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Leadership Lessons and Parsha Insights


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Parshas Vayakhel and Pekudei: Love is Hard Work, Hard Work is Beloved

Dear Friends and Family,

Do you know anyone that would be interested in receiving these weekly ideas? If so, please ask them and if so, send me their contact information (name and email). Thank you.

We get two parshas this week, but you might have deja-vu. The bulk of these parshas we’ve already seen in Parshas Terumah and Tetzaveh. Why does the Torah dedicate so much time to repeating the measurements and various vessels of the Mishkan? That’s the main question bothering me this week. The answer will come soon.

Summary: No matter how many details we learn in theory, it’s a completely different reality when we actually create. We are judged by how much we apply our learning, not by how much we’ve read. The idea of deep love is an inseparable connection, a complete giving of ourselves not just with words or thoughts, but actions as well.

But first, Brief Vort:

Parshas Pekudei: Journey in the Right Direction

We’re finishing the book of Shemos/Exodus this week. The final words tell us that G-d led the Jews “before the eyes of all of the House of Israel throughout their journeys.” Rashi notes that even the place where Israel encamped is called מסע, meaning “journeys”, because they kept traveling from place to place.

The destiny of the Jewish people is to keep moving, even if we currently feel still. We must make sure that the direction we’re heading on is directed by G-d, that He’s always before our eyes, so that our journey will build the world up.

This is hinted in the very first parsha of the Torah, when G-d makes man to rule over the other animals (Breishis 1:26). The word for rule is ירדו, which means both ‘ruling’ and ‘decline’. We must make sure that our journey has the right guide and the ideal outcome. Then we will be comfortable along the journey, maintain our sense of right and goodness, and live a fulfilling life.

May you be blessed to journey on the right path.

Great Shabbas!

-Ari Melman

P.S. This week, the song/poem I wrote encompasses the idea of the drash in shorter, more poetic language. I’ve included it at the bottom.

Parshas Vayakhel: Love is Hard Work, Hard Work is Beloved

Parshas Terumah and Tetzaveh already explained all the details of the Mishkan when G-d gave the instructions. How come the Torah repeats all the details when they are carried out? Let the Torah just write, “Betzalel, Ohliab and the people built the Mishkan as G-d commanded.” Then we’d save hundreds of words.

No matter how many details we learn in theory, it’s a completely different reality when we actually create. We are judged by how much we apply our learning, not by how much we’ve read. Thus, the Rabbis recommend reviewing and contemplating one point again and again as far superior to trying to reach a massive amount of material once. Ramchal in Path of the Just opens his book saying, “as public as these matters are, and as revealed as their truth is to all, so is the neglect of them prevalent, and the forgetfulness of them common.” What we apply defines who we are, not what we’ve read or heard (Building a Sanctuary in the Heart).

G-d commanded us to build a sanctuary in them, meaning in the heart of every Jew. He dwells in our heart. For us to sense that, we must sense that Hashem is one with us, part of our very existence. The more we reflect on Hashem in our lives, in our emotions, again and again, the closer we will feel connected in our relationship with Him. And in turn, the more we feel connected in our relationship with G-d, the more we will be able to connect in our relationship with our loved ones and friends. Thus, we put into play the thoughts we accept to be important and true.

Rabbeinu Bachya writes that every letter of the Torah is important and necessary, and we derive many laws from individual letters- how much more so the hundreds of words used to say over the work of the entire Jewish people building the Mishkan. This was the most holy and connected work we ever did, collectively building a dwelling place for Hashem amongst us — because of this, G-d cherished us, חובב. He bound himself to us, creating an inseparable relationship. Thus the word חובב is a mix of חוב, meaning “obligation” and ב, beis, meaning “House”. The idea of deep love is an inseparable connection, a complete giving of ourselves not just with words or thoughts, but actions as well.

R. Bachya explains this is why the laws of Shabbas come immediately afterward. Even the most precious work you can do to me still isn’t as close as you can come — the closest you can come is appreciating what we’ve created together, simply being and experiencing the world with Hashem constantly around you. When you work, especially on the Mishkan, you are building a life toward Hashem. When you cease work on Shabbas because He commanded, you are truly doing the will of Makom/G-d (רצונו של מקום).

Our work defines us and builds us, but our rest and commitment to relationship allows us to appreciate the fruits of our labor. On Shabbas, we experience the full glory of our journey and development.

