July, 2010 Archives

22
Jul

Riding With Shema

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer

Some years ago, I knew a young boy who was eager to spread love and find life, even though he was at the end of his. He had had cancer for six of his nine years. In the hospital, I took one look at him and knew he was finished fighting. He had just had it. He had accepted the reality of his death. I stopped by to say good-bye the day he was going home. To my surprise, he asked me to go home with him. When I tried to sneak a peak at my watch, he assured me that it would not take long.

And so we drove into his driveway and parked. He told his father to take down his bicycle, which had been hanging in the garage, unused, for three years. His biggest dream was to ride around the block once – he had never been able to do that. He asked his father to put the training wheels on his bicycle. That takes a lot of courage for a little boy to do: it’s humiliating to be seen with training wheels when your peers are popping wheelies and performing tricks with their bikes. With tears in his eyes, the father did so.

Then the boy looked at me and said, “Your job is to hold my mom back.”

You know how moms are, they want to protect you all the time. She wanted to hold him up all the way around the block, but that would cheat him out of his great victory. His mother understood. She knew that one of the last things she could do for her son was to refrain, out of love, from hovering over him as he undertook his last, great challenge.

We waited as he rode off. It seemed like an eternity. Then he came around the corner, barely able to balance. But he rode up to us beaming.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – Life Lessons

“You shall teach them thoroughly to your children and you shall speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way…”

There are times in my life when the ‘way’ I must walk is overwhelming and frightening. I wish that God would hold me up as I walk.

The story of this young boy taught me that whether walking or riding a bike, the next step is a challenge I must meet on my own, taking the Torah’s teachings with me. Each step is a statement that I use these teachings to live and move forward, facing the future with courage.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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22
Jul

Changes To The Covenant?

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

Everything, except the actual circumcision was different. One blessing was recited ten minutes before the actual Mitzvah. The second blessing, usually recited by the father at the time of the Mitzvah, was sung by the Mohel about ten minutes later. There was a device holding the baby. There was no Sandek. The Mohel was not proficient in Hebrew.

I’ve seen such Milah ceremonies before, and, despite my discomfort, I attend because a young family is doing something difficult to keep the Covenant alive.

However, at this particular Brit Milah I heard something I never heard before: When the Mohel recited the names of the Matriarchs, he placed Leah before Rachel. A seemingly insignificant change. But it bothered me more than his change of who recites the blessings and when. Whatever reason he has to reject the Talmudic rulings about the blessings, why is it necessary to change the order in which Rachel and Leah are listed?

I asked him, and he explained that Leah was the more important matriarch as she had more children than Leah. “Didn’t Jacob consider Rachel his main wife?”

“He wasn’t thinking clearly.”

I’m not sure the Covenantal aspect of the ceremony will be effective if we begin to outsmart the Covenant builders.

The parents care about their Judaism, as do both sets of grandparents. Hopefully, they will inspire the baby with a deeper sense of covenant.

This is the first time I found myself at a Brit Milah crying with the baby.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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20
Jul

Kinah 31: The Souls Of The Past

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations

When we have passed a certain age, the soul of the child we were and the souls of the dead from whom we have sprung come to lavish on us their riches and their spells. Marcel Proust – In Search of Lost Time (The Captive)

This powerful Kinah contrasts our exodus from Egypt to our exile from the destroyed Jerusalem. (See Kinah 31: Egypt & Jerusalem) However, we do not remember the joy of the exodus on this, the saddest day of the year, only to magnify our sorrow; we reach back to what Jeremiah described as our childhood to reconnect with the soul of the child we once were. We reclaim the spirit of our youth to reclaim the magical spell of childhood:

“And the word of God came to me, saying: Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying: Thus says God: I remember for you the affection of your youth, the love of your espousals; how you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel is the God’s hallowed portion, His first-fruits of the increase; all that devour him shall be held guilty, evil shall come upon them, says the God.” Jeremiah 2:1-3

The people of Beitar had a custom intended to remind a person, as he or she stepped over the lintel into adulthood, of the promise of his youth so that he would retain the magic of a child all through his life. This was not only a personal message, but a reminder that Israel lives on with, and through, that spirit of their youth:

‘Through the shaft of a litter Beitar was destroyed.’

It was the custom when a boy was born to plant a cedar tree and when a girl was born to plant a pine tree, and when they married, the tree was cut down and a canopy made of the branches.

