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.
And this is Micah: “Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7).
It is what Mesha, King of Moab, does to get the gods to grant him victory over the Israelites: “When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom – but they failed. Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land” (II Kings 3:26-27).
How can the Torah regard as Abraham’s supreme achievement that he was willing to do what the worst of idolaters do? The fact that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son would seem to make him – in terms of Tanach, considered as a whole – no better than Baal or Molech worshippers or the pagan king of Moab. This cannot be the only possible interpretation.
* * * There is an alternative way of looking at the trial. To do so we must consider an overriding theme of the Torah as a whole. Let us assemble the evidence.
First principle: G-d owns the land of Israel. That is why He can command the return of property to its original owners in the Jubilee year: “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants” (Leviticus 25:23).
Second principle: G-d owns the children of Israel, since He redeemed them from slavery. That is what the Israelites mean when they sing, at the Red Sea: “Until your people pass by, O Lord, until the people you acquired [am zu kanita] pass by.” Therefore they cannot be turned into permanent slaves: “Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves” (Leviticus 25:42).
Third principle: G-d is the ultimate owner of all that exists. That is why we must make a blessing over anything we enjoy:
Rav Judah said in the name of Samuel: To enjoy anything of this world without first reciting a blessing is like making personal use of things consecrated to heaven, since it says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” R. Levi contrasted two texts. It is written, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” and it is also written, “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth hath He given to the children of men!” There is no contradiction: in the one case it is before a blessing has been said, in the other, after a blessing has been said (Berachot 35a).
All things belong to G-d, and we must acknowledge this before we make use of anything. That is what a blessing is: acknowledging that all we enjoy is from G-d.
This is the jurisprudential basis of the whole of Jewish law. G-d rules by right, not by might. G-d created the universe. Therefore G-d is the ultimate owner of the universe. The legal term for this is “eminent domain.” Therefore G-d has the right to prescribe the conditions under which we may benefit from the universe. It is to establish this legal fact – not to tell us about the physics and cosmology of the Big Bang – that the Torah begins with the story of Creation.
This carries a special depth and resonance for the Jewish people, since in their case G-d is not just – as He is for all humankind – Creator and sustainer of the universe. He is also, for Jews, the G-d of history, who redeemed them from slavery and gave them a land that originally belonged to someone else: the “seven nations.” G-d is sovereign of the universe, but in a special sense He is Israel’s only ultimate king, and the sole source of their laws. That is the significance of the book of Exodus.
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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.
An unprecedented number of 20 dentists from around the United States who are planning to make Aliyah to Israel took the Israeli Dentistry Licensing Exam, at the Nefesh B’Nefesh offices in Paramus, New Jersey, this week. This is the largest group ever to take the test outside Israel. Dentists who immigrate to Israel must pass […]
The United States and United Nations once again have showed their weakness and have failed to prevent violence in Ukraine.
Haredi youth have no excuse to dodge the draft, unless they really don’t want to learn Torah.
No one wants a third war in Lebanon, but everyone expects it. Next time, the IDF wants no surprises.
Three rockets were shot from Gaza into Israel, in the southern part of the Eshkol municipal council, exploding against the border security fence, Israel Radio reported. No one was hurt and there was no damage to property. IDF forces are searching the area. Back in 2005, many warned that the plan to unilaterally move the […]
This is not the first time PMW’s documentation has been impeded by YouTube.
Development of a modern highway has unearthed the discovery of an Islamic period fountain in a private garden outside the richer ares of Old Ramla, near the airport.
There is a glimmer of hope in fighting corrupt elections in Israel, which is no worse than anywhere else but simply more obvious.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/the-art-of-gratitude/2011/11/12/
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