Matos Masay 5 767 Be er Mayim Chayim by NIQe3C


									                                                    Parshas Matos-Masei 5767
                          Jewish Personality Of The Week                                                                  Dvar Torah: And they said, "We will build
                                                                                                                          sheep pens for our livestock here and cities for
                                                                                                                          our children." (32:16)
              …But for all the children of Israel, there was light in their dwellings…(Shmos 10:23)
                                                                                                                          The Jewish people reached the plains of Moav,
Night had fallen, the barracks enveloped in darkness. The prisoners watched in astonishment as the old man                the jumping-off point for the invasion of
gathered his meager rations from the previous days, and, using the potatoes to hold wicks, created a menorah. They        Canaan, which was imminent. But the tribes of
were even more astounded by the heartzige way in which he recited the “Shehecheyanu.” “Rebbe,” they asked                 Gad and Reuven, rich in livestock, preferred the
him, “how can you say this bracha with such feeling? Look at us and what we are going through. How can you                lush pasturelands of the Trans-Jordan to shares
thank Hashem with such emotion for bringing us to this time?” To this he replied, “I had the same question. I didn’t      in Eretz Yisrael proper, and asked Moshe for
know how I would say this bracha. But when I looked around and saw all of you gathered beside me despite the              permission to take their share there.
conditions, to fulfill this mitzvah, I knew this was indeed a praiseworthy time, and so I was able to say the bracha
with such great emotion.”
                                                                                                                          Moshe berated them for letting the others fight
                                                                                                                          to conquer Canaan while they settled down in
The months passed and the conditions in the camp deteriorated. Having been successful in convincing the guards to         their ranches. Furthermore, their reluctance to
provide their daily rations in the form of flour and water instead of bread in order to bake matzos, he announced         cross would have a demoralizing effect on the
that he would be conducting a Seder that Pesach night, an act which, if discovered, would be punishable with death.       others, just as the report of the Meraglim had
Nonetheless, nearly three hundred prisoners packed into his barracks that Pesach night. As they quietly sang the          demoralized the people thirty-eight years
refrain, “Avadim Hayinu L’Pharoah B’Mitzrayim…Ata B’nei Chorin,” a feeling of palpable despair and sadness                earlier. They said to Moshe: "We want to build
filled the room. Recognizing the paradoxical nature of the words he had just sung, he felt the need to explain – how      sheep pens for our livestock here and towns for
could a Jew in Bergen-Belsen, branded like cattle, feel free? “Why is this Seder different from all other Sedarim?”       our children. Then we will go quickly at the
the Rav explained, “We have no four cups of wine, we have no children to ask the questions, no fine china or table        head of the army and fight until the land is
laden with food. Even the small burnt matzos we managed to bake are virtually unrecognizable…But if even here,            conquered and apportioned. Only then will we
in the depths of our darkness and despair, we can nonetheless recall our redemption from Mitzrayim and celebrate          return to our homes." "All right," said Moshe
Pesach, we are truly free. Freedom is not about where you are - it is about who you are.”                                 (32:24), "build towns for your children and pens
                                                                                                                          for your sheep. And make sure you keep your
One night, guards burst into his bunk and ordered everyone out. They were ordered to a field where a large pit had
been dug. "Everyone must try to jump across," shouted the guard. "If you miss, you're dead." Hungry and weak,
one at a time they tried, but few made it. Standing next to the Rav in line was another Jew. "We'll never make it         Notice that Moshe reversed the order of their
across,” he whispered. “Rather than entertain the guards, let's just sit down right here and let them shoot us." "No,"    priorities. They wanted to "build sheep pens for
replied the Rav. "We must try." Within moments it was their turn in line. They jumped together, and both made it          our livestock here and towns for our children."
safely to the other side. Stunned, the other Jew turned to the Rav and asked: "You're an old man! How did you do          First let us make sure we have pens in which to
it?" He explained, "As I got ready to jump, I thought of my father and grandfather, and of our great and holy Sages       keep livestock so they don't wander off and get
from generations past. I thought of the Rambam and Rashi. I thought of Moshe Rabbeinu and Dovid HaMelech. I               lost or stolen. Then they spoke about building
thought of Sarah and Rachel. And as I jumped, I held onto their coattails. It was they who pulled me across."             “towns for our children [to live in while we are
                                                                                                                          at war].”
