28 Tammuz, 5774/July 26, 2014

Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto Torah Toronto Torah Toronto Torah
Parshat Masei Vol. 5 Num. 43
סב “ ד
The road and its destination
Our parshah begins with the list of
journeys made by our forefathers
through the years in the desert.
However, as some of the commentators
point out, this summary is written in an
unusual way: instead of stating all of
the places in which the people dwelled,
the parshah highlights the road
between them, with each verse
dedicated to describing one journey
rather than one campsite.

Different reasons are offered for this
phenomenon: perhaps it comes to
emphasize G-d’s benevolence, in that
He did not cause us to wander too
much (Rashi); or perhaps it comes to
emphasize the nation’s devotion to G-d,
as expressed by walking through the
desert, an unsown land (Seforno).

Rabbi Moshe Alshich suggested a third
answer: the journeys are presented as a
detailed exposition of their introduction,
“These are the journeys of the Children
of Israel who left the land of
Egypt.” (Bamidbar 33:1) What the Torah
wants to emphasize, then, is the
journey out of Egypt, and ultimately
into the Promised Land. (33:51) The
journeys, therefore, are important not
for the places in which the nation
camped and stayed, but for the walking
in itself. In the sojourns through the
desert, the road, as the famous saying
goes, was much more important than
the destinations along the way.

This lesson, I believe, is correct not only
regarding the temporary destinations in
the desert. The entrance to Israel was
not, in any which way, the end of the
road. The Promised Land is not only a
place, but also an idea – a utopian ideal
to which we have aspired for thousands
of years, to be fully reached in the end
of times. And in the meantime, it is the
road that counts.

To the kingdom of ends
I, too, stand on the verge of a Promised
Land, receiving an opportunity to affect
- hopefully for the better – a community
in Israel. When I look back on the last
three years as a continued journey, I
can clearly see the meaningful progress
I made, and how it has enabled me to
take one small step towards this vision.

This journey could not have been made,
or even begun, without your central role
– you the reader, you the participant in
the shiur, you who learned with me in
chavruta or who just shared your
thoughts. I only hope that all of you,
who reconciled your path of journey
with mine, had gained no less than me.

And to the Avreichim of the Beit
Midrash, and to its head, my friend,
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner, I can only
repeat the wish of the departing shift of
kohanim in the Beit Hamikdash to the
entering shift: “May He who has caused
His Name to dwell in this house cause
to dwel l among you l ove and
br o t he r ho od and pe a c e and
friendship.” (Berachot 12a)

On the Road: A Personal Introspection Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
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An Introduction
Everything a man says or writes
reveals something of his intimate
pe r s onal i t y . And whe n one
contemplates, at length and in depth,
the words of our holy Torah, it is only
more so – the Divine teachings
resonate in the depths of his own soul
(see Avodah Zarah 19a).

Many times over the last three years I
have had this feeling; but in writing
this article it is ten times stronger – I
can almost see my own soul pouring
through my fingers and into the
keyboard and the letters formed on the
screen. The reason for this strength is
that I find myself in a situation very
similar to the one we encounter in the
beginning of our parshah. Just as the
Children of Israel stand, as their
journey seems to come to its end, on
the verge of the Promised Land,
looking in retrospection upon the last
forty years, so do I stand in the end of
my personal journey as a Sgan Rosh
Beit Midrash in the Yeshiva University
Torah Mitzion Beit Midrash Zichron
Dov of Toronto; And I too, look back
retrospectively on my experiences in
these years, and try to make sense out
of them.

And while, Thank G-d for small
mercies, I have been granted the merit
to continue writing in Toronto Torah
next year, I will no longer be able to do
it as an organic part of the Toronto
community, but as a former resident.
Thus, I would like to read the first
section in the parshah in accordance
with my current position in life, and I
hope that readers will find some of the
lessons applicable for themselves as

We are grateful to
Continental Press 905-660-0311
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sheep or the firstborn goat. These are holy.” If the firstborn
animal is not blemished, it must be brought as a korban,
and it may not be redeemed for money.

