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Volume 1670: Tazri'a - Metzora  3 Iyar 5777 29/04/2017

As Shabbat Approaches

“On the Eighth Day his Flesh will be Circumcised” /Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavne

In his book “Mo’adei Har’iyah” Rabbi Moshe Tziv Neriya writes about some ideas which he received from the linguist Meir Medan (page 319), who quotes what Rav Kook said during the Pesach Seder when the “Cup of Eliyahu” was filled.

In the special “Harachaman” prayers added to the Grace after Meals on the occasion of a brit, we first ask the Holy One, Blessed be He, to send to us “His anointed one, who goes in perfection.” This refers to Machiach, the son of David. We then ask Him to send us “A righteous priest who is concealed.” This is a reference to Eliyahu. However, as we know, Eliyahu comes before the Mashiach. Why then do we reverse the sequence in our request from G-d?

After discussing the matter, Rav Kook said that the proper sequence is indeed for Eliyahu to come first as the harbinger of the arrival of Mashiach Ben David, but that the footsteps of Machiach will appear first. And they are felt before the footsteps of Eliyahu. In other words: the early physical stages of redemption – ingathering of the exiles, rebuilding of the land, high production of fruits – will be visible before the full redemption comes and before the spiritual awakening and the process of repentance which will be part of the arrival of the Mashiach.

Rav Kook added that this is what appears in the verse, “Help Your people... and shepherd them and lift them up forever” [Tehillim 28:9]. First “shepherd them” with good pasture from a physical point of view, and only afterwards “lift them up” in a spiritual sense.

From other sources in the writings of Rav Kook we see that this idea appears in other places in the Torah, and it is also repeated in the Prophets. It is written in the Torah portion of Nitzavim, “And G-d will bring back your captives and show you mercy, and He will return and gather you from among all the nations where your G-d has scattered you. If your outcasts have been driven to the ends of the heavens, G-d will gather you from there and from there He will fetch you. And G-d will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed...” [Devarim 30:3-5]. Only after the physical return to the land is it written, “And your G-d will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring...” [30:6]. And even though this passage begins with the statement, “You will return to your G-d and listen to His voice...” [30:2], Rav Kook explained that the very fact that we return to the land is in the spirit of repentance: “The general awakening of the people to return to its land, its essence, its spirit, and its traits contains within it a spark of repentance.” [Orot Hateshuva, Chapter 17].

“And this is even clearer in the words of Yechezkel (Chapter 36). The passage begins with a declaration that the fact that Yisrael is in exile is a desecration of G-d’s name. This is because the other nations see it as support of their position that G-d has rescinded His covenant with Yisrael and has made a covenant with another nation. But this cannot be tolerated, and therefore it is written, ‘I do not act for you, O House of Yisrael, but rather for My holy name... And the other nations will know that I am G-d... And I will take you from the nations, and I will gather you from all the lands, and I will bring you to your land.’ [36:22-24]. Only after Yisrael returns to their land will a process of repentance begin. ‘I will sprinkle holy water over you and you will be cleansed from all your impurities, and I will purify you from all your idols.’ [36:25].”

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Point Of View

Be Happy – And Fix What is Wrong !/Zvulun Orlev

Yom Ha’atzma’ut, the day of our joy, gives us an opportunity before the seventieth year of the existence of the State of Israel to crystallize and clarify the national aspirations which we have yet to fulfill.

The issue of national security is of primary importance, we are dedicated to it with all our souls and we expend all our efforts to support it, both as a nation and as individuals. There is no doubt that we will continue with our efforts to increase our strength so that our enemies will never get the best of us. On the other hand, the desire to maintain the Jewish character of the country in its sovereign mechanisms is unfortunately a broad consensus only within our own ranks. There is always room for a greater effort, especially to try to embed our yearning in the education and the culture of the entire nation, by pleasant methods based on internal peace in the land.

Stability and Guarding Life

I would like to list four challenges which we have not been successful in meeting, and which can help us guarantee our future as individuals and as a community.

