Posts Tagged ‘Portion of the Week’


Readings: Parsha Mitzvot-Vaetchanan-Tefillin

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

No, you never will bind him

To your signs and your burdens!

The least chink — he’s inside it,

Like the supplest of gymnasts.

By the drawbridges

And flocks in migration,

By the telegraph poles,

God’s escaping us.

No, you never will train him

To abide and to share!

He, in feelings’ resident slush,

Is a gray floe of ice.

No, you never will catch him!

On a thrifty dish, God

Never thrives in the window

Like domestic begonias!

All, beneath the roof’s vault,

We’re awaiting the builder,

The call. Poets and pilots

— All gave up in despair.

He’s the sprint — and he’s moving.

The whole volume of stars

Is, from Alpha to Omega,

Just a trace of his cloak.


by Marina Tsvetaeva

(1892 – 1941) Timeline

English version by

Paul Graves

Original Language


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.


BNN Reports: Scandal Rocks Victory Parade

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

This is Simcha Weinberg reporting for the BNN, The Biblical News Network, from a victory parade for our soldiers returning from a battle to expand the boundaries of Israel; a celebration that was marred by scandal! A soldier returned home dragging a captured woman behind him. When asked why he brought this enemy woman home with him, he replied, “I saw this woman in middle of battle and my passion was inflamed. The Torah allowed me to grab her.”

“What do you mean that you were permitted to grab her?”

“Well, I wasn’t exactly sure because I learned in yeshiva that there is a debate between Rashi and the Ramban on the one hand, and Tosafot on the other, as to what exactly I was permitted to do.”

“Let me understand, you said that you were allowed to grab her because your passion was inflamed, and that the Torah was acknowledging your uncontrollable desire. Then you said, that despite your inflamed passion, you were still concerned about exactly what it was the Torah gave you permission to do!”

“If your passion was controlled enough for you to consider what you were permitted to do, then how could you say that your passion was uncontrollable?”

“May I ask what you ended up doing?”

The soldier refused to answer. He wanted his privacy.

He may have desired privacy but everyone in the community was talking. The women were looking at their husbands and sons and wondering what they were doing during the battle. Many women were overheard insisting, “My son would never do such a thing!” Some were overheard saying, “If my husband did anything like that, I’ll kill him”

The BNN decided to remain in the city and follow this story as it developed.

All the local sermons this past Shabbat were based on the same idea: “The juxtaposition of the first three laws in this week’s portion, the captured woman, the hated wife, and a rebellious child, are in themselves an implicit argument against this sort of liaison, for after giving the laws of the captive woman, the Torah speaks of a hated wife, and then an incorrigibly rebellious child.” The implication, insisted all the local rabbis, is that there is a chain reaction.  The improper infatuation with a captive woman will lead to one family tragedy after another!

I caught up with our soldier as he stormed from the synagogue immediately upon hearing the humiliating sermon, and asked for his reaction.

“How can the rabbis be so critical of my behavior when in my moment of ‘uncontrollable passion’ I still followed the letter of the law! How can they describe my behavior at this point as ‘inflamed passion’ when I am willing to go through the entire process of a month adhering to every detail of the law before deciding what I will do with her! This isn’t uncontrolled passion; it is passion directed by the letter of the law!”

The community is humming with debate regarding this soldier and his captive woman. Many women are insisting that they will not allow their sons and husbands to join the Army in the next  battle that is not specifically for the safety and security of the nation.

The eyes of the nation are turned to the King, David, who is universally regarded as our leader and teacher. Many are hesitant to directly ask King David for his input, because, as you all know, he once took a captive woman and he ended up having a rebellious child, Avshalom. Many quietly reflect that they are convinced that Avshalom originally chose to become a Nazirite to reject to his father’s behavior with uncontrolled passion. It’s interesting to note that Avshalom’s approach of containing his desires by becoming a Nazirite did not work for him, but that King David became the beautiful spiritual force that continues to live in the heart of all of Israel despite, or even because of, his great passion.

We hope to be able to interview the King and share his thoughts with our beloved audience. Please stay tuned to the BNN for further developments. You are welcome to submit your questions for the king.

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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.


Eating Habits

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

We should look for someone with whom to eat and drink before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone and is leading the life of a lion or wolf (Epicurus).”

