August 18, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm #1124673chofetzchaimMember
Sorry this was a little late but I posted anyway because it is an important lesson.August 19, 2009 4:12 am at 4:12 am #1124674
chofetzchaim: very nice one! shkoyach for posting it!August 19, 2009 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #1124675
*************** Mepals Wednesday DT-Parshas Shoftim***************
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
LEFT, RIGHT & THE POLITICS OF MISCONSTRUCTION
In an era when political opinions are so clearly aggrandized — one is pigeonholed as liberal or conservative, a rightist or leftist — this week’s portion shines a new perspective on right and wrong, and even left and right.
In describing the importance of following the advice of our sages, the Torah uses an interesting expression. “Do not stray from the path of their counsel, neither to the left or to the right.” The Talmud espouses the faith we are to have in the wisdom of the sages by explaining: “Even if they tell you that left is right and right is left, and surely when they tell you that right is right and left is left.”
I was always puzzled by the interpretation. Theological insights into events are subject to interpretations as varied as the eye-colors of the viewers. Even rabbinical conjectures can be objectively understood from varied perspectives and lifestyles. But direction? How can we misconstrue directional accuracy? Either something is right or it is left.
Back in the old country, a notorious miser was castigated by members of his community, for his lack of involvement in charitable endeavors. He was urged to begin inviting the poor to his home. He was even advised of how good the mitzvah would make him feel.
Reluctantly, the next Friday afternoon he gave his son a few coins and told him to buy the cheapest piece of fish. He warned him not to spend more than an amount that would buy the lowest quality fish. He also cautioned him to buy it just before the shop was to close for the Sabbath when the price was sure to be at it’s lowest. He was not to worry about freshness or appearance, just size and price. The son did exactly as he was told and brought back an excellent bargain: a large fish, thoroughly rancid.
Pleased with his purchase, the miser went to synagogue that evening and was proud to invite a pauper to his home. For the first time in memory he had a stranger actually eat with him. True to what he had been told, he really did feel wonderful. The beggar didn’t. His weak stomach could not take the putrid fish and he became seriously ill.
That Monday, the miser went with his son to visit the ailing beggar in the community ward of the local hospital. When the poor soul died of food poisoning, he proudly attended the funeral. He even paid his respects to the relatives who sat shiva at their hovel.
Upon leaving the home of the mourners, the miser remarked proudly to his son, “Isn’t it wonderful that we got involved with this beggar? Look how many mitzvos we have already performed. And it didn’t even cost us more than a few pennies!”
Often, perceptions of right and wrong are discerned, formulated, and executed according to a warped sense of justice. Personal perspectives, attitudes, and experiences greatly influence our Torah-values and attitudes. Political correctness often hampers proper rebuke. Is it that we would not want to offend an overt transgressor or do we just not want to get involved? Does overzealous rebuke stem from our concern for the word of Hashem? Or are we just upset at the individual because we have a debt to settle with him?
When we see a definitive right and left, perhaps we are looking from the wrong angle. It may very well be that our right is the Torah’s left, and the same is true of the reverse.
We are told to follow our sages whether they tell us that right is left and left is right. In a confusing world, they may be the only ones who really know which way is east.August 19, 2009 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #1124676
very good mepal- too trueAugust 20, 2009 12:54 am at 12:54 am #1124677
mepal: gevaldika DT! great points!August 20, 2009 2:09 pm at 2:09 pm #1124678
Thanks areivim, jax!August 20, 2009 3:16 pm at 3:16 pm #1124679
This post is actually an edited version of something i wrote a good couple of years ago, so if you feel it is not up to par (whatever exactly my par is)……….then i have an excuse!!!!
The gemara in sanhedrin asks, how do we know that we have to make shoftim and shotrim? the gemara goes on to answer that it is cuz it says “shoftim veshotrim titen lecha” firstly- what is the gemara out to tell us? for a change this is actually a limud we could make on our own! and secondly why do we need a commandment in the torah telling us to do that? every nation/religion/cult etc. knows that without a set of rules and without judges and a police force they simply can not exist, so surely bney yisroel would have appointed ppl anyway, why does the torah have to “waste” a pasuk on this commandment?
There is another gemara which quotes rabbi meir (im in the question mode) as saying that he could come up with 150 reasons why a sheretz should be tahor. So what is rabbi meir doing? bragging? showing off his talents? (r”l) i will now attempt to answer both questions with one answer (don’t try this at home)-
We as inteligent human beings (and for a change I actually mean it when i see we and not i………if that sentance mixed you up, you still have hope) often make the mistake of applying the same logic as the goyim do when doing certain mitzvot. Meaning- if there is a mitzva which seems totally logical to us (respecting parents, not hurting other ppl, adultry etc.) we keep them because they make sense to us, now even if the logical explanation we came up with is indeed the correct one, we r still being mistaken in our way of thinking. when we do a mitzva (regardless which mitzva it is) we have to do it cuz hashem told us we have to do it, if u wanna make up reasons go ahead, but remember that you are still doing the mitzvas simply cuz we were commanded to!! when r”m was saying that he could be metaher a sheretz in all those ways, he didn’t mean to show off, he was showing that eventhough logic (150 times over) pointed towards saying that a sheretz is tahor, nevertheless since hashem said it is tamey then……it’s tamey and no questions asked.
