31 March 2021
As crowds pushed to receive the Priestly Blessing on Passover at the Western Wall, security personnel tried to identify priests, a task that will take on even more significance when the Third Temple is built.
As Josh Wander did explain that the mere “name check” for recognising Kohanim isn’t foolproof, as many men with last names that might identify them as kohanim, could in fact not really be so.
The guards were checking for lineage (pedigree) indicators that they are from a long line of actual Kohanim.
26 March 2021
A NEWSLETTER TO LOVERS OF ZION AND ISRAEL IN THE WORLD
A PRO-ISRAEL AND ANTI-PALESTINIAN POLITICAL AND IDEOLOGICAL REVOLUTION AMONG LEADERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN SAUDI ARABIA AND OTHER “SUNNI” ARAB COUNTRIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST WHO SIGNED PEACE WITH ISRAEL:
THE ISRAELI ORIENTALIST AND JOURNALIST, DR. GUY BECHOR, BRINGS THE WORDS OF SAUDI ARABIAN AUTHOR, RAWFF BIN-A-SA’IN, AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE REVOLUTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST: “MOSQUE ‘AL AQSA’ ON THE JEWISH TEMPLE MOUNT – A PALESTINIAN LIE. MUHAMMAD NEVER FLEW TO HEAVEN FROM THE JEWISH TEMPLE MOUNT IN JERUSALEM, BUT FROM THE REAL ‘AL AQSA’ WHICH EXISTS IN SAUDI ARABIA. ‘PALESTINE’…THERE IS NO SUCH NATION. ALL THE HOLY LAND BELONGS ONLY TO ISRAEL.”
THE FAITHFUL MOVEMENT CALLS THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL: “BUILD THE TEMPLE! THE ENTIRE WORLD IS EXPECTING ISRAEL TO DO SO.”
The Middle East changes its face: Pro-Israel and “anti-Palestinian” political and ideological ideas are publicized in Arab Muslim countries. After 73 years of Arab attempts to destroy Israel and to eliminate the Jewish people and the State of Israel and seven strategic wars against the people of G-D, we now start to see a new political era opening with Arab nations forming open relationships with Israel. The Arab states of Bahrain, the Arab Emirates, and Morocco have recently signed peace agreements and diplomatic relationships with the State of Israel. Saudi Arabia, a key Arab country, still conducts a non-official but friendly relationship with Israel. Not long ago, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, visited Saudi Arabia and met secretly with the crown prince and son of the king of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Bin Salmon. Even more recently Netanyahu met openly with Crown Prince Bin Salmon. Political observers say that Saudi Arabia and Sudan are about to sign peace and diplomatic agreements with Israel. Other “Sunni” Muslim countries are also on their way to do it.
Behind this political development in the Middle East is the former president of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump, and this political revolution in the Middle East should be written in honor of his name. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, also fulfilled a strategically important role in these revolutionary events. President Donald Trump started to build the new Middle East of peace based on a covenant with Israel to stop Iran and its preparations to build nuclear weapons. If Iran ever became nuclear-armed, it would give this “Shi’a” (Shi’ite) country the ability to fulfill its satanic plans to destroy Israel and to occupy and control the “Sunni” Arab countries in the Middle East. Already Iran launches missile attacks against Saudi Arabia through her Shia “Houthi” agents in Yemen. Iran is doing everything to surround Israel by the Shia terror organization of Hezbollah in Lebanon and by Shia terrorists in the Sinai. Iran is building military bases and sending military-trained terrorists to Syria and Iraq. The goal of Iran is to bring to pass what her extremist Islamic leaders desire and that is to destroy and to eliminate the State of Israel. More than this and from time-to-time, Iran sends groups of terrorists to attack Christian centers in Europe and the UK and even sends terrorists to the United States of America. Iran is building long-distance missiles to attack Europe and the United States with efforts to make and to change the political status quo in the Christian countries and to convert them and force them to accept Islam. Muslims in England have stated that soon the Queen of England will be Muslim. The main obstacle in the way of all of Iran’s satanic plans is the State of Israel and the people of G-D.