(1) Governmental Stability – The government in Israel is characterized today by elements of instability and constant change. Our ability to rule is defective because of a governmental culture that is based too much on improvisation and gut reactions, a lack of proper planning, uncertainty, an inability to see beyond the horizon, frequent changes in the law, frequent reforms, and a lack of confidence that the government will keep its word.

Enough is enough! We have reached maturity. The stage of “startup” and the techniques of “trial and error” and “trust me” that were necessary when we established the state and settled in must come to an end. We have had enough of improvising and “see if you can get away with it” in running the country. The time has come for the citizens to feel security and operational stability, such that businessmen and investors will be taxed on a stable basis. The citizens want the law to be treated as law, without any mockery.

(2) Maintaining the Principle of Protecting Lives – “You shall live through them” [Vayikra 18:5]. We are shocked, and rightly so, about every soldier who is killed and about every victim of terrorism. On the other hand, we are willing to accept some 370 deaths a year from traffic accidents. We are apathetic about thousands of deaths from infections in hospitals. However, we regularly dedicate our efforts to campaigns for contributions to save a single sick person by sending him or her abroad for a very expensive operation. And does anybody pay attention to dozens of fatalities a year in construction accidents and to more than a hundred children a year who die in home accidents, drowning, or heat exposure when left in locked cars by their parents? And what about the thousands of people who remain handicapped as a result of all of these accidents?

Enforcement and Social Justice

(3) A Need for a Revolutionary Improvement in Enforcement – We have an exemplary system of law in terms of international standards. The government and the Knesset throughout their generations have created a legal system that provides a good basis in all walks of life. However, the weak link in all of this is the disgraceful governmental contempt for enforcing the law. In many areas there is almost no enforcement. Examples are transportation (when is the last time you saw a police car patrolling the roads?) and urban planning and construction (when have illegal buildings been destroyed as an appropriate reaction to the “jungle” of unregulated construction, except of course at such high-profile sites as Migron and the Ulpana Hill in Beit El?). Anybody who believes that a complaint to the police about theft, burglary, neighborhood disputes, and the like will receive prompt attention is not living in this country.

(4) Social Justice and Reduction of Poverty and the Social Economic Gap – The time has come for us to relinquish our world records in these subjects among the developing nations. The evils are not moral, and they are a danger to our national robustness. Can we really expect somebody who because of his address and/or the fact that he is from a poor family is fated to be part of yet another generation of poverty and lack of resources to serve the country as a citizen who contributes to the general good?

The root of our evil is the relatively low number of public servants in all walks of life (police, judges, physicians, and more) as compared to the OECD developed countries. We have become a “free nation.” Everybody is free to make up his own mind, and the government is free not to enforce the need for individual responsibility among its citizens. Is that what we mean by the line “to be a free nation in our land” in the national anthem, Hatikva?

The Community and the Individual

The time has come to strengthen the values which have brought us to the stage where we are. We must “recalculate our route” in terms of life and culture, which as of now puts great emphasis on personal achievements, and move on to providing support for the sovereign and nationalistic objectives and to strengthen mutual social responsibility.

I do not have any intention of ruining the joy of the coming holiday. Rather, I have come to awaken our souls so that we will live in a more perfect and a more pleasant land. The joy of Yom Ha’atzma’ut should include our aspiration to mend the faults, the evil, and the failures. Let the joy and thanksgiving lead us to a great hope that we will be able to accomplish our goals. Let us rise up to a higher level than before.

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Zionist Chassidism

Treasures in the Walls /Rafi Ostroff
Head of the Religious Council of Gush Etzion

“Houses full of Every Good Thing”

The Rebbe of Husiatyn discussed the unique remarkable phenomenon of nega’im – physical blemishes – that appeared in the homes of Eretz Yisrael. There are two kinds of homes: physical homes and spiritual homes. When the people entered Eretz Yisrael, they found houses where the Canaanites lived and also houses of idol worship. They were commanded to destroy the houses of idol worship, but the physical homes of the previous inhabitants were a blessing, as is written: “And it will be, when your G-d brings you to the land which he promised to give to your fathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaacov, to give you great and good cities which you did not build, and houses full of good things which you did not fill.” [Devarim 6:10-11].