We should do mitzvos simply because Hashem said so. (i actually meant to pronounce that last period……..Hasehm said so PERIOD.)
We all know this yesod but we tend to think that it only applies for chukim when in fact it applies to all mishpatim AS well, when the torah was telling us to make judges it was trying to point this out to us (as was the gemara) eventhough all other nations might appoint judges simply cuz it makes sense to them (i know that they are also commanded as one of the 7 mitzvos bney noach to have courts, but we all know that that’s not the reason they go out and do it) we have to appoint them cuz…….THAT’S WHAT G-D WANTS FROM US, no questions asked.August 20, 2009 5:36 pm at 5:36 pm #1124680
nooseisko: amazing DT! thank you, all your DT’s are so enjoyable!August 20, 2009 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #1124681
Excellent DT, nooseisko!!August 21, 2009 3:53 am at 3:53 am #1124682
nooseisko – that was definitely up to par… no questions about it(period).August 22, 2009 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #1124683
The following is from R’ Moshe Sternbuch in his sefer Ta’am V’daas
?? ????? ????-?? ??????, ??????, ??? ??-???, ??????; ????? ???, ?????
1. Why do the eidim need to do the killing?
2. What does it mean at the end of the passuk ????? ???, ??????
Everything we see and hear has an effect on us. These eidim who saw such a horrible aveira being done (e.g. chillul shabbos)it too will have a horrible effect on them. Therefore, it is THESE EIDIM who require ????? ???, ?????, namely, getting this witnessed sin out of their system. Therefore the Torah says it is these witnesses who must carry out the initial stage of punishment.
One who lives in an area with chillul shabbos occurring must take proper precautions to ensure that they do not become immune to it. R’ Sternbuch suggests viewing such people as goyim, lest one come to question why Hashem allows people to be m’challel shabbos without punishing them. (note: he is not saying we should treat them like goyim, but rather that we should consider it like a goy is driving when we see them driving on Shabbos).August 23, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am #1124684
?????? ????????. ??????? ?????? ????????? ?????????. ?????????? ????????? ????????? ?????.
This tfilla can be explained looking at the 4 levels of one’s connection to Hashem (when on the way down).
???????? – Present tense. The person who is falling day after day from his madreiga. He is still falling, and he knows it.He desperately wants to land on his feet and resume his connection to Hashem.
?????? – One who has fallen (past tense) and cannot get up. He is lying in bed. He is paralyzed from the waist down (figuratively speaking). His arms and his heart still work, and if he gets enough chizuk and spiritual motivation, he will break out of his state.
????????? – He is incarcerated. His heart is a rock. He cannot free himself, no different than a jailed individual cannot free them self. However, there is still a spark inside, thus there is still hope.
????????? ????? – He is beyond the point of no return. There is no hope to work with them.
For all these 4 categories we still daven to Hashem and ask hat all be saved (on this world as well as the next) ?????? ????????. ??????? ?????? ????????? ?????????. ?????????? ????????? ????????? ?????.
(Shem M’Shmuel)August 23, 2009 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm #1124685
Wow! Beautiful DT’s, Jaymatt!August 24, 2009 4:13 am at 4:13 am #1124686
kapusta’s DT for monday
Parshas Ha’azinu – Rosh Hashanah
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
The repetitive nature of everything associated with Rosh Hashanah is noteworthy. During the entire month of Elul, we blow the shofar at the end of shacharis (morning prayer). Unlike Matzo, where many have a custom to abstain during the month of Nissan – 15 days before the festival of Passover – and others will not eat Matzo for a month in joyous anticipation of the spiritual crunch, anticipating Rosh Hashanah seems different. Instead of creating excitement by not blowing the shofar, we diminish the level by becoming accustomed to it. Of course, we must prepare ourselves. There is a lot at stake on Judgement Day, but wouldn’t an extemporaneous and unrehearsed blast of the shofar send more of a shiver down the spine and more forcefully a call for repentance, rather than a shofar-sounding ritual performed for 30 days prior that may by now feel quite rote?
The Selichos services are also a lead-up to the great day. Sefardic Jews have the custom to recite the pre-dawn prayers for the entire month of Elul. Moreover, Ashkenazic Jews can recite the selichos for more than a week before Rosh Hashanah. Would there not be a consideration that many Jews would get prayed-out from the pre-holiday supplications? Isn’t there a chance that they would get blown-away by the repetitive nature of the month-long shofar exercise?
In the Selichos service, we beseech the Almighty as if we were destitute. “Like beggars and paupers we knock on Your door. On Your door, we knock, Merciful and Compassionate One” (from the first Selichos prayer L’cha Hashem hatzedaka). Again, we knock – not once, but twice! Isn’t once enough? Surely G-d is not in the kitchen. He can hear us the first time!
