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31 March 2023


Every year, Jews in America join the rest of the nation in celebrating national Thanksgiving, on the last Thursday in November. However, we Jews have our own “thanksgiving” festival, it is called Pesach!

On a regular (non-leap) year, Pesach is always preceded by parshat Tzav, (my bar mitzvah parsha). The Tur says that whenever there is a festival during the week, it is hinted at in the parsha that precedes it. It is not hard to find the hint in this week’s parsha.

JEWISH THANKSGIVING By Eliezer Meir Saidel https://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/not-on-bread-alone/jewish-thanksgiving/2023/03/30/

“And this is the law of the Peace Offering. If he brings it as part of a Toda (Thanksgiving) Offering, in addition to the animal sacrifice, he will offer Challot Matzah (matzah loaves) mixed with oil, Rekikim Matzah (matzah wafers) spread with oil and Murbechet Matzah (loaves that are boiled, baked and fried) with oil. In addition to the above, he will bring Chametz loaves. (Vayikra 7, 11-13).

Everyone knows that Pesach has its own special sacrifice – the Pascal Lamb. However, there is a second sacrifice that is integral to Pesach and that is the Toda Offering.

The Gemara (Brachot 54b) lists the four categories of people who are obliged to bring a Toda Offering. The common denominator between all these categories is that the person was in some kind of danger, from which they emerged safely – a miracle. To thank HKB”H for this miracle, they are obliged to offer a Toda. The first category is someone who returned safely from a sea voyage. The second is someone who returned safely from a journey in the desert. The third is someone who was critically ill and recovered from their illness. The final, fourth category is someone who was imprisoned and set free.

Usually, a Toda is offered by a person who fits one of the categories above. It is very rare that someone fits all four categories. There was perhaps only one instance in history when this occurred and this is when Am Yisrael left Egypt in the Exodus. We successfully crossed over (through) the (Red) sea and emerged safely on the other side. We journeyed for forty years in the desert and safely arrived in Eretz Yisrael. Before receiving the Torah HKB”H fed us Manna and water from the Well of Miriam that cured all our afflictions incurred during our slavery in Egypt. Finally, we were freed from bondage in Egypt (not necessarily in that order).

Not surprisingly therefore, in addition to bringing the Pascal Lamb offering to recall the night prior to our Exodus, we also are obliged to offer a Toda Offering. Since we have not yet merited the rebuilding of the 3rd Beit HaMikdash, we instead conduct a Pesach Seder in which we re-enact these offerings symbolically. The entire Pesach Seder is structured around elements of both these sacrifices.

Here are some examples.

At the beginning of the Seder, in the Four Questions, the youngest member of the family asks “On every other night we eat chametz together with matzah. On this night it is only matzah!” People mistakenly interpret this question at a simplistic level, that during the year we are allowed to eat both chametz and matzah foods, but on Pesach we are not allowed to eat chametz. In fact the question is much deeper – the son asking the questions is a Talmid Chacham, a learned son. The real question he is asking is why, unlike every other time a Toda is offered – together with chametz loaves, tonight’s Toda is missing the chametz loaves! The learned son sees the three matzos on the table, symbolic of the three types of matzos in the Toda, but he does not see the chametz loaves.

Has anyone wondered why after the four questions are asked, we do not give answers? Some of the answers are to be found in the continuation of the Haggadah, but this specific one only gets a partial answer. We do not eat chametz loaves because of the general prohibition of eating chametz on Pesach (for the various reasons). So how can this be considered a Toda Offering, if the chametz loaves are absent? The answer is that Pesach does not end after seven days – it really ends after fifty days, when we celebrate Shavuot. Shavuot is called Atzeret in the Torah and just like Shmini Atzeret is the culmination of the festival of Sukkot, this Atzeret is the culmination of the festival of Pesach. On Shavuot we bring a special sacrifice – the Two Loaves Offering, consisting of two chametz breads, which complete the Toda Offering begun on Pesach.

The three types of matzos in the Toda Offering all have oil included, but in different ways. The Challat Matzah (a large “pita” type loaf) has oil mixed in the dough before baking. The Rekik (thin, flat, “wafer” like matzos – similar to round, hand-made Pesach matzos) has oil spread over it after baking. The Murbechet (also a large “pita” type loaf) absorbs oil during frying. The element of oil in these matzos symbolizes holiness of various degrees. Rebi Chaim of Volozhin explains the reason behind the various incorporations of oil, that these three matzos, together with the chametz loaf, represent the Four Types of Sons in the Hagaddah.

The Maharsha says we drink four cups of wine in memory of the four types of bread in the Toda Offering.

And the list continues. In fact, each of these requires an entire shiur on its own, to fully understand the significance and the connection between the Toda Offering and the elements of the Pesach Seder. Suffice it to say that the Pesach Seder is a celebration of gratitude. It is our national day of Thanksgiving to HKB”H for freeing our forefathers from bondage in Egypt, but also a continual celebration and expression of gratitude for all the daily miracles we experience in our lives.

Chag Kasher ve’Sameach! 

Rabbi Winston – Parashas Tzav-Shabbos HaGadol


t’s interesting. Matzah is just flour and water which, the Maharal explains, is why it is representative of Olam HaBa, the World to Come. The World to Come is sublimely simple, and flour and water is about as simple as it gets when it comes to food. 

