Simhat Torah 5774 – Gilayon #818


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Simhat Tora – Parshat Bereishit


from the ground the lord god caused to grow


tree that was pleasing to the sight


good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the


and the tree of knowledge of good and bad

(Bereishit 2:9)



from the ground

his nourishment would come easy;


to the sight makes

him happy and broadens his heart to prepare him for the abundance of knowledge

he is about to receive, as it is said "like a musician plays and the

spirit of God is over him";


of knowledge

differentiates between good and bad. And this is why we say to know a woman and

to pay attention to the needs of others and it says, "A brother to

hardship," and "to know a woman."


and bad we

have the choice to choose good even thought it may be harmful or choose bad

even if it is beneficial and suffer the consequences.


from the ground the lord god caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the



difference between good and pleasing is that good is said about physical

pleasures and pleasing is said about spiritual pleasures like attaining endearment

and honor. Six days of the week man pursues making a living. Shabbat is a day

of pleasure of eating and drinking, as we are commanded, and it is also holy

eating, like partaking of the sacrifices. "Pleasure" is better than "good"

because the numerical value of pleasure (102)

is six time that of good (17).

(HaGaon Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, ibid)



Midrash on the

death of moses1

Tamar Biala

And the boy grew… Pharaoh would hug and kiss

him and the child would put Pharoah's crown on his

head… and Egypt's

magicians would sit there and would fear that one day he would take the crown

from his head and that would be the day he took the kingdom from him. Some say

to kill Moses, some say to burn him. Jethro sat among

them and told them that he is only a child and knows not what he is doing. Let

us test him and present him with a gold platter and a platter of burning coal

embers. If he reaches out for the gold platter he has wisdom, and you should

kill him, and if he reaches out for the burning coals he has not wisdom and he

shall not be sentenced to death. They immediately brought him and he extended

his hand out for the gold platter. Along came (the angel) Gabriel and pushed

his hand and he grabbed the burning coals. He put the hand with the coals in

his mouth and burnt his tongue. From therein he became heavy of mouth and

tongue and stuttered.

And she called him Moses. From this we learn the

reward of righteous doers. Even though he had many names, he was only called by

the name given to him by Batya, daughter of Pharaoh,

and even God did not call him by any other name. (Shmot

Rabbah {Vilna} part 1).


As the Israelites were about to enter the land,

Satan came before God and told him: I fear that Moses may take your crown and

in the future take your kingdom. Jethro, who sat

under the throne of honor said, what do you want from

my in-law? He did not ask for a kingdom, nor did he ask for honor, as God had

already said to him,"… erase me from the record which you have written."

(Exodus 32:


And God was silent.

Jethro saw that Satan's words

were still hanging in the air and said to them: Test him. Bring him to the Land of Israel and see if he reaches out.

God took Moses and brought him to the summit of Mount Nevo

and showed him all the land from Gilead to

Dan. And all of the land

of Naphtali and land

of Ephraim and Menasseh,

and the land of Judah, as far as the sea. And the

Negev and the plain and the valley

of Jericho, the city of

palm trees, as far as Zoar. (Deuteronomy 34:1-3)

And Moses stood and observed and the land was

like one big platter. He gazed into it until he saw it face to face and it

seemed to alternate from gold to embers. And Moses knew the Israelites that he

took out of Egypt

and wandered through the desert with them for 40 years. And Moses also knew God

and he knew that he had pleaded on their behalf before him. But Moses did not

know what the Land

of Israel meant for them

and what they would do there. Would it be said about them, "The royal

princess, her dress embroidered with gold mountings," (Psalms 45:14) or would it come to pass, rather that "May coals of

fire drop down upon them and they be cast into pits, never to rise again." (Psalms 140:4)

And he stood and gazed and the platter went

round and round and his heart weakened.

He remembered the words of Jethro,

his father-in-law, "Trust in the Lord and do good,

abide in the land and remain loyal." (Psalms 37:3)

He extended his hand. Satan jumped from his

place. God came and grabbed his hand and pulled him away.