"But," the Rav asked the man, "How did you do it?" "Oh, me?” the man answered, “I was holding onto your
coattails."                                                                                                               Oh no, Moshe replied. You have it backwards.
                                                                                                                          First attend to the needs of your children.
                                                                                                                          Afterwards, you can worry about your cattle.
As the Germans swept across Europe, thousands of Jews, sensing their impending doom, bequeathed their children
to their Catholic neighbors, in hopes of their ultimate survival. In most cases, these children were not returned after
the war, in part due to the fact that most of their parents did not survive. However, in one Polish town, the priest      The Midrash sums up the exchange with the
was a man of deep moral conviction. He actively pursued the return of these children to the Jewish people. That           verse (Koheles 10:2), "The heart of the wise
priest's name was Karol Josef Wojtyla. In later years, the Rav would often say that G-d repaid this courage and           man is on his right, and the heart of the fool is
integrity by making this priest, in the words of the Rav, “the great and revered Pope John Paul II, a man whose           on his left." Moshe's heart was on the right. He
morality and spiritual leadership were respected around the world.” The Rav’s recognition of the humanity in others       had his priorities right. Their hearts were on the
and his gratitude for its occasional appearance enabled him to persevere through times of unimaginable suffering,         left. They gave precedence to secondary
inspiring thousands of others along the way.                                                                              considerations, more worried about money than
                                                                                                                          their children.
After miraculously surviving the war, he immigrated to the United States, where he resumed his life, rebuilt his
family and continued teaching until his petirah just short of his one hundredth birthday. He would often reflect on       When we look at this incident, we say, "How
his dark days in the concentration camps, noting that the Hebrew word “avadim” has the same letters as the                foolish can people be? How warped can their
acronym for “Dovid Ben Yishai Avdecha M’shichecha,” connoting that for Hashem’s children, the seeds of our                values be? How can anyone put the welfare of
salvation are always embedded in the ashes of destruction. As R’ Akiva had, upon seeing the fox among the ruins           his cattle before the welfare of his children?"
of Har Habayis thousands of years earlier, he looked at the devastation around him and sensed the birth of                Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident,
redemption. In his eyes, Hashem had sent him into the cauldron of the Holocaust to raise the spirits of those around      something bizarre that happened thousands of
him, to feel pride in their yiddishkeit even under the most humiliating circumstances, and to demonstrate that            years ago. It is an everyday phenomenon.
although the body may be trampled upon, the Jewish soul is indestructible, and will always rise above. He was able        People become focused on their livelihood, on
to glean inspiration from those who themselves looked to him for guidance. For this, he was eternally grateful, his       developing a business, on advancing
hakaras hatov allowing him, that dark Pesach night, to say “Shehecheyanu” with genuine thanks to his Creator. As          professionally, on building a practice, and their
so many marched to their physical deaths, their souls soared high, proud of their heritage, joyous for their              kids get lost in the shuffle. They don't realize
opportunity to offer their lives for the glorification of G-d’s name, recognizing their true “freedom” as Avdei           that they are making the exact same mistake as
Hashem, leaping to eternal life upon the coattails of individuals like Reb Yisroel Spira, the great Bluzhever Rebbe,      the tribes of Gad and Reuven. But it is true. It
who had taught his followers, huddled together in a cramped barracks…                      …The REST of the Story.        happens all too often. (cont. next page)
                                          This Week In Jewish History                                                                               D’Var Torah
[Shabbos, 28 Tammuz]
            ● 41 Jews were burned at the stake in Breslau, 1453. The rest of the Jews were expelled.
            ● Jews of Brussels were ordered expelled, 1716.                                                                                         Rashi writes (32:24) that
            ● Jews of Chevron were attacked by Arabs, 1835.                                                                                         the tribes of Gad and
            ● 1922: the League of Nations confirmed the British Mandate of Palestine, territory taken from the Ottoman Empire following             Reuven did not return
World War I. The Mandate charged Britain with securing the establishment of the Jewish national home, and safeguarding the civil and                home to the Trans-Jordan
religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine. Just a few months later, Britain decided to lop off 77% of the land and use it to establish   until after the seven years
the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (today called Jordan). In ensuing years, Jewish immigration to Palestine created much Arab                     of conquest and the seven
resentment, and the British responded by placing strict limitations on Jewish immigration. This policy had lethal consequences for Jews             years of apportionment
fleeing Hitler's ovens. When the British continued to placate the Arabs, for example by restricting Jewish land purchases, a revolt was             (fourteen years). Those
organized by Zionist groups. By 1948 this pressure had forced the British out of Palestine, clearing the way for an independent State of            little children they left
Israel.                                                                                                                                             behind -- let's assume
            ● 5,000 Jews of Rovno, Polish Ukraine, were killed by the Nazis, 1942.                                                                  they were 3 or 4 years old
                                                                                                                                                    -- how old were they
                                                                                                                                                    when       their     fathers
Ed. Note: I have always felt that one of the worst crimes Hitler (ysh”v) perpetrated upon the world generally was the loss of perspective           returned             home?
upon a single person’s death or torture. As the total number mounts we lose sight of the impact that one incident can have on the town, the         Teenagers!       Practically
Jewish community at large, and certainly the person’s family as well as on him/herself.                                                             adults. The Midrash tells
                                                                                                                                                    us that their fathers were
[Sunday, 29 Tammuz]                                                                                                                                 shocked to find that their
            ● Yahrzeit of Rashi, R’ Shlomo Yitzhaki (1040-1105), commentator on Torah and Talmud. Lived in France, where his                        sons                   were
grandchildren composed the Tosfos commentary on gemara, second only to Rashi in being indispensable for a proper understanding of the               indistinguishable      from
text. Amazingly, Rashi accomplished all his work during the period of the Crusades, when life was extremely dangerous for the Jews. Made            their pagan neighbors.
his living as a wine merchant, and wrote rabbinic commentaries in his spare time. Incidentally, Rashi's commentaries are the primary source
of information for the study of French language and culture in the Middle Ages. The recent 900th anniversary of his death was widely                This is what happens
commemorated in France, with public ceremonies, conferences, and a postage stamp issued in his honor.                                               when       parents   give
            ● The entire male Jewish population of Grodz, Lithuania was killed by the Nazis, 1941.                                                  priority to their wealth
                                                                                                                                                    over their children.
[Monday, 1 Av]          Min Hatorah: Peaks of the tallest mountains emerged above the receding waters of the Mabul (Flood).; Egypt was
afflicted with Makkas Tz’fardaiah (Frogs). Yahrzeit of Aharon HaKohen (the only yahrzeit mentioned in the Torah, in Parshas Mas'ei);                The Ksav Sofer raises a
also yahrzeit of Elazar b. Aharon HaKohen.                                                                                                          question with the latter
            ● Ezra and his followers arrived in Yerushalayim, 457 bce. (On the one hand, one can view this item as the positive "other side         part of Moshe's words.
of the coin" of the tragedies that are associated with the "entrance of Av". On the other hand, it was the relatively small percentage of the       After helping the tribes of
people that returned with Ezra that was the seed of the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash 500+ years later.)                                 Gad and Reuven get their
            ● Armed revolt at Treblinka, 1943. One of several similar outbreaks that were encouraged by the changing tide of the war                priorities straight, he told
against Germany.                                                                                                                                    them, "Make sure you
            ● The Exodus, a ship bearing illegal immigrants was seized by the British, 1947. Carried 4,000 Jews. Its stirring defiance of the       keep your word." Why
British navy and its ultimate forced return to Germany, was one of the most dramatic and heroic episodes of post-war Jewish history.                was this necessary?

