Lomdei Dirshu Take Test While City is Under Siege

A day before, it appeared that the second test in the Machzor Sheini of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha would be a routine Dirshu test despite it being a bit of a milestone. Lomdei Daf HaYomi B’Halacha were completing the laws of tzitzis and progressing to the laws of tefillin. The test in Eretz Yisroel was scheduled for this past Friday morning, 5 Iyar/May 6.

Imagine a teenager lying on a grassy field, gazing into the night sky. As he stares up at the stars, he thinks to himself, “Look at how enormous the universe is. The sky just expands endlessly... It must go on forever.” After sitting with that thought for a few moments, he becomes uncomfortable. “How can anything go on forever? Everything must stop eventually.” But after a few moments of relaxation, his thoughts intrude again. “But how can the universe stop? What exists on the other side when the universe ends? It must go on forever...” And this inner dialogue continues as he struggles to contemplate the infinite within his finite mind. This struggle is not a childish one; it is a challenge that confronts any finite being who tries to connect to the infinite.

Imagine leaving the exile of Mitzrayim with klal Yisrael. You have just witnessed the miracles of Y’tzias Mitzrayim (the Exodus from Egypt) and are now traveling toward Har Sinai, ready to receive the Torah. In between, however, lies an extraordinary event: K’rias Yam Suf – the Splitting of the Red Sea (or Sea of Reeds). One can ask, though, why K’rias Yam Suf was even necessary. Why couldn’t the Jews go straight from the spiritual high and miracles of Y’tzias Mitzrayim to the experience of Matan Torah (Receiving the Torah)? Why did they first have to pass through the sea? This question is strengthened by the commentators who point out that this journey through the Yam Suf appears to be pointless. After all, Chazal explain that klal Yisrael exited on the very same side of the Yam Suf that they entered (Arachin 15a)! If Hashem simply wanted to destroy the Egyptians, there were easier ways to accomplish this. What was the purpose of such a journey?

Countless Torah themes and halachos are centered around the value of the community (tzibur/klal) and how one must dedicate himself to the greater good of the Jewish People. If everyone is unique and individually important, how can we understand the concept of unity and the need to work toward becoming part of something bigger than ourselves? Must we sacrifice our uniqueness and individuality for the sake of the “klal,” for the greater good of the community? What is the deeper Jewish approach to this struggle and conflict between individuality and community, between uniqueness and being part of a unified group? In our last article, we began opening up this topic by explaining Rav Dessler’s three levels of order. In this piece, we will delve more deeply into this topic in order to build a paradigm through which we can answer these questions on an even deeper level.

In our previous article, we began exploring the depth of S’firas HaOmer. Based on the Maharal and the Ramban, we explained that we are not counting down to Matan Torah, but rather we are building up towards it, ascending one day at a time. We do not wait for Shavuos to arrive; we actively bring it ourselves through the time and effort we invest as we count the Omer. After developing a general understanding of S’firas HaOmer, let us focus on a few specifics of the count itself. The 49 days of S’firas HaOmer parallels the 49-day process that the Jewish People went through upon leaving Egypt, before receiving the Torah. What is the meaning behind this process, and why is it specifically 49 days long?

There was an old man who would walk along the beach every morning before work. He was walking along the shore early one morning after a big storm had passed, and found the beach littered with starfish. As he continued further down the shore, he suddenly noticed a small boy in the distance who was picking up shells from the shore and gently throwing them into the ocean. As he got closer, he realized that this boy was actually walking amongst the thousands of starfish that had been washed up during the storm. As he came across each starfish, he would gently pick it up and throw it back into the ocean.