Sunday, August 28, 2011

People not Listening to Arguments of "Heads" - just taking them down

Here are some insights of my husband, Raphael Cohen. Maybe he will write up his ideas soon.

When I saw this article, it made me think that messianic times are here

Showdown at Hebron
Jacob and Esau not only shared a set of parents and a birthday; they
were also buried on the same day.

The Midrash relates that when Jacob's funeral procession reached the
Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, the burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac
and Rebecca, they found Esau and his henchmen barring their path. Esau
claimed that the sole remaining plot was his by inheritance, after
Jacob had already taken his share when he buried his wife Leah in the
cave. When Jacob's children maintained that their father had bought
out his brother's share, Esau denied this. The transaction had been
put in writing, but the deed was back in Egypt, and fleet-footed
Naftali was dispatched to retrieve it. Chushim, the deaf son of Dan,
asked what the commotion was all about and was incensed to learn that
Esau had halted the funeral of his revered grandfather. With a mighty
blow of his sword, Chushim severed Esau's head, which rolled into the
Cave of Machpelah and came to rest in Isaac's lap, where it remains to
this day. Thus it came to pass that "Esau's head lies in the bosom of


At first, the surrounding nations did not part in the funeral. When
they saw his great honor, they came, and their kings hung their 36
crowns on his bier: Sotah 13a
When the nations first came, it was for war; then they saw Yosef's
crown hung on the bier, and they did as he had done: Sotah 13a
In Egypt, even the animals mourned: Sotah 13a
The story of Esav's attempt to block the burial of Jacob in the cave
of Machpelah, and the role played by Naftali in getting the bill of
sale, and of the deaf Chushim ben Dan in killing Esav. Esav's eyes
landed on Jacob's feet, and Jacob opened his eyes and laughed: Sotah


QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Chushim, the son of Dan, was
hearing-impaired. When he saw that the funeral procession of Yakov
Avinu was being delayed, he asked someone why it had stopped. When he
was informed that they were waiting for Naftali to bring the deed of
ownership from Mitzrayim to refute Esav's claim to the plot, Chushim
became very upset and declared, "My grandfather lies in disgrace until
Naftali returns from Mitzrayim?" He took a staff and struck the head
of Esav, killing him.

The Gemara clearly implies that the fact that Chushim was deaf
contributed to his reaction. What difference, though, did it make that
he was deaf? Even those who could hear well would have been expected
to act in that manner when Esav delayed the burial of Yakov Avinu.

(a) The simple explanation is that Chushim thought that Esav was just
making a front, finding an excuse to delay the funeral, and that he
did not have any valid claim since everyone knew that Yakov had bought
the Bechorah from Esav and it was not necessary to bring any document
of proof. Had he been able to hear, he would have heard that Esav's
claim was not for the portion of the Bechorah in the burial grounds
but for the portion due to him as an ordinary son ("Pashut") of
Yitzchak. It was not as well-known that when Yakov returned from the
house of Lavan, Esav sold to him his portion of the "Pashut" as well.

(b) RAV CHAIM SHMUELEVITZ zt'l in SICHOS MUSAR (5731, #32, and 5733,
#6; see also MAHARAL in Chidushei Agados) explains that those who were
able to hear did not become so upset because they heard Esav present
his arguments, and they were able to argue back. As time passed during
the argument, they became desensitized to the fact that a terrible
injustice was being done. Chushim, on the other hand, who heard none
of it as it was happening and then heard about the cause for the
lengthy delay at one moment, naturally became very upset and therefore
reacted the way he did.

Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz learns a tremendous lesson from this. He says
that it is very significant that Chushim was hearing-impaired. The
people present started to negotiate with Esav who was refusing to
allow Yaakov to be buried. However, Chushim didn’t get involved in a
discussion. He saw that his grandfather’s funeral was being disrupted
in a disrespectful manner and that Esav was the cause and so he acted
immediately and killed him. The Yetzer Hara deserves no attention or
discussion, when we see the proper course of action necessary, we must
work fast to act upon it! The fact that it was done by decapitation
will be discussed later.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Tzedaka Group on Linkedin

We have a group on linkedin as well where we post Divrei Torah and other information on the topic of Tzedaka.

Please feel free to join us and contribute!

Here, too, for that matter - if you have something to contribute to this blog please do not hesitate to let us know via comments or friending us here.

More on Building Yerushalayim, Malchut Beit David and Malchut H-shem

From today's Hakhel email:
Special Note Two: We continue with our focus on the Fourteenth Bracha of Shemone Esrei--Binyan Yerushalayim. Chazal (Bereishis Rabba 59:8) teach “Yerushalayim Oro Shel Olam U’Mi Hu Oro Shel Yerushalayim--Hakasdosh Baruch Hu--Yerushalayim is the light of the world and Hashem Himself is the light of Yerushalayim.” When reciting the bracha of Binyan Yerushalayim we should perhaps envision a great light--which is not only the light of Yerushalayim--but that, keveyachol, of Hashem Himself! Envision the great and infinite shine! If we are not such great ‘visionaries’, we can remember the words of the Avos to Rebbe Nosson that ‘Yerushalayim Nikreis Chaim--Yerushalayim is called life itself!’ With this in mind, we move to the last portion of the Bracha, which at first glance may seem out of place. After davening for the return of the Shechina and for Yerushalayim’s rebuilding, we ask that Kisei Dovid Meheirah Lesocah Tachin--that the throne of Dovid HaMelech should be speedily reestablished there. One would think that these words would be found in the next bracha of Es Tzemach Dovid--which refers to the reestablishment of the Malchus Bais Dovid. The Bach ( to Tur Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 118) records that he was actually asked this Shailah and explains that the re-establishment of Dovid’s throne is very much part of the Bracha over Yerushalayim. In fact, these words are and should be the concluding words of the Bracha--because Yerushalayim’s rebuilding would be incomplete without the Moshiach and the Malchus Bais Dovid reestablished. We are not looking for our own capital city, or even an international capital of the world. We are looking for the City of Hashem to be the place from which the Malchus Bais Dovid brings, maintains, and propagates the Malchus Hashem on His Nation, and on the world. Yerushalayim will not be a physical city of skyscrapers, housing tens of millions, but will be the seat of Ruchniyus given to us by Hashem, as transmitted by the Malchus Bais Dovid. In a very positive way we should almost ‘get the chills’ from the wondrous and wonderful message and meaning of this bracha--let us pray that it is filled in its entirety very soon!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why the Earthquake and How it's Connected to Galut and Geulah

Some informative info from Hakhel today:

Special Note Two: Many along the eastern coast of the United States experienced the awe of a relatively gentle earthquake yesterday. What was all the quaking about? We remind ourselves of Chazal (Brachos 59A), who teach that an earthquake is Hashem’s expression of Tza’ar over our continued Galus, and the troubles and distresses we must endure in exile. The Gemara there explains that the earthquake occurs as a result of one of several possibilities: either Hashem’s ‘two tears’ that He sheds (over our physical and spiritual suffering), or His ‘hands clapping’ over our frustration, or His ‘sighing’, or His ‘kicking’ the rokia, or ‘His forcing his feet’ under the Kisei HaKavod--each being different expressions of love and concern that Hashem has for us in this Galus--and intended to remind us that there is an END to this GALUS--as although Hashem finds this journey absolutely necessary for us--it is nevertheless both disappointing and reprehensible to Him--so much so as to warrant an earthquake to the world at large. With this in mind, we now continue with our focus on the Fourteenth Bracha of Shemone Esrei--Binyan Yerushalayim. In the Bracha, we first ask that Hashem bring his Shechinah back to Yerushalayim. Only then, do we continue with the next step of our plea--U’Vnei Osah BiKarov BiYameinu Binyan Olam. With these words, we ask that it be Hashem Himself who rebuilds Yerushalayim--so that it stand permanently (unlike the first and second Bais Hamikdash eras, when human were involved in the building and which were only temporary). Fascinatingly, HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, points to the words in Nacheim --Ki Atta Hashem BaAish Hitzata U’VaAish Atta Asid Levnosa…Hashem You destroyed it in fire and with fire You will build it, as well. We don’t know very well how to build a city with fire--Hashem does. The Ramchal actually explains that there is a deeper concept that lies here as well: It is not only that there will be a Yerushalayim above and a Yerushalayim below, but that the new ‘rebuilding’ will include Ruchniyus from above coming down to connect to the Ruchniyus below. Thus, although there will be a semblance of physical walls around, the Ruchniyus of the heavens above will actually have a place in this world. We then specifically ask that this incomparable and eternal rebuilding occur B’Karov B’Yameinu. HaRav Friedlander notes that there are two concepts here. First, we would like it to happen B’Karov--in the immediate future. Even, however, if it does not occur this hour or this day, we still plea that it happen B’Yameinu--in our days while in Olam Hazeh!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rebuilding the Beit Hamikdash from the Foundation

Great insights from Hakhel re Rav Schwab on building Yerushalayim!

Special Note Five: In his explanation of the Siddur (in the monumental work HaRav Schwab on Prayer, published by Artscroll), HaRav Schwab, Z’tl, asks why the brocha of “VeLirushalayim Ircha” begins with a Vav (“And”). What is the meaning of “And” here--to what is the beginning of the bracha connecting? HaRav Schwab suggests that the Vav alludes to the Yerushalayim Shel Ma’alah, where thousands, and perhaps millions, of Tzadikim who hoped and prayed for the rebuilding of Yerushalayim over the past 2,000 years now reside. When the time comes for Yerushalayim to be rebuilt, these neshamos will experience it B’shamayim together with the people who are physically experiencing the rebuilding here on earth. Moreover, HaRav Schwab teaches, although we do not really understand what it means at this time, Chazal teach that Hashem will return to the Yerushalayim Shel Ma’alah only after He has returned to the Yerushalayim Shel Matah, for He has been “absent” from the Yerushalayim Shel Ma’alah since the Churban, as well. We are thus mispallel for Hashem to return to both cities of Yerushalayim.

HaRav Schwab concludes his explanation of the Brocha with the following comforting words:

“Just as a deep foundation must be placed in the ground before a very large structure can rise, so, too, have the historical events of the Galus been the foundation for the rebuilding of the future Yerushalayim. Our entire Galus experience--and it is longer than we have hoped and thought it would be--is the deep, dark, underground pit into which the foundation of the future city ofYerushalayim is being placed. This can be compared to a construction site of a large building, which is enclosed by a wall. If a man manages to peek behind that wall, all he will see is a huge hole in the ground for the foundation. The higher the planned structure, the deeper the foundation must be. However, eventually the structure will begin rising above the wall until it reaches its completion. Similarly, HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the Boneh Yerushalayim, has been digging the foundations of the future Yerushalayim ever since the Churban Bais HaMikdash, and the rebuilding process has never ceased throughout the Galus. At the time of Bi’as HaMoshiach, the structure will be completed.” May it be speedily and in our days!