Shabbat Parshat SH’MOT - m’vorchim
This Shabbat is the 113th day (of 355) and the 17th Shabbat (of 51) of 5767
ERETZ ZAVAT CHALAV UDVASH (Sh’mot 3:8) (first of 15 occurrences in Tanach of this phrase)
Candle lighting and Havdala - Standard (winter) time,
Note about Candle Lighting and Havdala times. Candle lighting times are rounded down to the minute, in other words, seconds are ignored. Havdala times, on the other hand, are round up to the next minute.
WORD OF THE MONTH
This Shabbat, we bench Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat, which will be on the following Shabbat. Rosh Chodesh Shvat is one day (in our fixed calendar) since Tevet has only 29 days.
ROSH CHODESH SH'VAT YIH-YEH B'YOM SHABBAT KODESH HABA ALEINU V'AL KOL YISRA'EL L'TOVA:
HAMOLAD YIH-YEH LEIL SHISHI, SHLOSHIM V’SHALOSH DAKOT V’ASARA CHALAKIM ACHAREI ESER [THU 22h 33m 10p]
In Rambam notation: VAV (Friday) 4h 604 chalakim (Rambam does not use minutes, rather chalakim of which there are 1080 in an hour)
The actual (astronomical) molad is FRI 19 JAN 06:01 (almost 8 hours after the announced molad)
In whose merit - then and now?
But Parshat Sh'mot contains the beginnings of redemption. We read of the birth of Moshe. We read of G-d's first prophecy to Moshe, a prophecy of redemption. In that prophecy, we find not only Y'tzi'at Mitzrayim, but an allusion to the Sinai Experience, and to the future of the people in Eretz Yisrael.
The people were destined to be taken from Egyptian slavery and oppression because of G-d's promises to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. We had Z'CHUT AVOT, and therefore we would be redeemed. But there was also merit that the people themselves earned. Our sources tell us about the people not changing their language, style of clothing, or their names.
Our sources tell us of the merit of righteous women, because of whom we were redeemed.
Let us say that it is a combination of inherited merit and earned merit that gets us out of difficult situations. Would either by itself also save us? It seems so. But certainly, the combination of the two is quite powerful.
And what about the descendants of that large family soon to become a nation? Their descendants 3300 years later? What about us?
We are still in Exile. A very long exile since the destruction of the second Beit HaMikdash. Some of the people have tenaciously clung to the Torah throughout the Exile. Others have returned to the Torah. Many have not. Some of the people of Israel have returned to Eretz Yisrael. Many have not. All of the people of Israel are still without the Beit HaMikdash. All of us eagerly await the Geula (some are conscious of this eager anticipation; others are not yet aware of it). Many Jews are "earning" merit for the Geula on an individual basis and on behalf of Klal Yisrael. And to be sure, we still have - always have - Z'CHUT AVOT. The question is, when will our inherited merit and earned merit be strong enough to bring the Geula? Actually, that's not the big question. With BITACHON (faith, confidence) in G-d, it will be when it will be. The big question is whether we are motivated and committed to a life of Torah and Mitzvot, to a life of spiritual self- improvement and of working with our fellow Jews in the pleasant ways of the Torah to uplift all of Klal Yisrael? Are we committed to Eretz Yisrael and to its spiritual and physical growth? The big question is are we doing all we can to hasten the Geula?
The answer to all those big questions is... we had better be!
Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
Kohen - First Aliya - 17 p'sukim - 1:1-17
SDT: The opening words of the sedra/book of Shmot - V'EILEH SH'MOT - form the initial letters of V'chayav Adam Lilmod Sh'nayim Mikra V'echad Targum - And a person is obligated to review the Torah text twice and another time in translation. Baal HaTurim extends this acronym to the next two words. His whole statement is: "One who learns the sedra 2+1, singing it pleasantly, shall merit long life."
SDT: And these are the names... Reuven occurs 39 times in the Torah, Shimon 23 times, Yehuda 49, Yissachar 18, Zevulun 15, Naftali 20, Asher 20 (not counting the 1915 times the word ASHER occurs , Binyamin (two spellings) 31, Yosef 177, (the others, another time).
SDT: The final letters of the opening words (sofei teivot) rearrange to spell the word T'HILIM. When the People of Israel are in trouble (a play-on-words on Egypt - MITZRAYIM - MEITZARIM), they shall use T'hilim to help them focus their prayers to G-d, thereby meriting redemption.
SDT: Our first exile was associated with the number 70, the number associated with the members of Yaakov's family who went down to Egypt. The exile following the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash lasted 70 years. The termination of the final exile will be associated with our dominance over, or recognition and respect by the "70 nations" of the world.
Numeric SDT: "And Yosef and all his brothers and all that generation died." This pasuk (1:6) has a g'matriya (numeric value) of 981. There is one other pasuk in the Torah with that same g'matriya - D'varim 4:4 - "And you who cling to HaShem, your G-d, are all alive today." This pasuk is one of the sources of the concept that G-d fearing people live on after their physical death. The pasuk from the beginning of Sh'mot had a certain finality sound to it. The second pasuk (its G'matriya Twin) testifies that the "Shivtei Kah" live on.
[P> 1:8 (15)] A new king "who does not know Yosef" considers the Jewish people a threat and takes measures to enslave and demoralize them.
Ironically, he is the first one to refer to us as a nation - "Am Bnei Yisrael". Sometimes it is our enemies who tell us who and what we really are. Par'o called us the Jewish Nation even before we felt that and knew that ourselves.
A new king arose... If a person sells a house to another saying that it is new, when, in fact it has been renovated, painted, etc. and made "like new", is the buyer able to demand his money back?
Says the MaHaRShaM in the name of Torat Chayim, it depends on the dispute between Rav and Shmuel as to whether it was really a new king who arose over Egypt, or if it was the same Par'o who just changed attitude and policy, etc. If the former, then the deal for the new house is tainted if the house is not actually new. If the latter opinion, then the deal stands.
SDT: VA'T'CHAYENA ET HAY'LADIM ...and they gave life to the boys". The Midrash says that not only did the midwives defy Par'o by not killing the boys, they also were responsible for saving those that might have died during childbirth. It is natural that some babies do not survive birth. The midwives were concerned that if they happened to deliver a stillborn, that it might appear as if they had carried out Par'o's orders. Their prayers were answered, and miraculously none of the babies died. Thus they are credited, not just with assisting in the births, but also with giving life to the babies.