One day the daughter of the Emperor was passing when the shaft of her litter broke, so they lopped some branches off a cedar tree and brought it to her.

The Jews thereupon fell upon them and beat them. They reported to the Emperor that the Jews were rebelling, and he marched against them. Gittin 57a

The Emperor’s daughter and her retinue needed wood, saw a tree, and cut it down. Why were the people of Beitar willing to risk total annihilation because of a single tree?

The trees of Beitar were the people’s symbol of the continuity of Israel and her youth. The trees were a constant reminder that we could always reclaim the magic of our childhood, the one we experienced as we left Egypt. Beitar fought on to live because that magical past of, “When I left Egypt,” was also a part of their future.

The Romans were not satisfied with a military victory over Beitar. Conquest was not enough. They wanted to destroy our childhood memories. They denied our magical youth. Their power was greater than Egypt’s. There would not be another magical exodus or redemption. Israel was gone. A distant memory that would never be recaptured.

Beitar was willing to risk all to send a message to Jews everywhere and across time that we do not battle only to survive; we fight against any and all who would deny the magic of our youth. We cannot allow anyone to claim that a magical Temple never stood in Jerusalem. We will fight to the death against those who ridicule our miraculous past as if there never was an Israel before it was “Palestine.”

We recall “When I left Jerusalem,” because the souls of the dead of Beitar, and the souls of all who lived in Jerusalem, Vilna, Slabodka, Cracow, Cordoba, Worms, Russia, Denmark and every other place on the face of the earth, “the souls from which we have sprung,” come to us when we remember them today, “to lavish upon us their riches and spells.”

“In the community house there was a parchment with a chronicle on it, but the first page was missing and the writing had faded.” Isaac Bashevis Singer, “The Gentleman from Cracow

Our first page is not missing; “When I left Egypt.” It’s right there before us in the words of our prayers, the Torah, even our lamentations. Our chronicle is not only complete; it is alive.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Jul

Kinah 46: The Things I Miss

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations

This Kinah lists many of the special things and experiences we miss when we live in a world without the Temple.

I offer a poem by Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra (1058 – 1128). Born in Granada about 1055, Moses Ibn Ezra was destined to wander Spain after the conquest of Granada in 1090 by Berber invaders. He is forced to leave his friends and family. He too speaks of all he misses in Grenada:

How Long At Fate’s Behest

How long yet must my feet, at Fate’s behest,

The path of exile tread, and find no rest?

The sword of Separation has he drawn

To harry me over the earth;

And with the battle-ax of Wandering,

From each new refuge does he drive me forth.

Upon me he has loosed his brood of ills;

I totter, I even fall, before their might –

While like a fading shadow, day by day,

My life takes flight.

Misfortune’s marshalled hosts

Trampled my heart in youth;

Still in mine age, they march unwearied on,

Trampling, untouched by ruth.

The breaches of its walls they daub with woe,

Then throng again to smite it, blow on blow.

Marvel it seems, that the fierce fires of hell

Should rage within my breast, albeit my eyes

Pour torrents passing all the rains that fell

From olden Noah’s skies!

Alas, they draw my tears from sulphurous

streams,

And drench my heart only to feed its flames.

Oh, how can I, whose wont was to consort

With the great-minded nobles of the west,

Take joy in life? How shall my lonely heart,

Even in sleep, find rest?

Yet may not Fate, that has been harsh so long

Relent at last;

And grant my heart’s desire – and lead me back

To that fair city where my youth was passed?

There wait the roofs of friends, and there might I

Sit by a loved one’s threshold, and exchange

Greetings of friendship with the passers-by.

A Monument in Granada With Ibn Ezra\’s Poem: Ancient Graves


Or peradventure, after I am dead,

Some spark of life may in my dust remain,

To sprout in bud and blossom, when the tears

Of faithful friends upon my grave shall rain.

But who can say if those dear, distant ones

Cherish or scorn the love I treasure yet?

If I forget them, may my hand forget

Its cunning – if, from them apart,

One thought of joy can enter in my heart.

Oh, if indeed, the Lord would me restore

To beautiful Granada-land, my paths

Would be the paths of pleasentness once more;

For in that land my life was very sweet –

A kindly Fate laid homage at my feet,

And deep I quaffed at Friendship’s fount; as now

I fain would quaff the waters of Senir,

Whose snowfed current bears the swimmer high

When Eden’s streams run scant and sluggishly.

