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The Sifra on
Parshat Bechukotai
 comments on the words “They shall stumble over one another” by interpreting that they shall stumble “one
because
of another. This teaches that all of Israel are sureties for one another.” Why, asks Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, does the Torah choose to quote the
Tochacha
 – the curses that Hashem promises to inflict on the Jewish nation when they sin – when invoking a lesson of unity and inter-reliance? The Torah is replete with examples of
Bnei Yisroel
being affected by the actions of some of its members, so what is reason that this particular negative example is invoked? Rabbi Sacks responds with the following answer: the Mishnaic period closely followed the destruction of the Second Temple. Throughout the Torah, the close proximity of the Jewish people to one another made it self-evident that the Jews’ actions had an effect on one another. Now that the Jews were scattered, strewn across the world in a long and arduous exile, their interdependence should disappear. The Rabbis, however, chose a quote that reflected the reality: Jews are responsible for each other even when they are separated by great distances, even when they are punished by the curses of the
Tochacha
. In this week’s
Parsha
,
Parshat Vayigash,
Yoseph reveals himself to his brothers and sends them to retrieve his father, Ya’akov, from
Eretz Yisroel
. Ya’akov, before descending to the Egypt, visits
Be’er-Sheva
 to offer sacrifices to Hashem. In a “night vision,” God appears to Ya’akov, which is unique; Hashem never comes to the other patriarchs, Avraham and Yitzchak, during the night. The Meshech Chochmah explains this phenomenon: Ya’akov was about to leave the Land of Israel for
 Mitzrayim
, and he was afraid of what would happen to his children while in exile. In reassurance, Hashem came to Ya’akov at night, a time that symbolizes the despair of exile, and He communicated to his beloved servant that even when cast from their promised land, Hashem would be with the Jewish nation. It was for this reason, expounds the Meshech Chochmah, that Ya’akov created the prayer of
 Arvit
 – the
Tefillah
of nighttime. The evening prayer might signal the end of a day, but it also signals the start of a new, better one. Hashem tells Ya’akov not to despair. Even in darkness, we are connected to
Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu
 and to the Jewish people as a whole. The night indicates the coming of the following day. As Rabbi Sacks states, the Jewish nation sees adversity as “birthing pains” for newer, better, and greater times. The Sages sent a message to the Jews in the diaspora: even in the darkest of times we should not fear.  Just as the timeless psalm states, “Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me” (Psalms 23:4). Throughout our history Jews have faced unimaginable odds and persecutions of every kind, yet what has bound and still binds us together is our faith that Hashem
is
with us in exile just as He promised to Ya’akov. We know that what we do
does
have an impact on our fellow Jews – “
Kol Yisroel Arevim Zeh La’Zeh
.” In the
Shema
, we cry out, “Hear oh Israel.” Our declaration of faith in God is in the communal form – we address the nation of Israel as a whole signaling our unity. We, at this time, on this Shabbat, should be
Zocheh
 to have increased
Emunah
and a heightened sense of
 Achdut
in order to bring an end the “night” that has been upon us for far too long.
 At this point, after serving three years on the Likutei Ohr, my time as editor-in-chief is over. Thank you to the incredible staff that has poured their time and energy into this pamphlet. A special thanks Micah Hyman, our senior editor who has served for three years, and to Yonah Hiller, our weekly Tefilla columnist who has served for  four years; they will be stepping down this week as well. Congratulations to Ariel Amsellam, Likutei Ohr’s new editor-in-chief, and to Eitan Meisels, the new senior editor.
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 A publication of
YULA 
 Boys High School 
 
Likutei Ohr 
 A while ago I received a remarkable email from a frum soldier in the United States army. The soldier recounted the different challenges he faces on a daily basis: “I get a lot of questions from non-Jewish soldiers about me putting on Tefillin, why I seem that I am talking to myself when I come out of the bathroom, or putting on Tzitzit. I tell them they are my opportunities to connect with G-d.” I was very inspired by his dedication and thought to myself, “If somebody in the middle of a desolate desert in Iraq – in 108+ degree weather no less – can find a way to joyously  perform Mitzvot and connect to Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu, how much more so should we be able to find ways to connect to Hashem in our pleasant lives.” Davening is our opportunity to form a personal relationship with Hashem; it is the  pinnacle moment of connection with our Creator. Modeling the attitude and behavior of my friend in Iraq will surely  guarantee success in deepening our relationship with Hashem.
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 ’14
Parshat Vayigash
The Bonds of Faith
Asher Naghi ’14
 
The Flame of Our  Ancestors
“A man's mind should always be associated with his fellow men.” -Ta’anit 7a 
 Volume II : Issue XI
The Pamphlet of Light
 From Your Editor-in-Chief

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