Monthly Archives: January 2008

A documented source for pointing to the Torah with the pinky

There is a very "popular" minhag that when the Sefer Torah is lifted up during hagbah, the whole congregation stands and points to it with their pinky. I had always assumed that there was no source for it, just something that developed over time. According to R'Ari Enkin of Hirhurim, that is in fact not the case. He points to the the Me'am Loez on Parshat Ki Tavo which if not the original source for the minhag, at least documents that this minhag is fairly old (The author of the Me'am Loez began writing in 1730 (from this Wiki article ). If anyone has the full text, could they please post it up into the comments. Many thanks.

The Midrash on Self Perception

"And we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers, and so were we in their eyes" (Num 13:33). The Holy One said to the scouts: You don't know what you have just let your mouths utter. I am ready to put up with you saying "We were in our own eyes as grasshoppers". But I do take offense at your assserting, "and so were we in their eyes". Could you possibly know how I made you appear in their eyes? How do you know but that in their eyes you were like angels?


The way I interperet this mishna is as follows. All of us have a perception of ourselves, but more importantly all us make assumptions about how others perceive us. Although empowering giving us a sense of balance and place, this can be very  damaging. We often have a tendency to imagine that people think us of little worth, conjuring up in minds all conversations that people must be having with themselves about something we did or did not do. The reality is that we are often so off the mark with these illusions that we become our worst enemy, making mountains out of mole hills and inflicting apon ourselves endless suffering. 1% of pain comes from reality, 99% of pain comes from ourselves. The mishna is teaching us to assume that people think of us positively, not to do so is not only a sin against ourselves but against Hashem himself. 



I am back

Sorry for the site being down for the last couple of days. Unfortunately my blog host has removed its free hosting service, so I had to fork out the credit card to register it. Oh well, as long as you guys keep reading, well that is all that matters. Will post up something shortly.