Monday, Jun 10, 2024

My Take on the News

 

Tide of Outrage Turns Against Chareidim

No one appreciates hearing the words “I told you so,” but I can’t help saying it. I saw this coming. If you read my columns over the past four weeks, you probably remember that I predicted every week that the public protests would soon turn against the chareidim and we would find ourselves witnessing a wave of incitement. To be honest, I wasn’t really the one who foresaw that; it was Aryeh Deri who made these comments in a closed meeting of the Shas party. For my readers in America, I was able to permit myself to quote him. As Chazal tell us, a wise man can see more than a novi. Unfortunately, he has turned out to be right.

The situation has been getting worse from week to week. There were claims that the new property tax law was designed to benefit the chareidi cities exclusively, which is absolutely untrue. The same accusations were made about the food voucher program (which will be discussed below), and then the issue of the draft was raised. The protestors have already moved the focal point of their demonstrations to Bnei Brak on two separate occasions. Their signs now bear slogans such as “There is no democracy without equality!” At the demonstration outside the Yeshiva of Ponovezh (the same demonstration that led to the boycott of Angel’s Bakery) the protestors announced that their message to the chareidim is that the past is over. If chareidi boys do not enlist in the army, they declared, then they will go to war against the community.

The protests in Bnei Brak were not successful in sowing hatred and division as they intended. Residents of Bnei Brak greeted the protestors with pastries, and drinks. At the same time, there were many protestors who showed up with their eyes blazing with hatred. That alone is a very bad thing.

But the incitement became many times more vicious when the public’s attention turned to the state budget. Nochum Barnea, who is considered the most senior news columnist in the State of Israel, published a piece in Yediot Acharonot filled with absurdities (and I would be willing to debate him on every line in his article and to prove that it is all nonsense), slander, and hateful incitement. This triggered the outpouring of anti-Semitic hatred that all of us here witnessed last week.

Chaim Hecht’s Diatribe

To give you an idea of what is going on here in Israel, I will quote Chaim Hecht. Let me first point out that Chaim Hecht has never been known as an enemy of religion. I first met him many years ago, when he was a correspondent working in the Knesset. Today, he sits in northern Israel and broadcasts his musings from there. His comments last week were completely unexpected, and many found them shocking. He received hundreds of responses, including some from chilonim, who accused him outright of being an anti-Semite. Some of his critics couldn’t resist pointing out that Hecht’s son moved to America and married a non-Jew. To make a long story short, Hecht embarked on a demagogic diatribe claiming that the government funding for chareidim is responsible for the deaths of the ill. This is a malicious and utterly disingenuous statement to make, considering that other allocations of government funds—the money used for professional sports, for instance—can just as easily be said to be coming at the expense of the hospitals.

Here is an excerpt from Hecht’s screed: “If I were to ask you where our government needs to invest resources now, what would you say? What area of our lives is suffering from financial strain? What sort of professionals do we need around us in order to make our lives better. I have no doubt that you, like me, would agree unanimously that what Israeli society lacks right now is rabbis,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Fortunately, our government has heard the cry of the people, and the new budget has made sure to add new rabbis from one end of the country to the other. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has received an addition of 279 million shekels to its budget. That is just the additional funding. Out of that sum, 67 million shekels will be earmarked for training rabbis. There is also an addition of four million shekels for halachic rulings for communities overseas. After all, if a Jew in the holy community of Dusseldorf needs to know the halachic status of an egg laid on erev Yom Tov, can we refrain from helping him? Of course, we will come to his aid! For that purpose, we now have a budget of millions.

“It is only by a miracle that nurses in hospitals are giving the proper medications to their patients,” Hecht went on, launching into his warped accusations. “The poor things can barely see straight. There is no one who comes to clean; the elderly cleaning lady can’t manage to keep the ward clean. They simply use wet rags to smear the dirt around. The director of the ward, a world-renowned professor, seems to have despaired. He has no cleaning staff, and he sees elderly patients all around him who are being treated under shameful conditions.”

