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Weekly Internet Parsha Sheet
Beshalach 5770 .
Mazal Tov to Jodi and Zev Stender on the birth of a son. Mazal Tov to the It is related that a great rabbi was once walking with Rav Avraham proud grandparents Barbara & Mickey Wohl. Yitzchak Kook, the Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel, and in the heat of a
complicated Talmudic discussion this rabbi absentmindedly and
inadvertently picked a leaf off of a nearby branch of a tree. Rav Kook Jerusalem Post :: Friday, January 29, 2010
turned to him and said sadly: ―Did it really disturb you that this leaf would TU BSHVAT – THE “GREEN” HOLIDAY :: Rabbi Berel Wein
be able to live months longer?‖
This Shabat is a doubly memorable one. Aside from the holiness of the Reverence for life, all forms of life on our wondrous earth is a keystone of Shabat day itself the date also is Tu Bshvat, the fifteenth day of Shvat, and Jewish attitude and thought. So, on Tu Bshvat we should appreciate the the Shabat is called Shabat Shira – the Shabat of song, for in the Torah deep values that lie behind the delicious fruit that we eat. It is our ―Green‖ reading we hear the song of Moshe and Israel at the Red Sea after holiday – our reminder that we are the custodian and responsible guardian Pharaoh‘s destruction and the Haftorah is the lyrical song of the prophetess of God‘s gifts of nature that have been granted to us.
Deborah in celebration of the defeat of the Canaanite tyrant king and Shabat shalom.
Tu Bshvat is mentioned in the Mishna as being the Rosh Hashana - the new year for fruits and nature. As in all aspects of Judaism and Jewish life Weekly Parsha :: BSHALACH :: Rabbi Berel Wein there are halachic consequences to this day but that is not the subject of this article. The people of Israel had a charmed existence in their life in the desert. Tu Bshvat reminds us of our connection to our land and its soil and its Unlike us, their descendants, they did not face economic downturns or long produce. It also points out the deep connection that the Torah teaches us lines waiting at the supermarket checkout counter. Their food was exists between the natural world, its ecology and preservation and the delivered to them daily (for the righteous at their doorstep) and a magical Jewish people particularly and humankind generally. We were placed by well of Miriam sustained their needs for water without bills and taxes and God on this world to work it and guard it, to use its resources for our surcharges. benefit but at the same time to safeguard it from ruthless exploitation and The great clouds of honor protected them from heat and the sun and their man made destructive forces. clothing was miraculously laundered and cleaned for them. It was the One of the prohibitions of the Torah is not to destroy trees, food, produce idyllic life. But apparently it wasn‘t. The rest of the Torah, including this and the planet generally, needlessly and heedlessly. The fruits of the Land week‘s parsha, is replete with repeated complaints about the food, the of Israel have a holiness attached to them. When we partake of them on Tu water, about everything, about life itself. Bshvat we reaffirm our commitment to the preservation of that holiness Their memories of Egypt become fonder and fonder and their ingratitude and our continuing obligations to create a blessed planet for those who will towards Moshe and God reaches startling proportions. Moshe, the come after us. redeemer of Israel and their unquestionably revered leader, is heard to say As civilization progressed and technology opened new vistas for the to God in this week‘s parsha that he feels his life endangered by the exploitation of our planet‘s natural resources, the ecological health of the murmurings of dissatisfaction of the people against God and him. ―Soon planet seemingly declined. From the disappearing rain forest to the threat they will stone me,‖ he states. of global warming and melting icecaps, our planet has itself become an What happened to their belief in ―God and in Moshe, His servant?‖ How endangered species. So-called ―Green‖ political parties have therefore did it occur that they could complain about the marvelous situation of arisen all over the Western world in an attempt to restore the correct security and freedom in which they now found themselves? How can they equilibrium to nature‘s benefit. proclaim that they want to return to Egypt, the country of their oppression But as is also usual in most cases, political action, legislation and and persecution? These questions are very disturbing ones and all of the community activism alone are not enough to accomplish the goal set by great Jewish commentators to the Torah have attempted to deal with them. that particular political party. It requires the winning of human hearts and Though each of the commentators offers a differently nuanced answer to minds to the cause that alone can reverse what appear to be impending these questions there is a common thread that runs through all of their difficulties and potential natural disasters. It is a matter of education and words and ideas. And that is that human beings are basically dissatisfied commitment, tenacity and sophistication that is required to win this long creatures. The rabbis taught us that he who has one hundred (million, range struggle. billion, trillion?) always wishes for two hundred! And Judaism and Jewish values have an important role to play in this The rabbis, therefore, defined wealth in terms of personal satisfaction and situation. Jews are the experts in long term education, commitment, gratitude and they ruefully remarked that there are rather few wealthy tenacity and sophistication. It is the secret of our survival over these many people present in our world. ―Most of the world is poor,‖ they declaimed long millennia. Viewing Tu Bshvat as part of this educational project gives and they were not speaking of material artificially and statically arrived at the enterprise a holy tone and an historical backdrop. poverty lines. In fact, the largesse and ease poured unto our ancestors as It will help guarantee that later generations will also be able to eat new they left Egypt was meant to teach them that no amount of material well delicious fruits grown from the carefully nurtured soil of the Land of Israel. being would ever be enough for them. ―Green‖ is not and should not be a secular enterprise solely. Torah ideas There had to be another dimension that had to enter their lives and beings. and Jewish values have much to say about it as well. And that was an intangible one of spirit and holy purpose, of Godly In the long exile of the Jewish people from their homeland, Tu Bshvat was behavior and gratitude for life itself. It was represented by the Torah that always a warm reminder of what once was and what would yet be once they would receive and accept at Mount Sinai fifty days after their more. Jews ate dried and hard carob fruit and thought about Jerusalem and liberation from Egyptian slavery. a better world for all. For fifty days their ingratitude would be forgivable for they had no other Unable to own land they nevertheless appreciated the sanctity and blessing insight into life except the always unsatisfactory material one. After of the earth and its bounty. They were careful not to destroy plant life, not receiving the Torah at Sinai they would now be held to a higher standard to wantonly uproot trees, not to waste the value of nature‘s gifts to humans. of appreciation and thankfulness. And these attitudes were codified into Jewish law and enshrined in Jewish That has been the secret of Jewish resilience and survival throughout many practice. a very bleak physical time. It remains valid and true for our current time as
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Shabat shalom. Moses wasn‘t just complaining about the problems he was having now
with Pharaoh. He was saying that ―from the time‖ — from its very
beginning — the whole plan to take the Jews out of Egypt was fatally flawed. He was saying to G-d that he didn‘t see any order in what was Ohr Somayach :: Torah Weekly :: Parshat Beshalach going on. For the week ending 30 January 2010 / 14 Shevat 5770 When you look at life‘s rich tapestry from the wrong side it looks like a by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair - www.seasonsofthemoon.com complete mess. Moses didn‘t see the Divine needlework of the Creator. He Overview was looking at events from the wrong perspective. However the same word Pharaoh finally sends Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt. With pillars of cloud and that Moses used to complain to G-d, he repeated in G-d‘s praise when he fire, G-d leads them toward Eretz Yisrael on a circuitous route, avoiding saw the perfection of the Divine Plan. The Midrash says that just as Moses the Pelishtim (Philistines). Pharaoh regrets the loss of so many slaves and erred with the expression ―me‘az‖ — ―from the time‖ — so too with that chases the Jews with his army. The Jews are very afraid as the Egyptians same word, ―az‖, Moses rectified his mistake. draw close, but G-d protects them. Moshe raises his staff and G-d splits the After the Jewish People emerged from the splitting of the sea, they saw the sea, enabling the Jews to cross safely. Pharaoh, his heart hardened by G-d, mighty Egyptian army strewn across the beach like so many broken toy commands his army to pursue, whereupon the waters crash down upon the soldiers. It was there that every Jew, from the greatest to the most humble, Egyptian army. Moshe and Miriam lead the men and women, respectively, reached a level of insight into the workings of the world that has never in a song of thanks. After three days' travel only to find bitter waters at been repeated. Marah, the people complain. Moshe miraculously produces potable water. This perception moved Moses and the children of Israel to song. Song in In Marah they receive certain mitzvot. The people complain that they ate Jewish thought represents the ability to harmonize all the disparate events better food in Egypt. G-d sends quail for meat and provides manna, a in our world and plug them back into the One. G-d is One. miraculous bread that falls from the sky every day except Shabbat. On ―Then — ―az‖ — Moses and the children sang a song.