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NORTH WEST LONDON’S WEEKLY TORAH & OPINION SHEETS
A Torah publication that enables local Rabbonim and Avreichim to share their insights and Divrei Torah on a variety of different levels, to provide something for everyone
ה' סיון תשע”ח- 19TH MAY 2018 כו:ו-א: ויקרא א:קריאת התורה
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Rabbi Avraham Blickstein
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av Chaim Vital (Sha’ar Hakavannos, 89a) quotes the Arizal that anyone who does not sleep on the night of Shavuos, but stays awake learning Torah, is assured that he will live through the following year, and no harm will befall him. The Magen Avraham and Mishnah Berura (O.C. 494,1) both quote this in part, and add that one should not speak unnecessary talk whatsoever on this night. What is so significant about the night of Shavuos that we are encouraged to stay up learning and not talk idle chatter? Every year on Shavuos, Hashem looks at Am Yisrael both collectively and individually; collectively to see if as a nation we are adhering to the mission that was given to us on Har Sinai and individually to see if each person has fulfilled his required amount of Torah learning. This is because it is on Shavuos that Hashem “re-gives” the Torah to us, and therefore He judges what part each individual person should have in the Torah; what is in his capability to learn, understand, and keep, and He does this by evaluating the last year and how we “scored”. With this we can understand what the Tola’as Ya’akov (cited by the Shelah Hakadosh) meant when he wrote that every Shavuos a person is judged regarding bitul Torah, since Hashem looks at how well a person spent his time the year before and the effort he put into his learning, and allocates for the following year a portion in the Torah accordingly. When this “judgement” takes place, Hashem must of course take account for all the necessities that justify taking a person away from his learning, such as the need to earn a living, one’s health, etc., and allocate an amount of Torah that is expected of the person only after this. Consequently, Shavuos is
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the time when worldly matters must be decided as well. Accordingly, it may be understood why the Arizal was so particular about staying up to learn on Shavuos night and not wasting even a second to talk unnecessarily. Instead of davening to Hashem to give us a worthy part in His Torah, we show Him through our learning how much we long and yearn to receive a rich share in the Torah for the following year and ultimately to feel a closeness to Hashem through His holy Torah. The more sincere we are in our learning on that night, the more we show our inner desire for only Torah. It is for this reason that many have the custom to recite Tikkun Leil Shavuos, because by reading an extract from all the various sections of the Torah, we show our longing for a share in the whole thing. Consequently, the Arizal understood that if a person takes his learning seriously no harm will befall him during the following year, because the more Torah he is allocated, the less problems he will face with livelihood and health etc. so that he may learn undisturbed. For the same reason, some are accustomed not to sleep during the day of Shavuos as well, and to think of novel insights in Torah, to show our desire for a bigger share in Torah in the following year (Beis Mo’ed Lechol Chai, 9,16). What emerges from the above is that Shavuos is, so-to-speak, a mini Rosh Hashana, when Hashem decides on both our Torah portion, and other worldly matters, for the following year. Let us not let the holy day pass like any other day; instead let us utilise our time to the maximum, and resultantly, we should merit to accept the Torah upon us with love and happiness.
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n Midbar Sinai, Hashem says to conduct a census of the twelve tribes of Israel. Moshe counts 603,550 men of draftable age (20 to 60 years); the tribe of Levi, numbering 22,300 males age one month and older, is counted separately. The Leviim are to serve in the Mishkan, replacing the Bachurim, whose number they approximated, who were disqualified when they participated in the worshipping of the Golden Calf. The 273 firstborn who lacked a Levi to replace them had to pay a five-shekel “ransom” to redeem themselves. When the people broke camp, the three clans of Leviim dismantled and transported the Mishkan, and reassembled it at the centre of the next encampment. They then erected their own tents around it: the Bnei Kehas, who carried the Mishkan’s Kelim (the Aron, menorah etc) in their specially designed coverings on their shoulders, camped to its south; the Bnei Gershon, in charge of its tapestries and roof coverings, to its west; and the families of Merari, who transported its wall panels and pillars, to its north. Before the Mishkan’s entranceway, to its east, were the tents of Moshe, Aharon, and Aharon’s sons. Beyond the Leviim, the twelve tribes camped in four groups of three tribes each. To the east were Yehudah (pop. 74,600), Yissachar (54,400) and Zevulun (57,400); to the south, Reuven (46,500), Shimon (59,300) and Gad (45,650); to the west, Ephraim (40,500), Menashe (32,200) and Binyamin (35,400); and to the north, Dan (62,700), Asher (41,500) and Naphtali (53,400). This formation was kept also while traveling. Each tribe had its own nassi (prince or leader), and its own flag with its tribal colour and emblem.
Shavous & our perspective
hose who describe symptoms of anxiety often report overthinking and catastrophizing over events which when shared with others are not seen as such, in fact sometimes they report being ridiculed for thinking that way. Why is it that people can experience an identical event and have completely different perspectives of it? How could it be that two people can experience the same event and understand it in such different ways?
Today we say either in tefillah or kiddush the well-known words ‘zman mattan toraseinu’, that this day is a day of receiving this present of the Torah. Children come home from school and talk about counting up to this special day and as adults we count the omer on a daily basis as the Torah commands us ‘seven weeks it shall be a counting for you.’ So we know this day is the day when the Torah was given yet the Magen Avraham (494) tells us that mattan Torah was in fact the next day?!? How can we be counting in anticipation to a Yom Tov and referring it to ‘zman mattan toraseinu, if the actual Yom tov day is the next day? The answer given is fundamental in understanding Yamim Tovim and Jewish events. The day of Shavuos is not merely a day where we commemorate or celebrate the giving of the Torah, have two meals, talk about what happened and then move on – it is much more than that. It is a re-enactment of the actual day where we are receiving the Torah again and if we look out for it, can feel the thunder, lightning and shofar blowing from that day back then, right now. So the krias haTorah is as if we are receiving the Torah right now, the flowers in shul or at home bring us back to the mountain of Sinai right now and with our minds we can experience the thunder, lighting and shofar and everything else that took place there – right now. That’s the reason the pasuk in shemos (19:19) says ‘Moshe yedaber – will speak’ (in
the future) as opposed to ‘Moshe diber – spoke’ (past) as mattan Torah is happening again on this very day – right now. And that’s the reason why the zman is more important than the actual calendar date, as we’re reliving the Torah being given to us again now as opposed to celebrating or commemorating a previous historical event. We see from here how our perspective can have a profound influence on how an event is experienced. The same event can occur year after year and while one person can become more used to this event and look at in a monotonous manner, another can become inspired and positively impacted by slightly adapting his way of viewing this day. In the world of psychology, cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT plays an important role in understanding and challenging ones thoughts which have a ripple effect on feelings, behaviours and physical functioning. By simply thinking in a slightly different manner, one is able to appreciate and enhance his life in a better way. Imagine your manager sends you an email requesting a meeting next week; do you look at it as a threat (I’m going to be disciplined) or an opportunity (I want to discuss a project that I’ve been waiting to speak to him about); the event is the same yet the perspective is different. If one is able to appreciate that the event today is not a historical or commemorative occurrence which took place many years ago but in fact something that is taking place right now on this very day, one is more able to tap into the unique strengths and holiness of this special day and redefine his relationship with Hashem and the Torah. (Based on the Nesivos Shalom) Rafi Kada received semicha from Harav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and is an accredited CBT therapist and psychotherapist in private and NHS practice. Comments and questions can be sent to email@example.com
Please Daven For
Please Daven For
Please Daven For
יצחק אייזיק בן יהודית רחל נ"י
’שירה תמר בת שושנה דבורה תחי
אריאל יהודה בן יהודית נ”י
לרפואה שלימה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל
לרפואה שלימה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל
לרפואה שלימה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל
What is the theme of Parshas Bamidbar?
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MaaserText [Week 1]
As easy as taking challah? Once a rarity in the UK, Israeli produce is now commonplace on our local supermarket shelves. With the summer season upon us, the Federation is launching a weekly series to provide readers with a renewed understanding of the MaaserText service. Look out for this column over the weeks ahead!
What are the mitzvos of Terumos and Maasros? Fruit and vegetables grown in Eretz Yisroel are special and holy, and until they have been tithed are “Tevel” and may not be eaten. These unique mitzvos can only be carried out fully with all their relevant details in the times of the Beis Hamikdosh, although they are nonetheless still relevant in the postChurban period. In the days of the Beis Hamikdosh, a tithe called Teruma Gedola was first separated from the produce and given to a Kohen. Then, Maaser Rishon was separated and given to a Levi. A portion of the Maaser Rishon was then separated by the Levi and given to the Kohen as Terumas Maaser. Finally, depending on the year within the shemitta cycle, either Maaser Sheni or Maaser Oni were separated. Maaser Sheni was to be eaten by the owners in Yerushalayim in a state of Taharoh, whereas Maaser Oni was treated as tzedoko and given to the poor.
