Shabbat B' Shabbato

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Volume 1666: Vayakhel - Pekudey  27 Adar 5777 25/03/2017

As Shabbat Approaches

The Individual and the Community in Yisrael and in the Other Nations /Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavne

In our article for the Torah portion of Tetzaveh (Issue 1664) we discussed the paradoxical phrase, “There is one nation, scattered and dispersed” [Esther 3:8], and the explanation by Rav Kook – that externally the nation appears to bescattered, but that in reality it is one nation internally. In this article, we will discuss how Rav Kook views the essence of the unity of our nation.

Peace is an exalted value even in the eyes of the other nations, but the concept as seen by the nations is very different from our own idea. Rav Kook writes, “Peace is not an independent objective but it is rather a means to achieve what every person desires in his heart.” That is, it is a way to improve the conditions of a person’s life. However, for Yisrael peace has an intrinsic value of its own. We yearn for the appearance of the Shechina, “and G-d will not send the Shechina unless there is peace within Yisrael.” This implies another important difference: For the other nations the concept of peace is mainly relevant in the world of action, while for Yisrael it also refers to thought processes. “Every person must feel love for his brothers in his heart and in his soul.”

And this is the principle that is involved with collecting the Shekalim. A census of the nation was performed by taking half a Shekel from each person. This teaches us about the unity which is typical of Yisrael. In other nations, when individuals gather in the interests of unity, in essence their personal interest remains. When all is said and done, the final goal is to improve the lot of the individual, while the community acts as a “large group of mutual responsibility,” which can be thought of as a large national insurance company. Since it is impossible for every person to directly supply all of his own needs, it is necessary for his own comfort to gather into unified groups. All of this is not true for Yisrael, which in the end does everything it can for the benefit of the nation as a whole. “With respect to all the sanctity of the mitzvot and the service of the Holy One, Blessed be He, performed by Yisrael, the main objective of their labor is to generate justice and praise for the nation as a whole.

And that is how Rav Kook analyzed the contents of the Grace After Meals. The first blessing was written by Moshe in thanks for the manna, food which gave nourishment to the individual bodies of the people. The second blessing was written by Yehoshua for Eretz Yisrael, based on nationalistic feelings. The third blessing was written by David and Shlomo. David had Jerusalem in mind, the nationalistic spiritual form, while Shlomo thought of the Temple, which has the ability to repair the bad ways of humanity. As Shlomo said in his dedication of the Temple: “... so that all the nations of the world will know that G-d is the Lord” [Melachim I 8:60].

“The common thread throughout all the pathways of the Torah is to connect the whole of humanity to all the individuals, so that the individuals will find their happiness within the whole... Therefore it is fitting that every person in Yisrael must recognize the value of his personal food, which lays down a single stone in the edifice of the world in general.” Even though the act of eating is in essence selfish, when a person from Yisrael starts to eat he sees before him the general need – and by this personal act he contributes his part in building up the edifice of nationalism and humanity in general.

And that is why every person in Yisrael donates the same amount, and that these coins were used to make the sockets in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is an indication of the sanctity of the whole, and the sockets are placed at its foundation, showing that “the desired root of all the individual service of G-d in Yisrael is the success of the whole nation.” Therefore it was established that the foundation of the service of the whole nation would be made up from the half Shekel that every individual from Yisrael contributed.

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Point Of View

Rabbi Levinstein’s Spritual “Price Tag”/Zvulun Orlev

With his sharp tongue, Dr. Yosef Burg once said (even before the advent of the social networks in the world) that “everything we say is leaked, and therefore he makes sure not to talk even in a dream, because he is sure that such speech will also eventually be leaked...” In reply I told him that I was not surprised to hear this, since his son “Avrum” was living with him in his house. These precautions are even more important today, and even those who do not work in the secret service are well aware that every smartphone is readily available for making both audio and video recordings.

Is there anybody who believes the MK from the Zionist Union who adamantly claimed that he had not made any deal with the woman MK who is running for head of the Histadrut, even after hearing the recording of his conversation where he stated that a deal exists? He should have understood from previous leaks of his conversations that if Dr. Burg refused to talk in his dreams, then our careless MK should certainly be wary of what he says while he is fully awake.

