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2 Tevet 5773/December 15, 2012
Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
Parshat Miketz
Vol.4 Num. 13
dealing with a gripping question: Howcould Yehudah HaMaccabee wage waragainst the great empire of Antiochus?Why do we praise a suicidal act of declaring war against a superiorenemy?Rav Kook answers that the Helleniststried to convert the Jewish people, andso it was seen as a time of religiouspersecution (
she'at hashmad 
) whichobligates one to sacrifice his life for any of the mitzvot. Others answer that theChashmonaim were great tzaddikim,and such righteous people are allowedto risk their life for the sake of kiddushHashem (Kesef Mishneh, HilchotYesodei HaTorah 5:4). These answers are all correct, of course.However, reading Sefer Maccabim, orthe Scroll of Antiochus, presents adifferent picture. Matityahu didn't sitand deliberately consider how and if arevolt could be justified in Jewish law;when he saw a Hellenist Jew sacrificinga prohibited animal to an idol, his rageled him to kill both the Jew and theking's officer standing there. After thathe fled to the desert, and from there therevolt began.Matityahu's decision can berationalized, but it didn't come fromreason. It came from the hidden placein the soul where a small jug of pure oilis kept. Throughout our lives, we mustrespond flexibly to the circumstancesaround us; as our sages have pointedout, a talmid chacham without thisability is worse than the corpse of ananimal. (Vayikra Rabbah 1:15) But it isof high importance that one also keepone place, in the depths of his soul,where reality has no effect. This space isdevoted to the vision of a perfect world;it is our jug of pure oil; it is a dream.Matityahu came to a point where thegap between this pure vision of his, andreality, became too wide. There was noway to try and meet the outside worldon its own terms without contaminatinghis whole soul. Something had to give
 either reality or the dream. At thatpoint, where most people would give upon their purity, Matityahu and his sonsacted differently. And from their littledream, a great light came intoexistence.We began our article following Yosef andwondering to what extent one should goin order to realize his dreams. In truth,though, there are dreams and there aredreams. Yosef's dreams weren't just asimple prophecy, waiting to come truein one way or another. Yosef's dreamsabout leadership were part of theessence of his soul, they were hismission statement and life's goal. Yosef knew that he had been designated tohelp, guide and lead other people, evenwhen he was as low as the pit or theEgyptian prison. His journey throughlife was a journey of learning; Yosef wastaught when to try to fulfill a dream,and when to hold on to it silently asYaakov had advised at the beginning of the journey.At one and the same time, our dreamsare powerful but dangerous. Withoutdreams we are empty and shallow, buttrying to impose them on a reality thatis not yet ripe is disastrous. But as bothYosef and Chanukah can teach us,sometimes dreams can move the world.
I have a dream?
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, contact 647-234-7299 / info@torontotorah.com
Our parshah, like last week's parshah,begins with two dreams. Last week weread about Yosef's dreams, and thisweek we read about Pharaoh's. Thereare many differences between them,but a striking one is frequently overlooked: Pharaoh sought to preventhis dreams from coming true, and thebest brains in Egypt worked on thequestion of how to stop them frombeing completely realized. Yosef'sdreams were of a different type; asunderstood by Ramban (Bereishit42:9), Yosef applied a great deal of thought and effort to make them cometrue. This was the goal behind thestrange strategy he employed when hisbrothers descended to Egypt. This difference between the dreamsraises an interesting question aboutdreams in general: To what extentshould one go, in order to realize hisdreams?Indeed, Abarbanel (41:54) opposesRamban exactly on these grounds. Hiscomment on Ramban's suggestion isshort and sharp
it is not Yosef'sduty, claims Abarbanel, to fulfill hisdreams. Rather, this responsibility falls on G-d.As on this Shabbat we concludeChanukah, let's turn our look to "inthose days, at this time", and see if wecan gain some insight.Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook wrote aresponsum (Mishpat Kohen 164),
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others might stumble is complicated. Thus various halachic authorities rulethat one may not give food to someonewho will stumble by not reciting aberachah before eating it, but otherhalachic authorities contend that oneshould provide the food, since otherwisehe will stumble in building enmity forthose who follow the Torah. (See IgrotMoshe Orach Chaim 5:13, MinchatShlomo 1:35)
Mitzvah 232 is a simple mitzvah withcomplex ramifications. We are
instructed, “Do not place a stumblingblock before a blind person,” and this
includes misleading people who arevisually, emotionally or intellectually blind. For example: I am not allowedto offer someone a purchase at an
inappropriately high price, if he isn’t
