Thursday, May 14, 2015


Parshas Behar-Bechukosai
26 Iyar 5775/ May 15, 2015
Mevorchim Chodesh Sivan
41stday of the Omer - Pirkei Avos – Chapter 5

This Shabbos the entire Jewish world in chutz la’aretz will finally catch up with our brethren in Eretz Yisroel. Since the end of Pesach we have been lagging a parsha behind. But last Shabbos Eretz Yisroel divided Parshas Behar and Bechuosai so that this Shabbos they will only read parshas Bechukosai, while we read Behar and Bechukosai.
Truthfully, in Eretz Yisroel they could have split up previous double parshios (Tazria-Metzora/ Acharei Mos-Kedoshim) to allow us in chutz la’aretz to catch up. However, it would be unbecoming for Eretz Yisroel to “wait for us”. Eretz Yisroel is the ideal location and therefore the Torah reading there is primary. It would hardly be respectful for the primary to wait for the secondary.
Instead we continued to lag behind until this week when there was a reason for Eretz Yisroel to split up a double parsha. [The gemara Megilla relates that the curses of Parshas Bechukosai should be read prior to Shavuos. However, in order to give a slight buffer we don’t read them immediately before but the Shabbo prior to the Shabbos before Shavuos.]
I receive many divrei Torah authored in Eretz Yisroel via email each week. During the last few weeks, it has been annoying to receive those emails a week ahead. It’s nice to finally again be on the same page. Still, the concept of “trying to catch up with Eretz Yisroel” and living in their shadow is a beautiful idea.
My Rebbe, Rabbi Berel Wein, quipped that “In life we are always running, the question is only what we are running after.” Our aspirations and lodestars have a deep effect upon us. What we aspire for and pursue sets the trajectory of the course which we follow.
Rav Nachman of Breslov famously remarked “Wherever I am going, I am going to Eretz Yisroel.” Apparently, going to Eretz Yisroel in not only a physical endeavor but a mindset as well.
In a poll of 11,000 people, when asked what the number one factor which inhibits them from pursing their dreams, and going “from where they are to where they want to be”, the number one response was fear.
Going to Eretz Yisroel, physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually can be daunting. The first step is to overcome our inhibitions and fears so we can pursue our dreams. In fact, throughout our lives our goal must always be ‘to catch up with Eretz Yisroel’ and never expect Eretz Yisroel to wait for us.
In the center of Eretz Yisroel is Yerushalayim, where the heart of every Jew turns to and yearns to be. This week marks the 48th anniversary of the miraculous liberation and reunification of Yerushalayim. It behooves us to thank Hashem for the incredible gift which our great grandparents only dreamt of. Physically we are blessed to be able to visit Yerushalayim when we have the opportunity. But spiritually we still have ways to go before we arrive.
The good news next year we will have the chance to pursue Eretz Yisroel for three months – from Pesach until the week before Tisha B’av. Hopefully by then we will all celebrate Tisha B’av together in Yerushalayim. 

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
            R’ Dani and Chani Staum       

720 Union Road • New Hempstead, NY 10977 • (845) 362-2425