very first anti-Jewish laws… He created a pariah caste, upon which the other castes could look down with contempt, thus self-assured, imagining themselves to be free men.

…Pharaoh found nothing with which to blame the Jews, except for their high birth rate, and that, to justify the harsh measures he intended to enact ["Come, let us deal cleverly with them..." Sefer Sh'mot, Perek 1, posuk 10] he had to cite reasons of “national interest”…]

Rabbi Uziel Milevsky z’l writes in his Sefer “Ner Uziel” on on Parshat Sh’mot (p. 297-301), as does R’ Moshe Weissman at the beginning of “The Midrash Says” on Sefer Sh’mot (page 1):

While the Sh’vatim lived, the Jews remained on Goshen and continued in the ways of their forefathers and were dedicated exclusively to Divine Service.

Following the deaths of Yaakov and the sons, the moral fabric began to unravel. The values of the forefathers eroded, particularly among the young and newly-married couples. Although the B’nai Yisrael maintained their Hebrew names [and family purity], their distinct dress, their language, their kindnesses each toward the other, they begin to venture beyond the pale of separation from the Mitzriyim which was Goshen and beyond exclusive Divine service.

R’ Weissman cites The Chazon Ish in “The Midrash Says” on Sefer Sh’mot (page 1):

…When questioned about the actual moral standard of the B’nei Yisrael in Egypt, [The Chazon Ish] explained that despite the righteousness of the Jewish women and the open miracles which they experienced, they [the B'nei Yisrael] were steeped in idol worship. (The Chazon Ish, Letters 108-109)

Could it be that the accounts noted in this vort regarding the evolution toward B’nei Yisrael’s oppression, enslavement, persecution by the Mitzriyim and their reduction to a lowly moral state may all at least be partially accurate? It should be noted here that as Pharaoh devised his cunning plan to combat Jewish population growth by drafting, enticing and luring B’nei Yisrael ultimately into slavery under the guise of patriotism and national responsibility, the Levi’im remained in Goshen. (“The Midrash Says” on Sefer Sh’mot, page 5)

R’ Weissman notes (“The Midrash Says” on Sefer Sh’mot, page 6) and cites Rambam:

One Tribe of B’nei Yisrael was never drafted by Pharaoh, The Tribe of Levi. When Pharaoh issued the original proclamation, they did not appear at work, saying, “We are constantly engaged in Torah-study and have no time to come!” Subsequently, Pharaoh left them alone, and they remained free until the end of the exile. Had they stepped out of the Beit Hamidrash to volunteer their services for even one day, the consequences would have been two hundred and ten years of slavery!

The Levi’im had been instructed by their forefather Yaakov to concentrate on learning Torah. (Rambam, Akoo”m [goy] Alef, Gimmel)

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin (“Growth Through Torah”, Parshat Sh’mot, pages 138-140) quotes from the beginning of Sefer Sh’mot and cites both Ohr Hachayim and Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz in providing yet another dimension to the evolution of Jewish enslavement in Mitzrayim and profound lessons we need to internalize today:

“And Yosef died, and all of his brothers, and that entire generation.” (Sefer Sh’mot, Perek 1, posuk 6)

Ohr Hachayim explains that the enslavement of the Israelites by the Egyptians occurred in three stages. First Yosef died, the Israelites lost their power. Then the brothers died. As long as even one of the brothers was alive, the Egyptian still honored them. Even afterwards as long as the members of that first generation were alive, the Egyptians considered them important and were not able to treat them as slaves.

Rabbi Chayim Shmuelevitz…, commented .. that there are two aspects here. One is on the side of the Egyptians. They were unable to treat the Jewish people as slaves as long as they [the Egyptians] considered them important. The other aspect is on the side of the Jewish people themselves. As long as they [the Jewish people] were considered important and worthy of respect by themselves [self-respect and self-esteem], the Egyptians were not able to treat them in an inferior manner. Only when they considered themselves in a lowly manner could they be subjugated by others.

