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Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev

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 Volume XII - Issue 23


 The DRS Weekly Torah Publication
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Pirkei Avos Corner


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Inside!
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This week’s issue of


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is sponsored by
the Bienenfeld Family
Every Jew a Mountain ‫לזכר נשמת פרימה בת ר' מרדכי הלוי‬
By Rabbi Dovid Weinberg, 11th Grade Rebbi ‫ע"ה‬

T here is a tradition from the Shelah Hakadosh that even a person who is
entirely unfamiliar with the particulars of our sacred Torah can still con-
nect to its inner light:
“I have received a tradition that even one who is completely estranged
from the Torah and is troubled by his lack of knowledge can simply recite the
PARSHAS BEHAR
10 IYAR, 5771
names of the weekly Torah portions, and in this way find favor in the eyes of the MAY 14, 2011
Creator” [Haga‟os L‟toldos Ha‟adam,Bayis Achron #10]. All Zmanim are calculated by myzmanim.com for
Woodmere, NY (11598)
In this construct, the name of each and every parsha can (and should!) be Candle Lighting: 7:44 pm
seen as a door waiting to be unlocked, begging to reveal some ancient secret. If Latest ‫קריאת שמע‬: 9:15 am
‫ שבת‬Ends: 8:51 pm
the word Behar means “on the mountain,” as in the verse, “And Hashem spoke to
Moshe on Mount Sinai,” then the earnest ben Torah must seek to find in this word
some piece of advice to aid him in actualizing his purpose in creation.
Chazal point out that Hashem chose to give the Torah on Har Sinai be-
cause it was “the smallest of all the mountains” [Megillah 29a]. However, as
many point out [see for example Likkutei Sichos (volume 2, page 276-279); Cha- This week’s issue of
nukas Hatorah #207; etc.] this begs the question:    
“If Hashem wanted to give the Torah in a place that was indicative of hu- is also sponsored by
mility, surely a valley would have been more appropriate? Admittedly, Sinai is the
(Continued on page 3) GourmetGlatt.com • 516.569.2662

The Fight for Perfection


By David Freilich, Editor in Chief
‫יתי אֶ ת־בִ ְרכ ִָתי ָלכֶם בַ ָשנָה הַ ִש ִשית וְ עָ ָשת אֶ ת־הַ ְתבּוָאה לִ ְשלש‬
ִ ִ‫ כא וְ ִצּו‬:‫ּוָאתנּו‬
ֹֽ ‫ת־ת ֹֽב‬
ְ ֶ‫אמרּו מַ ה־נֹאכַל בַ ָשנָה הַ ְשבִ יעִ ת הן ֹלא נִזְ ָרע וְ ֹלא ֹֽ ֶנאֱ סף א‬
ְ ‫וְ כִ י ֹֹֽת‬
)‫כא‬-‫כ‬:‫ (ויקרא כה‬:‫הַ ָש ִֹֽנים‬
And if you shall say, what will we eat in the seventh year, for we have not planted or gathered in our grain, I will
appoint My blessing to you in the sixth year, and it will yield enough grain for the three year period [the year before the

