Machon Meir ENGLISH :MeirTV English
Rabbi Netanel Frankenthal
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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Rav Yossef David
Rav Dov Bigon
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Rav Yona Levin
“За чашкой чая”
Беседа в тёплой, неформальной обстановке о том,
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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 Dov Bigon
Rav Dov Bigon
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PARSHAH IN A NUTSHELL: Behar-Bechukotai
Iyar 24, 5775 · May 13, 2015
On the mountain of Sinai, G-d communicates to Moses the laws of the sabbatical year: every seventh year, all work on the land should cease, and its produce becomes free for the taking for all, man and beast.
Seven sabbatical cycles are followed by afiftieth year — the jubilee year, on which work on the land ceases, all indentured servants are set free, and all ancestral estates in the Holy Land that have been sold revert to their original owners. Additional laws governing the sale of lands and the prohibitions against fraud andusury are also given.
G-d promises that if the people of Israel will keep His commandments, they will enjoymaterial prosperity and dwell secure in their homeland. But He also delivers a harsh “rebuke” warning of the exile, persecution and other evils that will befall them if they abandon their covenant with Him. Nevertheless, “Even when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away; nor will I ever abhor them, to destroy them and to break My covenant with them; for I am the L-rd their G-d.”
The Parshah concludes with the rules on how to calculate the value of different types of pledges made to G-d.
WEEKLY ALIYOT: Parshat Behar-Bechukotai
Iyar 24, 5775 · May 13, 2015
Behar-Bechukotai Aliya Summary
General Overview: This week’s double reading, Behar-Bechukotai, speaks about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, laws regulating commerce and the redemption of slaves. It also contains a vivid description of the rewards for observing G‑d’s commandments and the series of punishments that will befall us if we choose to disregard them. The Torah then discusses different types of gifts given to the Temple, and the animal tithe.
First Aliyah: G‑d commands Moses regarding the Sh’mitah (Sabbatical) and Jubilee years. Every seventh year is a Sabbatical year, when it is forbidden to work the land (in the Land of Israel). After seven sets of seven years a Jubilee year is proclaimed. During Jubilee years all the laws of the Sabbatical year apply, and, in addition to the Sabbatical laws, all slaves are set free and all lands revert to their original owners. We are commanded to conduct business ethically. Since all land reverts to their original owners during the Jubilee year, the amount of years remaining until the next Jubilee year must be taken into account whenever a real-estate sale is conducted, and the price should be set accordingly. The end of this aliyah enjoins us not to verbally harass or intentionally mislead our fellows.
Second Aliyah: This section addresses an obvious concern: “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not sow our gather our grain?!” G‑d reassures us that He will bless the sixth year’s harvest, and it will produce enough to provide for three years! The Torah then gives the rationale for the prohibition against selling land for perpetuity (instead, land can only be “leased” until the Jubilee year) — “Because the Land belongs to Me; you are strangers and residents with Me.” The seller of land, or his relative on his behalf, has the option of “redeeming” the land from the purchaser — provided that two years have past from the date of purchase.
Third Aliyah: The laws mentioned above apply to fields and homes in un-walled cities. Homes in walled cities, on the other hand, may only be redeemed up to one year after the sale; otherwise they become the permanent property of the buyer. Another exception to these rules is the property allotted to the Levites, which are always redeemable. We are commanded to assist our brethren by coming to their aid before they become financially ruined and dependent on the help of others. We are also forbidden from charging interest on a loan to a fellow Jew.
Fourth Aliyah: We are commanded to treat Jewish slaves respectfully, never subjecting them to demeaning labor. The Torah prescribes the redemption process for a Jew sold into slavery to a non-Jewish master. Either the slave himself or one of his relatives refunds to the master the amount of money for the years remaining until the Jubilee — when the slave will go free even if he were not to be “redeemed.” Brief mention is made of the prohibition against idolatry, and the requirement that we observe the Shabbat and revere the Holy Sanctuary. We are promised incredible blessing if we diligently study Torah and observe the mitzvot. The blessings include plentiful food, timely rain, security, peace in the land, the elimination of wild animals from the land, and incredible military success.
Fifth Aliyah: And more blessings: An overabundance of crops and G‑d’s presence will be revealed in our midst. This section then describes the severe, terrifying punishments which will be the Jews’ lot if they reject G‑d’s mitzvot. The punishments include disease, famine, enemy occupation of the land, exile, and desolation of the land. The non-observance of the Sabbatical year is singled out as the reason for the desolation of the land. The aliyah concludes with G‑d’s promise never to utterly forsake us even when we are exiled in the lands of our enemies.
Sixth Aliyah: This section discusses various endowments pledged to the Temple coffers. A person can pledge the worth of an individual, in which case the Torah prescribes how much the person must pay — depending on the gender and age of the individual who is being “assessed.” An animal which is pledged to the Temple must be offered on the altar if it is fit for sacrifice — otherwise it must be “redeemed” for its value. If the owner chooses to redeem it, he must add one fifth of its value to the redemption price. The same rule applies to a house which is pledged to the Temple.
Seventh Aliyah: This section discusses the endowment of land to the temple. If it is land which was part of the family lot (given to his ancestors when Israel was divided amongst the Tribes), and the owner chooses not to redeem it, it may be redeemed by any other individual. In this event, the land becomes the property of the priests during the next Jubilee year. Land which was purchased and then consecrated by the buyer can also be redeemed, but it reverts to its original owner when the Jubilee arrives. All firstborn livestock are sacrificed in the Temple. A person also has the option of dedicating and consecrating any of his belongings specifically for the use of the priests. The “Second Tithe,” which must be consumed by its owners in Jerusalem, is briefly mentioned. Also discussed is the animal tithe — every tenth animal is offered as a sacrifice, and the meat consumed by its owners. With this we conclude the Book of Leviticus.
TORAH STUDIES: Parshat Behar-Bechukotai
Iyar 24, 5775 · May 13, 2015
Adapted by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
In the Sidra of Behar, instructions are given about the observance of two special kinds of sanctified year—the seventh year (Shemittah or “release”) when the land was rested and lay fallow; and the fiftieth year (Yovel or “Jubilee”) when the Hebrew slaves were emancipated and most property reverted to its original owner. The two institutions were connected, the Jubilee being the completion of seven seven-year cycles. It was not, itself, counted as a year in the seven-yearly reckoning. The Jubilee lapsed as a practical institution when some of the Tribes went into exile. But we can distinguish three periods in its history: (i) a time when the Jubilee was observed, (ii) a time during the second Temple when it was not observed but was still counted for the purpose of fixing the seven-year cycle, and (iii) a time (like the present) when neither Temple stood, and the seven-year cycle was counted without reference to the Jubilee. The Rebbe explores the spiritual meaning of the seventh and fiftieth years, and thus gives an inward interpretation to the three periods, and the religious consciousness they represent.
1. The Jubilee
“And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a Jubilee unto you; and you shall return every man unto his possession, and you shall return every man unto his family.”1
In this connection, the Talmud states: “When the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Menasseh went into exile, the Jubilees were abolished, as it is said, ‘And you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,—that is (only) at the time when all its inhabitants dwell upon it, but not at the time when some of them are exiled.”2
Despite the fact that the Jubilee—as a time of emancipation of slaves and restitution of property—lapsed, the (Babylonian) Talmud notes that even during the period of the second Temple, “They counted the Jubilees to keep the years of release holy.”3 Every seventh year was a year of release (“Shemittah”), a sabbatical year for the land when it was “released” from cultivation and lay fallow. In this cycle, according to the Rabbis,4the fiftieth year was not counted, so that they had to continue counting the Jubilees in order to be able to observe the Shemittah years of release in their proper time: To ensure that release was observed in the seventh year after the Jubilee rather than after the forty-ninth year.
Tosefot5 raises an objection: The Jerusalem Talmud states, “At a time when the Jubilee is not observed as a year of release, neither do you observe the seventh year as a release.”6 If so, during the second Temple period, when the Jubilee was not observed, merely counted, it should follow that the seven-year release of Shemittah should also have lapsed.
Rashi’s opinion7 is that the seventh year was observed during the Second Temple, only as a Rabbinic law. In other words, the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds are not in disagreement, the Jerusalem Talmud asserting that the sabbatical year was not (while the Jubilee was in abeyance) a requirement of Torah law, the Babylonian Talmud mentioning that it was nonetheless continued, by Rabbinic decree.
But according to Tosefot, the two Talmuds conflict, the Babylonian asserting that the seventh year was obligatory under Torah law, independently of the Jubilee, in disagreement with the Jerusalem Talmud.
2. The Spirit and the Law
The legal decisions of the early Rabbis, the Tannaim and the Amoraim, were not made merely as a result of a this-worldly reasoning.8 They were men of great spiritual insight, who saw matters in a spiritual light and then translated their vision into intellectual and legal terms. Since their souls differed in the visionary heights they were able to reach, so also their practical decisions differed, and this was the source of their legal disagreements.9
Seen in this way, we might say that the disagreement (according to Tosefot) between the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds as to whether the Shemittah year of release was required by Torah law during the second Temple period, has its origin in the different levels of spirituality these two works represent.