Additionally, the Mishkan sanctifies space while Shabbas sanctifies time. Space may change and Temples will fall, but time keeps going on. Thus, our commitment to Shabbas keeps the Jewish people alive and connected to Hashem stronger even than the Mishkan, our physical creations.

The work we do in this world, as important and great as it is, will fade and be forgotten with time. But the way we develop our character, the traits we develop in refining our relationships, these will be forever bound into our souls, in this world and the world to come. Even in this world, the subtle improvements in how we treat people, being more attentive to their needs, listening closer, caring more, has a powerful ricochet effect.

The soul responds to simple words and simple deeds. All this emanates from truly valuing our relationship with Hashem, and allowing our quest for growth to improve all our relationships.

G-d appreciates our deeds and actions — that we didn’t simply hear his ideas, but that “the entire assembly of the Children of Israel” (Shemos 35:1), “everyone whose heart motivates him” (35:5), every wise-hearted person among you” (35:10), put them into action.

Start with one idea and work on it for the entire week. Challenge yourself to add one more mitzvah, one more reflection on G-d’s closeness to you in all times, one more kindness to those around you. This will build your heart and renew your vigor in incredible ways.

May you be blessed to start today with a new-felt closeness to Hashem and your loved ones!

Great Shabbas,

Ari Melman

Parsha Song:

Verse One:

1000 big ideas will not set you free

If you will not be, one who brings them to reality.

A book a week, mussar vad or shir

Will not help you to appear before the Lord with fear.

If you do not apply what you learn, you’re like an airborne wheel that turns,

Moving to the wind but staying in place, in one ear and out the other lays Torah to waste.

So find just one idea, hold tight with all your might,

Perfection is made with each nail hammered right.

Meditate, repeat, get it drilled in your head.

One who doesn’t grow out-of-the-dirt remains dead.

Pre-chorus:

Time will help you, so take it slow.

The snake that bites you, won’t help you grow.

Slight change in attitude builds up a flow.

Till you find truth, then you will know.

That thinking all day is just the first stage of a century of Torah that leaps off the page.

Pick up Hebrew Hammer, pound your brain into a sage. What counts is your actions, not your delays.

Chorus:

Pick one Mitzvah,

Put it into play.

Put it into play today.

Pick one Mitzvah,

Let your heart have its say.

Put it into play today.

Verse Two:

We saw the frogs croak, Egyptian blokes choke

On blood and a flood. Get real, this ain’t no joke.

Thud hailed their heads, darkness robbed their cred.

G-d on all sides, follow all that He said.

But just three days after split of the sea.

Three days without miracles, panic belies.

Emuna shaken, doubt enters in.

If falls happened then, how can we avoid sin?

Rise above the trash bin, congestion tumah-turned failed kin.

Triumph of survival, dumpster rising for the win.

Meditate, repeat, get it drilled in your head.

One who doesn’t grow out-of-the-dirt remains dead.

Pre-Chorus/Chorus

Verse Three:

Build a Mishkan in your heart as you did in the ground.

Pound one hundred pegs as foundation that’s sound.

It’s vibration of the craftsmen carving shoham stones.

One for each tribe, for each leg on His throne.

Once work’s begun, though it’s never done,

We’re filled with knowledge, understanding, wisdom.

All the tools of the tabernacle rattle with delight.

School for the pool of souls who seek greater sight.

Beam by beam, hook em in, a masterpiece complete.

There’s no rush to the fin-ish, just follow the beat.

Meditate, repeat, get it drilled in your head.

One who doesn’t grow out-of-the-dirt remains dead.

Pre-Chorus/Chorus

Chorus fade out..

  

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Lech Lecha — How should we act when personal growth conflicts with helping others?

Lech Lecha — How should we act when personal growth conflicts with helping others?

Lech Lecha introduces us to Avraham Avinu, the first Ba’al Teshuva, father of the Jewish people. Unlike with Noach, we are given no background or prior life stories. Instead, the parsha opens when Avraham was seventy-five years old, with Hashem telling him to Lech Lecha, “Go for yourself”.

Rashi explains that leaving his land, birthplace and father’s house is a difficult decision for three reasons —money, reputation and reproduction. When you move, you lose your business connections, your relationships and honor, and your privacy to have marital relations, as you’re staying a guest in another’s home. In short, one loses the three physical cravings, the three things for which G-d had previously punished the world.

