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1) SHIMURIM- Vigilant Guarding--Word Concepts
Moshe Kempinski

2) Month after terror shooting which killed her baby, mother leaves hospital
Stuart Viner Times of Israel

3) Dems block Senate bill on Israel boycotts, citing shutdown
Associated Press

4) Why I'm Moving to Israel
by Erica Chernofsky

5) When they come for us, we'll be gone
Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich

6) Bo: the lesson of the Moon:
Moshe Kempinski

1) SHIMURIM- Vigilant Guarding--Word Concepts


Insights into “Word Concepts” in Torah
The Torah Portion of BO Exodus 10:1–13:16

In describing the night of the Exodus from Egypt we read the following words ;

“It is a night of Vigilant Guarding ( Leil Shimurim) for Hashem, to take them out of the land of Egypt; that same night is Hashem's, one of Vigilant Guarding ( Shimurim) for all the children of Israel throughout the ages”.( Exodus 12:42)

One needs to understand who is to be the “vigilant” one. Is it Hashem being vigilant to take them out of bondage as he promised to Abraham? Or is it the people of Israel being vigilant to remember the lessons of that Exodus? Clearly the verse implies an integral relationship between these two possibilities.

In the Talmud we read regarding the Leil Shimurim, that this night was "set aside/ guarded" (shamur ) already from the creation of the world.

That is to say the impact of the Exodus from Egypt culminating with the revelation at Mount Sinai and the eventual entry into the land of Promise was to impact all of reality. The very slavery that the Israelites endured in Egypt was actually part of a promise G-d made to Abraham. In that promise He promises the Land of Israel to Abraham’s descendants but implies that the formation of a people worthy of such a land will require a forging furnace. Egypt would be that furnace that would purify and transform the twelve tribes of Jacob into a people.

The world was created for a purpose and yet these events were meant to clarify to the whole world what that purpose was to be .

That is to say, the people of Israel remembering and steadfastly and faithfully guarding that memory defined by the feast of Passover will achieve Hashem's ultimate purpose and demonstrate it to the whole world.

And this day shall be for you as a memorial, and you shall celebrate it as a festival for Hashem; throughout your generations, you shall celebrate it as an everlasting statute.( Exodus 12:14)

How then was that aspect of vigilant protection ( Shimurim) first enacted?

This process was set in motion when Jacob and his family arrived in Egypt to live under the patronage and protection of his son Joseph. But all the wealth and prosperity that Joseph and his brothers brought to Egypt was forgotten and the Israelites were enslaved. In the year 2448 (according to the Jewish calendar), after a series of miraculous events, G-d instructs that each family should bring prepare a sheep for the special Passover sacrifice that was to be offered. This was commanded on the tenth day of Nisan. On the 14th day of Nisan, each Israelite family offered the Pesach sacrifice and shared of its meat in a festive meal.

The very act of slaughtering an animal that the Egyptians considered one of their G-ds was itself an act of faith. Joseph gives us a hint of that pagan belief when he settled his kinsman in a region separate from the Egyptian people.

“And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and you shall say: What is your occupation? That you shall say: Thy servants have been keepers of cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and our fathers; that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” (Exodus 46: 33-34)

And again we read

“And Pharaoh called for Moshe and for Aaron, and said: Go ye, sacrifice to your G-d in the land. And Moshe said: It is not meet to do so; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us?” (ibid8: 21-2)

In order for the people of Israel to begin their spiritual and psychological liberation before their physical one, they needed to act out of faith and courage.

It was at great risk that the Israelites sacrificed the lamb as a Passover sacrifice on the eve of their Exodus. They had to gather the lambs into their own home four days before their Exodus and the ensuing noise and ruckus was sure to arouse the attention of their past masters. They were also told not to break or cut the animal before they put it whole in the fire.In this fashion all would see that it was the lamb, the Egyptian pagan deity that was being burnt. They were also told not to boil it but rather broil the animal. That act alone made it obvious to all as the odor of their actions would permeate throughout the whole city. It was clear to all, including their past slave masters, that they were preparing for the consumption of the pagan deity of the Egyptians.