My brother-in-law, Rabbi Simcha Lefkowitz, Rabbi of Congregation Toras Chaim in Hewlett tells the following story:
A meshulach (a man who raises funds for charity) came one sunny Sunday morning to a large home in the Five Towns of Long Island. Eagerly he rang the bell, and simultaneously knocked on the door. A woman, quite displeased, swung open the ornate portal to her home and, knowing the man’s intent, she began to shout.
“What do you want? I never met you in my life! How do you expect me to give charity to someone I have never seen? I’m sorry, but this is my policy and I just can’t give you!”
The meshulach was not perturbed. Slowly, he walked around the block and fifteen minutes later he was back at the same door. Again he rang the bell, and again the woman came out shouting. “I told you I never met you in my life! How do you expect me to give charity to someone I have never seen! Didn’t I clearly explain my policy to you?”
The meshulach just smiled as he replied. “You are absolutely correct. However, you forgot one small thing. You know me already! After all, we met ten minutes ago!”
The weeks before Rosh Hashanah we must be wary that we may have to knock a few times to get into the big door. Of course, Hashem knows who and what we are, but we may be a little foreign to him. The daily shofar blasts, the recital of chapter 27 of Tehillim, L’Dovid Hashem Ori, twice daily in our prayers and the recital of daily selichos are all summarized in the words we recite, “like beggars we knock…we knock on Your door, Merciful One.”
We realize that we must reacquaint ourselves with the commitments and the great resolutions that we accepted upon ourselves one year ago. But if we knock once and knock again, ultimately we, too, can smile at the One standing at the door and ask for all our desires. After all, we were just there. And He knows us already!
taken from Torah.orgAugust 24, 2009 8:09 am at 8:09 am #1124687
JayMatt19: great ones! & yes we need nossond back here!
kapusta: really nice DT, to get us in the Elul mood! maybe soon we’ll actually be on at the same time!August 24, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am #1124688
The tree of da’as of good and bad held the new knowledge that good is bad and bad is good. Physical good (temptation etc.) is spiritual bad and physical bad (toil etc.) is spiritual good.
Chava was thus surprized to see that the tree was physically good and yet prohibited, because she thought that good was good and bad was bad.
They should have gained the tree’s knowledge without eating from it, but instead they gained its knowledge in sin. And now it was clear that sin was desirous, and sin subjugated them to the desire for bad things. This caused death.August 25, 2009 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #1124689
#1 Jax’s Tuesday DVAR TORAH: KI SEITZEI
The Torah tells us how to act properly when going through war and when going through life. The same situation can be viewed from a perspective of holiness and righteousness or from a perspective profanity and perversity. How we approach daily issues has a profound impact on our lives as the following story illustrates:
Harry was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”
If an employee was having a bad day, Harry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. One day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Harry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Harry you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested. “Yes, it is,” he said.
“Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”
Several years later, I heard that Harry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Harry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Harry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door. Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.
Harry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, ‘He’s a dead man.” I knew I needed to take action.”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was a , nurse shouting questions at me,” said Harry . “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”
Harry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.August 25, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm #1124690
He’s gone again?!?!August 26, 2009 3:27 am at 3:27 am #1124691
mepal: i will be after tonight! ;-( keep well!
nossond: great peice! shkoyach! & welcome back, we missed your wonderfull Devrei Torah!August 26, 2009 4:00 pm at 4:00 pm #1124692
***********Mepal’s DT for Wednesday, Parshas Ki Seitzei***********
By: Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
In this week’s portion, the Torah commands us with quite a tall order. Because of flagrant ingratitude, in which Ammonites and Moabites forgot the kindness ofour father Avraham toward their forebear Lot, we are commanded not to allow them to join in marriage into our nation. The directive does not preclude Ammonites and Moabites from converting or marrying other Jewish converts. It also does not prohibit Ammonite women converts from marrying into the fold. It does prohibit the direct descendants of Avraham, who epitomized kindness and gratitude, from marrying Lot’s male descendants who were so cruel to the Jewish people.
The Torah tells us in the exact way their ungraciousness manifested itself. “Because of the fact that they did not greet you with bread and water on the road when you were leaving Egypt, and because he hired against you Bilaam son of Beor, of Pethor, Aram Naharaim, to curse you” (Deuteronomy 23:5). But in an atypical deviation from the initial narrative, the Torah inserts the following verse: But Hashem, your God, refused to listen to Balaam, and Hashem, your God, reversed the curse to a blessing for you, because Hashem, your God, loved you” (Ibid v.6).
The Torah then continues to conclude the directive: “You shall not seek their peace or welfare, all your days, forever” (ibid v. 7).
Why does Hashem interject the story of His compassionate intervention into the prohibition? The Torah previously detailed the story of the talking donkey, the interceding angel and Balak’s subsequent failure to curse the Jews. Why interject G-d’s love in halting Bilaam’s plans when the Torah is presenting a reason not to marry Moabites? It has no bearing on the prohibition.
A classic story of a new immigrant’s encounter with the American judicial system involved an old Jew who was called to testify.