But Chometz can also be just flour and water, without the yeast, and yet it is representative of Olam HaZeh—this world. How can the same thing represent two completely opposite realities? 

The answer: time. It is the extra “ingredient” that transforms a dough into chometz. For a dough of flour and water not to become chometz, it cannot sit unworked for 18 minutes. At 18 minutes, the gematria of chai—life, a dough becomes chometz, so you either have to keep working it or bake it within that time. Hence, just as time is the fundamental difference between this transient world and the next one which is eternal, it is also the difference between matzah and chometz

Another interesting part of the matzah story to do with time is that we are told that we eat matzah because the Jewish people left Egypt b’chipazon, in a hurry and, therefore we didn’t have enough time to make bread. Yet, though Pharaoh wanted the Jewish people to leave immediately the night of the death of the firstborn, G–d said no. Instead, He delayed our departure and had us leave the next day in broad daylight in full view of the Egyptians.

So why then did we have to leave Egypt so quickly? Because we had descended to the dangerously low level of the 49th level of spiritual impurity? Not really. That was only true before the first plague had begun, which is why G–d cut the exile short. By the tenth plague, the forces of evil were down and almost out, which meant that the force of good was strong. It was Pharaoh who went door to door looking for Moshe and Aharon to beg them to leave, not the other way around.

Redemption, it would seem, like a good joke is a matter of timing. Or more accurately, it is a matter of time. In fact, it is time that we are actually escaping, what the rest of the world calls “Old Man Time.” Most enemies can be eluded in one way or another, but not time. People have searched for the fountain of youth since time immemorial, and that is really what the golden calf was about. The gold represented eternity and the calf, unbridled youth. They should have eaten matzah instead. 

WHEN YA’AKOV AVINU first stood before Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him his age. It’s not clear from Pharaoh’s question why he had to know this, but it is from Ya’akov’s answer: 

The days of the years of my sojournings are 130 years. The days of the years of my life have been few and miserable, and they have not reached the days of the years of the lives of my forefathers in the days of their sojournings. (Bereishis 47:9)

Apparently Pharaoh had been surprised by Ya’akov’s appearance. He had expected a man of G–d and father of a vibrant Yosef to look the part. Instead Ya’akov looked worn, causing Ya’akov to explain his appearance. He did in 33 words, and for each word he spoke he lost a year of life, dying at 147 years of age instead of 180 like his father, or 175 like his grandfather. 

There are discussions as to what exactly Ya’akov did wrong to be punished like that. Perhaps Ya’akov should have answered Pharaoh with something like, “Don’t worry, Pharaoh. I may look old and tired, but I’m not even going to die like the rest of you who spend so much time and money on preserving your youth.” As the Gemora says, “Ya’akov didn’t die” (Ta’anis 5b). 

And of course there is Moshe Rabbeinu. He didn’t live as long as Ya’akov Avinu, but by his time, 120 years of age was already very old. And though he reportedly went the way of most human beings, there was a huge difference: 

Moshe was 120 years old when he died. His eye had not dimmed, nor had he lost his moisture. (Devarim 34:7)

To live to 120 and retain perfect eyesight and youthful skin would be remarkable for anyone. However, Rashi explains, as remarkable as that is, it isn’t what the verse is talking about. The verse is talking about after he died: 

His eye had not dimmed: Even after he died…nor had he lost his moisture: [Even after his death,] decomposition did not take over his body, nor did the appearance of his face change. (Rashi)

Fascinating, but what good does perfect eyesight and skin do for a person after they are dead? True, we are told, the bodies of tzaddikim do not decompose after death, but did we think otherwise would have happened to the body of the great prophet of G–d to have ever lived…who was able to be on Har Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights without eating…twice…who talked to G–d face-to-face, so-to-speak? So what then is the Torah telling us?

WHY DID G–d use 10 plagues to free the Jewish people, and not just one? And why did He make the Jewish people double back and become stranded by the sea, only to save them by splitting the sea and unsplitting it to drown the Egyptians? Yetzias Mitzrayim was, in modern day language, “over the top.”

The Leshem asks this question and answers it. There was a single message in all of it that can be traced back to matzah in the end. Yes, Yetzias Mitzrayim was about physically leaving Egypt and slavery. But more importantly, it was about a higher level of freedom, one that is supposed to be part-and-parcel with being a Jew. 

This was the message inherent in the following episode in the Gemora:

One Friday night he (Rebi Chanina ben Dosa) noticed that his daughter was sad and asked her, “My daughter, why are you sad?” 

She answered, “My oil container got mixed up with my vinegar container and I lit Shabbos candles with it.”

He told her, “My daughter, Why should this trouble you? He Who had commanded the oil to burn will also command the vinegar to burn!”

A Tanna taught: The light continued to burn the whole day until they used its light for Havdalah. (Ta’anis 25a)

And she was sad about this? The rest of us would have been tickled to see the miracle, and would have gleefully called over everyone we could find to witness the spectacle! Why was such a wonderful miracle reason for concern for Rebi Chanina’s daughter?

Because miracles are not free (Shabbos 32a). If they happen for a person, they can end up costing a person a deduction of merits in the World to Come. That’s a little like cashing in your retirement savings plan early and paying all the taxes, instead of waiting for retirement and paying almost no taxes. Rebi Chanina’s daughter probably would have rather gone one Shabbos without light than cash in on future merits to make vinegar burn for 26 hours. 

So Rebi Chanina, who was no stranger to miracles, put things into perspective for his daughter. A miracle is only a miracle, he reminded her, for the person who believes in the rigidity of nature. For the person who lives with the reality that nature is just consistent miracle, then vinegar burning like oil is just as “natural” as oil burning as oil. 

That wasn’t just a message for the daughter of Rebi Chanina. It was also a message for the entire Jewish people throughout history. It was a message that G–d Himself personally delivered through all the miracles He performed for the Jewish people “over the top.” It is also the fundamental message of matzah, as well as this statement in Pirkei Avos:

This world is like a corridor before the World to Come. Rectify yourself in the corridor in order to be able to enter the Banquet Hall (Pirkei Avos 4:16).

Rectify ourselves how? By using every moment that we have in this time-bound world to earn reward in timeless Olam HaBa. And as we do this, we don’t just earn eternal life in the World to Come, we begin to experience it even in this world, even while the rest of the world remains enslaved to time and death. 

Externally to an onlooker, such a person may not look any different than anyone else. But to the person themself, the difference is remarkable and exhilarating. Because at the end of the day, time only matters to people who are bound by it. But what difference does it make if a person lives a 100-year old mediocre life, or 80 years that feel like the bliss of Olam HaBa, even just a little?

A huge difference, but not for the 100-year old, but for the 80-year old. The 100-year old will die feeling at least 100, but the 80-year old will die feeling as if they lived a wonderful eternity within only 80 years. This is what the matzah tells us, that by living by Torah and rising above time, we avoid becoming “chometz” and weighed down by this very temporal world.

Ain Od Milvado, Part 45

THIS IS ALSO what helps a person properly integrate the reality of ain od Milvado, which is what we’re aiming for the night of the Seder. The entire Seder has been set up to help us achieve this by reminding us how far G–d was, and is, willing to bend the “laws” of nature for the Jewish people. 

Like someone bending hard metal, G–d bent the laws of nature slowly, step by step. He began with miracles that could be mistaken for sorcery. Then performed miracles that forced the Egyptians to admit it was the “finger of G–d.” These were finally followed by miracles that were clearly the “hand” and outstretched “arm” of G–d. We were shown this, G–d later told us, so that we could know that G–d is our G–d, and there is none other than Him.

This is why, even though we have a deadline of Chatzos to eat the Afikomen, a sense of timelessness seems to pervade the evening. It just seems to be there in the background, especially when the Haggadah and Seder seem to somehow connect us through time with the first Seder in Mitzrayim. It’s not just fun we’re having. It is another world experience we get to enjoy, as light from the future reality of Techiyas HaMeisim—resurrection of the dead—seeps into our reality in the here-and-now.

Mitzrayim was, and remains to be, a dead weight that drags us back down to the temporal reality of this mundane world. The name itself implies constriction, physical constriction and the constriction of time. Most of the week it pulls at us through all the concerns of everyday life, especially as chaos makes its way back into our history.

We’re supposed to leave all that behind at Seder, and really for the whole week of Pesach. The light that comes down that night until Chatzos is from a period of time when all evil and mundanity will be no more, and time will be far less binding. We’re supposed to achieve this all year round though learning Torah and performing mitzvos, but an overly academic approach to both limits their impact on us. The Seder, by lifting us above that approach to life, is supposed to re-ignite our more spiritual and eternal potential. 

My book Redemption to Redemption goes into a lot more detail about this, and especially with respect to the Haggadah itself. 

Chag Kasher Pesach v’Samayach. Have a wonderful and “liberating” Seder and Pesach

Pinchas Winston

Reb Neuberger – Pesach: What’s The Big Deal About Chometz?


Why are we so strict? 

Why does every crumb of chometz have to be eliminated? 

About fifty-seven years ago, I found G-d. I have written about this time and again, but I want to make a point. On January 10, 1966, when I awoke in the middle of the night and our life was falling apart, I was desperate. Either I was going into a mental institution, G-d forbid, or I was going to find light in the darkness. 

When tottering on the abyss, I finally opened my eyes and saw G-d in front of me.

The same thing happened, I believe, in Ancient Egypt. When the Children of Israel sunk to the forty-ninth level of tumah, they were either going to disappear as a unique entity or they were going to find the Source of Life. They were tottering on the edge of the cliff, and that can – to put it mildly – wake you up. 

Once you realize that G-d exists, it is a mighty struggle to extricate yourself from the mud and arise to the service of Hashem. It is exhilarating, but it takes all your strength. As we say in Lecha Dodi, “arise and depart from amid the upheaval. Too long have you dwelled in the valley of weeping.” 

I recently watched a National Geographic video of a man sinking in quicksand. Even though the rescue squad was standing by – three trained men with specialized equipment -- it was still extremely frightening. The mud was sucking his legs downward. It was actually painful to be extricated and he was a wreck from the experience. 

This, my friends, is Golus. It pulls you down and locks you in. In that situation, you need extreme measures to extricate yourself. Every Friday night, we need Shabbos to pull us out of the weekday mode and bring our neshomas back to immersion in Hashem’s world. 

In Ancient Egypt, we needed extreme measures to separate ourselves from the culture that threatened to eat us alive. The Torah describes what specific “specialized equipment” Hashem instituted to free us: 

  • Bris milah, which was an antidote to Egypt’s pervasive sexual immorality.
  • Korban Pesach, in which we slaughtered and ate the lamb, thus freeing us from subservience to the Egyptian idol. 
  • And matzah, when we stopped being slaves to our appetites. 

When you are sinking in the quicksand, you need heroic measures to pull you out. 

In the account of Moshe Rabbeinu’s reaction to the sin of the Golden Calf, the Torah inserts a surprising detail: “[Moshe’s] servant, Yehoshua bin Nun, would not depart from within the tent.” According to Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l, “the Torah is teaching us that … Yehoshua did not organize demonstrations or fight …. Rather, despite it being such a volatile time, he stayed focused on his learning in the tent.” (Artscroll “Rav Chaim,” p. 490)

Right now, there are disruptive demonstrations in Israel. 

My friends, at this very point in history, the entire world is becoming unified in hatred of Am Yisroel, the Jewish People. All over the globe, the black flower of hatred is sprouting in unexpected places. I saw a headline in a Jewish publication about apparent anti-Semitism at a major American airport, as if we should be surprised. A distinguished Jewish professor at Harvard publicly expressed his perception that, somehow, pervasive hatred of Jews is becoming impossible to ignore all over America. 

Do you think it’s confined to America? 

In the days before Moshiach, Chazal tell us that, if we do not do return to Hashem, Hashem will “appoint a king over [us] whose decrees will be as harsh as [those of] Haman.” (Sanhedrin 97b) When the anti-Semites get their act together, we are going to find that, just like Hitler, ymak Shemo, today’s Jew haters are not going to distinguish between left-wing Jews and right-wing Jews. We are all going to find ourselves in one basket, and from there we will have only One Place to turn when we cry out for help!

Rabbi Kalman Krohn zt”l was riding in a taxi in Yerushalayim. The driver looked totally non-observant. Rabbi Krohn said to him, “You know, we are all brothers.” The driver was laughing. “What do you and I have in common?” Rabbi Krohn said, “It’s true. My Rebbe told me.” The driver said, “Who was your Rebbe?” 

Here is Rabbi Krohn’s two-word answer: “Adolf Hitler!”

The driver started to shake and almost drove off the road! 

My friends, this is our world. The tsunami is approaching. It is time to wake up and cry out to Hashem as our ancestors cried out in Ancient Egypt. Right now, we have to get rid of the chometz and summon ourselves to the supreme effort of extricating ourselves from the quicksand. “Ana Hashem hoshia na! …. Please Hashem save us now!”

May we soon stand in loving brotherhood in the Courtyards of Hashem’s Sanctuary. 

L’shana ha ze b’Yerushalayim habnua! This year in Yerushalayim b’ezras Hashem!




Chazal: The rabbis of the Mishna and Gemora

Chometz: Leavening, which must be eliminated on Passover

Golus: Exile

Neshomah: Soul

Pesach: Passover

Tumah: Impurity

Yehoshua bin Nun: Joshua, Moses’ successor

Ymak shemo: May his name be ground to dust 

The spiritual defect of a depleted pocket

Selected commentators explain why the priests had to be urged to bring the burnt offering as opposed to other offerings

Parshat Tsav opens with the words (6:1-2):’And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying; צו: command Aaron and his sons, saying:’This is the Law of the burnt-offering’.

Rashi brings the commentary of the Torat Kohanim:’The expression צו: command, always denotes urging, for the present and also for furure generations. Rabbi Shimon taight: scripture needs to urge where monetary loss is involved’ in performing the Mitzvah.

Rav David haLevi Segal, in his commentary on Rashi, Divrei David, expounds:’It seems that Rashi came to explain why צו was said here, when it is, in fact, common to all the offerings, that they apply ‘now and for future generations’.

‘He therefore answers, that in all the offerings other than the burnt-offering, there is a benefit to the Kohanim in that they receive part of the meat of the animal offered. Therefore, they will surely act with alacrity, lest the other Kohanim precede them, and they ‘lose’ their share.

‘This is not the situation in the case of the burnt-offering, as all of the animal offered is consumed on the altar, and this results in חסרון כיס: ‘a loss of pocket’, as by engaging in it, he loses the opportunity to engage in a financially profitable activity in that time.

‘Therefore there is a reason to be concerned at the possible tardiness of the Kohanim, and to especially ‘urge’ them.

‘This is why this injunction is said regarding the burnt-offering.

‘This appears to be more correct than the other explanations which have been given by the parshanim.’

Rabbi Menachem ben Zerach, in his commenrary on Rashi, Tzeda laDerech, expounds that:’Each time the Kohanim were required to offer a burnt-offering, they needed to be adjured to act promptly, because of the consideration that it involved a חסרון כיס: ‘a monetary loss’.

“This is due to the lesson our Sages learned from the incident recorded in the Yerushalmi (Terumot 8,4):’ The sage, Rabbi Yochanan, greatly upset at the loss of money, was unable to answer a question on the Torah. They said to him: Because of your monetary loss, you lost your wisdom? ‘Yes’ he replied, ‘my wisdom is dependent on my heart, and my heart on my money.’

