Category Archives: Archives 5772

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Tishrei 5772 – Up On A Pedestal

 

Up On A Pedestal Tishrei 5772
Up On A Pedestal
by Rabbi Yoav Druyan

 

 

How do we know that Hashem really loves us?

During the month of Elul and most of the month of Tishrei we add a perek tehillim to our davening. “כי יצפנני בסכה ביום רעה יסתיני בסתר אהלה בצור ירוממני” [תהילים כז:ה]

When we hide something – when we bury it in the deep dark recesses of our sock drawer – it may be because it is so valuable that we do not wish to lose it. It may also be because of the opposite, that it is something we are embarrassed by and wish to hide.

Dovid Hamelech tells us that Hashem “hides us away under His awning on a day when evil is about…” [Tehillim 27:5].

Which kind of hiding is this? Is Hashem hiding us because we are cherished and protected? Or are we being sequestered away because Hashem doesn’t want to deal with us anymore?

The next words in the passuk answer this question – “…He shall lift me up on a mighty boulder.” There are two ways of understanding the word “בצור” – either ‘on a boulder’ (a צור) or ‘in a fortification’ (like a מבצר). Both understandings make it utterly clear that Hashem is showing us that He is hiding us away, but we are not being tossed into the dark abyss in to be forgotten – quite the opposite! We are being coddled and looked after – placed on the finest velvet pillows and in highest gleaming heights.

Hashem knows far, far better than any of us what is a state of danger, what is “yom ra’ah.” And he does not merely shelter us, but instead lifts us up and away, hides us from the danger in distinguished luxury and nobility. This is no metaphor, but rather the explanation for many mitzvos, halachos and minhagim!

When Hashem has us refrain from cooking on Shabbos, he is ‘hiding’ us in a beautiful Shabbos away from the dangers of mudanity. When Hashem has us dress like tzniyus princesses, He is ‘hiding’ us from the ‘ra’ah’ of physicality and depersonalization. When Hashem puts us in shul all day on Yom Kippur, He is ‘hiding’ us from the danger of wasting such an awesome day.

He could have made Shabbos safe from melacha by making us like the tzadokim, sitting in the cold and dark all day. But He ‘hid’ us in a beautiful, lit Shabbos table with sumptuous delicacies.

He could have kept us safe from physicality by decreeing we wear face veils and floor length burkas. But He ‘hid’ us in dignified, colorful, lovely clothing.

He could have had us sleep through Yom Kippur, but He ‘hid’ us in shul where we are like malachim!

When we feel the difference between banishing and cherishing – then we will be zocheh to feel the elevation that comes with it. This Tishrei may we all feel the enduring closeness of Hashem’s protection and embrace.

 

Rabbi Yoav Druyan lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh with his wife and family. He has spent the last ten years teaching in seminaries including (but not limited to…) Darchei Bina, Sharfman’s, MMY, Beer Miriam and the Tiferet Center. He is currently at Bnos Chana, Afikei Torah and Tomer Devorah. His weekly divrei torah can be found at www.tapintotorah.blogspot.com.

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Kislev 5772 – Seeing the Lights, Gaining Clarity

 

Seeing the Lights, Gaining Clarity Kislev 5772
Seeing the Lights, Gaining Clarity
by Rabbi Yosef Cohen

 

 

Lichvod JemSem,

As Chanukah approaches, I would like to write a few words of chizuk that perhaps we can be inspired by.

Today the world of Greece is irrelevant.

Financially bankrupt, Politically insignificant, militarily weak. I am confident that non of you have ever bought anything that says on the label or packet ” made in Greece” ( besides Israeli potato chips!!]

Yet, it is a grave error to think that Yovon is history.

Rashi in parshas Toldos refers to Italy {edom} as “Italya shel yovon” since when is Edom shel Yovon? The answer is, that we are being taught here that the superficial outlook of Yovon has stained golus Edom too.

The “grease” stain of Yovon / Greece has not disappeared.

Since the days of Yefes covering his father for different reasons than Shem, there have been two ways of viewing people, nature, world events etc. We can look at the world and be seduced by the external trappings, or we can choose to see a deeper meaningful and deliberate reality.

On Chanukah we usually make a bracha upon lighting the neiros, but if we aren’t able to light them, we make a brachah on SEEING the neiros. Our eyes on Chanukah are being sanctified, training us that we must not be hijacked by empty shells that the western world tempts us with.

So take a real intense look at those neiros as they burn and let them help you to really SEE and gain clarity.

May you all have a Lichtiger Chanukah!

 

Rabbi Cohen hails from London, England. He has learned in the illustrious yeshivos of Gateshead, Bais Medrish Gevoha (Lakewood), and Ponovisz. He is a popular teacher in several of Yerushalayim’s seminaries, and he lives in Bnei Brak with his wife and children. (Yes, he commutes everyday!!)

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Shevat 5772 – Think Tree!!!

 

Think Tree!!! Shevat 5772
Think Tree!!!
by Rabbi Yoav Druyan

 

 

It’s Shevat and all we can think about in Eretz Yisrael is Tu BiShvat!

But how do you celebrate Tu BiShvat in chutz laaretz? And what does it really mean?

The Mishna in Rosh Hashanna [Ch1:Mishna 1] teaches us that there are four Roshei Shanna and that Tu Bishvat is the one where we acknowledge the renewal of the trees. (There is actually an opinion that this occurs on the first of Shevat but we do not follow this opinion.) The next mishna teaches us that we are judged at four intervals during the year. On Succos we are judged to determine our rainfall and on Pesach, our grain. On Rosh Hashanna we all come before Hashem, single file, and on Shavuous we are judged regarding the fruits of the trees. Wouldn’t we expect the judgment of the trees to occur on Tu Bishvat, and not on Shavuous?

In good Jewish fashion, the answer is, it occurs on both.

There are two different aspects to trees and their fruit. Essentially, they fulfill two separate tasks. Firstly, and most basically, trees are there to showcase the masterful brushstrokes of the Grand Artist – from the great towering oaks to the delicate and flowering fruit trees. Secondly, trees are a means by which mankind thrives. By furnishing us with fruit, we are able to live and give praise to Hashem for His wondrous creation.

In their first function, trees are renewed, and perhaps judged, on Tu BiShvat. The judgment for the fruits of trees, as they pertain to mankind, is reserved for Shavuous. Why should our judgment come on Shavuous? Because that is when we express our tree-ness to its fullest.

In some ways we ourselves are like trees. The simple fact of our physical existence, the myriad complex systems that enable the human body and mind to function, proclaim in an unambiguous fashion the glory of the Master Craftsman. And all that is before we open our mouths! The Gemara in Shabbos (127a), that we say every morning with Birchos HaTorah, actually tells us that we have the ability to bear fruits! Our mitzvos generate derivative merits that are considered our fruits. And the most prolific mitzvah ? “…ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם” “…and the study of Torah is equivalent to them all”. It is those “fruits” that find their fullest expression, and subsequent judgment, on Shavuous.

So, armed with this greater understanding, how do we celebrate Tu BiShevat? In the following three ways; firstly, by appreciating all the trees that Hashem has put here in this world, especially if He put it in His own special corner (Eretz Yisrael). Moreover, we celebrate Tu BiShevat by appreciating all that these trees can do for us and our avodas Hashem. And lastly, and most importantly, by blossoming forth as trees ourselves. With every mitzvah we do we are putting forth another fruit into this world. With every word of Torah we learn, we are multiplying our crop of zechuyos. With every chessed that we perform we are building a mammoth harvest of hatzlachos. This Tu Bishvat, we are all farmers. Let’s pick as many mitzvah fruits as we can!

Think Tree!

 

Rabbi Yoav Druyan lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh with his wife and family. He has spent the last ten years teaching in seminaries including (but not limited to…) Darchei Bina, Sharfman’s, MMY, Beer Miriam and the Tiferet Center. He is currently at Bnos Chana, Afikei Torah and Tomer Devorah. His weekly divrei torah can be found at www.tapintotorah.blogspot.com.