Not with Chariots or horses לא בּרכב לא בּסוסים כּי ירחיב ה
- Written by Shlomo Werner
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Annexation or Peace ?
What an exciting beginning to chodesh Ellul!
Our Parsha speaks about expansion of the Land, but the Ramban reminds us that is 100% contingent on our fulfilling our obligations of keeping the Torah as it was given to us - keeping our end of the Covenant.Our job as a People is to be a 'Light unto the Nations' - not to 'muscle' our "territorial rights.' Actually , we have no 'rights' as such.We are reminded of this every 7 years, and soon , b'ezer haShem every 50th.
The Chazal teach us that every 'machloke shehu l'Shem shamayim will endure.I have no doubt that the Holy Satmar Rebbe ztz'l in Olam Hemes rejoices with us.Even as much as he disagreed in principle with so many great Rabanan of his time, all would agree that seeking true and lasting peace has always been the way of our Fathers.
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
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(16:18) “Shoftim V’shotrim Titein Lecha-Judges and officers you shall appoint for you.” The word “Lecha”-for you- seems to be extra. It should just have said appoint Judges and officers? Parshas Shoftim is always read around the beginning of the month of Elul, when Teshuva is the primary concern. The Torah is telling us with the word “Lecha” that every person must judge himself, especially during this month, to make sure to correct any wrongdoing he might find in himself. (Shelah)
(16:20) “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof-Righteousness Righteousness shall you pursue.” The word Tzedek is repeated to tell us that the ends do not necessarily justify the means. You must pursue righteousness but only in a righteous way. (Kol Torah)
(16:20) “Liman Tichye-So that you will live.” Why is this mentioned here? All Mitzvos are for us to live. However the Torah is teaching us that we are judged by the way we treat each other. If we judge people favorably we will be judged that way as well. As in the story of R.Yehoshua ben Levi who entered heaven alive. He swore never to leave. But when the angels complained, they looked at his actions on earth. Did he ever release someone from a vow? When they saw he had not, they would not force him to release his vow.
(17:4) “Ki Savo el H’Aretz...V’amarta Asima Olai Melech-When you come to the land..And you will say I will set a king over myself.” This parsha deals with leadership of Benei Yisroel. When they come into the land they will want to establish a king for themselves. The Torah tells us that the Navi of the generation will appoint the king which will be chosen by Hashem. Afterward he must write a Sefer Torah and it should be with him that he may learn to fear Hashem. The question is, if he is selected by the Navi he surely is someone who fears Hashem? Why now after he is set up as king would we say he must write this Sefer Torah to learn to fear Hashem? The answer is that now after he has been on this level of kingship it is important that the position not go to his head. After he has been king for a while he must relearn his Yiras Hashem. To remember that he should not put himself too much above the rest of Benei Yisroel.
When Shmuel Hanovi was asked by Benei Yisroel to appoint a king he was aggravated by their request. The question is why? The Torah itself states that a king should be appointed? There may be several answers. First their request was not for the sake of the mitzvah but rather from their desire to be like the other nations around them. Second their request was premature as long as the Navi Shmuel was still alive Hashem performed open miracles. They had no need for a king. By asking for a king it was as if they were rejecting the supernatural way of life they enjoyed.
(19:8)”V’im Yarchiv Hashem es-Gevulcha-When Hashem will broaden your boundaries.” There are three nations whose lands were promised to Avraham, but were not conquered by Yisroel at this time. They will become part of Yisroel’s land in the future. The question is if this is referring to the future, when Moshiach will have arrived, what need is there for them to set up additional cities of refuge? It will be a time of peace where no sword will be raised against another man. The Shem Meshmuel asks this question and answers that it depends on how the Moshiach will arrive. He will come in one of two ways, either by the designated time or earlier through the merits of Klal Yisroel. This could explain the use of the word “Im” at the beginning of this posuk and the use of the word “Ki” in the next posuk. Both words have two meanings, but the commentators translate them both as when. “Im” could mean when or if. And the word “Ki” could mean because or when. Now according to the Shem Meshmuel it comes out that the meaning of the verse is “When Hashem broadens your boundaries” depends on how this is accomplished. If you will listen to all the Mitzvos and bring Moshiach earlier, then there will be a need for the cities of refuge because certain fixes (tikunim) need to take place before the end of time. Certain reincarnations of previous Neshamas must run their course and take their place in the grand scale of history. On the other hand if Moshiach comes at the allotted time, there won’t be a need for the cities of refuge. All of this will have been played out during Hashem’s allotted time.