Unfortunately, the latest American national election changed the political position of the United States when President Joe Biden was elected to be the president. It appears that he is acting to change the political development and progress that former President Donald Trump advanced in the Middle East and the world. President Biden, as it was published, seeks to sign again a new nuclear agreement with Iran like the earlier nuclear agreement that Europe and former President Obama signed. Here, we should say that Israel prepares herself to face any such dangerous situation and calls the western world not to renew and sign the false and dangerous agreement that former President Obama made with Iran. Israel is determined to stop and eliminate the satanic plans of Iran. Israel declares to the world at this critical time, “We prepare ourselves, even if we shall be alone, to stop the satanic plans of Iran. To those who say that Israel has secret weapons, we say: ‘The G-D of Israel is our greatest, what you call, secret weapon and He will judge Iran as He judged all the enemies of Israel along its history!’ “
A very well-known Saudi Arabian author, Rawff Bin-A-Sa’in, claims “the Al Aqsa mosque on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem to which the so-called ‘Palestinians’ declare Muhammad flew on his horse from Mecca in Saudi Arabia” is a Palestinian lie. The Al Aqsa mosque on the Jewish Temple Mount did not exist in the lifetime of Muhammad. This mosque was built 60 years after the death of Muhammad.” The Saudi author addresses Palestinians: “So, your claim that Muhammad flew to it on his horse from Mecca and then from this mosque up to heaven is a big lie. Muhammad flew to the real ‘Al Aqsa’ mosque which exists only in Saudi Arabia at the edge of Medina. So, whom do you think you are fooling...?”
Furthermore, Bin-A-Sa’in says: “You, ‘Palestinians’, are not a nation, you are remnants of other nations. The land that you claim as yours is the Land of Israel and it belongs to Israel, not to you. The former prime ministers of Israel: Shamir, Rabin, Sharon, and Golda Meir, and others were all heroes, but Netanyahu is afraid to remove you out from the Land of Israel. So, Netanyahu, throw out this gang! Let them emigrate from the Land of Israel and free the world from them.”
The Saudi Arabian author, Rawff Bin-A-Sa’in, continues: “You, the Palestinians, spread evil in every place that you go. We, the Saudi Arabians, supported you ever since 1948 but you just cursed us, and wished us evil. You are wicked. You are not honest people.” Rawff Bin-A-Sa’in continues, “Betrayal is in your blood. I would prefer to sleep as a Jew and not as a Palestinian. I will invite a Jew to my home, or I will feed him and give him drink from all the best that I have at my home, but I will not do it with a Palestinian.”
The Saudi author continues to address the Palestinians: “Whom are you trying to confuse? You asked us to financially support you and ‘to save Palestine and to save the Arabs’. But you are not Arabs. We gave you money and now you curse us, and you curse everyone who donated to you? Is this faithfulness, ethical, and moral? The children of Israel are living on their own ground and Land. This is not your ground or your Land.”
The Saudi author, Rawff Bin-A-Sa’in, continues, “You are claiming that the Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was built in the year 72 of the Hijri calendar (Islamic calendar) and that this mosque (on the Temple Mount) is the mosque from which Mohammad flew up to heaven which means 60 years after the death of Mohammad. But how can it be if this mosque was built 60 years after the death of Mohammad? How can it be that he flew together with his horse from this mosque to heaven as you say? This story about the Al Aqsa is just a lie. Whom are you trying to fool…?”
The Israeli journalist, Zvi Yehezkeli, says that all these words of the Saudi Arabian author, Rawff Bin-A-Sa’in, express what the Saudi Arabians are currently saying about the Al Aqsa story. Yehezkeli also said that the Saudi prince, Bandar Bin Sultan, who expresses the ideas of the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Saudi Arabian royalty administration, crucified very sharply the “Palestinian” leadership. Additionally, the Israeli Arab journalist and researcher of the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Khaled Abu Toameh, says very clearly: “In the historical argument between the Jews and the Palestinians, the Jews are justified, and they are right. The ground and the Land belong only to Israel!”
