Pirkei Avos

Face the book
blackberry. They cannot concentrate throughout a seder ‫פרק א, משנה יג‬ (learning period) as every few moments they feel that ‫ ” הוא היה אומר, נגד שמא אבד שמא, דילא מוסיף יסוף, ודילא‬someone else might have changed their status or upload“.‫יליף קטלא חייב, ודישתמש בתגא חלף‬ ed a new photo which they MUST disturb their time to see. GEVALT! “Hillel used to say: He who aggrandizes his name, loses his name. He who does not increase his Torah learning Stepping deeper, users on Facebook feel un-popular if decreases it. He who learns not, forfeits his life. He who they do not have anyone to contact, referred to as friends. makes unworthy use of the crown (of the Torah) shall Before my deactivation, I was the proud owner of a Facefade away.” The Meiri on this Mishna comments that if one does not book account with well over 800 friends… of which I chazer (review) that which he has learnt during the day spoke to maybe 10 on a regular basis, of which none of then it would be as if he has not learnt it properly in the those conversations were overly deep or meaningful befirst place. In order to grow in Torah observance and cause it is very difficult to schmooze intensely with a friend study, one must try to be on the ball as much as possible. by typing. My life was pretty boring and empty as I found To illustrate, if you wish to boil a kettle to make hot water, myself watching my computer screen to fish out any we all know that you need it to be placed on the source of changes on my homepage. What could I have been doing heat for a certain period of time until it is ready. Placing it instead? and then swiftly removing it from said source is going to have a counter effect on the water. It will never get that “He who does not increase his Torah learning decreases much hotter. The same is true with learning. If one is con- it” Every day we are given the most incredible opportunity, stantly on and off, he will never grow. life. The Almighty genuinely feels that today we are going [Before continuing, I would like to explain that personally I to be able to make a positive impact on mankind and think access to the internet is fantastic (when under con- therefore it is worthwhile us being alive. He can see that on any given day we will be able to learn so much and trol) and I am not attacking the usage of such facilities.] 800 Million People around the world are members of the perform masses of mitzvos. But of course this is all down estimated $5 Billion dollar webpage, Facebook. For those to our bechira – free will. We can utilise our time like real that are unaware of Facebook, it is a social networking site menschen by learning, relaxing in a kosher manner or which allows members to converse, share photos, videos positively making a difference to Klal Yisroel / the world, or and more all in an uncensored environment. This rather we can do the exact opposite. recent brain child of Jewish 27 year old, Mark Zuckerberg has proven to be a huge yetzer hora for some users. You see those that waste multiple hours at a time on this resource waiting for something to happen. There are those that have been taken over so much that they have the Facebook on their mobile devices meaning that they are constantly able to check what is going on in the world of social networking. This has led to disastrous results. One cannot go through a shiur or lesson without checking their Friends, I urge all those that have accounts on Facebook to limit the time you use it or delete it once and for all. You know full well that it is not really helping you in your strive for greatness. To conclude with words from our Mishna, “he who exploits the crown of the Torah shall fade away.” Good Shabbos!
(The views expressed in this article are that of the author.)

The Hasmonean High School Weekly Sedra Sheet
‫פרשת בשלח‬
‫מ איר‬ ‫מ איר‬ ‫ל ל לנ י נש מ ת ר אל י ה נ ר י מ י‬ ‫ד נ ד ל ה נ א י ינ ר ל ד א לל ה פר ג‬ ‫דנד ל ה‬ Dvar Torah

Living Torah
Issue No: Shabbos In: Shabbos Out:


‫יא שבט תשע“ב‬ 4th February 2012

394 16:37 17:47

Diving in at the deep end
Exactly what happened when the B’nai Yisrael left Egypt and crossed the Reed Sea (Yam Suf) is not clear. The Talmud presents a disagreement between R’ Meir and R’ Yehudah: R’ Meir believes that each tribe wanted to be the first to enter the water, whereas R. Yehudah is of the opinion that none of the tribes wanted to be first. According to the latter opinion, it was Nachshon ben Aminadav, the leader of Yehudah, who was the first to go in and show the rest of the Jewish people what needed to be done. If we read R’ Yehuda’s teachings carefully, we see that it was not that the B’nai Yisrael did not want to go into the water, but rather that they did not want to be the first to do so. It is an interesting facet of human nature that creates a fear of being the first to do something, because we take a certain chance of being the only one to do an action, even if everyone else knows that we are doing the right thing. We risk being the butt of ridicule, and even scorn, if our example is not accepted. As a result, there are many things that everyone knows to be right but that simply do not get done. Of course, if we want to lead by example, and not simply engage in eccentric behaviour, we need to look more carefully at Nachshon's leadership. What is most significant about Nachshon is his willingness to be the only one, out of hundreds of thousands of people, to pursue his course of action. The social pressure against doing his act must have been tremendous. Whilst it may have been logistically impossible to find a secluded spot to try out his adventure, it would certainly have made it a great deal easier. It is the very public nature of his act, however, that made it so courageous and, even more importantly, so effective. Thus, leading by example must be calculatedly visible, not only regarding where it is done, but, even more importantly, when and how. Doing something privately may be a very praiseworthy thing, but it is not an act of leadership; since it is not known, it cannot be repeated by others. The Torah tells us little about Nachshon. However, it does inform us that he was the leader of his tribe and the brother-in-law of Aharon, which gives us more than enough grounds to assume that he was someone of outstanding moral character. A second critical component of leading by example is cultivating a character that will inspire imitation. If we wear a clown’s suit, no matter how impressive a feat we perform, our appearance would have undermined the example that we are trying to set. If we are trying to accomplish change, it must be done by putting ourselves on the line, by attaching our good reputation – which we have worked so hard to develop – to the change that we are trying to promote. Of what purpose is a good reputation if it is not used for the greater good? As Nachshon led the way through the Yam Suf, he can also lead us in our efforts to provide leadership for the Jewish people. It can be asked why Moshe didn’t do this act of leadership and courage; why did he stand by and watch Nachshon do it? I would like to offer the answer that it is not always the recognised leaders that will lead; sometimes the lesser known people must take a step forward to do what needs to be done. Those who really want to lead need to accept a difficult road – one that calls for publicly doing what is right precisely when no one else is doing it. At the same time, such courage will be pitifully wasted if these future leaders do not spend the required time and energy to refine themselves into the impeccable men and women that will inspire imitation.

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Dvar Torah

Belief in one
“‫ ”ויאמינו בה ובמשה עבדו‬The man was shocked. He had made the long and “And they believed in Hashem, and in His servant, treacherous journey to R' Moshe Chaim's house Moshe" - Shemos (14:31) and this was all he received in return! After failing to convince his host to even just reconsider his R' Menachem Mendel of Kotzk was once visited stance, the man grudgingly left the house and set by an impoverished man who was in desperate out disgruntled and in low spirits, homeward need of funds for the impending wedding of his bound. daughter. The second the door shut behind the man, R' The Tzaddik gave the poor man a Brocho and Moshe Chaim sprang into action. He immediately handed the man a letter of endorsement ad- bought every item of clothing, furniture, utensils dressed to the wealthy brother of R' Yitzchak and every item a young married couple would Meir of Ger, R' Moshe Chaim Rotenberg. As well need and loaded them onto several wagons. He as being the Chiddushei Harim and the first Reb- also compiled enough money to pay for the wedbe of Ger, R' Yitzchak Meir was the brother-in-law ding expenses and more. He set out at full speed of the Kotzker Rebbe. The letter asked R' Moshe after the visitor; whom he proceeded to present Chaim to extend a helping hand to his visitor, all these remarkable gifts to. according to the means with which he had been blessed with by Hashem. In a state of sheer awe and amazement, the man asked R' Moshe Chaim why he had him put The poor man immediately set out on foot and through all the anguish earlier at the house? trudged from town to town until he reached R' Moshe Chaim's house in Chenshin. Upon arrival, Reb Moshe Chaim replied: "Listen, my dear he was received warmly. friend. I saw in your eyes that you were extremely confident because you were equipped with a After a brief rest and something to eat and drink, letter from the holy Rebbe of Kotzk, and in the the poor man handed R' Moshe Chaim the letter. process you forgot that we Jews have a G-d who As he watched his wealthy host's eyes scan the we turn to in times of distress." letter, he was confident that he would receive enough to cover all the wedding expenses. He "I simply wanted to provide a reminder to you to had brought endorsement from the great Rebbe only place your trust in Him and Him alone. And of Kotzk after all! now, my dear friend, I wish you a safe troublefree journey and a hearty Mazel Tov!" After reading through the letter quietly, R' Moshe Chaim took out the modest sum of one ruble, and handed it to the astonished guest.

101 times
“And he said if you listen well to the voice of God your Lord and you do what is just in His eyes and you listen to His commandments and you observe all His decrees, then all the ills I placed upon Egypt I will not place upon you, for I am God your healer.” (15:26) The Gemorah Brachos (daf mem, amud aleph) infers from the Hebrew usage here, “if you will listen to the old you will listen to the new (if you do Chazarah you will be able to master new topics) but if you are oblivious, you will no longer listen.” and implanted it in his mind, he still checks regularly to reassure himself that he has not forgotten it. On the other hand, something preserved ‘in a box’ no longer receives attention. It simply lies there. The Torah which is more precious than thousands in Gold and Silver deserves to be checked on all the time.”

On another occasion, Rabbi Ber of Vilna asked Rabbi Zalman, “the Gemorah Chagiga (daf tes, amud beis) tells us, ‘there is no comparison between someone who learns his topic one hundred times and one who learns it on hundred and one times.’ But is there any mention anywhere A man once observed Rabbi Zalman of Vilna doing of an advantage of learning something more than one Chazarah of a certain Torah subject three hundred times. hundred and one times?” A short while later he saw him reviewing it again a dozen Rabbi Zalman replied, “The number one hundred and one times. mentioned by the Chachamim is for the purpose of retenThe man gathered up his courage and asked Rabbi Zal- tion in the memory. But for learning Torah out of sheer man, “Didn’t I see you reviewing this very same subject love and delight, there is no limit to the number of times it three hundred times? Why are you reviewing it again so can be reviewed. If I had enough time I would review each many times?” element of the Torah again and again for a full year – and “I will explain it to you,” replied Rabbi Zalman. “The even more.” Gemorah Pesachim (daf ayin beis, amud aleph) remarks that ‘he learned it from him forty times, and it was as if he had it in his pocket.’ Why do the Chachamim utilize the phrase ‘in his pocket’ in this context, rather than the more common phrase ‘in a box?’ How is something preserved in a pocket different from something preserved in a box?” “Elsewhere, the Gemorah Baba Metzia (daf chaf aleph, amud beis) tells us that a person checks his pocket regularly. Though he knows his money is there he checks them nonetheless, to reassure him that it did not fall out or get lost.” When Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin was nineteen years old he told the Vilna Gaon, “I have learnt the Order of Moed nineteen times and it is still not clear to me.” The Gaon was astonished, “Do you expect perfect clarity after only nineteen timed?!” “Then how many times?” Rabbi Chaim asked. “There is no limit!” the Vilna Gaon exclaimed. “You must review again and again all your life.”

If this is how the greatest Rishonim saw the importance of Chazarah, we should learn and strive until even we can “This is what is the Gemorah means by ‘in his pocket.’ love to learn the same topic numerous times. Even when a person has completed a subject in the Torah

Gematria of the Week:
From the beginning of this week’s sedrah we can learn an important lesson about how to conduct our lives in a manner that will maximise Kiddush Hashem. The first pasuk says “Vayehi beshalach Paroh es ho’om” - Bal Haturim points out that this has the same gematriah as the words “gam eiruv rav”. Moshe was, more likely than not, aware of the fact that these people were to later cause problems. Moshe did not focus on the future but took the eiruv rav as they were. We can learn from here the upmost importance of tolerance. It is not our job to push people aside because their opinions differ from ours, rather we must embrace them as brothers and friends and change their opinions and actions by being positive role models. Gut Shabbos—Yoir Chalk

Riddle of the Week: In Hebrew, if you subtract 30 from 30 you get 60. How is this? Answer to Last Week’s Riddle:
Two characters in Tanach: one's name makes him sound as though he's his own uncle, and the other's would have him appear to be his own grandfather. Who are they? King Achav ("Ach" means brother, "Av" means father; hence "Achav" means "Brother of father" or "uncle.") (Melachim I 16:28) Avner son of Ner ("Avner" sounds like "the father" (Av) of Ner) (Shmuel I 26:5).