(17:17) “V'lo Yarbeh Lecha Noshim- A king should not take too many wives.” What about Shlomo Hamelech who is said to have taken one thousand wives? The Recanti explains that they were not actual women but were the thousand impure forces that the evil inclination gives to man. Shlomo Hamelech, who had tremendous thirst for knowledge, wanted to better understand man's prime motivator, he was desperate to gain insight into the lust of man. Still, even a King is not permitted to go against the Torah. Writing the Sefer Mishlei was his Tikun.
(17:18) “V'Kosav Lo es Mishneh Hatorah H'Zos M'lifnei H'Kohanim H'leviim-He shall write for himsself two copies of this Torah before the Kohanim who are Leviim.” This was to prevent any subversion of the text. The Kohanim would verify it. This was because there was in every generation those who would seek out the king and through him would try to subvert the Torah. According to some the king only had to write the Ten Commandments for it contains 613 letters which represents all of the Mitzvos.
(18:13) “Tomim Tihiyeh Im Hashem Elokecha-You shall be wholehearted with Hashem your G-D” The Posuk uses both Hashem (Midas H’Rachamim) and Elokim (Midas H’din) The Gematriah of תמים עם יהו' אלהיך with its fifteen letters adds up to השבת. For Shabbos is מעין עולם הבא, where one receives the revelation, that Hashem always on every occasion treated us with the utmost of kindness and concern for our benefit. We were just not privy to see the inner truth and the silver lining.
However, we can interpret the above Passuk in a slightly different fashion. Everything that comes your way you must respond with wholesomeness. That means that Hashem is sending one tests where sometimes one’s reaction to the situation must utilize the Middah of Chesed and sometimes the expected reaction from the same person tested is the Middas Hadin. One is not allowed to lock himself into a particular middah and say this is who I am. For instance to say, I am a Baal Chesed and worked on it for years. How can Hashem expect from me a reaction of anger and to go ahead and murder the inhabitants of an Ir Hanidachas. If Avraham would have taken that stance he would not have been able to slaughter his son Yitzchak which is an act depicting the opposite of his lifetime Middas Hachesed. If this was to happen Am Yisrael would have lost one of their greatest merits. Why then was Avraham prepared to carry out the polarized opposite of his lifetime work? The answer is that Avraham was never working for himself in order to win a trophy, prove to himself and to others his greatness, or in order that a biography would be written about him posthumously. He was working solely for the Ratzon of Hashem. In such dedication there is no difference whether Hashem wants you to feed thousands of people or to kill your son. When one is able to shift between the Middos and there is no difference when your hear the calling of chesed and the next moment the calling of din, only then is one’s Avodah complete and wholesome. This is what the Passuk means when it says תמים תהיה עם ה' אלקיך when is your Avodas Hashem Tamim? When it is with both יהו' the Middah of Rachamim, and אלהיך the Middah of דין. (R.Shmuel Brazil)
(19:16) “Ki Yokum Ade Chomos-If a false witness is accepted.” The Parsha also speaks
of the laws of false witnesses who plot to convict an innocent man. If it becomes known that their testimony was false they have done to them what they intended to do to the victim. But only what they intended to do. If it was already done, if the person was executed, then they don't receive the punishment that their victim got. If the victim of the false witnesses was executed he must have been deserving of this punishment for perhaps another reason. Hashem therefore brought about his punishment in this manner.
Why do the witnesses go free when it is after the victim’s execution? According to the Tur, if the Torah would permit the exposure of the plotting witnesses even after execution, the relatives of the executed man would themselves falsely attempt to refute the witnesses or hire false witnesses to restore the honor of the dead or take revenge.
