Thursday, October 23, 2014

bringing the fig tree onboard

Commenting on the words, “Vayita kerem…,” Rashi writes that Noach was able to plant a vineyard immediately after exiting the ark because he had brought grape vines and shoots from a fig tree onboard with him before the flood.  Since the text of the Torah only mentions Noach's planting a vineyard, why does Rashi need to mention anything about fig trees?

The Ne’os Desheh, the son of the Ishbitzer, explains that Noach’s spiritual reach exceeded his grasp.  Noach had been privileged to learn Torah, he was chosen to be the sole survivor of the flood, he was the recipient of a bris with Hashem symbolized by the rainbow, and he was the one whom Hashem selected to restart humanity with.  An impressive resume – one that led Noach to shoot for even greater things.  Noach thought that by restarting human history through him, the world could be wiped completely clean from the sin of Adam.  Noach is called “ish ha’adamah” – a man who aspired to bring tikun to the earth, which had been cursed after Adam’s sin.  The vineyard Noach intended to plant was the vineyard of, “Ki kerem Hashem Tzivakos Beis Yisrael” --  Noach thought that he could even the founding father of Klal Yisrael.

Yet as great as Noach was, he was not Avraham Avinu.  The leaves of the fig tree that Noach took with him are a metaphor for the sin of Adam.  It was the leaves of the fig tree that Adam used to try to cover himself after eating from the eitz hada’as.  Noach did not and could not rise above the defects and imperfections that were part of Adam haRishon’’s makeup.  Even as he entered the teivah, what was on his mind was not planning mankind's spiritual future, but rather the enjoyment of a good glass of wine, the pleasure of olam ha’zeh.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

aiyei vs aifoh (and some other thoughts on Braishis)

Sorry for not writing much lately -- I have a bunch of things going on occupying my attention.  Have to keep things brief for now.

1. The Ksav v’Kabbalah always has interesting insights into language.  Both "ayei" and "aifoh" can be used to ask where someone is; however, there is a major difference in connotation.  “Aifoh” is used when the question “Where are you?” means “What is your location?”  Yosef was sent to find his brothers and figure out, “Aifoh heim ro’im” – he did not know where they were.  “Ayei” is used when the “Where are you?” is meant to imply “Why are you not here?”  When Avraham is asked “Ayei Sarah ishtecha?” the meaning was, “Why is Sarah not here with you serving us like you are?”   G-d asks Adam, “Ayeka?”  G-d certainly knew where Adam was -- it was an "ayei," not an "aifoh" question -- but he wanted to know how Adam had gotten to such a spiritually distant place.  “Why are you no longer here with me?” is teh question G-d addresses to man.  The Ksav v’Kabbalah doesn’t say it, but in light of his distinction I think the question of the malachim, “Ayei mekom k’vodo?” does not mean that the melachim don’t know where G-d’s presence is.  What the malachim are wondering is why G-d is not immanent, why he seems so distant and transcendent. 

2. How did the nachash convince Adam to eat from the eitz hada’as?  “Ki yode’a Elokim ki b’yom achalchem mimenu v'nifkechu eineichem…” (3:5)   The Alshich explains that the nachash argued that if G-d knows ("yodei Elokim") that something will occur, then the outcome is predetermined.  Without bechirah, there can be no punishment.   

3. The Midrash on the parsha of “vayechulu” compares the world to a bath that had beautiful fixtures submerged below the water.  It was only once the water was removed that they became visible and could be admired.  So too, the tohu va’vohu had to be removed for the beauty of creation to be seen. 

Why is this derush given on the parsha of Shabbos?   Tohu va’vohu was removed already on the first day of creation! 

What Chazal are telling us is that the physical tohu va’vohu may have already receded, but the real beauty of the world shines only when the spiritual tohu va’vohu is removed as well.  That happens only once there is Shabbos.  “Vayechulu” is like the word klal – a general rule.  Each day of creation and each item created is like a piece from a puzzle – by itself, it has little meaning.   It’s only once you finish the puzzle that you see how each piece fits together with the others to create the larger picture.  So too, Shabbos is the klal that gives meaning and context to each individual prat in creation.

