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Va’et’chanan 5779

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Va’et’chanan 5779

An indisputable fact comes to light to all who follow the weekly parasha with one eye, and current events with the other. Each parasha casts its spell on the events of its respective week. Therefore, in hindsight, we stand amazed at the correlation between the major events of this past week and the parasha; and we feel so fretfully “stupid” that, with all our knowledge of the parasha, we were unable to predict what was going to happen.

Our parasha begins with Moshe informing the Jewish nation that HaShem has turned down his pleas to enter Eretz Yisrael. Moshe is turned down 515 times (gematria of the word “va’et’chanan”), despite his iron-clad arguments proving that he has merited to perform the mother-of-all mitzvot – yishuv Eretz Yisrael – to settle in the Land of Israel.

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Vayai’tzai 5779

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Vayai’tzai 5779

Ya’akov set out for Lavan’s house to find a wife. Yet unlike Avraham’s servant Eliezer, who dozens of years beforehand had arrived at that same well, with a caravan laden with wealth, Ya’akov arrived empty-handed.

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Devarim 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Devarim 5778

The Gemara (Chagiga 5b) quotes the pasuk (Yirmiyahu 13,17):

If you do not listen, I will weep in a secret place because of glory;
My eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.

Rav Shmuel bar Inia said in the name of Rav, “HaShem has a place On High and it is called Mistarim (literally mysteries, concealment), where HaShem cries each day because of His lost glory”. In yeshiva they asked, “What is ‘the lost glory’ referring to?”

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Bamidbar 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Bamidbar 5778

Between the years 1970-72, I served as the Assistant to the Minister for Religious Affairs of the State of Israel, Rabbi Dr. Zerach Warhaftig ob”m.

It was a very interesting and enlightening period in my life, as I witnessed the inner workings of our government and met the movers and shakers of the Medina. In this position, I was privileged to make my small contribution to the national effort.

It was that period of time right after the Six Day War when the government relegated the task of restoring the plaza area adjacent to the Kotel to the Minister for Religious Affairs.

Rabbi Warhaftig published a public tender to architects to present their ideas for the Kotel plaza. After several months, five world-renowned architects met in his office to present their suggestions. Also present were the general director of the ministry, others and me as the minister’s assistant.

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Yitro 5778

»Posted in Parashat & Current Events

Yitro 5778

Yalkut Shimoni explains that the “stone”, “straw” and “lead” describes the death in the sea of three types of Egyptians: the most wicked, those in between, and the mildly wicked. The most wicked died a slow death, like “straw” on the water’s surface, which does not sink quickly. The “stone” alludes to those in between, who drowned after a bit of suffering. The “lead” refers to the mildly wicked, who died quickly, just as lead sinks quickly in water.

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Sukkot 5778

»Posted in Divrei Torah, Parashat & Current Events

Sukkot 5778

The critical factor in any sukkah is its schach (the leafy roof), which is governed by three Halachic conditions: (1) it must be from the vegetable family (grown from the earth); (2) it must be detached from the earth at the time of use; and (3) it must be an entity that cannot acquire tuma, making bread or fruit not valid material for schach.

The Zohar (Emor 103a) and kabbalists have revealed that during Sukkot the souls of the seven great leaders of Israel – Avraham, Yitzchak, Ya’akov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef and King David – appear in every kosher sukkah as ushpizin (guests). Some claim that each one appears individually on his respective night, while others claim that they appear together, with one serving as the leader in his respective night.

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