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For over 35 years, Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to get a deeper understanding what it truly means to be a member of the Jewish people. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all over the world because of the institute’s encouragement of living in the Land of Israel. Machon Meir has also created a strategy to distribute Torah worldwide through their media channel, Arutz Meir. Since it began, Arutz Meir has debuted a range of television series and archived over 25,000 classes which are constantly being updated and viewed daily throughout the world in 5 different languages. With a variety of topics and discussions led by renowned Jewish scholars, our viewers will surely find a class that will create sparks of inspiration. Whether you are looking to connect to your Jewish heritage or you are simply seeking out answers, we exist to imbue the words of Torah and engage our viewers with real and meaningful
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“За чашкой чая”
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В передаче мы попробуем получить ответы на непростые вопросы,
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Присоединяйтесь, приходите к нам на чашечку чая.
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Por más de 35 años, Machon Meir ha dado a conocer a través de Israel como el lugar para obtener una comprensión más profunda lo que realmente significa ser un miembro del pueblo judío. También se ha convertido en el punto de aterrizaje para muchos nuevos inmigrantes de todas partes del mundo, porque de aliento de la vida en la Tierra de Israel del instituto. Majón Meir también ha creado una estrategia para distribuir la Torá en todo el mundo a través de su canal de medios, Arutz Meir. Desde sus inicios, Arutz Meir ha estrenado una serie de series de televisión y archivado más de 25.000 clases que constantemente se están actualizando y ver todos los días en todo el mundo en 5 idiomas diferentes. Con una variedad de temas y discusiones dirigidas por renombrados eruditos judíos, nuestros televidentes seguramente encontrará una clase que va a crear chispas de inspiración.
Rabino Rafael Spangenthal
Machon Meir עברית Rabbi Dov Bigon
Rav Eran Tamir
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GARDEN OF TORAH: The Desire for Prosperity (Veyeishev)
Kislev 19, 5775 · December 11, 2014
The Desire For Prosperity
Vayeishev; Genesis 37:1–40:23
By Eli Touger
Does G-d Approve of the Desire of the Righteous?
Yaakov desired to dwell in prosperity, but the distress of Yosef’s [disappearance] beset him. The righteous desire to dwell in prosperity, but the Holy One, blessed be He, says: “Is not what is prepared for them in the World to Come enough for the righteous? Must they also desire prosperity in this world?”
Rashi’s statement is problematic, for a casual reading gives the impression that G-d does not approve of the righteous wanting prosperity. On the other hand, the fact that “the righteous” follow this path of conduct indicates that the desire for prosperity is a positive trait and not a character flaw.3
Seeking Internal not External Challenges
This difficulty can be resolved by focusing on the fact that Rashi speaks about a desire for prosperity expressed by the righteous. Why only the righteous? Everyone wants to enjoy an abundance of good without strife, contention, or difficulty.
The desire for prosperity by the righteous, however, is of a different type entirely. To cite a parallel: with regard to the Era of the Redemption, the Rambam writes:
When a person is beset… with sickness, war, and hunger, he cannot occupy himself neither with wisdom nor with mitzvos. For this reason, all Israel and [in particular,] their prophets and sages have desired the Era of the Mashiach.4
The Sages and the prophets did not yearn for the Era of the Mashiach so that [the Jewish people] would rule the world… nor to eat, drink, and celebrate. Rather, their aspiration was to be free [to involve themselves] in the Torah and its wisdom, without anyone oppressing or disturbing them.5
On the surface, such a condition describes the World to Come, where the righteous will “sit… and derive benefit from the radiance of the Divine Presence.”6 It seems unnatural, however, in our present material circumstances.
Nevertheless, a distinction must be made. The World to Come represents G-d’s reward to man just recompense for man’s Divine service. This is a departure from the pattern of our present existence, of which it is said,7 “Today to perform them (the mitzvos); tomorrow to receive their reward.”
The righteous, by contrast, are not concerned with reward. On the contrary, to refer to the passage cited above, they long to involve themselves in the Torah and its mitzvos. Their aspiration is only that they be freed from external difficulties. They want to grow in understanding and personal development. Why must they be confronted with challenges from the outside? Let all their efforts be devoted to the internal challenges of spiritual growth.
The Fulfillment of Yaakov’s Desire
In this light, we can understand G-d’s response to Yaakov’s request. G-d wanted Yaakov’s wish for prosperity to be fulfilled as it was indeed fulfilled in the 17 years of prosperity which he enjoyed in Egypt. But such prosperity must be earned by an appropriate measure of Divine service. Since Yaakov in his current state was not worthy to receive such prosperity, G-d subjected him to a further trial through which he could advance himself.8 The sorrow caused by the sale of Yosef initiated a process of refinement by which Yaakov ultimately merited to attain the spiritual and material prosperity he sought.
This concept resolves a problematic point. The name of a Torah reading communicates not merely a significant lesson in itself, but the message and theme of the reading as a whole. Seemingly, the name Vayeishev, which indicates prosperity, is not at all appropriate for this reading, which deals primarily with travail and sorrow.
Based on the above, however, it can be explained that the name is deserved, for it is only this travail which enabled Yaakov to attain true prosperity.
Two Levels of Prosperity
But further clarification is necessary. Yaakov must have known that the spiritual prosperity he desired would be granted only as result of Divine service, and that this would require that he overcome challenges. Nevertheless, he thought it was sufficient for him to have confronted the challenges posed by Esav and Lavan.
Our Sages identify9 Yaakov with the attribute of Truth; thus we can assume his self-appraisal was honest. Since Yaakov saw himself as being worthy of prosperity, why was it necessary for him to undergo a further challenge?
In resolution, it can be explained that there are two levels of prosperity fitting for the righteous:
a) One which can be appreciated by mortals: that a person, his children and his grandchildren should be able to serve G-d without difficulty, free to pursue the spiritual path.
b) One above mortal conception, a foretaste of the World to Come: “you will see your [portion of] the World [to Come] in your lifetime.”10 Just as the nature of the World to Come cannot be comprehended by mortals,11 so too, this foretaste transcends our understanding.
Yaakov asked for a level of prosperity that could be conceived by mortals. G-d granted this to him, and thus for nine years he enjoyed success and happiness in Eretz Yisrael.12 But G-d also wanted Yaakov to appreciate a higher level of prosperity, and therefore subjected him to the trials beginning with the sale of Yosef so that Yaakov would become worthy of this greater Divine favor.13
A Challenge of a Unique Nature
Since the prosperity G-d desired to grant Yaakov was above the limits of worldly existence, the Divine service which made him worthy of it differed from the challenges he had already faced. Yaakov’s confrontations with Lavan and Esav were symbolic of the struggle between good and evil, and man’s efforts to refine and elevate his environment.
The tribulations brought about by the sale of Yosef, by contrast, did not reflect these goals at all. The challenge and the refinement it brought about was strictly internal. It was a trial that seemingly had no purpose, bringing only aggravation and suffering, and initially lowering Yaakov’s spiritual level.14 Nevertheless, this was the process by which G-d chose to lift Yaakov to a more elevated spiritual rung and make him fit to receive the ultimate blessings.
The Necessity to Ask
One might ask: Since the prosperity which Yaakov was ultimately granted was not the prosperity he initially sought, why was his request the catalyst that triggered the sequence of events which would lead to this prosperity? Since the initiative was G-d’s alone, why was it at all dependent on man?
The answer is that “the Holy One, blessed be He, desires the prayers of the righteous.”15 Until Yaakov asked for prosperity, G-d did not grant it to him. But when he asked, G-d set him tasks that would bring him not only the limited prosperity which man can comprehend, but the prosperity that transcends understanding.
A similar concept applies with regard to our requests for the coming of the Redemption. The true nature of the Redemption is beyond human conception.16 Nevertheless, our prayers hasten its coming.
CHASSIDIC DIMENSION: Binding Bundles (Vayeishev)
At the beginning of the Torah portion Vayeishev, we are told that, in relating the beginning of his dream to his brothers, Yosef said:1 “We were binding sheaves in the field.” Rashi explains the words “binding sheaves” according to the Targum — that the phrase means “binding bundles, i.e., sheaves of grain.”
In terms of our spiritual service, the verse and Rashi’ s comment imply2 that the spiritual service of “binding sheaves” involves gathering disparate sparks of holiness and uniting them, just as separate stalks of grain are brought together and bound into a bundle.
This manner of service also applies to each individual’s soul; he is to gather the disparate elements of his personality and unite them with the Divine.
Herein lies the lesson of Yosef’s dream: in addition to tying together and elevating the holy sparks found within each of us and uniting them through the service of Torah and mitzvos , we must also “go out in the field” and occupy ourselves in uniting the elements of holiness scattered throughout the world.
Rashi elaborates on this theme when he explains that “tying sheaves” means “binding bundles,” i.e., that the purification and elevation of the sparks of holiness is to be done in a way that binds them permanently to their source, similar to something that is tied and bound. This will guarantee that the binder will have a lasting effect on the one who is bound, so much so that all the ill winds in the world will be unable to sever his bond with G-d and Torah.
Rashi then goes on to explain that, in order for this to be accomplished, we must learn a lesson from “sheaves of grain. ” Just as kernels of grain yield future crops, so too, when one betters another, it is to be done in a manner such that the beneficiary will in turn have a positive impact on others.
Shabbos is connected to the previous days of the week, for “He who toils before Shabbos gets to eat on Shabbos.”6 Similarly, Shabbos is linked to the days that follow it, for “Shabbos is the day from whence all the coming days of the week are blessed.”7 Shabbos is thus a day that unites the days before it with the days that follow it.
During many years (and this year as well), the Shabbos of the portion Vayeishevfalls between the festival of the Alter Rebbe’s liberation on the 19th of Kislev and the days of Chanukah. Since the Torah portions are related to the time during which they are read,8 it follows that the above-mentioned lesson applies equally to the festival of the 19th of Kislev and to the festival of Chanukah.
One of the pillars of the Alter Rebbe’s service was getting Jews to return to Judaism.9 In fact, the Alter Rebbe related that, upon hearing a particular Torah message from his teacher the Maggid of Mezritch, he decided that it was incumbent on himself to draw all Jews closer to Judaism. He thereafter spent five years traveling from place to place in order to bring Jews on the “outside” closer to Torah and mitzvos.10 Moreover, it was after the festival of the 19th of Kislev that there began11 the service of “spreading the wellsprings outside. ”
The Chanukah lights are to be lit as well in the entrance of one’s home. For they also serve to illuminate and purify the “outside,” bringing it back into the domain of holiness.
Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. X, p. 115-121
FOR FRIDAY NIGHT: Serenity or Struggle? (Vayeishev)
Kislev 19, 5775 · December 11, 2014
Serenity or Struggle?
We often hear that the goal of life is personal serenity. We can all relate to this. No problems, no difficulties. Every day peaceful and calm. The sun always shining. It sounds good!
“But — wait a minute,” you say. “What if a person has things to achieve in life? Can you always be calm and peaceful? Might there not be something worth struggling for, worth striving for? Isn’t there something we want to achieve?”
Of course there is! First there is the struggle and the effort — then comes the tranquillity. You worked hard, you achieved something, now you have earned your right to take it easy!
It sounds simple and clear. Yet this week’s Parshah gives a different view. Let us see how.
Jacob had been away from his home for many years. During his time in Laban’s house he had faced many difficulties. However, he had fathered many children. Then on the journey back to the Holy Land, his beloved wife Rachel died. When he reached his home region he thought at last he would be able to live in peace.
At this point, however, came the upsetting events with Joseph. Conflict between Jacob’s sons led to Joseph being kidnapped and sold. Jacob’s contentment turned to grief.
On this the Midrash comments: Jacob wanted to live in calm serenity — but instead came the anguish about Joseph. The righteous people want to live in serenity in this world: is it not enough for them that they will enjoy the World to Come?1
We live in a world of struggle. Personal victory lies in making the right step at the right time and facing each situation in a true way. It is a drama with many ups and downs. It also never ends: even if one lives to 120, spiritually one never retires and one never grows old. Instead of finally sitting back and taking it easy, there is fulfilment of the deepest, most important kind: facing the challenge, and taking another step forward!
WEEKLY ALIYOT: Parshat Vayeishev
Kislev 18, 5775 · December 10, 2014
Vayeishev Aliya Summary
General Overview: In this week’s reading, Vayeishev, Joseph relates to his brothers his grandiose dreams of greatness, arousing their jealousy. He is consequently sold into slavery to an Egyptian master. After defying his Egyptian master’s wife, Joseph is thrown into jail, where he interprets the dreams of Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker. The story of Judah and Tamar is also related at length.
First Aliyah: Jacob and his family settled in Canaan. Of all his sons, Jacob favored Joseph, the firstborn of his deceased beloved wife Rachel, and he made for him a special robe of fine wool. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of the favoritism, and avoided talking to Joseph. Joseph related to his brothers two dreams he had, both implying that he would eventually rule over his brothers—and thus increased his brothers’ envy and hatred.
Second Aliyah: Joseph’s brothers were away tending their father’s sheep, when Jacob sent Joseph to see how his brothers and the flocks were faring. When Joseph’s brothers saw him approaching they plotted to kill him. Reuben, however, implored them not to shed blood, advising them instead to cast him into one of the nearby pits. Reuben’s plan was to later return and rescue Joseph from the pit.
Third Aliyah: Joseph arrived and his brothers immediately stripped him of his fancy robe and cast him into a pit. Upon Judah’s advice, they subsequently sold him to an Ishmaelite caravan traveling to Egypt, who in turn sold him as a slave to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief butcher. Meanwhile, the brothers dipped Joseph’s robe into blood, and showed it to Jacob, who assumed that Joseph was devoured by a wild beast. Jacob then commenced 22 years of mourning for his beloved son.
Fourth Aliyah: The story of Joseph is interrupted by the episode of Judah and Tamar. Judah married the daughter of a local businessman and had three sons. His first son, Er, married a woman named Tamar, but died soon thereafter. Judah had his second son, Onan, marry Tamar and thus fulfill the mitzvah of Yibbum, but he too died childless. Judah hesitated to give his third son to Tamar, so she returned to her father’s home. Judah’s wife then died, and he embarked on a business trip. Tamar dressed herself like a prostitute and sat by the side of the road. Judah didn’t recognize her, was intimate with her and she becomes pregnant. A few months later, when her pregnancy became evident, Judah ordered her executed for harlotry. As she was being taken out to die, she produced some of Judah’s personal effects that he had left behind when he visited her. Judah admitted that he was the father, and Tamar was spared. Tamar then gave birth to twin sons, Zerach and Peretz.
Fifth Aliyah: We return to the story of Joseph, who was serving in the home of Potiphar. G‑d was with Joseph, and he succeeded in all his endeavors. When Potiphar took note of this fact, he put Joseph in charge of his entire household and estate.
Sixth Aliyah: Joseph was exceedingly handsome, and Potiphar’s wife was attracted to him. She made many advances on him, but he steadfastly rebuffed her. Eventually she libelously told her husband that Joseph was making advances on her, and Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison. G‑d was still with Joseph, and he found favor in the eyes of the prison warden, who put him in charge of all the prisoners.
Seventh Aliyah: Two of Pharaoh’s officers, his butler and baker, aroused the royal ire and were cast into prison—the same one that Joseph was now administering. One night, they both had odd dreams, and Joseph interpreted them. Joseph told the butler that he’d soon be released and restored to Pharaoh’s service. The baker was told by Joseph that he would soon be hung. Joseph pleaded with the butler to mention his plight to Pharaoh, and ask for his release. Three days later, both of Joseph’s interpretations came true; but the butler forgot all about Joseph.
PARSHAH IN A NUTSHELL: Vayeishev
Kislev 18, 5775 · December 10, 2014
Jacob settles in Hebron with his twelve sons. His favorite is 17-year-old Joseph, whose brothers are jealous of the preferential treatment he receives from his father, such as a precious many-colored coat that Jacob makes for Joseph. Joseph relates to his brothers twodreams he has which foretell that he is destined to rule over them, increasing their envy and hatred towards him.
Shimon and Levi plot to kill him, but Reubensuggests that they throw him into a pit instead, intending to come back later and save him. While Joseph is in the pit, Judah has him sold to a band of passing Ishmaelites. The brothers dip Joseph’s special coat in the blood of a goat and show it to their father, leading him to believe that his most beloved son was devoured by a wild beast.
Judah marries and has three children. The eldest, Er, dies young and childless, and his wife Tamar is given in levirate marriage to the second son, Onan. Onan sins by spilling his seed and he, too, meets an early death. Judah is reluctant to have his third son marry her. Determined to have a child from Judah’s family, Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and seduces Judah himself. Judah hears that his daughter-in-law has become pregnant and orders her executed for harlotry, but when Tamar produces some personal effects he left with her as a pledge for payment, he publicly admits that he is the father. Tamar gives birth to twin sons, Peretz (an ancestor of King David) andZerach.
Joseph is taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, the minister in charge of Pharaoh‘s slaughterhouses. G-d blesses everything he does, and soon he is made overseer of all his master’s property. Potiphar’s wife desires the handsome and charismatic lad; when Joseph rejects her advances, she tells her husband that the Hebrew slave tried to force himself on her and has him thrown in prison. Joseph gains the trust and admiration of his jailers, who appoint him to a position of authority in the prison administration.
In prison, Joseph meets Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker, both incarcerated for offending their royal master. Both have disturbing dreams, which Joseph interprets; in three days, he tells them, the butler will be released and the baker hanged. Joseph asks the butler to intercede on his behalf with Pharaoh. Joseph’s predictions are fulfilled, but the butler forgets all about Joseph and does nothing for him.