All these very sharp words and severe criticism of the Palestinians by the Arab Saudi Arabian author, Rawff Bin-A-Sa’in, were published by the Israeli journalist, Dr. Guy Bechor, in the Israeli newspaper “Yatid Ne’eman” as an example of the current political revolution in Arab countries who signed peace agreements with Israel and other Arab countries who are about to sign peace with Israel.
The Faithful Movement calls the government of Israel: “BUILD THE TEMPLE!! The entire world is expecting Israel to do so.”
IN THE ALMIGHTY G-D OF ISRAEL WE TRUST!!
AN URGENT CALL TO THE LOVERS OF ZION AND ISRAEL:
“THIS IS AN URGENT CALL TO THE FRIENDS OF THE MOVEMENT, THE LOVERS OF ZION AND ISRAEL AND EVERY ONE IN THE WORLD FOR HELP AND DONATIONS FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK OF THE FAITHFUL MOVEMENT IN JERUSALEM, ESPECIALLY AT THIS CRITICAL TIME WHEN SUCH HELP IS SO URGENTLY NEEDED, EVEN MORE THAN ANY TIME IN THE PAST. ONLY WITH YOUR HELP CAN OUR HISTORICAL G-DLY WORK BE DONE.”
Great interest and hopes for fulfillment of the goals of the Temple Faithful Movement have gained immense momentum in Israel and throughout the world. Together with the G-D of Israel and all our friends and supporters in Israel and the entire world, we are determined and anxious to fulfill these goals in the lifetime of our generation. The Covid-19 epidemic has impacted our financial situation and we need urgent help today. We are calling everyone in the world to join us and take part in the great privilege and work of the Faithful Movement. Your financial support has never been more needed, even monthly if possible, so we can direct our activities in the most timely way. Together with the G-D of Israel and you, we can do it!!
This is a call to all of you to help us complete our mission and task so that no essential part of the work will be lacking during this most special time in which we now live. G-D will bless those who bless the Faithful Movement in Israel to allow her to continue the holy work of building the House of G-D, the Third Holy Temple, on the Holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This will lead to the establishment of the kingdom of the G-D of Israel and the universe in the place where He chose to dwell among His people Israel and among all mankind. You will have a major part together with your friends in Jerusalem, who love you very much, in the most significant and godly cause ever and G-D will continue to bless you always as He promised in His Holy Word in Genesis and also by His prophet Malachi:
“I will bless those who bless you and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and put me to the test with that, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you blessing immeasurable.” Malachi 3:10
The Lovers of Zion and everyone in the world who lifts their eyes and heart to Israel are called to help us and to sponsor our holy work as that will give stability and strength to our intensive efforts.
Your help will be written in the volumes of history and in the book of appreciation of the G-D of Israel and the universe. You are considered as the pioneers of the builders of the Third Holy Temple on the Holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Thank you, we love you! You permanently dwell in our prayers, hearts, and thoughts.
~ DONATIONS ~
Donations can be made by personal check or 'Bank' money orders (not Post-Office money orders) made payable to: Temple Mount Faithful Movement and sent to the following address:
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement
P.O. Box 18325, 8 Aliash Street, Jerusalem 91182, Israel
www.templemountfaithful.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEN YOU REACH THE BOTTOM
Rabbi Yaakov Galinsky zt”l was imprisoned along with other yeshiva bocherim in 1941 in a railway boxcar bound for Siberia. There was barely any air, food or water. The train rolled along for 2500 miles; the trip lasted over one month. When they finally reached this frozen wasteland, their task – these starving yeshiva boys -- was to cut down trees so huge that it would take a ring of at least twelve men to surround them. In sub-zero temperatures, wearing rags, they had hardly any food, and I will not tell you what the cook threw into the soup.
“Do you see this gate behind me?” the camp commander told them. “You came in … but you won’t go out…. You have been sentenced to twenty-five years [for the crime of learning Torah!]. It’s possible to survive a year, maybe two … but not more. The hunger and cold will kill you…. You will never leave this place [alive].”
In fact, Rabbi Galinsky survived and reached the Holy Land!