After attacking the chessed organizations for their “posturing,” Hecht took on the kollel world. “There are 180,000 yungeleit learning Torah in kollelim, dodging army service and stealing millions of shekels from the hospital wards,” he said. “Do you want to make a kiddush Hashem? Then go work in the hospitals, instead of handing out challos for Shabbos. The blame rests on the heads of the leaders of the religious communities—Smotrich, Goldknopf, Deri, and Gafni. It is because of them—yes, because of their greed—that elderly men are languishing in undignified conditions in the hospitals. If you were to give just the budget for halachic rulings for chutz laaretz—yes, just those four million shekels alone—to the internal medicine wards in hospitals, then Judaism would shine. But you are completely callous. The money that you extorted in this year’s budget could have made a dramatic difference in the hospitals on the periphery. The absence of those funds will spell death instead of life. I, the chiloni, am telling you, those who observe the 613 mitzvos, that you are creating an enormous chillul Hashem. There can be no forgiveness for your political piggishness. You have stolen billions of shekels not to sanctify Hashem’s Name, but to prop up the strength of your accursed political parties. You are involved in lowly politics, not in kiddush Hashem.”

And this tirade was aired by a man who is not considered to be an ardent foe of Yiddishkeit.

More Vile Rhetoric

In another reprehensible show of hatred for chareidim, a television host declared that chareidim are “bloodsuckers.” This was utterly intolerable, and the woman became the target of wall-to-wall condemnation. The prime minister denounced her statement, and the television station where she is employed announced that she would be temporarily suspended while the complaints were investigated. At this point, it won’t even matter if she retracts her comments; everyone has already learned that there are Jewish anti-Semites in Israel.

It should be noted, though, that she was roundly condemned by many people, secular and religious alike, for her statements. The indignant responses came from the right, the center, and the left; she was reminded about the many chessed organizations in the country run by chareidim and about the exorbitant funding given to the Arabs under the previous government. She was told by numerous critics that she had spoken exactly like an anti-Semite. Aryeh Deri declared unapologetically, “We are proud of our bnei Torah!” I believe that the best response came from Reb Chaim Shlomo Bernstein, who singlehandedly founded a massive philanthropic organization known as Sabeinu. This organization was first launched during the coronavirus pandemic, with the goal of assisting people he knew who were ill, but it has since become a huge operation. Today, he distributes food to hundreds of families every week, as well as to patients in hospitals. Rabbi Bernstein published a picture of himself in Shaare Zedek, accompanied by the comment, “I have been spending hours walking around Shaare Zedek Hospital in Yerushalayim, distributing sweets to children and hot food to the patients and their companions. I give out food to everyone without distinction. This morning, I heard that a pathetic television host called me a ‘bloodsucking chareidi’!”

At the cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared, “No Jew should have to hear this anti-Semitic hatred being spewed on television channels, nor should anyone have to see the disgraceful caricatures in the newspapers that have joined the cause, which are copied directly from the anti-Semitic caricatures that we saw in the darkest periods of our nation’s history.”

The Comment of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh

The Gemara states that Har Sinai derives its name from the fact that sinah (hatred) descended there upon the nations of the world. Some meforshim explain this to mean that Hashem despised the nations for their refusal to accept the Torah; others interpret it to mean that it marked the beginning of the nations’ hatred for Klal Yisroel. But why should they hate us? Perhaps it is relevant to note that the Gemara states elsewhere (Pesachim 49b) that the hatred felt by an am haaretz toward a talmid chochom is even greater than the hatred of the nations of the world for Klal Yisroel. The Midrash states, “Rabi Shimon bar Yochai says: It is a known halacha that Eisov detests Yaakov” (Yalkut Shimoni, Bamidbar). Again, the question is why. Why should an unlearned Jew despise a talmid chochom?

The hatred felt by the other nations toward the Jewish people is explained in the Midrash Lekach Tov: “Hatred descended there [at Har Sinai] to the nations of the world, for they envy the Jews for their Torah.” Perhaps this envy also explains the loathing felt by an am haaretz for a talmid chochom. In addition, the Netziv writes, “Hashem warned Avrohom, ‘For your offspring will be strangers in a land that is not theirs.’ This was a warning to refrain from mingling with the nations. As long as [the Jews] live separately, there will be peace. But if they mingle with them, hatred will immediately set in between the Jews and the nations, for Hashem implanted that in the world so that Klal Yisroel will not assimilate into the nations.” Once again, perhaps this also accounts for the hatred felt by the chilonim for those who observe the Torah.