Rav Chayim refers to this as how the evil inclination deals with people, i.e. that once a person feels inferior, feels a sense of guilt and worthlessness, “then he is easy prey for being trapped by the evil inclination….”

Rav Pliskin’s citings (“Growth Through Torah”, Parshat Sh’mot, ibid) connect self-respect and having respect for others, or lack of self-respect and resultant lack of respect for others with a citing in gemara Sanhedrin 37a regarding false testimony, i.e., that in capital punishment cases, the witnesses are told:

“In the beginning only one man was created. This is to teach us that whoever causes the death of one person is considered as destroying an entire world. Therefore each person is obligated to say, ‘The world was created for me’”…. Rashi explains….: “That is, I am as important as an entire world. Therefore, I will not cause myself to be destroyed for one transgression.” This, says Rashi, will prevent him from delivering the false testimony.

But in talking about the Jews’ descent into both moral/spiritual decline and into Egyptian oppression, enslavement and persecution, the apparent assimilation into Mitzri society and resultant loss of collective self-respect, are we not all witness to contemporary history as we view the lack of self-respect and resultant lack of respect for others resulting in false, slanderous testimony against one’s fellow Jews by Israel’s governing politicians, the police, the so-called “justice system”, academia, and media intelligencia? Do we not witness the creeping onset in modern-day medinat Israel of systemic, and often “judicial” persecution of Torah Judaism by an evil, secular, Hellenistic Israeli governance? Are we all not witness as the Hellenists frame us for “price-tag crimes” against Arabs, who in fact commit crimes against each other in order to frame Jews, while these very Arabs destroy our crops, bloody-handedly kidnap, kill and maim our brethren and seize, appropriate and build on Our Land with immunity? And there was a Jewish Press piece on the alleged Jewish suspects in an arson attack at the Duma Village. And we mustn’t forget about the leftist Hellenist “absentee property” rouse which prompts a leftist “judiciary” to rip away locations such as Amona from Jewish residents while their brethren either remain silent or settle for a meaningless two-hour “rally.”

When a Jewish governance doubts its’ rights, its’ Divine entitlement to its’ own sovereignty on the entirety of its’ own Divinely-Given land, with nary a thought of the Divine Jewish mission statement, and thus subjugates and persecutes its’ own for acting to assert their Divine Legacy of possessing Eretz Yisrael, it is as if performing a clever, cunning rouse against the governed, the B’nei Yisrael which quietlly acquiesces to oppression and persecution. Is it any wonder that murderous Arab snipers, suicide bombers, ambushers, drive-by attacks, green laser and arson attacks, land seizures and attempted kidnappings ensue? Is it small wonder that Arabs display their hands filled with Jewish blood? Contrast today with the days which immediately followed the Six Day War, when Arabs in Jerusalem, Hevron, etc. shivered, quaked and waved white sheets of surrender at the sight of a single Jew.

Are we not witness to ever-increasing polarization in Israel amongst the various sectors of Am Yisrael, including and particularly amongst the sectors of observant Jews? Are we blind to one sector, or a fraction of one sector, imposing and strong-arming its will — at the peril of physical violence, traffic disruption, material destruction and vandalism or verbal defamation — upon other sectors whose mesorah (learned chumras, traditions, etc.) seems not in accord with theirs? And does imposition and strong-arming of one’s ways onto others not constitute a form of false, slanderous testimony against another Observant Jewish sector? And does this false testimony not add fuel to a divide-and-conquer, Hellenistic Israeli governance?

