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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Har Sinai’

Carriers Of The Talmudic Torch

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Earlier this month the London Games were all the rage. Tens of thousands descended upon Great Britain’s crown jewel to witness the Olympics and cheer for their respective countrymen.

Curious onlookers would have their questions answered about whether a Jamaican runner would set the fastest sprint time ever recorded, or if an accomplished American swimmer would take home more career gold medals that any other Olympian in the history of the games.

Of course, there was also much speculation as to whether the current version of the Dream Team could match the original and bring home this nation’s assumed birthright, a gold medal in men’s basketball.

Coverage of the games was incessant. Thousands of media members packed into The Big Smoke to catch all of the action and transmit it live to their respective viewers and listeners worldwide. And as the storylines became more compelling, the ratings increased, to the point where the daily medal count actually occupied more news time than the ongoing bickering and political jabbing between our much-maligned president and his affluent but not particularly transparent antagonist.

Concurrent with some of the athletic hoopla was another event that packed stadiums and theaters. That celebration, however, was not attended by roaring crowds wearing face paint and waving colorful flags.

Rather, those buildings – which included New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, Yad Eliyahu Stadium in Tel Aviv, Binyanei Ha’Umah in Jerusalem, theaters in Chicago, Los Angeles, London and other large Jewish communities – as well as satellite hookups in shuls and social halls throughout the world drew individuals who had either completed an entire cycle of the Talmud or were demonstrating their support for those who had.

While the differences between those who filled the stands at the 30th Olympiad and the more than 150,000 individuals who attended a siyum haShas were plain to see and will be discussed at greater length below, there were some noteworthy parallels between the Olympic athletes and those who had spent the past seven and a half years completing their study of the Talmud.

Success on the Olympic level requires many things. One, naturally, is abundant talent and skill. Another is the fortune of having someone (parent, coach, etc.) to help the athlete achieve his or her dreams through advocacy, guidance and financial support.

But talent and advocacy alone are almost never sufficient to bring home the gold. For someone to reach and succeed on the world’s largest athletic stage, he or she must develop and maintain a comprehensive plan for success, committing to an ongoing regimen of hard work despite the many invariable challenges and setbacks.

These same qualities, l’havdil, are required for sustained success in the realm of limud haTorah. Rabbi Yissochor Frand spoke eloquently on this point at the MetLife siyum. He referenced the great late Mirrer rosh yeshiva, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt”l, who achieved international renown for his saintliness and continuous devotion to Torah study despite a lengthy bout with Parkinson’s disease.

The rosh yeshiva would challenge people, even those well into their retirement years, to develop rigorous personal plans for Torah study and achievement. Applying this idea to the siyum, Rav Frand noted that it was impossible for any participant to achieve this tremendous accomplishment without going into the process with a clear plan about how to achieve his goal. He also needed to secure the support and advocacy of the siyum’s unsung heroes, his wife and children, for this to happen. And now that he had finally accomplished his goal, it was time to establish a new, improved plan, one that would raise the bar even higher, through a greater level of study and review.

But of course the differences between the Olympics and the siyum far outweighed the similarities in a classic “we run and they run” dichotomy. In the latter instance, the audience was not a band of raucous bystanders whose sole role was to offer moral support for their favorite team and take in the action. Here, the audience and the “performers” were one and the same, assembling to celebrate their collective achievement, receive inspiration from some of the Torah world’s most accomplished scholars, and strengthen each other in the quest for more spiritual gold in the years ahead.

Remembering Har Sinai

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In this week’s parshah Moshe Rabbeinu recounts ma’mad Har Sinai – the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai. Additionally, the Torah warns us earlier in the parshah not to forget the revelation that we witnessed at Har Sinai, for as the pasuk says: “Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen and lest you remove them from your heart all the days of your life, and make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Devarim 4:9).

The Rambam does not count this as a negative commandment. The Ramban, in his commentary to the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos (in the section of the prohibitions that the Rambam neglected to count mitzvah 2), writes that we learn from this pasuk that there is a prohibition for one to forget ma’mad Har Sinai and that the Rambam forgot to count it. He continues by explaining the importance of this mitzvah: for if we were to believe that our Torah came from a navi, even a true navi whom we trust, it would not be the same; another navi or dream could then discredit the Torah, creating doubt in our minds. However, now that we know that the Torah was given by Hashem to millions of people, no doubt could ever arise in our minds, since we were the ones who witnessed Hashem’s act of giving us the Torah.

