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9 Sivan 5773/May 18, 2013
Yeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
Parshat Naso
Vol.4 Num. 32
tractates. While he does not deny thecause and effect (when you see a
,become a
) identified by the Talmud, he suggests that perhaps thereis an earlier step in this equation, andperhaps the logic is cyclical rather thanlinear.Rabbi Pinto says that the placement of 
teaches us, as ReishLakish hinted in his lesson, that it is
the husband’s lack of sobriety whichresulted in his “meriting” a wife who
lacked commitment. In other words,were this man a greater tzaddik, andspecifically were he someone whorefrained from the levity easily associated with intoxication, he wouldhave merited a wife who did not secludeherself with another man. (While Rabbi
Pinto doesn’t suggest this, perhaps we
can suggest that it was the husband'sdrinking that encouraged her to drink,and therefore her immodest rendezvouswere a direct result of his actions, inless metaphysical terms then thosedescribed above).
 This approach takes the Talmud’s
reasoning (which attempts to preventadditional cases of 
bencouraging men to become
)and states the obvious: this case couldhave been prevented as well, had thehusband been more careful with hisalcohol intake.However, Rabbi Pinto also suggestsanother reason why Reish Lakish beganhis lessons on the
with thepassage we mentioned above. He pointsto the verses themselves, to highlightthe role of the male. While the vastmajority of the verses regarding a
deal with the woman’s sin, it is
surprising to note that the introductory verse speaks of the man, using the word
“man” twice. (Bamidbar 5:12) Rabbi
Pinto contends that the Torah is subtly pointing out that the actions of the wifemay be influenced by the actions of herspouse. Were he to be more righteous,she might be as well.Within this view, Reish Lakish is notsuggesting that the
is forced toact one way or another based on theactions of her husband. Human beingsare granted free will and may act asthey wish. Reish Lakish is simply pointing out that our surroundingsaffect us to a much greater extent thanwe often realize. Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deiot 6:1) makes thispoint at length, quoting many versesthat describe the benefit of beingsurrounded by righteous people and thepitfalls that come from being too closeto wicked people.While we tend to see situations in avacuum, and we might blame the
 for defiling the sanctity of marriage, weshould look at this scene, and allscenes, more holistically and considerwhat other factors may have caused
someone’s misbehavior.
The Bigger Picture
Adam Frieberg
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please call 647-234-7299 or email info@torontotorah.com.
“When Reish Lakish would open his
lecture regarding the
, he would
say, ‘They (the Heavenly Court) pair a
woman with a man for marriage only in accordance with his deeds, as
 Tehillim 125:3 states, ‘For the rod of 
wickedness shall not rest upon the lot
of the righteous.’” (Talmud, Sotah 2a).
Why did this sage choose to open hislecture on the topic of the
withthis lesson?Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, a 16
century resident of Damascus, in hiscommentary on Ein Yaakov (acollection of non-halachic sections of the Talmud), claims that Reish Lakishwas explaining why Tractate Sotahwas published in the Talmud rightafter Tractate Nazir. This question isbuttressed by the fact that the Torahdoes indeed discuss these twoconstructs back to back in Bamidbar6, but it reverses the order, placing thelaws of the
before the laws of the
. [In truth, logic dictates that thelaws of the
should not have beenfound in Bamidbar 6 at all, but ratherin Bamidbar 30, where the other lawsof vows can be found.] Lest we thinktheir order meaningless, the Talmuditself (
2a) provides reason toplace the laws of 
first: “To tell
 you that anyone who sees a
inher state of disgrace should separatefrom wine (by vowing to become a
 The Talmud does provide a technicalreason as to why Tractate Nazir wassituated after Tractate Sotah,overriding the
cause andeffect stated above. However, RabbiPinto suggests an alternative reason
for the “misplacement” of these two
We are grateful toContinental Press 905-660-0311
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causes Jews to be evicted from theirland." Another midrash (Sifra Kedoshin3:8:10) notes that the Torah juxtaposesthis mitzvah with a reminder that G-dtook us out of Egypt, and the midrashexplains the association by saying, "Ibrought you out of Egypt on conditionthat you would accept the mitzvot of [honest] measures. One whoacknowledges the mitzvot of measuresacknowledges the Exodus from Egypt; onewho rejects the mitzvot of measuresrejects the Exodus from Egypt."
 The Torah prohibits fraud as well astheft, but it separately prohibitsconducting business with inaccuratemeasures and weights. (Vayikra19:35-36) A quart or a liter containermust contains those amounts, withlittle margin for error, and the sameis true regarding the accuracy of a
merchant’s weights and scales.
 According to one midrash (SifraKedoshim 3:8:5), a Jew who usesfalse measures "renders the Land of Israel impure, desecrates G-d's Name,causes the
to depart,causes Jews to die by the sword and
613 Mitzvot: #256-257
Honesty and the Exodus
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
All for One, One for All
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
Our parshah (Bamidbar 7:2) recordsthat upon the dedication of theMishkan, "The leaders [
] of Israelbrought offerings," describing them asa group. Then, oddly, the Torahproceeds to record that each leaderbrought his offering individually, on aseparate day.Ramban seeks to resolve the apparentcontradiction by suggesting, "Theleaders all tried to bring this offering onthe same day, which they had chosen
together… [and] G
-d agreed with theleaders." However, he then concludes,"HaShem instructed them, 'Bring oneoffering per day.'" (commentary toBamidbar 7:2 and 7:13) This does notseem to solve the problem of theconflicting verses; if anything, itexacerbates the problem!Rabbi Dovid Kviat (Succat Dovid, Naso136-138) offers an approach toresolving this problem, based on quirksin the offerings brought by the leaders.He notes that the leaders brought
[incense], which an individual isprohibited from doing; indeed, Datanand Aviram lost their lives doing so(Vayikra 10). Further, he notes that theperiod of the leaders' offeringsoverlapped with Shabbat, and personalofferings may not be brought onShabbat. This evidence leads RabbiKviat to conclude that the gifts broughtby the leaders were accorded the statusof communal korbanot. A community does bring
, and communalofferings are brought on Shabbat. This approach to the offerings of theleaders may resolve the conflict inRamban's comments: The leaderssought to bring their gifts on one day,as a single, joint, communal offering. The occasion would be a display of unity and common identity,accentuated by the identical contents of the offerings. HaShem indeed agreedwith that request, and granted all of them the status of "community",viewing them as one and empoweringthem to bring their offerings in thecommunal style. However, HaSheminsisted that the leaders bring thesecommunal offerings separately, onindividual days, and in so doing Hedemonstrated an additional point: Evenwhen we are unified as one community,our individual personalities andintentions matter.
Birkat Kohanim Outside of Israel
R’ Baruch Weintraub
 The Ashkenazi minhag is not to performBirkat Kohanim outside of Israel every day, but only on holidays. We haveevidence for the existence of thisminhag at least from the period of Maharam (about seven hundred yearsago) and it seems it was already wellestablished at that time. Attempts by the Vilna Gaon and his disciple RabbiChaim of Volozhin to change thepractice failed mysteriously. (MeishivDavar 104)Rama (Orach Chaim 128:44) defendsthe Ashkenazi minhag, which seems torun counter to the simple halachahobligating kohanim to perform theblessing every day, everywhere. Ramaexplains that the reason for the minhagis the distress of making a living in exileand of taking time away from thoseefforts for the sake of the blessing.Birkat Kohanim requires happiness,and our distress prevents it; only onholidays can we reach the happinessneeded for this ritual.Many challenges have been presentedagainst Rama's position; the main twopoints are that we are not aware of asource requiring happiness as acondition for the blessing, and we areequally unaware of evidence supportingthe claim that the struggle to earn aliving in Israel is less disturbing than itis in the diaspora. Perhaps we may offeran explanation for Rama's position,taking into account these twoquestions. The Chatam Sofer (Orach Chaim 23)understands a talmudic passage(Megilah 18a) to draw a parallelbetween Birkat Kohanim and theservice in the Beit haMikdash.Acknowledging this, we canunderstand the requirement forhappiness. Happiness in the Torah isconnected with 'standing in front of G-d'. (Vayikra 23:40, Devarim 12:12,and see Shiurim l'Zecher Abba Mari2:210-212.) Birkat kohanim requiresthat the kohen and his recipientsstand in front of G-d, in order to 'putHis name upon the children of Israel.' (Bamidbar 6:27) This insight can help us explain why holidays are different from Shabbat:Happiness (
) is mentioned inthe Torah regarding Yom Tov, notregarding Shabbat. Furthermore, thisidea can help us understand why,according to some authorities, BirkatKohanim is a biblical mitzvah only inthe Beit HaMikdash (Mor uKetziah128), where standing in front of G-d isnot only a figure of speech, but asharp reality. This, then, may be the root of thedifference between Israel and thediaspora. The stress of making a livingobviously applies to both locations, butIsrael, as are we told by the Torah, is'a land where the eyes of Hashem yourG-d gaze constantly.' (Devarim 11:12)In Israel the struggle to make a livingis not a wall between man and G-d,but rather part of the connection. Thatis why in Israel, in contrast to thediaspora, we can make BirkatKohanim every day 
as we stand,happily, before G-d.
inappropriate mixture with outlooks thathave not been received from Sinai, andwhich men have fabricated from theirhearts. In such a case we believe that the Torah will never be replaced!