T
shmittah, the shmittah year, and the following year, until you can plant and reap the harvest] (Vayikra 25:20-21)
he Sforno, explaining this passuk, writes that the strength and nature of Hashem‟s miracle, that of making the
ground grow enough food for three years, varied according to the amount of bitachon, faith, they had in Hashem.
If, as described in the passuk, they would understand that they need to keep shmittah but still wonder as to where
their food was coming from, their fields would grow three times the normal amount it grows, so as to provide sus-
tenance for the coming three years. If, on the other hand, their bitachon was so great that they did not even question where
the food would coming from, rather they just trusted in Hashem to provide them with all they needed, the miracle would
take the form of endowing the food normally grown in a year with extra nutrients and sustenance, thus allowing one to eat a
(Continued on page 2)
2 ‫דברים היוצאים מן הל“ב‬
Torah Teasers (David Freilich—Continued from page 1)
By Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum third of the amount he usually consumes while being as satisfied as if
‫פרשת בהר‬ he had his normal portion.
Questions Rabbi Zev Leff asks a very simple question: why does the
1. What number appears four times in one ‫? פסוק‬ lower level of bitachon cause the more traditional and obvious mira-
2. Which ‫ מצוה‬involves blowing a ‫שופר‬, a ram‟s cle, that of having a threefold production of grain, to occur, while
horn? having a higher level cause there to be a seemingly „lesser‟ miracle to
3. Which holiday is mentioned? happen?
4. Which numbers appear in this ‫פרשה‬, in the Chazal explain that Hashem avoids doing open miracles (see
previous Parshah, ‫ אמר‬and in the next Rashbam in Shemos 14:21, and the Ralbag in Breishis 6-9
Parsha,‫( בחקתי‬2 answers)? “HaTo‟eles HaShevii). Open miracles may imply to some that the
5. Which law involves a wall? natural world which Hashem created, and describes as „Very Good‟,
6. Which three word phrase appears in the ‫ פרשה‬four is not complete. In reality however, there is absolutely no difference
times?
between natural events and so called „miracles‟- they are both mere
expressions of the Divine will. As the Mishna in Maseches Avos (5:6)
Answers explains, the Kerias Yam Suf was already set into the fabric of nature
1. The number seven appears four times in one ‫פסוק‬. In from the time of Berias Haolam! In fact, the Rambam even takes this
this ‫ פסוק‬the Torah commands: " ‫שבְת ֹת‬ ַ ‫שבַע‬ֶ ‫ְו ָספ ְַרתָ לְָך‬ further and explains that all miracles, even those not specifically enu-
‫שנִים‬ָ ‫שבְת ֹת ַה‬ַ ‫שבַע‬ֶ ‫שבַע ְפ ָע ִמים ְוהָיּו לְָך יְמֵי‬
ֶ ‫שנִים‬ָ ‫שבַע‬ ֶ ‫שנִים‬ ָ merated in the Mishna, are events that were built into nature from the
‫שנָה‬
ָ ‫ְַאר ָבעִים‬
ְ ‫ –תֵ שַע ו‬Count for yourselves seven sets of beginning of Creation. As one can explain it, miracles are just natural
years, seven years, seven times and it should be
events which occur infrequently, while nature is really just many mi-
seven sets of seven years equaling forty nine years.”
2. On the ‫ יום הכיפורים‬of the ‫יובל‬, fiftieth year, we are raculous events which occur regularly.
commanded to blow the ‫ט) שופר‬:‫(כה‬. From our view however, miracles appear to be exceptions to
3 ‫ יום הכיפורים‬is mentioned since as stated in the the „natural order‟. Therefore, there is a possibility that they can di-
previous answer, on of the fiftieth year, on the date minish Hashem‟s honor in our eyes, as we are implying an imperfec-
of ‫יום הכיפורים‬, we are commanded to blow the ‫שופר‬ tion in a creation of His! We therefore do not pray for miracles, and
.)‫ט‬:‫(כה‬ try not to derive benefit from products produced by miracles.
4. (1) The number fifty appears in all three ‫פרשיות‬. In If one thinks about it, the hidden miracle which Hashem per-
this ‫פרשה‬, the Torah commands us to sanctify the forms for those who have real bitachon, that of giving a person‟s
fiftieth year, the ‫י) יובל‬:‫(כה‬. In ‫פרשת אמר‬, we are grain extra nourishment and allowing him to be satisfied with smaller
commanded to count fifty days from the ‫קרבן העומר‬,
portions, would not serve the needs of a person with weak bitachon. If
brought on the second day of ‫ פסח‬until the ‫קרבן מנחה‬
‫חדשה‬, brought on ‫טז) שבועות‬-‫טו‬:‫(כג‬. In ‫פרשת בחקתי‬, we he saw a normal crop yield in the sixth year, such a person would be-
are told that if a man donates the value of a male come worried that he has insufficient food for the coming years. He
between the ages of twenty to sixty years to ‫הקדש‬, he therefore NEEDS Hashem to give him enough grain for three years,
must donate fifty silver coins (2( .)‫ג‬:‫ )כז‬The number so that he will feel secure in his commitment to not working the land
seven also appears in all three ‫ פרשיות‬several times. on the shemittah year.
In this ‫פרשה‬, the Torah details the laws of the This way of thinking about the miracle of shemittah year is
seventh year of ‫ שמיטה‬and instructs us to count seven just mind-blowing. We see that Hashem responded to the need of the
‫ שמיטה‬cycles leading up to the )‫ח‬,‫ד‬:‫יובל (כה‬. In ‫פרשת‬ person to see the grain in front of him by giving him three times his
‫אמר‬, seven appears many times, including the seven normal crop yield, even though that need was a result of said farmer‟s
days an animal must be with its mother before it can
lack of belief and trust in Hashem! As Rabbi Leff put it, how astound-
be brought as a )‫כז‬:‫קרבן (כב‬, the seven days of ‫פסח‬
,)‫ו‬:‫ (כג‬and the seven weeks from ‫ פסח‬to ‫טז) שבועות‬:‫(כג‬. ing is Hashem‟s kindness!
In ‫פרשת בחקתי‬, the number seven also appears several Right before we started our conquest of Eretz Yisrael,
times within the ‫תוכחה‬, in the context of the severity Hashem told Moshe (Dvarim 7:22) that He would destroy the Canaani
