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03/01/2024 12:01:21 PM


Dear mitpallelim,

Rabbi Yitschak Zilberman is one of the leading rabbinic authorities in Bnai Berak, and a prolific author of rabbinic isssues. To the best of my recollection, I saw the following in one of his “seforim.” A man made a kiddush one shabbat in shul, because the man had been spared from serious injury while crossing the street. This kiddush is called a “se’udat hodaya,” a meal of thanksgiving. The word “hodaya” is related to the word that we all know: “todah.”

The next week, another man also wants to make a “thanksgiving kiddush.” People wonder: “what happened to you? Did you also have an accident?” -”No!” -‘then why do you want to make a thanksgiving kiddush?” He answered that he crosses that same street very often, but never had a problem. So he wants to thank HaShem that he never had a problem.

And the man had a proof: Psalm 100, that is part of our weekday prayers, is called “mizmor le-todah,” a “psalm of thanksgiving.”  The psalm continues ”hari`u laShem kol ha’arets,” “let the whole world cry out in joy...come to His gates in ‘todah.’ ” In other words, we can interpret that even those who are safe should thank HaShem that they are safe. 

Rabbenu Bahya begins his introduction to this week’s parasha by saying there are two types of miracles: famous, obvious miracles, such as the 10 plagues and the splitting of Red Sea; and hidden miracles, which seem like every day occurrences, [such as the second man who made the kiddush] but are actually miracles.

And so this week’s parasha begins with a very mundane looking activity. Everyone contributes a half sheqel. Perhaps the message is that by everyone participating in this single activity, the people will succeed in the desert. Everyone had to take part. The situation now in the Land of Israel is very serious. We pray for a miracle, in whatever size or shape it comes. Our prayers, and whatever help we can offer, are with Israel: the people, the State, and the Jewish people throughout the world. And like the half sheqel that everyone had to contribute, as the signs now say throughout the Land of Israel, “yahad nenatseah,” “together we will win.”


The yahrzeit of Sara Miriam, grandmother of Mariam Mintz and Stanley Goldstein, is shabbat 22 Adar

Yahrzeit of Riva-Leah Gordon, mother of Norman and grandmother of David, is Monday 24 Adar. 

Yahrzeit of Avraham ben Nisan, father of David and Marc Zilbert, is Thursday, 27 adar. 

Yahrzeit of Yosef ben Mordecai, father of Manfred Erdstein, is Tuesday, 25 adar.

May the neshamot have aliya.

Shabbat shalom, shalom `al Yisrael, Rabbi Menahem White

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784