Parshas Eikev – Kotzk – Vorka

Parshas Eikev

22 AV 5776 – August 27, 2016

Pesach

Chapter 8, Verse 14: “Vram Levavcha” –  “and your heart grow s haughty”

Kotzk and Vorka

Pesach came in for Shabbos to be with my mother. It is always great seeing him. Friday night we stayed up to 11:30 PM talking about Bubby and Zedi Sklar.  Bubbi and Zedi Sklar’s trip to Israel in 1962, Pesach’s trip to Israel in 1960 to learn in Yeshiva.  Pesach got Bubby and Zedi a room at the hotel Tzfania, not exactly a 5 star hotel, but served its purpose.  Zedi wanted to go to Meron on Lag Ba’omer, however knew that Bubbi would not let him go.  Zedi made up with Pesach for Pesach to go to Zedi’s hotel room at 2:00 AM, lightly knock on the door, and Zedi  would come out.   They hopped on a bus to Meron.  Imagine, Zedi sneaking out at 2:00 in the morning.  What would Bubby  think when she woke up and Zedi would be gone all day.  For Zedi it was an Avodas Hakodash and not a tourist trip.  Pesach also with detail talked about his trip from Chicago to Israel on  a two week boat trip aboard the SS Zion, a Zim Lines passenger ship;  and back on a Greek passenger line. As only Pesach can tell a story, we laughed, reminisced, and laughed.

Shabbos morning was a normal Shabbos. Went home to eat and then went to Mayer’s  house to have Cholent for the third time.

At Sholosh Suedas Pesach, Mayer, my mother, and myself washed and had gefilte fish, Matzah, and salad.   I spoke the following words of Torah:

Dvorim Chapter 8, Verse 14 says:

יד: וְרָם לְבָבֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ אֶת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:

14:  and your heart grows haughty, and you forget the Lord, your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,

The simple explanation is that you will become arrogant, forget God, you will go astray and worship idols. The Ibn Ezra explains it differently.  You will be come arrogant, you will forget that once you were slaves, forget that once you were poverty stricken, and forget that God provided for you when you were down.  The Ibn Ezra is saying that you will not go astray, you will not worship idols, rather you will remain Orthodox and keep Gods commandments, but your heart will turn to stone, you will not have empathy for your fellow Jews.  This will lead to demeaning other Orthodox Jews, hatred for the sake of hatred, all the while , going to Shul three times a day, even learning Torah, and wearing a big Yarmulke.  How else do you explain many of the disagreements in Israel.  It almost seems that it todays world certain segments of Klal Yisroel forgot there was a Holocaust.

Today is Shabbos Mvorchim.  Chazzan Silber has a beautiful Nusach for the Yehi Ratzon.  I was looking up the English translation and saw that Artscroll explained “Chaverim Kol Yisroel” as ” All Israel becoming Comrades”.   I decied to look further into the translation of “Chaverim Kol Yisroel”.  A second translation not found in any of the English prayer books is that we are joined together like two pieces of metal are soldered together so they appear as one piece but are actually two pieces.  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks translates these words as “so that all Israel may be united in friendship.”  However, the Birnbaum Siddur explained it that all Jews are “knitted together”.  It is interesting that the same words are translated differently, and each while similar have different connotations, which reflect Haskafah, and time of history.  Refer to end of this post to explains the differences in interpretation.

Philip Birnbaum is the highest level, the knitting together, being intertwined.  This  can be explained best by the following story of the Kotzker and his dear friend, Reb Yitzchok of Vorka.  I had heavenly help in finding this story to understand Birnbaum.

At 3:00 PM I went to take a nap and looked for something to read. I found in my closet three pages from a publication called Hapardas, dated January 1968.  Hapardes was a publication for the Torah world by Rabbi Simcha Elberg, first published in Warsaw, then Chicago, and in the later years of his life from Boro Park.  1968 was his 42nd year of publication.  On page 36 Rabbi Elberg had a book review of a new Sefer published by Rabbi Kalman Eliezer Frankel, a Rabbi in Tel Aviv.  The new book’s title was; In the Tents of the Righteous – the branch of the house of Vorka – Sakranovitz.