After Mincha in the Knesset on Rosh Chodesh, we celebrated with some pastries and other refreshments, as we do every month. MK Yisroel Eichler graced the event with a dvar Torah, as usual, and did not hesitate to speak about the wave of incitement that has washed over our country. He quoted the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, which states that the Torah was the very purpose of the world’s creation. The Ohr Hachaim goes on to outline the three criteria for receiving the Torah, one of which is humility and self-effacement. “The words of Torah endure only in a person who lowers himself for them and makes himself like a desert,” the Ohr Hachaim explains. Could this mean that the religious community is being shamed and degraded today as part of a process of preparation for receiving the Torah? Perhaps….

The Media Shapes Its Narrative

The media has been showing no restraint in its all-out campaign of defamation against the chareidim, which is an absolute disgrace. The newspapers and news programs are one-sided and biased; the journalists do not hesitate to push their unmistakable agenda, and they do not hesitate to resort to vicious lies in order to achieve their goals. For instance, they keep repeating the spurious claim that “the chareidim” will be receiving 14 billion shekels in government funding. For one thing, the real number is seven billion, since the allocation of 14 billion is meant to take place over a period of two years. Moreover, keep in mind as well that no such inflammatory headlines appeared when the previous government decided to shower Mansour Abbas with money, or when MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi managed to extort hundreds of millions of shekels in funding for Arab settlements in exchange for resuming her cooperation with the coalition. She also claimed that Lapid made some other commitments to her that were equally outrageous; Lapid denied the claims, and then she produced a document proving her version of the story. But the media, playing its role as the faithful supporter of the government, did not utter a word about it—because all the people involved were on its favored side of the political fence.

Even worse than the media’s blatant hypocrisy is its effort to shape a narrative in the public consciousness. The media is making every effort to depict the funding for chareidim as nothing short of highway robbery. Here is a simple example: Channel 13 runs a program on financial news. This week, of course, every day’s installment of the program dealt with the public protests. At the bottom of the screen was the following caption: “Robbing the public coffers.” Apparently, someone had already decided that it is a clear fact that the funding has no legitimacy. This is the notion that enters the viewer’s minds; without even hearing a word from the hosts, they will inevitably be left with the impression that someone is plundering the public coffers. On Channel 12, meanwhile, there was a report about the demonstrations in Bnei Brak. Of course, they have the right to report on any events in the country, and perhaps it is even their duty to bring that news to the public. The only question is how they present it. In this case, the caption at the bottom of the screen read, “Marching on Bnei Brak in response to massive funding for chareidim.” That is a lowly trick as well—a bid to implant subconscious biases in the audience’s mind.

Then there is the print media. The front page of Haaretz last Friday bore the following headline, stretching across four full columns: “The facts are frightening, the warnings are gathering, but the coalition keeps plundering.” This is a highly irresponsible and biased text that has absolutely no connection to the truth. Its goal is to frighten the reader and alter his mindset. And here is a quote from the actual article: “The tragedy that is about to hit Israel will not come as a surprise. Frightening economic figures and apocalyptic forecasts are being publicized every day, but the band of irresponsible fanatics leading this country are continuing to pounce on the public coffers and empty them. The Minister of Finance, who is supposed to be the responsible adult in the room, is clinging to a budget that is utterly detached from reality as he walks around with a conceited smile and declares ‘with Hashem’s help.’ Billions of shekels are being used to encourage ignorance, separation from society, and an endless cycle of poverty, while the plunder is supervised by the weakest and most dangerous prime minister ever to hold the office. Had he sold only his own soul in exchange for his power, that would be bad enough. But he is subjugating the entire state.” This screed is utterly unbelievable. It should be studied in journalism school as a textbook case of rabid incitement!

Blatant Double Standards

The parade of hypocrisy shows no sign of abating. Let us forget for a moment the condemnation of the 14 billion shekels in government funding for chareidim, when the liberals did not utter a peep against the 53 billion shekels handed over to the Arabs. For some reason, they consider it absolutely acceptable to give money to the Arabs, whereas they insist that providing funding for chareidim can spell doom for this country. The same double standard was apparent when left-wing demonstrators blocked roads in the course of their protests. During the Disengagement, this was considered a crime; today it is a legitimate form of protest. At that time, the judges on the Supreme Court ordered young protestors who blocked highways held in custody until the end of the legal proceedings against them; now some of those same justices are actually participating in the demonstrations. Yair Lapid blithely explained this when he said simply, “It isn’t the same people.”