4. The Torah gives us very little clue as to why Lemech suddenly pleaded with his wives that he is innocent of wrongdoing and would not be punished as Kayin was.  Rashi fills in the gaps with a Midrash that says that Lemech was blind and accidentally committed murder while out hunting with his son (my wife was wondering why a blind person would be out hunting to begin with.)   Ramban sticks closer to the text and connects Lemech’s plea with the previous information the parsha gives us:  Lemech’s children were the first musicians and the first metalsmiths.  It was a short jump from learning to work with metal to learning to fashion spears and swords.  Lemech’s wives blamed him for training his children in a craft that would bring more bloodshed into the world.  Lemech rejected their argument.  Spears and swords don’t kill people; people kill people.  And thus the gun debate started...

5. I noticed that the format used for each successive generation in the genealogy list at the end of Braishis is basically identical, ending with “Vayihiyu [plural] kol y’mei Ploni…” some number of years.  The exception is Chanoch, where it says, “Vayehi [singular]kol y'mei.”  (5:3) I don’t have a clue as to why the syntax is changed. Any ideas?

Monday, October 06, 2014

bikur cholim - hakaras hatov for a resource that makes a huge difference

A family member recently had to spend time in the hospital and I to the extent that this is a public blog I want to publicly express my hakaras hatov to the folks who stock and maintain the hospital bikur cholim rooms and provide resources for frum patients and their families during their times of need.  I don't want to go into particulars here of the what and the where, but the truth is that it doesn't matter -- I think at almost every hospital now in NY there is some form of bikur cholim room or organization that provides food, comfort, and in many cases hospitality for Shabbos should the need arise.  Believe me, it makes a huge difference.  Not having to worry about where to find a kosher meal or how you will make Shabbos when there are so many other things on your mind to worry about is a huge relief. Just being able to grab a cup of coffee and look at a sefer or book in quiet for a few minutes is invaluable. It's also a community chessed that flies under the radar.  Especially this time of year, we are all hit with tzedaka appeals for yeshivos, for tomche shabbos, for shuls, etc. but I can't recall ever even getting an appeal for bikur cholim.  One reason reason why is because (at least in the two cases I am now familiar with) local restaurants and supermarkets step up to stock refrigerators with meals and snacks and the wonderful Satmar Bikur Cholim also pitch in to ensure that resources are available. I know in other communities there are other similar organizations that do the same.  It's a resource you never want to have to use, but one which you cannot give enough thanks for should you need it.  My thanks and appreciation m'umka d'liba.

now is the time for teshuvah

Chazal explain that the Torah put the parsha of nazir right next to the parsha of sotah to teach us that .  someone who sees a sotah fall into disgrace should respond by taking a vow of nezirus.  Everybody asks: it’s the person who doesn’t see the downfall and disgrace of the sotah and who needs to be extra careful and maybe take a vow of nezirus.  The person who sees the sotah sees with his own eyes the effect too much wine can have and knows the danger!  

The Akeidah gives a brilliant answer: it’s davka the person who sees the miraculous power of the sotah water and the whole process of her punishment and therefore thinks that he/she has learned the lesson and is immune from danger who needs the extra reminder.  

Machisi k’av pesha’echa v’k’anan chatosecha shuvu eilai ki g’altich.” (Yeshayahu 44:22).  The simple pshat in the pasuk is that because Hashem has forgiven all our sins therefore we should return to him.  The Shem m’Shmuel, however, reads the word “ki” not as meaning "because," but rather as meaning af al pi, "even though."  Another example of the same use: Moshe Rabeinu asked Hashem to forgive Bnei Yisrael after the cheit ha'eigel, "Ki am k'shei oref hu..." -- not because they are a stubborn people, but despite/even though they are a stubborn people (see Ibn Ezra). 

We've gone through a Yom Kippur and Hashem has forgiven all our sins.  For some people, that means it's time to breathe a sigh of relief -- it's all over and I made it!  I got by spiritual flu shot for the year and can now get back to business as usual.  So the Navi tells us, "Shuvi eili ki g'altich" -- even though you spent the day properly and were forgiven, you need to focus on teshuvah.  Davka because you had such a wonderful Yom Kippur, there is a danger of spiritual complacency setting in, of thinking you've done your part and that's all there is.  Yom Kippur has to be a beginning, not an end. 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

gmar chasima tovah

Chazal tell us that since Hashem is “rav chessed” he tilts the scales in a person’s favor.  If it’s a 50/50 toss up, you win.  So what are all the beinonim worried about these 10 days?  A tie goes in our favor!  One of the answers given in Rishonim is that these 10 days are the chance to prove that we deserve it.  Sure, Hashem would give us a break anyway, but there is a difference between getting off due to G-d’s good graces, due to his being “rav chessed,” and getting off because you’ve earned that right to a chasimah tovah. 

