web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Parshas Lech Lecha’

A Place To Call Home

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Coming to Kever Rachel one cannot help but recall the traditional domed structure that once stood as a humble memorial to the greatest of women. Unfortunately a fortress like edifice of towering large concrete slabs has now replaced that familiar picture. It was here, at this holy site, that I first met Evelyn Haies, an American mother, grandmother, and globetrotter.

Evelyn spends the better part of each year in Israel working to improve the site. In fact, as soon as we met she invited me to attend a shiur she had arranged in the adjacent previously-owned Arab home.

But first I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what possessed an American mother of five, and grandmother, to leave her family in the U.S. to come to Israel and devote so much time to Kever Rachel.

In lieu of answering, she beckoned, smiling broadly. I followed her into the adjacent structure (the only other building in the complex) where she pointed to a bullet hole in the glass of the window on the second floor. “Arab sniper fire,” she explains.

“I bought this house a number of years ago, in an attempt to increase awareness of the importance of this site, to encourage people to visit, and to learn more about Rachel herself.” She points out the pictures her granddaughter had drawn to hang on the wall.

In a large room on the first floor there is a learning session in progress. A group of avreichim are poring over their sefarim.

In an entirely separate room a shiur for women is about to take place.

“And so what’s a grandmother like you doing here?” I asked, still wondering what it was that first triggered her interest.

And Evelyn, who for years has worked as literature teacher and has published a very popular songbook, took the plunge the year the Twins Towers came down.

“I was part of a group of women from Brooklyn who were looking for ways to help Klal Yisrael, especially our brethren in Israel. We wanted to prove our connection to the land and to our people. We met monthly and I recall one meeting in which we decided to adopt a sister city. Ariel was on our list, as were other cities. And then I had this sudden drive to adopt Kever Rachel. I took the floor and threw my suggestion out to the ladies.

“They loved it and agreed immediately.

“The year was 1995 when the die was cast; thus began my personal lifelong connection with Rachel Imeinu.

“So while I had had this brainwave I wasn’t quite sure how to actualize it. Together we decided that the first way to proceed was to raise public awareness of who Rachel actually was, and her relevance today. To do this we wanted people to research all the relevant sources in Tanach. Thus began the Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation.

“We began with the children first, going around to the Jewish girl schools in Brooklyn and advertising a writing competition on the subject of Rachel Imeinu. The best compositions would receive cash prizes.

“The contest was a massive hit. My mailbox was jammed with hundreds of stories; the creativity was simple astonishing and the feedback overwhelming. Teachers and principals offered their thanks and the girls themselves appreciated their new awareness and connection to Rachel.”

Later that year, Evelyn received an excited phone call from a woman who had decided that in honor of her granddaughter’s bas mitzvah the two of them were going to go to Israel and visit the holy sites, especially Kever Rachel.

Evelyn thought that this was a great idea and decided that she too would do the same.

“But I wanted to do more and more and I didn’t know what or how. So I bought a lottery ticket,” Evelyn laughs heartily. “And guess what? I won!”

Evelyn was the lucky winner of $26,000, which she used to finance the writing of a Sefer Torah for the Kever Rachel complex.

The day Evelyn approached a sofer and commissioned him to write the Sefer Torah was one of the most exciting ever. And when it was finally completed her excitement knew no bounds.

The Sefer Torah merited a double “send off” – one in Brooklyn and another in Israel. The U.S. one was scheduled for a rainy day during the week of Parshas Lech Lecha. Amazingly the rain held off while the dancing and singing crowds escorted the Torah to the shul; the minute it was indoors the rain fell once again. Evelyn’s eyes light up at the memory.

The Negev

Monday, June 18th, 2012

When contemplating the Negev, one must set aside any preconcieved notion of what a desert is. In Eretz Yisrael there are no rolling yellow sand dunes in softly rising and falling landscapes as unbroken as the sea. Far from being a simple expanse of sand, the Negev is marked by a mélange of cliffs, crags, boulders and dry river vadies. Where the Judean Desert ends, the Negev begins, an impressive region of low sandstone hills, rocky peaks (for example the high plateau area of Ramat HaNegev- The Negev Heights – stands between 370 meters and 520 meters), and plains rutted with narrow canyons. The Negev Desert is mesmerizing, beautiful and rich in geological history.