I’m not so sure that finding someone with whom to share a feast is necessarily going to protect a person from living the life of a wild beast. Bohumil Hrabal in “I Served The King of England,” describes a feast of wild antelope and roasted camel, the animals stolen from the local zoo, to honor Emperor Haley Selassie in 1939 Prague. As far as Hrabal was concerned, this was a meal of a wild beast.

I guess we can’t criticize anyone for their diet, as many would be disgusted by Cholent or steak. Of course, we would all agree that the dish of Powdered Wife described by John Smith (The Generall Historie of Virginia,) certainly qualifies as the meal of the beast.

How would we judge the enormous feasts consumed by the Rebellious Child? Does it qualify as something very strange, such as the meal prepared for Haley Selassie, or is it more like the meal of Powdered Wife? Perhaps, his eating habits are of concern because of Epicurus’s dictum against eating alone; his eating habits reflect a person who stands alone against the rest of the world.

Nachmanides explains that part of his sin is, “because he is a glutton, and a drunkard, transgressing that which we have been commanded, “You shall be holy (Leviticus 19:2),” and “He shall you serve, and to Him shall you cleave (Deuteronomy 13:5),” and we are commanded to know God in all our ways, and a glutton and a drunkard does not know the way of God.

It certainly doesn’t seem that Nachmanides sees this young man as a wild beast consuming a feast of antelope and camel, and certainly not a dish of Powdered Wife, but that he is someone who is he eating habits display that he is a person who does not know the way of God. I am confident that my eating habits do not reflect the strange dishes served to the Emperor of Ethiopia or the Powdered Wife consumed by a starving man in 1609 Jamestown, but I wonder whether my eating habits reflect someone who knows the way of God.

This is not about the ritual washing of hands before a meal, nor about the blessings before and after the meal, and it is not about our conversations while eating, but a description of the way we eat. Does our Netilat Yada’im lead us to be careful in the way we eat? Does our mention of God as King in our blessings before the meal remind us to eat as royalty, reflecting the way of God? It isn’t even about how we hold a knife and fork, because for ages people ate with their hands.

This is a lesson in eating with a sense of sanctity, and using eating as a way to attach to our Infinite Creator. I can’t do it when eating a candy bar, I have enough difficulty when eating a Shabbat meal.

I found that applying Epicurus’ rule led me to always imagine myself as setting in the eating at God’s table; I’m not alone. I’m aware that I am eating in the presence of Someone else. “When you sit down to dine with a ruler, know well what lies before you, put a knife to your throat if you are master of your soul. Do not lust for his delicacies, for it is deceitful bread (Proverbs 23:1–3).” King Solomon is teaching us that when we learn how to live life as one who is eating at the Kings table, we will learn how to master our desires in life. To ignore God’s presence even while we’re eating, is to act as did the mythical Rebellious Child.

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.


Ki Tavo: Grouchy & The Infectious Smile

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

We were playing handball against the western wall of Yeshivat Eitz Chaim in Toronto. I clearly remember that it was the western wall because there was a drawing of the Kotel – at that time called the Wailing Wall – posted on the wall. It was 1964 and Jews were unable to access the Kotel. The school posted the drawing so that we would remember and pray for the Western Wall.

The ball went flying behind us into the backyard of the house just next to the school. I was going to climb through the hedges to reclaim my “pinky” ball but everyone yelled, “Stop! You can’t go there. Grouchy lives there!”

Thank God, I listened. Grouchy came flying out the back door just waiting for his next victim to devour!

I noticed that Grouchy had a tattoo of numbers on his arm, just like Ben, the school-bus driver, and most of the teachers and rabbeim. In fact, almost all the parents I knew had similar tattoos. I was jealous because neither of my parents, and none of my grandparents had tattoos. My doctor had one, as did my dentist. The butcher had one, and so did the barber, and my building’s super. It seemed like most adults had numbers. I wondered how old you had to be to get one. After all, my parents were already ancient and they didn’t have numbers. My grandparents were beyond ancient; they were from a different century, and they didn’t get to have tattoos either.

I met Grouchy one day at the bus stop and he was very nice. “Why are you so scared of me?” “Because, you’re so grouchy!”

“You would also be grouchy if you had one of these,” he said pointing to his tattoo. When he saw the blank look in my face, he explained who tattooed him, where and when. I still tear when I remember his story. The Germans tortured and killed his wife and children in front of his eyes before sending him to a place called Treblinka.

Grouchy and I became friends. I asked the other kids to stop calling him Grouchy and retold his story. The most common response was: “My parents’ story is worse and they are not grouchy!”

I thought of Grouchy this morning on my daily walk. There is a man who looks just like Grouchy who never greets any of the other walkers. He refuses to move aside for anyone, despite the unspoken rule that you always walk to the right. I greet him every morning with a big smile and he refuses to acknowledge me. His grouchiness is infectious. It affects my mood.

This morning I saw his tattoo when I past him on my first lap, and remembered Grouchy.

There is another man I see every morning who is the polar opposite. He has the most beautiful smile and he greets everyone. We all call him “Smiley”. He lifts my mood even more than Grouchy ruins it. I passed him just after passing Grouchy and I was so infected by his smile that I decided to try again with my new Grouchy. “Good morning! How are you this wonderful morning?”

He stopped, looked at me, noticed my Curious George t-shirt and laughed. “Good morning to you.” Smiley infected me with his smile and I was finally able to infect Grouchy.

The power of a smile. No wonder God asks us to smile when we serve Him: “Because you did not serve God, your Lord, amid gladness and goodness of heart.” (Deuteronomy 28:47) The bible is describing the most horrible curses and explains that they will come because we are, well, so grouchy when we serve Him!

Imagine if everyone walked around with Smiley’s infectious smile when serving God! Awesome!

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.


Re’ei: Crossing The River

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Music of Halacha, Spiritual Growth

“In the “Judgment” of the Book of Changes, whenever one encounters dangerous circumstances the advice is always: “Cross the river.” One can see from this that the real purpose of boats is to deliver people from danger rather than to provide comfort.” Pleasure Boat Studio by Ou-yang Hsiu (1007 – 1072)

We seem to take Hsiu’s advice quite seriously. We refer to our first patriarch, Abraham as “Ivri” – what Hsiu would call a river crosser. In fact, many people referred to us as Ivrim for a long time.

But we do not cross the river to avoid dangerous circumstances. We actually cross towards them: “For you are crossing the Jordan to come and possess the Land that God, your Lord, gives you.” We are certainly river crossers, not to avoid, but to confront.

Our definition of Ivri is not “from the other side” but one who can bridge both sides of the river. Our challenge is to stand on both sides of the river – to bridge the spiritual and physical worlds.

We also differ from Hsiu’s definition of a boat’s purpose: “This world is like the shore and the World to Come like the sea.” (Kohelet Rabbah 1:36) The Midrash compares the World to Come as a journey on the sea. There will be no dangers to escape. The journey will be filled with joy and comfort.

We are Ivrim – River Crossers and Bridges – in order to prepare for the ultimate journey on the sea of the Coming World. No wonder we live by Halacha – Instructions for Journeying!

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.


The Art of Observation: The Sorcerer’s Chameleon

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, (or) and a sorcerer. (Deuteronomy 18:10)

A single witness may not testify against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Deuteronomy 19:15)

The Grand Duchess Olga, sister of the last tsar, described Rasputin as “changeable as a chameleon”. Vera Zhukovskaya recalls: “When you remember that amazing peculiarity of his changing in an instant…sitting there would be a simple, illiterate little peasant, a bit crude, scratching himself, his tongue barely moving and the words slipping clumsily out…when suddenly he would turn into an inspired prophet…and then another bound of the changeling and his white teeth would be crunching with a savage, bestial voluptuousness, and from behind the heavy curtain of his wrinkles something shamelessly predatory would nod, unrestrained, like a young animal…and then just as suddenly instead of an ungirded rowdy, a grizzled Siberian wanderer would be sitting there, someone who for thirty years had been searching the world for God.”

