"GIVE THOSE WHO FEAR YOU A BANNER TO BE WAVED"
This week's perasha commands us that should a false prophet approach us
try to convince us to worship idols, Heaven forbid, then, even if he makes
the sun stand in the sky and perform all types of wonderous, supernatural
miracles; "Do not listen to him, for Hashem your G-d is testing you." We
face many tests; some withstand them heroically, others fail. On what
this depend? The "Saba" of Nevarduk zs"l explains this based on the
following, true story:
A sly group of fraudulent criminals operated in Warsaw and devised a
sophisticated plan to cheat their victims. Their agents approached a
with an offer he could not refuse. They owned an advanced
that prints counterfeit money. They would sell him two hundred thousand
fraudulent bills in exchange for only sixty thousand real bills.
Understandably, the man hesitated. They continued, "Here is the fake
Take three bills and bring them to the bank to ask for change. See if
the experts in the bank will notice the difference."
The man agreed. He innocently brought them to the bank and approached the
banker. He had an elaborate excuse ready in case the fraud was detected
(Someone bought something from him and paid him with these three bills; he
had no idea that they were counterfeit). The man at the bank took the
bills, looked at them carefully, and warmly gave him change. The man saw
that the fake bills were not noticed, and agreed to the deal. He withdrew
all his savings and even borrowed money to pay the sixty thousand for the
two hundred thousand fake bills.
The group was thrilled, and they brought him the money in two
the man wasn't going to fall into the trap - he suspected that maybe
initially they gave him three real bills, and these are the fake bills.
opened one suitcase, took out three bills, and exchanged them in the bank.
Now he was confident that the fake money worked. He gave them the due
thousand dollars and sat down to count his new treasure - two hundred
thousand nice, new bills. He just made the deal of his life - he made one
hundred and forty thousand with no effort whatsoever, in a single moment!
He took the two suitcases, proudly and happily walked through the streets.
Suddenly, a policeman stopped him. "Hi, what are you carrying there?"
"Money," answered the man, frightened.
"Money? Open up and let me see!"
At the officer's request, he placed both suitcases on the ground and
them. The officer saw the huge stacks of bills and gasped. "What is
this?These are counterfeit bills! You're under arrest! Come with me to
The man trembled, realizing the trouble that he now faced. Before the
policeman could stand up, the man took off and ran. By the time the
could lock the suitcase and stand up, the man had disappeared. The
stood there with two heavy suitcases, unable to run. The man lost his
money, but consoled himself with the knowledge that he salvaged his
freedom.In an instant he had become wealthy, and at the next moment he was
The policeman, meanwhile, picked up the two suitcases and went to the base
of the counterfeiters. He belonged to the group, who just made sixty
thousand official bills. The thieves divided up their money among
themselves and proceeded to their next victim.
So, what was the secret? How did the people at the bank not notice that
bills were fake? Very simple: the bills weren't fake; they were real!
tricksters fooled people with real, authentic bills.
The question is, though, once the victim saw that the bankers confirmed
authenticity of the bills, why did he run away from the police? Why
he just insist that they were real, and go ahead and prove his innocence?
The answer is clear - he himself had his doubts, he was not convinced.
Therefore, he fled.
This is the answer to our opening question. Someone who knows confidently
that his beliefs are true, who is assured and secure in his faith, will
stumble when faced with a test. He will stand strong and firm, his faith
will emerge unscathed from the furnace of tests and trials. Only one
faith is shaky from the outset will flee when confronted by trials.
GENERATION OF POVERTY
One pasuk states, "Indeed, there will be no poor among you," while another
pasuk posits, "For there will never cease to be needy in your land." When
Benei Yisrael follow the will of Hashem, then there are no poor among
when they do not obey the will of Hashem, "there will never cease to be
needy in your land," Heaven forbid.
Anyone could easily figure out whether or not Benei Yisrael are following
Hashem's will today. The answer is clear from simply looking around at
what transpires. Baruch Hashem, we have few poor people in the strict
sense. We do, however, have many poor people in the broad sense of the
term. Rashi explains the term used in the pasuk - "evyon" - as "[one who]
longs for everything."
This is the plague of our generation, this is its curse. All the
and radio stations, the entire institution of the media, are united in one
goal: that we will yearn and long for everything, that we feel a sense of
poverty and lacking if we have yet to purchase a new car, a new
refrigerator, if we haven't yet built our dream house, if we have yet to
experience and enjoy this, that or the other thing. They implant within
a feeling of self-pity and shortage if we don't display wantonness and
the race for wealth, a race that never ends and offers no respite, a
marathon that leaves us all paupers. We are just longing for more and
frustrated and disappointed. Indeed, we have plenty of "evyonim" in
The Deserted Woman of Jerusalem
a continuing saga (part seven)
Flashback: Rabbi Aryeh Leib Salant met in Germany Baruch Mordechai, who
deserted his wife, Mereishah. After being chastised for abandoning his
suffering wife, Baruch Mordechai gave Rabbi Aryeh Leib a large sum of
for her and promised that he will be back in time for his son's
The deserted woman and her son anxiously awaited the man's return,
with their neighbors and friends. The celebration of the bar-missvah
with no word from or about the husband.
One cannot describe the intense disappointment, the anguish and sense of
having been double-crossed. All the neighbors and friends shared in the
frustration and distress of the deserted woman.
At the request of his son, Rabbi Aryeh Leib, Rabbi Shemuel Salant, the
rabbi of Jerusalem, wrote a letter to the rabbi of Frankfurt asking about
the husband's whereabouts. The reply came after several weeks of tense
anticipation: the man had disappeared several months earlier, leaving
several heavy debts. He told one of his debtors that he was planning to
continue on to France.v
Rabbi Shemuel sighed in distress after reading the painful news.
the man is continuing to take advantage of and cheat others. He sent a
letter to the deserted wife, with a sense of helplessness and sympathy.
Mereishah had already used up all the money her husband had sent and
continued living a life of destitution, barely supporting the family with
the few coins she earned at her vegetable stand in the marketplace. The
time for the lease was approaching, and she would have to either renew her
rent or vacate. With the money her husband had sent she paid last year's
rent, and now the Arab landlord was pressuring her to pay rent on time.
not, she will be evacuated.
Where would she go? What will she do with her children? Out of despair
and hopelessness, she turned to Rabbi Shelomoh Zalman Parush, the founder
the general charity fund, to receive a loan to pay her rent. No. She
not find anyone to sign as guarantors, she had nothing to give as
collateral. She could also not overlook the painful reality - she had no
way of ensuring that she would be able to pay back the money. She
told the story of her tragedy, of the ray of hope that faded and the
disappointment she had gone through.
Rabbi Shelomoh Zalman heard her cries, collected the papers from his desk
and put them into a drawer. He temporarily closed the office. "Please,
come with me," he said. "Only the rabbi from Brisk can help."
The rabbi of Brisk, the "Saraf"! She trembled at the thought. She had
never gathered the strength to come before him, she never thought she
ever have the opportunity to stand in his presence. Who can stand before
angel? "I can't," she wispered.
"I will speak on your behalf," he assured. "You can wait at the door,
on and listen."
He got up and left, and Mereishah timidly followed behind him.to be
The Golden Column
Rabbi Nissim Bitan zs"l
One of the signs indicating that a given generation is the generation on
brink of the coming of the Mashiah is the ability for any simple person to
challenge the authority of the G-d-given Torah and its eternal
Anyone can come along and write headlines to scorn and mock all that is
sacred. One of the defining characteristics of the "hester panim" (lack
revealed Providence) of our time is that the Al-mighty patiently tolerates
the attacks against the Torah and withholds His anger for the time being.
Once, the Attribute of Justice would react instantly. Rabbi David Edan
zs"l, in his work "Maskil Ledavid" (vol. 2, 43), records an amazing
that he heard from the person to whom this event occurred. The man's
died, leaving an apartment as inheritance to his two sons. They came
Rav Nissim Bitan zs"l to oversee the division of the inheritance. He
"Whichever of you offers the higher price will give his brother half of
amount and take the apartment."The one telling the story, Kila Hadad, said
to the rabbi, "My brother knows that I am very poor and could offer any
price, no matter how small!"
The rabbi answered, "If he does not offer a reasonable amount, then I will
put the apartment up for sale."
Kila pleaded, "But I want the apartment, not money. Money can be wasted;
apartment stays right where it is."
The rabbi answered, "This is the halacha - either you pay half price, or
take half price."
Kila cried bitterly, "The halacha is oppressing the poor, and the rabbi is
assisting this corrupt system!"