Photos by Rhimonah Traub

The Negev is mentioned a number of times in Parshas Lech Lecha showing us how Avraham Avinu paced the land, making it the property of Am Yisroel forever.

The essence of Avraham was chesed; a need to give permeated his whole being. After the cities of the Plain were overturned, the wayfarers who visited his home in Chevron were few and far between. Since business was slow for hachnassas orchim, he moved to a spot along a trade route in the Negev. The places he chose to live were dry – physically and spiritually. People living there were hesitant to do good deeds or to help others. (Literally, the word “Negev” means dry). He deliberately chose such a place because he wanted to teach the inhabitants to be charitable, and he saw there was a lot of potential in that area.

Negbah is also used for the direction “south.” Avraham Avinu moved south because he was worried that the embarrassing episode of Lot and his two daughters would reflect badly upon himself. Lot was the spitting image of Avraham, and he feared that people might mistake him for his nephew Lot.

When Moshe sent the spies to tour the land, he told them to head from the Negev towards Chevron (Bamidbar 13:17). He intended for them to see the worst part of the land first so they would be able to appreciate the greatness of what they were being given. Yehoshua conquered the whole of the Negev (Yehoshua 11:16). The northern Negev belongs to Yehuda and the south to Shimon. Dovid HaMelech firmly established Israelite rule over the desert. His son Shlomo subsequently built a string of fortresses along its roads.

The rise of the Nabateans began around the fourth century B.C.E. The Negev became the heart of the Nabatean Empire and Spice Route.

After the Roman takeover, Nabatean control gradually weakened. Fewer camel caravans passed through the area and other roads supplanted the Spice Route.

Unlike most areas in the country, the Romans neglected the Negev not doing much to develop it. During the Byzantine Era, Christians began to build churches and study centers in the area. Agricultural-based cities were established and the population grew. After the Muslim conquest in the seventh century settlement of the Negev came to an end. As the new rulers had little interest in the area, the residents were expelled.

For centuries after, only Bedouins lived in the Negev. An Arabic history of tribes around Beersheba, published in 1934, records 23 different tribal groups. In 1918 the English mandate period began and the region enjoyed rapid growth and was called “Beersheba sub-district.” The British built a number of highways; firstly from Beersheba to Um Rash-Rash (Eilat), then from Beersheba to the large Machtesh and also the “Petroleum Road” that goes from Yerucham to Avdat and to Machtesh Ramon.

The British White Paper of 1939 and the 1940 Land Transfer Regulations placed a number of restrictions on Jewish settlement and land purchase in Palestine. The Negev was one of the areas where both were forbidden. With the onset of World War II, the Yishuv looked to expand its areas of settlement in order to house Jewish refugees from Europe. Land was purchased in the Negev by the JNF, though Arabs agents to circumvent the British ban. Three lookouts, Revivim, Gvulot and Beit Eshel were settled in 1943. These later served as a springboard for further Jewish population of the Negev.

Parshas Lech Lecha

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Vol. LXII No. 44                                          5772

 

New York City

CANDLE LIGHTING TIME

November 4, 2011 – 7 Cheshvan 5772

5:29 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

 

Sabbath Ends: 6:35 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Weekly Reading: Lech Lecha

Weekly Haftara: Lama Tomar (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

Daf Yomi: Chullin 131

Mishna Yomit: Pesachim 10:7-8

Halacha Yomit: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:14 – 183:2

Rambam Yomi: Hilchos She’ar Avos ha’Tum’ah chap. 9-11

Earliest Time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:35 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

Latest Kerias Shema: 10:06 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

 

We move the clock back one hour this Motza’ei Shabbos (Sunday) at 2:00 a.m., as we resume Standard Time.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/weekly-luach/parshas-lech-lecha/2011/11/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: