Torah Tidbits

18 April 2014 / 18 Nisan 5774

Visit Torah Tidbits online

Issue 1004
Parshat Sh'lach
June 16, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya by Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
[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.

Kohen - First Aliya 11 p’sukim - 22:2-12
[S> 22:2 (95!)] Balak was a weaker king than his neighbors in the region. The defeat of the others (OG and SICHON) instilled fear in Balak’s heart, and he realized that waging a “conventional” war against Israel would be futile. His plan (following research of the matter - without access to Google!) was to enlist Bil’am to curse the People of Israel. To this end, Balak sends a delegation to Bil’am in Midyan. Bil’am invites the envoys to spend the night so that he (Bil’am) can be spoken to by G-d. G-d does “appear” to Bil’am and asks him who these people are. Bil’am tells G-d and He warns Bil’am not to go with the delegation, nor to curse the people, because “they are blessed”.

Continue Reading
Sedra Stats

Sh'lach Stats

SH’LACH Stats
37th of the 54 sedras;
4th of 10 in Bamidbar
Written on 198 lines in a Torah, ranks 25
10 Parshiyot; 7 open, 3 closed
119 p’sukim, ranks 21st, 6th in Bamidbar
1540 words, ranks 27th, 5th in Bamidbar
5820 letters, ranks 27th, 4th in Bamidbar
Sh’lach has shorter than average p’sukim, which explains the drop in ranking for words and letters, yet the rise in rank within Bamidbar indicates that there are sedras with even shorter p’sukim.

Continue Reading
Lead Tidbit

The TT Vigentennial

Yes, it’s really a word. It means the 20th anniversary.
If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, did it make a sound?
If someone publishes a weekly Torah booklet and no one reads it, does it really exist?
This is my way of saying thank you to thousands of people who read Torah Tidbits each week.
I have always felt that it was MISHAMAYIM that TT debuted on Parshat Sh’lach. The message of the sedra has been expressed on the front page of Torah Tidbits more often than anything else. And I don’t mean just for the Sh’lach issues. There are so many different ways to express the message.
There are two very special two-word phrases that shaped the Jewish Nation. The first is NAASEH V’NISHMA. This simple expression of commitment to the Word of G-d was made by the entire nation - they all said, “All that G-d has spoken, we will do and we will understand.”
It was our proudest moment. It is part of the basis of our unique relationship with G-d.
And it represents the ongoing challenge for each and every Jew in each and every generation to respond the same way when we are offered the Torah. It is an ongoing process. We don’t say this only once. Our goal is to say it every day. And to mean it. And to act upon it.
The other important two-word phrase is ALOH NAALEH. It was not said by all the people. It was not said by most of the people. In fact, it was said by Kalev ben Yefuneh and confirmed by Yehoshua bin Nun.
It was discouraged and dismissed by ten tribal leaders. It was mocked by the adult male population of the Generation of the Wilderness.
The fact that the people did not resoundingly respond to Kalev’s call, the fact that the people wanted to stone Kalev and Yehoshua, is perhaps the most lamentable episode in Jewish History.
As we have said many, many times - G-d’s Plan was to take us out of Egypt, give us the Torah, and bring us into Eretz Yisrael.
Those Jews who left Egypt (many did not) got the first part right. But they blew the second.
ALOH NAALEH is also an ongoing challenge to each and every Jew in each and every generation. Just as it was to Dor HaMidbar.
To be sure, there are many Jews who are not yet ready to say NAASEH V’NISHMA. We must increase our efforts to teach them the beauties and value of a Torah way of life.
But our message of Sh’lach is one of CHIZUK and IDUD. Chizuk for the Jews who live in Israel and IDUD, encouragement for our fellow Jews around the world who need to hear an enthusiastic ALOH NAALEH, not just from Kalev and Yehoshua, but from every one of us who already live in The Place that a Jewish Life was meant by G-d to be lived.