G-d attempts to soothe him by blessing him: “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” G-d promises Avram he will be repaid in spades, and moreover, he will be a blessing to all he wishes to bless.

A person’s natural instinct is to pick present gain for future possibility, but Avram defies nature. Avram is teaching the Jews that we must swim against the current, that we must build toward an impossibly ambitious future. By eschewing our physical distractions for what really matters, we will achieve the impossible and change the world for the better.

Our closeness to G-d must be personal. We must have courage to be the minority. Obstinacy and persistence marks the Jew, teaches R. Samson Raphael Hirsch.

That’s all a prelude to another question:

Since Sarai and Lot came with Avram, why doesn’t G-d address the question in the plural, “Go for yourselves?”

Avram was the epitome of Chesed, of loving kindness and connecting to G-d through helping others. He was willing to forsake prophesy with G-d for the entire time Lot, described as a rasha/wicked one, was with him (Rashi, Br. 13:14). G-d knew Lot wavered too much to fully commit himself to creating a bold world-changing future. Had G-d said, “Go for yourselves”, Lot’s wavering would have doomed the project from its start.

A Midrash (Rashi, Br 11:28) explains that Lot’s father, Haran, witnessed when Nimrod cast Avram into a fiery pit for destroying his father’s idols. “Haran said in his heart, ‘If Avram emerges victorious, I am of his. And so too if Nimrod.’ When Avram was saved…Haran said, ‘I am of Avram’s supporters.’ They cast him into the fiery pit and he was burned.”

Haran didn’t die believing in G-d; he died believing in Avram. He followed others rather than genuine commitment. Since his faith flip-flopped with the winners of the moment, he was consumed.

Lot follows his father’s path. Although Avram tries to reform him, and successfully imbues him with the habits of a refined man, he doesn’t desire to grow himself. Lot saw Sodom “like the garden of Hashem, like the land of Egypt.” Rashi explains, “Lot chose their neighborhood because they were steeped in lewdness, sexual immorality” (Br 13:14). Lot became the high justice of Sodom, using the habits of morality he got in Avram’s home, and the shared wealth Avram got in Egypt, in order to feed his three physical desires: money, reputation and illicit relations.

So now we understand why G-d couldn’t say “Go for yourselves” to include Lot.

Why then, did Avram go to such lengths to take care of Lot?

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Br. 4:9) Cain asked after killing his brother.

Avram is modelling the approach for one governed by Chesed, the extreme extents to which we must care for our brothers. Even though Lot is his nephew, Avram refers to him as brother, particularly when Lot gets kidnapped in Sodom and Avram must drop what he’s doing instantly to rescue him.

Since Avram was the focussed expression of lovingkindness, he reached out to many people, made many souls (“brought them in under the wings of the shekinah/divine presence” says Rashi on Br 12:5), and was even willing to lessen his personal relationship with G-d in order to bring others closer. The greater our Chesed, the better our influence on our community.

We each must make a personal evaluation of how we best connect to the world. As members of a community that’s mixed of Jews of all sorts of observances, we all can learn from Avram’s kindness. The best way to help one that’s disconnected is to show them kindness and model a praiseworthy way for them. But we must also recognize that our connection to Hashem, mitzvot and creating a better world does not rest on how those around us react to us. Show kindness, hospitality and willingness to fight and rescue, but “Go for yourself.”

When Lot is captured, Avram immediately goes to rescue him, trusting that G-d will protect him. The fugitive (Og) that told him about Lot’s capture wanted him killed so he could marry Sarah (Rashi, Br 14:13). Lot, immediately upon being rescued, returns to Sodom. There’s no sense of gratitude for Avram risking his life and spiritual level to nurture, raise and then save him. Even in next week’s parsha, after Sodom was destroyed and the angels begged Lot to return to Avram, he refused, opting instead for a cave all alone with his two daughters.

A person moved by loving kindness doesn’t care about the response, or the other person’s gratitude. They follow a deeper calling, led by their personal mission and directed by Hashem. Instead of merely not killing our brother, we’re given a role model who endangers his own life, both spiritually and physically, to save one even remotely connected to him.

Now we understand the first Rashi, where he says “Go for Yourself” means “For your pleasure (physical) and for your benefit (soul).” When we direct ourselves toward what really drives us, when we ignore the distractions and fleeting pleasures of now for the impossible dreams of tomorrow, we get both physical and spiritual pleasure. We accomplish the impossible, defeating four armies of trained warriors on faith and hard work alone.