The visual and audio exposure of the talk given by Rabbi Yigal Levinstein has led to deep public shock. His words to students of the IDF prep schools were quite offensive. First and foremost, this is true of the rabbi, who is liked by his students and who has a spiritual influence on them. But the most offensive part of his words lies in the harm he caused to any possible solution for the problem that he wants to solve. I have no doubt at all that his talk caused inestimable harm to any attempt to do something about the issue of combat duty for women in the army. His caustic style and his presentation in the manner of a standup comic raise serious questions about whether such a person should be in a position to lead young men in their efforts to integrate into Israeli society as a whole and into the IDF. Is this really the way to speak in a Beit Midrash? From various reactions that have reached my ears I have learned that many of my colleagues, as I did, lowered our eyes in shame. I felt very strongly that the rabbi failed miserably in trying to establish some sort of spiritual “price tag.”

The IDF shows great appreciation for the prep schools, which have succeeded in developing a generation of recruits who take the lead and demonstrate high motivation to serve in elite forces. Prep school graduates include many officers who fell bravely on the battlefield, and – on the other hand – admired officers who command divisions, brigades, battalions, and companies, in the best of the combat units. Even if there are harsh complaints against the Chief of Staff, the generals of the IDF, and their assistants, and such complaints do exist, are the words of the rabbi the correct way to look for a solution to the problems? What connection is there between the legitimate questions about women serving in mixed combat units which the rabbi wanted to address in his talk and the style, the place, and the audience to whom he spoke? Would the rabbi have spoken in the same way in a meeting with the Chief of Staff and the commanders of the IDF? Is this the proper way to teach young recruits? Is this the way to convince anybody? Is this the style of discussion that we want to teach our students to use when they speak to their commanders in the IDF?

The reactions of the Minster of Defense, other ministers, and politicians, have only made a solution to the problem harder to achieve. They transformed the matter into a political dispute in order to make personal political gains , again showing that power politics is more important to them than finding a practical solution to real dilemmas. The truth is that I was not especially disappointed by them because I did not expect anything better. The heads of the prep schools, on the other hand, demonstrated much greater stately responsibility in their reactions to the problem, and they knew how to differentiate between the terrible style of the rabbi’s talk and the need to talk to the leaders of the IDF with respect and persuasive power, without blurring the value system of the prep schools in any way.

The words of the rabbi are not the problem of the innovative prep school in Eli, where he teaches. That is not a proper place to address threats. This is a problem for Rabbi Levinstein himself. His way of dealing with the problem will show if his failure was incidental or systematic , a planned outburst or a slip of the tongue, a recurring or a one-time-only event. His true test will be how he now acts to defuse the offensive bomb which he planted against religious Zionism, and how he plans to treat the “harm” he caused in the excellent existing relationship between the religious prep schools and the IDF, which was established through much hard work, ever since the first prep school was founded in Eli thirty years ago.

Based on our acquaintance of many years and my great esteem for you, I turn to you personally: Rabbi Yigal, take responsibility and release us from the harsh commotion which you unleashed around us. This is how IDF commanders acted in the past and continue to act now. Give your students an example of how to cope and what they should do if in the future, as commanders and community leaders, they are the cause of similar confusion.

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Zionist Chassidism

Torah and Labor /Rafi Ostroff
Head of the Religious Council of Gush Etzion

In this week’s Torah portion the human operation of building the Tabernacle begins, following the Divine command in the previous portions. The Rebbe of Husiatyn decided to take advantage of the opportunity to discuss his views on the value of labor and workmanship in general.

The Rebbe felt that it is a direct mitzva to perform labor for the sake of heaven. He commented on the opening verse of the Torah portion: “And Moshe gathered the entire community of Bnei Yisrael, and he said to them: These are the things which G-d has commanded that they be done” [Shemot 35:1]. The Rebbe notes that there are two “things” that follow, the mitzva of resting on Shabbat which introduces the command of the Tabernacle, and the labor performed during the other six days of the week, which is also a mitzva.