The singer Belling, who saw Rasputin many times, writes of his rotten teeth and foul breath. Zhukovskaya tells us that “his teeth were perfect and complete down to the very last one, and his breath was absolutely fresh.” (The Rasputin File by Edvard Radzinsky)

I enjoy watching a magic show, a skillful use of sleight-of-hand. Unfortunately, chameleons such as Rasputin have often hurt me: people who can present themselves one way and immediately switch to another role. They are the more frightening sorcerers. They cause us to question our sanity and weaken our power of observation.

I imagine that most people have met such chameleons, yet we still do not learn to pay better attention to our power of observation. We are so accustomed to the sorcerers and chameleons that we fail to pay attention to the second verse quoted above: We are willing to accept the testimony of a single witness.

We believe a single witness who shares some juicy gossip with us. We do not question his or her power of observation. We do not even try to use ours when listening before passing judgment on the topic of the gossip. We may not even be sure that the gossiper is not a chameleon himself: People often speak poorly of others to make themselves look good. Isn’t that an essential tool of the chameleon?

Do we practice the sorcerer’s chameleon? Do we portray ourselves one way to some and in an entirely different way to others?

Do our powers of observation suffer when we practice the sorcerer’s chameleon?

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.


Re’eih: Broken Rules I

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

At 5AM I was at the stop sign at the entrance to my neighborhood. I was on my way to my morning hike and I didn’t expect too much traffic, but this morning it was actually dangerous. A few cars refused to stop. Each time I was about to drive forward, a car came shooting past the stop sign and cut me off. Finally, one car stopped and it was safe for me to make my turn.

I thought about Sir Isaiah Berlin’s definition (in The Hedgehog and The Fox) of “Positive” and “Negative” freedoms. The former is the ability to do what I want. The latter is my acceptance of certain rules in order to allow me to function in society. A red traffic light forces me to stop. Although it limits my positive freedom; I can’t drive ahead just because it is what I want to do, it allows me the freedom to drive ahead when the light is green. I can rely on people stopping for the light that is red for them. The negative freedom allows me to drive with more security. When other people refuse to obey the laws, I lose my negative freedom. I gave up my ability to drive without stopping assuming that cars driving across the road would also stop. The cars I saw this morning did not stop. They deprived me of my freedoms, positive and negative.

It was remarkable that all the cars that refused to stop were quite expensive. They were high end BMWs, Mercedes, and Lexus. The car that finally stopped was more of my kind of car; an older Ford. It almost seems that the rules do not apply if you can afford a car worth more than $50,000 (Or, if you’re Argentine; but that’s a different story – See Broken Rules II)

One of the reasons that I love Halacha – The Torah’s Instructions For Traveling Through Life – is that it creates a system that makes sense and helps preserve our sanity. For example: I must rebuke someone for doing something I find hateful. I must speak with care and respect, but I may not keep my negative feelings inside. (See The Music of Halacha Rebuke Introduction, I & 2) The system actually works if the other person is willing to hear what I have to say. In fact, the Ibn Ezra explains that usually he will be able to explain why he acted the way he did, and everyone leaves the situation in a happy mood. The system only works if all parties cooperate. What happens when someone breaks the rules? What happens if I choose to function within the system and the other rejects it?

The Torah, in this week’s portion, Re’eih, addresses this issue and has a message for people who speed through stop signs: “Rather, you shall surely open your hand to him (the poor person): you shall lend him his requirement, whatever is lacking to him.” (Deuteronomy 15:8) The Talmud teaches that “his requirement” means that we must provide the poor person with the standard of living that he has lost. Hillel the Elder hired people to serve as runners for a wealthy man who had lost everything. The man was accustomed to great fanfare whenever he traveled and Hillel felt that it was important for the man’s dignity. One day, Hillel couldn’t hire anyone so he served as the runner.

The Mitzvah of Tzedaka – Charity – obligates us to pay attention to the specific needs of the recipient. The Torah wants us to see the world through the eyes of the other. We cannot survive when we only see the world through our own eyes. “His requirement” reminds us to deal with others based on their needs and perspectives.

Halacha wants the wealthy and secure person to pay close attention to those who also were once wealthy and secure. The wheels of life turn. The system continues whether or not we pay attention or obey the rules.

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.


Eikev: In Name, Without Reality

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

The Name Without the Reality

A student who does not study the appointed themes is not a real student.

A mourner who feels no grief when condoling with the bereaved is not a real mourner.

