A big pain and public participation in building the Ark of the Covenant and Wife of murdered rabbi attacks Gantz: 'You granted legitimacy to murderers and Chief Rabbis rule Synagouges can remain open with small minions
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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A Big Pain
"Oy!" groaned old Marvin Himmelfarb. "I must have appendicitis," he said as he clutched his left side.
"It can't be appendicitis," said his wife Myra confidently.
"How do you know?" asked Marvin. "You are a doctor all of a sudden?"
"I'm not a doctor but I do know that your appendix is on the right side of your body."
"Aha!" said Marvin. "THAT's why it hurts so much. My appendix is on the wrong side!"
Ideas, that help explain how the world works
Base Rates: The success rate of everyone who's done what you're about to try.
Wife of murdered rabbi attacks Gantz: 'You granted legitimacy to murderers
Yael Shevach, widow of Rabbi Raziel Shevach Hy"d, expresses her pain in Facebook post attacking Gantz for 'giving free pass' to murderers
Rabbi Raziel Shevach Hy"d (may God avenge his death) was murdered in a terror attack near Havat Gilad in Samaria in 2018. In a Facebook post, his widow Yael, who is now raising the couple's six children alone, expressed her anguish at recent developments on the political scene, specifically, the plan of the Blue & White party and its leader Benny Gantz to cooperate with the predominantly Arab Joint List in order to form a government.
In her words:
"If I had to pick a headline to summarize the last day, I think the most apt would be 'System Error.'
"The world is collapsing, the economy is collapsing, the government is collapsing – and I am collapsing. I am so badly wounded that the words won't emerge from my mouth. I am struck dumb, speechless.
"I never believed I would look at [the picture of] my husband's happy face and feel shame. I am ashamed. I am ashamed that our leaders have strayed from the correct path so brazenly. That they have given a free pass to our enemies. That they are happy to have received their recommendation [to form a government].
"I did not vote for you, Gantz, [even though I had no idea] what was hidden behind your burning hatred of our Prime Minister. Maybe many more people like me would have trusted you if they had thought that you would lead them proudly.
"I hope no one will ever vote for you again. You are a pitiful, contemptible man. You don't deserve that anyone should so much as glance in your direction.
"You granted legitimacy to those who support the murderers of my husband, the murderers of hundreds of Jews – just look at what hatred can lead to!
"In a few days, I will be celebrating the third birthday of my son, Benayahu, together with my six children. Benayahu, my baby, who has lived more of his life without a father than with one.
"I will stand there with my family at the grave of my husband, Raziel, who was murdered solely because he was a Jew, and then later, I will cut Benayahu's hair (for the traditional first haircut at the age of three- ed.). Then I will pray that you [Gantz] will never become leader, that you never get anywhere near the leadership of our country.
"Gantz, you have sinned. You, together with your friends. And there's no way you can fix this.
"I'm about to take an extended break from using Facebook. Here I express my pain, and I hope that when I return, I will be stronger. I don't have the strength for this anymore."
Chief Rabbi and Rishon Letzion Harav Yitzchak Yosef: Synagogues can remain open if no more than ten people gather at one time.
Rishon Letzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef rules on Shabbat and weekday prayers
In light of the current situation, many halachic questions have been posed to the Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Rishon Letzion Harav Yitzchak Yosef shlit"a, regarding religious obligations at a time of epidemic.
In a halachic responsum dealing with communal prayer, the Chief Rabbi emphasized the importance of strict adherence to the Health Ministry's guidelines, writing, "We trust the decisions of the doctors, and we are obligated not to diverge from their instructions, including in the matter of chillul Shabbat [Sabbath desecration] in cases where there is a real concern of pikuach nefesh [danger to human life] when the entire Torah is set aside in order to preserve life."
Regarding the question of whether to allow synagogues to remain open on Shabbat, Rabbi Yosef ruled that in a place where the instructions of the gabba'im [sextons] were followed and no more than ten people would gather in one area, the synagogue could remain open. However, he cautioned that in places where it was suspected that the gabba'im would not be obeyed and a larger number of people would gather, the synagogue should be shut until the crisis has passed.
Given that the situation in the hospitals differs substantially, the Chief Rabbi ruled that hospital synagogues should be closed, noting that they are usually small and overcrowded, and that those praying there are likely to be in the at-risk category and especially vulnerable to contracting the virus and suffering complications.
Rabbi Yosef also ruled that anyone who has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting the results should leave his cell phone switched on during Shabbat, and should answer it with a shinui [in a different manner from during the rest of the week] in order to be updated on his status, in case he needs to go into quarantine.
