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Shabbat Parashat Pekudei 5784

Parashat Hashavua: The Challenges of Time and Unity A Frank Discussion

Rav Daniel Mann

Over the 23 years I have been putting out Eretz Hemdah’s Hemdat Yamim, my preferred choice of a dvar Torah for parashat hashavua has been to translate our co-Rosh Kollel, Rav Yosef Carmel’s, dvar Torah. This was the only overlap between the Hebrew and English versions of Hemdat Yamim.

Eventually, technical considerations (stemming from the English language publication needing to come out earlier than the Hebrew version) dictated a change. The editorial ploy I developed was to usually translate the dvar Torah of the same parasha from the previous year of the Hebrew publication. Two phenomena create problems with this system. One is the occurrence of leap years, like this year. For one, last year had one dvar Torah for Vayakhel/Pekudei, whereas this year, Vayakhel and Pekduei are spread over two weeks. Therefore, for example, last week I translated a dvar Torah from our mentor, Rav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l. Furthermore, last year Rav Carmel, wrote a paragraph on Pekudei and the rest on Parashat Hachodesh; this year, Parashat Hachodesh is in a few weeks. Another problem is that Rav Carmel often applies eternal Torah concepts to current events, but last year’s current events are often forgotten or stale news this year for our readers.

Interestingly, this second element has proven very instructive for me. The dominant current event last year was judicial reform. While most writers on this topic focused on arguments for this approach or that one, Rav Carmel focused almost entirely, week after week, on a simple concept – unity is (among) the most important of national goals, and the price of disunity resulting from the conflict was too great and dangerous, including by emboldening our enemies. Of course, the current focus by many in the nation on unity, which hopefully will prove to be “better late than never,” has borne out the truths he articulated last year.

Last year, on this parasha and Parashat Hachodesh, Rav Carmel highlighted the moon as the basis of our calendar, Rav Carmel cited two historical Rabbinic disputes about the calendar and how crucial it was that the “losing side” understood that he had to concede defeat (even if he was right), in the interest of national unity.

Exactness in our calendar is crucial. Judaism always put a premium on keeping to our joint calendar. In chutz la’aretz, we add five days of Yom Tov to avoid the remote chance of making Yom Tov on the wrong day (see Beitza 4b). On the other hand, two days are artificially (i.e., often out of synch with the new moon) removed from the days that most holidays can fall on due to pragmatic considerations (so Yom Kippur will never fall out on Friday or Sunday because of the human toll, regarding food and funerals (Rosh Hashana 20a)). Although usually the months alternate between 29 and 30 days (as a lunar month is almost exactly 29.5 days), this year, we had three short months and later two long months in a row. This is illogical from a purist perspective, and it is due to practical calendric considerations.

We end with some conclusions from the above. Exactness is divine, but accommodating important human needs overcomes that value. Fighting for what is right is sometimes worthwhile, but pursuit of unity is often more important.

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We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Tal Shaul ben Yaffa

Ori Leah bat Chaya Temima

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland


Prof. Yisrael Aharoni z"l

Kislev 14, 5783


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771

 Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
 ,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782


Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20


Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781


R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776


MrsSara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774


Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780


R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


MrsSara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780


R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777


R' Abraham & Gita Klein z"l

Iyar 18,  /5779Av 4


Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778


R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781


Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat

Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781


Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782


Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782


Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782


Mr. Shmuel & Rivka Brandman z"l

Tevet 16 5783/ Iyar 8, 5781


Mr. Gershon (George) ben

Chayim HaCohen Kaplan z"l

Adar II 6

Yehudah ben Naftali Hertz Cohen z"l


Adar II 12


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in loving memory of
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Louis and Lillian Klein z”l

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