There is another negative aspect which accompanies loss of Jewish self-respect and self-dignity. Commentators refer to the Jews as being as being descended from the Tzaddik Ever, the great-grandson of another Tzaddik — Shem, a son of No’ach. Ever, the name from which we are told “Iv’ri” (Hebrew) evolved, has been defined by commentators as “the other side”, separate, alone, i.e. “a nation which dwells alone.” And yet, as with the Jews in Mitzrayim post-Yosef and the brothers, where large numbers of Jews apparently left Goshen en-masse and inter-mingled with the Mitzriyim in Egypt proper, in the galut, we’ve melted and assimilated, again and again, in whatever nation we happen to reside at any point in history, misplacing our loyalties with another nation rather than with our Jewish nation, hoping that they, that nation, will come to love us and that they will remember our contributions to their society. Of course, this assimilation and misplaced loyalties for the nation of our temporary residence results in just the opposite of the desired “love”, in their hate and disdain for us, i.e. “dislike for the unlike”.

“…Egypt, who knew nothing of Yosef.”

And in our modern-day Jewish State, Medinat Yisrael, the politicians, the governance, the intelligencia, academia, the media and most of the governed yearn to be like the nations — to live the “normal” life. Seems as if we can’t get this intermingling and assimilation out of our national system.

In short, we’ve collectively lost our backbone as well as our own self-respect and self esteem in our projected desire to be “like the nations’ and thus, the nations see us not as “a light unto them”, but as a liability, as objects of derision, hate, subjugation.

Are we, as individuals, soo preoccupied with our individual needs and matzavim that we face a collective spiritual disconnect; i.e., between intellect and vocalization, and the heart and neshama, as our ancesters faced during the Egyptian oppression, slavery and persecution, with the result that we overlook V’Ahavta, L’Rei’echa, Kamocha; caring for the needs of our fellow Jews in other sectors, be they observant or secular? And do some of our communal leaders consciously, or sub-consciously still have a mindset dating back to guile of the ghetto, of the shtetl, of the hundreds of years which pre-dated modern-day Israeli nationhood — times when anything was justified to save a Jewish life? It would seem that Rav Shmuelevitz’s characterization of how an individual, a sector, or the entire Jewish nation views themselves rings true today, just as it did in Mitzrayim and throughout Jewish history:

“Only when they [the Jews] considered themselves in a lowly manner could they be subjugated by others.”

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of any piece of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Vayechi 5777: Yaakov/Yisrael; Progenitor of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Vayechi is being co-sponsored by R’ Rafael and Vivianne Willig and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of the upcoming Bar Mitzvah of R’ Rafael’s nephew, Menachem Willig of Passaic, New Jersey, and by Matt and Ilana Bornstein and family to commemorate Matt’s Bar Mitzvah parsha and in honor of the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series Championship since 1908. To the Willig and Bornstein families, many thanks for your sponsorships and your continued kindnesses.

Friends, you can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
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Parshat Vayechi 5777: Yaakov/Yisrael; Progenitor of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael

by Moshe Burt

The title to this Parshat HaShevua contains a word: progenitor, whose definition may not readily known by many. Dictionary.com defines progenitor as follows:

noun
1. a biologically related ancestor: a progenitor of the species.

2. a person or thing that first indicates a direction, originates something, or serves as a model; predecessor; precursor: the progenitor of modern painting.

In approaching our Parshat, we note a phenomenon unique in Torah; the “Closed Parshat” where the beginning of Parshat Vayechi is separated from the conclusion of Parshat Vayigash by a mere single space, rather than by a number of blank spaces as separate the other parshiyot from each other.

The concluding posuk of Parshat Vayigash reads:

“Thus Yisrael settled in the land of Mitzrayim, in the land of Goshen; they took holdings in it and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posuk 27 — Parshat Vayigash)

A single space later, Parshat Vayechi commences:

“Yaakov lived in the land of Mitzrayim seventeen years; and the days of Yaakov — the years of his life — were one hundred and forty-seven years. The time approached for Yisrael to die…” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posukim 28-29 — Parshat Vayechi)

Notes in The Sapirstein Edition: “The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary” explain (page 522, notes 1-2 on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posuk 28):

The text in the Torah is divided into paragraph-like passages , which are separated from each other by a number of blank spaces. According to the Mesorah (tradition of the Oral Law), the words “Vayechi Ya’akov” mark the beginning of a new passage. Yet in this case, there is a space of only a single letter separating “Vayechi” from the word which precedes it. Rashi, based on the Midrash, asks why this passage is “closed” in this sense. (Mizrachi; Sifsei Chachamim)