Then, they were asked to place the blood of that sacrifice on the lintel. That could have been done on the inside of the door. The blood also could have been gathered in a bowl and placed on the Seder table as a sign.

G-d did not need to see the blood on the door. No door or wall would keep their actions from him.

It was the Egyptian masters who needed to see the blood. It was the Israelites who needed to have the courage to place it on the outside. Their ability to act in faith was “a sign” for them that were capable of much more than they believed they were capable of. It was that act of faith and courage that was the sign for G-d to pass over.

"And the blood will be for you for a sign upon the houses where you will be, and I will see the blood and pass over you, and there will be no plague to destroy [you] when I smite the [people of the] land of Egypt."( Exodus 12:13)

The blood was not the catalyst of the protection( Shimurim) . Their faith and their courage to act on their faith, was.

In fact all of Hashem’s promises are opportunities waiting to be seized.

It is now wonder that at each Passover Seder we invite Elijah the prophet to join us.

In a moment of frustration Elijah the prophet says the following; "I have been zealous for Hashem, the G-d of Hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant. They have torn down Your altars and they have killed Your prophets by the sword, and I have remained alone, and they seek my life to take it." (I Kings 19:10).

According to our tradition, the words "I have remained alone" were misspoken words .As a result, Elijah has been commissioned by Hashem to visit every Circumcision ritual and every Passover Seder in order to witness the faithfulness of his people. Regardless how far persecution and fears may have alienated many amongst the people, a dramatic percentage of this people will consistently celebrate the Pesach Seder and enact the Brit Mila, the ritual circumcision. They celebrated Seders even in the Ghettoes and Death Camps of Nazi controlled Europe. They continued to circumcise their sons even when such an act was punishable by death in so many parts of the world.

They remained Vigilant in faith and memory. “..Vigilant Guarding ( Shimurim) for all the children of Israel throughout the ages”.( Exodus 12:42)

Hashem promised that He is too. “It is a night of Vigilant Guarding ( Leil Shimurim) for Hashem, (ibid)

Yet the relationship is critical. All of Hashem’s promises and prophecies are opportunities waiting to be seized. It is our responsibility to step in and seize it.

LeRefuat Yehudit Bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Chaya Esther

The Beloved Pendant

BELOVED PENDANT silver stone

to explore further click on picture

The Beloved Pendant ( New exclusive Shorashim product)
The powerful verse from the Biblical tect "Somg of Songs" or Song of Solomon" has been a powerful sentiment between spouses as it is also a mirror of our relationship with the Creator

The verse translated as "I Am My Beloved My Beloved Is Mine"(Song Of Solomon 6:3) somewhat misses the true meaning in the hebrew " Ani Ledodi ve Dodoi lee"

The Hebrew text engraved in silver on this piece which implies more than a stationary moment in a realtionship.It is more accurately translated as I am towards my Beloved and my Beloved is towards me. That is to say a relationship in movement

sterling silver and either "Mother of Pearl" or Eilat Stone ( Malachite) backing

1/2 inch/ 1.4 cm. diameter


2) Month after terror shooting which killed her baby, mother leaves hospital


Shira Ish Ran,leaving Shaarei Tzedk-(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

By Stuart Winer and TOI staff

‘I came in lying down, and I am leaving on foot,’ declares Shira Ish-Ran, who was pregnant when seriously injured in West Bank attack along with her husband

Rising from her wheelchair with the aid of a walker, an Israeli woman who was seriously injured in a West Bank shooting left a Jerusalem hospital Wednesday, a month after the attack which caused the death of the baby she was pregnant with at the time.

“I arrived at the hospital lying down, and I am leaving it on foot,” declared Shira Ish-Ran as she exited the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital.

She was accompanied by her husband, Amichai, who was shot in the leg in the same attack, and who walked beside her with the aid of crutches.

“We are a walking miracle,” Shira told reporters as she prepared to leave the hospital, also thanking the paramedic who she said had saved her life. “This is a tremendous thing. Every day we are thankful for the miracles.”