The rabbi said to his servant, Yossef, "Please call Sa'id, the messenger
the Bet Din, and have him announce that this brazen, audacious man must be
publicly reprimanded for scorning the authority of the court!" Just as he
was finishing his sentence, Kila fell to the ground, dead. Yossef said to
the rabbi, "There is no need for the public reproach; he died in his sin."
The rabbi cried in terror, "What are you talking about!" He ran to Kila,
who was lying on the ground, and placed his hand on his head. Kila opened
his eyes, regained his composure, and stood up. Yossef escorted him home,
and on the way he asked, "Tell me, what did you feel?"
He said, "I lost my consciousness and I heard in a dream the
'He died!' When the rabbi placed his hand on my head, I felt my head
very heavy and my soul was restored." All this Kila himself told to
From the Wellsprings of the Parasha
"See, I place before you today a blessing and a curse"
The Or Hahayyim zs"l questions the pasuk's use of the word "Re'eih," see,
this context, as well as the unusual term "anochi" employed for the word
"I," rather than the more common word, "ani." He explains that generally,
when a saintly, sacred ssadik who withdraws from the pleasures of this
calls on his constituents to dedicate themselves to spirituality, they may
say, what does he know from the pleasures of this world, and what concept
can he possibly have of the enjoyment the world offers? But Moshe tells
Benei Yisrael, see, 'anochi' - understand that I grew up in Pharaoh's
and to this day I am wealthy and enjoy leadership and prestige.
Nevertheless, I urge you not to be drawn after the vanities of the world,
and rather take for yourselves the eternal beracha of the fulfillment of
Torah and missvot, the pleasantness of spirituality.
The Abarbanel zs"l explains that this pasuk illustrates the power of
missvot. Although we know that missvot constitute light and blessing
whereas sins are darkness, it never occurs to us that a person who
a missvah brings a curse upon himself. Similarly, if he just avoids
committing a sin, he brings a blessing upon himself. Moshe here reveals
us that every missvah contains a blessing for its performance, and each
offers a blessing for its avoidance; similarly, each sin has a curse
associated with its committal, and a blessing for its avoidance.
Rabbi Hayyim Kafusi zs"l, in his work, "B'Or Hahayyim," explains why the
pasuk opens in the singular form - "r'eih" (see) - but then switches to
plural form - "lifneichem" (before you). The Gemara (Kiddushin 40b) says
that a person should always imagine to himself that the merits and
of the entire world are exactly equal. Thus, should he do a single
he has tipped the scales in the world's favor; a single sin, though, will
disrupt the balance in the opposite direction, Heaven forbid. Therefore,
Moshe says, "R'eih," see, to each individual, urging each person to
recognize that the entire world may be dependent upon his actions.
The Alshich zs"l explains that sometimes an employer will have his workers
perform a certain task, and one worker will be lax in his responsibilities
and not carry out his duty. If the boss sees that the job has been
effectively completed despite the negligence of one employee, he will
the inappropriate response of that individual. Here, though, Moshe warns,
"I place before you today," with the plural form "lifneichem," implying
the job is charged upon the nation as a whole. Yet, he opens the pasuk,
"r'eih" - see - in the singular form, indicating that each and every
individual will ultimately be held responsible for his actions, regardless
of the performance of everyone else.
Rabbenu Hayyim Hakohen zs"l of Aram Soba explains that Moshe here is not
promising blessing for performance of missvot or threatening a curse, G-d
forbid, should sins be committed. Rather, he reminds them that blessing
latent within the missvot themselves, and curse is latent within the sins
themselves. One who performs a missvah brings upon himself a beracha,
one who commits a sin brings upon himself the disastrous results thereof.
The Wonders of the Creator
The Secret of Growth
A newborn baby weighs about 1/25th of his weight when he finishes growing.
As such, over then next fifteen to twenty years, each part of the body
grow and alter its form in a specific manner. The attainment of this goal
is connected to a series of events that is designed in wondrous fashion
entails far more than mere addition to size. There are major differences
proportions between a baby and an adult. Take the size of the head, for
example. The head comprises one quarter of the total size of a baby and
only one eighth of the total size of an adult. Thus, the growth process
affects not only size but also form. The hands, for example, grow in a
sophisticated manner, and don't simply develop at the same rate at all
sides. Similarly, the composition of the human face demonstrates the
ability the Al-mighty implanted within the human body to maintain proper
form and balanced proportions throughout the various stages of life. A
person's face will not change for seventy years or more in such a manner
that it cannot be recognized. How does the body maintain proper form and
size of the limbs throughout the life-cycle, even as they grow
Scientists have yet to arrive at a clear-cut answer.
