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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parshas Noah

The below is Martin from LA’s comment on this weeks Torah potion, Parshas Noah.   In red are my comments.  Martin from LA is a student of Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks.   As as result I consider myself a student of the Chief Rabbi and have been inspired by the Chief Rabbi’s Torah.   Martin from LA is my cousin, my friend, and my co-marathoner.   At least he is still running and I am not.  

 Noah’s Failure

The Torah readings continue with the introduction to Noah and the flood story. Virtually every culture has a similar story. That Noah and the flood are mythical is irrelevant. The myriad lessons contained therein are of import.

I only take issue with you in this entire piece that Noah and the flood are mythical.  The Torah cannot make up stories of our history, especially after reading the first Rashi in the Chumash.  The problem then is separating myth from fact.  I believe the entire story happened.   My kids completely agree with you.

Noah is a perplexing character. He is described in the Torah, at the beginning of the eponymous Sedra, Noach, as a righteous man, faultless and walking with God!

He, alone in the Hebrew Bible has such appellations! Abraham and Moses, for example, do not come close.

But, despite such praise, the man that was supposed to save the world and rebuild it anew, in the end couldn’t even save himself as he wallowed in a drunken stupor and was an embarrassment to his children, and according to one opinion, sexually assaulted by his so Ham. And unlike Adam and Eve previously, who were ashamed of their nakedness, he was not even aware of his nudity.

How could this be? The man seemed to be the paradigm of religiosity, obeying every jot and tittle of God’s commands to him.

The Sages, in their Midrashic analysis of the flood parable, give Noah short shrift indeed. He is heavily criticized for not doing more to try to encourage a depraved humanity to repent and perhaps prevent the oncoming deluge. In fact he did nothing, but just busied himself meticulously following the minutiae of the ark’s blueprints.

Never understood the criticism.  No one would have listened.  Maybe Noah felt that the proper way is to live a religious  life by example.  Abraham’s defense of Sodom on its surface appears to be misplaced mercy for a society that choose brutality with their riches over a just society.  Abraham should have said, I will go and teach them.  I was only satisfied in Abraham’s defense when I answered the question of misplaced mercy,  that of course, Abraham was not saying let Sodom be spared any judgment.  He told God or understood God, that God will punish them for their evil ways, just not to destroy them.  If you do not say this,  then Abrohom is a fool.  I have not found a source for this, but this has to be the understanding.

 The Sages were particularly disturbed by his unwillingness to leave the ark after the floodwaters had subsided. Despite being certain that the land was now dry he only finally debarked because God instructed him. The Sages excoriated him for this. He was to be performing the most vital role in human history, the reconstructing of a shattered world and he dallied in the comfort and safety of his home not prepared to take the risks necessary for his daunting task until God approved his exit.

Abraham did not sit back in quiet obedience when God told him of the impending destruction of Sodom.

The Kotzker criticized Abraham that when God told him that his children will  go through a bitter slavery, Abraham did not protest and scream GVALT, my kids will be exiled for 400 years and will have to go to slavery!   They will have a holocaust!

Likewise, Moses did not await God’s permission to act on the injustices he saw in Egypt.

The Sages, who claimed that they would have torn down the walls of the ark and taken themselves out, were teaching us in this Midrash that to build a better society, you do not await permission.

Ze’ev Jabotinsky, (amongst others) even before the storm clouds of Europe began to darken warned European Jewry of the approaching destruction and begged them to leave and go to help build what was to become the State of Israel, a process that had begun 50 years or so previously. He was mostly ignored.

Some simply comfortable in their current surroundings, others claiming, that just like Noah before them, were exemplary in the observance of the God’s commandments, that a Jewish State can only be built with God’s permission.

The result was catastrophic.

You are correct.

No disease has been cured, no technology invented for the benefit of society, no hungry child fed, no poor have been clothed and no State has been built  by those that prefer to sit in an ark studying and even devising more minutiae than taking the courage to create a better world.

We need a balance.  We need Torah scholars and we need builders.  We need them in sync, each understanding their roles.  We need Torah and the scholars to provide this radiant glow that positively affects everything it shines on.  A foundation stone for a Jewish society to be built based on the Torah, just values, charity, and Torah knowledge.

