Parshat Kedoshim 5776: Carrying Out Hashem’s Command — Following the Kohen’s Paradigm of Unity and Ahavat Yisrael

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, April 30th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off







Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Kedoshim is being sponsored by David and Julie Morris and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh Lilui Nishmas for the Yahrtzeit of Julie’s Mother Shulamit Devorah bat Rav Shimshon Raphael z”l. To the Morris 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
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Parshat Kedoshim 5776: Carrying Out Hashem’s Command — Following the Kohen’s Paradigm of Unity and Ahavat Yisrael

by Moshe Burt

Parshat Kedoshim, which in a regular year (with one Chodesh Adar) is leyned together with Parshat Acharei Mos, is read on its own in this year of two Adars.
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One of the main themes underlying Parsha Kedoshim is the loving care with which each Jew l’chatchila is to treat his Jewish brother. Indeed, we see that the first posuk of our Parsha conveys that spirit:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, “Speak to the entire assembly of B’nai Yisrael and say to them: You shall be holy, for holy am I, Hashem, your G’d.” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 19, posuk 1)

Torah then goes on to enumerate the Asseret HaDivrot, the Ten Commandments in depth.

But the spirit of our Parsha is best expressed by the principle taught by Rabbi Hillel to the convert, on one foot, that the entire Torah can be summed up with this one key concept — “V’ohavtoh L’rei’achoh Komochoh” — “… you shall love your fellow as yourself…” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 19, posuk 18); to want for your fellow Jew what you would want for yourself, to not do to your fellow Jew what you would not want to happen to youself.

Sadly, in our times, V’ohavta L’rei’acha Komochah, more often than not, is lacking amongst B’nai Yisrael, supplanted by “Me”, “Mine”,“my convenience”, “Me first”. One might add to this list mindsets representative of disunity, division, senseless hatred, i.e. “my group and to heck with yours and, since You omitted us from your ruling coalition and now seek to integrate us into the national social/economic structure, to heck with the Land — we’ll vote with the left.” And the government, in its indecisiveness and equivocation regarding our Divine right to sovereignty in OUR Eretz Yisrael, seems to have omitted loving one’s fellow Jew as one’s self from its lexicon and mindset. This author has recounted various and myriad examples in previous Parsha vorts and won’t repeat them, yet again, here.

This author found these comments from R’ Shimson Rafael Hirsch z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman) regarding Nadav and Avihu and their unauthorized fire service:

From the very wording of scripture [Sefer Vayikra, Perek 10, posuk 1] we learned that Aaron’s sons behaved arrogantly…. They… did not consult with their father before acting. Or precisely because they were sons of Aaron they felt that they were under no obligation to seek advice from anyone else…. Perhaps they had an exaggerated sense of self-worth, and so relied on their own reasoning…. Each of them acted solely on their own initiative. They did not even consult with each other.

…Their intention [Nadav and Avihu] was praiseworthy, for even after their sin they were called [close ones, those near]…. The fact is, however, that when the entire nation was privileged to witness a revelation of Hashem’s closeness, Nadav and Avihu felt the need to make a separate offering of their own. This shows that they were not moved by the true spirit of the priesthood. For in Judaism the priests are completely identified with the nation. They have no standing in their own right. The whole essence of the Kohanim [the priesthood] is that they stand in the midst of the people, and this accounts for their standing before Hashem.

…In their very “drawing near,” Nadav and Avihu were at fault. Their offering per se was illegal in every respect.

One who brings an offering seeks… closeness to Hashem, but this can be attained through obedience to Hashem and acceptance of His Commandments. This is precisely the point which separates Judaism from paganism. The pagan, through his offering, seeks to make his deity subserviant to his will, while the Jew, through his offering, places himself in the service of Hashem and accepts upon himself the yoke of His Commandments… Offerings of one’s own devising would… glorify personal caprice instead of obedience to Hashem and acceptance of His Commandments.

Now we understand the death of Aaron’s sons. Their death at the… first dedication of the Sanctuary is a warning to all future Kohanim. It bars all arbitrariness, all personal caprice, from the… Sanctuary, whose whole purpose is to be a Sanctuary for the Torah! In Judaism the priest’s function is not to introduce innovations in the service, but to carry out Hashem’s Command.

This last sentence of our cited comments from R’ Hirsch z’l seems to deliver a paradigm message not only to the Kohanim, and pertinent in our times:

In Judaism the priest’s function is not to introduce innovations in the service, but to carry out Hashem’s Command.

The Kohen’s function; carrying out Hashem’s commands is butressed by his innate attribute of bringing about unity amongst B’nei Yisrael.

If certain sectors of observant Jewry anoint themselves as “closest to Hashem” than any other sector, then by dint of their own self-designation, are they not thus compelled to themselves meet a higher, more elevated, Kohanic-like paradigm? Are they not to be held to a standard related to by R’ Zelig Pliskin in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (Parsha Kedoshim, page 274), i.e., “Only rebuke others with a sincere concern for their welfare”? Are they not to held to a standard of chinuch, of outreach toward other Jews rather than the disdain and insult of sinat chinom (causeless hatred)? Are these self-designated self-anointed, in truth, perhaps of mindset of unknowingly emulating the arrogance of Nadav and Avihu in standing apart from, rather than amidst the nation?

R’ Zelig Pliskin in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (Parsha Kedoshim, page 274) cites Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler from his sefer Michtav MaiEliyahu (Volume 3, page 139):

When someone tries to criticize or rebuke another person, it is obligatory for those words to come from the depths of his heart. The Sages have said that only those words that come from the heart will enter the heart of the other person. Therefore, if… words of correction are not an expression of …[one's] inner feelings of care and concern for the welfare of the other person, they will not have a positive influence on the person… But there is another aspect here. If… rebuke does not come from a sincere caring for the other person, then… [there are] personal reasons for that rebuke and… [one's] motives are not entirely pure. If that is the case, you are guilty of slighting the honor of another person and of causing him pain with words for… personal pleasure. This is a very serious offense.

Don’t we learn from Torah’s account of the offerings upon the inauguration of the Mishkan, and from designation of the individual degalim (flags) designated for each shavet (tribe) that diversity and intent within halachic confines is encouraged?

If the various sectors of B’nei Yisrael were to only glean from the example of the Kohen, and apply the unity of loving kindness to our brethren — both individually and on local and national levels, as to ourselves, the Bibis, the Bennetts, the Livnis, the Lapids, Olmerts, Baraks, Ramons, etc. — who seize on divisiveness and polarization to divide and conquer — would eventually cease to exist. And then we’ll zocha to fulfill our assigned mission, to serve as a light, a model to the nations of Hashem’s blueprint for creation.

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 nearly 1 3/4 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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Parshat Acharei Mos 5776: The Importance of Seeking Clarity

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Acharei Mos is dedicated Lilui Nishmas for My Mother: Chaya bat Zalman who was niferet on 22 Nissan 5775.

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 Acharei Mos 5776: The Importance of Seeking Clarity

by Moshe Burt

Parshiyot Acharei Mos and Kedoshim are normally what baseball fans refer to as another of the “doubleheader” parshiyot. But this is one of those years of both Adar A (Alef) and Adar B (Bet), so the parshiyot each have their own Shabbos and leyning.

