Parshat Tzav 5775: Sparing a Fellow Jew Embarrassment By Way of Thought, Action or View Perception

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, March 21st, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off







Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Tzav is being co-sponsored by Rabbi Shimon and Sharon Isaacson of Ramat Beit Shemesh and Gidon and Devra Ariel of Yishuv Ma’alei Hever with both families dedicating for Hotslocha to their children. To the Isaacson and Ariel 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
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Parshat Tzav 5775: Sparing a Fellow Jew Embarrassment By Way of Thought, Action or View Perception

by Moshe Burt

In our Parsha Tzav, Moshe’s command from Hashem to Aaron HaKohen and his sons is 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.

One of the Halachot taught in our Parsha regards sparing ones’ fellow from embarrassment. Torah informs that Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 6, posuk18):

“Speak to Aharon and his sons saying: This is the law of sin-offering. At the place where you slaughter the burnt-offering You shall slaughter the sin-offering…”

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his sefer, “Growth Through Torah”(page 244) provides explanation:

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Yevamos 8:3)states that the reason the burnt-offerings and the sin-offerings were slaughtered at the same place was in order to save those who sinned from embarrassment. When people saw the animal being brought slaughtered, they would not know that it was a sin-offering.

From here, we see the principle of not causing others shame or discomfort when they have done something improper in the past and now regret it.

Shem Mishmuel (Sefer Shem Mishmuel, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, pages 215-216) offers a side-bar on this Halacha:

The Olah… was slaughtered on the north side of the altar: “Slaughter it at the side of the altar, to the north, before Hashem… (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 1, posuk 11).

…The word for “north” used used in these verses is tzafon. This word has the same root as “matzpun”, meaning “conscience” or “intellect.” The olah is slaughtered in the north, because the north represents the intellect of man, the place where the sin requiring the olah takes place.

Shem Mishmuel then provides a footnote regarding the north:

Chazal always characterize the north as a high point of some sort; so, too, the intellect is the “highest”, most developed part of man.

Rabbi Mordechai Katz further explains this Halacha in his sefer “L’lmod U’lamed” (Page 104-105) citing Sotah 32b as well as Talmud Yerushalmi (Yevamos 8:3):

There was no particular place specifically designated for bringing… the Korban Chatos, the sin-offering in the Mishkan. This is significant. The Korban Chatos was offered by one who had sinned and now wished to repent. If there was a specified physical location for these korbonot, the identity of the sinners would become readily known, and this might in itself discourage repentance. Because the Korban Chatos is offered in the same place as the Korban Olah [burnt-offering], no one could be certain that the bearer of the Korban had actually sinned. In this way, the matter would remain private between man and Hashem, and the sinner would be spared public embarrassment.

If Hashem’s Torah laws deliberately avoid the shaming of others, then we should certainly be careful not to embarrass our fellow… Our Sages say that whoever insults his fellow… in public forfeits his place in the world to come. (Bava Metziah 59b) One can kill a man only once with a knife, but he can slay him many times over with a shameful word.

This author finds that these citations offer a profound meaning for our times beyond merely the cloaking of the place of these offerings so as to blur the distinction between one who brings an offering for a sin committed and one who brings an offering for what may be a sinful thought.

What’s meant here? For example, certain habits noted regarding tefillot, such as the tendency of some, or many who speed through their tefillot, and then when completed, continually glance around the shul as if thinking, “what’s taking sooo long? Why doesn’t the Gabai give the high-sign to the Shaliach Tzibbor to continue. Why are they sooo slow?”

Why can’t those glancing around the Shul merely pick up and learn from a sefer, a Chumash, etc. until the Shaliach Tzibbor is ready to continue, or to go into the repetition of Shemonah Essrei? Their action of glancing around the Shul impatiently creates perceived pressure, peer pressure on the Shaliach Tzibbor as well as on many of their fellows in the kehilla who daven at a slower pace. And might they also consider how they perhaps need to slow down their own tefillot so as to feel meaning from their prayers?

Then there is Aleinu, held by a number of great Chachamim as the holiest of tefillot — where the Gabbai and the Shaliach Tzibbor feel the intense pressure of all of those who are in this huge hurry for Kaddish so as to be done with tefillah or to rush out of Shul, such that the Shaliach Tzibbor blows through Aleinu at mac-1 speed or the speed of an Arnoldis Chapman or Ken Giles 100-plus mph fastball. Don’t they realize that their actions can be perceived as embarrassing their fellows who are trying to pray with kavanah, with intent? Further, there seems something very wrong when someone not in sync with a rapid davening kehilla needs to stop in the middle of his Aleinu for kaddish. If Aleinu is the holiest of tefillot, stopping in the middle, because a kehilla davens at the speed of light, somehow doesn’t seem proper kavod to The Almighty, even if Halacha permits.

As we work on our middah of not embarrassing our fellow in overt, obvious ways, we ought to also consider the covert ways, the less obvious ways that we embarrass our fellows on a daily basis, such as with tefillah, three times a day, everyday.

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’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 Vayikra 5775: Korbonot, Prayer and Placement of Korbonot in Category of Chukim

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, March 14th, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Vayikra is being sponsored by Ari and Michal Gruen of Ramat Beit Shemesh and dedicated for a speedy, full and complete Refuah Shlaima for Chaim Yechiel ben Malka (Rothman). To the Gruen 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 5775: Korbonot, Prayer and Placement of Korbonot in Category of Chukim

by Moshe Burt

In past years, this author has discussed the first word of our parsha: Vayikra and why the word ends with a small “aleph.”

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, which would typify Hashem’s greeting when he wanted to speak privately with him in the Mishkan, should read “Vayikar.” This loshen “Vayikar” was later used when Hashem “happened to meet Bila’am” (Rashi on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 1, posuk 1) in Parsha Balak, like “…strangers who just met on the way”. 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. Today’s governing leaders of medinat Yisrael could do with more than a few doses of Moshe’s humility and selflessness.

This time around though, the subject for discussion is Korbonot (sacrifices, offerings to Hashem).

Rabbi Mordechai Katz, in his sefer L’lmod U’lamed (page 101) discusses Kobonot and prayers:

The word Korbonot… contains the word “Korov”, meaning “near.” A Korbon then, is the means of approaching Hashem, supplicating for Divine forgiveness or demonstrating appreciation for Divine assistance, and thereby bringing one closer to the Divine Shechina [Presence].

Today…, without a Beit Hamikdash [Temple, Sanctuary], we are unfortunately unable to offer Korbonot. However, we have been granted an alternative method to express our contribution [our request for Divine forgiveness] and/or gratitude… through prayer.

Our prayers now serve the two basic purposes as did the Korbonot. They testify to Hashem’s mastery of the world, and they allow us to ask for Hashem’s assistance.

We pray to Hashem… with the knowledge that Hashem is everywhere and that He will hear our prayers no matter where we may be…. [As] a direct spiritual link to our Creator, the tefillot we say provide us with our own “hot line” to the Almighty.

Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal, Shlita, z”l,The Manchester Rosh Yeshiva cites Rambam, including mentioning Dovid HaMelech in Tehillim, in discussing the Korbonot in the context of contrasting between Mishpatim and Chukim (pages 161-162):

Rambam in Yad HaChazakah (Hilchos Me’ilah Perek 8, posuk 8) writes:

Mishpatim are mitzvot whose reasons are obvious and the practical benefits of which are well known; examples include prohibitions against robbery and murder and the commandment to honor one’s father and mother. Chukim are mitzvot whose reasons are not known. As the Sages put it, [Hashem says,] “I have issued decrees and you have no right to question them.” One’s evil inclination is troubled by them and the nations of the world speak against them. Examples include laws regarding milk and meat, … parah adumah [the Red Heifer] [Bamidbar Perek 19] and the azazel goat [of Yom Kippur] [Vayikra Perek 16].

Dovid HaMelech suffer[ed] because of the heretics and idol worshippers who spoke against chukim. All the while that they contrived in accordance with their narrow-mindedness, his attachment to Torah was becoming strengthened, as it is written (Tehillim 119:69), “Willful sinners piled falsehood on me, but I cherish Your precepts with all my heart.” It is also written (Tehillim 119:86), ” All Your commandments are faithful; they [the heretics] pursue me with lies — help me!”

All korbonot fall into the category of chukim. The sages have said that the world exists because of the service of korbonot. (Megillah 31b)…. The command regarding chukim precedes that of mishpatim, as is written (Vatikra Perek 18, posuk 5), “You shall heed My chukim and mishpatim which a person shall perform and live by them.”

