וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן:
Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.
The first verse of this week’s Parsha uses two words to denote living arrangements - וַיֵּשֶׁב - and he dwelt, and …
Couldn’t include these in the DT, but I thought I’d write them here to share with you.
ט. כִּי מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ וּמִגְּבָעוֹת אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב:
For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills; it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations.
Israel has and always will be a nation that is different, separate. We are called a גוי קדוש for a reason. Being Holy, means being distinguished, separate. In fact the word קדוש has those very connotations. We have to stop trying to be like everybody else. We have to stop trying to please everybody. We have to stop being apologetic for our religion and our beliefs. Being separate is what defines us and we MUST be proud of that and start acting thusly.
יז. אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל:
17. I see it, but not now; I behold it, but not soon. A star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel
Also, this references Mashiach. Thought y’all should know.
We should merit to see the coming of Mashiach speedily in our days - especially as 17 Tammuz is this weekend.
I’m not sure if people understand this or not: Theodore Herzl was not the founder of Zionism. Zionism was founded after the exile from Israel 2000 years ago. Herzl organised the political aspect not the ideology.
Last year, I had the opportunity to hear a man from the Shomron council give a lecture. He asked the audience “Who was the first Zionist?”.
The entire audience answered, “Herzl”.
The man (whose name I cannot remember) pointed his finger at us and said “No. Avraham was the first Zionist. At the moment he agreed to Hashem’s command of Lech Lecha, he started Zionism”.
It was this man, his lecture and his words, that inspired me, to be the Zionist I am today. He helped me realise that Zionism is not separate from Judaism - it is a part of it. Last year, one of my friends studied a subject that included learning texts from Yechezkel and Yirmiyahu. One of her assessments was an essay about the “Triangle” - the covenant between Hashem, His people and His land.
Every religious Jew who davens 3 times a day, yearns to return to his homeland, to see Jerusalem rebuilt. When people say Zionism and Judaism are separate, they are incorrect. When people say Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism are two different things, they are incorrect. Zionism and Judaism are intrinsically connected - just like Jews are intrinsically connected to their homeland and their G-d.
This connection, this Triangle, is seen through this week’s Parsha, Achrei Mot-Kedoshim.
We are told
וְלֹא תָקִיא הָאָרֶץ אֶתְכֶם בְּטַמַּאֲכֶם אֹתָהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר קָאָה אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵיכֶם:
And let the land not vomit you out for having defiled it, as it vomited out the nation that preceded you.
The Land of Israel has a different status to all other lands in the world. Israel has a low tolerance of immorality. If Jews do not follow the Torah and keep the Mitzvot in the Land of Israel, they will be “vomited out” and exiled. This is further explained by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in a Sicha that explains Rashi’s commentary on the first verse of Genesis. He explains that the moment Bnei Yisrael conquered the Land of Israel, it was given a different status, and the land itself, as well as its inhabitant, are held to a higher standard. If they do not adhere to this higher standard of Torah and Mitzvot, they will be expelled.
Two perakim later we are told
וָאֹמַר לָכֶם אַתֶּם תִּירְשׁוּ אֶת אַדְמָתָם וַאֲנִי אֶתְּנֶנָּה לָכֶם לָרֶשֶׁת אֹתָהּ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ אֲנִי יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר הִבְדַּלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִן הָעַמִּים
So I said to you, You shall possess their land, and I shall give it to you to possess it a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the Lord your God, Who has distinguished you from the peoples.
The juxtaposition of the two ideas in this verse, the possessing of the Land of Israel, and the fact that G-d has distinguished Israel “from the peoples” is significant. Jews are separated from other nations, through their fulfilment of the Torah and Mitzvot. Although the root ב.ד.ל is used here to denote separation, the root ק.ד.ש (from which the title of the Sidrah is derived) has the same connotation of separation, with the added meaning of ‘holy’. Only when Jews separate themselves through the practice of Torah and Mitzvot, are they holy and worthy of possessing the Land of Israel.
Today, we are lucky enough to see this Triangle being implemented in the Land of Israel. This generation has seen Israel become the world centre of Torah learning for the first time since the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. We celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut - Israel’s independence, through the Chidon Hatanach - the Bible Quiz. Newscasters remind their audience to count the Omer and the public sale of Chametz on Pesach is illegal.
May we merit, to see this Triangle implemented in its most ideal form, with the coming of Mashiach, במהרה בימנו אמן סלה.
