December, 2011 Archives

28
Dec

The Diet of Strangers – The Family Moves Part One

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

“Before Columbus, the diet of Europeans had remained basically unchanged for tens of thousands of years, based mainly on oats, barley, and wheat. Within a quarter century of his first voyage, the European diet became richer, more varied, and more nutritious. As Roger Schlesinger wrote in his book, In the Wake of Columbus: ‘As far as dietary habits are concerned, no other series of events in all world history brought as much significant change as did [the discovery of the Americas].’ The list of foods that made their way into Europe is extensive and includes maize, squash, pumpkin, avocado, papaya, cassava, vanilla, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes (yams), strawberries, and beans of almost every variety.”

Atlantic Ocean: The Illustrated History of the Ocean That Changed the World

by Martin W. Sandler by Sterling

When a Shabbat guest expressed his discomfort over the absence of gefilte fish and potato kugel, being served instead with cold cucumber soup topped with (parve) sour cream, and asparagus and bean salad, “This is not what they ate in Europe!” I responded with, “Neither is potato kugel! Potatoes are an American food!” Seeing how discomfited a guest was by a change in menu, I wondered how Jacob’s family felt after settling in Egypt:

“So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and he gave them a possession in the land of Egypt in the best part of the land, in the region of Rameses as Pharaoh had commanded. Joseph sustained his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food according to the children (Genesis 47:11-12).”

Jacob and his family would have to live, albeit in the ‘best part of the land,’ as adventives, “For the Egyptians could not bear to eat food with the Hebrews, it being loathsome to Egyptians (43:32),” dependent on Pharaoh. Joseph could feed but not settle them without Pharaoh’s explicit command.

One thing about marrying an Argentine: The diet is not the same as that of Yeshiva Lane. I felt like a stranger at my own table for the first months when Debbie and I were married. My gut reaction to chocolate chili was, “It’s not Shabbisdike!” I, now, can sit in a restaurant in Buenos Aires and know exactly what to order and how to eat, but the second I step outside, I will clearly be a non-native when I stop and expect others to stop at a red light.

It could not have been easy for Jacob’s family to adjust to their new environment. There must have been some Argentine type strange meals. They would have to adjust to driving on the wrong side of the street. They would not be attending the same religious services as their Egyptian neighbors. Would they continue to eat meat, a piquant practice in a land of animal-worshippers?

I wonder whether Joseph’s feeding his family describes his supplying food, or menu; Joseph made sure that his family would have familiar foods, the Egyptian equivalent of potato kugel, on their table.

Why would I bother you with these meaningless meanderings? Because I suspect that whatever Joseph did was a strategic response to Pharaoh’s long-term objectives, and that Joseph’s response influenced Jacob and Joseph’s brothers:

Why did Pharaoh invite Jacob to move to Egypt?

Did Pharaoh desire to have a large family of “others” settling in his country even as he was dealing with all the instability caused by the famine?

Was he concerned that Joseph would leave? (Sforno)

Would the presence of Joseph’s family remove the stigma of Egypt being ruled by an ex-slave and ex-convict? (Ramban)

Was the family to be hostage to the Egyptian king?

Was the invitation a solatium to Joseph; “This is my way of repaying you for your years of suffering”?

Did Pharaoh wonder, as do we, why Joseph had not contacted his family since rising to power nine years earlier? Was he warning the brothers to treat Joseph with respect? Was he protecting Joseph?

There was no need for Joseph to feed the family once Pharaoh had them settle in Egypt; Joseph fed all the Egyptians, and how would the family benefit from moving to Egypt if they would not be automatically fed as everyone else?

Jacob was concerned. The brothers seem concerned only with Joseph’s position of power. This was not a simple matter of moving to Egypt for food. Who would be shaping the future of the Children of Israel; Pharaoh or Joseph?

No, I don’t think that Joseph simply supplied food; he provided a menu…

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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27
Dec

Playing Her Way Into Eden: Questions:

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

They prepared Jacob for the news that Joseph was alive; fearing that a sudden announcement might shock and harm Jacob, the brothers sent one of his granddaughters, Serach daughter of Asher, to prepare him. She played her harp, singing gently that Joseph was still alive and that he was the ruler of Egypt. Slowly, Jacob’s long sadness evaporated and he blessed her for having lifted his spirits. As a result, she was still alive centuries later, and eventually entered the Garden of Eden alive (Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer).

Are we to believe that because Jacob heard the news in a song accompanied by a harp that he could sufficiently absorb the message for his sadness to evaporate, and for him to be so grateful, that Serach, not only merited a centuries long life, but also to enter the Garden of Eden alive?

The Midrashim go into great lengths to describe this woman:

Some say: Serach, the daughter of Asher, completed the count of the seventy souls that came to Egypt together with them.

Thus it is written, “A wise woman called out from the city and Joab drew close to her. The woman said, “Are you Joab (II Samuel 20:16–17).” With these words she was saying in effect, “Your name is Joab, which is to say that you are like a father (Av, as in YoAV) to Israel. Yet, you are nothing but a reaper and a murderer, and thus you are not acting according to your name! Now, are you and David not Torah scholars? Have the words of Torah ceased to be binding as of now? Is it not written, “When you draw near to a city to wage war against it, you shall call out to it for peace (Deuteronomy 20:10).”

And Joab said to her, “Who are you?”

She replied to him, “I am the loyal faithful people of Israel (II Samuel 20:19),” by which she meant, “I am the one who completed the count of seventy souls of Israel in Egypt,” “I am the one who delivered the trusted one to the trusted one; Joseph to Moses [she was referring to the incident in which she showed Moses where Joseph was buried in Egypt].”

She continued, “You are seeking to annihilate a city and a mother in Israel!” Meaning, “Why are you seeking to annihilate the city and also to annihilate me, a mother in Israel!”

Thereupon, Joab answered and said, “Far be it, far be it from me (Verse 20).” Joab said, “Far be it, far be it,” twice, by which he meant, “Far be it from David and far be it from me.”

“Rather,” Joab continued, “the matter is not so, but rather a man from Mount Ephraim whose name is, Sheva ben Bichri, has raised up his hand against the king, against David.”

“The woman then said to Joab, Behold, his head will be thrown to you.” Thereupon, “The woman then went to all the people with her wisdom,” what wisdom did she share with the people of the town? She said to them, “Do you not know of David’s deeds? Which nation has ever stood up to David? Which kingdom has ever stood up to David? We have no choice but to do as they wish!”

They said to her, “And what is it that Joab wants of us?”

“He wants 1000 men,” she told them, “each one of us should give according to what he has.”

“Perhaps by placating Joab he will remit a little,” she told them. She then pretended to go and placate Joab and returned and informed the people that Joab had decreased the number from 1000 to 500. She continued this ruse and informed the people that Joab had decreased the number to 100, to 10, and finally she told them that Joab went down to demanding, “one person, and that person is not even a resident of the city, but only a visitor. And who is he? Sheva ben Bichri.”

Thereupon, “They cut off the head of Sheva ben Bichri.” [Bereishit Rabbah 94:9]

I love these stories, but often wonder from where the Sages got them. How do they go from this woman lifting Jacob’s sadness, to being the person who informs Moses of the burial place of Joseph, to being the woman who saves a city from the wrath of King David and Joab?

To be continued… (I’ll post the answers: “Family Secrets from the Articulator,” if I receive some attempts to answer my questions? Deal?)

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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27
Dec

Master of Memory VII-A Long Speech

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer

“Good deeds can be shortly stated, but where wrong is done, a wealth of language is needed to hide its deformity (Thucydides).”

Wow! Judah’s speech to the Egyptian viceroy is certainly a long one. What made him think that the Viceroy would allow him to make such a lengthy presentation? If Judah was speaking through an interpreter, the speech would have been twice as long. I can’t imagine anyone in the Egypt of that time believing that he could make such a long speech.

What is even more powerful, is that this speech was not through an interpreter! Judah spoke directly to the Viceroy; “Then Judah approached him and said (to see Genesis 44:18).” Judah suspected that the Viceroy did understand every word the brothers had been speaking all along.

“Then they said to one another, Indeed we are guilty concerning our brother.” “Reuben spoke up to them.” “Now they did not know that Joseph understood, for an interpreter was between them. He turned away from them and wept; he returned to them and spoke to them; he took Simeon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes (Verses 21–23).” Did they not expect the Egyptian viceroy to ask the interpreter what they had been saying to each other? Why would they have such a “private” conversation right in front of the Viceroy and his interpreter?

We have another problem with that scene: “’Then bring your youngest brother to me so your words will be verified.’ And they did so (Verse 20).” What did they do? They did not send one of the brothers back to Canaan to fetch Benjamin.

