January, 2012 Archives

23
Jan

Baruch Dayan Emet

by developer in Spiritual Growth

The Foundation Stone offers its condolences to Rabbi Simcha Weinberg on the passing of his mother Rebbitzen Chana Weinberg. The funeral is scheduled for 10AM Tuesday, January 23 at Ner Israel Rabbinical College 400 Mt Wilson Lane. Baltimore, MD 21208. Shiva will be observed in Rebbitzen Weinberg’s home on the yeshiva campus. May the Omnipresent comfort the mourners among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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17
Jan

What Kind of Leader

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

When I heard a rabbi describe himself as, “the Rav Moshe Feinstein of our generation,” I realized that it’s not just presidential candidates who claim to be the reincarnation of Lincoln or Reagan, but people in all areas of life who claim to lead as did a great person from the past.

It’s not always so blatant; I observe rabbis imitating their teachers when responding to a halachic question, using their teacher’s words and mannerisms. People imitate those they admire. They appear to lead as did their teacher. I always heard my grandfather zt”l consider how his rebbi, the Alter of Slabodka, would have responded to a situation, but he never tried to be his teacher; he was who he was; deeply rooted in the past, but highly sensitive to the present and future. Yesterday, my sister and I were discussing how extraordinary it was for a man so rooted in the Yeshiva world of Europe to be so aware of the different needs of American students.

What happens when a situation demands an entirely new type of leader? The Rambam was unlike anyone before him; his approaches disconcerted the established rabbinic authorities of his time. The Baal Shem Tov responded to the unique demands of the post Shabtai Tzvi and Chelministki pogroms with an entirely new approach. He certainly shook up the establishment! We then have the iconoclasts who define themselves as such in imitation of the Baal Shem Tov. They present themselves as “unique” in imitation of someone else!

Which takes us back to Moshe: His generation, the slaves in Egypt, needed a leader who was different from the Patriarchs and Joseph. We suggested in “All in the Family,” that when the people “forgot” Joseph they were severing a link to the past. Perhaps, it was an expression of a deeper sense of disconnect; a sense that even Joseph would be unable to save them from their current situation. No wonder Moshe insists to God, “They will not believe in me!” They need a leader who will carry them as an alate protector, “On the wings of eagles,” not someone with a speech impediment!

Even if he can perform a bunch of miracles and claim them as signs; What kind of leader is Moshe projecting? We know that he wants to insert God into their vocabulary, (see “Debate Performance”) and succeeds only to disappoint them when their situation gets worse. Moshe begins to wonder what kind of leader he will be (“A Leader’s Spirit.”)

We will explore his decision making as we began in “Moment to Decide,” and attempt to diagnose the symptoms exhibited by the nation he was to lead.

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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13
Jan

Moment to Decide

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;

Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,

And the choice goes by forever, ‘twixt that darkness and that light.

– James Lowell, 1845

“It happened in those days that Moses grew up and went out to his brethren and observed their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man, of his brethren. He turned this way and that and saw that there was no man, so he struck down the Egyptian and hit him in the sand (Exodus 2:11–12).” Moses had no problem with his “Moment to Decide.” He did not only decide to protect the Hebrew man, he decided to risk his position as a member of the royal palace by executing the Egyptian aggressor.

This was not Moses’ first Moment to Decide, as we saw in, “The Mouth.”

“The minister of Midian had seven daughters; they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s sheep. The shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and save them and watered their sheep (16–17).” Moses had no problem with his “Moment to Decide.” In the moment, he decided to provoke the shepherds and defend the women, once again, placing himself at risk in a place where he did not have the advantage of being a member of the royal family. The women he saved, on the other hand, were not quite as skilled in taking advantage of their “Moment to Decide.” Moses saved them, and they go home without him. “Then where is he? Why did you leave the man? Some and him and let him eat bread (Verse 20)!”

Yitro’s daughters were not the only ones who were not quite as skilled as Moses in taking advantage of their, “Moment to Decide,” Aaron too, once failed, as we saw in, “Biblical Personalities-Aharon-Selections from the Midrash.”