* * * * * *

And this is what is referred to in the passage: “Love labor, for just as the Torah was given in a covenant, so labor was given in a covenant. As is written, ‘Labor for six days and do all of your work. And the seventh day is Shabbat, dedicated to your G-d.’ [Shemot 20:9-10].” [Avot D’Rebbe Natan 11a].

And that is what is written in the book “Ma’or Einayim” [written by Rebbe Menachem Nachum of Chernovil, a disciple of the Maggid of Mezerich – R.O.] in the name of the Baal Shem Tov: After 120 years, people are asked, ‘Were you faithful in your business dealings?’ (See Shabbat 31a.) A person is asked about his behavior in business and labor. And this factor is also a facet of holy labor and Torah – to see whether the person studies Torah in order to follow the ways of the Holy One, Blessed be He. For example, if he studies the Mishna which discusses exchanging a cow for a donkey, which is something that is very important to the Creator. And whether a person acts in this way and behaves according to the Torah is very important to the Holy One, Blessed be He. And also in performing labor, if he acts according to the Torah then he is involved in the Torah even while he performs his work.

* * * * * *

The Labor of the Tabernacle and Regular Work

The Rebbe thus teaches us a very innovative concept. We always thought that to study the Mishna about exchanging a cow for a donkey is a mitzva, while to act according to the Mishna is a secular activity, outside the bounds of the Torah. But the Rebbe teaches us that if I actually exchange a cow and a donkey according to the rules of the Mishna, or if I perform any other labor for the sake of heaven while I observe the halacha, then this labor itself is also a mitzva!

And at this point the Rebbe quotes another passage from Avot D’Rebbe Natan:

* * * * * *

In fact, the Holy One, Blessed be He, did not reveal His Shechina to Yisrael until they actually performed manual labor, as is written, “Let them make a Tabernacle for Me, and I will dwell within them” [Shemot 28:8].

* * * * * *

But we might still ask: What connection is there between weekday work and the labors of the Tabernacle? After all, this Midrash quotes the verse about building the Tabernacle to prove that the Holy One, Blessed be He, sends His Shechina within Yisrael only after they have begun to work. But isn’t this verse referring to the labors of the Tabernacle and not mundane regular work?

The Sanctity of the Tabernacle as Part of Practical Life

And therefore, the Rebbe teaches us another lesson from the book Ma’or Einayim. The purpose of giving the Torah to the nation of Yisrael was that they themselves would play the role of a Temple: “And I will dwell within them.” The labors of the nation during weekdays can be compared to the work on the Tabernacle, and the holy service on Shabbat is the secret of the building of the Tabernacle.

* * * * * *

That is what is called the labor of the Tabernacle – making a Tabernacle for the Creator of the entire universe using all thirty-nine types of secular labor. [That is, when work is done during weekdays and all thirty-nine types of labor that are forbidden on Shabbat are performed, a Tabernacle is made for G-d by installing Divine sanctity throughout the world – R.O.] That is, this includes earthly elements that are necessary for living, for it would be impossible for every Jew to spend all of his time learning Torah. As is written, ‘Many people acted in the manner of Rabban Shimon Bar Yochai, and they failed’ [Berachot 35]. [They tried not to do any work but only to learn Torah – O.S.] However, every person who performs his labors faithfully and honestly, with the intention of serving G-d and clinging to Him, is thereby participating in the construction of the Temple.

* * * * * *

I have written before that the Rebbe of Husiatyn draws his entire fund of knowledge from Chassidic writings. But in this case he spreads out before us the principles of “Torah and Labor” which was the motto of religious Zionism as it crystalized in Eastern Europe. He does not mention or even hint at the writings of the originators of these ideas, such as Rabbi Reiness, Rabbi Alkalai, or Shachal (Shmuel Chaim Lando).