I will translate a large part of the book review as follows:

The Seraf of Kotzk did not want many Chassidim among the masses; however, Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka drew the love of the masses to himself. Just like Rabbi Levi Yitzchok TZL of Berdichiv was in his generation (1740 – 1810), so was Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka in his generation, he looked upon the Jewish people  with the mindset  of “ He (God) does not look at evil in Jacob and has seen no perversity in Israel. (Numbers 23:21).”    These two great people came out of the Bais Midrash of the Rebbi, Reb Bunim TZL, who both illuminated the heavens of Poland, two completely different viewpoints in Chassidus and nonetheless a great love  and an everlasting love existing between the two great and holy individuals

On page 322 in the book,”B’Ohali Tzaddikkim” the reader will find an amazing story from the author. It is worthwhile to recount the story here.

The Rebbi, Reb Yitzchok Vorka in his generation was like the Berdichiver in his generation, having great compassion, a lover of the Jewish people, a trusted servant for his people, he found merit even on the lowest of the lowest Jewish person.

After the death of the Rebbi, Reb Bunim, Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka crowned the son of Reb Bunim, Rabbi Avrohom Moshe as the leader of the holy congregation, which he led for only two years. And after the death of Reb Avrohom Moshe, Reb Yitzchok of Vorka accepted the leadership of the congregation.

Even though the mindset, the essence, and entire being of Rabbi Yitzchok Vorka was totally  different than  Reb Menachem  Mendel of Kotzk; as the Kotzker  demanded only perfection, without blemish,  Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka saw the light that shines in each Jewish person.  Despite this they were strongly and faithfully attached

After the death of Rabbi Yitzhok Vorka on the last day of Pesach (1848), the Vorka’s son and successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kalish, goes to Kotzk.  The Kotzker asks have you seen your father in the next world?  The son answers no.  The Kotzker responds – I saw him. In the Kotzker sharpness, the Kotzker relates the following story. “I was in the heavenly world, and I searched and asked the heavenly angels: Tell me, where can our Reb Yitzhok’l be found?  The angels answered, he is in a higher level, that even we are not allowed to enter. I then searched in the level of the Baal Shem Tov and I was told that Reb Yitzchok was in a higher level. I went to the level of the Achronim, of the Bais Yosef and Remah, and also there I could not find my friend. I traveled and entered the level of the Reshonim and could not find him.  I then went up to the level of they holy Amoreim and asked them, tell me, I am searching for Yizhok’l my friend, where is he and where can he be found.   They responded he was here, but now he can be found on the river’s edge which is closeby. I ran with all my might, I passed the field of the “Chakal Tapuchin” (mentioned in the Zohar of the next world), and there I saw a flowing river, and at its edge, your father Reb Yitzchok’l was leaning on his staff and looking into the clear and pure waters of the river. I grabbed his coat and asked, Yitzchok’l my faithful friend, what are you doing here? He answered me do you see this river? These are the tears of the Jews that were shed over the generations and from the tears a river was formed that flows into the upper heavens. I am standing by this river and I am not able to move away.

Rabbi Frankel adds that this is how the Kotzker described to the son of the Vorker  who his father was and his father’s  greatness. No other leader in that generation merited to be described by the great Kotzker, as the true lover of the Jewish people, Rabbi Yitzchok of Kalish, the first Admor of Vorka, TZL.   The story is told by Rabbi Naftoli Citron – youtube, The Kotzker Rebbe, #3 and #4.

This is how Philip Birnbaum translates “Chaverim Kol Yisoel” “knitted together” as the Kotzker and Vorka Rebbes. And this is the model for the Jewish people.

The four interpretations of Chaverim Kol Yisroel are:         1) Artscroll – All Israel are Comrades.

2) All Israel are connected –pieces joined together.

3) Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – so that all Israel my be united in friendship.

4) Birnbaum Siddur – All Israel is “knitted together”.

Each interpretation I believe depends on someone’s outlook towards life, religion, time of history, and relationships.   They are probably all true at times during history.

Artscroll’s translation sounded strange to me. The word Comrades brings up negative images.  Loyal communists were called Comrades.  This implies that Klal Yisroel must all be the same, think the same, and look the same.   Comrades is an exclusionary term, anyone different is not part of us.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld did tell me that in Israel the word Chaverim is used in the Kibbutzim and it means comrades.

The second explanation is like the Satmer. Klal Yisroel is separate parts joined together as in a menorah whose branches are soldered to the base.   This is how the Satmer would translate the word.  The Satmer in his Hagadah says on Yachatz (we break the middle matzah) – sometimes our community has to break off from the rest of Israel.  We must split off.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is how most people would interpret the words; however, Birnbaum is on a deeper level. We are bound to one another.  This is more the viewpoint of the Besht, the Kotzker, the Lubavitcher, Menachem Begin, and others.

