Aleinu L’Shabeiyach: “Our Duty” — Mission Statement or Afterthought?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Sunday, February 18th, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off







Aleinu L’Shabeiyach: “Our Duty” — Mission Statement or Afterthought?

by Moshe Burt

This Chabura is dedicated to my Dad, Me’ir ben Shabtai, Of Blessed Memory upon his first Yarhtzeit, and to my Mother, Chaya bat Zalman, Of Blessed Memory whose third Yarhtzeit is on Isru Chag Pesach.

I want to express Hakarat HaTov to Rabbi Yechiel Nussbaum for facilitating my gaining deeper understanding of Aleinu, Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbi Binyamin Jacobson for providing Rabbi Yechiel Nussbaum and I with R’Shimshon Pincus’ sefer on Tefillah; Nefesh Shimshon to learn, Rabbi Malinowitz, and to Jonathan Wachtel who turned me on to the sefer, “The Power of Aleinu” by Rabbi Asher Baruch Wegbreit of Yeshivat Birkat HaTorah.

First, a Hagdama: Over the years, it bothered me when kehillot in Chutz L’Aretz would fly through Aleinu and go into Kaddish while I was huffin’ and puffin’ through the first paragraph trying to pronounce each word of the tefillot and having to interrupt recitation of Aleinu in order to say “Amen” and “Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” It felt to me, psychologically, that speed was the norm and made me wonder whether there was something wrong with me, that my mind and mouth couldn’t move fast enough to complete Aleinu with the rest of the kehillah. I recall once remarking to a friend back in Philly that even at the last Ma’ariv Erev Rosh Hashana, they couldn’t daven with just a little more kavanah.

But, then after making aliyah, I looked around and saw that there were numbers of others, like me who struggled with the speed with which many a shaliach tzibbor would complete Aleinu and go into Kaddish.

A few weeks ago, Mutti Frankel gave a Chabura from which I cite pertinent points here, as imitation, or in this case, repetition of another’s p’shat seems the sincerest form of flattery:

In Mitzrayim, B’nei Yisrael sunk to an extremely low level of ruchniyous and sense of self as a nation and as individuals. They were so mired in Shibud Mitzrayim that they could not even formulate a coherent Tefillah. All they could do is scream out to Hashem from anguish and pain.

For each of us, as the Yomim Norayim become a faint memory, we find ourselves in our rush for work, family obligations, etc. more distant from Hashem than we’d like to be.

It is critical to realize that Kedusha, coming closer to Hashem is not just a dream, but is an achievable goal for anyone and everyone viewing it as an important life’s mission — on par with learning Torah, doing Mitzvot and Chesed — and who makes a sincere effort to succeed in the mission of being a Kadosh.

These preceding paragraphs cited from Mutti’s presentation I understood in the context of Tefillah — our personal Tefillah including Shemonah Essrei, as well as Chazzarat HaShatz — the Shaliach Tzibbor’s repetition of Shemonah Essrei, as well as All of our thrice daily Tefillot. However I limit this discussion to Shemonah Essrei and Chazzarat HaShatz in context of recitation of Aleinu..

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, as compiled by Rabbi Soloman Ganzfried, translated to English by Hyman E. Goldin LL.B. , states in Volume 1, Chapter 20, point #2:

Since the Chazan has already said the silent Shemonah Essrei for himself, …he repeats it only for the sake of the listeners…

But why even bother repeating Shemona Essrei for the Kehillot if, in so many instances in many Kehillot, ours has evolved to be a notable exception, Chazzarat HaShatz is davened at break-neck speed such that the listeners, the Kehillot cannot distingush each word for the rushed slurring and run-on words and phrases?

So, referring back to Mutti’s Chabura regarding Kedusha, it occurs to me: if Tefillah with intent as an achievable goal for anyone and everyone who view it as an important life’s mission, Chaval Chomeir to say Aleinu with intent, each word said clearly, rather than rushed or slurred robotically at the speed of light in order to finish both paragraphs in 30-45 seconds.

A number of years ago, Rabbi Ari Enkin came out with his first sefer, a Halacha Sefer ”Daled Amos.” Rabbi Enkin makes this compelling statement regarding Aleinu in his Halacha Sefer (”Daled Amos” page 24):

I have heard interpretations that the entire prayer service is simply one gigantic preparation for the recitation of Aleinu.

Rabbi Enkin then includes a reference footnote to the Mishne Berura 132:8A where the Rama tells us:

Say “Aleinu L’Shabeiyach” while standing after tefillah and be careful to daven it with kavanah.

R’ Enkin echos The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (cited above) which states in Chapter 25, point 6:

…We say the prayer Aleinu L’Shabeiyach (it is our duty to praise) and this should be said with great awe and reverence. This prayer was instituted by Yehoshua upon the conquest of Yericho.

Aleinu L’Shabeiyach: The verbalization of OUR Chiyuv — our obligation as Jews to praise and glorify Hashem’s name. Aleinu is the most often said, the most repetitious and unchangeable tefillah, yet seemingly, the least respected of all of our tefillot. Many have heard me refer to “”the break-neck speed of an Arnoldis Chapman 100 plus mph fastball” — Is it even remotely possible to ever focus on the meanings of Aleinu: that Yehoshua davened it as the Jews encircled Yericho once each day and seven times on Shabbos, while the Kohanim blew their Shofars until Yericho’s walls fell in heaps (paraphrasing Navi, Yehoshua, Perek 6, posukim 3-5), not to mention Aleinu’s second paragragh: Achan’s Teshuvah after having violated the ban on taking spoils?

R’ Mordechai Katz provides a jaw-dropping comment and citation in his sefer “L’lmode U’lamed (page 136):

It is sad but true that we have become so used to many of our activities that we perform them mechanically, without any feelings whatsoever. This is why our Tefillos sometimes [?] become exercises in reading Hebrew rather than emotional communications with Hashem.

“Prayer without devotion is like a body without a soul.” (Yeshuos Meshilo)

The warp speed described above seems to relate to what R’ Pliskin writes in his sefer:“Growth Through Torah”, regarding Parsha Beha’aloscha (page 318):

…After doing the same thing over and over, people get bored… In order to accomplish anything, one needs to master the ability of sustaining enthusiasm…. as if it were the first time.

From where and from whom did the impetus come for Rabbi Enkin’s compelling statement: “the entire prayer service is simply one gigantic preparation for the recitation of Aleinu”? R’Shimshon Pincus, who asks a startling question in his well-known and oft-referenced sefer on Tefillah; Nefesh Shimshon, as well as other sources, provide jaw-dropping citings, some of which are para-phrased here and give clues to back Rabbi Enkin’s compelling statement:

1/ R’ Pincus cites a responsa of the Gaonim from sometime between 500 to 1,000 CE where someone asks:

How is it possible that Aleinu is said in Chutz L’Aretz? Such a high-level tefillah shouldn’t be permitted to be davened except in a place close to Hashem, Yehoshua only davened Aleinu upon entering Eretz Yisrael.

From this question, we see the specialness of Aleinu — that on no other tefillah is such a question asked.

There must be something great, mighty and elevated in Aleinu which Gaonim felt can’t be appreciated in any other locale. This testifies to the deep and special meaning of Aleinu.

2/ R’Pincus cites the Gry’z Z’l as noting that the whole power of the Yetzer Hora and its troops on the human mind is through the imagination, convincing man that he (man) is in control.

If only man would say with vigor and strength that… [all that the Yetzer Hora has convinced man of man’s control of] are Hevel V’rik — vanity and emptiness and that there is nothing real in them, he (man) would then find it easier to recognize that… Hashem Keilokim — that there is nothing else. Afterwards, Satan would not have power to mess with man’s mind because man realizes that everything is dependent upon Him [Hashem].

R’Pincus brings as Aleinu’s purpose that it reinforces the feeling of the Jew, as he leaves tefillot, that he is totally dependent upon Hashem.

3/ Another Sefer, L’David Shiur by Asher Elbaz seems to answer R’Pincus’ citing from Gaonim responsa citing R’Hai Gaon which indicates that by those in Chutz L’Aretz aiming their tefillahs toward Israel and toward the Beit HaMikdash, the Jewish world’s tefillahs rise to Shemayim from the Mikdash.

4/ Sefer L’David Shiur cites the Rokeach who notes that Yehoshua Ben Nun repeated Aleinu on his knees in awe and in a loud voice in a tune which makes the heart rejoice. Therefore, a person should have kavanah to sing Aleinu with all of his might to his Creator. [Can this be done at break-neck speed?]

5/ Sefer L’David Shiur cites the Chida which says to say Aleinu word-by-word [seeming obvious to not slur or mumble-jumble them] because it is a very awesome praise full of very high secrets.

6/ L’David Shiur also cites the M’Chazik Bracha (Koof, Lamed, Bet) which indicates that there is no other praise to our Creator like Aleinu and that it is higher than all of the praises in the world.

But, yet many seem to blow through Aleinu and then flee out of Shul three times a day. People don’t seem to realize, or they seem to discount, that Aleinu is an integral part of Our Service — Our individual and collective Divine Service. It’s Our chance to emulate Aaron HaKohen and pray for the world to cleave to Hashem — the Creator of the world and all that is in it..

So how can we — myself and others, who struggle with completion of such a Holy Tefillah as Aleinu due to our intent, as well as lack of ability to pronounce rapid-fire, not feel totally uncomfortable, awkward and, somehow lacking in Kavod for Hashem, when having to interrupt Aleinu to say “Amen” and “Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” due to the Shaliach Tzibbor’s sub-one minute recitation. Quite a dilemma, it seems — expressing Kavod that Hashem Keilokim — that there is nothing else, that one is totally dependent upon Hashem and then having to interrupt that Kavod to “Amen” and “Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” [May His Great Name] with the “enormous cosmic effect” of these words (citing the Artscroll Siddur commentaries on Kaddish), because the Shaliach Tzibbor blew through Aleinu at mach 1 speed.

I’ve had people suggest to me to either say Aleinu Yechidut, after Kaddish, in order to avoid it’s preemption — but that also seems uncomfortable, seemly lacking appropriate kavod for Hashem. But I’ve understood that Halacha is that when with a Kehillah, one must recite Aleinu with the Kehillah.

Shouldn’t B’nai Yisrael always treat Aleinu, and for that matter, all designated tefillot with the same degree of seriousness and relentlessness to which Aaron HaKohen treated his daily service, as well as his pursuit and performance of Mitzvot; to the same degree to which Kohanim and Levi’im throughout our generations treated their respective service, with or without the Beit HaMikdash??

The tefillah of Aleinu, having been blown through for generations in the mad-dash to be through with it, seems to me the paradigm Eikev Mitzvah. But more than that, might there be a certain arrogance or macho, a certain disregard for one’s fellows: those who for deeper concentration and spiritual reasons, as well as for pronounciation purposes, cannot finish Aleinu at break-neck speed? And what messages does break-neck speed send to Hashem? And, as I have asked in the past; are we not disrespecting a significant segment of our brethren as well as showing Hashem insufficient honor and sincerity?

Isn’t it time to turn off the automatic-pilot?

Thinking back, I recall a Shabbos Drash a few years ago by Rav Chaim Zev Malinowitz, Shlita, just before Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av. In that Drash, R’ Malinowitz noted: that we’ve got to feel the void of being without, and feel the need for the Beit HaMikdash. He suggested that we say and internalize daily the Parsha of The Tamid Offering. He equated The Tamid Offering with Sh’ma Yisrael. And he equated the second paragraph of Aleinu with the “Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” — “May His great Name” of the Kaddish.

The Artscroll siddur (page 56 in Nusach Sefard edition) explains that:

“Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” has an enormous cosmic effect…. Halacha states… respond[ing] to Kaddish takes precedence over… respond[ing] to any other prayer, even Kedusha or Borchu. (Mishne Breurah 56:6)

The Talmud (Shabbos 19) teaches that one must respond “Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” with… his total concentration (Rashi, Tosafos).

And so, Rav Malinowitz connected the second paragraph of Aleinu: the “Al Kein N’kaveh L’cha” — which we learn was the prayer of Teshuvah uttered by Achan, who violated Hashem’s ban on taking spoils from Yericho [Holy to Hashem and pegged for Mishkan Treasury (The Living Nach, Early Prophets, pages 17-18)] to the “Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” of Kaddish. Just an additional note here: We learn that the first three letters of the paragraph “Al Kein N’kaveh” — Ayin Kaf [or Khaf] Nun — spell out Achan’s name.

He cited as an example; someone who acquired a property and enters the bank to apply for a loan to start up a business on the property. If the applicant has no formalized written business plan, only the spoken word with no facts and figures to back it up, he’s rejected out-of-hand. But with a formal business plan, architectural plans, etc, his loan request has a chance of being satisfied.

So it would seem that “Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” — “May His Great Name be blessed forever and ever” stands as the mission statement of the “business plan” of B’nei Yisrael, whereas the second paragraph of Aleinu: the “Al Kein N’kaveh L’cha”: “Therefore, we put our hope in You, Hashem…” is the nuts and bolts, the details, the achitectural drawings, etc. of making the “business plan” a reality, making it happen. The second paragraph of Aleinu, rather than being an overlooked, ignored or mumbled afterthought, seems the justification behind B’nei Yisrael’s pleas to Hashem to bring us the Ge’ula Shlaima and to restore our Beit Hamikdash and the actualization of our Mishkan, our Menorah and our daily offerings.

Rabbi Asher Baruch Wegbreit of Yeshivat Birkat HaTorah, in his sefer, “The Power of Aleinu”, based on The Abudraham, discusses the deep meanings of each posuk of Aleinu. I hold that this sefer belongs being among the s’forim on the shelves of EVERY Observant home and Orthodox Shul (even Chabad).

Rabbi Wegbreit wrote in the forward to his sefer (page 23):

I am not aware of any other single prayer that… enables you to fulfill a total of 30 mitzvot d’Oraisa (Torah Commandments). These mitzvot include two of the Ten Commandments, and all of them are fundamental components of our faith and existence as Jewish people. And since reward for the fulfillment of just a single Torah mitzvah is limitless, think what you can accomplish every time you recite aleinu in a proper manner.

It is clear that the general public is not aware of this…, as most of the time they breeze through these holy words while rushing out of shul.

R’ Wegbreit goes further noting on Aleinu’s 2nd paragraph (page 100):

If we’re preoccupied with our daily concerns, apathetic to Hashem restoring His Divine Presence, and we mindlessly mumble words asking for the Redemption without meaning it, we will witness a “mundane” Redemption — i.e., through political and technological developments. But if we pray for the Redemption as is mentioned in our daily prayers, including Aleinu, with great fervor on a persistent basis, and if we put our emotions into them and actually, sincerely “hope to Hashem,” we can trigger an extremely miraculous Redemption — full of stunning events that will be far beyond those that took place during Yetziyot Mitzrayim.

R’ Wegbreit then summarizes (page 101):

Given our unique relationship with Hashem and our vantage point in the world, we can use the powerful tool of hope to encourage Hashem to incline toward our prayers and redeem us in a spectacular fashion.

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Parshat Tetzaveh 5778: The Iron Crucible and Pure, Beaten Olive Oil

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Friday, February 16th, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Tetzaveh is dedicated Lilui Nishmas for the first Yahrtziet of My Father: Me’ir ben Shabtai who was niftar on 9 Adar 5777.

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

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

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
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Parshat Tetzaveh 5778: The Iron Crucible and Pure, Beaten Olive Oil

by Moshe Burt

Our Parshat Tetzaveh seems, in a way, an extension of Parshat Terumah where, l’chatchila (the way things oughta be), one’s intent should, must 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 oil for illumination and anointment 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. Our Parshat Tetzaveh is also the Parsha notable by the absence of any mention of Moshe (whose Yahrtzeit is on 5 Adar) a point discussed at length in previous years.

Shem Mishmuel (by R’ Shmuel Bornstein, z”l, the Sochaczever Rebbe, translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, Parshat Tetzaveh, pages 173-175) renders our Parsha’s opening posukim (Sefer Sh’mot, Perek 27, posukim 20-21):

“You shall command the B’nei Yisrael that they should bring to you pure olive oil, beaten for the lamp, to make an everlasting light burn in the Tent of Meeting…”

The Sapirstein Edition of the Chumash with Rashi Commentary renders translation of these posukim substituting the word “clear” for “pure” (Sefer Sh’mot, page 376). The Rashi commentary defines “clear” and notes:

Without sediments, i.e. “He leaves it to ripen at the top of the olive tree, etc.”

It is not enough that the oil not have sediments at the time it is used in the Menorah. It must be oil which never had sediments in it.

In the victorious battle of the Chashmonaim against the Greeks which we commemorate during Chanukah, it was the discovery of such a flask of oil, with the seal of the Kohen Godol, which miraculously burned for eight days.

Shem Mishmuel (ibid, pages 173-175) cites both Yirmiyahu (Perek 11, posuk 16) and Sh’mot Rabbah (Perek 36, posuk 1):

You shall command — “A verdant olive tree, beautiful with good fruit, Hashem called your name.”

Why are Yisrael named just after the olive tree, for are not all other types of trees pleasant and beautiful?

…With regard to the olive tree, while the olives are on the tree, they are picked and brought down from the tree. They are beaten, and once beaten, the are taken to the press and put into a crusher. Then they are crushed again and surrounded by ropes and pressed by huge stones. After all of this, they give forth their oil.

But it seems to me that there could be still another understanding of equating Yisrael with the olive tree and its end product: clear, pure olive oil in addition to that discussed in last year’s vort on Parshat Tetzaveh.

Could this understanding be a more modern-day equation of the “Koor Barzel”, the Iron Crucible of Mitzrayim (Sefer Devarim, Parshat Va’etchanan, Perek 4, posuk 20) — the Iron Crucible: American-style of the early twentieth century?

I’m referring to the era of mass Jewish immigration to the United States, often referred to by the masses of Eastern European Jews who sought refuge from pogroms and persecutions in America as “The Golden Medina.” Upon arrival though, they found that the streets were NOT paved in gold, and while they found life free from bodily harm and persecution, they suffered various forms of discrimination (i.e. compulsory work on Shabbos, quotas, etc) and thus limited availability of work — parnossa and sub-standard wages for those times.

So, what do I mean by the Iron Crucible: American-style, and how might the pure olive oil, beaten for the lamp apply to my Dad?

Jews resorted to push-carts selling all manner of wares in the streets. In the case of my Father’s family, my Grandfather, with my Dad and my sold fruits and vegetables via push-cart to earn a living. And my cousin Bob once related to me some things that his Dad told him about the Burts. The story goes that on the cold wintry days and nights, my Grandfather, my Dad and my Uncle would go house-to-house selling coal for furnaces of the time, with my Dad and uncle in their adolescence, faces grimy from the coal, shlepping heavy sacks of coal down to people’s basements. One such story has my Grandfather at someone’s door frost-bitten delivering coal. Eventually, the family was financially able to open a sizeable grocery store — they had gone in and out of the grocery business a few times before they opened a store “Powelton Food Market” in the early 1950s, as per some of the pictures I showed and spoke of at the Shloshim.

My Dad served in the Army Air Corp, the forerunner to the Air Force as a Gunnery Instructor as such bases as Tindle Field in Florida and in New Foundland where he met a fellow Jew who brought my parents together.

In speaking about my Dad, Me’ir HaKohen ben Shabtai, he came from humble, American-born son of immigrants’ origins and mores. He was always kind, humble, straight up honest in his dealings with others in life while never seeking, never chasing after honor – kavod, or self-aggrandizement. His focus was always on job — diligent work ethic, home and family — my Mother and myself, to the exclusion of almost everything outside of those realms.

One of the attributes of my Dad, of both my Parents which I hold that both the Iron Crucible and the pure, beaten olive oil applies can be found in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, as compiled by Rabbi Soloman Ganzfried, translated to English by Hyman E. Goldin LL.B.

From the early to mid-1950s, my parents owned a small grocery store in North Philadelphia. My Dad never failed to label every product in the store as to its price — lierally line-item pricing of every piece of merchandise in the store. And when he carved or sliced meat for customers’ orders, he was exacting in the accuracy of his weights.

In Volume 2, Chapter 62, “Concerning Commerce”, point 1 explains:

We must take extreme care not to deceive one and other. If anyone deceives his neighbor, whether a seller deceives a buyer, or a buyer deceives the seller, he transgresses a prohibitory law.

Chapter 62, point 1 then cites Sefer Devarim, Perek 25, posuk 14 (as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Chumash with commentary, page 699):

“When you make a sale to your fellow or make a purchase at the hand of your fellow, do not aggrieve one another.”

“When you make a sale to your fellow…” …the simple meaning that it is forbidden to cheat anyone in business…”

“Do not aggrieve one another.” This phrase refers to business conduct. Do not act unjustly to one another.

Chapter 62, point 1 in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch cited above concludes:

According to our Sages (citing Shabbos 31a), this is the first question that a mam is asked when brought before the Heavenly Court: “Hast thou been dealing honestly?”

In these days of Mekolets, large chain supermarkets in Israel with automation and bar codes, the frequency of unpriced products misplaced with the incorrect shelf bar codes is of such a degree as to seemingly institutionalize management deception of customers such as to trigger “sticker shock” at the register. These misplacements are brought to attention of store personnel repeatly, infinitum. This frequency seems such that management, not incompetent stock workers, institutionalize apparent deliberate misplacements.

In short, doesn’t it seem that mekolets and large chain supermarket managements institutionalize placing obstacles in the way of the blind, i.e. the customer?

No shenanigans of this sort would occur or be tolerated in my Father’s store.

In public; in the workplace, among his extended family: his parents, siblings, nephews and nieces, grandchildren, cousins — he was always jovial, jocular — always rhyming, i.e. “Yankele, Yankele, don’t you cry, you gonna be a Big Yankele bye and bye.” And you catch on pretty fast when he’d say, “I gotta see a man about a horse.” My Dad was a man of few words, not involving himself in verbal over-analysis of things, of crises or issues.

Although my Dad and my Mother spoke Yiddish when they didn’t want me to know what was being said, or when he would kibbitz with relatves, my Dad seemingly knew little of Observance. For my Bar Mitzvah, we needed transliteration for him for his recitation of the Brachot of his Aliyah b’Torah. Yet, he displayed the character traits, such as in business, which set a Jew as paradigm, before the world, of emulation of Hashem’s Ways.

At home, my Mother was the more verbal one, the more dominant one in family affairs; in the home or in dealing with extended family, family finances, dealing with my chinuch — nurturing, education, upbringing.

But at any family simcha where there was dancing, my Dad OWNED any dance floor that he danced upon. My Dad was graceful, the likes of a Fred Astaire, a Gene Kelly. From the Charleston, to the Jitterbug, to the Twist, to the Kazatzka — he did it all on a dance-floor and always joked and kidded with relatives.

My Dad was also very handy with his hands and was able to make repairs and innovate around the house.

And in his retirement years, as my parents lived in the condo that they had in Century Village, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, my Dad occupied himself both with helping neighbors organize their living quarters as well as being his building’s representative on the Condo’s residents’ committee.

And at my parents’ final residence: The Bridge Assisted Living facility in Lauderhill, Florida, before their respective passings, everyone was fond of my Dad, who always had kind words, jokes and sayings with everyone.

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

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Terumah 5778: The “Crown of a Good Name” and Sanctification of Our National and Private Lives

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parsha Terumah is being sponsored anonymously in honor of all of the Chesed done by the Bornstein family . To the anonymous sponsor and family, blessings and 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 Terumah 5778: The “Crown of a Good Name” and Sanctification of Our National and Private Lives

by Moshe Burt

The Shem Mishmuel (Translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, Parshat Terumah, pg. 169-172) cites R’ Shimon who said;

These are the three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of Kehunah and the crown of Malchut. But the crown of a good name is greater than them all.

There is an 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)

The above citing of the Ibn Ezra would seem to apply to Parshat Terumah as well, as the point of Terumah seemingly goes beyond the construction of the Mishkan and the Mizbeiyach and beyond the Mishkan’s treasury and into all facets of the mundane. And this author would seem to get some additional mileage from again citing (as in a previous vort on Parshat Va’eira) this classic scene from the Burt Reynolds movie of the late 1970s, “The End.” Reynolds, swimming far from land, and afraid for his life, cries out:

“I could never make it…Help me make it, Lord, Please…., I’ll give you 50% of everything I make, that’s 50% Lord, I wanna point out nobody gives 50%, I’m talkin’ gross, Lord….”

And as he manages to make it close to land, he says:

“I think I’m gonna make it. You won’t regret this, Lord…. I’m gonna start donatin’ that 10% right away. I know I said 50%, Lord, but 10% to start….”

In his Sefer “Majesty of Man”, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz writes on Parshat Terumah citing The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 231):

…Elevate our physical actions to a spiritual plane by focusing on these actions as a means to the ultimate goal of Torah and mitzvot….

We need not live “dual lives” — spiritual in performing our religious obligations and secular in fulfilling our mundane needs. If we purify our intentions and aim for our ultimate goal of serving Hashem in everything we do, we can infuse the physical world with holiness and harmonize our entire lives into one grand… praise to the Creator.

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.

This author can think of numerous other examples, here in Eretz Yisrael of righteous people giving as their heart motivates them.

At the outset of the Gaza War of the summer of 2014, there were numerous successful efforts to provide soldiers at the front with small pieces of equipment which were not issued them by the military but would be indispensible to their ability to perform on the battlefield. And there were large loving outpourings from many to see that the soldiers going into Gaza received pizza pies.

Who can forget how many of B’nei Yisrael opened their hearts and pockets last year after a murderous terror event to join with the Littman/Beigel families at the Simcha of the marriage of Sarah Techiya to Ariel Beigel.

This brief list does not come even remotely close to even scratching the surface of motivation of the heart. It’s what sets us apart from the nations.

In our Parsha, we begin learning about the construction and the contents of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).

Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, in his sefer, “Torah Gems,” renders to English Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 25, posuk 8 and provides a citing from Avot D’Rabbi Natan and two citings from R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk (“Torah Gems,” Volume Two, pages 171-172):

“And let them make Me a Sanctuary [Mikdash], that I may dwell among them.”

“Let them make” — great is work, for even The Holy One, blessed be He, did not have His Divine Presence abide among Israel until they had worked… (Avot D’Rabbi Natan)

It says “among them” and not “among it,” to teach… that each person must build the Mikdash in his own heart; then Hashem will dwell among them. (R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk)

R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk was once asked where Hashem is and he replied; “Whereever they let Him in.” “Let them make Me a Mikdash” — if a person is filled with love and fear of Hashem, then “I will dwell among them,” literally among them. (R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk as cited from “Nahalat Shiv’ah)

R’ Shimson Rafael Hirsch z”l renders translation followed by commentary in the new Hirsch Chumash on Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 22, posukim 21-23 (pages 470-473, Parshat Mishpatim) which seems symbolic of this spirit of sanctification of our national and private lives as well as dedication to fulfillment of His Commandments:

Posuk 21: “You shall not let any widow or orphan feel their dependent state.”

Posuk 22: “Woe [to you] if you, too, should let them feel their dependent state! For if they must cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.”

Posuk 23: “And then My anger will grow hot and I will let you die by the sword, and then your wives will become widows and your children orphans.”

Stand up for them and uphold their rights…

Woe unto you, if their only resort is to cry out to Me; for I will assuredly hear their cry; I will make the state and society pay dearly for it, if their weakest members must appeal to Me to find justice.

Does Hashem’s Will, as expressed in the above 3 posukim, not also extend to a moral obligation of one’s ratzon (desire, will) for the support, wellbeing and maintenance of health of divorced single parents and their children? And do these 3 posukim not extend to caring for special needs children as well as the physically and psychologically abused — be it a spouse, or be it physically and psychologically abused youth either domestically, educationally or in the streets?

And does Hashem’s Will not extend to the dereliction of moral obligation regarding alt-leftist-agendized, Israeli supreme court mandates, rather than draining and reforming the supreme court swamp, and Israeli government sanctioning of expulsions of our fellow Jews, first from Gush Katif twelve and a half years ago, and last year — for the second time — from Amona; to who knows where, at unJewish Yassamnikim blllyclub brutality and gunpoint? The latter eviction forced on the residents of Amona a full seven days early, in violation of the very court mandate. And what about those of the Am who went about their own lves, just like any other day, in both instances at the very moments that their brethren were being cruelly evicted?

Wouldn’t it seem to follow that all of us need to keep in mind the spiritual parallels and implications inherent in our actions, or lack thereof, intentions and how those intentions, ratzonot (desires, will) and actions impact collectively on the development of good and pure names and on the building of a Mikdash in each of our hearts?

And to repeat yet again, from Torah Gems citing of Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro, regarding the appointment of a judicial system, with consideration for and intellectualization of attaining the “crown of a good name”:

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

In short, ‘G’d-fearing men’ — men with ‘crowns of a good name’ are not defined by their kippot (size, material, design), by their attire (i.e. what color suit, shirt or hat they wear, or don’t wear) or what hashkafah they appear to keep outwardly. It would seem that man’s ‘good name’ and the building of each individual’s Mikdash in their heart would be deemed through man’s kavanah, ratzon (intent and will), as well as his actions.

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

Good Shabbos! 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 5778: Timely, Fair, Unbiased Hearing of Both Sides of Litigation to Gain Truth in Judicial Judgement

Filed under: News Reports on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

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

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

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

Best Regards,

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

Parshat Mishpatim 5778: Timely, Fair, Unbiased Hearing of Both Sides of Litigation to Gain Truth in Judicial Judgement

by Moshe Burt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The opening posuk of our Parshat reads:

“And these are the judgements that you shall place before them” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 21, posuk 1 as rendered to English in The Saperstein Edition – The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary, page 248)

Rashi provides these comments on the opening posuk of our Parshat and the Chumash provides footnote #3 citing Mechilta, Tzeidah LaDerech and Be’er Mayim Chaim (ibid. The Saperstein Edition – The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary, page 248):

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

Footnote #3: Mechilta [indicates] some editions (including the first printed edition) of Rashi read HaMikdash; others read HaMizbeiyach. Since Rashi’s question involved the juxtaposition of the posukim regarding the Altar and judicial cases, it is logical that his answer should speak of the Altar. According to Tzeidah LaDerech, the word HaMikdash is a copyest’s error; HaMizbeiyach is the correct version. However, Be’er Mayim Chaim states that Rashi could not have written HaMizbeiyach for that would have pinpointed the location of the Sanhedrin in an area of the Courtyard where non-Kohanim are not permitted entry. By writing HaMikdash, Rashi means “in the Temple environs,” an area that includes the total Courtyard, even those areas that non-Kohanim are permitted to enter.