This is my theme of Kotzk and when I write the definitive book on Kotzk, I will touch upon this very subject.  On the surface, the Kotzker seems to have withdrawn from this world for 19 years, when in reality he was a major  leader and leading the Jewish world.

“Devising more minutiae”.

Both Reb Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, the Meshak Chocmah and Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kook would agree with you.

 Shabbat Shalom

 The Haftora.

The Hebrew bible consists of 3 sections. The Torah, which Orthodoxy believes is the revealed word of God. Followed by the Prophets, that section from Joshua, through Judges, Kings, and the various 15 Prophets, and finally Writings, such as Psalms, Proverbs, Esther and a bunch of others that you may or may not of heard of. The Haftora is a short reading taken from the 2nd section, that either has a connection to the Torah reading or the season, and is read at the conclusion of the Torah reading. How it came to be, nobody knows. There have been many speculative guesses, and the most well-known and promoted ad nauseum in the Orthodox world, may be the silliest. That is, the Greeks (and later the Romans), banned the public reading of Torah, but we fooled ’em by substituting another section of the Bible.) Personally, I prefer the argument that the Haftora reading was a polemic against sectarians who rejected anything other than the Torah itself as being part of the Jewish cannon.

Regardless of it’s genesis, it’s very ancient, at least 2000 years old, and is universal in practice throughout all denominations(There are occasional differences on the choice of Haftora)

 

 

The Torah of Boca Raton Synagogue is refreshing and truly Toras Hashem

I was in Boca Raton helping take care of my grandkids for the last week and a half. It was very nice. I was there for Parshas Noah and Parshas Lech Lacha. I had a bad cold for Noah so my Shabbos was muted. Lech Lecha I was back on my game and Boca Raton Synagogue had some great speakers.

The following is Torah I learned at BRS.

Friday Night, October 10, 2013:

Arrived in Shul for Mincha and Kabalas Shabbos.  I picked up the BRS weekly and loved what I saw.  Rabbi Rabinovici is in Boca to teach Torah and there is a scholar in residence.

Boca Raton Synagogue Weekly

Went home for a delicious Shabbos meal with the kids.  

Shiur 1:

9:15 PM – Went to Rabbi Moscowitz’s house for a Shiur by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovici. It was a Shiur on adding the prayer for rain in the Shmoei Esra – V-Sain Tal U’matur Levracha -which in Israel begins on the 7th of Marchesvan and in the Diaspora begins on December 4th, which is supposed to be 60 days after the fall equinox. However, we add 10 days due to the adjustment of the Gregorian colander in the late 1500’s. I am not sure why it is the night of December 4th, which is 73 days after the fall equinox. Rabbi Rabinovici mentioned the Rosh who asks, the 60 days after the fall equinox was for Babylonia, and why in other parts of the world isn’t it at different time based on when rain is needed, such as south of the equator. The Rosh said that although the date for the start of praying for rain should be different for different parts of the world, the custom is to do it for all of the diaspora on December 4th. The Shiur was excellent.

Shabbos morning, October 11, 2013:

Shiur 2:

Made it to the 7:25 AM Haskama Minyan at 7:55 AM, during the end of Chazaros Hashatz. Typical for me as I am always late. Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Rabbi of BRS, spoke beautifully. He quoted Newton’s first law of motion – “ . . .an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.[2][3]

Chapter 11, Verse 31 states:

And Terach 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 Charan and settled there.

Chapter 12, verse 5 states that Abram left to go to the land of Canaan, and he came to the land of Canaan. 

It is interesting that Terach also left his land to go to Canaan, just like Abram. The difference is that Terach stopped in Charan and settled there. Terach also wanted to go to Canaan, a land of a higher spiritual level. However, Terach got distracted and settled in Charan. He was enticed by the bright lights of Charan. Abram on the other hand was not distracted from his mission and made it to the land of Canaan. Rabbi Goldberg continued, we all have the power and ability to achieve spirituality and/or greatness. Many of us get distracted from our mission. We have to be like Abram and actually make it to the promised land, achieve higher spirituality, and fully achieve our mission in life.

Listened to the Torah reading

Shiur 3:

During the Torah reading, I noticed a Targum Onkalys who seems to disagree with Rashi. Chapter 16, verse 12 is the conversation between the angel and Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant.