Satan was silent and Jethro


God took Moses' hand and kissed it with his

lips, until he returned his soul, as it is written, "So Moses servant of

the Lord died there in the land

of Moab, as commanded by

God's lips."

(Deut 34:5)

From this we learn of the rewards of a man of

faith. In spite of the fact that Moses had many detractors, who said he was arrogant

towards God and arrogant towards man, God did not heed them but followed Moses'

heart and trusted him until he clung to him in end.




Hence a man leaves his

father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh.



"Hence a man leaves his father and mother"

is said only about the man. What about the woman? Does she also leave her

mother and father when she goes to cling to her man?

Disagreement between the House of Bruriah and the House of Mother Peace

The House of Bruriah

say: In the teachings of Bruriah it is said, "Hence

a man and a woman leave…" implying that they both leave their parents

and are free and ready to establish a new household. However, the Torah speaks

in the language of mankind, meaning males.

Another interpretation: It does not say a woman

leaves her mother and father, because her husband is like a father to her. As

her father absolved her of her vows, so her husband absolves her of her vows,

and she will always be under his authority.

And the Early Righteous Women of the Bet Midrash added that when she marries her husband, not only

does she separate from her parents but also from her God, as we learn, "The

reason women are exempt from time – bound mitzvot is

because a woman is enslaved to her husband's needs. If she was obliged to fulfill

time-bound mitzvot, it could possibly happen that her

husband may require her for his needs. Therefore, if she fulfills her creator's

mitzvot and not her husband's, she is conflicted

between fulfilling God's mitzvot and her husband's

commands. That is why God exempted her from his mitzvot

so that there would be peace with her husband.

The house of Mother Peace says: It is not

necessary to say "A woman leaves…" to create a new household. To

the contrary, only one who is tied to his parents will know how to create a

relationship between his partner and his children. A new household – part of an

existing household – one does not negate the other.

Another opinion: Specifically for the woman it

does not say "leave" her mother and father. The first woman, mother

of all life, had a link between strength and vitality that is the basis of all

things. The same power that connects all living beings created her from a rib

and she knew that to be part of and to be dependent on are not flaws, but the

way of the world. And she taught this great secret to Adam who called out "This

one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." (Genesis 2:23)

And the Early Righteous Women of the Bet Midrash added that only in a marriage where they have a

home with a mother and father, does a woman have freedom and free will as we


When a woman is in her

husband's home and her husband slaughters an animal for her and her father also

slaughters an animal for her – she should go to her husband's home. If she is

in her father's house and her father slaughters an animal for her and her

husband also slaughters an animal for her – she should eat wherever she like.

(Mishna Pesahim 8:1)

Moreover, leaving ones parents saddens the soul,

as we have seen with Ruth who did not want to separate from Naomi… But Ruth

replied, "Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you."(Ruth


And as we see with the Israelites that it is not good for them to leave their

origins as it says,"O Hope of Israel.O Lord! All who forsake You

shall be put to shame. Those in the land who turn from you …

for they have forsaken the Lord, the source of all living waters." (Jeremiah 17:13)

 (Sources: The Torah speaks in the language of

mankind – See Rivka Lubitz,

V'el Isheich Teshukateich, p.30 in

Darshuni-Women's Midrash,

p.30 and Sefer Abudraham)

A Woman

in her Husband's house –Mishnah, Pesahim



note: As is customary on Simchat Torah, we link the

conclusion of the Torah with its beginning. Therefore, we are publishing two

original Midrashim that were written by Tamar Biala.


Biala is editor of Darshuni-Midrashei

Nashim published by Yediot

Sefarim, together with Nehama




"…And the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead, as far as Dan…And the Lord said to him, 'This

is the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I will assign it to

your offspring. I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not

cross there.' " (Deut 34:1,4)

And the Lord showed him the whole land:

This vision was a

miraculous thing, since it is not naturally possible to view all of the land of Canaan from that spot, and so they

said in a Midrash: "The Holy One blessed be He said – I will pass it before you as a woman-servant

passes before her master." In the Sifri they

explained these verses as saying that He showed him all of the future events

that would occur in the Land of Israel until the last of the

generations. That is the plain meaning of the text, since He did show him –

before it was conquered – how the land would later be apportioned to the



S. R. Reggio ad loc)


You shall not cross there… You shall not enter there

That is to say, it is not that you are unworthy of gaining

the land of Israel.