I think the more popular answer to that question is that given by R’ Yitzchak Blazer.  Hashem is so accessible this time of year that to not take advantage of the opportunity to do teshuvah, to simply remain sitting on the fence as a beinoni without making a resolution to do better and to be better, is a tremendous strike against a person. 

In slicha 93, which we said this morning, the author of the slicha bemoans “B’reosi kol ir al tilah benuya v’ir ha’Elokim mushpeles…”  The Shem m’Shmuel homiletically interprets the word “ir” not as city, but rather from the same root as “u’ru yesheinim,” wake up.  When it comes to other areas of life, we don’t need any his’orerus to get us excited.  Whether it’s the Jets or the Giants that you root for, comes Sunday afternoon, “ir al tilah benuya.”  But when it comes to avodas Hashem, our ability to be “ir,” to be awake and enthusiastic, is too often “mushpeles.

I'm confident that we are all in fact awake this time of year and we are all striving to do what's right and hopefully we will all merit a gmar chasima tovah, not just because Hashem is "rav chessed," but because we have truly earned it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

an interesting exception to the rule of safeik brachos l'hakeil

1. They must be gearing up for Yom Kippur in Iran, and boy, do they take maftir Yonah seriously there. The Times of Israel reports that the government of Iran hung a prisoner accused, among other things, of insulting the prophet Jonah.  (Don't worry, I'll eventually get to the point in the title of this post.)

2. The Rambam writes that if you blow tekiyos from a stolen shofar you are yotzei because “ain b’kol din gezel” – you can steal a physical instrument, but you can’t steal sound.  Ra’avad disagrees and quotes a Yerushalmi that there is no problem is mitzvah haba'ah b'aveira because of a gzeiras hakasuv: “Yom teru’ah” – m’kol makom.

The Rambam is predicted on two assumptions: 1) mitzvah haba’ah b’aveira is a psul in the chefza shel mitzvah; 2) the cheftza shel mitzvah when it comes to shofar is the sound that emanates from it. 

You could read the Ra’avad as rejecting the first assumption.  Even if only the kol is the cheftza shel mitzvah, the bottom line is that had the shofar not been stolen, there could be no kol.  It’s not the object that is the sole focus of mitzvah haba’ah b’aveirah – it’s the process of enabling the mitzvah performance.  So you need a gezeiras hakasuv to take off the psul.

But you can also read the Ra’avad as rejecting only the second assumption.  Mitzvah haba’ah b’aveira is a psul in the chefzta shel mitzvah – but the Ra'avad is arguing that the cheftza shel mitzvah is not the kol shofar, it’s the day itself!  Blowing is just a means to create a chalos of the day being a “Yom teruah,” not an end in its own right.  (See R’ Baruch Povarski’s Bad Kodesh #46 for a similar approach.)

3. There is an interesting machlokes haposkim among the sefardi poskim regarding what to do if one forgets and says “melech oheiv tzedaka u’mishpat” instead of “halemech hamishpat” during the aseres y’mei teshuvah.  The Mechaber paskens that one must repeat shmoneh esrei, similar to forgetting “hamelech hakadosh.”  The Rama disagrees and holds that since you also mention “melech” in the normal chasimah, that is sufficient.  Even though sefardim usually follow the Beis Yosef, here the Ben Ish Chai paskens like the Rama based on the rule of safeik brachos l'hakeil.  When in doubt (and the Rama's view is sufficient to create at least a doubt as to what the final rule shuld be) one does not repeat a bracha.

One of the themes that runs through R’ Ovadya’s teshuvos is his staunch defense of Maran, the Beit Yosef, and this case is no exception.  Let me say off the bat that R' Ovadya does not deny that in principle one can rule against Maran based on the rule of safeik brachos l'hakeil when there are other dissenting views.  However, this case is different.   R' Ovadya starts with the premis that if one omits or errs in a bracha of tefilah, the entire tefilah is invalid.  From here he creatively argues that if one has any doubt whether one is yotzei with the chasimah of "melech oheiv tzedaka u'mishpat," by simply continuing with the rest of shmoneh esrei one is risking reciting all the remaining brachos in vain as the entire tefilah is worthless if the chasimah is wrong.  The rule of safeik brachos l'hakeil must be weighed against the potential competing risk of bracha l'vatalah on all the remaining brachos.  In effect, the rule of safeik brachos l'hakeil does not apply to tefilah.

A full discussion of all the proofs and counterproofs is beyond what I can summarize here (see the two teshuvos in Yabia Omer vol 2 and in shorter form Yechaveh Da'at vol 1).  I will mention one question as it relates to inyana d'yoma.  The Mishna in Rosh HaShana (34) writes that brachos and tekiyos on a ta'anis are not me'akeiv, but are me'akeiv on Rosh haShana.  You need to say all of malchiyos, zichronos, and shofaros to get credit -- if you only know one of the three, it doesn't do you any good.  Same with tekiyos: you need to blow tekiya, teru'ah, tekiya -- if you only know how to blow one and not the other, it does you no good.  On a ta'anis, however, even if you only know one of the six additional brachos that are added to the shmoneh esrei, you can say that one addition and omit the rest.  The MG"A (siman 593) extrapolates from here that the same is true of any brachos of shmoneh esrei except for those of Rosh haShana, i.e. if you know only some of the brachos of shmoneh esrei and not others, say what you know -- covering everything is not m'akeiv.  Clearly this MG"A flies in the face of R' Ovadya's assumption that missing a single bracha renders the entire shmoneh esrei and all subsequent brachos to be brachos l'vatalah.  Two possible defenses: 1) perhaps the MG"A's extrapolation from the additional brachos added to tefilah on ta'anis to the core 18 brachos is incorrect; 2) even if the MG"A is correct, perhaps he merely meant that there is some value as a kiyum of "rachamei" in reciting what you know, but even he would not consider that recitation to be a fulfillment of the requirement of tefilah.  Be that as it may, there is much more to the discussion.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

the most important thing to daven for

Slichos week(s) for me means suffering from a lack of sleep, so I haven't had energy to write, but I did want to wish everyone a kesiva v’chasima tovah and say thank you for those who take a few minutes to read, comment, and e-mail during the year and apologies to everyone whose e-mails I never got to or whose comments I may not have responded to or responded to inconsiderately.  

R’ Tzadok says “shanah tovah u’mesukah” = ain tov elah Torah, and when it comes to mesukah, what can be sweeter than learning?  We should all have a year filled with limud haTorah and the sweetness of Torah for ourselves and for all of Klal Yisrael.

Everyone is busy davening for health and parnasa and nachas from their children – banay, chayay, mezonay – but Rosh haShana is about much more than that.  The Sefas Emes explains that we use the simanim derech remez to ask for our needs not because these things are so important that we need extra reminders, but to the contrary, because aside for our tefilos that “m’loch al kol ha’aretz,” everything else is secondary.  It's like when you learn a pasuk and you the pshat is staring right at you, but derech remez there is a little hint to something else in there.  The really important think is to be mamlich Hashem, and like a derech remez along with that we can shlep in our own needs that can help accomplish that goal. 

We've been saying "achas sha'alti m'eis Hashem... shivti b'beis Hashem."  Is there a quota that says you can only make one request?  Why did Dovid haMelech say he asks for one thing and one thing only?  Tosfos (B.M. 106a d"h l'nisa) says a chiddush: if someone rents a field and plants barley instead of wheat, breaking his agreement with the owner, even if everyone's field is hit with a problem, e.g. a locust swarm ruins all the crops, the owner of the field can say to the person renting "Tough luck."  The owner has a dinei mamonos right to say to the person renting that he was davening for a good wheat crop and Hashem would have listened and saved his field -- it's only because the renter switched and planted barley that it was a total loss.  But, says Tosfos, if the owner doesn't specify what to plant, all bets are off.  Even if the person renting plants nothing, the owner should not have a claim because for Hashem to respond to the prayer to let whatever is planted succeed, some general all-purpose request, takes a miracle.  