The Magen Avraham (60:2) asks why Chazal did not decree that we should read from the Torah about the giving of the Torah, similar to the decree that we read about annihilating Amalek – since we must remember both events. He answers that it is because we have the Yom Tov of Shavuos to read about it – and that is sufficient.

The Aruch Hashulchan suggests another reason why we do not have a special reading on Shabbos to remember the giving of the Torah. He writes that even according to the Ramban’s view that it is a negative commandment to forget the giving of the Torah, it is only a prohibition to forget and not a positive commandment to remember. We only have special Torah readings when there is a mitzvah to remember, not against forgetting.

However, other Rishonim argue with the Ramban by saying that there is no negative commandment to forget ma’mad Har Sinai; rather the pasuk is prohibiting forgetting the Torah itself. The Yereim (359) says that the pasuk is referring to forgetting Torah, and draws a proof from the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (3:8) that says that anyone who forgets what he has learned is considered to be deserving of death. The Mishnah quotes this pasuk as a reference. The same is implicit from the Sefer Mitzvos Ketanos (96).

The sefer Megillas Esther (commentary to the Ramban’s commentary to the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos) explains that the Rambam did not count this pasuk as a negative commandment because he understood (like the other Rishonim) that it is referring to forgetting the Torah itself. This makes it a general mitzvah that encompasses all of the Torah, commanding us to follow the Torah and its mitzvos. The Rambam does not count this type of mitzvah in his count of mitzvos.

The Ramban asks on himself a question from the Gemara in Kiddushin 30a, which derives from this pasuk that when one learns Torah with his grandchildren Hashem considers it to be as if he himself accepted Torah on Har Sinai. Seemingly, the Gemara understands that this pasuk is referring to learning Torah and not remembering about the giving of the Torah. The Ramban answers that learning about emunas haTorah (belief in the Torah) is learning Torah as well.

The sefer Hararei Kedem suggests that the Rambam agrees with the Ramban that the pasuk is referring to forgetting the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai, yet the Rambam did not count it (among his mitzvos) because he believes that the prohibition of forgetting ma’mad Har Sinai is a part of the mitzvah of learning Torah. The Ramban explained that the teaching of emunas haTorah is also regarded as learning Torah.

This can be interpreted this way: There are two parts to the mitzvah of learning Torah. One is to learn Torah; the second is to teach emunas haTorah. It is regarding the second aspect of the mitzvah that the Gemara in Kiddushin said that one who learns with his grandchildren is considered as having accepted the Torah on Har Sinai himself. This is because when one learns Torah with his grandfather, it is as if he is learning with someone from one generation closer to Har Sinai. This learning has both aspects of the mitzvah in it. It has the actual learning, and it strengthens the grandchild’s belief in the Torah. Thus, regarding emunas haTorah, the Gemara reveres a grandfather who teaches Torah to his grandchildren – for it is as if he has accepted the Torah on Har Sinai.

Every Day Is Graduation Day!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

On the 43rd day of the Omer I asked a child how many days there were to go. He immediately answered that 37 days remained. In response to my inquiry about his calculations, he excitedly announced that there were 37 days left to the school year! While all of us–he included–were counting down to the monumental day of receiving the Torah, he was also counting the days until he would be absolved of learning the very same Torah in the formal school environment! Interestingly, his response immediately reminded me of the actions of Klal Yisroel after they received the Torah. Chazal tell us that Klal Yisroel ran away from Har Sinai like a young child runs away from school. At this time of year, when we celebrate the milestone of graduation and the conclusion of another stage in life, the question we must ask ourselves is, “Where are we going next?”

If the purpose of life is to grow to our potential, the celebration of graduation must be one of a beginning and not an end. So many children finish their years in yeshiva and then proceed to subsequent states in life without setting their GPS devices to the proper destination. So many children finish yeshiva and are lacking the skills and/or desire to continue their growth in learning – in quality or quantity. So many young men and women finish their studies in Israel with a fire in their souls and a determination to make concrete changes in their attitudes towards Torah and mitzvos, yet return to autopilot and a journey-without-a-destination, within a matter of months. A parent approached me with tears in his eyes, asking how he could have paid $420,000 in tuition – 3 years in yeshiva in New York and two years of study in Israel – only to have his child shed Torah and mitzvos – including Shabbos observance – in only four months in college. What went wrong?