Though hope be long deferred, though heart be

faint,

On God I wait,

Unto Whose mercy there is no restraint –

And Whose decree

Can break the shackles and unbar the gate,

And set the prisoner of exile free.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Jul

Kinah 38: All For One!

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

O’ Zion, most desirable crown, joy for your multitudes;

Accept blessings of peace.


Which blessing of peace?

R. Judah contrasted the following passages: “And the ends of the staves were seen,” (Kings I 8:8) and it is written, “but they could not be seen without,” (Ibid) — how is that possible?

They could be observed, but not actually seen.

Thus was it also taught: ‘And the ends of the staves were seen,” one might have assumed that they did not protrude from their place. To teach us [the fact] Scripture says: ‘And the staves were so long’.

One might assume that they tore the curtain and showed forth; to teach us [the

fact] Scripture says: ‘They could not be seen without’. How then? They pressed forth and protruded as the two breasts of a woman, as it is said: “My beloved is unto me as a bag of myrrh, that lies between my breasts.” (Song of Songs 1:13)

R. Kattina said: Whenever Israel came up to the Festival, the curtain would be removed for them and the Cherubim were shown to them, whose bodies were intertwined with one another, and they would be thus addressed: “Look! You are beloved before God as the love between man and woman.” (Yoma 54a)

Rabbi Joshua b. Levi said: Scripture Says: So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, associated as one man: thus the verse made them as Torah scholars…the Divine Law purified the uncleanness of the ‘am ha-arez a during the Festival. Chagigah 26a

When we were all connected as one, all with the equal status of Chaveirim, we would merit to see physical expressions of God’s love for us.

When we fight, argue and bicker, when we hate without good cause, when we resent without attempting to repair, we lose those moments when we, in our unity, are automatically so purified that the Temple gates are opened and we can see the Temple Vessels, touch them in purity, and witness God’s love.

We bless Zion that all her children shall live unified, equal and connected in peace.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Jul

Kinah 35: As Drunks

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations

“O’ Israel, drunk, but not with wine, cast away your timbrels of joy…”

R. Sheshet, citing R. Eleazar b. Azariah, observed: “I could justify the exemption from judgment of all the [Israelite] world since the day of the destruction of the Temple until the present time, for it is said in Scripture: ‘Therefore hear now this, you who are afflicted and drunken but not with wine.’(Isaiah 51:21)” (Eiruvin 65a)

The Midrash (Tehillim 35) asks, “And from what are you drunk? From suffering and not from too much wine!”

How can Rav Sheshet claim that we have the status of being drunk, when the Talmud teaches that a drunk may not pray, and if he does, his prayer is considered an abomination?

A drunk may not pray because he only needs time before he is sober. However, we who are drunk with suffering, cannot wait until we are sober to pray or we will never have an opportunity to pray. (Rif in Ein Yaakov)

This is why the Kinah ends, “O’ cry before the Lord, over the destruction of the Temple, lift up your hands to Him and pray for the lives of your infants.” The author urges us to pray despite our drunken state. He wants us to pray so that our children will not also be forced to drink of the same cup of suffering.

How can we compare too much suffering to being drunk?

Rabbi Moshe David Vialli (Teshuat Olamim) explains that a drunk is a person who has lost control. He had no control over his drinking, and now drunk, has no control over his actions. We did not assert control over our behavior before the destruction, and therefore drank too much of the cup of suffering. (See Targum Yonatan ben Uziel) Now that we are drunk, we live in a world without any sense of control over what happens to us. Although we think of suffering as sobering, Isaiah reminds us that our suffering may sober us in one sense, but it deprives us of any sense of control.

Anyone who bothers to logically argue with Israel’s critics knows well the feeling of living with no control.

Anyone who bothers to reason with a child, teenager, or young adult is familiar with the sense of living in a drunken world.

Anyone who has ever attempted to calm himself or someone else who is in a fit of rage recognizes the experience of dealing with a world without reason.

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned.

W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Jul

Kinah 34: Is There Forgiveness For Our Enemies?