There is a parallel idea concerning the night of the Exodus. It is said that even the normal deaths that might be expected in a large population did not occur on the night of the Exodus, lest it detract from the miraculous nature of the Night. Thus, we have then similar miracles at either end of the Mitzrayim experience.
SDT: AND THEY EMBITTERED THEIR LIVES... The trop (Torah notes) on these words seem unduly happy for such sad words. The GR"A points out the "happy" result of the unusually harsh oppression, namely, that G-d reacted to Egypt's excess by cutting down our time in bondage to 210 years from the original prophecy of 400, by counting from the birth of Yitzchak, rather than from Yaakov's descent into Egypt. Understand that this is not just an exchange of 210 years of extra harsh conditions for 400 years of regular slavery. Commentaries say that if we did not get out when we did, we would not have made it to Nationhood.
Levi - Second Aliya - 15 p'sukim - 1:18-2:10
[P> 2:1 (22)] Amram reunites with Yocheved and a baby boy is born. When he is no longer able to be hidden (some say that Moshe was three months premature; that the Egyptians knew when Yocheved was due; therefore she was able to hide him only for those three months), Yocheved prepares a water-proof basket and sets him on the river under the watchful eye of his sister.
Bat-Par'o finds Moshe and sends Miriam to bring a wet nurse for the crying infant who apparently will not nurse from an Egyptian breast. Miriam brings Yocheved, Moshe's mother, who takes Moshe until he is weaned. From that point on, Moshe is raised in the royal palace by Bat Par'o (Bitya). She names him Moshe.
SDT: Egyptian astrologers read in the stars that Israel's redeemer was soon to be born. They recommended the systematic drowning of all baby boys (including non-Jews, since they were not sure from what nation this redeemer would come). When Moshe was floated on the Nile, the astrologers reported to Par'o that Israel's redeemer was indeed "cast into the river". As a result of this not quite accurate reading of the stars, Par'o withdrew the decree to drown the boys. [This points to the notion that there is something to astrology, but it is a "power" granted and limited by G-d to some individuals.]
SDT: On the phrase: VAYEILECH ISH... And a man (from the house of Levi) went... the Baal HaTurim points out the only other occurrence of that phrase, in the book of Ruth: VAYEILECH ISH MI'BEIT LECHEM YEHUDA... In both cases, a redeemer of Israel results. In our case, Moshe Rabeinu. In Megilat Ruth, the progenitor of David HaMelech, his line, to Mashiach ben David.
"And she called his name Moses, for from the water he was drawn."
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 15 p'sukim - 2:11-25
[P> 2:23 (3)] Meanwhile, after much time passes, the king of Egypt dies (or maybe got so sick that it was like he died) and the oppression in Egypt is greatly intensified. The People react by calling out to G-d. He too, “reacts”...
SDT: Yosef was identified by the Wine Steward as a NAAR IVRI, a Jewish lad. Moshe was identified by Yitro's daughters as ISH MITZRI, an Egyptian man. Yosef was privileged to have his remains buried in the Land of Israel. Moshe did not have that same "z'chut", although it was mainly Moshe who brought Yosef's remains from Egypt to the threshold of Eretz Yisrael. Gives you pause for thought. No criticism is intended.
SDT: When Moshe realized that Datan and Aviram informed on him to Par’o, the Torah tells us that Moshe was afraid. Rashi says that we can understand that literally, and also on a deeper level. With Jews like Datan and Aviram, Moshe feared that the people of Israel might not merit redemption.
(Note that Rashi includes the p’shat (plain) meaning as well as the additional meaning. Both apply in this case. It isn't always so that the plain meaning is retained when there is a drash that is the preferred way of understanding the text.)
R'vi'i - Fourth Aliya - 15 p'sukim - 3:1-15
As we have written in some form or another on many, many occasions in Torah Tidbits... we call the TTreader's attention to Sh'mot 3:8. In one pasuk, G-d reveals His Plan for the emerging nation of Israel: To take them (us) out of Egypt (in order) to bring us into Eretz Yisrael. One pasuk. Almost without pausing between these two pieces of the Plan. (And giving us the Torah is alluded to a few p'sukim later, to complete the Grand Plan: Take us out of Egypt, give us the Torah, bring us into Eretz Yisrael. This is why we exist! Think about it.
Moshe asks "why me?". G-d assures Moshe that He will be with him and that as proof of the Divine nature of his mission, Moshe will be bringing the people back to "this spot" (Sinai) to "serve G-d" (and receive the Torah).
Furthermore, Moshe is to "reintroduce" G-d to the People. Moshe asks G-d what he should tell the People when he comes to them at G-d's command. G-d's answer spans nine p'sukim (3:14-22). G-d identifies Himself as EH-YEH ASHER EH-YEH (Alef-Hei-Yud-Hei is one of the 7 names of G-d that may not be erased. Probably the least known of the list of seven.) This name of G-d's has the meaning: I will be with you (Bnei Yisrael) in your time of trouble (in Egypt) as I will be with you in future situations of enslavement and oppression.
SDT: Baal HaTurim points out that the letters of this unusual name of G-d total 21. The initial letters of the first three names of G-d in the Thirteen Divine Attributes are YUD, YUD, ALEF = 21 (HaShem, HaShem, Keil...). The initials of the Patriarchs are ALEF, YUD, YUD = 21. The initials of the Five Books of the Torah are BET, VAV, VAV, VAV, and ALEF = 21.
At Moshe's suggestion, so to speak, G-d agreed to be identified to the people as EH-YEH, with the more comforting connotation of "I will be with you", without the implication that there will be other periods of oppression in the future. (based on Rashi).
G-d gives Moshe detailed instructions as to what to say to the people. He tells Moshe how the people will react and how Par'o will react. He tells him about the plagues and about the "friendly" reaction of the Egyptian people.
Chamishi - Fifth Aliya - 24 p'sukim - 3:16-4:17
Moshe asks "on what basis will they believe me?" G-d gives Moshe three signs to perform for Par'o and the People.