Then there was another example of media hypocrisy that was no less infuriating: Haaretz complained bitterly when three journalists, including a member of its own staff, were injured during the Flag March in Yerushalayim. According to the article, media photographers were also attacked by policemen. It is unclear what prompted the attacks. Why do I call this hypocrisy? Because the protestors in Tel Aviv deliberately attacked reporters from Channel 14, but Haaretz did not publish a single word of condemnation. You see, the protestors weren’t the same people….

A Religious Majority Among Yerushalayim’s Jews

Now it’s time for some good news. We have all made it through Yom Yerushalayim and the Flag March in peace. The Flag March is the subject of a debate that is not only ideological but practical as well. Is it perhaps too incendiary? Why should anyone make a point of provoking the other nations? In recent years, this parade has become a provocation; this year, Arab terrorists threatened to perpetrate a massive attack during the parade. Boruch Hashem, it passed without incident, other than some minor scuffles in the vicinity of Shaar Shechem.

In honor of Yom Yerushalayim, the Central Bureau of Statistics published some figures concerning Israel’s capital city. Here are some of the numbers: Out of the 984,500 residents of Yerushalayim, 595,100 people (60.8 percent of the population) are categorized as Jews. In spite of the large number of families moving out of Yerushalayim, the population has increased due to natural growth, which, within the Jewish sector of the populace, takes place primarily in the chareidi community. In other words, the chareidi populace is constantly growing, while the chiloni population is shrinking, both on account of secular families leaving the city and because their rate of growth is much lower than that of the chareidim. 33 percent of the city’s population consists of children or youths between the ages of 0 and 14, while the same demographic accounts for only 19.7 percent of the population of Haifa and 18.3 percent of the population of Tel Aviv and Yaffo. The high chareidi representation in Yerushalayim also accounts for another statistic: The average age of a newlywed couple celebrating their first marriage is lower in Yerushalayim than elsewhere in the country. The chareidi population has grown from 28.4 percent of the overall population of Yerushalayim between the year 2002 and 2012 to 34.1 percent in the years between 2012 and 2021. This suggests that the future of the city rests in the hands of the chareidi community.

More than half of the Jewish residents of Yerushalayim are chareidi or religious. Thirty-four percent of Jews in Yerushalayim at the age of 20 or above define themselves as chareidim, while 19 percent call themselves religious, 26 percent define themselves as traditional, and 20 percent are secular. This stands in contrast to the Jewish population of Israel as a whole, which is estimated to be 11 percent chareidi, 11 percent religious, 14 percent traditional-religious, 19 percent traditional and not very religious, and 45 percent secular. Since 2002, the chareidi portion of the populace has grown while the class of people who define themselves as traditional and not very religious has shrunk. The other groups within the city have remained relatively stable.

Fear on Har Hazeisim

As I mentioned, tens of thousands of youths celebrated Yom Yerushalayim with the Flag March, which began at the center of the city and made its way to the Kosel while the participants waved thousands of flags. The chareidi community does not approve of this practice. The annual festive event at Yeshivas Merkaz Harav was attended by Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a change from last year, when then-Prime Minister Bennett did not appear at this event since he was not invited. There was singing and dancing, and flags were waved with joy. This distinguishes the chareidi community from the national-religious sector. The chareidim give thanks to Hashem for all His miracles and for everything that can be seen as a smile from Above, but they remain aware that the state and its flag are not sacred.

During the week of Yom Yerushalayim, I visited Har Hazeisim for the levayah of a righteous woman who passed away overseas and was brought to Eretz Yisroel for burial. That woman was Hinda bas Reb Asher, whom I knew as Aunt Hedy. I have written about her in the past; whenever I visited America, I made sure to visit her in Boro Park, on the same street as Bobov. From her small balcony, I was able to look down at the Bobov bais medrash and to listen to their davening. Aunt Hedy was a very special and refined woman. For many years, she was a saleslady at a wig store on 13th Avenue, the business founded by her late son Yitzchok.