Rebbetzin Shira Smiles, in her sefer “Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos (Parshat 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, biased and selective “rush to judgement”, and corruption-ridden police and “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 continues citing 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.

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 by the governing law enforcement and judicial systems toward those being governed, as Yithro the righteous Ger did.

And imagine building on that national kindness and unity with the rock-solid, unified, unequivocal 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 efforts, with help of a left-oriented police and judiciary, 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 political agendization of divide-and-conquer 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. That the government of Israel swears by such tactics by it’s law enforcement and judiciary validates how very far we are from achievement of the paradigm envisioned by Yithro in his advice and counsel to Moshe Rabbeinu.

Whether deciding personal injury, financial, property, military attack/defense protocols or orders litigation and more, a Torah system of Mishpat would preclude one-sided, baised politically agendized actions by law enforcement as well as in judicial judgement..

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

Good Shabbos and 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 Yithro 5778: The Wisdom Which Brought a Torah-Based Legal, Judicial System

Filed under: News Reports on Saturday, January 27th, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Yithro is being sponsored by R’ Kalman Menachem & Rebbetzin Doba Shapira and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for the Geula Shleima for kol Klal Yisrael. To the Shapira family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

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

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

Best Regards,

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

Parshat Yithro 5778: The Wisdom Which Brought a Torah-Based Legal, Judicial System

by Moshe Burt

We learn that when Yithro had heard all that Hashem had done for B’nai Yisrael, he left Midian with Tzippora and Moshe’s two sons and went to join with the Jews. Sefer Shemos, Perek 18, posuk 9 states “Vayichad Yithro” which Rashi renders as Yithro “rejoiced” at seeing B’nei Yisrael free of Mitzri bondage, at seeing K’riyat Yom Suf and at B’nei Yisrael’s victory over Amalek.

We note that Hashem named only four Parshiyot of Torah for biblical personalities: three of these personalities earned this merit either through their role at a crucial time in human or Jewish history — such as Noach before and during the Flood, or Pinchas, whose action regarding Zimri and Kozbi ended a plague of Jewish death and brought Hashem’s conveyance upon him the Kehuna and eternal life. And we know that Balak had a Parshat named for him and that B’nei Yisrael would always recall the evil perpetrated against them by his biblical axis of evil with Bila’am and how the temptation and seduction of the yeitzer hora jeopardized the Jewish nation — a battle in which Am Yisrael has yet to decisively and finally prevail.

Yithro, Moshe’s father-in-law merited a Parshat titled in his name by virtue of his contributions toward forming and solidifying B’nei Yisrael and bringing them closer to HaKadosh Borchu.

Yithro, by virtue of what could be understood to be his background in governance as a counsel to Pharaoh, was well positioned to provide counsel to Moshe regarding the formation of a Jewish legal and judicial system — a system which merited inclusion in Torah and which exists to this day as the ideal legal and judicial system within governance in a true Jewish,Torah-oriented sovereign nation, and which would again serve as the legal, justice system in days of the Moshiach and the Ge’ula Shleima.

Yithro counseled Moshe:

“‘The thing you do is not good.. You will surely weary — you as well as the people that is with you — because for this matter is heavier than you, you will not be able to do it alone. Now heed my voice, I shall advise you, and may Hashem be with you…’” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 18, posukim 17-19 as rendered to English in The Sapirstein Edition, The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary )

The Sapirstein Edition, The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary provides commentary on posuk 19:

(Mechilta) “May Hashem be with you” is not a blessing in the sense of “May He aid you and give you the strength to succeed.” ….Rather, Yithro says, I will advise you, but accept my advice only if Hashem agrees to it.” (Gur Aryeh) The Targumim and Ibn Ezra see Yithro’s statement here as a blessing.

Rav Zelig Pliskin writes in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (page 183):

Yithro saw that Moshe took total responsibility for helping the Jewish people in spiritual matters. He foresaw that Moshe would eventually wear himself out. Therefore he advised Moshe to delegate authority and by this means share the burden with others. People who devote their time to helping others need to learn from this. It is very easy for an idealistic person to suffer from burnout by accepting too great a burden upon himself. One must be aware of his limitations. If you are not careful and you overextend yourself, you are likely to wear yourself out. Not only will you suffer but all the people you could have helped if you had not burned yourself will suffer…

Torah relates (Sefer Shemot, Perek 18, posukim 21-22 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Chumash):

“And you shall discern from among the entire people, men of accomplishment, G’d-fearing people, men of truth, men who despise money, and you shall appoint them leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens. They shall judge people at all times, and they shall bring every major matter to you, and every minor matter they shall judge, and it will be eased for you, and they shall bear with you.”

The Artscroll Stone Chumash (page 399) provides additional commentary:

Yithro conceded that some of Moshe’s functions could be carried out only by him. Thus, Moshe would continue to be the intermediary between Hashem and Israel, bringing His prophecies to them [presumably the people] and their [presumably the peoples'] complaints and requests to Him. Also, Moshe would teach them the general laws of the Torah. However, for the adjudication of disputes, which would require application of the laws and the evaluation of evidence, Yithro suggested a system of delegated authority.

This concept of dividing responsibilities amongst qualified individuals with solid principles and integrity seems applicable as a lesson in delegation for those who would aspire to form a faith-based governance in contemporary medinat Yisrael.

So, here we are in 2018, 5778, under generations of an ever-increasingly leftist, socialist bureaucracy and agenda, socialist, man-made laws (i.e British Mandate law, etc.) entrenched in every facet of Israel’s governmental and bureaucratic systems. And, aside from equivocal governance regarding Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael and indecisiveness in war rather than outright defeat of Muslim enemies who would destroy and eradicate us, we are confronted with an entrenched, prejudiced law enforcement, legal and justice system.

There is still no leader strong enough, and with backing of a sufficient infrastructure based on solid Jewish principles, integrity and dedication, to go to elections, win and form a duly elected government to take down and eradicate this old engrained socialist, leftist, dictatorial mess — Israel’s version of the “Deep State Swamp”, and build toward a real Torah governance and Torah-mandated legal, justice system. There is no leadership anywhere in the offing, derech hateva, to bring about a fair and just law enforcement, legal and judicial system based on kindness for the merciful and cruelty toward the cruel and murderous, instead of the other way around.

And although a particular candidate may himself possess the above desirable attributes for faith-based national leadership and governance, a sign as to why he is continually stifled in campaigns for leadership could well be that the masses of the governed, of Am Yisrael remain dumbed-down and blinded to the truth by an elitist leftist intelligencia, academia, media and are as yet not sufficiently erudite and, thus not prepared for such faith-based governance. In that case, it would seem that all sectors of observant Jewry in Eretz Yisrael MUST get on the same page in order not to continue to fall victim of the dominance of secular, equivocal, anti-Torah, disdainful and Jewish self-loathing governance.

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

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Beshalach 5778: “To”, or “About” B’nei Yisrael; One or Two Crossings of the Reed Sea? And Today?

Filed under: News Reports on Saturday, January 20th, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

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

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

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

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
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Parshat Beshalach 5778: “To”, or “About” B’nei Yisrael; One or Two Crossings of the Reed Sea? And Today?

by Moshe Burt

A shiur a number of years ago by Rav Aba Wagensberg on our Parshat Beshalach continues to intrigue this author. At that time, R’ Wagensberg rendered a translation of Sefer Shemot, Perek 14, posuk 3 which differs from the rendering in most Chumashim. More recently, R’ Wagensberg again discussed these renderings in a written vort on our Parshat.

Below are both the Chumash rendering and the rendering by Rav Wagensberg based on Yonasan ben Uziel and others:

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

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

Notice the difference in the renderings and the transliteration of the Hebrew and vowels of the Chumash (below):

“V’ahmar Pharaoh L’B’nei Yisrael…”

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

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

The point being: “And Pharaoh will say [about] L’B’nei Yisrael…”, or “And Pharaoh said to B’nei Yisrael”?

R’ Wagensberg writes on the latter rendering and provides commentary citing Yonasan ben Uziel and other commentaries regarding Pharaoh’s words, to whom they were spoken in the run-up to the Kriyat Yam Suf [the parting of the Reed Sea], and what happened after:

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

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

However, when Dasan and Aviram heard about Kriyas Yam Suf, they had a change of heart and wanted to join their Jewish brethren….. So, Dasan and Aviram went to the very place that the Jews were standing prior to Kriyas Yam Suf. They too wanted to cross. Suddenly, the most incredible thing happened. There was a second Kriyas Yam Suf for Dasan and Aviram! (Sefer Beis Avraham Beis Aharon, citing the Ruach Chadashah on the Haggadah Shel Pesach, found in the Pesach Machzor “Beis Yisrael”, under “Nissei Hayam”, #19, citing a Midrash that we do not have in print today).

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

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

The Shvilei Pinchas says that this explains why the Torah “repeated” the miracle of Kriyas Yam Suf a second time. Actually, the verse did not repeat anything. The first mention of the miracle refers to the first splitting of the sea, whereas the second mentioning of the miracle refers to the second splitting of the sea. This is not a repetition; it is a continuation of the story.

Thus we have two crossings:

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

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

R’ Wagensberg concludes:

This also explains why the first reference of the miracle mentions the water before the dry land. It is because the first verse is talking about the Jewish People who trusted in God and jumped into the Yam Suf before it split, while it was still water. Only afterwards did it become dry land. However, the second reference of the miracle mentions the dry land before the water because the second verse is talking about Dasan and Aviram who did not trust in Hashem. They would never jump into an ocean. Only after they saw that the sea turned into dry land for the Jews, were they willing to enter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, as more and more Jews undertake a mission in Emunah in Hashem and fulfill a goal of living as Jews in Eretz Yisrael, many more Jews choose to remain in Chutz L’Aretz, particularly in the United States. Many of those staying put in the US, although Observant, shy away from making Aliyah for parnossa and other fears.

And many others have melted and assimilated into society such that their connection with Judaism is marginal, if any connection exists at all. They’ve intermarried with non-Jews. They, or their next generation are both so distant from Judaism as to be lost and disparaging of Judaism and Israel by way of such as “J-Street”, campus bullying, same gender, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement , Antifa, etc.

If Hashem found a virtuous quality in Dasan and Aviram, as understood from the above p’shat, justifying their joining the rest of B’nei Yisrael in Bamidbar, how will things play out for the Jews of our generations who remain in Chutz L’Aretz?

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

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Bo 5778: The Fallacy of Faultfinders

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, January 13th, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

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

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

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

Best Regards,

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

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Parshat Bo 5778: The Fallacy of Faultfinders

by Moshe Burt

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

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

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

But this year, this author touches on a different aspect of the Yetziyot Mitzriyim — the Jews’ liberation from the Egyptian slavery and oppression, the tendency to nitpick at those with whom one, or a group disagree.

Torah records Moshe’s words to Pharaoh regarding the Plague of the Newborn (Mako HaBechorot):

“Moshe said, ‘So said Hashem, At about midnight I shall go out in the midst of Egypt. Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die…’” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 11, posukim 4-5, as rendered to English both in the Artscroll Stone Chumash and in Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Sefer “Growth Through Torah”, pages 162-163)

The Artscroll Stone Chumash provides a Rashi on Sefer Shemot, Perek 11, posuk 4 explaining Moshe’s words to Pharaoh “At about midnight” in this way:

Moshe did not say that the plague would occur exactly at midnight, because Pharaoh’s astrologers might miscalculate the time and think that the moment of the plague was somewhat before or after midnight. If so, they would claim that Moshe was a charlatan for predicting the wrong time.

R’ Bachya adds that since the third plague [the plague of lice], when the magicians were forced to admit that Hashem was at work in Egypt, their belief in Moshe’s veracity had been reinforced as the plagues progressed. Now, if Moshe were to “err” in predicting the exact time of the last plague, the Egyptian wise men would retroactively lose faith in Moshe.

The above Midrashic comment gives an insight into a less than savory aspect of human nature. Even though the firstborn were dying around them, the astrologers would snatch at a straw to discredit Moshe.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s adds in his Sefer “Growth Through Torah”, page 163):

There are people who take pleasure in finding fault with others. They are experts in finding inconsistencies in what people say and do. It is impossible to meet their standards….. Faultfinders use strong language to condemn and belittle their victims. The do this either because they are [or perceive themselves as] perfectionists or as a means of gaining power…. If a person does something that is basically right and proper, acknowledge this even if you do point out errors that still remain. Realize there is always the possibility that you are making a mistake.

The fallacy of faultfinding is that often the individual projects his own shortcomings onto another, particularly in atmospheres of polarization, where there is, or seems to be, no ability by parties for peaceable dialogue.

We, in Israel, observe this atmosphere of fractional, divisive, often picayune faultfinding prevalent in the United States where the two major parties hate and disrespect each other and where one political party and parts of another look to disrespect, discredit and seek to rid themselves of the current sitting President by any and all means, no matter how low and dishonest, i.e. “He gets two scoops of ice cream while everyone else gets one,” “The First Lady wore high heels when the President came to hurricane-devastated Texas,” fake dossiers paid for by one party against the President in order to justify wiretap, etc., etc. because certain groups of politicians and media types can’t own-up to their loss and move on for the greater good.

We Jews need to learn and internalize the lessons and minimize, if not eradicate polarizing divisiveness among ourselves — B’nei Yisrael and in our political, bureaucratic, military, academic and media spheres as well as divisiveness among the observant sectors.

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

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Va’era 5778: Do We Evoke Sufficient Spirit, Faith in and Emulation of Hashem to Justify Us?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, January 6th, 2018 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua — Parshat Va’era is being sponsored by Binyamin and Tracy Skriloff of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for Refuah Shleima for Binyamin’s Mother Chana Bat Sarah. To Mishpochat Skriloff, 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
**********************************************

Parshat Va’era 5778: Do We Evoke Sufficient Spirit, Faith in and Emulation of Hashem to Justify Us?

by Moshe Burt

This author generally writes these vorts weeks in advance of the Shabbos Torah leyning. So as this Parshat HaShevua for Va’era is being composed, we watched as President Trump’s spoke this night, 19 Kislev (Yud Tess Kislev: Chassidic New Year held by Chabad) expressing United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and ordered long-awaited expedition of the US Congress-mandated move of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Near the end of Parshat Shemot, we learn that Moshe and Aaron gathered the Elders of B’nei Yisrael:

“Aaron spoke all the words that Hashem had spoken to Moshe; and [Moshe] performed the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed, and they heard that Hashem had remembered the B’nei Yisrael and that He saw their affliction, and they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 4, posukim 30-31 as rendered to English in The Sapirstein Edition Chumash with Rashi)

“The Midrash Says”, by Rabbi Moshe Weissman (page 45) notes:

Moshe demonstrated the signs which he had been given to establish the veracity of his mission, but the B’nei Yisrael believed in him even before being shown. As soon as he uttered the words “pakod pakad’ti”, they accepted Moshe since Serach, daughter of Asher, was still alive and affirmed that these words could only be uttered by the true savior according to the tradition she had received from the house of Yaakov.

However, after Moshe and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh asking that the B’nei Yisrael be permitted to “celebrate for Me [Hashem] in the wilderness” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posuk 1 as rendered to English in The Sapirstein Edition Chumash with Rashi):

“Pharaoh replied, ‘Who is Hashem that I heed His voice to send out Israel? I do not know Hashem, nor will I send out Israel!” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posuk 2 as rendered to English in The Sapirstein Edition Chumash with Rashi)

Pharaoh then ordered his taskmasters to withhold the straw necessary for the Jews to make bricks, that the Jews must gather their own straw while the daily quotas of bricks remained the same. Pharaoh demanded:

“Let the work weigh heavier upon the men and let them engage in it…” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posuk 9 as rendered to English in The Sapirstein Edition Chumash with Rashi)

Under the increased burdens of their oppression:

“They [the men of Israel] encountered Moshe and Aaron standing opposite them, as they left Pharaoh’s presence. They said to them, may Hashem look upon you and judge, for you have made our very scent abhorrent in the eyes of Pharaoh and the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hands to murder us.” (Sefer Shemot, Perek 5, posukim 20-21 as rendered to English in The Sapirstein Edition Chumash with Rashi)

Moshe then spoke to Hashem bemoaning the harm and increased oppression that Pharaoh had inflicted upon B’nei Yisrael resulting from Moshe’s speaking in Hashem’s name.

Our Parsha begins with the dialogue which Moshe Rebbeinu has with Hashem prior to again speaking to the B’nai Yisrael. And so, after Hashem rebukes Moshe for his complaint and reassures him that redemption is at hand, Moshe again addresses the B’nai Yisrael as to his meeting with Pharoah;

“And Moshe spoke so [Hashem’s promise of imminent Redemption] to the B’nai Yisrael and they did not listen to Moshe for anguish of spirit and hard work.” (Sefer Shemos, Perek 6, posuk 9)

Rabbi Artscroll cites two interpretations;

One was held by “most commentators that the verse explains that their negative attitude was due not to lack of faith, but to the difficult physical and emotional circumstances under which they labored.” (Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer Shemos, Perek 6, pusuk 9, page 320)

The second interpretation was held by Sforno that Moshe’s message did not evoke in the people a faith in Hashem as Avraham had as expressed in Breish’t Perek 15, posuk 6;

“And he trusted in Hashem, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

The Artscroll Stone Chumash commentary on Sefer Shemos, Perek 6, posuk 9, page 321 therefore states;

As a result, they lost the privilege of going to the Promised Land and their children were the ones for whom the promise … was fulfilled. The reason for their failure was their insufficiency of spirit. The posuk concludes, however, that had it not been for the hard work, they would have overcome their impatience and heeded Moshe’s appeal.

These interpretations are amplified with recollection of a vort from Shem Mishmuel who speaks about the disconnection between intellect and vocalization, and the heart and neshama which took place during the enslavement in Egypt (Shem Mishmuel pages 224-225).

According to the understanding of the cited vort:

Only once the B’nai Yisrael were redeemed, could the circuit; the connection between thought and it’s vocalization and the heart and neshama be completed and the B’nai Yisrael then be able to vocalize it’s deepest, heartfelt words and faith.

This author connects this whole process with a perception regarding President Trump’s expression of American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and finally starting the ball rolling toward the Embassy move.

It’s nice to get reinforcement of truth and reality from a friend, but does America’s recognition make us or break us? This author thinks NOT!

What makes or breaks Am Yisrael today is; do we collectively, among all sectors, evoke sufficient faith in and emulation of Hashem to justify us? Do we collectively, among all sectors, act in ways which project to the world a principled, nation which cleaves to and emulates the ways of Hashem, follows Torah and loves and possesses Our Land with every fiber of our being? Are we seen as truly a light unto the nations? Or are we seen as projecting through the various media an insufficiency of spirit which runs counter to Hashem’s ways at various levels, including governance, i.e. lacking even a kippah when in public, eating treyf (non-kosher food), gender abuse and same genderism, or repairing railway infrastructure, doing business or transporting a public on Shabbos, regarding Eretz Yisrael as nothing more than just another piece of real estate like the rest of the world, and more?

In order to be forged into a nation epitomizing emulation of the ways Hashem, the Creator of all, B’nei Yisrael had to have suffered and endured the subserviance of Egypt. In Sefer Devarim, Moshe, during his mussar to B’nei Yisrael, speaks of Hashem freeing Am Yisrael from the “Koor Barzel” (the Iron Crucible of Mitzrayim) (Sefer Devarim, Parshat Va’etchanan, Perek 4, posuk 20) — the slavery, the suffering and the oppression.

And so, the plagues were not only lost opportunities for Mitzri teshuvah, but also had the purpose of forging among B’nei Yisrael, by their witness, rock-solid belief in Hashem, as well as a spirituality and morality based in the ways of Hashem and to serve as a paradigm of both these ways and as light of Hashem unto the nations.

May we see the fulfillment of Am Yisrael: spiritually, morally and as Hashem’s light to the nations — in our days.

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

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Sh’mot 5778: What is, or Should be in a Name?

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, December 30th, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

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

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

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

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
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Parshat Sh’mot 5778: What is, or Should be in a Name?

by Moshe Burt

In previous vorts on Parshat Sh’mos, this author has discussed the various historical accounts, and queries regarding possible historical time periods during which the evolution of Jewish enslavement in Mitzrayim occurred; whether a foreign nation which had conquered Egypt and installed its Pharaoh over Egypt, or whether the Pharaoh of Yosef’s time was overthrown by his own advisors and developed convenient politically expedient amnesia regarding Yosef and the Jews in order to return to power, or whether the Pharaoh who subjugated the Jews was a new indigenous Pharaoh.

Also discussed were perils of assimilation for the Jews, such as the enslavement in Mitzrayim, throughout our history and particularly in our generations, and how the Levi’im remained in Goshen, mostly separated from the rest of Am Yisrael, learning Torah.

R’ Weissman writes (“The Midrash Says” on Sefer Sh’mot, page 6) citing Rambam:

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

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

And Rabbi Zelig Pliskin (“Growth Through Torah”, Parshat Sh’mot, pages 138-140) cites comments from Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz:

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

In other words, as this author understands, as long as the Jews held themselves apart from, rather than seeking to blend into Mitzri society, as long as they held to the principles and ideals of the Avos and maintained their self respect, the Egyptians considered them worthy of respect. And to again emphasize the final comment of this R’ Shmuelevitz citing:

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

It is on this note that this vort will discuss the essence and importance of names in Mitzrayim, through history and now and the role of names as a determinant either of the merit and uniqueness of the Jews, or the tendency to blend or assimilate into whatever nation, society which they would reside at any given point of history.

Parshat Sh’mot opens with Torah relating:

“… These are the names of the B’nei Yisrael who came to Egypt; with Yaakov, each man and his household came.” (rendered to English in “The Sapirstein Edition: The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary”, Sefer Sh’mot, Perek 1, posuk 1)

Now, let’s return to Torah’s relating of day six of Creation along with commentary citing Sforno and Mincha Belulah:

“Hashem said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures, each according to its kind: cattle and creeping things, and the beasts of the land each according to its kind.’ And it was so. Hashem made the beast of the earth according to its kind, and the cattle according to its kind, and every creeping being of the ground according to its kind. And Hashem saw that it was good.” (rendered to English in “The Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posukim 24-25)

According to its kind. The singular form implies that Hashem endowed each of the species with whatever senses and faculties it required to thrive (Sforno), and endowed each with its own peculiar nature and instincts (Mincha Belulah). (Commentary, ibid, Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posukim 24-25)

As this author understands, Adam then named each specie for its ways, faculties, instincts — its characteristics, its essence.

Rebbetzin Shira Smiles, in a shiur given on our Parsha in January, 2017/5777, explains, as summarized for email:

Rabbi Eisenberger writes in Mesillot Bilvovom, there must be some connection between the names they went down with and the redemption, explaining on one level why our Sages say that one of the main reasons we were redeemed from Egypt was because we did not change our names. Maintaining our Hebrew names, then, contributed to our maintaining our Jewish identity when we are living among other nations. Similarly, these names must also somehow be harbingers of redemption. It behooves us, therefore, to examine the significance of names.

