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FW: Shabbat-B'Shabbato - Parshat Mikeitz

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  • Meir Weiss
    _____ From: Shabbat BeShabbato [mailto:shabbat.beshabbato@gmail.com] Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 03:54 To: dan@zomet.org Subject: Shabbat-B Shabbato -
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      From: Shabbat BeShabbato [mailto:shabbat.beshabbato@...]
      Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 03:54
      To: dan@...
      Subject: Shabbat-B'Shabbato - Parshat Mikeitz

      No 1199: 28 Kislev 5768 (8 December 2007 )


      "And So They Did" - by Rabbi Amnon Bazak, Yeshivat Har Etzion

      One of the most perplexing problems of commentary on the Torah appears in this
      week's Torah portion. After Yosef has his brothers kept in prison for three
      days, it is written, "And Yosef said to them on the third day, here is what you
      should do and continue to live... Go and bring to your families the food to
      break their famine. And bring your younger brother to me, to verify your words
      so that you will not die. And so they did." [Bereishit 42:18-20]. What does the
      last sentence mean? Does it mean that they went home and brought Binyamin? In
      the next verse we are told, "One brother said to another, we are guilty with
      respect to our brother" [42:21], and only much later are we told at length how
      the brothers returned home and brought Binyamin back with them, after a long
      delay. How can it be that this long process is described by the phrase, "And so
      they did"? (It is surprising that almost none of the commentators discuss this
      difficulty, except for Chizkuni. He explains that the phrase means that the
      brothers promised to do as Yosef had said. However, in all other places where it
      appears in the Torah the phrase refers to immediate action and not a future

      To understand this, we should first note that the repentance of the brothers for
      the sin of having sold Yosef into slavery is an important feature in all the
      passages from this point - starting with the words "we are guilty" and
      continuing to when Binyamin is brought to Egypt (Bereishit 42:21 to 43:14). This
      is certainly clear in the way they explicitly express regret about the sin of
      the sale, an event that caused Yosef to weep. But even later on, when Yaacov
      refuses to send Binyamin to Egypt with the brothers, the fact that the brothers
      are willing to take responsibility for their younger brother is also an
      expression of their sorrow for what they did to Yosef. Thus, the main point of
      these passages is to take note of how the brothers began to repent.

      This explains the meaning of the phrase, "And so they did." It is evidently
      meant to serve as a brief summary of their long journey, leading to the
      fulfillment of the promise, when the brothers did in fact bring Binyamin to meet
      Yosef. In effect, the Torah presents two different scenarios of what happened
      after Yosef's command: The first one, the short version, indicates in a few
      short words the brothers' consent to bring Binyamin, without showing their guilt
      feelings and without taking any responsibility for Binyamin. In this scenario,
      the brothers did not understand the significance of the events that had
      occurred, and they were not involved at all in such matters as repentance and
      recognizing their sin. At the same time, the Torah presents the second scenario
      at length, showing how the brothers did indeed come to proper conclusions about
      the spiritual meaning of the events, as explained above.

      Why are there two versions in the Torah? It can be assumed that this is a way of
      indicating the dual approach of the brothers. On one hand, they wanted to
      quickly fulfill Yosef's command to bring Binyamin, without any hesitation or
      uncertainty. On the other hand, they felt an inner spark of repentance. By
      giving us both scenarios the Torah was able to teach us about the two approaches
      that contended for attention in the minds of the brothers. In the end, they
      repented fully, as can be seen in the affair of Yosef's goblet and the emotional
      speech by Yehuda.


      Faith and Vision, Then and Now - by Zvulun Orlev, MK

      Faith Can Transform Nature into a Miracle

      The common factor in the miracles of Chanukah is the victory of the few over the
      many. A few Macabbees defeated many Greeks, and a small amount of oil, enough
      for no more than one day, burned for eight days. Both events are defined as
      miracles. From the natural point of view, it was not possible for the small
      number of Macabbees to defeat a kingdom with a well trained army, to enable us
      to continue hearing the voices of the opponents of the regime, especially since
      those who revolted were risking national suicide. The same is true about the
      vial of oil. We can almost hear the skeptic crying out in a loud voice: It is
      impossible for the oil to last more than one day.