of the punishments for sinning (‫כח‬,‫כד‬,‫כא‬,‫יח‬:‫)כו‬. inhabitants of the land slowly, so as to prevent the land being left
5. The ‫ פרשה‬discussed the laws of property redemption desolate and the multiplication of wild animals. Rashi on that passuk
for homes that are found in a ‫עיר חומה‬, a walled city. explains that if we would have performed Hashem‟s will and had
The original owner has a year to redeem it, after driven all the previous inhabitants of the land out immediately, we
which the home becomes the perpetual property of wouldn‟t have had anything to fear from the wild animals. However,
the buyer (‫כט‬:‫)כה‬. Hashem knew that we would sin by procrastinating, and therefore still
6. The phrase "‫ ” ֲאנִי ד' ֱאֹלקיכֶם‬- “I am Hashem your G-d,”
tried to make it easier for us even though we would sin.
appears four times in the ‫פרשה‬. It is found with
regards to the prohibition of saying hurtful words to Rav Chaim of Volozhin, founder of the Volozhin Yeshiva,
a fellow Jew (‫יז‬:‫)כה‬, the prohibition of charging once asked the Vilna Gaon what the braisa which describes Hashem
interest (‫לח‬:‫)כה‬, the obligation to free slaves ( ‫נה‬:‫)כה‬, as being same’ach bechelko, content with His portion, meant. Reb
and the prohibition of practicing various forms of (Continued on page 3)
idol worship (‫א‬:‫)כו‬. ■
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 3
(Rabbi Dovid Weinberg—Continued from page 1)
„smallest of mountains,‟ but ultimately it is still
Every Second Counts a mountain, which is hardly suggestive of lowliness and
By: Shmulie Reichman, 10th Grade humility?”
Notwithstanding the fact that each of the many
approaches to answering this question demands our at-
‫וכי תמכרו ממכר לעמיתך או קנה מיד עמיתך אל תונו איש אל אחיו‬ tention equally, we will limit ourselves here to the ap-
)‫יד‬-‫וגו' (כה‬ proach of the Rebbe Reb Heschel of Krakow Zy”a, the
“If you sell anything to your neighbor, or purchase author of the sefer, Chanukas Hatorah.
[something] from your neighbor, do not cheat one another” The gemara in Mesechet Sotah (5b) relates in the
name of Rav that it is fitting for a Torah scholar to have
While reading Torah Tavlin, I saw a beautiful Dvar 1/64th of a measure of ga’avah, pride. But, if arrogance is
Torah on this passuk. Rashi explains that the Torah is dis- such a contemptible trait, why should a Talmid Chacham
cussing a case in which one Jew should avoid hurting another have any mount of it? Using a bit of math, and a string of
Jew by setting a price that is either too high or too low. gemaras found throughout Sha”s, the Rebbe Reb
Based on the number of years until ‫יובל‬, when all land Heschel computes that the size of Har Sinai (which he
transactions go back to their original owners, a fair price assesses at 500 by 500 amos) was exactly 1/64 th the size
should be established with a mutual understanding of the of another mountain in close proximity, Har Tabor
terms of the deal. (32,000 by 32,000 amos). It would seem that Sinai had to
R‟ Nachman Twersky zt”l of Chernobyl says that be a mountain, and not a valley, to conform to this Tal-
when a person is completely honest in business and avoids mudic dictum: It is fitting for a Torah scholar to have
practices such as interest, his actions are considered to be an 1/64th of a measure of ga’avah.
act of serving Hashem. But if someone is involved in busi- For us, the message resonates loud and clear.
ness, and he concerns himself with all of the relevant Torah Every Jew has a unique portion in the Torah of Moshe,
laws, isn‟t it obvious that he is elevating his level of service but it takes a certain amount of pride in one‟s heritage
to Hashem? and in oneself to come and claim it. “After all,” we think
It is so easy for us to forget that mundane and secular
to ourselves, “who am I to approach such lofty con-
matters can be filled with holiness. We expect to only find
cepts.” If we want to be able to claim our portion we
religion in Shuls and in yeshivas. However the rest of the
must see ourselves as mountains, not valleys. Humble,
day, our interactions with others do not involve such applica-
tion of spiritual holiness. This is wrong! If we take a second
but standing tall! Not a bad teaching considering we have
to look, we would see that our daily lives are filled with tons yet to begin the first pasuk of this week‟s parsha. ■
of opportunities to serve Hashem. Whether it is acts of ‫גמילת‬
‫חסדים‬, helping your mother clean for Shabbos, or even using (David Freilich—Continued from page 2)
those spare few minutes to learn a little Torah, these are all Chaim was confused, as by definition Hashem is complete,
‫ מצות‬that Hashem commands us to do. One cannot possibly and needs nothing; what would he not be content with? The
fathom the amount of ‫ מצות‬a person can perform in a single Vilna Gaon explained that the cheilek that was being re-
day. May we all have the ‫ זכות‬to maximize the amount of ferred to here was the Jewish people. He explained homi-
‫ מצות‬that we do each day because every second counts. letically that although Hashem would like us to be on a
higher level, He is nonetheless still content with us at what-
Good Shabbos! ■ ever level we are currently at.
We are told to imitate Hashem in all of His ways,
and the way which He relates to us contains many valuable
lessons on how we should relate to one another. Many
times in our life our friends (and for those adult readers in
the audience, one‟s spouses and children also) are unfortu-
nately not on the level we would like them to be at. We
must learn from Hashem that despite our hopes for their
growth, we have to accept the present situation, and deal
with them at their present level. Through this, we can work
on ourselves also, and try to, as Rabbi Leff says, steadily
climb the ladder of perfection towards the day that Hashem
will grant us total perfection.
Have a great Shabbos!
Adapted from Shiurei Binah by Rabbi Zev Leff ■
4 ‫דברים היוצאים מן הל“ב‬

Har Sinai Shmittah

By Yered Elisha Ginsberg,12th Grade


Parsha Behar begins with the halachos of Shmittah. The Torah tells us that when we enter the land we are supposed
to keep count of a 7 year cycle, with each year having its own special halachos. However, during the 7 th year the land must
rest and it is assur to work the land.
The famous question which many commentators ask is why does the passuk specifically say in the beginning of the
parsha that these halachos were said to Moshe on Har Sinai? What is the connection between Har Sinai and Shmittah? A
second question which the Slonimer Rebba (Nesivos Shalom- R’ Shalom Noach Berzuvski) asks, is why before the Torah
describes the details of shmittah does the pasuk call it a “Shabbos L‟Hashem”?
The Nesivos Shalom explains with a beautiful explanation. He writes that the whole purpose of creation was for Klal
Yisroel to be an Am Kadosh (a holy nation) for Hashem. The Kedusha that Klal Yisreol looks to possess has 3 parts: place,
time, and being. Our holy place is obviously Eretz Yisroel, as our Torah, our avodah, and every part of our Judaism is said to
be on a much higher level in Eretz Yisroel. Our holy time is Shabbos KODESH. The holy being is each and every one of us
when we form a nation, and become Klal Yisroel. When all of these elements of kedusha are brought together, Eretz Yisroel,
Shabbos, and Klal Yisroel, we are fulfilling exactly what Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants from us, and why He created the
world in the first place.
When we received the Torah on Har Sinai, these 3 elements were all in alignment. The Kedushas Makom was Har
Sinai, which Hakadosh Baruch Hu raised to a level of kedusha such that if anyone would have touched the mountain, they
would have died. As the gemara in Shabbos (86b) tells us, the Torah was given to us on Shabbos. And as the famous drasha
goes, we could only receive the Torah once we were “one nation with one heart”. We were only able to receive the Torah
once we had these 3 elements of kedusha.
The Nesivos Shalom answers his questions and says that the passuk had to mention that the Shmittah year is consid-
ered a “Shabbos L‟hashem” first before it went into the details because when we enter the land of Eretz Yisroel the shmittah
year is what is going to instill the kedusha into the land of Eretz Yisroel. That‟s the connection to Har Sinai. Just like Har
Sinai was able to raise the level of kedusha of an inatimate object, a piece of land, so too the Shmittah year is going to instill
the kedusha into the land of Eretz Yisroel. And once the land of Eretz Yisroel has its kedusha, then every shabbos that Klal
Yisroel gathers together in Eretz Yisroel, we will be fulfilling our purpose in this world.
The Nesivos Shalom continues and says that this is pshat in the first Mishna in Pirkei Avos as well. The famous
question which all the commentators address is why does the Mishna say that Moshe received the Torah from Har Sinai? It
should have said he received the Torah from Hashem! He answers beautifully that we learn a valuable lesson from Har Si-
nai. Moshe was scared to receive the Torah. He reasoned that if the angels weren‟t given the Torah, how in the world could
man, mere flesh and blood, receive the Torah?! However, he gained chizuk from Har Sinai. Just like Har Sinai, a mere inani-
mate object, could be raised to such a high level of kedusha, so too man can accept the Torah and grow to high levels of
kedusha.

Have a Heiligeh Shabbos Kodesh! ■

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Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 5Contin

‘‫פרק ג‬
Corner
As an introduction to this column, I would just like
L Eap of Fait
By Yonatan Mehlman, 11th Grade H
This week‟s haftorah comes from the book
to say that the articles will only be covering a very small of Yirmiyahu. In the perakim leading up to the one
amount of the beautiful and lengthy words of our Rabbis. we read as the haftorah for Behar, Yirmiyahu
The amount we can learn from Pirkei Avos is endless, and prophecies about the destruction of Yerushalayim.
rightfully cannot fit into one article. Everybody should Our haftorah picks up with the walls of Yerusha-
take a little time and explore into the depths of knowledge layim under siege and Yirmiyahu in jail due to the
and wisdom and learn from every word. people‟s anger over his prophecies. It is at this time
that Hashem appears to Yirmiyahu and tells him to
Mishna 1: redeem family property in Binyamin. Although Yir-
“Akavia ben Mahalalel says: Consider three things miyahu followed the word of Hashem, he must have
and you will not fall into the hands of sin… know whither been puzzled as to why Hashem had him do so. Af-
you go… to a place of dust, worms and maggots.” ter all, if all the land will be conquered and lost from
them (for now), what was the point in redeeming the
Why does the Mishna say that everyone should land, only to lose it again almost immediately? Nev-
remember that one day we will end up six feet under- ertheless, Yirmiyahu acted first without openly ques-
ground in a coffin? How is that going to keep one away tioning. It was only after he completed his job that
from sin? Yirmiyahu turned to Hashem and asked for an expla-
The answer to this is quite simple. We must al- nation. Hashem responded by explaining that the
ways remember that our purpose on this world is not Jews will be banished from this land. They will be
really for us to gain as much physical pleasure as possible punished for turning away from Hashem, but they
rather to do deeds that will gain us pleasure in the world to will also be brought back. Yirmiyahu’s redemption
come. On a daily basis people are faced with physical ver- of this land is symbolic of the return of the Jews to
sus spiritual dilemmas, whether it be going to minyan the land that Hashem sent them away from. It repre-
rather than sleeping a little more, or taking time out to sents the message to the Jews that there is always
help a friend instead of doing something you find fun. If hope in the future.
we all just remember that at the end of the day the choice The Rav, Rav Yosef Dov Ha‟Levi So-
you really want to make is going the spiritual path as that loveitchick zt‟l expounds upon this story by compar-
allows you to then take those rewards with you after your ing it to Akeidas Yitzchak. There, Hashem tells Avra-
physical life is over. ham to sacrifice Yitzchak. Rashi explains that at that
moment Avraham must have been perplexed; after
Mishna 4: all, Hashem had just promised that Yitzchak would
“Rabbi Shimon says: If three people have eaten a carry the legacy. Even so, Avraham acted without
meal together and no words of Torah were spoken at the questioning. He listened to Hashem and carried out
meal it is as if they have eaten of offerings to the dead his mission.
idols, as it said: „For all tables are full of vomitand filth, The connection, explains the Rav, is found in
without Omnipresent (Isaiah 28:8)‟” the way each person handled their seemingly contra-
dictory messages from Hashem. When faced with
This seems to be a very extreme statement by what appeared to be Hashem giving mixed mes-
Rabbi Shimon, to say that just because some people didn‟t sages, both Avraham and Yirmiyahu immediately
say divrei Torah at their meal, they are now idol worship- obeyed first, and then questioned only after. Fulfill-
ers. Maybe they were just having a friendly meal on their ing the word of Hashem is man‟s responsibility in
lunch break? this world. Man‟s responsibility to follow the word
Rabeinu Yonah explains that in this situation, be- of Hashem is not contingent upon him fully under-
cause the meal consists of three men, they are required to standing its rationale. Not withstanding, once the
(Continued on page 6)
(Continued on page 6)
6 ‫דברים היוצאים מן הל“ב‬