This heart-wrenching question is not a new one. Unfortunately, this is the pattern we have modeled for our children as we, and they, experienced Jewish events throughout the year. When the 25 hours of Yom Kippur are over and we have cleansed our souls with real teshuva, how long does the spiritual elevation remain? In one yeshiva I attended, it was customary to start Shachris the morning after Yom Kippur a minute early so that learning would then start a minute earlier; Yom Kippur would have been worth it if only to incorporate the extra minute of learning on the day after the fast. Forty days of teshuva, two weeks of selichos, ten days of repentance, 25 hours of fasting and fervent prayers… and all we have to show for it upon “graduation” is one minute of learning? Yes, because each minute, every moment has value.

Completion of a process and graduation is only successful if the next stage in life is begun immediately and successfully. It is so easy to go back to the autopilot of hergel, our rote, automatic actions, reacting to life and our surroundings instead of living a life of contemplative decision making and thought-out responses. This pattern unfortunately follows us throughout the year. We build a sukkah and brave the elements for eight days, and what do we take with us when we graduate the holiday? We spend time and money to purchase the four species, and what do we take from the mitzvah after seven days of blessing the lulav and esrog?

Preparing for Pesach, we clean our homes, search our houses for every last crumb, and change our dishes, but do we have cleaner souls upon graduation, or are we only left with a few extra potato-starch induced pounds? We become habituated to going through life by doing the routines of mitzvos and Torah study, but do we reach the level of “lilmod al minas la’asos,” study for the purpose of making real changes in our actions? When we allow ourselves to perform by habit, when we don’t use our religious experiences as a springboard from growth, when we don’t use our performance of mitzvos as an opportunity to connect to Hashem, ourselves and our community, then we risk alienating ourselves from it all when we are in a new environment and our routines do not come naturally.

The Revelation On Mount Sinai – A Strengthening In Faith Forever

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

There is a tradition from the Vilna Gaon that Milchemes Gog and Magog at the time of Moshiach will last only 12 minutes. In that short amount of time 1/3 of the world will be destroyed, 1/3 severely wounded and 1/3 will survive. Until recently this was incomprehensible – how could such destruction happen so quickly? The answer came with the onset of the atomic age. With nuclear weapons, mass destruction can occur, G-d forbid, in just moments. However there is a deeper explanation. The great baalei mussar explain that this war will not be a mere physical battle, but rather a battle of emunah – faith. This battle will be the final attempt of the forces of evil to conquer the world. The whole world will be thrown into turmoil and our very faith in Hashem will be tested to the utmost. Those who are steadfast will merit seeing the coming of Moshiach. This test will be only take 12 minutes, but it will be overwhelming. If we prepare ourselves now, we will hopefully pass that great ordeal with flying colors.

In truth, our generation is being tested in ways previous generations never imagined. The abundance of wealth, lives of comfort and easy accessibility to the worst sins have shaken our nation. We can only hope for the quick arrival of Moshiach to save us from further deterioration. The Satan knows that his days are numbered, and soon his Domain of Evil will be wiped off the face of earth forever. He is therefore bombarding us with weapons that have never before been at his disposal. How can we strengthen our faith in Hashem so that we can survive his massive onslaught? The chag of Shavuosgives us a great opportunity.

The Foundation of Our Faith

Many years ago in Yemen the Jews were suffering from severe religious persecutions. In order to strengthen them, the Rambam wrote a beautiful letter called Igeres Teiman – the Letter to Yemen. He writes: “It is proper for you my brothers to raise your children on that great event (i.e. the Revelation on Mount Sinai), and relate in public its greatness and honor and splendor, for it is the pillar which our faith stands on…. for this great and massive event which was seen clearly, never happened before in the world’s history and will never happen again. That is, that an entire nation should hear the word of Hashem and see His honor with their very eyes. Raise your children on that great experience!” The Rambam teaches us that to strengthen our faith, we must reiterate to ourselves and our children that we saw clearly – with our own eyes – Hashem’s Glory and Sovereignty, as it says: “You have been shown that Hashem is the only God – there is none besides Him!” (Devarim4:35)