Continue Reading
Other Tidbits
ParshaPix Explanations

Parsha Pix

A “busy” ParshaPix - a classic with some new elements - both straight-forward items and some wordplays. PP is a fun way to launch into a fuller discussion of Parshat HaShavua
Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy, which we can apply to the 10 black Meraglim vs. the 2 white ones. They are carrying a bomb… which is similar to a grenade, RIMON in Hebrew, one of the fruits that the Meraglim brought back. The author of Spy vs. Spy always signed his name in Morse code. Here we have Kalev’s call in Morse - ALO NA’ALEH
The 6 and the i need to be read in Hebrew and English respectively - SHEISHAI, one of the Y’LIDEI ANAK who lived in Hevron
The compass represents the directions that Moshe sent the Meraglim
The grapes refer to the timing: “...And the days were the days of the ripening of the grapes.” (Bamidbar 13:20), and to the famous cluster of grapes that the Meraglim brought back with them
Next to the grapes is the logo of the IDF’s NACHAL unit - with the grapes it gives NACHAL ESHKOL
See if the Land has trees, IM AYIN, or not. Switch the initial ALEFs of IM AYIN to AYINs and the question becomes: Is there a tree with an eye?
Emblem of the Ministry of Tourism and the logo of Carmel-Mizrachi Wines. (For a winery, it makes sense - the grapes represent the bounty of the Land and quality of its produce. On the other hand, why would the Ministry of Tourism want to be represented by “tourists” who bad-mouthed the Land and greatly discouraged Aliya? Don’t answer that!)
Menashe’s scout was Gadi (goat) ben (Uncle Ben), Sus-E (horse)
Flour (flower), Olive Oyl, and wine (R’ Wein) are for the MENACHOT and N’SACHIM presented in the sedra The Challah stands for the mitzva of CHALLAH
Tzitzit - the particular photo is of the way the strings are tied with T’cheilet, according to the GR"A’s (Vilna Gaon) opinion. For more on this - much more - check out http://www.tekhelet.com
Near Olive Oyl’s right foot is Murex Trunculus, most likely the source of T’cheilet… See website noted above
Right above MT is Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet. Here he represents the white strings of Tzitzit
The heart with the eyes combine the two warnings of not to follow the evil temptations of your heart and eyes
Wood gathered on Shabbat and the stone used to execute the Shabbat desecrater
The window with a red ribbon hanging from it is the sign for Yehoshua’s army to spare the lives of Rachav and her family (from the haftara)
Emblem of Jewish (Boy) Scouts, sort of a description of the Meraglim…
The letter i inside another i stands for AYIN B’AYIN - In Moshe’s plea to G-d on behalf of the people, following the Meraglim disaster, he points out, so to speak, to G-d that His relationship with Israel is known to other nations and that the relationship is a close one based on AYIN B’AYIN (face to face) revelation, and consequently, it would be a Chilul HaShem if G-d were to destroy the people of Israel
Steam shovel is a play on LACHPOR HAARETZ, to “dig” the land, also to scout it out (as in the haftara)
The SF is the logo of the San Francisco Giants. The meraglim reported that they had seen giants in the Land. So too the logo of the New York Giants football team
The large YUD is from the word YIGDAL in Bamidbar 14:17
Laurel and Hardy, known in Hebrew as HaShamein V’haRazeh, the fat and the thin - part of Moshe’s instructions to the Meraglim was to check out the land to see if it was fertile or not
Levi Eshkol - Eshkol in the sedra refers to the cluster of grapes the Meraglim brought back with them and to the name of place they got it from Rubeus Hagrid is the Groundskeeper and Teacher of Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts and is the son of a giant (from his mother’s side) - he is one of the Y’LIDEI HAANAK
Heart with the letters Ca on it. Ca in this pictogram is neither for Calcium nor California - rather, it is a syllable to be followed by the Hebrew for heart, making CaLev, as in the son of Yefuneh
At the bottom, to the right of Stan and Ollie is the municipal seal of the city of Yericho (haftara)
The pistol is an Israeli made Jericho 941
This leaves four Unexplaineds for you to figure out on your own. Have fun!

Continue Reading
Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

In this week’s parsha we read of the twelve spies sent to search out the land. As is well-known, all but two - Kalev and Yehoshua - returned with a report that had an extremely negative effect on the people. So much so that the Bnei Yisrael decried their ever leaving Egypt and, indeed, even cried out for a new leader who would take them back there!
In the face of such malcontent, we look to see who stands up to the masses. Yes, it is Kalev and Yehoshua who are prepared to stand up for what they believe, despite the pressures of their peers and the raucous complaints of the rank and file. Rather than stress the negative, they hold up the lofty ideal; rather than capitulate to the clamors of the people, they strive to elevate the rebels’ Emunah in Hashem.
Together they declare: “The land which we passed through, to search it, is an exceedingly good land. If the Eternal delights in us (CHAFETZ BANU), He will bring us into this land and give it to us… only rebel not against Hashem!” (Bamidbar 14:18).
Clearly, there is a condition. Hashem must first delight in us for us to merit Eretz Yisrael. But for the Modzitzer Rebbe (R’ Taub) the condition is that first we have to have that “delight” (CHAFETZ) in Eretz Yisrael “within us” (BANU) for that merit to be fulfilled. What a profound thought for both our leaders and fellow Jews, even in our times!