Does modern religious Zionism continue on an ideal path of “Torah and Labor” which we see here is founded at least in part in Chassidic roots? Perhaps we should strive for both us and for various modern Chassidic sects to follow this path, which sanctifies weekday labor in order to impart the holiness of the Tabernacle to all segments of our lives.

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The Roots Of Faith

Faith in the Sages /Rabbi Oury Cherki, Machon Meir, Rabbi of Beit Yehuda Congregation, Jerusalem

One of the forty-eight traits by which the Torah is acquired is “faith in the sages” (Avot 86:6). This is usually taken to mean that one of our basic elements of faith is that the Jewish sages do not make mistakes. But it is eminently clear that this interpretation cannot be right, for there is no person on earth who is completely immune from making a mistake. In fact, we have seen many cases where the sages admitted their mistakes. Who is greater than Moshe himself, about whom it is written, “And Moshe heard, and it was good in his eyes” [Vayikra 10:20]? Rashi explains, “He was not ashamed to admit that he had not heard this before.” The following also appears in the responsa literature: “The praise of the rabbis is that they admit their mistakes.” That is, the fact that the wise men admit that they were wrong is to their credit.

The very existence of the tractate of Horayot, which contains a list of mistaken rulings by the high courts, also shows that errors occur. In fact, the Torah has forbidden us to follow a halachic ruling if we are absolutely certain that the court has made a mistake. “We might think that if they tell you that right is left and that left is right that you should follow them. However, it is written, ‘to go to the right and to the left.’ They should tell you that the right is the right and the left is the left.” [Yerushalmi Horayot 1:1]. And when the Sifri instructs us to follow “even though they show you what you have seen in your eyes is right and tell you it is left,” this is referring only to matters of personal discretion.

This position, the feeling that our wise men are never wrong, is dangerous from two points of view. One aspect is simple, and that is that when a person encounters a mistake made by a wise man his entire spiritual world might crumble before his eyes. The second aspect is deeper, in that it attributes to a created entity a characteristic which is only true in reference to the Creator Himself. This is the meaning of what the Rambam wrote: “Only He is the truth” [Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 1:4].

What, then, is the wondrous trait of faith in the sages which is needed in order to gain possession of the Torah? Rabbi Yehuda Ashkenazi explains that it means to believe that the sages are wise. That is, their words are not pronounced in a chance or haphazard way. Therefore, if one thinks that it is necessary to reject their words, the idea that is being rejected must be scrutinized in great depth, because we can be sure that it is based on great wisdom and can teach us a great lesson. If the wise men taught us that “there is nothing that does not have its proper place” [Avot 4:3], this must certainly be applied to the words of the sages themselves.

While we commonly see a contradiction between admiration and free criticism, our sages have taught us that one of these traits enables the other one. They said, “Let your house be a meeting place for wise men, and you should roll around in the dust of their feet” [Avot 1:4]. Here is how this was interpreted by Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin: “the word ‘lehitavek’ is related to the word for a struggle. No student should ever blindly accept the words of his rabbi if he has questions about his approach, and there are even times when the student is right and not the rabbi. But while we have permission to bring evidence to prove our position, we must still maintain an attitude of humility – to be ‘in the dust of their feet.’”

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Nature and the Torah portion

Purple Cloth (Argaman)/Dr. Moshe Raanan, Herzog College and the Jerusalem College for Women

“And every man who had blue, purple (argaman), scarlet, fine linen, goat hair, red skins of rams, and goat skins – brought them.” [Shemot 35:23].

“Argaman” is a color in the violet-red range. In modern Hebrew, it is also used as a synonym for “red,” especially of a deep or strong color. In the scriptures and in the literature of the sages, argaman refers to wool dyed with this color or to a cloth made from this wool. Rashi explains in the Gemorra, “‘A stripe of Argaman’ – this is wool combed out in the shape of a stripe with the color of argaman. And it is a common material.” [Bava Metzia 21a].

It is clear that argaman refers specifically to wool from the fact that it is prohibited to put it on linen garments. “It is prohibited to tie cords of argaman around a loose garment since before they are tied the cords are stitched onto the garment” [Mishna Kelayim 9:9]. The Rivmatz comments: “Cords of argaman refer to cords made of wool. As is also said, one is not allowed to tie cords of woolen argaman if a person is wearing linen.”

An Animal Dye

The dye was manufactured in a complicated process which was evidently kept as a trade secret, from mucus secreted by the hypobranchial gland of snails, specifically from the family Muricidae (murex). Argaman is often considered as being closely related to the blue color “techelet,” and indeed they are both very similar in their importance, their source, and the process in which they are used as dyes. Based on historical sources and archeological evidence, we can assume that these two dyes derived from the murex snails were the main animal-based dyes available in the Mediterranean area in ancient times.

Argaman is mentioned 38 times in the Tanach as a cloth or as a raw material for precious cloth. Of these instances, 29 are related to the Tabernacle and its utensils, and to the Temple. As opposed to techelet, which appears very frequently in the literature of the sages – because of the day-to-day use of this material for the mitzva of tzitzit, which remained relevant even after the destruction of the Temple – argaman does not appear as often.

The most ancient sources which we have that may be useful for solving the enigma of the identity of argaman are ancient translations. In Greek and Latin argaman is called “purpura.” In Aramaic it is “ arguna” and in Arabic it is called “arju’an.” Only from later sources can we conclude that all of these refer to the same material, and that purpura is a dye produced from sea snails. This color can be “purpura red” or “purpura blue.” Evidently the dye for argaman was produced from two sea snails: spiny dye-murex (Murex brandaris) and red-mouth rock shell (Stramonita haemastoma), while techelet was produced from banded dye-murex (Murex trunculus).

Royal Garments

The passage quoted above from Bava Metzia notes that argaman is “important,” which evidently refers to the fact that it is expensive. “Come and hear: Stripes of argaman belong to the finder. Why is this so? Isn’t it true that he is not aware that they fell? Here too because of the importance he checks for them all the time.” [Bava Metzia 21b]. This declaration in the Talmud is compatible with many other sources among Yisrael and the other nations. Many verses in the Bible indicate that argaman was a prestigious raw material. Argaman, together with other precious raw materials – such as gold and silver – was part of the assets of kings, and it signified their wealth. About Tzur it is written, “Linen with embroidery from Egypt was what you spread forth for your banner; techelet and argaman from the islands of Elisha was your cover.” [Yechezkel 27:7]. Argaman was one of the elements used to describe the great wealth of King Achashverosh: “There were white, green, and techelet hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and argaman, on silver rings and marble pillars...” [Esther 1:6].

Argaman is mentioned in the literature of the sages in halachic contexts that are related to the fact that it was expensive. In the Mishna we see that argaman is a cloth that is protected in special ways: “A man who touches... the double thread that is drawn over argaman... becomes unclean.” [Keilim 21:1]. This is explained as follows: “‘The double thread’ – A piece of cloth that is sown onto argaman so that it will not become dirty is considered attached to the garment.”

In another halacha, argaman is mentioned together with “shani,” scarlet cloth, as an expensive item: “... a swatch three by three fingers wide which has been thrown into the garbage is pure, but if it is retrieved it becomes impure. In every case throwing cloth away makes it pure and retrieving it makes it impure except for argaman or crimson...” [Keilim 27:12]. Rambam comments: “‘Crimson’ – Silk colored crimson. Since argaman and silk cloth are very expensive, a swatch three by three fingers wide is so important that it can become impure even if it is thrown away.”

With respect to the minimum amount to be liable for carrying outside on Shabbat, we are taught: “... One who takes out the smallest amount of something with a bad odor, any amount of good oil, any amount of argaman...” [Shabbat 90a]. Rashi writes, “‘Argaman’ – The dye which is used to treat cloth, and the reason for this rule was not given. it seems to me that the dye can also be smelled.” This is not clear, since argaman has a bad smell, and therefore it is included in the category of “a bad odor.” For this reason industrial manufacture of techelet and argaman was situated far away from population centers or to the east (because of the prevailing winds). According to our line of reasoning, perhaps the fact that “the smallest amount” of argaman may not be carried was because of its great value.

Argaman was so precious that in the Roman Era it was considered a symbol of royalty, and anybody not connected to royal circles was forbidden to wear it or use it in commercial transactions.

For more information in Hebrew and for pictures, and to regularly receive articles about plants and animals linked to the Daf Yomi, write e-mail to:

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Straight Talk

Why is it So Hard to Pray?/Yoni Lavie
Manager, "Chaverim Makshivim" Website

The congregation had already started to sing “Lecha Dodi” on Friday night when the door of the synagogue burst open and he stood there. He was a boy of about 15, wearing a colored striped shirt and flaunting a head of hair that had not seen a barber in a very long time. He passed by the shelves lined with siddurim without taking any one of them into his hands, and continued at a steady pace to the middle row of seats. He sat down heavily next to his father, who hastily handed him a hefty pile of colorful Shabbat bulletins, while making sure to keep a few for himself. “I managed to pick up all the bulletins that you like.”

The Root of the Problem

The growing tide of Shabbat bulletins that washes through our synagogues and serves for many of the people as an interesting occupation and a good way to while away the time spent in the synagogue is not the problem. It is merely a symptom of the problem. The root of the problem is that the alternative – that is, to sit and pray – simply does not interest the people. Many youths and adults find it very hard to get close to the prayers, to have the proper intentions, and to see this as a focus of our service to G-d and a source for enhanced spirituality.

This was also true two thousand years ago, and it is not in vain that the sages called prayer “labor of the heart” – a matter which requires labor in order to accomplish the goal. However, the matter has gained greatly in importance today, in a generation which is so strongly attached to the world of media and of social networks that prayer seems to it to be no more than a bland and boring shadow. One of the greatest difficulties that parents and educators encounter with respect to the children is this subject of prayers. In order to cope with the problems in a proper way, it is important to realize that the youths are not trying to fool us. Prayer is indeed a very challenging and difficult matter, and if we can manage to define the main focus of the difficulty, perhaps this will give us an opening to the way to cope. Perhaps we can even discover some valuable gifts that proper prayer can give us but which usually remain hidden beneath the known difficulties.

The Pitfalls along the Way (A Partial List)

(1) So, what’s new? – We live in a generation that is addicted to innovation and is full of record-holding channel-hoppers. To repeat the same words three times a day, hundreds of times a year, is something that we find hard to do.

(2) Who wrote these words? – Prayer is a personal and intimate contact between a person and his G-d. But instead of being able to speak freely and authentically, from the heart, we are instructed from the outside to recite words and appeals which were composed thousands of years ago. This makes for obvious difficulties.

(3) Plural or singular? – Large sections of the prayers are in the plural, and this makes it difficult for one who wants to express and represent his or her personal needs. “Who am I, a representative of Yisrael in the United Nations? I have enough trouble managing for myself...”

(4) “Excuse me, just what does this mean?” – It is true that the words of the prayers are in Hebrew, but many of the sentences do not make sense to us, even those of us whose native tongue is Hebrew. Here is a verse from the daily prayer for Wednesday: “Shall the seat of iniquity, which frames mischief by law, have fellowship with you?” [Tehillim 94:20]. Can somebody explain this to me?

(5) “Who cares about all this, anyway? ” – Much of the prayers involve general and future subjects (ingathering of the exiles, Mashiach, and so on), which are far removed from the burning needs of most of the people (such as problems of health, money, studies, and so on). It is hard for people to make requests about matters that don’t seem directly relevant to them here and now.

(6) “Talk to the wall...” – It is not easy to keep on speaking when you don’t see any sign of a response from the object of your speech. When we are in a phone conversation and there is a pause when the other side is quiet for too long, we stop and reach out: “Hey, are you still there?” This is just to make sure that the connection wasn’t cut off. In prayer we do all the talking, without any feedback from the other side, which would help us make sure that somebody is listening after all.