Their “private” conversation in front of the Viceroy was their message to him that they were willing to do as he asked. We already explained in “Master of Memory IV” that Joseph was pushing them to become better listeners. Their internal conversation was their indication to the Viceroy that they had learned their lesson. They began to understand the subtleties of this man’s approach. He was clearly a superb listener. They intended for him to “overhear” their private conversation.

However, the Viceroy never asks for his interpreter to report what the brothers had said to each other. He turns aside for a few moments, “returns to them and spoke to them,” but the verse never tells us what he said when he spoke to them; it only says that, “he took Simeon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes.”

The Sages explain, that when the verse says, “They then said to one another,” it was Simeon conversing with Levi. When the Viceroy imprisons Simeon, he is sending a message to them that he clearly understood what they had been saying to each other.

The Viceroy was clearly an excellent listener, sufficiently so, that Judah knew he could directly approach the Viceroy for his speech, and speak as long as he wanted and the Viceroy would listen!

Judah approaches the Viceroy directly as a message that he understands that there have been subtle messages all along conveyed by the Master of Memory pushing them to confront their past. He therefore goes into a lengthy exposition of the family’s history. Judah is telling the Viceroy that he has learned the Viceroy’s message, and has become a better listener.

The brothers are overwhelmed by intense emotions at this moment when they stand to lose Benjamin. They are confronting what they had done to Joseph, how they had treated their father, how they had failed to truly live as brothers. It was impossible for Judah to give a short speech. He had to process all these deep and painful emotions. He not only acknowledged the Viceroy’s lesson of becoming listeners; he expresses to the Viceroy that they have all learned to listen to their own hearts and emotions.

No wonder, the Sages teach that when Jacob meets Joseph for the first time after so many years of separation, Jacob says the Shema: Jacob was acknowledging that the family had been reunified; and important aspect of the Shema; Unity. Jacob was also sending a message to Joseph, that his wise son had succeeded in teaching his brothers how to become the people who could recite the Shema; how to become good listeners.

Jacob is reminding us that we cannot properly recite the Shema unless we too, are good listeners. We must be good listeners to what others are saying and feeling, and, we must become people who are very skilled at listening to our own 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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27
Dec

Master of Memory VI-A Father’s Lesson

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Portion of the Week

“Emotions are the most basic form of communication between children & parents (Rav Noach Orloweck).”

“And they told him, saying, ‘Joseph is still alive,’ also that he is ruler over all the land of Egypt; but his heart was full of daggers, for he could not believe them (Genesis 45:26).”

“Joseph is still alive,” is a direct quote. “He is ruler over all the land of Egypt,” is an indirect quote. Why does the verse switch from a direct to an indirect quote?

The brothers observed Jacob’s reaction to their declaration that Joseph was alive. They saw something that made them hesitate midsentence and speak of Joseph as the ruler over Egypt with less emphasis. What did they observe? That “his heart was full of daggers.” The minute they said Joseph was still alive Jacob realized that when they came and showed him Joseph’s bloodstained tunic, indicating that a wild beast had devoured him; they had been lying. Their words of long ago were the daggers in Jacob’s heart.

I suspect that Jacob’s reaction was less of an emotional response than a lesson; “All his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to comfort himself, and said: ‘For I will go down to the grave mourning for my son’ (Genesis 37:35).” Jacob has been using his emotional responses to his children as his way of teaching them.

The brothers had never paid attention to their father’s feelings: Jacob sent them to Egypt to buy food. They use this as an opportunity to search for their long-lost brother. I assume that the search added a few days to their trip to Egypt. They finally go to the Viceroy to purchase food and he imprisons them for a three-day period, adding quite a bit of time to their trip, but we never find a single indication that the brothers even considered whether their father would be worried about the unexpected length of their trip to Egypt!

Perhaps the brothers were uninterested in Jacob’s feelings because they mistrusted them; it was his feelings for Rachel that displaced Leah, and made Joseph the favorite son, the one who would wear the hated Coat of Many Colors.

Judah disappeared from the family for many years because the brothers felt that he had failed in his leadership role when he chose to turn a profit from the sale of Joseph, and somehow he returns to the family, and there seems to be no concern to explain to Jacob what happened with Judah.

We never find Jacob bemoaning the loss of another son during all the years when Judah had moved away. Surely this was a man whose feelings could not be trusted.

Reuben makes a ridiculous offer to his father: “you may slay my two sons if I fail to bring him back to you (to see 42:37).” It seems that Reuben believes that his father could shrug off the loss of Reuben’s sons! They don’t trust Jacobs feelings.