      Life is not based on miracles, but there are still situations when national
      decisions must be taken within a framework of faith, an ultimate goal, and a
      final vision. And from this approach comes a feeling of sensitivity for the
      miraculous. This means that the holiday of Chanukah instills in us the power of
      faith and vision.

      In our generation, it is not easy to view both the creation of the State of
      Israel and the return of the Jews to their land after two thousand years of
      exile as purely natural occurrences. It was highly improbable that a nation
      which had just suffered such a terrible Holocaust would be able to gather its
      strength and fight, the few against the many, win a war, and establish a
      vigorous sovereign state. The leadership of the time must have been infused with
      a mighty "Macabbeean" spirit, full of a vision and faith. To these few goes the
      credit for the establishment of the State of Israel.

      On Chanukah we are reminded that not only is it important to operate from a
      sense of faith and vision, but without these elements it is not possible to
      achieve national goals and objectives. One can go even further and come to
      understand that a combination of faith and vision are an inseparable part of
      nature - they serve as a link between the material and the metaphysical, between
      body and soul, between matter and spirit.

      "If vision is lacking, a nation will lose its restraint, but one who observes
      the Torah can be happy" [Mishlei 29:18]. In modern times, just as in past days,
      we can see the heavy price paid by the nation for a lack of vision and a lack of
      faith among the leaders who rule the land. The great difference between the
      vision of the Macabbees and the vain images of the Annapolis conference is plain
      for all to see. The same is true of the difference between the resounding faith
      that rose as a result of the miracle of the oil and the denial and erosion of
      the vision of a Jewish state, with a need to maintain our rights over Jerusalem
      and Eretz Yisrael. We would not have been able to reach the spiritual and
      material achievements of the era of the Macabbees if the leaders at the time had
      followed the same path as our current leaders. A weak spirit would have
      prevented the Macabbees from combining the material and the spiritual in a
      natural way.

      "To Add More" and "Not to Complain"

      Rabbi A.Y. Kook wrote, "Completely righteous people do not complain about evil.
      Rather, they increase righteousness. They do not complain about apostasy, they
      increase the faith. They do not complain about illiteracy, they increase the
      wisdom." [Orot Re'iyhah 79, 27-28). This is the way that religious Zionism chose
      to act from its very inception. We cannot accept criticism and opposition as a
      way of life - no matter how successful it is, no matter how important it seems.
      Rather, we must make every effort to take over the reigns of leadership, where
      we can play in a role of "those who cause an increase."

      Rabeinu Bechayei teaches us that in principle "A small portion of truth will
      conquer a lot of untruths, just like a small light can overpower a large amount
      of darkness" ["Chemdat Halevavot", Volume on Dedicated Actions, Chapter 5]. This
      idea is not simply a poetic statement, it is an important principle for the
      nationalistic, moral, and spiritual life of a nation. It is yet another example
      of the victory of the "few" over the "many." Even though for the time being we
      are few, we cannot free ourselves of the obligation and live under a cloud of a
      lack of positive action. Even though we are few in number, we have a task to
      perform, expanding the knowledge of such ideas as Judaism, Zionism, social
      values, and love for the nation, the Torah, and the land. Our approach can drive
      away a great deal of the darkness established by the proponents of neo-liberal
      and global secularism.

      Our movement has demonstrated this principle during its many years of existence,
      and we have managed to influence the Jewish character of Israel. Mainly we have
      done this through a broad range of laws which serve as a basis for all of our
      yearning. Our movement also influenced the educational system and was able to
      establish the range of the new settlements in Eretz Yisrael. We were especially
      privileged to establish and maintain the complex systems needed to guarantee a
      religious Zionist life style from birth to death.

      Traveling along the Main Road and not on the Sidelines

      We did not travel on the shoulders of the road but along the main lane of the
      highway. Instead of remaining at the edges of the legal system, we have played
      an important role in fashioning the rules of public law and order. We did not
      expend our energies and our efforts in illegal activities but in shaping the law
      itself. The values of religious Zionism and its approach have enough power and
      strength to modify the way of life of the systems in the country in a
      straightforward way, without any need for guile and intrigue. We have arrived at
      our position by traveling along the main road. Our strength does not stem from
      divisiveness and refusal to join the others but rather from being directly
      involved in national and social institutions, without avoiding any attempt to
      convince the others in a pleasant way, in discussions and cooperation with the
      secular leadership of the county.