(7) Problems of faith – Many weighty questions pertaining to faith can be heard from young people and adults with respect to prayer. How does it work, anyway? Do our prayers somehow modify the will of G-d? Can it really be that He made a decree about us and then, because we applied “pressure” or “got on His nerves” He changed His mind and cancelled the decree? And what about all the respectful titles of G-d that fill the prayers, isn’t that a bit too much flattery? And what about all those heart-felt prayers that came out of us spontaneously in the past that we feel the Holy One, Blessed be He, rejected at the time, without any positive result at all?

(8) A high threshold of stimulation – We live in a generation which is used to very strong emotions. Our movies are filled with action and drama, we watch amazing and exciting musical video clips. If we just sit in front of a book with straight lines and printed words, we feel bored and insulted.

(9) Distractions – In this world of multi-texting, when we are always glued to a cellular phone that vibrates, it is very hard to concentrate on one thing and to silence all the noise and distractions that attack us all the time.

(10) The internet culture – In the microwave world, where 30 seconds is enough to achieve so much, we find it hard to make an investment in things that require an effort. But quality prayer demands of us an investment in energy and in diligence.

(11) “Wow, I haven’t seen you in a long time!” – Quite often, the time for prayer gives us an opportunity to renew old relationships after a very long time when we have not met our friends. This is true for the morning prayers of students who have not seen each other since yesterday, and even more so for Friday night prayers of adults who have not seen each other for a whole week. The temptation to share our feelings is great indeed.

Problems and Treasures

The long list above has not been presented in order to make our prayers even harder to do than they were before. Rather, its purpose is to get a better understanding of the challenges which we encounter. We should note, however, that almost every one of the above items can open up a pathway that leads to a great gift, a habit, or an important spiritual trait that prayer can teach us to appreciate. Can you see what I mean? Can you identify many treasures that lie behind all of the above problems with prayer?

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Zomet At The Crossroads

Zomet Institute Supporting a Charity Institution /The Zomet Institute

In this interval between “gifts for the poor” of Purim and “Kimche D’Pischa” for helping people with charity before Pesach, we at Zomet Institute are happy to announce our cooperation with the “One to One” Charity Fund (Echad L’Echad), led by Rabbi Nachum Nerya and his son Yitzchak.

The fund is active in the realm of religious nationalism , with its main emphasis on helping “avreichim” – married Torah scholars – concentrate on their studies. It also provides financial support for needy families which are known by the rabbis of Zionist yeshivot and community rabbis throughout Israel, including the Torah “gar’inim” – support groups – in peripheral towns and cities.

All the operations of the fund are completely transparent. Contributors, who come from all levels of the public, can be sure that a full 100% of the donations will be used for the stated objectives of the fund. Donations can be made by phone – 1-700-70-70-99 – or on the fund’s website: (that is: one-ell-one, with the letter ell in lower case).

May you have the merit of performing many mitzvot!

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Riddle of the Week

Vayakhel-Pekudei /Yoav Shlossberg, Director of "Quiz and Experience"

I am the second one, larger by one than what lies underneath.

Raising me in Eretz Yisrael is forbidden.

Two hundred of my species were given as a present by the one who returned to Eretz Yisrael.

(With thanks to the author of this riddle, Meir Mandeleyer from Shavei Shomron.)

Answers to last week’s riddle: It was – If we change the vowels of a word in this week’s Torah portion we get the name of a city that was destroyed. If we change the order of the letters and the vowels, w e get a time of day which does not appear at all in the Torah portion. What is the word?

- Answer: “Bera” – with evil; “Bera” – a king; “Erev” – evening.

- Bera: “And Aharon said, do not be angry, you know the people and that they are set on evil” [Shemot 32:22].

- Bera: Change the “shva” at the beginning of the word to a “segol,” for the following verse: “They waged war against Bera, the King of Sedom...” [Bereishit 14:2].

- Erev: (evening): Rearrange the letters to get the word “erev” which appears quite often in the Torah but which does not appear at all in the Torah portion of Ki Tissa.

(With thanks to the Chazzan David Ulman of Haifa, who sent us this riddle.)

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