The Torah’s special declaration of this rule is odd; we may
not redeem any unblemished korban for money. Why might
I have thought that the firstborn animal was any different?
Sefer haChinuch (393) suggests that this lesson is necessary
because we have a related law – mitzvot 22 and 23 in the
count of Sefer haChinuch – of redeeming a firstborn donkey.
The mitzvah of the firstborn donkey is presented beside the
mitzvah of the firstborn kosher animal in the Torah, and
one redeems a firstborn donkey for money even when it is
unblemished, and so one might have thought that the same
would be true for a firstborn kosher animal. Therefore, the
Torah takes the time to note that one may not do so.

In truth, even a blemished firstborn animal is never
“redeemed”, in the normal sense of the word; it may be sold,
but its sanctity is not transferred to the money used for
purchase. Because its holy status is a function of birth and
not conferred upon it by the will of a human being, no
human being can transfer the holiness to another entity.
(Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch to Bamidbar 18:17)

In Parshat Bo (Shemot 13), the Torah instructs us to bring
our first-born sheep, oxen and goats to a kohen. When we
have a Beit haMikdash, the kohen the animal as a korban,
putting part on the mizbeiach [altar] and eating the rest. If
the animal develops a blemish which disqualifies it from
being brought as a korban, anyone may eat it. This mitzvah
applies even when there is no Beit haMikdash, biblically
within Israel and rabbinically outside of Israel. [One version
of Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Bechorot 1:5 says that
this mitzvah applies only in Israel, and Sefer haChinuch
seems to adopt this view in mitzvah 393, but the consensus
of authorities is that this edition of the Rambam’s position is
in error; see Minchat Chinuch 393:7.]

By sanctifying our firstborn animal, we dedicate the first fruit
of our efforts to Hashem, and so we demonstrate that we
recognize that everything we possess ultimately comes from
Hashem. Further, we commemorate Hashem’s destruction of
the Egyptian first-born and redemption of the Jews from
Egypt. Sefer haChinuch counts this as the Torah’s 18


In Parshat Korach (Bamidbar 18:17) the Torah presents an
additional mitzvah – mitzvah 393 in the count of Sefer
haChinuch – regarding this firstborn animal. The text states,
“Only, you shall not redeem the firstborn ox, the firstborn
Haftorah: Yirmiyahu 2:4 - 2:28, 3:4 Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
Who is the prophet of our haftorah?
Yirmiyahu was the last major prophet of
the first Beit haMikdash, and his
experience may well have been the most
bitter of any prophet in Tanach. He
lived in the 5th century BCE (according
to Seder Olam), and his task was to
warn the Jews of his day that time was
short and destruction was coming. The
nation did not heed Yirmiyahu’s words;
instead, they beat him and imprisoned
him (Yirmiyahu 20 and 37), threw him
into a cistern (ibid. 38) and threatened
to kill him. (ibid.)

Rembrandt’s Jeremiah Weeping Over the
Destruction of Jerusalem is hauntingly
evocative of the mood of Yirmiyahu’s
book; Indeed, the word “jeremiad” was
coined to refer to a prophecy of doom
and gloom. Throughout his misery,
though, Yirmiyahu carried with him a
Divine promise, “I am with you, to save
you.” (ibid. 1:8)

According to the Talmud (Bava Batra
15a), Yirmiyahu authored his own book,
the book of Melachim, and the book of