      "Even a small amount of truth will defeat a large amount of evil." Our way is a
      way of truth, and it is strong enough to give us faith in ourselves, and to
      allow us to lead the nation and the country in our generation, just as the
      Macabbees did in theirs.

      The end of the "Al Hanissim" prayer refers to the miracles "which You performed
      for our fathers, in those days and at this time." Just as the path of the
      Macabbees succeeded in ancient times, so we can hope and have faith that the
      same approach will succeed today.


      Chanukah Lights in a Dormitory, a House, or a Hotel - by Rabbi Re'eim Hacohen,
      Rosh Yeshiva and Chief Rabbi, Otniel

      Question: Where should a student living in a yeshiva dormitory light candles on
      Chanukah? Is the yeshiva his home, or is he included in the candles lit by the
      family at home?


      The Law of a Guest

      The Talmud discusses the laws pertaining to a guest (Shabbat 23a). Rabbi
      Sheishet rules that a guest, either in somebody else's home or in a hotel, must
      light his own Chanukah candles. Rabbi Zaira adds that a guest can share the
      owner's expense, and that if he is married his wife can light for him at home.
      (This is also true for a single man who is included in the candles lit by his
      parents - a situation that was evidently not very common in Rabbi Zaira's time.)
      Rashi notes that this definition includes one who has left home in order to
      study Torah (the same ruling appears in the "Machzor Vitri," which was written
      by Rashi's students). The Shulchan Aruch agrees (777:1), adding that if the
      guest has a separate entrance he must light his own candles.

      The Blessing on the Candles

      It would seem obvious that a guest who lights his own candles should recite the
      blessings. Terumat Hadeshen (101), the Maharil (145), and the TAZ in fact ruled
      that if candles are lit in the home for someone who is a guest in another place
      he can recite the blessings where he is. But the Beit Yosef ruled that this is
      unnecessary and the blessings should not be recited, and this was accepted by
      the Maharshal and Pri Chadash.

      In my humble opinion, this dispute is related to the famous argument if the
      decree to light Chanukah candles is to light a single lamp for every house (as
      in the Shulchan Aruch, and as practiced by the Sephardim to this day) or to have
      everybody light his own candles (the Ashkenazim, following the ruling of the
      RAMA). This would imply that yeshiva students whose custom in the home is to
      light once for the home, and whose parents light for them, should not light
      candles in the yeshiva. This corresponds to rulings by Rabbis Ovadia Yosef
      (Yechaveh Daat 6:43 ) and Mordechai Eliyahu (Midkra'ei Kodesh 9:93).

      A Yeshiva Student Living in a Dormitory

      Even for those who follow the approach of the Shulchan Aruch, lighting only one
      candle per house, the status of a yeshiva student who spends most of his time
      away from home is not clear. Perhaps he should be considered as one who no
      longer eats at his father's table and is therefore not included in the candles
      lit at home (this would correspond to the opinions of Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav and
      Orchot Chaim, as quoted by the Beit Yosef). It should be noted that things have
      changed since the times of most of the commentators, in two ways. First of all,
      yeshiva students in previous times, even if they were very far from their homes,
      did not live in a well organized dormitory with good rooms and regularly
      scheduled meals. In addition, in modern times, when a student leaves his
      parents' house but has not yet established his own home, he has two legal
      addresses - one at his parents' house and the other in the dormitory where he
      spends most of his time.

      In view of this new reality, two prominent rabbis of our generation did not
      agree about the status of a yeshiva student. Rabbi Avraham Shapiro ruled that
      even students who follow the Shulchan Aruch should light in the yeshiva, since
      it is their home, as opposed to their parents' home, which they only visit at
      rare intervals. On the other hand, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu is quoted as ruling
      that the fact that a student returns home if he gets sick shows that his
      parents' home is still his own home, and that such a student should not light
      candles in the yeshiva.

      In summary: In my humble opinion, a yeshiva student who spends most of the year
      in the yeshiva and regularly eats there should consider it as his home, and he
      should therefore light Chanukah candles in the dormitory, even if the custom of
      his parents is to light only a single candle in their home.