So what are you going to daven for?  You have to be specific if you are not relying on a miracle.  Shoud you ask for your shares of Facebook to go up?  But then what if your real estate goes south?  Should you ask for the real estate to go up?  Then what is going to happen to the stocks?  So the Tiferes Shlomo tells us that Dovid haMelech had the answer.  If you want to choose one specific thing to daven for, "Achas sha'alti," it's gotta be "Shivti b'veis Hashem."  If you daven for that, then Hashem will give you whatever you need to make it happen, banay, chayay, mezonay.

My daughter is in Eretz Yisrael and I wanted to tell her something about Eretz Yisrael for the Yom Tov so I asked her why we say Aleinu in the middle of musaf.  Some people may see Aleinu and get excited thinking davening is almost over, but it's just a fake out and we have a long way t go.  Is there a shortage of tefilos that we have to borrow Aleinu from the end of davening and can't come up with something new for malchiyos?   

The theme of malchiyos is that Hashem should be king over the entire world.  “Tein pachdecha al kol ma’asecha…”  “Meloch al kol ha’olam…”  etc.  If we had completely conquered Eretz Yisrael and subjugated all the nations there when we first entered the land, that would have been it – geulah achieved, and Hashem’s malchus over the world complete.  Aleinu was composed by Yehoshua and it spells out exactly that plan: “L’takein olam b’malchus Sha-kai…” to bring about Hashem’s malchus.  Unfotunately, we didn't get the job done.  Therefore, says the Sefas Emes, on  Rosh haShana, the time of teshuvah, we revisit Yehoshua's plan when we come to say malchiyos.  We think about what we failed to achieve at the time of Yehoshua and hope that inspires us to work toward the goal now and establish Hashem and the one King over all. 

A few weeks ago R' Zev Leff was in America and he spoke to a women's group and said that the year Taf-Shin-Ayin-Hey spells the word tisha .  This year is like the 9th month and geulah is waiting to be born. Maybe it's also a remez to teshu'ah (you need a shuruk instead of the vav).  But what I am reminded of by the letters Shin-Ayin-Hey in the name of the year is something else: the gemara tells the story of R’ Eliezer ben Durdiya, who was told by a zonah that teshuvah was impossible for him, as he had sinned too much.  These words pierced his heart and he decided to repent.  He begged first the heavens and earth for help, then the planets and stars, but they all refused him.  Each one claimed that they had their own problems to deal with.   R’ Eliezer ben Durdiya realized that teshuvah was up to him alone, and so he put his dead down and cried till his soul departed.  A bas kol then declared that R’ Eliezer ben Durdiya had earned olam haba.  When Rebbi heard this story he cried and said, “Yeh koneh olamo b’sha’ah achas.”  Shin-Ayin-Hey = sha’ah.  When I hear Taf-Shin-Ayin-Hey I think of the sha’ah achas of R’ Eliezer ben Durdiya.

The simple pshat in the story is that in a single moment, sha’ah achas, a person can redeem his/her whole life.  R’ Tzadok haKohen tells us that the real meaning of a word is always found in the first place the Torah uses it.  What is the first place the word “sha’ah” appears in the Torah?  When Kayin tries of offer a second-rate korban, the Torah says, “V’el Kayim v’el minchaso lo sha’ah,” Hashem did not desire Kayim or his sacrifice.  Sha’ah means desire.  What Rebbi was saying is “Yesh koneh olamo b’sha’ah achas” – a person can acquire olam ha’bah if he/she just has even a little bit of desire to get there.

Kesiva v'chasima tovah to everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

the 13th sefer Torah: a chiddush of the Rogatchover and more

1. Let me start with something about Eretz Yisrael: “…V’hasheivosa el levavecha b’chol hagoyim asher hidichacha Hashem Elokecha shama.” (30:1)  The parsha says that we will all eventually do teshuvah and Hashem will respond by bringing us out of galus.  Yet a few pesukim later (30:8) the parsha again says, “V’atah tashuv v’shamata b’kol Hashem…”  Why does the parsha need to repeat the fact that we will do teshuvah?  It already told us that in the first pasuk?

Ksav Sofer answers that the first pasuk is speaking about teshuvah done in galus, “b’chol hagoyim asher hidichacha”.  While that teshuvah is certainly significant, it is incomplete.  Only in Eretz Yisrael, when we live as a nation in our own homeland, when we can do all mitzvos, including the mitzvos hateluyos ba’aretz, can we return to Hashem in earnest.  Therefore, after telling us that Hashem will bring us back to Eretz Yisrael, the parsha repeats again, “atah tashuv…”  Only then will our teshuvah be complete.

2. A few weeks ago I mentioned the Rambam regarding the mitzvah on a king to write a second sefer Torah (Melachim ch 3:

  בעת שיישב המלך על כיסא מלכותו, כותב לו ספר תורה לשמו יתר על הספר שהניחו לו אבותיו; ומגיהו מספר העזרה, על פי בית דין של שבעים ואחד.

I asked why the king had to copy his sefer Torah davka from the sefer in the azarah under the supervision of Beis Din haGadol.  If it was simply a matter of accuracy, then why apply that standard to only the second sefer of the king – wouldn’t we want ever sefer to be accurate?

The Rogatchover in our parsha comes to the rescue.  Rashi in our parsha quotes from Chazal that Moshe wrote 13 sifrei Torah just before he died.  He gave one to each sheiveit, and one was designated for sheivet Levi and stored in the aron.  The Rogatchover writes that the sefer stored in the aron was unlike the others: it was written with nikud, masorah, ta’amei keri’ah, including the nikud of the shem hameforash.  That was the special sefer from which the king’s torah was copied – a unique copy, different from all other seforim. 

Someone (if you comment anonymously I assume you prefer your name not mentioned) in a comment to the earlier post said that the R’ Soloveitchik quoted his father as saying that there was a special chalos to the sefer azarah, and as proof he cited Rashi (Baba Basra 14) who says that it was this sefer that was used for the hakhel ceremony and for the Kohen gadol’s leining on Y”K.  I wasn’t convinced at the time, thinking that Rashi was perhaps just telling us the metziyus, not a din.  Yet in light of the Rogatchover (who also makes note of this Rashi), it does seem that the sefer azarah was used deliberately and not just because it was the closest sefer torah available.

Why was Moshe and the Levi’im alone entrusted with this special sefer?  The Rogatchover explains that the Levi’im needed to know the ta’amei mikrah because the Levi’im were charged with the mitzvah of shirah, which involved singing parshiyos (e.g. parshas ha’azinu, see Rosh haShana 31).  Moshe himself was a Levi.  When Moshe received the Torah from Hashem, he heard it with the nikud and ta’amim. These were passed on to Klal Yisrael as torah sheba’al peh, but were inherent in the torah sheb’ksav of that 13th sefer.

The Rambam describes the hakhel ceremony as follows (Hil Chagigah ch 3):

 אפילו חכמים גדולים שיודעים כל התורה כולה, חייבין לשמוע בכוונה גדולה יתרה.  ומי שאינו יכול לשמוע--מכוון ליבו לקריאה זו, שלא קבעה הכתוב אלא לחזק דת האמת; ויראה עצמו כאילו עתה נצטווה בה, ומפי הגבורה שומעה--שהמלך שליח הוא

Clearly this was not your regular kri’as hatorah experience or just a kiyum of talmud torah.  The Rambam doesn’t discuss hakhel in hilchos talmud torah – he puts it in hilchos chagigah.  The king’s reading from the special sefer which contained the ta’amei kri’ah and points to the fact that the ceremony is in some sense a re-enactment of Sinai, the way Torah shebksav was delivered to Moshe. What does the Rambam mean when he says even if you couldn't hear you had to have kavanah -- what are you having kavanah on if you can't hear?  Perhaps the kavanah is for the melody, the ta'amaim, which in this case are part and parcel of the text being read, not just the icing on the cake.  Even if you can't make out the words, you can still follow the tune.  

I would say that hakhel is not about kri’ah, but about shirah.      

3. Coming back to the pesukim I started with, which speaks about the teshuvah we must do while in galus, why does the pasuk need to end with “…asher hidichacha Hashem Elokecha shamah?”  What does how we got here have to do with it?

R’ Tzadok haKohen answers that the first step in the teshuvah process is recognizing that we are not in galus by chance.  Hashem put us here to teach us a lesson.  Have we learned that lesson?

The Tiferes Shlomo, however, reads the pasuk a little differently.  “V’haya…,” when the day comes that we do teshuvah “b’chol hagoyim asher hidichacha,” in the galus that we unfortunately find ourselves in, don’t think we will have to go it alone.  “Hashem Elokecha shamah” – Hashem is right there along with us.