OU TORAHDedicated by the Jacobs and Chill Families in Memory of Harold and Pearl Jacobs
Dora Bas Rivka Silver O'H
Life on Other Planets?
Like Moses and Miriam after the salvation at the Red Sea, Devorah and Barak now sang a song of praise to G-d. It's very beautiful and a synopsis can't do it justice, so make sure you read it. We'll just hit a few high points here:
* In the song, Devorah refers to herself as a metaphorical mother to the nation. Some say that the song was Divinely inspired and that's what G-d instructed her to say. Others criticize her for her immodest choice of words.
* The Tribe of Issachar were renowned scholars. The members of Zevulun (Zebulon) supported them financially and shared in the merit of their learning (like a modern-day kollel). It's interesting to note that the song of Devorah refers to the Tribe of Zevulun as "those who wield a scribe's pen." One explanation is that it refers to the merchants of Zevulun, who wrote out receipts. Another explanation is that it refers to the scholars of Zevulun, even though Zevulun was not primarily a Tribe of scholars. May I suggest that it is perhaps because of the merit they got from supporting Issachar's Torah study? (Just thinking out loud...)
* Verse 20 says that the stars in their orbits joined the battle against Sisera. Verse 23 curses the inhabitants of Meroz for not coming to help. Some commentators say that Meroz was the name of a nearby city, but Rashi quotes the Talmud in Moed Katan (16a) that it's the name of a star. So who are the inhabitants of another star? Extraterrestrials? Not necessarily, but we can't rule it out...
* The song ends with a powerful description of Sisera's mother, looking out the window, waiting for her son to return from battle. Her attendants try to comfort her with the thought that he and his men are dividing the spoils and choosing attractive captives for themselves. That his mother would be comforted by such things says quite a lot about the environment in which Sisera was raised!
A short Insight into Judges, Chapter 5Based on the phrase “And let those who love Him be like the powerfully rising sun” found in verse thirty-one, Chaza”l state that this refers to “those who are shamed and do not shame, who hear themselves being embarrassed and do not respond.”.
The Iyun Yaakov says that “those who are shamed” refer to those shamed in private. “Those who are embarrassed” are those embarrassed publicly. Both of these individuals are in line for this special brocha.
How powerful is this brocha?
There is a story about R’ Shlomo of Zhvill being approached to daven for a gravely ill man that can shed some light on the power of the brocha found in our verse.
The Rebbe sat and thought how he could gain a significant merit for this man’s recovery. He asked the family member to return in a few hours. When the relative of the choleh returned, the Rebbe said that the family should not worry. With G-d’s help their relative will recover.
Later, the Rebbe’s family asked him why he told the relative of the choleh to return in a few hours.
He said, “When they came, I could not find a significant merit that I could pass on to him for his recovery. Then I realized that it was Rosh Chodesh. As the Rebbe of Zhvill, I go around and collect money for the needy every Rosh Chodesh. There is one woman who gives me a hard time whenever I ask for her donation. She curses at me whenever I come. She says that I had just come the day before collecting. She accuses me of stealing the collections money and not giving it to the poor and needy. Eventually, when she gets finished harassing me, she gives. So, I thought that if the relatives of the choleh come back to me after I went to collect tzedaka from this lady, after I had suffered my monthly humiliation at her hand, I would have a large enough merit to pass on for the recovery of the choleh. In truth, when I tried to collect from her today, she berated me to an extreme – more than usual. Thus, I was sure that the merit of keeping silent and not returning the fire would unquestionably help the choleh be healed.” (Misbtzos Zahav)