 

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Toras Lech Lacha – November 1, 2014:

Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon

Another great Shabbos of Torah. I attended three classes given by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion http://www.haretzion.org. They classes were on the Mitzva of Shmitta, letting the land of Israel lay fallow every seven years. Rabbi Rimon is one of the foremost experts on the laws of Shmitta and he brings an enthusiasm about keeping Shmitta.

Rav Yosef-Tzvi Rimon
Ram in Yeshivat Her Etzion

Rav Yosef-Tzvi Rimon studied at the Netiv Meir Yeshiva High School in Jerusalem and joined Yeshivat Har Etzion in 1987. He served in the Armored Corps in the context of his army service in the Hesder Program and earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the Herzog College. He has served as a Ram in the Yeshiva since 1996 and also teaches classes in halacha for the entire Yeshiva. In 2001, Rav Rimon headed the Halacha Program in the Yeshiva’s Kollel, and published a book “Shiurei Shevi’it” on the laws of Shemitta. Today, Rav Rimon serves as a neighborhood Rav in Alon Shevut, and as a Ram for first-year students in the Yeshiva. He publishes study sheets on various halachic topics and teaches at the Herzog College and at the Beit Midrash for Women in Migdal Oz.

 The following is the Torah I spoke and thought about on Shabbos.

Last year Rabbi Efrem Goldberg talked about the end of Parsha Noach where Terach (Avrom’s father) leave Ur Casdim to go to the land of Canaan. Terach gets to Haran and settles there. In Lech Lecha, God tells Avrum, leave your home and go to the land of Canaan. This got me thinking and I put together the following Torah thought.

כו. וַיְחִי תֶרַח שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד אֶת אַבְרָם אֶת נָחוֹר וְאֶת הָרָן:  
  1. 27. And these are the generations of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and Haran begot Lot.
  כז. וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת תֶּרַח תֶּרַח הוֹלִיד אֶת אַבְרָם אֶת נָחוֹר וְאֶת הָרָן וְהָרָן הוֹלִיד אֶת לוֹט:
  1. 28. And Haran died during the lifetime of Terah his father in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldees.
  כח. וַיָּמָת הָרָן עַל פְּנֵי תֶּרַח אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹלַדְתּוֹ בְּאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים:
during the lifetime of Terah his father: lit. on the face of Terah his father. During his father’s lifetime (Tan. Acharei 7). And the Midrash Aggadah (Gen. Rabbah 38:13) tells us that he died on account of his father. For Terah complained about Abram his son before Nimrod for crushing his idols; so he [Nimrod] cast him [Abram] into a fiery furnace, and Haran sat and thought, “If Abram is victorious, I am on his side, and if Nimrod is victorious, I am on his side.” When Abram was saved, they said to Haran, “Whose side are you on?” Haran said to them, “I am on Abram’s side!” They cast him into the fiery furnace and he was burned. This is the meaning of אוּר כַּשְׂדִּים, the fire of the Chaldees. Menachem (Machbereth, p. 32), however, explains אוּר as a valley, and so (Isa. 24:15): “in the crevices (בָּאוּרִים) honor the Lord,” and so, (ibid. 11:8): “over the hole of (מְאוּרַת) an old snake.” Any hole or deep crevice is called אוּר.   על פני תרח אביו: בחיי אביו. ומדרש אגדה יש אומרים שעל ידי אביו מת, שקבל תרח על אברם בנו לפני נמרוד על שכתת את צלמיו והשליכו לכבשן האש, והרן יושב ואומר בלבו אם אברם נוצח, אני משלו, ואם נמרוד נוצח, אני משלו. וכשניצל אברם אמרו לו להרן משל מי אתה, אמר להם הרן משל אברם אני. השליכוהו לכבשן האש ונשרף, וזהו אור כשדים. ומנחם בן סרוק פירש אור בקעה, וכן (ישעיה כד טו) באורים כבדו ה’, וכן (שם יא ח) מאורת צפעוני. כל חור ובקע עמוק קרוי אור:
  1. 29. And Abram and Nahor took themselves wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah.
  כט. וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָם וְנָחוֹר לָהֶם נָשִׁים שֵׁם אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם שָׂרָי וְשֵׁם אֵשֶׁת נָחוֹר מִלְכָּה בַּת הָרָן אֲבִי מִלְכָּה וַאֲבִי יִסְכָּה:
     