Breaks between passages are intended to provide a pause for contemplation (Rashi to Sefer Vayikra, perek 1, posuk 1). The absence of a break indicates that with the death of Ya’akov, “the eyes and heart of Israel were closed” — the change in their relationship with the Egyptians came so suddenly that they did not have the opportunity to pause and contemplate their situation. (Be’er BaSadeh)

Although Rashi to Sh’mot Perek 6, posuk 16 says that the enslavement did not begin until the last of the sons of Ya’akov had died, that refers to the enforced enslavement. With the death of Ya’akov, the Egyptians began to cajole the Jews into hard labor. (Mizrachi; Sifsei Chachamim)

Rashi offers an alternative explanation of the lack of the normal break between the two parshiyot in his commentary on our parshat’s opening posuk (The Sapirstein Edition: “The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary”, page 522, Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posuk 28):

The passage is “closed” because [Ya'akov] wished to reveal the end to his sons, but it was closed off to him. (Breish’t Rabbah)

Note 3 on Rashi’s commentary (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posuk 28) defines “end”:

The ultimate end of all of the exiles of the Jewish people. (Gur Aryeh)

But there seems a question to be asked on these first two posukim of our Parshat Vayechi which seems to point to this author’s use of the term “progenitor.” Why, after explaining that “Yaakov lived in the land of Mitzrayim seventeen years; and the days of Yaakov — the years of his life — were one hundred and forty-seven years” does Torah relate to Yaakov as “Yisrael”: the name given Yaakov by the moloch who fought him, in the context of the next posuk: “The time approached for Yisrael to die…”?

The sefer “Torah Gems”, by Aharon Yaakov Greenberg (page 337) cites Ta’anit 5 in providing a possible explanation alluding to “Yisrael”:

Our Sages stated: Our father Ya’akov never died. It appears that the answer to this seeming contradiction is that Yaakov did not die, because he left descendants after him who were like him, with Yosef like his father. Yosef, though, only attained the level of “Yaakov,” and not the level of “Yisrael.” Thus we are told, “The time approached for Yisrael to die…” — only Yisrael — not Yaakov — died.

A commentary in the Artscroll Stone Chumash regarding Parshat Vayishlach where the moloch renamed Yaakov as Yisrael (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 32, posuk 29 and commentary):

“…No longer will it be said that your name is Yaakov, but Yisrael, for you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome.”

…Yaakov would receive the additional name Yisrael… prevailing, superiority…. that he received the blessings because he prevailed in an open competition to demonstrate which… was more deserving (Rashi). [More deserving than whom? This author is not sure if Rashi meant: More deserving than the moloch or Eisev.]

Commentary in the Artscroll Stone Chumash seems to provide another explanation (pages 268-269):

…Yaakov sent for Yosef — the only one of his sons who held power — and asked Yosef to swear that he would bring him to Eretz Yisrael for burial in the Cave of the Machpela, in Hevron.

The commentary then provides explanation of Yaakov reasons for insistence on burial in Eretz Yisrael: that one day, a plague of lice would strike Mitzrayim and would swarm beneath his body if he were buried there, that he knew that those buried outside of Eretz Yisrael would not come to life at T’chiyat HaMeitim (Resurrection) until they rolled through the earth to Eretz Yisrael and that Yaakov did not want the Mitzrayim to worship him as a “deity”, a source of idol worship.

But the commentary also explains that Yaakov/Yisrael wanted to establish a principle for his offspring — ultimately the Am Yisrael, that Eretz Yisrael was their heritage. No matter how successful or comfortable they became while dispersed and sojourning in any other land, in any other nation, their one and only true home and heritage is in Eretz Yisrael.

Yaakov’s requirement of burial only in Eretz Yisrael provides a crucial lesson for our time, for our brethren sojourning, yet believing themselves to be living, in venues outside of Eretz Yisrael.