SDT: Rashi says that the first two signs were also repremands to Moshe for speaking against the people and doubting in advance their potential to believe what he would tell them. This is Lashon HaRa, and both the snake and the Tzoraat are associated with Lashon HaRa. The third sign seems to have been specifically selected by G-d (so to speak) to be a bridge and introduction to the MAKOT (plagues), the first of which was an extension, shall we say, of the third sign.
Moshe still questions G-d as to "why me"; G-d gets angry at Moshe for doubting His choice of leader. G-d informs Moshe that Aharon will assist in these matters. Moshe is instructed to have his special staff with him when he presents himself to the People and Par'o.
SDT: The Staff, HaMateh. Baal HaTurim says that there is/was a scribal custom to put Torah crowns on the TET in the word THE STAFF. This, to hint to the fact that Moshe was the ninth (TET=9) righteous individual who had the miraculous staff in hand. (Pirkei Avot tells us that the Staff was one of the items created in the instant between the Six Days of Creation and the first Shabbat B'reishit.) The previous eight are: Adam, Chanoch, No'ach, Shem, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yosef.
The Midrash says that Moshe had many names: Yered, Chever, Y'kutiel, Avigdor, Avi-Socho, Avi-Zanu'ach, Tovia, Heiman, Sh'maya. The Midrash further tells us that of all his names, he is only called Moshe - even by G-d - to give honor to the acts of kindness of the one who found him and saved him from the water - Bat Par'o, the future Batya (Bitya).
Rashi says that Moshe's experience at the Burning Bush and his communication with G-d there lasted for SEVEN DAYS! All during that time, G-d was trying (so to speak) to convince Moshe to undertake his mission.
Shishi - Sixth Aliya - 14 p'sukim - 4:18-31
On the way, Tzipora circumcises her son. Commentaries explain that Moshe had neither circumcised his son Eliezer because of the danger in traveling when recently circumcised, nor did he postpone his return to Egypt, which would have been in defiance of G-d's command. It seems that he was in error in not having circumcised him, hence his life was in jeopardy until Tzipora performed the circumcision. Another question on this episode concerns the acceptability of a female circumcising. Commentaries solve that problem in different ways.
SDT: Sh'mot 4:19 - Return to Egypt... for all those who pursue you have died. Rashi (quoting the Midrash and the Gemara) says that the people referred to were Datan and Aviram, and that they were still alive, but became destitude and were considered as if they were dead.
As the Bartenura and Dr. Avigdor Bonchek would ask, what was bothering Rashi that he didn't leave the simpler explanation of the verse alone? Maybe the people who sought Moshe were actually dead? (Of course if they were actually dead, they couldn't have been Datan and Aviram, who were alive much later.) The answer comes from the pasuk itself. It does not say, "those who pursued you" (BIKSHU ET NAFSHECHA). It uses the present tense, HAM'VAKSHIM ET NAFSHECHA those who pursue you. (But since they are like dead, they pose no threat.) - Attributed to the Vilna Gaon.
[P> 4:27 (29)] G-d tells Aharon to greet Moshe. Moshe tells Aharon all that has happened. They gather the elders and Aharon tells them what will occur. The People believe what they hear and bow to G-d.
SDT: Rashi says that the donkey that Moshe used to bring his family to Mitzrayim was the same one that Avraham took to the Akeida and the one that the Mashiach will ride upon. Why not a regular donkey? To tell us that these monumental events were not haphazard, but rather specially prepared parts of G-d's master plan for the world.
Sh'vi'i - Seventh Aliya - 6 p'sukim - 50:21-26
SDT: Notice that the elders are not mentioned. Rashi tells us that one-by-one, the elders "disappeared" (in fear of Par'o) as the entourage was going to Par'o, until only Moshe and Aharon were left. Because of this, it was to be this way at Sinai also. The elders were left at the foot of the mountain and Aharon and Moshe ascended. (Then Aharon stopped and Moshe proceeded to the top alone.)
Par'o refuses, questioning who this G-d of Israel is. He then increases the burden on the People (who obviously have too much free time because they ask for a 3-day release) by requiring them to also collect the straw for the raw materials of the bricks they have to make. The leaders of the People bear the brunt of the new edicts and complain to Par'o. Par'o blames Moshe; the People react with anger and disappointment. Moshe tells G-d that his efforts were counter-productive. G-d says that NOW you (Moshe) will see what G-d will do to Par'o...
Haftara - 23 p'sukim - Yeshayahu 27:6-28:13 and 29:22-23
S'fardim read the first chapter of Yirmiyahu as the haftara of Sh'mot. That chapter is the first haftara of the Three Weeks, Bein HaMeitzarim. Interesting parallel to the first haftara of enslavement in Mitzrayim. There are other sedra-haftara connections too.
THE JERUSALEM INSTITUTE OF JEWISH LAW - Rabbi Emanuel Quint, Dean
Acquiring a presumption for light
The subject matter of this lesson is more fully discussed in volume V chapter 154 of A Restatement of Rabbinic Civil Law by Emanuel Quint. This volume can be purchased at local Judaica bookstores. Questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Spiritual and Ethical Issues in the B'reishit Stories
The solution lies in that phrase: "I am a Hebrew", as we see from Yona's answer to the sailors (Yona 1:5-9). They, in their spiritual fear of the storm, had cast lots that had repeatedly fallen on Yona so they asked: "Tell us, in regard to whom this calamity has fallen on us? What is your trade [perhaps you engage in an immoral or criminal occupation and as a result you are guilty] (Radak)? And from where do you come [perhaps you are fleeing because of some crime you have committed (Radak) and the distance is too great to return and make proper restitution (Metzudot)]? What is your land [perhaps the people of your land are so wicked that you are now being punished because of that (Radak)]? And of what people are you [are they a people so hateful to G-d because of their sins] (Radak)?" Yona, as did Yosef, says: "I am a Hebrew" and that is the all encompassing answer. "I am a true believer in Hashem and I fear the G-d of the Heavens Who is our Leader and Judge; so my trade is an honest one and I engage in no criminal activities" (Radak).