Sorry I couldn’t write an orignial.
co-written with the lovely vshavubahim
This week’s Parsha, Parshat Tetzaveh begins with Hashem telling Aharon and his sons, the priests of Israel about the commandment of lighting the Menorah. G-d tells them that it is
חוקת עולם לדורות
an eternal decree for generations.
This phrase the concept of eternity, and of remembrance in the Parsha.
Throughout the Parsha, the message of remembrance is seen. This Parsha revolves around the role of the priests, and a large portion of it discusses the clothes that they would wear. O
ne of the items of clothing that the High Priest would wear was the Eiphod - the apron. On the shoulder straps of the Eiphod were two precious stones, on which were engraved the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Another vestment worn by the High Priest was the Choshen Mishpat, the breastplate of “judgement”. The face of the breastplate had 12 gemstones upon it. On each stone was engraved the name of the tribes of Israel.
After describing both of these items, G-d says
“ונשא את שמותם לזכרון”
And he will carry their names for remembrance
Rashi explains that the word לזכרון-for remembrance, means that G-d will see the names of His people and will remember their righteousness.
While this represents the role of the High Priest as a representative and ambassador for Bnei Yisrael, it also teaches us, the importance of commemoration and remembrance.
This idea of commemoration and remembrance is particularly significant to this Shabbat, the Shabbat before Purim, as it is Parshat Zachor. Every year on the Shabbat before Purim, a second Torah scroll is taken out of the ark, and the read the section where we are told to always remember what Amalek did to us, after the Exodus of Egypt.
זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם. אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וַיְזַנֵּב בְּךָ כָּל-הַנֶּחֱשָׁלִים אַחֲרֶיךָ, וְאַתָּה, עָיֵף וְיָגֵעַ וְלֹא יָרֵא אֱלֹהִים. וְהָיָה בְּהָנִיחַ ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ מִכָּל-אֹיְבֶיךָ מִסָּבִיב, בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ – תִּמְחֶה אֶת-זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק, מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם; לֹא תִּשְׁכָּח
Remember what Amalek did to you, on your way out of Egypt. how he happened upon you on the way and cut off all the stragglers at your rear, when you were faint and weary, and he did not fear God. [Therefore,] it will be, when the Lord your God grants you respite from all your enemies around [you] in the land which the Lord, your God, gives to you as an inheritance to possess, that you shall obliterate the remembrance of Amalek from beneath the heavens. You shall not forget!
This portion is read the Shabbat before Purim, as Haman - who also tried to obliterate all of Jewry, was a direct descendant of Amalek.
Commemeration is an important part of Judaism. There are numerous days on the Jewish calendar to commemorate different events. For example, Yom Hashoah - to remember the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaus and Yom Hazikaron - to remember fallen soldiers and victims of terror, just to name two.
However, days of commemoration are not limited to modern Jewish dates. There are three types of Mitzvot in the Torah.
1. Mishpatim - civil laws
2. Chukim - laws we do not understand the logic or reasoning behind
3. Edut - commemorative laws.
Celebrating Pesach is a commemoration of the Exodus, celebrating Purim is commemoration of the Jews’ deliverance from the hands of Haman and Ahasuerus, celebrating Shavuot, is a commemoration of the Revelation at Mt. Sinai.
Furthermore, the Torah also writes
פוקד און אבות על שלשים…
He remembers the sins for fathers for three of four generations…
וְעֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד לַאֲלָפִים לְאֹהֲבַי וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי מִצְוֹתָי:
and [I] perform loving kindness to thousands [of generations], to those who love Me and to those who keep My commandments.
G-d, is a benevolent G-d, who “remembers” His creatures positive actions for much longer, than He “remembers” their negative actions.
As we read Parshat Tetzaveh and Zachor in Shule tomorrow, and celebrate the festival of Purim next week, let’s remember the nature of commemoration in Judaism.
Let’s look at the past, and learn from history.
Take a lesson from the Purim story, and countless other incidents where nations tried to destory us.
Take a lesson from our holy ancestors and Sages, to see how we can conduct ourselves.
Only when we learn from our past mistakes, the Torah and our ancestor’s actions, can we truly act in the way that we’re commanded.
Only when we do this, can we be redeemed and Mashiach will come speedily in our days.
When You Believe - Hebrew
In honour of yesterday’s Parsha.
Note: When the subtitles read ‘Mashiach, Mashiach, Mashiach’, it is an error, and should actually read ‘Ashira, Ashira, Ashira!’