Last week, a businessman told me that he is afraid to go into Manhattan at night. He knows a lady, a mother of children, who was attacked on the street. A bystander called the police, who dispersed the attackers, but no one was arrested. There is no bail. Stores are closing because shoplifting goes unpunished. “Rabbi Chanina, the Deputy Kohain Gadol, says: pray for the welfare of the government, because, if people did not fear it, a person would swallow his fellow alive.” (Pirkei Avos 3:2)
In Mitzraim, our ancestors sunk to the forty-ninth level of impurity before Hashem saved them. Pesach is about what happens when you reach the bottom.
Why is it that Redemption always comes at the bottom?
“In the generation that [Moshiach] the Son of Dovid will come … the entire [world] will convert to heresy …. for Rabbi Yitzchak said: [Moshiach] will not come until the entire [world] converts to heresy.” (Sanhedrin 97a) The Gemora supports that statement with a verse from the Torah: “All of it has turned white; it is pure.” (Vayikra 13:13) This verse alludes to the sickness called “tzara’as.” According to halacha, when tzara’as covers part of a person’s body, he is impure, but when it covers his entire body, he is pure. (Negaim 8:1) Similarly, “when heresy spreads across the entire world, the time for redemption has come.” (Sanhedrin 97a)
When I was 23 years old and we had been married a few years, our world seemed to be caving in. Suddenly, just before the bottom fell out, I had this amazing realization that … perhaps G-d is real! This was when our life turned around.
Decades later, after a very difficult surgery, I had a dream. In this dream, I was in the Bais Hamikdosh, the Holy Temple! Hashem brought me there, but I had to go through the Valley of Death to get there.
At the end of Shabbos, it is traditional to sing a beautiful niggun. “Hashem is my shepherd… In lush meadows He lays me down, beside tranquil waters … He restores my soul…. Though I walk in the valley overshadowed by death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me….” (Tehillim 23) Why do we have to walk through the Valley of Death before we are redeemed?
Maybe we don’t get serious until we are scared stiff.
When the world turns dark, I suddenly find out that I need G-d.
My friends, that is what happened in Mitzraim, Ancient Egypt. That is the story of Pesach. According to all commentators, the vast majority of the Children of Israel never left Mitzraim. They were swallowed up in the Plague of Darkness.
My chavrusa sent me a story about how the Chassam Sofer would tell his family at the Pesach Seder each year how the Jews in Egypt were frightened during the Plague of the Firstborn. Locked in their houses, they heard horrible cries around them. Was it only the Egyptians, or were Jews also dying?
In the End of Days, he said, we will again be tested by fear.
In Mitzraim, only those who listened to Moshe Rabbeinu were saved. Today, the lesson has not changed: we have only the steady, quiet voice of Torah to guide us. As we enter Zman Chairusainu, the Season of our Freedom, Hashem is walking alongside us.
The darkness will end; our Redemption will come. All the words of our Prophets and Rabbis agree; there is absolute certainty. We must only hang on as our ancestors clung to the words of Moshe Rabbeinu. The sun will rise on a perfect day.
Chag Kasher v’Sameach, a sweet Pesach to Am Yisroel.
25 March 2021
Parashat Tzav Erev Pesach 5781
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
It doesn’t matter who wins the 2021 Election
This is being written on the 23rd of March 2021 on the fourth election day in two years. But from my angle of vision as a retiree from active participation in Israeli life, now perched high above the din, babel, cacophony, and discordance of our political system, I can say that it really doesn’t matter who wins or loses the election! I will explain towards the end of this article.
Every verse, word and letter in the Torah is meaningful and significant, to the extent that if even one letter is missing or damaged in a Torah scroll, that Torah scroll is invalid for public reading. Notwithstanding this adjudication, it is for us who are not erudite in the profundities of Kabala and the myriad secrets behind the Torah’s text, to relate to the verses of the Torah in a manner that is meaningful for us.
One of the most intriguing verses in the book of Shemot is in parashat Yitro:
ואשא אתכם על כנפי נשרים
And I have borne you (when leaving Egypt) on the wings of eagles.