Aunt Hedy was a heroic woman whose eldest son was born immediately after her liberation from Bergen-Belsen. He almost succumbed to starvation as an infant, and he was spirited away from the hospital by his grandmother, Rochel Tausky, who concealed him in a wicker basket. The bris was attended by the Satmar Rebbe. The picture of the rebbe at the bris was one of Aunt Hedy’s most treasured possessions. Her family members, like the Rebbe, were passengers on the Kastner train and survived the war. Aunt Hedy was a widow for decades and built a beautiful Torahdik family; sadly, she suffered the losses of her two sons during her lifetime. The participants in her funeral included a number of bnei Torah who are her progeny.

We accompanied the levayah procession from the funeral home in Sanhedria to Har Hazeisim, davening that we would survive. I was accompanied in my car by a nephew who has a license to carry a gun; we passed through an Arab area and sensed their hostility toward us, and we were duly frightened. Yerushalayim is a city where two peoples live side by side in a state of constant tension.

When I returned to the Knesset, I came across a small pamphlet distributed by the rov of the legislature, which included an assortment of pompous-sounding phrases from the rabbonim of the religious Zionist community. They described Yerushalayim as “the city of our kingship and our glory for eternal freedom” and spoke of “the greatest days in all times in the history of the Jewish people,” boasting that “there is no day greater than this” and that “we have brought the Shechinah back from the ashes.” Proclaiming that we have reached the “end of the beginning of geulah,” they added that “the heavens opened and we all saw the sights of G-d.”

The pamphlet also quotes the gedolim of the chareidi community (after the other material, of course), and their comments have a different flavor. Rav Yechezkel Sarna, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, Rav Moshe Feinstein, and other great rabbonim are quoted as viewing the liberation of Yerushalayim as a source of great responsibility, not just a cause for celebration. One quote that caught my eye came from Rav Yechezkel Levenstein: “My heart tells me that unique times are coming. The evildoers among the nations are not being silent, and logic indicates that the Creator did not cause these wondrous events that we have witnessed so that we could go through them apathetically. Hashem wants us to do something. The unmistakable miracles that we saw were not without a reason. Hashem wants us to strengthen our emunah and bitachon so that we will be able to go through trials and challenges. We need chizuk, and may Hashem be with us.”

Yes to Russians, No to Yungeleit?

The reaction to the food voucher program has been another textbook case of hypocrisy. Aryeh Deri was accused of creating the program to benefit the chareidi public. To that, I would say: What is wrong with that? Are chareidim not people? Do they not deserve public assistance? But the truth is that Deri wasn’t aiming the program at anyone in particular; his goal was to assist everyone in Israel who is going hungry.

Deri pushed for food vouchers to be provided for anyone who receives a discount on the property tax collected by local governments. The Treasury wanted to adopt a different criterion: the definition of poverty according to the Ministry of Welfare, which sets the income cap at 6000 shekels per month. At the Shas party’s meetings, Aryeh Deri laid out the various legal and political arguments concerning the food vouchers that were handed out during the last program, and the party members were shocked. For instance, he revealed that someone insisted on including tens of thousands of elderly men, most of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union, on the list of recipients. Most, if not all, of those men were not even Jewish. For some reason, the media had no problem with that, but even the mere suspicion that someone was trying to benefit kollel yungeleit was too much for them. And they have the audacity to accuse Aryeh Deri of looking out for his own constituents at the expense of others….

An Elevator in Chevron at Last

I have written many times in the past about the efforts to have an elevator for the disabled installed at the Meoras Hamachpeilah. Just as Eretz Yisroel is acquired through suffering, it seems that this elevator has been through an endless array of tribulations. But we seem to have finally reached the end of this particular road. The elevator has finally been installed, and credit must be given to the activists who pushed relentlessly for it, including Shai Glick of B’Tsalmo. Several members of the Shas party were also involved in the efforts. We can hope that this will put an end to the disgraceful situation in which any person in a wheelchair who wished to daven at the burial sites of the Avos had to be carried up the steep steps.

Fearmongering Over Knesset Bills

The campaign of fearmongering is gathering steam. There has been much resentful talk about the “budgets for chareidim,” as if the chareidi community is somehow less deserving of funding than anyone else, and the property tax fund has been maligned as a bid to benefit only chareidi municipalities. No one balks at any attempt to drum up loathing for the chareidi community when it paves the way for the downfall of a right-wing government. There was a recent article full of dreadfully dire rhetoric about “religious coercion.” The writers dug up some rather bizarre bills to report about, and their tirade would have been quite amusing if it hadn’t been directed at the chareidi community. Among the 3533 bills placed on the Knesset table, there were some very bizarre ones that came from the right, and some fairly shameful ones from the left. One could easily come up with bills from either side to frighten the other.