Just as Parshiyot Tazria and Metzora are extensions of each other, visa vi Tumah and Ta’Hara regarding post-birth, regarding skin, hair, clothing or regarding one’s home or building; Acharei Mos and Kedoshim are extensions of each other regarding Kohanim, Yom Kippur, the Kohen’s Yom Kippur avodah in the Kodosh Kedoshim and the Kohanic model of Darchim, which ideally the entire B’nai Yisrael would embrace and exhibit as a paradigm, as model, as a light for all mankind.

Our Parshat opens with Torah describing the service of the Kohen Godol on Yom Kippur:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe after the deaths of Aaron’s two sons, when they approached before Hashem and they died. And Hashem said to Moshe; Speak to Aaron, your brother — he shall not come at all times into the Sanctuary, within the curtain, in front of the Cover that is upon the Aron[HaKodesh] so that he should not die… With this shall Aaron come to into the Sanctuary…” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 16, posukim 1-3 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Chumash)

Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein z”l, the Sochaczever Rebbe, comments on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 16, posukim 1-3 in his sefer “Shem Mishmuel” (Rendered into English by Rabi Zvi Belovski, page 257):

The verses continue by detailing all of the procedures that the Kohen Godol must execute on that great day. The surprising thing is the verses give us no indication as to which day they are referring. Rashi tells us:

“With this” — even this cannot be done on any day except for Yom Kippur, as it is explicit at the end of the [Perek]: “…In the seventh month, on the tenth day…” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 16, posuk 29)

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (pages 266-267) cites Rashi regarding the opening posuk of our Parsha; “Hashem spoke to Moshe after the deaths of Aaron’s two sons” in explaining the effectiveness of not merely citing a fact, but providing examples to illustrate the fact cited:

Rashi cites… Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariya… [about] an ill person who is visited by a physician. The doctor said to him, “Do not eat such and such foods, and do not sleep in a damp place.” Then another physician came to him and said, “Do not eat such and such foods, and do not sleep in a damp place in order that you should not die like this certain person.” The second doctor will have a much stronger effect than the first doctor. Therefore, Torah emphasizes that Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of the two sons of Aaron.

From this Rashi we see an important lesson lesson in how to make… communications more effective. It is not sufficient to convey to others abstract… and general warnings. Rather, we must add practical illustrations…

Dictionary.com provides the following synonym for “illustration”:

The act of clarifying or explaining; elucidation.

This attribute of providing illustrations and examples, of providing clarity regarding facts or issues applies to more than only behaviors, as described in a full reading of the cited pages of R’ Pliskin’s “Growth Through Torah.” And mere so-called “facts” alone, conveyed through unknowing, jaundiced or prejudicial words can be wrong or inaccurate. Seeking clarity is a particular theme for me at the first Yarhtzeit of my Mother: Chaya bat Zalman, she should have an Aliyah in Shemayim.

Clarity played an important part at points in my Mother’s life. To cite relevant excerpts from my hespid:

Mere days after my parents’ wedding, while on their honeymoon, their hotel burned to the ground — my Father’s life saved due to the advent of penicillin which in 1945 was administered only to US military personnel. Nine months later, my Mother gave birth to a daughter destined to pass away at two years due to the genetic disorder – Tay Sachs which, at that time, was unknown to, and confounded American doctors. It was only once she took the daughter to a doctor in Montreal, that she received clarity, that the child was diagnosed as having Tay Sachs. B’H, later in life, when much attention was focused on areas of genetic research, I was tested and found not to be a carrier of the gene.

In my early childhood years, we lived in a North Philly post-World War 2 community. We lived at 10th and Butler St., a corner house with a store front — my parents together operated a Mom ‘n Pop grocery store for about 6 years. As an only child who was shy, introverted; attending a public school, I was a child written off by a cruel, arrogant first grade teacher as being backward, retarded, seen as never amounting to anything. My Mother was one who fought for her child’s future by having me tested numerous times and by being active in that school’s PTA for as long as we lived in that community — again clarity.

And finally, in September and early October, 2015 some seven months before my Mother’s passing, she was seriously ill, and it was thought that the end was near. A head nurse in intensive care in a Florida hospital was telling the family that she needed a procedure in order to get nutrition, despite the fact that one of the other nurses informed us that my Mother had passed certain tests which never made it to her medical record. My Mother rallied miraculously giving us more time with her, thanks to Hashem’s kindness in giving us great counsel; by way of the gentleman handling my Parents’ affairs, the medical personnel at my Parents’ assisted living facility, Rabbi Dr. Maurice Lamm Founder, President of the National Institute of Jewish Hospice and the Hospice organization which provided care for my Mother in my Parents’ apartment during her final months — yet again, clarity.

I hearken back to Aaron’s question which brought clarity, after Moshe’s chiding of he and Elazar and Ithamar, regarding their not having eaten of the he-goat of the sin-offering after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu due to their unauthorized service.

“Aaron spoke to Moshe; ‘… Now that such things befell me — were I to eat this day’s sin-offering, would Hashem approve?’ Moshe heard and he approved. (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 10, posukim 19-20, translation rendered in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, page 597)

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 nearly 1 3/4 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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Dayenu 5776: Striving for Improvement, Rather than Staying “Status Quo”

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, April 16th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

Our Pesach vort is being sponsored by Avraham and Miriam Deutsch and family of Efrat who make a special dedication for the welfare of our chayalim! To the Deutsch 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
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Dayenu 5776: Striving for Improvement, Rather than Staying “Status Quo”

by Moshe Burt

This year will mark twenty-one years, and my eighteenth Pesach in Eretz Yisrael, in which I have emailed the rendition of Dayenu quoted from the book “Dear Brothers” by former Arutz Sheva columnist Haggai Segal, as it has become tradition with me from prior to my Aliyah.

Each year, this author tries to touch on factors, insights and lessons, learned or needing relearning, which affect the state of B’nai Yisrael — right here and right now.

As we approach Pesach 5776, it seems to this author that this quoted rendition of “Dayenu” is as vital now as it was in the first year that I emailed this vort out or, for that matter, as vital as when it was quoted in Segal’s compilation of the book in its copyright year 1988.

In the Book “Dear Brothers”, the story is told how Pesach 5738 (1968) was approaching when the first group of Pioneers endeavored to establish themselves in Chevron. Among this group were Rabbis Haim Druckman, Eliezer Waldman, Moshe Levinger, Shlomo Aviner and others.

We pick up the story as the participants, “Sixty people sat down to that historical first Seder…” in Chevron:

“Another participant was the author Moshe Shamir, formerly affiliated with the leftist Hashomer Hatzair (the Young Guard). As he did with each of the celebrants during the Seder, Rabbi Druckman asked Shamir to make some comments appropriate to the festival. The others braced themselves for the minor unpleasantness that was sure to result…”

But at every Seder since then; other guests have repeated the Drosh that Moshe Shamir delivered that first Passover Seder in Chevron and so I try to give it over each year to my friends and relatives on Pesach via the Internet and at the Seder:

“The fourteen verses in the song Dayenu (It would have sufficed) have drawn the attention of the commentators throughout the ages.

Why should we imply that we could forgo even one of the gifts given to us by Hashem three thousand years ago? How would we have gotten along at all without every one of them? The truth is that this part of the Haggadah has only one aim: to teach us how each and every generation of Jews tends to settle for the achievements of the past, to settle for what its forefathers had accomplished — and to rest on its laurels, with no aspiration for anything not achieved thus far. We, too, right here have that same tendency to say Dayenu — ‘It would have sufficed for us.’ The State of Israel? Dayenu. Unified Jerusalem and liberated Hebron? Dayenu. Wasn’t it just last year at the Seder [before the 6-day War -- MB] that we said, ‘If Hashem had given us Israel but had not given us Jerusalem and Hebron — dayenu? That’s why we’ve got to know that we’ll be facing many more ‘dayenus’ until we reach full redemption.”

