epar68017rtf B PARASHAT HASHAVUA B PARASHA .rtf by shenreng9qgrg132


									epar68017.rtf                                                                                      (including the verse "the heart of a king" quoted above).
                                                                                            ‫בס"ד‬         The author of Mei-Hashiloach (the rabbi of Ostrovche) explained in a

 PARASHAT HASHAVUA                                                                              Rosh Hashanah sermon that the idea behind these three elements is that
                                                                                                   even if they appear to be bad in the beginning we are optimistic and
                                                                                                   hope for mercy, and we can always expect a happy end. "For example, if
                      PARASHA : Beshalach                                                          one sees a serpent in a dream, which is a frightening thing, our sages
                                                                                                   have given it the opposite meaning, explaining that it indicates a good
                 Date :12 Sevat 5768, 19/1/2008                                                    livelihood (like a snake, whose food, the dust of the earth, is readily
“The Best of Parashat HaShavuah” Articles taken from list                                          available). The same is true of a king - even if at first he may appear to
subscriptions on the internet, edited, reformatted and printed for                                 be bad, he can be turned around to good by the Almighty. And the year
members of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu (Editor: Arieh Yarden)                                              too - even if it begins in poverty it can be a rich year in the end."
             Dedicated to the loving memory of Avi Mori                                                  We can also explain the comparison of the "heart of a king" in the
                  Moshe Reuven ben Yaakov z”l                                                      above quote to the "streams of water," as is written in the Midrash: "Just
             Please respect the Holiness of these pages                                            as when you put water into a vessel you can move it towards any side
These pages are also sent out weekly via the internet in MS Word                                   that you want, so when a person becomes a king his heart is given over
format. Anyone who is interested in receiving them, can subscribe via                              to the hand of the Almighty... And therefore it is written, 'He can make
the Parasha web site: http://parasha.sde.org.il/eparasha - Arieh.                                  him turn any way that He wants.'" [Midrash Mishlei 21]. Even though
                                                                              water is usually a symbol of a flat plain (the principle used in a level), a
Extract from SHABBAT-B'SHABBATO, published by the Zomet Institute of Alon Shevut, Israel;
                                                                                                   small deviation can disturb its equilibrium. All we need is for a small
                                                                                                   Divine push to the right, a slight disturbance of the balance, and we will
http://www.moreshet.co.il/zomet/index-e.html                                                       be successful!
STARTING POINT: With a "High" Hand                                                                          ******
- by Rabbi Amnon Bazak, Yeshivat Har Etzion                                                              Who Is the Bad Guy?
     After Bnei Yisrael had already left, it would have been reasonable to                               I do not agree with the "spokesmen for the right" who tried to paint
assume that they would not meet the Egyptians any more on their way to                             our guest as an evil person, if not completely than at least partially. I do
the Promised Land. However, as we know, the Almighty organized things                              not agree with reproachful declarations and harsh criticisms against the
differently: He commanded Bnei Yisrael to retrace their steps so that the                          "one who would uproot the outposts" and who demands the "end of the
Egyptians would think that the people were "trapped in the land" [Shemot                           occupation." Not only are such cries not a wise tactic, they are also not
14:3], in order that Pharaoh's heart would be hardened and he would                                justified!
pursue them. The purpose was for G-d "to be glorified through Pharaoh                                    I will admit without shame (in a play on words, the Hebrew root for
and his army, so that Egypt will know that I am G-d" [14:4]. However, Ibn                          shame is "Bush") – I feel that we can count on the "heart of a king" who
Ezra finds that the passage is difficult to understand. "If one asks why G-                        has a vision of expanding worldwide democracy, and who sent his army
d commanded Yisrael to return, it is useless to search for an answer"                              and his nation to back up this belief by going into a difficult campaign
[14:8]. Evidently, Ibn Ezra's difficulty stems from the fact that G-d could                        which was not appreciated by the other nations. I feel that we can count
have caused Pharaoh's heart to be heavy without any relation to the                                on the "heart of a king" who initiated a crusade against Islamic
events. In fact, the wording of the passage does not imply any link                                fundamentalism even at the risk of losing popularity in his own land and
between the fact that Bnei Yisrael returned and Pharaoh's chase. Why                               of ever rising prices of oil. I feel that we can count on the "heart of a king"
then were they commanded to return?                                                                who seems to have reached the end of his reign (so far, at least) without
     Evidently the answer lies in the following verse: "And G-d                                    any wild affairs or immoral behavior, as has happened to so many who
strengthened the heart of Pharaoh the King of Egypt, and he pursued                                ruled before him. Don't think that this is a simple matter in the twenty-first
Bnei Yisrael. And Bnei Yisrael left with a high hand." [14:8]. What does                           century. I feel that we can count on the "heart of a king" who is not
the phrase "with a high hand" mean? Rashi explains, "With well                                     ashamed to declare his moderate religious beliefs.
publicized and high level courage." But this is not so simple, since right                               Thus, I accept the statement of our sages about the "heart of a king"
after this verse we are told about the nation's great fear when they saw                           being compared to a "stream of water," which can be turned in a new
the Egyptians pursuing them (see Rashbam). Perhaps another                                         direction by a small adjustment. If we act wisely and G-d will be with us,
explanation is possible.                                                                           "He can make him turn any way that He wants." I propose, from my
     In comparing different places in the Torah where the phrase "a high                           position as an unofficial observer, to leave it up to the other side, our
hand" appears, it is clear that it is a negative expression, implying                              enemy, to spoil the party and to take on the role of the one with stubborn
exaggerated pride and a criticism of G-d. For example, here is how the                             objections who will muddy the "streams" and upset their equilibrium. Up
Torah describes a person who intentionally commits a sin: "And the soul                            till now, the enemy has fulfilled this role admirably, and I hope they will
which does something with a high hand" [Bamidbar 15:30]. In the poetic                             continue to do so. It is not easy as an unofficial observer to say exactly
epic of Ha'azinu it is written that G-d will redeem Yisrael to ward off the                        how to accomplish this goal, how to move the ball over to the other side.
audacity of the Gentiles, who would attribute their victory to themselves                          It would seem that the best strategy is "biding our time" and putting off
and not to the Almighty. "Lest they say our hand is high, and G-d did not                          any final decisions. There are always good reasons to delay: the
accomplish all of this" [Devarim 32:27]. Thus, in our case too, the verse                          Vinograd Report, internal coalition problems, the Egyptian sponsorship of
implies that Bnei Yisrael left Egypt with a feeling of pride, almost as if                         the Philadelphia Line, or even a prostate cancer. Not that the Americans
they were to be given the credit for the redemption. And to counteract                             are stupid, and don't think that they cannot read Shabbat B'Shabbato (we
this feeling, it was necessary for them to be pursued by Egypt. The point                          even have an English version on the internet, just check it at
was not only for G-d to be glorified by the victory over Pharaoh but also                          zomet.org.il). But based on our experience we can depend on our
as a way to counteract the exaggerated pride of Bnei Yisrael.                                      enemies to do their part, and the Americans have many objective
     Indeed, immediately after these events, the feeling of a "high hand"                          reasons to hold back and wait.
left the people, replaced by fear. "And they were very afraid, and Bnei                                  And to those who are afraid of what the "new king" who will appear
Yisrael cried out to G-d" [Shemot 14:10]. In order for Bnei Yisrael to                             on the scene next year might do, I suggest that they think back over the
correctly understand their dependence on the Almighty, the "high hand"                             years. So far, every new President has been better for us than his
is replaced by another hand (note that the word "hand" appears seven                               predecessors, echoing the words of the man who was wisest of all: "The
times in the passage). Moshe waves his hand over the sea (see 14:16,                               heart of a king is... in the hand of G-d, He can make him turn any way
14:21, 14:26, 14:27), while the water splits at first and then returns to                          that He wants."
cover the Egyptians. At the end of the passage, it is emphasized that the                          RESPONSA FOR OUR TIMES: A Living Torah Scroll
hand that controlled all of the events is merely a symbol for the real hand                         - by Rabbi Re'eim Hacohen, Rosh Yeshiva and Chief Rabbi, Otniel
that was in charge: "And Yisrael saw the great hand that G-d fashioned                             Question: Should one tear his or her clothing at the moment of a
in Egypt, and they feared G-d, and they believed in G-d and in His                                 person's death? If so, is there any difference between a righteous person
servant Moshe" [14:30].                                                                            and one who is not?
POINT OF VIEW: Okay, We've Gotten through the                                                      Answer:
                                                                                                        In two places the Talmud discusses for which dead people we are
Bush Visit...                                                                                      required to tear our clothing out of a feeling of bereavement (Moed Katan
 - by Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, Dean of the Zomet Institute                                             24b; Shabbat 108b). According to the Mishna it is necessary only for
     "The heart of a king is like streams of water in the hand of G-d, He                          relatives, but the Talmud expands the law to include a wise man who
can make him turn any way that He wants" [Mishlei 21:1].                                           passed away, because "everybody is the same as related to him" and
     "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart... In the last five plagues and also                       then adds that one should tear his clothing for every "upstanding man."
in the drowning at the Red Sea it is also written, 'G-d hardened                                   The Talmud further states that one who mourns an upstanding man
Pharaoh's heart,' for 'The heart of a king... He can make him turn any                             should be praised, and that "all his sins will be forgiven because of the
way that he wants.'" [Ramban, Shemot 7:3].                                                         respect that he showed."
     The President of the United States has left our shores, leaving                                    The Talmud further notes that even if the dying person is not
behind some declarations that are good, some that are not so good, and                             completely "kosher" all of those present at the moment of his death
some that are bad. He also left a general here to "supervise" the                                  should tear their clothing. This is explained in a Baraita in the name of
progress in navigating the "roadmap," and who knows what else was left                             Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar. "To what can this be compared? It is like
behind in secret meetings.                                                                         tearing the clothes for a Torah scroll that has been burned."
     A King, a Good Year, and Dreams                                                                    A Halachic Disagreement
     My sweetest dream is that in his last year in office the king-president                            At first glance, Rabbi Shimon's reasoning is not easy to understand.
of the world will do good for us, in the spirit of the Talmud: "Mercy is                           How can a "person who is not kosher" be compared to a Torah scroll?
needed for three things: A good king, a good year, and a good dream"                               The commentary attributed to Rashi explains that the tearing of the
[Berachot 55a]. (Yalkut Shimoni (Yeshayahu 442) has is a modified                                  clothing is for the soul, which is like a Torah, in that both are called a
version, replacing "a good king" with "a good leader.") These three                                candle ("The soul of a man is the candle of G-d" [Mishlei 20:27]; "A
elements have all joined together in our subject: The President-leader,                            mitzva is a candle and the Torah is light" [6:23]). Rashi in Shabbat notes
his last year, and the vision-dream. The Talmud brings proof texts that all                        the difficulty of the ruling and explains that the clothing should be torn
three items are directly in the hands of G-d, the true king of the world                                            because "there is nobody in Yisrael who is so empty that
he has no Torah and mitzvot at all." In other places, Rashi is quoted as                 ******
saying that even a person who does not observe the commandments                       Note: As is well known, rabbis in modern times have developed
could have studied, and his death can therefore be compared to the                methods which allow farmers to work their fields during Shemitta, the
burning of a Torah scroll. The Ramban disagrees with this approach,               most common one being the "heter mechira," where the land is sold to a
saying that it is hard to accept that the clothing will be torn in honor of a     Gentile during the year. Even though many rabbis support this idea, the
possible future. Rather, he feels that tearing the clothing expresses the         people of Komemiyut did not want to make use of it. In telling this story, I
value of a human being. "It seems to me that the soul within the body             did not want to get involved in the controversy about this issue, which
can be compared to G-d's name written on parchment. It is a parable to            has been discussed by many prominent rabbis. Rather, I wanted to tell
say that a person's death is a great loss and causes great fear." All of          the true story of what happened that year, from the point of view of the
these explanations strengthen the basic law, that the clothing should be          farmers of Komemiyut.
torn in every case that a person dies, no matter what type of person he               Reactions and suggestions for stories: yikhat1@smile.net.il
or she is, and that the reference to a Torah scroll has no effect on the          TOURING THE LAND: In the Footsteps of Barak and
law. This was also accepted by the Rambam (Hilchot Eivel 9:11).                   Devorah at Mount Tabor
     As opposed to these early commentators, there are some opinions               - by the Kefar Etzion Field School
that limit the laws of tearing the clothing in honor of a person who is not            (Written in memory of two young men who knew the land intimately
upstanding. The ROSH writes that according to Rabeinu Yona one
should not tear the clothing for "an evil person or one who is suspected          and gave their lives for it: David Rubin and Achikam Amichai, murdered
                                                                                  on the nineteenth of Tevet, 5768, at Nachal Telem, in the area of Mount
of sin." Evidently he wants to differentiate between somebody who is "not         Chevron.)
a kosher person" and somebody who is evil, which is worse. Maharam of
Rutenberg disagrees with Rabeinu Yona and writes that one should not                   This week we will tour in the wake of the war that Devorah and Barak
                                                                                  waged against Sissra, going to Mount Tabor , as described in the Haftara
tear his clothing for a person who purposely commits sin or who is a              of this week's Torah portion. "Go to Mount Tabor... and I will draw Sissra
habitual idol worshipper. The Shulchan Aruch accepts this opinion of the
Maharam. The RAMA, quoting a ruling of the Mordechai, adds that                   to you at the Kishon Stream..." [Shoftim 4:6-7]. The central position of
                                                                                  Mount Tabor , together with its height, its steep slopes, and perhaps its
clothing should not be torn for anybody whose custom it is to commit              unique and prominent features, has made it an important landmark
sins, and the SHACH adds that this also pertains to a person who
regularly sins because of lust. According to these rabbis, one should also        throughout history. Its name in Arabic, Jabel A-Tur ("the mountain"), also
                                                                                  shows how important it is. This name is reserved for especially
not observe the "shiva" of mourning for such people.                              conspicuous mountains, like the Mount of Olives and Mount Gerizim .
     The Halacha Today
     It is written in "Gesher Hachaim" that it is not customary to tear the            At the foot of the mountain, there used to be an important junction.
                                                                                  The ancient route from the sea passed through on the way north from the
clothing at the moment of death, out of fear that people will refrain from        Yizrael Valley, and it was joined by other routes: from the Gallil, from the
witnessing the moment of death because they do not want to damage
their clothing. In modern times, since clothes are not that expensive, this       Jordan Valley going through the Tabor River, and from the Beit Shaan
                                                                                  Valley. When the tribes settled the land, Mount Tabor served to mark the
is no longer relevant, and the ruling of the Talmud should be accepted,           border between the portions of Zevulun to the west, Yissachar to the
and the clothing should be torn at the moment of death.
     With respect to the disagreements discussed above, it is clear that in       south and to the east, and Naftali to the north. The Prophetess Devorah
                                                                                  and Barak Ben Avinoam choose the mountain as the place to gather
modern times a majority of the rabbis feel that sinners are not apostates         their army, which was made up of men from Naftali and Zevulun, since it
but can be compared to people who were captured as young children
(see Binyan Tzion 2:23 and Rabbi Chaim Ozer [Achiezer 4:3], among                 was at a strategic point (and perhaps also a traditional meeting place).
                                                                                       During the time of the Second Temple , the mountaintop was one of
others). The Chazon Ish defines sinners as people who are not at fault            the sites where bonfires were lit to signal the beginning of the new month
because there is no real way to observe the commandment to rebuke
them. In practice, there are no prominent rabbis who prevent people from          and the holidays. At the end of the era of the Second Temple, during the
                                                                                  great revolution, Yosef Ben Matityahu fortified the mountaintop, but it
observing the rituals of mourning in memory of sinners. Since most of the         was captured by the Romans when the cisterns emptied out. The Jewish
early commentators ruled that one should tear the clothing even for a
person who does not act properly, we should accept this ruling. Without a         settlement at Tabor was renewed after the end of the revolution.
                                                                                       How Do We Get There?
doubt, this law, which is rooted in the higher levels of sanctity, will help to        We leave Afulah on Route 65, heading northeast, and just before the
enhance the love for everybody in Yisrael, who can indeed all be
compared to a Torah scroll.                                                       Gazit Junction we turn north to the village Shibli. At the far end of the
                                                                                  village we turn south, following the signs to Mount Tabor. We ride up a
A LESSON FOR THE CHILDREN: "I Will Command                                        winding road until we reach the entrance gate of the monastery at the
To Give My Blessing"                                                              top. We continue on foot on the path marked in black, which circles
 - by Rabbi Yikhat Rozen, Merkaz Neria, Kiryat Malachi                            around the mountain, passing through natural and beautiful
     In the Shemitta year of 5712 (1951-52), the farmers of Moshav                Mediterranean growth. (The marker changes to green at the eastern part
Komemiyut let their land rest and took a full year of vacation. They did          of the trail.) On the way, as we circle around the Franciscan monastery,
not grow anything at all during the year, occupying themselves instead            we can see the remains of the fortifications built during the revolution and
with the study of Torah. Of course, when people do not work for a whole           also the glorious view of the lower Gallil spread out beneath our feet. We
year their money dwindles, and signs of distress began to appear, but             can imagine seeing Barak's warriors spreading out from the mountain
they managed to survive somehow with their savings and hope for the               towards Sissra's large army in the Yizrael Valley , pushing them towards
best.                                                                             the Kishon.
     After the end of Shemitta, the people wanted to plant their fields                We can end our tour with the prayer recited by Devorah at the end of
again. They tried to buy seeds, hoping for a good crop. They turned to            her epic poem: "In such a way shall all of Your enemies be lost, O G-d,
farmers in the surrounding area, but they could only find wheat that had          when His loved ones be like the sun rising in strength..." [5:31].
been grown during the year of Shemitta – which they did not want to use,               (Written by: Areleh Meitlis)
since it was prohibited. The general manager of the farms started to                   Field trips:
worry, as did all the other inhabitants. Where would they be able to find              Thursday, 17 Shevat (24/1): Night tour of Jerusalem – the Western
seeds that they were allowed to plant?                                            Wall tunnels; buildings marked with gold
     They searched far and wide, and in the end they found a storehouse                Friday, 18 Shevat (25/1): The Jerusalem Corridor – the double
in a neighboring kibbutz with waste grain from two years before. Some             narrative (bus tour)
people from Komemiyut went with the man in charge of the storehouse,                    - Cliffs and waterfalls in the Og river basin (by bus, in cooperation
and they could all see immediately that the seeds were broken open and            with "Eretz Nehederet"
full of worms. The air was filled with the odor of rotten grain, and it was             - In the wake of blooming almond trees (family tour in private cars)
clear from looking at the pile of grain that there was little hope of using it.        Contact: Kefar Etzion Field School , 02-9935133, www.k-etzion.co.il
The kibbutz farmer saw the people hesitating, and he told them that he            PEOPLE OF YISRAEL: A Pillar of Fire before the
didn't think anything would grow from this grain, that it was just a waste        Camp
of time to plant it. At most, it could be used as feed for cattle, but it would    - by Rabbi Uri Dasberg, the Zomet Institute
certainly not be worthwhile to waste the money and effort in planting. If
they insisted, he would of course sell them the grain, but his advice was              On the third of Kislev 5463 (1702), a huge fire broke out in the city of
                                                                                  Levov , where I was the rabbi. The 63 victims of the fire included my wife,
to forget it. But the members of the moshav had already despaired of              my mother, her father and brother, and my own daughter. I was crushed
finding anything better. They had already searched high and low, so after
thinking the matter over very carefully they decided to buy the grain in          under the fallen beams of my house. After about fifteen minutes, I heard
                                                                                  a crowd of people climbing up to the roof of the house, making loud
spite of its poor condition and to put their faith in G-d.                        noise. They trampled more people than were hurt in the original disaster.
