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From the World of Rabbi Avraham Kook
“Skepticism is part of the intellect, but emotion runs deeper and is associated with certainty. The heart sees and the heart hears”
(Erpalei Tohar 46)

Rabbi Dov Begon – Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir

Message for Today:

“G-d Will Withhold no Good Thing From Those who Walk Rightly”

At the end of the Tabernacle service it says, “They brought the Tabernacle to Moses” (Exodus 39:33). Why did they bring it to him? It is because they could not erect it themselves. No human being could erect it because the boards weighed so much that no one could put them upright. Yet Moses succeeded. Moses asked G-d, “How can a human being possibly erect it?” G-d replied, “Go through the motions.” Moses seemed to be erecting it, but it stood erect and rose by itself. This is the meaning of the words, “The Tabernacle was erected” (Exodus 40:17). It arose by itself (see Rashi, ibid.).

Not just with the erection of the Tabernacle in ancient times, so heavy that no man could lift it, did Israel required divine assistance. They also require assistance with establishing their personal Tabernacles, the Jewish family and nation. We are commanded to make a sincere effort, and G-d helps us. We have limited strength, but G-d assists us, as our sages said, “If a person sanctifies himself a little, G-d will sanctify him more. The effort he makes here on earth is equaled by what G-d does for him from above” (Yoma 39a).

In our generation, we are busy with the rebuilding of the Third Temple, in three stages, as Rambam wrote: “Israel were commanded to fulfill three mitzvot on their entry into the Land: appointing a king precedes waging war on Amalek; destroying Amalek precedes rebuilding the Temple” (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 1:1-2). In all of these stages we need to strive greatly despite the enormous difficulties, and in accordance with our efforts we enjoy divine assistance.

The State of Israel is the beginning of the Kingdom of Israel, at the height of which we will merit the appearance of the Messianic King and the rebuilding of the Temple. Yet the State of Israel is beset by enormous hardships in the shape of struggles and wars with enemies from without and spiritual, moral and social crises from within. Sometimes matters seem as difficult as erecting the Tabernacle walls. Yet we need to follow in the path of Moses, who went through the motions of raising up those heavy boards while G-d assisted him.
Looking forward to complete salvation,

Shabbat Shalom! 

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner– Chief Rabbi of Bet El
Question: People have all sorts of dreams, good, bad and strange. Do dreams have spiritual significance, or are they meaningless? And even if they do have meaning, is it healthy to pay them attention?
Answer: Our Master Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook wrote that the Torah distances us from delving into all sorts of unclear visions, and that it forbids Ov, Yid’oni, inquiring of the dead, and all sorts of sorcery. Instead, it instructs us to live with the living. The only exception is dreams. The Torah instructs us to relate to dreams during our lives, and it also teaches us that dreams can be significant, just as nature has its own laws (Igeret HaRe’iyah, Igeret 79). Surely we see from the Torah that there was truth to the dreams of Joseph, Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar. Likewise, regarding bad dreams, the rabbis enacted personal fast days, as well as the “hatavat chalom” ceremony for improving a dream’s outcome, and special prayers to be recited during the Priestly Blessings.
Yet all that applied to earlier times.
In recent generations, the great halachic luminaries greatly decreased their interest in dreams (see the Responsa on Mishnah Berurah 220:1, and the sources I bring later). And also regarding dreams, about which it is written that we should fast for them even on the Sabbath (Orach Chaim 288:5), recent luminaries said not to fast for them on weekdays, not to hold the hatavat chalom ceremony, and even not to recite the special prayer during the Priestly blessing. In this regard the Chazon Ish wrote:
“Many times I had such dreams, and I paid them no mind. It is proper to recite the Ribono Shel Olam prayer about dreams during the Priestly Blessing.” (Igarot Chazon Ish II:149)
The reason is that they decided that these are the sort of dreams that our sages determined to lack meaning, as they only reflect one’s own thoughts (Berachot 55b). As Daniel wrote (Daniel 2:29), “Your thoughts came while on your bed.”
For example, Mishnah Berurah writes that a bad dream after a fast day should not arouse worry since it is the result of the affliction from the fast day, and the same applies to any dream that follows great pain (Orach Chaim 220, Sha’arei HaTziyun 1).
Likewise, if someone dreams that his teeth fell out, if he suffers from toothaches he should not worry (Orach Chaim 288, M.B. 18). The same applies if he worried about something by day and then dreamt about it by night (ibid., M.B. 7).
Kaf HaChaim wrote similarly regarding someone who dreams about the end of Yom Kippur during the days leading up to Yom Kippur (Kaf HaChaim 17). And, Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel wrote the same about the bad dreams of people who are not in the best of health (Parashat Miketz).
Today, life has changed greatly from former times, which were more tranquil. Most people lived in villages or small towns, far from the urban crowds, and they were less exposed to earthshaking news.
Today, however, people are bombarded with information day and night from all the media, and they hear about all sorts of terrible happenings. Someone won’t necessarily dream about such things the day after they occur, but such news is stored away in the subconscious, and it bursts forth as dreams from time to time. To the extent that the news is worrisome, it results in nightmares (Piskei Teshuva, ibid.).
Aruch HaShulchan wrote that when people are absorbed with the vanities of this world, those matters find expression in their dreams, especially if they eat a lot before bedtime. Then the digestion process influences the imagination, and such dreams are not real, and they have no meaning (Aruch HaShulchan, Orach Chaim 210:1).
Therefore, one should not worry about his dreams at all. He need not fast over them, and he should further take into account that fasting weakens one’s ability to serve G-d, and sometimes causes anger and nervousness (ibid., 13).
If someone is greatly disturbed by a dream all the same, he can perform a hatavat chalom ceremony before three friends, or recite the special prayer during the Priestly Blessing. By the way, even in former times, hatavat chalom was only for people who were distraught over a dream (Orach Chaim 220:1). Certainly the best thing is to learn Torah and give charity, and if one repents, all will be well for him.