. וְהָיָה כִי יְבִיאֲךָ יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶל אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לָתֶת לָךְ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ וְעָבַדְתָּ אֶת הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה:
And it will come to pass that the Lord will bring you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, which He swore to your forefathers to give you a land flowing with milk and honey and you shall perform this service in this month."
Exodus 13: 5
My blog’s name is mentioned in this week’s Parsha!
The Plauges - The Prince of Egypt Soundtrack
In honour of this week’s Parsha
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הִנְנִי מַפְרְךָ וְהִרְבִּיתִךָ וּנְתַתִּיךָ לִקְהַל עַמִּים וְנָתַתִּי אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֲחֻזַּת עוֹלָם:
And He said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and cause you to multiply, and I will make you into a congregation of peoples, and I will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting inheritance.’"
Parshat Veyechi - This week’s Parsha
This Dvar Torah is almost like a continuation or a Part 2 of my Dvar Torah from Parshat Vayeshev. The link is below, so you can read it, if you haven’t already.
In this week’s Parsha, 70 souls from the Jacob’s house go down to Egypt in what is considered the beginning of the first exile.This exile is foretold to Abraham, earlier in the Book of Genesis.
וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם וַעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה:
And He said to Abram, “You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and oppress them, for four hundred years
The word used to describe Abraham’s descendants in exile is גר - “stranger” from the root ג.ו.ר . This root denotes temporary sojourning and is appropriately the base for the Hebrew word, stranger.
The exile in Egypt was supposed to be hard and uncomfortable. Abraham’s descendants were not to assimilate into Egyptian society, rather they would constantly have the stigma of being a Hebrew, they would constantly be different, be strangers. Egypt was not to be their home forever, rather, a stop-off on the way to the Land of Israel. Just as Egypt was a temporary living space, this exile, was also temporary.
This is seen even in the prophecy in Genesis, as the chapter continues
בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כָּרַת יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶת אַבְרָם בְּרִית לֵאמֹר לְזַרְעֲךָ נָתַתִּי אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת
. On that day, the Lord formed a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed I have given this land,
As seen above, immediately after being told of his descendant’s exile and status as “strangers” in Egypt - a temporary living space; Abraham is told that his descendants will be given a land which will be theirs eternally, permanently.
In this weeks Parsha, Joseph’s brothers approach Pharaoh and tell him
. וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל פַּרְעֹה לָגוּר בָּאָרֶץ בָּאנוּ
And they said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land,
Here, the brothers use the same root ג.ו.ר, denoting sojourning, temporary living. The brothers did not intend to remain in Egypt forever, and were content to remain “strangers” in Egypt whilst living there temporarily. In response to the brothers’ request, they were given the Land of Goshen, a fertile, comfortable area where they would be able to shepherd easily.
Later on in the chapter, the narrative says
. וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן וַיֵּאָחֲזוּ בָהּ וַיִּפְרוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ מְאֹד
And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt in the land of Goshen, and they acquired property in it, and they were prolific and multiplied greatly.
Two different verbs are used here י.ש.ב- denoting permanent living and א.ח.ז which also means settling and has a connotation of being tied to the land.
This verse shows us, that the group of 70 that came down to Egypt changed their intention of temporarily living there, and grew comfortable- wanting to live there permanently. Furthermore, they knew the Redemption would not be during their lifetimes, so they had no qualms about putting down their roots in Egypt.
Moreover, the second verb in the verse וַיֵּאָחֲזוּ with the root א.ח.ז shows the connection that the Israelites had to the Land of Egypt. They felt like they were held to the land and bound to it - a feeling that should only be felt towards the Land of Israel which is our אחזה (contextually translated as portion, but has the same meaning as its root - being ‘bound’ to the land). As the Israelites settled in the Land of Goshen, they permanently endangered themselves. They set the foundation of the danger that their descendants would betray their heritage and forget their true ancestry.
Today, many of us in the Diaspora have seem to forgotten that our exile is only temporary.
Rather, we have placed down roots and have settled in our host countries, easily assimilating.
Rather than being strangers and only living in the Diaspora temporarily, we have become comfortable, made these places our permanent homes and become “bound” to these foreign lands.
In the 21st century we not only still have the commandment and the responsibility to make Aliyah, but we have the opportunity and privilege to do so. Today, when the Land of Israel is in Jewish Hands after 2000 years of exile, we should be enthusiastic to become Israeli citizens, live permanently in our eternal homeland, be “bound to it” and contribute to our diverse society.