From the World of Rabbi Avraham Kook (First Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael) “Israel’s unique freedom is that exalted spirit whereby the individual Jew, and the Jewish People in the aggregate, achieve sublime faith in their inner essence, the image of G-d within them. With such a trait they can appreciate life’s value.” (Olat Re’iyah 2:245)
Rabbi Dov Begon – Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “On Pesach We Were Redeemed and Set Apart.”
Every holiday has its accomplishment and the light unique to it, light that is akin to the first light that was showered on Israel. Through fulfilling the mitzvoth commanded to us, “reminding us of the Exodus”, that light shines upon us, like the light that shined on us at the start when we triumphantly left Egypt.
The mitzvot involving chametz and matza serve to remind us and to teach us that until the Exodus from Egypt, Israel were mixed among the rest of the nations, like “one nation out of another” (Deuteronomy 4:34). It was at the Exodus that we were redeemed and set apart. How so? The chametz, the regular bread that we eat all year long, is suited to man’s nature. It is easily digestible and tastes good. Our sages compare chametz to man’s evil impulse. Yet there is something special, the Pesach holiday, in which Israel were commanded to entirely avoid seeing or housing chametz in our possession. By eating matza we diminish the power of the evil impulse and our tendency towards the material, and we increase our affinity for the spiritual, for our Father in Heaven. Matza is our bread of faith. By such means we merit that same light and bounty unique to Pesach, time of our freedom, in which we were redeemed and set apart (see Ramchal, Derech Hashem, IV:8).
In every generation a person must see himself as though he, himself left the slavery of Egypt. It was in this regard that G-d commanded us, “Remember that you were a slave” (Deuteronomy 5:14). As Rambam puts it, “As though you, yourself, were a slave who went free and was redeemed” (Hilchot Chametz U’Matza 7:5). In our generation, the generation of national rebirth and of the ingathering of the exiles, we can see with our own eyes the emergence from exile to redemption, from darkness to light, and it is relatively easy for us to view ourselves as though we, ourselves, just left exile for redemption. Yet as stated, at the Exodus we were not just redeemed but set apart from all the nations. We recognized our identity, which makes us unique and sets us apart from the Egyptians and from the nations, that G-d chose us from all the nations and He loves us, as we daily say, “G-d chooses His people Israel, with love” (blessings of the Shema).
Especially on the first night of Pesach, but in general as well, we must not only remember the redemption but also the separation between us and the nations. By such means we will merit, before G-d, whose word created the universe, to sing a new song, with enormous joy:
“When Israel went out of Egypt, Jacob’s household from a people of strange speech, Judah became G-d’s sanctuary, Israel His dominion” (Hallel).
With blessings for a kosher and joyous holiday,
Looking forward to complete redemption,
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
“Go to the Army Rabbinate”
First of all, go to the army! This is a threefold mitzvah, involving (1) rescuing the Jewish People; (2) rescuing the Land; and (3) sanctifying G-d’s name. All army tasks are important, and all its units are important, “for as is the share of him that goes into battle, so shall be the share of him that watch over the supplies. They shall share alike” (I Samuel 30:24). All the more so those that “watch over the light”, Kashrut and Shabbat, burial and conversion, monetary assistance, fighting morale and valor. Some are engaged in fighting. Some provide the fighters support and some provide them with soul. The army “marches on its belly”, but all the more so on its soul. In foreign armies as well, every unit has its own cleric. Even the Russian army had its “politruk” or military ideologue, and in response, the Palmach did as well.
Therefore, go be an army rabbi, or take a job involving spirituality/halachah, whether it be in the regular army, the standing army or the reserves. Do it whether your combat profile is high or low. If you wish to be a combat soldier, go fulfill these tasks in a combat unit. The mashuach milchamah [the kohen anointed for war] was not someone who made speeches and then returned to his office, but someone who went out with the fighters. If you wish, be a fighting rabbi, a rabbi who goes out with the troops.
Or, be part of the rabbi’s staff. It’s a challenge, a calling, a contribution. The I.D.F. is the army of the Jewish People, with all their light and darkness. A people require fighters and workers, and no less they require people of faith and spirit. All the more so that an army, which leads a not-easy life, or sometimes a very hard life, needs men of spirit who can strengthen the spirit of its fighters and all its soldiers. Therefore, the army rabbinate is not a separate institution but a branch of the army that traverses all the other branches, a branch that is the living spirit of all the units.