“Mr. Goldstein,” asked the judge, “how old are you?”
“Keyn ayin horah, eighty three.”
“Just answer the question, Mr. Goldberg. I repeat. How old are you?”
Goldberg did not flinch. “Keyn ayin horah , eighty-three.”
“Mr. Goldberg,” repeated the judge, “I do not want any prefixes or suffixes. Just answer the question.”
But Goldberg did not change his response.
Suddenly Goldberg’s lawyer jumped up. “Your honor,” he interjected. “Please allow me to ask the question. The Judge approved and the lawyer turned to Goldberg.
“Mr. Goldberg. How old are you, Keyn ayin Horah?”
Goldberg smiled. “Eighty three.”
In what has become a tradition of the Jewish vernacular, perhaps originating with the above verses, no potential calamity is ever mentioned without mentioning or interjecting a preventative utterance of caution.
“I could have slipped and chas v’sholom (mercy and peace) hurt my leg.”
“They say he is, rachmana nitzlan, (Heaven save us) not well.”
“My grandfather tzo langa yohrin (to longevity) is eighty-three years old,” of course, suffixed with the ubiquitous “kayn ayin horah!”
An ever present cognizance of Hashem’s hand in our lives has become integrated into traditional Jewish speech patterns. Thank G-d, please G-d , and G-d willing pepper the vernacular of every Jew who understands that all his careful plans can change in the millisecond of a heavenly whim. And so, beginning with Biblical times, there are no reference to occurrences of daily life found in a vacuum. They are always surrounded with our sincere wishes for Hashem’s perpetual protection and continuous blessing.August 26, 2009 4:01 pm at 4:01 pm #1124693
Jax, you will be missed! Looking forward to you *complete* come-back!August 27, 2009 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #1124694
No clue where nooseisko is, so I guess I’ll post and have a chat with him before Shabbos
????, ?? ???-??? ?? ????, ????, ?????? ??????. ?? ??? ??? ????
There is something very interesting about this parsha of amalek. IT is writting in sigular form, yet the mitzva is only commanded b’rabim (Ramban)!
This parsha is writting in singular form to instruct us that there is a mitzva to rid ourselves of amalek. We each have the tumah of amelek inside of us. This is the tumah which cools our emunah and our belief in hashgacha pratis.
The ????? ????-?, ?????–???, ?? as it says in Parshas B’shalach, it the fight to strengthen our emuna and bitachon in Hashem, for this weekens the tumah of amalek which tells us things happen “by chance”, “is a coincidence” and “natural, without Hashem”. (R’ Moshe Sternbuch)
It is no fluke that this parsha is always read during Elul. One of the main areas which we all need to work on are our hashkafos and how we perceive the Ribono Shel Olam. There is Hashem and there is a koach of amalek, and they cannot successfully coexist in our minds and in our hearts. Lets evict the one deserving of the eviction this Elul.August 27, 2009 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #1124695
JayMatt- shkoiyach! That was greatAugust 28, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am #1124696
dunno why my thing didnt go up last night! probably cuz after all my “hard” work i forgot to press the “post” button!!!…….sheesh modern technology!!
well here it is….
what is a punishment?
The fact that we all punish for the wrong reasons and with the wrong intentions is a well known fact, and it is , in my “opinion”, one of the main reasons that children rebel against their parents, if parents really knew how when and why to punish their children, then their children would grow up being happy knowledgeable adults, as apposed to the angry annoyed ones they grow up to be in reality, but that’s not even what i wanna talk about. i wanna talk about what happens after the punishment.
Brace yourselves………. the whole point of a punishment is not to cause the “victim” pain!!!!…….pretty controversial no? the whole point of a punishment is so that the punishee (it’s a word now) learns his lesson, improves for next time but most of all is cleansed of the blemish which was created by his erring in the first place.
There is a very interesting passuk in this weeks parsha which tells us that right after someone receives his lashes he immediately becomes your “brother” once again, the second his punishment is finished with we have no right to look down upon him, no right to ridicule him, and no right to assume that he will ever fail again!
We tend to forget that very very often, we see someone who did bad and immediately we black list him forever, we see him doing an aveyra and we immediately assume that he is wicked to the core and should be burnt at stake, we see someone who is going thru a tough time and we immediately feel as if he is a nebech and he needs our pity (which isn’t really pity, rather it is really our way of boosting our own ego) for all of eternity.
What is wrong with the way we act? everybody does it, it is our “natural” urge to do it……………well the torah begs to differ, the torah tells us exactly how we should act towards someone who erred, exactly how we should feel towards someone who has been punished. So many times we actively ruin children and even adults by treating them the wrong way AFTER they were already punished, no one is denying the fact that every once in a while ppl deserve to get punished, if we do bad we deserve to get lashed, but as soon as the lashing is over and done with………silence. things MUST go back to normal, cuz if they don’t we will simply be pouring salt into an open wound, and never allow it to heal.