“I don’t know how our rehabilitation progressed so fast and so well,” she added. “The doctors are satisfied with the progress. I also want to thank the dedicated staff of the hospital. They did so much for us and with such sensitivity. It is incredible.”

Shira was seven months pregnant when she was wounded in the December 9, 2018 attack outside the Ofra settlement in the West Bank. Her baby boy — delivered in emergency surgery by doctors hours later — died after four days as a result of the attack.

The day after her son, who was named Amiad, was buried, Shira, speaking from the hospital where she was undergoing treatment, vowed to have “many more babies.”
Shira Ish Ran, injured in a terror attack last month when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on Israelis near the settlement of Ofra, seen here leaving the Shaare Zedek Medical Center on January 9, 2019. To her left is her husband Amichai, who was also injured in the attack (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Salih Barghouti, the suspected terrorist in the shooting attack, which also injured several other Israelis, was shot dead on December 12 as he attacked Israeli security forces in an attempt to evade arrest, the army said at the time.

His brother, Asem Barghouti, who is suspected of participating in the Ofra attack and also carrying out a deadly shooting on December 13 in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, was arrested Tuesday by security forces, ending a nearly month-long manhunt to capture him.




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3) Dems block Senate bill on Israel boycotts, citing shutdown


Associated Press

( Shorashim: note J Street response..Typical and yet revealing of our enemies that are within)

GOP's 'Combating BDS Act' meant to counter anti-Israel boycott movement stalled in the US Senate as Democrats say they will block the bill until government is reopened.

Senate Republicans' first bill of the new Congress was intended to insert the legislative branch into President Donald Trump's Middle East policy—but also to drive a wedge between centrist and liberal Democrats over attitudes toward Israel.

The bipartisan package backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had initially drawn widespread support ahead of Tuesday's vote. It included measures supporting Israel and Jordan and slapping sanctions on Syrians involved in war crimes at a time of growing unease in Congress over the Trump administration's shifts in the region. But Democrats are split over the addition of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's "Combating BDS Act," which seeks to counter the global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians and the settlements.

For now, the package has stalled on a vote of 56-44, not enough to clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to advance.

Coming amid the partial government shutdown, Democrats said they will block the bill until government is reopened. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer opposed proceeding to the legislation. Other Democratic senators who supported the substance of the bill followed suit.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., tweeted that the Senate "should not take up any bills unrelated to reopening the government" until the shutdown is resolved.

Republicans see an opening to focus on newly elected House Democrats, including the country's first Palestinian American woman in Congress, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has spoken about the rights of Americans to support the BDS issue.

"This is the US where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality," Tlaib said in a weekend tweet. "Maybe a refresher on our US Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away."

Israel sees a growing threat from the BDS movement, which has led to increased boycotts of the Jewish state in support of the Palestinians. A Woodstock-style concert was canceled and some companies stopped offering services in the West Bank settlements. That has led to a "boycott of the boycotts" as Israel pushes back against those aligned with BDS.

In support of Israel, Rubio's bills would affirm the legal authority of state and local governments to restrict contracts and take other actions against those "engaged in BDS conduct." Several states are facing lawsuits after taking action against workers supporting BDS boycotts of Israel.

Opponents say Rubio's measure infringes on free speech. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted, "It's absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity. Democrats must block consideration of any bills that don't reopen the government. Let's get our priorities right."

But Rubio's office says the bill allows the governments "to counter economic warfare against Israel."

Rubio, a Florida senator, said in a series of tweets, including one pointed at Sanders and Tlaib: "The shutdown is not the reason Senate Democrats don't want to move to Middle East Security Bill.... A significant # of Senate Democrats now support #BDS & Dem leaders want to avoid a floor vote that reveals that."

Both sides were squaring off ahead of Tuesday's votes. A coalition of civil liberties and liberal Jewish groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and J Street, was working to defeat the legislation, while the influential pro-Israel AIPAC supports it.

"Any contention that the bill infringes upon First Amendment rights is simply wrong," said AIPAC's Marshall Wittman by email. "It ensures Israel has the means necessary to defend itself-by itself-against growing threats and helps protect the right of states to counter boycotts against Israel."