Avigdor Lieberman and his colleagues, for instance, introduced a bill that would authorize government ministers to permit work on Shabbos. Another bill from the Lieberman gang would make the Liba core curriculum mandatory in schools throughout the country. A third bill from Lieberman and his party would harm kollel yungeleit and their children. “The current situation in which children in day care centers and babysitting programs are subsidized by the government accentuates the imbalance in the distribution of government benefits,” the notes accompanying the bill explain, “as an entire community that doesn’t work or pay taxes, and whose income is much lower, receives preference over the working and taxpaying public.” There are dozens of other bills that would cause chillul Shabbos, the destruction of kashrus, the ruin of the botei din, and all sorts of other types of harm to Yiddishkeit in Eretz Yisroel. In short, alongside the bills that were crafted to uphold religion in Israel, there are many proposed laws that aim to destroy religion.

Another law, submitted by Avigdor Maoz, aims to define “who is a Jew.” According to this law, the definition of Jewishness will be based on halacha rather than the Law of Return. This is a worthy proposal. On the other side of the divide, Idan Roll submitted a bill that would prohibit discrimination against soldiers who are Jewish by law (but not by halacha) and would require them to be buried in military cemeteries alongside their Jewish comrades. This ignores the fact that the families of those soldiers actually prefer for them to be buried in Christian cemeteries, and that it is an affront to the Jewish soldiers who will now be buried in mixed cemeteries. But once again, this law exposes the wide gulf between the religious and secular mindsets in Israel. Religious Jews know that a non-Jew is a non-Jew even if he makes tremendous sacrifices for the Jewish people, just as a Jew killed in the Ukrainian army does not become a Gentile. But the Israeli secularists do not grasp this concept at all.

An Insight from the Ramchal

This week marks the yahrtzeit of the Ramchal, Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, who passed away on the 26th of Iyar 5574. This week also saw the publication of a new edition of his classic sefer Derech Hashem, with a commentary that is sure to be welcomed by bnei Torah everywhere. Rav Moshe Sternbuch and Rav Dovid Cohen write in their joint introduction to the sefer, “We were pleased to see this exceptional sefer published by our good friend, the distinguished mechaneich and mashgiach Rav Mordechai Fish, mashgiach of Yeshivas Ohr Elchonon in Yerushalayim and Yeshivas Ateres Shlomo in the city of Torah, Bnei Brak…. The sefer Derech Hashem was written in complex, difficult language. Not everyone can grasp its content and penetrate to its depths. Therefore, it is not accessible to everyone. Rav Mordechai has done incredible work by providing an interpretation of the Ramchal’s words in easily understandable language, without losing the intent…. He has also added a series of footnotes and elucidations that will enlighten the reader to understand the words of Ramchal and that will provide enormous benefit to every ben Torah who seeks Hashem.”

I will share one brief excerpt from the sefer, to give you a taste of its contents: “This is the reason that it is such a serious offense to interrupt in the middle of davening, since a person is in a state of great closeness to his Creator at that time. That is also the reason that there is a specific way for a person to take leave [of Hashem] at the end of davening, and he must take three steps backward. During the time that he is davening, a person is in a different place and a different state of being. After he finishes davening, he returns to the ordinary state in which he exists at other times.”

A Vort That Rav Asher Enjoyed

In honor of Shavuos, let me end this column with a dvar Torah that Rav Asher Arieli heard from the Lev L’Achim kiruv leader Rav Nosson Chefetz and that he deeply enjoyed. In Parshas Vayigash, Yosef is told “v’nafsho keshurah b’nafsho”—that Yaakov Avinu’s soul was bound together with that of his son Binyomin. The Baal HaTurim states that the word keshurah appears in two places in Tanach: in this posuk and in Sefer Mishlei, where Shlomo Hamelech states, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a youth.” One possible message behind the similarity in these pesukim, the Baal HaTurim suggests, is that a child’s heart must be bound to that of his father because of the foolishness of youth. Rav Asher was delighted with this insight: For a father to teach his son and for a son to learn from his father, they must have a close bond.

I could go on much longer here, but it is time to prepare for Mattan Torah. May you all have a good Yom Tov.

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