      The Strength of a Child (Part 1) - by Rabbi Yikhat Rozen, Merkaz Neria, Kiryat

      The following events took place in England during the Second World War. German
      airplanes flew in the sky every night, dropping bombs and spreading destruction
      in the cities and the small towns. This is the story of a young boy who studied
      in a "cheder" during that time.

      We studied in the area of the main synagogue of the city, a new building which
      had been built a short time before on a very large plot of land. In the corner
      of the land was an old building two stories high. On the top floor there was a
      Beit Midrash where the Jews would pray during the week, while on Shabbat and
      holidays the prayers would be held in the new synagogue. The rooms of our cheder
      were on the ground floor of the old building. We also had a cellar which served
      as an air-raid shelter, where we would go when the sirens would sound.

      Chanukah arrived, the happy festival of lights. But we had been warned that no
      single ray of light should ever be visible outside at night, in order not to
      show the German pilots where our houses were. We were very sad that because of
      the horrid Germans we could not put our candles on the window sills, as was the
      regular custom. But we recited the blessings over the candles which we put on
      the table, after covering the windows with black paper. We hoped with all our
      hearts that we would witness a repeat of the miracle of Chanukah, and that the
      German enemy would be defeated, just as Antiochus had been vanquished in ancient

      On the fifth night of Chanukah, all the students of the cheder gathered in the
      main synagogue to light the candles and to enjoy a cheerful Chanukah party.
      However, as purposely to upset us, the sirens immediately began to wail,
      announcing an air-raid. We were well prepared for such an event. Without showing
      any signs of fear, we organized into straight lines and went to the Beit
      Midrash, where steps led down to the shelter. But this time, before we managed
      to reach the old building, we heard the terrible sounds of explosions. The
      distance between the two buildings was not great and it only took a moment to
      cross from one to the other. But this moment appeared to us as an eternity.
      Finally, we reached the other building and descended the stairs, and we all took
      our places in the shelter, as we had done many times before. Our teacher read
      off our names from a list to make sure that everybody was there, and then he
      taught us a new Chanukah song. We all sang as loud as we could, as if we wanted
      the Germans to hear us and blow themselves up.

      "And now, children, we will light the Chanukah candles and continue with the
      party that was interrupted," our teacher said. But then he remembered that we
      had left the candles in the synagogue. This upset us very much, but there was
      nothing we could do. "Just as without an etrog we cannot recite the appropriate
      blessing, without candles there is nothing for us to light. Let us pray to G-d
      that He will accept our desire to observe the mitzva of lighting the candles as
      if we had actually performed it," the teacher said.

      But I refused to accept this. I was overcome by a strong urge to go to the
      synagogue and retrieve the Chanukah candles. This was very dangerous, but I
      still wanted to do it. My only question was whether I should ask the teacher for
      permission - and he would certainly refuse - or simply sneak out without
      attracting any attention. I finally decided to take responsibility for my own
      actions without asking anybody else. I remembered what we had been taught by our
      sages, "a messenger performing a mitzva is never harmed." So, without losing a
      moment I managed to sneak away and climb the stairs.

      (To be continued...)

      Reactions and Suggestions for Stories: <mailto:yikhat1@...>


      Following the Macabbees to Beit Zecharia - by the Kefar Etzion Field School

      On the occasion of Chanukah, we will travel to Mount Chevron , in the footsteps
      of the fifth battle fought by Yehuda Hamacabbee - the battle of Beit Zecharia.

      Lizius, the Greek warrior, approached Yehuda from south of Beit Tzur with a
      large armored force - "The army numbered 100 thousand foot soldiers with 20
      thousand horses and thirty-two elephants trained for war. They went through the
      land of Edom and camped near Beit Tzur." [Chashmona'im 1:6,30-31]. Yehuda left
      Jerusalem to meet Lizius and camped opposite him in Beit Zecharia. "Yehuda left
      Chakra and camped near Beit Zecharia, opposite the king's camp" [ 6:32].

      The attack began early in the morning, with the Greek army coming from the south
      and having an advantage. "When the sun rose on the gold and copper shields, the
      hills glowed because of them and burned as if heated by torches" [6:39]. But in
      spite of the strength of the enemy and the glaring sun which blinded them,
      Yehuda and his warriors managed to strike about 600 of the enemy's forward
      force, led by Yehuda's brother, Elazar. "Elazar, from Choron, saw one of the
      armored beasts belonging to the king... And he ran to it courageously...
      striking to his left and to his right... Then he went under the elephant,
      stabbed it and killed it. And the elephant fell on him, pushing him to the
      ground and killing him." [Kadmoniyot Hayehudim 12].

      Elazar's heroism and the courage of Yehuda's warriors were not sufficient in
      this battle, and Yehuda was forced to retreat to the Gofna Mountains. Some of
      his fighters fled to Jerusalem, to struggle against a harsh blockade set by
      Lizius. "There was no food in the storehouses, because it was the year of
      Shemitta" [Chashmona'im 6:53 ]. Because of a power struggle in Antiochia, Lizius
      returned to that city, removing the blockade around Jerusalem . The day that the
      blockade was lifted was made into a holiday. "On the twenty-eighth of Shevat
      King Antiochus left Jerusalem " [Megilat Taanit].

      We will start our tour at Chirbat Zecharia, at the site of Beit Zecharia from
      the time of the Second Temple , which served as an important outpost in Gush
      Etzion during the War of Independence.

      How Do We Get There?

      At the Gush Etzion Junction we turn west toward Kefar Etzion. After about 2 km ,
      we turn north at the Alon Shevut Junction towards Rosh Tzurim. About 1 km from
      there we turn right, to Chirbat Zecharia. We continue on foot for about 700
      meters to a lone oak tree, where we have a view of the battlefield - the Shevut
      riverbed, which separates Kefar Etzion from the army base to the east and the
      west and links Beit Tzur in the south to Beit Zecharia in the north.

      Starting at the oak tree, we descend to the south through Chirbat Balut,
      crossing the main road and continuing through the vineyards to the Shevut
      riverbed. After about 300 meters, we reach the gate of Kefar Etzion on the
      right, and we enter this kibbutz. We end our visit with the view from the roof
      of the German monastery (where the audio-visual exhibition has been installed),
      with a view of Beit Tzur, which is near the town of Karmei Tzur , north of

      (Written by: Areleh Meitlis)

      Field trips:

      Throughout the entire holiday of Chanukah, the Field School will sponsor hikes
      and trips for the whole family to the following sites: Wadi Kelt, the Og
      Riverbed, Herodion, the Chariton Cave, Wadi Puchin, Ein Kerem, Nachalaot, and

      1-2 Tevet (10-11 December): The Jewish settlers in Yehuda during the War of
      Independence - Aryeh Rotenberg

      Contact: Kefar Etzion Field School , 02-9935133, www.k-etzion.co.il


      "He Did Not Give Anything to the Sons of Kehat, They Were Responsible for the
      Holiest Labors" - by Rabbi Uri Dasberg, Machon Zomet

      This week's subject was not a Chassidic rabbi, in fact not an ordained rabbi at
      all, and he was not a formal public leader. Rather, he was a Bnei Akiva
      counselor and a bank clerk. But in spite of this he was the master of the Mishna
      in that he wrote its most popular commentary. How well known is his commentary?
      One time, when entry into Russia was only possible by finding a crack in the
      Iron Curtain, a Jew arrived at the Moscow airport. As an activist supporting the
      Jews in Russia , he had in his suitcase everything needed to live as a Jew -
      prayer books of all kinds, talitot, and tefillin. The Russian customs agent did
      not allow him to take the items with him, and then he asked, "Do you have a copy
      of Kehati?"

      The original plan was for the commentary on the Mishna to be written by a group
      of Torah scholars, and that our subject would only be responsible for organizing
      the enterprise. But after several failed attempts to organize the project, he
      said to himself: If I managed to compose several tunes, the Almighty will help
      me write a commentary on the Mishna. The success of his work can be seen from
      the fact that it is used both by prominent rabbis and yeshiva heads and also by
      young children, who use it to study the Mishna on their own, as if to say: Using
      Kehati, anybody can study.