An old servant who neither tidies things away nor chatters about family affairs is not a real old servant.

A host who escorts a guest no further than the door is not a real host.

A cook without an apron or knife and chopping block is not a real cook.

A teacher who does not correct his pupil’s exercises and studies is not a real teacher.

Underlings who not squabble and curse are not real underlings.

Li Shang-yin (858 C.E. – China)

How can we make sure that what we do and whom we are is real?

“It will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today, to love God, your Lord, and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 11:13) The love must turn into action – service. We must reify each and every idea we learn by making them part of our service of God. We cannot allow our powerful experiences and insights to remain A Name Without Reality.

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.


Eikev: The Power of Words

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer

In the Analects, Confucius’ definition of goodness starts with the “golden rule,” but he takes his concept further, famously stating that to be good, one must be “resolute and firm, simple and slow in speech.”

The Master said, ‘To be resolute and firm, simple and slow in speech, is to approach true goodness.’ (Analects 13.27 [17]). Commentator Wang Su said, ‘Gang [resolute] is to be without desire; yi [firm] is to be determined and daring; mu is to be simple; na is to be slow in speech. To be possessed of these four qualities is to approach true goodness.’ …


‘Simple and slow in speech’ becomes almost a refrain in the teachings of Confucius. For instance, in 12.3, he says, ‘The person of true goodness is restrained in speech.’

Throughout the text he repeatedly cautions his followers not to mistake eloquence for substance, as in 1.3: ‘The Master said – artful words and a pleasing countenance have little, indeed, to do with true goodness.’ …


Commentator Zhu Xi wants to understand why this is so. The answer for him is partly that restraint in speech indicates a general self-restraint, which, in turn, indicates that one’s original mind and heart, with its endowed true goodness, has been preserved and not won over by selfish desires. … For Zhu, words that are not simple but, rather, are ‘artful’ are evidence of ‘adorning oneself on the outside in an effort to please others, a matter of human desire having grown dissolute.’ ”

We confront the question of eloquence versus simplicity when we praise God. “One may only use Moshe’s words of praise to speak of God: “The Almighty, Who is Great, Powerful and Awesome.” (Megillah 18a) Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaGra insists that all prayer is based on these four Hebrew words: “HaKail, HaGadol, HaGibbor, V’HaNorah”.

There is danger in waxing too eloquent in praising One Who is Infinite. Our attempts to exhaust God’s praises imply that we can find words to describe this Infinite being.

We are limited in finding the proper words for the essential part of our prayers. If we must be so careful in our praise of God, should we not be as careful in all areas of our speech? We can use the discipline of speech in praise to train ourselves to speak so we may approach true goodness.

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.


Rabbi David Lapin of I-Awaken on Pinchas: What Are You willing To Sacrifice?

by admin in Spiritual Growth

The opening passage of the Parsha holds the key to understanding courage. Zimri desecrated G-d’s name by publicly flaunting his illicit relationship with the Midianite Princess, Kozbi bat Tzor. Pinchas reacts passionately and in accordance with the Halachah of that time, assassinates Zimri and kills Kozbi. Hashem responds by rewarding Pinchas with an everlasting Brit Shalom (Covenant of Peace) manifesting in the hereditary rights of Kehuna. From now on Pinchas and his male descendants would be Kohanim. Rashi and others ask if Pinchas was already a Kohen, the grandson of Aharon the Kohen Gadol, what was new in this “gift” of Kehuna that G-d now gave him? Rashi answers that Kehuna had only been given to Aharon and to Aharon’s sons (and their descendants) who were anointed at that time with Aharon. But since Pinchas was already born but was not anointed, he in fact did not become a Kohen until this moment.The Zohar however says that a Kohen who murders, loses his status and rights of Kehuna. The Sefat Emet[1] points out accordingly that Pinchas had lost his Kehuna when he killed Zimri, and G-d returned it to him as a reward for his intervention in the Zimri affair. Pinchas sacrificed his life (Zimri would have been fully entitled to kill Pinchas in self defense – that was a risk Pinchas took) and his Kehuna. He had no idea that Hashem would return it to him; he assumed it would be lost forever. He was willing to lose his Kehuna to do what was right. His reward lay exactly in the things he sacrificed: He was given eternal life (Pinchas is Eliyahu Hanavi who never died), and he and his descendants are given back the Kehuna they lost.

