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Max Glass לע”נ שמואל מרדכי בן שלמה זאב יוסף
In Memory of Mr. Jack Gindi לע”נ יעקב אליהו בן אליהו הכהן
Editor-in-Chief: Elon Swartz ’13 Senior Editor: Asher Naghi ’14 Managing Editors: Micah Hyman ’14 Ariel Amsellem ’15 Layout Editor: Yair Fax ’14 Marketing: Jordan Lustman ’15 Distributors: Mitchell Silberberg ’14 Michael Lazovsky ’14 Staﬀ Advisor: Rabbi Arye Sufrin
Parshat Shemot A publication of YULA Boys High School Because They Feared Hashem Rabbi Joseph Schreiber
“But the midwives feared Hashem and they did not do as the king of Egypt spoke to them, and they caused the boys to live” (1:17). If we consider the fact that the king of Egypt’s decree essentially ordered infanticide, it is really not so startling that two Jewish midwives would not kill innocent Jewish baby boys. In fact, we could assume that most people would not commit such a heinous crime, even if it was commanded by a king. If this is so, then what was so unique about the two Jewish midwives’ behavior? Why does the Torah find it necessary to relate and mention their actions and deeds? Rav Elya Meir Bloch zt”l offers the following explanation: In reality, the great accomplishment of the two Jewish midwives’ was not necessarily the fact that they, “did not do as the king of Egypt spoke to them.” Instead, their true greatness is emphasized in the first half of the passuk rather than the second– “But the midwives feared Hashem.” The midwives could have rationalized the murder of certain baby boys with the intent of saving the greater part of the Jewish nation. However, they would not, and did not, do so. Why not? Because they “feared Hashem!” We are taught that the only guiding principle of truly righteous individuals is Yiras Shamayim, the fear of Heaven. When one is faced with situations that are intellectually, morally, or ethically unjust, the tenet that must guide one’s ultimate decisions and actions is Yiras Shamayim. We have, unfortunately, witnessed in our lifetime, unspeakable crimes and atrocities committed by a nation of enlightened and intellectual people. Many of their doctors and medical personnel, who swore and adhered to the Hippocratic oath–the medical oath of ethics–performed horrific “experiments” on innocent men, women and children. They were able to somehow rationalize their wicked and immoral actions in the name of science. Without Yiras Shamayim as one’s guide, even those challenges or situations that seem to be wrong on such a basic level may sometimes become permissible! This fear, then, was the true greatness of the two Jewish midwives; they had no rationalizations and no excuses. Nothing could sway them or cloud their judgment because they “feared Hashem!”
Candle Lighting Times Candles:
5:40 pm Teﬃlah Gems
Yonah Hiller ’14
Often times, we wonder why all of our tefillos are not answered. We must realize, however, that our tefillos really are answered; we simply don’t understand Hashem’s plan right away. Hashem can be compared to a parent; we, the Bnei Yisrael, are His children. Sometimes, when a parent seems to be stringent on a child, the parent is merely looking out for his or her child’s best interest. Due to a lack of perspective, the child usually does not understand his or her parent’s decision at the time it is made. Nevertheless, the decision is intended to help the child in the long run. Like our parents, Hashem knows what’s ultimately best for us. Our job is to appreciate Hashem’s actions, even if we don’t understand them right away. We need to come to the ultimate realization that Hashem knows what’s best for us, and He immensely cares about our individual relationship with Him as well.
Our History, Our Exiles
Aaron Dan ’16 Chazal quite often say that what happened to our fathers is a sign of what will eventually happen to their descendants–“Ma’aseh Avot, Siman Le’bamim.” This lesson is certainly true about our forefathers in the era of the Egyptian exile, a period in which the Jews developed into a nation. What occurred in Mitzraim has happened time and time again in many countries and many lands throughout the long history of our people. When Yaakov and his family descended to Egypt, they were acknowledged as royalty. The Jewish people were granted permission to settle in any part of the land, and Pharaoh asked that Yosef select brothers to hold positions of power in the Egyptian bureaucracy. Yosef, himself, held the second highest position in the nation, subject only Pharaoh’s demands. In the beginning, the Israelites were highly respected and honored. This reverence did not survive, however, and it soon turned into hatred. A new regime rose to power in Mitzraim that “did not recognize Yosef” or the way in which he had saved Egypt. The Israelites suddenly felt like aliens in the land, and the Egyptians feared that the Jews would become disloyal. The descendants of Yaakov were therefore enslaved, and later, Pharaoh decreed that all first-borns be cast into the Nile. One might think that because of some deep seeded hatred towards the Jews, the citizens of the land would be happy to see “the strangers” leave. This, however, was not the case: when Moshe asked permission to leave the country temporarily, Pharaoh refused. Why? It seems that their slave labor was vital to the economy of the country. This process that occurred all those years ago in Egypt has been repeated on numerous occasions. May we be Zoche to see this cycle broken in the near future with the coming of Mashiach Tzidkenu.
From Rabbi Nachum Sauer
For many, the Shabbat experience truly starts when the woman of the house lights the Neirot Shabbat. Here follows an overview of some of the Halachot pertaining to the beginning of Shabbat. As soon as the candles are lit, the woman is Mekabel Tosefet Shabbat, which is “adding on to Shabbat before sunset.” As such, the woman must Daven Mincha before the candles are lit because Mincha belongs to the previous day and cannot be said once Shabbat begins. Although the time for Tosefet Shabbat begins shortly before sunset, the Mishnah Brurah says that a person who adds twenty extra minutes to Shabbat is praiseworthy. It is from this statement that women have developed the custom of lighting candles eighteen minutes before Shkiah. The earliest time that one can bring in Shabbat on Friday is Plag HaMincha. The Ramah states that Plag HaMincha is the halfway point between Mincha Katana, nine and a half Halachic hours into the day, and the end of the day. It is a Machloket, however, whether Plag is one and a quarter Halachic hours before sunset, or one and a quarter Halachic hours before Tzeit HaKochavim, three stars, which is the beginning of night. From the moment that one takes on Tosefet Shabbat, one must refrain from doing Melacha. Additionally, Plag HaMincha is the earliest time that a woman can light candles, and if she lights before Plag, she does fulfill the Mitzvah of Hadlakat Neirot. Therefore, if she lights before Plag, she must extinguish the candles and relight them with a Bracha. Unlike the woman, the man accepts Shabbat from the time that he says Boei LeShalom at the end of Lecha Dodi. Compiled By Your Managing Editor Micah Hyman
Ethan Haik ’14
After Yakov’s twelve sons died, the Jewish population grew and Jews became increasingly successful in Egypt. Pharaoh, however, wanted to limit our success, and he hoped that if he increased our workload, we would stop growing. After seeing this plan fail, he ordered Jewish midwives to kill all the newborn babies. When he noticed that the midwives were actually saving Jewish babies, he decreed that all Jewish babies be thrown into the Nile River. Fortunately, this plan also did not work, as the Torah says “And the Jews were fertile and fruitful; their population increased greatly” (Exodus 1:7). Our sages tell us that the average Jewish mother gave birth to six babies every time she went into labor. Why does the Torah tell us of the aforementioned Jewish population explosion right before it delves into the section in which we are freed from Egypt? It says in the Megila that before Hashem punishes us, he always creates the remedy for the problem that he plans to inflict. Just as we were freed from Egypt when our population increased, so too, we can escape this current Galut if we increase and improve our learning of Torah; there is always a correlation between our strength and our numbers, both in population, and in learning. Rabbi Nosson Tzi Finkel once said that the amount of Jews in the world directly correlates to the amount of holiness and spirituality that exists. Indeed, the more that we grow instead of assimilating, or the more that we learn instead of straying, the sooner that we can bring about our own redemption.
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