educated and he won't understandthat the price is too high. Thismitzvah applies to our interactionswith both Jews and non-Jews.Sometimes the calculation of how
613 Mitzvot: #232
Tripping the Blind
Rabbi Mordechai TorczynerHitoriri: Jewish Spirituality
Maccabim, Moshe & Menorah
Yair Manas
Why did G-d perform a miraclespecifically with the menorah, asopposed to the other Temple vessels?In the Al NaNisim prayer, we point outthat Greeks attempted to stop the Jewsfrom studying Torah. The battlebetween the Jews and the Greeks was abattle between two ways of life: a life of  Torah and mitzvot, and a life of Hellenism with its own values. Thevictory of the Jewish people resulted inthe continuity of Torah; the Torah-based life prevailed. Thus we thank G-d
in Al HaNisim for delivering “the wanton
into the hands of the people who are
diligent in Torah 
In multiple places in the Talmud, themenorah and the oil represent Torah.We are taught that someone whoregularly lights candles will meritchildren who are Torah scholars.(Shabbat 23b) Someone who wants tobe a Torah scholar should pray towardsthe south; the menorah was locatedalong the south wall of the BeithaMikdash. (Bava Batra 25b) Further,one who sees olive oil in his dreamshould expect to see the light of Torah.(Berachot 57a) Thus, the miracleoccurred with the oil and menorah todemonstrate that the victory of Chanukah is a victory of Torah.When G-d told Moshe to make themenorah, Moshe was confused. Rashi(Shemot 25:31) comments that G-dfinally told Moshe to throw a piece of gold into a fire, and the menorahemerged on its own. However, Rashi(Shemot 25:40) comments that G-dshowed Moshe a blueprint of themenorah, which implies that Moshehimself made the menorah. Whichhappened? The S'fat Emet answers thatG-d showed Moshe a blueprint in orderthat Moshe
to construct theMenorah. Only after Moshe tried, andfailed, did G-d tell him to throw the goldinto the fire.We have said that the menorahsymbolizes Torah study. Using the ideaof the S'fat Emet, we see that Torahstudy is about the
, the effort weinvest. At the culmination of Chanukah,the holiday that represents the strengthof Torah, may we all continue to investenergy and vigour in our Torah study.
Translation or Treason?
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
According to a tenth century halachictext, Baal Halachot Gedolot, the eighthof Tevet (this coming Friday) will markthe anniversary of the translation of  Torah into Greek. The translation isalleged to have happened in the thirdcentury BCE, more than a century before the events of Chanukah.We know little about how thistranslation came about; we have severaldifferent traditions regarding who didthe translation, how, and why. We don'tknow whether the original translationwas the Greek Septuagint, althoughthis work is often granted that pedigree.We do know that traditional Jewishtexts label the translation a tragedy, butwe don't know why.An early Jewish source, MasechetSofrim (1:7-8), compared the translationof Torah into Greek with the worstevent in our nation's religious history.As the text tells it, "Once five elderswrote the Torah in Greek for KingPtolemy, and that day was as harsh forIsrael as the day the Calf was created,because the Torah could not beproperly translated. Another time, KingPtolemy gathered 72 elders and putthem in 72 houses without revealingwhy he had gathered them. He went toeach one and told them, 'Write the Torah of Moshe, your master, for me.' G-d placed counsel into each one's heart,and each of them wrote an independent Torah. They changed thirteen things:
'Elokim created in the beginning'…"
According to the first part of thisaccount, Greek itself is inadequate totranslate the Torah, and the disaster of translation was that it necessarily betrayed the original. Of course,
omnis traductor traditor 
- every translator is atraitor
but this passage contendsthat Torah is uniquely beyondtranslation. [Of course, later religionsmade the same claim regarding theirsacred texts.] The explanation found in MasechetSofrim is difficult, though, in light of apassage in Talmud Yerushalmi(Megilah 1:9), "Rabban Shimon benGamliel said: Tanach may only berecorded in Greek; the sages checkedand found that the Torah can betranslated properly only in Greek."Based on this text, what was thedanger in translating Torah? Why wasit considered catastrophic?One approach is found in a midrash(Tanchuma Vayera 6): " R' YehudahhaLevi b'R' Shalom said: Mosherequested that mishnah be put inwriting as well [as the written Torah],but G-d saw that the nations wouldtranslate the Torah and read it inGreek and say, 'We are Israel, too.'" Inother words, the problem of translationis not in its inadequacy; rather, it is inits authenticity. Once the Torah isavailable in other tongues, the Jewishnation loses its special character, asanyone can mimic it and claim theheritage of Torah for themselves. These two ideas
that translation isinadequate and that translationinappropriately shares our Torah
 should give us pause in our age of ubiquitous English renditions. Theneed for translation at this time isclear, but we must be aware of whatwe are losing; we will be better off when we will be able to leave thesetreasons behind.