How are these Mitzvos performed nowadays?
As we are all classified as tomei (ritually “impure”) nowadays, the Kohen may not actually eat the Teruma or Terumas Maaser which are due to him. Instead, these tithes are wrapped and discarded.
ÂÂ a little more than 1% of the total produce
Even Maaser Rishon, which has a more lenient status and does not require a state of taharoh for consumption, does not reach the Levi. This is due to doubts as to the authenticity of the Levi’s lineage, and thus practically one is not obligated to give it to the Levi.
ÂÂ the separated fruit is respectfully wrapped
If we were to have a Beis Hamikdosh, Maaser Sheni would normally be brought by the farmer to Yerusholayim and eaten there in a state of taharoh. Alternatively, using the method called Pidyon Maaser Sheni, the kedusha of the Maaser Sheni would be transferred from the fruits onto money; this money would be used to buy food in Yerushalayim which would be eaten there. Due to our lack of Taharoh status nowadays, we transfer kedusha of Maaser Sheni onto a coin, and keep it to be used to buy produce in Yerusholayim when Mashiach comes. (Twice during the Shmittah cycle the mitzvo of Biur Maasros applies, dictating that if not yet used to buy produce in taharoh in Yerusholayim, the coin must be destroyed.)
With Maasertext, this Mitzvah becomes as easy as separating Challah.
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ÂÂ a declaration is made in which any Maaser Sheni kedushah is transferred to a coin and discarded Keep watching this column to ensure you fully understand how the MaaserText service helps you!
In practice, today’s hafrosho (separation) procedure requires only three steps:
Today, without a Beis Hamikdosh the reality of these mitzvos has changed and many of the gifts are merely separated but need not be given to the recipients mentioned above.
ÂÂ the declaration of the hafrosho is recited
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This week’s Shailatext is
לע”נ שמעון בן שרגא ז”ל
Why do we almost always read Parshas Bamidbar before Shavuos (Shulchan Oruch O.C. 428:4)?
R’ Nesanel Chalomish
Mazel Family ChTov to on the o alomish Shmuli's Bccasion of armitzvah
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The Bar Mitzvah of the Jewish Nation
There is an ancient custom to call up a Bar Mitzvah boy for the Aliyah of Maftir. This seems very difficult since he is obligated to have an Aliyah and pushes aside other obligations as stated in the Levush. If so would it not be more befitting to call him up for one of the seven Aliyos and not for Maftir which is less important? Tosafos in Maseches Megilah explain the reason for reading parshas Bamidbar before Shavuos in order to have a break from the curses in parshas Bechukoisai before Shavuos when we are judged for fruit. However Rav Moshe Feinstein zt’’l adds that there is a close connection with this week’s parsha and the Yom Tov of Shavuos, because unfortunately many people stop learning on account of them not being able to reach any heights in Torah. For this reason we read the parsha of Bamidbar before Shavuos where all the men between 20 and 60 are counted without any differentiation between the layman and the leaders, both of whom are counted only as 1 person. Why are they counted the same? To teach us that every person can reach great heights. Therefore before Shavuos it is necessary to read the parsha about counting where the expression of ‘Seu’ ‘Raise’ is used to emphasise that everyone can raise to great heights and in this way one can accept the Torah and learn it with great enthusiasm.
Michel Zilber concerning a Choson who is about to get married, why is he called to Maftir which is the least important Aliyah? Explains R’ Michal there is an important lesson for us to call him to Maftir, to hint that he has the potential to reach great heights until the level of chasidus which is the level of the prophets. In this vein we can understand why a Bar Mitzvah boy is also called up for Maftir, to teach him that he has the ability to reach great heights until the level of chasidus. My cousin Dov Harris made a Bar Mitzvah Seudah for his son Rafi, where we were privileged to be addressed by Rabbi Paysach Krohn who quoted from Harav Yitzchok Hutner zt’’l explaining a Midrash on the words ‘Tov Meod’ in parshas Bereishis, that מאדhas the same letters as – אדםman. Harav Hutner explained that the Midrash is not just messing around with rearranging letters but is telling us a vital message, that every human being has infinite potential as to what he can accomplish and this is hinted to in the word ‘meod’ meaning very much because every ‘adam has untold heights they can reach.