They are so cold to Jacob’s feelings that when he says to them, “Why did you treat me so ill by telling the man that you had another brother (43:6)?” They miss that Jacob is speaking as “Israel,” they miss that Jacob is speaking of his experience, “treat me so ill,” meaning, “you were not thinking of me!”

Judah is frustrated with his father; “For had we not delayed, by now we could have returned twice (Verse 10).” Is this the way a child should speak to a father?

These are men who seem totally inconsiderate of their father.

Joseph has prepared them to change the way they relate to Jacob, as we saw in “Master of Memory V: What Was in His Heart.” Judah’s long speech to the Egyptian viceroy is all about Jacob’s feelings. The brothers are prepared to pay attention to their father in a way they never had before.

They still had to learn one more important lesson: they had to learn how their words and behavior affected their father. They prepared Jacob for the news that Joseph was alive; fearing that a sudden announcement might shock and harm Jacob, the brothers sent one of his granddaughters to prepare him. She played her harp, and sang gently that Joseph was still alive and that he was the ruler of Egypt. Slowly, Jacob’s long sadness evaporated and he blessed her for having lifted his spirits (Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer). We will have to examine that story more carefully in another essay, but clearly the brothers were prepared to pay attention to Jacob’s feelings. They were not prepared for his emotional response to their words; they were not prepared for his response to their admission that they had been lying to him for more than two decades even as they watched him in constant grief. Their words were daggers in his heart.

Their admission that they were liars and that they had been unwilling to consider his agony more hurt him than the news of Joseph being alive brought him joy! His disappointment in then was greater than his joy over the news! Jacob’s emotional response to the news and their admission was to convey to them that his concern over they are spiritual well-being was far more important to him than the news that Joseph was alive!

Could he have conveyed a more important lesson?

I think not.

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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27
Dec

Master of Memory V: What Was In His Heart

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart (Johann Wolfgang von Goeth).”

How quickly things change! The man in charge of the Viceroy’s house confronts the brothers and accuses them of repaying the evil for good, and for stealing the goblet from which his master drank, the one he used to practice divination.

The shocked brothers declare, “Anyone among your servants with whom it is found shall die and we also, will become slaves to my Lord (Genesis 44:9).”

They must have been shocked as soon as they realized the words that had just left their mouths. This was not the first time someone in their family had said something like this: “With whomever you find your gods, he shall not live (31:32).” Their father, Jacob, had uttered these words on aware that his wife Rachel had stolen Laban’s idols. When the brothers heard their words and remembered their father’s, they must have wondered whether they were making the same impetuous declaration their father had made that led to Rachel’s premature death.

There was another part of that conversation with the one in charge of the Viceroy’s house that struck a chord in their hearts: “Divination,” was something their grandfather, Laban, claimed as an expertise, “I have learned by divination that on account of you God has blessed me (30:27).”

I have no doubt that the Master of Memory intended to trigger these memories.

We have a sense of what was in the hearts of the brothers as they turned back toward Egypt to face the Egyptian viceroy from whom Benjamin had allegedly stolen.

Their memories of what happened to Rachel because of Jacob’s declaration led them to change their “offer” to the Viceroy: “We are ready to be slaves to my Lord, both we and the one in whose hand the goblet was found (44:16).”

Did they mean it? I suspect, not! The men who had sold their brother Joseph into slavery were probably speaking to God even as they were speaking to the Viceroy. Listen to their words: “What can we say to my Lord? How can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? The Lord has uncovered the sin of your servants (Verse 16).” The brothers are acknowledging that they find themselves in this situation because of what they had done to Joseph.

I suspect that two things were going on at this point; Joseph had managed to trigger so many memories of the past that the brothers could not help but view their current situation through the eyes of the past, but, more so, the brothers had never stopped carrying their sin against Joseph somewhere deep within their hearts.

“But he replied, ‘It would be sacrilegious for me to do this. The man in whose possession the goblet was found, only he shall be my slave, and as for you, go up in peace to your father’ (44:17).” The Viceroy is telling them, after they all agreed to serve as his servants, that he only wants to keep Benjamin. Yet, there is something in his will words that triggers the ultimate confrontation at the beginning of this week’s portion: “Go up in peace to your father.” They may have carried their sin against Joseph deep in their hearts, something already indicated in some of their private conversations, but they had never considered their sin against their father who had been inconsolable for twenty-two years.

Joseph understood that they had been speaking to him all along by what they carried in their hearts, and he was now forcing them to confront what they had not carried all along; Jacob.

Just as the episode in which Jacob made his deadly offer, “With whomever you find your gods, he shall not live,” was the episode that triggered Jacob confronting Laban directly, the first hint of the “Israel” he was destined to become, so too, the brothers’ declaration, “Anyone among your servants with whom it is found shall die,” triggered Judah’s approach at the beginning of this week’s portion.

The Master of Memory had achieved his objective. The brothers would now have their “Israel” moment, and become the great men he had dreamed they would become. The “stars” that reflected the light of their father, the “sun.”

How often do our challenges trigger memories of the past, earlier experiences we need to repair? Joseph reminds us that for true Teshuva, we need to examine the memories of the past and find the experiences that are not “in our hearts,” the memories we have hidden so deep that we never have an opportunity to repair them.

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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26
Dec

The Debt

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

In our society, we assume that if someone saves another person’s life, then the person saved owes the person who saved them. However, in some societies, the opposite is true, the person who is saved is owed by the person who saved them. In fact, in some societies, if someone saves another’s life, he is considered responsible for taking care of that person forever.

Here’s a typical example, from a British missionary in Congo:

“A day or two after we reached Vana we found one of the na­tives very ill with pneumonia. Comber treated him and kept him alive on strong fowl-soup; a great deal of careful nursing and attention was visited on him, for his house was beside the camp. When we were ready to go on our way again, the man was well. To our astonishment he came and asked us for a present, and was as astonished and disgusted as he had made us to be, when we declined giving it. We suggested that it was his place to bring us a present and to show some gratitude. He said to us, ‘Well indeed! You white men have no shame!’

 

I wonder which approach Joseph took, and which, his brothers.

“I am Joseph your brother, it is me, whom you sold into Egypt. And now, be not distressed, nor reproach yourselves for having sold me here, for it was to be a provider that God sent me ahead of you. For this has been two of the hunger years in the midst of the land, and there are yet five years in which there shall be neither plowing nor harvest. Thus, God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival in the land and to sustain you for a momentous deliverance (Genesis 45 4–7).”

Joseph saves the lives of his brothers; he certainly had the right and the power to kill them for what they had done to him. Joseph has saved the lives of his brothers; he is the provider of all their food. Yet, despite the fact that he is the one who saved their lives, Joseph accepts responsibility to continue to feed and care for them. Joseph assumes that if God gave him the responsibility and opportunity to save their lives, that he was obligated to continue to care for them.

What about the brothers?

“He sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph, to prepare ahead of him in Goshen; and they arrived in the region of Goshen (46:28).” Jacob sent Judah to prepare: Jacob was teaching his children that they were now obligated to Joseph, not only because they had sold him into slavery, but because he had saved their lives.

I suspect that this obligation, that Jacob imposed on the brothers, is one of the reasons that the brothers never felt completely at peace with Joseph; they lived under this burden of obligation. I also suspect that the reason Joseph took his approach, that he was obligated to them, was so that they would not feel crushed by their obligation to him.

Konica is also the Jewish Thanksgiving. Which approach does God take for having given life to us? Are we to feel crushed by our obligation to Him?

That, is the most significant lesson taught by Joseph; God is obligated to us! “I created you and I shall bear you; I shall endure and rescue (Isaiah 46:4).” It is for this reason that we are able to trust that God will provide all our needs.

Is this not why we declare in “Modim,” not only what God has done to give us life, but also all that we are confident that He will continue to do for all of His creation?

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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26
Dec

R’ Shlomo on Yoseif HaTzaddik : The Foundation of Yesod

by developer in Portion of the Week

(Based on Likutei Moharan 80) Open your hearts like mad, this is one of the deepest Torah’les from Reb Nachman. There are a lot of beautiful things in the world, but if someone will say that Paris is beautiful, their car is beautiful and peace is also beautiful, they have no idea what peace is. Peace comes from another world completely, because peace is the only vessel for all the blessings that exist.

Now I want you to open your hearts in the deepest depths.

Where does G-d put all his blessings? The Gemara says (Uktzin 3:12) ‘Lo Matsa Hakadosh Baruch Hu Klee Machzik Mracha Ela Hashalaom’, G-d couldn’t find a vessel to put his blessing into besides the vessel of peace.

Why is peace a vessel for blessing? But even deeper, what is peace? To make peace is between two opposites. The Gemara says (Chagiga 12a) that heaven, shamayim is a combination of two words, Eish and Mayim, fire and water. Fire and water are so to speak the two biggest enemies in the world. The Ribbono Shel Olam makes peace between them. Since peace is above all that, you can make peace between fire and water, between all opposites in the world.

Now open your hearts in the deepest depths.

Do you need any more opposition between actually having something and not having it, between being and not being?

You know something friends, G-d wants to give us so much. Let’s say I have a hundred dollars, and suddenly I don’t have it anymore. G-d blesses me that I should have more, but in order to put in more, I have got to make an infinite vessel to contain what G-d wants to give me. The only thing which is infinite is peace because it’s beyond fire and water, beyond all the oppositions. The only thing which is infinite is peace.

Now everybody knows that from the ten emanations and from the seven emotions Avraham Avinu was love, Yitzchak was strength and Ya’akov is beauty. Who is the top with peace? Heilige Yosef Hatzadik. Yosef was Yesod, a foundation. Foundation is the combination of love and strength, which is even more than beauty. It brings peace between love and strength.

So Yosef is a combination of two things. On the one hand it says ‘Vayave Yosef Es Dibasam’ (Breishis 37:2), when Yosef saw something bad he spoke up. As much as he was completely filled with peace, when he sees something wrong he speaks up. However he is also looking for his brothers in the deepest way. ‘Es Achai Anochi Mevakesh’ (ibid. 37:16). He was also called an Avrech (ibid. 41:43 see Rashi there), Avrech means Av Bachochmah, a father in wisdom, and Rach Bashanim, he was young in years.

So Reb Nachman says this means that he has both minds, Mochin DeKatnus and Mochin DeGadlus, the little mind and the high mind. What does it mean to have both minds at the same time? I want you to understand something very deep. Let’s say someone sees me with the biggest criminal in the world. So they will come up to me and say ‘listen, this guy is the biggest murderer and criminal in the world. How can you hang out with him?’ If I answer back ‘my mind is so high and big that it doesn’t even matter, I can handle it all’, how does it sound to you? You don’t have a big mind, you don’t have a small mind, you don’t have a mind at all. Some people’s minds are so high but gurnisht… when it comes down to it there is nothing really there.

You see what it is, peace is not when there is fire and water and I just put them together. Peace doesn’t mean I’m infinite and I don’t care about anything. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care what you did in your life, just come in and have a meal with me, it  just doesn’t go this way. You see friends, peace is the utmost combination of love and of strength. Without this holiness of peace, most people are just lost. They don’t know when to speak up when something is wrong and they don’t know how to point out when something is right.

Ya’akov Avinu knows exactly when to love and when to go strong, it’s a very high level. Yosef is something deeper than that, Yosef is everything together at the same time and instant. Just like the foundation of a house holds up all functions of the house at the same time. Ya’akov Avinu is completely open, he knows when to love and he knows when to push away. Yosef is both at the same time and this is what a foundation is all about. The foundation of yiddishkeit, the foundation of serving G-d is not that I know when to push away and I know when to love, but that it’s absolutely taking place in my heart at the same time.

So here Reb Nachman say that the highest level in the world is when you give your life to G-d, because what does it mean to give your life to G-d? It is absolutely chasadim and gevuros together. I love G-d so much that I am ready to die for G-d which is the utmost gevurah, the utmost strength. The highest thing in life is to be completely given to G-d which is always a combination of utmost love and utmost strength. Therefore even the lowest yidele is willing to die before G-d because basically, we yiddelach are filled with peace. To be filled with peace means that we have this utmost love and this utmost strength, and they are both alive within me at the same time.

Now listen to this, let’s go one level deeper.

What does it mean to have a foundation? When you have a foundation it means you mamesh have a connection. I can be filled with love but it doesn’t mean that I am connected to love. I can be filled with strength but it doesn’t mean that I am connected to it. Yesod, foundation means that I am connected to it. A lot of people do everything good their whole life but there is something wishy-washy about them because they are not connected to what they are doing. A person can be a yidele for two thousand years but when you taste this yid, there is something missing. I can be married to my wife for two thousand years, we never had a fight and we love each other but inside there is nothing, no connection. Some people can fight all the time but there is something very deep connected between them. I’m not saying that it’s better like this, but there is a connection. Yosef, the foundation means to be absolutely connected to what you are doing and how are you feeling.

This is how Yosef Hatzadik makes it.  He was the first yidele who lasted in exile, he went through everything in the world. From the lowest, by being in prison, to the highest, being a king. Do you know how he made it? He always knew ‘I am a yidele’, because he was connected.