The simple interpretation of this passage is that G-d gave us gifts when we entered the land – the houses of the Canaanites.

The Zohar writes that the houses of the Canaanites were built on impure foundations, and in order for them to be destroyed they were struck with nega’im (Tazriya, page 50). But this is contrary to what is written in the Midrash as quoted by Rashi (14:34) – that the blemishes were good news for Yisrael in that they would find treasures in the walls, hidden there by the Canaanites.

The Jewish Foundation of Moderation

Here is how the Rebbe explains the words of the Zohar:

“The main reference of the Zohar is to the cultural buildings of the other nations. The culture of the nation includes almost every facet of life in general: Faith and beliefs, education, economic behavior, structure of the society, art, literature, and special behavior traits. The cultural edifice of the Canaanites was founded on wrong opinions and evil faith, on impurity and abomination. And nega’im were sometimes sent into physical homes in order to wake the people up with respect to these matters. The blemishes were a symbol of the moral blemishes within the cultural edifices of the Gentiles... to show that a person from Yisrael is not allowed to build his home on foundations of the other nations and in their spirit. A home of Yisrael must be built only on a foundation of holiness and purity, justice and righteousness.”

At times we are so caught up in viewing ourselves as part of the world of culture that we forget that we have our own unique traits. The only proper way to adopt the culture of other nations, if we do this at all, is after a strict process of filtering and criticism. The treasure that the Jews found in the Canaanite houses is their ability to build their new spiritual homes on a strong basis of Judaism, without mixing in any waste of the culture of the other nations.

This treasure is a unique trait of Eretz Yisrael, as is noted by the Ramban, that nega’im will appear in houses only in the land, even though at first glance there does not seem to be any connection to the land, because the land is a heritage of G-d, and “the holy G-d dwells within it.” (Vayikra 13:47). The Rebbe explains:

“The entire issue of blemishes of the houses was meant to wake up Yisrael and to have them look at the goal of building in the land. They were meant to recognize their obligation to base the construction on the foundations of Judaism. And therefore, the laws of blemishes in the home did not apply until they had carefully considered the situation so that each and every one could identify his own needs. It was necessary for everybody to be familiar with what was his – that is, that he should be aware of the essence of Judaism and how this is most relevant for him.”

From 1939 to 2017

The Rebbe wrote the above material in the year 5699 (1939), a long time before one could say about his generation what can be said about our own – that we live in relative comfort and we have the time to worry about our cultural possessions. With G-d’s blessing, as the 69th anniversary of Yom Ha’astma’ut of the State of Israel approaches, we live in a generation which can find a moment to pause and to look around at the foundations of the edifice which we built from the cultural point of view. What achievements have we accomplished in literature and art? What style of art is most prominent in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art or among the students of Betzalel? Does this express the unique essence of the nation of Yisrael, or have we adopted Canaanite or European culture in our midst? What spiritual houses are we building for the next generations of the Jewish nation? As far as I am concerned, it is remarkable to see how the Rebbe found the time to think about a topic that is still relevant today, decades after his time. The Rebbe ended his essay as follows:

“All of this can teach us an important lesson for today. The physical buildings in Eretz Yisrael, no matter how important they are for settlement efforts, are important and desirable,no matter who does the building... However, the spiritual construction must be done as directed by men of Torah and faith in order that it will stand on holy foundations. We must struggle as hard as we can [using spiritual and moral weapons] (this comment appears in the original article) to make sure that the foundations of the spiritual edifice in Eretz Yisrael will be our Torah and our faith [for they are our life and our source of long lives].

