Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

What do we do about boredom? The Torah portion of Beha’alotecha is full of the nation’s complaints. In places named Taveirah (Conflagration – representing Hashem’s burning anger) and Kivrot Hata’avah (Graves of Craving – signifying the fate of those who had a strong craving for meat), the people express great frustration before Moshe Rabbeinu. Our commentators explain that they did not find meaning in what they were doing, did not connect to the wonderful prospect of leaving Egypt, and therefore complained.

Rabbi Yaakov Edelstein once asked what would happen if someone repeated a chewing motion if there was nothing in his mouth. Soon enough, He would get tired. You are invited to try it. It is truly tiring to chew and chew when your mouth is empty.


But what happens when there is a delicious cake in your mouth, the rabbi asked, or some other delectable food? Then we have the capacity to chew well, and to take another bite and then another, and not pay any attention whatsoever to the energy we expend. Why? There is a pleasant flavor that we taste. So too in life. In work, in raising children, in learning, in keeping mitzvot. We do not always experience sweetness in every action, but generally it is worthwhile to find and taste the flavor in what we do – not to just chew for no reason.


The Time Is Short And The Love Is Great

Summer vacation is almost here. Ruhama Vogel, principal of the Amit Ori High School in Ma’ale Adumim, wrote to her school community regarding the next two months. She dedicated her message to the memory of Ella Or, z”l, a former student at the school who perished in a flash flood at Nahal Tzafit several years ago:

The most precious resource in life, in which we all have an equal share, is time: A day in the life of Elon Musk, the richest person in the world, and a day in the life of the last of the beggars searching for food in the garbage, each lasts exactly 24 hours. Each minute is the same for everyone.

The most important question in life is how do we manage time, particularly the two months of vacation. It is customary to say: ‘The time is short and the task is great.’ (Pirkei Avot 2:15). Ella Or, z”l, gave this message her own twist: ‘The time is short and the love is great.’

Try to spend your vacation with this message of hers in mind. To transform these two months into days of love. Love for family – by strengthening your connection with parents and siblings, with grandpa and grandma. Love for society – through volunteering and helping others. Love for the Land of Israel – in taking trips throughout the country. Love for Torah – through studying out of desire, and not because of exams.

Apparently, this was what she knew in her subconscious mind, that her time was short. She would have celebrated her 22nd birthday this month. If only we can learn from her to truly live with the awareness that time is short, and that the love is great.

Take care of yourselves,


What’s The Last Verse In Tanach?

What’s the last verse in the Tanach (Bible)? This was the question asked by Emmanuel Zilberman, Director of the Jerusalem Education Administration, at the opening of the city’s elementary schools’ Bible contest.

He had first reminded us that we all know the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning, G-d created the heavens and the earth.” But what about the last verse? Who knows it by heart?

So here, thousands of years after the verse that describes the creation of the world, the following verse arrives, at the end of the Book of Chronicles II: “So said Koresh the king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord G-d of heaven delivered to me, and he has commanded me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea. Who is there among you from all his people? May the Lord his G-d be with him, and let him go up.”

This is fascinating. The Bible begins with the most global and universal message. It’s about G-d who created the universe, yet it ends with the most national and personal Jewish story: The same G-d who gave Koresh sovereignty over all the kingdoms on earth wants a little home in Jerusalem and wants us – with G-d’s help – to go up there. This is the last word in the Bible: “Vaya’al” (and let him go up). That we should never cease to go up and raise ourselves up, even when we are already in the Land of Israel.


Previous articleDon’t trip all over yourself! – News From The Torah [audio]
Next articleUnilever Sued by Shareholder Over Ben & Jerrys Boycott
Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.