This man who has no difficulty in taking full advantage of his “Moment to Decide,” continues his pattern when, “he saw and behold! The bush was burning in the fire but the bush was not consumed. Moses thought, ‘I will turn aside now and look at this great sight’ (3:2).” (See, “A Dream-Wine & Vision,” “Lessons from Life,” and, “A Fantasy Lecture by King Solomon.”)

Something changes. “Do not come closer to here, remove your shoes from your feet, for the place upon which you stand is holy ground (Verse 5).” We never read of Moses removing his shoes.  Did he hesitate?

“I am the Lord of your father, the Lord of Abraham, the Lord of Isaac, and the Lord of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to gaze toward the Lord (Verse 6).” We could say that Moses did decide; he decided to hide his face, however, when the verse says that, “he was afraid,” it implies that this was not a deliberate decision, but an act of fear. What happened to this man who never before had a problem with his Moment to Decide?

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should take the Children of Israel at of Egypt?” Not the answer we would expect from the man who has the confidence to act in his Moment to Decide!

The sages teach us that Moses spent an entire week arguing with God. What happened to the Moses who never before hesitated to act with confidence and determination?

Is this what happens to a decisive person who meets God?

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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13
Jan

The Music of Halacha-Bishul-A Matter of Time

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Music of Halacha

We began our discussion of the laws of cooking on Shabbat in, “Cooking With the Miraculous.”

When we speak of the miraculous we are speaking of that which is otherworldly. When we speak of the otherworldly we not only speak of that which we cannot understand or explain, we are also speaking of that which is not directly in front of us but something for which we must wait. We wait for our reward in the World to Come. We wait for the Redemption. There is quite a bit of waiting in our spiritual lives. I am currently experiencing a powerful lesson in the role of waving in a more immediate sense:

Those of you who read The Foundation Stone Newsletter, know from “As A Parent,” and, “Debate Performance,” that I write these words as my mother is currently in the world of Waiting. She lies between this world and the next, between life and death. In it is not only she who is in this world of Waiting; her entire family, her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the countless people she has helped and guided for so many years, are also stuck in this world of Waiting. We are waiting to see what happens next. I am not handling the world of Waiting very well. I’m having trouble writing, thinking, and planning. This heterotelic transivity of Waiting, although seemingly disconnected from the Shabbat laws as described in, “Consciousness, Intention and Purpose,” “What’s Your Purpose?” and, “Purpose Driven Action,” added its viscidity when we considered, “Probable Consequences.” Although the laws of Shabbat are very purpose oriented, perhaps it is even fair to say Tangible Purpose, “Cooking with the Miraculous,” has introduced us to the world of Purpose For Which We Must Wait.

The Biblical prohibition of Bishul, is defined as “causing a change in the properties of a food or substance by use of heat (Rambam, Laws of Shabbat 9:6).” These laws do not only apply to cooking a raw food until it becomes edible, they also apply to any action that brings about a change in non-foods as well. Heating wax until it melts, or causing metal to become red-hot, are included in this category (Rambam). Heating a soft or pliable substance to cause it to harden is also considered Bishul. This is why we may not place bread near the covered stove with the intention of toasting it (Shevitat Shabbat, Bishul #92; Sho’eil U’Meishiv II:20).

The aspect of Bishul that most concerns our discussion is that unlike most of the other categories of prohibited creative work, it is a slow process that takes time to complete. We are culpable for violating this law only upon completion of process the cooking (Shabbat 3b). Because Bishul takes time to complete, it follows that if one places a pot of raw food on the flame, he can still avoid the transgression by removing the pot before it finishes cooking. He is required to do so (Rambam 9:5).

We now have one of the 39 major categories of prohibited work that addresses our issue of Waiting: there is a period of time between the prohibited action and the fulfillment of its purpose which will retroactively make us liable for an earlier action. As far as the Biblical law is concerned, the moment I place a raw food on the stove to cook, I am in a state of Waiting. The action is only triggered when the purpose is achieved.

