Torah Tidbits

2 September 2014 / 7 Elul 5774

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Issue 1010
Parshat Va’etchanan - Nachamu
August 02, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Guest Article

TU B’AV (15th of Av) - Celebrating Burial of the Dead?

The Gemara in Taanit (30b) says that no Festivals were more joyous or brighter for the Jewish People than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur.
What was so special about the Fifteenth of Av?
There are several opinions in the Gemara.
According to one opinion, this was the day on which those people who were killed in Beitar, were brought to burial. When the Romans slaughtered the people of Beitar, they left their corpses to rot in the sun. But on the Fifteenth of Av, the Jewish people were given permission to bury Beitar’s dead. Therefore, it was a day of surpassing joy. On that day the Rabbis instituted the blessing, HaTov V’HaMeitiv in Birkat HaMazon. G-d is called “Good” because He did not allow the corpses to decompose, and He is called “Beneficent” because G-d induced the Romans to allow the bodies to be buried. This is what the Gemara says.

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Guest Article

Hidden in the Sand

D’varim 4:8 (in Va’etchanan) says:  “And what nation is there so great, who has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this Torah, which I set before you this day?” A classic example of statutes that show the great- ness of the nation that follows them is the Laws of Lending and Borrowing. Most peoples of the world have the attitude that their money is theirs and no one can tell them what to do and what not to do with it. We, the Jewish people have a mitzva to lend to those in need, and NOT to charge any interest. The pasuk that commands this is Sh’mot 22:24 - “If (this if is a command, not a choice) you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be a creditor to him, nor shall you lay upon him interest.” A positive mitzva and a partner prohibition, both of which are the epitome of the Torah and mitzvot which define the greatness of the Jewish people. These two p’sukim each have a gimatriya of 4014.

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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.
Numbers in [square brackets] are the Mitzva- count of Sefer HaChinuch AND Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot. A=ASEI (positive mitzva); L=LAV (prohibition). X:Y is the perek and pasuk from which the mitzva comes.

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Sedra Stats

VA'ETCHANAN Stats

VA’ETCHANAN Stats
45th of 54 sedras;
2nd of 11 in D’varim
Written on 249 lines in a Torah, rank: 7th
21 parshiyot; 5 open, 16 closed, 7th (tied)
122 p’sukim - ranks 17th (2nd in D’varim)
same as Vayak’hel & Ki Tavo - but larger
1878 words; ranks 10th (2nd in D’varim)
7343 letters; ranks 10th (2nd in D’varim)
Va’etchanan’s p’sukim are longer than average, hence the jump in rank from 17th for p’sukim to 10th for words

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Lead Tidbit

Nature in its Proper Perspective

This is a favorite topic, revisited, hopefully with a fresh presentation.
As Moshe Rabeinu is about to recount for the new generation poised on the threshold of Eretz Yisrael, the vital, miraculous, and nation-forming events of the Sinai experience, he seems to get extremely agitated.
“Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget [the experience of Matan Torah in all its aspects]... the day you stood at Sinai…”

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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

The plus and minus in a negation circle is for the prohibition of adding to the Torah or detracting from it.
Again, the Torah tells us of the mitzva to designate cities of refuge - 3 on the east side of the Jordan (and 3 on the west side).
The LUCHOT in the TORAH on the mountain stands for the repetition of the Aseret HaDibrot (with differences) and reminds us that the whole Torah was given by G-d at Sinai, not just the Big Ten.

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Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

In our parsha, Moshe teaches us how to serve Hashem: “Your eyes have seen what Hashem did with Ba’al Pe’or, for every man that followed Ba’al Pe’or, Hashem, your G-d, destroyed from within your midst. But you who cling to Hashem, your G-d - you are all alive today” (D’varim 4:3-4).

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"From Machon Puah"

Say Thank You

Last week we spoke about how a happy couple has to be entwined, connected and tethered in each other’s lives, not to the point that they lost their own identity, but in order to develop a deep friendship. This connection should not be in place in order to control each other’s lives, but it is essential in order to become attached to each other’s lives.
Dr. Sara Barris, speaking at the recent joint Puah and OU Conference on Intimacy held in Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, Teaneck, explained that this connection will enable the couple to weather the storms that inevitably arise in any relationship.
A healthy couple needs to make time and space to keep catching up on each other’s lives since dynamics change and states alter but the couple remains a unit for the long term.