Rav [Gedaliah] Shorr in Ohr Gedalyahu reminds us that the name reflects the essence of a being and the purpose of his existence. From the very beginning of creation, Adam named each creature based on its salient characteristic. (Indeed, God named Adam himself based on his source, adamah/earth, and Adam is to be a footstool, …the foundation for Hashem’s presence on earth. – R. Hirsch) The name helps us understand its essence, its potential, and its basic function. Understanding the name of a person or a thing helps us focus on the purpose.

What was it that Hashem loved Avram so much that He named him Avraham? He found Avraham faithful to his name. One must be loyal to the attributes inherent in the name you are given. In fact, giving the name at a bris or at a girl’s baby naming at the Torah reading reveals those hidden attributes of the child that the parents hope he will develop, whether named for a loved one or for a specific attribute.

When Pharaoh summons the midwives whom our tradition identifies as Yocheved and Miriam, the names they are called are Shifrah and Puah. Rabbi Shmuel Brazile explains that these were names Pharaoh gave them, hoping to erase their identifying with the Jewish babies. Then the babies would be no more than numbers, and the midwives would have no qualms in killing them.

Names, thus, have two interconnected components writes Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter in Dorash Dovid. The first is the definition of the name, while the second is the mental, psychological and emotional intention of the parents when they gave the child this name for, just as a child inherits physical attributes from his parents, so too does he inherit these other attributes from his parents. A person is influenced by both of these meanings in developing the attributes of his name.

One’s name is a gift, continues Rabbi Hofstedter. It includes both a legacy and a mindset. Our Matriarchs articulated the reasons they gave their children their particular names. These names were a sacred legacy in the land of Israel, and included the essence of each individual. By renaming these souls when they descended to Egypt, they invested themselves with the ability to retain their innate holy essence even as they had to adapt to the immoral society of Egypt, Rabbi Gifter tells us. This ability to adapt and actualize our innate holy potential wherever we find ourselves exists in each one of us whatever challenges we face and wherever we are. When the Torah then records that Yoseph was in Egypt, adds Rabbi Weinberger, it is telling us that Yoseph retained the holy essence of his name the whole time he was in Egypt, just as his brothers would do when they descended to Egypt.

Rabbi Yoseph Eisenberger goes into an in depth discussion on the significance of names. He notes that names not only include the essence but also imply permanence. Therefore, the angel Yaakov fought could not give his name because his mission changed daily. On the other hand, when Moshe asked Hashem what Name he should tell Bnei Yisrael, Hashem readily told him a permanent name: I will be that which I will be — that which I am now supporting you through the challenge of Egypt, so will I be with you through every challenge and diaspora in your future history. Hashem’s message to Bnei Yisrael through Moshe was that the relationship between Hashem and Bnei Yisrael was permanent; Hashem would never abandon His people.

The gift of a name applies not only to how and why individuals are named, but it applies to how a people, a nation receives it’s name. The Hebrew language — Iv’rit comes from the root word; Iv’ri: from the other side — a nation separate, different, apart from the other nations.

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

Our Sages stated: Our father Yaakov never died. It appears that the answer to this seeming contradiction is that Yaakov did not die, because he left descendants after him who were like him, with Yosef like his father.

Yosef, though, only attained the level of “Yaakov,” and not the level of “Yisrael.” Thus we are told, “The time approached for Yisrael to die…” — only Yisrael — not Yaakov — died.

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

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

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

So it seems that, as Observant Jews, we name our offspring for our loved ones who have passed, to honor and memorialize them, but also we hope that the stories, the memories of the namesakes imparted unto our offspring will inspire them to reach new heights in their Yiddishkeit, in their closeness to HaKadosh Borchu.

In the same way, the nation of Israel under a Torah-true leadership would strive to fulfill her essence — the essence of the name Yisrael — prevailing, superior; “considered important and worthy of respect [self-respect and self-esteem] by themselves.”

To emphasize again the final comment of the citing of R’ Shmuelevitz:

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

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

Good Shabbos!
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Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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Parshat Vayechi 5778: The Burial of Yaakov/Yisrael — Paradigm for the Jews’ Future Life and Burial in, and Connection With Eretz Yisrael

Filed under: Commentary & Human Interest on Saturday, December 23rd, 2017 by moshe | Comments Off


Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Vayechi is being sponsored by Dr. Pinchas and Penina Klahr and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of their son Shmuel Zanvil Tzvi’s Bar Mitzvah. To the Klahr family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

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

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

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
olehchadash@yahoo.com
skype: mark.burt3
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Parshat Vayechi 5778: The Burial of Yaakov/Yisrael — Paradigm for the Jews’ Future Life and Burial in, and Connection With Eretz Yisrael

By Moshe Burt

“The Sapirstein Edition: The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary” renders the opening posukim of our Parshat Vayechi:

“Yaakov lived in the land of Mitzrayim seventeen years; and the days of Yaakov — the years of his life — were one hundred and forty-seven years. The time approached for Yisrael to die, so he called for his son, for Yosef, and said to him, Please — if I have found favor in your eyes, …do this kindness and truth with me — please don’t bury me in Mitzrayim.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posukim 28-29 — Parshat Vayechi)

Commentary in the Artscroll Stone Chumash provides a possible explanation (pages 268-269):

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

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

Rav Alex Israel who lives in the town of Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion and teaches at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi and at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies cites in his vort on Parshat Vayechi a story reflective of
Yaakov’s insistence on being buried in Eretz Yisrael:

“A story about Rabbi Barkirya and R.Elazar who were walking in the district of Tiberias. The observed the arrival of a coffin from outside Israel which had been transported for burial within Eretz Yisrael. R. Barkirya commented: What does it help if one dies in Chutz La’aretz to be buried in Eretz Yisrael? About this phenomenon, I apply the verse (Jeremiah 2:7) “They have made my land an abomination.” – in their lifetime, “And they come and defile my land” – in their state of death. R. Elazar replied: Once they are buried in Eretz Yisrael, God forgives them; as it states (Devarim 32:42): “And his land will atone for his people.”” (Bereshit Rabba 96:5)

Rav Israel, in the same vort, then questions:

Is a person who lives outside Israel and then comes to be buried there rejecting the land twice? – by refusing to live there, and then bringing the impurity of the dead within its borders. That is R. Barkirya’s view.

R’ Elazar sees great advantage in burial in Eretz Yisrael irrespective of one’s life outside that land.

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

Rav Israel, in the above vort, cites R’ Hirsch in the same vort regarding the destiny of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael:

“Jacob who had lived seventeen years with his family in Egypt, could have noticed what a powerful influence the “being gripped by the land” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posuk 27) was beginning to have on his descendants; How they already began to see the Jordan in the Nile, and to find in their stay in Egypt no Galut (exile). Sufficient motive [was] this, for him [Yaakov/Yisrael] to press with such ceremonious solemnity that they should not bury him in Egypt, but that they should carry him to the land of their old true homeland. Motive enough for him to say to them: You hope and wish to live in Egypt. I do not wish even to be buried there. This is also why he did not express this wish as Jacob, from his individual personal standpoint, but as “Israel” as bearer of the national mission, as a warning of the national future of his children.” (Hirsch on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posuk 29)

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

Yaakov’s requirement of burial only in Eretz Yisrael provides a crucial lesson for our time, for Israel’s politicians and national leaders, as well as for our brethren in Chutz L’Aretz who sojourn but yet believe themselves to be living — to be at home, in venues outside of Eretz Yisrael, as to the importance to Am Yisrael of every meter of Our Land.

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

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