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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Nissim Zeev’

Knesset Minister Rabbi Nissim Zeev: Time To See The Light And Heal

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

According to Sefer Yetzirah, the month of Iyar is the second of the 12 Jewish months. In the Bible, Iyar is called the month of Ziv, radiance.

Iyar is also commonly referred to as the month of (natural) healing because its name is an acronym for the words “Ani Hashem Rof’echa – I am God your Healer.”

Finally, the month of Iyar corresponds to the letter vav, the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The word vav means a link, or connection, and it acts as the conjunctive “and,” in Hebrew. Iyar lies between the months of Nissan and Sivan and connects them together as one through the Counting of the Omer (Sefirat HaOmer), which begins on the 16th of Nissan (the second day of Pesach), continues through Iyar, and concludes on the 5th of Sivan, the day before Shavuot. Thus Iyar binds together Nissan, the month of the redemption (celebrated on Pesach), with Sivan, the month of the giving of the Torah (celebrated on Shavuot).

This is not only symbolic but also has a spiritual lesson for the Jewish people in all generations. The physical redemption of our people from slavery (in biblical times) or from persecution (in modern times) is only valid when it culminates in the spiritual redemption of the acceptance by the Jewish people of the Torah. The Jewish people can shine and heal only when they have accepted and follow the Torah.

Pesach is the time of year when a Jew most closely identifies with his people. He bonds with the Jewish people over space and time, reliving its tragedies and its triumphs. Two dates commemorating events in Israel’s modern history are celebrated in Iyar – Israel Independence Day on the 5th of Iyar and Jerusalem Day, the day Israel conquered Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, on the 28th of Iyar. (The 4th of Iyar, Yom HaZikaron, is marked in Israel as its national memorial day for fallen soldiers.)

The 14th of Iyar is known as the Second Pesach because it was on that date that Jews had a “second chance” at participating in the rituals of Pesach. This is necessary if a Jew had been unable to do so in Nissan because of ritual uncleanness or if they had been far away from home at that time. In particular, they were given the opportunity to bring a Pesach sacrifice and eat it with matzah and marror a month after the original holiday. This is very unusual because the rule generally followed is “avar zemano, bateil korbano – if the proper time for the sacrifice has passed, it can no longer be brought.” However, if one is presented with an opportunity to achieve something good in the world, he or she should be sure to take advantage of it before it is too late.

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. In these troubled times, when the international community is intent on delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish state, we must do our utmost to revive the Jewish identity of all of our fellow Jews. This will ensure that the world acknowledges that the Jewish people are historically the indigenous people of the Land of Israel, that we have not come as foreigners to “occupy” the land.

But the realization of this goal depends on our ability to heal and to shine as proud Jews devoted to Judaism and the laws of the Torah. The Friends of Shas, recently established in the U.S., will strive to give life to this goal. The organization invites all Jews to strive together for the sake of strengthening am Yisrael.

On the first day of Iyar, King Solomon began constructing the First Temple (I Kings 6:1). On the same day hundreds of years later, Ezra began the construction of the Second Temple (Ezra 3:8).

Let us not fail to take advantage of the “second chance” we have been given to build a Jewish state and to uplift Jewish lives that will reflect the principles of the Torah – in their full ziv.

Rabbi Nissim Zeev, MK, is the founder of Shas, and founder and chairman of Friends of Shas International. You can e-mail your comments to him at friendsofshas@yahoo.com.

Shevat: Reinforcing Dedication To The Torah

Friday, February 10th, 2012

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 friendsofshas@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/shevat-reinforcing-dedication-to-the-torah/2012/02/10/

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