‘From this Rabbi Shimon derived his admonition: as each time the Kohen is called upon to offer the burn-offering, the concern that it involves ‘monetary loss’ - as he has no benefit from it, unlike the other korbanot - may lead to him not performing the offering completely as required.

‘This is the reason for the special admonition of Rabbi Shimon’.

The Kli Yakar offers another explanation:’The command is for the Kohanim ‘to say’ to all generations, to teach them that ‘this is the Torah of the burn-offering’ - and similarly the Torah of the other korbanot - and, presumably they could not charge for teaching, bearing in mind the injunction of the Sages (Nedarim 37.): Hashem said ’Just as I taught you without charge, so too shall you do’.

‘Further, the Kohanim were presumably not wealthy, as they had no share in the Land, and depended for their sustenance on the rewards for their service in the Mishkan, there was a real concern that their worry for their ‘depleted pocket’ may cause them to ‘lose their minds’.

‘Therefore the Torah saw the need to urge them to perform their duty as the teachers of Torah with alacrity, notwithstanding that it caused them חסרון כיס: a depleted pocket’’.

The Chatam Sofer expands this concern, saying:’Since the Kohanim were the teachers of Torah, it was their duty to teach the people that one who engages in the study of the Torah of an offering, is deemed as if he has actually offered up that korban on the altar.

‘This is the purport of the injunction of Rabbi Shimon. For the people, this was a great benefit - as they could, by learning this Torah, not have the expense of offering the animal - but, at the very same time, it meant a loss of income to the Kohanim, because, as a result of they teaching this to the people, they would no longer have to bring offerings to the altar, and there would be no share of the offerings - of the meat in the other offerings, and of the skin of the burnt-offering - and, to them, there would be a חסרון כיס: a loss of income.

‘Therefore, Rabbi Shimon, said that, because the loss to the Kohanim from teaching this to the people, the Kohanim needed especially to be urged to teach.’

Rav Elimelech mi Lida adds:’There are many other Mitzvot that require a חסרון כיס: an outlay of money, such as Succah, the four minim, and tzitzit, yet we don’t find that the Torah used the word צו - from which our Sages derived our teaching - in regard to them.

‘However, it is known that the Kohanim were charged with teaching Torah to the people; yet, by doing so, they removed from the people idolatrous thoughts, and brought them to true awe and emunah in Hashem- this, as the Rambam teaches, being the purpose of the offerings of the korbanot in the Sanctuary, to wean the people away from idil worship, and the like.

‘As a result, the people would be less likely to transgress, and therefore the livelihood of the Kohanim - their part in the animals offered being greatly reduced - would adversely affect the Kohanim, and result in a חסרון כיס: a loss of their parnasa, and they likely would be disinclined to teach the people Torah.

‘This is why the Torah here brought its injunction, and why Rabbi Shimon saw the need to add his admonition, that they needed to be urged ESPECIALLY where there was a financial loss.’

The Chidushei Ha’Rim brings a beautiful new interpretation of Rabbi Shimon’s admonition:’The place where there is חסרון כיס: literally, the lack of a pocket: of a covering, is for our thoughts.

‘All of the organs by which we communicate with the world around us- and those to whom we relate - have ‘a cover’ against their misuse, and transgressing: the eyes have the cover of the eyelids, enabling us to cease looking at improper images; the tongue has the lips, to close lest we say inappropriate words; the ears can be blocked from hearing improper talk, by folding the outside inwards, to block out the improper talk, and so too, the other organs.

‘Only our thoughts have no such cover, or protection, and this is what is alluded to by the burnt-offering, as it comes to atone for improper thoughts.’

Rav Pinchas Friedman sweetens this insight, noting:’The author of the teaching that the burnt-offering atoned for improper thoughts, was Rabbi Shimon; the very same sage who now adjured us of the need to be especially diligent in regard to Mitzvot which ‘have no cover’ - which the Chidushei Ha’rim taught alluded to improper thoughts - and thus the two teachings of Rabbi Shimon perfectly complement one another.’

Rav Friedman goes on to enrich our souls, with his insight into the teaching that, by using the phrase ‘This is the Torah of ..’ each of the offerings, we learn that learning the Torah portion on a particular offering, is deemed as if that person actually brought that offering to the altar.

‘The Torah here reveals to us a wonderful segulah: a remedy, , a ‘pocket’, as it were, to shield againsr improper thoughts, for which, as we have learned, one would have had to bring a burnt-offering, as an atonement.

‘Learning Torah is, in itself, the best cover against improper thoughts! Indeed, it has an important advantage over even bringing a burnt-offering - whereas the offering atones for improper thoughts that a person has had - after he has already transgressed - learning Torah precludes improper thoughts coming to a person’s mind, and prevents transgression.

‘There is, therefore, no better כיס to cover the ‘uncovered’ thoughts of a person, and to assist a person, than engaging in the study of Torah, to only think appropriate, proper thoughts.’

A parting caveat: After we have brought the interpretations of some of the great parshanim, to get a better understanding of the concept of חסרון כיס: ‘a depleted pocket’, the Kli Yakar, in his sefer, Olelot Ephraim, brings a very different - a contrary - insight, into this subject.

Our Sages, in the Gemara (Avoda Zara 3) relate that Hashem will, at the end of days, say to the Nations of the world:’I have a מצוה קלה: an ‘easy’ Mitzvah, Succah, come and accept My yoke; and why is it an easy Mitzvah? Because אין בה חסרון כיס: it does not require expending money.’

Comments the Kli Yakar:’ There is a wondrous allusion here to those who put their trust in Hashem, that they will never feel that they have a חסרון כיס: a depletion of their pocket, because, in their trust in Hashem, they are happy with their lot, be it plentiful or meagre.

‘On the other hand, one who ‘departs from the Succah’ - who does not put his trust in Hashem and His providence - will never be satisfied, as he will always feel that his pocket is lacking, and strive endlessly to acquire more.’

With your leave, may we not derive from this insight a further lesson to guide our lives: A person whose concern, when asked to expend money for a Mitzvah, is that this would ‘deplete his pocket’, is, in reality, testifying that he lacks faith.

The Kuzari teaches that each opportunity to perform a Mitzvah, is an invitation from Hashem, for the person to come closer to Him.

It is a tenet of our faith, that all comes from Hashem, and is His (Avot 3:7), how, then, does one even reduce the zechut of a Mitzvah coming one’s way, to money terms.

If, ר׳ל, this consideration arises in a person’s mind, then it is not that ‘his pocket is depleted’, but, rather, ‘that his faith is depleted’ - and he should pray fervently to His Creator to heal him from his ‘spiritual defect’.

Duplicity in Action — Police impartiality?


Police impartiality? ProReform protest organizers threatened with arrest
Anti-government protesters block roads and ports, while pro-reform protesters are banned from handing out ribbons

In Tel Aviv, anti-government protests are descending into scenes of chaos, with protesters breaking onto the Ayalon Highway and being detained for engaging in violence. In Haifa, a group of Navy reservists sailed small boats into the harbor and blocked the port. In Jerusalem, five people were arrested on suspicion of having participated in a spray-painting of downtown streets, leading the Supreme Court, now decorated with a wide swathe of pink and red, apparently to represent the link between the Supreme Court and "culture, sport, leisure, and freedom of expression.

Meanwhile, protesters calling to "paint the country blue" and demonstrate their support of the government's judicial reform package are being threatened by police, ordered to stop handing out blue ribbons, and prevented from giving leaflets to passers-by explaining what the reforms are all about.

[…]  Israel Police has been coopted by the anti-reform protests. Those opposing the reforms are being allowed to run amok and cause disruption, block roads, and damage public property, while peaceful, legal, and legitimate protests in support of the reform are being called criminals and are threatened with arrest. 

The conduct of the police is yet another piece of evidence showing why the State of Israel needs to get back on track and why we need judicial reform."
Listen to Israeli police heresy and read more at here http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/368810


FM Cohen Belongs to the same club as Gallant, n w o club! See http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/369418

30 March 2023

Leah From Itamar – Pesach 2023

I open the handsome rusty gate to the vineyard here on Itamar, still cold to my touch. The grapevines are returning to life after a chilled sleep. Spring is here and with it the month of Nissan and Pesach. Soon the bleak feeling will give way to softer days, bluer skies and balmy nights. The wheat fields billow in the April wind that sweeps through the winding pass through the mountains here. Now their color is a bright Kelly green that says “Israel is alive”. 

This is the way Israel perceived the Land as they entered Eretz Yisrael at the very same time of the year we left Egypt. The cyclical cycle of it has it the time of departure yet the time of arrival forty years later. Walking through the mountain pass, the Exodus has me understanding Pesach a whole new way.

It was the night of matzoh- the night the manna stopped falling from the sky, ” This night is matzoh”. This historic event happened right here, a walk through the ravine from the Jordan River to the two mountains of the Blessing and Curse- it all happened here, pinch me.

The Exodus was a national event that echoes till today. We are taught through the generations to keep the embers of the story alive in order to reach THIS DAY! Never before has the history of our people been so privileged to live restoration as we strive to now, as we build up the heart of Israel, in the very place our Patriarchs and Matriarchs walked and lived and loved. That happened even before we were slaves in Egypt! Israel has always been our home and we long for it. 

Here the birth pangs of redemption rave, we struggle with the tests put before us as Abraham was tested and many of our prophets. ” This night we eat bitter herbs”. There is a struggle going on now. We seek liberty to do the word of Hashem, involving also tremendous needs for resources to literally pave the way here. 

The concerted efforts of foreign governments to block restoration here in our ancestral land has put up many challenges for us that truthfully we would not have been able to overcome if it weren’t for you and your care and generosity towards us. Thank you! “This night we dip in salt water”. I am literally crying.

The time between Purim and Pesach is always rigorous. The demands put on us are intense for everyone. This is a time of great DOING.  We have been blessed to help Alan Hirsh for many years now with his Matzo fund – Bnei Israel. We continue from this very house to assist in Pesach food package distribution for 24 yishuvim in the Shomron, Binyamin and Jordan valley area. 

Suppliers had to cope with getting through the chokepoint of Huwara, the nightmare that has also sprung to life alongside our lives here. Truck drivers and volunteers drove to and from Itamar with tons of chickens, grape juice, wine, olive oil, Matzohs, potatoes, eggs, and other provisions.