The same question that we put forward concerning a Bar Mitzvah boy is asked by Rav
Rabbi Krohn related this message to the Bar Mitzvah boy and for a couple of years I was very troubled as to the application of this message at a Bar Mitzvah. Surely the Gemoro in Yevomos states that until a person is married he isn’t called ‘Odom’, therefore at a wedding such a speech would be appropriate, but why convey this message at a Bar mitzvah? With Hashem’s help I found the solution with the words of Rav Elyah Lopian zt’’l who said to Harav Pinski when he became Bar mitzvah, that one doesn’t become a great man at 50 or 60 because then it is too late, rather to become a great man one needs to start at one’s Bar mitzvah when one accepts the yoke of the mitzvos one needs then to accept upon himself resolutions in Torah and Yiras Shomayim and through this one can grow to become a great person. Therefore even though Rabbi Akiva Eiger only became so great after his marriage, the creation of this reality stemmed from his resolution much earlier at his Bar Mitzvah and hence we call up a Bar Mitzvah boy to Maftir and not for one of the seven Aliyos.
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Bamidbar is close to Shovuois on which we read Megilas Rus. Two different Pessukim in Parshas Bamidbar have the same three names in them, but they only refer to two people. However in Megilas Rus, one possuk contains two of these names, but it is to two different people, and in a different possuk in the Megila, the third name from the Possuk in Bamidbar occurs but this time refers to a place not a person. Find all the names in both the Parsha and the Megila CLUE Who jumped into the Yam Suf first?
ANSWER FROM LAST WEEK [Question: We know that in last week's Parshah of Emor as well as Parshas Achrei Mois the various Halochos of Yom Kippur and the Koihen Godol's Avoidah are discussed but there is one Possuk in this week's Parshah which applies to probably most of us when we Davern in Shul both on Yomim Noroim in general and on Yom Kippur in particular during the Avoidah in Musaf. Where is the Possuk and what is the Halochoh we learn from it? ]
It is the penultimate Possuk in the Parsha Perek 26 Possuk 2 “Ve Even Maskis Loy Sitnu Be Artzechem Lehishtachavois Oleyhoh”. From here we learn that when we prostrate ourselves on the floor anytime in Daverning on Yomim Noroim and in particular the Avoidah at Musaf on Yom Kippur, there must be a physical object like a cloth as a sort of “Mechitza” between our bodies and the floor. The reference for this Halocho is O.C. Siman 131 Seif 8 Mishna Brura S K 40, based on the Gemoro Megilla (Daf 22b).
Why count Bnei Yisrael as Hashem already knows their number?
Rabbi Daniel Fine
Community Rabbi, Stanmore and Canons Park US; Hasmonean Beis Programme
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Zman Matan Toraseinu
he relationship between Torah and mitzvos at first glance appears straightforward: if we don’t learn we won’t know what to do and how to act. As evidenced by the lessons we learn from the students of Rabbi Akiva, an intrinsic part of Talmud Torah is the imprint Torah makes on our characters. Indeed, the hidden theme behind every story of greatness related about any given great Rabbi is that Torah works - it can uplift and refine people’s characters.
the date of Shavuos, follows the Chachamim. The Beis Halevi,[ii] however, understands that Shavuos doesn’t primarily celebrate the Ten Commandments; rather it celebrates human involvement in Torah - the Oral Law. Accordingly, the 6th Sivan was the day Moshe added to the pre Mattan Torah preparations[iii] - human involvement in Matan Torah. Either way, we did not receive Torah on Shavuos - we sinned with the golden calf and did not receive the Ten Commandments until the following Yom Kippur. Yet Shavuos celebrates our worthiness and preparedness to receive the Torah, and Hashem having revealed Himself to us on Har Sinai. On Shavuos we are also judged on the produce of the trees[iv].