Shabbat Shalom, Menachem Persoff

Continue Reading
"From Machon Puah"

Puah Conference on Intimacy and Fertility

Is Shimush Greater than Study?

Last week we saw that the Bach explained that to differentiate between the colors white and red or the colors green and red requires no expertise and therefore there was no reason why the Gaonim would say that green or white were problematic in the area of family purity. But he did say that to distinguish between different shades of red does require a certain level of skill and expertise and therefore the Gaonim were strict regarding all shades of red and considered all of them to be blood.
Most Rabbis learn this skill by shimush, by sitting with an older and more experienced Rabbi who is an expert in this area and who teaches the younger Rabbi the art of differentiating between different shades of red and which of them are problematic and which would not make a woman be considered a nida.
This shimush is seen to be essential, because while many things can be learned from books much must be learned by observing the way the older Torah scholar approaches the question and provides the answer. In the words of the Gemara “shimush is greater than study.”
Rabbi Halperin, in his lecture at the recent Puah Annual Conference in Jerusalem raised a certain failing of shimush.
What would happen if the teaching Rabbi has a specific range of vision and the student has another range of vision they may see shades of red differently and this can not only disturb the process of shimush but can be detrimental for his ability to develop his skill.
The Rabbi would teach that certain colors are red and certain colors are not. However the student, who has a different perception of the red shade spectrum, would be confused. He would see something as red, but his teacher would be adamant that it is not red. Alternatively the student may see something as not red and yet his Rabbi would clearly call this red.
Anybody who has taught a significant number of students in this area will have had this experience of certain students who will always veer more to the strict range or to be lenient and this is due to the sometimes subtle differences between the way the teacher and the way the student perceive colors, specifically red. The student would then conclude that what he sees red is not red, and does not represent a problem for family purity. He would conclude the teaching period convinced that he is now expert or least competent in this area, whereas in fact he is likely to err and to be more lenient than he should.
In other situations the student will be convinced that a color that he sees as not problematic is in fact red, such a student will be more strict than necessary.
In both cases, claimed Rabbi Halperin shimush has had a negative impact on this student’s skill.
Is there a solution? More on this next week. - Rabbi Gidon Weitzman

The Puah Institute is based in Jerusalem and helps couples from all over the world who are experiencing fertility problems. Puah offers free counseling in five languages, halachic supervision, and educational programs. Offices in Jerusalem, New York, Los Angeles and Paris. Contact: (02) 651-5050 (Isr). http://www.puahonline.org

Continue Reading
Portion of the Portion

Was Bil'am Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde or Both?

New Technology in the Bible and in Torah Learning

Continue Reading
Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

Eyes to See

We live in a unique, unprecedented epoch in history. One has only to walk down the street in Israel to see the clear fulfillment of countless prophecies and statements of Chazal about the redemption.

Continue Reading
Wisdom & Wit

Wisdom and Wit

The Alter of Slobodka would say: “It is your duty to carry the entire world in your heart, but do not let the world know it. You were created to do good, but no one else should know what you do in this regard.”
##
A Chassid who was leaving R’ Aharon of Chernobyl to visit R’ Yisrael of Rizhin. Before he left, he went over to R’ Aharon to say goodbye.
R’ Aharon told him, “When you see R’ Yisrael, I want you to give him a message from me. I want you to tell him that I am a greater Rebbe than he.”
The Chassid was very taken aback at such a strong message, and turned pale.
“Let me explain myself,” said R’ Aharon. “When the two of us met the last time, and were about to leave, we each wished that the other should be given yiras shamayim - fear of Heaven. Now, I know that my wish was fulfilled, while his wasn’t. Doesn’t that prove that I am greater Rebbe than he?
###
R’ Moshe Leib of Sassov said…
Loving one’s fellow means knowing his needs and sharing in his grief.

Shmuel Himelstein’s Words of Wisdom, Words of Wit; A Touch of Wisdom, A Touch of Wit; and “Wisdom and Wit” - available at your local Jewish bookstore - Reprinted with permission of the copyright holder

Continue Reading
Jewish Law

Lesson # 588 Gifts continued

The item given as a gift must be specific.
Just as a seller of an item must be specific regarding the item he is selling, so must the donor of a gift be specific regarding the gift. If it is not specific there is probably a lack of requisite intent on the part of the donor of the gift.
For example, if Reuven the donor writes a deed to Shimon the beneficiary and the deed states that Reuven gives to Shimon “a portion of my land” or, “I give you all of my land except for one part,” Shimon acquires nothing, since Reuven did not specify the exact gift he is making, and the extent of the gift cannot be ascertained from the words of the deed. Shimon does not have the option to demand even the least valuable part of Reuven’s property, since Beit Din cannot state that this is Reuven’s intent. Without the owner’s requisite intent there cannot be transfer of ownership. However, if Reuven writes, “I hereby give to Shimon an area of two acres in my field A”, this is sufficient to make the deed effective. Beit Din will award to Shimon two acres from the least valuable portion of field A. There is also an opinion that Beit Din will try to ascertain the intent of Reuven even if the words are not specific.
Gifts on Condition
Whenever a gift is made on condition, regardless of whether the condition is made by Reuven the donor or Shimon (the recipient), and Shimon performs an act of acquisition on the gifted item, if the condition is complied with, the gift is effective; however, if the condition is not complied with, the gift is retroactively ineffective. There are different types of conditions that may be made by Reuven when he gives a gift to Shimon. It may be a conditional gift; (1) restricting Shimon’s dominion over the gift; (2) conditioned upon Shimon retuning the gift to Reuven; or (3) a conditional gift, which condition is not fully complied with before the death of one of the parties hereto.
A general gift to Shimon is his to do with as he pleases, that is, he has full dominion over the item once he acquires it with an act of acquisition. The halacha does not recognize any implication that Shimon is not the full owner of the item to do with as he pleases, even if somehow there seems to be an implication that there is some limitation to Shimon’s unlimited authority over the gift. The foregoing applies if the gift is made without any explicit conditions attached thereto. However, Reuven can explicitly place any condition he wants on the gift that he gives to Shimon and the condition will be effective. Reuven can stipulate that Shimon cannot transfer the gift to certain people (or to any person), cannot sell it, or donate it to charity, cannot use it except for certain purposes or any other stipulation or condition. The law of this paragraph applies only if the gift is made without explicit stipulation and later Reuven alleges that Shimon understood that there was an implied limitation.

Continue Reading
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…

Continue Reading
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…

Continue Reading

Go to the Torah Tidbits Article Archives

In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

Candle Lighting Sponsored By:

Sedra Stats

SH’LACH Stats
37th of the 54 sedras;
4th of 10 in Bamidbar
Written on 198 lines in a Torah, ranks 25
10 Parshiyot; 7 open, 3 closed
119 p’sukim, ranks 21st, 6th in Bamidbar
1540 words, ranks 27th, 5th in Bamidbar
5820 letters, ranks 27th, 4th in Bamidbar
Sh’lach has shorter than average p’sukim, which explains the drop in ranking for words and letters, yet the rise in rank within Bamidbar indicates that there are sedras with even shorter p’sukim.

Read More

Word of the Month

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz is two days - WED-THU (June 20,21)

ROSH CHODESH TAMUZ YIHYEH B’YOM RVII UV’YOM CHAMISHI, HABA ALEINU V’AL KOL YISRAEL L’TOVA

The molad is Tu 11h 45m 5p • 12:24pm Israel Summer Time • TUES. 17:815

HAMOLAD YIHYEH BYYOM, SHLISHI, ARBAIIM V’CHAMEISH DAKOT VA’CHAMISHA CHALAKIM ACHAT ESREI BABOKER

Actual (astronomical) molad: TUE June 19, 5:03pm - 1Sst KL: Motz”sh Korach

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz is two days - WED-THU (June 20,21)

ROSH CHODESH TAMUZ YIHYEH B’YOM RVII UV’YOM CHAMISHI, HABA ALEINU V’AL KOL YISRAEL L’TOVA

The molad is Tu 11h 45m 5p • 12:24pm Israel Summer Time • TUES. 17:815

HAMOLAD YIHYEH BYYOM, SHLISHI, ARBAIIM V’CHAMEISH DAKOT VA’CHAMISHA CHALAKIM ACHAT ESREI BABOKER

Actual (astronomical) molad: TUE June 19, 5:03pm - 1Sst KL: Motz”sh Korach