Things are always changing in this world of ours, and we adapt ourselves
the changing reality with dizzying speed. It used to be that a family
never travel all together on an airplane. Who knows? Maybe something
happen, Heaven forbid, and the other family members would be spared.
Nowadays, air travel is safer than the highways. We find ourselves
constantly reexamining common protocol in light of new technology. Once,
when people would speak to parents about Torah education for their
many parents agreed to send their children to Torah schools and yielded
"nahat," in every sense of the word. Others, however, hesitated. They
wondered, what about the matriculation exams? The children need those
to be accepted to university; these exams are the key to success in
Even then, this wasn't necessarily true. The rebbe of Vishnitz zs"l
often about his trip abroad, where he met experienced accountants and
attorneys who worked for successful millionaires without an academic
background. Indeed, "The blessing of Hashem is what makes one wealthy."
Unquestionably, the Creator won't withhold wealth from someone who opts
Nevertheless, one could perhaps understand the concern of many parents for
the financial future of their children, their desire to offer them an
education that will open possibilities for prosperity. However,
understanding their claims does not mean agreeing with them. There is a
well known ruling of Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a requiring parents to send
their children to a Torah educational system. Today, however,
have changed. The growing demand is in the field of computers, hi-tech,
which, in Israel, matriculation exams are of so significance. In this
what's important is understanding, quick comprehension, sharp analytical
logical thinking, creative thought and innovation. All this and more is
provided by Torah education, in-depth learning of Gemara, the thorough
analysis of sugyot, probing the root of the halachah and the logical
conclusions and ramifications thereof. Alumni of Torah education are the
best suited and trained to achieve excellence in the field of hi-tech in
which there is such a demand. The heads of technological institutes and
companies testify that they continuously make use of the intellectual
talents of yeshivah students. Therefore, parents who want the best for
their children - both spiritual and financial - should register them in
Torah educational institutions, before the new school year begins.
FROM THE WELLSPRINGS OF THE PARASHAH
"You will eat, be satiated and bless"
The Sefer Hahinuch (missvah 430) writes that the concept of reciting a
berachah to Hashem lies in our declaration that the Almighty is the source
of all blessing and good fortune. He controls all blessings and issues
to whomever He deems worthy. Through our performance of missvot and
favor in His eyes, we merit His bestowal of blessing upon us.
"You will eat, be satiated and bless"
Hazal tell us that one who eats without first reciting a berachah is
considered as having inappropriately used the property of "hekdesh." The
Almighty grants permission to partake of His world only after reciting a
berachah. Rabbenu Yaakov Ba'al Haturim zs"l explains a pasuk in Tehillim
this basis. The pasuk states, "I said to Hashem, You are God - the source
of my goodness, there is none above You" (Tehillim 16:2). Meaning, once I
recite the blessing over the food and thanked the Almighty, he then gives
me, as it were, the goodness of the world and the right to enjoy it as if
were my own. Furthermore, in "Binah L'itim" (Derush 34) our pasuk is
explained this vein: "You will eat, be satiated and bless Hashem your God
for the good land - that He gave you." Meaning, after the recitation of
blessing, the produce of the land is given to man for his benefit and
"You will eat, be satiated and bless"
Rabbi Yaakov Abuhassera zs"l writes that one who eats like an animal will
have a very hard time making a berachah like a Jew...Indeed, one must
remember Hashem even when he eats, ensuring to speak words of Torah at the
table and sense that he is eating at the sacred table of Hashem. Only in
this manner can he recite a berachah with the proper concentration and
of closeness to Hashem. This is alluded to in our pasuk: "You will eat,
satiated and bless Hashem your God." "Elokecha" (your God) has the same
letters as "achilah" (eating). Thus, the pasuk may read as indicating
if Hashem is before you even as you eat, then you can recite a berachah.
Thus, the Torah continues, "Be careful lest you forget Hashem your God"!
"You will eat, be satiated and bless"
The Alshich zs"l comments that we recite in Birkat Hamazon, "We thank You
for having granted OUR FATHERS a precious land..." because we were exiled
from our land on account of our sins. But when Yehoshua originally
the berachah, the text was, "for having granted US..." Thus, our pasuk
warns, ""You will eat, be satiated and bless," meaning, that you will able
to recite "for having granted US." This privilege of reciting this text
dependent upon the continuation of the pesukim: "Be careful lest you
Hashem your God..."
THE GOLDEN COLUMN
Rabbi Yaakov of Barcelona zs"l
Our parashah bids us to remember the punishments brought against Egypt, to
recognize that there is a sense of justice in the world, and the Creator
ultimately punishes the wicked. In this context, Rabbi Yossef Mesas zs"l
Telmesan tells the story of Rabbi Yaakov of Barcelona, a student of Rabbi
Yehudah Ben Barzilai. Once, the city was overtaken by a swarm of locusts
that destroyed everything in sight. The mayor called the city council to
emergency meeting, and walked by foot from his home to the municipality to
observe and assess the damage. Along the way, he met Rabbi Yaakov, who
on his way to the Bet Midrash. "Tell me, rabbi," he asked, "what do the
Jews say about all this? Why did the locusts come here?"
Rabbi Yaakov answered, "The locust came as a result of the plague of
"You speak in riddles," said the mayor.
Rabbi Yaakov explained, "The gentile youths of the city attack every Jew
that they encounter like locusts, and beat them mercilessly." He showed
mayor the bruises, abrasions and wounds that spotted his body. "Because
this sin, the locusts have come."
"Why haven't the Jews petitioned the authorities?" asked the mayor.
"They have repeatedly reported these unfortunate incidents, but no one
bothers to investigate the crimes. Our blood has become free for the
taking," answered Rabbi Yaakov.
"And how do we know that the locusts came specifically on account of this
sin?" asked the mayor.
"Well," responded Rabbi Yaakov, "why doesn't the mayor try to correct this
evil and see what happens to the locusts?"
The mayor laughed at the idea, but went along with it. He arrived at the
municipality and issued an edict that anyone who harms a Jew will be
severely punished, both physically and financially. Just as the edict was
made public, the clouds of locusts dissipated, and the Name of Hashem was
ASKING AND EXPOUNDING
A Series of Halachot According to the Order of the Shulhan Aruch,
the Rulings of Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a
By Rav David Yossef shlit"a, Rosh Bet Midrash Yehaveh Da'at
Chapter 8: The Laws of Ssissit
Interruption and Diversion of Concentration During the Berachah for the
One who generally wears several four-cornered garments one after the
and the garments were lying before him as he recited the berachah, then
if he did not have intention for the other garments, he does not need to
recite a new berachah. Since he generally wears many garments, we
his intentions as if they had the other garments in mind. Even if more
garments were brought before him as he put on those that were with him at
the time of the berachah, he does not require a new berachah, since its
requirement in this instance is in question.
If he is accustomed to wearing only one four-cornered garment, and he put
on the first garment without intention for any other garments and the
garment was in front of him at the time of the berachah for the first
garment, then he does not recite a berachah over the second the garment,
its requirement is in doubt.
Preferably, in any such instance when the recitation of a berachah over
second garment is in doubt, one should completely divert his attention and
do some sort of interruption. Then he definitely must recite a berachah on
the new garment he is now wearing, thereby satisfying all views..
If one wore a tallit without first checking the strings and then discovers
that it was pasul (invalid) as a result of either the garment itself or
strings, and now he wishes to put on a new tallit, he must recite a new
berachah over the second tallit. This applies even if this occurred
immediately following the original berachah, since he had no intention
whatsoever during the recitation of the berachah for any subsequent
If one intended to wear two tallitot one after the other and, after
reciting the berachah and wearing the first tallit, he took it off, and
proceeds to wear the second garment, he still does not recite a new
berachah, since the original berachah was specifically intended for the
second garment, as well.
One who took hold of a tallit and recited the berachah, but before he
put it on someone came along and switched his tallit for another, the
berachah cannot be counted towards this new tallit, and a new berachah is
According to the Shulhan Aruch, one who puts on a tallit at home and
intends that the berachah should apply as well to the tallit he will put
in Bet Kenesset, he must nevertheless recite a new berachah over the
in Bet Kenesset. The trip from his home to the Bet Kenesset constitutes
interruption, and he must therefore recite a new berachah, despite the
that he intended for the berachah to count towards the second tallit.
However, many later authorities dispute this ruling of the Shulhan Aruch,
and maintain that one's trip to Bet Kenesset is not considered an
interruption so long as he did not divert his attention from the tallit.
Since we never recite a berachah whose requirement is the subject of
dispute, even against the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch, one should be
concerned for this view and not recite a berachah in such a situation.
Certainly if one recites a berachah over a tallit in one room and has in
mind that the berachah should apply as well to a tallit in another room in
the same house, he does not recite a new berachah on the second tallit in
the other room.