      In general, he is not the original source of the commentary. He was preceded by
      such commentators as Rashi, Rambam, Tosafot Yom Tov, and Rabbi Akiva Eiger. But
      in spite of this, he is often quoted as if he were one of the early
      commentators. His well organized sentence structure, his Hebrew renditions of
      words, and his translations into understandable Hebrew made his commentary the
      most prominent one.

      One common difficulty in study is that it is often necessary to remember
      previous items in order to understand the current text. Sometimes this situation
      can be solved with a cross-reference. In our subject's commentary on the Mishna,
      the student is not required to rely on memory - instead, every concept and term
      is redefined in an introduction to every specific Mishna or to the chapter. What
      then is missing from the commentary? Here is one example: A reader once wrote
      that he had reached the chapter in Shabbat about a heated pot. "Your commentary
      is beautiful," he wrote, "but why don't you also tell us how to prepare cholent?
      In my house, the cholent is always burnt..."

      Who is Our Subject?

      Just in case there remain a few readers who have still not identified this
      week's subject in spite of the many clues in the above paragraphs: He is Pinchas
      Kehati, the author of the famous commentary on the Mishna, who passed away on
      the first of Tevet 5737 (1976). His work on the Mishna, which was not the only
      large project on which he worked, started out as a series of weekly notes
      written as a guide for counselors of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, and was then
      published as a twelve-volume set of commentary, printed in several different
      editions. This commentary, which Pinchas worked on very hard but which was
      completed in a very short time, was described by the author as follows: "I work
      very hard so that others will be able to study with ease." We owe you a great
      debt of thanks, Pinchas Kehati.

      Words of Torah by our Subject:

      It is written in this week's Torah portion, "And one of them opened his sack to
      give his donkey food in the hotel" [Bereishit 42:27]. This indicates a high
      level of dedication. Expensive food that was meant for human beings was given to
      a donkey. That is the path of Judaism, which teaches us to be as kind to animals
      as we are to people. But if this is the case, it is hard to understand the
      comment of Rabbi Yair Bachrach, author of Chavat Yair, with respect to the
      mitzva of "shiluach haken" - sending away the mother before taking young birds
      or eggs out of a nest. He writes that this is a positive mitzva which should be
      fulfilled even if the person does not need the young chicks or the eggs for
      himself. Isn't this approach even worse than that of a person who at least wants
      the eggs or the birds for his own use? (As it happens, Rabbi Yair also passed
      away on the first of Tevet, in the year 5602, 1701).

      Pinchas Kehati gives the following answer to this question: The verse tells us,
      "If a bird's nest happens to be along your path" [Devarim 22:6]. The mother is
      mature and can protect herself from danger, but what can the poor young birds
      do? In order to protect the species it is indeed necessary to chase the mother
      away, but then it is absolutely necessary for the person to take the young
      chicks home with him, in order to give them food and to help them to continue to

      (Source: a book of memories printed in honor of Pinchas Kehati)


      Taking Booty - by Rabbi Amichai Gordin, Yeshivat Har Etzion and Shaalvim High

      Chaim Tzipori was a battalion commander during the Six Day War. In the book "To
      Belong" which was published in his memory, Nachum Barnea (today a well known
      journalist who writes in Yediot Acharonot) tells a remarkable story.

      * * * * * *

      At the end of the war we were on the Golan Heights . The shooting had ended and
      looting had begun. The lust for souvenirs was so great that even threats of
      being shot for insubordination had no effect. The men took everything: straw
      mats, old bicycles, a sewing machine, and a huge radio receiver made of wood.
      All of this and more was hidden in our vehicles.

      When we received our orders to return to Israel to be released from reserve
      duty, Tzipori decided to end the war with what appeared at first to be a
      sightseeing trip. It was a terrible day. Every so often a tire would blow up
      from the extreme heat and the entire convoy would grind to a halt. In this
      nerve-wracking atmosphere, Tzipori commanded the convoy to leave the road. This
      happened near Jericho . I thought that he wanted to show the ruins of ancient
      Jericho to us. It would be a good opportunity for an illustrated history lesson.