The Point of the Revelation

Continues the Rambam, “The point of this event was in order to give our faith a great strengthening… as the Torah tells us (Yisro 20:17) ‘In order to test you, Hashem is coming, and in order so that His fear should be upon you so that you should not sin.’ In other words, the reason why He revealed Himself in this manner was so that we should be able to overcome any test which may come upon us in the end of days, so that our hearts should not budge and come to sin.” The Rambam is teaching us that this great experience fortified us so strongly with faith that we now have the keys to withstand the greatest tests in emunah in any generation, and especially the ones before the coming of Moshiach!

How is this so? The Medrash Tanchuma (Parshas Noach) tells us that Hashem raised Har Sinai over the heads of the entire nation and threatened to bury them alive if they didn’t accept the Oral Torah. The Maharal explains that this was really a figurative description of what had happened. At that moment, Hashem revealed the inner workings and secrets of the entire universe. From the highest level of the Heavens, down to the deepest depths of the earth, everything was opened to them and they saw clearly that there is none besides Him! At the same time they saw how the entire universe is dependent on our accepting and keeping the entire Torah. This awareness took away any possibility of not accepting the Oral Torah.

Shavuos: Torah, Shabbos and the Jews

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Shavuos. How unremarkable a name for a Yom Tov that celebrates the very foundation of our existence. Actually, Shavuos is one of five names designated for this holiday, the others being Atzeres, Yom HaBikurim, Chag HaKatzir and Z’man Mattan Toraseinu.

The prominence given to “Shavuos” arises from the seven-week interval (shivah Shavuos) – the duration of time it took us to reach an apex of purity that would enable us to receive the holy Torah. This seven-week count cleansed us of defilement and prepared us to stand under the “chuppah” at Har Sinai.

As we say in each successive daily count of the Omer, “May it rectify our nefesh, ruach and neshamah from every baseness and defect, and may it purify and sanctify us with Your supernal holiness.” Here we are taught that the name Shavuos also connotes that Torah must be learned b’kedushah uv’taharah – with a holy and pure spirit.

The significance of that lesson is highlighted by the historic occasion that takes place on a Shabbos, the seventh and most coveted of days, one that God blessed and made holy and presented to us as a “special gift hidden in My treasure house” (Shabbos 10b).

Our spiritual essence is made up of three elements: nefesh – the basic animal part of the soul that drives our material inclinations; ruach, resting on a somewhat higher plane and associated with our emotions, and the neshamah, which is solely spiritual in nature and centers on the intellect.

The ruach tends to dwell with the nefesh on weekdays, whereas on Shabbos – when we divest ourselves of mundane thought and activity – it attaches itself to the neshamah, the loftiest part of our soul. This hones our spiritual awareness, further enhanced by the additional soul given to us on erev Shabbos – the neshamah yeseirah – that inculcates us with that special capacity to perceive and absorb the aura of Gan Eden that Shabbos allows us to sample.

Week after week after week it keeps us going. We look toward it and live for it – not merely for its respite from our daily grind aspect, but for the tonic effect that revitalizes all our senses, physically and spiritually, and impacts our quality of life for the coming week.

The countdown already begins on the first day of the week. Hayom yom echad b’Shabbos… Today is the first day of the Sabbath; Hayom yom sheini b’Shabbos… Today is the second day of the Sabbath, etc.

The tempo builds with each new day, by the evening of the fifth reaching a crescendo that charges the atmosphere of every Jewish home as preparation for the holy Shabbos is in full swing. By the sixth day, an ethereal sense of transformation is palpable. Heaven and earth are in sync, as all of creative work above and below wind down to a standstill.

Har Sinai and all other mountains trembled violently. The waters of lakes and rivers sought to escape their confines as the Holy Presence began to descend to the top of the mount. With the first word of God, the tumult ceased. Not a sound could be heard – from the bird’s trill to the fluttering of its wings, all was still. The angels halted their songs of praise, the ocean their rippling waves, the sun stopped in its rotating tracks as the Master of the Universe declared Anochi Hashem Elokecha, I am Hashem your God.

The Torah is literally our life force, for had we not agreed to receive it at Har Sinai, the world would have ceased to exist. Since our faith lies at the core of the holy Torah and the fundamental premise of our belief system is rooted in the holy Shabbos, it is easily discerned how keeping the Shabbos holy is akin to adhering to all of the 613 mitzvosin the Torah.

* * * * *

When the Chofetz Chaim once visited the city of Petersburg, all of its Jewish residents came to greet him at the train station. An affluent citizen in the crowd who had come with the hope of eliciting a berachah from the Chofetz Chaim handed him an impressive sum of money as contribution for the yeshiva in Radin.

Sefiras Ha’Omer – Why We Count, What We Count

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

“And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the rest day, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving – seven weeks, they shall be complete.” – Vayikra 23:15

Sefer HaChinuch: The Torah commands us to count the Omer so we can relive the Exodus from Mitzrayim. Just as the Jews back then anxiously anticipated the great day when they were to receive the Torah, so too we count the days till Shavuos, the Yom Tov that commemorates the giving of the Torah. To the Jews then, accepting the Torah on Har Sinai was even greater than their redemption from slavery. So we count each day to bring ourselves to that sense of great enthusiasm, as if to say, “When will that day come?”

With these words the Sefer HaChinuch defines the mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer. The difficulty with this is the statement that “to the Jews then, receiving of the Torah was even greater than being freed from slavery.” It seems hard to imagine that anything would be greater to a slave than being freed. This concept is even more perplexing when we envision what it was like to be a slave in Mitzrayim.

The lives of Jews in Mitzrayim were defined by misery and suffering. They had no rights. They had no life. They couldn’t own property, choose their own destiny, or protect their own children. They didn’t even have the right to their own time. A Mitzri could at any moment demand a Jew’s utter and complete compliance to do his bidding. If a Jew walked in the streets, it was every Mitzri’s right to whisk him away, without question and without recourse, and force him into slave labor for whatever he saw fit.

Waking in the early morning to the crack of the Mitzri’s whip, the Jews were pushed to the limit of human endurance until late at night when they fell asleep in the fields. Without rest, without breaks, the Jews lugged heavy loads and lifted huge rocks. Sweat, tears, and bloodshed were their lot. In the heat of the sweltering sun and in the cold of the desert night, at the risk of life and limb, the Jew was oppressed with a demon-like fury. A beast of burden is treated wisely to ensure its well-being, but not the Jew. He was pushed beyond all limits. Finally, when Pharaoh was asked to let the Jewish people go, he increased their load, taking it from the impossible to the unimaginable.

How could anything in the world be more desirable to the Jews than freedom? How could it be that anything, even something as great as receiving the Torah, could mean more to them than being redeemed from slavery?

The answer to this question lies in understanding the great level of clarity that the Jews reached by living through the makkos and the splitting of the sea.

For ten months, each Jew saw with ever-increasing clarity that Hashem created, maintains, and orchestrates this world. With absolute certainty, they experienced Hashem’s presence in their lives. This understanding brought to them to recognize certain core cognitions.

Every human has inborn understandings. Often they are masked and subdued. Whether by environment or by desire, the human spends much of his life running from the truths that he deeply knows. When the Jews in Mitzrayim experienced Hashem’s power and goodness, they understood the purpose of Creation. They knew we are creations, put on this planet for a reason. We were given a great opportunity to grow, to accomplish, to mold ourselves into who we will be for eternity. We have a few short, precious years here, and then forever we will enjoy that which we have accomplished. Because they so clearly experienced Hashem, their view of existence was changed. They “got it.”

Because of this, the currency with which they measured all good changed. They recognized that the greatest good ever bestowed upon man is the ability to change, to mold himself into something different so that he will merit to cling to Hashem. They recognized that everything we humans value as important pales in comparison to the opportunity to grow close to Hashem. Because they understood this point so vividly, to them the greatest good possible was the receiving of the Torah – Hashem’s word, the ultimate spiritual experience.

And so, while they anxiously anticipated the redemption from slavery as a great good that would free them from physical oppression, they valued the reason they were being freed even more. They were to receive the Torah.