The Gemarra in Macos explains that this is really a more severe punishment than it appears to be. For now the guilty parties judgement are taken out of the hand of man and are given over to the hand of the ultimate judge. (Macos )
(19:6) “Ain Mishpat Moves-There is no judgment of death.” If a person inadvertently killed a man, he must flee to a city of refuge to escape revenge of a relative of the deceased. He must remain there until the death of the Kohain Gadol. This applies even to someone whom the court has acquitted? Why should someone who murdered by accident be taken away from his family and home? Usually sins are atoned through sacrifice. Nothing happens by chance. If this person was placed in this situation it must be to atone for something in his past. Here the killer must expiate his sin by leaving his family and his home.
(19:17) “V’Hashoftim Asher Yihu B’Yomim H’Haim-The judges that will be in your time.” What other time could the Torah mean? The reason these apparently extra words were written was to teach us that only someone who has the experience of those times, can understand and judge properly. This is why Eliyahu HaNavi, who did not ever die, will answer all disputed questions. For only someone who has experienced all of human history can truly judge. (Berditchive Rebbe)
(20:5) “V’Dibru H’shotrim el- Ha’am Leimore Mi Ha’Ish Asher Bonoh Bayis Chodosh V’lo ChanchoYelech Vyoshev L’Beiso-Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man who has built a new house and has not inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house...” The Torah records three categories of people who are exempt from military service: “Ha’ish Asher Banah Bayis Velo Chanacho” - the man who built a house and has not yet inaugurated it, “Ha’ish Asher Natah Kerem Velo chilelo” -the man who planted a vineyard and has not yet redeemed it, i.e. has not benefited from the fruit of his labor, and “Ha’ish Asher Aras Isha Velo Lakacha” - the man who betrothed a woman and has not yet married her. Many of the commentaries understand this law to be a practical measure. A soldier who falls into one of these three categories will be preoccupied with the thought of what he left back home, and consequently his performance will be impeded. His lacking performance may even impact negatively on his comrades, lowering their morale. Therefore, the Torah releases him from his duty as a soldier. Why does the Torah specifically choose these three situations to release a soldier from his military duty, when there are numerous other situations which could cause a soldier to be preoccupied? Rashi comments that the soldier is released due to “Agmas Nefesh” - “torment of the soul”. If Rashi is interpreting that his mental state will cause him to be ineffective, why does Rashi not simply say that the soldier will be preoccupied? The Talmud teaches that forty days prior to the formation of a fetus, a heavenly voice proclaims the future spouse, residence, and livelihood of this child. Forty days prior to the formation of the fetus is the moment of conception, when all the genetic data contained in the DNA of the fetus has already been formed, i.e. the intelligence, appearance, abilities and propensities of the child. This data, which makes up the basic definition of the child, is present at conception. Why does a person’s spouse, home and livelihood have to be determined at conception?
Clearly, Chazal are teaching us that although these three factors appear to be external to a person’s essence, they are major factors in defining and expressing the essence of the person. A spouse is the completion of a person’s soul. A person’s home and profession are both manners in which he is defined; a doctor is called by the name “Doctor”, for the profession has become his name. Similarly, a person is known as a Ba’al Habayis, for having a home has made him complete. The Rambam gleans from these verses that a person should have a livelihood and own a home prior to marrying a woman. It is apparent that the Rambam interprets planting a vineyard as an example of having a livelihood.
The Torah is teaching us that beginning a marriage, starting a new business and owning a new home create a particularly strong preoccupation within a person, for they define his very being. The inability to complete these processes, together with the knowledge that another person may harvest the fruits of his labor, brings torment to the soul of the soldier, for it is these three ways that a soul both defines and expresses itself.
