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‫הגדה של ט״ו בשבט‬ A Tribute to Israel’s Spiritual Revolution

‫תשע״ט‬


Table of Contents

‫תוכן הענינים‬ Introduction to Tu Bishvat

3 4

5

6

7

14

High Schools, Yeshivot and Ulpanot

Rav Eli Sadan, Rosh Mechinat Bnei David, Eli

8

The Rabbanut: Enfusing Spirituality in

Rav Yona Goodman, Director of Education, Yeshivot Bnei Akiva

Conclusion

the Statehood

Echad L'Echad: Planting for Generations

Rav Aryeh Stern, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem

Migdal Haemek

Talya Ben-Meir, Shlicha, Bnei Akiva Schools

Almond

Mechinot

Rav Avraham Lifshitz, Director, Garin Torani,

13

Shlichut in the Diaspora

Moshe Blum

Garin Torani

Chaim Eizner, Director of Rosh Yehudi, Tel Aviv

Apple

Torah VeHa’aretz Institute

Date

12

Religious Zionist Kiruv

Rav David Pandel, Rosh Yeshivat Hesder Sderot

Dvar Torah

Michal Veldigger

Etrog

Yeshivot Hesder 

Olive

11

Sherut Leumi

Eliezer Avreki, Director of the Southern District, Bnei Akiva

Grapes

Rabbi Danny Stiskin

Pomegranate

Youth Movements 

Grains

10

Women's Midrashot

Rabbi Elan Mazer

Introduction to Seder

Fig

9

Rav Yitzchak Neriyah Concluding Remarks Ariel and Oshrat Erani, Shlichim, Netivot HaTorah Day School

MIZRACHI CANADA www.mizrachi.ca ▪ facebook.com/MizrachiCanada ▪ mizrachi@mizrachi.ca ▪ 416-630-9266 OUR PARTNERS Bnei Akiva of Toronto ▪ Camp Moshava Ennismore ▪ Moshava Ba'ir Toronto Bnei Akiva Schools ▪ Emunah Canada ▪ Yoatzot ▪ YU/Torah Mitzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov DESIGN AND LAYOUT Daniel Safran ▪ safran.daniel@gmail.com PHOTO CREDITS Page 5: Wheat field by IakovKalinin/iStock. Page 6: Grapes, CC0 license/Pixabay.com. Page 7: Olive, CC0 license/Pixabay.com. Page 8: Fruit, public domain. Page 9: Dates by Suchitra Photography via Flickr, CC BY 2.0. Page 10: Figs, via Ecowallpapers.net. Page 11: Pomegranate by coniferconifer via Flickr, CC BY 2.0. Page 12: Etrog, by Sven Manguard via WikiCommons, CC BY 2.0. Page 13: Apples, More-Sky.com. Page 14/15: Almonds, CC0 license/Pixabay.com.

15


Introduction to Tu Bishvat Rabbi Elan Mazer

National Director, Mizrachi Canada

“Tu B’shvat Rosh Hashana L’Ilanot.” Tu B’Shvat is the Rosh Hashana Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach Ben David. Rav Kook explains for the trees, says the Mishna in Masechet Rosh Hashana. But what, that each one has a different role in the geulah process. Mashiach exactly, is the holiday which we are celebrating on Tu Bishvat? ben Yosef is the builder of the physical structure of the redempThe Gemara in Masechet Rosh Hashanah (14b) tells us that Tu tion – a physical state, an army, and all that is needed to have B’Shvat is the date when “Most of the rain has fallen, but much a strong nation-state. The second role is that of Mashiach ben of the season is still yet to come.” In other words, Tu B’Shvat is a David, whose job it will be to lead the spiritual redemption, to date on the calendar which marks the halfway point of the rainy ensure that the State of Israel is not only a safe haven and physseason but nothing significant actually happens on this day; the ical home of the Jewish people, but rather the merkaz ruchani season does not change, the flowers are not blossoming, and the – the spiritual home. A place where we can clarify our values and fruits have not yet started to grow. Even in Israel, Tu B’Shvat is still moral endeavours, grow closer to G-d, and develop our spiritual the middle of winter, with a few more months of rain and cold identity and message to the world as His representatives to the nations. This is the second stage of redemption, and this is the ahead of it. revolution that is currently taking place in the State of Israel. ZiTu B’Shvat is first mentioned in the Mishna as a day with halachic onism solely as the dream of creating a physical home for Jews significance, pertaining to the new year for trees (orla, neta revai) in the land of Israel is bound to come to an end. It cannot be a and fruit (terumot and maasrot), but historically, it was not cele- long-term mission, for once the home is built there is nothing left brated as a holiday, and only began to gain traction as a holiday to do. A Zionism based on values, tradition, and religion, howaround the 1600s by the Kabbalists in Tzfat. ever, is a long-term dream which starts with building a state and How did Tu B’Shvat become a holiday, and what are we cele- continues to develop the spiritual identity of the Jewish people, creating a state unlike any other in the world. brating? This is our call to action. At Mizrachi, we are consciously participating in this process of redemption, with two primary missions. First, to build a Zionism based on values and tradition as the core voice of Zionism in the Jewish community, and second, to work towards establishing the State of Israel as the spiritual center of the Jewish people. This is our mission in Canada and around the world – to be part of this revolution.

Tu B’Shvat celebrates the underlying process that leads towards the final product. The fruits that weigh down the trees in summer are the reason we planted the trees in the first place, they are the goal, the final product. But we must reflect on how those fruits came to be, the process that took place to produce them in their final form, and the middle of the rainy season – Tu B’Shvat – is the perfect time to reflect on this, to celebrate it. In the 1600s in the Tzfat, the Kabbalists noticed that there was a process taking place. The geulah (redemption) was not apparent at that time, however with a discerning eye they noticed that changes were taking place and that redemption was on its way.

This Haggadah is a tribute to this vision, this revolution, this mission, this process. We have articles by the leaders of institutions that are changing the face of Israel – the army, the media, politics, youth movements, and more. The country is currently going In a famous speech given by Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen through a revolutionary spiritual development on all fronts, with Kook as a eulogy for the father of modern Zionism, Theodor these institutions bringing us to the next stage. Herzl, Rav Kook explained that the redemption is a process that Chag Sameach! has two distinct stages. Many midrashim describe two messiahs,

3


Introduction to Seder

‫הקדמה לסדר‬ In the 16th century, the Kabbalists of Tzfat put together a Tu Bishvat Seder, which involves enjoying the fruits that G-d has given us, particularly those native to the Land of Israel. This Seder gives us the opportunity to discuss philosophical concepts associated with the symbolism of the fruit. Among other things, the Seder is a great way to appreciate the abundance that we so often take for granted, and to develop a generous attitude towards the world around us.