Let’s consider this idea in the context of the Primal Shabbat. God created the world. Each Utterance of Creation resulted in the immediate appearance of its expression. However, we do not speak of the Creation only in terms of its immediate expression, but , primarily in terms of its purpose, its Ultimate Purpose, which was initially achieved with the creation of Adam, the purpose of the rest of the creation (The Way of God, 1:2:4–5). This would mean that although all the creations had physically appeared, they were all in a state of Waiting until Adam appeared. “These are the products of the heaven and the earth when they were created in the day that God, the Lord, made earth and heaven; all the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herb of the field had not yet sprouted, for God, the Lord, had not sent rain upon the earth and [because–Rashi] there was no man to work the soil (Genesis 2: 4–5).”

However, the world was still not considered complete even with the Creation/Formation of Adam: “And the Lord completed His work which He had done, on the Seventh day (2:2).” The world was not complete until the Creation of Shabbat. This is why we speak of Shabbat as a “Taste of the World to Come,” for just as the world was not complete until the primal Shabbat, the world is not complete, meaning, its Ultimate Purpose has not been achieved until the World to Come. All of creation is in a state of Waiting!

I find it interesting that the Sages compare the formation of Adam’s body as “baking,” when they speak of Adam as the Challah of creation. The laws of Bishul take us back to the beginning of creation, to the first appearance of Adam, and to the Primal Shabbat. The laws of Bishul remind us that we constantly exist in this World of Waiting: a world in which we wait for the fulfillment of purpose.

We must therefore study the precise point at which Bishul is “finished,” as addressed in the laws of “Ma’achal ben D’rusai, Mevushal kol Tzarcho, and Mitztamek.

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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13
Jan

Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

From Arise India Forum:

“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Kelly Oxford: http://kellyoxford.tumblr.com/post/14958669440/nurse-reveals-top-5-regrets-of-the-dying

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12
Jan

All in The Family

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

“A man went from the house of Levi and he took a daughter of Levi (Exodus 2:1).” [We have discussed the absence of proper names in “Table Talk–Shemot I.”]

Perhaps this verse informs us of one of the reasons that the Children of Israel fell into the trap of slavery: “a man from the house of Levi,” “a daughter of Levi,” it seems to be all about the tribe of Levi. Perhaps we are dealing with the family no longer functioning as one family, but as divided families. A man from Levi marries a woman from Levi is all we need to know. The tribes are sticking to themselves. We are no longer dealing with a single family but twelve.

Something terrible happens when a family divides. “She could not hide him any longer, so she took for him a wicker basket and smeared it with clay and pitch; she placed the child into it and placed it among the reeds at the bank of the River.” What did this mother expect to happen to her child? “His sister stationed herself at a distance to know what would be done with him.” The sister was concerned with what would happen to the baby; not the mother and not the father. Are we to believe that she is the only person who came up with the idea of saving a child this way? Was it not a regular scene on the Nile for a bunch of baskets to be floating with Jewish babies inside?

The Children of Israel were no longer a unified family. Each tribe lived independently and separately. Perhaps, once the people began to sever strong family ties, they became inured to family connections; they could place a baby in a basket, send it down the river, and walk away.

We are taught that the tribe of Levi did not fall into the trap of slavery. It seems that although they were not tricked into becoming slaves, they absorbed some of the influence of living amongst slaves.

There are other hints in the text to this loss of family connections: “A new King arose over Egypt, who did not know of Joseph.” While we are quite critical of the king for pretending that he did not know of Joseph and for lacking gratitude, we have to wonder whether the Children of Israel were any more grateful than the new King!

No one knew where Joseph was buried. Surely the family understood that Joseph’s role in Egypt would be an important asset for them as they remained there. I would have expected the family to build. A huge mausoleum marking the place where Joseph was buried but, they did not. They too forgotten about Joseph. Another family connections severed.

“During those many days, it happened that the king of Egypt died, and the Children of Israel groaned because of the work and they cried out.” Rashi quotes the Midrash that teaches us that Pharaoh did not actually die, but was stricken with leprosy and was instructed by his physicians to bathe in the blood of Jewish babies. Yet, they cried out, “because of the work,” not because their children were being slaughtered! Yet another family connection severed.