This author concludes that Torah seems to indicate, by the posuk: “The time approached for Yisrael to die…”, that Yaakov, with his new Divinely-given name: Yisrael, indicating prevailing, superiority, is the first of a species. With the passing of Yisrael comes the birth of a superior nation who ultimately prevails, despite all travails, for all time.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
———————————————————
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Vayigash 5777: Have We Learned and Internalized National Unity From the Brothers, From the Gush Katif Expulsion?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, December 31st, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Vayigash is being sponsored by Dr. Pinchas and Penina Klahr and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh lilui nishmas Pinchas’ father Nosson Karpel ben Shmuel Zanvil Tzvi and P’nina’s father Matisyahu ben Yaakov. To the Klahr family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

Friends, you can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
****************************************************

Parshat Vayigash 5777: Have We Learned and Internalized National Unity From the Brothers, From the Gush Katif Expulsion?

by Moshe Burt

Over the past 11 1/2 years since the expulsion of our brethren from their homes and neighborhoods in Gush Katif and the 4 Shomron towns, we’ve read occasional reports on Israel’s online news sites of our brethren receiving calls or emails voicing regret from some who either previously supported the expulsion or who sat on their hands and did nothing, and who now would express contrition and beg forgiveness from their evicted brethren in the hope of either clearing their personal consciences, or sincerely seeking peace within Am Yisrael. But with all of the constant repetition of “land for peace” [read 'piece' as in the old Kissinger "salami slicer"] or “2 states for 2 peoples” by a generation of bankrupt governing politicians, media and intelligencia, how do we ascertain true intent, true contrition in these expressions of regret?

How do we bring about a state of true and permanent national unity amongst Klal Yisrael such as to bring Torah-based change in the national political/governmental psyche?

What exactly constitutes true intent, true contrition in Teshuva and true and permanent national unity?

Sefer Shem Mishmuel Sefer Shem Mishmuel, by Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, the Sochaczever Rebbe, as rendered to English by Rabbi Zev Belovski discusses what comprises the above attributes and defines unity (pages 49-51):

The Torah here describes Klal Yisrael as a united entity — a perfect and complete national body…. Together, working in harmony, Yisrael is a world unto itself, pulsating with the vibrancy of unity… If there were some interference or attempt at adding to the heavenly array, a disaster of cosmic proportions would ensue…. If any addition or subtraction were to befall Klal Yisrael, then its very purpose would be frustrated.

Klal Yisrael comprises many different people, each with their own distinct personality. How, then, is this prized unity to be achieved and maintained? Each member of the nation must subjugate his own needs and desires to those of Hashem. In this way alone can true unity be achieved, enabling the Klal to function as one organism with a single
overall purpose.

“The Midrash Says”, by Rabbi Moshe Weissman notes on Sefer Breish’t, Parshat Vayeishev (page 354):

Reuven left the company. He never partook in meals since he was constantly fasting and praying for having committed the sin of disarranging his father’s couch.

With Reuven out of the picture, Yehudah urges the other brothers present to sell Yosef, to make some money on the situation, dab blood on his tunic and carry the tunic home to Yaakov who then believes that a wild beast ate or ripped apart Yosef. Reuven returns later to the pit and is grief-stricken having found the pit empty. When the sons see the inconsolable grief in their father Yaakov, they rebuke Yehudah and cast him out from the family — thus the story of Tamar. But it seems unfathomable that none of the brothers could have anticipated in advance their father’s inconsolable grief-stricken reaction to what he understood at the time to be the death of his most beloved son. Were they sooo blinded by their jealousy and hatred of Yosef and sooo irresponsible that they cared not about the consequences of their actions until after the fact? Maybe they just didn’t chap that old detective Baretta line — “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

Parsha Mikeitz begins the recording of the whole affair between Yosef and the brothers when they came to Mitzrayim to buy food and were accused by the Viceroy of being spies. We learned how after hearing their story and family history through a translator (actually Yosef’s son Menashe who acted as translator although Yosef understood the brothers completely), Yosef demanded that they bring their youngest brother to him and incarcerated Shimon as insurance that the brothers would indeed return with Binyamin, their youngest brother.