J Street's President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement: "While millions of Americans suffer from the effects of the ongoing government shutdown, it's outrageous that Senate Republican leaders are prioritizing legislation that tramples on the First Amendment and advances the interests of the Israeli settlement movement. Not a single Democrat should vote to enable this farce."


psalm 91 leather



the psalm of protection

The verse engraved on stainless steel pendant.

"He shall charge angels to watch over you in all your ways"( psalm 91:11)

This very popular Shorashim design has been recreated in honor of the young men and women of the Israel Defense Forces.

this is the psalm that is recited before battle by the soldiers of Israel and by the soldiers of other armies in the world.

To Order or to View

4) Why I'm Moving to Israel

erica c

by Erica Chernofsky
Finding my home on sacred soil.

When I tell people I spent the last year of my life studying abroad in Israel, they usually look at me funny and respond politely.

When I tell them I'm planning to move there permanently, the flabbergasted look on their face demands an explanation.

I'm a 21-year-old student at NYU majoring in journalism. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I come from the average American family, and look like the average American girl. So why am I leaving the land of opportunity to live, permanently, in a land ravaged by war?

A rabbi once told me that when God took Abraham to Canaan and showed him the land, promising it to Abraham's future generations, He also showed him every Jew that was ever to be born. The rabbi went on to explain that, according to the legend, when a Jew stands in the exact spot where thousands of years ago Abraham first beheld him, he becomes intimately and eternally bound to the land.

Like many Jews, I had been to this land, now called Israel, numerous times, to see the holy sights and visit the home of my forefathers. And while I felt a connection, and perhaps had the feeling of "coming home" that many Jews boast of, I never viewed the country as anything more than a place of religious and historical significance to visit every once in a while.

But two summers ago, when I visited Israel with my family, something was different. I suddenly felt a visceral need to identify with the people and the culture, and so I decided to spend a year abroad studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The only explanation, albeit fantastical, that I can offer is that perhaps that summer I stood in the very place where Abraham first regarded me, so many years ago, and my soul anchored itself in the sacred soil.

I was overcome with the realization that there was a country whose land had been promised to me, where millions of my people lived, yet their lives were so different from mine. I wanted to see that land and that life, learn about it, be part of it.

I quickly became part of life in Israel. I got used to having my bag checked every time I went into a store or restaurant, I got used to seeing my Israeli soldier friends walking around with huge M-16s on their shoulders. I mastered haggling with the taxi drivers. Taxis, not buses -- that was the rule my parents, and many of my friends' parents, issued before we left. With all the suicide bombings on buses, it just isn't worth the risk. And though I don't travel on buses, I'll admit I still feel frightened walking by a bus, or sitting at a red light in a taxi with a bus in the next lane. It's just too hard to get the television images of blown-up buses out of my head.

Two weeks after I arrived, I was lucky enough to land an internship at The Jerusalem Post, which was an invaluable opportunity for me as a young journalist. There, I was thrown right into the thick of things, with no choice but to learn quickly. On my very first day, I wrote an article that appeared in the newspaper, and while it wasn't front-page news, it was my debut into the world of journalism.

The internship was my first step into the "real world." The Post staff treated me like a full-fledged reporter, giving me assignments and deadlines and sending me around the country to gather information. It was great training, and it was often fun.

But, living in Jerusalem was also often very stressful.

I remember one night that was particularly nerve-racking. It was a Saturday night. My parents' plane had just taken off after a brief visit, and all my friends were on a weekend get-away hiking in the Golan. I was in my dorm at Hebrew University when I got a phone call from a friend in the Israeli army. He said he couldn't talk, but he wanted to warn me not to leave my dorm that night.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because we're on our way to Jerusalem right now to look for a terrorist who's on the loose, who according to intelligence is planning on blowing himself up in Jerusalem tonight."

I was terrified. I was all alone. I couldn't call my parents, and I was scared to leave my dorm. I had never before experienced such real fear and danger.

But in Israel, that sense of fear and danger is the norm. In Alaska, it's normal to wear snow boots all year round. In New York, that would be absurd. In Israel, the snow boots are simply bulletproof vests.