[Tuesday, 2 Av]                                                                                                                                     He answers that Moshe
           ● Titus commenced battering the walls of the courtyard of the Beit HaMikdash, 70 ce.                                                     Rabbeinu knew with
           ● The Inquisition was established in Rome by Pope Clement IV, 1267.                                                                      whom he was dealing.
           ● Pope Gregory X banned blood-ritual charges against the Jews, 1274. This was neither the first nor the last time a pope tried to        People who could even
ban charges of ritual murder against the Jews. None were very successful.                                                                           think of protecting their
           ● Last execution of the Inquisition in Peru took place in 1806.                                                                          money      before    they
           ● First trainload of Jews in Nazi-occupied Holland sent to concentration camps, 1941                                                     protect their children
           ● French police rounded up 30,000 Jews (including 4,500 children) for deportation, 1942. Only 30 adults are known to have                cannot be trusted. They
survived the round up.                                                                                                                              are so intent on their
                                                                                                                                                    wealth that they can do
[Wednesday, 3 Av]                                                                                                                                   anything.      Therefore,
        ● 10,000 Jews of Polannoe perished in the Chmielnicki massacres, 1648.                                                                      Moshe had to exhort
        ● Beginning of the mass immigration of Russian Jews to the United States after the pogroms of 1881.                                         them to keep their word.

[Thursday, 4 Av]                                                                                                                                    Rav Tzaddok Hakohein
          ● Nechemia began to build a wall around Yerushalayim, 444 bce.                                                                            explains that the desire
          ● Rashba proclaimed a ban on the study of metaphysics and philosophy by students under 30, 1305. The Cheirem was both                     for money is greater than
famous and controversial.                                                                                                                           any other material drive,
          ● Lublin concentration camp liberated by the Russian army, 1944.                                                                          since it is the only one
                                                                                                                                                    that is insatiable. There is
                                                                                                                                                    a limit to how much a
[Friday, 5 Av]                                                                                                                                      person can eat, to how
            ● 1345: Pope Clement VI forbade forcible baptism of Jews (another papal order that was not followed seriously).                         many times he can
            ● Anti-Jewish riots in Budapest, 1883, following the acquittal of Jews on ritual murder charges.                                        commit adultery, but
            ● Yahrzeit of Arizal, R’ Yitzhak Luria Ashkenazi (1534-1572), the father of modern Kabbalah. He was born in Yerushalayim,               there is no limit to how
and later moved to Egypt where he studied under the great sages, Radvaz and Shita Mekubetzes. At age 22, he became engrossed in the                 much money he can
study of the Zohar, and spent the next seven years in near-total seclusion and meditation. At age 36, he moved to Tzfat in northern Israel,         accumulate. The quest for
where his colleagues included R’ Yosef Karo (author of the Code of Jewish Law), the kabbalist R’ Moshe Cordovero (Ramak), R’ Shlomo                 wealth can become more
Alkabetz and R’ Moshe Alshich. Arizal taught extensively about reincarnation and transmigration of souls. His primary student, R’ Chaim             obsessive than any other
Vital, collected Arizal's lectures into a six-volume work entitled, Aitz Chaim (Tree of Life). Arizal died at age 38, and till today his tomb in    quest. All too often, the
Tzfas is a place of pilgrimage and prayer.                                                                                                          children are the price of
            ● Yahrzeit of R’ Chaim Ozer Grodzensky (1863-1940), talmudic scholar and leader of eastern European Jewry. In the years                 the wealth.
between the World Wars, he was the central rabbinic figure in Lithuania, at that time the world center of Torah scholarship. Authored               [R’ Yissocher Frand,
Achi'ezer (responsa), drawn from the thousands of questions sent to him from all parts of the world.                                      ]

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