We learn that in the middle of Parsha Mikeitz, with the imprisonment of Shimon, the brothers recognized and attributed their predicament to the sin they had committed earlier by throwing Yosef into the pit and then selling him to the Mitzriyim. Yosef heard and understood their conversation and left their presence to cry silently. (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 42, posukim 21-24)

Then, we learn how when Binyamin was finally brought to Yosef, the brothers were provided with food, but then it was made to appear as if Binyamin had stolen the Viceroy’s silver goblet. The Viceroy detained Binyamin under charges that he had stolen the goblet and released the other brothers to return to their father.

Our Parsha Vayigash begins with Yehuda speaking his appeal to the Viceroy on behalf of his father Yaakov regarding Binyamin’s imprisonment.

Rav Zelig Pliskin (Growth Through Torah, page 119) renders Yehudah’s plea to the Viceroy (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 44, posuk 18):

“And Yehudah approached [unknowing that the Viceroy was actually his brother Yosef] and he said, Please My Master, allow your servant to speak in the ears of My Master and do not become angry at your servant for you are like Pharaoh.”

Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, z”l, in the “New Hirsch Chumash” on our Parshat comments on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 44, posuk 18 (pages 810-811):

Yehudah says to Yosef: “I will not appeal to your emotions but to your intellect, your reasoned judgement.”

Yehudah says to Yosef: I hope that what I have to say will not antagonize you for you are like Pharaoh. If I say something that does not please you, do not think that I said it out of disrespect. What I say to you I would say to Pharaoh.

“Chumash Mesorot HaRav”, The Chumash with Commentary Based on the Teachings of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik z”l quotes from our Parshat Vayigash (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 44, posukim 18 – 19):

“Yehudah approached him [the Viceroy]…. My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’”

In his Chumash commentary, Rav Soloveitchik cites a cheder Rebbe from his youth indicating that the purpose of the Viceroy’s [Yosef's] question was:

“…Whether his brothers were still attached to their roots and origins? Are you… rooted in your father?… Do you see your father as the foundation of your existence?… Or are you just like rootless shepherds wandering from place to place, … who forgot their origin?”

R’ Pliskin continues by citing his Rebbe, the late Rosh HaYeshiva of Brisk in Yerushalayim who explained Yehudah’s speech to the Viceroy in two ways (Growth Through Torah, page 119-120):

Even though Yehudah thought… [the Viceroy] did not understand the language he was speaking, he wanted him to hear the depth of feeling behind his words. Even if one does not speak the language, sincerity will come through.

“Words that come from a person’s heart enter the heart of the listener.”

The second idea…, was that when you try to influence someone, it is imperative that he [or she] be open to what you have to say. If a person is close-minded and has made up… [their] mind not to pay attention to you, nothing you will say will influence… [them]. Therefore, Yehudah asked… [the Viceroy] to at least give him a fair hearing. “Keep your
ears open to the possibility that what I will say has merit.”

Upon hearing Yehudah’s plea regarding the special love affection which Yaakov had for Binyamin, Yosef could no longer restrain himself and revealed himself as he cried out so loudly that he was heard by Pharaoh.

Yehudah, not knowing who he was really talking to, and fathoming all of the power of Pharaoh was behind the Viceroy’s edicts and actions, he had to measure his words just right, just so.

But in today’s world where communications between people are all-to-often reduced to written text and even single-letter words — twitter-style over any number of different chat platforms via computer, cellphone, i-phone, i-pad, etc., not as in the not-too-distant past where communications took place face-to-face and mouth-to-mouth, or by telephone, any textual word or phrase can be strung or understood all out of proportion to how either writer meant them. One person’s joke or light-hearted comment can be misinterpreted by the other person as judgementalness, rebuke, repudiation or worse.