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The Roots Of Faith

Statehood/Rabbi Oury Cherki, Machon Meir, Rabbi of Beit Yehuda Congregation, Jerusalem

Aristotle (in his essay “Politics”) defines mankind as a political animal (see the Kuzari, by Yehuda Halevi, 1:35). The need to live in a community is so essential to man that no serious philosopher ever proposed returning to the primordial state where man was completely alone without any links to some kind of society and therefore to its highest form of expression, the state.

However, it is still difficult to define a state. The attempt by Jean-Jacques Rousseau to describe a “social contract” where every individual surrenders a measure of his personal freedom in return for the desires of the community is not very clear. When was a referendum held where the people agreed to take part in this contract? It must be that political life is based on creating an imaginary entity which has no real existence in the worlds of feeling or the intellect, which can be called “the state.” The Rambam writes that political life is founded on imagination: “If [Divine] abundance would only appear to one who has an imagination, this would be relevant to those who lead the states.” [Moreh Nevuchim 2:37].

The state also has a utilitarian meaning: “If not for fear of authority, every man would swallow up his colleague alive” (see Avot 3:2).

However, the very fact that an entity exists which controls the lives of human beings creates a degree of discomfort for the Jew of faith. After all, G-d is the King, and any attempt to establish an alternative authority in the form of the state can be interpreted as a revolt against the Kingdom of G-d! The fear of such a phenomenon is the internal kernel of the approach of the Rebbe of Satmar, who viewed the establishment of the State of Israel, even if it would be religious, as a revolt against G-d.

It is true that this opinion has been rejected by the halacha, since establishing this state is a positive mitzva from the Torah (Ramban’s comments on the Sefer Hamtizvot, Positive Mitzva No. 4). But the wariness of transforming the sovereign power into a replacement for divinity is worthy of deeper study. In the same blessing of the Amidah where we ask G-d to give us back our kingdom, “Return our judges and our advisors to us as in the beginning,” we also ask at the same time, “And reign over us, G-d, all alone.” Thus, the earthly kingdom must be organized in such a way that the Divine Kingdom is reflected from within it. And for this reason government authority is not vested in a single power but is shared by the four basic ruling entities: the king, the judges, the priests, and the prophets. (in Hebrew, this is – Melech, shofet, kohen, navi – which forms an acrostic of the word “Mishkan” – the Tabernacle.)

Among the other nations, the purpose of the separation of powers is to prevent one branch of the government from taking complete control, but for the nation of Yisrael the purpose of the separation of powers is to declare that the sovereign power belongs to G-d alone, and He is the only source of merciful leadership for our nation.

The task of the State of Israel is to be “the basis for the Throne of G-d in the world” [Rav Kook, Orot, page 160], and to serve as an inspiration for the entire world.

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Nature and the Torah portion

Doves and Young Pigeons /Dr. Moshe Raanan, Herzog College and the Jerusalem College for Women

"And when the days of purity are over for a son or a daughter, she shall bring a one-year-old sheep as an Olah Sacrifice and a young pigeon or a dove as a Chatat Sacrifice, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, to the Kohen" [Vayikra 12:6].

In my article for Tazriya-Metzora 5772 (issue 1469), I asked why in all the descriptions of a sacrifice of a bird in the Torah the dove ("tor ") is mentioned before the pigeon ("yonah"), except for the Chatat of a woman who has given birth.

The Baal Haturim writes, "In all the other places the dove appears before the pigeon, except here. This is because only one bird is sacrificed, and one who finds a pigeon should not take a dove since the dove's mate will mourn and refuse to take another mate." This implies that in general, when a pair of birds is sacrificed, a dove should be preferred over a pigeon, but when a single bird is sacrificed as in the case of a woman who gives birth, the pigeon is the preferred choice.

Yellow and a Golden Color

In this article I will address a different question, the definition of the ages of young pigeons and doves. It is clear that the term “ bnei yonah” refers to a young bird, but we can try to understand the criteria for ages of pigeons and doves and ask why these ages are relevant for sacrifices.

