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This week is dedicated in loving memory of Pearl Bluma bas Haim Moshe, z”l, on the tenth Yahrzeit of her passing, 29th of Adar, 5756, by Shaina and Shmuel Buchwald.

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From the World of Rabbi 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 BegonFounder and Head 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.

This advice is relevant to every day, but all the more so on Election Day, when every Jew is commanded to raise his hand and vote regarding matters as weighty as the Tabernacle walls. Those matters include: (1) connecting the State of Israel and its citizens to the Torah and to Jewish tradition; (2) strengthening our hold on Eretz Yisrael; (3) strengthening, exalting and unifying the spirit of the Jewish People. Whoever votes in the elections for the strengthening of the Torah, the people and the Land, will be the living fulfillment of the words of King David: “G-d will withhold no good thing from those that walk rightly” (Psalm 12:12). Looking forward to complete salvation,

Shabbat Shalom!

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Rabbi Shlomo AvinerChief Rabbi of Beit El
“It’s a Mitzvah From the Torah to Vote!”

It’s a great mitzvah to vote, a mitzvah from the Torah. It is a mitzvah that one fulfills with a little piece of paper, a mitzvah with enormous ramifications for the coming years. Regarding the State of Israel, and regarding our entire communal lives in Eretz Yisrael, we remember the words of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook: “We mustn’t make light of what we have, but neither should we be resigned to it.” G-d forbid, we don’t make light of the return to Zion, the rebuilding of the Land, the establishment of the State, our economic prosperity, the unification of the exiles, Israel’s independence or the Torah’s restoration to its land. Were our mouths as full of song as the sea, we couldn’t offer sufficient thanks. At the same time, we are not resigned to what we have. There is a long road ahead before all is as fine and upstanding and good as it should be. Hence we are duty-bound to vote in order to have a blessed influence in the right direction.

In his day the Chazon Ish said that it is a mitzvah to vote. He was asked, “Is it a mitzvah like matza?” and he answered, “It is a mitzvah like marror!” I humbly suggest that it is a mitzvah like matza. How fortunate we are to have independence, and not to be under the control of the Turks or the British. Whoever feels bitterness – and rightly so – should fulfill the mitzvah of, “It shall be consumed over matza and marror” (Numbers 9:11). One might say: “I see no difference between the different parties. All is rotten. All is lost. I am in total despair.” Pal, if that’s how you’re talking, you’re just silly. You can’t feign anger on such grave topics. You can’t punish yourself and all of us. In this world, you’ve always got to grab what is most good and what is least evil. Here, nothing is perfect.

Consider the words of the great Rambam: “Every single human being has sins and merits. Whoever has more merit than sin is righteous, and whoever has more sin than merit is wicked. If one has half-and-half, he is in between. Likewise, a country whose residents have more merit than sin is righteous. If they have more sin than merit it is wicked. It is the same with the entire world.” (Hilchot Teshuva 3:1) Rambam also wrote: “Therefore everyone must view himself all year long as half meritorious and half sinful, and he must view the entire world that way as well. Then, if he commits one sin, he is tipping the scales towards guilt and bringing about his own and the world’s destruction. If he does one mitzvah, he is tipping the scales towards merit and bringing himself and the world rescue and salvation.” (ibid., 4)

Such things have happened in the past. The wretched Oslo accord was passed by a single vote. We have to realize that in our world, nothing is perfect, neither the country nor you nor I. So take a ballot and vote for what is best for the nation dwelling in Zion. I myself shall vote for a party whose goal is the rebirth of the nation in its land according to its Torah. Please vote for a party that will definitely pass the voting threshold. Otherwise, you have wasted precious votes. Of voting for uncertain parties it says, “Your intent is worthy but your deeds are unworthy.”

Yet it is not enough for you yourself to vote. Rather, you must make the effort to convince others to vote and to vote properly. That is your mission. You might say: Who am I that I am going to succeed in having an influence? Our abilities were proven in the Likud referendum. There, within several weeks, simple home visits changed the range of opinions by 180 degrees.

How great the power of the soul to spread gems of light! People are so thirsty for the truth! A little bit of light banishes so much falsehood and darkness! People tell us: “It’s good you came! We were waiting for you!” Take a look at the book “Em HaBanim Semecha” which describes how the spies went from tent to tent to convince people against Eretz Yisrael. Now we must go from house to house convincing people to be in favor of Eretz Yisrael. That will be the rectification for the sin of the spies.

Don’t sit at home on election day! Don’t sit at home now! Acting now will save you having to go to a lot of demonstrations. It will make you a partner in fashioning the face of the country. You might ask: Can we really change everything? No. The way ahead is long and hard. Yet we must do what is in our power. There’s a saying whose author does not please me very much, but we have to accept the truth from whatever source: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Just because things have gotten harder, have you suddenly run out of strength? Have you suddenly lost your head!?

Write a letter of support to Jonathan Pollard, in jail for 20 years because of his love for the Jewish People and our Land! Address letters to:
Jonathan Pollard # 09185-016
FCI Butner Medium
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, NC 27509 (USA)

Rabbi Ya’akov HaLevi FilberGuest Lecturer at Machon Meir
“Purim, Pesach, and Yom Kippur”

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.

Catch Rabbi David Samson’s weekly Torah insight on “Israeli Salad” at (produced in cooperation with Machon Meir).

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