Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


Rabbi Doniel Staum on Parshas Chukas 5770 - Fatal Error
by Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 4503 times since 6/18/10   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

6/18/10

STAM TORAH

PARSHAS CHUKAS 5770

FATAL ERROR

Rabbi Yecheskel Levenstein zt’l[1] was once in a taxi in Yerushalayim. The driver was a secular Israeli who had served in the army years earlier. Seeing that he had a distinguished rabbi in the taxi, the driver related a personal story:

After he had completed his army duty, he had joined a group of non-religious soldiers on a safari trip to South America. One day while on their trip the group heard a blood-curdling scream from one of the members of the group. They ran over to help him only to find a horrific sight. A boa-constrictor had wrapped itself around their friend and was slowly squeezing the life out of him. The group began throwing rocks and sticks at the snake, but to no avail. With his last remaining breath the man yelled, “Shema Yisrael”. As soon as he said those words, the constrictor inexplicably loosened its grip and slithered away. As a result of the miraculous event, the man joined a yeshiva as soon as they returned home, and today is completely Torah observant.

After listening to the driver’s incredible story, Rabbi Levenstein asked him, “What about you? After seeing such a miracle why didn’t you became Torah observant?” The driver looked at the rabbi incredulously, “Kevod harav, why should I have become religious, the snake wasn’t wrapped around me!”

Traveling through the desert for forty years was not only fraught with dangers and external challenges, but there were also many internal confrontations as well. The Torah relates that the nation became restless from their travels and they voiced their dissatisfaction. “Why has He brought us up from Egypt to die in the desert, for there is no bread and there is no water, and our souls are repulsed with the insubstantial bread.”

G-d’s retribution was swift, and the camp was overrun with venomous snakes which fatally bit many people. “And the people came to Moshe and said: we have sinned… And G-d said to Moshe, ‘Make for yourself a venomous snake and place it upon a tall pole, and it shall come to pass that anyone who is bitten, let him look upon it and he will live. And Moshe made a copper snake…”

Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch zt’l explains that the purpose of the snakes was to make the nation realize the omnipresent dangers that surrounded them in the desert. A desert is a naturally hazardous place for any individual, and even more so for an entire nation, of men, women, and children. The nation was now complaining that their life in the desert was uneventful and trite. When the snakes attacked however, the nation realized that the insipidness of their travels was the greatest blessing, and was a result of the protective Hand of G-d.

Rabbi Hirsch continues that G-d informed Moshe that anyone who was bitten must gaze at the copper snake, so that this idea would become entrenched in their mind. The mental image of the snake would help the victim remain aware of the vast dangers that surround him constantly and that it is only G-d’s Protection that saves him from them.

Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon shlita similarly noted that, unlike the plagues in Egypt where G-d miraculously caused animals to gather en masse in Egypt, during this event G-d did not miraculously bring together snakes from afar as punishment to the Jews. Rather, he merely removed His Divine protection. When that happened, nature took its course, and the surrounding snakes which naturally habituate the desert invaded.

Rabbi Salomon added that we must view our contemporary situation in the same vein. When, G-d forbid, a terrorist attack occurs[2] it is not that G-d allowed the terrorist to penetrate. Klal Yisroel has so many enemies that our daily survival is unnatural and miraculous. Rather, it is that He has removed a certain measure of His Divine Protection from Klal Yisroel. When that occurs and nature is allowed to take its course tragedies are almost inevitable, heaven forefend.

One of the mainstays in the life of a Jew is reciting blessings. The gemara[3] relates that one is obligated to recite one hundred blessings every day. What does it mean to bless G-d? How can a temporal mortal of flesh and blood bless the Eternal, King of Kings?

Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt’l explained[4] that when one recites a blessing he is espousing his cognizance of G-d’s hidden Hand in this world. “When one recites a blessing over food, for example, he in essence is saying, “Master of the Universe, you are hidden behind a cloud; no one sees you. Yet, as I eat this food, I reveal Your Presence. The very fact that I can eat, that my body absorbs food, that I can digest, indeed the entire biological process behind food consumption and the very creation of food itself is testimony to Your presence. Through this recognition I am removing the obscuring cloud; I am revealing You.”

Blessings are addressed to G-d in the second person: Blessed are You, rather than Blessed is He, in order to affirm G-d’s Presence among us. It as if we are saying that we are testifying about G-d’s Presence through the object which we are blessing. The purpose of a blessing transforms the hidden into Presence. Thus a Jew becomes a partner with G-d’s revelation of earth every time he recites a blessing.

Rabbi Hirsch concludes that a person who comprehends this idea, will never be dissatisfied with his lot. He will realize that the mere fact that he is not destroyed by the “venomous serpents” that ubiquitously surround him is itself a tremendous gift from G-d.

The reason why the plague occurred with snakes is because the snake is the symbol of ingratitude since time immemorial. G-d had hidden the venomous snakes of the wilderness, and concealed from the nation the dangers that were ever-present. But when they failed to appreciate that gift, G-d simply removed that shield. Thus the remedy for anyone bitten by a snake was to implant in his mind the image of the snake, which reminded him of G-d’s protection.

The symbol of modern medicine, the caduceus[5], depicts a short staff entwined by two serpents in the form of a double helix. Although many explanations are purported, it is likely that the original source of the symbol stems from this event in the desert. In a sense it is an appropriate symbol. The purpose of the copper serpent was to arouse the people to recognize the miracles that were occurring constantly around them without their realizing it. All the gifts of life – including health - which we so often overlook are all miracles.

The wise person does not wait for tragedy to strike. He realizes and thanks G-d for all he has every day of his life.

“Anyone who is bitten let him look upon it and he will live”

“Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d”

If you know anyone interested in receiving Stam Torah via email each week, send their address to: thestaums@kewnet.com



[1] Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein, known as Reb Chatzkel, (1895 - 1974), was the mashgiach ruchani of the Mir yeshiva in Europe, and later of Ponovezh in B’nei Brak.

[2] Or when the world hypocritically turns against Israel politically…

[3] Menachos 43b

[4] Rosh Hashanah Machzor



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements