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When you come into the
To give to you as a possession, and i inflict
An eruptive plague upon a house in the land you possess...
(Vayikra 14: 34-35)
for 'When you come into the land" - For this [phenomenon of a house
plague] exists only in the land [of
(Ibn Ezra, Vayikra
The author of the "Kli Yakar" commentary notes two possible emphases in the text, each indicating an attitudinal flaw which brings the plague upon the house.
The mistaken belief that it is
B. Emphasis on the phrase "he whose house it is" indicates exclusivity; the house and its contents are his alone - to be enjoyed only by him, to the exclusion of all others.
Despite their dissimilarity [the first is a conceptual flaw, the second a practical one] both errors derive from a single character trait - "tsarut ayin" [Lit. "narrowness of the eye] - stinginess, meanness, ingratitude. The Israelite's failure to see the hand of God as possessing the house and its wealth, and his refusal to share "the house" with others are expressions of tsarut ayin. Tsarut ayim brings the plague upon the house. [Translator's note: 'Tsarut' - narrrowness, and 'tsaraat' - a form of eruptive skin affliction, are phonetically similar, implying a 'measure for measure' relationship].
(Kli Yakar, Ibid, ibid.)
On the way to 'the prayer for the welfare of the state'
On Saturday night, 29/
He who grants victory - He who grants victory to kings and
dominion to princes, his kingdom is a kingdom for all ages; he who delivered
May the supreme Kings of kings, in his mercy, sustain them and deliver them from all distress and misfortune. May He subject peoples to us, and defeat our enemies, and may we succeed in all our endeavors.
May the supreme King of kings, in his mercy, inspire all the kingdoms, their counselors and aides with righteousness and recognition of the justice of our enterprise, to deal kindly with us and with the Kingdom of Israel in the Land of Israel, and to extend mercy upon all the dispersed of Israel in all their lands of settlement.
In our days may
In his accompanying letter, Rav Katz suggests that: "The Chief Rabbinate shall instruct that this prayer be recited throughout the Jewish world every Sabbath; this will make a great impression upon all the world, something which will not be so in the case of recitation of the Hallel, which contains no innovation".
Rav Katz, as he composed the prayer, saw before him the accepted version of "He Who Grants Victory" but he replaced all personal allusions ["king", "president", etc.] with national terminology.
Identification of the blessing's recipient: "
Request for protection: "Sustain them and deliver them from all distress and misfortune"
Request for victory: "May He subject peoples to us, and defeat our enemies"
Political acumen: "may we succeed in all our endeavors"
To bestow favors... with the
The final sentence in the prayer emphasizes the difference between the two prayers, the original "He Who Grants Victory" and that composed on the threshold of Jewish independence.
The original states: "In their days and in our days
Rav Katz did not alter the name of the prayer,
"He Who Grants Victory". This prayer was, to the best of my
knowledge, the only one relating to Jewish independence prior to the declaration
of the State. What happened on the night of the resolution's acceptance by the General
Assembly of the U.N. was repeated in Tel-Aviv, during the Declaration of
Israeli Independence ceremony, on 5 Iyar 5708 (
"He who blessed [Mi shebeyrach], our fathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, He will bless the members of the administration and the council of the State of Israel, for all this holy assembly prays for their welfare.
May the Holy One, blessed be He, watch over them and protect them from misfortune and adversity and plant in their hearts wisdom and understanding that they may manage the matters of the nation justly and fairly, and cause peace to dwell in the land, and protect it from every enemy and oppressor.
In their time and in ours may our Father in Heaven gather all the
For Rabbi Unterman, the prayer was the "Declaration
of Independence" of the religious public who believed in national revival
composed his prayer on Friday, as the Independence Proclamation ceremony was
taking place in the Tel-Aviv Museum, as the Sabbath was about to enter. Twenty
four hours later, on Motsie Shabbat, the literary
researcher, Prof. Dov Sadan,
too, sat in Tel-Aviv and composed a prayer which he titled: "Prayer for
the Welfare of Israel". This prayer came to light when Sadan
published it in the Maariv newspaper on 30/4/
Master of the
Universe, God of
Bless Your holy land, estate of the children of Your covenent;
Exalt their state and return to it the dispersed of your nation;
Make its land fruitful and support all who work upon it,
Make wondrous the diligence of its builders and increase the strength of its defenders.
Grant understanding to the hearts of its representatives, and wisdom to its government,
May Your Torah enlighten their ways, and Your commandments their paths
Let your loving-kindness be their assistance and Your truth their fortress.
Spread your peace over this pleasant land, and in its peace, peace to all your creations.
Build Your house soon, your eternal .dwelling;
And speedily send Your righteous redeemer and let us see the light of Your salvation;
And may all the inhabitants of Your world proclaim,
God, Lord of Israel, is King, and His kingdom rules over all."
Exactly one month after Rav Unterman composed his new prayer, a "Mi Shebeyrach", for the young state, another version,
based upon the old and familiar "He Who Grants Freedom" was
formulated. "HaHed", a newspaper edited by
R' Benyamin (Yehoshua Redler-Feldman)
published the adaptation "He who grants freedom to His people
It is worthwhile noting that the opening and concluding portions of the
prayer, which was recited on the Shavuot festival in
From this last note, we can conclude that the version was intended to be a temporary one and that at that very hour a different - final - version was under discussion. Who was engaged in this formulation? Under what conditions was it taking shape - we do not know. Were the anonymous authors toying with the idea of severing the prayer for the State of Israel from the "He Who Grants Freedom" format"? On the basis of later documents it may be determined than the express intent of Rav Herzog was to compose
a new version and not to rewrite an existing one. Approximately three months passed, and the middle of Elul, 5709, saw the initial appearance of "The Prayer for the Welfare of the State", which was composed by Chief Rabbi Herzog and received the approval of the Chief Rabbinical Council.
Dr. Yoel Rappel,
supervises the Eli Weisel Archives in
"Leprosy" [tzara'at] is a comprehensive term covering sundry incompatible matters. Thus, whiteness in a man's skin is called leprosy; the falling off of some of his hair on the head or the chin is called leprosy; and a change of color in garments or in houses is called leprosy.
Now this change in garments and in houses which Scripture includes under the general term leprosy was no normal happening, but was a portent and a wonder among the Israelites to warn them against slanderous speaking. For if a man uttered slander the walls of his house would suffer a change; if he repented the house would again become clean. But if he continued in his wickedness until the house was torn down, leather objects in his house on which he sat or lay would suffer a change; if he repented they would again become clean. But if he continued in his wickedness until they were burned, the garments which he wore would suffer a change: if he repented, they would again become clean. But if he continued in his wickedness until they were burned, his skin would suffer a change and he would become leprous and be set apart and exposed all alone until he should no longer engage in the conversation of the wicked, which is raillery and slander.
Now on this matter there is a warning in Scripture which
says, Take heed in the plague of leprosy...remember what the Lord your
God did to Miriam by the way (Devarim 24:9). That
is to say, consider what befell Miriam the prophetess, who spoke against her
brother, even though she was older than he and had nurtured him on her knees
and had put herself in jeopardy to save him from the sea. Now she did not speak
against him but erred only in that she put him on a level with other prophets;
nor was he resentful about all these things, for it is said, Now the
man Moses was very meek (Bamidbar
Torah Hilkhot Tumat Tzara'at
And I shall inflict an eruptive affliction upon a house in
the land you possess - This
refers to the
R. Alshich, in line with the accepted understanding of the tsaraat of the house being a punishment for lashon hara - for tale-bearing - draws the following analogy:
"The house" is the human being.
"He whose house it is" is the soul for whom the body serves as a "house".
"The priest to whom he comes" is the Holy One, blessed be He.
When a person becomes a tale-bearer, his soul comes before the Holy One and says "Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house" i.e., "The person ["the house] in which I ["the soul"] reside is becoming afflicted with sin."
(Alshich on the Torah)
The character of the most completely unsociable being as represented by the dror bird at once springs to one's mind as the opposite contrast to what is demanded for re-entrance into the social life of the community. It is the contrast of the animals of the "field" to the humans of the "city."
The demand which is made as the condition for the re-entry
into the social life of the community is that the priest shall
slaughter one of the birds, i.e., the energetic subjection of the wild
untrammeled animal life under the sharp control of the morally strong human
will. (Rabbi S.R. Hirsch on
A cedar stick: Because lesions of tzara'at come because of haughtiness
a strip of crimson [wool], and hyssop: What is the remedy that he may be healed [of his tzara'at]? He must humble himself from his haughtiness, just as [symbolized by] the crimson [tola'at lit., "a worm," which infested the berries from which the crimson dye was extracted to color wool], and the [lowly] hyssop.
(Rashi ad loc, based on Judaica Press translation)
The Rebbi of Gur, author of the Sefat Emet, used to say: Why was it necessary also to bring the cedar tree, which signifies pride? If the main intention is that the sinner lower himself like the hyssop, is it not sufficient that he bring the hyssop alone?
But, when the penitent repents and examines his sins, he reaches dejection and deep shame because of his previous pride. He is mortified and embarrassed by the haughtiness attendant upon his sin. It follows that his earlier pride now helps him attain humility. Therefore it is right that the cedar be part of the cure.
(S'fat Emet, as quoted in Ma'ayana Shel Torah)
Lowliness and submission do not mean that the body be bent and stooped, but that there be inside him a broken spirit even when the body stands erect, as the Baal Shem Tov explained: "Let every erect body bow down before you - bowing down before you, even with an erect posture."
When one lowers himself like a hyssop - but the humility is counterfeit, this kind of humble person is in need of atonement.
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