(20:19) “Ki H’Odom Eitz Hasodeh Lovoy Ponecha Bamotzur-Is the tree of the field a man that it should enter the siege before you?”According to the Maharal, the subject of the rhetorical question at the end of the verse is man, not trees; it is people who are being compared to trees, rather than trees to people. Trees put out branches, twigs, and flowers and they ultimately provide fruit that nourishes the hungry. Similarly, man is expected to be productive and labor to produce fruit. The fruit that only man can grow and the nourishment that only he can supply is moral behavior, and the pursuit and attainment of knowledge to add to the world's store of knowledge and wisdom.
In other words, people were not placed here on earth to harvest its fruits and reap its benefits and simply consume. The earthly inputs that we enjoy are like the soil that supports the growth of fruit bearing trees. Just as the fruit-bearing tree transforms the nourishment it derives from the soil into edible fruit, so must the human being make use of the inputs provided by the earth to make himself sprout and grow until he is productive and provides his fruit - wisdom and good deeds.
In this week’s Parsha the Torah discusses the laws pertaining to preparations for war. In next week’s Parsha (Ki Saitzei ) the Torah continues with this theme. In between we have a seemingly out of place law (Eigel Arufa) which does not involve war but rather a procedure performed when a corpse is found on the road between two cities and it is not known which city is responsible. Why is it here? What the torah is teaching by placing this law here is to value every human life. When involved in battle, the life of one individual can be lost. The Torah wants us not to become so insensitive that we might ignore the value of a life. Therefore right here is the time for that lesson to be learned.
(21:9) “V’Atoh Tvaer H’dom H’Noki-And you shall remove the innocent blood from your midst.” What does “removing innocent blood” mean? When a corpse is found on
the road, and the culprit is unknown to the judges, they perform this Mitzvah of Eigel Arufah. In doing so they remove any guilt of them being responsible for the death by not accompanying the traveler when he left their town. This is the innocent blood. However worms exit from the slaughtered calf and form a trail leading to the guilty culprit. This is hinted in the phrase “V’Atoh Tvaer H’dom H’Noki” the final letters of each of these words form the word Remah-Worms.
Korach 'Black Lives Matter " Tikun for the Earth
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This past shabbas I saw a few words from the Orach Chaim haKadosh which made me pause and think.I thought it might be worth to share.
ואולי כּי יחיח לה תיקון למה שׁפּצתה איש צדיק עתה תפצח פיח לבלוע איבי השם
Everything in this world was created for 'His' kavod -- His honor.All is made to sing His praise.Until the Earth opened its mouth to swallow the blood of Hevel it too sang praise of haShem.But that 'mouth ' was closed from that time on , until it 'opened' again to swallow the enemies of haShem.
Korach was jealous of Moshe.He and Aaron as sons of the eldest son of Kehus took 'kingship' and kehuna.Why did he appoint the youngest son as Nassi?
Who is to say the Nassi is more beloved and important before haShem ?Korach carried the holy ark on his shoulders.After being placed in its' place he would have the job to sing praises of haShem during the services in the mishkan
And indeed his sons took his middos and used them for the good.Elkana gathered the Yidden to be olah to the Mishkan 3 times a year.We learn from Shmuel's mother how to pray with internal sincerity. Shmuel ,himself as a very youngster challenged Eli that we all participate in the 'avoda; as a 'zar ' can shecht the korban.
The possuk says ' Moshe v'Aaron b'kohanav uShmuel b'koreh Shmo.We are a'Kingdom of Priests 'and we are actually stratisfied as a Nation with full time priests with nothing but Torah and kedushe to attend to.and yet, somehow, that torah and kedushe needs to be brought down into the secular world.Because this world is good and is meant to be lived in by people.; it is meant to be blessed.
We live in a time of anarchy, and disruptive new 'isms'. The United States was known to be built on a foundation of law and order,of respect and inspiration.'All men are created equal before G-d.And yet the people who penned those words were slave owners.
What about ourselves, the Jewish people ?
Our parsha of 'civil law - Mishpatim' starts with the laws due a Jewish slave ;;later there is also reference to a ;gentile slaves.
I heard once from one of my Rebbeim that a human is here for only one purpose - to be a'tikkun' for this world.If he is not a 'tikun', he is nothing.
The earth we stand on is our place to fulfill our purpose.It is stable and supportive as long as we understand our purpose.What is the possible 'purpose ' of a 'Kingdom of Priests' - to realize there is One above us all who enables us to conquer the world and bring out it's dream of goodness .
and that doesn't change in a time when people dream of going to other planets and the miracles of AI.The opposite;it is more important.
Those slave owners who penned the American constitution also believed that not everyone should be allowed to excersise voting because they would not use those rights with responsibility.
Who had more right to violently overthrow the the existing government in Egypt that Moses?And yet, he wouldn't;he excerczied respect for Pharoah.
We are commanded not to 'look' 'above', 'below', 'before' and 'behind.'Actually , this world is built on a dungheap.It is our job to raise that mound of dung continually with respect and acts of g-dliness.
This is something we can and must do in our own private . communal and worldy affairs and has always been our way in this world.
May we speedily merit to see the fulfillment of the dreams of the Neviim with the coming of Moshiach and the 'Kingdom of haShem on earth.
Sheep invade Turkey's city of Samsun --- Pesach sheni?Geula ?
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Simon Tov and Mazal Tov , I certainly would like to believe (and the simonim are definitely here)
But I am kind of uneasy , to say the least.Why ?
Well first of all, if we learn
For the centuries that the Ishmaelim controlled Har Habayis they actually served as shomrim on its kedushe; but now that is becoming fragile, chas v'sholom.
Maybe that was the zechus of the old Byzantine Empire, and theRibono shel Olam is now reminding us of our true tafkid, to stay pure and dedicated.
After all the first Pesach sheni was observed because two Yidden bemoaned to Moshe Rabbenu that they were impure and could not bring the korban Pesach in time
Just a little more , Kinderlich , just a little more; hang on.
A freilich Peasach sheni!
Hang on , Kinderlich; just a little longer .........
Why the Resurgence of Anti Semitism
- Written by Shlomo Werner
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The new anti Semitism
Why ? What's Happenning ?A sudden new Anti semitism.We thought that was in the past,finished.
I saw the question asked in a popular jewish paper.My take is that it is really different than the past;almost ;we can say it is positive.
The mesora from the Gaon that America will be the last ‘stop’ in golus Edom is well known. Chazal also tell us “Why is Eisav compared to a chazir? Because he will return (‘chozer”) malchus l’Yisrael.”
We are witnessing today in disbelief as the leader (still) of America actively seeks to build ,strengthen and affirm before the Nations of the World our rights to our Holy Land.
And at the same time we see the collapse of the ideology of ‘Zionism’ and the inability of the government we consider to be illegal to actually govern.
Take the average gentile’s viewpoint .Wherever he looks he sees the jews very visible and on top. Take a ride between two jewish neighborhoods. Very likely you will find that in between, the homes are run down, even perhaps a slum. When you arrive to the jewish area ,it is built up, if not ostentatious, but nice, maybe very nice.
We have become very successful and as result ‘thorns in their eyes.’ The Netziv says that golus is something ‘very high’; that is how we fulfill our purpose as a People to be a ‘Light unto the Nations.” We are all over the globe, and very successful. If the demented goy says “Jude go home,” maybe he is right and the time has actually come. Klall Yisrael just had an incredible bar Mitzva in limud of Talmid Bavli , and the next day the benches filled with new talmidim. The Ohr haChaim writes that the arichas hagolus is because the geulah has to come in the zechus of Moshe Rabbenu and he won’t allow the geulah for a Nation botul from the Torah.
B’h, we are no longer a “Nation botul from the torah.
The Meshech Chochma writes that the golus started when they settled in Goshen.They settled and established themselves.They forgot they only came becuase of the draught.
Have we forgotten our real adresss? I wonder sometimes.
From my experience discussing https://buyapieceofisrael.com after I personally bought with them and have tried to encourage friends to do so too ; what I find is an attitude; the golah is the golah; we have our problems,they have theirs.No one even asks themselves if this is really my place anymore, and if it is ,do I have any obligation to connect to eretz Yisrael itself besides giving tzedeka and chizuk hatorah? Where is the chechek, the desire to connect to our Land ?
Many say ,we own some property there (bought or by yerushe)and we constantly help..But they miss the point.Even the rishonim who disagree with the Ramban that even today we have a mitzva to go to war,if necessary to guarantee goyim don't own eretz Yisrael, all agree that to acquire land for that purpose is the only mitzva chazal allowed to be done through a goy on shabbas withouta shinui.And that is why Rav Yoel ztz'l writes in maamar Eretz Yisrael,that it is a bigger mitzva even that being oleh
And if at the same time you are building the Land and its people in a mutual sustainable and profitable way, and not at all that expensive, than why shouldn't everyone feel a chiyuv?
We'll pass on that,we'll wait for Moshiach.
V'yechi Yaakov , Parsha Stume
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Why is the Parsha Stume (closed)?
Because with Yaakov's petire (Death) the eyes and hearts of Yidden closed with the tzoros of the subjection as the Egyptians started enslavement
Because Yaakov wanted to reveal the 'ketz' (the 'end'),but it was hidden from him.
Our Chazal ask, why is parshas V'yechi closed (ie, runs as one , without a break to parshas V'yigash).They give two answers.Our eyes and hearts began to fall with the beginnings of servitude.Two , the depths and the end of tzoros were no where in sight.
One wonders how closely our times reflect the events recently.Increasing ,open anti semitic hateful gruesome attacks with the dreadful, frightening specter of world war raising its ugly head.
The truth is , we don't see in our parsha the beginnings of servitude and anti semitism till next parsha, Shmos,the Book of Golus, with the 'new King' who did not know Yosef. But maybe the tremendous honor given to Yaakov , buried in Canaan,brought out the deep hate for that foreign people..
Actually, the question is asked as why did the Egyptians show so much honor for Yaakov that even the Cannaanites said a 'great aveilus for the Egyptians"?They never loved the 'Ivrim', in fact , they would not eat together with them?But they realized that they benefitted from his presence as the famine stopped when he came.There was something 'supernatural" and 'holy' so much so, that Yaakov was afraid they would make of him an avoda zara.And we know the Egyptians were very much into the 'other world' the 'after life'.
But we , the Children of Israel, know that after the 3 generations of 'Avos', Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yisrael, the original status of 'kedushas haAdom', of what Adom haRishon was supposed to be,before the Sin, returned.So that kedusha was not really 'supernatural,or 'other worldy';it was what was always supposed to be here on earth, naturally.Just now,it can only exist compositely through the existence of 'Knesset Yisrael',the 'Chosen People".
So, yes, with Yaakov's death, came the return of the famine.If we ,with such holiness for our origins cannot bring blessings, then there is something wrong with us, and we need to be despised ,envied and hated.
In fact, maybe that is the underlying connection between parshas V'yigash an V'yichi;ie, why they are actually connected as one in Chumash.The very last sentence in V'yigash is that is that the Yidden took possession and settled in the Land of Goshen.There is a famous, almost prophetic observation by Rav Meir Simcha about 50 years before WW2..They took possession,and settled , building mansions, forgetting they had come only as sojourners.'and Berlin is begining today to resemble Mizrayim."
How do you stop the hate crimes ? Marches? Protests?From my point of view, with every success we have and with every gift Mr Trump gives our People and Land, the Ribono shel Olam gifts us with harsh slaps -- 'go back to your home 'Jude'; that's where you belong , that is your true home;Get out!
And isn't that really the very the center of the vortex dragging the modern day ambitious Haman in Iran (th eIranians are not arabs; they actually were an 'Arian' tribe who came from Europe) ,andour People and our greatest ally, the USA into the spectre of War?
May the day come soon when our people realize we are one ,only as we accept together the yoke of Heaven, and it is not reliance on super science or great financial success which will bring our Salvation.But only the acceptance of the word of haShem.There is no other way in Israel for that elusive 'Unity Government."