Now listen to this most beautiful thing.

The foundation is the vessel but this is not the highest level yet, it’s only the vessel. What is the Master of The World putting into this vessel? He is putting the greatest blessing in the world. The greatest blessing is if you can speak before the Ribbono Shel Olam. The greatest blessing is that you are so close to G-d that you can mamesh daven, pray, and that you can learn and utter words of holiness.

This is the aspect of Malchus, kingdom. This is what being a king is all about.

Speaking has to be a combination of both elements. Every word you utter has to be on the level of love and has to be on the level of strength. Imagine I love a girl very much and I tell her ‘I would love to marry you’, so she would say ‘listen, call me back next week’. There has to be some gevurah in it. If I walk up to a girl and scream to her ‘I want you to marry me’ then it still won’t go. Gevurah without Chesed is also bad. Real learning, real words…

When real holy people talk they always have both aspects together. It’s utmost love and utmost strength because you have to realize that holy also means the combination of the utmost strength and love together.

You know my friends, when the Bobover Rebbe’s son got married, hundreds of people came to the wedding. Nebech, his first wife was killed and he had eight children. This son that got married was the only one that was left over. You can just imagine how he felt at the wedding. He was so very broken and at the same time very high. There were hundreds of people giving him little kvitlach with their names on it. There was no time to say a lot, so I gave him a kivitele and he said to me two words, Chen Vachesed. Now friends, I’ve heard the words ‘chen vachesed’ hundreds of time in my life, but it was mamesh on the level of Malchus. Chen Vachesed… just two words that changed my life forever.

This is Yosef Hatzadik, the Yesod, the foundation which it the utmost combination of both.

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26
Dec

Every Man for Himself

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

“Say the word and I’ll turn you loose

I got mine now you get yours

Just like you I’ve got my price

Sure is nice that someone paid

I’ve got my ticket out of here

But for you, I fear, it’s much too late

It’s nothing you can blame me for

In love and war

It’s every man for himself ‘

– Steppenwolf, *Every Man For Himself*

“Now it’s every man for himself tonight

We’re lookin’ out for number one, tryin’ to get on with our lives

And it’s heart-breakin’ and it’s soul achin’

When you got nobody else

So friends it’s good to have you here tonight

But it’s every man for himself

Neal McCoy, *Every Man For Himself*

With apologies to Steppenwolf and Neal McCoy, I must point out that one of the most significant lessons that Joseph conveyed to his brothers was that they could no longer function, “Every Man for Himself.”

“He then kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; afterwards his brothers conversed with him (Genesis 45:15).” We do not find Joseph focusing on his brothers as individuals, but only as a group. In fact, despite having paid special attention to Benjamin, he quickly moves from Benjamin to them all, as if to convey a message that they were all to him equal to Benjamin.

This does not mean that he stopped treating them as individuals: “To each of them he gave changes of clothing (Verse 22).” Only after insisting that they were all equal in his eyes, did he treat each as an individual.

I believe that this explains why we seem to have a redundancy in the portion: “Now these are the names of the children of Israel who were coming to Egypt (46:8).”

“All the people of Jacob’s household who came to Egypt; seventy (Verse 27).”

The family came as a unified family, and they came as seventy individuals.

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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25
Dec

Hallel: Psalm 115: A Commitment To Use My Life

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

This question was asked before Rabbi Tanchum of Neway: What about extinguishing a burning lamp for a sick man on the Sabbath? — Thereupon he commenced and spoke: You, Solomon, where is your wisdom and where is thine understanding? It is not enough for you that your words contradict the words of your father David, but that they are self-contradictory! Your father David said, “The dead praise not the Lord (Psalms 115:7),” while you said, “Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead (Ecclesiastes 4:2),” but yet again you said, “for a living dog is better than a dead lion (9:4).”

Yet there is no difficulty.

As to what David said: ‘The dead praise not the Lord,’ this is what he meant:

Let a man always engage in Torah and good deeds before he dies, for as soon as he dies he is restrained from the practice of Torah and good deeds, and the Holy One, blessed be He, finds nought to praise in him.

And thus Rabbi Yochanan said, What is meant by the verse, “Among the dead I am free (Psalms 88:6)?”

Once a man dies, he becomes free of the Torah and good deeds.

As to what Solomon said, ‘Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead’ for when Israel sinned in the wilderness, Moses stood before the Holy One, blessed be He, and uttered many prayers and supplications before Him, but he was not answered. Yet when he exclaimed, ‘Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants (Exodus 32:13) !’ he was immediately answered. Did not then Solomon well say, “wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead?’