The following appears in the Mishna: “That which is suitable for doves is prohibited for pigeons and that which is suitable for pigeons is prohibited for doves” [Chulin 1:5]. The Gemorra explains the criteria that can be used to differentiate between the two birds:

“The rabbis have taught us: We might think that all the doves and all the pigeons are suitable. However, it is written, ‘From among the doves’ and not all the doves, and ‘from among the pigeons’ and not all the pigeons. This excludes when both types start to be yellow. From what age are the doves suitable? It is when they become golden in color. From what age do the pigeons become unsuitable? It is when they become yellow.” [Chulin 22a].

Our sources give us various criteria for the limits of the times when the birds are considered mature or young, but it is not easy to translate these criteria into life cycle stages we are familiar with today. The difficulties pertain not only to language elements but also to the possibility that during the time that has passed since the Mishna was written the colors of domesticated birds might have changed as a result of a process of selection.

The traditional commentators are quite uniform in their interpretation of the stages of development of pigeons and doves mentioned in the Gemorra and the Mishna. Rashi comments in Chulin: “The beginning of yellow – when the feathers around the neck begin to turn yellow, both birds are prohibited, since they are no longer considered young.”

In a later passage, Rashi describes the limits of unsuitability in a slightly different way: “Doves whose time has not yet come – As appears in the Mishna, they become kosher when they are golden in color and they are unsuitable before that. This corresponds to the fact that doves refers to old and not young birds. Young pigeons implies that they are young and not old, and they become unsuitable from the time that they become yellow.” [Chulin 112b].

We see from this that Rashi feels that “the beginning of turning yellow” is the same as “when they become yellow.” This is a stage characterized by a yellow color of the feathers around the neck. In addition, it seems that the commentator in Zevachim 68b does not differentiate between yellow and gold: “Doves whose time has not yet come and young pigeons whose time has passed ... From when are doves suitable? When they become golden. And when do young pigeons become unsuitable? When they get yellow feathers of gold around their necks.”

Rabbi Bartanura uses slightly different language in commenting in Chuilin: “The beginning of yellow – This is when the bird begins to show pretty yellow feathers around its neck... But pigeons which are so young that if a wing is pulled off from them no blood comes out are unsuitable because of their young age.” In his commentary on the Mishna, the Rambam interprets the term “yellowing” differently: “The beginning of yellowing is when the colors of the feathers begin to change. For pigeons, they are no longer considered young and they are therefore unsuitable. For doves, they have not yet reached the stage of maturity and they thus cannot be considered adults, and they are therefore not kosher.”

The Best Time for Eating the Birds

I do not have an explanation of my own for the terms “yellow” and “golden,” but I will briefly describe three main approaches adopted by researchers. (1) The limit is the stage when the bird moves from down (fine feathers) to regular feathers. This occurs very early, during the first days that the chick is alive. (2) The limit is linked to the transformation from a uniform cover of feathers to a differentiation of colors. This occurs at an age of about three weeks, close to the development of the ability to fly. (3) The stage of yellowing comes very late (after about five months), at the same time as the bird becomes sexually developed.

In order to decide which of the above approaches is right, we should first discuss the main difference between pigeons and doves. The fact that pigeons were domesticated but the dove has not been domesticated and the different sizes of the two species have almost certainly impacted on the way they are used for food, and probably also on the way they were brought as sacrifices. Doves were caught as adults, and at this point they are tasty, and that is the way they were eaten. Pigeons were gathered in dovecotes and eaten as chicks since the adults are less tasty. To this day in many places young pigeons are still considered a delicacy.

There is no reason to assume that the age of a sacrifice would be different from the optimal age for eating, especially since a Chatat Sacrifice is eaten by the priests. We can thus link the signs given by the sages to this difference between pigeons and doves. We can thus assume that the limiting factor is the ability to fly. This would correspond to criterion (2) above. The factor that shows the maturity of the doves is the development of a “golden” color, which can be seen in the coloring of the mature bird. This is what is called the stage of “flying” in the Tosefta.

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Straight Talk

Six Milestones from Egypt to Jerusalem/Yoni Lavie
Manager, "Chaverim Makshivim" Website

When several people congregate in a small space, we might ask: How are they connected? Is it a coincidence that they all happen to be in the same place at the same time, or is there a link between them? When the subject is not people but holidays, we can be even more confident that there is some basic reason for their close proximity, and we face a challenge of determining what it is. The fifty days of the Omer between Pesach and Shavuot is the most densely populated time of the year, and this period contain within it six very special days! Some of them are ancient – Pesach and Shavuot – and some were only instituted in the last generation or two – memorial days for the Holocaust and for the war casualties of Israel, Yom Ha’atzma’ut, and Yom Yerushalayim. Is it pure coincidence that all of these special days are concentrated in the time of the counting of the Omer? What is the common link among all of these occasions?

The Trek to Mount Sinai

The connection between Pesach and Shavuot is immediately obvious. These two holidays are linked together by the count of the Omer. If we ask a child when the Torah was given he might well reply that it was the sixth of Sivan, but this date does not appear in the Torah at all! Shavuot is the only holiday in the Torah which is not identified by a date on the calendar. When does the holiday come? It is on the fiftieth day of the count of the Omer! What does this mean? We can also ask: What is the relationship between these two great holidays?

On Pesach we were given physical freedom, and we became a free nation. There can be no doubt that this is a revolutionary historical milestone, but we must also remember that it was just the first basic step, no more than a vessel which it was necessary to fill with the appropriate contents. And that is the role of Shavuot, the day that the people who had left Egypt were given a spirit and a path – the Torah, which gave them instructions about how to live. The fact that no date is given emphasizes to us that even if the first step was organized by heaven the second step depends mainly on our actions. For the event to take place it was not enough to sit idly by and wait for a specific date. We were required to go on a journey of mending our ways and purification for a full fifty days. Every day had its own spiritual labor to be accomplished, and anybody who missed even one day would find it hard to continue counting through until the end.

Two Levels

The same relationship exists between the two holidays which were established in our generation: Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israel Independence Day) and Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Liberation Day). On the fifth of Iyar 5708, the State of Israel was born as a sovereign nation in its own land. This was a historic moment and the start of a new chapter in the life of Yisrael, which could finally stand under its own independent power at the end of two thousand years of terrible exile. But even this great event was not the final chord of our life history. It served only as the framework for the second and more substantial level – Yom Yerushalayim, when Jerusalem was once again reunited. This represents our spiritual goal, including the Temple. In this case too, we are in need of tremendous amounts of labor, sweat, and patience in order to climb to the second level and not get trapped along the way.

Where are we at this point in time? Evidently, with respect to both pairs of holidays that we have described the nation of Yisrael is somewhere on the path, on a continuum between the first level – physical existence – and the second level – the spiritual essence and content. As an illustration, there are very few families in Israel which do not celebrate the Pesach Seder on some level, but many fewer people take care to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. Huge crowds of citizens celebrate their joy of what happened on Yom Ha’atzma’ut, but many fewer take the trouble to see Yom Yerushalayim as an important holiday.

Thousands of years ago, the Torah described the final objective: “I led you on two levels (kommemiut)” [Vayikra 26:13]. The sages taught us that the two levels are different in character. The first came to us as a result of a heavenly push, but we are still climbing to reach the second level.

Is there any danger that we will get stuck along the way? Certainly, the danger exists. This is true both at an individual level and in general. Every baby who was ever born has encountered his or her own private “Pesach” or “Yom Ha’atzma’ut.” But the fact that he lives and breathes merely means that he exists. Will he also become a “man?” Will he also be privileged to reach the status of “Yom Yerushalayim” or “receiving the Torah” in his own life? The same questions can be asked about the nation as a whole. Will it merely live in a country that will be a “safe haven” from the evils of exile and from the “village jungle” of the Mediterranean area? Or will the nation manage to climb to a higher level and truly establish “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” [Shemot 19:6] that will be a source of light for all the nations? This question is still open and awaits an answer.