Did Hashem actually provide every freed slave with his personal eagle? So, in addition to the literal meaning of the verse, I suggest the following:
The Torah records the physical characteristics of mammals which render them as kosher: chew its cud and have split hooves; fish must have fins and scales. However, there are no such indicators regarding species of fowl. But there is a rabbinic tradition that states that kosher birds have four characteristics: it is not a bird of prey; has an extra toe, a crop, and a gizzard that can be peeled. There are differences of opinion whether a bird needs to have all or just some of these features for it to be considered kosher, unless there is a tradition that it is kosher.
An eagle does not have even one kosher characteristic, it is mehadrin treif.
HaShem is telling us in this pasuk that He brought the Jews out of Egypt despite the fact that they were like eagles with not even one sign of what a chosen people must be. They had no Torah, no mitzvot. They were boorish and ignorant, having undergone slavery for generations. Yet HaShem freed them in order to become His chosen nation by virtue of the holy Jewish neshama that was their essence, being direct descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov, which provided them with great spiritual potential.
A Holy Jewish government
The book of Shemot ends with instructions for erecting the Mishkan — forging its implements, the Kohanic garments and choosing of the kohanim.
The book of Bamidbar details the arrangement of the tribes around the Mishkan which stood in the center of the encampment.
The Mishkan was erected within a large rectangular courtyard whose dimensions were measured in “amot” (approx. half a meter): 100 amot long in the north and south and 50 amot wide in the west and east. Approximately 50 meters long by 25 meters wide, in all 1250 square meters (or 4100 square feet).
Immediately surrounding the Mishkan to the north, south and west encamped the families of the tribe of Levi. To the east, by the entrance to the courtyard leading to the Mishkan were Moshe, Aharon and their immediate families.
On the outer perimeter of the courtyard to the north were the tribes of Dan, Naftali and Asher; to the south Re’uven, Shimon and Gad; to the west Efrayim, Menashe and Binyamin, and to the east the tribes of Yehuda, Yissachar and Zevulun. What was the rationale behind the division of the respective tribes on each of the four sides?
I submit that Dan, Naftali and Asher were placed in the north because they were destined to receive their homesteads in the north of Eretz Yisrael (Lebanon is an extension of the tribal areas of Naftali and Asher).
Reuven, Shimon and Gad were placed in the south because they were destined not to receive their homesteads on the western side of the Jordan. The homesteads of Reuven and Gad were to the east of the Jordan and Shimon was allotted an enclave within the tribe of Yehuda.
Efrayim, Menashe and Binyamin were together because they were descendants of Mother Rachel.
To the east, at the opening to the courtyard of the Mishkan, and neighbors of Moshe and Aharon were the tribes of Yehuda, Yissachar and Zevulin. Why? The Gemara in Shevuot 16a states that the classic Jewish government is composed of four separate branches: the king who was responsible for civil matters, including the military; the Kohen Gadol; the Sanhedrin which dealt with the adjudication of halachic problems, and the reigning prophet of the time.
As stated above, to the east at the entrance to the courtyard was the tribe of Yehuda from whom came the kings of Israel; the tribe of Yissachar were great scholars, with the tribe of Zevulun supplying Yissachar with the material needs which permitted them to study Torah; Moshe was the prophet and Aharon the Kohen Gadol. Meaning, at the entrance to the Mishkan’s courtyard were all four branches of the holy Jewish government which received their spiritual direction to lead HaShem’s chosen nation.
Democracy replaced by Religious Monarchy
A leap to our times… In some way we are the Biblical “eagle” which has no kosher signs, yet HaShem is bringing about our redemption from galut based on our spiritual potential.
Today the Medina has no king, no Sanhedrin, no Kohen Gadol and no prophet. Yet HaShem established Medinat Israel because of the great spiritual potential within the Jewish people here in Eretz Yisrael.
What is important to note is that all four branches of a Torah government are centered at the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim. The king’s palace was adjacent to the Mount. The Sanhedrin sat in one of the Temple’s chambers, the Bet Hamikdash was obviously there, and the source of prophecy came from the Holy of Holies.
All future meaningful activities of worldwide repercussions will be centered around Yerushalayim.
At the onset of our national unity, HaShem was aware of all the diverse possibilities of social and national administrations, including democracy. Yet He deemed most suitable for the Jewish people a monarchy supported by three other branches of government which were positioned to guide the king to be an autocratic, although “benevolent” leader. This is the appropriate and compatible form of government which can dictate common goals and direction to unify the diverse characteristics of the Jewish genius.
At some time in the not-too-distant future, democracy will be replaced here by a religious monarchy which will reform the chaos we are experiencing now.
I write this not because it will be the desire of the majority, but because it will happen due to the necessity of having a strong, charismatic leader at the helm of our nation who will guide the nation back to the Torah values for which we were chosen at Sinai by HaShem.
Pesach kasher ve’Samayach
Copyright © 5781/2021 Nachman Kahana
WE MADE it, thank G–D. We’ve made it to another Pesach, something most of us just took for granted two years ago would always be the case. If you were young enough and healthy enough, you could just assume that you’d be back for more Pesach cleaning next year, and yet another Seder.
Not this year. How many people were lost to the virus this past year who thought they’d be here this year? At least WE thought they’d be here this year. Those who made it through this year with their health, and their parnassah as well, will have much to celebrate, b”H. But many may still find it difficult to enjoy themselves this Pesach, having lost loved ones over the last year, or for any reason.
This is just another tough reminder, that the world we live in is not the ideal one we’d like to be living in. It is more like it was in Egypt when the four-fifths died, and it will be like in next week’s parsha with the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. The latter, we will see, is alluded to in this week’s parsha.
I am talking about the 12,000,000 Jews who died in the Plague of Darkness. The three-day loss of four-fifths of the Jewish population whose crime had “only” been rejection of redemption, must have been a real shocker and heart-breaker for so many of the survivors. Though the Torah ignores this part of the story, and it looks like business-as-usual for the rest of the Jewish people, it is very hard to believe that was so. It had to have affected them, even if they were extremely grateful to have survived.
Thus, at one of the most joyous and long anticipated moments in history, they had to contend with an extremely important and depressing reality. Even relatives who fight with one another feel bad if one of them meets with an untimely death. Certainly a lot of people had to have felt somewhat sad at the great loss.
Then there was the incident of Nadav and Avihu, the two older sons of Aharon HaKohen. The Jewish people had finally atoned for the sin of the golden calf, received a replacement set of tablets, built a Mishkan, and were waiting for the Divine Presence to descend and dwell upon it. It was a historic and awesome moment…that was overturned in a flash by the dramatic deaths of Nadav and Avihu.
It won’t happen until the next parsha after Pesach, but the verse:
And he slaughtered [it], and Moshe took… (Vayi-kra 8:23)
probably alludes to it. There is a shelsheles cantillation note over the Hebrew word for “and he slaughtered,” usually implying some kind of subconscious hesitation. At that stage, Moshe thought that he and Aharon were about to die, as had been foretold to him back in Parashas Tetzaveh.
Within a moment, the Jewish people went from the heights of joy to the depths of shock and mourning. The very same Kohen Gadol appointed to lead the nation in that joy, was the very father who lost his two oldest sons in the midst of it all. How could Aharon HaKohen have been expected to still function in his role to capacity?
Moshe’s response was to be expected of a brother and uncle:
Then Moshe said to Aharon, “This is what G–D said, ‘I will be sanctified through those near to Me, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” (Vayikra 10:3)
It wasn’t empty consolation. Moshe meant it. He told Aharon his brother that even though they had erred, and had died by the hand of G–D, they had been great people. But it was Aharon’s reaction that stole the moment:
And Aharon was silent. (Vayikra 10:3)
Sometimes, perhaps even most the time, power and greatness are expressed through words and actions. And on some rarer occasions, they are expressed through silence. It could be that Aharon HaKohen’s silence was the most powerful example of this in history, or close to it.
His predecessor was Avraham Avinu himself. He had just returned from passing his tenth and final test, Akeidas Yitzchak. And what was the great thing? He got to have his cake and eat it too, which is not always the case in this world. Avraham had been ready to slaughter his only child from his beloved Sarah, he had pleased G–D, and then he was told that he didn’t actually have to do it.
