Torah Tidbits

29 August 2014 / 3 Elul 5774

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Issue 1056
Shabbat Parshat Shoftim
August 08, 2013
Lead Tidbits
Guest Article

From the pen of Rabbi Berel Wein - Reprinted from Shabbat Shalom #4 with permission

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The parsha of this week deals with the subject of following the decisions of the court and judges of one’s time, even if one personally disagrees with those judicial conclusions. From this flows a later concept in halacha of a zakein mamrei - a leading scholar, a member of the Sanhedrin itself, who refuses to accept or abide by the majority position and opinion of his colleagues.

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Guest Article

The Antidote for Anger

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Many people lose their temper and then regret it. Is there a magic formula to prevent or at least control our anger?
The Talmud in Shabbat 105b and Nedarim 22b say, “When one becomes angry, it is as if he is serving idols”. This seems to be a very extreme and exaggerated statement. How can the Talmud compare anger to the severe sin of idolatry?

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Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

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[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p’sukim in the parsha.

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Sedra Stats

Shoftim stats

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48th of the 54 sedras;
5th of 11 in D’varim

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Lead Tidbit

Emunat Chachamim

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The king was waging a war. His troops were in the battlefield and he had to get an urgent message to his general. He wrote a scroll with the letters RTB, and a note to the general that the servant would tell him what RTB means.

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Other Tidbits
TTriddles "Report"

TTriddles

TTriddles are Torah Tidbits-style riddles on Parshat HaShavua (sometimes on the calendar). They are found in the hard-copy of TT scattered throughout, usually at the bottom of different columns. In the electronic versions of TT, they are found all together at the end of the ParshaPix-TTriddles section. The best solution set submitted each week (there isn’t always a best) wins a double prize a CD from Noam Productions and/or a gift (game, puzzle, book, etc.) from Big Deal

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ParshaPix Explanations

Parsha Pix

Upper-left are the symbols of SHO-F’TIM (gavel) and SHO-T’RIM (sheriff’s star)
Negation circle over the planting of a sappling = prohibition of planting trees in the Mikdash or Mizbei’ach area Tilted scales = perversion of justice - a recurring theme in the sedra

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Towards Better Davening and Torah Reading

SHO - F'TIM

In honor of the sedra, we’ll take another shot at one of the rules that is grossly disregarded by many people - especially (it seems) by native English speakers.
Many people pronounce the name of this week’s sedra SHOF-TIM. [We’re just looking at the syllables, not which syllable is accented - so we put the whole word in uppercase letters. Most of the words that we will be looking at are accented on the last syllable.]

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Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

Parshat Shoftim reminds us of the responsibilities of those who exercise power and authority in society. Of particular interest are the instructions given to a king appointed to rule over the people. One of these directives reads as follows: “And it shall be that when [the king] sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah in a book”... (D’varim 17:18).

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"From Machon Puah"

Treating Mitochondrial Disease

As we saw last week, the cell contains extremely small structures that hold the cell’s energy like little batteries. In addition, the mitochondria contain small amounts of DNA which is the map to building a new life - but in extremely rare cases this DNA is damaged.

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Portion of the Portion

A Jewish King

Last week we took some of our kids to see the Herod the Great exhibit at the Israel museum. I don’t know if they were as excited about the exhibit as I was. Herod may not have been a nice husband (according to some, he killed his wife Miriam) and was not the most favored leader, but he was an amazing builder - expanding the second Temple, building Caesarea, Masada, the monument above the tomb of our Patriarchs in Hebron, his winter palaces in Jericho, and his tomb in Herodion.

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Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

In the U.S. constitution there is a “natural born” citizenship eligibility requirement. In order for one to be able to submit his candidacy to run for the position of president he must be born in the U.S. This means that my children, for example, all born in the U.S. to Canadian parents, would have been eligible to run for president at age 35, had we not made Aliya. German born Henry Kissinger, on the other hand, despite being most capable, would have been ineligible.

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Vebbe Rebbe

Different levels of Customs

Question: It is said that minhag turns into halacha and that halacha cannot be changed. Yet, I find a lack of consistency. The Beis Yaakov movement changed the minhag of girls’ education. Minhagim come to replace or greatly alter minhag/halacha, such as rewording agreements to allow receiving pay for work done on Shabbat. Why then, can’t we create new minhagim to obviate the minhagim that make agunot “chained” to their marriages?

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Word of the Month

Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of HaChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

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Candle Lighting and Havdala

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Sedra Stats

48th of the 54 sedras;
5th of 11 in D’varim

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Word of the Month

Molad of Elul is Tuesday night; first opportunity for Kiddush L’vana according to Minhag Yerushalayim (from 3 days after the molad) is Motza’Sh Shoftim, August 10th, the eve of the 5th of Elul. Additionally, many others will also say KL then, because they specifically say it on Motza’ei Shabbat. Those who wait for a full seven days after the molad will have their first op on Tue night after 10:41pm or wait until Wed night. Some will say it earlier on Tue night, being close enough to the 7 day mark. Different opinions.