      We climbed to an exposed hilltop from which we could look at the city. He told
      us to park the vehicles in a circle, with the men lined up in front of them, in
      military formation. When we quieted down, Tzipori took a copy of the Tanach from
      his pocket and began to read, slowly and carefully: "And the city (of Jericho )
      shall be banned, the city and all that is within it... Beware of the ban, lest
      you yourselves be destroyed... and you will cause the camp of Yisrael to be
      destroyed and make it ugly." [Yehoshua 6:17-18].

      And when Tzipori had finished reading from chapter 6, he continued with chapter
      7, the affair of Achan. "Bnei Yisrael violated the ban... and G-d was angry with
      Bnei Yisrael" [7:1-2]. Even those who were not so wise began to understand that
      the commander was not giving a history lesson about the conquest of Jericho but
      that he was talking about his own men. He reviewed the awesome process of
      selection that Bnei Yisrael experienced until Achan, the guilty person, was

      When he finished reading, Tzipori put the Tanach back in his pocket and
      announced that anybody who had any souvenirs should take them out and put them
      in the middle of the circle. Then he would check the insides of the vehicles. If
      he found anything, he would put the offenders on trial.

      One by one the men turned around and climbed onto their vehicles. They took out
      an amazing collection of items, from weapons and ammunition to stools made of
      straw. Ever so slowly, the disposal of the booty was transformed into the
      equivalent of an ancient ritual.

      At that moment I felt an irresistible urge to be part of the proceedings. In my
      pocket, I had an ID card of a Syrian soldier that I had found near his dead
      body. I went to the middle of the circle and put the card on the pile. All at
      once I felt at peace, at last I was part of the action.

      Tzipori commanded us to separate the material into two piles. One, with military
      equipment, was returned to one of the trucks. He then commanded us to pour
      gasoline over the other pile. I had the feeling that we felt the same way that
      the faithful used to feel when they brought a sacrifice in the Temple .

      Tzipori did not do any more searching. There was no need. In the fervor of the
      proceedings, people would have given the shirts off their backs. In any case,
      perhaps he did not want to spoil the great lesson that he had taught.

      * * * * * *

      I learned many things from the above story about Chaim Tzipori. One lesson is
      that true ethics can only be learned from one who struggled with a difficult
      dilemma (such as Yehoshua Bin Nun and Tzipori himself) and not from self
      righteous people who have never been put through a true test.

      I also learned how true ethics is deeply ingrained in every single Jew, and how
      much inner good every one of us possesses.

      I learned how right our sages were when they said that in today's world there is
      almost nobody who knows how to rebuke others. If we all knew how to criticize
      like Chaim Tzipori did in the story, if we had his patience, his cunning, and
      his sensitivity, perhaps we would all be more successful in our attempts to
      rebuke others.

      I also learned that the mitzva of eradicating evil from our midst must be
      performed without seething anger but out of a deep spiritual need to be pure
      before the Almighty.


      Game Theory - by Rabbi Shlomo Shok, teacher in Yeshivat Siach and Nokdim

      Yosef's brothers are far away from home, at the mercy of the master of a foreign
      land. We can all imagine just how we would feel under similar circumstances.
      When "the master" - who in fact is Yosef - turns to the brothers and says, "Here
      is how I will know that you speak the truth: Leave one brother with me and take
      the food needed for the hunger in your houses" [Bereishit 42:33], he is hinting
      that he is able to overcome the fact that they miss their homes. This is the
      same home that has been full of sadness and mourning ever since Yosef was sent

      More than any other place in the world, the home can provide us with inner light
      and warmth that are so missing today in our lives. In the cold and dark nights
      of winter it is more important than ever to remain at home, and it is then that
      we are faced with the question: Is this really a home? Has this house been
      successful in fulfilling our personal need for a home?

      A cold house is one that gives us our material needs, completely functional,
      providing the basic physical requirements of those who enter it and leave but
      where nothing else ever happens.

      If the members of the household would find the time to play with each other now
      and then, the functional seriousness of the house might dissipate somewhat, and
      the residents might begin to live with each other instead of alongside each

      Who among my readers never had the urge to play with matches when he or she was
      young? Now, on Chanukah, not only is this permitted, the prohibition to play
      with matches has been transformed into a mitzva. All the members of the house
      play with matches and with candles, thereby opening a new season of games. The
      family loses its serious outlook and everybody is ready to sit on the floor,
      playing with "dreidles" and coins, and exchanging warm looks with other members
      of the family.