But when Avraham returned home to share the amazing news with his wife, she was no longer alive. While he had been away doing the will of G–D, G–D had taken her soul, and as a consequence of Akeidas Yitzchak:
The account of Sarah’s demise was juxtaposed to the binding of Yitzchak because as a result of the news of the “binding” that her son was prepared for slaughter and was almost slaughtered, her soul flew out of her, and she died. (Bereishis Rabbah 58:5)
Once again, from the heights of joy to the depths of shock and mourning, perhaps this time with a little salt rubbed into the wound. After all, it was Avraham’s test that led to her death.
Avraham’s reaction? It’s encoded in the small Chof of the word “livkosa—to cry for her” (Bereishis 23:3). It hints that Avraham did not cry excessively for his departed wife, as might have been expected from anyone else. “G–D forbid,” Avraham thought, “that anyone should think that I consider what happened to be unjust in any way!”
EMUNAH IN G–D is not all or nothing. Some people have a little faith in G–D, some have more, and some have complete faith in G–D. Tragically, some have none at all.
Faith in G–D is always necessary but difficult when life does not go as we hope, when Divine justice does not match of our idea of it. But having emunah at such times is what it really means to “go with G–D.”
We’re smart, but not smarter than G–D. We know a lot, but not nearly as much as G–D does. Of course. How could anyone think otherwise? Well, we do, a lot more often than we think. The moment we minimize the role of Hashgochah Pratis—Divine Providence—in life, and go instead with our own thinking, our own hunch, we do exactly that, some more consciously than others.
This is Olam HaZeh; everything doesn’t always add up for us. It always does for G–D, but not for us. We left Paradise, were expelled from it. We were sent into a world in which bad things happen, seemingly even to good people. Events occur that do not necessarily make sense to us, at least not right away. Rarely is victory 100 percent; there are costs, and there have been for thousands of years now.
It may not be so bad to want to have your cake and eat it too. It’s only bad if you define success that way, if you base your willingness to go the next important step upon the success of the previous one. People who thought this way have often never taken that next step, discouraged by their previous failure. Even worse, feeling abandoned by G–D, they turned their back on Him, instead choosing the comfort of slavery over the pain of freedom.
AND YET the matzah sits there on our Seder tables, teaching the same lesson. Halachically it is bread, but certainly not the one of choice for most people. The baking of bread has become an art, and people spend a fair bit of money to eat their bread of choice. Put a fresh baked challah on the table next to a piece of matzah, and the challah will win out just about every time.
As the Maharal points out, matzah is more of a symbol of the World-to-Come than it is of this world. This world is complex, complicated, and bloated. Matzah is the opposite of all three, representative of a world in which we will no longer need material pleasures to remind us that we’re alive. G–D will be the only pleasure we’ll need, and the greatest one we’ll ever know.
This makes matzah a reminder of the imperfection of this world. It’s so imperfect that we’re constantly having to compensate with one commodity or another. We need things to make us feel complete, some spiritual, many physical.
But that’s okay, because it is what makes us pursue higher levels of living. It makes us think and consider, so that we can add to our sense of personal meaning and existence. It’s the people who think that perfection already exists who have difficulty moving forward when they learn otherwise. They miss the point of this world, and stagnate spiritually.
So yes, we will sit down this Pesach and celebrate an imperfect exodus from Egyptian slavery. We may recall all the difficult times the Jewish people have had to endure over the millennia. We will probably recall many of the sad losses of the last year. But if we learn anything at all, it is that we don’t know everything, understand only some things, and have to trust in G–D for everything. The person who lives like this is the truly free person.
Chag Kosher v’Samayach.
Guest Post by Rabbi Chananya Weissman
Shalom Everyone - If your Beit Knesset is demanding that you submit a "Green Passport" in order to attend services, and if they are implying or outright telling you that this is the law, DON'T BELIEVE IT. Here are the FACTS and the LINKS TO BACK IT UP:
Synagogues and other venues have only been given "Guidance" - NOT regulations and NOT LAWS - on the suggestion of instituting "Green Passports". SYNAGOGUES ARE NOT REQUIRED BY ANY LAW - TO DEMAND A GREEN PASSPORT FROM ANYONE FOR SHUL ATTENDANCE OR ADMITTANCE.