The significance of the name Hebrew becomes clearer when we recall that Avraham is called Ha'Ivri (B'reishit 14:13). Rashi sees this as a reference to Avraham's origin - across the river [Euphrates]. In the Midrash, Rabbi Yehuda taught: "The whole world was on one side [mei'ever] while Avraham was on the other"; He stood alone in his service of G-d, while the whole world stood apart in their worship of idols. That not only monotheism is involved, may be seen from the only reference in the Torah's text as to the spiritual qualities that Avraham had; "I [Hashem] have given him My special care so that he will command his descendants that they will keep the way of G-d to do righteousness as a duty and justice" (B'reishit 18:10).
"Here, with Avraham, righteousness is mentioned before justice. A pure moral life before G-d is the preliminary condition source for a truly just life of righteousness with our fellow men. Righteousness is the Word, the world redeeming Word, which the House of Avraham is to carry in the world and throughout the world. It is not just absolute justice and righteousness which will save the world from crime and misery, but only both of them being living with G-d. Our whole lives must be spent in the idea of duty before G-d, then the whole behavior between man and man will make the dictates of duty a reality" (Rabbi S. R. Hirsch, B'reishit 18:10).
When Bet Yaakov was in galut Mitzrayim they were unable to keep the ways of Avraham HaIvri. After the death of Yaakov and Yosef they gradually adopted the ideas and practices of the Egyptians. Commenting on the verse: "And the land was filled with them" (Sh'mot 1:7), Abarbanel writes that they spread throughout Egyptian society, filled the theaters and circuses, rose to prominence in every walk of life and assimilated. Chazal expressed it as their reaching the 49th level of impurity and worshipped idols; Hashem in His mercy cut the length of their exile otherwise they would have descended even lower. It is true that they did not change their dress, their names and their language, but that was enough only to merit redemption, not enough to prevent their spiritual descent.
"Why is a thief who is sold as a slave called eved ivri? He acted contrary to the ways of Avraham who was called the beloved of G-d, by stealing, so he may be seen as having crossed back across the river from where Avraham Haivri had come" (Shem MiShmuel).
This is a deficiency that constantly occurs in all the other galuyot, including our own. "I have traveled throughout galut Ishmael and galut Edom teaching that now that as this galut has been prolonged for so long, Israel has to withdraw from the frivolities of material- ism and attach themselves to the seal of G-d that is truth. We must refrain from lies, both to Jew and non-Jew alike, not to defraud them in any way or respect, to sanctify ourselves even in those things that are permitted to us, refrain from falsehoods and not have the language of deceit on our lips. Then the nations of the world will say to G-d: "Truly, such an honest and just people with truth on their lips deserve to be redeemed now". However, if we deal dishonestly and with deceit, then when Hashem considers our redemption, the nations of the world come and argue that G-d has chosen a people of liars and defrauders who surely in justice do not deserve redemption (Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, pos. mitz. 74, Hashavat aveida).
MISC section - contents:
 From the virtual desk of the OU VEBBE REBBE
Q: I was in the middle of davening Mincha when I realized that I had already davened earlier. What was I supposed to do under those circumstances and why?
A: The answer is straightforward, but it is worthwhile to analyze the rationale.
The gemara (B'rachot 21a) states: “Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: If one was standing in prayer (in the midst of the Amida) and he remembered that he had already davened, he should stop, even in the middle of a b'racha.” Thus, in your case, when you realized that you had already davened, you should have stopped immediately (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 107:1).
The question is how this ruling is reconciled with the previous segment of the gemara (ibid.). R. Elazar says that one who is not sure if he davened or not, should not daven out of doubt. R. Yochanan argues, saying “if only a person would daven all day long.” Thus, according to R. Yochanan, whose position is accepted as halacha (Shulchan Aruch, ibid.), it is not a problem to daven even if it turns out that he already davened. (If it were a problem, we should say safek b'rachot l’hakel). A further complication is a subsequent gemara (ibid.) that one who already davened and comes into a shul where people are davening may join them as long as he adds a personal request (during the middle part of the Amida - Shulchan Aruch, ibid.:2) to Sh'moneh Esrei. Why then can’t one who realizes in the middle that he is in that situation, continue by adding something?
The Rosh (B'rachot 3:15) reconciles matters as follows. R. Yochanan did not mean that one can literally daven all day long without any further conditions. Rather, he may daven an additional time only if he adds something new to the Sh'moneh Esrei. The rationale is that one can daven a second time but only as an optional t'fila (n'dava), which he undertakes in order to add something that he neglected to include in the first one. If it is just a repeat, it is deemed to be a second, mandatory Sh'moneh Esrei. Since t'fila corresponds to the korban tamid which could be brought only once during a given time period, he cannot repeat. Only if he does it in a way that shows that it is a n'dava, by adding something, is it permissible, as an individual can offer a korban olah in a manner similar to the korban tamid. The congregation may not repeat Sh'moneh Esrei beyond the standard obligation because, in the Beit Hamikdash, a communal olah was not permitted. Similarly, one cannot daven an extra Musaf, as an individual could not bring such a parallel korban in the Beit Hamikdash.
When one is unsure whether he already davened, he need not add anything to the t'fila because the prospect that he may need this t'fila is equivalent to adding something new (ibid.). However, one should make the possibly superfluous Sh'moneh Esrei conditional in the follow- ing manner. “If I did not daven, this should be an obligatory t'fila. If I already davened, it should be deemed optionafl” (Mishna Berura 107:2, based on Chidu- shei HaRashba, B'rachot 21a).
If one starts out Sh'moneh Esrei thinking it is a normal, obligatory t'fila and realizes in the middle that he already davened, he is stuck. It cannot be turned in the middle into a n'dava and, therefore, there is no framework with which to continue even if he wants to add something (Rosh, ibid.). Only if he began with a doubt and a condition that envisioned n'dava from the outset can he continue even after realizing that he had already davened, as a n'dava (see Mishna Berura 107:7).
Regarding one who remembered in the middle of Sh'moneh Esrei of Maariv, there are poskim (especially S'faradi- see Kaf Hachayim 107:12 and Yalkut Yosef, T'fila 68) who say that he can continue in the framework of n'dava, as Maariv always has an element of being optional. However, the Mishna Berura (Bi'ur Halacha to 107:1) says that now that Maariv is treated as an obligatory t'fila, it is no different from other t'filot.
Ed. note: T'filat N'dava is applicable only during the week; based on no voluntary korbanot on Shabbat.
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 Candle by Day
 CHIZUK and IDUD (for Olim & not-yet-Olim respectively)
The idea that Aliya is specific to moving to the Land of Israel from Egypt is reiterated in our parsha, where we find God's twice-repeated promise to bring Bnei Yisrael to the "land flowing with milk and honey." In both instances the promise is expressed in terms of Aliya - "ul-ha'aloto... el eretz tova urchava" (Sh'mot 3:8) and "a'aleh etchem... el eretz zavat halav u'devash" (3:17).
On a simple level, this is merely a question of geography. Egypt is to the south (although the concept that all maps face northwards is a relatively modern concept) and most of Egypt is physically lower than most of Israel. Throughout Tanach, someone who travels from Israel to Egypt is "yoreid" - goes down; someone who travels in the other direction will, by definition, be "oleh" - go up. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that there are other connotations to the term, as well. The "fleshpots of Egypt" are symbolic of many communities in exile, and the recognition of a calling towards a more spiritual life represented by the land chosen by God for His people, is, indeed, an Aliya - towards which we should all be striving.
TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union's 'Torah Insights', a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a
 Wisdom and Wit
The Chafetz Chayim’s words had an opposite effect, and the students became to learn with even greater enthusiasm. Seeing this, the Chafetz Chayim went over to the kerosene lamps (this was in the days before there was electricity in Radin), and turned each of them down. Again the Chafetz Chayim repeated, "My children, you need to sleep..."
Shmuel Himelstein has written a wonderful series for ArtScroll: Words of Wisdom, Words of Wit; A Touch of Wisdom, A Touch of Wit; and "Wisdom and Wit" — available at your local Jewish bookstore (or should be).
 Portion for the Portion by Rakel Berenbaum - FEEDback to firstname.lastname@example.org
We now begin the book of Sh'mot with 70 of the descendants of Yaakov settling in Egypt. Yosef and his brothers die and we are told that the children of Israel were prolific and they became so numerous that the land was filled with them “VATIMALEI HA'ARETZ OTAM” (1:7). There are many Midrashim that interpret this verse to be referring to multiple births.
Rashi explains that the women gave birth to six at one time. Other Midrashim say 12, and one goes as high as 60 infants at once. It seems like the Rabbis were trying to explain how the Jewish people increased from only 70 to 600,000 souls (12:37) in such a short time.
They found hints in the verse itself. There are six words that refer to abundance “PARU VAYISHR'TZU VAYIRBU VAYA'AZMU BIM-OD, M'OD” hinting to six being born each time. Or the use of the word, VAYISHR'TZU sounds like SHERETZ, insects, who deliver many insects at once. Also the gematriya for PARU VAYISHR'TZU VAYIRBU VAYA'ATZMU is the same as YALDAT SHISHA B'KERES ECHAD, giving birth to six at one go. But doesn't this sound very much out of the ordinary? How many women are able to give birth to six healthy babies?
Some of the commentators try to explain to those who might find these Midrashim far fetched that there is logic to them. The Ibn Ezra says that he saw a lady who had 4 children at once, and he quotes doctors from his day who said the womb could hold 7. Rav Shmuel Matot (14th century) quotes a doctor from his day who saw a lady who had 20 children - 4 sets of 5 and he saw a lady who miscarried 60 person-like figures. He says that anyone who doesn't understand the potential in nature will not appreciate the Midrashim. Chazal who understood the powers that Hashem put into nature interpreted the excess words in the verse to refer to the blessings available in nature. The miracle then becomes that ALL the women in Egypt gave birth to so many children at once.
Rav Midan gives an interesting interpretation. He says we are not talking about women who gave birth to sextuplets , but each mother (keres) gave birth to six children during the course of her life.
The miracle in the reproduction and growth of Israel in Egypt was a hidden one that we take with us throughout our exiles.
Despite the difficult time they had as slaves each woman continued on the Jewish people by having six children.
KUBEH- MEAT FILLED DUMPLINGS
 Parsha Points to Ponder - SH'MOT
THESE ARE THE ANSWERS
1) The Kli Yakar answers that the Torah is trying to convey the new attitude of the Egyptians which crept in following Yosef’s death. They no longer viewed the Jews as veteran residents of Egypt who had lived there for some time. Rather, they were treated as newcomers who were just now COMING TO EGYPT. That was the first step along the road towards slavery and grave persecution.
2) The Ohr HaChayim points to the teaching of our Sages that Yocheved gave birth to Moshe after only six months of pregnancy which is why the Egyptian authorities were not present to deal with the newborn immediately. Typically, a baby born that early would not have been healthy enough to survive and the mother would not have a reason to hide and save the baby. However, Yocheved saw that Moshe was TOV - he was a healthy child who would be able to survive. Thus, she reacted by hiding him in case the authorities would come to check on her status.
3) The Meshech Chochma teaches that Moshe continued to suspect that the Jewish people would not believe him. He figured that the fact that he brought his wife and sons into this dangerous situation would convince the Jewish people that G-D did, in fact, promise that he would redeem them from Egypt. This, according to the Meshech Chochma, was a failure on Moshe’s part and played a role in his son’s life being in danger during the trip to Egypt.
Parsha Points to Ponder is prepared by Rabbi Dov Lipman, who teaches at Reishit Yerushalayim, Tiferet, and Machon Maayan in Beit Shemesh and RBS and is the author of "DISCOVER: Answers for Teenagers (and adults) to Questions about the Jewish Faith",just re-published by Feldheim, email@example.com
 Torah KidBits
What's your name? Your Hebrew name, of course. Were you named after someone? Do you know whom? Is it important? Of course it is! Our names are very important.
Sefer Sh'mot begins with the sentence: And these are the names of the Children of Israel who came down to Egypt. The Torah want us to know the name of each one of the seventy Jews who first came to Egypt because each was important. Each was an entire world, different from the others.
A Jewish boy's name is first announced at his brit mila. A girl's name is announced during the weekly Torah reading. Our names have meaning. They help us understand who we are. They tell us what hopes and dreams our parents have for us.
Names in Lashon Hakodesh - Hebrew - remind us that we are part of Am Yisrael. And they become part of us. My name and I are one. (Which explains why people with funny names like Kronkerhaus or Maybelline refuse to change their names!)
