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Hachnasat Sefer Torah - Givat Nof Harim
"Hachnasat Sefer Torah -- Givat Nof Harim: For Some Mitzvot, It Takes a Kahal"
The Hachnasat Sefer Torah event of 24 March, 2004 in the Givat Nof Harim community of Yishuv Eli, although not a big bash with tons of people, went beautifully and perfectly last evening. The air was electric with Ru'ach (spirit) and Yahdut (unity and oneness).
It was not a big crowd but it was a very lively and Simchadik group. The dancing was spirited and electrifying. I wish that more people from Ramat Beit Shemesh had taken a few hours to break away from Pesach preparations in order to attend. All who attended from both RBS and the community emerged with warm and fuzzy feelings of Yahdut. These feelings of unity and oneness, as I glean from Torah, should be of equal importance to going Mishugah about preparing for the Chag.
Speakers were Rabbi Mordechai Haas, Sh'lita -- The Rav of the Givat Nof Harim community, as well as Rabbi Chaim Zev Malinowitz, Sh'lita, Rabbi Chaim Soloveichik, Sh'lita, Rabbi Kalman Menachem Shapira, Sh'lita -- Admor Piaseczna, all from Ramat Beit Shemesh, Lior Schkul of the local Moetza and myself.
The Israel National News TV News Anchor was among those attending the event and he filmed the dancing both outside and inside the Beit Knesset as well as having interviewed people on camera. There should be a 2 or 3 minute spot about the Hachnasat Sefer Torah on an upcoming Thursday segment of the "Israeli Salad" Internet TV program.
Below is the text of my speech;
This is one of those years when Parshiyot Vayakhel and Pekudei are a potent, power-packed "doubleheader" with a common theme. That common theme seems to be unity, rectification and
And there is a posuk in Parsha Pekudei which seems particularly appropriate for the Hachnasat Sefer Torah taking place in Givat Nof Harim, in Yishuv Eli.
About the time that I made Aliyah, 5 years ago, Hillary Clinton's book, "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" was the talk of the US. In fact, contrary to the old adage which says "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", I lifted the title to make a point in a Vort at the Kiddush made for me before I left for Aliyah -- "It takes a Kehilla to make a Ba'al Teshuva."
I'll lift that book title again now to make a similar point, even though, just as then, I still detest the Clintons. It takes a Kahal, an assembly of Jews with a spirit of unity, of oneness of heart to bring about a Mitzvah and a Simcha such as what we celebrate with the Hachnasat Sefer Torah at Givat Nof Harim.
"Moshe saw all of the work and behold they did it as the Almighty commanded, so did they do, and Moshe blessed them." (She'mos 39.43) Rashi says on "...and Moshe blessed them", that Moshe said, "May it be Hashem's will that the Shechinah rest upon your handiwork" as well as the verse "May the pleasantness of my Lord, our G'd, be upon us -- our handiwork may he establish for us; our handiwork may he establish." (Tehillim 90.17 -- from the Tehillim composed by Moshe.
Just as Moshe Rabbeinu blessed the B'nai Yisrael, repeating "so did they do" three times in the two posukim (39.42-43) possibly alluding to the rectification by B'nai Yisrael of the three elements of the sin of the Eigel Zahav (the golden calf) -- denial of Torah in deed, speech and in thought, this Moshe is enormously grateful on this occassion to all who helped in their own special way to bring about the success of placing a Sefer Torah in Givat Nof Harim, in the planning of the Hachnasat Sefer Torah.
There is one more theme; a theme which connects Parshiyot Vayakhel and Pekudei to this week's Parsha Vayikra. I have a machlokes (a difference of opinion) with those who heap praise on one person, in this case, as being the one who brought about the placement of a Sefer Torah in a location -- Givat Nof Harim or elsewhere. Moshe Rabbeinu, in his humility, argued with Hashem on the loshen of Vayikra, seeking to eliminate the "aleph" so that the loshen used in Torah be like that used for a chance encounter or for an encounter such as we see with Bilaam in a later parsha, whereas it seemed that Hashem wished to express a special relationship with Moshe Rabbeinu. And so, we see the small "aleph" in the word Vayikra. So, too, in a Mitzvah of this magnitude, one person alone is not deserving of exclusive, special praise.
One individual alone can't make something like this happen. It takes many people with one unifying purpose -- to bring Sifrei Torah to locations throughout Eretz who lack their own and lack the finances to do so. It may take someone with an idea, with a concept, as a facilitator. But it takes many people -- an owner of a Sefer Torah, a fine Sofer, people online or via communications medium. It takes donors, of Sifrei Torah and of funds -- donors at different levels, donors from Israel as well as the US, hopefully soon Canada and accross the world. it takes small donors of 50 or 100 NIS mean as much as the donors of hundreds of shekalim or dollars. It takes people who see the merit of an idea and who want to be part of a Mitzvah in helping their fellow Jews; be he a web host and designer, a Mashpia (counsel), Sofrim (Scribes), Rabbanim, etc. And it takes a spirit which says, like the old Doritos potato commercial, "Bet you can't eat just one." The thanks are too numerous to list in total.