What is the message of our haftorah?
Our haftorah is the second of three
haftarot, gimel d’puranuta, which Jews
have historically read between the
seventeenth of Tammuz and Tishah
b’Av; the practice dates back at least
one thousand years. (Sefer haManhig
“Lifnei Tishah b’Av”) In this haftorah,
the prophet Yirmiyahu speaks with G-
d’s voice, asking the Jews what
motivated them to reject G-d. In
particular, the prophet notes that:
 G-d has only helped the nation and
provided them with blessing; (2:5-8)
 Other nations do not abandon their
deities; (2:10-11)
 The Jews have abandoned G-d in
favour of powerless idols; (2:12-13,
 The Jews have failed to recognize
that their national suffering is
punishment for their sins; (2:14-17)
 The Jews have turned to Egypt and
Assyria, their enemies, for support,
rather than turn to G-d. (2:18)

At the conclusion of our haftorah, the
Jews are told that despite their
wandering, G-d stands ready to take
them back at the moment of their
return. (3:4)

Jews and Grapes
Various prophets compare Jews to
grapes and grapevines; see, for
example, Yeshayah 5, Yechezkel 17
and Hosheia 9:10. In our haftorah
(2:21), G-d declares, “I planted you as
a vine, in entirety a true seed; how
have you now become a straying,
f orei gn pl ant ?” What i s t he
relationship between Jews and grapes?

A midrash (Tanchuma Lech Lecha 21)
offers two bases for comparison,
saying, “When [the Jews] stood on
Mount Sinai they were compared to
grapes. Grapes are pretty outside and
ugly inside, so Israel – when they stood
on Mount Sinai and answered, ‘We will
do and we will hear,’ that was with
their mouths. Their hearts were not
aligned… Grapes contain food and
drink, and so Israel contains people of
Torah and people of deeds.” However,
there is another possible point of
comparison here.

In Shoftim 9, a man named Yotam
rebukes the Jewish people for their
selection of an inappropriate leader,
his half-brother, Avimelech. In the
course of his rebuke, Yotam describes
different flora and their greatest traits,
and he describes the fruit of the grape
as “gladdening G-d and man.” Wine
gladdens the human being who drinks
it; wine gladdens G-d when it is
poured on the altar as a libation.
Perhaps this is another point in the
comparison of the Jew and the grape;
when we offer ourselves to G-d then we
gladden Him, and when we offer
ourselves to assist other people then
we gladden them.

Yirmiyahu rebukes the Jews, saying
that G-d planted us as an “entirely
true seed,” outfitted with the spiritual
genes to produce fruit which would
serve G-d and serve the world. We
st rayed and became f orei gn,
unadapted to our soil and to our task.
G-d calls us to return to our figurative
roots, and to again be the nation
which will “gladden G-d and man.”

613 Mitzvot: #393
The Irredeemable First-born
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
[Note: This responsum was written in
reaction to the Jibril Agreement, when
1150 Palestinian pri soners and
terrorists were exchanged for three
Israeli soldiers in captivity in 1982.]

If we are dealing with logic, behold Rav
Goren [wrote] in his aforementioned
article, several times, that this deal
intensified and increased the power of
the murderers, both quantitatively and
qualitatively, by freeing a large number
of trained terrorists. This reasoning is
correct, but let us ask: did those who
executed this deal not understand this
simple point? Rather, as was clarified
inter alia by the Minister of Defence, an
additional significant matter stood
before the eyes of the government that
made this decision: the morale of the
soldiers of the IDF.

When a soldier knows that if he were to
fall captive the entire State of Israel
would stand behind him to free him, he
will exert himself during battle without
fear or intimidation. However, if the law
that “we don’t free captives for more
than their value” (Gittin 45b) were to be
applied even in this scenario, when
sol di ers are sent as nat i onal
representatives to battle, then it may be
assumed that every soldier would think
to himself, “Better to retreat than to fall
captive.” Who is the one to measure now
what will cause the greater damage to
security: strengthening the power of the
terrorists by freeing their associates, or
strengthening the morale of the soldiers
of the IDF in future wars if they were to
happen, G-d forbid.

Therefore, in my humble opinion it does
not appear that the Israeli government
acted against Jewish law. It is even
possible that their consideration would
have matched a novel [interpretation of]
Jewish law which the Torah scholars
would have innovated in this situation.