‖ Friday a double portion descends to supply the Shabbat needs. No one is That song is part of the prayers we say every single day of the year. Maybe able to obtain more than his daily portion, but manna collected on Friday one of the reasons we say it every day is to remind ourselves that when life suffices for two days so the Jews can rest on Shabbat. Some manna is set seems like a bad attempt at modern art, we must know that there is a aside as a memorial for future generations. When the Jews again complain Supernal Artist weaving life's rich tapestry. about a lack of water, Moshe miraculously produces water from a rock. And not a single thread is without design and beauty. Then Amalek attacks. Joshua leads the Jews in battle while Moshe prays ? 1995-2010 Ohr Somayach International for their welfare. Insights Life's Rich Tapestry Peninim on the Torah by Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum “Then Moses and the Children of Israel chose to sing this song to G-Parshas Beshalach d.” (15:1) Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him. (13:19) As a young boy, I remember my mother weaving a tapestry of Simply translated, Moshe Rabbeinu fulfilled Yosef's request that he be Gainsborough‘s ―The Boy In Blue‖. buried in Eretz Yisrael. While the rest of Klal Yisrael was preoccupied It took her forever. One day, shortly before she finished it, I remember with fulfilling Hashem's command to request and obtain valuable gold and picking it up and thinking to myself. ―Mommy, forgive me. You‘re maybe silver utensils from the Egyptians, Moshe was busy locating and returning the best mother in the world, but when it comes to needlework, well, this is Yosef's coffin. The Megaleh Amukos suggests a homiletic approach a mess! There‘s a piece of red sticking out here. Over here, there‘s a towards understanding this pasuk. Moshe took along with him the turquoise thread that seems to go nowhere.‖ The whole thing looked more atzmiyus, which is a play on the word atzmos, bones - or essence or like Bauhaus than Gainsborough. essential character - of Yosef. What was Yosef's greatest strength? Suddenly, my fingertips detected smooth regular stitching on the other side Wherein lay that quality that Moshe, as he was about to assume the reins of of the tapestry. I turned the tapestry over and saw the most beautiful sight: leadership over the nascent Jewish people, wanted to emulate? It was an exquisite and precise copy of Gainsborough‘s ―Boy in Blue‖. The Yosef's ability to forgive and forget, to overlook and let bygones be stitches were so regular and well formed. The colors all blended so bygones. His brothers had sold him into slavery, an ordeal which had beautifully together. A divine tapestry! All the disjointed threads that I saw transformed his life, as it separated him from his father for years. Yet, he on the other side of the tapestry harmonized into a complete and beautiful harbored no animus, only demonstrating love and forgiveness towards his whole. brothers. He went out of his way to sustain them, to support them when Sometimes we can view life's rich tapestry from the wrong side they came to Egypt. Moshe "took" all of this and incorporated it into his Sometimes it‘s very difficult to make sense of world events. It‘s difficult to psyche, as he led the people through their forty-year journey in the believe that the world is being run by Someone. You wonder how things wilderness. With calm and patience he tolerated their complaints and could be part of a Divine coherent plan. You hear about earthquakes and criticism, their ingratitude and pettiness. He never "lost it" with them, terrible suffering, and you wonder how this can be the handiwork of a always responding with a smile. Moshe took "Yosef" with him out of Merciful G-d. Egypt. Don‘t think you‘re alone if you feel like that. Leadership requires patience borne of love and tolerance, which is the You‘re in good company. Because one of the greatest men who ever lived manifestation of sensitivity and caring. This contrasts patience and felt exactly like you. tolerance which are manipulated in accordance with the winds of politics. Moses, our greatest teacher, himself had his questions about how G-d was While many Torah leaders demonstrate these qualities, Horav Shlomo ―running the show‖. In last week‘s public Torah reading, Moses went to Halberstam, zl, the Bobover Rebbe, was the embodiment of love for all Pharaoh to ask him to let the Jewish People go. Pharaoh, as you may Jews. He effusively manifested this fatherly love in a manner that lay the remember, was not the easiest of negotiating partners. In reply to Moses‘ groundwork for his outstanding success in rebuilding Bobover chassidus in request, Pharaoh told the taskmasters to stop giving the Jews straw. this country and throughout the world, following the horrors and However the Jews were still required to produce the same quantity of destruction of World War II. When one entered the Rebbe's office to pour bricks as before. Not surprisingly, the Jews complained bitterly to Moses. out his heart or to share with him news of an upcoming simchah, the So Moses went back to G-d and said, ―My L-rd, why have You done evil reaction often paralleled that of the petitioner. When he listened to a tale of to this people, why have You sent me? From the time I came to Pharaoh to woe, he would cry as if he was - and he was! - totally immersed in the pain speak in Your Name, he did evil to this People, but You did not rescue of the supplicant. Moments later he could be embracing a young man who Your people.‖
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was finally blessed with a child, the Rebbe's joy was equal to that of the saw how meaningless and powerless mortals were in combating the fire, he new father. He was a Rebbe, but he acted as a loving father. turned to the One Whom he knew was able to put an end to the devastation In his "Warmed by their Fire," Rabbi Yisrael Besser very poignantly - Hashem. This is the meaning of umnus avosam. Prayer is part of a Jew's describes the Bobover's fatherly love, his tolerance and patience with all. DNA. Just as the secular Jew cannot dismiss Hashem from his life, Once, a chasid entered and told the Rebbe that he had just been diagnosed because being a Jew means that one is connected to the Almighty, likewise with a life-threatening disease. The Rebbe arose from his chair, embraced a Jew understands that prayer is an integral part of his life. the man and held him tight. Then, suddenly, he began to weep profusely. Rav Yeruchem puts it simply, "A tailor takes his sewing basket; a The sobbing of the Rebbe and the petitioner could be heard from outside carpenter takes his tool chest; a shoemaker takes his special tools; a Jew the room. After a few moments, the Rebbe called his aide to bring another takes his "prayer," which is the tool of his trade. It all is transmitted to us handkerchief. His was already soaked. through our ancestors. Indeed, the Bnei Yissaschar writes that the word The tears were not yet dry when a young chasid entered with his three-"daven," to pray, is derived from de'Avunon, that of our fathers, which is a year-old son who was there for his upsherin, first haircut. The rebbe's reference to the Avos, Patriarchs. This is how they interfaced with Hashem, countenance changed drastically, as he now embraced the little boy and and so do we. With this in mind, why does Rashi emphasize that Klal prepared to imbue this joyful occasion with the majesty and warmth of Yisrael adopted the craft of their forefathers? What novel idea is he accompanying a child through another milestone of tradition. teaching us? The Jewish People did not initiate prayer. It was transmitted The Rebbe acted this way towards all Jews. Once, during the wedding of to them through the generations.
one of his grandchildren, he entered his room to rest for a few minutes, so The venerable Mashgiach of Mir explains this pragmatically. When one exhausted was he from the joyous dancing. Someone who was not a considers the constraint and misery which have become Klal Yisrael's lot Bobover chasid entered the room during a time that was really throughout the years, we wonder what has kept us going. We are drowning inappropriate. Just next door, thousands of chassidim were waiting for the in a sea of anti-Semitism from all sides; some are malignantly overt, while Rebbe to return and honor them with his presence. The young man wanted others are subtle, concealed under a veil of diplomacy and benign to take advantage of this auspicious occasion, during the Rebbe's elevated friendship. Yet, we continue to survive and even thrive. Why have we not state of joy, to ask for a brachah, blessing. He was very ill and in great "thrown in the towel"? What has generated within us the hope to triumph need of blessing. After the man described the seriousness of his condition, over the constant adversity which plagues us? It is the realization that we the Rebbe replied, "Come, let us say Tehillim together!" Everyone was cannot rely on anyone or anything. The only stability in our lives is waiting outside; the crowd was becoming edgy, but the Rebbe was Hashem, and it is to Him that we turn.
When we allow ourselves to think cogently and clearly, we confront the transported to a different world - a world of Tehillim and tears for another
Jew. After they concluded the Tehillim, the Rebbe said, "Come let us give reality that this sense of assurance is not something that comes to mind tzedakah, charity, together." They did, and the young man walked out only during periods of adversity. Veritably, is it any different when things
are seemingly good? Do we then have anyone to rely on other than hand-in-hand with the Rebbe.