יב.      וְהוּא יִהְיֶה פֶּרֶא אָדָם יָדוֹ בַכֹּל וְיַד כֹּל בּוֹ וְעַל פְּנֵי כָל אֶחָיו יִשְׁכֹּן

12. And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone’s hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.”

Rashi translates the Verse as follows:

And he shall be an “outdoorsman who loves hunt”, his hand shall be against every man, “a robber”, and every man’s hand against him, “everyone will hate him and contend with him”; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren. This is very harsh.

Onkalys translates it is follows:

And he shall be a rebellious person, he will need everyone and everyone will need him, and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.

I was puzzled on how to fully understand Onkalys, and asked Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda and Rabbi Rabinovici for their opinion.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda said that Onkalys was more of an open person and explained Onkayls that while the nature of Yismael is to be rebellious, he is an integral part of the world. (This is how I understood Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda)

Rabbi Rabinovici said differently. Yismael will be rebellious and you will want to avoid him, just as we avoid difficult people. However the Torah tells us, you will not be able to avoid him because he will need everyone and everyone will need him

Shuir 4:

I listened to the reading of the Torah and while the Haskama Minyan davened Mussaf, I davened Shachris, and caught Tefilah B’zibbur. Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik confirmed that according to Rabbi Chaim Brisker, I fulfilled Tefilah B’zibbur.   Rabbi Moshe Solevichik’s grandfather, who has the same name and was Rosh HaYeshiva of YU, as a student once was in Shul, and while the congregation was at Mussef, he was at the Shachris prayer.  Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, TZL, davened the Mussaf prayer with the congregation and afterwards said the Shacharis prayer.   Reb Moshe, TZL, asked his father, Reb Chaim Brisker,  if it was proper to first say the Mussaf prayer and then the Shachris prayer.  Reb Chaim Brisker answered his son that had his son said the Shachris prayer while the congregation was saying the Mussaf prayer, then it would have been Tefilah B’Tzibbur and proper.

After davening took a small bowl of Cholent to the Board room to attend Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda’s Shiur.  Reb Theo was there to provide the Diet Coke.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda said two amazing Torah insights:

1) In the first test and the tenth test,  the Torah uses the same type of descriptive terminology.   The Torah is telling  us that there is a commonality between the two.

First test was for Abram to leave his home and go to Canaan:

Chapter 12, Verse 1:

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל אַבְרָם לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָוּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ

:1. And the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.

The tenth test of Abraham was the Akeidah – Chapter 22, Verse 2

The Torah uses to the same type of expression: :

ב.וַיֹּאמֶר קַח נָא אֶתבִּנְךָ אֶת יְחִידְךָ אֲשֶׁר אָהַבְתָּ אֶת יִצְחָק וְלֶךְ לְךָ אֶל אֶרֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּה וְהַעֲלֵהוּ שָׁם לְעֹלָה עַל אַחַד הֶהָרִים אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ:

2. And He said, “Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you.”

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda said beautifully.   In both places the Torah increases the intensity of the moment, emphasizing that what is asked of Abram is difficult, something of great importance, and meaning.   By asking Abram to leave  his home, God was asking Abram  to give up his past;  and at the Akediah, God was asking Abraham to give up his future.

2)  Rabbi Tzvi  introduced his next piece of Torah by reading this Rashi on Chapter 22, Versa 12.  I can still  hear in my mind how beautifully Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda read the below Rashi in his scholarly voice:

כי עתה ידעתי: אמר רבי אבא אמר לו אברהם אפרש לפניך את שיחתי, אתמול אמרת לי (לעיל כא יב) כי ביצחק יקרא לך זרע, וחזרת ואמרת (שם כב ב) קח נא את בנך, עכשיו אתה אומר לי אל תשלח ידך אל הנער. אמר לו הקב”ה (תהלים פט לה) לא אחלל בריתי ומוצא שפתי לא אשנה, כשאמרתי לך קח מוצא שפתי לא אשנה, לא אמרתי לך שחטהו אלא העלהו, אסקתיה אחתיה

12. for now I know: Said Rabbi Abba: Abraham said to Him,“ I will explain my complaint before You. Yesterday, You said to me (above 21:12): ‘for in Isaac will be called your seed,’ and You retracted and said (above verse 2): ‘ Take now your son.’ Now You say to me, ‘ Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad.’” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him (Ps. 89:35): “I shall not profane My covenant, neither shall I alter the utterance of My lips.” When I said to you,“ Take,” I was not altering the utterance of My lips. I did not say to you,“ Slaughter him,” but,“ Bring him up.” You have brought him up; [now] take him down. — [from Gen. Rabbah 56:8]

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda also said that when it comes to an animal,  וְהַעֲלֵהוּ , uplifting spiritually always means a Sacrifice to God. However, when it comes to people הַעֲלֵהו always means that when we uplift someone to God, we uplift them by teaching them knowledge, and educating them.

Shiur 5:

Went into the main Shul to Daven Mussaf.  After services the scholar-in-residence, Rabbi Shmuel Bowman spoke. He spoke emotionally about what he does. He is the Executive Director of Operation Lifeshield,  a not-for-profit organization that provides above ground air raid shelters. He said that he went to Israel as an educator and found his calling running this important organization. He said that in 2006 Israel decided that they could not build underground shelters. Israel cannot be a country living underground and that it was too much a reminder of the Holocaust. He spoke about what it means to Israeli’s who are in harm’s way from rockets to have these shelters.

Nachum Caplan:

I took my granddaughter, Tiferet, to visit Nachum Caplan by his in-laws house in Captiva. His mother-in-law is from South Africa and I met some of the BRS South African contingent at her house. His cousin was there. His cousin’s wife is a granddaughter of Rabbi Walkin, who was a Dayan in Pinsk. My Bubby was from Pinsk and I spent a Shabbos in 2005 in Pinsk.

Shiur 6:

Shabbos afternoon – Rabbi Shmuel Bowman spoke before Mincha.

Rabbi Shmuel Bowman talked about his disagreement with the book, The Giving Tree.  I never read this kid’s book, however, my niece, Chanie, read the book as a kid in Texas.   In the book, a kid over his lifetime tells the tree that he is unhappy and would like various things.    The tree constantly gives and gives the kid part of herself to try to make the kid happy.   The tree is cut down piece by piece,  until years later, the tree is only a stump.  Even after all these years of the kid getting what he wants, and now he is an older man, he is not happy, and the tree even as a stump offers the kid her stump for him to rest.  

Rabbi Bowman’s disagreement with The Giving Tree is self evident.

Rabbi Bowman then talked about a Gemorah is Shabbos in which a Tanna walks into the study hall and  silences the learning.  The Tanna tells the entire study hall, I have just heard a beautiful saying from a child.  Imagine walking into the Bais Medresh and stopping learning for a kids poem.  

The Tanna said he heard a child say that the entire Hebrew alphabet teaches  life and moral lessons.  

Aleph – Beis.   Aleph Bina – The primary thing to knowledge.

גּ  –  ד stands for Gomel Dalim – translated as being generous to people in need.  The Tanna is amazed that even the form of the Hebrew letters have great insight.  We can see this lesson in the form of the letters גּ  –  ד .   The Daled – person in need – cannot see the Gimel – the  person who gives.  The top of the Gimal arches over as he is giving to the Daled.  The top right of the Daled has a little piece that extends back towards the Gimal. This symbolizes that the person in need puts his hand behind him to receive the largess from the Gomel.

Shiur 7:

At the third Sabbath meal, Rabbi Bowman spoke about Christian Evangelicals and their support for Israel. He has asked them why they support Israel.  He was told that Christian Evangelicals believe in the Torah; and what is said in Chapter 12, Verse 3, is to be taken  literally.

Chapter 12, Verse 3 states:

וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה

And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.”

Rabbi Bowman spoke of being at the Christian United for Israel (CUFI) convention.  Two years ago, Rabbi Lopatin spoke from the pulpit about being at the same CUFI convention. 

Rabbi Bowman also mentioned that the Christian Evangelicals have a new slogan, popping up at conventions.  It is Esther 4:14. 

 Esther 4:14 states:

14. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and rescue will arise for the Jews from elsewhere, and you and your father’s household will perish; and who knows whether you attained the kingdom at this time just to save the Jews.”

When Rabbi Shmuel Bowman takes Christian Evangelical ministers to show them the need for shelters, he tells them Esther 4:14.  He tells them that God will provide us with money for shelters, even without your money, however, “who knows whether you attained the kingdom at this time just to save the Jews.”

Shiur 8:

Sunday morning Daf Yomi with Rabbi Ben Sugerman.

Operation Lifeshield