In any case, after the action [has been
completed] one certainly should neither
question nor complain about the Israeli
government’s decision. However, there is
room to debate and to set a course of
action for any future occurrences, G-d
forbid. Our prayers to G-d are that He
should grant us peace, and we should
speedily merit to the “return of our
judges as at first and our counsellors as
at the beginning.” (cf. Isaiah 1:26)
Torah and Translation
Prisoner Exchanges in Halachah
Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi
Aseh Lecha Rav 7:53
Translated by Rabbi Josh Gutenberg
Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi
Rabbi Josh Gutenberg
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com 3
Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi was born in
Jerusalem in 1924. As a child, he
studied under Rabbi Ezra Atiyeh and
Rabbi Ben Zion Meir Hai Uziel in
Yeshivat Porat Yosef. [Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef was a student at the yeshiva
simultaneously.] In 1948, Rabbi HaLevi
fought in the Independence War as a
member of the Tuvia Brigade, a unit
designated for yeshiva students. After
the War, Rabbi HaLevi served as Rabbi
Uziel’s personal secretary when the latter
was Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Rabbi HaLevi served in several rabbinical
roles in his career. He was Chief Rabbi of
Rishon LeTzion from 1951-1972, and he
concurrently served on the Rabbinical
Council of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.
When Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was appointed
Chief Rabbi of Israel in 1973, Rabbi
HaLevi took over his position as
Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and
served in that capacity until 1997. In
1992, he was a candidate for Sephardic
Chief Rabbi of Israel, but Rabbi Eliyahu
Bakshi-Doron was elected.

Rabbi HaLevi was a prolific author. His
major works include Mekor Hayyim
HaShalem, a five volume synopsis of
Jewish law, along with Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch Mekor Hayyim, a more concise
version only listing practical laws, and
Aseh Lecha Rav, a set of responsa
dealing with a wide range of
contemporary issues. In addition, he
wrote books on Jewish law in areas such
as marriage and religion in the modern
State of Israel. He also authored a three
volume work on the Torah, as well a
topical index to the Zohar. For his
contributions to Torah scholarship,
Rabbi HaLevi received numerous awards.
Notably, he was awarded the Rav Kook
Prize in 1984 and the Israel Prize in

Rabbi HaLevi passed away on 12 Adar
5758 (March 10, 1998).


וכ הנה ןניקסע ארבסב םאו ‘ רגה “ ןרוג ש
נה ורמאמב “ םימעפ המכ ל , תאז אקסיעש
יתוכיאו ירפסמה םחכ תא הלידגהו הריבגה
ע םיחצרמה לש “ לש לודג הכ רפסמ רורחש י
וכו םינמואמ םילבחמ ‘ . איה הנוכנ ארבס וזו ,
אנ לאשנש אלא , עוציבב וקסעש םתוא יכו
הז טושפ רבד וניבה אל תאז אקסיע , אלא
ע רתיה ןיב רהבוהש יפכ “ ןוחטבה רש י , דגנ
הדוקנ הדמע הטילחהש הלשממה יניע
תפסונ הבושח , הצ ילייח לש לרומה איהו “ ל .

יבשב לופי םאש עדוי לייח רשאכ , תנידמ
וררחשל וירחאמ תבצינ הלוכ לארשי , רוסמי
ארומו דחפ אלל ברק תעשב ושפנ . םא ךא
ידכ לע רתי םייובש ןידופ ןיאש ןידה לעפוי
הז הרקמב םג ןהימד , םיחלשנ םילייח רשאכ
המחלמל המואה תוחילשב , םתסה ןמ זא
לופיל אלו תגסל בטומ ובלב לייח לכ רמאי
יבשב . קזנה המ התע דודמי רשא הז אוה ימו
רתו י לודג ה י נ ו חטבה , לש םחכ קו זיח
ע םילבחמה “ םהירבח רורחש י , קוזיח וא
הצ ילייח לש לרומה “ םא תודיתע תומחלמב ל
ח הנארקת “ ו ....