Youth Movements Eliezer Avreki Director of the Southern District, Bnei Akiva

A number of years ago I asked an important rabbi to speak to Bnei Akiva leaders in the southern district of Israel on the importance of planting trees on Tu B’Shvat. During the shiur, the rabbi systematically rejected the importance of planting trees on Tu Bishvat, from a botanical as well as halachic perspective. Trees, he said, are to be planted before the winter, and not near the end of winter when most of the rain has already fallen, and the extreme cold makes it difficult for the young tree to get established in the soil. According to the mishna in Masechet Rosh HaShana, the first of Tishrei is a new year for planting, and Tu Bishvat is a new year for the tree, meaning that planting should take place at the beginning of the winter, and not on Tu Bishvat, which is the new year for the tree, and is when the fruits begin to sprout and ripen.

The Land of Israel For Jews around the world, Tu Bishvat is a day for thanking Hashem for the Land of Israel and its prosperity.

ָ ‫ֹלק‬ ‫יא ָך ֶאל ֶא ֶרץ טוֹ ָבה ֶא ֶרץ נַ ֲחלֵ י ָמיִ ם ֲעיָ נֹת ו ְּתהֹמֹת‬ ֲ ‫יך ְמ ִב‬ ֶ ‫ִּכי ה ’ ֱא‬ ‫ ֶא ֶרץ ִח ָּטה וּשְׂ ע ָֹרה וְ גֶ ֶפן ו ְּת ֵאנָ ה וְ ִר ּמוֹ ן ֶא ֶרץ‬:‫י ְֹצ ִאים ַ ּב ִ ּב ְק ָעה ו ָּב ָהר‬ ‫ ֶא ֶרץ ֲא ׁ ֶשר ֹלא ְב ִמ ְס ֵּכנֻ ת ּתֹאכַ ל ָ ּב ּה לֶ ֶחם ֹלא ֶת ְח ַסר‬:‫זֵ ית ׁ ֶש ֶמן ו ְּד ָב ׁש‬ ‫ וְ ָאכַ לְ ָּת‬:‫חשת‬ ָ ‫יה ַב ְרזֶ ל ו ֵּמ ֲה ָר ֶר‬ ָ ֶ‫כּ ֹל ָ ּב ּה ֶא ֶרץ ֲא ׁ ֶשר ֲא ָבנ‬ ֶ ׁ ְ‫יה ַּת ְחצֹב נ‬ ָ ‫ֹלק‬ :‫יך ַעל ָה ָא ֶרץ ַה ּט ָֹבה ֲא ׁ ֶשר נָ ַתן לָ ְך‬ ֶ ‫וְ שָׂ ָב ְע ָּת ו ֵּב ַרכְ ָּת ֶאת יְ קֹוָ ק ֱא‬

If this is true, from where did we get the custom to plant trees on Tu Bshvat, and what can we learn from it? A quick internet search reveals that the custom of planting trees specifically on Tu BShvat is about 120 years old, and was pioneered and led by the early settlers (halutzim). The drive to settle the land and to place trees in Eretz Yisrael caused the settlers to rebel even against the laws of nature, and although they knew that there was no logic in planting trees at this point in the season, they planted anyway in order to claim the land.

)‫(דברים ח‬

For the Lord your G-d is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths, that emerge in valleys and mountains: A land of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil producing olives and honey: A land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, you will lack nothing in it, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose mountains you will hew copper: And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the Lord, your G-d, for the good land He has given you. (Devarim 8)

Youth movements were at the forefront of building the State, active in initiatives such as these, their ideology driving their motivation. Bnei Akiva is still at the forefront of building the country today, both physically and spiritually, with over 100,000 members across the world. May the passion of these early settlers awaken in us today the same feelings of excitement, dedication, and devotion towards the Land, the Torah, and Am Yisrael, and may these feelings encourage us to actions which will be rebellious against the natural order of the world, rebellious against ideas which may be obvious but need to be questioned, and rebellious against previous opinions that we ourselves have held.

4


Grains

‫חיטה ושעורה‬ Take a cake or cracker, raise it and say:

Yeshivot Hesder

:‫ירש‬ ׁ ‫ֹלקים ִמ ַּטל ַה ּׁ ָש ַמיִ ם ו ִּמ ׁ ְש ַמ ֵּני ָה ָא ֶרץ וְ רֹב דָּ גָ ן וְ ִת‬ ִ ‫וְ יִ ֶּתן לְ ָך ָה ֱא‬

Rav David Pandel Rosh Yeshivat Hesder Sderot

)‫כח‬:‫(בראשית כ‬

And may the Lord give you of the dew of the heavens and [of] the fatness of the earth and an abundance of grain and wine.

The Shivat HaMinim (seven species) have a particular order in the Torah, starting with Wheat, and ending with Honey, which Chazal explain is the Tamar (date). Wheat allows us to learn Torah, while Tzadikim are likened to a date, and both describe the process involved in gaining knowledge by hard work. “With the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread”, while about the Tamar the midrash says that to climb the palm tree is hard work but the result is sweet, so, too, gaining knowledge requires hard work, but in the end there is sweetness and pleasure.

(Bereshit 20:28)

).‫עתידה חטה שתתמר כדקל ועולה בראש הרים (כתובות קיא‬

A stalk of wheat will one day rise high like a palm, and will reach up to the mountaintops. (Ketubot 111a)

‫ כל‬:‫ארץ חיטה ושעורה וגפן ותאנה ורימון ארץ זית שמן ודבש‬ ‫הקרוב לארץ מוקדם לברכה—מי שיש לו יותר אהבה לארץ ויותר‬ ‫השתדלות בענין ישוב ארה"ק הוא מוקדם לברכה והוא קרוב‬ ).‫ על מא‬186 '‫ ברכות ב' עמ‬,‫ (עין איה‬.‫יותר אל השלימות‬

Masechet Ketubot (111b) says: “In the future Eretz Yisrael will produce cakes …In the future, wheat will rise up, and grow tall like a palm tree, and ascend to the top of the mountains. And lest you say, its reaper will suffer discomfort, the verse states: ‘May his fruit rustle like Lebanon.’ Hashem will bring a wind from His treasury and blow across, and this will induce the flour to fall from the stalks of wheat, and a person will go to the field and bring back a palmful of flour, from which he will provide his livelihood and the livelihood of the members of his household.”

““A land of wheat, barley, grape, fig, and pomegranate; a land of oil-olives and date-honey:” whatever’s closer to the word ‘land’ is being blessed on first” – Whoever has more love for the land and more endurance in trying to build and settle Eretz Israel, he will get blessed earlier, and he is closer to the wholeness of G-d. (Rav Kook, Ein Aya, pg. 186)

The purpose of the hesder yeshivot is to bequeath knowledge to aspiring young Torah scholars, but not to separate them from the rest of the world. It creates a place of Torah knowledge where the young men can prepare for their army service and their lives beyond the yeshiva. Our generation is one of revival and redemption, the perfect time to learn Torat Eretz Yisrael. Our yeshiva is purposefully located in the center of the city, as the religious and spiritual Torah center for everyone in Sderot. Graduates of the yeshiva have gone on to important roles in the city, fulfilling the religious Zionist dream of influence and action in all spheres of life from a place of Torah. The Palestinians have tried to turn our city in to a ghost town, but we have ensured that the city is bustling with Torah, Zionism and life itself. They try to destroy us, but they cannot keep pace with the building and prosperity of the Jewish people.