Regarding weekday prayers, the Chief Rabbi wrote that those who are unable to pray in a minyan [halachic quorum] may listen to the prayers over radio or telephone, but he emphasized that such prayer does not have the halachic status of tefillah b'tzibbur [communal prayer]. Regarding the Shabbat prayers, Rabbi Yosef ruled that the "Me'ein Sheva" prayer recited on Friday night should only be said in a synagogue or other place where prayers are usually held. Therefore, those praying at home should not recite this prayer.
The Chief Rabbi also referred to bringing a sefer Torah to places where minyanim are being held, and discussed the manner in which a person who was unable to hear the Torah reading on Shabbat due to the government's restrictions could make it up afterward.
No Jew left aside. Public versus Private Participation
The first 11 chapters of the Bible (in the first book of the Bible, Bereshiet) describe the creation of the universe, the creation of the Earth, the fall of man, the pre-flood civilization and its destruction, the flood, the covenant made with Noah, and the beginning of the Jewish people starting with the call of Abraham.
There are, by comparison, 50 chapters that describe God's dwelling place on Earth. Almost half of the book of Exodus (the second book) is filled with the story of the Desert Temple, called the Mishkan. So, by comparison, there obviously must be much that is important, and a lot of lessons to be learned from the Mishkan.
The first idea that I want to discuss is the concept that God took the initiative to dwell in the Mishkan. It was not the Jewish people's idea. It was not Moses' idea. It was God's idea. God took up residence in the Mishkan for 400 years.
Then Solomon made the First Temple in Jerusalem and the Shechinah dwelt there. God dwelt in the First Temple, that Solomon built and was destroyed by the Babylonians. God dwelt in the Second Temple that was rebuilt by Zeruvavel and enlarged and beautified by Herod.
G-d has always taken the initiative to dwell on Earth. God took the initiative to dwell with the first humans in the garden of Eden when He came to Earth to walk in the garden in the cool of the day.
The Mishkan was necessary so that God might dwell among His people. Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I might dwell among them (Exodus 25:8).
MATERIALS OF THE MISHKAN AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
Silver Redemption, redemption money
Shittim Wood, Acacia Wood, Nations are compared to trees.
White Linen Purity, robes of righteousness, the righteous deeds of God's people
Blue The color of the sky, of Heaven
Purple The color of royalty
Scarlet Blood, Sacrifice
Oil The Shechinah (female side of G-d's presence)
We move from bronze to gold the closer we get to God. The metals for the outer court were silver and bronze. Moving into the Holy Place the metals were silver and gold. Finally in the Most Holy Place, the Kiporet, the actual place where God manifested Himself, was made of pure gold. There was a progression from bronze to silver to gold, from judgment to redemption to the presence of God.
To an outside observer the Mishkan itself might not seem very impressive. He would see the white linen surrounding the outer court. He would see the outer covering on the top of the Holy Place made of porpoise skin. The Mishkan looked bland from outside, but beautiful and full of meaning from the inside.
THE ARON (ARK)
There was only one piece of furniture in the Kodesh HaKodashim. It is also called the Aron, which means Ark. It was a box with a special lid on it. Most people start building their dwelling place with the house plan in mind. Then they add the furniture. Not with G-d and the Mishkan! If you read the account of the design and building of the Mishkan, G-d started with the Ark first, the very center where His Presence would be manifest on Earth, then the rest of the Mishkan followed from there. The lesson is that if we put God in the very center of our lives, everything else will fall into place. Leave God out, or put Him last, and we will find that things just won't come out right.
The Second Idea I want to discuss is Public vs. Private Participation
One Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 34:1) attributes the plural verb to the communal nature of the Torah which the Ark represents
For all the other pieces of furniture a Singular verb is used, VE'ASITA (to make) the utensils but
"Why does it say VE'ASITA with regards to all the [other] utensils, while with regards to the ark it says VE'ASU?(Plural)
R. Yehudah bar Shalom said: G-d said to [Moshe], Let everyone participate in making the Ark so that they will all deserve the Torah."
Another Midrash (Tanhuma VaYaqhel 8) explains that the use of a plural verb denies any single Israelite a greater share in the study of Torah than another.
Rabbi Hayyim ibn Attar in his commentary Or Hahayyim suggests that the Ark, as the repository of the Torah, requires the participation of all Israel more so than any other utensil or furnishing because the Torah, in its entirety, can only be fulfilled collectively, through the participation of all Israel; no individual Jew can fulfill it all.