     Even though the grains were damaged, they paid a high price for
them. And the rumor of how the people of Komemiyut had paid a large               While I was trapped under the beams of the house, I vowed to follow in
                                                                                  the footsteps of my grandfather, the rabbi of Krakow , after whom I am
sum of money to buy rotten grain was a subject for mocking in the                 named, and to write a book answering questions that Tosafot ask about
surrounding area.
     The people began to plow and plant after the end of Succot in the            Rashi, concentrating more on halachic issues than on commentary.
                                                                                       Eventually, the students of Rabbi Yehonatan Eibshitz, who followed
eighth year, a long time after the wheat had been planted in the other            after me as rabbi of Frankfurt , would claim that I was more of an expert
farms. The work was finished in the cold of the winter.
     But that year, the rains were held up and did not begin to fall until the    in making halachic rulings based on the Shulchan Aruch than in
                                                                                  understanding the intricacies of passages in the Talmud. How ironic this
middle of the winter. Farmers from the nearby towns, who had planted              is, as I wrote a book of Torah innovations organized according to the
their seeds in the summer of Shemitta, saw their grains rot in the ground
from the lack of rain, and when it finally came it was too late for most of       tractates of the Talmud, while Rabbi Eibshitz is the one who wrote books
                                                                                  on the subject of the Shulchan Aruch (Karti U'Palti on Yoreh Dei'ah and
them. The wheat did not grow, or only a small amount grew, and the                Urim V'Tumim on Choshen Mishpat).
yield was very poor. However, the fields of Komemiyut, which had just
been planted, yielded large amounts of beautiful crops, and they had a                 Aside from his book Maginei Shlomo, which was also meant to
                                                                                  defend Rashi against questions on his commentaries, my grandfather
much more successful season than ever before.                                     also wrote a book of Responsa named "Pnei Yehoshua," and I used the
     Everybody could see how G-d sent His blessing to those who
observed the mitzva of Shemitta...                                                               same name for my own book. In order to differentiate
between the two books, I added the note "Api Zutri" ("minor edition"),             If journalists really sat someplace
since my book was at a lower level than the one that my grandfather                Where they "only" were struck with one shell a week...
wrote. In addition, the numerical value of this addition brings the title to       Only one shell a week, with additional sniping
the value of "Pnei Yaacov," and Yaacov was my first name. At first I               Into the meeting rooms a few times a day.
wanted to begin my book with the most commonly studied tractates of                Perhaps then they would loudly demand
the Talmud, Bava Kamma, Bava Metzia, and Bava Batra. But when I                    To remove every firing station in range no matter what...
studied with my colleagues and my students, I found many novel                     Perhaps they would demand this without
interpretations in the tractates of Ketuvot, Gittin, and Kidushin, and I           Hesitating... Who can tell the way of the spirit?
therefore started with these three books. (These were published in 5499            The main thing sometimes (we have felt this for a long time)
(1739) in Amsterdam . The innovations on the three Bava tractates were             Is not "Yes" or "No" to "activism"
published by our subject's son Rabbi Natan in 5517 in Frankfurt – editor's         The main thing is that a short distance away from the border
note.)                                                                             It is easy to judge matters from a position of "writing"
     I maintained a high standard in my rabbinical positions, refusing to          It may be good to have a discussion, clear and comprehensive,
give any preferential treatment. When I was the rabbi of Berlin, I ruled           But perhaps the opinion of the commentator depends
against one of the leaders of the community, and when he began to                  On the place from which he is looking.
harass me I was forced to leave the city. When I was the rabbi of                       ******
Frankfurt , a dispute broke out between Rabbi Yehonatan Eibshitz and               Will we be counted among the indifferent ones? I hope not.
Rabbi Yaacov Emden, and I sided with Rabbi Emden, against the                  A CHASSIDIC THREAD : The Mall, Hell, and the
opinion of most of the community. I was once again forced to leave. They       Desert
called me back two years later, but when they did not allow me to give a        - by Rabbi Shlomo Shok, teacher in Yeshivat Siach and Nokdim Prep-
sermon on Shabbat Hagadol I left once again. As noted above, the               school
position was then taken over by Rabbi Eibshitz.
     Who is Our Subject?                                                            When a child from a remote village had the "privilege" of visiting a
                                                                               mall in a big city for the first time in his life, he hid his head because of
     You have been reading the "diary" of Rabbi Yaacov Yehoshua Falk,          the great noise. While he sat down thinking about what he was seeing,
the "Pnei Yehoshua," who passed away on the fourteenth of Shevat
5516 (1756). He was born in Krakow on the twenty-eighth of Kislev 5441         he began to wonder why he had come to this place. And he said to his
                                                                               mother, "Now I know what hell is. It is a place where a person loses
(1680), and his father was named Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh. Another dispute in          contact with his own self."
which he was involved in Frankfurt concerned his ruling allowing a Kohen
to remain in a ghetto where there was a dead body, in spite of the fact             Malls, like all the other popular recreation centers, give a person an
                                                                               opportunity to lose himself. There are times when we need quality time of
that the houses were attached to each other. His predecessors had              this type, losing ourselves and allowing the intense activity that
forbidden this because of the laws of ritual impurity (see Shevut Yaacov
volume 1, 85; Rabbi Yaacov Reisher, who wrote this Responsa, was the           surrounds us to make us forget our own selves. I assume that the large
                                                                               markets served the same purpose before the malls were created, giving
rabbi of Metz before the Pnei Yehoshua).                                       us a shock which allowed us to become thoroughly mixed into the
     Words of Torah by our Subject:
     "The pillar of cloud did not move away during the day" [Shemot            surroundings, so that we forgot our own selves. Later, we could then
                                                                               return to ourselves rejuvenated by the teeming events of the market.
13:22]. Rabbi Yosef used this verse to prove to his wife that the Shabbat           Gehenom, hell, is created when the boisterous surroundings become
candles must be lit before the sun sets (see Shabbat 23b). How does the
verse imply this? Rashi explains that the verse itself is superfluous, but     something that bursts in on us violently, leading us to become lost. The
                                                                               invasion crushes the inner spine of a person, changing him into a coat
why is it unneeded? The passage describes the second day of the                hook, on which the enslaved consumer can hang his great and silly
journey taken by Bnei Yisrael, from Succot to Eitam. We read about the
first day in last week's Torah portion, "They went... from Raamses to          hopes, in the tumultuous shopping and entertainment centers. The
                                                                               Hebrew word for invasion "liflosh," reminds us of the Pelishtim: "And G-d
Succot" [12:37]. Why doesn't that verse emphasize that the cloud did not       did not lead them through the land of the Pelishtim" [Shemot 13:17].
move away? According to the Talmud, the Exodus took place on
Thursday. Thus the journey from Succot to Eitam in this week's portion,             When a nation has not yet been freed from its slavery, it can easily
                                                                               allow an invading land to burst forth within it and to prevent it from
which is described by the phrase "the cloud did not move," was on              building a new and strong life. This invasion prevents the nation from
Friday, before Shabbat. Only then, when the sun set at the end of the
day, did the pillar of cloud touch the pillar of fire. That is, on the day     becoming free, and it is therefore written, "And G-d moved the nation
                                                                               along the path of the desert of the Red Sea " [13:18].
before Shabbat the pillar of fire arrived before the pillar of cloud left,          The desert is a place where you are alone with yourself, where there
showing that Shabbat candles must be lit before the sun sets.
                                                                               are no invasive elements which can cause you to lose your identity. As
HOLY AND SECULAR: Fifty Years, But Nothing Has                                 my friend Yisrael Chevroni wrote, "I am drawn towards the desert /
Changed                                                                        Because it forces me to divest myself just like it is / From all luxuries / In
 - by Rabbi Amichai Gordin, Yeshivat Har Etzion and Shaalvim High              the desert, in the end / I meet myself."
School                                                                              And that is why only one-fifth ("chamushim") of the people arrive in
      The day will come when "The Book of Sdeirot" will be written. Many       the desert. We have only one-fifth of what we could have achieved by
good people will appear in the book. It will tell about inhabitants of         going through the land of the Pelishtim, the land which invades our inner
Sdeirot who survived long and terrible years when the Kassam rockets           self and entices us to take possession of five times more than we really
fell. It will tell about Hesder yeshiva students who came from far away to     need.
show support for the city. It will mention the members of the Torah                 In order that the recreation and shopping centers will not become an
"Garin" who dedicated their lives to the community, without any special        invasive hell that makes us lose our identities, it would be a good idea to
rewards or appreciation. In letters of gold, other people and institutions     spend some time in the desert before going into a mall.
that contributed to the city in its most difficult hours will be recorded,     HALACHA FROM THE SOURCE : Borair with Items
people with whom I am not familiar.                                            Other Than Food
      The book will also mention the bad side of quite a few people.            - by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon, Rabbi of Southern Alon Shevut and a
People who were indifferent. These are the type of people that Natan           teacher in Yeshivat Har Etzion
Alterman wrote about in his poem, "The Importance of Harassment." This
poem was written fifty-three years ago, at a time when the border towns             Is there a prohibition of borair – selecting one thing from another –
                                                                               for items that are not food, such as clothing, books, or silverware?
in the north of the country were bombarded without a stop. At the time,             The main discussion of the prohibition of borair is concerned with
the journalists who lived in the peace and quiet of Tel Aviv wrote that
"this harassment is not serious," and that political wisdom insists that it    types of food (Shabbat 74a). All the examples concern food. Thus, a
                                                                               likely conclusion would be that the laws of borair apply only to food. This
should be ignored. Evidently the phrase "Kassam – Shmassam" was not            in fact is what Rabbi Akiva Aiger wrote (Shabbat 141 – quoted by
invented by our current President.
          ******                                                               Chemdat Yisrael, 49a) – just as threshing and gathering sheaves are
                                                                               only relevant to produce grown on the land, so the prohibition of
      Let's assume that a single Arab cannon,                                  dispersion ("zoreh") is only relevant for produce (and the Talmud
      A small insignificant cannon, would fire now and then,
      A single shot, only once each week,                                      compares zoreh to borair, Shabbat 73b).
                                                                                    However, the Talmud itself (74b) seems to imply that this is not true.
      Aiming at the area of the newspaper offices.                             It is written, "Somebody who makes a clay barrel is required to bring
      Imagine a meeting of the newspaper editors,
      Sitting down by chance, in the afternoon,                                seven Chatat sacrifices." Rashi explains that this refers to grinding clods
                                                                               of earth and removing the small stones, implying that the prohibition of
      And one of them asks, "How are things by you?"                           borair also applies to earth and not only agricultural products. In addition,
      And his reply is, "Unimportant harassment."
      "Routine harassment, nothing important.                                  with respect to a package of rods, it is written that one who chooses the
                                                                               best rods has violated the prohibition of borair.
      Now and then, in the middle of our work,                                      Based on the commentary of Rashi, the TAZ in fact writes that the
      One meager mortar shell falls
      In the area of the editorial room."                                      laws of borair apply to nonagricultural items. This is also accepted by the
                                                                               Terumat Hadeshen (57), who forbids choosing some fish from among
      And another one says: "In our area too                                   others. Others who agree include Eglei Tal (borair, 12), who seems to
      There is no room for complaint, only once every other week
      A small bazooka is fired at us                                           think that this is a Torah prohibition, Aruch Hashulchan (319:9), and the
                                                                               Mishna Berura (15).
      Straight through the windows and the doors."                                  Silverware, Clothing, Books
      And a third one says: "It will be bad, my colleagues,
      If we react to such incidents.                                                In view of the opinion of the TAZ, the Mishna Berura writes that
                                                                               clothing and utensils are included in the prohibition of borair. And in
      Yesterday the ceiling was almost destroyed,                              Shevitat Hashabbat it is written that the prohibition applies to books too,
      But so what?"
      So the editors talked, and my heart... said to me silently,              and that one should therefore not choose a book or a piece of clothing at
                                                                               night for use the next morning. This implies that it is also prohibited to
      See, I am almost convinced...                                            pick out silverware after the meal is finished and to choose the good
      But a still voice of doubt asked, Can this be?
      Wouldn't the line of thinking be shaken a bit,
pieces at night in order to set the table for the next morning.                           "Happy Tu Bishvat, Sabba Eliezer!" the children said bursting into the
     However, other rabbis permit these actions. Or Samayach (Shabbat                house. "Happy birthday Grandpa!" The old kibbutznik seated his guests
8:11) writes that borair only applies to items which are usually used (or            with a glowing smile, and with his rough hands the old farmer offered
brought to the table) when they are mixed together. This is his basic                them the fruits of the Land. "Yes, indeed! How hard we worked and
definition of a mixture. Therefore, since every piece of silverware is used          slaved until the Land brought forth its fruits! All my youth, all my life I
separately, and in fact they cannot all be used together, there is no                devoted to this, but… -- and here he raised his eyes – I am not sorry. I
mixture in the case of silverware and no prohibition of borair. He agrees            am proud…" "Why are you proud, Sabba?" asked Yochanan the
with the TAZ that the prohibition is not limited to agricultural produce, but        economist. "Fruit can be imported from abroad…."
feels that recent rabbis misunderstood the TAZ and expanded the                            "Nonsense, Yochi! Our fruit is sweet! The sweet product of our own
prohibition to include items that he did not want to include.                        labors! I built this land and I was built through it, and I am still building
     Aruch Hashulchan is also lenient in this matter, for two reasons.               and being built. The connection with my land is like a man's connection
First, he feels that the prohibition of borair does not apply to items that          to his wife." Grandma smiled and said, "It's nice to know that you've got
can easily be distinguished by the naked eye. This means that borair                 another wife." "That's not what I meant, Mirele! I am married only to you,
only applies to things that are so small that they must be looked at very            forever! Yet the Jewish People and their land are like a man and his wife.
carefully to be differentiated. The second reason is that choosing                   It's a duty and a pleasure." "I agree with you, Sabba," said Yossi, whose
silverware is not an act of borair but is rather related to eating. The              lieutenant-colonel bars adorned his shoulder. "I, too, devote my life to the
second reason implies that borair does not apply if the silverware will be           Land and I am happy."
immediately used for eating (see Shevitat Shabbat, Borair, 26). Yavia                     "What are you so happy about?" asked Yochanan. “I sit in an air-
Omer (5:32) and Tzitz Eliezer (12:35) both write that the first reason               conditioned office from 9:00 to 5:00 and have frequent vacations. You
above is correct, and that there is no prohibition at all for such items.            run around after terrorists, crawl through thorns, go to sleep at midnight,
     Yavia Omer suggests another reason to allow sorting silverware, in              get up at 3:00 A.M. and in the middle you get woken three times.
that the Pri Megadim writes that sorting does not violate the laws of                Sabbaths and holidays are nonexistent for you…" “Cut it out. I'm happy,
borair. He allows one to choose utensils for the next meal, even if it will          because I know that I am defending the people and the Land, as well as
only take place many hours later.                                                    the glory of Israel, what the religious call… what they call…" "Kiddush
     On the other hand, many recent rabbis are more stringent, following             Hashem, the sanctification of G-d's name," said Rav Aharon. "Yeah,
the Mishna Berura (319:15), including Igrot Moshe (Orach Chaim 4, 74)                that's it. Kiddush Hashem. Look, I'm very happy. Thanks to me and to my
who applies the prohibition to books, and Shemirat Shabbat K'Hilchata                soldiers you're able to sit here quietly in your air-conditioned office,
(chapter 3), who includes various items, such as silverware.                         talking all you want about money, money, money…"
     In practice: It is commonly accepted that borair applies to non-food                  "Now just wait a second! I'm just money, money, money?" Didn't I
items, such as clothing, silverware, and books. But even for these items             just complete a month of reserve duty as a volunteer? Didn't I help out
one can be lenient if they were not mixed together. In future articles, we           Sabba for two weeks with his harvest? I just know one thing: Without
will discuss the definition of a "mixture" and its halachic consequences.            money we don't have a thing – not an army nor education nor a kibbutz
                                                                nor Rav Aharon's yeshiva! How fortunate we are that we have a well-to-
                                                                                     do country, but money doesn't grow on trees. It requires planning. It
MACHON MEIR http://www.machonmeir.org.il/english/main_id.asp?leng=English&len_id=2
                                                                                     requires calculations…"
                                                                                          "And where does the money go?" Nadav interjected. "There are so
FROM THE WORLD OF RABBI AVRAHAM KOOK                                                 many poor people who have nothing. This country is very beautiful, but
    “The longing to plant, to settle the world, is an expression of man’s            for me it's just a means, so that we can build a just society here, a
inner longing to be good to all.” (Megged Yerachim, Shevat)                          society of integrity, of brotherhood." "And do you think there's no justice
MESSAGE FOR TODAY: The Shira – A Song of                                             in our country as it is?" asked Sabba Eliezer. "Not enough. It needs a lot
Victory                                                                              of improvements. That's what it say in your Bible, Rav Aharon, that
    Rabbi Dov Begon – Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir                                    Abraham was chosen in order that his seed should perform deeds of
     Shirat Hayam, the Shira, the song sung at the sea, is the song of the           charity and justice."
victory of the Jewish People in every generation – from the Exodus and                    "My Bible? It's EVERYONE's Bible," pointed out Rav Aharon. "Is that
the Splitting of the Sea until the end of days, as it says: "Moses and the           all you have to say?" asked Yossi. "You're sitting there quietly the whole
Israelites then sang this song to G-d. It went: I will sing to G-d for His           time, the family pietist."
great victory, horse and rider He threw in the sea…. With love, You led                   "I'm here because it's a mitzvah, even a great mitzvah," answered
the people You redeemed; With might, You led them to Your holy                       Rav Aharon. "And in your view, the rest of us are NOT doing a
shrine…. O bring them and plant them on the mount You possess. The                   mitzvah?" "Hmmm… You are doing one, you're just not aware of it…."
place You dwell in Is Your accomplishment, God. The shrine of God Your               "We're not aware? I lie in wait to conduct a military ambush and I don't
Hands have founded." (Exodus 15:1,13,17)                                             know it's a mitzvah?" wondered Yossi. "Enough! Enough! Please don't
    Indeed, for thousands of years, joyfully, Israel have daily sung the             fight!" said Sabba Eliezer. "You're all sweet, just like these fruits are
Shira, the song of victory, in the early part of morning prayers, as Jewish          sweet. Just like this land is sweet… We are one family and a lot of
Law rules: "The Shira must be sung joyfully. One should imagine that he              brothers. Each one has his talents, each one has his special mission,
himself had crossed the sea that very day. If someone recites it joyfully,           each one fulfilling through his life a particular trait of the entire Jewish
he will be forgiven for all his sins" (Orach Chaim 51:42:17).                        People."
