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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Binyamin’

Two Injured From Arab Rock Throwing

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

In an Arab rock throwing incident Sunday morning near Michmas in the Binyamin region, three cars were damaged and two Israelis were injured.

One of the injured was treated on site, the second was transported to Hadassah-Har Tzofim hospital for treatment.

Update: Details on Funeral of Benzion Netanyahu, Father of Prime Minister

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Professor Benzion Netanyahu will be laid to rest at 5pm on Monday at the Har HaMenuchot Cemetery in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul neighborhood.

The former aide to Ze’ev Jabotinsky, father of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Operation Entebbe hero Yoni Netanyahu, was 102.  For more about Professor Benzion, click here.

 

The Megillah: How-To Manual on Defeating Anti-Semites

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Throughout the entire Scroll of ESTHER, God’s Name does not appear even once. Upon a casual reading, it would seem that Haman, Ahashverosh, Mordechai, and Esther are fully responsible for the events taking place within the narrative. Intrigue, human jealousies, and political machinations all account for the twists and turns within the Megillah as events of great significance to the Jewish Nation unfold.

After completing the story, however, it becomes clear that the juxtaposition of all the coincidences is nothing short of miraculous as God’s Hand becomes visible through the thin veil of history. It is important to note that the events described in ESTHER took place over a period spanning roughly ten years. Ahashverosh’s party took place in 3395, Haman drew the lots in 3404 and Israel won our victory in 3405 (dates according to Seder HaDorot). Living through that period, one would probably not have noticed anything extraordinary taking place as everything was unfolding according to the laws of nature. There was nothing especially supernatural about the process that we retroactively understand as having been miraculous.

Our Sages teach in the Jerusalem Talmud (Brachot 1:1) that we must look at the Purim story as a model to understand the final Redemption process. Through the epic story of mankind, HaShem weaves the Redemption of Israel. When making the effort to closely examine our own times, we can see God orchestrating the historic events – large and small – that have brought Israel back to our borders and are bringing the world ever closer to perfection.

We celebrate Purim today with great joy because we are familiar with the story’s victorious ending. The Hebrews of ancient Persia, however, had clearly found themselves in a very frightening situation. Persia’s Jews were faced with the threat of complete annihilation. And Mordechai – who Israel today praises as a national hero – may have been much less appreciated in his own generation. A superficial reading of ESTHER can even lead one to attribute Mordechai blame for placing his people in such a terrifying position.

“All the king’s servants at the king’s gate would bow down and prostrate themselves before Haman, for so had the king commanded concerning him. But Mordechai would not bow and would not prostrate himself.” (ESTHER 3:2)

The rabbinic leadership of Shushan at the time strongly condemned Mordechai’s refusal to bow before Haman. Comfortable with life outside of their homeland, they feared Mordechai might provoke Persian Jew-hatred and spoil their enjoyable Diaspora existence. But according to our commentators, Haman either engraved the image of an idol on his robes (Ibn Ezra) or attributed to himself the powers of a deity (Rashi). Because it is well known that the Torah commands one to die rather than bow before a false god, the condemnation of Mordechai seems somewhat unjustified.

The Maharal of Prague clarifies the rabbinic position in Ohr Hadash by explaining that Mordechai went out of his way to appear before Haman in order to purposefully demonstrate that he would not bow, thus creating an otherwise avoidable confrontation. The Sages record how the Jews of Persia reacted.

“They said to Mordechai, `Know that you are putting us at the mercy of that evil man’s sword!’” (Agadat Esther 3:2; Megillah 12:2, commentary of the Radvaz)

“So the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordechai, `Why do you disobey the king’s command?’ Finally, when they said this to him day after day and he did not heed them, they told Haman, to see whether Mordechai’s words would avail; for he had told them that he was a Jew.” (ESTHER 3:3-4)

A close reading of the Megillah reveals that Mordechai’s refusal to bow before Haman was not an isolated incident. Rather, he had gone out of his way several times in order to walk near the minister and publicly antagonize him. Because Mordechai could have easily avoided the situation but instead engaged in actions that were deliberately confrontational, Shushan’s Jewish leaders seem justified in their condemnation.

Even when Mordechai saw that “Haman was filled with wrath” (ESTHER 3:5), he continued to intentionally provoke the viceroy. Based on his actions and the Talmud’s teaching (Pesachim 64b) that a person is forbidden from relying on miracles, one could easily argue that Mordechai behaved irresponsibly with the lives of his people. The Maharal, however, defends Mordechai (in Ohr Hadsash), asserting that challenging Israel’s enemies ultimately leads to the sanctification of God’s Name.

The Midrash recounts that Mordechai explained to Haman that the reason he would not bow was that he was born of kings from the tribe of Binyamin. Haman countered, “But Yaakov, Binyamin’s father, bowed before Esav, my ancestor.” Mordechai answered him in turn, “Yes, but that was before Binyamin was born. He was born in Eretz Yisrael, and his soul, therefore, was an elevated soul. He would not bow down before others.” (Esther Rabbah 7:9)

Tel Shiloh Declared a National Heritage Site

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The Israeli Government has approved ten projects promoting sites of historical significance, including an archeological site in Tel Shiloh, in the Binyamin region of Samaria.

These promotional projects will allocate millions of Shekels to the rehabilitation and development of the sites. All the sites are of historic and Jewish significance.

Shiloh housed the Mishkan – the Tabernacle – during the period of the Judges, and essentially served as Israel’s capital in the 13th century BCE. It was destroyed some time before the establishment of the First Israelite commonwealth. Archeological findings at the site indicate that the area was inhabited in later periods as well, including during the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. A visitor’s center was established there a few years ago, to facilitate study of the Tabernacle. Tens of thousands of people visit the site every year.

To date, there have been only minor excavations at the site, with no comprehensive and thorough uncovering of the entire ancient city. This new promotional project will enable the completion of archeological diggings. An educational center will also be established to focus on the biblical events that occurred here thousands of years ago.

The National Heritage Site program was initiated two years ago, and is intended to preserve, rehabilitate and reconstruct sites of historical Jewish and Zionist importance. Thirty sites, including Tel Arad, the Herodium, and Beit Ha’Aztmaut in Tel Aviv, will receive this special dispensation, ensuring that their national and educational value are properly presented to the public, while cultivating the national identity of the state and preserving a unique history for generations to come.

Tamar Asraf, Binyamin and Shiloh’s spokeswoman, told Tazpit: “We are very happy that the government has come to this decision. We think it is a worthy and proper development, as Shiloh was the capital city of the first commonwealth. The site has earned its place in this distinguished list as a result of its significance”.

Rising Above Aggravation (Part Two)

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

In last week’s column I described some of the nerve-wracking aggravation inherent to travel. Going to Eretz Yisrael, however, is different. There, everything is different, because Eretz Yisrael is our land. Hashem gave it to us to be our eternal inheritance. So no matter how long we may have been away from her, the land remains as close to us as it was thousands of years ago. We have a teaching, “Whatever happened to our forefathers is a sign for us, their children. In other words, everything is replay.

When our father Jacob, after many years of exile, returned to Eretz Yisrael, he sent a message to Esau that he had been delayed, but was now coming – meaning he had never relinquished ownership of the land, but was merely delayed.

Similarly, for almost two thousand years, we too have been delayed, but throughout, the land was engraved on our hearts and souls. So yes, going to Eretz Yisrael is different, and that which we would find aggravating in other countries somehow does not affect us in the same way in the Holy Land. It’s not that I have some Pollyanna outlook. I am fully aware of the challenges that come with living there, and yet I still maintain that it is different.Allow me to share with you just one example:

Whenever I speak in Israel, I am careful to set time aside to visit the gravesites of our ancestors. So we engaged a taxi and asked the driver to take us to Kever Rachel and to wait for us. Now, taking taxi in Israel is, in and of itself, an experience. Nowhere else can you have a conversation with a driver as you can in Israel.

I am in the habit of asking the driver his name and this usually leads to a big discussion. When I asked this particular driver his name, he replied, “Benjy.”

“You mean Binyamin,” I said.

“What’s the difference, Binyamin or Benjy?” he asked.

“There’s a huge difference,” I responded. “Binyamin has a history; Binyamin has roots. Binyamin represents glory and splendor – the Holy Temple itself was in the territory of Binyamin. But what is Benjy? What history does a Benjy have?”

So we got into a whole discussion about Torah and Judaism, something that can only happen in Israel, and in the end he conceded that Binyamin does represent a legacy that Benjy does not have. Where else but in Israel can this happen?