The book recounts that Rabbi Druckman stood up and kissed Shamir’s forehead.

In his vort at that first Pesach Seder in Hevron, Moshe Shamir spoke about generations of Jews settling for what was and is, rather than aspiring to achieve further and seizing opportunities to fulfill these further aspirations. But today, it seems that not only is there the tendency not to aspire further, but to actually give up, to relinquish that already achieved. We see this tendency in the political realm, in our equivocal, indecisive governance and so-called “diplomacy” where we’re afraid to win outright, in academia, in the media, even in the IDF where, sad to say, our soldiers are ordered and compelled to follow so-called “protocols” when dealing with murderers bent on killing Jews, thus risking their lives and the lives of their brethren — all in the name of “world opinion.”

In the Sefer “Inspiration and Insights”, Discourses on the Holidays and Other Themes, by the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal z”l, Rav Segal notes that Parshat Beshalach begins (page 43):

“It happened when Pharaoh sent out the people that Hashem did not lead them by way of the land of the P’lishtim (Philistines) because it was near, for Hashem said: ‘Perhaps the people will have a change of heart when they see war, and they will return to Egypt.’ So Hashem turned the people toward the way of the wilderness, to the Sea of Reeds.” Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 13, posukim 17-18)

Rav Segal then comments (page 43);

The most direct route there [to Eretz Yisrael] was through the land of the P’lishtim. But that apparent advantage was the very reason why Hashem did not lead them that way. Had the journey been direct, the people would have been tempted to return to the servitude of Mitzrayim when attacked by hostile nations along the way.

Could a direct route back to the land of slavery and persecution really be too great a test to overcome? The Ribono shel Olam, Who sees into the heart of every man, knew that it might. Indeed, as Rashi notes, a call to return to Mitzrayim was voiced even after the circuitous path had been taken. (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 14, posuk 4) Hashem would not place the Jews in a situation where the enticements of their yetzer hara (evil inclination) might be to much for them to withstand.

Therefore, just as the Jews in Bamidbar had to confront and fight off their yetzer hara, it seems that today some segments of Am Yisrael, both secular and religious, as well as prospective governing alternatives manifest suffering from that same yetzer hara. We suffer the same danger, as our brethren who left Egypt, of capitulating to it and thus surrendering the Jewish soul and endangering our Jewish lives and sovereignty in, and over the Land of Israel.

A commentary in the Artscroll Pesach Haggadah (page 137) cites the Malbim and speaks about Dayenu in this way;

“…The bondage of our forefathers was two-fold — physical and spiritual — and so was their redemption. The physical bondage came to an end on Pesach night, but the spiritual redemption reached it’s climax only with the building of the Temple and Hashem’s self-revelation in his sanctuary.”

“Every step on the road to this ultimate goal was a further act of Divine kindness to us, a further revelation of Hashem’s majesty. That’s why we give thanks for each …favor (MB; kindness) bestowed upon us. For every single step, we say Dayenu — it would have sufficed by itself to give our thanks (attributed to Malbim).”

This does not mean that any one step would have sufficed by itself to bring us to our goal. It does mean, however, that each of the happenings of Yetziyat Mitzrayim, Giving of Torah at Har Sinai, the travels through Bamidbar, entry of the Jewish People into Eretz Yisrael through to the building of the Beit HaMikdash “represented a new remarkable miracle — …that Hashem need not have performed these miracles if he had not seen a particular purpose for each.”

Dayenu seems to deliver a message of striving for the building, maintaining and increasing Jewish self-esteem and recognition of the great chessed that Hashem has done for us with every gift that He has given to the Jewish people from Yetziyat Mitzrayim until now. It seems also to mean striving to justify Hashem’s chessed inherent in the gifts yet to come — B’Ezrat Hashem; Moshiach, Ge’ula Shlaima, Torah leadership and governance, and an end to the current indecisive and often cruel, brutal, heartless, totalitarian, dictatorial governance of Memshelet Yisrael.

What is the spiritual road leading to Jewish self-esteem?? It seems travelled by way of our kavanah (intent) and ratzon (desire) in our tefillos, our Avodat Hashem and common decency toward our fellow Jews — V’ahavtah L’rei’cha Komocha as existed amongst B’nai Yisrael even in the depths of Mitzri enslavement. Jewish self-esteem also seems indicative of the strength of our convictions regarding Emunah in Hashem and of striving for the perceived “unachievable”; both inward and outward expressions and manifestations of limitless love for our fellow Jew and for our Holy Land. It also seems to mean breaking out, for some, of their contemporary mold of coercion and dependency, and a mutual recognition and respect for diversity within the realm of halachic observant Jewry.

As writer Moshe Shamir said years ago in his little Pesach vort;

“That’s why we’ve got to know that we’ll be facing many more ‘dayenus’ until we reach full redemption.”

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 nearly 1 3/4 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, Good Yom Tov! Chag Kosher V’Some’ach and, remember: BE THERE at the Pesach Seder!
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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 Metzora 5776: Tzaraas of a House or, Of an Am?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Metzora is being sponsored by Dr. Dov and Debbie Rosen and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh of the Bar Mitzvah of their son Eli . 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
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Parshat Metzora 5776: Tzaraas of a House or, Of an Am?

by Moshe Burt

In most years, our Parsha Metzora is normally the twilight side of a Torah doubleheader parsha. But this is one of those Adar Bet years where these two inter-related Parshiyot each stand on their own.

To quickly review, the term “metzora” as expressed by R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman):

Metzora, … Motziya rah [transliteration of the 2 words which form Metzora], a slander.

We learned last week in Parshat Tazria that unity, between individual Jews, as well as on a national level, was role of the Kohen (Priest), whose very essence and “inherent trait throughout the generations” has been unity. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in “Growth Through Torah”, page 253 citing the Rabbi of Alexander)

Bearing in mind this inherent trait which, l’chatchila, permeates the Kohen, our Parsha opens with two seemingly contradictory instructions given by Hashem to Moshe (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 14, posukim 2-3):

“This shall be the law of the metzora on the day of his purification; He shall be brought to the Kohen. The Kohen shall go forth to the outside of the camp; the Kohen shall look, and behold! — the tzaraas affliction had been healed from the metzora.”

Basically, in posuk 2, we are informed that upon the metzora’s teshuvah, i.e. “…the change [which] takes place within his mind and heart” (Artscroll Stone Chumash commentary citing R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 14, posuk 2) during his solitary dwelling outside the camp, that “…Hashem Who afflicted him will remove the mark [the nega'im -- the affliction] of his degradation and he can begin the process of return.” (ibid)

While the metzora is seemingly healed, the Kohen has the final call as to whether the afflicted has healed, has indeed purified himself. Only once the metzora is deemed as purified, can he re-enter the camp.

Later in our Parshat, we learn:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aaron, saying: When you arrive in the land of Canaan that I give you as a possession, and I will place a tzaraas affliction upon a house in the land of your possession: the one to whom the house belongs shall come and declare tio the Kohen, saying: Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house.” (As rendered in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, Sefer Vayikra, Perek 14, posukim 33-35)

Torah then lists the steps which the Kohen takes; to clear the house of furniture and belongings, lest they become contaminated, to ascertain the extent of the affliction, to have the afflicted stones removed if applicable and the mortar scraped and removed from the affected house and the replacement of any contaminated stones and the mortar so as to hopefully eradicate the affliction.