If you are young, or have a young spirit, join the army rabbinate. Don’t say “but”. From saying “but” nothing ever moved forward. The army rabbinate is renewing itself and you can renew yourself with it. Don’t be afraid! You’ll succeed! You’ll be able to accomplish a great deal for Torah, faith, help and valor. Napoleon said, “Morale is worth thrice as much as weaponry.” Let us also say, “The best go to the army rabbinate!” For the sake of a Jewish army, a strong army.
Through you will be fulfilled, “Hashem, your G-d, is the One who is going with you. He will fight for you against your enemies, and He will deliver you” (Deuteronomy 20:4). You’ll create a holy army, a winning army.
To receive information about the army rabbinate, call: 03-5695174, 03-5692760.
Regarding Leaflet 603: “Don’t fill the land with murderers,” the Almagor Terror Victims Association has the names of 177 persons murdered by freed terrorists, or by those sent by freed terrorists, and not 122 as appeared in the article.
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Rabbi Yaakov Halevy Filber– Guest Lecturer at Machon Meir
“The Ends Do Not Justify The Means”
Do the ends justify the means or not? We find an answer to this question in our parashah. Parashat Vayikra concludes with the sin of theft and one’s duty to return the stolen object. Immediately afterwards, at the start of Parashat Tzav, the Torah writes the laws of the Olah, the burnt offering. Regarding this juxtaposition the Midrash teaches (Tanchuma 96:2):
“G-d said: Fulfill the aforementioned [regarding theft], and only then bring offerings. Why? ‘For I the L-rd, love justice. I hate theft in burnt offerings’ (Isaiah 61:8). And when do I accept burnt offerings that you bring? When you clean yourself of theft. David said, ‘Who shall ascend into the mountain of the L-rd? Who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart’ (Psalm 24:3-4). From the beginning of the offerings you derive it: ‘Speak to the Israelites, and tell them the following: When a man [Adam] brings a mammal as an offering to the L-rd’ (Leviticus 1:2). Why does it say ‘Adam’? G-d said, ‘When you bring offerings before Me, be like Adam, who did not steal from others, for he was alone in the world. So too, you should not steal from people. Why? “For I the L-rd, love justice. I hate theft in burnt offerings.”
Our straightforward understanding of G-d hating “theft in burnt offerings” is where the thief brings the stolen animal, itself, as an offering (see Succah 30a). The mitzvah coming at the expense of a sin in this case involves the person fulfilling the mitzvah by way of the sin itself. Here, the offering certainly is not accepted. The Midrash adds to this (Tanchuma, ibid., 12) that G-d does not accept the offering, and considers it loathsome, even if the thief does not bring the stolen animal itself, but links the offering to the theft, as the Midrash states:
“G-d said: One should not say, ‘I’m going to commit theft, and then I’ll bring a burnt offering to atone for myself.’ If he wants Me to accept his burnt offering, he should first return the stolen object to its owner. If he then brings a burnt offering in atonement of his deed, I will accept it.”
In the first Midrash that we brought, G-d’s “hatred of theft in burnt offerings” is broader, for it exists even where the thief does not link the theft to the offering. Rather, it suffices that he does not return the theft but leaves it in his own possession. Since the thief has not cleansed himself of his theft, his offering is therefore loathsome to Him whose word brought the world into being.
In Bava Kamma 60b we find that it is forbidden for someone to save himself, even from a life-threatening situation, with the money of someone else. Rosh [Rabbenu Asher] justly asks: Don’t we say that nothing stands in the way of saving one’s own life? He answers that it is forbidden for one to save himself this way unless he intends to reimburse the owner of the money, but if he intends to reimburse him then there is no prohibition.
So severe is the sin of theft that no end justifies the means, even saving one’s life, and all the more so regarding lesser ends. With saving one’s life or bringing an offering, the ends personally benefit the person in question. Yet the prohibition goes further. When Moses assembles the Israelites to bring an offering for building the Tabernacle, Rashi comments, “This was the day after Yom Kippur.” Likewise, in Parashat Yitro, regarding the verse, “The next day, when Moses sat to judge the people” (Exodus 18:13), Rashi comments, “It was the day after Yom Kippur.” Kli Yakar comments that the two elements, holding trials between people and receiving donations for building the Tabernacle, were performed on the same day. Moses wished to ensure that the silver and gold intended for building the Tabernacle would not have the least taint of theft, that no one would donate anything that wasn’t his. He therefore announced beforehand, “Whoever has a problem should come to me”. He wanted the Israelites first to bring him all their interpersonal monetary claims. Only after the law was decided and everyone gave up the money that wasn’t his, then – on that same day – while the money in their possession was still “kosher”, he began to collect the contributions for building the Tabernacle.
From here we see that also when it comes to setting up projects on the national level, we mustn’t use money that is not kosher. No end, however hallowed it may be, justifies the means.