Consider the following sources: 1. Each mitzvah perfects a particular limb of a person – Torah study perfects the entire body - Rav Chaim Volozhin 2. Each mitzvah influences a person. However, Hashem hid His light in the most powerful mitzvah, one which can completely change a person – Torah study - Ramchal, Derech Hashem
Practicalities Shavuos observes all the normal rules of a Yom Tov. Kiddush (and usually Ma’ariv) is recited at nightfall, in order to fulfil the temimus full omer period.[v] Based on Hashem having to wake up the Jewish People on the morning of Matan Torah, the custom is to stay up all night studying Torah, known as tikun leil.[vi] The Zohar extols the virtues and spiritual blessings of one who stays up all night studying Torah on Shavuos night. This is done on the first night Shavuos, though some do so in the Diaspora on the second night too. If one did stay up all night, one washes their hands in the morning (at alos or before davening), and only after going to the bathroom does one recite asher yatzar and al netilas yadayim. Similarly, one should endeavour to hear birkas hatorah and ha’ma’avir shena from somebody who has not been up all night. However, if one took a daytime nap the afternoon before tikun leil, one may recite birkas hatorah in the morning themselves.[vii] Similarly, one who stayed up all night should not make a bracha on one’s tzitzis that morning - he should make the bracha when putting on the tallis to exempt the tzitzis. [viii] Though we try to daven shachris from sunrise and only in strictly necessary cases daven from dawn, the Mishnah Brurah allows one who has stayed up all night to daven Shavuos shachris at dawn[ix] - as is a prevalent custom in the Diaspora. The Mishnah Brurah also cites that one should not have relations with one’s wife on Shavuos night.[x]
3. When a person studies Torah the entire world benefits – Rav Chaim Volizhin 4. G-d created an evil inclination, and He created Torah study as an antidote Torah study is supposed to make us think and move; to affect us both consciously and sub-consciously - that our bodies and souls are shaped by connecting to Torah study. Ultimately, the day when we celebrate this is the day of Shavuos. Below we will outline the context and halachos of Shavuos: Shavuos is the festival of Giving of the Torah. It lasts for one day (two days in the Diaspora) and its date is the 6th Sivan. The Torah refers to Shavuos in reference to Pesach – it is the fiftieth day of the Omer, though we do not count the Omer on Shavuos night. The selection of the date 6th Sivan is an interesting one. For there is a machlokes in Gemara Shabbos (86b) between the Chachamim and Rabbi Yosi about when Matan Torah took place: when did Hashem speak to us and give us the Ten Commandments? The Chachamim say it was the 6th Sivan, whilst Rabbi Yosi maintains it was the 7th Sivan. The debate hinges on the laws of ritual purity, though in the laws of ritual purity we seem to paskens like Rabbi Yosi! If so, Shavuos should be on the 7th Sivan, not the 6th?![i] The Magein Avraham answers that perhaps our paskening like Rabbi Yosi elsewhere is just an added stringency, but that the baseline halacha, and
The custom is to decorate Shuls with flowers for Shavuos, replicating Har Sinai.
Similarly, trees are placed in Shuls, since on Shavuos we are judged on the produce of the trees.[xi] The custom is to have a milky dish on Shavuos - since after hearing the laws of kosher at Mattan Torah, the Jewish People could only prepare milky dishes[xii]. Alternatively, the two dishes (one milk and one meat) are a remembrance of the Chagigah, ad Pesach. [xiii] This can be done in three ways: either have an entirely milky meal: those who do so assume that the mitzvah to eat meat is not an obligation, just a hiddur.[xiv] Alternatively, one may have a milky first course and a meaty second course. If one does so, one must not use the same bread for your two parts of the meal, and one must eat something hard and wash one’s mouth out/have a drink between the milk and meat (alternatively one may wait for half an hour). If one consumes hard cheese, one must bensch in between and wait six hours[xv] Simchas Yom Tov, as detailed by the Shulchan Aruch 529:2, dictates that one should drink wine (or grape juice) at every Yom Tov meal, as well as giving money to the poor before Yom Tov to enable the poor to enjoy Yom Tov too. The Torah reading for the first day of Shavuos is the Ten Commandments and the Haftarah is intricate chariot vision of Yechezkel; the custom is to stand for the Ten Commandments.[xvi] Question of the Magein Avraham at the start of 495. Beis Halevi al Hatorah, parshas Ki Sissa [iii] Gemara Shabbos 87a [iv] Opening Mishnah of Rosh Hashanah [v] Magein Avraham at the start of 494. [vi] Mishnah Brurah 494:1 [vii] Rabbi Akiva Eiger, cited in Mishnah Brurah [viii] Mishnah Brurah 495:1 [ix] Mishnah Brurah 89:1 [x] Mishnah Brurah 495:1 - see 240:7 that if the night is the mikveh night, or one is concerned for a discharge then one should have relations that night [xi] Mishnah Brurah 494:10 [xii] Mishnah Brurah 494:12 [xiii] Rama 494:3 [xiv] See Bi’ur Halacha 529:2 keitzad who seems to understand so [xv] Rama, Yoreh Deah 89 and sha’ar tziyun 494:15. There is a debate among our poskim whether any cheese nowadays is considered hard cheese for this. [xvi] Though the Rambam in Teshuvos (46) did not approve of this custom [i]
What lies behind the order of covering the Keilim of the Mishkon?