Friday is the 8 
of Tevet 
Otto Adolf Eichmann
wasworking as a salesman when heenlisted as an SS candidate on April1
, 1932. He applied for an activeduty SS regiment; his applicationwas accepted and he was quickly promoted to the administrative staff of the Dachau concentration camp(which had opened a mere 51 daysafter Hitler took power). In 1945,when Himmler ordered an end tothe Jewish extermination so theevidence could be destroyed,Eichmann disobeyed orders andcontinued his work in Hungary.As the Soviets entered, Eichmannfled back to Austria. When capturedby US troops, he gave a fake nameand managed to flee. He obtained avisa to enter Argentina in 1948,
although he didn’t make the trip
there until July 1950. He lived thereunder the alias Richard Klementand worked several odd jobs; hemanaged to bring his family thereas well. After much planning, hewas captured by a team of Mossadand Shin Bet agents in BuenosAires in May 1960. They druggedhim, and they disguised the entiregroup as flight attendants as they boarded an El Al plane.On May 23
, Prime Minister DavidBen Gurion announced Eichmann'scapture in the Knesset, receiving astanding ovation. His trial began onApril 11
, 1961 and he was indictedon fifteen criminal charges. Duringa fourteen week trial, more than 90survivors testified against him.Defense depositions were sent viadiplomatic courier from sixteendifferent countries. On December11
a guilty verdict was announced,and Eichmann was sentenced todeath on December 15
.Many prominent people sentrequests for clemency, but they 
we’re all dismissed. Eichmann’s wife
sent a letter along similar lines.President Ben-Zvi responded to herby handwriting the verse fromShemuel I 15:33, "As your swordbereaved women, so will yourmother be bereaved among women."
Born in London in 1926 and orphanedat a young age, Rabbi MosheShternbuch spent his formative yearslearning in England and Israel. Formany years, he served as a leader in the Jewish community in Johannesburg,South Africa, where he deliveredacclaimed Torah lectures on businessethics. His renown grew while there, andhe returned to Israel to join the Beit Dinof the Eidah haChareidit, which hecurrently heads.A descendant of the Vilna Gaon, RabbiShternbuch compiled what is consideredan authoritative book on his ancestor'scustoms and rulings, "Hilchot haGrauMinhagav" and has founded a yeshiva-synagogue dedicated to following in hisancestor's traditions. Rabbi Shternbuchhas written many other works; he ismost renowned for his MoadimuZ'manim, which discusses theholidays, and his responsa, TeshuvotveHanhagot, which address a widerange of modern-day issues. RabbiShternbuch's responsa are particularly noteworthy as a repository of oraltraditions from earlier authorities.
This biography includes elements from a biography written by Rabbi Netanel Javasky in a previous issue of Toronto Torah.egoldschmiedt@torontotorah.com 
Question: Is it a mitzvah to wear a belt(
) during prayer?In Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 91:2 it isstated explicitly that one must have a belt forprayer, even one who has a belt in histrousers, because of "Prepare [to meet your G-d, Israel]" [Amos 4:12, a verse cited inShabbat 9b as the basis for preparing topray]. It is surprising then, that most of the[Ashkenazic] Jewish community is notaccustomed to wear a belt for prayer.Similarly, the Sefardic community is notaccustomed to wear a belt designated forprayers. Indeed, in Beit Yosef (91), in thename of Rebbeinu Yerucham, it is explicitthat this applies only if one goes about allday with a belt. If one does not go about allday [with a belt], it is unnecessary. However,the Mishnah Berurah (91:4) writes that thereis a measure of piety in this [situation] aswell to wear one. Clarification is needed, forwe don't practice this.It seems that since the foundation of theobligation is on account of "Prepare to meet your G-d," meaning that this is an honour tothe king - see Rambam, Laws of Prayer 5:2 -it applies specifically regarding clothing thata belt adorns. Examples would be the
 and long garments like it, that we areaccustomed to wear with a belt for beauty.We would similarly beautify them in prayer.However, [concerning] garments for whichbeautification with a belt is not applicable,which we never wear with a belt, it wouldseem that there is no relevance in beautifyingthem with a belt. We never wear them with abelt, and so a belt would not demonstratepreparation or honour for prayer. Therewould be no obligation for this.According to this logic, there is not even ameasure of piety in wearing a belt for thosewhose garments are never worn with a belt.It is relevant only where the garment isspecifically adorned with this, as it was intheir [earlier] time... Everything is inaccordance with one's local custom: If one isaccustomed to wear a garment like this, thenit is included within the parameters of preparing one's garments [for prayer].However, I have noticed a new issue in thismatter: Specifically those who wear a belt inthe morning for prayers sometimes fail to
This Week inIsraeli History
Tevet 8, 1961Eichmann Convicted
Adam Frieberg
Torah in Translation
Wearing a Gartel
Teshuvot v’Hanhagot 1:69
Translated by R’ Ezra Goldschmiedt
fulfill "Prepare [to meet your G-d, Israel]"when wearing arm tefillin. They arewearing a belt, but since their left arm,together with the tefillin, cannot enterinto the sleeve of their jacket, thesleeves are left to rest halfway on theshoulders. This is not an honourableway in which one enters before the King. They are required by the law of "Prepare"to wear their outer garment, a jacket, inits normal manner, their arms inside thesleeves, with the buttons closed. Addinga belt is a measure of special piety, butwearing the garment itself in a casualmanner, inappropriate for enteringbefore a king, nullifies the mitzvah of "Prepare". Indeed, an overwhelmingmajority of those who customarily pray with a belt in the morning are clothed inthis manner. Therefore, there is nofulfillment of the mitzvah of "Prepare",even if they then wear a belt. It issurprising that they haven't alertedpeople to this, which they could repaireasily and so fulfill this mitzvah properly.
Biography: Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch
R’ Ezra Goldschmiedt
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