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 - Parshas Vayeshev/Chanukah 5772 "Nothing More to Offer"
by Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 4100 times since 12/16/11   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

12/16/11

STAM TORAH

PARSHAS VAYESHEV 5772

“NOTHING MORE TO OFFER”

On May 13, 1940, Sir Winston Churchill delivered his first speech as Prime Minister to the British Cabinet. During that speech he stated the now famous words, “We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”

At that perilous juncture in World history, Mr. Churchill’s assessment was very accurate. At the time, the Axis powers were enjoying uninhibited military success and the situation was very ominous.

Churchill continued, “You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war by sea, land, and air, with all our might and all our strength that G-d can give us….What is our aim? It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”

His words have gained fame because his unyielding persistence paid off. The blood, toil, tears, and sweat of the British forces did indeed lead to victory and ultimately, they successfully halted the Nazi War Machine and destroyed it. But had history been different, we can speculate whether his remarks would have gained such notoriety? Would those words have been immortalized in the same manner, had Britain, Heaven forbid, not withstood the onslaught of the German blitzkrieg? In a world where success and accomplishment is all that is valued, does toil and effort that does not breed success count for anything?

The spiritual world however, has a different set of priorities and values. In fact, Churchill’s words could not have been said more eloquently in regard to man’s quest for spirituality. “We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” Not only is that all we have to offer, but that is all that is demanded of us. “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but nor are you free to withdraw from it.” One is only expected to exert himself as much as he is able.

When Basya, the daughter of Pharoah, descended to the Nile to bathe, she noticed the floating crib of a Jewish baby caught in the reeds. Rashi notes that the little crib was well beyond her grasp but, when she stretched out her hand, it miraculously extended until she was able to reach it.

Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz zt’l explains that G-d performed the miracle for Basya because she did all that she was physically able to do to save the baby. Had she not stretched out her hand to reach it, the miracle would never have occurred. Rabbi Shmulevitz explains that in our lives we often aspire for spiritual growth and greatness that is beyond our reach. The lesson of Basya is that as long as we are doing our part, G-d will help us. However, if one resigns himself to the fact that it’s out of his reach his words will tragically develop into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

With this idea in mind, we can understand why the Gemarah[1] juxtaposes two statements that, at first glance, seem to be completely unrelated. “Rav Kahana said: Rav Nassan bar Manyumai expounded in the name of Rabbi Tanchum: A Chanukah light that one placed above twenty Amos is invalid, like a sukkah and a mavoi[2]. And Rav Kahana said: Rav Nassan bar Manyumai expounded in the name of Rabbi Tanchum: What is the meaning of the verse, “And the pit was empty; no water was in it[3]”. From the plain meaning of what it stated “And the pit was empty” do I not know that there was no water in it? Rather, what teaching does the Torah wish to convey when it states redundantly, “No water was in it”? Water was not in the pit, but snakes and scorpions were in it.”

What is the connection between the pit of Yosef and the maximum height for lighting the Menorah?

The Kesav Sofer[4] explains that the prohibition to light the Chanukah candles too high, symbolizes that one should not rely on miracles that are beyond the realm of nature. Rather, one should prepare himself by doing whatever possible to accomplish his goals, even if he knows for certain that he can only be successful with Divine Intervention. From where do we learn this lesson? Reuven knew that he could not deter his brothers completely from meting out some level of retribution against Yosef. Still, he was able to mitigate the need for Divine Intervention by convincing them to cast him in a pit. Once he did all he could, he was able to confidently leave the rest to G-d.

The holiday of Chanukah is the result of the efforts of those who dedicated themselves to their cause with utmost selflessness. When the Maccabees waged war against the Syrian-Greeks they were hopelessly and pathetically outnumbered. In essence, they were fighting a suicide mission and they knew it. But G-d intervened and they achieved unimaginable miraculous victories.

Spiritually, they were faced with the same challenge when they reentered the Bais Hamikdash. When they found that single jug of oil they realized that again they had no chance of carrying out their goals. Nevertheless, they sought to accomplish as much as they were able to, and then G-d again intervened.

This is another reason why Chanukah is celebrated for eight days despite the fact that it seems that the miracle only occurred for seven days, since they had sufficient oil to light the Menorah for one day[5]. Indeed there may have been no miracle that occurred on that first day whatsoever. But on that first day we celebrate and commemorate the zeal and passion of the Chashmonaim. Were it not for their uncontainable devotion to light the Menorah as soon as possible, the miracle could never have occurred. The first day of the holiday of Chanukah celebrates our nation’s commitment to serving G-d with every fiber of its being. Whenever a Jew serves G-d with unmitigated passion and devotion, it is cause for celebration. This is especially true on Chanukah because the miracle could never have occurred were it not for that passion.

There is a dispute recorded in the Gemarah[6] if one’s Chanukah candles were extinguished within the first half hour after they were lit, if one is obligated to relight them[7]. The Gemarah rules that the law is that one is not obligated to relight them. The B’nai Yissoscher comments that there is an important philosophical message contained in this ruling. The Gemarah is teaching us that if one did all he could to ensure that the candles would burn for the allotted time, i.e. his wicks and oil were of top quality, and then it went out, he should not feel discouraged. What happened later was beyond his control; he had done all that he could and therefore, he has fulfilled his obligation in the best manner possible. So too, when our Yetezr Hara seeks to discourage us with his arguments that we are going to forget our learning or that our enthusiasm will soon wane so why bother, the response is “Kavsah ayn zakuk lah- If it becomes extinguished we are not bound to it.” If we have fulfilled our obligation then we should not allow ourselves to be discouraged by the wily tactics of our Yetzer Hara.

When he records the laws of Chanukah, the Rambam writes an unusual - almost emotional - declaration. “The commandment regarding kindling the lights of Chanukah is extremely beloved.” Part of the idea that the Rambam wished to convey is that the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles has a special place in the hearts of its people in exile. The message of Chanukah and the Menorah is that, despite the fact that we are so far from our once glory and prestige, and despite the fact that we lack the leadership we once had, and despite the fact that there is no Kohain Gadol or Bais Hamikdash, still-in-all, we have remained the great nation of Klal Yisroel. The reason is that our obligation is to accomplish whatever we can and to serve G-d in the best way we know how; beyond that, is G-d‘s domain.

After the horrific attacks of September 11th, 2001, there was a bumper sticker that summarized it best: “All gave some but some gave all!”

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work.”

“We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat”

Sign up to receive Stam Torah via email each week at http://www.stamtorah.info

(http://torah.stamtorah.info/view/mosaic)



[1] Shabbos 22a

[2] An alleyway, a term used in the discussion of the laws of Eiruv

[3] Bereishis 37:24

[4] Oh’c 136

[5] This is known as ‘the famous question of the Bais Yosef’

[6] Shabbos 21a

[7] kavsah zakuk lah oh ayn zakuk lah



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