 It is our opportunity to thank all of those who donated to this project – You are not only feeding families but you are encouraging them in your acts of kindness- May Hashem bless you for giving to this incredible endeavor. 

This Pesach project could not have been accomplished without the complete self -sacrifice of dear Alan- TODA RABA RABA from all of us here on Itamar and the hilltops and surrounding farms as well as all the yishuvim that received these relief packages! HALLELUYAH!

Now that our service in this has been completed, I will now attempt to tackle the curtains, windowpanes sinks, drawers, bed linens, boil down the kitchen (Moshe is a Pesach freak!) and all the “regular” chores that need to get done. 

My desire is really to go out to the fields and pick prime temp flowers but that will have to wait till later -when we are all free!          


And let’s not forget, WELCOME HOME DAVID

Another Attack . . . World War 2 in Tel Aviv

 . . .but this was perpetrated in the same way and manner as the Modus operendi  of the Arabs; however the attack came from (non-) Jewish Israelis. They learn well from their cousin terrorists — the Huwara signature!

Chareidi Couple Brutally Attacked By Israeli Left-Wing Demonstrators: ‘We Were Nearly Lynched’

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — During the course of Sunday’s furious anti-reform demonstrations in the wake of the firing of Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, a chareidi couple happened to reach Kaplan street in Tel Aviv in their car, the center of the protests. The couple, realizing their error, tried to make a U-turn but tens of demonstrators banged on their car windows and screamed epithets at them.

The couple tried to wend their way through the protesters but were blocked. When the husband saw that he could not bypass the protesters, he decided to open the door and talk with them. The protesters proceeded to punch him brutally in the face, with one of them sticking a flag into his cheek, tearing the flesh.

The husband took a few steps back and said that he was about to faint and couldn’t see properly. The panic-stricken wife asked the protesters to help but none did until she entreated one young man, who took them to the nearest hospital.

When the woman called police she was told that all forces were deployed and nobody could come to her. Later, after the husband had somewhat recovered, he submitted a complaint to police who have yet to apprehend the aggressors.

The woman later described the horrific scenes she had been forced to see, as one protester said: “Take the engine out the car, let him bleed to death.” She added that “I couldn’t drive in such a situation so I begged a young man to take him to hospital. They wouldn’t let us get out of there. I called police but they said they couldn’t send anyone.”

The woman said that her husband and their 19-year-old daughter are still traumatized by what he went through. “It was an absolute lynch. We didn’t want to publicize it but friends said that we must, in order that police reach these thugs and bring them to justice.”


No more turning the cheek!! The govt must lock up the protesters. Send them to an empty prison camp! Let them feel what it was like in the 40’s in Europe!

Shalom Pollack – What Happened??

 We are living in extremely dramatic historic times and as usual, that is especially so for the Jewish people and thus the Jewish country.

What has just happened in Israel?

The democratically elected government was declared illegitimate by the side that lost, the dwindling  Jewish minority. They are generally secular or anti-religious, upper-income, and demographically a shrinking minority. They are not reproducing. The Jewish majority is and they read the writing on the wall. They will never again rule this country through the honest democratic process, even with their new anti-Israel  Arab allies.
Expressions of ideological certitude and contempt, even hate, are not a problem as long as they remain in the realm of the freedoms granted by the democratic system.
Without reviewing the accusations and the political polemic on both sides,  the bottom line is that the voice of the people as reflected in the ballot box was made null and void by what ultimately was a political coup highly organized and well-funded ( Senator Cotton revealed, on the Senate floor how the US government is one of the financiers of the coup).
For the first time in Israel's history, certain members of the military stated that they would not defend the country if the government did not submit to their demands. Other vital branches of the economy including the head of the labor unions ( who did execute a  political national strike) followed suit with threats to use their powers in order to weaken and even destroy the country if their demands were not followed.
The media, academia, and judicial justified and abetted the coup.
All of the above, who found themselves the losers in the election, used their deeply entrenched unelected powers to threaten the majority and its elected government with total chaos and worse if they did not get their way. The Left has used violence and threats of violence from the beginning, most famously the sinking of the "Altalena" and Begin's passive response. "Oslo" and the mass expulsions of Jews in 2005 are further examples.
The Left employed violence as the injured Right refused to shed their brother's blood and so they submitted time and again.
And what is the root of this view of internecine violence on both sides?
Most Jews are rooted in the Jewish tradition. For them,  the love of fellow Jews is ingrained because the Torah is ingrained.
Their norm is that a Jew will not harm another Jew. It has become an identifying Jewish cultural value.
When the "Jewish" is neglected or challenged, then the accompanying identifying values are too.
That is why one side, in their rage and hate, can threaten bloodshed and destruction and mean it.
The others will not respond in kind and surrender as they did just now.
I believe that eventually the  sheer numbers of the growing Jewish majority and
a growing awareness of exactly what has just happened will win.
In 1977 when Menachem Begin's Likud party won an election for the first time, the Left did not accept the results but were satisfied that true rule was still theirs through the levers of power that they inherited and jealously guarded.
The recent putsch was about the hysteria amongst the Left minority as their most important lever, the extreme Left-wing high court was threatened with its monopoly.
They were going to hang on to their levers of power at all costs.
At all costs.
The Jewish majority,  finally given hope for a greater expression of their majority voice, was shocked and crushed by the unexpected, ferocious reaction of the losers.
A crushed majority does not stay down forever.
Numbers eventually have their impact

We have crossed an important crossroads in the history of the Jewish country.