  1. 30. And Sarai was barren; she had no child.
  ל. וַתְּהִי שָׂרַי עֲקָרָה אֵין לָהּ וָלָד:
  1. 31. And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter in law, the wife of Abram his son, and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan, and they came as far as Haran and settled there.
  לא. וַיִּקַּח תֶּרַח אֶת אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ וְאֶת לוֹט בֶּן הָרָן בֶּן בְּנוֹ וְאֵת שָׂרַי כַּלָּתוֹ אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ וַיֵּצְאוּ אִתָּם מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד חָרָן וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם:
and they went forth with them: And Terah and Abram went forth with Lot and Sarai.   ויצאו אתם: ויצאו תרח ואברם עם לוט ושרי:
  1. 32. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.
  לב. וַיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי תֶרַח חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וּמָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיָּמָת תֶּרַח בְּחָרָן:

 

Compare Verse 31 to Verse 5 below. Both Avrum and Terach left to go to the land of Canaan. Avrum by commandment of God and Terach of his own decision.

ה. וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָם אֶת שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת לוֹט בֶּן אָחִיו וְאֶת כָּל רְכוּשָׁם אֲשֶׁר רָכָשׁוּ וְאֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן וַיֵּצְאוּ לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן וַיָּבֹאוּ אַרְצָה כְּנָעַן:

  1. 5. And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had acquired, and the souls they had acquired in Haran, and they went to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to the land of Canaan.

 

 

Questions:

1) Why did Terach leave Ur Casidim? Terach brought Avrum to Nimrod to pass judgment on Avrom’s rebellion against idol worship. Nimrod threw Avrom into the fiery furnace, where God protected Avrom and saved him from the fire.

2) Why did Terach want to go to Canaan?

3) Is Terach an evil man or a decent person?

4) Avrom went to Canaan because of Gods commandment and Terach made the decision on his own. Avrom had to be pushed and Terach understood to go by himself.

5) Verse 30 says that Avrom’s wife, Sarai, was barren and the next Verse 31 says that Terach picked up his family and left Ur Casdim. The fact that Sarai was barren has nothing to do with the narrative. Does its proximity to Verse 31 mean anything?

6) Verse 31 first says that Terach took his family and the middle said “they” took them. Per Rashi the “they” is Terach and Avrom. Which one is it?

Answers:

There appears to be a disagreement among the Rishonim.

The last Rashi in Noach and the Rabbanu Bachya both say that Terach was an evil man. Rashi says that Terach even in his lifetime was considered dead, because evil people even while alive are considered dead. The Ranban asks on this Rashi from Chapter 15, verse 15 where Rashi says that Terach was repentant. The Ranban answers perhaps Terach repented upon his deathbed or perhaps he never repented but the merit of Avrom granted Terach a portion in the world to come. According to Rashi why did Terach leave Ur Casdim. No idea. Perhaps, Terach could no longer live in Ur Casdim because his son was a rebel or maybe because even though Terach was evil, his love for his son overcame his evil impulses.

The Seforno and the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh both seem to say that Terach was a decent man.

The Seforno says that Terach left to go to Canaan because Canaan was a higher spiritual place. However, Terach did not make it to Canaan. He only made it to Haran and “settled there”. As Rabbi Goldberg, said we all have the capacity to attain higher and higher spirituality if we do not settle for less.

The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says on verse 31 that the reason why Terach left Ur Casdim was due to Sarai not having children. When Terach saw Sarai not having children he decided to change his place of dwelling and took his family to another location based on the concept in the Talmud, Baba Metziah, 75b, “Mishana Makom, Mishana Mazel”, one who changes his place changes his luck. The Ohr HaChaim Hakodosh adds that Avrom was held in such esteem that the entire family uprooted themselves for the sake of Avrom. It thus appears that Terach repented after he saw what Nimrod did to his son and that Avrom was saved.  Rashi uses verse 32 to say that Terach was evil and the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh has a different explanation.

The answer to question 4 is that both Avrom and Teach understood that Canaan was on a higher spiritual level. They both wanted to leave Ur Casdim and perhaps this is the reason why Verse 31 in the middle say, they – Terach and Avrom went out from Ur Casdim. When Teach settled in Haran and stopped his journey, Avrum intended to stay with his father because of the Mitzvah of honoring his father. Avrum was planning to wait until his father died to continue the journey. God had to tell Avrum, go to Canaan, leave your father; I am telling you that you are free from observing the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents.