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations

This Kinah is based on the story of Nevuzaradan and the boiling blood of Zechariah, a prophet and Cohen, murdered on the Temple grounds on Yom Kippur by people who did not want to hear his prophecies of impending destruction. The aftermath of this story raises the important issue of forgiving our enemies:

R. Hiya b. Abin said in the name of R. Joshua b. Korhah: An old man from the inhabitants of Jerusalem told me that in this valley Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard killed two hundred and eleven myriads, and in Jerusalem he killed ninety-four myriads on one stone, until their blood went and joined that of Zechariah,2 to fulfil the words, “Blood touches blood.”

He noticed the blood of Zechariah bubbling up warm, and asked what it was. They said: It is the blood of the sacrifices which has been poured there. He had some blood brought, but it was different from the other.

He then said to them: If you tell me [the truth], well and good, but if not, I will tear your flesh with combs of iron. They said: What can we say to you? There was a prophet among us who used to reprove us for our irreligion, and we rose up against him and killed him, and for many years his blood has not rested.

He said to them: I will appease him. He brought the great Sanhedrin and the

small Sanhedrin and killed them over him, but the blood did not cease.

He then slaughtered young men and women, but the blood did not cease. He brought school-children and slaughtered them over it, but the blood did not cease.

So he said; Zechariah, Zechariah. I have slain the best of them; do you

want me to destroy them all? When he said this to him, it stopped.

Straightway Nebuzaradan felt remorse. He said to himself: If such is the penalty for slaying one soul, what will happen to me who have slain such multitudes? So he fled away, and sent a deed to his house disposing of his effects and became a convert. (Gittin 57b)

Nebuzaradan’s is not the only story of an enemy who converted:

He [the Emperor] sent against them Nero the Caesar. As he was coming he shot an arrow towards the East, and it fell in Jerusalem. He then shot one towards the West, and it again fell in Jerusalem.

He shot towards all four points of the compass, and each time it fell in Jerusalem.

He said to a certain boy: Repeat to me [the last] verse of Scripture you have learnt. He said: “And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom (Rome) by the hand of my people Israel.”

He said: “The Holy One, blessed be He, desires to lay waste his House and to lay the blame on me.” So he ran away and became a proselyte, and R. Meir was descended from him. (Gittin 56a)

In The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal writes of an incident that occurred during the time he was a concentration camp inmate. One day, he and his work detail were sent to clean medical waste at a converted army hospital for wounded German soldiers. On the way, “Our column suddenly came to a halt at a crossroads. I could see nothing that might be holding us up but I noticed on the left of the street there was a military cemetery . . . and on each grave there was planted a sunflower . . . I stared spellbound . . . Suddenly I envied the dead soldiers. Each had a sunflower to connect him with the living world, and butterflies to visit his grave. For me there would be no sunflower. I would be buried in a mass grave, where corpses would be piled on top of me. No sunflower would ever bring light into my darkness, and no butterflies would dance above my dreadful tomb.”

Simon’s work group arrived at the hospital. As they worked, a nurse came up to Simon and asked, “Are you a Jew?” When he answered “Yes,” she took him into the hospital building, to the bedside of Karl, a 21-year old dying Nazi soldier. Karl’s head was completely covered in bandages, with openings only for his mouth, nose and ears. Karl wanted to tell Simon his story.

He began,

”I know that at this moment thousands of men are dying. Death is everywhere. It is neither infrequent nor extraordinary. I am resigned to dying soon, but before that I want to talk about an experience which is torturing me. Otherwise I cannot die in peace . . . I must tell you of this horrible deed – tell you because . . . you are a Jew.”

Karl talked about his childhood and described himself as a happy, dreamy child. His father was a Social Democrat and his mother brought Karl up as a Catholic. Karl joined the Hitler Youth and later volunteered for the SS. That was the last time his father spoke to him.

Karl went on to tell Simon about being sent to fight in Russia, and about coming, one day, to a village.

”In a large square we got out and looked around us. On the other side of the square there was a group of people under close guard . . . The word went through our group like wildfire: ‘They’re Jews’ . . . An order was given and we marched toward the huddled mass of Jews. There were a hundred and fifty of them or perhaps two hundred, including many children who stared at us with anxious eyes. A few were quietly crying. There were infants in their mothers’ arms, but hardly any young men; mostly women and graybeards . . . A truck arrived with cans of petrol which we unloaded and took into a house . . . Then we began to drive the Jews into the house . . . Then another truck came up full of more Jews and they too were crammed into the house with the others. Then the door was locked and a machine gun was posted opposite . . . When we were told that everything was ready, we went back a few yards, and then received the command to remove safety pins from hand grenades and throw them through the windows of the house . . . Behind the windows of the second floor, I saw a man with a small child in his arms. His clothes were alight. By his side stood a woman, doubtless the mother of the child. With his free hand the man covered the child’s eyes . . . then he jumped into the street. Seconds later the mother followed. Then from the other windows fell burning bodies . . . We shot . . . Oh God! I don’t know how many tried to jump out of the windows but that one family I shall never forget – least of all the child.” 