AND ANYONE WISHING TO ATTEND SERVICES ARE NOT REQUIRED BY LAW TO SUBMIT - OR EVEN POSSESS - A GREEN PASSPORT TO ENTER OR PARTICIPATE IN SHUL SERVICES.
This means that you do NOT need ANY vaccine to attend services; this means that you do NOT need to have had Covid; this means that you do NOT need to claim an allergy exemption.
In other words: There is absolutely NO LAW - not even a regulation - that requires you to have a Green Passport to go to shul.
Here is the link to see for yourself: https://www.gov.il/en/departments/guides/ramzor-cites-guidelines?chapterIndex=4#5
Here it is:
- Houses of worship – without a Green Pass
- Occupancy: Up to 20 congregants indoors and up to 50 congregants outdoors
- Houses of worship that opt to comply with Green Pass requirements; for green pass holders
- Subject to advanced registration with the local council
- Occupancy: In a house of prayer with regular seats – up to 50% capacity. In a house of prayer without regular seats – at a ratio of one person per each 7 square meters. In any case, no more than 500 people.
- A distance of one empty seat between people who do not live together
- No eating or drinking
- A sign will be placed at the entrance to the house of prayer, indicating that this establishment complies with Green Pass requirements and presenting the local council's certificate that the application for operating under the Green Pass requirements has been filed, and an usher will be placed at the entrance to check the congregants' Green Pass certificates.
- Houses of worship are only permitted to open for prayer activities (excluding Kiddush or religious studies) all the while following the Purple Badge (HE) guidelines
What this also means is that if your shul has been having food items - even "TAKE AWAY" KIDDUSHES - they are, in fact, probably in violation of the guidelines. The guideline says nothing about the kiddushes being "taken away". It simply says no food items.
Let's be honest: When that table is set up with all these pretty boxes of "Take Away" Kiddush items, people are crowding around the table, there is no social distancing, and that, in itself, is a violation of the law.
Now, let's talk about masks: The law is clear - If you cant' breathe or having difficulty breathing, the Health Ministry advises you to REMOVE YOUR MASK. This is not only necessary to protect your health, it is part of the Basic Law that protects human needs and rights - such as the right to go to the bathroom if needed; to drink; to eat; to breathe.
MASK EXEMPTIONS: BY LAW - if one receives a mask exemption signed and stamped by their physician, EVERY SINGLE SHUL, BUILDING, MEDICAL FACILITY, SCHOOL, BUSINESS, ETC IS OBLIGATED TO RESPECT IT AND HONOR IT.
You are NOT required to wear a visor in place of a mask because, according to the medical science, visors only protect YOU, not anyone else. Therefore, Misrad HaBriut does not say that one who is exempt from a mask must wear a visor.
So - before you allow yourself to be bullied, intimidated, harassesd, or coerced by those who have either a) not bothered to get educated on the law and/or b) chosen to ignore the law - print out this email and show it to them. Most importantly - SHOW THEM THE LINKS.
"Green Passports" protect nobody. If only those entering are vaxxed, then they should feel protected, no? So why would we ban unvaccinated people? To whom are they a threat?
"Green Passports" have no medical science behind them in promoting or protecting our health. They only serve to divide the Jewish people in the Jewish state. They only serve to break up the tzibor - a spiritual crime that needs no explanation or elaboration.
Know what the law REALLY does say - not one others may tell you. It's what they choose NOT to tell you that makes this situation dangerous as they strip away your rights, your social health, your mental and emotional health, and most importantly your dignity.
After a year of so much separation, fear, anxiety it is time to come together as a community, to stand up for ourselves AND EACH OTHER, and not allow the bullies to feed us nonsense by claiming an authority they do not have.
Please feel free to forward this to everyone and anyone you like.
Wishing you a healthy, happy, meaningful Shabbat and Chag Kasher v'smeach!
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