The Alternative and the Price

For all those who were born during the last 69 years, the situation where we live in a sovereign Jewish state with our own army is all we have ever known. We are not familiar with any other possibility. However, together with Yom Ha’atzma’ut there are also two other memorial days that can help us remember that this is not the only possibility. TheHeroes and Martyrs Day reminds us of the possible alternative. For two thousand years of exile, every king or landowner could arbitrarily decide one fine morning to expel, rob, or forcibly convert all the Jews under his control, and the Jews had no power to resist such moves. We were the objects of horrible humiliation, always weak and separated from our own land. The peak was reached about seventy years ago, when millions of our people were led to the slaughter while an apathetic world watched in silence. The memory of the Holocaust sharpens our awareness of the alternative to the existence of the State of Israel. Do people still complain that our country is not yet perfect? Okay, go ahead and complain, but don’t forget to give heartfelt thanks at the same time, because this is infinitely better than the possible alternative.

The fourth of Iyar, Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, marks the heavy price that we paid in order to establish the State. Twenty-two thousand men and women sacrificed their lives on the altar of its founding. However, we should look for a deeper understanding of the famous motto, “By their death they gave us our lives.” Such a heavy price obligates us to do much more than to establish a life of mundane existence and to set up a country that will merely be “one more” out of a hundred just like it. Paying such a heavy price so that there would be a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael obligates us to be the harbingers of a great message to the rest of the world as “a light to the nations.” Every one of us is personally obligated to live a great and highly significant life. We must see Memorial Day not as a day of weakness and sorrow but rather as a day filled with glory and greatness, which helps to raise Yom Ha’atzma’ut to a much greater spiritual level than we considered before.

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Zomet At The Crossroads

Techumin Plus!/The Zomet Institute

Mazal Tov! Techumin Plus is going live!

For many years, a CDROM has been available for the “Techumin” series of books on halacha relevant for modern times, which includes data bases with additional sources: the works of Rabbi Yisraeli, “Mar’eh Habazak,” the Assia Series, the encyclopedia of medical halacha, books on Hebrew law, Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchata, and more.

However, life is dynamic – laptop computers no longer have disc readers, and a CDROM can be updated only once every few years. All the while, the series of Techumin and other data bases grow steadily.

Our solution: We have established a site that is readily available, part of the Zomet website (in Hebrew), and which is constantly updated with new material.

The site can be searched (even with a smartphone!) using a modern and fast search engine. It can be a valuable aid for anybody who is preparing a Torah lesson on a current halachic issue. It is vital for anybody searching for material for writing papers on current halachic subjects. This is highly recommended for all those interested in viewing current Torah literature.

This site is available for a monthly fee of NIS 6. Look for it on the Zomet website.

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Riddle of the Week

Tazriya-Metzora /Yoav Shlossberg, Director of "Quiz and Experience"

One of ten is mentioned in this week’s Torah portion.

While it has been cured,

A problem remains which requires clarification.

What is this?

(This appears in a book by Rabbi Zev Vitman, “ Toratecha Sha’ashu’ai”. We also take this opportunity to congratulate Rabbi Vitman on his appointment as the Chief Rabbi of Alon Shevut.)

- Answers to last week’s riddle – it was:First – the slave brought ten. Second – “Not tremendous.” Third – Missing in Greek. Fourth – Change the first vowel to get one of the priestly shifts .

- The answer: The four impure animals listed in the Torah portion.

- A camel: “And the slave took ten camels from those of his master and he went, taking along in his hand all his master’s good” [Bereishit 24:10].

- A coney: “Coneys are feeble and they make their homes in the rocks” [Mishlei 30:26].

- A hare: One of the modifications made in the Septuagint was that “they wrote the beast with small legs and not the hare because Ptolemy’s wife was named ‘hare.’” [Megillah 9b].

- A pig (“chazir”): One of the priestly shifts is named “Chaizir” – “The seventeenth shift was Chaizir” [Divrei Hayamim I 24:15].

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