R’ Segal then writes:

With all that has been written, it is still beyond us to grasp just why the slaughter of a sanctified animal, the placing of its blood and the burning of its flesh upon the altar, should bring Hashem’s Presence down to earth…. Therefore, Rambam places korbonot in the category of chukim, commandments whose reasons are not known to us.

When a Jew offers a korban, he is demonstrating his unquestioning submission to Hashem’s will. It is as if he is saying, “I do not understand why this offering will accomplish great things for myself and for the world, but I know that it will accomplish great things, for that is what Hashem has taught us by way of His Torah.” Thus, bringing of a korban is a great declaration of faith. It is through this approach to Torah and mitzvot that a Jew earns himself a portion in the World to Come. That is what Chazal mean in saying that the world exists because of the service of korbonot.

Today, our recital of the Scriptual order of the korbonot service takes the place of the actual offerings.

May it be that we ALL soon act as Jews, including those who govern, and thus merit again having the Beit Hamikdash, the Kohanim performing their service and the re-institution of the korbonot service.

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’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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Parshiyot Vayakhel, Pekudei 5775: Shabbos, the Mishkan, Unity and the Paradigm Leader — Lessons for Our Times About Honesty vs Hypocrisy

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, March 7th, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshiyot Vayakhel/Pekudei is being sponsored anonymously lilui nishmas Yitzhak Osher Ben Yaakov z”l. To our anonymous donor, 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 the 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
****************************************************

Parshiyot Vayakhel, Pekudei 5775: Shabbos, the Mishkan, Unity and the Paradigm Leader — Lessons for Our Times About Honesty vs Hypocrisy

by Moshe Burt

The word Vayakhel — Assembling together of Kol B’nai Yisrael, introduces the building of the Mishkan (Tent of Meeting), the forerunner of the Beit HaMikdash, which would serve as a kappara (atonement) for the Eigel Zahav (Golden Calf). Our parsha opens by teaching B’nai Yisrael about Shabbos which has always, until recent times, been the unifying, defining factor of Judaism. Shabbos seems a gateway to all else — Kashrut, the Chaggim (festivals), Torah learning and Ethics, Yishuv HaAretz, Kiddushin, Family Purity, etc. It symbolizes the Jew’s faith in Hashem. And the melachot involved in the construction of the Mishkan were meant as paradigms defining melachot prohibited on Shabbos.

The parsha begins by stating that “Moshe assembled the entire congregation of B’nai Yisrael…” (Perek 35, Posuk 1) Torah’s loshen (language) “Adat B’nai Yisrael”, in the context of learning the laws of Shabbos to the construction of the Mishkan, seems to indicate a unity — the Assembly of the B’nai Yisrael, as if one single entity.

The opening p’sukim of Parsha Vayakhel;

“…These are the words that Hashem commanded you to do: On six days, work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem…” (Perek 35, posukim 1 and 2)

are not merely an introduction to iur Parshiyot, but a rectification, a kapparah for the Chait HaEigel.

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 on 25 Adar I, 5755 — 25 February, 1995:

The imperative “six days you shall labor” tells us that in all that one does one should strive to have The Creator in mind…. We see that the subjects addressed in the pasuk, the six days and Shabbat, are really based on one theme. Because it is only when creation is perceived as a sanctuary of Hashem that our abstention from the labors of the Mishkan mirrors the Creator’s abstention [on Shabbos] from creating the universe.

But there are questions: Was Vayakhel — the assembling of the entirety of Am Yisrael, and the learning of the halachot (Torah laws) of Shabbos meant only as a Mitzvah in the times of Moshe Rabbeinu and the building of the Mishkan, as well as during the period of the Malchei Yisrael? Or were both Vayakhel and the laws of Shabbos also meant to have application for B’nai Yisrael throughout our travails in Galut through to our current troubled times where divisiveness, me-first self-centeredness, ego, envy, self-desire, feelings of superiority over one’s fellow and more all carry the consequence of indifference and insensitivity toward one’s fellow Jews? Were Vayakhel and the laws of Shabbos meant to apply as mussar regarding one’s tendency to pursue their self-interests and their self-aggrandizement amidst a bitter war against murderous Arab terror which threatens to destroy us from within in ways that the Arabs alone would never be able to accomplish were we truly “Adat B’nai Yisrael”?

Back in the “Old Country”, this author recalls that Kiruv Rabbanim placed heavy emphasis on Shabbos as the embarkation point — the beginning of one’s teshuvah journey to come close, to come closer to HaKadosh Borchu. However, recalling past history of the past approximately 120 years, Shabbos seemed a point of disembarkment. When the Jews emigrated to America in large numbers around the turn of the 20th century and had difficulty finding parnossa in their new residence: when the work was a six day job (before laws were passed regarding the five day work-week), the newly arrived Jew found himself with a huge test of emunah (faith) and hishtadlut (expending effort) — keep Shabbos, or earn money to feed, clothe and house one’s family. It was a tough call for many and many failed the test. The results of this test, failed by many, were that after crying rivers of tears, they gradually distanced themselves from Hashem. The weight of the test led many to working on Shabbos, then to eating non-kosher food, to secular marriage without marriage ketubot, to generations with little or no Torah footing or learning, and ultimately to inter-marriage and more. All of this has evolved to where we are today — massive numbers of Jews in America are distant from Torah, despite the mushrooming kiruv movement of the past nearly 50 years, and huge numbers of offspring of the burgeoning inter-marriage rate who are NOT Jewish and thus, are lost to Judaism.

Rabbi Yormark adds in his D’var Torah on Parshat Vayakhel:

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 concern for mundane and ephemeral pursuits is inappropriate…. Shabbat is a Matanah Tovah — a very special gift.

To segui into Parsha Pekudei, just as Shabbos is very special, so was Moshe Rabbeinu, despite whatever the cronic complainers in the camp said. Our Parsha should serve as a paradigm lesson for both today’s secular Israeli government leaders, as well as religious communal leaders in honesty, morality, accountability and transparency.

Our Parsha 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.” (Parsha 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 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!”

Therefore, Moshe committed himself 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. Today, we see pretty much the same ironies in the Israel judiciary’s dual standards of prosecution of those who act on behalf of Eretz Yisrael, those who make their homes on Jewish property, on Jewish land, vs (for instance) labor union protestors who disrupt and block traffic in strong-arming through their agendas.

Moshe Rabbeinu was the model of, and set the standard for accountability, oversight and transparency of leadership. One would definitely find no grounds for accusing him of pocketing the shekalim for returning empty bottles or for using an inordinate amount of national funds on the upkeep of his residence.

Moshe is, for all times, the prototype of a true Jewish Leader — humble, modest, without desire for self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. He set the standard for how Real Jewish Leadership must lead. 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. As goes an old political commercial: Nobody owned him as he could not be bought.

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’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 Ki Tisa 5775: Rising Above Differences for the Sake of The Almighty

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, February 28th, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Ki Tisa is being sponsored by Tzvi and Shari Gherman of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of their son Aharon Laib Shalom’s Bar Mitzvah. To the Gherman 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 Ki Tisa 5775: Rising Above Differences for the Sake of The Almighty

by Moshe Burt

Midway in our Parshat Ki Tisa, we learn that Hashem informed Moshe of B’nai Yisrael’s sin with the Egel Zahav (the golden calf) and sent Moshe down from Har Sinai. When Moshe heard that the people had brought burnt and peace offerings to the egel, and saw their revelry as they sang and danced around it, he called for supporters to rally, and the Levi’im immediately responded.

Torah records in our Parsha that Moshe conveyed to the Levi’im:

“So said Hashem the G’d of Israel, ‘Let them place, every man, his sword on his thigh, and pass back and forth from gate to gate in the camp; and let them kill, every man his brother, every man his fellow, every man his relative.’” The Levi’im did according to the word of Moshe… (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 32, posukim 27-28)

Rashi notes on Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 32, posuk 27 referring back to Perek 22, posuk 19:

“He who sacrifices to the gods shall be put to death.”

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his Sefer “Growth Through Torah”, hits on theme to “Forego your personal prejudices for the honor of The Almighty.” He cites Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 32, posuk 26 and comments:

“And Moshe stood at the gate of the camp and he said, ‘Whoever is for the Almighty come to me.’ And all of the descendants of Levi gathered unto him.”

The Chasam Sofer notes that the Torah emphasizes the word “all,” every member of the tribe of Levi came to Moshe. This included Korach and those Levi’im who later followed him (Korach). Even though they were greatly displeased with Moshe, when it came to the honor of the Almighty they joined him to fight for the Almighty. (Toras Moshe)

This has practical applications. There are many times in one’s life when one is called upon to make a similar decision. There will be people whom one might envy or feel have taken a position above others that they do not deserve. But what they presently want to do is clearly positive. One might have mixed feelings about joining with them for a cause or a project. One’s only consideration should be whether what one is doing is consistent with the honor of the Almighty.

The lesson learned from the unanimous support given Moshe by the Levi’im in acting for the Almighty seems readily apparent as extended, in the context of contemporary governance of Israel, to the ongoing political contest leading to elections in March and the ongoing war against the Arab/Islamic enemy sworn to nothing less than Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication.

One may not be inclined to vote for the party of the incumbent prime minister and may be totally opposed to almost everything he stands for. But does that mean that one need oppose that head of government who is trying to take steps to protect the country against the universally recognized (by all Jews) nuclear threat posed by the most powerful of Israel’s sworn enemies? Does it mean making political spin and bogus gain out of the false controversy created by Barack Hussein Obama over an Israeli prime minister’s upcoming address before a joint session of the United States Congress? By false controversy, consider recent disclosures regarding the inaccuracies and mis-characterization of the New York Times regarding the invite to Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran:

When John Boehner announced that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had accepted his invitation to address Congress, the Obama Administration reacted strongly. The criticism was not directed primarily at Boehner, who apparently did not inform the White House of the invitation until shortly before it was formally delivered, and may have acted unconstitutionally in delivering it, but against Netanyahu, for breaching diplomatic protocol by accepting the invitation from Boehner without prior coordination with the Administration.

The story of Netanyahu’s perfidy grew to the extent that the New York Times reported, incorrectly, that Netanyahu accepted the invitation before the White House had been informed of it. The Times then issue the following correction. “An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.”

This correction has circulated in conservative and pro-Israel circles, but doesn’t seem to have led to any followup, or any investigation by those who initially reported the opposite. Were senior White House aides exaggerating the story, or did the Times get caught up in its own anti-Netanyahu narrative? Or perhaps the Times was failing to distinguish between Netanyahu’s formal acceptance after the White House had been notified, and White House anger that the details of the visit had been worked out before notification to the White House, meaning that Netanyahu was planning to accept the invitation before the White House knew about it.

Let’s hope that none of this winds up interfering with what everyone seems to agree is the ultimate goal here, which is to prevent the terrorist state of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The crucial question is, Are the Israeli political, intelligencia and media “elites” capable of learning, accepting, intellectualizing and actuating the lesson of the Levi’im answering the Almighty’s call for the good of Am Yisrael, despite their political, or distorted “ideological” differences? Or are these “elites” sooo blinded to realities that they will continue to pursue their agendas regardless of the national consequences and peril of their actions.

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’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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Purim 5775: Shabbos, the Tree and the Spoils

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest, News Reports on Saturday, February 28th, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

Our Purim vort is being sponsored by Dov & Lauren Greenberg and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of their daughter Shayna’s upcoming Bat Mitzvah on the 28th of Adar. 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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Purim 5775: Shabbos, the Tree and the Spoils

by Moshe Burt

A few years ago, in a Purim 5773 shiur to be exact, Rebbetzin Shira Smiles cited a Gemarrah which asks:

“From where in the Torah can we deduce Haman’s existence?” Our Sages point to a verse at the very beginning of human existence. At Adam’s installation in Gan Eden, he was given permission to eat of all the fruit of the garden with the singular exception of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This was the only tree whose fruit he was prohibited from eating at this tine. Adam and Chava ate of the forbidden fruit, and in the dialogue that follows we find the allusion to Haman. The verse states: “Hamin haetz … achalta? Did you eat … of the tree?” By changing the vocalization of the consonants (there are no vowels in a Torah scroll), we can read the words as Haman haetz.

Rabbi Tatz… asks for closer examination of what both the tree and Haman represent so that we may deduce many connections between the two, especially since the Torah seems to be making the connection at the very beginning of human existence.

Rabbi Shimon Schwab drives this point further by pointing out the conspicuousness of “tree” in the texts of Purim, not only in the Megillah, but also in the al Hanissim prayer of Purim and the Maoz Tzur of Chanukah when we dedicate a stanza to the Purim redemption.

Eating this forbidden fruit was the beginning of sin, continues Rabbi Schwab. It was the first instance of Man trying not to emulate God but to be God and follow his own desires rather than those of the Creator. Once that pattern existed, Man could descend into the abyss of sin that would culminate with the most heinous sin of all, genocide, and genocide was Haman’s plan.

Rebbetzin Smiles then cited Rabbi Pinchas Freedman when asking where Haman got the audacity to try to annihilate Bnei Yisroel.

Rabbi Pinchas Freedman writes:

Haman used that original sin of inappropriately eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as his model. If Adam and Chava could be faulted for eating inappropriately from the King’s bounty, from the fruit of that tree, so could Bnei Yisroel be faulted for eating inappropriately and enjoying the food and drink at the mortal king’s table. Just as the fate of all humankind had been sealed by inappropriate eating, so too would the fate of this nation be sealed by inappropriate eating.

But something happened on the seventh day, when the king’s heart was glad with wine. The seventh day was Shabbat, and the King’s heart was gladdened with the wine that His people were sanctifying with the Shabbat Kiddush, says the Shvilei Pinchas. Haman had initially succeeded in dooming Bnei Yisroel, for they had come and enjoyed the feast Achashveirosh made to celebrate the conclusion of seventy years from the Babylonian exile without Hashem redeeming them. Perhaps they had lost faith and turned away from Hashem. If so, then Hashem would not only hide His face, but would permanently distance Himself from Bnei Yisroel. But the Kiddush wine saved us and inaugurated the process that would end in our redemption and in the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdosh.

The Shvilei Pinchas explains the connection. According to many commentators, the prohibited fruit was the grape. Had Adam waited just a few short hours, he would have used the grapes for Kiddush on the very first Shabbat. But the snake enticed that first pair of human beings with inflated visions of their own grandeur. They would be like God, knowing good and evil. Instead of obeying God’s command, they succumbed to the allure of their own egos, ate of the grapes before Hashem gave them permission, and caused the glow of that primal light to be hidden. Every week when the Jews recite the Kiddush and use the wine as Hashem wanted it used, we are rectifying the sin of Adam who did not wait for Shabbat.

Says the Shvilei Pinchas, eating the fruit of this tree would mingle good and evil so that everything now became shades of gray, and the element of certainty of Hashem and His word would now be unclear. This was what the serpent wanted at the beginning of creation, this is what Amalek wanted to sow into the hearts of Bnei Yisroel as they left Egypt, and this was what Haman wanted Bnei Yisroel to feel. But when Bnei Yisroel made Kiddush even though they were enjoying a party that seemed to validate their severance from Hakodosh Boruch Hu, they were at the same time validating the holiness that still existed within themselves and proved they were still connected to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. That confusion that the sin of Adam and Chava brought was now at the root of these two contradictory behaviors.

As Bnei Yisroel elevated the wine and the food of Achashveirosh’s party to a seudat Shabbat, they rectified the sin of Adam and Chava and merited redemption. That very day, Achashveirosh ordered Vashti the Queen to come to the party hall. His command and her refusal set the stage for her death, Esther’s ascension to the throne, and the redemption.

In commemoration of the part food and drink played in the Purim saga, we use food and drink in positive ways on Purim, says Rabbi Measles in Sichot Ba’avodat Hashem. We share our food by sending shalach manot, we have a Purim seudah, we drink wine, and we teach our children that food’s purpose is not to satisfy gluttonous appetites, but to elevate them to Hashem’s service.

The sin of Adam and Chava was born of arrogance, of the inability to subjugate one’s ego to a higher power; the Purim redemption would come through Mordechai and Esther who were self effacing, who put the interest of the nation above their own interests, says Rabbi Zev Leff. Even Hashem practiced humility, as He kept His own Name out of the Megillah narrative. Indeed, Rabbi Leff continues, this sublimation of self is not only a theme of the entire Purim history, but constitutes a reason for the custom of wearing costumes and disguises on Purim.

Purim is likened to Yom Ki-Purim in part because both are not about self and ego, but about humility and self effacement, of caring for others, of sending shalach manot to many others, giving tzedakah to whoever asks and being part of the greater whole.

The Tallelei Chaim, Rabbi Chaim Hakohen “Hachalban” approaches the connection of Haman to the Tree that blurs the lines of good and evil from a novel perspective…. Hashem wanted Bnei Yisroel to grow up, to accept the Torah of their own free will because they appreciated the Torah and the intimate relationship it allowed them to have with Hashem. But this goal required the stage of “sleep” and uncertainty. Enter the destruction of the Temple followed by Purim episode. Bnei Yisroel are “asleep” and unsure of Hashem’s continued protection. Hashem, the parent, steps back, hides His face, and hopes that His children will find their way back, even through experimentation at the Persian party.

Haman grasps this phase. He approaches Achashveirosh when he wants permission to kill them and says, “Yeshno am echad – there is one nation.” But one could also read that phrase as “Yoshnu am echad – one nation is asleep.” They no longer observe the mitzvot; they are no longer connected to their God. Perhaps their God is no longer connected to them. Let us grab this opportunity to destroy them. But when Bnei Yisroel returns with fasting and prayers, Hashem lovingly embraces them and saves them, and they now accept the Torah by choice. Now our relationship with Hashem is a face to face relationship. This is the ultimate “turn about” that is alluded to in the Megillah.

Haman, a descendent of Amalek, is the personification of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. His entire raison d’être is to instill doubt into Bnei Yisroel and thereby cause Bnei Yisroel to sin and damage their relationship with the Creator, just as the serpent hoped to do with Adam. Rabbi Tatz continues this discussion with further insights. What did Adam do after eating of the tree? He ran and hid. Did he think he could hide from his Creator? Doubt had now entered the picture, and God now played by man’s rules. He asked, “Where are you,” and then, “Hamin haetz … achalta – did you eat of the tree?” Certainly Hashem knew the answers, but suddenly Adam wasn’t so sure. The serpent had accomplished its mission.

Every time doubt enters the heart and mind of a Jew, the serpent is rearing its ugly head, ready to strike. That doubt is personified nationally in Amalek whose numerical equivalent is safek, doubt, and individually in Haman.

We proved that we want this intimate relationship with Hashem, and He proceeded with the steps that would enable us to rebuild the Temple. Today, without the Temple, we still have to opportunity to approach God “face to face’ through our prayers, as our Bnei Yisroel did during that other period of “the hidden face of God.” On Purim every Jew’s prayer is as powerful as those of a tzadik. Hashem is meeting us face to face.

And then, there is the matter of the money and spoils. Sefer Shem Mishmuel, by Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, the Rebbe of Sochaczev (translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, pages 183-186) relates to the ten thousand silver talents offered by Haman to Achashveirosh in order for Haman to decree the extermination of the Jews, and the spoils resulting from the Jews’ war of protection after Haman’s execution.

Sefer Shem Mishmuel relates that when Haman offered Achashveirosh the silver, the king responded:

“The silver is given to you and also the people, to with them as you please.” (Esther, Perek 3, posuk 11)

Shem Mishmuel then records:

It would seem to make very little difference to us as to whether or not Achashveirosh accepted the money. Chazal, however, have something profound to say on the matter:

When the wicked man [Haman] came with the money, the king said to him, “The silver is given to you.” Hashem said, “That sale is really Mine for Mine, since Yisrael are Mine and all money is Mine.” And so it was that day King Achashveirosh gave the property of Haman… to Queen Esther. (Esther Perek 8, posuk 1)

The implication of this midrash is that had the money gone to the king’s treasury, it would not afterwards have fallen to Esther. Divine Providence thus insured that Achasveirosh would refuse the money, and since all of Haman’s property went to Esther after his death, she became beneficiary of this vast sum. This was… of crucial interest to the future of Yisrael, as Chazal tell us that part of the estate of Haman was later used to construct the Beit HaMikdash. (Midrash Tehillim Perek 22, posuk 32)

Shem Mishmuel now cites the issue of spoils — the money and property rights resulting from the Jews’ war of protection after Haman’s execution:

After Haman was executed, the Jews were given permission to attack their enemies in order to protect themselves from the planned massacre. However, after defeating their foes, they did not take their property as the following verse indicates:

“But they did not lay hands on the plunder.” (Esther Perek 9, posuk 15)

…The significance of this is as follows: As related in Shmuel 1, chapter 15, Sha’ul HaMelech was required to wage war against Amalek and utterly annihilate them and everything that they owned. However,Sha’ul erred and allowed his people to take livestock from the enemy, and he himself save Agag, the king of Amalek. As a result, Agag was able to perpetrate his line, thus enabling Haman, his descendent, to rise against Yisrael. At the time of the Purim story, Yisrael rectified their error by desisting from plundering their Amalekite enemies.

Shem Mishmuel now explains the distinction between the Jews’ desisting from plundering of their enemies and Esther and Mordechai taking possession of Haman’s property:

Amnon and Mo’av were purified by Sichon. (Gittin 38a)

Once Sichon had overrun the lands of Amnon and Mo’av, they were no longer property of their original owners. When Yisrael conquered these areas, it was as if they had always been in the hands of Sichon. So too, when Haman was discredited and executed by Achashveirosh, the rights to his estate fell to the crown. Thus, when Achashveirosh granted Haman’s wealth to Esther, it was then as if it had been “purified” by him (Achashveirosh) and no longer had any association with Haman. As ex-property of the king, it was fit to be used for kedushah, to build the Beit Hamikdash.

So it seems that just as the Jews elevated the wine and the food of Achashveirosh’s party to the kedushah of seudat Shabbat, thus rectifying the error of Adam and Chava in partaking in the Tree of Knowledge, the Jews atoned for Sha’ul HaMelech’s wrong in his war with Amalek and elevated their war of self-defense to the level of kedushah with their disciplined restraint in desisting from seizing Amalekite property.

This author has never seen this written anywhere, not to say that it isn’t, but; Could the Jews’ restraint in not seizing Amalekite property in their war of self-defense also be seen as a tikkun, a rectification of Achan’s sin of partaking in the spoils in Jews’ war for Yericho when they entered Eretz Yisrael after forty years in Bamidbar?

And so reads the beginning of the second paragraph of Aleinu, the paragraph we tend to blow through at the speed of light, or blow off altogether:

“Therefore we put our hope in YOU, Hashem, our G’d…”

Something for Am Yisrael and our governance to think about this Purim. And for good measure, the first letter of each of the first three words of that second paragraph: “Ayin, Chaf, Nun” — the spelling of Achan’s name for we learn that the second paragraph of Aleinu was written by Achan as an expression of his teshuvah for taking the spoils.

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’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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Why I am Endorsing and Voting Yachad on 17 March, 2015

Filed under: National Elections, March 2015, News Reports on Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Dear Friends;

Most of you who know me here in Eretz Yisrael know me to be outspoken on many issues affecting Am Yisrael, Torah, our Divine right and legacy to, and sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael.

In all of my years of following modern history, events, eras in Israel, I have found no other political entity, with the possible exceptions of Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit and our hopes when Menachem Begin led Likud to the prime ministership in 1977, so united and so expressive of a solid synthesis between Torah, Eretz Yisrael and national unity as I have seen in the coalescing of Eli Yishai and his Yachad faction with Baruch Marzel and Otzma Yehudit.

I will cite for you Eli Yishai’s comments on Yachad’s facebook page which encapsulate the spirit of which I speak:

“Yachad is staying together, haredim and national religious,” Yishai said. “We have an obligation to continue the great thing that we have created here, a covenant of those who observe the commandments for the Torah of Israel, the Land of Israel and the people of Israel. Thank God, that which unites us is greater than any argument. Together, in the name of God, we will succeed.”

For further background on this spirit, please click on this link: Yishai’s Party Pledges Unity in Jerusalem

Below is the Yachad list.

1. Eli Yishai

2. Yoni Chetboun

3. Michael Ayash

4. Baruch Marzel

5. Sason Treblesi

6. Rav Amital Bar-Eli

7. Dudi Shwamenfeld

8. Rabbi Kobi Yakir

With your consideration and, hopefully, your vote on election day, I foresee as reasonable, the expectation of Yachad gaining as many as seven mandatim. The Hebrew letters on ballots for Yachad – Ha’am Itanu are: קץ

Thank you all of your thoughtful consideration. Please see below for brief biographies on six of the seven candidates on Yachad’s list.

Shevua Tov, Chodesh Tov and may this Chodesh Adar bring Miracles and Simcha for Kol Am Yisrael,

Moshe Burt
Skype: mark.burt3

Brief Biographies: (Source: Wikipedia and/or http://www.elieyshay.com/, and other sources as noted.)

Eli Yishai:

52 yo. Chairman of Yachad – Ha’am Itanu. Rabbi Yishai was born in Jerusalem in 1962, to Zion (1933-2004) and Yvette-Fortuna (1934-2009) who had immigrated to Israel from Tunis, Tunisia. He studied at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Yeshivat HaNegev in Netivot. In 1980 Yishai enlisted in the IDF and served until 1983. In 1984, he entered political life. Yishai is married and has five children.

As a young man he was intimately aware of the difficulties of the needy and this awareness was the core of his public activity Knesset and the government.. Eli studied at “Horeb” and the Porat Yosef “Jerusalem and the Negev Yeshivat Netivot, and after graduating he served three years in the IDF. The great turning point of his life was the introduction Reb Yosef blessed memory who steered him to action for the public.

