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Friday, July 9

The Weekly Shtikle - Matos / Mas'ei

As many of you may know, I was unable to send out a shtikle last week as I was sitting shivah following the passing of my dear father, a"h. In lieu of writing up my hespedim in NY and at the kevurah in Israel, I will provide links to the videos below. As I have done in the past I will be dedicating a year of weekly shtikles le'iluy nishmaso, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.


The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.


This past Wednesday, 27 Tammuz, was the third yahrtzeit of my cousin, Mrs. Michelle Jakobovits. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Rochel Mirel bas Shmuel HaLevi.


The end of parshas Matos details the conquering and settling of the east side of the Jordan River by the tribes of Reuvein, Gad and half of Menasheh. The very last pasuk recounts Novach's capture of a series of cities and subsequently naming them after himself, Novach. Rashi dwells on the words "vayikra lah Novach" which, by the rules of dikduk, should have featured a mapik heh in the word lah to indicate the possessive. He explains that the word is without a mapik heh, therefore rendering it "softer," because the name of that city did not endure.

Rav Hirsch writes that if Novach's naming of this city did not last, surely there must be a reason, some deficiency in his actions. He explains that while it is the way of the nations to have cities named after oneself, this is not typical practice among B'nei Yisrael. It puts undue importance on one's possessions as his true accomplishments when in truth, it is one's deeds that are his true legacy. (Indeed, the only city name in Eretz Yisrael that comes to mind as possibly being named after a person is Shechem – not a Jew.) It was Novach's naming the city after himself that was the reason why the name did not last.

Rav Shimon Schwab, in Ma'ayan Beis HaShoeiva, points out that the previous pasuk recounts Yair's naming his captured land Chavos Yair, the villages of Yair. How come Novach's city did not retain its name but we find no such fate for that of Yair's? He explains that there is an important nuance which differentiates the two names. Novach gave the city his exact name. This was an indication that from Novach's perspective, this city was the very embodiment of himself. Yair, conversely, named the city "The Villages of Yair." The simple addition of that extra word made clear that there was a separation between the man and his possessions. These were his villages but it wasn't him.

This is indeed a poignant lesson (I'll try to include as many as I can over the next year) as we continue to contemplate the life my father lived and the legacy he left behind. Indeed, it's all about the deeds. (I guess maybe some puns, too.) My father, a"h, has certainly left some big shoes to fill with regards to the care and love he gave each and every person he met and the great lengths to which he would go to help just about anyone. As it pertains directly to the above, the park adjacent to the shul which is named in his honour is not named so much for my father as it is for the kindness which he spread throughout the world through his actions as well as encouraging everyone around him to follow his lead.

Yehi zichro Baruch.

 Chazak, Chazak, veNischazeik!

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Levaya videos:


Full Funeral-New York


Full Funeral-Israel (my hesped begins at 1:06:00)


Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: The Cold has Passed

Dikdukian: Watch out for those Mapiks!

Dikdukian: To Afflict or to Answer

Dikdukian: The Interrogative

Dikdukian: The first aliyah in Mas'ei

Dikdukian: They are Correct, Sir!

Dikdukian: Whose Tribe is it Anyway?

Al Pi Cheshbon: Splitting up the Animals

Daily Leaf: :ב Cutting off the Angles

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