My blessing for you is that you learn from Avraham Avinu how to do good in the world. Don’t get discouraged when people don’t respond the way you’d like. Take your mission to heart, believe in it with all you have, and be a force for good in the world. The challenges of now could be what brings on the Mashiach tomorrow.

Bonus Kabbalah thought: The Zohar, our great Kabbalistic text, writes “With his prophetic vision, [Avraham] saw the Messiah, son of David, would descend from Lot.” Lot’s daughter gave birth through him to the Moabites, the ancestors of Ruth, David’s grandmother. For all the confusion and wavering, ultimately his bloodline led to Israel’s greatest king, from which the Messiah will emerge. We cannot know the effect our good has, for it stretches far beyond our knowledge. All we can do is dream the impossible, and work to achieve it every day.

Good Shabbas!   


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Parshas Shemos: The Meaning of Snow — Hardships Foster Truth and Growth

Purpose of Snow:

1) Seems cold but actually insulates ground and keeps it warm throughout winter.

Lesson: What seems bad is actually for the good

2) Comes down piece by piece, each snowflake unique, but easy to mistake as one big homogeneous sheet.

Lesson: When you judge someone, you freeze them in place and don’t appreciate their uniqueness.

3) Encourages us to go inside. What negatively affects our outside can improve our inside.

Lesson: Introspection is the key to recognizing our weaknesses and growing from them.

A story is told of the Ponivitcher Rav, the only one of his family to survive the Holocaust, the youngest of five boys in a very poor family. They only had one pair of winter boots.

When the snow came down, Mother said, “Whoever mother awards them too will get to walk to cheder (school) and learn tomorrow.”

Mother wakes the oldest at 5AM.

“Did I get it?” He asks.

“No. I got it,” Mother said.

She carries him and leaves him at the school’s doorstep. And returns for the next child. On and on until all the children were taken to school. In the evening she picked them up the same way.

The harshness of snow created an opportunity for such a powerful memory that all her children became massive learners and teachers. Although only the Ponivitcher survived, his contribution to Jewish learning after the Holocaust helped rebuild the Yeshiva system and keep Jewish knowledge strong.

Dear Friends and Family,

The birth of Moses, the enslavement of the Hebrews. The most known and thus most misunderstood chapter of the Torah begins this week.

This week, I consider the second parsha (attached in printer friendly format), more interesting and better sourced. But it’s also more aligned with the demand of traditional values. The first one should be accessible and friendly to Jews of all backgrounds and orientations.

Did you know Moses convinced Pharaoh to give the Jews a Shabbos day of rest as good investment strategy? That way, he told Pharaoh, the slaves would live longer and work harder. Thus, on Shabbos morning amiddah, we say, “Let Moses rejoice in his portion (ישמח משה במתנת חלקו)” (Tur, Orach Chaim 281).

Let us rejoice in our portion.

Great Shabbos!

-Ari Melman

P.S. My Brother arrived safely back in the United States. Thank you for thinking of him. We had a very nice time in Jerusalem.

Question of the week: How are pain and hardship a good thing?!?

Parshas Shemos: The Meaning of Snow — Hardships Foster Truth and Growth

Brrr… we got snow this week, and snow gets a mention in the parsha, “[Moshe’s] hand was stricken with tzaraas, like snow” (Shemos 4:6). So what better topic to open with than snow!

Three (3) is a critical number in judaism, representing the balancing point between physical and spiritual (head, heart, and body, the three elements of each human’s reasoning process). Just to contrast that rather vague statement with the meaning of other numbers, 1 represents G-d’s unity which is beyond our comprehension, 2 represents separation (the separation of the waters), and four represents complete physicality (the four corners of a 2-d plane).

Snow in hebrew is שלג. In Gematria, ש is  300, ל =30, and ג=3.

Most adults don’t look forward to snow. After the first few hours, it clogs traffic and makes people cold. So why does it have the treasured wording of 3,3,3 the representation of balance?

R. Moshe Dovid Volle, chevrusa(study partner) of the Ramchal, explains. Snow gets absorbed more into the ground than water because it sits on the ground and gets absorbed gradually. Water splashes over the ground, providing so much that most of the water flows away.