!‫ אמן‬,‫יהי רצון שאהבתנו לארץ תצמח ותתמר כחיטה‬ May our love for the Land of Israel keep growing, Amen! Say the Beracha of Mezonot:

‫ֹלקינ ּו ֶמלֶ ְך ָהעוֹ לָ ם ּבוֹ ֵרא ִמינֵ י ְמזוֹ נוֹ ת‬ ֵ ‫ָ ּברו ְּך ַא ָת ּה ה ֱ’א‬

5


Grapes

‫ענבים‬ We will drink four cups of wine of different colours during the course of our Seder. The colours symbolically take us through the seasons and the colours of the year; from winter whites to a touch of spring red, from rosy summer to the full redness of autumn.

Torah VeHa'aretz Institute Moshe Blum According to the Sefer HaChinuch, there are more than 45 mitzvot that are considered mitzvot hateluyot ba’aretz, mitzvot associated with the Land of Israel, and they fall into two categories: (1) laws related to the sanctity of the land, as manifested by helping the poor and mutual responsibility; and (2) mitzvot that are an expression of our bond with the sanctity of Jerusalem, the sanctity of the kohanim, and to the sanctity of the Beit Hamikdash. These mitzvot are applicable almost exclusively in the Land of Israel.

Pour the first glass of wine. This should be white wine, symbolizing winter. Say the following:

‫וַ ֵ ּי ׁ ֶשב יְ הו ָּדה וְ יִ שְׂ ָר ֵאל לָ ֶב ַטח ִא ׁיש ַּת ַחת ַ ּג ְפנוֹ וְ ַת ַחת ְּת ֵאנָ תוֹ ִמדָּ ן וְ ַעד‬ )‫ה‬:‫ (מלכים א׳ ה‬:‫ְ ּב ֵאר ׁ ָש ַבע כּ ֹל יְ ֵמי ׁ ְשֹלמֹה‬ And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.

Understandably, over the long years in the Diaspora most of these laws were all but forgotten. Upon the return of the Jewish People to its land, the poskim pondered how to practically observe these laws. For example, just consider the wine in the glass in front of you. If the grapes to make that wine grew in Israel, countless halachot would have needed to be observed, from shmitah, orlah, and neta revai, to terumot and maasrot, and none of those are relevant to kosher wine grown outside of Israel.

(Melachim I 5:5)

:‫וְ יַ יִ ן יְ שַׂ ַּמח לְ ַבב ֱאנוֹ ׁש לְ ַה ְצ ִהיל ּ ָפנִ ים ִמ ּׁ ָש ֶמן וְ לֶ ֶחם לְ ַבב ֱאנוֹ ׁש יִ ְס ָעד‬ )‫טו‬:‫(תהלים קד‬

And wine, which cheers man’s heart, to make the face shine from oil, and bread, which sustains man’s heart. (Tehillim 104:15)

‫ֹלקים ֶאת‬ ִ ‫לֵ ְך ֱאכֹל ְ ּבשִׂ ְמ ָחה לַ ְח ֶמ ָך ו ׁ ְּש ֵתה ְבלֶ ב טוֹ ב יֵ ינֶ ָך ִּכי כְ ָבר ָר ָצה ָה ֱא‬ ָ ֶׂ‫ַמ ֲעש‬ )‫ז‬:‫ (קהלת ט‬:‫יך‬

Rabbi Yisrael of Shkolov, a disciple of the Vilna Gaon who made aliyah to Zefat in 1809 (5669), authored Pe’at HaShulchan. This book grapples with the practical application of Jewish agriculture according to Torah law in the Land of Israel and serves as a guide book on this topic. Torah VeHa’aretz Institute, founded in Gush Katif in 1986 (5746), continues in the footsteps of Rabbi Yisrael of Shkolov and guides farmers, rabbis, and private individuals who encounter these issues. In order to provide appropriate halakhic solutions for the needs in the field, one must be intimately acquainted with the world of agriculture, including its quickly developing technology. At the same time, one must also have mastery of broad sections of Torah that most Torah students—and even many rabbis—never delve into.

Go, eat your bread joyfully and drink your wine with a merry heart, for G-d has already accepted your deeds. (Kohelet 9:7)

!‫ אמן‬,‫יהי רצון שנשב תחת ענפי הגפן בשלום‬ May we sit under our vines in peace, Amen! Take the cup of white wine and say the following Beracha:

‫ֹלקינ ּו ֶמלֶ ְך ָהעוֹ לָ ם ּבוֹ ֵרא ּ ְפ ִרי ַהגָ ּ ֶפן‬ ֵ ‫ָ ּברו ְּך ַא ָת ּה ה’ ֱא‬ Drink the wine.

The Institute comprises rabbis and agronomists who work in collaboration on the bond among halacha, science, and agriculture.

6


Olive

‫שמן‬-‫זית‬ Take the olive in your hand, raise it and say:

Mechinot Rav Eli Sadan

‫ֶא ֵּתן ַ ּב ִּמ ְד ָ ּבר ֶא ֶרז ׁ ִש ָּטה וַ ֲה ַדס וְ ֵעץ ׁ ָש ֶמן ָאשִׂ ים ָ ּב ֲע ָר ָבה ְ ּברוֹ ׁש ִּת ְד ָהר ו ְּת ַא ּׁשוּר‬ )‫יט‬:‫ (ישעיהו מא‬:‫יַ ְחדָּ ו‬

Rosh Mechinat Bnei David, Eli

I will give in the desert cedars, acacia trees, myrtles, and pines; I will place in the wilderness boxtrees, firs, and cypresses together.

Before a person goes out on a journey, he must clarify for himself the destination, the purpose towards which he is working. Only when the destination is clear and the path is laid out can he begin, and even then, he must stop on occasion and check that he is going the right way.

(Yeshayahu 41:19)

‫יִצ ָהר וְ ַעל‬ ְ ‫ו ָּבא ּו וְ ִר ְּננ ּו ִב ְמרוֹ ם ִצ ּיוֹ ן וְ נָ ֲהר ּו ֶאל טוּב ה ַ’על דָּ גָ ן וְ ַעל ִּתיר ֹׁש וְ ַעל‬ ‫ (ישעיהו‬:‫יְתה נַ ְפ ׁ ָשם ְּכגַ ן ָרוֶ ה וְ ֹלא יוֹ ִסיפ ּו לְ ַד ֲא ָבה עוֹ ד‬ ָ ‫ְ ּבנֵ י צֹאן ו ָּב ָקר וְ ָה‬

Many years ago we established the new yeshiva mechina for army called “Bnei David”, with a special path and a specific destination. Every beit midrash is a place of toiling in Torah, but in ours we emphasize the desire to be ahead of the processes of life, and take an active part in them.