Life is about adjusting, and I'm still struggling with the adjustment.

When I told my best friend that I was going to Israel for a year, she couldn't believe it. She couldn't understand why I was going to spend a year of my life in a country filled with angry extremists who would jump at the chance to kill me.

She was correct in that what we see on TV is scary -- images of the burned frames of blown-up buses or cafes, the Israeli military in the slums of the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.

But the majority of the cafes in Israel are modern, popular places where Israelis spend their evenings or lunch breaks, and many Palestinians are not the suffering, impoverished people we see on TV. Many live in mansions in developed Arab villages.

I explained all of this to my friend as best I could, but I didn't say what I was really thinking: Honestly, how safe is it to live anywhere these days? Today, terrorism is a global threat. How many New Yorkers were scared to go to work at the World Trade Center on that Tuesday morning in September 2001? But today, everybody is wary, everywhere in the world. The point is that we still go on living. Not just existing, but actually living. We can't live life scared to go around every corner, or none of us would ever leave the house.

It's no different in Israel. Living means putting the fear behind you.

Of course, managing the fear is a personal battle. On the one hand, no one wants to forget the 3-year-old child killed by a Palestinian rocket while he was walking to nursery school with his mother. On the other hand, we do want to forget. We want to move on and not dwell on all the sorrow and tragedy.

Yet while their survival requires Israelis to harden their hearts to the pain, to take a deep breath and push the grief out of their minds, doing so is slowly turning Israel into a very hardened country. I fear once I live there, I might harden with it; so while some may worry that I will lose my life, I worry more about losing my heart.

It is Israel's mostly futile effort to block out the pain of all the death that is causing them to lose the media war. The Palestinians bring the journalists and cameras into their homes, showcasing their anguish for the world.

Everyone can remember the last time they saw an Israeli bulldozer destroying a house, or an Israeli tank plowing through a Palestinian village. But rarely do we see the footage of the Israeli mothers, wives and children crying for lost relatives. We hear the names of the dead, but rarely do we see the victims who remain maimed and crippled. They do exist, but Israel avoids revealing its vulnerable side.

So instead, Israelis appear tough and military.

Oddly, once I arrived in Israel, I felt further from the war-torn country I was familiar with than when I was at home, watching suicide bombings and shootings on the news every day. There I was, living in what is technically considered East Jerusalem, and I was oblivious to the danger around me. Despite the terror, bombings and deaths, there is a living side to the country, and that's the Israel I became a part of.

And that's my answer to those who can't understand my decision to live in Israel, exactly what Israelis want the world to remember: People are actually living life there. It's not a third-world regime. It's not Afghanistan or Iraq. It's a modern democracy, just like the United States, trying to exterminate terrorism. The roads are paved, there are prestigious hospitals and universities and they even have The GAP and IKEA.

But none of that makes news, so we don't see it -- hence the flabbergasted looks when I say that after spending a year in Israel, I'm moving there permanently this summer.

So while perhaps it was my religious beliefs that led me to explore the country in the first place, it was the country itself, the people, the culture and the life, that kept me there.

This article originally appeared on

The Six Heart Star of David

Six hearts


Trust in the L-rd With all Your Heart (proverbs 3:5)

Six hearts representing the six days of creation
All focused on the Shabbat ( the Divine Day of Rest) in the center


5) When they come for us, we'll be gone

refuseniks 2

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich

Review of Gal Beckerman's book, "When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone- The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry."

When I first met Gal Beckerman, the young author, son of Israeli emigres living in America, in the process of his interviewing me for information for the book, I had no strong feelings that something great was going to come out of this.

With the complex events surrounding the history of Soviet Jewry, it was difficult to imagine just how an American Jew with Israeli antecedents could comprehend this far from simple story.

Lo and behold! Upon completing the book, Beckerman presented me with a copy with his personal hand-written dedication:

"To Yosef. I have great feelings of respect for you and for your courage. Your biography runs like a scarlet thread throughout the narrative of my book".

(Indeed the book begins with mention of my name, and ends in a similar vein.)