    Despite the great victory over Pharaoh and his army, Amalek dared                "TRIUMPHANTLY PROUD"
to attack Israel with the goal of humiliating and even destroying them, as                Rabbi Azriel Ariel - Guest Lecturer at Machon Meir
it says, "Amalek came and fought Israel at Rephidim" (Exodus 17:8).                       One of the most remarkable expressions from Moses's song at the
From then until today, we have a long score to settle and a war to fight in          sea, if not the most remarkable, is his reference to G-d's pride: " I will
every generation against Amalek. As it says, "Write this as a reminder in            sing to G-d for He was triumphantly proud, horse and rider He threw in
the Book and repeat it carefully to Joshua. I will totally obliterate the            the sea" (Exodus 15:1). Miriam as well, when she once more sings the
memory of Amalek from under the heavens…. 'The Hand is on G-d's                      song with all the woman, repeats the words, "Sing to G-d, for He is
Throne. G-d shall be at war with Amalek for all generations" (17:14,16).             triumphantly proud" (15:21). During the original song, as well, the theme
    The war against Amalek, whose goal was to eradicate Israel,                      is repeated more than once: " In Your great pride You broke Your
continues and shall continue until we merit complete salvation. As                   opponents. You sent forth Your wrath. It devoured them like straw"
Rambam ruled: "Israel were commanded with three mitzvoth as they                     (verse 7).
entered the Land – to appoint themselves a king; to wipe out the seed of                  It is hard for us to fathom this. In our world, there is no trait more
Amalek, and to build the Temple" (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 1:1).                     loathsome than pride. Our sages were not kind in their references to
    Throughout the generations enemies of Israel have risen up from                  people smitten with this despicable trait, even saying, "He is worthy to be
Amalek's seed, with the intent of destroying the Jewish People. During               cut down like an Ashera [a tree used for idolatry]." How can we possibly
the First Temple Period this occurred in the days of Saul and David; at              associate such an illegitimate trait to G-d?
the end of the Babylonian exile there was wicked Haman; and in our own                    We must therefore take a deeper look at the philosophical foundation
generation, the generation of rebirth, there was Hitler and his                      of ga'ava, pride. Pride does not refer to a person recognizing his abilities
collaborators, who murdered a third of our people just because we are                and talents. That characteristic, which today is called "having a high self-
Jews.                                                                                concept", has nothing wrong with it, as long as someone recognizes
    Today as well Israel's enemies are rearing their heads and planning              oneself as he truly is, with all his good and bad qualities. Also what is
to destroy the State of Israel. True, they are claiming that we conquered            called "self-esteem" is all right. If someone feels that his life is entirely
their land, but that is false. They are making use of this falsehood in              worthless and he feels that he has no right to live on this earth, what that
order to achieve their aim – the destruction of the Jewish People. It is no          person has is not called "humility". He should be referred for
coincidence that they are vociferously opposed to the State of Israel as a           psychological treatment immediately…
Jewish State.                                                                             Yet everything I have said is true on one condition, that a person's
    We must pray that those who hold the reins of statehood will open                feeling of self-worth should be based on what about him that is truly
their eyes and they will understand what the aims and goals of the Arabs             worthy. If someone derives his feeling of self-worth from the fact that he
really are. We must pray that our leaders will not fool themselves and the           was created in G-d's image, then his worth is almost infinite (in line with
Jewish People into thinking that establishing a state for the Arabs in               the verse, "You made him just short of the angels" – Psalm 8:6). Such a
heart of our land will bring peace and tranquility to our people. We know            person does not base his worth on his accomplishments nor on his
that just as all of Israel's enemies have suffered defeat, they, too, will           talents or the circumstances of his life. This being the case, he has not
suffer defeat, and through them will be fulfilled: 'The Hand is on G-d's             need to inflate his accomplishment or talents beyond what they really are
Throne. G-d shall be at war with Amalek for all generations.… Fear and               in order to feel self-worth. Certainly that person will have no need to feel
dread fell upon them… Until Your people crossed, O G-d…. O bring                     that he is better than his fellow man in order to feel importance. The
them and plant them on the mount You possess. The place You dwell in                 value of his life is guaranteed by the very fact of being a person with a
is Your accomplishment, G-d. The shrine of G-d Your Hands have                       divine soul within him, a person created by G-d.
founded." (15:14,16-17)                                                                   All this applies on the human level. G-d, Himself, however, has what
WE HAVE STRANGE FRUITS IN THIS COUNTRY…                                              to be proud about. His worth does indeed derive from Himself, from the
     Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El                                                    very fact of His being the Infinite Divine. He, Himself,
constitutes absolute worth, absolute value, and everything else of worth           trees, which according to the Academy of Hillel is the 15th of Shvat (Tu
derives its worthiness from Him. This divine pride is real and it has no           b’Shvat), is the cut-off date for the giving of tithes for that year, in effect,
connection to the false pride of man. Therefore, we "sing to G-d for He is         the Jewish Dec. 31st for the purposes of paying taxes, as it were, on our
triumphantly proud." G-d deserves to be prideful.                                  fruits. But this has nothing to do with planting trees?! And what was
                                                              originally thought to have been the significance of the fifteenth of Shvat?
                                                                                         According to R. Eleazar ben Oshaia, by the time Shvat arrives, the
3 - NCYI
NCYI Weekly Divrei Torah, From: http://www.youngisrael.org/
                                                                                   majority of the rains have already fallen, and from an Israeli agricultural
Michael Miller Chief Financial Officer, NCYI                                       perspective the essence of winter is rain. (B.T. Rosh Hashanah 14a).
     The prelude to the song of the Yam Suf reports the impact of this             Hence Tu B’Shvat signals the end of the major part of the winter when
spectacular event on the Israelites as (Ex 14:31), ".They believed in G-d          we can begin to look forward to the next season of spring. And since the
and in Moses, His servant."                                                        love song between G-d and Israel, Song of Songs, is replete with
     What was it that they came to believe at that moment? The Maharal             references to the spring as symbolizing the beginning of our redemption,
of Prague (Gevuros Hashem, Ch. 47) explains that they now realized                 our engagement to the Divine, it is no wonder that we find in a collection
that Hashem is an omnipotent G-d who could do as He wishes, and that               of Ashkenazic customs, published in 1590 by Simon ben Yehuda Halevi
He works through His agent, Moses.                                                 Ginsberg, an early record that special fruits associated with the land of
     As wondrous as the miracles they had witnessed earlier were, this             Israel were eaten on Tu B’Shvat in order to strengthen the relationship
one did not involve an individual river (like the Nile), but the sea itself,       between the Jews in the Exile and the land of their eventual redemption.
one of the very building blocks of creation. Only an all-powerful G-d could              Similarly, in the 16th century work of Safed Kabbalists, Pri Etz Hadar,
have accomplished this. Later, (Josh. 2:10), we find that hearing about            we find recorded a unique ceremony centered around the drinking of four
this act was what most impressed Rachav and the people of Jericho.                 goblets of wine on Tu b’Shvat — an end of winter seder. First, a cup of
     Furthermore, G-d transformed something into its total opposite, the           white wine; then a mixture of mostly white and some red wine; third, a
sea into dry land, an ability possessed only by the Master of the                  cup of mostly red and a little white and, finally, a cup of only red wine.
Universe. Unlike other cultures, who worshipped localized deities with             This custom of creating a rainbow from white to red was intended to
specific powers, we believe in a G-d of all-encompassing power.                    evoke the unique spring in the land of Israel, where the first flowers that
     Actually, the Torah declares three times that Israel "believed" (Ex.          blossom are almond buds, a vast spread of white loveliness always
4:31, 14:31 and 17:9). Each instance represents a cardinal principle of            appearing very close to the 15th of Shvat. Soon, other flowers blossom
faith: (1) G-d watches over us earthly beings, and has not abandoned His           and the colors change, but the final splash in the fields belongs to the
involvement in worldly affairs. (2) There is nothing in existence that is          brilliant red anemones, kalaniyot in Hebrew, dotting the landscape
outside of His domain. (3) G-d communicated directly with us to give us            wherever the hills and valleys are wild and free. And, in order to
His Torah. The Exodus cemented each of these cornerstones of faith.                strengthen the tie with Israel to an even greater degree, a custom
     When Moses first came to redeem Israel from Egypt, the nation                 emerged of eating the different fruits with which the land of Israel is
affirmed their faith that G-d observed their plight, and would take care of        blessed within the Tu B’Shvat seder between the cups of wine: grapes,
His people. At Yam Suf, they accepted the second principle that G-d is             figs, pomegranates, olives and dates (Deut.8:8).
all-powerful and can do anything. Finally, at Sinai, they believed in G-d                During the years of the Second Aliyah, the religious lovers of Zion
and His Torah, the third principle.                                                realized that yearning from a distance was not enough. More needed to
     Any skepticism regarding these principles undermines the entire faith         be done, a kinyan (purchase) had to be made. We dare not be satisfied
structure. R. Yirmiya b. Elazar (Eruv. 19a) warned about three portals to          with praying (or distance eating) alone; if we truly care about Israel, we
Gehinnom (Purgatory), one in the sea, one in the desert and one in                 must acquire a real relationship with the land. And what better way can
Jerusalem. The Maharal explains that each portal is a trapdoor for                 this be done than by the planting of trees?
nonbelievers of the three core beliefs.                                                  How fitting it is that this week’s portion, Beshalach – the Biblical
     Pharaoh scoffed at G-d's power, so he met his end in the sea, in the          reading which deals with the splitting of the Reed Sea – generally
ultimate demonstration of that power. (Jonah thought he could escape               corresponds to the week in which we celebrate Tu B’Shvat.
his mission in the sea, a lesser weakness of faith, so he had to learn his               Moses cried out to the people: “Stand firm and you will see what G-d
lesson there.)                                                                     will do to rescue you today .... G-d will fight for you, but you must remain
     The desert is where the Torah was given at Sinai. Korach rejected             silent.” G-d, on the other hand, disagreed. “Why do you cry out before
the idea that it was G-d given, and was swallowed up by the portal in the          me? Speak to the Israelites that they start moving” (Exodus 14:13-15)
desert.                                                                            Rashi (ad loc) even goes so far as to say, “This is not the time to pray
     Jerusalem represents the place and the nation on which G-d lavishes           extensively; this is the time to act,” to ‘start moving’.”
special attention. Sancheriv disbelieved this and threatened Jerusalem,                  Hence, our way of celebrating the dream of Jewish redemption is by
so that is where he met his miraculous downfall.                                   planting trees in the soil of our homeland” And when the Bible tells us
     Isn't there actually a fourth cardinal tenet, asks the Maharal,               that our Patriarch Isaac, the one patriarch who never left the land of
retribution for the wicked after death?                                            Israel and therefore is most identified with the land, “went out la’suah in
     Rather, he argues, this tenet is really a corollary to the first principle,   the fields” (Gen 24:63) when he was anticipating his first meeting with
that G-d watches over us and has not abandoned us. There are places                Rebecca, his betrothed. The Hebrew word “siah” can mean conversation,
on earth that are especially elevated stations of holiness. The prime              and therefore most commentaries explain that he was praying with G-d in
example of this is the Temple, which is called G-d's footstool (Lam. 2:1).         the fields (Rashi, ad loc), or it can mean shrub, and so the s’forno
The earthly Temple also has a heavenly counterpart (Mechilta,                      suggests that he was planting in the fields. Perhaps both are correct:
Beshalach 9).                                                                      planting in the land of Israel is the best expression of prayer to bring
     Similarly, there are stations of lowliness, such as the Valley of             about our redemption!
Hinnom outside Jerusalem. There are reportedly two palm trees in this              
valley, between which is a rising column of smoke. As the saying goes,
"Where there's smoke, there's fire." This is a portal to its other-worldly
                                                                                   5 -PROJECT GENESIS (torah.org)
                                                                                   The Jewish Learning Network http://www.torah.org/
counterpart, Gehinnom.                                                             A). RAV FRAND (Rabbi Yissocher Frand)
     For those heretics who refuse to believe that the souls of the wicked         RavFrand, Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Torah.org.
receive punishment after death, Jerusalem is the trapdoor to Purgatory,                                   DON'T SQUANDER IT
for it symbolizes G-d's watchfulness over us. It would be illogical for G-d             Rav Zevulen Groz was a student of the Alter of Slabodka in the
to observe evil and not hold it accountable.                                       Slabodka Yeshiva in Europe. He subsequently made Aliyah and became
     Furthermore, these principles are not merely concepts for study. The          a Rav in Rechovot. Rav Groz writes that when he first went to Yeshiva,
Maharal observes that our three major festivals, the shalosh regalim,              his father sat him down and read him the following Medrash from our
correspond to and embody these three articles of faith. Passover stands            parsha:
for G-d's omnipotence, culminating at the Yam Suf, Shavuos, for the                     "Vayehi B'Shalach Pharaoh es ha'am" [And it was when Pharaoh
giving of the Torah, and Sukkos symbolizes G-d's continued protection of           sent out the nation]. [Shmos 13:17]. The Talmud states that a pasuk
Israel.                                                                            introduced by the word "Vayehi" always connotes pain and suffering. The
                                                              word "vayehi" is etymologically related to the word "vay" meaning "woe."
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin http://www.ohrtorahstone.org.il/
                                                                                        The Medrash compares Pharaoh's plight to a fellow who found a
                                                                                   satchel of precious stones, but who didn't know what was inside it. He
Efrat, Israel – It was February 1981, and we had just celebrated the               asked a stranger, "Would you like to take this packet I have in my hand?
                                                                                   Take it. It's yours!" The stranger took it, opened it up and found
laying of the cornerstone for the first buildings - a mikveh (ritualarium)         diamonds inside. He began separating the diamonds into small, medium,
and Yeshiva building (Neveh Shmuel High School for boys) on the empty
hill of land slated to be the newly emerging city of Efrat. The area was           and large size stones. He set up shop and started selling them at various
                                                                                   prices depending on their size. The person who originally gave him the
verdant with trees and grapevines, and as the brilliant winter sun spread          satchel came by the shop and saw that the small diamonds were being
its golden hue over the majestic hill, I truly felt as though we were being
warmly embraced by the loving Shekhina above.                                      sold for $10,000, the middle size diamonds for $50,000, and the larger
                                                                                   diamonds were selling for $100,000! When he saw what was happening
     That day we planted trees — and with the planting, there were                 and understood what he gave up, he tore his clothes in mourning. "I had
blessings. It was the 15th of Shvat (Tu b’Shvat), the one day of the
Jewish year when almost every school child in Israel gets down on his or           all this wealth in my hands and I let it slip through, without gaining
                                                                                   anything in return! Woe is me!"
her hands and knees and plants. It was, for us, an extremely moving                     The Medrash compares Pharaoh to the man who gave away the
moment: taking a young sapling by the hand, clearing some earth and
freeing the roots of the young plant to make sure that when we placed it           diamonds. The diamonds are the nation of Israel that was in his hands.
                                                                                   When Pharaoh saw the great numbers of Jews that Moshe was taking
into the soil it would merge with the very soil which hid in its recesses          out, he called out "Woe (vay)!" It is with these words our Parsha begins:
Jewish memories which were thousands of years old.
     But why should Tu b’Shvat have become almost syn¬onymous with                 When Pharaoh sent out the people he cried out, "Woe is me. Look what I
planting? The first Mishna in Rosh HaShana speaks of four different                     The father of Rav Reuven Groz asked his son a question on this
“NewYears,” with the First of Tishrei being the New Year for the
reckoning of years and for the planting of trees! The New Year for fruit           Medrash. How does the story of Pharaoh compare to the story in the
                                                                                                 parable? There is no analogy whatsoever. Pharaoh did not
give anything away. He was forced by the Ten Plagues to let the Jews                There are periods in a person's life when the future looks bleak and
go! His arm was twisted until he said "Uncle!"                                  things look miserable all around. "What will be?" But the salvation of the
     The father of Rav Reuven Groz explained to his son that the                L-rd comes in the blink of an eye! The Almighty is already "running the
Medrash does not mean that Pharaoh was saying "woe" that he had to              sap" so to speak so that salvation may come. For this reason Tu B'Shvat
let the people go. That was not up to him. Pharaoh was saying that when         is celebrated in the dead of winter.
he realized what Klal Yisrael was, he said, "I had such a people among              It states in Parshas B'Shalach "They came to Marah and they could
me and look what I made them do!"                                               not drink the water, for it was bitter." [Shmos 15:23] Hashem then
     Consider a person who hires a worker and doesn't know that this            showed Moshe a tree and told him t o throw it into the water. Why a tree?
worker is a genius, a Nobel laureate, or a virtuoso violinist, and makes        Why not a rock or a piece of dirt?
him the janitor. He has him cleaning floors for years and years.                    The symbolism is as we said before. The people felt hopeless. They
Suddenly, he discovers that he could have booked this worker in great           were a couple of million people in the desert with no food or water. The
concert halls throughout the world. He could have made a fortune off of         natural reaction was: "What is going to be? How are we going to live?
him! "For such a person, I paid minimum wage to sweep floors?"                  What will be our future?"
     Pharaoh felt the same way. He said, "I was an idiot! I had a Klal              At that point, Hashem showed them a tree. The tree is the symbol
Yisrael and I made them build pyramids! I enslaved them. How fooli sh of        that when all looks futile and bleak, desolate and destroyed, we see that
me. What a waste of talent all those years!" Concerning this he moaned          the situation can turn around. Rebirth happens! There can be
"Woe unto me. I did not appreciate what I had when I had it."                   renaissance and renewal. Throwing the tree into the water was meant as
     This ends the Medrash. What does it have to do with Zevulen Groz           a message to the people: "Don't give up. Don't worry about the desert.
going off to Yeshiva? Going to Yeshiva is an opportunity that is like a         Things look bleak now but the salvation of the L-rd comes in the blink of
treasure. As I constantly say -– and I have a folder full of letters from       an eye."
former students who will attest to this -– everyone says after they leave       B). WEEKLY HALACHA(Rabbi Doniel Neustadt)
the Beis HaMedrash that they did not appreciate what they had while
they had it. Young boys fail to realize that their years in Yeshiva are         
numbered. It is an idyllic situation. Their physical needs are taken care
of. Their parents pay the bills. They do not need to worry about holding        6 - HAR ETZION (VBM)
                                                                                Virtual Beit Midrash, Alon Shevut, Gush Etzion 90433 e-mail: yhe@virtual.co.il,
down a job. Baruch Hashem, most of the time, they do not need to worry          Home Page: http://www.vbm-torah.org/
about their wife or children or some family member being sick. The only         A) INTRODUCTION TO PARSHAT HASHEVUAH
thing they need to do is to learn and to grow as a Jew.
     When one has that opportunity and does not take advantage of it t o
its fullest advantage, he may one day have the same reaction as the             B) INDEPTH PARSHAT SHEVUAH
fellow in the Medrash who gave away the packet of diamonds or like                                       SPLITTING THE RED SEA
Pharaoh at the beginning of the parsha: "Look what I had in my                       Rav Yehuda Rock
possession and I gave it away! I squandered it."                                     The account of the splitting of the sea, as it appears in this week's
     This is perhaps the most important thing that a father can tell his son    parasha, has two different themes, such that two separate narratives are
when he goes off to Yeshiva. I always say this to my current students,          actually woven into the same account. A review of the various internal
based on generations of students who have come and gone: "Don't                 contradictions and repetitions within the account will assist us in
squander the opportunity while you have it. Your days are numbered."            distinguishing and separating the two intertwined themes.
                     REMEMBERING THE EXODUS                                          Although the opening verses of the parasha contain elements of the
     We say in our prayers (in the paragraph preceding the morning              two themes, and the Song of the Sea reflects some of their ramifications,
Shmoneh Esrei), "From Egypt you have redeemed us; from the house of             we shall not address them in this shiur. Our discussion will be limited to
slavery you have brought us forth; all their first-born you killed; and the     the main part of the story – i.e., chapter 14 (leaving out the two verses of
Reed Sea you split." This is a fulfillment of the halacha requiring us to       summary at the end of the chapter).
mention the Exodus during the daily morning prayer.                                  Let us first review the opening verses of the chapter:
     However, the sequence appears to be incorrect. The killing of the                God spoke to Moshe, saying:
first-born should have been mentioned first. Only after that event took               Speak to Bnei Yisrael, that they should go back and encamp before
place were we able to move on to the next phase: "From Egypt you have                Pi Ha-chirot, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba'al Tzefon;
redeemed us; from the house of slavery you have brought us forth."                   before it shall you encamp at the sea.
     This question is strengthened when we look at the narration of the               And Pharaoh will say of Bnei Yisrael: They are lost in the land; the
Exodus mentioned in the evening prayer. In Ma'ariv we say: "who smote                desert has closed them in.
with His Anger all the first born of Egypt; who took His nation Israel out            And I shall harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue after them,
from their midst for eternal freedom." There, the sequence is correct.               and I shall gain honor through Pharaoh and through all of his host,
     Another question may be raised. In Shachris, we say the first-bor n             and Egypt will know that I am the Lord.
were killed (haragta). In Ma'ariv we only say they were smitten (haMakeh              And they did so. (1-4)
es bechoreihem). Why the difference?                                                 God presents His plan to Moshe: Bnei Yisrael will encamp at the sea,
     Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, addresses both of these issues:          such that it will appear to Pharaoh that they have lost their way and have
It says in the beginning of Tractate Semachos: "And it was in the middle        no way of proceeding. I, God, will strengthen Pharaoh's tendency to
of the night, Hashem smote every firstborn in the Land of Egypt" [Shmos         exploit Bnei Yisrael's distress, and he will pursue them. The purpose of
12:29]. Rabbi Yochanan states: Even though He smote them a fatal                this scheme is to punish Pharaoh and his army, and thus the Egyptians
blow, from midnight their souls fluttered within them (e.g. – they lingered     will learn to fear God.
on) until morning."                                                                  The splitting of the sea is depicted here as a staged production
     The Almighty wanted Klal Yisrael to see the plague of the first-born.      whose outcome is known in advance. In fact, Bnei Yisrael are, at no
The Jews were forbidden to leave their homes until morning [Shmos               stage, in any danger. The splitting of the sea is not God's response to an
12:22]. Had the first-born children died at midnight when the plague            unexpected threat; rather, He plans it all in advance and even reveals
struck, the Jews would not have witnessed their death. Therefore,               His plan to Moshe.
according to Rav Yochanan, although they were struck at midnight, the                Let us now move on to the stage where Bnei Yisrael are standing at
first-borns lingered until morning and only then did they expire.               the sea and God instructs Moshe to split it:
     In the night-time prayer, we say "who smote in His Anger the first-              God said to Moshe: Why are you crying out to Me? Speak to Bnei
born of Eg ypt" because at night they did not yet die. In the morning                Yisrael, and let them journey on!
prayer, we first mention the redemption because the Jews went out from                As for you – lift up your staff, and stretch your arm over the sea and
Egypt in the morning. Then we say: "all the first-born You killed" because           divide it, so that Bnei Yisrael can proceed on dry ground in the midst
it was then -- at the time that the Jews were leaving Egypt -- that these            of the sea.
first-born (who were smitten the previous midnight) died.                             And I – behold, I will harden the heart of the Egyptians, and they will
    THE CONNECTION BETWEEN TU B'SHVAT AND PARSHAS                                    follow them, and I will gain honor through Pharaoh and through all of
                               B'SHALACH                                             his hosts, through his chariots and through his horsemen.
     Parshas B'Shalach / Shabbos Shirah always comes out near the                     And Egypt shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor
holiday of Tu B'Shvat. What is the relationship between the 15th day of              through Pharaoh and through all of his hosts, through his chariots,
Shvat -- the "New Year of Trees," and this week's parsha?                            and through his horsemen. (15-18)
     The book Ziv HaMinhagim gives a beautiful explanation of this                   Seemingly, Moshe cries out to God in the face of the danger that
linkage. Tu B'Shvat is the Rosh HaShanah of trees. Look outside today           now confronts them, and God answers that he should part the sea; and
and gaze at the trees. They appear deader than door nails! Is this the          God will harden Pharaoh's heart, and will punish the Egyptians. The
time to celebrate "The New Year for Trees?" There is not a leaf to be           same expressions that were used at the beginning of the chapter are
seen. It would seem more appropriate to celebrate "Tu B'Shvat" in the           repeated here, but our impression here is that Moshe is not aware of
springtime when the trees are in full bloom -- April or May.                    what is about to happen. Thus, we are faced with an apparent
     The answer is that the trees LOOK dead. They LOOK like they will           contradiction: on one hand, the beginning of the chapter (1-4) describes
never see another green leaf in their existence. But right now the sap is       a plan set and described in advance to Moshe; on the other hand, verses
beginning to run within them. If one travels up to Vermont –- the Maple         15-18 paint a picture of Moshe crying out in his anguish to God, and then
syrup capital of the world -– he will find Vermonters dressed up in             being answered with a new Divine plan – which turns out to be identical
earmuffs boring holes in trees to extract the sap from the maple trees.         to the one described previously!
This is the time of the year when the sap is flowing within the trees. The           There are further contradictions and repetitions in this chapter. The
leaves and the beauty of the fruits that the trees will produce in the spring   following are some of them:
and summer are all being prepared right now, in the dead of winter.              · In verse 4, following God's command and His description of the
     The trees represent the idea that even when something looks terribly              plan, the text states: "And they did so." In other words, they fulfilled
bleak and looks like it has no future, one should not give up on it. One               His command and encamped at the sea, at the exact spot that God
should not give up on the trees when they look like that, and one should               had specified. Thus, they have already left Egypt, and at this stage
not give up on oneself when things look like that for him.                             have already managed to encamp at the edge of the wilderness
                                                                                       (see also above, 13:20). However, from later on, in verse 8, it would
       seem that only then do they leave Egypt: "And he pursued after               (12) Is this not the thing of which we spoke to you in Egypt, saying:
       Bnei Yisrael, and Bnei Yisrael went out with a high hand."                   Leave us alone, and we shall serve the Egyptians – for it is better for
 · In verse 5 we read, "The heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was               us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness!
       turned against the nation, and they said: What is this that we have          (13) And Moshe said to the nation: Do not fear; stand still and see
       done, for we have let Bnei Yisrael go from serving us. And he                God's salvation, which He will perform for you this day. For as you
       readied his chariot…." In other words, in order for Pharaoh to               have seen Egypt this day, you will never see them thus again.
       pursue Bnei Yisrael there was actually no need to harden his heart;          (14) God will fight for you, and you will remain silent.
       he was ready to pursue them of his own initiative. Immediately               (15) And God said to Moshe: Why are you crying out to Me? Speak
       afterwards, though, we read (8): "And God hardened the heart of              to Bnei Yisrael, and let them journey on!
       Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he went after Bnei Yisrael…." This               (16) As for you – lift up your staff, and stretch your arm over the sea
       would seem to suggest that there was indeed a need for some                  and part it, so that Bnei Yisrael can proceed on dry ground in the
       hardening of his heart.                                                      midst of the sea.
 · The actual pursuit is described twice (8-9): "And he pursued Bnei               (17) And I – behold, I will harden the heart of the Egyptians, and they
       Yisrael… and the Egyptians pursued them."                                    will follow them, and I will gain honor through Pharaoh and through
 · In verse 9 we find: "They reached (va-yasigu) them as they                      all of his host, through his chariots and through his horsemen.
       encamped at the sea" – i.e., they caught up with them. But then, in          (18) And Egypt shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained
       verse 10, we are told, "Pharaoh drew near" – in other words, he              honor through Pharaoh and through all of his host, through his
       came closer, but did not actually catch up with them.                        chariots, and through his horsemen.
 · In verse 13, Moshe tells the nation: "Stand still and see God's                 Henceforth, the aspect to which verses 1-4 belong will be called
       salvation." But immediately afterwards, God tells Moshe: "Speak to      aspect I. Verses 15-18 belong to aspect II.
       Bnei Yisrael, that they should journey on."                                  Let us now look at verse 5: "It was told to the king of Egypt that the
 · After verse 23 describes the Egyptians entering the sea in pursuit         nation had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants turned…."
       of Bnei Yisrael, we read in verse 27: "The sea returned to its          Here, Pharaoh is described as regretting his decision to let the people go
       strength towards morning, and the Egyptians fled towards it." If they   and as deciding, on his own initiative, to set off in pursuit – in contrast to
       were already inside the sea, how could they "flee towards" it?          verse 8 (at least, the first part of it) which describes God as hardening his
     There are more questions, and they will be treated in the course of       heart. Verse 8, then, describes the realization of the Divine plan set out
our discussion.                                                                in verses 1-4. Hence, we shall categorize the first part of verse 8 as
     Apparently, the solution to all of these contradictions lies in the       belonging to aspect I, while verse 5 belongs to aspect II.
distinction between the two separate themes, narratives, or "aspects"               Verses 6-7 are a direct continuation of verse 5 (aspect II), and it
that are interwoven into this account. Once again we shall rely on the         clearly would make no sense for them to be followed by God hardening
exegetical methodology known as "shitat ha-bechinot" which was                 Pharaoh's heart, in verse 8 (aspect I). Therefore, verses 5-7 are a single
developed by Rav Mordekhai Breuer.[1] By delving into the difficulties         unit belonging to aspect II.
that arise from the joining together of the two aspects – such as                   Thus, in aspect I, God speaks and then fulfills His words. Following
repetitions or contradictions – we are able to expose the two independent      His command concerning His plan, Bnei Yisrael carry out their part of the
"aspects," and thereafter to explore their significance. Here, we apply this   plan ("And they did so" – verse 4): they encamp at the specified place,
methodology to the story of the splitting of the sea. (It should be pointed    and God then does what He promised to do – He hardens Pharaoh's
out that Rav Breuer himself proposed a division of the chapter into two        heart (8). In aspect II, the narrative begins not with a Divine initiative, but
"aspects," but the division proposed here is a different one.)                 rather with a process initiated by the Egyptians, who regret having let
     The key to distinguishing the two "aspects" in our chapter lies in the    Bnei Yisrael go.
very first contradiction that we discussed above. From one perspective,             Verse 8 contains two parts. 8(a): "And God hardened the heart of
the entire event of the splitting of the sea is a production that is planned   Pharaoh, king of Egypt"; 8(b): "And he pursued after Bnei Yisrael, and
in advance, with a view to teaching the Egyptians a lesson: "Then Egypt        Bnei Yisrael went out with a high hand." These are two separate clauses,
will know that I am the Lord." This is the aspect with which the chapter       each of which needs to be categorized. We have already concluded that
begins (1-4). Verses 15-18 belong to the other aspect. From this               8(a) belongs to aspect I.
perspective, Bnei Yisrael were on their way out of Egypt when Pharaoh               8(b) describes Bnei Yisrael leaving Egypt now, at this stage of the
decided to pursue them, and Bnei Yisrael were suddenly in trouble. It          story. In 8(a), by this stage they are already encamped at the sea.
was only at this stage that God decided to save them by splitting the sea,     Therefore, 8(b) must belong to aspect II.
and by hardening Pharaoh's heart so that he would enter the sea after               The first part of verse 9 – "The Egyptians pursued them" – is a
them. The main purpose of the splitting of the sea, according to this          repetition of 8(b). Both describe the Egyptians pursuing Bnei Yisrael, and
aspect, was not to teaching the Egyptians about God, but rather to save        seemingly there is no need for 9(a) after we have read 8(b). Therefore
Bnei Yisrael. The story here is not another episode in the ongoing battle      9(a) must be part of a different perspective on the story – aspect I.
between God and Egypt, but rather falls under the heading of the                    The difference between the two accounts of the pursuit is clear. In
relationship between God and Israel.                                           aspect II, which comes to tell us about God's deliverance of Bnei Yisrael
     The second aspect, too, adds that Egypt will learn that "I am the         from the threat that faces them, emphasizes the great danger by
Lord." In this aspect, Egypt knowing that "I am the Lord" is secondary         depicting the Egyptians as setting off in pursuit immediately with Bnei
objective, which arises only in the wake of the fact that the Egyptians        Yisrael's departure. Bnei Yisrael leave, and the Egyptians are already on
pursue Bnei Yisrael up to the sea. This idea is suggested by the wording       their heels. In aspect I, in contrast, it is the Divine plan that is highlighted:
of the verse: "Eygpt will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored           only after Bnei Yisrael are already stationed at the place designated for
through Pharaoh" (18). This knowledge is not the purpose of God being          the purposes of the continued realization of the plan, only when
honored through Pharaoh; rather, the knowledge will be a positive result       everything is in place, does God harden Pharaoh's heart, such that he
of God being honored through him. In verse 4, in contrast, as part of the      sets off in pursuit.
first aspect, the words "Egypt will know that I am the Lord" are the                9(b) – "They reached them as they were encamped at the sea, all of
concluding words of the plan, its ultimate aim.                                Pharaoh's horses and his horsemen and his host, at Pi Ha-chirot, in front
     Now we need to systematically divide the other verses of our chapter      of Ba'al Tzefon" – describes Bnei Yisrael as already camped at the sea,
between the two aspects, in accordance with the various repetitions and        at the exact place specified earlier, in verse 2 (aspect I). We therefore
contradictions that arise. Let us examine the first part of the chapter        conclude that 9(b) also belongs to aspect I, and thus the whole verse
(verses 1-18):                                                                 belongs together.
     (1) God spoke to Moshe, saying:                                                The first part of verse 10 – "And Pharaoh drew near, and Bnei
     (2) Speak to Bnei Yisrael, that they should go back and encamp            Yisrael lifted their eyes, and behold – the Egyptians were coming after
     before Pi Ha-chirot, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba'al        them" – contradicts verse 9 (aspect I), which described the Egyptians as
     Tzefon. Before it shall you encamp at the sea.                            already having caught up with Bnei Yisrael. Here, Pharaoh is only
     (3) And Pharaoh will say of Bnei Yisrael: They are lost in the land;      "drawing near" – but not yet up to where they are. Hence, 10(a) belongs
     the desert has closed them in.                                            to aspect II. Further proof for this categorization lies in the expression
     (4) And I shall harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue after them,    "coming after them" – implying that Bnei Yisrael are also on the move,
     and I shall gain honor through Pharaoh and through all of his hosts,      rather than being "encamped" – i.e., stationary, as depicted in aspect I.
     and Egypt will know that I am the Lord.                                        As for 10(b), it becomes easier to classify if we take a look further on,
           And they did so.                                                    at verse 15, which we have already marked as aspect II. In verse 15 we
     (5) And it was told to the king of Egypt that the nation had fled, and    read: "God said to Moshe: Why are you crying out to Me?" Hence, we
     the heart of Pharaoh and his servants turned against the nation, and      deduce that Moshe was crying out to God. If we search the preceding
     they said: What is this that we have done? For we have let Israel go      verses to see where this is noted, we find that there is no explicit mention
     from serving us.                                                          of him crying out. We must therefore conclude that his cry is included
     (6) And he readied his chariot, and took his people with him.             along with the cry of Bnei Yisrael in 10(b): "Bnei Yisrael cried out to
     (7) And he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of      God." In response to this cry of Bnei Yisrael – and Moshe in their midst,
     Egypt, and captains over all of them.                                     God tells Moshe: "Why are you crying out to Me?" Therefore, verse 10(b)
     (8) And God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he          is necessary in order for verse 15 (aspect II) to be intelligible. Hence
     pursued Bnei Yisrael, and Bnei Yisrael went out with a high hand.         aspect II must include 10(b).
     (9) And the Egyptians pursued them, and they caught up with them               Verses 10 and 11 describe very different reactions on the part of
     as they encamped by the sea – all the horses and chariots of              Bnei Yisrael to the danger that faces them. In verse 10, they cry out to
     Pharaoh and his horsemen, and his host – at Pi Ha-chirot, in front of     God. This is a positive and desirable reaction: the positive function of
     Ba'al Tzefon.                                                             danger is to bring a person to pray to God. In contrast, verses 11-12 go
     (10) And Pharaoh drew near, and Bnei Yisrael lifted their eyes, and       on to describe Bnei Yisrael complaining. Their words here sound like a
     behold – the Egyptians were coming after them.                            prelude to the sort of complaints which, in Sefer Bamidbar, cause God to
     (11) And they said to Moshe: "Was it for lack of graves in Egypt that     become angry with the nation and to punish them. Chazal resolve the
     you have brought us to die in the wilderness? What is this that you       seeming contradiction between the two behaviors – praying to God,
     have done to us, in taking us out of Egypt?                               complaining – by that Bnei Yisrael were divided into groups, or sectors,
                                                                                                each with its own response to the situation. However, the
verses themselves contain no hint of such factionalism. It is possible that       hand over the sea, and part it." However, the command suggests that the
the actual, real-time intermingling of the two aspects did lead to different      parting of the water will be the direct and immediately result of Moshe
reactions on the part of different groups of people, but on the level of the      raising his hand over the sea, while in verse 21 the description of the
literal text we are left with widely disparate descriptions, and it is logical    "strong east wind all night" comes in between. The description itself
to conclude that they represent two different aspects of, or perspectives         seems illogical: the purpose of Moshe stretching out his hand would
on, the narrative. Hence if verse 10 belongs to aspect II, verses 11-12           seem to be to emphasize the fact that the parting of the sea is an act of
must belong to aspect I.                                                          God, and a mission entrusted to Moshe (as reflected in the conclusion of
     Indeed, the different reactions on the part of the nation are well           the chapter – "And they believed in God and in Moshe, His servant"),
suited to the respective themes of the two aspects. In aspect I, the fact         since through the act of Moshe that is commanded by God, the water is
that the story is about a Divine plan that is executed within the framework       immediately parted. If, however, after Moshe stretches out his hand,
of God's war against Egypt is highlighted by the fact that although Bnei          there is still a delay that lasts the whole night, and only as morning
Yisrael complain, and are perhaps not worthy of being saved, the plan             approaches is the water parted, then the connection between the
continues nevertheless. The behavior of Bnei Yisrael does not affect the          stretching of the hand and the parting of the water is not discernible. For
events one way or the other, since God's intention in executing the plan          this reason it would seem that 21(a) and 21(c) belong to aspect II
has nothing to do with them. Aspect II, on the other hand, tells the story        ("Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and the water was parted"),
of the relationship between God and Israel. Within this perspective, the          but 21(b) belongs to aspect I.
Torah emphasizes the behavior that is necessary in order for Bnei                      Let us consider 21(b) in isolation, independent of the other parts of
Yisrael to be worthy of God's deliverance – their prayer and crying out to        the verse and ignoring, for the moment, the parting of the sea, which
Him.                                                                              appears only in aspect II: "God drove the sea with a strong east wind all
     In Moshe's words to the nation, in verses 13-14 ("Moshe said to the          night, and He made the sea into dry land." Bnei Yisrael and the
nation: Do not be afraid; stand still and you will see God's                      Egyptians are stationary, each in their respective camp, separated by the
deliverance…") it is clear that Moshe is aware of the Divine plan, and            pillar of cloud that lights up the darkness, throughout the night.
that he himself has no fear. This contrasts with the impression that we           Throughout the night, a powerful east wind drives the sea and dries it up,
receive from aspect II, where Moshe cries out to God together with Bnei           such that it becomes dry land. Attention should be paid to the fact that
Yisrael. His command, "Stand still and you will see God's deliverance" –          there is no mention here of the water parting, or of a narrow path in the
i.e., stand where you are, also contradicts what we read in verse 15              midst of the sea; the verse describes the sea in its entirety as drying up.
(aspect II), where it is clear that Bnei Yisrael are commanded to journey              This description contributes to the theme of aspect I. The aim is not
forwards. Hence, verses 13-14 belong to aspect I, and they are Moshe's            only to save Bnei Yisrael; for this a pathway through the sea would
response to the complaint of Bnei Yisrael in verses 11-12.                        suffice for them to reach the other side. The aim is also to show the
     We have already categorized verses 15-18 as belonging to aspect II.          Egyptians the power and might of God. This is achieved by having them
     Attention should be paid to the fact that what arises from our analysis      encamp facing the sea, such that they watch the whole night while God's
is that the command to split the sea is conveyed to Moshe only in aspect          east wind drives and dries up the entire sea.
II. From the perspective of aspect I, Bnei Yisrael are encamped at the                 Verse 22 ("And Bnei Yisrael came into the midst of the sea on dry
sea and await God's deliverance. There is no command to Moshe to split            ground, and the water was a wall for them on their right and on their left")
the sea.                                                                          assumes that the water is parted to leave a dry path, but still remains on
     Let us now consider the verses that follow:                                  both sides. Moreover, in this verse Bnei Yisrael are moving and not
     (19) And the angel of God, who was proceeding ahead of the camp              stationary. Therefore, we conclude that this verse belongs to aspect II.
     of Israel, moved and went behind them. And the pillar of cloud went               In verse 23 the Egyptians come "after them… into the midst of the
     from before them, and stood behind them.                                     sea." In other words, Bnei Yisrael have already entered the sea. Thus,
     (20) And it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel,           this verse must also belong to aspect II.
     and it was cloud and darkness [for the former], but it lit up the night           Verse 24 ("And it was, at the morning watch, that God looked out
     [for the latter], and one [camp] did not come close to the other all         over the camp of Egypt through the pillar of fire and the cloud, and He
     night.                                                                       brought confusion upon the camp of Egypt") takes place at the "morning
     (21) And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and God drove            watch" – i.e., the last part of the night, towards morning. This is
     the sea with a strong east wind all night, and He made the sea into          compatible with the description in aspect I, in which God dries up the sea
     dry land, and the water was parted.                                          during the night. The pillar of fire and the cloud, as well as the description
     (22) And Bnei Yisrael went into the midst of the sea on the dry              of the "camp" of the Egyptians, are also suited to this aspect. Now that
     ground, and the water was a wall for them on their right and on their        the Egyptians have witnessed God's power and His strong arm during
     left.                                                                        the night, the time has come for God to bring His plan to realization –
     (23) And the Egyptians pursued and they came after them – all of             "And I shall be honored through Pharaoh and through all of his host…"
     Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen – into the midst of         (verse 4). For this reason, He "brings confusion upon the camp of Egypt."
     the sea.                                                                     Clearly, verse 24 belongs to aspect I.
     (24) And it was, at the morning watch, that God looked out at the                 Verse 25 is the direct continuation of verse 24; it continues God's
     camp of Egypt, through the pillar of fire and the cloud, and He              war against Egypt. Likewise, its description of the Egyptians fleeing "from
     brought confusion upon the camp of Egypt.                                    before Israel" stands in contradiction to verse 28, which tells us that the
     (25) And He removed the wheels of their chariots, so that they drove         water comes back onto the Egyptians "who came after them into the sea"
     heavily. And the Egyptians said: Let us flee from before Israel, for         (aspect II). Therefore, verse 25 must belong to aspect I. According to this
     God is fighting for them against Egypt.                                      narrative, the two camps are both at the sea. God wages war against
     (26) And God said to Moshe: Stretch out your hand over the sea,              Egypt, and the Egyptians understand that this is connected to their war
     and the water will come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots         against Israel; they therefore flee from before Bnei Yisrael.
     and their horsemen.                                                               Verse 26 ("God said to Moshe: Stretch out your hand over the sea,
     (27) And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea              and the water will come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and
     returned to its strength towards morning, and the Egyptians fled             upon their horsemen") assumes that the Egyptians are already in the
     towards it. And God overturned the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.        midst of the sea. This was mentioned previously in verse 23, which we
     (28) And the water returned and covered the chariots and the                 categorized as belonging to aspect II. Hence, verse 26 must also belong
     horsemen – all the host of Pharaoh that came after them into the             to aspect II.
     sea; not even one of them remained.                                               The beginning of verse 27 ("Moshe stretched out his hand over the
     (29) And Bnei Yisrael walked on the dry ground in the midst of the           sea") represents a fulfillment of the command in verse 26 (aspect II), so
     sea, and the water was a wall for them on their right and on their left.     27(a) belongs to II. The logical immediate result of his stretching his
     Verse 19 comprises two parts: 19(a) speaks about an angel, while             hand, as stated in verse 26, is that "the water will come back upon the
(b) speaks about the pillar of cloud. The text describes the angel as             Egyptians…." This return of the water actually happens only in verse 28:
"proceeding ahead of the camp of Israel" – meaning that Bnei Yisrael are          "And the water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen – all
journeying, with the angel leading the way. Even after the angel moves to         of the host of Pharaoh who had come after them into the sea; not even
the back of the camp, he is still "going" (i.e., on the move) behind them.        one of them remained." Hence, verse 28 also belongs to aspect II.
This depiction is compatible with aspect II, in which Bnei Yisrael are                 The middle part of verse 27 ("and the sea returned to its strength
journeying, the Egyptians are pursuing them, and Moshe is told to tell the        towards morning, and the Egyptians fled towards it"), separating these
nation to "journey on." The pillar ("amud") of fire, in contrast, is stationary   two elements, belongs to aspect I. Indeed, it is well suited to aspect I: it
("omed"). This matches the description in aspect I, where Bnei Yisrael            takes place "towards morning," as a continuation of the preceding
are encamped at the sea, stationary, silent, and waiting for God to save          descriptions of time in this aspect – "all night" and "the morning watch";
them. Hence, 19(a) belongs to aspect II, while (b) belongs to aspect I.           the sea "returns to its strength" after having been transformed – in its
     Verse 20 clearly belongs to aspect I. It speaks of the "camp" – i.e.,        entirety – into "dry land"; and the Egyptians "flee," in accordance with the
Bnei Yisrael are encamped, the Egyptians catch up with them, and they             intention that they express in verse 25 – "Let us flee from before Israel."
encamp too. This verse also mentions the cloud, which appeared in the             Furthermore, their flight is "towards it" – towards the sea, since according
preceding verse as part of aspect I. Likewise, the description "one [camp]        to this aspect they have not yet entered the sea; it is only at this point,
did not come close to the other all night" seems better suited to a               driven by their confusion, that they flee from before Bnei Yisrael, who are
situation in which the two camps are set up and unmoving during the               encamped at the sea, in the wrong direction into the sea. The end of
night.                                                                            verse 27 ("And God overturned Egypt in the midst of the sea") also
     In verse 20, the cloud lights up the night. Apparently, the cloud was        belongs to aspect I, since in aspect II the water comes back to cover and
part fire, as described in the previous chapter (13:21 – "And God went            drown the Egyptians only in the next verse (28 – "And the water came
before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead the way for them, and at         back…"). Thus, 27(b) (from "and the sea returned to its strength towards
night as a pillar of fire, to give them light…"). Further on in our chapter,      morning…" until the end of the verse) belongs to aspect I.
too, we read (24): "… in a pillar of fire and cloud…."                                 As noted above, verse 28 clearly belongs to aspect II. Verse 29 then
     In the first part (a) of verse 21 ("Moshe stretched out his hand over        provides a lyrical repetition, emphasizing the contrast between what
the sea") Moshe fulfills the command to part the sea, in aspect II. The           happened to the Egyptians and the procession of Bnei Yisrael in the
last part of the verse (c) – "And the water was parted" likewise matches          midst of the sea.
the language of the command in verse 16 – "And stretch out your
    Finally, let us now construct a full and continuous reading of each of     (24:16): "From the fringe of the earth we have heard songs, glory to the
the two aspects.                                                               righteous…" The Gemara then cites another example: Moshe and the
Aspect I:                                                                      entire Jewish people did not give the proper praise to God, until Yitro
    God spoke to Moshe, saying:                                                came along and exclaimed, "Barukh ha-Shem," "Blessed be God"
    Speak to Bnei Yisrael that they should go back and encamp before           (Shemot 18:10).
    Pi Ha-chirot, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba'al Tzefon.                 How is this to be understood? Did not Moshe lead the people of
    Before it shall you encamp at the sea. And Pharaoh will say of Bnei        Israel in Song at the Sea? What does it mean that they did not properly
    Yisrael: They are lost in the land; the desert has closed them in. And     sing to God until Yitro came along?
    I shall harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue after them, and I                One answer seemingly is contained in the Gemara's explanation
    shall gain honor through Pharaoh and through all of his host, and          of what Yitro added. At the sea they may have sang to God, but they did
    Egypt will know that I am the Lord.                                        not exclaim, "Barukh ha-Shem." Yitro's praise of God was more focused
    And they did so.                                                           on God's greatness, and this was an element that was less present in the
    And God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,                      song of Moshe and the people at the sea.
    And the Egyptians pursued them, and they caught up with them as                     But perhaps one could suggest another approach regarding what
    they encamped by the sea – all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh          was lacking in the Song at the Sea. What is the most central element of
    and his horsemen, and his host – at Pi Ha-chirot, in front of Ba'al        the Song? Presumably it is the first line of Moshe's song, the element
    Tzefon.                                                                    which constitutes the entirety of the Song of Miriam: "I will sing to God for
    And they said to Moshe: "Was it for lack of graves in Egypt that you       He has triumphed gloriously; He has thrown the horse and the rider into
    have brought us to die in the wilderness? What is this that you have       the sea" (15:1, 21). (The formulation is only slightly different in the two
    done to us, in taking us out of Egypt? Is this not the thing of which we   places, with an adjustment of the grammatical form from the first person
    spoke to you in Egypt, saying: Leave us alone, and we shall serve          to the second, but the content remains the same.)
    the Egyptians – for it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to              In both formulations, the relation between the song and the
    die in the wilderness!                                                     triumph is achieved through the use of the word "ki," translated above as
    And Moshe said to the nation: Do not fear; stand still and see God's       "for." According to the Gemara (Shevu'ot 49b), the word "ki" in the Torah
    salvation, which He will perform for you this day. For as you have         can have any of four different meanings: if, perhaps, rather and because.
    seen Egypt this day, you will never see them thus again. God will          However, the word has a fifth sense, equivalent to the Hebrew word
    fight for you, and you will remain silent.                                 "asher," which would be translated into English as "that," "which," or
    And the pillar of cloud went from before them, and stood behind            "who," depending on the context.
    them.                                                                               In the case of our verse, there are two possibilities as to what "ki"
    And it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel, and          can mean. It can mean either "I will sing to God, who has triumphed
    it was cloud and darkness [for the former], but it lit up the night [for   gloriously" (the fifth definition), or "I will sing to God because He has
    the latter], and one [camp] did not come close to the other all night.     triumphed gloriously" (the fourth definition). Onkelos follows the former,
    And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and God drove the           while Targum Yonatan follows the latter.
    sea with a strong east wind all night, and He made the sea into dry                 If one takes the latter approach, the problematic aspect of the
    land.                                                                      Song at the Sea is understandable. The Song is conditional. It is an
    And it was, at the morning watch, that God looked out at the camp of       expression of praise to God based on the glorious triumph. But what
    Egypt, through the pillar of fire and the cloud, and He brought            would have happened if the people of Israel had suffered crushing defeat
    confusion upon the camp of Egypt. And He removed the wheels of             rather than glorious triumph? Would the people then not have sung to
    their chariots, so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said: Let    God? Would they not have recognized this as being an act of Divine
    us flee from before Israel, for God is fighting for them against Egypt.    intervention as well?
    And the sea returned to its strength towards morning, and the                       Such conditional song lacks two crucial aspects of the service of
    Egyptians fled towards it. And God overturned the Egyptians in the         God. First, it reflects on a deficiency in yir'at ha-Shem, or awe of God.
    midst of the sea.                                                          The Mishna (Berakhot 9:5, 54a) states, "One must bless God for the bad
Aspect II:                                                                     just one blesses Him for the good."               The Gemara (60b) seeks
    And it was told to the king of Egypt that the nation had fled, and the     clarification of this statement. It first suggests that the same blessing is
    heart of Pharaoh and his servants turned against the nation, and           recited on each occurrence, but it rejects this explanation. The Gemara
    they said: What is this that we have done? For we have let Israel go       then suggests that the similarity is not in the content of the blessing, but
    from serving us.                                                           rather in the joy with which one should accept God's verdict. Just as one
    And he readied his chariot, and took his people with him. And he           should rejoice over positive verdicts from God, so too one should rejoice
    took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and       over negative ones. This demands a very high level of awe of God, the
    captains over all of them.                                                 ability to accept everything He provides. As such, an inability to sing at
    And he pursued Bnei Yisrael, and Bnei Yisrael went out with a high         defeat indicates deficient awe.
    hand.                                                                               Second, one who is able to sing only for the good is lacking in
    And Pharaoh drew near, and Bnei Yisrael lifted their eyes, and             ahavat ha-Shem, love of God. The Rambam (Hilkhot Berakhot 10:3), in
    behold – the Egyptians were coming after them.                             citing the ruling of the Gemara mentioned above, categorizes the
    And they were very fearful, and Bnei Yisrael cried out to God.             acceptance of divine decrees of evil as reflecting great love for God.
    And God said to Moshe: Why are you crying out to Me? Speak to                       For two thousand years, Jews were oppressed and persecuted in
    Bnei Yisrael, and let them journey on!                                     many lands and in many ways. Nonetheless, we know of countless
    As for you – lift up your staff, and stretch your arm over the sea and     songs they sang throughout the generations. In recent generations, we
    part it, so that Bnei Yisrael can proceed on dry ground in the midst of    have merited the establishment of the State of Israel, and with it we have
    the sea.                                                                   once again have had the opportunity to sing about triumphant victory on
    And I – behold, I will harden the heart of the Egyptians, and they will    a national level.
    follow them, and I will gain honor through Pharaoh and through all of               However, this positive development has been accompanied by a
    his hosts, through his chariots and through his horsemen. And Egypt        diminishing ability to sing to God in all situations. We are now used to
    shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor through            singing for triumphant victory, but when tragedy befalls, we cannot open
    Pharaoh and through all of his hosts, through his chariots, and            our mouths.
    through his horsemen.                                                               The dangers of such conditional turning to God are twofold. First,
    And the angel of God, who was proceeding ahead of the camp of              if tragedy strikes, there can be an abandonment of Torah and Judaism.
    Israel, moved and went behind them.                                        But the ramifications of such an approach are grave even if this is not the
    And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea,                             case. If we are unable to sing to God when things are bad, this reflects
    and the water was parted.                                                  deficient yir'at ha-Shem and ahavat ha-Shem, even if we do sing when
    And Bnei Yisrael went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground,         things are good.
    and the water was a wall for them on their right and on their left.                 We need to make sure to sing to God with the same joyful
    And the Egyptians pursued and they came after them – all of                acceptance of the divine decree, whether the decree is good or bad.
    Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen – into the midst of       May we merit singing on occasions of triumphant victory, while still
    the sea.                                                                   knowing how to praise God even if our situation is reversed.