Rabbi Yaakov Filber

Purim is behind us, but it’s part of a package. Our sages link it to two other holidays: Pesach and Yom Kippur. In Megillah 6b, the Talmud notes that in a Jewish leap year, when there are two months of Adar, Purim has to be held in the second Adar, adjacent to Nissan, the month in which Pesach falls out. The reason given is that “it is best to join two redemptions together,” which Rashi says refers to Purim and Pesach.

By contrast, the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Mishlei 9) ties Purim to Yom Kippur and says: “Just as Purim will never be eliminated, as it says, ‘these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed’ (Esther 9:28), so too Yom Kippur will never be eliminated, as it says, ‘All this shall be for you as a law for all time’ (Leviticus 16:34).

Maharal in his book Tiferet Yisrael (Ch. 36) explains the connection between Purim and Yom Kippur: “As far as the question of why these two holidays (Purim and Yom Kippur) shall never be eliminated, it is in the context

of the mitzvoth involved. Both mitzvoth involve rebirth. On Yom Kippur, the sinner, condemned to death, has his life restored to him. On Purim, the Jews were threatened by the sword, but G-d opened a lofty gate from which their lives were returned to them.”

Shla [Shnei Luchot HaBrit] (Yoma, Hilchot Teshuva) writes: “Purim and Yom Kippur will never be eliminated because they are the same – on Purim the forces of [the diabolic angel] Somuel are eliminated, and on Yom Kippur Somuel himself is eliminated.”

We have to ask whether or not there is any common link between the three holidays together. Berachot 28b relates that when Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai fell ill, his disciples came to visit him. When he saw them he began to weep. His disciples asked him why he was weeping, and he responded, “Even if I were being brought before a mere mortal king I would weep, although his anger against you cannot last forever, and if he imprisons you it does not last forever, and if he kills you your death does not last forever…”

Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai mentioned three conditions faced by men: anger, imprisonment and death. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook explains them in his book Ein Aya (ibid., Ch. 4, Ot 36): What is unique about these three conditions? Man’s perfection depends on all three: existence, freedom and love. Existing means being alive – without life one has no existence. Yet if someone leads a life of slavery, if he is not free to act as he wishes, then his life is no life either. Yet freedom isn’t everything either. Many people are free, yet their day-to-day conduct is disreputable, and there is justified anger against them, either from G-d or from man. Such people lack love. Such lives lack hope as long as a person is not fulfilling his purpose. Thus, only when one attains life, freedom and love does he achieve perfection.

Each of these three holidays is linked to one of these three aspects of perfection. On Purim, there was an attempt to deny us our very lives, through Haman’s decree “to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day” (Esther 3:13). Yet Heaven annulled his plan, and “it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them” (9:1). It follows that on Purim the Jews were granted life itself.

As far as Pesach, we were in the House of Bondage, our freedom being denied to us by the Egyptians. At that time, Egypt was one big prison, as the Midrash comments (Sechel Tov, Shemot 18): “‘Praised be G-d, who liberated the people from Egypt’s power’ (Exodus 18:10): What is this teaching us? Hadn’t Jethro in the same verse just praised G-d who ‘rescued you from the power of Egypt and Pharaoh’? Rather, previously no slave could escape Egypt. Now, G-d had removed THE ENTIRE PEOPLE TOGETHER from the power of Egypt, and the Egyptians couldn’t protest.”

Another Midrash teaches (Shemot Rabbah 15): “‘It shall be the first month of the year’ (Exodus 12:2): A king once removed his son from prison. He ordained: ‘Let that day be a holiday for all time, for on that day my son emerged from darkness to light, from an iron yoke to life, from slavery to freedom and from subjugation to redemption.’ In the same way, G-d removed Israel from prison, as it says, ‘He brings out the prisoners into prosperity’ (Psalm 68:7). G-d removed them from darkness, as it says, ‘He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death’ (Psalm 107:14), and He replaced an iron yoke with a Torah yoke. He brought them out of slavery to freedom, as it says, ‘You are sons to the L-rd your G-d’ (Deuteronomy 14:1), and from subjugation to redemption, as it says, ‘Their Redeemer is strong, the L-rd of hosts is His name’ (Jeremiah 50:34). G-d therefore ordained a celebration for them, because He had punished their enemies.”

This is the link between these three holidays. Each one completes one of the components of human perfection. Therefore, they must all accompany us throughout the entire year. 

Translation: R. Blumberg

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