I know i wrote this in quite a unclear, boring, and choppy way, but what i am trying to relay (for a change) is actually a very important, and even life saving idea. read it. absorb it. live it. (that’s a good slogan for something no?)August 28, 2009 5:44 pm at 5:44 pm #1124697
yeah- a good slogan for … LIFEAugust 28, 2009 7:26 pm at 7:26 pm #1124698
WOW! Excellant point, nooseisko!August 29, 2009 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #1124699
R’ Yechezkel Abramsky zt”l makes an interesting point in the beginning of this weeks parsha. In the case of Eshes Yifas Toar, the Torah basically gives in to the yetzer hara of man, and says since you can’t beat it, give in, but give in under the following conditions.
R’ Abramsky says that the above is the ONLY case where such action is permitted. He says there are many people who speak “hevel” who say that there are other such cases. Situations nowadays which one can go against the Torah because it is too difficult to keep the Torah.
The Torah HaKedosha disagrees. Yes the yetzer hara is tough, yes he is cunning and yes he offers the sweet taste of sin but he is ALWAYS beatable and the purpose of our being here is to improve ourselves by passing his tests.August 30, 2009 3:35 am at 3:35 am #1124700
Here is a great insight I recently had on something we say twice a day in Shema.
We say: …And you shall remember all the mitzvos of HaShem and do them, and you shall not turn after your hearts and eyes…
More than “and you shall not turn after your hearts and eyes” is a commandment not to do so, it is a promise that if we remember the mitzvos and keep them, we will be guarded from turning after our hearts and eyes.
good vuchAugust 30, 2009 6:26 am at 6:26 am #1124701JosephParticipant
Nosson, Yasher Koach.August 30, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm #1124702
???? ???? ???
Why not come out and say Lavan? R’ Yaakov Kaminetzky says that all of Aram were guilty. They all knew that it was Leah who was going to the chuppa to marry Yaakov, yet no one stepped up to tell Yaakov that he was tricked.
???? ??? ???, ???? ??????
What is the connection between Lavan and Mitzraim? The Gemarra in Psachim states that Hashem was going to exile the Yidden to Aram, however, after seeing their behavior, he chose Bavel instead.
Same here by Yaakov. Yaakov was by Lavan for 22 years. Those were supposed to be the 1st 22 years of the 400 promised to Avraham Avinu (Yaakov was just going to stay there already). However, due to the behavior of Lavan (???? ??? ???, ) therefore Hashem removed them from Aram and transferred the galus to Mitzraim. (Nitziv)August 30, 2009 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #1124703
In the hagadah we say that the havtacha of yitziyas mitzrayim stands for our fathers and for us, through all generations, to save us from destruction.
On this the hagadah continues, go and learn from Lavan… The pshat I had on this(quite a few years ago) is that the hagadah is darshening the above question of what connection is there between Lavan and Mitzrayim?
The drasha is that the havtacha of vayered mitzrayma saved Yaakov from arami oved avi. This proves v’hi sheamda lavosaynu…August 30, 2009 8:48 pm at 8:48 pm #1124704chofetzchaimMember
9 Elul, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 44 Parashas Ki SeitzeiAugust 31, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm #1124705
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
This week’s portion discusses the entry into the land of Israel and the responsibilities that are intrinsically tied with its inheritance. There are countless blessing mentioned that follow a Torah lifestyle and unfortunately myriad curses when those values are abandoned.
But after the litany of blessing and curses, Moshe tells the nation, “you have seen everything that Hashem did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and all his servants and to all the land. Your eyes beheld the great signs and wonders, but Hashem did not give you a heart to comprehend, eyes to see, or ears to hear until this day” (Deuteronomy 29:2-3). Moshe was obviously referring to the day that the Jews received a Torah comprehension of events. But it defies logic. After all, what does one need to understand about wonders? Water turning to blood, supernatural invasions of wild animals, locusts, and fire-filled hail need no rocket scientist to fathom G-d’s power. Surely the splitting of the sea is as amazing an event that will marvel one’s eyes ans stir the senses of any people.
What then does Moshe mean when he tells the nation that Hashem “did not give you a heart to comprehend, eyes to see, or ears to hear until this day” ?
Rav Noach Weinberg, dean of Aish HaTorah Institutions, tells the story of the young man who came to him in search of spiritual meaning.
The young man entered the portals of Yeshiva Aish HaTorah for a few days and then decided to leave the yeshiva in his quest for spiritual meaning across the Land of Israel. The student stopped at synagogues in Meah Shearim, visited the holy sites in Tiberias and Tzefat, and after two weeks of spiritual-hunting returned to Jerusalem and headed straight back to the Yeshiva.
“Rabbi Weinberg,” he exclaimed. “I spent two weeks in travelling the length and breadth of Israel in search of spirituality, and I want you to know that I found absolutely nothing!”
Rabbi Weinberg just nodded. “You say you traveled the entire country and did not find any spirituality?”
“Yes sir,” came the resounding reply. “None whatsoever!”
“Let me ask you,” continued the Rabbi, “how did you find the Bafoofsticks?”
“Bafoofsticks?” countered the student. What’s a Bafoofstick?”
“That’s not the point,” responded the rabbi, “I just want to know how you feel about them.”
The young man looked at the rabbi as if he had lost his mind. He tried to be as respectful as he could under the circumstances. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed in frustration, “I’d love to tell you how the Bafoofsticks were. I’d even spend the whole day discussing Bafoofsticks with you, but frankly I have no idea what in the world is a Bafoofstick!” Rabbi Weinberg smiled. He had accomplished his objective. “Tell me,” he said softly. “And you know what spirituality is?”
Moshe explains to the nation that it is possible to be mired in miracles and still not comprehend the greatness that surrounds you. One can experience miraculous revelations but unless he focuses his heart and mind he will continue to lead his life uninspired as before.
In fact, even blessings need to be realized. In offering blessing the Torah tells us, “the blessings will be upon you and they will reach you” (Deuteronomy 28:2). If blessings are upon us of course they reach you! Why the redundancy? Once again the Torah teaches us that it is possible to be surrounded by blessing and not realize it. There are people who are surrounded by health, wealth, and great fortune, but their lives are permeated in misery. They have the blessing, but it has not reached them.
We need more than physical or even spiritual blessing. We need more than experiencing miraculous events. It is not enough to see miracles or receive the best of fortune. We must bring them into our lives and into our souls. Then we will be truly blessed.
taken from torah.orgSeptember 1, 2009 2:00 am at 2:00 am #1124706mi keamcha yisroelMember
shkoyach, kapustaSeptember 2, 2009 3:11 am at 3:11 am #1124707
I almost forgot…
*************Jax’s Tuesday D’Var Torah – Parshas Ki Savo***************
“Hashem has not given you a heart to recognize, and eyes to see, and ears to hear until this day.” (Deut.29:3)
Moshe gave a special sefer Torah to the Sheivet of Levi. The other shevatim complained, “If you give the sefer Torah to Levi, their descendants will claim that the Torah was only given to them and not to all the shevatim. This could lead to the Torah being lost from Klal Yisroel.”
Moshe had a very unexpected reaction to this complaint – he rejoiced! “I was never sure if your devotion to Hashem was complete. Now that I see your concern, I realize your devotion is whole hearted (Rashi).
This nation had such a strong devotion to Hashem, that they kept their beliefs throughout the long, bitter, back breaking slavery in Mitzraim. They plunged into the Yom Suf on the faith that their beloved Hashem would surely save them [by parting the waters]. Out of unconditional love and trust in Hashem, they committed themselves to obeying the laws of the Torah sight unseen. Yet despite their powerful displays of devotion, Moshe was not convinced until today. It was only what he witnessed today that assured him of their commitment – their concern for the perpetuation of Torah in the future generations. This is the supreme litmus test of faith and closeness to Hashem. Personal piety is essential, but it is not enough; one can not say he truly values Torah if he does not appreciate the need to safeguard it for future generations.
When Hashem commanded Avraham to perform the bris milah on himself, Avraham went to consult the sage Mamre concerning the bris. Avraham was not concerned about the painful operation he was about to undergo; rather, he was very concerned that others in his household would not want to perform this physically difficult mitzvah for themselves. He sought Mamre’s advice on how to assure that others would do this mitzvah. We see from here that Avraham was not satisfied to simply do the mitzvah himself and increase his own personal piety, he also wanted to spread the mitzvah to others. This made the mitzvah more complete. Mamre advised him, “First do the mitzvah for yourself, then others they will follow.”
There was an older man who lived in Brooklyn, New York. Every morning he attended Shul and every morning, after leaving shul he would stand on a certain busy Brooklyn street corner, peering at the intersection for qround an hour, till he would finally walk home. The Rabbi asked him why he did this. He replied, “Rabbi, I went through the concentration camps and experienced the nazi’s demonic devastation. After the war, things looked very bleak and depressing for the Jewish people and there were those who wondered if Judaism would simply peter out. I once figured out that if I stand at this street corner in the mornings, I can see 30 different school buses taking children to various Yeshivos. When I see this, I realize that Hitler did not succeed. Torah still flourishes and the Jewish people thrive. Until I count all 30 buses, I just cannot start my day. This is why I stand here.”
Personal piety is essential, but it is not enough: one can not say he truley values Torah if he does not appeciate the neet to safeguard it for future generation!September 2, 2009 3:13 am at 3:13 am #1124708
Jax’s Bonus D’Var Torah – Parshas Ki Savo
The Torah tells us in vivid detail, of the blessings and curses that can and will befall us. Sometimes, we have great blessings and don’t even realize their magnitude, as the following story illustrates:
A group of Geography students studied the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of that section, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:
1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids,
2. Taj Mahal,
3. Grand Canyon,
4. Panama Canal,
5. Empire State Building,
6. St. Peter’s Basilica,
7. China’s Great Wall.
While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn’t turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.”
The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.” The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:
1. to touch
2. to taste
3. to see
4. to hear
She hesitated a little, and then
5. to run
6. to laugh
7. and to love
It is far too easy for us to look at the exploits of man and refer to them as “wonders” while we overlook all Hashem has done, regarding them as merely “ordinary.” May you be reminded today of those things which are truly wondrous!September 2, 2009 5:26 am at 5:26 am #1124709
72, thanx for posting!
I think the second one should be posted in the good emails thread.September 2, 2009 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #1124710
Wow, Jax! Beautiful DT!
Thanks so much for the ‘bonus’! Very powerful message!September 2, 2009 5:23 pm at 5:23 pm #1124711
***********mepal’s Wednesday DT***Parshas Ki Savo***********
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
This week’s portion begins with a beautiful mitzvah bikurim. When the first fruit blossoms from the tree, one brings it to Jerusalem, to the Bais haMikdash, and presents it to the kohen. It is not a mere gift; it is an entire ritual.
The patron then recites a brief history of the Jewish People, recounting their humble origins in the home of Lavan, through their ordeal in Egypt, the Exodus, finally their settling in the land of Israel. Yet the preface to the words of gratitude need clarification.
There is an apocryphal story regarding one of the Countesses of the assimilated House of Rothschild.
Into the third round of their game, shouts came from the bedroom. “Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!”
The doctor looked up from the deck at the nervous husband. “Don’t worry, it’s not time. Deal.”
They continued playing for another half hour when the shouts descended to the card parlor, “Oh! My Lord! Oh! My Lord!
Again the doctor shrugged. “Don’t worry. Not yet. Deal.”
They continued for another twenty minutes when, once again, shouts from the bedroom interrupted their game. “Ribbono Shel Olam! Gevalt!”
The doctor jumped from his chair. Turning to the Count, he shook his head excitedly. “Now!”
The Torah tells us that after 14 years, when one comes with the fruit of bikurim to Jerusalem, and brings his work to the kohen, and, acknowledging the roots of his heritage and the gratitude he must have for his creator, then he can preface his remarks with the words, “Today I have arrived.”
Today, I come with the fruit of my labor! Today, I acknowledge the hand of Hashem in my labor. Today, I remember my humble roots, and the history I endured. Today, I cry out in the name of the Ribbono Shel Olam. Today, I have arrived! Now is the time!September 3, 2009 4:00 am at 4:00 am #1124712
L’Illuy Nishmas my father R’Shlomo Wolf bn. Yehuda Leib haLevi
The last posuk in the parsha states: You Shall observe the words of this covenant, so that you will succeed in all that you do
The following is a thought that I had on this posuk (note: usually I share my thoughts with a few people before I put them to the test of wide distribution, however, this time, I did not have time to do so… feel free to tell me if this does not seem like emes):
After the listing of all the curses a person can become despondent and wonder how they ever have a chance. The Yetzer HaRa comes along and tells a person, listen, you messed up already, look at all the curses that are heading in your direction, there is no hope anymore. The Y’H has many tools, but one of the most powerful tools is depression. Once a person falls into depression and despairs of having a chance at succeeding, they give up.
This can happen in all areas in life: spiritual and physical health, marriage, children, livelihood, etc. A person meets with resistance in these areas and essentially the Y’H sees an opening and jumps in attempting to wreak havoc on the emotional health of the intended victim. As soon as the person feels a sense of utter hopelessness they start losing their connection (closeness) to HaShem, which is the ultimate goal of the Yetzer HaRa.
Immediately before the posuk the Torah tells us a little history: We were in Egypt, we saw great signs and wonders, we wandered for 40 years, we had clothing and food requirements taken care of, we even won battles against fierce enemies. Look at all that HaShem has done for us even when things seemed to be impossible! He was/is with us, he looked/looks out for us and he helped/helps us in every step and aspect of our life.
If things are not going the way we think they should be going or if one falls short a person may begin to feel despondent and perhaps even forget that HaShem continues to guide and provide for us and most regrettably a person might think that HaShem has given up on them.
So first we have several posukim about what HaShem did for us, and then, once we can see and understand and appreciate that we are not in this alone, we are told the secret to success: observe the words of the covenant. The person who has fallen short in one area or another, may think: yes, but I fell short so this success doesn’t apply to me. To that person we can respond that the same eternal covenant that the posuk refers to, HaShem in His mercy, included the opportunity to repent and move forward, so there is no need to despair.
Every Elul as we prepare for judgment, we read this posuk that comes to tell us the path to success. Follow this covenant, the eternal Torah, know that HaShem is with you every step and you are never too far to return and you will succeed and being as the covenant is eternal, so too the success be eternal.
The lesson that I take out of this is:
HaShem in his abundant love for us is always with us, no matter where we are spiritually, physically and equally as important emotionally. If we have fallen in any of these areas, We can always call out in heartfelt prayer to help us with the cure. We are never to far removed to seek HaShem. Even if we are confined in the prison known as depression with the Y’H as the warden, we still are not to far away to cry to HaShem to release us.