But what if the entire Am Yisrael suffers as a result of afflictions within segments of various sectors? What if an entire governance is so afflicted by virtue of equivocal actions taken against murderous enemy terror, or military protocols against terrorists which put Jewish lives at risk? What if the affliction is the result of sinat chinom, causeless hatred of governance or between segments of various sectors: i.e. against lovers of Eretz Yisrael who are systematically framed, “administratively detained”, tortured physically and mentally during police interrogations, etc., or possibly the result of a misguided understanding, for lack of a better word, of certain Halachot regarding interpersonal relations?

What does this author mean by the latter statement above: “possibly the result of a misguided understanding, for lack of a better word, of certain Halachot regarding interpersonal relations”? During the current period of rampant terrorist attacks; stabbings, shootings, drive-by shootings or stonings all over Israel, a Beit Knesset, Beit Medrash began commemorating the murdered victims of terror with a poster placed at the inner entrance to the Shul containing the names and pictures of both the male and female murder victims and meant to keep the kehillah focused, attentive and caring as to the current situation. One day, shortly before Purim, the poster mysteriously disappeared. When the poster was discovered as missing, the Rabbi, the Gabbai and the individual who took on the poster project all were at a loss as to its disappearance. Fortunately, a copy of the poster has since been restored to its normal visible position.

But why would someone take it upon one’s self, without receiving the proper permissions, to remove this poster or, for that matter, anything posted in the shul for the notice of its members? Was this action — the removal of the poster perhaps symptomatic of a wider malaise needing immediate, serious, consistent, unified Rabbinic attention?

In our times, as we learn these two related Parshiyot; Tazria and Metzora, we lack our Beit Hamikdash, our Kohen Godol and the entire Metzora process as a means of teshuva for one, or those suffering a degraded spiritual condition. But we do possess the Torah principles regarding our parshiyot and teshuva.

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 nearly 1 3/4 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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Parshat Tazria 5776: Man, Animal and Their Sequence in Torah; Today’s Context?

Filed under: News Reports on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Tazria is being sponsored by Ayton & Ayelet Lefkowitz and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh to honor the memory of Ayton’s grandmothers: Chana Michla bas Zeev Yitzchak and Miriam bas Avraham, both of blessed memory. To the Lefkowitz 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 Tazria 5776: Man, Animal and Their Sequence in Torah; Today’s Context?

by Moshe Burt

The opening posukim of Parshat Tazria state:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: When a woman conceives and gives birth to a male, she shall be contaminated for a seven-day period, as during the days of her separation infirmity [menstruation] shall she be….” (Translation rendered by the Stone Edition Artscroll Chumash, Sefer Vayikra, Perek 12, posukim 1-3)

Rabbi Artscroll (the Stone Edition Artscroll Chumash, page 608) introduces Parshat Tazria by citing Ibn Ezra:

After the laws of tumah that results from dead animals, the Torah turns to the tumah that emanates from human beings. The first subject… is that of a woman who gives birth, because that is the beginning of life and therefore the start of the tumah process.

Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein z”l, the Sochaczever Rebbe, cites Rashi on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 12, posuk 1 and writes on our Parshat Tazria in his sefer “Shem Mishmuel” (Rendered into English by Rabi Zvi Belovski, pages 241-243):

Rabbi Simlai said, “Just as the creation of man came after all of the animals, beasts, birds in the creation story, so too, His laws are recorded after those of the animals, beasts and birds.”

[Shem Mishmuel asks] …How can it be true that the laws pertaining to man were saved until now? The whole Torah deals with the human situation; …human issues, and all of the sections described by Rashi actually deal with means of atonement for man’s sins. There are no laws of animals, beasts and birds as such, for everything is for man.

Let us consider the following midrash:

“You have fashioned me after and before…” (Tehillim Perek 139, posuk 5) — after the creation of the sixth day, and before all of the creation of the first day… If man is worthy, we may say to him, “Your creation preceded even that of the ministering angels [melachim].” If he is not worthy, we may say to him, “A fly preceded you, a gnat preceded you, and this worm preceded you.” (Vayikra Rabbah, Perek 14, posuk 1)

Shem Mishmuel’s take on man and creation is jaw-dropping and profound. He writes further (ibid):

The first was before everything — refers to the Divine soul of man. The second was the last of everything (we find mentioned in the verses of Parshat Breish’t), referring to the body of man. The midrash is telling us that if we make our bodies subordinate to our souls — if we consider our lives primarily for spiritual growth — then we may be proud that we were the first to be created. If, …we make our souls subordinate to our bodies, considering our lives as merely opportunities for physical gratification, then we will… have to admit that even the lowly insects were created before us…. If… we fail to appreciate the purpose of our lives, even the… insect world will realize their potential better than we.

It would seem that the midrash, as well as citings from Parshat Breish’t, both indicate that the Jewish neshama (soul) was created before the universe and all of its aspects. But Torah does not explicitly record, either first or last, Hashem’s fashioning of the Jewish neshama, even as the midrash and its Tehillim citing indicate. Torah does record in Parshat Briesh’t that after creating the universe and all of its aspects, including the animals, beasts, birds, flies, worms and gnats:

“And Hashem said, ‘Let us Make Man in Our image, after our likeness…’ So Hashem Created Man in His image, in the image of Hashem He Created him; male and female He created them.” (Sefer Briesh’t, Perek 1, posukim 26-27)

“….Hashem G’d had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil. A mist ascended from the earth and watered the whole surface of the soil. And Hashem G’d formed the man of dust from the ground, and He Blew into his nostrils the soul of life; and man became a living being.” (Sefer Briesh’t, Perek 2, posukim 5-7)

These posukim, taken together with midrash and its citing of the Tehillim Perek, as well as learned concepts that all of creation was Made for man, for Am Yehudi, indicate strongly to this author that the Creation of the Jewish neshama preceded all other creation.

Shem Mishmuel writes further (ibid):

We may suggest that the order of events mentioned in this midrash are reflected by the sequence of the laws presented by the Torah. As man’s spiritual component was created before anything else, the laws pertaining to his soul were recorded first. Indeed, up to this point in Torah, we have a succession of laws directed at the spiritual development of the Jew in all spheres of activity. Even the animal offerings… from the beginning of Vayikra are intended to provide atonement for the errant soul and to ensure that, even after having strayed, it [the soul] can continue on its G’d-given mission.

…Why two separate creations were deemed necessary for man[?] Why did Hashem not create man’s body and soul in one act?

…This [may] reflect the changes of mood which affect all of us. On some occasions, we feel expansive, in touch with the Divine and intellectually and emotionally comfortable with our role as servants of Hashem. At other times, we feel estranged from Hashem and confused about our spiritual aims. At root, this mirrors the state of the soul relative to the body. When our spiritual powers assert themselves, we feel in contact with Hashem; when our physical powers rule, we seem distanced from Him.

….It is indeed a great gift from Hashem that we have the built-in ability to correct ourselves, for we can be sure that even when estrangement occurs, closeness to Hashem will surely follow.

But, in our contemporary context on a national level, this built-in ability or mechanism borne of “after and before” to collectively correct ourselves, and to truly bring ourselves close to Hashem has been grossly under-utilized, or has not manifested itself. One might follow-up by asking what the moral of this is for the Jewish people in our contemporary times.

We learn in Parshat Tazria that unity, between individual Jews, as well as on a national level, was role of the Kohen (Priest), whose very essence and “inherent trait throughout the generations” has been unity. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in “Growth Through Torah”, page 253 citing the Rabbi of Alexander).

The contemporary Jewish State, largely unified, fought 3 wars, in 1948, 1956 and in 1967 winning each one convincingly, particularly 1956 and 1967 when they won overwhelmingly and completely. To recollect and understand how complete Six Day War victory was is to recall reports of relative hands full of Israel soldiers chasing hundreds or thousands of Arabs in confirmation of biblical prophesy, the Arab windows draped in white sheets of surrender pleading for their lives and thousands of Egyptian combat boots found in Sinai when Arab soldiers shed them in order to run, for their lives faster, from the on-charging IDF.

But now there is such a level of divisiveness and discord among the various sectors of Am Yisrael that we stand against each other rather than united with our aggrieved brethren who are persecuted, prosecuted and falsely administratively detained for their love of and expressing possession of OUR Eretz Yisrael.

These young Jews remain under administrative detention, having been mentally and physically tortured due to alleged, unproven “complicity” in an arson attack in an Arab town which could easily been the result of feuding Arab clans. The IDF Chief of Staff has taken issue with the Torah adage: “When your enemy comes to kill you, kill him first” and, with others in Israel’s secular governance. has portrayed Observant Jews as evil, for our spirituality and emunah in Hashem, for no reason other than for their jealousy of the loss of their lock on all power in Israel. The IDF Chief Rabbinate has been undermined by the IDF Chief of Staff such that religious Jews with beards are being ordered to remove them, despite fierce opposition by Rabbanim of all segments of Observance.

It seems to this author that to bring real peace, unity and closeness to Hashem among B’nai Yisrael, we Jews need emulate the Kohen, to rise above common human nature and utilize this innate ability to correct ourselves and care for our fellows — V’Ahavtah L’re’icha Komocha. Only then will our collective express and reflect that spiritual component that merited Hashem’s Creation before all else.

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 nearly 1 3/4 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!
**************************************************************
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 Shemini 5776: Recognizing the Wisdom of Torah, vs Change Rendering Judaism as Indistinguishable from the Nations

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, March 26th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

Our Parshat Sh’mini is being sponsored jointly by Rabbi Mordechai and Gila Bernstein and Jonathon and Sara Wachtel, both from Ramat Beit Shemesh and dedicated for continued refuah shlaima for Yishaya Shalom ben Malka Gittel. To the Bernstein and Wachtel families, 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 Shemini 5776: Recognizing the Wisdom of Torah, vs Change Rendering Judaism as Indistinguishable from the Nations

by Moshe Burt

After learning in Parsha Tzav that for seven days, Moshe taught Aaron HaKohen and his sons the laws of their Avodah (the Kohanic Service, i.e. in the Tabernacle and later in the Beit HaMikdash — ” The Temple”) in the Mishkan, our Parsha Shemini begins by relating that on the eighth day, Aaron and his sons commenced their Avodah HaKodosh (Holy Service). It is interesting and ironic that our parsha is the other side of the term; “Tzav-Shemonah” which is the document or order issued by the Israel Defense Forces calling reservists to active duty in event of war. In a regular year, the two Parshiyot are sperated by Pesach, whereas this year, and in all years with two Adars, Parshiyot Tzav and Shemini occur on consecutive Shabbosim.

But the alignment of these two Parshiyot, one-after-the-other, seems to this author, to have deeper meaning, above and beyond mobilization and deployment in time of war. This deeper meaning seems to denote a constancy of service, of humility, modesty and selflessness, of guard over Am Yisrael and their connection to Hashem, to Torah and to their sanctity (consecration, purity, holiness). And with this constancy of vigilance of Am Yisrael’s sanctity, our Parsha also teaches us about Kashrut, and “abstain[ing] from impure, non-Kosher item[s].” (L’ilmode U’Lamed, by Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Parsha Shemini, page 108)

Our Parsha also relates the tragedy of the deaths of Aaron’s two oldest sons, Nadav and Avihu who died while performing an unauthorized Service, offering a “strange fire …, which he did not command them…” (Artscroll Chumash, Vayikra, Perek 10, posuk 1)

Our Parsha relates that:

“Hashem spoke to Aaron saying: Do not drink intoxicating wine, you and your sons …, when you come to the Ohel Mo’ed (the Tent of Meeting), that you not die — this is an eternal decree for your generations. In order to distinguish between the sacred and the profane …” (Artscroll Chumash, Vayikra, Perek 10, p’sukim 8-10).

In previous years, this author discussed the several aveirot (wrong-doings) of Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu, including their performance of the unauthorized Service, the offering of a “strange fire …”, uncommanded by Hashem. Also discussed in previous years’ Parshat Shemini, was how Nadav and Avihu sought to perform a unique service, apparently thought by each of them to be pleasing to Hashem, and how many others through our history have sought to alter, to change the traditional modes of service, more often than not, in ways and for reasons not L’Shem Shemayim (not honoring Hashem’s name) and perhaps, eventually rendering whatever service they attempted as unrecognizable in Shemayim, and actually an aveirah (a sin).

In this Parshat HaShevua, this author discusses the exchange between Aaron and Moshe about the status of Aaron and his remaining sons, Elazar and Ithamar, as mourners and as to whether or not Hashem would approve of their partaking of meal-offering.

Our Parshat relates:

“Moshe spoke to Aaron and to Elazar and Ithamar, his [Aaron's] remaining sons; ‘Take the meal-offering that is left from the fire-offerings of Hashem, and eat it unleavened near the Mizbeiyach [Altar]; for it is the most holy.’” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 10, posuk 12)

“Moshe inquired insistently about the he-goat of the sin-offering, for behold, it had been burned! –and he was wrathful with Elazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, saying: ‘Why did you not eat the sin-offerings in a holy place; for it is most holy; and He gave it to you to gain forgiveness for the sin of the assembly and to atone for them before Hashem? Behold, its blood was not brought into the Sanctuary within; you should have eaten it in the Holy, as I had commanded!’” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 10, posukim 16-18)

“Aaron spoke to Moshe; ‘Was it they who this day offered their sin-offering and their elevation-offering before Hashem? Now that such things befell me — were I to eat this day’s sin-offering, would Hashem approve?’ Moshe heard and he approved. (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 10, posukim 19-20, translation rendered in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, page 597)

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” cites S’forno (page 251) and comments regarding Moshe’s approval of Aaron’s understanding of the Halacha and his wisdom:

Moshe was under the impression that Aaron made a mistake and censured him for it Aaron then told Moshe the reason why his behavior was proper: “And Moshe heard and it was good in his eyes.” (Translation of Sefer Vayikra, Perek 10, posuk 20 rendered by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah”, page 251)

S’forno comments…: Moshe felt joy upon hearing the reasoning of Aaron. He had pleasure that Aaron was correct in his decision.

People who love wisdom will derive pleasure when they come up with an original idea or when they find that they are correct in some intellectual matter. But it is a rare quality to have such a love of wisdom that one derives pleasure when another person comes up with a good idea. What was special about Moshe’s joy was that he himself made an error and Aaron was right. Many people would feel upset that they made a mistake. But not Moshe Rabbeinu. He was joyful that his brother had an awareness of truth, even though this meant that he was wrong. Moshe’s love of wisdom should serve as our model to strive for.

There is a strong contrast between the application of wisdom, whether by Aaron HaKohen or by the great scholars of our day (irrespective of type of kipa), and the tendency through our history to alter, to change the traditional modes of service, more often than not, in ways and for reasons not L’Shem Shemayim (not honoring Hashem’s name). We see this tendency seemingly alive and well in medinat Yisrael today, for instance, when a Jewish military acts to alter security protocols regarding use of live fire in dealing with terrorists and acts of terrorism. We see this tendency regarding recent military edicts regarding bearded soldiers, when throughout our history, Jewish bearded soldiers fought gallantly in defeating their foes. Then we view this tendency in nascent political entities with kippoted leaders who take a benign view toward public transportation on Shabbos, if provided by “private companies” citing “separation between religion and state.” And these are but a tiny selection of such examples of today’s tendency by many in power to change Judaism with the aim seemingly to render Am Yehudi as indistinguishable from the nations.

Don’t we need to give long and hard thought, as did Aaron HaKohen, about such tendencies as to “would Hashem approve?” Would our brethren approve? Would the nations accept and love us, or hate and disdain us even more for our hypocrisy? Would we then forfeit, in the eyes of Shemayim and the world, our right to and sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael as whatever service attempted is deemed unrecognizable in Shemayim, and actually an aveirah (a sin)?

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 nearly 1 3/4 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!
_______________________________________

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.
***************************************************************

Parshat Tzav 5776: Aaron HaKohen Godol, Paradigm for All of Enthusiasm and Constancy, Sincere Devotion and Humility of Service

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, March 19th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

Our Parshat Tzav is being sponsored by Benjamin and Gina Fishman and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for a Refuah Shlaima for Rivka Nechama bat Gittel Yehudis. To the Fishman 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 Tzav 5776: Aaron HaKohen Godol, Paradigm for All of Enthusiasm and Constancy, Sincere Devotion and Humility of Service

by Moshe Burt

The Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash renders translation of the opening posukim of our Parshat:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Command [Tzav] Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the law of the elevation offering: It is the elevation offering [that stays] on the flame of the Mizbeiyach [Altar], all night until the morning, and the fire of the Mizbeiyach should be kept aflame on it.” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 6, posukim 1-2)

In our Parsha, Tzav is Moshe’s command from Hashem to Aaron HaKohen and his sons to take up and clothe themselves in their Vestments, their garments of service in the Mishkan, and to begin their daily Avodah (service and offerings in the Mishkan).

For seven days, Moshe taught Aaron HaKohen and his sons the laws of their Avodah in the Mishkan. (You might say that they were given, as one could term it in the US, OJT from Shemayim.) On the eighth day, Aaron and his sons began their Avodah.

We are taught in our Parsha about the two flames which burn continuously; the flickering light of the Menorah and the powerful flame of the Mizbeiyach (the altar where the various offerings to Hashem were brought). These two flames which burned constantly teach us that a balance must exist between strength and power and modesty and humility. These fires teach us about maintaining a consistency between enthusiasm and constancy. (L’lmod Ul’Lamed, Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Parsha Tzav, pages 103-104)

But Rabbi Katz speaks of another aspect to the service of the Kohanim in the Beit Hamikdash; sincere devotion, which should extend to all of us, whether in tefillah, in learning, or toward the myriad of mitzvot we do outside the Beit Knesset or Beit Medrash:

Consequently, our observance of the Torah should not be marked by tired, listless efforts. When we pray, we should not stumble and mumble through the Tefillot out of habit. Rather we should should remember Whom we are adddressing, and say each word carefully. (L’lmod Ul’Lamed, Parsha Tzav, page 105)

Rabbi Katz adds:

The Torah and the Tefillot are like a list left by the Master, a set of instructions on how to act practically. If we do not realize this, and we do not practice what we say, then our words have no meaning or purpose at all.

“The heart of the matter is what matters.” (Berachot 15) (L’lmod Ul’Lamed, Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Parsha Tzav, page 106)

Aaron HaKohen Godol is the perfect paradigm for Kol Am Yisrael to emulate; of maintaining a consistent balance between enthusiasm and constancy, as well as both strength and power and modesty and humility in the sincere devotion of his service. We learn that in his forty years of service, Aaron HaKohen Godol never wavered or faltered in enthusiasm and constancy, as well as in his sincere devotion and humility.

Here’s hoping that this blog’s readership, including those who act as Shaliach Tzibbor, will internalize and extend this understanding onto their tefillot, Aliyah b’Torah, Aleinu and more, rather than going by rote, mumbling or turning on the auto-pilot.

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 nearly 1 3/4 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!
_______________________________________

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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Purim 5776: Our Collective Matzav Today: It’s True Causes?

Filed under: News Reports on Saturday, March 19th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

Our Purim vort is being sponsored by Mutti & Michelle Frankel of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for Hotsolocha to their entire family. To the Frankel 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
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Purim 5776: Our Collective Matzav Today: It’s True Causes?

By Moshe Burt

It pains this author greatly to feel the need to write these words in a Purim vort, as Purim is supposed to be a joyous time of commemorating Hashem’s great Neisim (Miracles) in saving Am Yehudi from Haman’s evil decree.

As of this Purim vort’s writing, at least 33 of our brethren are fatalities, with others of our brethren fighting for their lives, from this current phase of the ongoing Arab/Islamic War against us. And it goes without saying, the particular pain felt due to fatalities hitting close to home, individuals with connections to members of this author’s family, as well as acquaintance with several families resulting from losses due to murderous Arab/Islamic terror.

And, as of the setting to text of this Purim vort, young Jews remain under administrative detention, having been mentally and physically tortured due to alleged, unproven “complicity” in an arson attack in an Arab town which could have easily been the result of feuding Arab clans. The IDF Chief of Staff has taken issue with the Torah adage: “When your enemy comes to kill you, kill him first” and, with others in Israel’s secular governance, has portrayed Observant Jews as evil, for our spirituality and emunah in Hashem, for no reason other than for their jealousy of the loss of their lock on all power in Israel. The IDF Chief Rabbinate has been undermined by the IDF Chief of Staff such that religious Jews with beards are being ordered to remove them, despite fierce opposition by Rabbanim of all segments of Observance. This act alone by the IDF brass gives this author pause to rethink how, and under what circumstances Observant Jews should serve in the military.

These secular establishment powers are the very ones who, day-by-day, endeavor to brainwash Israeli governed by slandering and defaming those who love and seek Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael, accusing us of “Jewish terrorism” and of “plotting the overthrow of the government” (read: the entrenched establishment) and more.

Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal, z”l, the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, in his sefer “Inspiration and Insight”, Volume 2 – Discourses on the Holidays and Other Themes, cites Megillat Esther and writes about Esther HaMalka (Queen Esther) and Mordechai regarding Haman’s plan to exterminate the Jews (pages 116-117):

“She ordered him [Hasach, one of the king's chamberlains] to go to Mordechai to learn what this was and why it was” (Esther, Perek 4, posuk 5)

“R’ Yitzchak said: Esther sent the following message to Mordechai: ‘Perhaps Israel has transgressed the Five Books of the Torah of which it is written (Sh’mos Perek 32, posuk 15).. on this side and on this side they [the Ten Commandments] are written?” (Gemura Tractate Megillah 15a)

Esther understood that Mordechai’s donning of sackcloth meant that the Jews were in danger, but she did not know the nature of the danger or its source. In inquiring of Mordechai…. her first concern was to learn the danger’s spiritual cause. Esther understood that
whatever happens to the Jewish people, both as a nation and on an individual level, occurs through… Divine Providence. If a decree against the Jews had been issued, then its root cause must be sin.

Chazal teach that one does not bang his finger in this world, unless it has been so decreed Above (Chullin 7b). When travail strikes…, one should look beyond the apparent cause and take stock of his deeds and ways — not in the spirit of gloom n depression,but with the realization that “as a man disciplines his son, so does Hashem, your G’d, discipline you.” (Sefer Devarim, Perek 8, posuk 5)

As denoted in the title to this vort, this author is focusing on the collective Jewish nation, in particular, the factions of Observant Jewry, in posing this question: What could be the true causes for the matzavim we face today, both the polarization within the Jewish nation and the terror war of external enemies bent on our destruction and our extermination? Could it be because of the many, the learned who smoke their cigarettes down to the filter and then casually drop the spent butt to the ground, as they enter a bus or mount the steps to Beit Knesset or Beit Medrash, disrespecting our precious Land of Israel? Could a cause be the thirty-second, no kavanah, auto-pilot Aleinu or the mumbled Aliyah b’Torah where Hashem’s name and the entire Bracha are inaudible? Could a cause be the Shaliach Tzibbor “system” which brings many into a dread race to keep up with Shaliach Tzibbor at every davening? Could it be a possible lack of care and kavod for the Beit Knesset/Beit Medrash and all of it’s rooms and accoutrements, including siddurim, chumashim and other s’forim regarding their proper replacement on their respective shelves, in either the rush to keep up with the Shaliach Tzibbor or in the even more maddening dash out of Shul after davening?

In short, could it be that our dual matzavim, within and external, are Divine Providence for what may appear as an appalling disregard for the small, Eikev mitzvot — the actions which we have gotten sooo used to doing by rote that we’re not even conscious that we are either disrespecting our fellow religious Jew who might lack the capability to properly pronounce each word in the rush to keep up with the Shaliach Tzibbor’s breakneck pace, or for possibly lacking kavod for the Beit Knesset/Beit Medrash in ways which spouses would not tolerate if done in the home?

To harken back to “Dayenu” and these words of writer Moshe Shamir at the first Pesach seder in Hevron following the Six Day War, as cited from the Sefer “Dear Brothers” by Haggai Segal, which would seem to this author to apply in the context of this vort as well:

“….The truth is that this part of the Haggadah has only one aim: to teach us how each and every generation of Jews tends to settle for the achievements of the past, to settle for what its forefathers had accomplished — and to rest on its laurels, with no aspiration for anything not achieved thus far…. That’s why we’ve got to know that we’ll be facing many more ‘dayenus’ until we reach full redemption.”

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 nearly 1 3/4 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!!!

Purim Some’ach
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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 Vayikra 5776: Moshe’s Humility and Selflessness; Strong Doses Needed for Bibi, Bennett, Ya’alon and Company

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, March 12th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

Our Parshat Vayikra is being sponsored by Dov and Lauren Greenberg of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated Lilui Nishmas for Dov and Lauren’s Grandparents. To the Greenberg 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
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Parshat Vayikra 5776: Moshe’s Humility and Selflessness; Strong Doses Needed for Bibi, Bennett, Ya’alon and Company

by Moshe Burt

R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Rabbi Daniel Haberman) renders translation of our Parsha’s opening posuk:

“And He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Appointed Meeting [Mei-Ohel Mo'ed], saying:” (Hirsch Chumash, Sefer Vayikra, page 1, Perek 1, posuk 1)

Rebbetzin Shira Smiles, in her sefer “Torah Tapestries,” (Sefer Vayikra page 5) cites both Rashi and Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus regarding calling one’s name as background for Hashem’s expression of “Vayikra” — Hashem’s gentle, loving calls to Moshe for private meetings:

The opening phrase “vayikra el Moshe” teaches us that Hashem called to Moshe by his name. Rashi explains that the alef at the end of the word “vayikra” comes to emphasize how Hashem spoke lovingly to Moshe, in contrast to Hashem’s speaking to Bila’am, in which the word “vayikra” is spelled without the alef – vayikar (which has a connotation of a relationship that is neither permanent nor loving). Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus elaborates on the idea that calling someone by name is an expression of love… The giving of a name does not stem from a general parental love. Rather, it is an expression of personal, individual love. Each child in a family is unique and is granted a specific name, exclusive to him. Every son or daughter is individually loved for the distinctive qualities he or she embodies.

We are told how Hashem, Kav’yochal, would call gently, affectionately “Moshe, Moshe” in a voice for Moshe Rabbeinu’s ears only and Moshe would respond “Here I am.” (Rashi on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 1, posuk 1 — Metsuda Linear Chumash & Rashi with footnotes)

Moshe, always shirking honor, kavod, special treatment, or the perception of special treatment, fought “tooth to nail” that this first word of our Parshat, the word which would come to typify Hashem’s greeting when he wanted to speak privately with him in the Mishkan,
should read “Vayikar.” That Moshe sought not to be perceived by Am Yisrael for all time as receiving honor, kavod and special treatment by Hashem tells much about Moshe Rabbeinu’s level of principle, integrity and his standard of leadership of B’nei Yisrael.

Hashem’s wish for “Vayikra” carried the day, although he made the concession of the small “aleph.” Rashi’s understanding of the dialogue speaks volumes about the Dar’chim of humility, modesty and selflessness of Moshe Rabbeinu; his dedication to Hashem and to the people he leads, the B’nei Yisrael. But let kindness and humility not be confused with weakness, for we learn that Moshe Rabbeinu was a strong, yet just leader.

That loshen “Vayikar” was later used when Hashem “happened to meet Bila’am” (Rashi on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 1, posuk 1) in Parsha Balak, as if Hashem’s communication with the haughty Bila’am can be likened to the theme of a TV series of yester-year; “…strangers who just met on the way”.

In past years, this author has discussed this first word of our parsha: Vayikra and why the word ends with a small “aleph.” But as we again learn our Parsha in 5776, the lessons of Vayikra need to be addressed to the haughty; to the governing political “leaders” of medinat Yisrael who could do with more than a few doses of Moshe’s humility and selflessness.

Medinat Yisrael’s governing political “elites” — the long-entrenched governmental, bureaucratic, law-enforcement, judicial, academic, journalistic and electronic media and monetary establishment powers have dumbed-down the governed by all means, even resorting to torturous interrogations and proofless “administrative detainments”, in order to disabuse the governed of their Jewish roots, history, spirituality and emunah in Hashem for no other reason than for their jealousy of the loss of their lock on all power in Israel. These establishment powers are the very ones who, day-by-day, endeavor to brainwash Israeli governed by slandering and defaming those who love and seek Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael, accusing us of “Jewish terrorism” and of “plotting the overthrow of the government” (read: the entrenched establishment) and more.

In his Sefer “Majesty of Man”, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz writes on our Parsha citing Rabbeinu Yonah’s explanation of the cause of haughtiness (pages 166-167):

Through this [understanding the cause of haughtiness] we can better understand its converse — humility. …Often a person feels himself lacking in knowledge or a certain quality. To compensate for this inferiority complex — small as it it may be — he denigrates his peers to make himself seem better in his own eyes. This process may take place exclusively on a subconscious level or may be manifested outwardly. In other words, haughtiness, insolence and pride are actually derived from the opposite feelings: inferiority, insignificance and shame. One who feels confident in himself has no need to denigrate others or to represent himself as something other than [who] he truly is.

From Rabbeinu Yonah we see that the essence of humility is the realistic understanding of one’s own worth. Moshe Rabbeinu was not only the greatest man of his time, but the greatest man of all time. Yet, the Torah tells us that he was the humblest man. This paradox existed within him because he knew his true value. He did not underestimate himself and therefore had no need to overestimate himself. We must realize that each of us has a soul given to us directly from Hashem. Our potential for achievement is immeasurable.

If we understand our potential as human beings we can then feel the self-confidence needed to be humble.

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 1 1/2 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!
_______________________________________
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 Pekudei 5776: Moshe, and Nullification of Human Nature: Paradigm for Today’s Jewish Governance

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, March 5th, 2016 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Pekudei is being sponsored by Dov and Bracha Moses and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for refuah shlaima for Rachel bat Chaya Perel, Yehudit bat Chaya Perel and Chaya Perel bat Rivka. To the Moses 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 Pekudei 5776: Moshe, and Nullification of Human Nature: Paradigm for Today’s Jewish Governance

by Moshe Burt

Rabbi Daniel Yormark of the Young Israel of Etingville, New York, wrote in a National Council of Young Israels D’var Torah on Parshat Vayakhel (25 Adar I, 5755 — 25 February, 1995):

Shabbat is not merely ‘a day off’…. It is not merely a day where there are so many things that I cannot do. It is a day when the Jew enters the realm of The One Above. It is a day when the the theme is Oneg, pleasure and delight. It is a day where even our indulging in physical pleasure can be elevated and becomes an integral part of mirroring Hashem. It is a day when concerns for mundane and ephemeral pursuits is inappropriate…. Shabbat is a Matanah Tovah — a very special gift.

To segue into Parshat Pekudei, just as Shabbos is very special, so was Moshe Rabbeinu, despite whatever the cronic complainers in the camp said. The two are intinsically linked and inseparable. Our Parsha follows immediately after Parshat Vayakhel, and is a doubleheader parsha in years when there is only one Adar. Parshat Pekudei expresses Moshe’s paradigm lesson for both today’s secular Israeli governmental leaders and law enforcement/judicial systems, as well as for religious communal leaders in matters of honesty, intent, ethics, accountability and transparency.

Our Parshat Pekudei begins;

“These are the accounts of the Mishkan (the Sanctuary), the Mishkan of testimony, which were drawn up on Moshe’s orders …” (Shemos, Perek 38, posuk 21 — Metsudah Linear Chumash, page 579).

In short, Pekudei is the accountant’s parsha, the parsha of crunching the numbers.

The Sefer L’lmod U’Lamed on our parsha asks what the primary reason was for Moshe’s detailed accounting of the costs of the construction of the Mishkan:

The Sages tell that “there were apparently some who suspected that Moshe might have kept some … contributions for his own use.” (Parshat Pekudei, pages 97-98).

The Sefer “The Midrash Says” (pages 357-360) notes that Moshe Rabbeinu overheard mutterings among certain people, presumably sinful individuals such as Dasan and Aviram, who cast aspersions upon his (Moshe’s) honesty regarding the allocation of the people’s donations. According to “The Midrash Says”, comments were heard such as:

“Of late, Ben Amram’s neck is very fat! ….No wonder; he is in charge of all that money for the Mishkan!”

Moshe Rabbeinu, by his nature, was totally above board and above reproach. But he seemed to have realized that despite all that his leadership meant to Klal Yisrael, whether they realized it or not, that there would still be jealousy, envy and doubt amongst some.

Therefore, Moshe committed himself, proactively, to account for the allocation and purpose of everything donated toward the construction of the Mishkan. “The Midrash Says” (page 357) then relates that not only did Moshe account for all donations, but he “… gave his calculations to a second person, Ithamar Ben Aharon, for verification.” Perhaps this was the first real paradigm of oversight: a Delloite-Touche CPA-like audit.

The irony here is that when the jewelry and gold were collected for making the Chait HaEigel, no accountability or transparency, no source and allocation of donations was demanded from those who compelled the Eigel. However, when the donations came in and the Mishkan was constructed, many demanded and expected such accountability and transparency from Moshe Rabbeinu.

Moshe Rabbeinu was the model of, and set the standard for accountability, oversight and transparency of Real Jewish leadership.

His apparent pro-activeness in accounting for the collection and use of all donated materials stands as a prototype for the type of material, financial and legal/judicial accountability and transparency which Am Yisrael should, must and have THE right to expect l’chatchilla (the way things ought to be) from its governance.

But there is another aspect to Moshe Rabbeinu’s leadership which is expressed in our Parshat Pekudei. In Parshat Ki Tisa, “The Sapirstein Edition of the Chumash with Rashi Commentary” renders translation of Sefer Sh’mot, Perek 30, posukim 30 (page 433):

“You shall anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them to be Kohanim to Me.”

In Parshat Pekudei, Hashem commands Moshe in more specific terms (translation rendered in “The Sapirstein Edition of the Chumash with Rashi Commentary”, Sefer Sh’mot, Perek 40, posukim 13-16, page 520-521):

“You shall dress Aharon in the garments of sanctity and anoint him; you shall sanctify him to be a Kohen to Me. And his sons you shall bring near and dress them… You shall anoint them as you had anointed their father and they shall be Kohanim to Me, and it shall be for them for eternal Kehunah for their generations. And Moshe did according to all that Hashem had commanded him, so he did.”

Rav Zelig Pliskin cites R’ Meir Simcha HaKohen in his sefer, “Growth Through Torah” on our parsha (pages 233-234)

When Moshe was told to anoint his brother Aharon he was able to do it with a complete heart. Moshe, the younger brother, was the leader of B’nei Yisrael and was happy that his brother was the High Priest. But, in reference to Aharon’s sons, the situation was different. Moshe’s own sons were not going to succeed him as leaders. So, when… anointing Aharon’s sons Moshe might have felt envy. Therefore the Almighty told Moshe to anoint Aharon’s sons with the same wholeheartedness and joy with which he anointed their father (Meshech Chochmah).

It was amazing that Moshe would need a special command to overcome envy. We see from here that even the greatest person needs to internalize attitudes that will help him avoid envy. Moreover, we see that it is possible to feel joy and enthusiasm for another person’s success even if that person has something that you do not.

One could gain the impression from Hashem’s command, that His “knowing what is in the heart of man” (Ibn Ezra); this would necessitate a command to nullify any feelings of envy Moshe might have in anointing his brother’s sons. But, when we learn and recognize Moshe’s level of humility and modesty, perhaps we could understand that this added command to Moshe: “….anoint them as you had anointed their father” would be a lesson for Jewish leadership and for Am Yisrael for all time.

But it seems to this author that if there is a moral behind our Parshat Pekudei, it would be that observant Jews, by dint of our closeness to, and our striving for emulation of Hashem, must answer to a higher standard, a higher calling. Observant Jews must be above even a sniff of taint, of fraud or dishonesty: in their business dealings, in employment practices, in the whole realm of interpersonal relationships with other Jews — regardless of sector, and in affairs of elective governance.

Moshe is, for all times, the prototype of a true Jewish Leader — humble, modest, without desire for self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. His first and foremost thought was for the welfare and well-being of his nation — the B’nai Yisrael. Moshe Rabbeinu was above corruption and self-enrichment. Nobody owned him as he could not be bought.

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 1 1/2 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!
_______________________________________

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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