Another interpretation: In worldly affairs, when a prince of flesh and blood issues a decree, it is doubtful whether it will be obeyed or not; and even if you say that it is obeyed, it is obeyed during his lifetime but not after his death. Whereas Moses our Teacher decreed many decrees and enacted numerous enactments, and they endure for ever and unto all eternity. Did then not Solomon well say, ‘Wherefore I praise the dead, etc.’ (Shabbat 30a)

Kavanah: “The dead do nor praise God,” and therefore I will take advantage of every moment of life to study Torah and do Mitzvot.

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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25
Dec

Second Temple Era Seal Discovered

by developer in Holidays

The Israel Antiquities Authority unveiled a rare ancient seal that underscores the bond of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. The tiny clay seal, that likely certified the purity of ritual objects used in the Second Temple, was discovered in an excavation near the Temple Mount.

December 25, 2011

The Israel Antiquities Authority press release:

A first of its kind find, indicative of activity in the Temple, was recently discovered: a tiny item that was probably used as a “voucher” certifying the ritual purity of an object or food in the Temple Mount compound and in the Second Temple.

The discovery was presented at a press conference at which the Minister of Culture Limor Livnat and Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar participated.

Layers of soil covering the foundations of the Western Wall, c. 15 meters north of the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, were excavated beneath Robinson’s Arch in archaeological excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden. On top of these layers, dating to the first century CE (the late Second Temple period), was paved the Herodian street which was the main road of Jerusalem at that time. From the very start of the excavations in this area the archaeologists decided that all of the soil removed from there would be meticulously sifted (including wet-sifting and thorough sorting of the material remnants left in the sieve). This scientific measure is being done in cooperation with thousands of pupils in the Tzurim Valley National Park, and is underwritten by the Ir David Association. It was during the sieving process that a tiny object of fired clay, the size of a button (c. 2 centimeter in diameter) was discovered. The item is stamped with an Aramaic inscription consisting of two lines – in the upper line  or  in Aramaic means pure and below it.

Following the preposition  in the word is the shortened form (two of the four letters) for the name of the G-d of Israel.

According to the excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, archaeologists Eli Shukron of the IAA and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa:

“The meaning of the inscription is “Pure for G-d”.

It seems that the inscribed object was used to mark products or objects that were brought to the Temple, and it was imperative they be ritually pure. This stamped impression is probably the kind referred to in the Mishnah (Tractate Shekalim 5: 1-5) as a  (seal). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that such an object or anything similar to it was discovered in an archaeological excavation and it constitutes direct archaeological evidence of the activity on the Temple Mount and the workings of the Temple during the Second Temple period”.

Tractate Shekalim tells of the administration procedures on the Temple Mount in which our object was used, “Whoever required libations would go to Yohanan who was in charge of the stamps give him [the appropriate amount of] money and would receive a stamp from him in return. He would then go to Ahiyah who was in charge over the libations, give him the stamp and receive the libations from him”. There can be no doubt that this is a very exciting find.

The Mishnah also mentions in Tractate Shekalim, “There were four tokens in the Temple and on them were inscribed; calf, ram, kid and sinner [which were issued as a receipt to those who deposited the appropriate funds]. Ben Azzai says: There were five; and they were inscribed in Aramaic.” Our object does not belong to this group. It shows that not all of the details concerning the administration procedures of the Temple Mount have come to us by way of the rabbinic literature. Here an artifact from an archaeological excavation supplements our knowledge with a previously unknown detail. It is in this context and the spirit of Hanukkah that the Jerusalem District Archaeologist, Dr. Yuval Baruch, mentioned, “It is written in the Gemara (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Shabbat Chapter 2: Page 21) that the only cruse of oil that was discovered in the Temple after the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks, “lay with the seal of the High Priest” – that is: the seal indicated that the oil is pure and can be used in the Temple. Remember, this cruse of oil was the basis for the miracle of Hanukkah that managed to keep the menorah lit for eight days”.

In addition to this item, other artifacts dating to the Second Temple period were discovered. Some are even earlier and date to the time of the Hasmoneans, such as oil lamps, ceramic cooking pots and a fusiform juglet that may have contained oils and perfume, as well as coins of the Hasmonean kings, such as Alexander Jannaeus and John Hyrcanus.

Photographic credit – Vladimir Naykhin

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