Once, a young girl in a public library was investigating the origins of her family name - Levy - for a school assignment. She had never heard of Leviyim or the Bet Hamikdash, but when she discovered that all Levys may be descendants of the tribe of Levi, and that the Leviyim worked in the Beit Hamikdash, she was overwhelmed.
Wow," she cried. "Think of that! Imagine! My family worked in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem!" Her name suddenly became something to be proud of, something to remind her that she was a Jew.
When Avram became Avraham, Sarai became Sarah, and Yaakov became Yisrael, their new names meant that they had become "new" people with a special, new status. And when the seventy sons of Yaakov - Bnei Yaakov - went down to Egypt at the beginning of Parshat Sh'mot, they received a new name as well. For the first time, they were called Bnei Yisrael.
 Torah from a Talmid(a)
"…[the Jews] are lazy (NIRPIM)! Therefore they cry out, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our G-d.' Let the labor fall heavy upon the men and let them work at it, and let them not talk about false matters" (Sh'mot 5:8-9).
In order to combat his slaves' laziness, Par'o increased their labor. However, the tyrant's reasoning seems quite foolish and counterproductive; if the Jews are lazy and thus want a break, the harder they are pushed, the more they will want time off!
Rashi, translating NIRPIM as lax, solves our problem. He explains that Par'o reasoned that since the Jews had free time, they could think of "idleness/false matters" such as wanting to serve G-d. By driving the Jews harder than ever, Par'o hoped to deny the Jews the ability to contemplate anything other than their immediate task at hand. The Torah tells us that Par'o's tactic worked; in Sh'mot 6, G-d commanded Moshe to relay words of comfort and inspiration to the exhausted Jews but they "did not hearken to Moshe because of [their] shortness of breath and because of [their] hard labor" (6:9) which Rashi understands to mean that "they did not accept consolation".
Given that Children of Israel's broken state, why would G-d command Moshe to comfort them if they were simply too worn out to listen? It must have been that, as difficult as it was, the Jews in fact had the ability to pay heed. In fact, the S'forno views the Jews' failure in accepting Moshe' words as a lack of trust; had they trusted in G-d, they would have found the strength for listening.
How exactly did the Jews' inability to concentrate stem from a lack of trust? According to Gur Aryeh's interpretation of Rashi, the Jews' shortness of breath, one of the factors preventing them from listening, resulted from stress. What exactly is stress? It is worrying about a situation beyond one's physical control. One who trusts in G-d will accept conditions beyond their physical control, regardless of their fairness and justice. Despite the cruelty inflicted on them, had the Jews fully trusted in G-d, instead of worrying, they would have accepted their current situation. By doing so, their thoughts would have remained free to contemplate spiritual matters and they would have accepted G-d's comfort.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Headed by Rabbi Scott Kahn and Rabbi Pesach Wolicki, Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah is designed to provide a serious, skill-based and student-centered curriculum in Gemara and other central texts; developed by serious educators and talmidei chachamim, with an eye towards helping our students become independently skillful bnei torah.
Correction: The "Torah from a Talmid(a)" column in TT #745 was inadvertently attributed to the wrong student from Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi. It was, in fact, written by Eric Israeli.
 Torah from Nature
Of 16-19 species of penguin (depends whom you ask), only 2 or so live on Antarctica. All are native of the southern hemisphere, but their habitats include cold regions near Antarctica, and some species live in temperate and even tropical climates.
 Divrei Menachem
Here, for example, the Sforno indicates that unlike Ya'akov's grand- children, his 12 sons are listed again as a commendation for maintaining their spiritual fiber and moral integrity within the corruptive Egyptian environment. Rashi suggests that the repetition follows the common practice of mentioning significant figures when they pass from the scene, while the Gur Aryeh adds that the Torah, like people, would [consistently] repeat the names of departed dear ones.
And like things that are dear to us, the fathers of the 12 tribes are counted again and again. They are compared to the constellations of the stars that are counted by number and by name by Hashem (cf. Isaiah 40:26). For both the tribes and the constellations are composed of individual units that complement each other. And in our time, we pray that each of our names be worthy and that, in the spirit of the sons, we as a collective continue to be dear to Hashem.
Towards better Davening and Torah Reading
SHEYIBANEH BEIT HAMIKDASH...
To D.C. It is very true that the Torah ordains that Kohanim must avoid Tum'at Meit (the severe ritual impurity acquired by means of contact with a corpse) but only up to a point!
The Gemara (Zevachim 100a) relates how the wife of Yosef Hakohein (a colorful personality who lived in the days of the Bayit) died on Erev Pesach and "he did not wish to ritually defile himself" by attending to her funeral and coming in contact with her dead body (Bamidbar 19:11,14). The Sages taught that the death of a Kohein's wife was unquestionably a valid reason for a Kohein to become ritually impure. They based their decision on the Pasuk, "Say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, 'Each of you shall not ritually contaminate himself to a (dead) person except to the relative who is closest to him, to his mother and his father… (Vayikra 21:2). Though the Pasuk does not specifically mention "wife", nevertheless, the Sages postulated that a man's wife is his closest relative. The Torah says, "Therefore a man should leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh" (B'reishit 2:24, note the Sifra). During the Avoda of Yom Kippur, the Kohein Gadol had to sacrifice a bullock that was his own personal property. The function of this particular Korban was to atone for the ritual defiling of the Mikdash and its "holy things". He put his hands between the horns of the bullock, pressed down and confessed his sin, "O G-d, I have committed iniquity … and sinned before Thee, I and my house, etc." Somewhat later in the service, he made a confession over the bullock a second time. "He … said, 'I have committed iniquity… I and my house" and he added, "and all the children of Aaron" - the Kohanim. Particularly instructive is the fact that the Kohein Gadol's wife is included in the first confession ("I and my house") and his children are included in the second confession together with the rest of the Kohanim. The previously mentioned Pasuk, "Therefore a man… shall cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh" had "morphed" into Mikdash Halacha! Since the Kohein Gadol and his wife were "one flesh", how could he not include her in his personal confession of sin? Yosef Hakohein knew that if he came into contact with his wife's dead body, he would be infected with Tum'at Meit and as a result, he could neither offer nor eat Korban Pesach. Frivolously, he maintained that it was more important to offer and eat the Korban Pesach than to inter his deceased wife and thereby become impure. Exasperated by his twisted values, "his brother Kohanim took council and they decided to ritually contaminate him by force" thereby recalling him to his primary responsibility. Even Yosef Hakohein's "brother Kohanim", who performed the Avoda daily in the Mikdash, condemned his exaggerated "piety".