)‫יא‬:‫לא‬

And they shall come and jubilate on the height of Zion, and they will stream to the goodness of the Lord, over corn, wine, and oil, and over sheep and cattle, and their soul shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall have no further worry at all. (Yirmiyahu 31:11)

We believe in the value of the holy aspects of life, as well as the value of the secular aspects, and most especially their unity in our private and national lives. Rav Kook claims that every problem that has arisen in the process of the revival of Am Yisrael in her land can be tied to the central problem of the relationship between the holy and the secular. This problem started over 100 years ago, when these two aspects of our lives were separated: those who felt it was their job to observe the holy closed themselves off in the walls of the beit midrash, while those who felt they must focus on the secular removed themselves from the beit midrash.

‫ועשית אותו שמן משחת קודש רקח מרקחת מעשה רקח שמן משחת‬ :‫קודש יהיה… ואת אהרן ואת בניו תמשח וקדשת אותם לכהן לי‬ )‫ל‬,‫כה‬:‫(שמות ל‬

You shall make this into an oil of holy anointment, a perfumed compound according to the art of a perfumer; it shall be an oil of holy anointment… And with it you shall anoint Aharon and his sons and sanctify them to serve Me [as Kohanim]. (Shemot 30:25,30)

Olives are the perfect symbol of this concept, the connection between holy and secular. Olives, a physical fruit, are used in the most holy place, the Beit HaMikdash, to sanctify the physical world. In sefer Zecharya the olive branch and olive oil are used as symbols of redemption, and they appear on the symbol of the State of Israel today as well.

‫יהי רצון שיחזרו הכהנים לעבודתם בבית המקדש במהרה‬ !‫ אמן‬,‫בימינו‬ May our Kohanim return to their place in Beit Hamikdash in our times, Amen! Before reciting the following Beracha, have in mind that this Beracha is being recited for all the other fruits you will eat at the celebration.

The purpose of our mechina is to bridge this gap. To have within our walls serious Torah scholars, who love Torah and who work hard to probe her depths, but who will go out to serve in the army, and be part of the world. Their Torah will not end in the beit midrash, but will serve as their strength as they go on their own journeys. In the words of Calev ben Yefuneh and Yehoshua bin Nun, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.”. Let us go up and be successful in our journey on this new and much needed path.

If you do not eat olives and will only be eating a different fruit, remember to recite the Beracha before eating that fruit:

‫ֹלקינ ּו ֶמלֶ ְך ָהעוֹ לָ ם ּבוֹ ֵרא ְפרִּ י ָה ֵעץ‬ ֵ ‫ָ ּברו ְּך ַא ָת ּה ה’ ֱא‬

7


Dvar Torah

‫דבר תורה‬ The Rabbanut – Enfusing Spirituality in the Statehood Rav Aryeh Stern Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Masechet Avot says, “Make for yourself a Rabbi.” Throughout the generations this was the accepted practice, that each community would choose a Rabbi, and act according to his teachings. This was not only to fulfill what it says in the Mishna, but also because there is a need in our reality for a rabbinic leadership position, someone who can answer to the halachic questions and needs of the community.

Shmita vis a vis the economic challenge it poses - a unique challenge not found in any other country in the world. The Chief Rabbinate found itself a national institute which held within its power significant influence and impact on the Jewish identity of the State. This, too, was laid out by Rav Kook, who valued identifying with everything that happens in the State, and actively participating in all the obligaThe Chief Rabbinate of Israel is unique in that it is tions of the general public in body and money. the Rabbinate of a country, and of a nation. HaRav As the “rabbi” of an entire nation, the Chief RabKook zt”l saw a national rabbinate as one chapter binate is proposing to establish a joint forum with in the general vision of a Jewish state in the Land rabbis from the Diaspora, to gather at least once a of Israel, and it was he who coined the term “State year and discuss issues common to all Jews. This foof Israel” as a realistic destination during the British rum will give an expression to the fact that the Chief rule. This belief was central to the Rav, and he never Rabbinate is the leader of the entire Jewish nation, wavered from it. and the publication of the resulting decisions will From this we can understand how the Rabbinate was no doubt serve to strengthen unity across the many positioned to become one of the essential compo- Jewish communities. It will be a first step towards the nents of the yet-to-exist State, and it was clear that realization of the vision of a full and complete reit would deal with questions that did not come up demption, quickly and in our days. in the Diaspora, for example regarding how to han- Everything with the help of Hashem. dle Shabbat in the public arena, or how to observe

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Date

‫תמר‬ Take the date in your hand, raise it and say:

:‫וַ ּיוֹ ִצ ֵאנ ּו ה’ ִמ ִּמ ְצ ַריִ ם ְ ּביָ ד ֲחזָ ָקה ו ִּבזְ ר ַֹע נְ טוּיָ ה ו ְּבמ ָֹרא ָ ּגדֹל ו ְּבאֹתוֹ ת ו ְּבמ ְֹפ ִתים‬ :‫וַ יְ ִב ֵאנ ּו ֶאל ַה ָּמקוֹ ם ַה ֶּזה וַ ִ ּי ֶּתן לָ נ ּו ֶאת ָה ָא ֶרץ ַה ּזֹאת ֶא ֶרץ זָ ַבת ָחלָ ב ו ְּד ָב ׁש‬ ‫אשית ּ ְפ ִרי ָה ֲא ָד ָמה ֲא ׁ ֶשר נָ ַת ָּתה ִּלי ה ’וְ ִה ַּנ ְח ּתוֹ לִ ְפנֵ י‬ ִ ׁ ‫אתי ֶאת ֵר‬ ִ ‫וְ ַע ָּתה ִה ֵּנה ֵה ֵב‬ ָ ‫ֹלק‬ ָ ‫ֹלק‬ ‫ וְ שָׂ ַמ ְח ָּת ְבכָ ל ַה ּטוֹ ב ֲא ׁ ֶשר נָ ַתן לְ ך ה‬:‫יך‬ ֶ ‫ה ֱ’א‬ ֶ ‫ית לִ ְפנֵ י ה ֱ’א‬ ָ ִ‫יך וְ ִה ׁ ְש ַּת ֲחו‬ ָ ָ ָ ּ )‫ח–יא‬:‫ (דברים כו‬:‫יתך ַא ָּתה וְ ַה ֵלוִ י וְ ַה ֵ ּגר ֲא ׁ ֶשר ְ ּב ִק ְר ֶ ּבך‬ ֶ ‫ֹלקיך וּלְ ֵב‬ ֶ ‫ֱ’א‬ And the Lord brought us out from Egypt with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, with great awe, and with signs and wonders. And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the ground which you, O Lord, have given to me.” Then, you shall lay it before the Lord, your G-d, and prostrate yourself before the Lord, your G-d. Then, you shall rejoice with all the good that the Lord, your G-d, has granted you and your household you, the Levite, and the stranger who is among you. (Devarim 26: 8-11)

‫ֹלקינ ּו‬ ֵ ‫ ׁ ְשתוּלִ ים ְ ּב ֵבית ה ְ ּ’ב ַח ְצרוֹ ת ֱא‬:‫ַצדִּ יק ַּכ ָּת ָמר יִ ְפ ָרח ְּכ ֶא ֶרז ַ ּב ְּל ָבנוֹ ן יִ שְׂ ֶ ּגה‬ )‫יד‬-‫יג‬:‫ (תהלים צב‬:ּ‫יַ ְפ ִריחו‬ The righteous one flourishes like the palm; as a cedar in Lebanon he grows. Planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of our G-d they will flourish. (Tehillim 92:13-14)

!‫ אמן‬,’‫יהי רצון שנפרח כתמר שתול בבית ה‬ May we blossom like a date planted in the house of Hashem, Amen! Cut the date open, check for bugs and enjoy eating the date! Pour the second glass of wine. The second glass should be three quarters white and one quarter red, symbolizing spring. Raise the glass and say:

‫הריני מוכן ומזומן לשתות כוס שניה של ט"ו בשבט‬ I am ready and willing to drink the second glass of the Tu Bishvat seder

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Garin Torani Rav Avraham Lifshitz Director, Garin Torani, Migdal Haemek

Tu Bishvat has taken on added meaning in modern days with our return to the land of Israel. One of the signs of the redemption is agricultural production in Israel as the prophet says, “And you the mountains of Israel, your branches will produce and bear fruit for my nation Israel for they are about to come” (Yechezkiel 36:8). The fifteenth of Shvat is agriculturally halachically significant as the date for determining the year of the fruit regarding orla, and terumot and maasrot (Mishna Rosh HaShana 1:1). Fruits that bud prior to Tu Bishvat are considered as belonging to the previous year, while budding after Tu Bishvat places the fruit in the following year. In this case, the fruit need not be whole and complete to be counted, rather it need only have started to bud. Throughout Israel there are special communities called Garinim (seeds), with a subset of garinim-toraniim (Torah-focused). All garinim are mission-driven communities, with the goal of the latter group to spread Torat Eretz Yisrael. They see the flowering of our redemption in everyday life in Israel, and take a vibrant, active role in community life to bring Am Yisrael closer together. Garinim are usually active in underdeveloped areas, often in the periphery, and like the bud of a fruit, the garinim work to express the latent potential in these communities. Garin members partner with existing infrastructure to advance educational and social projects which serve as the focal point of the community. While garinim have been around since the 1970s, in recent years there has been a boom in their number. Across the country, from the Golan in the north to Eilat in the south, garinim (seeds) have been planted and they are bearing fruit and strengthening Torah in the land. Large and small, the garinim play a considerable role in the renewal of society’s connection to Torat Eretz Yisrael, fostering development of Israel’s periphery, and most importantly, bringing unity and harmony to Am Yisrael.


Fig

‫תאנה‬ Take the fig in your hand, raise it and say:

‫ ַאל ִּת ְירא ּו ַ ּב ֲהמוֹ ת‬:‫ַאל ִּת ְיר ִאי ֲא ָד ָמה ִ ּגילִ י וּשְׂ ָמ ִחי ִּכי ִהגְ דִּ יל ה ’לַ ֲעשׂ וֹ ת‬ :‫שָׂ ַדי ִּכי ָד ׁ ְשא ּו נְ אוֹ ת ִמ ְד ָ ּבר ִּכי ֵעץ נָ שָׂ א ִפ ְריוֹ ְּת ֵאנָ ה וָ גֶ ֶפן נָ ְתנ ּו ֵחילָ ם‬ )‫כב‬-‫כא‬:‫(יואל ב‬

Have no fear, O land; rejoice and jubilate, for the Lord has performed great things. Fear not, O beasts of the field, for the dwelling places of the wilderness have become covered with grass, for the trees have borne their fruit, the fig tree and the vine have given forth their strength. (Yoel 2:21-22)

‫ נטף‬,‫ ראה עיזים שרעו תחת תאנה‬,‫רמי בר יחזקאל נזדמן לבני ברק‬ ‫ הרי‬:‫ אמר‬,‫הדבש מן התאנה והחלב ניגר מן העיזים ונתערבבו זה בזה‬ ‫ פעם‬.‫ מלוד לאונו שלשה מילין‬:‫ א"ר יעקב בן דוסתא‬,"‫"זבת חלב ודבש‬ .‫ והלכתי עד קרסולי בדבש של תאנים‬,‫אחת קדמתי בנשף‬ ):‫(כתובות קיא‬

Rami, the son of Yechezkel, visited Bnei Brak and he saw goats grazing under a fig tree. Honey dripped from the fig tree and milk from the goats and both intermingled. He said, “Behold! A land flowing with milk and honey”. (Ketubot 111b)

‫ למה נמשלה התורה לתאנה? שרוב האילנות—הזית‬:‫עוד נאמר במדרש‬ :‫ כך התורה‬.‫ והתאנה נלקטת מעט מעט‬,‫התמר והגפן—נלקטים כאחת‬ )‫ (במדבר רבה יב‬.‫ עד שלומד כולה‬,‫היום לומר מעט ולמחר מעט‬ Why is Torah compared to a fig tree? Because most trees, like olives, grapes and dates, have their fruit picked at one time. But the fig tree is picked gradually. So it is with Torah. One learns a little today, and most of it later. It is not learned in only one year, or even in many years. (Bamidbar Rabah 12)

!‫ אמן‬,‫יהי רצון שנישָּא כפרי התאנה ונעלה מחיל אל חיל‬ May we be elevated like a fig and rise up from strength to strength, Amen! Cut the fig open, check for bugs and enjoy eating the fig!

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Women's Midrashot Rabbi Danny Stiskin Today, across the State of Israel, you can find different midrashot blossoming in all corners of the land, in all types of institutions. Smart, talented women are choosing to dedicate a year of their life to study Torah and to explore their faith and religious identity. Only a few years ago this was not the case. You may have asked yourself, what might motivate a young woman, after Sherut Leumi or the army, before she continues to university, to dedicate a year to learning Torah in a Midrasha? This year doesn’t give her any university credit and is seemingly without purpose. It is not logical and not practical. The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 12) makes an interesting comparison between harvesting figs and learning Torah: “because unlike other fruits that are harvested all at once, figs are harvested little by little”. A fig tree is harvested over the course of the entire year, as its fruits become ripe in all seasons. In the academic world, mastery of a subject is measurable; there are expectations to be completed in order to achieve the degree. Torah learning, however, is endless. The Torah texts affect us throughout our lifetime. Like the harvest of figs, Torah is acquired, and comes day by day. A midrasha is a house of Torah, a place where one can grow, and return to it throughout life. In a year of midrasha the young women have the opportunity to become familiar with the rich library of Am Yisrael, and even those who grew up in a religious household and learned these thoughts and texts throughout her school years may relish the opportunity to rebuild her rich internal world of faith with her own tools. The influence of this time can have a significant impact on the young woman’s entire future, offering new perspectives in all areas. When this young woman chooses a career path, or the type of family she will establish, she does so with a Torah background, with a Beit Midrash to which she belongs, and with Rabbinic figures with whom she is in touch. In this way, her ability to cope with all of life’s challenges has been strengthened. The multitude of Midrashot across the State of Israel are fundamentally changing the individual lives, families and the State as a whole.


