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.
The American Jewish Orthodox community has probably been overwhelmed by the events of the past few weeks in Israel regarding the extremely hostile attacks that have been aimed at the haredi community by the secular press and politicians from across the political spectrum. This time the hostility that repeats itself in waves began over the issue of separation of men and women in public areas, continued with the issue of the extension of the Tal Law (that allows Torah scholars to be exempt from military service) and was followed by the allotments for Torah institutions and Torah scholars. It is clear that the animosity toward the Torah world emanates from political motives among politicians vying for headlines and popularity as primaries by several parties take place over the next few months.
This month, the month of Shevat, symbolizes renewal. It is on the fifteenth day of the month (Tu B’Shevat) that the Knesset celebrates its birthday (symbolic of the renewal of the Jewish state). Tu B’Shevat is also known as the New Year for the Trees. The Torah tells us that “mankind is like the tree in the forest” – and like the tree, our roots are the source for our continued existence. When mankind separates itself from its roots, there are clear ramifications. The Torah and the mitzvot are the root of our continued existence as a people. If the Jewish people uproot themselves from the Torah, their identity and purpose are lost. According to the Midrash, on Tu B’Shevat the resin of plants and trees begins to rise. This is a day of renewal and hope.
The first day of Shevat is when Moshe Rabbeinu began teaching the Torah to the Jewish people in the desert upon their freedom from bondage in Egypt. For thirty-seven days – from the first of Shevat until the seventh of Adar – Moshe taught all of Israel. He prepared them for their entry to, conquest of and possession of the land of Israel that, thank God, has reoccurred in our time. Moshe concluded by blessing the Jewish people.
As inscribed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the State of Israel was established as a “Jewish and Democratic State.” Those in Israel and outside the country who vilify orthodox Jewry for its total dedication to Torah values diminish the essence of its identity as a Jewish state. As we have seen in history and in our own times, democracy without moral and ethical values leads to decay and oppression. Without Torah roots, the State of Israel is not viable and has no future.
When I established the Shas Party as the Worldwide Sephardic Association of Torah Guardians in 1983, it emerged as a political force in the Jerusalem municipal election in 1983. Today Shas is the fourth largest party in the Knesset, representing the Sephardic sector of Israeli society. Its main role is to safeguard the country’s Jewish identity through education, and to assure the democratic and socio-economic rights of all Israeli citizens. In December Friends of Shas International was launched in New York, with the goal of welcoming U.S. supporters of the Shas mission into the fold and working together on mutual goals. We will work to bring the month of Shevat’s message – renewal and dedication to the moral and ethical values of the Torah – to all people, in Israel and throughout the world.
Rabbi Nissim Zeev, member of Knesset, is the founder of Shas, and founder and chairman of Friends of Shas International. You can e-mail your comments to email@example.com.
About the Author: Member of Knesset Rabbi Nissim Zeev is a founding member the Shas Party and a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem.
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Sometimes, like the tamei individual who must stay away from the Mikdash, we have our limits and disabilities, and we must remember not to attempt those goals which are beyond our reach.
Such a misunderstanding would render our words worthless, for we would not be declaring that Hashem is truly the Master of the Universe.
Operating the crane is Joe. Joe is overweight and a chain smoker. Another worker approaches Joe and says, “Joe, look at you! 80 pounds overweight, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. You must do something about your health. Go the gym, work out, and get in shape.”
A Grafted Esrog
‘Passul When Missing Even a Tiny Bit’
The day after Purim, Mordechai Freilich received the mishloach manos package with a note: “This mishloach manos was meant to be delivered on Purim, but delayed due to the storm. Please accept our apologies.”
Esther’s name, which means “hidden,” reminds us that at the outset she hides her Jewish identity.
Nasi is the generic word for a leader: a ruler, king, judge, elder, or prince. Usually it refers to the holder of political power.
He exhorted all of us to continue to reach out to one another each and every day because that is what our tafkid (life’s goal) should be. And because that is what Hashem requires of us.
My ex despises me and is bent on destroying me. He has done everything to torture me.
Rav Akiva Eiger questions why semicha is considered a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma. While it is true that it must be performed during the daytime, this is not because the semicha per se cannot be performed by night.
Question: When performing a mitzvah, what is more important: doing it right away – “zerizim” – or doing it with a large crowd – “berov am”?
Although the Torah only commands us to pick up the arba minim, the rabbis require that we wave them in all four directions of the compass as well as upward and downward.
Besides the lack of appreciation and understanding on the part of knesset Yisrael, Sefer Vayikra has been derided and held in contempt by the nations of the world and other religions.
The 10-day period from Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur is, as is well known, a time to begin personal introspection – an occasion to look back at one’s mistakes of the past year and plan the needed changes to improve oneself in the New Year. In the U.S. it is also a time for Americans to make positive “resolutions.”
In our time we must always take advantage of the opportunity for a second chance to revive our identity as Jews in Eretz Yisrael, for without the identity of Israel as a Jewish state, we are truly at a spiritual and physical loss.
The American Jewish Orthodox community has probably been overwhelmed by the events of the past few weeks in Israel regarding the extremely hostile attacks that have been aimed at the haredi community by the secular press and politicians from across the political spectrum.
The Jewish Press is proud to announce a new monthly column by the founder of the Shas Party, Member of Knesset Rabbi Nissim Zeev.
As Jews in Israel and all over the world prepare to celebrate Shavuot, it is incumbent upon us to take the time to reflect on the meaning of our traditional values and history with regard to our current challenges and goals.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/shevat-reinforcing-dedication-to-the-torah/2012/02/10/
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