ןכל , נעל הארנ ןיא “ הלעפ לארשי תלשממש ד
הכלהל דוגינב . התעד לוקישש ףא ןכתיו
ימכחש יתכלה שודיח תמאות אקוד התיה
הז הרקמב םישדחמ ויה הרותה .

כעו “ פ , ןיאו רהרהל ןיאש יאדו השעמ רחאל
לע לארשי תלשממ תטלחה ירחא רערעל
התטלחה . יכרד עובקלו ןודל םוקמ שי יכ ףא
ח הרקמ לכל דיתעב הלועפ “ ו , דל ונתלפתו ‘
ונל םולש תופשיש , תבישל הרהמב הכזנו
הלחתבכ ונצעויו הנושארבכ וניטפוש .

We are glad to welcome
Rabbi David Ely and Shira Rachel Grundland!
Rabbi Grundland will join our Beit Midrash next year
and will serve as Rabbinic Assistat at Shaarei Shomayim Congregation

Rabbi David Ely Grundland grew up in Toronto. He attended York University where he
received his B.A. in Business and Society. While studying at York, David Ely discovered
a deep passion for learning and teaching Torah. In 2008, he moved to Israel to study at
Yeshivat Torat Yosef Hamivtar in Efrat, under the guidance of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. In
2014 he received ordination from the Joseph and Gwendolyn Strauss Rabbinical
Seminary at Yeshivat Hamivtar under the direction of Rabbi Yehoshua Reich, and
HaGaon Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, shlit”a.

While completing his tests for ordination, David Ely also served as a Rav and mashpia
for students of Mechinat Ye’ud, a post high-school program that complements
traditional yeshiva study with structured chessed programs and tiyulim. David Ely
ascribes to a holistic approach to Torah, believing that just as Torah infuses deeper
meaning and understanding into our lives, so too can our day-to-day experiences help
us to better understand and relate to Torah and mitzvot.

David Ely is married to Shira Rachel. Along with their children, Akiva Chen and Mali
Tova, they are looking forward to coming to Toronto and contributing to the Beit
Midrash Zichron Dov team.
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com 4
We would like to thank koshertube.com for filming our shiurim!
Highlights for July 26 – August 1 / 28 Tammuz — 5 Menachem Av
Our official zman ends this week, but opportunities remain!
Time Speaker Topic Location Special Notes
6:45 PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner Pirkei Avot 131 North Meadow University women
After minchah R’ Mordechai Torczyner
Gemara Avodah Zarah:
Identifying Kosher Fish
9:15 AM R’ Shalom Krell Kuzari Zichron Yisroel With light breakfast
MONDAY JULY 28 Rosh Chodesh Av
10:30 AM R’ Mordechai Torczyner Chabura: Times of Davening Yeshivat Or Chaim
7:45 PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner The Hidden Cost of Churban Clanton Park
Part of a
Community Memorial
for the Shloshim of
Gilad, Eyal & Naftali
7:30 PM
R’ Mordechai Scheiner

R’ Mordechai Torczyner
Reality Check: Eichah

Mourning for Hope
In memory of
Gilad, Eyal & Naftali
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Introducing: Rabbi David Ely Grundland
We are grateful to the many shuls who offer Toronto Torah to their membership, including:
Aish Thornhill / Thornhill Community Shul  Ayin l’Tzion  Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto Congregation
Clanton Park Synagogue  Congregation Bnai Torah  Forest Hill Jewish Centre  Kehilat Shaarei Torah
Magen David Congregation  The Marlee Shul  Mizrachi Bayit  The Or Chaim Minyan  Petah Tikva
Shaarei Shomayim  Shaarei Tefilah  Shomrai Shabbos Chevra Mishnayos  Toras Emes Viewmount
The Village Shul  Zichron Yisroel of the Associated Hebrew Schools