Pomegranate

‫רימון‬ Take the pomegranate in your hand, raise it and say:

Sherut Leumi

‫ְּכחוּט ַה ּׁ ָשנִ י שִׂ ְפתוֹ ַתיִ ְך ו ִּמ ְד ָ ּב ֵר ְך נָ אוֶ ה ְּכ ֶפלַ ח ָה ִר ּמוֹ ן ַר ָ ּק ֵת ְך ִמ ַ ּב ַעד‬ )‫ג‬:‫ (שיר השירים ד‬:‫לְ ַצ ּ ָמ ֵת ְך‬

Michal Veldigger Sherut Leumi is translated as “National Service,” and for many years this program has provided thousands of young adults an opportunity to give back to their country. Sherut Leumi impacts the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry in immeasurable ways and has empowered countless Religious Zionist women to create a culture of giving.

Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your speech is comely; your temple is like a split pomegranate from within your kerchief. (Shir HaShirim 4:3)

‫ כן עצמותה מלאה‬,‫דומה כפלח הרימון שהוא מלא תרי"ג גרעינין‬ )‫ (מלבים על שיה״ש שם‬.‫אורות שכליות אלוקית‬

A number of years ago we had a wonderful Bat Sherut named Ayelet who volunteered in an elementary school. She noticed that a number of children would stand around outside during classes, so she tried to approach them. At first, they were wary of her, was she just another person coming to criticize them, to judge. After a while though, she gained their trust and they started to talk to her. She learned that these kids weren’t happy in school and felt that they were good at nothing. They had no faith in themselves, saw no future, and had no dreams. For Ayelet it was like a punch to the gut. She decided that she could not close her eyes to this reality, and immediately, with her Rakezet Sherut Leumi, started to dream for them. She initiated the project “Creating a Dream”, which empowers the children, emphasizes the development of capability, gives them successful experiences, and fosters desires and motivation.

The pomegranate is filled with 613 seeds, which represent the 613 Mitzvot. So too, the essential soul is filled up with the lights of spiritual understanding. (Malbim's commentary on Shir HaShirim 4:3)

!‫ אמן‬,‫יהי רצון שנרבה מצוות כרימון‬ May we have many Mitzvot like a pomegranate, Amen! Enjoy eating the pomegranate! Pour the third glass of wine. The third glass should be three quarters red and one quarter white, symbolizing summer. Raise the glass and say:

‫הריני מוכן ומזומן לשתות כוס שלישית של ט"ו בשבט‬

The program is now in its seventh year and has grown to many other places. Some of the program’s graduates, children who no one believed in, and who didn’t even believe in themselves, became counselors in the program, and not only do they dare to dream, but they are fulfilling their dreams, and encouraging others to do the same.

I am ready and willing to drink the third glass of the Tu Bishvat seder

Tu Bshvat reveals the secret of planting. From planting until budding, nothing is revealed. It is a lengthy process, which takes place mostly below the ground until the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten. Ayelet, like farmers who plant seeds, understood that some things take time and do not happen right away, and while she may not see the fruits of her labour, she nonetheless believed the fruits would come.

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Etrog

‫אתרוג‬ Take the Etrog in your hand, raise it and say:

,‫עבֹת‬-‫ץ‬ ׁ ‫וּלְ ַק ְח ֶּתם לָ כֶ ם ַ ּב ּיוֹ ם ָה ִר‬ ָ ‫ וַ ֲענַ ף ֵע‬,‫ ּ ְפ ִרי ֵעץ ָה ָדר ַּכ ּפֹת ְּת ָמ ִרים‬,‫אשוֹ ן‬ )‫מ‬:‫ (ויקרא כג‬:‫ם—ש ְב ַעת יָ ִמים‬ ׁ ׂ ְ ‫נָ ַחל; ו‬-‫וְ ַע ְר ֵבי‬ ֶ‫ֹלקיכ‬ ֵ ‫ לִ ְפנֵ י ה ֱ’א‬,‫ּש ַמ ְח ֶּתם‬ .‫פרי עץ הדר הוא האתרוג‬ And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of the beautiful tree (hadar), branches of palm trees and the boughs of thick-leafed trees and willows of the brook and you shall rejoice before the Lord your G-d seven days. (Vayikra 23:40) The “eitz hadar”(beautiful tree) is the Etrog tree.

‫ כך ישראל‬,‫ מה אתרוג יש בו טעם וריח‬,‫פרי עץ הדר— אלו בני ישראל‬ .‫יש בהם בני אדם שיש בהם תורה ויש בהם מעשים טובים‬ )‫(ויקרא רבה שם‬

“Pri eitz hadar – a beautiful fruit” – this symbolizes the Jewish people. Just as an Etrog has both a taste and smell, so too Israel has people that have both Torah and good deeds. (Vayikra Rabah)

!‫ אמן‬,‫יהי רצון שבכולנו יהיה כל טוב כאתרוג‬ May we be full of goodness like an Etrog, Amen! There is a minhag to say the following Tefillah for a beautiful Etrog:

ָ ֶ‫יְ ִהי ָרצוֹ ן ִמ ְּל ָפנ‬ ‫ֹלקי ֲאבוֹ ֵתינ ּו ׁ ֶש ְּת ָב ֵר ְך ָּכל ִאילָ נוֹ ת‬ ֵ ‫ֹלקינ ּו וֶ ֱא‬ ֵ ‫יך ה’ ֱא‬ ‫ָה ֶא ְתרוֹ ג לְ הוֹ ִציא ּ ֵפרוֹ ֵת ֶיהם ְ ּב ִע ָּתם וְ יוֹ ִציא ּו ֶא ְתרוֹ גִ ים טוֹ ִבים יָ ִפים‬ ‫ וְ יִ ְהי ּו ׁ ְשלֵ ִמים‬,‫ו ְּמ ֻה ָ ּד ִרים ּונְ ִק ִ ּיים ִמ ָּכל מוּם וְ ֹלא יַ ֲעלֶ ה ָ ּב ֶהם ֲחזָ זִ ית‬ ‫ וְ ְיִהי ּו ְמצוּיִים לָ נ ּו‬,‫וְ ֹלא ְיִהיֶ ה ָ ּב ֶהם ׁשוּם ֶח ְסרוֹ ן וַ ֲא ִפ ּל ּו ֲע ִק ַיצת קוֹ ץ‬ ‫ לְ ַק ֵ ּים ָ ּב ּה ִמ ְצוַ ת נְ ִטילָ ה ִעם‬,‫ש ָר ֵאל ַא ֵחינ ּו ְ ּבכָ ל ָמקוֹ ם ׁ ֶש ֵהם‬ ׂ ְ ִ‫ּולְ כָ ל י‬ ‫ַה ּל ּולָ ב ֶב ָחג ַה ֻּסכּ וֹ ת ׁ ֶש ָ ּיבֹא ָעלֵ ינ ּו לְ ָחיַ יִם טוֹ ִבים ּולְ ׁ ָשלוֹ ם ַּכ ֲא ׁ ֶשר‬ ‫אשוֹ ן ּ ְפ ִרי‬ ׁ ‫ּיתנ ּו ְ ּבתוֹ ָר ְת ָך ע”י מ ׁ ֶֹשה ַע ְב ְ ּד ָך ‘ ּולְ ַק ְח ֶּתם לָ כֶ ם ַ ּב ּיוֹ ם ָה ִר‬ ָ ִ‫ִצו‬ ָ ‫ֹלקינ ּו‬ ֵ ‫ וִ ִיהי ָרצוֹ ן ִמ ְּל ָפנֶ יך ה’ ֱא‬.’‫ֵעץ ָה ָדר ַּכ ּפוֹ ת ְּת ָמ ִרים וַ ֲענַ ף ֵעץ ֲעבוֹ ת‬ ‫ֹלקי ֲאבוֹ ֵתינ ּו ׁ ֶש ַּת ַעזְ ֵרנ ּו ו ְּת ַס ְ ּי ֵענ ּו לְ ַק ֵ ּים ִמ ְצוָ ה זוֹ ׁ ֶשל נְ ִטילַ ת ל ּולָ ב‬ ֵ ‫וֶ ֱא‬ ‫וַ ֲה ַדס וַ ֲע ָר ָבה וְ ֶא ְתרוֹ ג ְּכ ִת ּק ּונָ ּה ִ ּבזְ ַמ ָנ ּּה ַ ּב ַחג ַה ֻּסכּ וֹ ת ׁ ֶש ָ ּיבֹא ָעלֵ ינ ּו‬ ‫ וְ ַתזְ ִמין לָ נ ּו ֶא ְתרוֹ ג יָ ֶפה‬,‫ש ְמ ָחה ו ְּבטוּב לֵ ב‬ ׂ ִ ּ ‫לְ יַ ּ ִמים טוֹ ִבים ּולְ ׁ ָשלוֹ ם ַ ּב‬ . ֹ‫ו ְּמ ֻה ָ ּדר וְ ׁ ָשלֵ ם וְ כָ ׁ ֵשר ְּכ ִהלְ כָ תו‬ 12

Religious Zionist Kiruv Chaim Eizner Director of Rosh Yehudi, Tel Aviv

To date, hundreds of thousands of Jews, for hundreds of thousands of reasons, have never been exposed to the world of Torah, while in the diaspora one could say that this is a multitude of individual problems, however in Israel this can actually become a real and actual danger in the State of Israel. Jewish identity that is detached from thousands of years of Jewish history and tradition leads to a weak sense of identity which is expressed in various decisions, political and otherwise. Fortunately, there is a thirst for Jewish identity, and we are pushing its direction. We believe that the people who come to us are intellectual, reasonable, logical. We do not manipulate them in order to change their mind, and we do not promise salvation or miracles. We do, however, open our hearts and our houses with honesty and sincerity, and we bring them in to our lives so they can see the lives of a practicing Jew. We introduce them to the Torah not as an ancient book, but as it relates to each of their lives. We are the students of Rav Kook and Rav Soloveitchik zt”l, and so very naturally, the Torah that we live and teach is imbued with love for all of Israel, and we look for the connection with all our brothers, no matter their religious or spiritual level. What is the redemption for which we pray? Release from the slavery and oppression under other nations is a basic step of redemption, which allows us first and foremost to be ourselves, and to transform from individuals or communities to a nation. This is a significant change in consciousness which has taken place over the last century. The second step will be to determine who we are, the essence of the Jewish person. It will be the redemption of the Jewish soul from her exile. To this end we have established “Rosh Yehudi”. The redemption will be complete when Jewish consciousness is as the prophet Amos said, “A time is coming, declares my Lord God, when I will send a famine upon the land: not a hunger for bread or a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the Lord.” We see this prophecy in front of our eyes, and it is incumbent on all men of faith to be emissaries towards its fulfillment.


Apple

‫תפוח‬ Take the apple, raise it and say:

‫ְּכ ַת ּפו ַּח ַ ּב ֲע ֵצי ַה ַ ּי ַער ֵּכן דּ וֹ ִדי ֵ ּבין ַה ָ ּבנִ ים ְ ּב ִצ ּלוֹ ִח ַּמ ְד ִּתי וְ יָ ׁ ַש ְב ִּתי ו ִּפ ְריוֹ ָמתוֹ ק‬ )‫ב‬:‫ (שיה״ש ב‬:‫לְ ִח ִּכי‬ As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight and his fruit was sweet to my taste. (Shir HaShirim 2:2)

Shlichut in the Diaspora Talya Ben-Meir Shlicha, Bnei Akiva Schools

There is a beautiful story written by Efraim Hirsh about an apple that wanted to be a star. Every day he would look up at the stars and dream about being one of them.

‫ כך לא נתנו ישראל פירותיהם‬,‫מה תפוח זה אינו גומר פירותיו אלא בסיון‬ ‫ מה תפוח משעה‬:‫ רבי עזריה אומר‬.‫אלא בסיון שהוא חודש מתן תורה‬ ‫ משעה‬,‫ כך בני ישראל‬,‫שמוציא ניצניו ועד שגומר פירותיו חמישים יום‬ ‫ שיר‬,‫ (ילקוט שמעוני‬.‫שיצאו ממצרים ועד שקיבלו את התורה חמישים יום‬ )‫השירים שם‬

Just like the apple only ripens in the month of Sivan, similarly, Am Yisrael only ripened in the month of Sivan, the month of the giving of the Torah. Rabbi Azariah says: Just like the apple, from the time of its budding until it ripens, takes fifty days, similarly, the Children of Israel from the time they left Egypt until they received Torah – fifty days. (Yalkut Shimoni, Shir HaShirim 2:2)

,‫יהי רצון שכתפוח נשב תמיד בצילו של הקדוש ברוך הוא‬ !‫אמן‬ May we be like an apple tree and always rest in the shade of Hashem, Amen! Enjoy eating the apple!

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One day the “revealer of stars” was walking in his orchard. He thought to himself that this was his chance to finally become a star, so he jumped off his tree and into the bag of the “revealer of stars”. As they were walking away, he fell out of the bottom of the bag; the “revealer of stars” saw him and picked him up to take a bite. The apple yelled out, “Stop! I have a dream that I would like to share with you. I would like to be a star.” The “revealer of stars” then cut the apple open and there inside him was a star. The story teaches us that within there is much more than the eye can see. In Shir Hashirim, Shlomo Hamelech complares Am Yisrael to apples. Just as Am Yisrael looks at the world and tries to see what is lying below, so too, the apple reveals the potential that we all have inside.


Almond

‫שקד‬ Take some almonds in your hand, raise them and say the following:

High Schools, Yeshivot and Ulpanot Rav Yona Goodman

‫משה ֶאל א ֶֹהל ָה ֵעדוּת וְ ִה ֵּנה ּ ָפ ַרח ַמ ֵּטה ַא ֲהרֹן‬ ֶ ׁ ‫וַ יְ ִהי ִמ ָּמ ֳח ָרת וַ ָ ּיבֹא‬ )‫כג‬:‫ (במדבר יז‬:‫לְ ֵבית לֵ וִ י וַ ּי ֵֹצא ֶפ ַרח וַ ָ ּי ֵצץ ִציץ וַ ִ ּיגְ מֹל ׁ ְש ֵק ִדים‬

Director of Education, Yeshivot Bnei Akiva

Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriya zt”l established the first Yeshivat Bnei Akiva, which then became a network, and today includes 70 institutions, all based on his educational outlook of learning in a religious-Zionist atmosphere, and integrating the world of Torah and the yeshiva with aspects of a regular high school. In the Yeshivot and Ulpanot of Bnei Akiva there is no “Department of Jewish Studies”, because each subject, including the secular subjects, are essential parts in training our graduates to contribute to the Jewish nation and to the world, and to take an active part in the revival of the Jewish nation in our land in this generation, each person according to his talents and interests.

And on the following day Moses came to the Tent of Testimony, and behold, Aharon’s staff for the house of Levi had blossomed! It gave forth blossoms, sprouted buds, and produced ripe almonds. (Bamidbar 17:23)

.‫ולמה שקדים? הוא הפרי הממהר להפריח מכל הפירות‬ )‫(רש״י שם‬

Almonds were ripening on [Aharon’s staff] because the almond tree is the quickest to sprout (it is the first tree to blossom in spring). (Rashi’s commentary on Bamidbar 17:23)

It is not a coincidence that many notable graduates come from Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, among them: mafka”l of the police, head of the Mossad, head of the Shaba”k, many members of Knesset, professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, IDF officers, and thousands others. Each one of them is driven by our message: to excel in both Jewish and secular studies in order to live a life of constant doing, of a sense of mission, towards the building of the State of Israel.

‫ זה סימן לכהנים גדולים נושאים ציץ נזר‬:'‫והנה פרח מטה אהרן וגו‬ ‫ בזכות וירץ אל תוך הקהל וגו' כדי לעצור המגפה‬:‫ ויגמול‬.‫הקודש‬ ‫ובזכות שכהנים זריזים הם כגמול ידו השיב לו להצמיח שקדים‬ )‫ (כלי יקר שם‬.‫שיש בהם משמעות לשון שקידות ומהירות‬ Aharon’s staff produced almonds. It symbolizes diligence and haste. Aharon was quick to run into the midst of the people to stop the plague. (Kli Yakar’s commentary on Bamidbar 17:23)

Rav Neriya wrote many books about his teacher, HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook zt”l, which try to describe his spiritual teachings of connecting the mundane and the holy in one whole and complete living Torah. But the truth is that the best “book” that Rav Neriya created to this end was the establishment of this educational system for the Religious-Zionist youth in Israel (and other places in the world, including Canada). This system consists of the formal education, combining secular and Jewish subjects at a high level, as well education of values, giving, and doing as a way of life that will accompany the graduates throughout their lives.

!‫ אמן‬,’‫יהי רצון שנמהר ונשקד לעשות רצון ה‬ May we always hurry and be diligent to do the will of Hashem, Amen! Enjoy eating the almonds! Pour the fourth and final glass of wine. The fourth glass should be red wine, symbolizing fall.

We are approaching 80 years since the establishment of the first Yeshivat Bnei Akiva, and we look back on this time to learn from our accomplishments and identify areas which require new thinking, to work together to continue building this educational system for the next generation. The days of Tu BShvat perfectly capture this time. Days of budding and renewal, a time to be thankful for all that was planted in the field of education in the last generation and look forward to the future planting.

Raise the glass and say:

‫הריני מוכן ומזומן לשתות כוס רביעית של ט"ו בשבט‬ I am ready and willing to drink the fourth glass of the Tu Bishvat seder

14


Conclusion

‫סיכום‬ Echad L'Echad – Planting for Generations

Concluding Remarks

Rav Yitzchak Neriyah

Ariel and Oshrat Erani Shlichim, Netivot HaTorah Day School

Tu BShvat is a curious holiday. For what, exactly, are we celebrating?

“Eretz-Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here – their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped.” This quote, from the declaration of the state of Israel, while very inspiring, is not so faithful to the truth.

There are, of course, many answers to this question, but one that I find significant focuses on the public and the private nature of the holiday. As a general rule, we commemorate the public events in our lives, for example by coming together to celebrate a wedding. But in fact, the true happiness in a wedding is only the revelation of the G-dly decision that took place 40 days before the conception of the two newlyweds. While we celebrate the external and the public aspect of the event, the truth is that it is only ever the end result of a private, internal process.

Actually the Jewish nation was born outside its homeland, and was on a journey to it pretty much ever since. From our forefather Avraham who traveled the desert from Haran to Kena’an to years later, the children of Israel, when they were redeemed from Egypt received a book that would change their fate forever in the desert. If we fast forward through Jewish history, countless historical moments and dramatic occurrences took place outside their beloved land – yearning for it, but living without it.

Tu B’Shvat is the when the cycle of life begins again. The tree may not look like it has changed – it is still standing there bare and leafless. But deep in its roots, hidden from our eyes, new life has begun to sprout, with fruits that we will only see in the future.

Usually our discussion revolving around Eretz Yisrael was done from afar – through the eyes of the deprived, the denied and the exiled. We spoke about how the redemption would appear, or how the world would look after its coming. A few thousand years later Shai Agnon addressing his Nobel prize would sum up the secret to our survival and strength in the Diaspora, when asked where he was from he answered, “As a result of the historic catastrophe when Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and Israel was exiled from its land, I was born in one of the cities of the Exile. But always I regarded myself as one who was born in Jerusalem.“ Our secret was the yearning.

The Talmidei Chachamim in the world are the result of generations of committed Torah study; how can we ensure the continuity of Talmidei Chachamim for years to come? Many students start their journeys in Yeshivot, but very few stay to really grow as Torah scholars, often leaving due to lack of public appreciation, and finance. Thus, with an eye on the future, we founded Echad L’Echad. We turned to the Roshei Yeshivot of Hesder Yeshivot and asked them to identify their top students, the ones with commitment, potential, and excellence. We now support one hundred students every month with a subsidy of 3,000 NIS, and the yeshivot pledge to match at least 2,000 NIS to these students as well, easing their decision to remain committed to learning Torah at the highest levels. Beyond the financial support, we are trying to change public perception of Torah importance and encourage real .growth in her ways. We are planting for the future.

The challenge lies ahead. Being in our land makes things more challenging than before. What now will give us the strength to be energize from within? How can we illuminate our path once more? It’s in our hands.

!‫לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה‬ Remember to recite Al Hamichya 15


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