Yosef’s emotions were aroused to the point of tears and crying out by Yehudah’s sincerity and because the brothers had shown, by their rising to the defense of Binyamin, that they had genuinely recognized their aveirah, had done teshuvah, showed true, sincere and serious contrition for what they done to Yosef and were unified in their concern for Binyamin’s welfare. Yosef embraced his brothers and comforted them and “told them not to be sad that they had sold him, for Hashem had actually sent him here to keep them alive during the years of famine.” (L’lMod Ulamed, Parshat Vayigash, page 57).

This unity displayed by the brothers was crucial for the future travails of enslavement in Mitzrayim as the Jewish nation was forged.

But, in our time, the type of unity, sincerity, heartfelt love of one’s brother expressed by Yehudah, and the other brothers, for their brother Benyamin with hearts filled with sincere and serious contrition for their previous sin seems lacking amongst B’nai Yisrael.

At this writing, with a second expulsion mandated by Israel’s “supreme court” set to take place in Amona — of some forty Jewish family, some 200 souls, we watch with baited breath to see the true meaning of these expressions begging forgiveness which we have heard about over the years. Remembering the expulsion of our Gush Katif brethren and the first expulsion from Amona in 2005, Israel National News queries: Will soldiers refuse to carry out Amona evacuation?

What will the true intent of the current government turn out to be regarding Amona and, indeed, the entirety of Yehudah, the Shomron and the entirety of OUR Eretz Yisrael, especially in light of prime minister Netanyahu’s recent comments regarding “two states” on “60 Minutes”?

The modern-day hellenists continue their unmasked destructo drive toward self- defeating, self-deprecating “land for peace (sic)”, toward the absurd, bogus concept of “2 states for 2 peoples” as expressed by prime minister Netanyahu on “60 Minutes”. Their true goal seems nothing less than the indoctrination of the hearts and minds of Israelis aimed at the mass-eradication of all vestiges and expressions of Jewishness. They seem not to learn from their previous myriad, voluminous errors which have repeatedly placed their brethren in jeopardy. And the vast majority of those who should know better seem unprepared and too self-absorbed to put their individual lives on hold and collectively act with unity, as one in a concerted effort to do everything necessary to confront the evil nature of medinat Yisrael’s current national governance and “justice (sic) system.” Seems as if they all still soothe their consciences with a two-hour rally, rather than taking cohesive, organized, consistent, mass daily actions aimed at saving Eretz Yisrael.

Could it be that many of the same types who profess to express contrition in requesting the forgiveness of their Gush Katif brethren would replicate the same deed by standing by as a second Amona expulsion and destruction would take place by edict of Israel’s “justice (sic) system?”

We seem not to have learned the brother’s lesson yet.

But, in a sense, the political modern-day protexia-class hellenists have learned more than we have — they know our weaknesses intimately and they know how to divide and conquer us by virtue of our own machlokesim (internal disputes/disagreements). Each sector seems set against the other with little if any effort by any of the sectors to sit together and sincerely thrash out the unity and consensus which is crucial to overcome a Hellenistic regime and to ultimately restore Torah Halachic justice as law of the land.

Are we, in our time, chayev to be asked, as R’ Soloveitchik’s cheder Rebbe asked: are we “still attached to our roots and origins? Or have we forgotten our roots?”

Torah’s account of the actions and teshuvah of Yehudah and the other brothers on behalf of their brother Binyamin serves as a paradigm for the genuine, heartfelt contrition — the kind of contrition and teshuvah soo vitally necessary amongst the sectors of the religious, the kind of action-backed contrition which needs to be expressed, in a sincere, organized, consistent, unified way in order that those who beg forgiveness from the former residents of Gush Katif be accepted as genuine rather than symbolic — symbolism over substance.” And when we do our hishtadlut — action-backed contrition, Hashem will surely be with us, for as that saying goes, “Hashem helps those who help themselves.”

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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