People who will sever such important and powerful connections will eventually lose their sense of identity. This is why, this Book, Exodus, or, “Names,” begins without names; a man from Levi, a daughter of Levi, his sister, the baby; descriptions, but no names. They had lost their sense of identity. How? By severing family connections.

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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5
Jan

Laban’s Gasconade

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

“Presumption is our natural and original malady. The most vulnerable and frail of all creatures is man, and at the same time the most arrogant (Michel de Montaigne).”

We have been tracing Jacobs steps as he sets out with his “Two Way Vision,” to reverse the steps taken by all since Adam was expelled from the Garden, creating increasing distance from what could have been humanity’s natural state. (“A Different Sort of Fear of Life”) Jacob is the “Eternal Man,” and refusing to, “Wait for his Monument,” lived every moment of his life, even in death and after! Jacob understands that to seek tranquility is to forfeit, “The Fragrance of Permanence.” He contained all the energy showered on him by God, and, “Stopped the Leaks,” that occur when we, “Break Our Link to the Eternal.”

In this, the final portion in the Book of Genesis, Jacob begins by teaching Joseph the importance of, “Balance,” as Joseph had begun to master in resisting his Temptations, “Directing the Conversation,” and the additional lesson of, “The Power of Softness.”

Jacob, the Master Teacher, allows Rachel and Leah to independently form their, “The Character in the Storm,” and building a family that will learn how to combine their strengths, as we saw in Part “Two.”

It takes the man who can allow the people around him to master their own growth with minimal guidance to understand the importance of “The Power of Softness.” This is why after Rachel and Leah have mastered combining their strengths, and healed their relationship (An Eloquent Silence Part Three) that Leah gives birth to Dinah and Rachel gives birth to Joseph, the brother and sister who are understood to share the same soul strength. The two sisters, with their newly combined attributes, are able to give birth to the male and female side of a single soul.

Jacob further developed his sense of balance through his dealings with Laban and his bravado: “Laban said to him, ‘I have learned by divination that God has blessed me on account of you’ (30:27).” Laban didn’t need divination to figure out that his wealth had exponentially increased since Jacob began working for him. His divination claim is pure bluster.

“It is in my power to do you all harm; but the Lord of your father addressed me last night, saying, ‘Beware of speaking with Jacob either good or bad’ (31:29).” Sounds like a mixed message to me! If it was truly in his power to harm everyone, why is he obeying the Lord of their father? If he has to obey God’s message, which included a warning to beware even of speaking with Jacob about good, why is he insinuating a threat in his words? Laban is torn between his desire to smash Jacob and his fear of Jacob and his God. (Learning How to Stand Up to a Bully)

“The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children and the flock is my flock, and all that you see is mine (31:43).” This is Laban as the famous, “Aramaean [who] attempted to destroy my forefather (Deuteronomy 26:5),” who we include in the Haggadah. Laban wanted to lay claim to the entire family (An Eloquent Silence Part Two). After all, he and his father had contributed more to Jacobs family than had Abraham and Isaac: Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, the maidservants, and all of Jacob’s wealth; Jacob had arrived in Laban’s home as a penniless vagabond.

Laban successfully distracted Jacob from his connection to the eternal and had him touch death: “With whomever you find your gods, he shall not live (31:31).” Jacob had just unknowingly cursed Rachel who had stolen Laban’s gods. He carries this taste of death for the rest of his life, as he says, in this week’s portion, to Joseph, “but as for me; when I came from Paddan, Rachel died on me in the land of Canaan on the road (48:7).” Here is Jacob speaking to Joseph about the importance of maintaining an unbroken link to the eternal and yet he is still carrying this “taste of death!”

Joseph is not resentful of Jacob for burying Rachel in a faraway place. Joseph is not resentful of the fact that Jacob inadvertently caused Rachel’s early death. Joseph is resentful of Jacob carrying this sense of “on me,” ever since Rachels death. Jacob was not only carrying the guilt; he was keeping alive the wound of death that Laban had inflicted on him!