Rather, it is because I am giving it to the Israelites – that is why you will

not be able to enter it as well. The main punishment [you received] was meted

out measure for measure; you will not teach Israel rules

for living in the Land of Israel. All of the preparations which

the Holy One blessed be He made concerning the rock [out of which water flowed]

were in order to teach the Israelites how to comport themselves during a

drought, and since our Teacher Moses spoiled it [by hitting the rock instead of

talking to it], his punishment was that he would not teach them there [in the

Land of Israel].

(The NeTziV Mi'Velozhin's Ha'Amek Davar on Devarim



"He dwells securely… between his shoulders

he dwells

Traditional commentary,

part p'shat, part mythical "droosh",

applies these words to the Temple service on the Temple mount which lies in the

inheritance of the tribe of Binyamin; and if the Temple is the residence of God's

glory, then He dwells between his shoulders. But this raises a question: "He surrounds him

all day"All

day? What day? The reference is not to a 24 hour period, a revolution of

the earth around its axis; a day of The Holy One, Blessed Be He, is eternity.

This means that the dwelling place of God is eternal. But we see that it was

not eternal; the Temple

was destroyed and the site profaned, and upon it stands an alien sanctuary.

There is an eye-opening Midrash (in "Pitron HaTorah" which won

acclaim a few years ago when published by one of our generation's scholars, R' Efraim Urbach). This Midrash, from the Gaonic period,

contains much material from other, more familiar, Midrashim,

and also from Midrashim which may be original or may

have been taken from sources unknown. In this Midrash

we read something new about "He

surrounds him all day and between his shoulders he dwells." Moshe's prophetic blessing was

actually realized, for the sanctuary which stands there today, the sanctuary of

an alien nation, is not a site of idolatry. This sanctuary is a temple of a

people which recognizes the Oneness of God and means to serve God, even if it

did not receive the Torah and does not serve God by observance of the mitzvotWe

find, then, that this is still a temple for those who worship God in truth. These words were said during

the Gaonic period, an era of Arabic rule over Eretz Yisrael, and they certainly

preceded the crusades, during which rule over the Temple mount passed into the hands of those

who do not share our understanding of faith in the Oneness.

 (From "Notes on the Weekly Parsha", Y. Leibowitz, pp. 140-141)


By the sweat

of your brow shall you eat bread until you return to the soil, for from it you

were taken. For you are

dust, and to dust shall you return.

(Genesis 3:19)


All the pain of a life of sadness is expressed in the word

"bread" (lechem).

Food is also called "prey" (teref), because it is torn

from nature; it is also called "bread", because it is achieved in a

social conflict, everyone fighting everyone. (Trans. Note – The Hebrew

root l'h'mmeans both bread and

fighting). Were Man able to devote himself

to spiritual activity, and not only to his daily bread, Man would not fight

Man, and the concept of possessions would not carry so much weight. However,

Man's life is dependent upon the piece of bread, he obtains it only through

"pain"; therefore,

once he has torn food from nature, he struggles against others to protect his

possession. And there are those who fight before the tearing – lest another

attain nature's resource.

(Rabbi S. R. Hirsch ad loc)



for the completion of the 16th

season of shabbat shalom

With this issue, we come

to the end of the 16th

season of Shabbat Shalom.

Israeli society has

undergone many things during these years, and if we felt then that despite the

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created in God's image, I think, that even more so today, in the light of extreme

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phenomena are no longer marginal . We should continue to make our voice heard

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God's image, of which it has been written:" For your wisdom and knowledge

are before all the nations."

We have endeavored over

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Pinchas Leiser, Editor


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