The Rebbe carried the burden of thousands of Jews; he, likewise, rejoiced Hashem? In other words, one who uses His G-d-given capacity to think in the simchos of the many who enjoyed joyous occasions. After all, he understands that, regardless of the circumstances, we always rely on was their father. He could look at a room filled with thousands of Hashem. Even in the best of times, our only source of salvation is the
Almighty. Why, then, do we overreact with such intensity and fear during chassidim and note a detail about one person. Once, at the height of
simchah, as thousands of chassidim danced in a throng before him, he times of travail? Do we need Hashem any more then? That is our mistake. noticed an elderly chasid in front of him. The Rebbe immediately called We need Him all of the time.
over a young boy and said, "Do me a favor. Go stand between that elderly We now understand the meaning of the phrase, "They adopted the craft of man and the tall fellow in front of him. This way, he will not have to their forefathers." One might suggest that our prayers are different from stretch out his arms that much." those offered by the Avos. After all, we pray when we hurt, and they The Rebbe felt the pain of the Ribbono Shel Olam. The chair in which he prayed because it was their way of speaking to Hashem. This is our first
mistake. Chazal are teaching us a profound understanding of the nature of had sat for hours and hours wore out, and it was time for a new one. The
Rebbe refused, "We must repair this one." "It does not pas, it is tefillah, prayer. The Jews stood at the banks of the Red Sea, surrounded on unbecoming, for the Rebbe to sit in such a chair," his gabbai, aide, said. all sides. Wherever they gazed, they saw the enemy. They had nowhere to The Rebbe disagreed - and this is what strikes me the most about him - go. What does a Jew do when he has nowhere to go? He prays. The Avos asserting, "Chazal teach us that as long as Amalek is around, obstructing prayed in a similar fashion. True, they were not plagued by adversity. They
prayed to Hashem, however, in a manner that reflected their deep Hashem's complete dominion over the world, Hashem's Throne, His chair,
is incomplete. It is lacking perfection. Hashem's chair is not whole, and conviction that they had nowhere else to turn. They understood that mine should be?" This defines a true leader. Hashem is totally in control of everything and that He is the only one to
Whom we should pray, regardless of the situation. In other words, the Bnei Yisrael cried out to Hashem. (14:10)
Avos taught us to pray to Hashem all of the time - not only when trouble Rashi comments, "They adopted the craft of their forefathers - namely
prayer." Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov all prayed to Hashem. Thus, now, lurks around the corner.
when they were surrounded on three sides, they understood that it was Why should we wait until we are "compelled" to pray? Why not make a "crunch time," and they turned to the only One Who could help them - practice of "speaking" with Hashem on a regular basis, recognizing that Hashem. This was not a novel approach. It was part of their "family craft," our next breath is in His hands?
their umnas avosam. What is the relationship between the umnus, craft, of Tefillah is more than conversation. What transforms conversation into prayer and the Jewish People? Tefillah is kavanah, concentration. Wherever one happens to be - in shul or
at a rest area on the turnpike - he closes his eyes and applies himself to the Horav Yeruchem Levovitz, zl, writes that he remembered when part of the
city of Mir was threatened by a fire, firemen from all the surrounding words and he is in another world - just the individual and Hashem. Tefillah communities came running to extinguish the conflagration. Alas, they did is supplication from the heart. It is an expression from the deepest recesses not succeed. The fire was too powerful and out of control. During the of oneself. It is sincere.
ensuing tumult and devastation, one of the secular Jews,who had How does one concentrate? How does one divorce himself from all that is regrettably alienated himself from the religion of his parents, called out, "If around him, in order that he focus on Hashem and his relationship with the the Ribono Shel Olam would only send His firemen (namely, rain from Almighty, so that he can entreat Him properly? In his "Touched by a heaven),the fire would be quickly extinguished. What can these people Prayer 2," Rabbi Yechiel Spero cites an incident in which Horav Aharon, hope to achieve at this point?" Rav Yeruchem commented his incredulous zl, m'Karlin was asked how he prepared himself properly for prayer. His reaction to this man. Many years had gone by since he had reneged reply is intriguing: "I imagine that I am lying in bed, weak and dying. religious belief and observance. Yet, when "push came to shove," when he Slowly my strength is declining, until I die. The Chevra Kaddisha, Jewish 3
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Burial Society, come and make their necessary preparations. My body is man. This word is not in the lexicon that describes Hashem. Nothing is washed, the taharah, purification, is performed in the mikvah, and I am impossible for Him. Therefore, one should never despair of salvation - dressed in my tachrichim, shrouds. As they are about to leave, they each regardless of the "odds." The fact that there is a dispute among the great stop by my body and ask mechillah, forgiveness, in case anything poskim, Halachic decisors, concerning how one prays for a chronically ill inappropriate was done to my body during the preparations. They place me person, who - according to all medical expertise - is beyond help, does not in the casket, and I am taken out of the room. After a short walk, the casket mean that it is no longer possible for him to be saved. Nothing is is in the cemetery about to be lowered into the ground. They are about to impossible for Hashem. It is just that there are specific Halachic guidelines begin the final descent to the grave. regarding prayer and its efficacy under certain conditions. "Suddenly, a voice is heard, 'Stop the levayeh, funeral! A decree has been The concept of refuah regarding a person is quite different from that of issued in Heaven that Hashem is granting this Jew one reprieve, one more repairing a broken car or an electronic device. As mentioned above, refuah chance to open his mouth in prayer.' means to attach oneself to Hashem, the Source of all life. In this sense, "One prayer, that is all. After the prayer, the funeral will continue." there is no closed door, no impossibilities.
Rav Aharon looked at the questioner and said, "This is how I prepare for Rav Pincus asks: how should a physician approach his profession? How tefillah." should he view a patient who - according to medical science and natural This is an amazing story with a powerful lesson. The efficacy of our law - is clearly not going to live? What should he do? If the physician tefillah is determined by how much we value and appreciate it. If we view views himself as a technician, then just as one trades in a car that is no our next "conversation" with the Almighty as a one-time deal that would longer functioning, he will, likewise, decide not to waste time and energy make it or break it; if we perceive it as our one and only chance to make on a patient that will, in any event, expire shortly. our request, as our only opportunity to express ourselves to Hashem, it This is not the Torah's perspective. One should believe that by connecting certainly would have as much different meaning. Perhaps, that is exactly with Hashem, he attaches himself to a source of unlimited chesed. Through what we must do. prayer, one can alter the course of nature and stump the laws of science. It
is all in the relationship. A Torah physician understands this. Thus, he For I am Hashem, your Healer. (15:26)
How quickly we forget that Hashem is our only Healer. His healing comes never gives up.
to us by way of His agents: the physicians and drugs. Yet, there are still What then are we? - Your murmurings are not against us, but against those who forget Hashem's covert role in the healing process. Horav Hashem. (16:8)
Shimshon Pincus, zl, relates an analogy he once heard concerning the Moshe Rabbeinu is referred to as the anav mikol adam, most humble of much heralded work going on with baalei teshuvah, recent returnees to men. He claimed - and sought - nothing for himself. He attributed religious observance. The individual who related the story was one of the everything to the Almighty. Indeed, he gave everything up just to be the most successful kiruv professionals, literally having effected change in the servant of G-d. Horav S.R. Hirsch, zl, notes Moshe's total humility, his lives of hundreds of people. He was asked how this is possible. To what complete subservience to Hashem, from his excluding himself from the did he attribute his success, given the fact that, in previous generations, miracle of the manna. How would he not allow some particle, some slight some of the most inspirational speakers never had the good fortune of reflection of the blinding brilliance of such a miracle, not to filter down to "turning on" another Jew. Perhaps the greatest tzaddikim, righteous himself? For forty years, he was involved in the process of feeding a nation persons, might have successfully inspired two or three alienated Jews, of one and a half million people, and he never once took any credit for surely not hundreds. himself. Moshe trembled at the thought of receiving any recognition for his Rav Pincus gave the following analogy. Large buildings use heavy steel part in the miracle. "What are we?" tells it all. He is but an instrument of beams to frame the structure. It is impossible for a construction worker to G-d.
budge one of these girders, certainly not to lift it up many stories until it is Moshe emphasized Hashem's total leadership. The people stood directly put in place. They use a winch to raise up the girder, until it is exactly over beneath Him, with Moshe not serving even as an intermediary. He insisted its designated spot. Then the worker is able to guide it into place. In other that his significance and that of his brother, Aharon HaKohen, vanish from words, when the girder is strapped to the winch, it is the winch that does all their minds. Indeed, the success of Moshe's mission was dependent upon the work. The worker only guides the winch. its being recognized as G-d's work - and not that of Moshe. There can be A similar idea applies to teshuvah in our generation. Rambam in Hilchos no semblance of human contribution whatsoever.
Teshuvah 7:5, writes, "The Torah has already assured us that in the End of Rav Hirsch goes so far as to say that for Moshe to ascribe to himself such Days, Klal Yisrael will repent and the redemption will follow immediately institutions as Shabbos, Shemittah, and other mitzvos which supposedly thereafter." There is a specific havtachah, affirmation, that prior to the make material demands on us - together with the actual forty-year journey advent of Moshiach, Klal Yisrael will repent. That havtachah is the winch! in the barren wilderness - would not only be folly, it would be criminal. The Jews of our generation are practically lining up to return home. All we Man neither has the right to impose his will on others, nor does he have the have to do is guide them into place, whereas in previous generations the right to desist from his duty to provide his family with daily sustenance. To tzaddik literally had to raise the penitent up from the muck of secular life. leave Hashem out of the command would be a violation of human rights. In addition, the person was "weighed down" by his many sins. It was an Commanded by G-d, demanded by G-d as an everlasting sign of extremely difficult endeavor, and, therefore, only a few succeeded. Today, unreserved trust, that which otherwise would be felonious is transformed we are very fortunate to have "outside help" in bringing them back home. into profound wisdom and activity of sublime virtue. Indeed, not carrying This analogy applies equally to the healing experience. Hashem is called out the command would be denying G-d and bringing disrepute upon Elokim Chaim, the Living G-d. He is the essence and source of all life. The oneself.
definition of life is a connection with Hashem. Just as one who enters a Shabbos is the institution in Jewish life that is directly connected with the store which sells sweet fragrances invariably leaves with a fragrant odor manna. Indeed, the forty-year experience of the Heavenly sustenance attached to himself, every moment that one lives in Hashem's world is a called manna taught the people that man, with all of his limited - but moment of attachment to the Almighty. indispensible - requirements of daily family life, stands directly under the Ani Hashem Rofecha, "I am Hashem, your Healer." We must realize that purvue of the Almighty. He can whisper all of his worries directly to Him we are not the center of attraction. It is all Hashem. We live as a result of without an intercessor to carry forth the message. Shabbos also relies on our connection to Him. This thought should penetrate the psyche of the this relationship. A Shabbos observant Jew senses this direct bond with physician. Therefore, regardless of the critical nature of a person's illness, Hashem. Thus, with strong conviction, he maintains his fidelity to Hashem. even one who is officially beyond hope, it is still in the hands of Hashem, Shabbos, as well as the entire Torah, was to outlive Moshe, because he saw Who is the Healer of all flesh. We position the winch; Hashem lifts it off to it that the people were made aware that he was but a "man" - a man, who, the ground. The actual remedy is in His power. We go through the motions. with time would disappear, but his relationship with the Almighty was a The word "impossible" is a physical term that applies to the limitations of bond that would continue to eternity. 4
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Imagine how the Jewish people felt. Here they are in the dessert, having livnei Yisrael am kerovo. To the Bnei Yisrael His near/close nation.
Klal Yisrael is referred to in different terms concerning their relationship just left Egypt. They have a basic sense of where they are going. Everyone with Hashem: chosen nation; servants; His people; His children; and assumes they will be travelling via Eretz Plishtim. Suddenly, G-d does various other terms of endearment. Am kerovo, His close nation, means something different. Hashem takes them and leads them towards the Yam that He has kept us close to Him, despite our iniquities, whether we were Suf [Reed Sea]. Then the Egyptians are suddenly in hot pursuit . What deserving of the nearness or not. Hashem never let us go. Essentially, even thoughts would be going through their minds at such a time? those who assimilated over the generations, as a result of the pressures The natural reaction would certainly have been "Why did He do this to us? brought on by the travail and adversity to which they were subjected, can Why did He trap us like this between the sea and the dessert and the still return. It might be too late for the individual himself, but not for his Egyptian army? If he had taken us by way of the normal route, we would descendents. The bond that is expressed by the words am kerovo means not be in this predicament!" The answer to that question is "Ki Karov hu" - that, despite all that we have suffered since our inception, we still remain because the Jewish people are different. They have a close and intimate close to Hashem. This is a virtue that will stand in our favor at the End of relationship with G-d and He treats them differently. Days. What was the result of that detour to the Yam Suf? It was a Red Letter day True nearness is called deveikus b'Hashem, cleaving to the Almighty. How in the history of Klal Yisrael. They were never the same people spiritually does one cleave to Hashem? When we are close to the sages and exponents or materially after that day because of this detour. "And Israel saw the of Torah, when we view our gedolim, Torah leaders, as representatives of Great Hand ... and they believed in Hashem and in Moshe His servant." Torah and agents of Hashem, thus gravitating closer to them, we are, in [Shmos 14:31] They came to a level of belief in G-d and in Moshe at Yam effect, coming closer to Hashem. David Hamelech declares in Sefer Suf that surpassed the level they had achieved in Egypt. They were a Tehillim (27:4), Achas shoalti me'eis Hashem, "One request I make from changed people, not to mention the material spoils of Yam Suf. It was a Hashem…" Shivti b'vais Hashem kol yemei chayai, "That I dwell in the bonanza. All the money and gold of the Egyptians floated to the top and House of Hashem all the days of my life." He did not ask for wealth or the Jews collected it all.
distinction - just to live in Hashem's Presence, to be close to Hashem, to be That which they thought and said to themselves (this is the stupidest thing constantly under His watchful eye. What a wonderful request! one can imagine) turned out to be 180 degrees from the truth. Sponsored in loving memory of Vivian Stone Chaya Leah bas Shimon a"h niftara Rav Simcha Zissel concludes: There are two things in life that Chazal 18 Shevat 5769. By her children Birdie and Lenny Frank and Family compare to the splitting of the Yam Suf - Shidduchim [matrimonial matches] and Parnassah [earning a livelihood]. Sometimes young men or women have to go through terrible trials and tribulations when it comes to Rabbi Yissocher Frand on Parshas B'Shalach shidduchim. So often children suffer in this period of their life and as a Illogical Treatment May Yield Bonanza For The Nation That is result of that their parents suffer as well. They ask: Why is this happening? "Close" To G-d I am a normal boy or a normal girl. I come from a wonderful family. Why The Parsha begins "And it was when Pharaoh sent out the nation and the is this so difficult? Why is G-d doing this to me? Everyone must keep in L-rd did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines for it was close. mind "Ki Karov Hu". Maybe there is a splitting of the Yam Suf that the For the L-rd said 'lest the people fear when they see warfare and return to Almighty wants you to experience. The bonanza may be yet to come. Egypt'" [Shmos 13:17]. The most logical route for traveling from Egypt to The same is true regarding Parnassah. It affects all of us, and we know the Land of Canaan is by way of the land of the Philistines. However G-d how difficult it can be. Again, we ask ourselves so many times: Why is this did not want them to take that route precisely "because it was close". happening? I went to school. I got my degree. I am a professional. I had a Rashi interprets the words "ki karov hu" [because it was close] at a good job. Why am I having so much trouble now? This should not be "simple" (peshat) level to mean that the proximity between Egypt and happening! Why can't I make a living? Why did I lose my job? Canaan via the land of the Philistines would be a drawback in the sense The answer is: Ki Karov Hu. The Almighty has His ways. that any slight setback could send the Jews scurrying back to Egypt. Rashi There was a group of religious Jews who worked for a brokerage house in alludes to the fact that there are also many Medrashic interpretations to this the World Trade Center. On the Friday before September 11, 2001, they expression. received their pink slips and were told to return Monday to collect their The Daas Zekeinim m'baalei haTosfos offers a novel interpretation: "Ki belongings and leave. I heard this story from the Rabbi of one of these karov hu" should be translated for He is their relative, as it states elsewher people. This person returned Monday morning with a security guard on top e "to the Children of Israel, the nation related to Him (am k'rovo) [Tehillim of him to make sure he would not take anything extra. He packed up his 148:14]. According to this translation, "ki karov hu" has nothing to do with belongings and went home on Monday thinking "Where will I get a job geography and nothing to do with the route. It relates to the closeness now?" He could not sleep all Monday night worrying about his future an d (literally the relationship) between the Jews and the Almighty. Since Klal feeling depressed about what just happened to him. He woke up Tuesday Yisrael is the relative of G-d, they should not travel the normal route. morning and at 8:46 AM the world changed. He then thought to himself "I The Rosh Yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva, Rav Simcha Zissel Brody, am the luckiest person in the world". Ki Karov Hu. G-d takes us by the elaborates on the Daas Zekeinim m'baalei haTosfos. A great lesson for life hand. He leads us down a path and we sometimes cannot understand why lies in these few words of the Daas Zekeinim. We Jews believe that we He is doing this to us. Only later do we understand why "The L-rd did not have a special closeness to the Almighty. As such, we are subject to lead them by way of the Land of the Philistines." personal Divine Providence (Hashgocha Pratis). What is normal and Transcribed by David Twersky Seattle, WA; Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman, Baltimore, MD logical for the rest of the world is not necessarily what the Master of the RavFrand, Copyright ? 2007 by Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Torah.org. World wants for His special people. For His special people, the Almighty - as it were - takes them by their hand and leads them through life. Were we
to logically think out what is the best way to accomplish something, we
would come to a different conclusion. But we have to have faith in the Parshas Beshalach: Pride And Prejudice
Almighty that He is treating us differently. He is treating us differently as a By Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
nation and He treats us differently as individuals. Matzav.com
The lesson is - and this is a lesson that is so much easier said than done -
that when things happen in life and we ask ourselves "This does not make The beginning of this week‘s parsha describes the Jews‘ exodus from any sense; why is this happening to me?"; we have to remember that "He is Egypt. Jews gathered their possessions and took gold and silver from the close to us". He is taking us by the hand and is giving us a different type of Egyptians. With sacks of dough they prepared for a trek into the unknown treatment. Things do not always work logically or the way we would want desert. One person, however, was preoccupied with other treasures. them to. Exodus 13:19: ―Moshe took Yoseph‘s bones with him, for Yoseph, had
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made the children of Israel swear, saying, ―Hashem will remember you, ―Posei‘ach es yeadecha‖) indicate G-d‘s daily miracles masquerading as
and you shall bring up my bones from here with you.‖ ―the Natural Order‖. One who constantly recognizes this truth is surely on The Midrash explains a verse in Proverbs 10:8: ―A man with a wise heart the road to the Next World. Parnassa is one of the three central features shall choose Mitzvos.‖ ―This verse,‖ says the Midrash, ―refers to Moshe concerning which G-d orchestrates massive sequences of events in the during the Exodus. While the entire nation was busy collecting gold, silver, world to bring about and which are not necessarily subject to the and precious stones from their former masters, Moshe was busy looking individual‘s merit - ―banei, chayei, u‘mzonei lav b‘zchusa talya milsa ela for the remains of Yoseph, the pioneering sojourner who laid the b‘mazla talya milsa - Children, life, and sustenance are not (solely) groundwork for Jewish survival in exile.‖ dependent on merit but on mazal‖ - special Divine Providence (Mo‘eid
An obvious question arises. Why is Moshe lauded as a man searching for Katan 28a). [See Rabbi A. Kaplan, Handbook of Jewish Thought p. 296 ff.] Mitzvos and praised as one who has special wisdom? Didn‘t the Jewish Commentaries note that the mann, described in our parsha, served as a people gather gold and silver at the request of Hashem? The Torah openly supernatural example of Hashem‘s sustaining us throughout our lives. commands the people in Exodus 11:2 ―that each man ask his fellow With the mann it was obvious that this was so. When the Jewish people (Egyptian) man and each woman ask her fellow (Egyptian) woman for entered into Eretz Yisrael, it would be less obvious, but just as true gold and silver utensils.‖ nonetheless. Not surprisingly then, many aspects of our attitude toward the If that is the case — both Moshe and the Jews were all doing Mitzvos. pursuit of parnassa and our faith and reliance on Hashem in providing it Why then, is Moshe considered ―wise of heart?‖ are to be found in the description and laws of the mann. Although these During the early 1920s, Velvel Epstein drove a truck on the Lower East principles are well known, incorporating them into our lives requires Side for the Mittleman Seltzer Company. He delivered promptly and was constant study and review. This article is an attempt to inspire study courteous to his customers. But one day a most terrible event occurred. A concerning some of these important principles.
horse-drawn wagon veered in front of his truck and he swerved sharply to One, parnassa will never have permanence if achieved by violating the avoid it. Dozens of cases came barreling out of the truck and went crashing d‘var Hashem. This is manifest by the mann‘s getting wormy for those to the cobblestones. Glass and bubbles were everywhere, and Epstein knew who attempted to leave some over for the next day against the Divine that his career at Mittleman‘s Seltzer Company was over. command (16:20). Similarly, money earned through theft and dishonest All of a sudden from the small throng of spectators a heavy-set man business practices or other violations of halacha will have no permanence. appeared with his fedora outstretched in his hand. He turned to all the Second, Sh‘miras Shabbos only increases one‘s parnassa; it will never onlookers. ―Why are you all just standing there? Let‘s help this poor man decrease it notwithstanding the missing workday. This is highlighted by out!‖ With that he thrust a ten dollar bill into the hat and passed it around. our Sages‘ promise that expenditures for Shabbos are not included in the He cajoled and persuaded the gathered to help the driver in his plight. decree of how much one will earn in any given year (Beitza 16a). The After a few minutes the man had gathered a sizable collection and mann which fell as a double portion before Shabbos indicates this idea approached the hapless driver. (16:22 ff.).
―Now, young man. You give this money to your boss, and I‘m sure he will Third, although hishtadlus, human effort, is generally necessary - even the be happy with the compensation!‖ With that the distinguished gentleman mann had to be collected and, according to the simple reading of the text, disappeared from the crowd. had to be prepared (16:23) - excessive hishtadlus does not lead to extra The onlookers were amazed. ―What a mentsch,‖ cried one woman. ―A real parnassa. This concept emerges from the fact that ―He who took more, did hero,‖ shouted another. ―Such a mitzvah!‖ declared a third. not have more; he who took less, did not receive less‖ (16:18). [See Epstein rolled his eyes heavenward. ―Mitzvah, Shmitzva,‖ he sighed, ―that Mishna Berura 1:(13).] What is considered a reasonable amount of effort was Mr. Mittleman!‖ and what is excessive requires individual analysis and consultation with There are many, many Mitzvohs to do. Some are very enjoyable and easily Rabbinic authorities.
performed Some even mete out to us personal gain and honor. Others, Fourth, we need to constantly remind ourselves that it is Hashem who however, require self-sacrifice and hard work. The mitzvah of retrieving provides for us through the agency of our efforts. It is not our efforts which gold and silver was quite honorable. However, there may have been much produce the sustenance. This was taught by the mann not falling on self-motivation involved. We do not know where the actual wealth finally Shabbos. The Midrash comments on the passage in B‘reishis: ―And he ended up. It may have been contributed to the Mishkan (Tabernacle), or it blessed the seventh day and sanctified it‖ - ―He blessed it with mann - that
could have served as a portion of the Golden Calf. One thing we do know. a double portion fell on Friday; He sanctified it with mann - that it did not The bones of Yosef that were taken by Moshe served as an inspiration to a fall on Shabbos‖ (quoted by Rashi to B‘raishis 2:3). Rav C. Y. Goldwicht generation that faced hardship, questions, and uncertainty. Even today, z‖l, the founding Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Kerem B‘Yavneh, those bones, interred in Shechem (Nablus), still do. That is, thanks to explained that that sanctification by the mann not falling one day a week Moshe, the man of wise heart who had a vision of the future. was the reinforcement that the mann was a miracle from G-d. Even
something as patently supernatural as the mann would lose its mystery if it
fell every day. Hergeil maivee liday shich‘cha - regularity leads to forgetfulness. So too we must constantly reinforce our dependency on Mann and Parnassa Hashem for parnassa. Many read the Parshas HaMan every day to serve as Rabbi Yakov Haber a daily reminder of this idea. Not surprisingly, this also serves as a segula The TorahWeb Foundation for parnassa. (See Shulchan Aruch (1:5) and Mishna Berura 1:(13).) Fifth, oftentimes our parnassa comes not through our merit but through the One of the core methods through which Hashem‘s hashgacha p‘ratis is merit of others. My rebbe, Rav Hershel Schachter shlit‖a, taught us that manifested is through His granting parnassa - the daily sustenance of His sometimes an entire institution might exist in the merit of one scrupulous creatures, especially mankind. Countless passages in Tanach address this individual who deserves a parnassa. The mann fell in the merit of Moshe very point. One of the more prominent ones is recited thrice daily in the Rabbeinu and stopped upon his death (Ta‘anis 9a). The Gemara (B‘rachos Ashrei prayer: ―Posei‘ach es yadecha umasbi‘a l‘chol chai ratzon - You 17b) tells us that the whole world was supported through the merit of the open up your hand and satisfy with favor all living creatures‖. The Talmud great tanna and miracle-worker R. Chanina b. Dosa, and yet, he sufficed (B‘rachot 4b) tells us that ―Ashrei‘s daily recital leads to one becoming a with a meager portion of carob fruit from week to week. The religious ben ‗olam haba - one worthy of entering the World to Come‖. This is due truth that the wealthy‘s enormous assets might be in the merit of righteous to the presence of the passage dealing with parnassa in this Psalm coupled individuals in that generation - who do not seem to have too much even to with its Aleph-Beis structure. Meshech Chochma (beginning of B‘chukosai) eat - is both a humbling thought concerning the true effect of our hishtadlut explains that the complex, inter-related natural structures and cycles and should inspire us to support Torah scholars and other worthy (represented by the order of the Aleph-Beis) all leading to the daily institutions. parnassa of all of the creatures in the world (represented by the passage 6
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R. Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan, the Chafetz Chaim, in his Seifer Ahavas No one is singled out to suffer the consequences of tampering with Natural Chessed (footnote to 2:4) has a fascinating insight as to the nature of Law. Violation of the seven Noahide Laws by people on one continent parnassa. King David declares in T‘hillim (62:13): ―For kindness belongs may result in a disruption of the Natural Law according to which the world to you; for you compensate every man according to his actions‖. The operates, and the consequences of such disruption may occur on a distant Chafetz Chaim asks: shouldn‘t Hashem‘s compensation for man‘s action continent. The disruption of the Natural Law which affected Indonesia and be considered acts of justice, not kindness? He explains through an Haiti may have been caused by violations of the Noahide Laws by people analogy that an artisan who provides free room, board, clothing, raw the world over. No individual or group of people can be singled out as materials and tools to his apprentice need not feel obligated to compensate responsible and as being punished.
the apprentice fully, or even at all, for his work. Similarly, Hashem, who The seven Noahide Laws are the basis of decency and morality. Every provides us with our parnassa and other needs - often way beyond our human being should behave according to them.Copyright ? 2010 by The TorahWeb Foundation. All rights reserved. needs - and gives us all of our abilities in order to serve Him, should not have to reward us for our actions. Nevertheless, because of His kindness,
He does compensate us both in this world and the next. In the merit of our studying the parsha of the mann and internalizing the Parshas Beshalach ultimate purpose of parnassa - to serve the One who grants it, may Hashem by HaRav Zev Leff bless us with ―chayim sheyeish bahem parnassa tova.‖ A Three Days Journey in the Desert Copyright ? 2010 by The TorahWeb Foundation. All rights reserved. I declare that I will bring you out of the wretchedness of Egypt to the land of the Canuanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Yebusites-to a Earthquake and Tsunami land flowing with milk and honey.... You and the elders cf Israel will then Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski go to the King of Egypt. You must tell him, Hashem, God of the Hebrews, The TorahWeb Foundation revealed Himself to us. Now we request that you allow us to take a three day journey into the desert to sacrifice to Hashem our God (Shemos 3:17-The recent tragedy in Haiti has elicited a number of comments. People 18). question why G-d permits such catastrophes to happen. Others ask, why go T he commentators are puzzled by the fact that when Hashem 1 revealed to places of worship to pray for the victims to the G-d who smote them? His plan for the Jewish people, He immediately told Moshe of their destiny Some people see such tragedies as expressions of G-d‘s wrath, but, are the in Eretz Yisrael, but at the same time instructed Moshe to ask Pharaoh only victims of earthquake, tsunami and tornadoes to be considered the most for permission to leave for three days. Many answers have been proposed sinful people in the world? to this question (see Ohr Hachaim to Shemos 318). We shall offer yet My understanding of these happenings is based on the statement of the another based on one of the unique aspects of matzah. Zohar, that the Torah was the ―blueprint‖ according to which G-d created The matzah, the bread of slavery, is at once the symbol of our slavery and the world. In other words, Torah is Natural Law, according to which the the symbol of freedom. In the Pesach Haggadah it is both poor bread" and world operates. The Law of Gravity is Natural Law and is inviolable as are the symbol of how Hashem redeemed us in an instant. other physical laws, and so is the Natural Law of Torah. If the physical law It could be asked why a richer, more tasty cake was not chosen as a symbol that keeps the moon in its orbit were somehow suspended, the moon would of our redemption from the bitter slavery of Egypt. The answer is that we crash into the earth, but this would not be a punitive act by G-d. If did not cease to be slaves with our redemption. As the Gemara (Megillah someone puts one‘s hand into a fire, one gets burned, but that is not a 14a) says, commenting on the verse (Tehillim 1131), "Praise God, give punitive act of G-d. Rather, it is the result of Natural Law that fire burns. praise, you servants of Hashem" "Originally we were slaves to Pharaoh; According to the Torah, there are seven Noahide Laws that are binding on now we are slaves to Hashem." We did not emerge from slavery to all human beings, and these constitute the Natural Law according to which freedom; we remained slaves with a new master. the world operates; these are: The Jew is not free. "Frei" is the password of alienation from Judaism. The Prohibition of idolatry Jew is the model slave, accepting the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven, and Prohibition of murder unequivocally yielding to his master, the Master of the Universe, Who he Prohibition of theft serves with unswerving dedication. The Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah to Prohibition of sexual promiscuity Berachos (9b) explain the halachah that the blessing of geulah (redemption) Prohibition of blasphemy must be linked to Shemoneh Esrei, service of the heart. There is for the Prohibition of flesh taken from a live animal Jew no hiatus, no free moment between redemption and acceptance of Requirement to have just laws. God's yoke. All human beings, religionists and non-religionists are required to abide by After our redemption, we continued to dine on the bread of slavery to these laws, which underlie the Natural Law according to which the world emphasize that our status as slaves had not changed. Even the good Land operates. Violation of these laws is tampering with Natural Law, whose that we were given is a land suited to slaves, whether they be slaves to consequences can be catastrophic. human masters or slaves to the King of kings. It was first given to Canaan, The world is a closed system. When a butterfly flaps its wings in Norway, who himself bears the curse of eternal servitude. it affects the ecology in Australia. When the Natural Law is intact, the Our freedom is the freedom to be God's slaves. And it is this servitude earth‘s crust and the atmosphere are stable. When air pollution tampers which is the ultimate freedom. On the Tablets was engraved our freedom with the ozone layer, or sulfur dioxide pollution causes acid rain, the "Do not reed 'engraved on the Tablets' but 'freedom on the Tablets.' " effects may be felt hundreds of miles away from the perpetrators. The Freedom is total immersion in Torah, total dedication and obedience to people suffering these effects are not being ―punished‖ by G-d, but are the God Himself. Only when the Jew is able to express his deepest inner will, victims of the reckless behavior of other people. the thirst to do God's will, is he truly free. He is no longer a slave whose Is this an injustice? Yes, just as it is an injustice for a pedestrian to be inner will is suppressed and stifled by the "se'or sheb'issa"-literally, the killed by a reckless driver. Such happenings occur because G-d does not yeast in the dough, and figuratively, the yetzer hara with its infinite array interfere with the free choice and behavior of human beings. Just as we do of desires and lusts that wrench one from submission to God's will. not fault G-d when an innocent person is killed by a reckless driver, we Subjugation to the nations of the world, whether physical or cultural should not fault G-d when innocent people, victims of hurricanes, subjugation, is enslavement, for it suppresses our ability to express our tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunami, suffer from the reckless behavior of inner will, to come close to Hashem. Redemption from that enslavement is those who violate the Natural Law. totally God's doing. We are passive objects when God takes us into His
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jurisdiction. We do not bring our redemption; we graciously and gratefully was openly revealed in the Temple, and miracles occurred there on a
constant basis. It was an era of prophecy, and books were still being added accept it.
But we must show ourselves worthy of freedom by displaying an to Scripture. This period corresponds to the phrase, "until Your people understanding of the implications of freedom from outside forces, a desire have crossed, O God." The expression 'Your people' emphasizes their for the opportunity to subject ourselves to Hashem. inherent connection to God, i.e., the aspect of innate-holiness. The Ruler of the World did not need permission from Pharaoh to take us The return to Zion in the time of Ezra marked the beginning of the Second out of Egypt. Therefore Moshe did not approach Pharaoh with a request to Temple period. The Second Temple did not benefit from the same leave Egypt to settle in Eretz Yisrael. But, the Jewish people, then under miraculous phenomena as the First Temple. Prophecy ceased, and the Pharaoh's rule, had to show that they deserved geulah. That is why they canonization of Scripture was complete.
petitioned Pharaoh for three days in the desert to sacrifice to God. The However, the willed-holiness of that era was very great. The Oral Law nature of these sacrifices was not clearly defined even to Moshe. As he flourished, the Mishnah was compiled, and new rabbinical decrees were told Pharaoh, "For we do not know how we are to serve Him until we get established. This period corresponds to the second phrase, 'until the people there" (Shemos 10 26). that You acquired.' The main thrust of their connection to God was willed-Three days after leaving Egypt, Hashem told the newly freed Bnei Yisrael holiness, acquired through good deeds and Torah study. to return towards Egypt. Return towards Egypt, give up your newly
acquired freedom, cease running towards safety and put yourselves in the The Generation Preceding the Messiah
clutches of your oppressors. Why? Because God wills it. That was the The Rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Jacob David Willowsky (known by the "sacrifice" after three days in the desert-not animal sacrifices, but the acronym the Ridbaz), criticized Rav Kook for his congenial relations with giving up of the thing most dear to them, their new freedom. That was the the non-religious (and often anti-religious) pioneers who were settling the test of their worthiness for redemption. Land of Israel. Rav Kook responded to this criticism by noting the We stand today on the brink of redemption and are being tested to see if distinction between different forms of holiness.
