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Friday, March 27

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayikra

Today, 2 Nissan, marks the 14th yahrtzeit of my Bubbie. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.


This Sunday, 4 Nissan, marks the 2nd yahrtzeit of my wife's grandmother, Rebbetzin Faigie Frankel. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Leah Feiga bas Aharon Tzvi.


Early on the parsha (1:14), we are told that an olah offering of birds is of turtledoves or pigeons. Ramban describes why specifically these two birds are chosen for the olah offering of birds over all other birds. He explains that the traits of these birds resemble that of B'nei Yisrael, hinting to a more metaphysical resemblance between the birds and humans. I believe there is a specific reason why Ramban was compelled to take this approach to the bird offerings.


On pasuk 9 we are exposed to the famous dispute between Ramban and Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim as to the reasoning behind korbanos. Ramban states there that the sacrificing of the animal is representative of the deserved sacrifice of one's own body. The animal on the mizbei'ach is really an exchange for the body of the one bringing it. It is easier to understand this connection with regular, four-legged mammals. They have four limbs and innards like that of a human. When a bull or sheep is lying on the mizbe'ach, one can conceive how it represents a human being. When its innards are burnt, one can conceive how this is an exchange for the burning of a human's innards. However, with a bird, the connection is harder to see. A bird's physical make-up is nothing like that of a human. The bringing of a bird offering does not entail the burning of the innards as an essential component like the animal offerings do. Therefore, Ramban illustrates that although a physical connection between birds and humans is hard to see, a spiritual connection between the birds and B'nei Yisrael exists in such a way that we may conceive a bird offering on the mizbei'ach to represent the one who is bringing it.


Have a good Shabbos. 

Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah (see Rashi, bottom of Taanis 29a)


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikukian: Nusach for Birkas Ha'ilanos

The Daily Leaf: Zerizim

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,

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Monday, March 9

The Weekly Shtikle - Purim

A Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my nephew, Yeshaya Shonek, on his engagement to Tzippora Leah Munk of Kew Gardens. Mazal tov to the ganse mishpacha.


There are certainly no shortage of interpretations out there for the exact understanding of the ad delo yada obligation on Purim. However, I would like to share yet another which my rebbe R' Kulefsky, zt"l, would unabashedly repeat nearly every year in the name of the Nesivos. R' Kulefsky would often repeat certain vortlach in their applicable time over and over but would make it clear that he was well aware of the repetition but that it was nevertheless worthwhile for all who have heard it to hear it again. (Incidentally, this is not the first time I am posting this but felt it was apropos, considering it relates, albeit tangentially, to a recent topic discussed in daf yomi.)


As an introduction, the gemara (Pesachim 50a) states that whereas in this world, we make the berachah of hatov vehameitiv on joyous news and dayan haemes on unfortunate, saddening  news, in the world to come we will only make the berachah of hatov vehameitiv. The Tzelach asks, what unfortunate saddening news will there be on which to recite hatov vehameitiv? Rather, we will look back in retrospect at the events in history we regarded as sorrowful and realize the truth purpose of each and  every one and realize that it was all for the good.


In fact, even for us in this world, a certain degree of this realization can be reached. The sefer Orchos Tzaddikim (Sh'ar HaSimchah) describes the highest levels of joy, citing the gemara (Berachos, beginning of 9th perek, et. al.) which states that just as we recite a blessing on the good, we must recite a blessing on the bad and unfortunate. He understands that when the gemara says kesheim, just like, it means that we should recite a blessing on the bad with the same degree of joy and happiness as that which we do on the good.


In the story of Purim we read about the evil decree of Haman, a mournful moment for the people of that time. And yet, that decree was a catalyst to unprecedented levels of teshuvah and the ultimate deliverance from that imminent threat. And so, suggests Nesivos, the obligation to rejoice on Purim until one does not decipher between "cursed Haman" and "blessed Mordechai" is not to say we should lose our ability to judge and not see the difference between them. Rather, we should reach a level of joy such that, with the utmost clarity, we realize that there is no difference and that even the gravest calamities that befall us are part of a greater good.


We certainly live in turbulent times on many fronts. (Have there ever been times that weren't turbulent?) Our nation faces threats to its very existence at nearly every turn. But perhaps these dire times present an even greater opportunity to use this Purim to strive to reach the realization that everything HaShem does is for the good.



In a weekly chaburah, we recently discussed the last pasuk of the megillah. It is stated (10:3) that Mordechai was "gadol laYhudim veratzui lerov echav," popular with the multitude of his brethren. At least that's the simple understanding. Rashi, however, explains that the word rov actually means majority, but not all. Some of the men of the Sanhedrin distanced themselves from Mordechai after he became close with the king and lax in his studies. I was thinking – that is so sad to only have a following of a majority after all of his heroics. But I bet he still has Bibi Netanyahu jealous!!


Have a chag Purim samie'ach!


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Please check out all Megillah-related Dikdukian posts

And all my previous Purim shtikles

Al Pi Cheshbon: 10,00 Kikars

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Friday, March 6

The Weekly Shtikle - Tetzaveh / Zachor

A Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my nephew Yaakov Levy of Monsey on his Bar Mitzvah this Shabbos. Mazal tov to the extended Bulka and Levy mishpachos including Oma Jakobovits.


On the bottom of the me'il, the tunic that the kohein gadol wore, were golden bells. The pasuk explains (28:35), "his/its sound shall be heard when he enters the holy." Rabbeinu Bachye offers an alternative understanding that deviates from the traditional way this pasuk is translated. The voice is actually referring to the kohein gadol himself. His voice is heard when he enters the holy and he prays for the nation. This is a summary of all of the vestements that he wears. If properly worn, his tefillos will be accepted.


The traditional understanding, however, is that the bells provide a warning of the kohein gadol's approach and so he does not simply appear unannounced. This is the sound referred to in the pasuk. Rabbeinu Bachye provides a timely connection to Megillas Esther which we will be soon be reading. Esther's great fear in attempting to beseech Achashveirosh's mercy was that she had not been invited and (4:11) "everyone knows that someone who enters the inner court uninvited has but one fate – death." We see from here that appearing uninvited is not tolerated by human royalty and therefore, is certainly not suitable for Divine royalty either. 


This does bring up a question. When Vashti publicly spurned Achashveirosh's invitation, there was a whole tribunal to discuss her fate. It seems that appearing before the king uninvited is considered far more drastic than failing to appear when summoned. Why would this be? We have a couple of days to think about it.


Have a good Shabbos. 

Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah!


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Dikdukian Posts on Megillas Esther

Dikdukian: Ner Tamid

Dikdukian: Of Plurals and Singulars

Dikdukian: The Lord and the Rings

Dikdukian: Tarshsih veShoham

Dikdukian: Sham and Shamah

Daily Leaf:

:נ"ט Niagara Falls

.ס The Switcheroo

:ס Man of Compromise

.ס"ג You're the Man!

:ס"ג Honouring the Host

.ס"ג Good Fences

:ס"ג In Praise of Alexander Graham Bell

:ס"ג Egyptian Hospitality

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on