      Yosef shows that he also understands the connection between make-believe and
      family links that can be formed in its wake. Yosef's game of hide-and-seek leads
      to a warmer atmosphere, and the desire for a warm home increases, reaching the
      epitome in a new family game: "The man in whose possession the goblet was found
      will remain with me as a slave, and the rest of you may return in peace to your
      father" [44:17].

      In next week's Torah portion, Yosef indeed shatters the hunger of the family for
      closer intimacy, and uses his game of hide-and-seek to bring about a new higher
      level of cooperation within the family: "And Yosef could no longer restrain
      himself... So he kissed all of his brothers... And afterwards, his brother spoke
      to him" [45:1,15].


      Removing Cucumber from a Salad - by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon, Rabbi of Southern
      Alon Shevut and a teacher in Yeshivat Har Etzion

      Is the prohibition of "borair" - selecting waste from food - relevant only with
      respect to actual waste material, or does it include a case where two different
      foods are mixed together?

      In the Talmud it is written, "If one has two types of food in front of him, he
      can select what he wants to eat and leave the other type behind. But he should
      not select the other one, and if he does he is required to atone by bringing a
      Chatat sacrifice." [Shabbat 74a]. Rashi writes that the text should not be "two
      types of food" but rather "types of food," without a specific number. The second
      version implies that the unwanted material is in fact waste, and the person is
      selecting the food from the waste, which is permitted. The text "two types of
      food," on the other hand, implies that there is no real waste present.

      Evidently Rashi feels that it is not prohibited to select unwanted food from
      another type of food but only from waste material. It seems that Tosafot also
      understood the different versions of the text in the same way. This is the way
      the Eglei Tal understood the passage (Borair 24). However, the Magen Avraham and
      Pri Megadim felt that Rashi also forbids selecting from two different types of

      However, the Tosafot rule that the prohibition of borair includes selecting from
      two foods, and they therefore insist that the correct text is "two types of
      food." However, as we have seen the main prohibition of borair refers to
      removing waste material from food. What is the definition of waste if both types
      of material are foods? The Tosafot write, "What the person does not want to eat
      is considered waste with respect to the other food, which he wants." Thus, the
      food that he wants to eat is considered "food" while the other one is considered

      This can also be understood differently. It may be that the prohibition of
      borair - selecting - is defined as the act of separating the items, because this
      separation is a way of preparing one of the types of material present to be used
      as food.

      In the Talmud Yerushalmi, this subject appears as an explicit dispute. "If one
      selects one food from another one, Chizkiya says he is obligated (to bring a
      sacrifice) and Rabbi Yochanan says he is not" [Shabbat 7:2].

      The Biur Halacha writes that the prohibition to select one food from another is
      related to the fact that this act prepares the food - each type of food is
      improved by the fact that the other one is removed (319:3). He concludes that
      there is no prohibition of borair if one type is lying on top of the other one
      and the bottom one cannot be reached without removing the top one, since each
      type exists in its final form and the only problem is to reach the bottom layer.

      In view of these considerations, if there is a pile of clothing lying one item
      on the others (not mixed together) or a rack with coats on hangers, one behind
      the other, there is no problem in removing the top item in order to reach one
      that we want to take. This action is not defined as borair, since the items are
      not mixed together, and this is permitted even if the clothing is not needed
      immediately. (see Shemirat Shabbat K'Hilchata 3:43, and the note quoting Rabbi
      S.Z. Auerbach).

      In summary: The prohibition of borair - selecting - is relevant in principle for
      two foods or two types of garments that are mixed together. The type of item
      that is not wanted is considered "waste," and one is therefore only allowed to
      remove the type that he or she is interested in, for immediate use. However, if
      two different types of items are lying separately, one on top of the other (not
      mixed together), the top layer may be removed to reach the bottom one, even if
      it is not needed for immediate use.

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      SHABBAT-ZOMET is an extract from SHABBAT-B'SHABBATO, a weekly bulletin

      distributed free of charge in hundreds of synagogues in Israel . It is

      published by the Zomet Institute of Alon Shevut, Israel , under the auspices

      of the National Religious Party.

      Translated by: Moshe Goldberg

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