Yishai started his political life as a member of the Jerusalem City Council from 1987 to 1988. In 1988 Yishai served as an aide to Aryeh Deri who was then Israel’s Minister of Internal Affairs. Yishai was first elected to the Knesset in the 1996 elections as a member of Shas, and was made Minister of Labour and Social Welfare in Binyamin Netanyahu’s government.

He retained his seat in the 1999 elections, and was again appointed Minister of Labor and Social Welfare in Ehud Barak’s government. After Ariel Sharon beat Barak in the 2001 Prime Ministerial election, Yishai was appointed as Interior Minister and was made a Deputy Prime Minister in Sharon’s national unity government. Yishai took over as party leader when Aryeh Deri was convicted of fraud.

As leader of Shas for thirteen years, Yishai was seen as a political hawk and steered the party to the right of where it had been under Deri. Under Yishai’s leadership, Shas grew from 4 seats to 17 seats. In 2007, Yishai helped facilitate insured pension funds for about one million people from weak sectors of society. Eli Yishai acted against any withdrawal from parts of the Land of Israel and for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. He was a partner in the struggle against the disengagement and evacuation of Gush Katif, and head of the war against “infiltrators” who threatened the Jewish character of the State of Israel.

In May 2013, after some months of internal rift following Deri’s political comeback, Yishai was ousted and Deri was once again renamed as the leader of the Shas party. In December 2014, Yishai announced that he would be leaving Shas to establish a new party [Yachad], which would run in the 2015 elections.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, z’l stated about Eli Yishai that he is “faithful in all of my house.” Eli Yishai’s main principles of life are loyalty to, and knowledge of Torah, as well as upholding the ruling of Maran Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, to establish the Party “Yachad – Together,” in order to prevent the risk of Oslo, and to connect bonds of love between the religious, the ultra-nationalists, and all your people Israel.

Yoni Chetboun:

35 yo. Chetboun was born in Nahariya to Sefardi Jewish parents and grew up in Netanya. He attended a Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school, before becoming a student at Yeshivat Otniel. In 1998 he began his national service, and joined the 51st Battalion of the Golani Brigade. He was selected to join the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit. He fought in the Second Lebanon War, seeing action at the Battle of Bint Jbeil, and was awarded the Chief of Staff citation. He continued to serve in the reserves after active duty with the rank of Major, and left the IDF in 2008.

Chetboun studied at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, where he gained a bachelor’s degree in governance and strategy. In 2011, he founded the “Kanaf” consulting firm. He is married with 7 children.

He joined the Jewish Home party, supported Naftali Bennett in its 2012 leadership election, served in the nineteenth knesset as a Deputy Speaker and was a member of both the Foreign Affairs and Defense and Education Committees. As son of immigrants from France, he founded and headed the lobby for French immigrants in Israel which acted to remove barriers to immigration and absorption to immigrants from
France.

Chetboun defied direct orders by Naftali Bennett and voted against the bill that criminalized haredim learning torah full time instead of enlisting in the army. On 14 December 2014, he quit the Jewish Home party because of ideological differences with the party, and immediately joined Eli Yishai’s Yachad party. He stressed his belief in the fact that the new party could bring “Achdut” (Unity) between all the religious sectors in Israel.

Michael Ayash (Source: The Yeshiva World)

The 50-year-old Ayash was born in Tzfas and is a graduate of Yeshivas Ohr HaChaim in Yerushalayim. Over his 30 year career, he has been responsible for running a number of kindergartens, the Pirchei Kehuna Girl’s School, a yeshiva ketana, a secondary school and a kollel preparing avreichim for rabbonus and dayanus. He also lectures on religious issues as a consultant for organizations dedicated to good governance and governmental oversight. Ayash is the second chareidi on the list along with Yishai. Michael Ayash… is the director of the Yated HaTeshuvah mosdos. Rabbi Refael Cohen stands at the helm of the mosdos.

Baruch Marzel:

Marzel, 55 yo, was born in Boston and emigrated to Israel with his family as a baby. After finishing his studies in the Yamit hesder yeshiva, at age 20, he joined the IDF. In the 1982 Lebanon War he fought in the Armored Corps and participated in the capture of the Beirut-Damascus road. Upon finishing his army service, the army sent him to the United States, where he was involved in public relations and outreach for Israel.

Marzel also learned for several years in Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He has long been an advocate for youth aliyah from the United States as well being active in chessed organizations in Hevron and Kiryat Arba and helping many needy families.

Marzel, an American-born Orthodox Jew, lives in the Jewish community of Hebron in Tel Rumeida with his wife and nine children. He was the leader of the… Jewish National Front party. He is now a member of Otzma Yehudit

In 2009, after fellow party member Michael Ben-Ari won a seat in Knesset on the National Union (Israel) list, Marzel agreed to serve as Ben-Ari’s parliamentary aide. In 2013 Marzel ran for the Knesset again, this time on the third slot of the newly founded Otzma LeYisrael party, which splintered from National Union. However, the party failed to cross the electoral threshold. Prior to the election, other parties such as the Jewish Home party had rejected including or cooperating with Marzel, considering him to be too outspoken and nationalistic.

For further insight into Baruch Marzel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/an-open-letter-to-baruch-marzel/

Sason Treblesi:

Age 42, married with seven children who lives in Kfar Saba, heads the Religious Council Kfar Saba and established a number of religious institutions. Rabbi Trabelsi is the eleventh of fifteen brothers Zionist parents who immigrated from Tunisia. He grew up in southern farming family and learned under Maran Rabbi Meir Mazuz. In his last position, he served as spokesman for the Maran Rosh Yeshiva. He has rabbinical ordination and a law degree.

Rav Amital Bar-Eli: (Source: INN and contributors to Yachad FB page)

Amital Bar-Eli, 39 yo, is married with eight children and lives in Be’er Sheva. Rav Bar-Eli was born in Jerusalem and is the grandson of Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria who was a Talmud of Rav AY Kook. He is founder, CEO and director of the Hotam Forum, as well as being a founder of the Magen Dan neighborhood of Elkan. Hotam Forum of Torah-based research foundations seeks to strengthen Jewish identity of Israel and to strengthen the Jewish family in the face of … liberal attack upon it. It includes articles enumerating some liberal items of legislation that have been advanced in the Knesset in recent years, including bills regarding surrogate motherhood, recognition of same-sex couples, making family courts the default venue for hearing divorce cases, and even a bill proposed by Meretz to remove any mention of a person’s sex in ID cards, which the brochure says is part of an ideology of tearing down the traditional family.

Rav Bar-Eli is an organizational consultant on education and training, with years of experience in education and research, mainly on religion and state. He holds a BA in elementary education and a master’s degree in organizational consulting and business administration from Ben Gurion University. He served as a combat officer and later chaplain.

Contributors to the Yachad FB page have indicated that R’ Bar-Eli made news in an incident when he was filmed encouraging soldiers not to go in to evacuate Gush Katif. He served as a rav tzva’i. He was in army jail for 4 months because of that. (The contributors indicate that he may be Otzma, but they are not sure.)

Dudi Shwamenfeld: (Source: The Yeshiva World)

52 yo, married with five children living in Migdal Haemek. Dudi Shwamenfeld is a journalist and Kol Berama Radio host. He has years of experience on Haredi radio stations. Shwamenfeld is a social fighter who has used his position as a communicator in favor of social struggles, such as for a change in attitude to the Haredi youth who drop out and toward the ultra-Orthodox soldiers. He has served in the IDF Military Rabbinate. He fights against persecution and is uncompromising in struggling against ethnic discrimination in Orthodox educational institutions. When asked why he would leave his job to join a party that might not pass the minimum threshold in the elections, Dudi said “voters are wise and they know which party to vote for.” He added “for me, it is a big honor to join this party”. Shwamenfeld spoke of the mission, the wonderful reality that the party combines dati leumi and chareidi candidates.

Rabbi Kobi Yakir

43 yo, Rabbi Yakir is a Torah scholar, married with seven children and lives in Yishuv Psagot. Rabbi Yakir has a broad religious education having learned at Or Etzion Yeshiva, which includes judges and rabbinical courts, and at the Rudman Kollel for Dayanut in Rechovot. Rabbi Yakir is a Rav Mechanech in Yishivat hesder. He deals with religious instruction, having completed five-year study of Jewish strategy. He has published many articles in various magazines regarding issues of religion and state.

Parshat Tetzaveh 5775: Why No Mention of Moshe?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, February 21st, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Tetzaveh 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

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Parshat Tetzaveh 5775: Why No Mention of Moshe?

by Moshe Burt

In a way, Parshat Tetzaveh is an extension of Parshat Terumah where, l’chatchila (the way things oughta be), one’s intent should be as pure as the components used in construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and it’s accoutrements. Parshat Tetzaveh is dedicated to the enunciation for the Jewish people of the laws concerning the Kohen’s garb, the anointment oil and the Avodah (service) of the Kohanim. This service reflects the purity of the Kehunah as a paradigm to the Jewish people, just as l’chatchila the purity of Jewish people should be a light revealing the ways of Hashem unto the world.

But wait! Stop the music. Something seems amiss. Where’s Moshe?

We note that Moshe Rabbeinu is notably absent in our parsha. Both the laws concerning Kohanim and Moshe’s absence seem interwoven with the lesson of the delicate balance between when and how one should choose their words when speaking, and when one should remain silent.

Our Parsha, unlike any other place throughout Torah (including Sefer Devarim where Moshe himself speaks to the Jewish people in one continuous Mussar shmooze reviewing the laws and the events of the 40 years in BaMidbar and where each of the Parshiyot are distinguished only by the sections of Halachas enunciated) from the time of his birth through Vezos HaBeracha, omits any mention of Moshe Rabbeinu.

A few years ago, Rabbi Wagensberg, in his Shiur on our Parsha, brought sources which gave possible explanations for the absence of Moshe’s name from the Parsha. He mentions the Ba’al HaTurim who stated that Moshe’s name is absent because of his response to Hashem after Cha’it HaEigel. When Hashem stated his intention to destroy B’nai Yisrael and start again creating a people from Moshe’s seed, Moshe responded that “If you do not forgive their sin, blot me out from the book which you have written.” (Midrash Says, Sh’mos, Tetzaveh, P.273) “The Midrash Says” goes on to state that “A Tzaddik’s words must take effect (even if the condition attached to them is not fulfilled). Hashem consequently erased Moshe’s name from Parsha Tetzaveh.” (Midrash Says, Sh’mos, Tetzaveh, P.273)

Rabbi Wagensberg also brought The Gr’a as a source, which it is said, stated that on the 7th of Adar during the week of Parsha Tetzaveh, Moshe was niftar and we commemorate his Yahrtzeit. Perhaps for that reason, Hashem has omitted Moshe’s name from the Parsha. Moshe, the strong, but selfless and humble leader who would not accept Hashem’s recording in Torah of His special calling of “Vayikra el Moshe.” Moshe reluctantly, only assented to the use of a small “aleph” at the end of the word “Vayikra.” It would seem possible then, that omission of Moshe’s name in our parsha could be Hashem’s way of honoring Moshe for his humility.

However, Rabbi Wagensberg noted that in Biblical Times in Eretz Yisrael, Torah was read in a 3 year cycle and not a 1 year cycle. It’s not possible that the Great Vilna Gaon would have overlooked this point. It would seem then that something else is at work here.

He then proposes a possible answer as to why Moshe was not openly mentioned, but rather concealed — Nistar in our Parsha. Parsha Tetzaveh has 101 posukim. If one counts the inside, concealed letters of Moshe’s name (Mem, Mem; Shin, Yud, Nun; Hay, Aleph), You find Mem = 40, Yud = 10, Nun = 50 and Aleph = 1. Hashem, it seems, omitted Moshe’s name from the Parsha not out of anger for Moshe but maybe, out of anger at B’nai Yisrael who were far beneath Moshe’s level of Selflessness and Spirituality.

But then a revelation occurs. Perhaps one could theorize regarding the great ones who have been taken from us; Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Shlomo Carlebach, Rav Me’ir Kahane, Rav Schach and the many other great names of the great Tzaddikim which go on and on, too numerous to remember; and ten years ago at this time, the Tzaddik Adir Zik, who fought with all of his talents, resources and with his last breaths out of an endless, passionate love for his Jewish brethren and for Eretz Yisrael, Adir Zik was niftar a mere 10 days before the heinous Knesset passage of the Expulsion law which sanctioned the state’s legalized theft of the property and possessions from our fellow Jews while promising compensation for those removed from their homes, possessions and employment, promises to this day apparently not totally fulfilled.

And it seems that throughout history from the death of the Tzaddik Metushelach which closely preceded the Mabul (the great flood) by a mere 7 days; through to our days when the passing of a number of great Gedolim closely predated Oslo and other terrible events of political, diplomatic blunder and lack of both Jewish national self-respect and self-esteem, such that perhaps Hashem can’t bear to have the great Tzaddikim live to witness what Am Yisrael wreaks upon itself.

And another possible answer as to why Moshe Rabbeinu’s name is missing in our Parsha could be out of anger at B’nai Yisrael who were far beneath Moshe’s level of Selflessness and Spirituality. Perhaps, in our time, Hashem is angry at an Am Yisrael who lacks collective “fire in the belly”, who lacks a loving compassion for their Jewish brethren and for Eretz Yisrael; our Biblical Jewish heritage and legacy.

Perhaps collectively, we either don’t want our land badly enough, or lack the collective heart and backbone to stand up to the politicians and demand righteous leadership. Perhaps collectively, it’s each guy for himself and his own and to heck with Am Yehudi, to heck with “…that place; after all, it’s not my neighborhood at risk.” Not your community?? Not yet. But, “As sure as Hashem made little green apples and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime …”

But perhaps, after Gush Katif, the Shalhevet neighborhood and Beit Shapiro in Chevron, the police and yassamnik violence and brutality in Amona, the repeated destruction and trashing of Federman’s farm, etc., chas v’chalila that it would be written in future history that Observant Jewry turned the other cheek, this time toward the Amalek within — those who either loathe their Jewishness, or who would cloak themselves in an outer appearance of observance while missing the boat on the inextricable Divine connection between Torah and the Land of Israel.

But it seems to this author that Hashem wants to see us put into practice and actuate our principles; to act beyond tefillah and learning in the Beis Medrash.

Nearly ten years ago, the Am Yisrael was too busy fighting and hating each other and were too self-directed to care about the Klal and so 9,000 formerly productive, independent citizens had their lives uprooted and are still suffering the after-affects of the expulsion from Gush Katif.

And while we were told by a prime minister about forty years of peace, what we got in return for expelling our brethren: periods of massive rocket fire at S’derot and Askelon and numerous other locations in the south as well as increasingly calibrated rocket fire as far north as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, a Lebanese war and three wars in Gaza.

And the Arabs, the murdering Islamikazis of Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, etc. have taken heart from the expulsion and from the appearance of Israeli military impotence in those wars and perceive our end as “the writing on the wall.”

We can act to manifest change. Just as it seems obvious that the Jews of Shushan put aside personal and familial issues for the sake of unity and Jewish survival, we too can collectively step up in unity with the game on the line. With heart, creativeness, fire-in-the-belly and pitching in, we are capable of compelling change from governance which loathes both Jewish values and the Land of Israel, to governance which embraces them.

Like in the time of Mordechai and Esther and the Jews of the city of Shushan, I believe that embracing our Jewish values, just as the Kohanim donned their Bigdei Kehunah, is the message this year of our Parsha Tetzaveh.

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’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 Terumah 5775: Pure Motivation and it’s Value in One’s Actions

Filed under: News Reports on Saturday, February 14th, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Terumah is being sponsored anonymously Lilui Nishmas HaRav Yehuda Leib ben HaRav Moshe Shimon HaKohen and Miriam bat Reb Menachem Mendel and Reb Avraham Zev ben Reb Shlomo and Sima bat Reb Avraham. To our anonymous sponsor, 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 Terumah 5775: Pure Motivation and it’s Value in One’s Actions

by Moshe Burt

Parshat Terumah opens (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 25, posukim 1-2):

Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and they shall take to Me a portion, from every man whose heart will motivate him you shall take My portion.”

This author had a dear friend in Chutz L’Aretz who would constantly ask, “am I doing… for the right reason(s)?” This friend was not observant. While this author has not seen or spoken to this friend in some 28 years, the constant questioning of motivation remains embedded in my mind.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin writes, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (Parsha Terumah, page 201):

Your motivation is a major factor in the ultimate value of what you do.

Rashi (on Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 25, posuk 2) comments that the donations given for the Miskan (tabernacle) should be given for the sake of the Almighty.

What is difference what a person’s intentions are when he does a good deed? Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman used to give this illustration. …A certain person delivers milk to people each morning. He wants to insure that every child in the community will be able to have wholesome milk for breakfast. He brings the milk to each person’s home early in the morning regardless of the weather. What would you say about such a person? You would surely consider him an outstanding example of the most elevated levels of kindness. But what if you then heard that he gets paid a few pennies a bottle? He is no longer such a great, righteous person but a plain milk delivery man(? author). When you do something with pure motivations, your action is elevated. Work on your thoughts to have positive motivations when you do positive acts.