This concept has great relevance in our lives, as we have the ability to tap into this instinctive knowledge of the importance of learning. When a person gets caught up in the temporal nature of this world, the currency with which he rates things changes. The value system now becomes honor, power, career, or creature comforts. That is what he views as good, and that is what he desires. The more a person involves himself in these, the more important they become, and the less precious the Torah becomes. Our natural appreciation of Torah becomes clouded over by other desires and an ever-changing value system.

Sefira And The Battle With Our Evil Inclination

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

During Pesach we experience liberation from slavery, followed by the dramatic encounter with Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. Then we trek through the desert to the great moment at Har Sinai.

This sequence anticipates what our Sages tell us will happen at the Final Redemption. The Chofetz Chaim is quoted as having said that “we can learn about the end of our exile from what happened at the end of our exile in Egypt” (Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, zt”l, as noted in Redemption Unfolding by A. A. Mandelbaum).

It is well to have this in mind, because we are going to need all the help we can get in the days before Mashiach arrives.

Today the foundations and pillars of our civilization are shaking, just as the foundations and pillars of ancient Egypt shook during the Ten Plagues. The people and the land of Israel are surrounded today, just as we were surrounded at the Red Sea.

When Hashem took us out of Egypt, we were at Mem Tes Sha’are Tumah, almost completely submerged in the quicksand of Egyptian idolatry and immorality. As Rashi tells us (Shemos 13:18), only one-fifth of our people made it out of Egypt at all; the rest had become so assimilated that they disappeared during the Plague of Darkness.

Even those who left with Moshe Rabbeinu were redeemed only through Hashem’s mercy. Extrapolating from that, we can assume that Hashem will redeem us at the time of Mashiach not because we are deserving, but out of chesed. As we say in Shemoneh Esrei, God will send a Redeemer “l’ma’an shemo b’ahavah…for His sake, with love.”

But if we were on such a low level, how did we become worthy to receive the Torah? What happened between Egypt and Sinai?

The answer is that during that seven-week march through the desert, our job was to elevate ourselves so that we would retroactively merit our liberation and try to become worthy of receiving the Torah.

Today, we refer to those seven weeks as the days of Sefiras HaOmer, and our job is not simply to count the days between Pesach and Shavuos but to use each passing day to elevate ourselves. Just as we had to climb from the depths of impurity in Egypt to try to merit standing before God at Mount Sinai, so today we try to prepare ourselves for receiving the Torah once again by working on our middos during these seven weeks.

And so too we are preparing for the Great Day on which we will be redeemed forever from Exile. As we say, “Master of the Universe, You commanded us…to count the Omer in order to cleanse us from our encrustations of evil and from our contaminations….In the merit of the Omer Count…may there be corrected whatever blemish I have caused in the sefira….May I be cleansed and sanctified…and may it correct our lives, spirits and souls from all sediment and blemish….”

* * * * *

Since the Source of our protection throughout our long and challenging history is the Torah, and since we are now in the process of preparing once again to receive the Torah, I would suggest we concentrate very deeply in the weeks ahead on the spiritual program called Sefiras HaOmer, the crash course in self-improvement that this period affords us. After all, we are doing nothing less than ensuring our own personal and national survival – in fact, the survival of the entire world.

I think it is fitting here to quote from the words of Mrs. Chava Sandler, wife and mother of the recent martyrs of Toulouse, France: “To all those who wish to bring consolation to our family and contentment to the souls of the departed: Let’s continue their lives on this earth. Parents, please kiss your children. Tell them how much you love them, and how dear it is to your heart that they be living examples of our Torah, imbued with the fear of Heaven and love of their fellow man. Please increase your study of Torah, whether on your own or with your family and friends. Help others who may find study difficult to achieve alone. Please bring more light into the world by kindling the Sabbath candles this and every Friday night.”

These are the words of a woman from whom so much was taken. Instead of drowning in bitterness, she gave us the message we need in these challenging times. She encouraged all of the Children of Israel to cleave to the One Source of strength, consolation and direction we possess in this world.

If you have read my book From Central Park To Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul, you know I was raised in a home devoid of Torah. Both my parents were Jewish. They were also great people, and we lived in a metropolis filled with Jews, but there was no Jewisness in our life.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/sefira-and-the-battle-with-our-evil-inclination/2012/04/12/

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