The first Ibn Ezra on Parshas Lech Lecha goes along with this approach and says a big Chiddush,  The commandment of God to Avrom  of “Lech Lacha – go out of your father’s house”, was actually said in Ur Casdim.  The Ranban disagrees with the Ibn Ezra, however, the Ranban can be answered and the Ibn Ezra mkaes sense.

Chazzan Silber on the phrase “Mishana Makom, Mishana Mazel”, one who changes his place changes his luck, told the following story.

Chazzan Silber learned with Rabbi Hecht for many years. Rabbi Hecht was an unappreciated righteous man in Chicago, a Torah scholar. One night when they were learning Rabbi Hecht asked Chazzan Silber, “what do you think about Mishana Makom”. Chazzan Silber said nothing. Over the course of learning that night, Rabbi Hecht asked three more times and each time Chazzan Silber said nothing. The next morning Chazzan Silber was at work at an important meeting, and Mrs. Silber, walks into her husband’s and said that Rabbi Hecht passed away. Chazzan Silber wondered for years, what if He, Chazzan Silber, told Rabbi Hecht, it is not a good idea to change your place; what if, what if.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touching Holiness

Chazzan Moshe Kraus – Chazzan Efraim Silber

This Thursday evening, June 2, 2014, I drove up to Anshe Sholem, http://www.asbi.org, for Mincha/Maariv.  Chazzan  Moshe Kraus called me.   I mentioned Chazzan Kraus in my post dated January 31, 2013.   I am honored that Chazzan Kraus called me. I asked him for a blessing for my family. He told me that as the Satmer Rov said that if you need a blessing, go to a holocaust survivor with a tattoo on his arm that is observant and ask him for a blessing. Chazzan Kraus was in Bergen -Belsen and I tremble as I write these words.   I received a beautiful blessing for my family. Chazzan Kraus also gave me the blessing of his Rebbe, the Munkatcher, that I should grow older but not old.

Boruch Hashem that I am able to be associated with great people. I spoke to Chazzan Kraus, an angel among us, at the Shul of two Rabbis I admire, Rabbi Asher Lopatin who built a great Synagogue at Anshei Sholem and his worthy successor, Rabbi David  Wolkenfeld*, being blessed by the Satmer Rov and the Munkatcher Rebbe, and talking about being in the presence of Chazzan Silber who had Yahrzeit for the Kiddoshim of Hungary.

 I told Chazzan Kraus the holiness I experienced at Mishne Ugmoro this past Shabbos with Chazzan Silber.  

Shabbos Parshas Beha’alothecha at Mishne Ugmoro –  June 7, 2014

I had a Bar Mitzvah to attend and wanted to leave Shul early. Upon arriving at Shul, I discovered that Chazzan Efraim Silber had Yahrzeit for both sets of grandparents, and other family members who were taken away in 1944 to Auschwitz. I could not leave.   I had to be in Chazzan Silber’s presence.

Chazzan Silber led the Musaf services. He prayed with special emotion. His davening was for his family who were martyred.   At the Kiddush, Chazzan Silber spoke about his family. After he spoke, I asked him to sing the Ani Mamin – I Believe in Perfect Faith – from his CD. He did and Chazzan Silber’s face was that of a Chassidic Master. I was fortunate to be at Synagogue in his presence.   I left at 1:30 PM to go to the Bar Mitzvah and got home at 3:00 PM.

I plan to put Chazzan Silber’s Ani Mamin on this spot, however, at this time I do not have it.  The following recording is appropriate.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uTPcRDwst8

Chazzan Moshe Kraus:

https://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=chazzan+moshe+kraus&gbv=2&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ei=faCdU-6sJsfksASR6YKYAQ&ved=0CFAQsAQ

Torah Thought on Beha’alothecha:

I woke up at 7:30 AM and went outside to my deck to study this week’s Torah portion. For two hours I worked on the fourth verse on this week’s Torah Portion and made it to Shul at 10:15 AM.

This is the Torah thought I worked on Shabbos morning.   Bamidbar – Numbers Chapter 8, Verse 4 says:

 ד.וְזֶה מַעֲשֵׂההַמְּנֹרָה מִקְשָׁה זָהָב עַד יְרֵכָהּ עַד פִּרְחָהּ מִקְשָׁה הִוא כַּמַּרְאֶהאֲשֶׁר הֶרְאָה יְהֹוָה אֶת משֶׁה כֵּן עָשָׂה אֶת הַמְּנֹרָה:

4. This was the form of the Menorah: hammered work of gold, from its base to its flower it was hammered work; according to the form that the Lord had shown Moses, so did “he” construct the menorah.

Notice the “h” in Chabad’s English translation is in a small “h”, not a capital H, which would mean God.

The last Rashi of this Verse says

:כן עשה את המנורה:מי שעשאה. ומדרש אגדה ע”י הקב”ה נעשיתמאליה:

“So did he construct the Menorah” – i.e.the one who made it (namely, Betzalal). The Aggadic Midrash    (Tanchuma Beha’alothecha 3) states that it was made by itself through the Holy One , Blessed is he.

Refer to Yonasan ben Uzeil, the Ibn Ezra, and Ramban.

Rashi says that the plain meaning is that Betzalal made the Menorah. Nothing miraculous, “small h”. Rashi than brings down a Midrash and says, by the way there is a Midrash that says that God made the Menorah miraculously,  “Capital H”, Betzalal did not make the menorah.

The Sifsei Chachomin says that the plain meaning listed by Rashi and the Midrash argue on one another.  

However, Exodus – Parshas Truma, Chapter 25 verse 31 says:

לא.וְעָשִׂיתָ מְנֹרַתזָהָב טָהוֹר מִקְשָׁה תֵּיעָשֶׂה הַמְּנוֹרָה יְרֵכָהּ וְקָנָהּ גְּבִיעֶיהָכַּפְתֹּרֶיהָ וּפְרָחֶיהָ מִמֶּנָּה יִהְיוּ                                      

31. And you shall make a menorah of pure gold. The menorahshall be made” of hammered work; its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall [all] be [one piece] with it.

Rashi on the word   תֵּיעָשֶׂה   defines this word based only the Midrash. Rashi is saying that the correct plain explanation is that God made the Menorah himself, miraculously, without Betzalel.   According to Rashi the correct translation should be “shall be made by itself by God”

There contradicts today’s Torah portion. In today’s Torah portion, Bamidbar, Chapter 8, Verse 4, Rashi says the plain meaning is that Betzalal made the Menorah, small “h” and by the way there is a Midrash that disagrees. Here in Exodus, Parshas Truma, Rashi rejects the explanation that Betzalal made the Menorah. Rather Rashi is saying that the correct way to explain the text is that God made the Menorah. Rashi does not even attribute the explanation to a Midrash.

How do you even understand the Midrash, when the Torah clearly states in V’Yakhail that Betzalal made the Menorah and not God.

The Sefsei Chachomin in Truma provides the answer to my question. The Sifsei Chachomin brings down the Midrash that says Moshe did not understand how to make the Menorah, God showed it to Moshe first in fire, then in gold. Moshe explained it to Betzalal, who was a master craftsman. Betzalal started construction, but ultimately could not complete and God had to finish. The Menorah was made both by Betzalal and God.  This is the explanation by Rashi in Bamidbar. The plain meaning and the Midrash do not argue, the complement each other. The Sefsie Chachomin that says that the plain meaning and the Midrash argue with one another is wrong.

*Shabbos,Parshas Shelach:

On the following Shabbos I walked to Anshe Sholem for Mincha/Maariv.  Rabbi David Wolkenfeld gave a Shiur on Pachad Yitzchok from Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner.  Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner thoughts are beautiful, very poetic.  Rabi Hutner is a fitting student of Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kook.  The influence of Rabbi Kook on Rabbi Hutner is unmistakeneable.

 

Kotzker Rebbe’s Yharzeit 2013

154 years

22 Shevat 5619 – January 27, 1859

Takhe Kotzk (click to listen)

This Shabbos is the Kotzker Rebbe’s 154th Yharzeit. Everyone is invited to the Glenner residence for a Yhazeit seudah this shabbos after minchah. Years ago my father sent me a Cantor Paul Zim tape of Yiddish songs that included the song Takeh – Kotzk. A beautiful song which captured Kotzk, its reverence, its holiness, and its greatness. I received Cantor Paul Zim’s phone number from Seamach Records and called him. Cantor Zim told me although he sings Takeh-Kotzk, it is not his song. The person who knows the song and has “ownership “ is Chazzan Moshele Kraus who lives in Ottawa, Canada. Continue reading “Kotzker Rebbe’s Yharzeit 2013”