Joseph suspected that Laban was successful in wounding Jacob because there was a part of Jacob that believe Laban’s gasconade.

Jacob explains to Joseph that the issue was not that he was intimidated by Laban; but because Rachel died, “while there was still a stretch of land to go,” Jacob was weak because he felt he still had “far to go.”

At this moment, as Jacob is approaching death and his family will soon face slavery in Egypt with all its depressing suffering, he must send a message to the family that when we perceive ourselves as weak, we make ourselves vulnerable to the false claims of power and influence of liars such as Laban and Pharaoh.

In this, we see a powerful parallel to David’s reflections on his life as he speaks to Solomon in “Haftarah-Vayechi-Abner IV.”

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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5
Jan

So What!

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Spiritual Growth

Many of the essays posted on The Foundation Stone have “Machberes Avodas Hashem” (The Service of God Notebooks) credited as the author. These essays are based on thoughts I’ve jotted down over the years to remember all the significant ideas I learn, hear, and read, and, what is more important, to figure out ways to incorporate into my Service of God in prayer, study, and work on my personal attributes, what I term, “Spiritual Tools,” many of which you can find as “Applications,” at the bottom of an essay.

One of my goals for The Foundation Stone is to introduce people to the idea of, “So What,” now that I have heard an idea; how can I use it.

If there is no practical lesson; it is not real Torah!

I recently posted a few essays on prayer based on the Parsha:

Without a Battle.”

Gathering the Joy.”

Becoming Magnets.”

Forgiveness.”

I hope to continue a series, “So What,”  on The Foundation Stone, throughout this calendar year of applying the commentaries to the Torah to Prayer and Spiritual Growth. I hope you enjoy this series, and that you will learn to reify all that you learn.

You can find more on this idea in, “Spirituals 101,” and, “Mishlei-Insight and Application,” and, “Stopping the Leaks.”

Enjoy!

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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5
Jan

Haftarah-Vayechi-Reading the Text-David and Yoav II-Amasa Introduction

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

“Now you yourself know what Yoav son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Yeter. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace (I Kings 2:5-6).”

We have studied the confrontation between Yoav and Avner over the issue of balance that David is addressing in his charge to Solomon. We now begin to examine why Yoav’s assassination of Amasa belongs in this opening paragraph of “Balance.”

Who was Amasa?


  • David’s nephew and Yoav’s cousin,

  • He was the person who successfully defended David’s lineage by quoting Samuel’s ruling. (Yevamot 77a)

  • He is described, together with his cousin Avishai, as a “Lion in Torah.” (Yerushalmi, Peiah 1:1)

  • Refused, with Avishai to murder the Kohanim of Nov at Saul’s order (Midrash Tehillim 52:5).

  • Had a history of standing up against the king when he felt halachically justified (Midrash HaGadol).

  • Brought all of Israel to invite David back as king, just as Avner had done See: Abner I (Kadmoniyot HaYehudim II 159).

  • Yoav considered him to have the halachic status of one who rebelled against the king for having led Avshalom’s armies (II Samuel 17:25), and he was justified in killing him (Sanhedrin 49a).


Historical Background: A Time of Instability

Avshalom, David’s oldest son, plots a conspiracy, forming an army and winning the hearts of the Israel through displays of warmth and kindness. Supported by David’s chief counselor, Avshalom goes to Hebron where his followers pronounce him king. Informed of this event, David flees from Jerusalem with his men, and the people of the countryside weep as he marches by.

One of Saul’s relatives, Shimi ben Geira, a relative of King Saul, however, curses and throws stones at the band, gloating over David’s demise. David forbids his attendants, including Yoav’s brother, Avishai, to punish the man.

Yoav ignores David’s instructions to treat Avshalom gently and drives three spears into Avshalom’s hanging body (something David does not mention in his instructions to Solomon).

When David is notified of Avshalom’s death, he weeps, screaming repeatedly, “O my son Avshalom, O Avshalom, my son, my son (19:4)!” Yoav is furious with David for mourning the son who rebelled against him.