11 Sivan is Monday 
In early 1991, the government of Ethiopia was on the verge of beingoverthrown by Eritrean and Tigreanrebels. The president had previously not allowed the Ethiopian Jews toimmigrate to Israel, but as he wasabout to lose power, an opportunity presented itself to bring the Jews toIsrael. Also, Israel and a number of  Jewish organizations were concernedfor the safety and welfare of Ethiopia's Jews as the rebels wereabout to take over.Israel began negotiating to allow the Jews to come to Israel. Althoughthere was a dispute regardingwhether the Ethiopians wereconsidered to be Jewish, theSephardi Chief Rabbi had ruled themto be Jewish in 1973. Israel reachedan agreement with the remainingofficials of the Ethiopian government,who agreed to allow the Jews toimmigrate in exchange for 35 milliondollars and shelter in the UnitedStates.In 1990, Israel drew up plans toairlift the Jews to Israel, and on May 24, 1991, Israel executed themission, sending 34 aircraft torescue 14,325 people. Many of theaircraft contained hundreds morepassengers than seats. Notably, oneplane carried 1,122 people (theseating capacity is 760), and fivebabies were born on the planes. Thewhole operation lasted thirty hours.Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir said,"We've stood up to our obligation andcompleted the operation bringing allof the Jews. It gives us a feeling of strength." The operation took place on Shabbat,as the government viewed this as acase of saving lives. Had Israelwaited, the rebels could have takenover, or the Ethiopian officials couldhave changed their minds. Also,since El Al did not fly on Shabbat,the planes were more readily available to airlift the Jews.NY Times quotes one of the olim,Mukat Abag, as saying, "It was a very nice flight. We didn't bring any of ourclothes, we didn't bring any of ourthings, but we are very glad to behere."
Rabbi Binyomin Zilber (1906-2008) wasborn in Turiisk, Poland (now Ukraine) toa pious family. His father Baruch paid alarge sum to send his young son to a yeshiva in Warsaw, but young RabbiZilber had little success there. On hisway home after a few weeks, the boy met an individual who convinced him totry learning in Brisk. After learningthere successfully for two years, RabbiZilber moved to Novardok, where hishighly-refined conduct earned him thetitle "Binyomin haTzaddik". Shmuel ben-Artzi (Israeli writer, poet and father-in-law of Prime Minister Netanyahu) wasRabbi Zilber's roommate in Novardok.Looking back on his time in yeshiva,ben-Artzi noted that Rabbi Zilberdedicated every moment of his time to Torah study and deep, focused prayer,and that unlike some of the"mussarniks" in Novardok, RabbiZilber's actions were not of an excitedand outwardly-intense nature.
Rabbi Zilber, together with a large groupof novardok students, made aliyah in1933 to establish Yeshivat Beit Yosef inBnei Brak. Rabbi Zilber married at a young age; the Chazon Ish, with whomhe was close, commented regardingRabbi Zilber's "Mekor Halachah" thatthe author's scholarship proved that onecan achieve great levels in learning whilesupporting a family.
Although consulted frequently on Jewish law, Rabbi Zilber never took onany formal rabbinic position. Hisfriendly demeanor, independence andopposition to zealotry caused him todefy any political categorization, too.Rabbi Zilber was one of the fewLithuanian leaders who refused to joinRabbi Elazar Shach's Degel HaTorahpolitical party, and he was one of thefew non-Hasidic members of AgudatYisrael's Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah.
Before 5708 [1948 CE], it is almost certainthat the Kotel's space did not have thesanctity of a synagogue, for behold, it servedas a passageway for Arabs, and there was nopermission to set down an Ark, chair or tablein that place. That certain exceptionalindividuals set their prayers there is not acompelling argument that it possessed thesanctity of a synagogue; since they sensedgreat illuminations in their prayers [in thatsite], they had the option to forgo therequirement of a synagogue's sanctity. Oneshould not learn from this for everyone.Authorities write that one who knows that hewill not be able to concentrate in asynagogue, such as in the winter, for it isvery cold there, may pray at home [and theseexceptional individuals acted upon a similarreasoning]. However, the truth is that inaccordance with the custom, they did notchallenge this due to the need for asynagogue's sanctity...And here is the place for me to point outconcerning those who have begun to travelfrom the Holy Land to visit graves of righteous ones in foreign lands, that this isan insult to the Land of Israel and to the holy forefathers, the tannaim and amoraim, giantsof Israel who are buried here. The customwas that people would come here to visit,particularly from nearby lands, and they didnot go elsewhere to visit those buried there! This is certainly so for us, who merit to dwellin the field of G-d! Also from the perspectiveof law that one may not leave the Land of Israel to travel outside the Land of Israel, Ifind no allowance for this.Also, every trip is associated with great lossof Torah study and with financialexpenditures which could have been used tosustain the poor. Rabbi Yonatan Eibeschutzhas already explained that when they say (Avot 2:1), "Consider the cost of a mitzvahagainst its rewards," that speaks of whenboth [possibilities presented] are mitzvot. In amoment of [improper] inclination and desireto tour, every individual must consider withhimself whether his intent is only for thesake of heaven.Further, all of [these considerations] are notworth [this compromise], even when one'sintention is that the non-Jews should [beinduced to] guard the graves of therighteous...It seems that there is in this [desire] an
This Week inIsraeli History
11 Sivan 1991Operation Solomon
Rabbi Yair Manas
Torah in Translation
Praying at Holy Sites
Rabbi Binyamin Zilber
Az Nidbiru 12:27
Translated by Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt
Biography: Rabbi Binyamin Zilber
Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt
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