Before we knew it, we had arrived at Kever Rachel and designated a spot where he should wait for us. There were about a dozen women at the Kever, each engrossed in her individual prayer, shedding tears and pleading for G-d’s mercy. What better place can there be to make such supplications? Regarding Rachel it is written, Kol b’Ramah nishma – a voice is heard above…Rachel is weeping for her children. She refuses to be consoled, and Hashem assures her, “Cease your weeping; wipe your tears. There is reward for your labor. Your children shall come home….”

When we pray at the grave of Mother Rachel, when we shed tears there, we know Rachel is praying with us. She feels our pain and weeps with us, and even as she does so, she gathers our tears and places them in front of G-d’s Throne. Mother Rachel refuses to be consoled until our salvation comes, and that knowledge fortifies us. So I found a place for myself right near her catafalque and started to pray.

I was pouring out my heart – I was in another world – when suddenly I was jarred. A busload of Sephardic women arrived. They made their way into the small room in which we were praying, and as more and more of them entered, I felt as if I were being crushed. I couldn’t move – neither to the right nor to the left.

Since I am slight of build, it doesn’t take much to knock me over, and here I was, being pushed and shoved until I felt I was on the brink of falling. If this had happened to me in any other country, in any other place, I would have been outraged…. At the very least, I would have said, “Ladies, watch where you are going. You are crushing me!” And I must admit that my natural reaction was to voice my protest here as well.

But then I started to think about where I was, and all the pushing and shoving took on a different dimension. I recalled the teaching of our sages that when the Jewish people gathered from throughout the land and ascended to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festivals, no one ever complained “Tzar lee hamakom – there is no room for me here.” This despite the fact that there were multitudes of people gathered there. So here we were, thousands of years later, at Kever Rachel, and we could not move – but even as our forefathers did, we all found room and prayed as one.

“Mama Rachel, ” I whispered, “behold your children. Millennia have passed since you ascended above and during those thousands of years we, your children, have been cast to the four corners of the world. We were tortured and oppressed. We experienced the barbaric savagery of the nations. Our children were torn from our arms, our blood flowed freely all over the world, and the skies became dark from the smoke of the fires that consumed our people, but despite it all, we, your children never forgot you. We kept your memory alive in our hearts and souls. We knew exactly where you were buried, and now, when Hashem in His infinite mercy allowed us to return to our land, we fought and gave our lives to be able to come to your resting place to pray, to thank you for your endless tears that testify that you never gave up on us.

So, Mother Rachel, just behold these women coming from different parts of the land, pushing and shoving – not for a bargain on a sales day, not to see a rock star, or any of the other attractions that have become synonymous with the 20th or 21st century. None of that would bring these women out. They all came to give you honor and to ask you to pray with them and intercede on their behalf in front of Hashem’s Throne.

It was those thoughts that ran through my mind as I was jostled to and fro in a sea of women. And as if by magic, annoyance turned into inspiration, aggravation into appreciation. And then I whispered yet another prayer: “Who is like Your people Israel, Oh G-d?”

“Hashem,” I prayed, “look down upon Your people and remember that, despite everything, we never forgot You! We never forgot that You commanded our father Jacob to bury our mother Rachel on the roadside so that she might always be accessible to us, her children. And now, thousands of years later, here we are, pouring out our hearts. Yes, “Who is like Your people Israel?”

I finished my davening and tried to make my way out, but no sooner had I emerged from the crowd than another lady approached me. “Come,” she said, “let’s say Nishmas together.”

We had already stayed an inordinate amount of time and were very much behind schedule. The taxi that had brought us and was supposed to be waiting had left long ago. Here we were in Bethlehem (not the friendliest of towns) and we wondered how we would get another taxi – but we could not resist such an amazing invitation, to say Nishmas on the way out of Kever Rachel – “Nishmas kol chai – The soul of every living being blesses and praises You.”

Can there be a more spectacular, meaningful prayer to recite on taking leave of Kever Rachel?

To be sure, if I had been delayed at any other place I would have politely declined. “I’m sorry,” I would have said, “but there is a meeting I have to make.” But here I had all the time in the world and instead of being annoyed my heart was filled with joy. What a zechus – merit – to say Nishmas at Kever Rachel with a group of women who had come from the four corners of the world, who spoke different languages, but who all united as one because they were all the children of Mama Rochel.

It was late when we finally got into another taxi, but I felt like singing with joy. What a magnificent day it had been – to pray as one with Am Yisrael and to be immersed in the fervor that has kept our people alive throughout the centuries.

Leadership

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

    As Yaakov makes his way back to the land of Canaan, several events – spanning the full range of emotions – transpire in rapid succession.

     The sequence (Bereishis 35:16-29): Yaakov and Rochel are blessed with the birth of Binyamin. Rochel died during the childbirth of Binyamin and was buried in Beis Lechem. Shortly thereafter, Reuvein committed a significant misdeed, by interfering in the affairs of his father, when he moved the bed of Yaakov from the tent of Bilhah to his mother Leah’s tent. Finally, Yaakov arrived home to the land of Canaan where he was reunited with his aged father Yitzchak.
  
 Many meforshim (commentators) seek to shed light on the logical thread that ties these events together. Additionally, they address the fact that the Torah seems to interject a census of the 12 sons of Yaakov in the midst of these pesukim without an obvious reason.
  
 Rashi creates a sequential chain that pulls these seemingly disparate facts into a coherent progression. The joyous birth of Binyamin brought about the tragic death of Rochel and her burial. After Rochel’s demise, Yaakov moved his bed and possessions from Rochel’s tent to Bilhah’s.

 Reuvein felt that, as the firstborn, it was his place to defend the honor of his mother Leah. As Rashi explains, Reuvein felt his mother Leah would be offended at the notion of having Bilhah assume the role of “akeres ha’bayis” (the primary wife) at this point.

 Thus, Reuvein took matters into his own hands and moved his father’s belongings. Once this incident was recorded, the Torah reverts to the fact that, after Binyamin’s birth, Yaakov’s 12 Shevatim (Tribes) were now complete and listed their names. Finally, Yaakov’s arrival at the home of his father is noted.

Shedding Light On The Actions Of Reuvein

 Rashi offers a second explanation for the interjection of the listing of the 12 sons of Yaakov in the midst of this sequence. Quoting a Gemara (Shabbos 55b), Rashi points out that even immediately after the actions of Reuvein, he was listed with the other sons – with the respectful title of firstborn (Beraishis 35:23) – to lend significance to the fact that he remained a tzaddik (righteous person). In fact that Gemara notes that Reuvein did not sin at all.

 Ramban takes this defense of Reuvein two steps further, by pointing out that the Torah specifically mentions that Yaakov immediately heard about the actions of his firstborn (VaYishma Yaakov, 35:22) to inform us that he did not punish him at that time. Additionally Ramban maintains that the Torah lists these two themes in one passuk -even though there is an unusual space in the middle of this passuk – to show that Yaakov accepted Reuvein even after this act.

Why The Punishment?

 After this rousing defense of Reuvein, Yaakov’s actions in the twilight of his life, as recorded in Parshas Vayechi, require explanation. As he blessed his children Yaakov admonished Reuvein for his impulsive actions and took away his rights, as firstborn, to Kehunah (priesthood) and Malchus (royalty), and then gave them to Levi and Yehudah, respectively. (See Rashi, others, for the reasons that Yaakov delayed his response until close to his death.)
 If Reuvein had not sinned, why, then, was he punished so severely? And if he was listed as the firstborn immediately after his misdeed, why did he lose those privileges later on?

The Responsibility Of Leadership

 I would like to suggest that Yaakov was not “punishing” Reuvein by any means. Yaakov still considered Reuvein to be his firstborn and began the Birchos Yaakov by noting “Reuvain bechori ata – You are my firstborn” (Beraishis, 49:3).

 Losing the leadership role, however, was inevitable once Reuvein had demonstrated that he acted impulsively – without proper reflection. If an individual responds impulsively to situations that arise he or she may be subjecting him or herself to the consequences of poor decisions.

 However, as a leader, this type of impulsive actions can be nothing short of disastrous. A true leader must always be reflective and measured in his or her responses. 

 Leadership of any kind – in one’s class, school, peer group, or any other social structure – is an honor and a privilege. It is also a significant responsibility, one that is best exercised with restraint and reflection.
 
 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.

 To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s Dvar Torah Sefer, “Growing With the Parsha” or his popular parenting tapes and CD’s – including his 2-CD set on “Raising your Adolescent Children” – please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, email udi528@aol.com, or call 845-352-7100 x 133

Leadership

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

As Yaakov makes his way back to the land of Canaan, several events – spanning the full range of emotions – transpire in rapid succession.

     The sequence (Bereishis 35:16-29): Yaakov and Rochel are blessed with the birth of Binyamin. Rochel died during the childbirth of Binyamin and was buried in Beis Lechem. Shortly thereafter, Reuvein committed a significant misdeed, by interfering in the affairs of his father, when he moved the bed of Yaakov from the tent of Bilhah to his mother Leah’s tent. Finally, Yaakov arrived home to the land of Canaan where he was reunited with his aged father Yitzchak.
 Many meforshim (commentators) seek to shed light on the logical thread that ties these events together. Additionally, they address the fact that the Torah seems to interject a census of the 12 sons of Yaakov in the midst of these pesukim without an obvious reason.
 Rashi creates a sequential chain that pulls these seemingly disparate facts into a coherent progression. The joyous birth of Binyamin brought about the tragic death of Rochel and her burial. After Rochel’s demise, Yaakov moved his bed and possessions from Rochel’s tent to Bilhah’s.
Reuvein felt that, as the firstborn, it was his place to defend the honor of his mother Leah. As Rashi explains, Reuvein felt his mother Leah would be offended at the notion of having Bilhah assume the role of “akeres ha’bayis” (the primary wife) at this point.
Thus, Reuvein took matters into his own hands and moved his father’s belongings. Once this incident was recorded, the Torah reverts to the fact that, after Binyamin’s birth, Yaakov’s 12 Shevatim (Tribes) were now complete and listed their names. Finally, Yaakov’s arrival at the home of his father is noted.
Shedding Light On The Actions Of Reuvein
Rashi offers a second explanation for the interjection of the listing of the 12 sons of Yaakov in the midst of this sequence. Quoting a Gemara (Shabbos 55b), Rashi points out that even immediately after the actions of Reuvein, he was listed with the other sons – with the respectful title of firstborn (Beraishis 35:23) – to lend significance to the fact that he remained a tzaddik (righteous person). In fact that Gemara notes that Reuvein did not sin at all.
Ramban takes this defense of Reuvein two steps further, by pointing out that the Torah specifically mentions that Yaakov immediately heard about the actions of his firstborn (VaYishma Yaakov, 35:22) to inform us that he did not punish him at that time. Additionally Ramban maintains that the Torah lists these two themes in one passuk -even though there is an unusual space in the middle of this passuk – to show that Yaakov accepted Reuvein even after this act.
Why The Punishment?
After this rousing defense of Reuvein, Yaakov’s actions in the twilight of his life, as recorded in Parshas Vayechi, require explanation. As he blessed his children Yaakov admonished Reuvein for his impulsive actions and took away his rights, as firstborn, to Kehunah (priesthood) and Malchus (royalty), and then gave them to Levi and Yehudah, respectively. (See Rashi, others, for the reasons that Yaakov delayed his response until close to his death.)
 If Reuvein had not sinned, why, then, was he punished so severely? And if he was listed as the firstborn immediately after his misdeed, why did he lose those privileges later on?
The Responsibility Of Leadership
I would like to suggest that Yaakov was not “punishing” Reuvein by any means. Yaakov still considered Reuvein to be his firstborn and began the Birchos Yaakov by noting “Reuvain bechori ata – You are my firstborn” (Beraishis, 49:3).
Losing the leadership role, however, was inevitable once Reuvein had demonstrated that he acted impulsively – without proper reflection. If an individual responds impulsively to situations that arise he or she may be subjecting him or herself to the consequences of poor decisions.
However, as a leader, this type of impulsive actions can be nothing short of disastrous. A true leader must always be reflective and measured in his or her responses.
Leadership of any kind – in one’s class, school, peer group, or any other social structure – is an honor and a privilege. It is also a significant responsibility, one that is best exercised with restraint and reflection.Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.

 To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s Dvar Torah Sefer, “Growing With the Parsha” or his popular parenting tapes and CD’s – including his 2-CD set on “Raising your Adolescent Children” – please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, email udi528@aol.com, or call 845-352-7100 x 133

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/leadership-4/2008/12/10/

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