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Portion of the Portion

V'ahavta, Listening, and TU b'AV

Twice a day, morning and night we are supposed to recite the SH’MA, whose text we find in this week’s portion (6:4-9) [the first part, that is]. It is not always so easy to recite this prayer with the intense concentration that is required to accept, with love, the sovereignty of Hashem. Contemplating the words we recite and truly understanding them can help us.

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Parsha Points to Ponder

Parsha Points to Ponder

1) Why does Moshe relate that G-D told him both IT IS TOO MUCH FOR YOU and DON’T CONTINUE TALKING TO ME ABOUT THIS ISSUE (3:26)? Why the need for both statements?
2) Why does Moshe have to say that G-D did not choose the Jews because of their large numbers (7:7)? The Jews knew that they were small in numbers so why would they have ever thought that they were chosen for their large numbers?
3) Why does Moshe mention G-D not letting him enter Israel in between two verses about idolatry (4:21)?

Parsha Points to Ponder by Rabbi Dov Lipman
Rabbi Lipman is an educator, author, and community activist in Bet Shemesh and also serves as Director of Anglos for Am Shalem. [FACEBOOK: “Anglos for Am Shalem”] http://www.rabbilipman.com

Ponder the questions first, then see below

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Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

When Moshe Rabeinu’s appeal to enter the Land of Israel is denied he explains to the People preparing to enter the Land that G-d’s decision was “for your sakes” (D’varim 3 26). The Midrash (Tanchuma Va’etchanan 6) tells us that G-d presented Moshe with a choice: he could choose to have G-d cancel the decree that he would die in the desert, but in that case the Jewish People would not survive. Moshe’s reply was “better that Moshe and a thousand like him should die than that a single Jew should be lost to Israel”.

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Jewish Law

Lesson # 592 Following Local Custom in Labor Law cont.

There is a difference of opinion as to whether the halacha permits a person to enter into a formal agreement of employment, thereby implicitly waiving his rights under Torah law to leave his employment at any time. The accepted present view seems to be that an employee can enter into such an employment agreement and it will be binding upon him. Such contracts or agreements are made binding by a kinyan being performed by the party to be bound, usually both the employer and employee. In the contracts between the employer and employee, whether an individual or a large group in a geographic area, an industry, or certain types of workers or members of unions, the many other facets of labor relations will govern in addition to the laws of the land. There is a dissenting opinion that holds that the right of the employee to resign is not waived by the contract or kinyan entered into by the parties. There are also times that the parties may bind themselves by an oath to carry out the terms of the understanding or by a handshake if that is a method recognized by the customs of the community to be the equivalent to an oath. Except if agreed upon otherwise, or governmental labor laws to the contrary, a worker cannot be compelled to commence work or to continue working for the employer. It is stated in Vayikra 25:55 - “for the children of Israel are servants to Me, they are My servants whom I have taken out of the land of Egypt.” The Talmud in Bava Kama 116b, states that the verse teaches that a worker can resign from the employment at any time, for the Jews are servants to the Lord but not servants to man who are His servants.

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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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In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

Candle Lighting Sponsored By:

Sedra Stats

VA’ETCHANAN Stats
45th of 54 sedras;
2nd of 11 in D’varim
Written on 249 lines in a Torah, rank: 7th
21 parshiyot; 5 open, 16 closed, 7th (tied)
122 p’sukim - ranks 17th (2nd in D’varim)
same as Vayak’hel & Ki Tavo - but larger
1878 words; ranks 10th (2nd in D’varim)
7343 letters; ranks 10th (2nd in D’varim)
Va’etchanan’s p’sukim are longer than average, hence the jump in rank from 17th for p’sukim to 10th for words

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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…

Aside from the middle of the Jewish month (roughly) being the deadline for Kiddush L’vana, for the month of Menachem Av, the midpoint (the 15th) has a special significance. One of the origins of the festive nature of TU b’Av is the fact that in the last year of wandering in the Midbar, the last 15,000 or so adult males who were slated to die out - did not. This was confirmed, so to speak, when the full moon of Av indicated that those men we still alive beyond the 9th of Av, the day were to have died.