I'll just mention a few, no rhyme or sequence to the order. I'll start with Efraim Goldstein and his family, the owners of the Sefer Torah who I only became acquainted with in October, 2003 when he contacted me from my website saying that he'd like to transfer a Sefer Torah to a needy location and would like me to find a suitable location and handle the logistics. And there is Hezy Armon
<http://www.alefhost.com>, my web host/webmaster who has spent countless hours with me developing my website and going over statistics, etc. And there is Moshe Braun who, over the past year has provided fine counsel to me in matters pertaining to Safrus (Scribe methods and techniques) and idea development. And there is Rabbi/Sofer Moshe Sandowski who has completed the necessary repairs to the Sefer Torah prior to placement. And there are two Rabbis back in Philadelphia, in the old country, who have processed cash donations. And there are Rabbanim such as Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky , Sh'lita - Rosh Yeshiva at Philadelphia Yesha, as well as Rabbi Zev Leff, Sh'lita, Rabbi Don Channen, Sh'lita of the Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Project, Rabbi Chaim Zev Malinowitz, Sh'lita, Rabbi Chaim Soloveichik, Sh'lita, Rabbi Kalman Menachem Shapira, Sh'lita -- Admor Piaseczna, and others who have expressed their support for The Sefer torah Recycling Network. Particular thanks to Rabbis Malinowitz, Soloveichik and Shapira for their constant encouragement and moral support. And there was my friend in Beit Shemesh who brought me a check from one of his clients which defrayed a large part of the expenditure for transportation, a band and a seudah. One cannot forget a Kol Hakavod Israel National News TV for providing multi-media coverage of the festivities.
The list could go on and on...
I would be remiss if I didn't give a Big Kol Hakavod to Simcha Berman, Yoav Amir and everyone in the Givat Nof Harim community for their planning of the Hachnasat Sefer Torah party. My thanks particularly to Simcha who was very efficient throughout and kept me up-to-date as to all of the preparations as they took place. It takes a Kahal to make a Mitzvah!!
Finally, I want to say something about this, our beautiful Eretz Kadusha, our divine legacy. Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his Sefer, "Growth Through Torah, quotes The Chofetz Chayim relating to Sh'mos, Perek 13, posuk 5; "To give you a land flowing with milk and honey, and you shall do this service." In this vort, The Chofetz Chayim commented on this verse regarding the B'nai Yisrael's performance the Almighty's commandments; "The Torah and the land of Israel are one unit. Their relationship is as the relationship between the body and the soul. A soul cannot exist alone in this world. The body alone is just dust from the earth, it needs the soul to give it life. The soul of the Jewish people is the sacred Torah. The body is the land of Israel. There are many commandments that cannot be fulfilled outside the land of Israel. In exile, our people suffer. Nevertheless, with all the difficulties involved in living in exile, we as a people are alive. The land of Israel without Torah, however is a body without a soul. It is just a piece of land. Only when both exist together is there a complete unit. ("Growth Through Torah", Pages 168-169, quoting from "Chofetz Chayim al Hatorah, page 65.)
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, of Blessed Memory, beautifully expressed Yishuv Eretz Yisroel when he penned English words to the Hebrew prayer and niggun of "V'HaSheiv Kohanim" which many of us sing at the Shabbat table both here in Eretz Yisrael and in Chutz L'Aretz -- "Restore the Kohanim to their service..." It reads in part, "Return again, return again, return to the Land of your soul. Return to who you are, return to what you are, return to where you are born and reborn again...." Am Yisrael belongs in Eretz Yisrael. Only when the Moshiach in each of us brings us to our own personal "Yetziyat" will we truly merit the Ge'ula Shlaima as Am Yisrael.
I hold that to provide a Sefer Torah and to see to the costs of restoring a Sefer Torah for placement in a needy town, neighborhood, Shul, Kollel or Yeshiva anywhere in Israel is to act to possess Eretz Yisrael -- Eretz Kedusha.
At this time in history, with the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael, Jewish Sovereignty and our very survival on the line, we need your help, both by way of donations of Sifrei Torah and by way of donations of funds in order to fulfill our mission of placing Sifrei Torah in needy locations throughout Israel, thus IY'H insuring their survival. The Sefer Torah Recycling Network, with the help of HaKahal, will grow to be a viable, serious organization which satisfies these needs on an ongoing basis.
We must strive and aspire to reach a high level of perfection in the performance of Mitzvot and closeness to HaKadosh Borchu, just as Hakahal merited the Bracha of Moshe Rabbeinu in rectification of the sin of the Eigel Zahav. If we will ALL intensify our Tefillah, Tzedakah and our other Mitzvot so that each day we re-accept Yiddishkeit as if we were all Ger'im and as if Yiddishkeit was brand new, then we'll be zocha to have our Tefillah reach Shemayim, unimpeded, ungarbled. As Rabbi Moshe Ungar would say each Thursday evening at his Gemara Shuir back in Phildelphia, in "the old country", that then we'll be zocha to demand, compel Hashem to do "what he wants to do, to bring us the Moshiach and the Ge'ula Shlaima, bim hay v'yameinu -- speedily, in our time", like Achshav, Chik Chukm Meiyad, Etmal!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network<http://www.sefer-torah.com>. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
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