THE WONDERS OF CREATION
The crocodile is the largest reptile in the world. Its body is flat like
that of a lizard, its tail is long and compressed from the sides, and its
large, flat head takes up about one-fifth of its overall length. The
crocodile feeds mainly off fish and other animals, and sometimes it will
mammals, as well. When these mammals come to drink water, it snaps at
with lightening speed and devours them. The crocodile's teeth are
remarkably well-suited for catching its prey. Its incisors lock together
especially hard, leaving the victim with virtually no possibility of
Most crocodiles are nocturnal hunters who generally sit motionless in
ambush. Their entire body remains underwater, only their eyes peering out
from above the water, and their nostrils and ears jutting out above the
surface. For this reason, it is exceedingly difficult to detect the
crocodile's presence. The crocodile doesn't chew its prey; it eats it
whole. Sometimes it tears its prey to pieces through strong
or with another crocodile pulling at the other end. Given the fact that
crocodile does not need any energy to regulate its body temperature and
its efficient digestive system can ingest virtually everything, leaving
behind very little of its prey, it generally needs only one good meal a
It isn't very easy to like crocodiles. They are dangerous and threatening
wherever they are, especially given the fact that they eat humans, as
Why does this quality, of their being man-eaters, make them even more
frightening? Because the human being is not meant inherently to kill or
killed. Unfortunately, however, in society there are times when a person
does, in fact, find himself in such a tragic situation. And we mean here
specifically physical murder, not spiritual harm. Instances of horrifying
murder, so senseless and abominable, surface regularly among human
The Jew, who stands mortified as he witnesses acts of murder unprecedented
among the Jewish nation, knows the answer behind it all, taught to us by
Avraham: "Indeed, there is no fear of God in this place, and thus they
kill me." This concept requires one to educate his children from the
youngest age along the path of Avraham, along the path of Torah and
Only the fear of God guides us and directs us towards an understanding of
what's more important and what's less, what is the true value of human
the inherent value of morals and ethics, a recognition of the sanctity of
life and the sanctity of the Jewish people. It brings about a mode of
conduct by which one acts not spontaneously, but rather with a sense of,
"the result of the action is in the thoughts, first."
The Deserted Woman of Jerusalem (6)
A story taken from the book, "Hasaraf MiBrisk," the story of the life of
Maharil Diskin zs"l
Flashback: Mereishah became an "agunah" when her husband was caught
his customers and fled the city in shame. She barely managed to support
children, and as her oldest son's bar-misvah approached, Rabbi Aryeh Leib
Salant returned from Germany and reported to her that he saw her husband,
who gave him money for his wife and promised to be back in time for the
The one hundred marks Mereishah received from her husband was like a
treasure! She used the money to buy her son a beautiful pair of tefillin
and paid her rent, thus avoiding the eviction order she faced. She
her apartment and purchased festive clothing for the bar-missvah boy and
siblings. The rumor quickly spread that her husband was on his way home,
and many neighbors and friends shared in her joy, hoping that her
will finally come to an end. After all, her husband - Baruch Mordechai -
already achieved atonement through his exile, and the Jewish people are
merciful people, the sons of merciful people; they have long forgotten his
crime. Upon hearing of his success in business, they said to themselves,
"Great- maybe he will bring with him enough money to open a business here
and support his family respectably. Hopefully his wife will no longer
to work at this dismal stand in the vegetable market, hoping for some
customers to come by and spend a few coins."
The date of the bar-missvah approached, and with every passing day the
anticipation grew. Both the deserted wife and her bar-missvah boy waited
anxiously. His younger siblings, who hadn't known their father since they
were mere toddlers, waited along with their mother. So did the neighbors
who remembered him well, for his crime. The merchants in the market, who
pitied the impoverished woman, also waited for her husband's return. The
boy's friends, who empathized with him, also anticipated the relief of his
The day before the bar-misvah finally arrived. The friends were drafted
bring benches and tables from the Bet Kenesset; neighbors brought cakes
various dishes, the men brought fancy wines. Many guests came to the tiny
home, that had just been painted white. Many of them came more out of
curiosity then friendship. The father said he would show up for the
bar-misvah; if he has not arrived until now, then undoubtedly he is
some surprise, certainly he is introducing an element of suddenness so as
intensify the joy and celebration.
The guests indulged in fine wines and delicacies, and they ate heartily
from the deserts prepared by the neighbors. They wished the boy and his
mother that his parents - both of them - should merit to bring him and all
their children to Torah, a wedding canopy and good deeds. They then
to the door to see if the father would appear, and how he would come in -
but he didn't come.
The hour became late, the joy gradually faded and guests left one by one.
By morning, only the mother and her children were left, their eyes pouring
to be continued...
In our parashah, Mosheh stands and warns Benei Yisrael to recall the fate
suffered by those who angered the Creator and His nation, from the plagues
in Egypt and the destruction of Pharaoh's army at Yam Suf, to the dramatic
death of Datan and Aviram, who were devoured by the ground, together with
homes, families and possessions. We must learn the lesson from these
incidents to observe the Torah and missvot. The Ramban asks, why does
Mosheh urge the people to remember specifically the death of Datan and
Aviram who joined Korah's revolt, without making mention of Korah himself,
who instigated the entire affair?