Shimi ben Geira knows that he’s in danger and meets David and begs forgiveness. Avishai insists on killing him, to which David replies: “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? What right do you have to interfere? Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel (II Samuel 19:23).”

To the frustration of his officials, David shows mercy to all of Avshalom’s supporters who approach him for forgiveness, especially Avshalom’s commander Amasa. David sends messengers to the leaders of Judah, and the tribe welcomes him back to Jerusalem. The remaining tribes—Avshalom’s chief supporters—fear that David will be angry at them. An uprising ensues.

Text: David Takes Immediate and Decisive Action

“Then the king said to Amasa, ‘Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.’ But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.

David said to Avishai, ‘Now Sheva ben Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.’ So Yoav’s men and the Kereti and Peleti and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Avishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheva ben Bichri.

While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Yoav was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.

Yoav said to Amasa, ‘How are you, my brother?’ Then Yoav took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Yoav’s hand, and Yoav plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Yoav and his brother Avishai pursued Sheva ben Bichri.

One of Yoav’s men stood beside Amasa and said, ‘Whoever favors Yoav, and whoever is for David, let him follow Yoav!’ Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a halt there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him. After Amasa had been removed from the road, everyone went on with Yoav to pursue Sheva ben Bichri (II Samuel 20:4-13).”

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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5
Jan

The Character in the Storm Part Two

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

We left off in “The Character in the Storm” with Rachel, having incorporated Jacob’s lessons (“Strength from Brokenness“) in her relationship with Leah, but wondering whether Leah understood Rachel’s message. I wonder whether Jacob was prepared for the storm that awaited him upon his return home. We must also see how Jacob incorporated the gains of this major event in his life into his final moments in this week’s portion, “Vayechi.”

“So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. ‘You must sleep with me,’ she said. ‘I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.’ So he slept with her that night.

Isn’t it a little strange for Leah to phrase this night as, “hiring Jacob?”

“Now Dinah, the daughter of Leah, and she had borne to Jacob, went out to look over the daughters of the land (34:1).” “Because Dinah went out, in contradiction to the code of modesty befitting a daughter of Jacob, she is called the daughter of Leah because Leah, too, ‘went out.’ (Rashi) However, the Midrash on Proverbs praises Leah for going out, and says that it was her going out that caused her to merit to have descendants who would be kings and prophets (Chapter 31)!” Clearly, Leah’s going out is ambiguous. Why?

When Leah insists that she “hired” Jacob, she is informing him that she now feels equal to Rachel in her relationship with Jacob. Jacob hired himself out to marry Rachel. Leah was informing him that he was now hired out to marry her; in her mind, he would work for her just as he had worked for Rachel.

The first time that Jacob met Rachel, she too, was “going out.” “While he was still speaking with them, Rachel had arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherdess (29:9).” Everything that Leah was doing at this moment was a re-creation of the beginnings of the relationship between Jacob and Rachel.

Leah had clearly understood Rachel’s message of their joint eternal link to Jacob. The storm was over. Jacob did not walk into a fight, but into an entirely new stage of relationship with both, Rachel and Leah.

God considers Leah’s change as a form of prayer, and He grants her both Issachar and Zebulun who would eternally work together as partners, just as she was now prepared to work with Rachel.

Here is a woman going out to be with her husband and achieving greatness; as the Midrash says, kings and prophets would descend from her, just as another woman who “went out” to be with her husband and merited to say, “I have acquired a man with God (4:1),” I referred, of course, to Eve.

Remember, that when Eve decided to leave the Garden from which she had not been expelled just to be with her husband, she was willing to forfeit some of her elevated status to be with someone else. She certainly did the correct thing, but she paid a price, just as Leah will eventually pay a price for her “going out.”

“The Lord listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. Then Leah said, ‘The Lord has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.’ So she named him Issachar.

Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, ‘The Lord has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.’ So she named him Zebulun.

Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah (Genesis 30:14-21).”

It is not only the sons who will work eternally as partners who result from this new relationship with Jacob, it is also Dinah, who will be at the center of another storm yet to a buffet Jacob and his family. Eve too, merited to “acquire a man with God,” but that man, Cain, would also be at the center of a storm.

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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