Undoubtedly, the growth process is one of the most wondrous features of
creation. The inherent ability of the human body to grow in appropriate
proportions constitutes a miracle that the most knowledgeable experts
figure out. At most, researchers can arrive at a thorough knowledge of
process itself. But as to why the process unfolds this way and not any
other way - this they cannot discover. In this regard, everyone stands in
awe and amazement before a slight, minuscule fraction of divine wisdom.
may be no exaggeration to say that just as one would never expect an
to understand how human being's act, and at most they can learn to
the different reactions of people to their various modes of conduct, so
can a person never understand the wondrous ways or infinite wisdom of the
Al-mighty. Everyone, therefore, must reach the inevitable conclusion
despite his advanced intellect, despite all the knowledge he has attained
and his superiority over all other creatures, there are things which he
confess remain beyond his comprehension. Therefore, when confronted by
missvot which seem to elude human understanding and seem to have no
rationale within the framework of human intelligence, a person can
the mystery only to the limits of his own wisdom.
Just as one cannot fully understand the secret of growth, so too are
missvot in which are embedded secrets far beyond his intellectual
Halachic decisions according to Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a
arranged in the order of the Shulchan Aruch
By Rav David Yossef shlit"a
Rosh Bet Midrash "Yehaveh Da'at"
Chapter 8: The Laws of Ssissit
If one puts on a tallit in his home and then another tallit in Bet
in order to satisfy all views he should specifically have in mind that the
beracha recited over the first tallit at home should not fulfill the
requirement vis-a-vis the second tallit, to be worn in Bet Kenesset. Thus,
he must recite a second beracha when putting on the tallit in Bet Kenesset
according to all authorities.
One who removes his tallit and has in mind to put it back on, if the time
period involved is less than a half-hour, then he needs not recite a new
beracha when putting the tallit back on. Even if he used the restroom in
the interim, a new beracha is not required. But if he waited for a
half-hour or longer, then he must recite a new beracha when he puts the
If he removed his tallit with no particular intention to wear it again or
not, then if he puts it back on within a half-hour he does not recite a
beracha. This applies even if he had removed the tallit katan, as well,
even if this occurred sometime other than tefilah. Certainly if this
happened during the tefilah, he does not require a new beracha. If,
however, he put the tallit back on only after a half-hour or later, then
must recite a new beracha even if he had intended to wear it again at the
time he took it off.
However, if one removes his tallit with the specific intention that he
not put it back on, then if he decides to wear it again he must recite a
beracha, even if he put it back on immediately after taking it off.
Similarly, if one folded his tallit and placed it in its bag, this action
tantamount to specific intention not to put it back on, and a new beracha
required in the event he decides to wear it again, even immediately
One who takes off his tallit in order to wear a different tallit, and then
decides to put back on the original tallit, must recite a new beracha when
putting back the tallit, even if he puts it back on immediately after
taken it off.
One who takes off his tallit and puts on another must recite a beracha on
the second tallit, even if he had intended to put on the second tallit
he removed the first. Similarly, if one removes his tallit katan and puts
on another that is of a measurement that requires a beracha (see Halacha
Berurah, 16, regarding this measurement), he must recite a beracha on the
second tallit katan.
One whose tallit falls off of him completely and then puts it back on does
not recite a new beracha, since its requirement is in doubt, and a beracha
in never recited when its requirement is uncertain. Certainly if it did
fall off completely, a new beracha is not recited when it is returned to
body. Similarly, if the tallit falls from one's hands after he recited
beracha but before he could put it on, he does not recite a new beracha
he picks the tallit from the ground to put it on.
There is a difference of opinions among the authorities whether or not one
recites a beracha in the morning over his tallit if he slept with it
throughout the night. The Shulhan Aruch rules that a beracha is required,
but since we never recite a beracha whose requirement is in question, even
when the Shulhan Aruch does require the beracha, one should not recite a
beracha in this situation, even if he has no intention of wearing
another tallit thereafter.