The "Saba" of Kelm zs"l provides a simple answer. Korah's sin can be well
understood - he was jealous of his cousin, Elissafan, who was granted the
title of Nasi for the family of Kehat. He also longed for the position of
kohen gadol. Indeed, the lust for glory can bring a person to grave
that he would normally not commit. But Datan and Aviram - what personal
interest did they have in the revolt? Certainly, this was pure evil on
When we see politicians who seek to drag people along with their
ideologies, we understand - they long for popularity, to achieve prestige,
and must therefore ride the wave of animosity to incite people into their
camp. But what can be said to justify the hatred and enmity spurred by
press? This is but pure evil, not more or less. They harbor an ingrained
desire to become our enemies, to fight against anything sacred, to
RESTORING THE GLORY TO ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE!
"He is your glory, He is your God," says the pasuk in our parashah
10:21). The Ramban zs"l explains, "He will be your glory, in that you
give all your glory to Him, and Him you will praise always, and you will
give His glory to anyone else." His comments bring to mind the
interpretation of the Alshich zs"l of the pasuk, "Sing to Him, praise Him,
speak of all His wonders." The Alshich explains, "Sing - to Him."
if you want to sing, sing only songs of kedushah. "Praise - to Him"; if
want to sing praises, sing the praises of the Almighty. "Speak" - if you
want to speak with your friends or family, then speak of His wonders, look
for the Hand of the Almighty in everything around you, and strengthen the
faith within you.
We have living with us today Jews from the previous generation, may they
continue to live happy and healthy lives for many years to come. Their
roots are firmly grounded in our heritage, their faith is ever so pure and
firmly established, and the Name of God never leaves their lips; every
sentence seems to incorporate terms such as, "Baruch Hashem," "Thanks to
God," B'ezrat Hashem," etc. We have become somewhat desensitized and
distanced; something has gone wrong. The prophet already laments, "Faith
has been lost, it has been eliminated from their mouths." Rashi teaches
(Bereishit 27:21) that the discerning difference between Yaakov and Esav
that Yaakov attributed everything to divine assistance, while "it was not
Esav's want to have the Name of God fluent in his speech." We often
to take a look at which direction we follow...
Some will argue that in the past this was common and the accepted norm;
today it would sound peculiar. To the contrary - would it be more
than the situation of Yossef, a boy all alone, a penniless slave, located
idolatry-infested Egypt? And what does the pasuk say about his
"His master saw that Hashem was with him," and Rashi explains, "The Name
Heaven was fluent in his mouth." The pasuk continues, "and that
he does - Hashem makes it successful in his hands." Indeed, this is the
natural result. If one continually attributes everything to the Creator,
then he receives His unlimited blessing, and success is guaranteed.
In the work "Ssava'ah Me'hayyim" (19:a), the story is told of Rabbenu
Hayyim Plagi zs"l (known as the "Habi"f"), the rabbi of Izmir, who wished
set up a sophisticated, state-of-the-art hospital in his community to
his constituents, and which would be run according to halachah. He
upon himself the responsibility to raise the enormous sum of money
for such an ambitious project. His fund-raising campaign brought him to
Senior Lionne Adot, one of the wealthiest members of the community, who
donated a generous sum towards the project. The rabbi wrote him a letter
thanking him for his support and asked him to make a personal request to
Baron Rothschild - with whom he conducted business dealings - to
towards the construction of the Jewish hospital.
Senior Adot faced a serious dilemma. The accepted protocol in the world
commerce is to maintain total separation between business and charitable
contributions. The generous baron might become angry with him, rightfully
so, for taking advantage of their business relationship for the sake of a
donation. He might then discontinue his business dealings with the
Then, nothing will have been accomplished - the donation won't come, and
himself will be personally harmed. He therefore went to the rabbi's house
to excuse himself from granting the rabbi's wish. He asked the rabbi to
understand his problem and forego on his request.
The rabbi heard his emotional plea. After the Senior concluded his
remarks, the rabbi asked, "Tell me, did you read my letter?"
The Senior was taken aback by the question and quickly responded, "Of
course - down to the last detail!"
"I know you read until the last detail - but did you read the beginning?"
continued the rabbi.
"Of course!" answered Senior Adot.
"So how did the letter begin?" inquired the rabbi.
"Dear - " the Senior began quoting.
"You see - you did not read the letter from the beginning," interrupted
rabbi. "It opens with the acronym, 'B'H',' or 'B'ezrat Hashem' (with the
help of Hashem). This is to demonstrate that I trust in divine
and in this way His help is guaranteed."
Senior Adot overcame his hesitation and turned to his colleague, Baron
Rothschild, to ask for his support in the building campaign. The
philanthropist responded favorably to the request and donated a generous
that allowed for the development of an advanced, sophisticated and
This is what is meant by our pasuk: "He is your glory" - if His glory is
commonplace in your mouth, then, as the pasuk continues, "and He is your
Who performed for you all these wonders and miracles" - you will see his
salvation first-hand, with your own eyes.
Let us therefore restore the glory to its rightful place, and let us make
the Name of God fluent and routine in our mouths.