    And God said to Moshe: Stretch out your hand over the sea, and the         [This sicha was originally delivered on leil Shabbat, Parashat Beshalach
    water will come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and           5761 (2001).]
    their horsemen.                                                            
    And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea,
    and the water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen –         7 BAR ILAN UNIVERSITY
                                                                               A project of Bar-Ilan University's Faculty of Jewish Studies, Paul and Helene hulman Basic Jewish Studies Center,
    all the host of Pharaoh that came after them into the sea; not even        and the Office of the Campus Rabbi. Sponsored by Dr. Ruth Borchard of the Shoresh Charitable Fund (SCF).
    one of them remained.                                                      Published with assistance of the President's Fund for      Torah and Science.Web Site:
    And Bnei Yisrael walked on the dry ground in the midst of the sea,           “I, DEBORAH” – TWO REMARKS ON THE HAFTARAH OF BE-
    and the water was a wall for them on their right and on their left.                                       SHALAH
C) SICHAT ROSH YESHIVA                                                         Professor Moshe Zipor, Emeritus Department of Bible
HARAV AHARON LICHTENSTEIN SHLIT"A                                              1. ARCHAIC (OUTDATED) WORDS
                  ONE MUST ACCEPT IT JOYOUSLY                                  In her song, Deborah describes the sorry state of security and the
        The exodus from Egypt is deeply ingrained in our collective            depressed atmosphere “in the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the
consciousness. The splitting of the Red Sea and the song of praise are         days of Yael”: the roads were empty, no one daring to travel; people
particularly salient events in that process.                                   withdrew into their towns, behind fortifications, and for fear of enemies
        The Gemara (Sanhedrin 94a) cites two cases of praise by one            there remained no unwalled cities. Such were the conditions, she
party which brought to light the fact that another had not given praise.       sang, “Till I arose [shakamti], I, Deborah, till I arose, a mother in
The Gemara opens by citing the case of Chizkiyahu, who did not sing            Israel!” (Judges 5:7).
praise for the salvation God brought upon him. Instead, the earth itself           On this, Rav Judah cited Rav (Pesahim 66b):
sang out to God. The Gemara cites a verse from Yeshayahu
      A haughty person … if he is a prophet, he loses his power of             And the Lord threw … into                            The Lord looked down … and
      prophecy. We learn this from Deborah; as it is written,                  panic                                                threw… into panic
      “Deliverance ceased, ceased in Israel” (Rashi’s comment: this                                                                 the Egyptian army … all of
      was her haughtiness, putting down her predecessors and                   Sisera and all his chariots                          Pharaoh’s horses, chariots
      glorifying herself), and subsequently we find, “Awake, awake, O          and army                                             and horsemen
      Deborah! Awake, awake, strike up the chant!” ([Judges 5:12] on           This is the day on which                             Thus the Lord delivered Israel
      which Rashi comments: “[she had to be awakened] for she had              the Lord will deliver Sisera                         that day from the Egyptians
      become silent; her power of prophecy had left her”).                     into your hands                                      (The Lord went before them,
      However, “I, Deborah” can be interpreted differently. In the             The Lord is marching                                 13:21); the angel of G-d, who
haftarah of Parashat Va-Yera it is written, “At this season next year,         before you                                           had been going ahead of the
you [spelled a-t-y, read in the margin as at] will be embracing a son”                                                              Israelite army
(II Kings 4:16). Further on, in verse 23, we have “Why are you going           The stars fought from                                For the Lord is fighting for
[pointed in the margin: at holekhet, but consonantally written as aty          heaven, … fought against                             them against Egypt
hlkhty, which can be mis-read as halakhti, “I went”] to him today.”            Sisera
      One should not necessarily think that the grammatical form that is       Not a man was left                Not one of them remained
given in the margins as the way the word should be read (kri or kre) is
necessarily the correct one and that the spelling in the text (called the      … had fled on foot                Let us flee from the Israelites
ketiv) is a corruption, for this verb form with final yod for the second-      On that day God subdued           Thus the Lord delivered …
person singular feminine appears elsewhere, as in Jeremiah 3:4:                King Yavin … before the           that day
“Just now you called [written qrty, which can be vocalized as qarati, a        Israelites                        Israel … from the Egyptians
first-person form that makes no sense in context] to Me, ‘Father’” and         On that day Deborah and           Then Moses and the Israelites
a marginal remark gives the proper reading as qarat (= you called).            Barak son of Abinoam              sang
Likewise, in Jeremiah 31:20, we read: “Keep in mind the highway,               sang                              I will sing to the Lord
the road that you traveled” [written hlkhty, as if first-person halakhti,      I will sing, will sing to the
but the kri in the margin is halakht = you traveled, as occurs later on        Lord
in the same verse), and many other instances.                                  Hear, O kings!                    (The peoples hear)
      This form with final vowel /ī/ is used for the second-person             Advanced         from     the     (the clans of Edom)
singular feminine in Arabic and other Semitic languages. In other              country of Edom
words, the form that appears in the biblical text is proper, but archaic,    The book of Judges, it seems, wishes to portray the Lord’s
having been superseded by the form without a final vowel. This               deliverance in the battle of Barak and Deborah as a reenactment of
would also seem to be the explanation for Jeremiah 2:20: “For long           the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the
ago you broke [shavarti] your yoke, tore off [nitaqti] your yoke-bands,      Egyptians (cf. “the torrent Kishon swept them away,”
and said, ‘I will not work,’” in which passage the prophet compares          5:21).C:\Documents              and           Settings\Administrator\Local
Israel to a rebellious animal (cf. Jeremiah 5:5). Note that in Jeremiah      Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLK47\zip.html - _ftn1
2:20 the vocalization is in first-person as we have given it, the            C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Temporary
ostensible meaning being ‘I have broken your yoke, torn off your             Internet Files\OLK47\zip.html - _ftnref1The future deliverance of Israel
yoke-bands’, the speaker being the prophet; therefore there is no            is also modeled after the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea; cf. Is.
alternative marginal reading, the kri, since it is possible to explain the   11:15-16.
verse even if the verbs are taken to be in the first-person, although        
such a reading is somewhat far-fetched. In fact, what we have here
are two archaic forms for the second-person feminine, which is why           8- AISH HATORA
we translated “you broke your yoke.”                                         (C) 1999 Aish HaTorah International - All rights reserved. http://www.aish.com/

      Perhaps the verses in the Song of Deborah can be explained             A) WHAT'S BOTHERING RASHI (Avigdor Bonchek)
similarly. The words, “Awake [uri], awake, O Deborah,” are a call of         This week's parsha recounts the final hours of the historic Exodus from
encouragement by the audience hearing Deborah’s song, and                    Egypt. The Israelites left Egypt in a cloud of glory, literally. The splitting of
immediately afterwards comes the rallying call to Barak, the warrior:        the Reed Sea was the climactic event culminating in a miracle-packed
“Arise, O Barak, take your captives, O son of Abinoam!” In antiquity it      year when Pharaoh and his culture of magic were soundly defeated by
was common for the audience to join in as the poet sang. In the              the God of the Hebrews. At the crossing of the Sea when Pharaoh and
same way one can explain Judges 5:7 which follows the description            his choice army were drowned, Moses and the People sang praise to
of the depressed state the country was in. The audience then                 Hashem: The Song of the Sea. In it we read the following verse:
responded, “[All this was the condition] till you arose [shaqamti], O             EXODUS 15:3
Deborah, till [you] arose, O mother, in Israel,” using the archaic form           "Hashem is a man of war, Hashem is His name."
for second-person feminime singular, shaqamti. Perhaps also the                   RASHI
verse in the Song on the Sea (Ex. 15:16), which is very similar to this           Hashem is a man of war - RASHI: [The Hebrew 'Ish Milchama']
verse, is also a chorus of the Israelites (cf. Ex. 15:1): “Till Your              means the Master of Wars. As in (Ruth 1:3) "Ish Naomi" - "The
people cross over, O Lord, till Your people cross whom You have                   husband (or master) of Naomi." Similarly, (in Kings 2:2 when David
ransomed.”                                                                        speaks to his son, Shlomo) "Be strengthened and be a man"
      If we accept this interpretation, then there is no issue of Deborah         meaning, "and be a strong person."
being haughty or self-aggrandizing here. Perhaps in her song she             WHAT IS RASHI SAYING?
intended only to praise the warriors, including Yael for her brave                Rashi is translating the word "Ish" which literally means "man." He
deed, and not to say a thing about her share in the battle. She may          gives it the meaning of "master."
have seen herself merely as the one transmitting the word of the Lord        QUESTIONING RASHI
and encouraging the people to go to war, and now she was singing a                A Question: Why is Rashi's translation, "master," better than the
song of deliverance. Only after the battle had concluded as it did,          simple meaning of "man"?
with Yael and not Barak (or another of the warriors) being the one to             What was bothering him about the word "man"?
kill Sisera, Yavin’s army commander, did her earlier words to Barak          WHAT IS BOTHERING RASHI?
become clear (she essentially gave a prophecy without truly knowing               An Answer: Describing God as "man" is problematic. God is not a
what it was about): “For then the Lord will deliver Sisera into the          man. As the verse says "God is not man" (Numbers 23:19). If He is not a
hands of a woman” (Judges 4:9). At that time, before the battle, one         "man" why then does the verse refer to him as "Ish Milchama"?
might have thought that the “woman” would be Deborah herself,                     How does Rashi's brief interpretation help us?
whom Barak had asked to go along with him. In fact, it was Yael.             UNDERSTANDING RASHI
2. THE BATTLE OF DEBORAH AND BARAK – A SECOND                                     An Answer: God is described here neither as a "man" in the sense of
SPLITTING OF THE RED SEA                                                     "man and not woman" nor in the sense of "man and not animal." The
      The narrative of Barak’s battle against Sisera and the Song of         word is now translated as "master" one who is in charge of, in control of,
Deborah, in Judges, chapters 4 and 5, corresponds in many ways to            wars. In this way we have avoided any possible anthropomorphism, that
the narrative of the splitting of the Red Sea and the Song on the Sea        is describing God in human terms.
(Exodus 14-15). In the chart below we present the similar wordings                Can you see any other significance to Rashi's new translation?
that occur in both passages (to show the parallels, the phrases are          A DEEPER SIGNIFICANCE
not necessarily presented here exactly in the same order as they                  An Answer: The words "a Man of War" convey the idea of an
appear in the English translation), several of them being phrases that       aggressive God, one whose chief characteristic and whose main pastime
are shared by these two passages and do not occur elsewhere in the           is making wars. This is not the Jewish view of God. But, in fact, it is the
Bible:                                                                       Christian view of the God of the Old Testament (i.e. as they see the
   Judges 4-5                         Exodus 14-15                           Jewish view of God). It has often been said by gentiles that the Old
   Sisera was informed [va-           When the king of Egypt was             Testament (the Tanach) conveys God as a cruel, unforgiving deity; a
   yugad] (that Barak … had           told [va-yagidu] that the              harsh disciplinarian. Many verses throughout Tanach can be cited that
                                                                             refute this claim. But this is not the place to go into that. It is enough to
   gone up to Mount Tabor)            people had fled,                       see how Rashi's sensitivity to this point may have prompted him to make
   So Sisera ordered all his          ordered his chariot … six
   chariots – nine hundred            hundred of his picked chariots         this comment. God is not a "man of war" in the sense that He is occupied
                                                                             and preoccupied with making war. He is, rather, the Master of wars, in
   iron chariots                      and took his men (‘am) with            the sense that if wars must be fought, then His battles, which are on the
   and all the troops (‘am) he        him
   had                                                                       side of justice and righteousness, are in His control. He is the Master of
                                                                             these wars and after the dust of battle settles, then His values will
   “They must be dividing the         The foe said, “I will pursue, I        prevail.
   spoil they have found”             will overtake, I will divide the            Let us be blessed to live to see such Divine victories.
                                                                             B) FAMILY PARASHA
                                                                                                                                  ACTING CRUEL
      There's nothing good about being mean. In this week's portion we                                                    strongest connection to   Jewish   communities   worldwide.   Email:   eretzhem@netvision.net.il   web-site:
learn how the Amalekite nation attacked the Jewish people for no other                                                    GLORY IN THE CLOUDS
reason than to be cruel and spiteful. They weren't fighting over land, nor                                                     Harav Yosef Carmel
were there any previous fights between them. They simply wanted to
harm and destroy. We can learn from this how not to act - not to be cruel                                                         Even after the great miracles of the Ten Plagues, the Exodus, and
                                                                                                                          the Splitting of the Sea, Bnei Yisrael were yet to reach their final
or hurtful to others.                                                                                                     destination of spiritual stability. A month after the Exodus, the complaints
      In our story, a nasty scene helps a kid discover the truth about being                                              began: “Had we only died at the hands of Hashem in Egypt when we
                                                                                                                          were sitting on the pot of meat, when we ate bread to satiation, that you
mean.                                                                                                                     took us to the desert to kill the entire congregation from hunger” (Shemot
                              IN THE MEAN TIME
      "Ow!" yelled Danny, rubbing his arm that just got a hard pinch from                                                 16:3). Hashem’s answer contains an expression that appears here for
                                                                                                                          the first time in the Torah and seems oddly out of place: “In the evening
his older brother, Bob. "Why'd you do that?"                                                                              you will know that Hashem took you out of the Land of Egypt and in the
      "Cuz it's fun, squirt," laughed the older boy. "Anyway, stop
complaining and hurry up. I have a dentist's appointment and Dad said if                                                  morning you will see the glory of (k’vod) Hashem as he heard your
                                                                                                                          complaints … They looked to the desert, and the glory of Hashem was
we're not home by three, I'll be in trouble. And if I get into trouble, you                                               seen in the cloud” (ibid.: 6-10).
can bet I'm going to make sure you suffer twice as much."
      Danny had no doubt his brother meant it. Bob's favorite hobby                                                            What is this “glory of Hashem”? We begin with the words of Prof.
                                                                                                                          Nechama Leibovitz, the generation’s teacher of parashat hashavua: “The
seemed to be picking on him and doing whatever he could to make                                                           visible glory of Hashem- can we know what it is? From the time that Asaf
Danny miserable.
      "Come on! I mean it, run!" commanded Bob with a hard slap on the                                                    lamented, “There is no longer a prophet in Israel and no one among us
                                                                                                                          knows to what” (Tehillim 74:9), no one among us knows the nature of
back. Afraid, Danny started running, only to flop right away on the ground                                                prophecy or the nature of seeing the visions of Hashem. Only one who
after tripping over the foot Bob sneakily stuck in his way.
      "Ha! Haaa! What's the matter, squirt - forgot how to walk or                                                        merited to be exposed to the Divine Presence will know what its nature
something?"                                                                                                                    Rashi uses the opportunity to teach a moral lesson. Bnei Yisrael
      "Bob, come on, cut it out!" the boy sputtered as he picked up all the
stuff that spilled out of the heavy book-bag he was carrying. The bag was                                                 would receive at night a realization that Hashem has the ability to fulfill
                                                                                                                          their desires and provide meat. However, since the request of meat was
extra heavy from all of the extra stuff his brother made him haul. "What                                                  done improperly they would experience it without “a shining face,”
did I ever do to you?"
      "You exist - that's bad enough. Now come on, we're getting later by                                                 whereas by day, they would receive bread along with the glory of
                                                                                                                          Hashem, as the bread would fall with love. According to this approach,
the minute."                                                                                                              the glory of Hashem once refers to a sign of love and another time refers
      The boys started walking home, Danny nervously making sure to
keep his eye on Bob in case he tried another one of his many 'tricks.'                                                    to Divine Revelation. But why does the Torah use confusing
      They were about a block from home when they saw a commotion. A                                                           K’vod Hashem appears in several contexts of this era, including Mt.
few kids were standing in a circle, holding sticks, laughing and making
loud noises. Curious, the brothers got closer and were shocked to see a                                                   Sinai, the kohanim’s clothing, and the events in the Mishkan
                                                                                                                          (Tabernacle). The Ramban (to Bereishit 18:1) connects between k’vod
tiny, frightened kitten cowering in the middle of the circle. Each time it                                                Hashem and Hashem’s relationship with those close to Him in regard to
tried to escape, one of the kids would yell loud and bang down his stick
inches away from the terrified creature's head.                                                                           His visit of Avraham. Avraham, he says, was not trying to receive
                                                                                                                          prophecy at that moment, yet Hashem appeared to him in a vision. This
      Danny watched as Bob, who was bigger than any of the kids there,                                                    honored Avraham and showed his stature, just as Hashem’s Presence
pushed his way into the circle.
      "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU GUYS!?" he thundered. "If you don't                                                          honored Bnei Yisrael at the Mishkan, when their efforts to erect it made
                                                                                                                          them so deserving.
put those sticks down this second and get out of here - you're going to be                                                     According to the Ramban’s approach, not only did Hashem find Bnei
wearing them in your nose!" He clapped his hands and made some
threatening stomps, which immediately dispersed the group in every                                                        Yisrael worthy of grace at historically positive times, but even when they
                                                                                                                          had complaints, they deserved grace when they handled themselves
direction. The kitten, sensing freedom, quickly slinked off and                                                           properly. Turning the right way, one could see the Presence in the cloud.
disappeared into some tall grass.
      Bob, obviously feeling proud of his good deed, turned to Danny and                                                  In these difficult days, which seem to be days of darkness and haze, we
                                                                                                                          should remember that behind the cloud there is always a great light.
shook his head. "Can you believe the mean streak those guys had?
Tormenting a poor innocent creature much smaller than them - just to                                                      ASK THE RABBI
have fun! Isn't that sick?" he asked, rolling his eyes.                                                                   Question: When I clear plates on Shabbat of leftover food and some of
      "Well, um, you're right, Bob," Danny nodded. "And it's great how you                                                the food has kedushat shvi’it (sanctity of Shemitta, making it forbidden to
saved the kitten, b-but ... aren't I smaller than you too and d-don't you                                                 dispose of it in a disgraceful manner), is it borer (selecting) to separate
hurt me for no reason?" Danny's eyes were tearing and as Bob realized                                                     out that which needs to go into the pach (receptacle of) Shemitta?
what his little brother was getting at, only his age and toughness stopped                                                Answer: The three main conditions one needs to fulfill to permit the
his eyes from tearing too. The kid was right. Why was his picking on his                                                  selecting of one object from another are: 1) One must take the good
little brother any better than those guys being cruel to an animal? In fact                                               (ochel) from the bad (p’solet), as taking p’solet from ochel is forbidden. 2)
... he swallowed hard ... it was probably worse.                                                                          One must plan to use the ochel in the near future. 3) One may not use a
      "Yeah ... um ... well, maybe you're right. But anyway, squ i... I mean                                              special utensil to facilitate the selecting. #3 is not a problem, as there is
Danny, let's head home. Dad's waiting for us. Um, if you want you can                                                     no need to use a specific type of utensil. However, since you will not use
give me your book-bag to carry for a while and take a load off your back."                                                the separated food soon thereafter, #2 seems to be missing.
      The kids bounded home without a single tease, pinch or trip along                                                        To deal with that problem, we have to analyze #1. Is only p’solet from
the way. All thanks to a little kitten, and a little kid that taught a big boy an                                         ochel forbidden and other things are permitted, or is only ochel from
even bigger lesson.                                                                                                       p’solet permitted? What happens if one takes ochel from ochel, i.e., if
QUESTIONS                                                                                                                 one separates two things that will both be used at the same time in the
Ages 3-5                                                                                                                  future, but not immediately? On this point, the Pri Megadim is lenient but
Q. How did Bob feel about picking on Danny at first?                                                                      the Biur Halacha (to 319:3) rejects his opinion and says that if that which
A. He didn't think twice. It was fun for him and he didn't care how Danny                                                 is removed will not be used in the short term, it is forbidden. However,
felt.                                                                                                                     our case is one of separating p’solet from p’solet in a manner that neither
Q. How did he feel in the end?                                                                                            will be used in the future, and the Biur Halacha agrees that it is permitted
A. He realized that what he was doing was no better than those kids who                                                   to do so. The reason this case is more lenient has to do with the
were hurting the kitten.                                                                                                  definition of borer as a positive act. When one separates p’solet from
Ages 6-9                                                                                                                  ochel, the act is positive because it leaves an improved ochel behind.
Q. What life-lesson do you think Bob learned that day?                                                                    However, when both elements are thrown out, the fact that they are
A. Although he had been acting very cruel to his younger brother, he                                                      separated in the process is not significantly positive.
hadn't realized he was wrong until he saw the kids tormenting the cat                                                          This is one of the bases for permitting pouring an undesired mixture
and it dawned in him that the way he'd been treating Danny was just as                                                    of liquid and solid pieces into the sink even though the liquid goes down
cruel.                                                                                                                    the drain and the solid pieces are held back by a sieve-like drain cover.