The Chosen Nation


By: Dan Bamshad, 10th Grade

“And God spoke to Moshe at Mt. Sinai saying:…” Hashem spoke to Moshe at Mt. Sinai. The law of
Rav Bloch, a student of the Chafetz Chaim, Shemittah needs great strength of character and faith.
comments that no greater mussar can be given to a Jew The Torah tells us that we can get that great strength to
than this passuk. Hashem saw us and came down to this fulfill our obligations by noting that God spoke to
world and gave His Torah to us. This can be compared Hashem at Mt. Sinai. That speech that let us Bnei Yis-
to a king who left his palace and, with all of the trap- roel make a commitment to follow His commandments.
pings of his glory, he settled in a small village. Should- And so too that small village should feel hon-
n‟t the people of that small village feel to act with spe- ored that the king chose to reside by their village, we
cial honor for the king who has chosen them to be his should also feel really honored that Hashem chose us
host? from all the other nations to give us His holy Torah.
For this reason, Rav Bloch continues, the Torah
which teaches us the laws of Shemittah told us that Shabbat Shalom. ■

(Pirkei Avos Corner—Continued from page 5)


make a mezuman for when they bench. Therefore since they have to wait for everyone to finish in order to say bir-
chas hamazon, there is no reason not to say divrei Torah. Furthermore, the Rambam adds that the context of the
pasuk quoted by the Mishna is regarding someone that eats excessively. It is apparent that the Mishna is telling us
that this is a case of a person whose priorities are mixed up. The man is so caught up in his eating that he doesn‟t
take a little bit of time to say some words of Torah. We must all remember to keep all of our important priorities in
life on the top of our list and not to get confused about the order of the list. We must put our spiritual priorities first
and foremost in life, followed by our physical needs and wants. We must remember that life is not just about the
physical moment.

Mishna 8:
“Rabbi Elazar of Bartosa says: Give Him from His Own, for you and your possessions are His.”

The Rav says that these words are saying that we have to remember that everything we have is not ours
rather it belongs to Hashem. Man should not withhold any of his wealth from being used for something that is of
the wishes of heaven. The Meiri goes farther to say that the Mishna is a call out to those who are stingy in their
wealth. They must know that all their wealth is really Hashem‟s and we must be ready to return at an instant. Not
only do we have to give back to Hashem what is rightfully His, we must always do it in a happy and blissful man-
ner. ■

(Yonatan Mehlman—Continued from page 5)


mission is complete, he is not precluded from seeking its meaning from Hashem.
Reading Yirmiyahu further yields an even deeper understanding of this concept. Yirmiyahu was told to
write two documents in order to acquire the land: one document was to be left open, and one was to be folded
closed. This is a metaphor for man‟s mission on earth. Man must fulfill the word of Hashem to the best of his abil-
ity and to his fullest understanding represented by the open document. However, man must bear in mind that he
does not and cannot know it all. Hashem has a plan and a reason for everything even though He does not always
disclose it. This is represented by the closed document.
I hope that we can all try to take this message to heart and fulfill the word of Hashem as best as we can.