K’Siva v’Chasima TovaSeptember 3, 2009 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #1124713
A very peculiar passuk adornes our holy holy parsha, hashem tells us (loosely translated) that for the entire 40 years that we wandered in the desert (one “s”) we were absolutely clueless bout……….everything. HUH? rashi comes to the rescue and quotes a very peculiar chazal which says that u only start understanding your rabbi after 40 years. So now we have a passuk which we don’t understand explained by a chazal we don’t understand which results in us still not understanding the passuk. HUH?
Whilst i won’t focus on how exactly this chazal explains the passuk (which basically means that i haven’t given it any thought, which basically means that i have no clue) i will try and explain what this chazal in itself means.
EXPERIENCE that’s what it’s all about (and we’ll get back to that later)
if u would ask someone what the main component needed to understand a teacher is, the answer would most likely vary somewhere between brain power, patience and simple logic, not one person would answer EXPERINCE, what does experience have to do with understanding what someone is saying? if the person explains it well and if i am really listening and i wanna understand and i concentrate on what is being said, and spend some time trying to decipher it (cuz in most cases the teachers just dont explain things well enough, i said in MOST cases , so if u are related to any teachers they are obviously part of the minority which do explain things well), i will indeed understand it. right? well chazal claim WRONG. but why??? what do they mean when they say u can’t understand till 40 years???
“Life experience”- everyone has heard that term being used many times, but we all (unless we happen to have experience) underestimate how much it really means. Chazal r telling us here just how much experience is needed in every area, just how little young ppl can fully understand how and why certain things happen and work. True if someone teaches u that 1+1=2 u will remember it from now on, and even understand why the result is what it is, but u will be missing a very deep and even more important understanding of it. until ur older u will understand that 2 is not only 1+1 it is also a new unit which is much stronger than 2 separate 1’s, u will learn that once two 1’s become a 2 it is much harder to separate them, and many more things which i don’t know yet cuz it has not yet been 40 years since i first learnt that 1+1=2.
We have all had situations where we totally disagreed with a certain authority at a certain point in our life, we were convinced of how right we were only to realize months or even years later that we were indeed the mistaken ones, and that all we lacked was a bit of experience to fully comprehend the issue at hand. And yet, even though we have all already encountered these types of situations we still TOTALLY underestimate experience, whether within our family, friends and worst of all our rabbis and gedolim. 40 years!!!!! hashem is telling us straight out that we have absolutely NO CHANCE of fully understanding how, why and when before 40 years and i repeat 40 (lost the effect cuz i wanted the number to be in capital letters too!!!) YEARS!!!!!!!! its mind boggling, scary and humbling all at once! so next time we wanna question an authority (a JUST authority!!!!………who is a just authority…… tough to determine), a halacha, and most of all hashem…… just breath and slowly count till 31 556 926 x40 (didn’t have a calculator on hand) and then reassess 🙂September 3, 2009 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #1124714
mod72- beautiful! A very warm, real and timely message. It should takke be an aliya (and nachas) for his neshomaSeptember 3, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm #1124715September 4, 2009 1:39 am at 1:39 am #1124716I can only tryMember
Very nice dvar Torah.
May your father’s neshoma have an aliya.September 4, 2009 5:52 am at 5:52 am #1124717
Amen and thank you to all who responded.September 4, 2009 6:53 pm at 6:53 pm #1124718
ames, thank you.September 5, 2009 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #1124719
???? ??? ???, ???? ??????
Rashi says that when we bring the bikurim, we need to show hakaras hatov to Hashem for the good which he does for us.
R’ Kasriel Aurbach from Ponovich asks, why mention Lavan over Eisav? Eisav tried to kill Yaakov too, and wanted to harm Yaakov before Lavan entered the picture.
He answers that there is two types of hatred. There is hatred due to events, and a general hatred (sinas chinam). Hatred due to events is a lesser hatred, as it can easily be dissolved if the events change. Sinas Chinam is worse since it is baseless.
Eisav hated Yaakov because of the brachos. Lavan’s hatred towards Yaakov was pure sinas chinam. Granted they both wanted to harm Yaakov, however Lavan was worse since he was coming with sinas chinam.
As such, since Lavan was worse, the saving from Lavan is considered greater than being saved from Eisav. Therefore, when bringing the bikurim and showing our hakaras hatov towards HaKadosh Baruch Hu, we state the salvation from Lavan since it is greater than the salvation from Eisav.September 6, 2009 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #1124720
Very nice, Jaymatt!September 6, 2009 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #1124721
As we rapidly approach Rosh Hashana, I feel the need to quote the famous Shla Hakadosh on Tkias Shofar (which I 1st heard from R’ Moshe Sternbuch Shlit”a).
Why is there always a tekiah in the beginning and at the end? And why must we redo the set of 3 if on errs?
There is a special mussar being taught by the sounds of a shofar. A person is born without sin. They are strong and straight, like a tkiah. However, we sin. It breaks us like a shvarim. It then becomes incumbent upon us to do teshuva, to cry to Hashem (teru’ah). By doing teshuva properly Hashem rebuilds us, we are once again strong and straight (the final tekiah).
For this reason if there is an error at any part of the set, we must redo the entire set.September 7, 2009 1:24 am at 1:24 am #1124722
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