The reason that this author questioned the statement about the milk delivery man re: “he is no longer such a great, righteous person” because it seems apparent that one can be still “a great, righteous person” even when he diligently delivers milk daily for those few pennies per bottle as that is his parnossa. One has plenty of opportunities to uplift and sanctify his parnossa, often via the seemingly small Eikev mitzvot, in ways often not apparent to the eyes of others.

This author’s former auto mechanic, an observant Jew and a Tzaddik back in Philadelphia, was one such example of a great, righteous person who seized opportunities to uplift and sanctify his parnossa. He always kept a few shop loaner cars available so that when people brought their vehicles in for major repairs, that they were able to borrow a loaner car, free of charge, for work so as to not be inconvenienced while the work on the vehicle was being completed. He also made his loaner cars available, again free of charge, to people when they came to Philadelphia from out of town. He was also a Shul president and active in communal affairs throughout his life.

There is a oft-repeated (on this blog)Torah Gems citing of the Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro 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 (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman), discusses the symbolic significance of the Mishkan in his Sefer Sh’mos, pages 538-540:

The construction of the Tabernacle, which begins here in Sh’mos [in our parsha (author)], is followed by Torah Kohanim [in Parsha Tetzaveh (author)], the series of laws whose purpose is the sanctity of the Temple [Mishkan, Beit Hamikdash (author)] and the sanctification of life.

Hashem does not grace us with His Presence, protection, and blessings merely upon the scrupulous construction and upkeep of the sanctuary, but only upon the sanctification of our entire national and private lives and… dedication to the fulfillment of His Commandments.

The point here seems to be that our inner purity of intent, whether as individuals, as a government, as a nation must represent the sanctification of, and fulfillment of His Commandments

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos! Chodesh Tov!
_______________________________________

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 Mishpatim 5775: Honesty and Morality, Modesty: Keys to Justice and Purity of Judgement Toward Our Fellow Jews

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, February 7th, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Mishpatim is being sponsored by Paul and Suzanne Bregman of Ottawa, Ontario Lilui Nismas to honor the memory of Suzanne’s sister, Malka bat Avraham. To the Bregman and Schaefer 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
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Parshat Mishpatim 5775: Honesty and Morality, Modesty: Keys to Justice and Purity of Judgement Toward Our Fellow Jews

by Moshe Burt

Yishai Chasidah’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Jewish Personalities (pages 306-309) provides a fitting introduction to parsha Mishpatim in citing an example of how 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, 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.

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 Pharoah, 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 Sh’mos, Perek 18, posuk 21)

The last posuk of Parshat Yithro states:

“And you shall not ascend to My Mizbeiyach with steps, so that your nakedness not be exposed on it. ” (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 20, posuk 23)

In reading this posuk, one finds a double-negative. This posuk means so much more than merely the act of climbing steps to the mizbeiyach, thus causing one to reveal private areas considering the garb of those generations.

Rashi notes:

…Taking wide steps is close to exposing nakedness, and [if you take wide steps] you are treating [the stones of the Mizbeiyach] in a humiliating manner…. Now, if regarding these stones which do not have the perception to care about their humiliation, the Torah says, “Since there is a need for them, do not treat them in a humiliating manner. In the case of your fellow man who is in the image of your Creator — and cares about his humiliation, how much more so must you treat him with respect. (Sapirstein Edition, The Torah with Rashi’s commentary, Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 20, posuk 23, page 246)

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 on the beginning of Sefer Sh’mos, page 361) provides commentary on the above posuk which seems puzzling due to the double use of “from” — seemingly to indicate descent. Rav Hirsch writes:

Just as justice and humanity shall go forth from the Mizbeiyach, to become the ideal of society striving upward to Hashem, so shall morality and modesty go forth to you from the Mizbeiyach, the fundamentals of godliness in man.

Rav Hirsch then adds a comment profound for all time (R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l, in the new Hirsch Chumash, Sefer Shemos, page 361):

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 purpose of the Mishpatim — the civil laws, it seems, is to protect the moral fiber of society by regulating relationships between men, encouraging truthfulness, sincerity and kindness while condemning immorality and deceit.

Rebbetzin Shira Smiles, in her sefer “Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos (Parsha Mishpatim pages 87- 88, 92-96) discusses two laws of judges (in a Torah justice system) and how these laws relate to us, we who don’t serve in the legal system. Rebbetzin Smiles cites Sanhedrin 7b in explaining:

“A judge is prohibited to hear the words of a litigant until his fellow has arrived.” Judges are not permitted to hear a case until both parties are present and prepared to present their arguments, one immediately following the other.

Why is the Torah so particular about a judge hearing the two accounts in immediate consecutive order? Any experienced judge understands that one account is only one half of the story and any initially formulated conclusions are temporary. The judge is aware that his view of the case will change when he hears the second side.

Hmmm? (Facetiously) Kinda sounds like the Israel’s agendized and corruption-ridden “judiciary” (sic)???

Rebbetzin Smiles then cites a Maharal (MeiRosh Tzurim, Shemos. page 254) which says:

…As soon as the a judge hears the first presentation, …. in his effort to fully understand the first litigant’s testimony, he mentally validates the initial version of the story. Even if the judge subsequently hears the second side legitimately disprove the original story, it is very difficult for him to listen with equal objectivity. The judge’s natural human inclination is to support his original impression.

Rebbetzin Smiles continues:

And…, time is a factor…. The more time between presentations, the more the first opinion dominates the judge’s mind. Understanding human nature, Hashem put a Mitzvah in the Torah that advises judges to hear the opposing testimonies one after the other, as close as possible. It is a warning to prevent a first opinion from overpowering the mind and spoiling objectivity.

Rebbetzin Smiles then discusses how first impressions can effect us, we who don’t serve in the judiciary, in our daily lives. It may be the new neighbor about whom one may form a first mistaken negative impression from hearing yelling from behind the neighbor’s door. Others, who know the neighbor, would then speak highly of his or her kind attributes. Rebbetzin Smiles asks:

What would it take to convince you that you might have been mistaken?

It’s difficult to let go of… first impressions. Even [Torah-true] judges, who constantly strive to be truthful, were given laws to prevent a biased first impression…. Prevent the possibility of the initial impression becoming a permanent one. When forming an opinion, stop and… mix it with other possible perspectives. Hashem rewards us, as it says in the gemara: “Anyone who judges others favorably will be judged favorably in Heaven.”

When we decide that the truth is more important than our egos, we will be able to swallow our pride and confess our errors.

Truth, honesty represent an important linchpin of morality and justice. As the line from that old Billy Joel tune goes:

“Honesty is such a lonely word.”

In his sefer “Inspiration and Insight”, Discourses on the weekly Parashah by the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, z’l (pages 128-129) cites sefer “Mesilas Yesharim” (Chapter 11) which provides lengthy discussion regarding levels of falsehood existing within mankind and their “descending order of destructiveness.”

R’ Segal cites R’Moshe Chaim Luzzato:

Our Sages have taught, “The seal of the Holy One is truth” (Shabbos 55a). Now, if truth is what Hashem has chosen as his seal, then how despicable must its converse be before him… Truth is one of the pillars upon which the worlds exist (Avos 1:18); it follows then that one who speaks falsehood is considered as if he has destroyed the world’s foundation.

R’ Segal also indicates that there is a common misconception that falsehood only occurs through speech. He cites a braisa (Shevu’os 30b-31a) to note how one can violate the admonition against falsehood through deeds.

The second law mentioned in our parsha which Rebbetzin Smiles in her sefer “Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos [ibid] discusses “deals with court dress code.” Rebbetzin Smiles cites gemara Shevu’os 31a:

Two people cannot appear in court dressed differently, meaning one dressed simply and the other extravagantly. Either the one wearing expensive clothing must remove it and dress more humbly, or he must give the other litigant similarly expensive garments for the duration of the
court case.

The gemara says… “distance yourself from a matter of falsehood.” The drastic contrast in garments might influence judges to favor the finely dressed person or snub the poor person’s argument. The simply-dressed litigant might feel that the judges are predisposed toward his rich opponent, as Rashi explains (commentary on gemara Shevu’os 31a).

Rebbetzin Smiles cites Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman (Sefer Ohr Yahel, Vol. 3,page 124) in further explaining dress as a possible factor in judicial decision-making:

Even though… [a] judge may be committed to impartiality, his eyes can still lead him astray. A gold button and a drape of expensive fabric hypnotize the human mind. Once you remove… visual stimuli, an objective judgement can emerge…. Hashem created our human nature; and therefore, instructs us: Distance yourself from falsehood and remove any visual clues that could mislead you.

Rebbetzin Smiles illustrates the effect of outer dress on all of us, not just judiciary, with this story:

A shul in England had a particular policy of… giving [the] priviledge of being called up to the Torah exclusively to people who wear top hats….

One man… never wore a top hat. Years went by… many family simchas (joyous occasions) and yahtzeits. He was never given an aliyah simply because he refused to put on a top hat.

One Shabbos morning, he came into shul wearing a top hat, and…. sure enough he got called up to the Torah for an aliyah. When he approached he suddenly took off his hat, put it down next to the Sefer Torah and, turning to it, said: “Nu, say the… blessing! You’re the one who got the aliyah.”

Rebbetzin Smiles again cites Rabbi Chasman who notes:

We judge all the time. We make internal judgements and decide how to act. Some thoughts are influenced by the yetzer hatov (good inclination) and some by the yetzer hara (evil inclination). So how do we tell the difference? …The yetzer hara thoughts are usually dressed in a fancy suit…. to deceive us with positive external impressions: “Think how amazing life will be be when you earn that extra money, even if it’s slightly dishonest.” …The yetzer hatov’s ideas never seem to look as exciting or glamorous on the outside.

The gemara (Berachas 5a) gives us ways to conquer the yetzer hara, it instructs us to learn Torah and to accept the yoke of the Kingship of Heaven…. This is how to enclothe the yetzer hatov in the elegant clothing it deserves; we feel how beautiful and pleasant it is to learn Torah and serve Hashem, and then the desire for sin lessens. If that doesn’t work, then… remember the day of death. That is tearing off the yetzer hara’s finery and exposing the rags that truly lie underneath.

The spirit and paradigm of our parsha, the inculcation of honesty, principle and integrity in dealing with our fellow is best described by the story told in L’lmod U’Lamed, by Rabbi Mordechai Katz, (p. 81-82),quoting Yerushalmi Bava Metzia, Perek 2, Choshen Mishpat 266) about Rabbi Shimon Ben Shetach which sets a standard for Jewish sincerity in his dealing with his fellow Jews and with Hashem.

It is a tale often repeated in these Parshiyot HaShevua as a paradigm for honesty and morality toward our brethren.

It seems that one day Rabbi Shimon Ben Shetach needed to purchase a donkey for traveling. He purchased the donkey from an Arab. At that time, neither he nor the Arab noticed that the donkey bore a small package in it’s saddle.

Sometime later, a student of the Rabbi found the package and opened it. He was amazed by it’s contents.

Rabbi Katz writes that the dialogue between Rabbi Ben Shetach and his student, and the story’s conclusion went something like this:

“It’s a diamond, Rebbe… A perfect diamond. It must be worth an enormous amount. Sell it and you’ll never want for money. Imagine all of the Mitzvot you will be able to do with the new-found money.”

Rabbi Ben Shetach shook his head and responded “I may be able to perform many Mitzvot with the money … but they will never cancel the demerit that will be mine if I keep property which is not mine. No, I will return the diamond to its rightful owner, the Arab.”

But the student responded, “why not keep the diamond? The Arab will never know of his loss.” Rabbi Ben Shetach responded, “But Hashem will know what I have done. I did not earn the diamond and so it is not mine.”

Rabbi Ben Shetach was as good as his word and returned the diamond to the astonished Arab. “I don’t believe that anyone could be that honest” said the Arab. “The Jews must have wonderful laws. Blessed be the G’d of Rabbi Shimon Ben Shetach.”

Rabbi Ben Shetach’s strict adherence to Mishpatim, to common decency to his fellow man created a great Kiddush Hashem and should serve as an example for all to follow, to fulfill all of Hashem’s Mitzvot with equal zeal.

Imagine the merit to be earned collectively by a unity of B’nai Yisrael acting truthfully, justly and treating each other — our fellow Jew, at all levels from daily man-in-the-street dealings, or between merchant and customer, bus driver and passenger, employer/employee, civil-servant and Yosef Q. Jewish Citizen, as well as those governing toward those being governed, as Yithro the righteous Ger did, or as Rabbi Ben Shetach treated the itinerant Arab in our story, not even his Jewish brother.

And imagine building on that national kindness and unity with the rock-solid, unified, unequivocable principle — Kol Ha’aretz Shelanu (This is Our Land)! This seems a logical evolvement of Bein Adam L’Chaveiro applied to Bein Adam L’Mokom, an outgrowth of fair and righteous dealing between one and his fellow as extended to our relationship with Hashem.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his Sefer “Growth Through Torah” (on Parsha Mishpatim, page 197) adds to this equation of righteousness, kindness, principle and integrity by citing both Sefer Shemot (Perek 23, posuk 8 ), and Rabbi Avraham of Sochotchov equating one’s bias’ with bribery:

“And bribery you shall not take, for a bribe will blind those who can see, and distort the words of the righteous.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 23, posuk 8 )

Rabbi Avraham of Sochotchov commented…. When a person is blind, he realizes it and will ask someone who can see to help him. But if a person has a bias, the bias blinds him to such an extent that he does not even realize that he is blind. He feels that what he perceives is reality and will refuse to listen to others.

There are many bribes that distort our judgement. We are not referring to an out and out bribe. Any bias will cause us to view things in a way that will fit our particular bias.

It would seem then that the modern-day adaptation, or application of the term “bias” would be agendization, as in the Israeli left’s promotion of plans which serve to brainwash the population to radicalize as “racist (sic)” (in the very eyes of the agendizers and in the eyes of segments of the public who fall prey to such brainwashing or dumbing down) those who possess the Land of Israel as our Divine legacy. In doing so, they have sooo deluded themselves and sooo numbed and blinded themselves to what should be the Divine, self-evident truth of our Jewish sovereignty in and on Eretz Yisrael. And the same goes for the “bias”, the agendization of divide-and-conquer politicians against the Chachamim who give their beings over to learning Torah, or the agendization of some segments against their fellow Jews who they see as “not as religious” as themselves because of the kippah they wear or the Rabbinic hashkafah they adhere to.

And so Yithro, through his kindness, honesty and principle merited to advise and format the Judicial system of B’nai Yisrael, and both he and Rabbi Shimon Ben Shetach seem as paradigms of what R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l described (in the new Hirsch Chumash translated to English by Daniel Haberman on Sefer Sh’mot, Parsha Mishpatim, perek 21, posuk 1, page 362) in a commentary on the opening word — “Va’eileh” regarding the Mizbeiyach (the Altar) as symbolizing the “upbuilding society in the spirit of justice and humanity and… strengthening each and every individual in the spirit of pure morality.”

Finally, there is a Torah Gems citing of the Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro 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)

May we, the B’nai 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 brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. 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 V’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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URGENT: Arabs and OUR Children at Bus Stops

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Monday, February 2nd, 2015 by moshe | Comments Off


Yesterday, after leaving Kupat Cholim Macabee in the Ramat Beit Shemesh “aleph” shopping mall, around 4:45 PM, I encountered a situation which could have turned dangerous for some young school children waiting for the 19 bus to take them home to RBS “Gimmel.”

As I walked up the road (which leads to Ramat Shilo), passing the Chabad Shul toward Kishon, I first saw 2 Arabs at the bus stop for the 19 bus which goes to RBS “Gimmel.” Fortunately, it turned out that in the end, the Arabs were waiting for their ride. But just a few feet beyond them were 2 or 3 young (unattended by parents) boys waiting for the 19 bus. These boys couldn’t have been older than 8 or 9 years old and seemingly unaware of possible danger.

I was soon joined by a couple of women who also there to wait for the 19 bus. After a long wait for 19 bus, B’H, finally a kind person drove by, stopped and took in the kids to get them home in RBS “Gimmel.”

But the scene described above could have been a recipe for tragedy.

1) I’m appalled at the lack of responsibility that some parents take for the safety of their offspring. When new residents, such those in newly-built RBS “Gimmel”, begin living in an area, it is crucial that the parents scout-out their children’s bus route to and from school at the times the children go to school and come home. In today’s reality, where Arabs, Islamics seek any opportunity to hurt or kidnap a Jew, parents must be aware of their children’s route and aware of any possible dangers lurking along the route.

2) I’m equally appalled at the police who, if Arabs routinely wait at that spot for their ride, the police don’t cruise the area when they know Arabs are there.

3) I urge all Rabbanim reading this piece to speak to their Kehillot urging parents to plan out the best and safest means to get their children to and from school.

4) In this particular case, since there is a Chabad shul within feet of this bus stop, shouldn’t the men davening Mincha ketana take the time after davening to be alert and show caring and responsibility for their fellow Jews so that young Jewish children are not left unnoticed, uncared for with Arabs lurking nearby?