Parshat Terumah 5771: The Mishkan, Terumah and the “Crown of a Good Name” — Revisited and Revised

by Moshe Burt

Back in Philadelphia, in the “old country”, R’ Moshe Ungar would speak about the Mizbeiyach in terms of both the Beit HaMikdash and in terms of the personal Mizbeiyach which burns eternally in our hearts. And there is the well-known wish to a Chosson and Kallah that the fire of the personal Mizbeiyach burn eternally.

In our Parsha, we begin learning about the construction and the contents of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).

The Shem Mishmuel [Parsha Terumah, pg. 169-172) cites R’ Shimon who said; [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Mishpatim 5771: In Search of Jewish Standards — Honesty, Principle and Morality

by Moshe Burt

Nearing the conclusion of Parshat Yithro, Torah records the high moment to date in world history; The Asseret HaDivrot (The 10 Statements) were given on the 6th day of the month of Sivan. After Hashem presents Moshe and the B’nai Yisrael with The Asseret HaDivrot, he instructs Moshe to fashion the construction of an earthen altar — a Mizbeiyach on which to bring the various offerings to Hashem (Sefer Sh’mot, Perek 20, posuk 21).

R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman), provides commentary on posuk 21 (New Hirsch Chumash, Sefer Sh’mot, Parsha Yithro, Perek 20, posuk 21, page 359): [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Yithro 5771: What Fueled Yithro’s Longing to Join B’nai Yisrael?

by Moshe Burt

We learn that when Yithro had heard all that Hashem had done for B’nai Yisrael, he left Midian with Tzippora and Moshe’s two sons and went to join with the Jews.

We are not absolutely certain as to whether any one specific event Yithro heard boosted him to circumcize himself and to go out to join the B’nai Yisrael, and if so, which exact event it was, or whether it was the sum total of all he had heard which convinced him to become a Jew.

In the sefer Ner Uziel: Perspectives on the Parsha, Rabbi Uziel Milevsky z’l writes on our Parsha Yithro (p. 380-383) indicating that were Yithro to have come to join the Jews after Yetziat Mitziyim or after the cri’at Yam Suf, it would have been unlikely that he could have joined with the Jews due their concern as to what his motivations might be; i.e. whether he was anxious to be on a winning team, on the right side. It would seem to this author that this is not unlike many athletes who, when reaching free agency status, seek the best deal, to earn more than their peers, to join onto the team which has gone all-the-way.  [...]  Click here to read more.

Parshat Beshalach 5771: Moshe’s Paradigm of Inspiration and Empathy: Applied Today?

by Moshe Burt

Near the end of our Parsha, we read:

“And the hands of Moshe were heavy and they took a rock and placed it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Chur supported his hands, one on either side, and his hands remained an expression of trust until sunset.” (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 17, posuk 12)

Rabbi Pliskin in Growth Through Torah cites a Rashi which states;

“…Moshe did not sit on a comfortable pillow, but a rock. There was a battle going on with Amalek and Moshe wanted to feel the suffering of the people. This, said Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz, is a lesson in feeling for another person’s suffering. Not only should we mentally feel their pain, but it is proper to do some action in order to feel some of the discomfort yourself when someone else experiences pain. This way [through empathy] you actually feel his pain.” (Growth Through Torah, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, page 177, citing from Daas Torah, page 152)  [...]  Click here to read more.