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Kollel Ruach Chaim
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What to do if you did not prepare for Shavuos?!?!?
he festivals - מועדיםare an integral part of the Jewish calendar. The word מועדcan literally be translated as ‘meeting’, the Nesivos Shalom1
explains that the festivals are meetings in time, each with its own special spiritual energy that we can absorb. The name of the festival directly relates to its specific energy and each festival gives us a unique opportunity to gain inspiration, that we can use to carry us through the rest of the year. In essence, we are not merely commemorating past events, rather we are actually re-living the event. Therefore, during the festival of Shavuos we actually relive the giving of the Torah! Why then does the literal translation of Shavuos mean ‘weeks’? How do ‘weeks’ connect to the giving of the Torah? Torah is only gained through effort and preparation and this is the essence of our acceptance. This festival is called ‘weeks’ because in reality the weeks prior to accepting the Torah enable the final product. This teaches us a valuable lesson regarding our Avodas Hashem. In order to obtain anything meaningful in life, effort and preparation are essential. Subsequently, before we can get to the level of Matan Torah weeks of preparation are required for us to get ready, therefore, the ‘weeks’ are what create the festival.
become a vessel with the potential to absorb the energy of Shavuos, even if you did not manage to prepare properly in advance.
I would like to answer this question based on a teaching by Rav Gifter zt’’l (Rosh Yeshivah of Telz). He brings down a Gemara2 which tells us that ‘a person who wants to be wise should pray towards the South’3. It is well known that the Gemara was written in the most concise manner, without a single unnecessary word (or letter). Therefore, wouldn’t it have been more concise for the Gemara to say ‘To be wise pray to the South,’? What is the reason behind the seemingly superfluous word הרוצה- ‘if one wants’?
Every morning we say a Bracha to thank Hashem for choosing us as the people to receive the Torah. This Bracha ends with the words; ברוך אתה ה׳ נותן התורה- “Blessed are you Hashem who gives us the Torah”. Why is this Bracha written in the present tense- ‘Hashem who gives us the Torah’? Wasn’t the giving of the Torah a past event, a major moment in the history of the Jewish nation? Would it not have been more appropriate to say ‘Thank you Hashem who gave us the Torah?
Rav Gifter answers that if you did not want to become wise, you could pray to the South a million times but never be any wiser. Consequently, we learn from this that everything we achieve must begin with a desire; an aspiration to achieve something. Thus, if you did not manage to count the whole Omer with a Bracha, or you did not make it to every single Minyan, or if you did not take on a Kaballa or do a chesbon hanefesh. If you are filled with the desire for Torah and want to receive it with all your heart and soul and if you are willing to stay up all night to learn Torah, just to show Hashem how much you love it. You will have enabled yourself to 2 ב׳׳ב 3 (because that is where the Menorah was which represented wisdom)
1 Vol II p.189
However, I have a question; is it possible to accept the Torah on Shavuos if you did not use the weeks before to prepare?
This Bracha is written in the present tense because in fact, every single day we have the opportunity to personally receive the Torah anew if we show a real desire and want to acquire it. The Gemara4 famously brings down the statement of Rav Yosef who said ‘if it was not for this day (referring to the date of Shavuos) I would have been like all the other Yosefs in the market place’. Rav Yosef did not say that he became who he was because of Matan Torah on this day, rather because of this day i.e. through his learning and connecting to Hashem on the day itself he became the great Rav Yosef (Rashi). May Hashem give each one of us the strength to express our desire to reaccept the Torah this Shavuos. Remember it’s never too late! 4 :פסחים סח
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ג שקלים פרקים: ד- ז:ז תענית ב: ד- ד:ג תענית ד: ד- ט:ח תענית ג: ג- ה:תענית ג ו-ג
ד: ג- א:תענית ג
י: ב- ז:תענית ב
'דברי הימים ב' דברי הימים ב' דברי הימים ב' דברי הימים ב' דברי הימים ב פרק ל"ב פרק ל"א 'פרק ל פרק כ"ט פרק כ"ח
'דברי הימים ב פרק כ"ז
'דברי הימים ב פרק כ"ו
5. Is there any pattern between which keilim had which covers? livingwithmitzvos.com
Rabbi Yaakov Book
Yeshivas Darchei Torah, Manchester
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
he Medrash at the beginning of this week’s Parsha describes the following parable. A prince looking to settle down entered a certain province. When the residents of the province saw the prince approaching, they fled. The prince decided to see if a second province would be more accommodating. However, when the residents of the second province saw the prince, they also fled. Finally the prince entered a deserted and desolated city. There he was received with honour and was praised by its inhabitants.
that a person will only merit to truly acquire
The Medrash continues that similarly, when
clung to her mother-in-law Naomi and
Hashem wished to choose a location to give the Torah to Klal Yisroel, he approached the sea but as it says in Tehilim (114:3) ‘The Sea beheld and fled’. Next, Hashem approached the Mountains but ‘the Mountains pranced like Rams’. Finally when Hashem approached the desert, it received Him with honour as it says ‘Let the wilderness and its cities rejoice….’ (Isaiah 35:1) Then Hashem declared ‘This place is better for Me than all the provinces,
Torah if one views oneself as a desert. What is the significance of the desert in relation to the giving of the Torah and why does one have to make oneself like a desert to acquire Torah? To answer these questions, R’ Mordechai Miller points out a Medrash on Rus. The Medrash (2:22) tells us that as soon as Orpoh returned to her people she returned to her gods i.e. to Avoda Zoroh. Whereas Rus stubbornly ultimately converted to Judaism. What is the intrinsic difference between Rus and Orpah? How was it possible that their paths diverged from each other so quickly? The answer is, that in order for a person to achieve any genuine growth in their quest for spirituality and moral integrity, they must first fulfil an essential condition. They must first attempt to devoid themselves from any characteristics and attitudes that will hinder
Parshah / Shavuos first try to remove the ‘boulders and weeds’ that may be lying inside our souls. This was the one integral difference between Rus and Orpah. At the beginning, it may have seemed like they were both as sincere as each other in their quest to charter a new path in their lives. However, when they were both put to the test whether to stay with Naomi and her people, their paths separated from each other. This is because Rus had eradicated all her pre-existing negative character traits and attitudes and was now ready to move forward in her journey to Judaism. Orpah who had not completed this pre-requisite task, was not ready to commit to a life of Torah and swiftly returned to a life of Avoda Zoroh.
their ability to travel towards their spiritual
This is the meaning of the desert-like quality
goals. To give an agricultural analogy – before
which is mentioned in the above Medrash
any seeds can be planted in a field, the field
and Gemoro. A person must be willing to rid
The Medrash teaches us that the desert was
must first be cleared of any boulders, weeds
oneself of all self-interests and must attempt
chosen as the most appropriate location for the
and anything else that will disrupt a healthy
to transform their inner landscape into a
giving of the Torah and for all the miracles that
crop from growing. So too, if we want to
wilderness. Only then is one considered truly
would take place during Klal Yisroel’s travels.
be ready to accept the mission of Shemiras
prepared to accept upon themselves the yoke
Indeed, the Gemoro in Nedorim (55b) states
Hatorah V’hamitzvos upon ourselves, we must
here I shall build a gathering place and here I shall make My dwelling’.
A person must be willing to rid oneself of all self-interests and must attempt to transform their inner landscape into a wilderness QUIZ TIME
6. Why do we not find the kiyor and kano discussed amongst the keilim being covered? livingwithmitzvos.com
Rabbi Alan Wilkinson
Rabbi, Great Ormond Street Hospital
The author can be contacted at email@example.com
Friends and Neighbours
t is often said that time goes faster as you get older. Whilst I am obviously far too young to test the validity of the statement, I recently discovered that scientific Research shows your brain’s internal clock runs more slowly as you age -- which means the pace of life appears to speed up. Other research suggests that the perceived passage of time is related to the amount of new perceptual information you absorb; when you’re young, everything seems new, which means your brain has more to process... which means the perceived passage of time feels longer. There’s biochemical research that shows the release of dopamine when we perceive novel stimuli starts to drop past the age of twenty, which makes time appear to go by more quickly. All this explains why it seems like only yesterday that my family moved to Edgware. Baruch Hashem we are very fortunate with our neighbours. In this week’s parsha Rashi stresses the influence of one’s neighbours in two places. We learn that the family of Kehas encamped on the southern side of the Mishkan. Rashi makes the striking comment: ‘Woe unto the wicked one and woe unto his neighbour’. Why? Because shevet Reuven also encamped on the southern side, near to Kehas and some of the shevet
involved themselves in Korach’s dispute with Moshe and suffered the terrible consequences. Good neighbours, however, have a positive influence. A few pesukim further on Rashi stresses the positive impact on Yissachar and Zevulun who encamped on the eastern side and benefitted from their proximity to Moshe and Aaron who were also camped there. Moshe toiled in Torah and his neighbours also became great Torah scholars. Sadly, we all too frequently hear of good people being exposed to negative influences and not just of the electronic variety. We don’t need John Donne to advise us that neighbours, friends and associates all impact on us. Rambam tells us how to choose friends. He refers to the Gemara in Kiddushin 40b ‘One who does not study Tanach or Mishnah and is not ‘bederech eretz’, is not part of society.’ Rambam explains that ‘bederech eretz’ is being associated with ‘’a group of good people who possess pleasantness and mussar’. Yes, when we relate to others, we do need to be pleasant. The lesson here, however, is that it is not enough just to be pleasant. Mussar is also essential. Rav Wolbe zt’’l in Alei Shur points out that emotional obstacles in relationships between friends stem from egotistical feelings.
If a person wishes to stand out, or has a need for control, or offers unhelpful criticism, or harbours feelings of suspicion, these are all expressions of egotism that can destroy a friendship. One has to fight these negative thoughts and feelings to create and maintain a ‘good group’. In Vayikra 19:17 we were told “You shall rebuke your neighbour, but not do a sin in the process.” Rebuke is fine, but not if the effect will be negative. If the other person will get defensive, angry, or not accept the criticism, then it is better left unsaid. In general, criticism should be done privately and with gentle words. Shlomo HaMelech emphasised the advantages of this constructive criticism in Mishlei “Give tochacha to a wise person – and he’ll love you!” ( 9:8). This is the mussar to which Rambam refers. We need to ensure that we are careful with all our social interactions. We are completing the sefirah period. The Talmidim of Rabbi Akiva passed away during this period because they did not honour one another properly. As Rav Wolbe emphasised ‘’One who is not particular in choosing his friends and neighbours might very well suffer the consequences, while one who is careful to surround themselves with quality individuals only stands to gain.’’
ANSWERS 1. The theme of Parshas Bamidbar is the counting of the Bnei Yisrael for each of the twelve tribes. These were then grouped into Degalim. The Leviyim were assigned to help the Kohanim and the Leviyim were counted separately and then split into three each group being allocated to carry when journeying different parts of the mishkan. Additionally the Leviyim redeem the firstborn Yisraelim.
4. The order of the keilim listed to be covered are from the innermost and
2. The Levush (Shulchan Oruch O.C. 428:4) explains that we read Parshas Bamidbar before Shavuos to act as a separation between the din of the curses (read in Parshas Bechukosai) and the din of the fruit of trees that takes place on Shavuos. Rabbeinu Bechaye (Parshas Bamidbar) expresses the idea that before receiving the Torah one needs to make oneself like a desert.
5. The pattern is that the all the keilim inside the heichal were covered
3. The counting is not for Hashem’s sake but is for the benefit of the Jews. Rashi brings that it comes to show how they are beloved and each one counts.
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holiest outward. Starting from the Kodesh Hakodoshim was the Aron, then into the Heichal was the shulchan, menorah and mizbeach hazahav. Then the keilim used with the mizbeach hazahav and then outside the heichal to the mizbeach hanechoshes. with the bigdei techeiles. The only keli left outside the heichal was the mizbeach hanechoshes that was the only one that had bigdei argaman. 6. The kiyor and kano are not mentioned since they were different to all the other keilim – they are hechsher keilim. Therefore they were not covered like the others whom were carried by the Leviyim. Instead, they were placed on the wagons when travelling. (Chizkuni, Shemos, 30:18)
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