The fear of loss precludes courage: Herein lies the foundation of courage: So long as people fear loss they will lack courage. We have courage when we are willing to surrender our attachments to everything except our own souls. People who are inextricably attached to their physical lives, will not risk their lives for anything. People who are attached to relationships in ways they could never sever, will never risk them. People attached to power, will compromise their values to retain their power, and people attached to material belongings will never act in ways that could risk the loss of those belongings. The capacity to detach is the condition for courage. The idea in Mussar that best expresses detachment, is Perishut.

Detachment does not mean disengagement: Perishut does not mean disengagement, it means surrendering dependency. A person can be deeply engaged in a relationship, but not be attached to it in a needy or addictive manner. While the relationship exists he or she is fully committed to it and engaged in it. But should the need arise to take a stand on a matter of principle bigger even than the relationship itself, they will not hesitate to put that cause before the relationship. That is courage. The military hero, who has left a loving family at home as he goes into battle to protect his land and his nation, will sacrifice his relationship if that is what is needed for the safety of his land. That does not mean that he does not love his family, nor that he is not entirely committed to them. It simply means he is not attached to them in a way that would make it impossible for him to detach if need be, to do what is right.People who risk their status and influence to make a moral stand, have courage. People who sacrifice their popularity to talk the truth, have courage. People who sacrifice their wealth for the education of their children or to go on Aliyah, have courage. People who fight or whose children fight on our behalf in the Israeli army have courage: they risk, and sometimes sadly give, their lives for us. That does not mean that those people do not value their status, popularity, wealth or children’s lives. It just means they are not inextricably attached to those things, and if absolutely necessary would sacrifice them for a higher purpose.

The reward for sacrifice

The outcome of acting with courage is so interesting and counter-intuitive. We learn from the story of Pinchas that courageous people gain exactly what they sacrificed, but in a higher dimension. People that sacrifice status for a higher purpose, ultimately gain honor: sometimes honor in the eyes of others, sometimes they experience that honor only in their own eyes. The wealth gained from educated children exceeds the wealth of the money invested in that education. Even heroic soldiers who die al Kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification of G-d’s name[2]) and their parents who have sacrificed their sons, achieve an eternity in this world and the next to which no one else can aspire.

Growth manifests in diminishing attachments

As we evolve spiritually, increasing our connection with our own Ruchniut (spirituality), we decrease our dependence on all other attachments. It is a little like a child who grows out of his intense attachment to his childhood toys as he grows older. If we are as attached now to the same things we were some years ago, we have failed to grow. Ultimately, as we loosen our attachments (but not our engagement) with more and more of the things around us, we prepare ourselves for the ultimate evolution. An evolution to a state of detachment from everything we knew except our souls and Hashem. If we die before we detach, the pain of separation is severe.

The Three Weeks and Tisha Be’Av

Sometimes we detach from the things we are meant never to be detached from. Sometimes we feel detached from our own souls, sometimes even from Hashem. Many people wonder why they do not genuinely feel pain and sorrow during the Three Weeks or even on Tisha Be’Av. It is because they are detached from the idea of the Beit Hamikdash, and so do not feel its loss. That is misplaced courage! During these weeks we try to gain a deeper feeling of the glamour and majesty of life with the Temple and the tragedy of Jewish life without it. Then we feel the loss. Then we experience the pain.This is a time to experience loss for more than the Beit Hamikdash. During these hard Three Weeks we are all too aware of the millions of courageous people who sacrificed their lives for Hashem, the Torah and the Jewish people. Some had no choice but others willingly chose to sacrifice their lives rather than lose their souls. They are the heroes of this period. They valued their lives but were not so attached to life that they could not sacrifice it for something bigger: the eternity of the Torah and the Jewish people. Those men and women, like Pinchas, teach us courage.


[1] Pinchas, 5641

[2] The Torah allows us to risk our lives (even for G-d) only in vary rare circumstances. In the case of military activity we may only do so only to defend our religion, our people or our land when their survival is threatened. This is a very opposite philosophy from that which drives the actions of Islamic Fundamentalist extremists.

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.