The final chapters are yet to come.

How do I know?
I read our prophets.
They have been correct until today.

Shalom Pollack is  a tour guide and author
"Jews, Israelis and Arabs"

Weather Update

I must say this is a rather unusual pre-Pesach weather we have been experiencing. The need for the SUNSHINE is immense, both physically (us and farming) and psychologically. https://www.israelnationalnews.com (briefs)

It will be partly cloudy to cloudy today (Thur) with local rain expected from the North of the country to the Negev. There will be a significant drop in temperatures, which will be lower than normal for the season. There is a chance of snow in the Hermon Mountain accompanied by strong winds.

On Friday it will be partly cloudy to clear. Temperatures will continue to be lower than normal for the season.

On Saturday it will be partly cloudy to clear with an increase in temperatures.

Sunday is expected to be generally clear with another rise in temperatures which will be normal for the season.

Itamar ben Gvir and a New National Guard


If Ben Gvir succeeds, he will be (A HERO TO FARMERS and) the Arab Israelis’ hero  Op-ed by Dr Aaron Lerner

There is no telling how far he will go next time if Itamar Ben Gvir succeeds in delivering on the law and order campaign which turned him into the story of the last elections.

And Ben Gvir knows that.

That's why, as Minister of National Security, he fought for an unprecedented increase in the police budget, and that's also why he is pressing to implement plans for a National Guard staffed with the high quality personnel that a starting salary of NIS 12,000 a month can hire. The role of the National Guard, as Ben Gvir campaigned, is as a force which will focus on bringing law and order to the Israeli Arab communities.

The reason for making this a separate force is to insure that these resources won’t be diverted to other activities and to circumvent bureaucracy and entrenched police personnel, some of whom could be seen brazenly leading protestors who blocked the Ayalon highway.

Law and order is needed to:

#1. Free Israeli Arabs from the underworld which controls their communities and the bloody feuds which make life untenable there.

#2. End the terrible damage to Israeli agriculture caused by the Arab gangs who continuously steal from farms and destroy equipment.

#3. End the huge protection business which now impacts almost all significant construction projects in the country as well as other business sectors.

#4. Dramatically reduce the huge quantity of illegal weapons held in Arab communities which could, under certain circumstances, be turned against the Jewish State.

If Itamar Ben Gvir succeeds in this mission he will be the savior of the Israeli Arab communities, kibbutzim and moshavim engaged in agriculture and the construction industry.

How such a standing could gain expression at the ballot box in the future is one of the reasons that smart Leftists are so interested in getting rid of him.

Some are claiming that Ben Gvir would use this "private militia" against demonstrators.

In my many years of experience in protests in Israel I have never seen police use force against protestors, at a demonstration, who acted in accordance with the law.

The police do, however, use force at times against people who block roads without prior approval from the police. So "peaceful protesters" have nothing to fear from the police as they protest while "civil disobedients" who violate the law by blocking roads may most certainly face police action. But that police action isn't against "demonstrators" its against "lawbreakers". And even that was missing in the recent protests, as opposed to those held against the Gush Kati expulsion and at haredi anti-draft demonstrations.

Dr. Aaron Lerner and his late father Dr. Joseph Lerner founded the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) government accredited news organization in 1992,which provides an ongoing analysis of developments in Arab-Israeli relations

Tectonic Plate Shifts in Ethiopia – Sign of Redemption?

What might this contribute to the Redemption? A reshifting of Ethiopia?

 Tectonic plate shifts in Ethiopia show that the African continent is splitting in two – paving the way for Earth’s sixth ocean to emerge, according to researchers.

The shift between tectonic plates has been ongoing since the East African Rift – a 35-mile-long crack in Ethiopia’s desert – emerged in 2005.

The separation of the Somalian tectonic plate and the larger Nubian tectonic plate will effectively split the world’s second-largest continent in two – a phenomenon that hasn’t been observed in hundreds of millions of years when South America and Africa were divided into different continents.

The findings are based on a 2004 study on the separation of the Somalian tectonic plate and the larger Nubian tectonic plate. The study, which was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, found that the plates separate a few millimeters per year.

What will a split Africa look like?

Currently-landlocked countries in Africa, such as Ethiopia, Uganda and more will see the introduction of a coastline – expanding possibilities for trade and production. Further, the split would lead to the emergence of a new ocean.

“The Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea will flood in over the Afar region and into the East African Rift Valley and become a new ocean, and that part of East Africa will become its own separate small continent,” Ken Macdonald, a marine geophysicist and a professor emeritus at the University of California, told Mashable.

While the splitting of the African continent and the subsequent ocean that would arise holds an abundance of possibilities, the continent will not completely split for another 5 to 10 million years, according to researchers.


screenshots from video https://youtu.be/n9sn_hOJHus

Overturning the Decree of October 7th Until Chanukah - The Earthshattering Remez of the Bas Ayin

  Rabbi Daniel Glatstein Remez at 10:46 Comments : “I also heard that Teshuva can be done until 8th day of Hannukah? Ba’al Shem Tov??? Not ...