Have a Good Shabbos! ■


Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 7

No Strangers In Our House


By: Daniel Stroh, 10th Grade
In this weeks Parsha, Parshat Behar, there is a very wards Judaism and Hashem, so at some point in the future they
important lesson we need to learn as the school year closes out. try to convert back like coming home and we should help
The Mitzvah of avoiding verbal abuse. The Torah forbids re- them. There are also stories of mass conversions during the
minding a person of his past misconduct. This applies to both Spanish Inquisition. And if Hashem is leading them back to
a baal teshuva and a convert. We have to be very careful not Judaism, why would anyone get in his way. The Book of Ruth
to hurt their feelings because they can be easily demoralized. and rabbinic tradition teach that destiny is not a matter of bio-
As the Talmud notes, the Torah repeats the variously worded logical predetermination. The closer” Goel” who failed to
warnings regarding treatment of a ger no less that 36, and oth- marry Ruth because he was afraid that she was a convert, is
ers say as many as 46, times. (Bava Metzia 59b) immortalized by Chazal as P’loni Almoni, the standard name
Even though we see in the story of Ruth (the most fa- for an unspecified non important person, or in America called
mous convert and ancestor of David Hamelech and Mashaich), John Doe. It is almost Midah G’negged Midah, that the person
that converts were discouraged up to three times before even worried about losing his Yichus and refuses to marry Ruth be-
being accepted for study in the first step leading to conversion. comes the quintessential unimportant person in Judaic litera-
Yet, at the same time, we find hints of a different approach: ture for eternity. Can you imagine how it made Ruth feel that
“According to Rabbi Elazar, Israel was not sent into exile P‟loni Almoni decided not to redeem all of the land that
among the nations except for the purpose of increasing the Elimelech‟s family owned just to avoid her? Yet, that didn‟t
number of converts among them.” (Pesachim 87b) turn her away from Judaism and she merited being the ancestor
Therefore, once a convert joins the Jewish people, our of David Hamelech – much better than P‟loni Almoni.
Rabbis tell us that efforts are to be made to assist and encour- The importance of not reminding a person of misdeeds
age the full integration of the convert into the Jewish commu- even applies to many other situations that we should be sensi-
nity. We therefore are commanded many times not to remind tive to. There are no exceptions or special circumstances be-
the convert of his past and encourage them to be close with tween friends, neighbors, or even students and Rebbeim. No
Hashem. Similarly, the ger is encouraged not to see herself as one should remind a person of their past mistakes, as if to sug-
different. The Rambam was asked by the convert Ovadiah, gest that improvement is impossible. In fact, the whole con-
whether he could recite the prayers which contain references cept of Teshuva is that we want Hashem to forgive our past
like: “our God and God of our ancestors,” “the mitzvot which mistakes and get closer to him, so similarly we shouldn‟t re-
we were commanded,” “You have chosen us from among the mind people of past mistakes.
nations,” or “the miracles You made for our ancestors.” In a The Halachot of treating each other well are quoted by
famous response addressed to “Ovadiah the wise and learned Rabbi Mansour when learning about Sefirat Haomer and the
convert,” the Rambam instructed him to “recite everything in Mishnayot of Pirkei Avot that we learn specifically during this
the prescribed order without the slightest change. In the same time period. Chazal say that 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva‟s students
manner that every Jew by birth recites each berakhah and te- died during Sefirah because of the way they treated each other,
filah you should recite them as well, whether you are alone or so we should try to commit to treating each other better. May
praying together with the congregation.” Rambam instructed we learn the lessons of Sefirat Haomer and Parshat Behar, and
“whoever adopts Judaism and acknowledges the Unity of God be zocheh to always learn and live the lessons of “V’ahavta
(i.e., monotheism) as prescribed in the Torah, is among the L’reiacha Kamocha,” which most people forget to quote the
disciples of Abraham our father.” (Rambam, Letter to Ovadiah passuk ends “Ani Hashem” – because Hashem commanded
the Proselyte). and not because of some external ethics or that it sounds good.
Another reason may be that these souls had been Jew- And in this zchus of treating each other well, all of us whether
ish in the past but were separated from the community by cir- its friends, neighbors, students and Rebbeim; may Hashem
cumstances, and are trying to come back so we should not dis- grant yeshuos to all of Bnei Yisrael and protect us from our
courage them. There are many stories about Jews who, to save enemies especially during this dangerous time of Sefirah. And
their children from the Nazis, brought their children to through improving these fixing principles may Hashem send us
churches and after World War 2 were unable to get them back. Mashiach, speedily, in our time.
These holy Jewish souls may have an inherent yearning to- Good Shabbos. ■

(Stories of Greatness- Continued from page 8)


thousand, five hundred, and nineteen years, since the creation of the world: Why should it be less than all the other fountains in the
world? Why should its waters be denied their elevation? Since the Holy One, blessed be He, had created it, no one had ever made a
blessing over its waters; they had never been used for holy purposes. That day," said the Baal Shem Tov to Rabbi Chayim, "when you
drank its water and used it to wash your hands for prayer, you elevated that fountain. This was all the working of divine providence.
Every creature and creation has a time for its elevation and it is foreordained when it will occur and by whom. And that is true for each
and every soul; it too has its time for elevation." ■
8 ‫דברים היוצאים מן הל“ב‬
PUBLICATION
STAFF
STORIES OF GREATNESS
Editors in Chief
TOLD OVER BY: YEHUDA ISAACS Yaakov Feldstein
David Freilich
In 1759, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov sent one Torah study and his heart had opened in the service
of his young disciples, Rabbi Moshe Meshel, with a of G-d. He had made more spiritual progress in that Associate Editors
letter to his former opponent and now disciple, the great brief period than ever before in his life. He thanked G-d Layout Editors
scholar Rabbi Chayim Rapaport, rabbi of the city of and he thanked the Baal Shem Tov for sending him Judah Max Abittan
Lvov. there, because he undoubtedly merited to benefit from Dani Scheinman
The letter instructed Rabbi Chayim that on a the radiance of a holy soul buried nearby. Yitzie Scheinman
certain Wednesday in the summer month of Tammuz, At the Shabbat meal, the Baal Shem Tov told
he should travel to a designated place in the forest out- Rabbi Chayim that the purpose of his trip was to help a Rabbinic Articles
Yechiel Auman
side the city and study there, in depth, the first four Jew who had passed away one hundred and seventeen
chapters of the laws of blessings in Maiqmonodes‟ years earlier. This man, named Moshe the son of Student Articles
Mishneh Torah. He should briefly record his Torah in- Shmuel Tzadok, had been a great Torah scholar, but Avrumi Blisko
sights, so as not to forget them, and then pray the after- was also an atheist who led a dissolute life. Yet, in his Adam Goldstein
noon minchah prayer, and return home. Rabbi Chayim advanced old age, he had fully repented. "The time had
did not know the purpose of this mission, but he implic- come for the Torah that Moshe had studied in impurity Director of Production
itly followed his master's instructions. to be raised up," said the Baal Shem Tov. "And I chose Andrew Mermelstein
Although the place the Baal Shem Tov had you, Rabbi Chayim, for the task. That clearing in the Production Staff
designated was only eight miles from the city, Rabbi forest is the place where Reb Moshe's estate stood, and Nison Basalilov
Chayim and Rabbi Moshe Meshel traveled for many where he was buried. With G-d's help, your pure study Jeremy Bienenfeld
hours, because there were problems with the coach and prayer, elevated what had remained below, trapped Yaakov Bluestein
every step of the way: the reins broke; the harness by the kellipot ('shells,' i.e. the negative elements of ‫סופרים‬/Authors
straps snapped; a wheel fell off; the shaft connecting the creation). By succeeding in this holy work, you merited Benny Aivazi
horses cracked; and so on. It took time to deal with to be renewed spiritually. Yonatan Aivazi
every mishap and to repair everything that needed to be "You also accomplished another great task Ariel Bagley
fixed. They had set out early in the morning but, be- there," said the Baal Shem Tov. "It is written says in the Dan Bamshad
cause of the many difficulties and delays, only arrived holy Zohar that 'the lower waters weep, "We want to David Beer
Marc Eichenbaum
at the place the Baal Shem Tov had indicated at two appear before the Holy King!"' From the time that the Yered Elisha Ginsberg
o'clock in the afternoon. Holy One, blessed be He, separated between the lower Yitzchak Ginsberg
Following the Baal Shem Tov's directives, waters and the upper waters on the second day of crea- Shmuli Gutenmacher
Rabbi Chayim walked into the woods on the side of the tion,1 the lower waters have been weeping and begging Yaakov Hawk
road and led Rabbi Moshe Meshel and the coach driver to appear before the Holy King, that they be used for Elisha Ishaal
to an opening among the trees, a flat area that seemed to holy purposes: hand washing before prayer; immersion Aaron Joseph
Yoni Kadish
be a ruin of some sort, with the remnants of a number of in amikvah for a mitzvah or for purification before Barak Klammer
buildings. He sat there studying for four hours and, be- prayer and Torah study; hand washing before eating Eli Lonner
cause of the hot summer day, became very thirsty. with a blessing mentioning G-d's name; or water for Avi Moisa
While he continued studying, his companions went to drinking with a blessing before and after. The weeping Yonatan Mehlman
search for some water. In the midst of the thick forest and pleading of these or those lower waters, that they be Gavi Nelson
undergrowth they discovered a fountain and brought used for mitzvotand acts of holiness and purity, may Jonny Perlman
Shmulie Reichman
back fresh water for Rabbi Chayim to drink. He also continue for hundreds and thousands of years, until a
Yigal Saperstein
washed his hands with that water before he Jew passes by and washes his hands for prayer or drinks David Silber
prayed minchah; then they returned to Lvov. some water to satisfy his thirst, making appropriate Alex Selesny
At the beginning of the month of Elul, Rabbi blessings. Daniel Stroh
Chayim went to the Baal Shem Tov in Medzibuz and "Near the former property and grave of Reb Jesse Steinmetz
told him that since he had been sent on the mission to Moshe was a fountain that had been weeping for five Jeremy Teichman
Benjamin Watman
the ruin in the forest that day, his eyes were opened in (Continued on page 7)
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