After that event, Karl’s division moved on to the Crimea.

One day, in the middle of a fight, Karl climbed out of his trench, and 

”In that moment I saw the burning family, the father with the child and behind them the mother – and they came to meet me. ‘No, I cannot shoot at them a second time.’ The thought flashed through my mind . . . And then a shell exploded by my side. I lost consciousness . . . 

”It was a miracle that I was still alive – even now I am as good as dead . . . So I lie here waiting for death. The pains in my body are terrible, but worse still is my conscience . . . I cannot die . . . without coming clean . . . In the last hours of my life you are with me. I do not know who you are. I only know that you are a Jew and that is enough . . . In the long nights while I have been waiting for death, time and time again I have longed to talk about it to a Jew and beg forgiveness from him. Only I didn’t know whether there were any Jews left . . . I know that what I am asking is almost too much for you, but without your answer I cannot die in peace.”

Simon left the room without a word. When his group returned to the hospital the next day, the same nurse came to Simon and told him that Karl had died.

Over the next years of the war, time and again, through all his suffering, Simon thought of Karl and wondered if he should have forgiven him. 

”Ought I to have forgiven him? Was my silence at the bedside of the dying Nazi right or wrong? This is a profound moral question . . . The crux of the matter is, of course, the question of forgiveness. Forgetting is something that time alone takes care of, but forgiveness is an act of volition . . .”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Jul

Kinah 33: Responding To The Tragedy of The Crusades

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations

Though we were unable to do anything to stop the way they were annihilated, our hearts are pained that even after the great cataclysm no commemoration for them has been established for the future – some form of eulogy and mourning – in the manner established by the sages of Jewry after the pogroms of 5408-9, when they ordained the 20th of Sivan as day for fasting and reciting selichot (atonement prayers) – despite the relatively small dimensions of that series of tragedies.  Similarly, the sages of earlier periods composed kinot (dirges) to mourn the pogroms of the Middle Ages and the Crusades – specifically to mourn the communities of Mainz, Worms, and Speyer that sanctified Hashem in death. Further back in history, [kinnot were written] to mourn the deaths of the ten sages martyred by the Romans.  Wherever a Jew sits on the ground on Tish’a Be-Av and bewails the destruction of the Beit Ha-Mikdash he also sheds tears for the above tragedies, and so their memory remains alive among the Jewish People.  Why should the tragedies of the Holocaust be different from all those tragedies?  They certainly deserve a fast day and kinot of their own.

Whoever studies the overall picture sees that this, too, is no coincidence, but a manifestation of Divine will.  Just because the extent of the tragedy is so awesomely vast – six million Jews including over a million children annihilated in horrifying and brutal ways, genocide unmatched from the day man was created – there are no words capable of expressing the depth of the anguish that scorches our hearts.  The human vocabulary is too poor to properly express all the unnatural cruelty that was demonstrated by the monsters in human form or to describe the vastness of the loss of life of an entire generation with its unique way of life that was wiped off the face of the earth.  Human hearts and minds are incapable of grasping what took place here; no expression can encompass it because natural human feelings are too limited to be able to feel a pain as awesomely intense as this.  Only dumb silence – as in the statement “Aharon kept silent” [Vayikra 10:3] – can indicate the depth of the anguish in our hearts better than any words, for no expression is appropriate to this tragedy.

Only a dirge-writer like Yirmiyahu, a Divine prophet, could express the pain of the Jewish People when the tragedy of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash took place: “Would that my head were water and my eyes a source of tears so that I might bewail the dead of my People day and night!” [Yirmiyahu 8:23].  The natural tears that a person weeps are limited, incapable of bewailing the dead of the Jewish People.  A new creation was required, a source of tears, in order to mourn appropriately for the House of Jewry and the People of God who had fallen.

(Nesivos Sholom, Kuntres Ha-harugah Alekha, pp. 32-34, published by Yeshiva Beth Abraham of Jerusalem-Slonim, Expanded edition – 5765)

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Jul

Kinah 32: It’s All In The Details

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Music of Halacha, Reflections & Observations

My fingers are humbled and my foundations are crumbled –

O woe!