Snow provides the bountiful abundance of Chesed/kindness that rain provides, mixed with din/contraction/restriction.

The enclosed air provides an insulating blanket the keep the soil warm and prevent frost that would kill the valuable bacteria, ants and earthworms constantly tilling the soil. Under the snow, animals sleep through the winter, and Eskimos build houses of snow for warmth. White repels the sun-rays, allowing the snow to warm the earth all winter long without melting. Thus David sings the praise of G-d, “He who gives snow like wool” (Tehillim 147:16) (Avigdor Miller, Awake My Glory, Pg. 287).   

Even though we don’t like cold/din, it is good for us. What appears as harsh and bad is actually the best thing for the soil. The soil emerges from winter still warm and hydrated, ready to flower when the good times come. Precisely what appeared as harsh and cold turns out to be where our greatest gains come from.

We’ve been trained to think of going to a court as the worst case scenario, and hearing rebuke as the worst sign of our failure. In Jewish thought, those are extremely praiseworthy events, for in the moment of judgement, the truth of your actions and the ability to recognize a new road of growth become clear. If you truly are striving for truth and greatness, being told which areas you need to improve on are a blessing in disguise.

Tzaraas, commonly mistranslated as leprosy, is a spiritual disease that appears as a result of lashon hara. It goes away when the afflicted repents for their sin, a process which requires 1) forsaking the sin, 2)confessing you did wrong, 3)creating fences so you don’t do it again and 4) praying to G-d for forgiveness (Rambam, hilchos Teshuva, perek 1, halachah 1). Miriam got tzaraas temporarily when she spoke badly about Moses, and it’s one of the six moments G-d requires us to remember every day (the others are the Exodus, Amalek, Golden Calf, Shabbos, and receiving the Torah).

Moses had to pull out his hand to recognize he got Tzaraas (“then he withdrew it and behold, his hand became stricken…”). But the moment he had repented and put it back in his coat, even before he withdrew it, “it had reverted” (Shemos 4:7). Rashi explains that we learn from here that divine goodness comes quicker than divine punishment.

If we recognize that the cold is actually exactly what we need for growth, that the hardships in life are not simply sickness but an opportunity for reflection and growth, then even painful events in our lives take on great positive significance. We can see this as one of the most difficult and critical concepts in Judaism.

The Hebrew slaves had their hardships increased after Moses told Pharaoh to let them take a three day trek to the desert to praise G-d. The Jews left Egypt at the 49th level of impurity out of fifty, practically on the point of extinction. Yet they became the most holy generation and the closest to G-d that ever existed. Similarly, the messiah of Yosef will emerge from the brink of Jewish destruction and usher in the  greatest era of Jewish spirituality.

The most successful entrepreneurs have the longest record of failures behind them. The information you best remember and the moments of your life that stand out decades later are the ones that were the most emotionally stimulating and tumultuous. Duties of The Heart explains regarding these signs of wisdom, only the most intelligent and insightful appreciate (Second Gate:Reflection, 3). Treasure the hardships and obstacles you encounter, for in them will lie your greatest challenges, and your greatest triumphs.

May you be blessed overcome challenges throughout your life,  so you can constantly grow and craft a better world.

Great Shabbos,

Ari Melman

I forgot the Ponivitcher rav story of mother walking through the snow!

Parshas Shemos: What seems soft is harshest of all. What seems harsh is softest of all. The paradox of hard work and life-long struggle as the only path toward becoming alive.

Pharaoh ordered that every “son that will be born, into the Nile river shall you throw him” (Shemos 1:22). Moses’s mother, who first appears as Shifrah because she beautifies (שפרה/שמשפרת) the child at birth” and serves G-d over Pharaoh (Rashi, Sh. 1:15).

The Nile was Egypt’s god and Pharaoh demanded all the Hebrew boys as a sacrifice to his empire and rule. Thus, Moses was placed in a reed basket above the nile, showing his ascendance above Egypt’s power. No matter whether Egypt persecutes the Jews with the seeming softness of the water or the harshness of drowning, with the seeming softness of integrating them or the harshness of removing the straw, the Hebrew will rise above because they move according to G-d’s will. Thus, Rashi explains why the basket was made of reed: “It is a flexible thing, and can withstand both that which is soft and that which is hard” (Sh. 2:3).

“The Egyptians enslaved the children of Israel with Parach/ פרך . Parach means crushing/backbreaking labor, it can also denote the two words peh rakh (פה רך), meaning “soft mouth”. Originally, Pharaoh asked the Jews to voluntarily help out, then increasingly made work a higher and higher priority, to the detriment of families, Torah study and personal projects. The roles of men and women (and adults and children) were frequently exchanges, with women forced to plow, hew, lumber, and build. They gave them material that would crumble and increased their workload until their lives would crumble. The word parach can also mean “crumble” (Yalkut Shimoni// Meam Loez pgs.19-20).

The last point to make here is they had the Hebrews build ערי מסכנות  / storage cities. The word מסכנות/mascanot can mean either storage or danger. The walls were built so high with material so flimsy there was physical danger. Building such a big project like this with poor materials can ruin a person, forcing them to spend much more money, time and resources than originally planned. It can also ruin the workers, who are forced to work ever longer hours and getting no sense of creative resolution. All of this was part of Pharaoh’s plan (Yeffeh Toar, p. 6//Zohar, Yitro//Meam Loez 4 p. 16).

“Why is Egypt compared to Maror/bitter herbs? Just as Maror is first soft and later hard, so the Egyptians were gentle in the beginning but afterward became hard” (Pesachim 39A). This is a universal pattern and lesson of life. If you invest early on with hard work to protect and deeply understand the fundamentals of any field, you will be much better prepared to handle the complex challenges down the road. But if you take it easy when the work is easy, then you will be ill prepared for when it becomes hard. If you marry someone based only on light hangouts and easy times, you won’t establish a strong foundation and the relationship will become hard over time. If you assimilate to a society because it treats you well, you will be ill-prepared to stand up to it when it turns against to you.

Moshe first experienced prophesy at the burning bush that was not consumed. G-d revealed himself to Moses in a lowly thorn bush because G-d himself partakes in Israel’s suffering, as He says, “I am with Israel in time of trouble,”(Psalms 91:15). Israel’s status was extremely lowly in the world, like that of a thorn bush among trees (Shemos Rabbah). It is very easy to place one’s hand into a thorn bush, but when one tries to remove it, his hand becomes torn by the thorns. The Hebrews found it easy to integrate, but ever more difficult. The Egyptians found it very easy to accept and enslave, but were severely wounded when the Jews left.

Why did Hashem show Moses the fire burning inside the thorn bush? Bnei Israel is compared to fire, as “The House of Yaakov will be fire” (Obadiah 1:18. Also the divar torah on Vayeishev last month), while the wicked are compared to thorns and thistles. The fire of Israel will not consume the thorns of the nations, nor will they ever douse the flame of Israel which is the Torah. However, in the time to come, the fire will consume, as it says, “Nations will be burning for lime, thorns cut down that are set on fire” (Yeshayah 33:12) (Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer Chapter 40).

The central message of Pharaoh vs Moshe can be reduced to: Difficulty with purpose leads to good. Taking the easy road leads to difficulties later on without purpose.

May you be blessed to great tests and even greater victories, to discover strengths in yourself once thought impossible.

Great Shabbos,

Ari Melman        

Purpose of Snow:

1) Seems cold but actually insulates ground and keeps it warm throughout winter.

Lesson: What seems bad is actually for the good

2) Comes down piece by piece, each snowflake unique, but easy to mistake as one big homogeneous sheet.

Lesson: When you judge someone, you freeze them in place and don’t appreciate their uniqueness.

3) Encourages us to go inside. What negatively affects our outside can improve our inside.

Lesson: Introspection is the key to recognizing our weaknesses and growing from them.

A story is told of the Ponivitcher Rav, the only one of his family to survive the Holocaust, the youngest of five boys in a very poor family. They only had one pair of winter boots.

When the snow came down, Mother said, “Whoever mother awards them too will get to walk to cheder (school) and learn tomorrow.”

Mother wakes the oldest at 5AM.

“Did I get it?” He asks.

“No. I got it,” Mother said.

She carries him and leaves him at the school’s doorstep. And returns for the next child. On and on until all the children were taken to school. In the evening she picked them up the same way.

The harshness of snow created an opportunity for such a powerful memory that all her children became massive learners and teachers. Although only the Ponivitcher survived, his contribution to Jewish learning after the Holocaust helped rebuild the Yeshiva system and keep Jewish knowledge strong.