The Babylonian is the lower level. “ ‘He hath made me to dwell in dark places’—this, said Rabbi Jeremiah, refers to the Babylonian Talmud.’’10
At the higher level of the Jerusalem Talmud, it required the sanctity of the Jubilee to complete the sanctity of the Shemittah year. At the lower, Babylonian, level, the seventh year was complete in itself even without the Jubilee.
3. The Lapsing of the Jubilee
When the Second Temple was destroyed, the year of release was counted in a new way.
While the Temple stood, the fiftieth year was not counted as part of the seven-year cycle. But “during those seventy years between the destruction of the First Temple and the building of the Second, and also after the destruction of the Second, they did not count the Jubilee year, but only (unbroken) seven-year cycles.”11
Why, then, is there a difference between the way we count the year of release now, and in the Second Temple, when the Jubilee had ceased to be observed?
Using our previous concept, we might say that while the Temple existed, the level of spirituality was so high that the Shemittah year of release needed the higher sanctity of the Jubilee for its completion—at one period, the actual observance of the Jubilee at another, at least the counting of it. But when the Temple was destroyed, spiritual achievement sank to the point where the year of release no longer had any connection with the Jubilee.
4.The Inner Meaning of the Seventh
To understand all this, we must discover the equivalents of the seventh and fiftieth years in the religious life of man.
The seventh year, the time of release, represents the “acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of heaven.”12 This is when man suppresses his ego in obedience to G-d (bittul ha-yesh).13His ego still exists, and continually needs to be silenced. That is why, as every seventh year approached, its claim would be heard: “What shall we eat on the seventh year? Behold, we may not sow, nor gather in our increase.”14 Even though on each previous occasion it had seen for itself the fulfillment of G-d’s promise, “I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years,’’15 it always renewed its anxieties.
The Jubilee, on the other hand, represents the complete abnegation of one’s being to G-d (bittul bi-metziut). There is no longer a contending ego. Instead of serving G-d through an effort of willpower, one serves through understanding, an understanding so complete that it breaks through the curtain of self-deception that separates man from G-d. It is the “year of freedom,” meaning, freedom from concealment and from the ego that holds man in its chains.
5. Two Kinds of Obedience
Each of these levels has a certain merit vis-à-vis the other.16 Bittul bi-metziut, or the obedience that comes from understanding, has the advantage of being extensive. It encompasses the whole man in its orientation towards G-d.
Bittul ha-yesh, or the obedience that comes from an effort of will, has the advantage of being intensive. It is an intense spiritual struggle within the soul of man.
To give an analogy: There are two kinds of relationship between a servant and his master. There is the “simple” servant, whose real desire is to be free, but who serves because he accepts the burden of his situation. And there is the “faithful” servant, who serves his master out of love and a genuine desire to obey. Whereas the obedience of the latter is more complete, since his whole nature affirms his service, the obedience of the former is more intense because it is a result of a deliberate subjugation of part of his character. It cost him more in terms of inward effort.
6. The Three Ages
We can now see the full significance of the three periods in Jewish history with respect to the Jubilee and the year of release.
When the first Temple stood, both were observed, that is, Jewish spirituality combined obedience through love and understanding with obedience through effort and subjugation. Love lay even in their subjugation; their effort was also with understanding. The love which transcends the self returned to fill the self.
At the time of the Second Temple, the Jubilee was no longer observed but it was still counted. Love and understanding still counted, still left their traces, in the service of effort and will.
But when the Second Temple was destroyed, all that was left was the year of release, the intense struggle to conquer the ego, and obey for obedience’s sake. No trace of the Jubilee, of inward unanimity, remained.
7. A Disagreement Explained
So now we no longer see the things of the spirit with the clear light of understanding. We are forced to act against our reason, in a gesture of reluctant obedience. True inwardness is beyond us. And yet, the ultimate inwardness never departs. The essence of the soul is always present. In the current spiritual darkness of exile, it still works its subconscious, subliminal influence.
And this is the ultimate source of the disagreement between the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds as to whether the year of release is a matter of Torah or of Rabbinic Law in our time; that is to say, whether it still exists in its own right, or merely as a Rabbinic remembrance of times past,17 when the Jubilee was celebrated.
To the Babylonian Talmud, the product of exile, the observance of the seventh year and its corresponding service of “acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven” seemed like an act in itself, with no connection to that higher state of the Jubilee and the service which came through love and understanding.
The Jerusalem Talmud, with its higher spiritual awareness, still felt the Jubilee and its service as a continuing, if subliminal, presence. So they saw the year of release as still connected with, and observed in remembrance of, the time when it belonged together with the Jubilee, when the first Temple stood.
Similarly, it is also a preparation for the time when that former state will return, with the building of the third Temple, when the Messiah comes.
(Source: Likkutei Sichot, Vol. VII pp. 170-174)
Do Jews Cross Fingers?