we merit God's redemption. We can safely leave bringing Mashiach to "In our generation, there are many souls who are on a very low level with Hashem, but we must merit his coming. Only by intensifying our regard to their willed-holiness. Thus, they are afflicted with immoral commitment to Torah and mitzvos, by dedicating ourselves to serving behavior and dreadful beliefs. But their innate segulah light shines brightly. Hashem in all areas of life, by removing the chametz from our hearts, will That is why they so dearly love the Jewish people and the Land of Israel." we successfully discharge our three days in the desert. [Igrot HaRe'iyah vol. II, letter 555 (1913), pp. 187-188]
Rav Kook went on to explain that heretics and non-believers usually lose
their inner segulah holiness, and separate themselves from the Jewish people. However, we live in special times. The Zohar describes the pre-Rav Kook List Messianic generation as being "good on the inside and bad on the outside." Rav Kook on the Torah Portion That is to say, they have powerful inner holiness, even though their Beshalach: Innate and Acquired Holiness external, acquired holiness is weak and undeveloped. They are the allegorical 'donkey of the Messiah' [see Zechariah 9:9], as the donkey Crossing the Jordan River bears both external signs of impurity, but nonetheless, contains an inner On the banks of the Red Sea, with Egyptian slavery behind them, the sanctity, as evidenced by the fact that firstborn donkeys are sanctified as Israelites triumphantly sang Shirat HaYam. This beautiful 'Song of the Sea' bechorot [Ex. 13:13]. concludes with a vision of a future crossing into freedom and [Gold from the Land of Israel, pp, 124-126. Adapted from Olat Re'iyah vol. I, p. 236] independence - across the Jordan River, to enter the Land of Israel. Comments and inquiries may be sent to: mailto:RavKookList@gmail.com "Until Your people have crossed, O God; until the people that You acquired have crossed over." [Ex. 15:16] Why the repetition - "until Your people have crossed", "until the people... Haftorah - Parshas Beshalach - Shoftim 4:4 have crossed over"? by Rabbi Dovid Siegel The Talmud [Berachot 4a] explains that the Jewish people crossed the Jordan River twice. The first crossing occurred in the time of Joshua, as the This week‘s haftorah shows the effect of the Jewish nation‘s faith in Israelites conquered the Land of Israel from the Canaanite nations. This Hashem irrespective of their level of mitzva observance. After the passing event marked the beginning of the First Temple period. The second of Moshe Rabbeinu‘s devout disciple, Joshua the Jewish people were led crossing took place centuries later, when Ezra led the return from by numerous judges. Their authority and influence was considerably Babylonian exile, inaugurating the Second Temple period. limited and the Jewish people adopted foreign cultures and strayed from The verse refers to both crossings. In what way does each phrase relate to the Torah‘s ways. They typically fluctuated between sincere service of its specific historical context? Hashem and repulsive idolatry. Hashem would respond to their abhorrent behavior and release one of the powerful nations to oppress them. The Two Forms of Holiness Jewish people would hear the message and sincerely return to Hashem Rav Kook wrote that the Jewish people possess two aspects of holiness. until they succumbed again to foreign influences. The first is an inner force that resides naturally in the soul. This trait is a This week‘s haftorah speaks of one of those times when the Jewish nation spiritual inheritance passed down from the patriarchs, which Rav Kook severely strayed from the path. Hashem responded and permitted Yovin, referred to as a segulah (innate) holiness. It is an intrinsic part of the the king of Canaan to capture the Jewish nation and annex her to his Jewish soul, and is immutable. mighty empire. After twenty years of firm control the message hit home The second aspect of holiness is based on our efforts and choices. Rav and the Jewish people began to repent. Hashem recognized their initial Kook called this willed-holiness, as it is acquired consciously, through our stages of repentance and sent the Prophetess Devorah to help them actions and Torah study. Innate-holiness is in fact infinitely greater than complete the process. They merited through her efforts an incredible willed-holiness, but it is only revealed to the outside world according to the miracle and Devorah composed a moving song of praise describing measure of acquired holiness. It is difficult to perceive an individual's inner Hashem‘s revelations. sanctity when it is not expressed in external actions or character traits. The miracle occurred when Devora instructed the leading Jewish general, Each of the two eras in Jewish history, the First and Second Temple Barak to select ten thousand men and charge into the Canaanite lines. periods, exemplified a different type of holiness. Yovin gathered an army of hundreds of thousands and planned a massive The First Temple period commenced with Joshua leading the people across attack against the Jewish people. Hashem intervened on behalf of His the Jordan River. The people of Israel at that time were characterized by a people and created an illusion of enormous proportions forcing the high level of intrinsic holiness. The Shechinah, God's Divine Presence, 8
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Canaanites to flee for their lives. In the midst of this, Hashem sent blazing He takes us and trust that He cares for us in untold proportions. In this heat to the battle front and brought the Canaanites down to the Kishon merit we will hopefully be privileged to witness Hashem‘s greatest Brook to cool off. At that exact moment, Hashem caused the brook to revelations ever to be seen, surpassing even those in Egypt and at the Sea overflow and drown the Canaanites. Devorah sang about this miracle and of Reeds. Rabbi Dovid Siegel is Rosh Kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim of Kiryat Sefer, Israel. said, ―Kishon Brook swept them away - that brook of age my soul treads with strength.‖ (Shoftim 5: 21) Devorah referred to the Kishon as a brook
of age seeming to relate it an earlier experience. Chazal explain that this earlier incident was, in fact, the splitting of the Sea Weekly Halachah - Parshat BeShalach & Tu BiShvat 5750 of Reeds recorded in this week‘s parsha. They quote an intriguing Rabbi Doniel Neustadt (firstname.lastname@example.org) conversation between Hashem and the angel appointed over the sea of Yoshev Rosh - Vaad HaRabanim of Detroit Reeds. Chazal reflect upon a verse in Tehillim (106:7) that indicates the Jewish people‘s imperfect faith while crossing the sea. Chazal explain that Tu Bishvat Fruit although the entire nation heard Moshe Rabbeinu‘s prediction of Egypt‘s downfall at the sea many found it difficult to accept in full. Hence, after The proper blessing over some of the fruits eaten on Tu Bishvat is unclear: the sea miraculously opened they entertained the possibility that Egyptians The following is a short review: were also safely crossing and would continue their chase. The Jewish Applesauce: Commercially produced applesauce in which the apples are people felt undeserving of a miracle performed solely for their sake and reduced to a nearly liquid state – shehakol. Homemade applesauce which reasoned that the sea split in numerous places. Hashem dispelled this is usually lumpy and contains small pieces of the apple – ha-eitz.1 fiction and instructed the angel over the Sea of Reeds to cast the dying Blueberry: Ha-eitz. It grows on a tree which stays alive throughout the Egyptians onto shore. When the Jewish people saw this they understood winter months and reaches a height of well over ten inches.2 retroactively what truly transpired for th em. Chocolate-covered nut or raisin: This is a ―combination food,‖ generally The angel, however, argued that the fish deserved their promised prize of eaten because the two items complement each other‘s taste. According to thousands of Egyptian bodies and requested a replacement in the future. some poskim, both shehakol and ha-eitz3 are recited.4 [Individuals who Hashem consented and informed the angel that the Kishon Brook would regard either the chocolate or the raisin as merely an ―enhancer‖ to the eventually sweep replacements into the sea and grant the fish their earlier ―main‖ food, should recite the blessing on the main food.] Other poskim present. (Mesichta Pesachim 115b) maintain that only the blessing over the majority ingredient is recited.5 The above discussion suggests a direct corollary between the splitting of Still other poskim suggest that only ha-eitz should be said.6 the Sea of Reeds and the overflowing Kishon Brook. It points to a missing Chocolate-covered orange peels: Shehakol.7 dimension of faith at the sea that was ultimately rectified through the Cranberry: Ha-adamah.8 Cranberries grow on a bush which does not reach Kishon Brook. The analogy of the fish reflects the Jewish people‘s a height of ten inches. imperfect perception of Hashem‘s miracles. The splitting of the sea served Fruit cocktail9: Recite the blessing over the fruit that constitutes the a dual function- to rescue the Jewish people and to punish the Egyptian majority of the mixture.10 nation. The first function was fully accomplished however the second was Fruit salad (large chunks of fruit): Separate blessings of ha-eitz and ha-not. Although the mighty Yam Suf waters delivered the Egyptians their adamah are required. fair share of brutal torture it did not drown them. In essence, the sea played Halavah: Shehakol.11 an imperfect role in Hashem‘s miraculous scheme. This undoubtedly Papaya: Ha-adamah.12 reflected the Jewish people‘s imperfect faith in Hashem‘s miracles and Popcorn: Ha-adamah.13 concern for His people. The angel of the sea responded to Hashem that the Potato chips: Ha-adamah.14 sea deserved a perfect role in Hashem‘s miracles and should be granted Pringles: Ha-adamah.15 Some poskim maintain that a shehakol is future opportunity for a perfect revelation of H ashem‘s might. Hashem recited.16 responded to the angel that the miracle of the Kishon Brook would serve Raspberry: The poskim debate whether its blessing is ha-eitz17 or ha-this capacity in full. adamah.18 Because of the doubt, ha-adamah is preferable.19 In the days of the prophetess Devorah the Jewish people‘s spiritual level Rhubarb: Ha-adamah.20 suffered serious decline. They shared similar feelings with the Jewish Tomato juice: Shehakol.21 people at the Sea of Reeds and feel unworthy of great revelations. They Sabra: Ha-eitz.22 recently began their long process of return and could not imagine Hashem Strawberry: Ha-adamah.23 performing miracles on their behalf. However, when Devora instructed Question: When one wishes to eat several different foods at one sitting, Barak to select ten thousand men and charge into the massive Canaanite each requiring a different blessing, in what order must he recite the army he immediately accepted his role. He and his men demonstrated total blessings over the different foods? faith in Hashem and believed wholeheartedly that Hashem would perform Discussion: In addition to mandating a specific blessing for each of the an open miracle solely on their behalf. Although their level of spirituality foods that we eat, Chazal also established a hierarchy of ―more important‖ was far from perfect they displayed total faith in Hashem. This time they and ―less important‖ blessings. A blessing considered ―more important‖ had no doubts and Hashem did not need to prove His involvement on takes precedence over a blessing considered ―less important.‖ There are behalf of His people. The sea was therefore granted its full role and its fish various criteria that Chazal employed to determine the ―importance‖ of a eagerly devoured the wicked Canaanites sent to it by the Kishon brook. blessings. The more exclusive and specific a particular blessing is, e.g. ha-This miracle was unequivocally clear and bore testimony to all of motzi, which is recited for bread only, the more ―important‖ it is. In Hashem‘s absolute commitment to His people and total involvement on addition a blessing is considered more ―important‖ if is recited over fruits their behalf. Although their mitzva observance was far from perfect they of shivas ha-minim, if it is recited over foods which are whole (as opposed were sincerely committed to rectifying it and deserved Hashem‘s grace and to foods which have been cut up), and if it is recited over foods which one favor. enjoys and prefers. We learn from this the power of absolute trust in Hashem. Many question The following, in order of preference, is the correct24 order for how the present Jewish people could deserve to witness the miraculous era blessings when eating several different kinds of foods, each of which of Mashiach. Our spiritual level is far from perfect and certainly does not requires a different blessing:25 warrant Hashem‘s intervention on our behalf. Let us draw strength and 1. Ha-motzi over bread. encouragement from our Haftorah‘s lesson and realize what Hashem 2. Mezonos over cake, cookies and other ―cake family‖ products, such as expects from us. The road to return is undoubtedly long, however, Hashem pretzels. only asks for sincerity. Let us resolve to follow Hashem‘s lead wherever 9
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5 Rav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesein Berachah, pg. 417); Rav Y.S. 3. Mezonos over pasta, cooked grain or cereal and other non-―cake family‖ Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 97). When in doubt which products. ingredient is the majority, recite a shehakol; ibid. 4. Mezonos over rice26 and rice products. 6 Mekor ha-Berachah 22. 5. Ha-gafen over wine or grape juice. 7 Mishnah Berurah 202:39. 6. Ha-eitz over shivas ha-minim. 8 Rav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesein Berachah, pg. 394). 7. Ha-eitz over other fruits. 9 Or a fruit salad in which the fruit is cut up into small pieces and eaten 8. Ha-adamah. When eating a ha-eitz item and a ha-adamah item, and the together in one spoonful. ha-adamah item is the preferred27 food, ha-adamah is said first, even if the 10 Mishnah Berurah 212:1. Different kinds of ha-eitz fruits (e.g., apples and oranges) combine to form a majority of ha-eitz, and vice versa (Vezos ha-eitz is from shivas ha-minim.28 ha-Berachah, pg. 94, quoting Rav S.Z. Auerbach and Rav Y.S. Elyashiv). 9. Shehakol.29 11 Rav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesein Berachah, pg. 415). 10. The blessing over a pleasant fragrance. 12 Rav Y.S. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 375, note 66); Question: When one wishes to eat several different foods at one sitting, Yechaveh Da‘as 4:52; Vesein Berachah, pgs. 395 and 422; Pischei each requiring the same blessing, does it matter which item one eats Halachah, pg. 155. first?30 13 Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 102, quoting several poskim. Discussion: Yes. When faced with a variety of foods requiring the same 14 Igros Moshe Y.D. 4:48-5. blessing, one recites a blessing first on the most ―important‖ and best food. 15 Rav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesein Berachah, pg. 407); Rav Y.S. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 239). The following is the correct order in which the foods should be eaten: 16 Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 365. 1. If the several foods are different types of bread, or different types of 17 Mishnah Berurah 303:1; Aruch ha-Shulchan 303:5; Pischei Halachah, pg. cake, or different types of non-―cake family‖ mezonos, priority is given to 154. products made out of wheat; then barley, spelt, rye31 and oats in 18 Taz 304:8; Ketzos ha-Shulchan 49:6. descending order. [Note, however, that the hierarchal order of the grains 19 Rav S.Z. Auerbach and Rav Y.S. Elyashiv (quoted in Vesein Berachah, (wheat precedes barley, etc.), does not override the hierarchal order of the pg. 396). blessings (ha-motzi precedes mezonos, etc.). Thus a ha-motzi on oat bread 20 Vesein Berachah, pg. 396; Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 370. (ha-motzi) will precede a mezonos on wheat cake (mezonos). Similarly, 21 Rav S.Z. Auerbach (Vesein Berachah, pg. 429); Rav Y.S. Elyashiv (Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 374, note 45). within the mezonos category, a cake made out of oat flour (baked mezonos) 22 Yechaveh Da‘as 2:21. will take precedence over macaroni (boiled or cooked mezonos), even 23 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:86. though macaroni is made out of wheat flour and the cake was made out of 24 L'chatchilah; b'diavad the order does not invalidate the blessings. oat flour.] 25 Based on O.C. 211, according to Mishnah Berurah. There are other 2. If the several foods are fruits of the shivas ha-minim, ha-eitz is recited opinions as well. over olives first, then dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates in descending 26 Whether or not rice comes before wine or shivas ha-minim is order. questionable — there is no clear-cut custom or decision; see Vezos ha-3. If the several foods are non-shivas ha-minim fruits (or if the several berachah, pg. 124. If the rice is the preferred food, then all poskim agree that it has priority over ha-gafen and shivas ha-minim; see Piskei foods are shehakol type foods) priority is given to whichever fruit (or food) Teshuvos 211:6. is whole. If all the fruits (or foods) are whole or all are cut up, then priority 27 "Preferred" means that this fruit is usually preferred by him and it is also is given to the fruit (or food) that is usually preferred by the eater [even if preferred by him now. If the ha-eitz is preferred by him now — even it is not necessarily his preference just then]. though usually he would prefer the ha-adamah — ha-eitz is recited. There are some exceptions to the above rules. The hierarchy of 28 If neither fruit is preferred, some poskim hold that a shivas ha-minim blessings applies only if: fruit is first while others hold that the whole one is first. * One wishes to eat two or more foods at one sitting. If he wants to eat 29 Aruch ha-Shulchan 211:17 rules that shehakol over food should be said only one food, for instance an apple, but there are also grapes on the table before shehakol over a drink. But the Mishnah Berurah does not mention this, and the Peri Megadim (Mishbetzos, 211:6) specifically says that before him, he need not be concerned that grapes take priority over apples. neither has priority; the blessing should be recited on the preferred item. He may make the blessing over the apple and eat only the apple.32 30 In this case, there are situations when the wrong order could result in a * One's preference for a given food does not violate normal eating patterns berachah levatalah, an unnecessary blessing, since a blessing specifically or mealtime routines.33 Thus one need not eat the fruit intended for dessert recited on a ―less important‖ item would not automatically include a before the meat of the main course, even though ha-eitz usually has ―more important‖ item, even if both items are of the same blessing and priority over shehakol. Also, if one is thirsty, he need not eat his vegetables both are on the table; see Mishnah Berurah 211:32-33. before drinking, even though ha-adamah is generally said before shehakol. 31 Rye bread sold in today's bakeries is made (mostly) from wheat. The * If preferring one food over the other will not result in a questionable same holds true for oatmeal cookies. 32 Rama, O.C. 211:5. blessing being said. Some examples:34 33 See Kaf ha-Chayim 211:5. 1. Shehakol on chocolate should be said before ha-eitz over fruit, since 34 See Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 126, quoting Rav Y.S. Elyashiv and other some poskim35 hold that b‘diavad the blessing of ha-eitz covers chocolate poskim. as well. 35 See Minchas Shlomo 1:91-2 and Shevet ha-Levi 8:27 for the halachic 2. Shehakol on pure (not from concentrate) orange juice should be said debate concerning the proper blessing over chocolate. before ha-eitz over fruit, since some poskim36 hold that b‘diavad the 36 See Sha‘ar ha-Tziyun 202:54 and 205:21, Chazon Ish 33:5 and Shevet blessing of ha-eitz covers pure orange juice as well. ha-Levi 4:19. 3. Shehakol on a soy-based product should be said before ha-adamah on 37 See Piskei Teshuvos 202, note 118. vegetables, since b‘diavad some poskim37 hold that the blessing of ha-
adamah covers soy products as well. 1 Based on Mishnah Berurah 202:40 and 42 and Minchas Shlomo 1:91-3. Carrying in Public and the Use of an Eruv One who recites ha-eitz on all kinds of applesauce has valid sources upon By Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff which to rely; see Yabia Omer 7:29 and Pischei Halachah, pgs. 170-171. 2 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:85; Vesein Berachah, pg. 396; Vezos ha-Berachah, In this week‘s parsha, the Torah recounts the story of the manna, also pg. 372. Wild blueberries, which grow on bushes that do not reach a including the unbecoming episode where some people attempted to gather height of ten inches, require a ha-adamah, but often, these berries are it on Shabbos. In the words of the Torah: infested with worms and require careful inspection. 3 First the shehakol on a bit of chocolate, with specific intention not to And Moshe said, ―Eat it (the manna that remained from Friday) today, for exempt the fruit, then the ha-eitz over the fruit. today is Shabbos to Hashem. Today you will not find it (the manna) in the 4 Igros Moshe O.C. 3:31.