Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Why is an egg an integral part of the Pesach Seder?
I heard a beautiful answer from the beloved rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, shlita.
An egg is unique. Other births are one step: the baby is born. But an egg is a two-step process: the egg is laid and then the baby must work hard, pecking its way out from within.
This symbolizes what happens between Passover and Shavuot. On Passover, the nation of Israel was released, like the egg. We appeared as a new entity. But we were not yet born. We began the process of emerging from within the egg, from darkness to light, preparing ourselves to assume our true role as the servants of Almighty God.
And we had to work. Forty-nine days of exertion.
It is dark inside that egg. Sometimes it seems we are surrounded by darkness.
During Sefira, we adopt an attitude of semi-mourning. It is not unusual to see an otherwise very neat Jewish man going around with a three-week growth of beard.
What do others think? Perhaps they say, “Why do these Jews look so messy? Don’t they care about their appearance?”
In fact, I would suggest this is an integral part of our preparation for accepting the Torah. We are the nation that clings with total devotion to God, despite the taunts and jeers of the entire world. They go their way and we go our way.
The first blessing of Shemoneh Esrei ends with the words “magen Avraham.” Why only Avraham? Isn’t God also the Shield of Isaac and Jacob? Perhaps our rabbis are reminding us how our nation began. Avraham was entirely alone in the world. Alone! There was no Jewish community, no gedolim to guide him, no roshei yeshiva, no Vaad, no Jewish structure – in fact, no Jews at all.
Our father Avraham was alone with his God, alone in a hostile and predatory world, and God protected him. God was his shield.
And so it is with us.
We should know we are also alone in the world. We have basically no friends, despite what they may say. Our only friend is God. For two thousand years we have been execrated and mocked, shoved from one alien culture to another. And yet God has saved us every moment. God, the Shield of Avraham, is also our Shield – the Shield of Avraham’s Children.
Now, when the nations of the world surround us with their pretensions of power, we must remember that our Father in Heaven is the Ruler of the world. The pope comes to our Holy Land and declares that he is in favor of a state for our enemies. The president of the United States attempts to coerce the Children of Israel to give away that Holy Land to our enemies.
Children of Esau, the Torah warns you: the Creator of the Universe bequeathed that Land to the Children of Israel and not to anyone else. As Rashi comments on Genesis 1:1, “If the nations of the world will say to Israel, ‘You are thieves, for you conquered the lands of the seven nations [who inhabited the Land of Canaan,’ then Israel] will say to them, ‘The whole earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed is He. He created it and He gave it to the one found proper in His eyes. By His wish He gave it to them, and by His wish He took it from them and gave it to us.’”
My wife and I were recently in the Pacific Northwest, where we saw Mount St. Helens, which erupted in a volcanic cataclysm at 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980. The insides of that mountain blew 80,000 feet in the air and four states became dark as night.
That is but an infinitesimal example of the power of the One Who created the universe.
Do you, alleged rulers of nations, believe you can interfere with the will of the Ruler of the Universe? Do you think you can prevent God from bringing His children back to their Land to live there eternally in peace and sanctity?
Your time is growing short, arrogant ones. Your mountain is about to explode. If you dare to stand in the way of the Eternal One, your world will be pulverized, just as God pulverized the Generation of the Flood, the Generation of Babel, Pharaoh, Haman, and all His enemies through the ages. One minute you strut before the world; the next minute you are dust and worms.
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, "2020 Vision" (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Russian with a Georgian edition in preparation. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul" (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, Georgian edition in preparation) and "Worldstorm." Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com. Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.
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At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.
Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
As shocking and insulting and horrifying as it is, Nazi war criminals are still living freely among us.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
Ramaz is a venerable Modern Orthodox educational institution whose mission statement contains the explicit commitment to “Ahavat Yisrael, and love and support for the State of Israel.”
At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.
They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.
Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.
At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.
So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.
What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:
“In those days, when King Achashveirosh sat on his royal throne which was in Shushan the capital, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his officials and servants, the army of Persia and Medea; the nobles and officials of the provinces being present, when he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendorous majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days.
“Israel has bad public relations.”
This is the perennial cry. “Israel must improve its image to convince the world of the justness of its cause.”
Let’s face it: this is not going to be an ordinary year.
We are praying very seriously this year because we are praying for our lives. Yes, I know: every year we pray for our lives. But how many feel it? This year, whether we want to or not, I think we are beginning to feel it.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/shield-of-avraham/2009/05/27/
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