I began reading and became convinced that Gal produced a profound piece of research into the history of the struggle. I haven't been bribed. I considered myself to be a "professsor" when it comes to knowledge about the movement, but, in fact, I learned a great deal from the book, as Beckerman has highlighted figures in the struggle whom I was not familiar with, but, now, I must know.

In my eyes, the book, in its human portrayal, even more than its historical research, reveals the drama of Jewish life between 1960-90. Many individuals, many chapters, that are woven into a complete tapestry. It is a drama of Jewish life in its most realistic portrayal. No wonder that the book's subtitle is: "The EPIC Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry".

When I first met Natan Sharansky in Vladimir Prison , I wanted to learn from him what was happening in the big Jewish world in support of our struggle. (There was no possibility of our meeting face to face, so we communicated through the pipes of the prison cells' latrines, a makeshift "telephone ".)

It's important to remember that Sharansky was arrested 7 years after me, and that he was an active participant and witness to the struggle that took place after our arrest in 1970 for an attempt to hijack an airplane to secure our freedom to live in Israel.

"What is happening?", I asked about our struggle, and Natan replied: "There are establishment groups and grassroot groups, each going in its own direction, and each one battling the other".

Sad words but words that reflected the truth. Gal Beckerman gives a broader and more life-like picture of these groups, particularly, those in the US, and the interaction amongst them. He doesn't make generalizations, nor does he whitewash the facts. For this, Beckerman deserves particular praise.

In this same conversation, Sharansky mentioned two voluntary, grassroots organizations:

1. The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ), and 2.The Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry (UCSJ). The activities of these two organizations are particularly highlighted in the book, as are those of Rabbi Meir Kahane, Hy"d, as well as, many, many other good Jews.
1. The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ), and 2.The Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry (UCSJ). The activities of these two organizations are particularly highlighted in the book, as are those of Rabbi Meir Kahane, Hy"d, as well as, many, many other good Jews.

This is a veritable encyclopedia of the Jewish world at the time, with many shades of color and activities.

It seems to me, Gal doesn't always remain neutral in his writing, and, at times, he should have distanced himself from portraying characters in the book with their negative traits.There are those who criticize him, stating that personal deficiencies are not an appropriate subject for such a book. Notwithstanding, Gal succeeded in reviving the images of those lesser known leaders of the movement, whose activities were not sufficiently publicized.

My intention here in particular is to Jacob Birnbaum, who arrived in N.Y. in the early 60's from England and was the inspiration behind the formation of the struggle. He posited that in the initial stage, voluntary, grassroots organizations needed to start up activities, in order to push and encourage the establishment groups to jump on the bandwagon.

I personally was an eyewitness to Rabbi Haskell Lookstein, speaking in front of his 800 congregants in Kehilath Jeshurun/Ramaz in N.Y., in praise of those activists for Soviet Jewry, particularly, Rabbi Meir Kahane, for their most important contribution to the cause.

I read Beckerman's book in the original English edition, and only recently acquired the Hebrew translated edition. I am not here to compare the Hebrew translation to the original. However, one thing stands out in particular in the Hebrew translation, and that is, an appendix attached by the publisher of the Hebrew edition, namely, Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva. The appendix praises the "Office Without A Name" for its contribution to the struggle for Soviet Jewry.

The "Office Without A Name " refers to the Israel Government office dating back to Ben Gurion's time that operated in a clandestine manner in all issues related to Russian Jewry. Beckerman, in many places in his book, gives a low grade to this Israeli office in the overall struggle. While it is true that Beckerman did not have access to the confidential files of the Office and its operations, this in itself did not in my opinion, justify inserting an appendix which does much to attempt to refute the author's contentions.

As stated, Gal Beckerman's book is truly a masterpiece. It's no coincidence that the book won the "Best Jewish Book" award for 2012. Want to feel excited, have a good cry like me, be proud of the Jewish people, and learn? I heartily recommend this book! Read it with the same enthusiasm with which it was written.

The writer of this article, Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch, was one of the leaders of the struggle from inside Russia, to open up the gates of the USSR for its Jews. He spent 11 years in Soviet prisons as the price for his daring plan. He lives in Kiryat Moshe, Jerusalem today.

Proverbs 31 Woman"




"A woman of Valour Who Can Find ,
her Value Is Far Beyond Pearls"

sterling silver opal stone

diameter 3/4 inch

comes with sterling silver chain


6) BO" the lesson of the Moon

new moon

When you see the moon at this state you must sanctify it as the head of all months.

by Moshe Kempinski

What are we to learn from the first commandment given to the people of Israel as a people;

“And HaShem spoke unto Moshe and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: 'This (HaZeh) month will be to you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 15:1-2)

The word HaZeh (‘this’), is very significant in our verse. The Midrash metaphorically understands God’s statement of ‘this’ as a Divine finger pointing towards the newly emerged sliver of a moon and saying to Moshe:

‘When you see the moon at this state you must sanctify it as the head of all months.'

What was it so important that this commandment be declared at this delicate time before the exodus from Egypt.

We also read a very dramatic statement n this context in the Talmud;

Rabbi Yohanan says, “Whoever makes the blessing for the new moon in its proper time, it is as if he receives the Divine presence." (Sanhedrin 42b)

Why would that be?

The children of Israel in Egypt were slaves. They had no control over time. In reality we are all slaves to time. We all feel as if we are victims of the rushing river of time . At times we feel as if we are being dragged forward into the unknown and at times we emerge feeling overwhelmed and powerless. Ever since Adam and Eve were introduced to the specter of death, the time clock began to tick consistently and ominously.

In Hebrew the word for “time” is zman. Rabbi Moshe Shapiro of Jerusalem teaches that zman is from the same root word as the word hazmana which means invitation. Time is not a raging river that carries us into the unknown. It is actually an invitation into an appointed destiny.

The Hebrew slaves of Egypt had to be taught this truth, so G-d commands them to declare a new month. G-d is telling these people that He has given them the power to sanctify the month. Furthermore it is not only about declaring the month’s beginning but it is about filling it with holiness and purpose. Their choice of sanctification also determines the arrival of the appointed feast days. They have been given this power over time by giving them the ability to fill time with meaning.

Furthermore they and we, their descendants, are being taught the power of renewal. We must learn to live in a world governed by the passage of the sun and its ever present constancy, as the verse declares;

There is nothing new under the sun. (Kohelet 1:9)

Yet we must also connect to the power of renewal and of new beginnings. The Jewish People are likened to the moon. Just as the moon grows brighter and then fades, Jewish history mirrors this cycle. Though they began as slaves, they developed into the powerful kingdoms of King David and his son. Though they entered exile their spiritual strength will always return and revive them. This is a cycle that will continue until the final days.

As we recite in the birkat halevanah, “the blessing of the moon, (Sanhedrin 42a):

Praised are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who created the skies with his word, and all heaven’s host with the breath of his mouth. He is the true Creator who acts faithfully, and he has told the moon to renew itself. It is a beautiful crown for the people carried by God from birth who will likewise be renewed in the future in order to proclaim the beauty of their creator for his glorious majesty.

Finally we are also taught a third lesson. As we noted the statement by Rabbi Yochanan

“Whoever makes the blessing for the new moon in its proper time, it is as if he receives the Divine presence” (Sanhedrin 42b)

and we must explain the reason for this.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk once asked his students “what language does G-d speak?” One student said "Hebrew". Another said in all languages and another said in “no language”. Rabbi Menachem Mendel answered “you are all partially correct, yet "Man" is the language of G-d. “Man has been given the role of expressing G-dliness in the world."

Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so too are the people of G-d directed to reflect the light of G-d. Even in the midst of the darkness of the night when the light of the sun cannot be perceived, its reflection is presented by the moon. Being a “light of the world” (Isaiah 42:6) simply means being a reflection of G-d’s light in the world.

That is the meaning behind Rabbi Yochanan’s statement about receiving the Divine Presence. That is to say that receiving the Divine Presence is actually about reflecting it unto the world even in times of darkness and exile.

“To declare in the morning Your loving-kindness and Your faithfulness at night” (Psalm 92:3)

LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Chaya Esther


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