The Holy Temple and its courtyards are dragged

on the day of wrath –

Woe, what has befallen us!

The faces of princes and princesses are blackened

like the bottoms of pots –

O woe!

This Kinah describes numerous details of the Temple and its vessels, details to which we did not pay attention, details that did not matter to us. We forgot that each detail in the Temple was laden with meaning and deep secrets. No, the details did not matter to us, and eventually, we not only forgot the details, we forgot the Temple.

It is not that we are unconcerned with details; The Talmud teaches: R. Yochanan said: Jerusalem was destroyed only because they gave judgments therein in accordance with Biblical law.

Were they then to have judged in accordance with untrained arbitrators?

But say thus: because they based their judgments [strictly] upon Biblical law, and

did not go beyond the requirements of the law. (Bava Metzia 30b) They were so focused on the exact details of the law that they forgot to consider the ideas and concepts within each detail of every law.

We took something holy, Halacha, and made it a Hell. No wonder Milton wrote, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” (Paradise Lost)

I recall listening in to a conversation my father zt”l was having with a non-observant Jew, who was insistent on describing Judaism as a “Kitchen Religion,” “You guys spend so much time on insignificant details that you have no time for life!”

“Surely,” said my father, “you, a surgeon, are concerned with minute details.”

“Of course,” he responded, “but those details are more important than how hot some milk was when it fell into a meat pot, and how much milk was there in proportion to the meat in the pot!”

“How do you know?” asked my father.

“Because my details are about life and death!”

“So are mine,” my father gently responded, “I have found that I care about the details whenever something matters to me.”

“So do I,” argued the surgeon.

“So your problem is not the details; it is that you do not care about these laws.”

One of the most horrendous images of Hell is Jean Paul Sartre’s “Huis Clos,” where the characters face each other and their pasts eternally. The continuos repetition and their continual closeness is the greatest torture that could possibly be inflicted on them. Details that were insignificant the first ten thousand times they reviewed their pasts, eventually became huge mountains, especially when pointed out by the people they faced for all eternity. Details that did not matter to them, mattered to others, and the small things became part of their torture.

Details do matter to us in a beautiful way, as beautiful, if not more so, than the details of the Temple described in this Kinah. I offer an example from Yerushat Pelatah:

In the face of a government decree requiring Jewish-owned shops to be opened on Shabbat, Rabbi Pinchas Tzimetboim of Grossvarden was asked if it was permissible for shops to remain open, since the penalty for not doing so was the total shuttering of the stores by the government.

Note: The questioners were prepared to lose everything if the Rabbi ruled that they could not keep their shops open! Such are the magnificent details as beautiful as the decorations of the Temple!

After exploring the possibilities of keeping the shops open by having a non-Jew handle all transactions, Rabbi Tzimetboim writes,

“And even if one can find permission to open the shops on Shabbat during this time of persecution by having a non-Jew handle all buying and selling, it is necessary to make an important Takanah that each person so doing give his solemn word – Tekiat Kaf – staking his share in the World To Come, in the presence of a Rav or Bet Din, that he will not personally sell on the Shabbat and that he will renounce any profit from these Shabbat transactions.

The people of Grossvarden transformed their hell into heaven by caring about such details.

We too possess such power and beauty. We can, when we care to look, discover the beauty of the Temple in the details of our lives.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Jul

Kinah 30: The Temple Within

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations

“The celestial palaces, the heavens that house You,

are filled with Your splendor, yet they cannot contain You.

How much less so the Temple?”

A small group of friends made a commitment to each other as they in a cattle car on the way to Auschwitz: “We will maintain our own and each other’s dignity. We will always greet each other with great respect. We will share whatever we have. We will keep each other as clean as possible. We will always discuss important matters as if we were still studying together in Yeshiva.” They all survived. They were the only ones of their train to live. Eliezer Berkovitz – With God In Hell: Judaism in The Ghettos & The Deathcamps

“They shall make a Sanctuary for Me – so that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8) “So that I may dwell among them,” I will dwell in the heart of each Jew.

Rav Berkovitz and his friends discovered how to keep the Temple alive within themselves. Although this Kinah weeps for the Temple, we are able to keep alive the Temple that lives in our hearts.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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