Even today when there is no Beit Hamikdash, it is a Mitzva for a Kohein not to permit himself to be defiled by Tum'at Meit. However, "in these times" - since the destruction of the Temple - the ritual purity of Kohanim is only nominal, it is not real.
Describing Mikdash procedure, a fabulous narration from the Mishna, pictures what extraordinary precautions were taken to prevent selected "Kohanic" children from being infected with Tum'at Meit. The preparation of the ashes of the Para Aduma and their mixing with spring water had to be done in a state of utmost purity. "There were courtyards in Jerusalem built over rock, and beneath them the rock was hollowed for fear of any grave down in the depths; and they used to bring women while they were pregnant, and there [in the courtyards], they bore their children and reared them (Para 3:2). (The hollowed out areas beneath the courtyards functioned as "Tum'ah-stopping tents" and protected the young Kohanim from possible Tum'at Meit pollution rising from graves even deeper underground.). Raised in absolute purity, these children would draw the water used in the preparation of the ashes of the Para Aduma. Bizman Hazeh, not even the most "Mikdash-oriented" priestly families would dream of taking such extreme precautions, nor is there reason for them to do so. If a baby is born in a hospital (where there are inevitably corpses), he is irrevocably tainted with Tum'at Meit because there are no extant Para Aduma potion, and therefore, there is no way to purify him. The absence of the Mikdash precludes the possibility of preparing the purifying ashes of the Para Aduma, ergo, Bizman Hazeh, all Kohanim are considered to be in a state of Tum'at Meit.
Nevertheless, Kohanim, in deference to their priestly status, are still required to observe certain stringencies, e.g., not entering cemeteries, etc. However, even Kohanim can permit themselves to become Temei'ei Meit under mitigating circumstances; saving a life (Piku'ach Nefesh) or going to the funeral of seven very close relatives. The Mishna further teaches that if any Kohein, even the Kohein Gadol, stumbled upon an unburied corpse and there is no one else on hand to attend to its burial, then he himself must immediately attend to it. The Halachic term for such a corpse, Meit Mitzva, may be loosely translated as "a corpse which it is incumbent upon the finder to bury". No Kohein, not even the Kohein Gadol, could eschew this obligation because of prior claims of ritual purity. In the absence of the Mikdash, the Kohein does not eschew Tum'at Meit because of ritual purity, rather the avoidance of Tum'at Meit is a "remembrances of the Temple" - a Zeicher L'Mikdash - and has become standard Halachic practice among "post-destruction" Kohanim. However, by observing these stringencies, when the Mikdash is rebuilt Bimheira B'yameinu and Kohanim will need to be in a state of purity so they can properly perform the Avoda, it will be second nature for them to do so. Hameivin Yavin.
Finally, I want to submit this interesting letter to our readers. Any ideas?
"Unless I have missed it, I do not recall that you have ever written about a Positive Commandment (#21 in Rambam's Sefer Hamitzvot) which states that we must guard the Sanctuary/Temple by continuously encircling it day and night as a matter of honor and exaltation. As such, could you be so kind as to explore with us the details of this Mitzva. Who was in charge of its performance? The Beit Din or the Kohein Godol? Who did the encircling? Was it the Kohanim, the Leviyim or ordinary Yisraeilim? What about women? Could they have done it, too? How was this actually done? That is, would only a small group go around like an honor guard, or was it lots of groups, or individuals, with or without shofar and trumpet fanfare? Did these circumnavigators wear special garb and what happens in bad weather? In short, what do we know about this Mitzva?
Finally, is the performance of this Mitzva dependent on the existence of the Temple itself and, therefore, we need not/cannot perform it today or is this Mitzva dependent on the site of the Temple and should, therefore, be reinstated nowadays. If the answer to the latter question is yes, why has this not been done? [signed] RB"
Catriel's book in progress: The Temple of Jerusalem, A Pilgrim’s Perspective; A Guided Tour through the Temple and the Divine Service
Last issue’s (VAICHI) TTriddles:
This week's TTriddles:
Israel Center Miscellany
Judaism A-Z Hotline
Help young couples (evacuees and children of evacuees) from Gush Katif and N. Shomron get ready for the arrival of their babies - Tzedaka - Matan B’Seter; The money collected will be used to buy carriages, cribs, layettes... Make checks out to the Israel Center. Write on the envelope: Gush Katif - Baby Fund, Also collecting good second-hand baby items, For more info. call Sara 0505-444-397
Who's Who and What's What - The People and Programs of OU Israel by Rabbi Avi Baumol
But seriously, David feels he has something to contribute. Creating the first comedy club in Jerusalem which maintains a clean, positive environment and makes people laugh, is something noble in his mind, even holy! This was the impetus of embarking on Off the Wall Comedy Empire nearly three years ago, to set up a safe place for datiim - religious Jews - to laugh. The home base for this club with weekly shows is our very own OU Israel Center. David chose our Center, specifically the Teichman Family Youth Center, as a perfect venue for his new initiative, with a great target audience - English-speaking Orthodox Jews.
While he is now branching out to Israeli audiences, the bulk of his routines have been focused on aspects of his life as an oleh chadash, who is also a single guy, looking for a girl. During his show, “Find Me a Wife!”, David recalls the trials and tribulations of being single in Israel searching for that perfect match, but he finds it difficult to meet them “because all the chicks are in Amuka, hanging around the grave of Yonatan Ben Uziel. Why is the tzaddik who’s been dead for hundreds of years getting more action that I am? He asks.
He also has a show called Aliyah Monologues, which describes the frustrating, but pretty humorous experiences of an Anglo oleh, trying to navigate around a country which is sometimes backwards to an American. “Why is it that you can never buy food in bulk in this country? Every time I go shopping I come home with 13 plastic bags, each filled with 2 cans and some bisli? Oh wait, there is one thing you can get, did you ever try to buy ONE roll of toilet paper? Only in a package of 80!”
