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Beshalach |  15th Shevat 5777  | February 11th 2017  |  Issue 686
Mazal Tov to Rabbi Yonathan Seror (Rosh Beit Midrash, Brussels)
on his appointment as Rabbi of the Sha'arei Tzion community
and on the occasion of his daughter Miriam's Bat Mitzva

   Rabbi Benjamin Krausz

Former Rosh Kollel in Perth (2008-2012)
Currently Rav of "Heichal Channah" community, Petach Tikvah

The Eternal Nation is Not Afraid of a Long Journey

The Torah describes at the beginning of the Parashah the route that Hashem led Bnei Yisra'el from Egypt - through the desert to the Red Sea. The Torah points out the reason for not taking the seemingly easier route; "…that God did not lead them [by] way of the land of the Philistines for it was near, because God said, lest the people reconsider when they see war and return to Egypt."

In this Passuk we have twice the word כי (Ki) that typically means "because", explaining Hashem's refraining from taking them through the land of the Philistines. If we try to understand the Passuk in the simple meaning of "because" then we find it difficult to understand the first explanation - "for it was near", the land of the Philistines being near would seem to us a reason to prefer that route, not an explanation why not to take that route. This difficulty brought the commentators to try and explain the first explanation in the Passuk a bit differently from the immediate meaning.
One explanation is that the Torah is telling us that the land of the Philistines being near, is the reason the people of Israel will want to return, since it is close by, and returning is an option. According to this explanation, which Rashi and other commentaries bring, it is a secondary explanation, brought by the Torah so that we understand the primary explanation of Hashem's concern that the people of Israel will turn back.

Ibn Ezra introduces a different solution; the first instance is not coming to explain why Hashem refrained from taking that route, but rather it comes to explain why in the first place it would make sense to use that route - "for it was near". Once the Torah explains why we would have expected that to be the route, it explains in the second "Ki" why nevertheless Hashem decided against it - lest the people see war and then they will want to return.

But maybe the Torah wrote it in this slightly confusing style, for us to learn an extra lesson. specifically by understanding the Passuk in its immediate sense. The route through the land of Philistine, being close is actually the reason for not going through there. The Torah might be trying to tell us that taking the easier route, the closer route is not necessarily the best route. Building a new nation, educating a new nation, requires creating spiritual strengths, and in order to achieve that, it is necessary to take the longer route, it is necessary to take the more challenging route. The longer and more challenging route is the route that can build those strengths that are required to develop the skills and powers a nation needs - and if the nearer route will be taken, then these powers won't be developed, which would lead to a real concern that seeing war will cause the people to return to Egypt.

This can teach us a lesson for our personal life as well. When we are discussing spiritual development, when we are discussing education, when we are discussing building a personality - then the route we need to take is not necessarily the easier or faster route. On the contrary – we must not be afraid to take the longer and more challenging route, that in the short run might seem not to give us the results we expect, but in the long run will build a solid foundation.

Around The World
The Midor Le'Dor program
for girls in Chicago
Kollel Montreal participated in the Bnei Akiva Zach Shabbaton
Yeshiva night learning in Maria Road Shul in Cape Town
A Shiur for women given by our shlicha in Warsaw

     Arik Speaker                    In cooperation with: 

'Lilmod' Coordinator and Head of  European Desk in Torah MiTzion

The main offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel are located in the "Kiryat Ha'leom" compound in Jerusalem. This is a new and unique building, which was inaugurated in 2003. It has been included in the 2004 list of the ten best buildings in the world by the Association of American architects. This is the only building In Israel which won this title.

The main challenge in designing the building was a combination of the highest imaginable security requirements together with a place that should host many ceremonies, both for official and festive occasions. Besides that, of course, the building serves the many bureaucratic and administrative needs of the Foreign Ministry.
The building spans on approx. 39,000 square meters.

The Foreign Ministry was established two years before the founding of the state, and de facto was the continuation of the "political department" of the Jewish Agency which conducted the foreign policy of the Zionist movement.
That department was headed by Moshe Sharett who then became the state's first  foreign minister. He, along with the two foreign ministers who served after him, Golda Meir and Abba Eban (after whom the impressive entrance plaza of the offices is named), have become identified more than all their followers, with the country's foreign policy. All three served in the role for a much longer period than their followers, approximately 9-10 years each. The 9 ministers who served after them all served much shorter periods, usually around two years (with the exception of Yitzhak Shamir, who served for six and a half years).

As in any country, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is in charge of the country's foreign relations, both diplomatic, economic, cultural, etc. The exceptional characteristics of the Israeli Foreign Ministry is its involvement in the "hasbara" efforts, advocacy and justification of Israel's domestic policy and in particular Israel's security.
The other special characteristic is its role regarding the relations with Jewish communities around the world (a vast subject which is divided with other government offices  and international institutions).

Currently prime minister Bibi Netanyahu serves as active foreign minister, a situation that took place several times in the past but usually only for very short periods of days or a few weeks.
Yasher Koach to
Chezi Lev
who submitted the correct answer

  Where was this photo taken?

Please send answers to -

The answer, further information about this location, as well as the first person to recognize this site 
will be published in next week's edition. 

Torah MiTzion was established in 1995 with the goal of strengthening Jewish communities around the globe and infusing them with love for Torah, the Jewish People and the State of Israel.

Over the past twenty years, Torah MiTzion's shlichim have inspired and enriched their host communities through high impactful formal and informal educational programs.

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Our friend Benjy Singer has a very useful website,, which contains accurate and fresh information of what's going on in the Religious Anglo Community in Israel.

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