Q. Why do you think people act cruelly?                                                                                   Rav S.Z. Orbach (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 12:16 and ibid.:(47))
A. Many times it comes from not liking themselves, or because others                                                      says that since both things are being discarded, the fact that they are
had been cruel to them.                                                                                                   separated in the process does not make it borer. One could claim that
Ages 10 and Up                                                                                                            the same is true in our case, that one’s plan to put the two types of
Q. How would you compare being cruel to animals with being cruel to                                                       leftovers in two different garbage receptacles is not a problem.
other people?                                                                                                                  Despite the reasonable logic and halachic basis for permitting
A. While cruelty to animals is certainly wrong and forbidden by the Torah,                                                separating the holy and non-holy unwanted leftovers (see Orchot
we should realize that being cruel to our fellow humans who are more                                                      Shabbat 3:44), several contemporary poskim did not permit it practically
self-aware than animals and therefore in many ways even more sensitive                                                    (Rav N. Karelitz and Rav Vozner, cited ibid.; Rav Elyashiv, cited in Ayil
to pain - including emotional pain - can be even worse.                                                                   Meshulash 9:24). The matter may depend on the logic behind a Shemitta
Q. Do you think acting harshly can ever be justified?                                                                     receptacle. Is it that one can throw out kedushat shvi’it food but should
A. While generally harshness is a negative behavior, when dealing with                                                    do so respectfully (see Katif Shvi’it 63:7)? Or is it that one has no right to
people who are acting in a seriously destructive way and they will not be                                                 waste Shemitta food and so he puts it aside where he can potentially eat
influenced by a soft approach, acting harshly is not only ethical, but                                                    it later? If the latter is correct, then removing kedushat shvi’it from other
perhaps even mandatory.                                                                                                   food is like selecting ochel from p’solet for non-immediate use, which is
                                                                                                     forbidden (see Ayil Meshulash, ibid.). I heard in the name of Rav H.
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                                                                                                                          Schachter that the fact that the food requires a specific halachic process
                                                                                                                          might (he did not render a ruling on the matter) make the selection
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    In any case, one should consider the following. According to our              where the renter made the undoing of the rental contingent on another
mentor, Rav Yisraeli z.t.l., it is sufficient to put kedushat shvi’it food in a   condition, e.g., returning the pre-paid rental fee. In contrast, when he
bag before throwing it in the garbage. Whether one does so or accepts             informs the landlord that he considers the rental over there is mechila
the stringency of having a receptacle where the food is to rot first, one         (relinquishing of rights), which does not require a kinyan. Some say that
may put non-Shemitta garbage along with the Shemitta as long as the               the Rivash agrees that an admission that the rental is over is effective.
former is not already decomposing or otherwise disgracing the Shemitta            Finally, the Rivash is based on an assumption that rental is like a
food. Therefore, there is no halachic need to separate.                           temporary sale, which is a hotly disputed contention. Therefore, there
MORESHET SHAUL                                                                    should be ample grounds to justify pl’s contention that the rental was
     THE APPROACHES OF CHASIDUT, HITNAGDUT, AND THE                               over. However, Kovetz He’arot posits that pre-payment works to make
         MUSSAR MOVEMENT – PART VII (FROM PERAKIM                                 the connection to the property a full albeit temporary acquisition in the
               B’MACHSHEVET YISRAEL, PP. 515-531)                                 body of the property. Therefore, everyone will agree that a kinyan is
     Mussar – part II                                                             needed to end the rental.
     [We saw last time that mussar’s approach is that one should act in a              The Rama (CM 315:1) says that a renter can sublet a home as long
manner that brings him the most benefit. However, people should                   as it does not harm the property and that a landlord can rent it to
concentrate more on the significant spiritual benefit in the world to come        someone else if the renter is not living there because it is bad for a
than on their physical benefit in this world.]                                    property to be unoccupied. The Netivot Hamishpat (315:2) says that if
     Why does one tend to err and attribute such value to things that are         this happens, in a case where the renter could not manage to rent it out,
really fleeting in this world? Couldn’t the Creator have given us the             the landlord can keep the new rental fee in addition to the old one.
tendency to choose the good and be repulsed by the bad? Should we not             Therefore, def did not relinquish his rights to the rent which he received
use the tools and instincts that the Creator gave us?                             pre-paid, which he can keep.
     The answer is that, to the contrary, the world was made this way             
specifically because it is only in this way that a person can reach the
height of good and perfection. All matters of the world, whether good or
                                                                                  11 – RAV KOOK
                                                                                  Rav Kook on the Net: RavKook.n3.net
bad, are just tests. Tranquility and happiness lack innate value; poverty                                    TWO LEVELS OF LOVE
and afflictions need not be depressing. They are only means, optical                     When the Israelites saw that they had been rescued from Pharaoh's
illusions if you will, that a person experiences so that he can overcome          army at the sea, they sang out with gratitude:
them and attain completeness.                                                           "This is my God, and I will enshrine Him; My father's God, I will exalt
     “The inclination of a person is bad from his youth” (Bereishit 8:21).        Him." [Ex. 15:2]
Such is nature. Covering it up or ignoring it would be self-deception                    Is the repetition in this line from Shirat Hayam (the 'Song at the Sea')
which would lull one to sleep and keep him from reaching completeness.            merely poetic? Or is there a deeper significance to the two halves of the
By necessity, our normal state includes a certain degree of spiritual             verse?
sickness, so people should not view themselves and others as abnormal.                  Although not apparent in translation, the verse uses two different
One should not look at the Jewish people in a more positive light either.         names of God. The first half of the verse uses the name El, while the
Inborn tendencies to act properly are not an advantage, for one’s task is         second half uses Elokim. What is the significance of each name? How do
to fight one’s negative inclinations and conquer them. Thus, good                 they specifically relate to the desire to 'enshrine' and 'exalt' God?
tendencies minimize the opportunity to progress. That is why the Rabbis                 Innate and Contemplative Love
say: “Whoever is greater than his friend has a bigger negative                          The song, Rav Kook explained, refers to two types of love for God.
inclination.”                                                                     The first is an innate love and appreciation for God as our Creator and
     Recognition of our moral weakness should not cause despair or                Provider. God, the Source of all life, sustains us every moment of our
make us angry at ourselves because this is the way we were created.               lives. All things are inherently drawn to their source, and this love for God
Our deficiencies are the key to potential growth and should energize us           comes naturally, like the innate feelings of love and respect for one's
toward action. We must not be complacent with our present state but               parents.
must and can overcome it and redirect our personalities. One should not                 This natural love of God corresponds to the Divine name El. The
say in this regard that that which Hashem has done cannot be undone.              word El is in the singular, reflecting an appreciation for God as the only
People’s tendencies can be conquered and changed. Even animals can                true power and the ultimate reality of the universe.
be trained by humans. So too, a person can tame and improve himself                     A second, higher form of love for God is acquired through thoughtful
(based on Ohr Yisrael- Rav Yisrael Salanter).                                     contemplation of God's rule of the universe. As we uncover God's
     The point of the study of mussar is to expose the camouflaged                guiding hand in history, and recognize the underlying Divine providence
inclinations that make up the “me” in a person and the tactics that they          in the world, we experience this higher, contemplative love. This love
use to confuse and entice him. Mussar helps one reeducate himself in              corresponds to the name Elokim - in the plural - referring to the myriad
order to change these tendencies. How is this accomplished? Trying to             causes and forces that God utilizes to govern the universe.
take on such a daunting task by ourselves has little chance of success.                 Enshrining and Exalting
The answer is what Chazal have taught us: “I have created an evil                       These two types of love differ in their constancy. The natural love of
inclination; I have created the Torah as a remedy.” Until a person frees          God as our Creator should be a constant and unwavering emotion, like
himself from the inclination’s dominion, even his intellect is “bribed to the     love and respect for one's parents. But the elevated love, the product of
point that it cannot see straight.” “The desire and inclination are burning       contemplation and introspection, is nearly impossible to sustain
and allow one to purify the sheretz (impure animal)” (Ohr Yisrael). Only          continually, due to life's many distractions.
the Torah can cure this. “Do not take your intellect even as a staff to lean            Regarding the innate love of God, the verse speaks of enshrining
on” (Gra).                                                                        God. With this natural emotion, we can create a permanent place - an
     The primary inner force one can use is fear, an attribute that the           emotional shrine - for God in our hearts. "This is my God, and I will
Mussar Movement openly sought to restore. Torah and mitzvot are                   enshrine Him."
intended to entrench fear within us (“so that you shall learn to fear”). As             The higher, contemplative love, on the other hand, does not benefit
bad tendencies are connected to senses, intellect alone cannot curb               from this level of constancy. One should always strive for an ever-deeper
them. Fear which is related to the senses can keep them in check and              appreciation and awe of God. This is our spiritual goal, achieved by
clarify the extent to which one’s actions are based on self-deception             utilizing our faculties of wisdom and insight. Regarding this form of love,
(Even Yisrael). Mitzvot are valuable primarily to the extent that they are        it is appropriate to speak about exalting God, indicating an emotion that
done through contemplation, seriousness, and focus on their purpose, to           is the product of concentrated effort. "My father's God, I will exalt Him."
heighten fear of Hashem. One cannot leave things to routine but should                  [adapted from Olat Re'iyah vol. I, p. 235]
learn mussar every day to check that things are progressing according to          
the proper plan.
P'NINAT MISHPAT                                                                   12 COVENANT AND CONVERSATION
                                                                                  Covenant and Conversation, a unique new Torah commentary from the Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks
            RETURNING PRE-PAYMENT FOR A RENTAL                                    THE TURNING POINT
  (based on Halacha Psuka, vol. 37 – condensation of a p’sak from Piskei                THE SEDRA OF BESHALLACH is beautifully constructed. It begins
Din Rabbaniim, vol. XVII, pp. 69-78)
     Case: The defendant (def) rented an apartment to the plaintiff (pl) for      with a battle; it ends with a battle; and in the middle is the great miracle,
                                                                                  the turning point - the crossing of the Red Sea. As so often in the Mosaic
a year and paid in advance along with a security deposit. In the middle of        books, we are presented with a chiasmus, a literary structure of the form
the year, pl returned the keys to def and left the apartment. In the
meantime, def rented out the apartment to someone else. Pl demands                ABCBA, in which the end is a mirror image of the beginning, and the
                                                                                  climax is at the centre.
the rental money corresponding to the time when the rental was no                       Occupying the central role in Beshallach is the episode of the Red
longer active. Def responds that ending a binding rental requires a kinyan
(an act of finalization) which never took place, so that pl remained the          Sea, which turns out to be a division in more than one sense. Literally,
                                                                                  the waters are divided. But metaphorically the fate of the Israelites is also
renter even when he stopped living there.                                         divided: into a before and after. Before, they are still in Egyptian territory,
     Ruling: The Rivash (#510) discusses the case of a rental that was
done with a full kinyan after which time the landlord indicated that he           still - that is to say - under the sway of Pharaoh. It is no accident that
                                                                                  Pharaoh and his chariots pursue the Israelites to the very edge of their
wanted to end the rental and the renter acquiesced. When the landlord             territory. Anywhere within Egypt Pharaoh rules; or at least, he believes
wanted to return the fee that was already paid, the renter informed him
that he decided to hold the landlord to the original agreement. He                he does.
                                                                                        Once across the sea, however, the Israelites have traversed a
claimed that although he had agreed before witnesses to abrogate the              boundary. They are now in no-man's-land, the desert. Again it is no
agreement, he had not done a kinyan to undo the previous one. The
Rivash ruled that since rental is like a temporary sale, the kinyan to            accident that here, where no king rules, they can experience with pristine
                                                                                  clarity the sovereignty of G-d. Israel become the first - historically, the
activate it must be reversed by a kinyan, just as a real sale would               only - people to be ruled directly by G-d. The Red Sea is what
require. Similarly in our case, we would say that since no kinyan was
done to end the rental, pl is still considered a renter and would have to         anthropologist Victor Turner called "liminal space," a boundary between
                                                                                  two domains that must be traversed if one is to enter into a new mode of
pay.                                                                              being - in this case the boundary between human and divine rule. Once
     Admittedly several Acharonim argue with the Rivash. Furthermore,
Sha’ar Mishpat (315:1) says that the Rivash ruled only in a case                                   crossed, there is no going back.
     The symbolism of the Sea does not end there however. It reminds us          upward. They directed the eyes, and thus the minds, of the Israelites to
of the ancient ceremony of covenant-making. The key verb of covenant             heaven. That gave them the courage, the inner strength, the hope and
is "to cut." An animal, or animals, were divided and the parties to the          faith to prevail.
covenant stood or sat between them. The division of things normally                   This transition - as we will see, it forms the underlying argument of
united or whole, stood as symbol of the unification of entities (persons,        the book of Shemoth - is signaled in an extraordinarily subtle verse
tribes, nations) previously divided. In this context a key passage is the        immediately prior to the battle against Amalek.
covenant "cut" between G-d and Abraham in Bereishith 15:                              G-d had performed a miracle for the Israelites of the most majestic
     So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each         kind. For them, he had divided the waters of the sea - and for once, the
three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon." Abram brought            Israelites believed. "The Israelites saw the great power that G-d had
all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each          unleashed against Egypt, and the people were in awe of G-d. They
other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half . . . As the sun was           believed in G-d and in his servant Moses." But the change of heart did
setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness         not last. Three days later they were complaining about the water. Then
came over him. Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your            they complained about the lack of food. Miracle follows miracle. The
descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be       water is made drinkable. G-d sends manna from heaven. They move on
enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation         to Rephidim, and again there is no water. Again the people complain.
they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great                This time Moses comes close to despair. "What am I to do with these
possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be               people?" he says to G-d, "They are almost ready to stone me." G-d then
buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will         sends water from a rock. But the memory of the Israelites' ingratitude
come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full         remains. Moses incorporates it into a place name:
measure." When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking                     And he called the place Massah ("testing") and Meribah
firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On          ("quarreling") because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested
that day the LORD made (literally "cut") a covenant with Abram . . .             the LORD saying, "Is the LORD among us [bekirbenu] or not?"
     So at the Red Sea the Israelites passed "between the pieces" (the                Immediately thereafter we read that "The Amalekites came and
waters, rather than the halves of animals) in a ratification of the covenant     attacked the Israelites at Rephidim." There is an obvious connection. The
with Abraham. They passed from one domain to another, from being                 Israelites' doubt is punished. Having protected them throughout, G-d
slaves - avadim - to Pharaoh to becoming servants -- avadim - to G-d.            gives them a glimpse of what life is like without his protection. They will
This surely is the meaning of the phrase, in the Song at the Sea:                be exposed to great dangers. This is on the surface of the narrative.
     . . . until your people pass by, O LORD , until the people you have              However, beneath the surface is a surpassing irony. The Hebrew
acquired pass by.                                                                word bekirbenu can mean two things. It can mean "among us" (a spatial
     The crossing of the sea is both an act of covenant-making and a             sense) but it can also mean "within us" (a psychological sense). The real
transfer of possession. The Israelites are now G-d's possession rather           meaning of the battle against Amalek, as understood by the Mishnah, is
than Pharaoh's. They have entered new territory, not just geographically         that it showed the inner, psychological, spiritual and emotional dimension
but also existentially. What does this mean? What difference does it             of the Divine presence. The Israelites won not because G-d fought the
make? The answer is surprising, counter-intuitive. To understand it, we          battle for them, but because G-d gave them the strength to fight the
must compare the two battles, one before, the other after, the Sea.              battle for themselves. G-d was not "among" them but "within" them. That
     The first is marked by extreme passivity. Having let the Israelites go,     was the crucial change between before and after the crossing of the Red
the Egyptians change their mind. Pharaoh decides to pursue them and              Sea.
assembles a force of six hundred chariots. We have to think ourselves                 One of the most remarkable features of Judaism - in this respect it is
back to an age in which the horse-drawn chariot was the ultimate                 supreme among religious faiths - is its call to human responsibility. G-d
weapon of war. In biblical times, Egypt was famous for its horses. No            wants us to fight our own battles. This is not abandonment. It does not
other nation could rival them. This meant that they could out-manoeuvre          mean - G-d forbid - that we are alone. G-d is with us whenever and
any rival military force. Horses gave them speed, and chariots gave them         wherever we are with him. "Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the
protection. They were impregnable, and the sight of six hundred of them          shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." What it means is
approaching would have been terrifying to a well-drilled army, let alone         that G-d calls on us to exercise those qualities - confidence, courage,
an unruly, disorganised group of slaves. Predictably, the Israelites lose        choice, imagination, determination and will - which allow us to reach our
heart and blame Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to die in the               full stature as beings in the image of G-d.
wilderness.                                                                           The book of Shemot teaches this lesson in the form of three
     Moses' reply is short and sharp:                                            narratives, of which the division of the Red Sea is the first. The others
     Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you            are the epiphany of G-d at Mount Sinai and later in the Tabernacle, and
will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians            the first and second tablets Moses brings down from the mountain. In all
you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you, but         three cases we have a double narrative, a before and after. In each, the
you must remain silent."                                                         first is an act performed entirely by G-d (the drowning of the Egyptians,
     He says, in effect, do nothing. G-d will do it all. The sages, their ear    the revelation at Sinai, and the first tablets). The second involves a
ever attuned to nuance, detected four responses in Moses' words:                 partnership between G-d and human beings (the battle against the
     Our ancestors were divided into four groups at the Sea. One group           Amalekites, the construction of the Tabernacle, and the second tablets,
said, "Let us throw ourselves into the sea." Another said, "Let us go back       carved by Moses and inscribed by G-d). The difference is immense. In
to Egypt." A third said, "Let us wage war against them." A fourth said,          the first of each pair of events, what is evident is the power of G-d and
"Let us cry out against them." To the first, who said, "Let us throw             the passivity of man. In the second, what counts is the will of G-d
ourselves into the sea," Moses said, "Stand firm and you will see the            internalised by man. G-d is transformed from doer to teacher. In the
deliverance the LORD will bring." To the second, who said, "Let us go            process, human beings are transformed from dependency to
back to Egypt," he said, "The Egyptians you see today you will never see         interdependency.
again." To the third, who said, "Let us wage war against them," he said,              This is the astonishing message contained within a single Hebrew
"The LORD will fight for you." To the fourth, who said, "Let us cry out          word, eved, which can mean either "servant" or "slave." In Egypt, the
against them," he said, "you must remain silent."                                Israelites were Pharaoh's avadim. Leaving Egypt they became G-d's
     The battle against the Egyptians was a divine act, not a human one.         avadim. The difference, however, is no mere change of masters. The
     Not so the Amalekites. Here the battle is fought by the Israelites          slave of a human being is one who lacks freedom. The servant of G-d is
themselves:                                                                      one who is called to freedom - a specific kind of freedom, namely one
     The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.                that respects the freedom of others and the integrity of the created world
Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the            (the difference, as seventeenth and eighteenth century writers used to
Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of G-d in    put it, between liberty and licence, freedom with and without
my hands." So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and             responsibility).
Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held               At the heart of the Hebrew Bible is a specific view of humanity, set
up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his           out in the first chapters of Bereishith. Human beings are not incurably
hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired,                evil, tainted by original sin. Nor are we inescapably good. Instead we are
they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur           defined by the ability to choose. If we choose well we are "little lower
held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other-so that his hands            than the angels." If we choose badly, we are worse than the beasts. We
remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army               are not condemned to a perpetual condition of arrested development in
with the sword.                                                                  which we are utterly dependent on a parent figure, human or divine.
     There is no hint here of a miracle. The Israelites fought; the Israelites   Such a view fails to accord with the concept of parenthood as articulated
won. The only hint of a supernatural presence is the reference to Moses'         in the Hebrew Bible and the rabbinic literature.
hands. Somehow, they held the key to victory. When Moses lifted them,                 Bereishith, which is about families, is a series of variations on the
the Israelites prevailed. When he lowered them, the tide turned against          theme of human parents and children. Shemot, about the birth of a
them.                                                                            nation, is about a divine parent and his human children (G-d's first
     Strangely, but significantly, the Mishnah makes a comment on this           command to Moses is, "Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD
passage. The Mishnah is a law code. It is not a book of biblical                 says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may
interpretation. It is therefore very rare for a biblical exegesis to appear in   worship me").
the Mishnah - all the more so given its content. The sages, far from                  Neither parenthood nor childhood are - the Torah teaches - static
emphasising the supernatural factor in the battle against Amalek, went           conditions. They are developmental. In its early years, a child really is
out of their way to minimise it:                                                 dependent. Without the attentiveness of a parent, it would not survive.
     It is written, "As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were     But over the course of time, it develops those capacities that allow it to
winning." Now did the hands of Moses wage war or crush the enemy?                mature. During that period, a parent learns progressively to make space
Not so. The text signifies that so long as Israel turned their thoughts          for the child to act on its own. This can be doubly heartbreaking. Not only
above and subjected their hearts to their Father in heaven they prevailed,       does it involve letting go, which is always a form of bereavement. It also
but otherwise they fell.                                                         demands that a parent be strong and self-restrained enough to allow the
     G-d, implies the Mishnah, makes a difference not "out there" but "in        child to walk, knowing that it will fall; to choose, knowing that it will make
here." Moses' hands did not perform a miracle. They merely pointed
mistakes; to travel, knowing that it will take wrong paths and false turns.                                  clearly bein adam lichavero (an interpersonal mitzvah). Thus, Tu B’Shvat
      The "anger" of G-d, so often expressed in the Hebrew Bible, is                                         represents the confluence of both groups of mitzvot: bein adam laMakom
actually not anger but anguish: the anguish of a parent who sees a child                                     and bein adam lichavero.
do wrong but knows that he or she may not intervene if the child is ever                                           Yet, the Gemara (BT Sanhedrin 98a) refers to other aspects of Tu
to grow, to learn, to mature, to change, to become responsible.                                              B’Shvat:
      That is the turning point marked by the battles before and after the                                         “And R’ Abba said, ‘There is no clearer [indication] of the keitz (the
division of the Sea. The opening and closing verses of Beshallach both                                       “End”) than this, as it says: “And you, the mountains of Israel, will
contain as their key-word, milchamah, "war". The opening verse states:                                       produce your branches and will bear your fruit for My people Israel…”
      When Pharaoh let the people go, G-d did not lead them on the road                                      (Yechezkel 36:8)’
through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For G-d said, "If                                          “R’ Elazar says, ‘[There is] also [no clearer indication of the keitz]
they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt."                                           than this, as it says: “For before those days, there were no wages for
      The closing verse says:          The LORD will be at war against the                                   man nor were there wages for animals; and for him that went out or
Amalekites from generation to generation.                                                                    came in, there was no peace from the adversary…” (Zechariah 8:10)’
      The difference between them is between the war G-d fights for us,                                             “What is ‘for him that went out or came in, there was no peace from
and the war we fight for G-d. The first is miraculous, the second only                                       the adversary’? Rav said, ‘Even talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars) -
metaphorically so. The war G-d fights changes nature, even to the point                                      about whom peace is written, as it is written: “There is abundant peace
of dividing a sea. But the war we fight changes us - and that is something                                   for the lovers of Your Torah” (Tehillim 119:165) – [will have] no peace
G-d cannot do for us. We can only do it for ourselves. As long as the                                        from [the] adversary.’”
Israelites were totally dependent on G-d, they remained querulous and                                              The Gemara speaks for itself. On one hand, we have a flourishing,
quarrelsome, in a state of arrested development. Only when they fought                                       blossoming land, but at the same time, there is no peace – except that
their own battles did they eventually - and painfully slowly - begin to                                      which is enforced by the sword.
acknowledge G-d. (In Jewish law, the command to honour our parents                                                 But if that is not enough, we find the following truly astounding
does not apply to a child under the age of thirteen for a boy, twelve for a                                  statement in Avot DiRabi Natan (Nuscha Bet 31):
girl. Only responsible adults can truly honour parents).    A true parent is                                       “Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai received [the tradition] from Hillel and
not one who fights battles on our behalf, but one who gives us the inner                                     Shamai. He used to say, ‘If you have studied much Torah do not take
strength to fight for ourselves. That is the difference between the war                                      credit for yourself because you were created for this.’ Because mankind
before and the war after the crossing of the Red Sea.                                                        was not created on idle chatter but rather on words of Torah, as it says,
                                                                                        ‘For that is your life and the length of your days.’ (Devarim 30:20) [‘Your
                                                                                                             life’ – in this world and ‘the length of your days’] in the world to come… If
The Weekly Parshat Shavua Daf is a Newsletter which includes Divrei Torah on the Parsha, Halacha and
                                                                                                             there was a planting in your hand and you were told, ‘behold, here is the
Educational columns, as well as for kids - all in a Zionistic approach. The "Torah MiTzion Kollel" program   Mashiach,’ come and plant the planting [and then go out and greet him.]”
establishes centers for the study of Torah and promulgates the connection between Torah and Israel. Torah          How can this be?! Our teacher Rav Druckman explains that planting
Mitzion/ "Beit Meir" /54 King George Street /P.O. Box 71109 /Jerusalem, 91710 /Israel Tel: +972-(0)2-620-
9020; http://www.torahmitzion.org/eng/default.asp                                                            in Eretz Yisrael and settling the land are the Geulah (the Redemption) in
A SUMMARY OF THE PLAGUES                                                                                     and of themselves. In contrast, when seeing the Mashiach, a person is
      Asher Shafrir, former Shaliach, Melbourne                                                              passive. Thus, first plant, and then run to greet the Mashiach.
      In this parasha we bid farewell to Pharaoh and his people. As we                                             In recent years, Tu B’Shvat has gradually been transformed into a
come across the last punishment that G-d bestows upon this nation, an                                        festival which commemorates our return to our Land. Tu B’Shvat is the
intriguing question arises. What was the role that the Egyptian people                                       anniversary of the Knesset’s establishment, and everyone goes out to
played throughout this entire saga? Did they know about Moshe's                                              plant trees.
demands and warnings? Was it only Pharaoh who controlled the                                                       How does all of the above tie in together? The Navi says:
negotiating and did not let the rumor spread, in order that his people will                                        “The voice of your seers - they raised a voice, together they shall
not pressure him to let Am Yisrael go? There are a few plagues that the                                      sing glad song; for eye to eye they shall see when Hashem returns to
Egyptian people are warned and told to take their animals inside in order                                    Tzion.” (Yeshaya 52:8)
that they not get hurt. Did they know the reason for the these plagues? I                                          If matters are that clear, why are the prophets and the seers the ones
tend to believe that they did not know. Pharaoh never seemed to me like                                      who lift their voices? Why won’t everyone “sing glad song”? The answer
the kind of king would share such a crisis with his people. I think that this                                is that we must look at the Geulah “eye to eye”. With one eye, we must
can also be derived from the pssukim in our parasha.                                                         see how good it is, baruch Hashem, in Eretz Yisrael. We must recognize
      Prior to the splitting if the sea, when the Egyptian people are                                        how far we have come, in every way, and therefore, we must “thank,
standing just behind Am Yisrael with only the pillar of light splitting                                      laud, praise, glorify” and lift our voices in song. Moreover, we – who are
between them, the pssukim describe the following occurrences. The                                            privileged to live in the generation of the Geulah – are obligated to plant,
verses are quite difficult and the commentators argue what is the correct                                    redeem, and do everything in our power in order to advance the coming
explanation of the words but we will try to sum up what happens. The                                         of the Mashiach. However, with our other eye, we are well aware how
angel, who until now led Am Yisrael, moved behind them - in front of the                                     much we need rachamei Shamayim (Heaven’s mercies) and how
Egyptians. The cloud and the pillar of light move to the back of Am                                          insignificant and p owerless we are.
Yisrael as well – lighting up the night. Moshe raises his stick toward the                                         “Hashem’s kindnesses surely never cease…” (Eichah 3:22)
sea and there is strong Eastern wind all night. The water splits and the                                     MANNA AND THE FRUITS OF THE LAND
ground becomes dry. Am Yisrael walks into the water when the waters                                               Rav Moshe Lichtman
are like two walls on both sides. The Egyptians follow and as the sun                                             This week’s d’var Torah relates not only to the parashah, but also to
rises Hashem creates a great confusion in the Egyptian camp.                                                 Tu BeSh’vat, which usually falls out in close proximity to the reading of
      In these verses we can be reminded of things that already happened                                     Parashat BeShalach.
during the ten plagues. The fact that two different things happen to the                                          The second half of BeShalach discusses the manna that the Jews
Jews and to the Egyptians although they are so close to each other, is                                       ate in the desert. One of the last verses in that section states, The
something that we saw already in a few plagues. Moreover, during the                                         Children of Israel ate the manna for forty years, until they arrived in an
first plague the Egyptians dug around the Nile in order to find water. Here                                  inhabited land. They ate the manna until they arrived at the border of the
the situation is the opposite. G-d "digs" into the Nile and makes it into                                    Land of Canaan (16:35). R. Avraham Azulai (grandfather of the Chida)
soil. The Eastern wind that blows all night already appeared in the plague                                   asks a very interesting question in his Kabbalistic work, Chesed
of the locust. Last, the fact that there is light all night is opposed to the                                LeAvraham: Why did the manna stop falling when t he Israelites entered
plague of darkness where the day was dark.                                                                   the Land of Israel? One would have thought that if God provided them
      The point of these comparisons can be found in the following passuk.                                   with manna in an unholy land, He would certainly do so in the Holy Land,
The Egyptians are quoted as saying: “We shall flee from Israel as G-d is                                     where His providence is even greater.
fighting for them in Egypt.” This can be understood that the Egyptians are                                        The standard answer is that the situation in the desert – where God
saying that G-d is fighting them now. The mechilta sees it differently.                                      protected and fed the Jewish people in a clearly miraculous fashion –
"They said: He who did the miracles for them (for Am Yisrael) in Egypt is                                    was unnatural. It was meant to last only temporarily. The ideal situation,
now doing miracles for them in the sea". According to this Midrash, the                                      and the one which HaShem originally intended, is for the Jewish people
Egyptians now understand. They were shown before the splitting of the                                        to dwell in their Land and receive their physical sustenance by the sweat
sea a bit of all the plagues that they suffered until now. This was the                                      of their brows, in an (apparently) natural fashion.
momen t that the Egyptians realized that what they suffered until now                                             The Chesed LeAvraham, however, answers the question differently.
was part of G-d's big plan to take Am Yisrael out of Egypt and that they                                     We have learnt previously (see VaYeitzei, “The Palace of the King”) that
will receive the Torah.                                                                                      Divine Providence in Eretz Yisrael is much stronger than it is in Chutz
Tu B’Shvat                                                                                                   LaAretz. In fact, it is of a completely different nature. In Chutz LaAretz,
     Rav Yitzhak Neriya, former Rosh Kollel, Montreal                                                        angelic ministers oversee what is happening, and they care for the needs
     Tu B’Shvat’s date (the 15th of Shvat) is obvious. In this article, we                                   of those who dwell there. In Eretz Yisrael, however, God Himself is
will discuss the day’s essence and deeper meaning. Also, we will focus                                       directly in charge. He provides for our needs without any intermediaries.
on Tu B’Shvat’s specific customs and obligations and determine the                                           Th is, says the Chesed LeAvraham, is why manna did not fall in Eretz
source for Tu B’Shvat.                                                                                       Yisrael:
     Halachically, Tu B’Shvat is the date used to distinguish between                                             Everything in the desert comes from the external, impure [forces] that
trees whose fruit ripened beforehand and those whose fruit ripened                                           grow in the lands of the nations – the domain of the [angelic] ministers.
afterwards. Why do we need to know when the fruit ripened? Mainly, we                                        Therefore, their fruits are unworthy of receiving sacred spirituality, for an
need to know whether to separate ma’aser ani or ma’aser sheni. During                                        impure “body” cannot become a receptacle for sacred spirituality. And
the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th years of the shmitah cycle, ma’aser sheni –                                       had this sanctity been implanted in the fruits and food [of these lands], it
which is to be eaten in Yerushalayim – is separated in Eretz Yisrael.                                        would all have come from the ministers, God forbid... Therefore, the
Meanwhile, during the 3rd and 6th years of the shmitah cycle, a person                                       Holy One Blessed be He gave [the Jews] manna from heaven, which has
must separate ma’aser ani (“the tithe of the poor”). Or, if you prefer,                                      absolutely no connection to the [angelic] ministers. [I.e., during the forty
ma’aser sheni – which must be eaten “on the holy mountain in Yerushala                                       years in the desert, HaShem w anted to have a special relationship with
yim” (Yeshaya 27:13) – is an expression of bein adam laMakom (a                                              His children. He, therefore, bypassed the angels and sustained the Jews
mitzvah which is between man and Hashem), but ma’aser ani is                                                                directly.] The fruits of Eretz Yisrael, however, come from
holiness; and the spirituality that was fitting for the manna attached itself
to these holy fruits. This is why the manna existed in the desert and not
in Eretz Yisrael. (Chesed LeAvraham, Nahar 21, Ein HaAretz; quoted in
Midrash Talpiot, Anaf Eretz Yisrael, Alef)
     In other words, the manna did not really cease to exist once the Jews
entered Eretz Yisrael; it simply changed its form. Instead of getting direct
sustenance from God miraculously, we now get it naturally (or so it
seems) – through the holy fruits of His Land. This is an amazing
concept: The fruits of Eretz Yisrael are on the same level and serve the
same purpose as manna from heaven! What a zechut to live in a Land
where one gets his sustenance directly from God!
     Thus, dwelling in Eretz Yisrael is so special because it enables us to
get closer to HaShem. Since He alone provides our needs, we develop
a more intimate relationship with Him. R. Avraham of Sochatchov, better
known as the Avnei Neizer, uses this concept to explain why most of the
Chassidic masters did not attempt to live in Eretz Yisrael in the 1800’s
and early 1900’s. Since these rabbis had no source of income, they
would have been forced to subsist off donations from Chutz LaAretz.
This would have defeated the purpose of living in the Land, for their
sustenance would have come through the agency of intermediary angels.
One fulfills the mitzvah of Yishuv HaAretz to the fullest extent –
according to the Avnei Neizer – only if one finds a means of support from
the Land itself.
     Today, Baruch HaShem, it is relatively easy to make a living here in
Israel and thus achieve a greater closeness to God. In addition, we have
the opportunity to eat the holy fruits of the Land and get a “taste” of the
manna. I might add that this year the fruits are even holier, because they
have kedushat shevi’it (the sanctity of the seventh year). Actually, the
fruits are sanctified every year, due to the numerous mitzvot connected
to the produce of the Land. The more mitzvot one fulfills through the fr
uits, the more sanctified they become. (This is similar to the concept that
reciting a blessing before and after food sanctifies the food.)
     I truly wonder why any God-fearing Jew would willingly turn down
such opportunities.
     From Rav Lichtman’s “Eretz Yisrael In The Parashah”, published by
Devora Publishing
     Yaniv Akiva, former Shlaliach, Montreal
     Avraham Stern was born in Poland to a Zionist family. He made
aliyah in 1925 and joined the Haganah in 1929.
     In 1931, several Haganah fighters, who objected to the
organization’s policy of restraint and moderation, broke away and formed
their own underground movement: the Etzel, which was an acronym for
Irgun Tzva’i Leumi (literally, Military – Nationalistic Organization). Stern,
whose views had become radicalized following the 1929 Arab riots, was
an active member of the Etzel. He adopted the nom de guerre “Yair” after
Eliezer ben Yair, the Zealot leader at Masada.
     Stern viewed the British – rather than the Arabs – as the Jews’
primary foe and as the greatest obstacle to Jewish independence. He
therefore issued a strident call for armed struggle against the British.
Together with David Raziel, he compiled a handbook on operating a
pistol; it was the first Hebrew-language manual of its kind. Stern also
wrote “Unknown Soldiers”, the Etzel’s anthem which was later adopted
by the Lechi as well. A collection of Stern’s poems were published
     In 1937, following the Arab riots, the Etzel split into two, and many
members returned to the Haganah. However, Stern and several other
men refused to accept the Haganah leadership’s authority and remained
in the Etzel under Zeev Jabotinsky. They continued their anti-British
activities, and Stern traveled to Poland in order to raise funds and
organize training courses. Upon his return, he was nabbed by the British
and imprisoned from August 1938, until June 1940.
     Stern insisted that the struggle against the British should be free of
any political affiliation – including Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Party. He also
opposed any attempt whatsoever to ease up in the fight against the
British. Thus, in August 1940, when the Etzel decided to refrain from
attacking the British during World War II, Stern formed the Lechi, which
was an acronym for Lochamei Cherut Yisrael (literally, Israel Freedom
Fighters). The Lechi was a radical, oppositionist group, which continued
to clash with the British, despite the ongoing war against the Nazis. In
fact, Stern claimed that the British were a bigger threat to the Jews of
Zion than the Nazis. He was not convinced that the Allies would emerge
victorious over Nazi Germany, and since he believed that it would help
achieve a Jewish national home in Eretz Yisrael, he even advocated an
alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
     Due to Stern’s extremism and several of the Lechi’s provocations,
the local Jewish community refused to support the organization, which
was hounded by the British. In 5702 (1942), the British put a price on
Stern’s head. Stern hid in Tova and Moshe Savorai’s attic in Tel Aviv’s
Florentine neighborhood, and on 25 Shvat 5702 (February 12, 1942), the
British discovered his hiding-place in a clothes closet. He was unarmed.
Stern was tied to a chair and executed without trial by Inspector Geoffrey
Morton and Thomas Wilkin, who claimed that Stern had tried to escape –
a claim that was later proven to be a lie.
     The name of the street where the apartment is situated was later
changed to Yair Street, and the building is known as Beit Yair and serves
as the Lechi Museum.


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