Each show features David and a host of performers who are part of the ‘Off the Wall Comedy’ team. The shows are relatively cheap, though the prices do rise during holiday season - you have to support the Israeli economy, he says with a smile. On the average of one show a week at the OU Israel Center and other shows around the town, David has plenty to do to entertain the fifty or so audience members who come on a Thursday or Saturday night to relax, sit back, and laugh.
The OU Israel Center is proud to host David and his Comedy club; we love the experience of catering to every age group in our programs, and we certainly appreciate laughter and happiness emanating from our halls throughout the week. We wish David and his Off the Wall Comedy Empire, much success in all their endeavors.
NESTO Native English-Speaking Teen Olim
NESTO is looking for a donation for a small fridge for the kids' use.
Jr. NESTO is for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders,
Travel Desk: 566-7787 ext. 261
And to help you - whether you live in Israel or abroad -make hotel reservations throughout Israel (thru Travel Deal (02) 999 8440, www.traveldealisrael.com
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KASHRUT POLICY: Food for Israel Center In-House programs is supervised by OU-in-Israel-Mehadrin. Israel Center sponsored trips and programs are Mehadrin. Hotels, restaurants, and tiyulim advertised by outside parties are not necessarily Mehadrin and are not endorsed by the OU or the Israel Center.
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Hotel Specials from Travel Deal Israel and the Israel Center
LAST CALL - Call Shulamit for last minute reservations - 0505937932
State-of-the-art Historical Pavilion at Yad Vashem, Rena Quint will be our guide, Thursday, January 18th (2:00-4:30pm), Advanced reservations required 30nis p.p. (including headphones,
Tour of the world-famous Belz Synagogue, MON Jan 22, 2:00pm - 18NIS members (26NIS non-mem.) Advance registration & payment required, Participants will be informed of the meeting place upon registration, Sign up immediately with the Travel Desk 566-7787 ext. 261
COME WITH US TO UTOPIA - Tuesday, January 30th, 8:00am to 6:00pm (approx.)
A DREAM COME TRUE JUST FOR YOU on the shore of the Dead Sea at the brand new, 5-star MAJESTIC NOVOTEL THALASSA HOTEL; 4 days of luxury, Sun-Wed, Feb 4-7 - FOR WOMEN ONLY - Reserve immediately to guarantee your room! Relaxing exotic religious atmosphere with most modern spa, exciting programs throughout - scholar in residence,
Welcome Adar with Great Joy in Eilat! 4 days: 1-4 Adar, Monday-Thursday, February 19-22 at the fabulous 4 star Prima CARLTON HOTEL, Mehadrin Glatt Eida Chareidit & Rabbi Landau, Delicious Meals - Gourmet Buffet - H/B, fascinating newest attractions & more, Air conditioned bus with us all the time, in Eilat & throughout the trip, 1200NIS p.p. dbl occ, single supp. available, children 3-12 900NIS in room w/adults, Reserve Now: Travel Desk - (02) 566-7787 ext. 261, Shulamit's tiyulim are always a treat; Come! You will enjoy her delicious sweets!
OU Israel and NCSY are proud to announce Pesach 5767 in the Kinar Classic - A Heimishe hotel experience on the shores of the Kinneret with a great view, Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes of the Golan Heights, Kinneret and Mount Hermon, Magnificent Glatt Mehadrin cuisine of the highest caliber and Kashrut, Unique and outstanding Tiyulim-day trips, Half size Olympic pool, separate swimming, Three minute walk to Kinneret beach (no charge for guests, Separate swimming in Kinneret, Different packages and selection of rooms to meet your budget and family needs, Modern Health club and machines, Sauna and Jacuzzi, Special program and playroom for children inside and many grassy areas outside, Hemishe OU davening and atmosphere, Basketball court and Tennis court, Top Quality Live Entertainment each evening, Daily Shiurim, speakers include... Rabbi Sholom Gold, Rabbi Michael Yammer, Rabbi Avi Baumol, Rabbi Benny Pflanzer, Phil Chernofsky, range of rooms and price options, For more information please call... In Israel call: Esther Leah (02) 566 7787 ext 254 or 050 2014448
The Back Page of TT748
Schedule for Erev Shabbat to Erev Shabbat, 22-29 Tevet (JAN 12-19)
Join Yavneh Olami for ZIONIST MOVIE NIGHT! featuring “Operation Thunderbolt/Mivtza Yonatan” - The story of the rescue of the Entebbe hostages • Followed by a discussion with
SUN-Thu in the Ganchrow Beis Medrash (first floor)
Upcoming at the Israel Center
Shabbat, Jan.20, 3:15pm • Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher on Egyptian Slavery and the Role of Suffering in Judaism
Motza"Sh Jan 20, 8:00pm - English Stand-up: Jerusalem Style, 9:45pm - Stand-up for men
AACI BLOOD DRIVE in conjunction with OU Israel, Sunday, January 21st, 15:00 - 20:00 at the Israel Center, 22 Keren Hayesod - Your donation can make the difference in a life-or-death situation, All donors will be entered into a free raffle to win Dinner for Two at a number of delicious Jerusalem restaurants. Donors must: Be between 18-65 yrs., Weigh at least 50 kilo (110 lbs), Have not donated blood in the last 3 months, AACI members benefit from blood insurance in case of need, Call AACI (02) 561-7151 for more information
Note these dates for the upcoming Yesha Fairs at the Israel Center: Monday, Jan. 22 ("regular") and Monday Jan. 29 ("Beit El") - 10:00-15:00
Tuesday, January 23, 7:00pm - “The Long Way Home” - Oscar-winning Best Documentary, story of the remnants of European Jewry after the Holocaust... the deaths in the camps of those that cannot be saved after liberation, the murder of Jews who return to their own communities, the displaced person camps, the British prevention of immigration to Palestine, the imprisonment in Cyprus for those who attempted to enter Eretz Yisrael, and the creation of the State. Called “staggeringly powerful” by the NY Times, this is an important film. (2 hrs)
SING ALONG - HOWIE KAhN - Evenings of Music, Humor and Nostalgia, Motza"Sh, Feb. 10th, 8:30pm, American Chasidic Music, Pop Hits from the 60s, a bit of SHLOMO CARLEBACH, Each show: 40NIS members, 45nis, non-members - "A Splendid Time is Guaranteed for All"