Parshas Nasso

SIVAN, 5779

 Interpreting Artifacts

As in the gift of Manna, so it is in the memory of artifacts

After the exodus from Egypt, Hashem gifted the Jews with manna, ’heavenly bread’, to consume during their travels in the wilderness.

Hashem furthermore commanded Moshe:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֗ה זֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה הֹ' מְלֹ֤א הָעֹ֨מֶר֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לְמִשְׁמֶ֖רֶת לְדֹרֹֽתֵיכֶ֑ם לְמַ֣עַן יִרְא֣וּ אֶת־הַלֶּ֗חֶם אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֶֽאֱכַ֤לְתִּי אֶתְכֶם֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר בְּהֽוֹצִיאִ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם

“Moses said, This is the thing that the Lord commanded: Let one omerful of it be preserved for your generations, in order that they see the bread that I fed you in the desert when I took you out of the land of Egypt.”

Like the saved Manna, the Torah is providing us with a template to preserve the meaning of the Holocaust artifact.



Dear Friend,

Rabbi Klonimus Kalmish Shapira (1889–1943), was a scion of a distinguished Chassidic family. He was the rav of Piaseczno, Poland and authored several sefarim, including the Chovas HaTalmidim, which serves as a guide for educating youth.

While in the Warsaw Ghetto, Rabbi Shapira wrote a sefer that was a compilation of his weekly sermons to his students. He addressed questions of faith in the face of mounting suffering and continued to inspire others to remain strong and unwavering in their beliefs. When it became apparent to Rabbi Shapira that the liquidation of the ghetto and all its inhabitants was near, he buried the book in a canister. A construction worker found it after the war and the sefer was subsequently published under the title Aish Kodesh.

Rabbi Shapira was murdered 1943.


כֹּ֥ה תְבָרֲכ֖וּ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל..... יְבָרֶכְךָ֥ ה' וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ..... וְשָׂמ֥וּ אֶת־שְׁמִ֖י עַל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַאֲנִ֖י אֲבָרֲכֵֽם׃

 “So shall you bless B’nei Yisrael…G-d should bless you and watch over you. I will put My Name on B’nei Yisrael, and I will bless them.”

When G-d commands the Kohanim to bless the people, at first it sounds like the blessing comes from the Kohanim themselves. Yet, later in the verse, G-d says that the blessing is from Him? Furthermore, the verse previously specified the exact words of the blessing, so what does G-d mean with, “I will put My Name over you”?

The Aish Kodesh explains that with any spiritual quest, there are many levels along the path of growth. If one desires to draw himself close to G-d, it is not enough to simply do the mitzvos. He must harness all his emotions and faculties to further this goal. Our Chasidic masters taught that before praying, one can think of his love for his children, and then think of all the good G-d has done for him.

Of course, it is much more difficult to channel one’s positive feelings if he is oppressed by all sorts of hardships. Perhaps this is the meaning of the words, “I will put my Name upon you.” This alludes to a full blessing, complete in spiritual and material success, allowing us to use our physical wellbeing to appreciate His goodness.


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