Prayer for Israel

by Rabbi Tziona Szajman

My mind can not analyze to give words of comfort or wisdom. The number of rockets, the counted deaths, the political theories…

I see only the mother rushing her child to a shelter as she hears the alarm. She is singing comforting words, hoping her daughter does not see the fear in her eyes.

In another shelter sits a woman praying to God that her children are safe. They are with their father across town. She prays they are safe in the shelter there and counts the hours and minutes until they are reunited.

A toddler, a baby, is held in his mother’s arms… she prays that the bombs don’t come for them.

Another mother waits, listening carefully to the news. Her son is a soldier at the front, only 18.

Four mothers grieve for teenage sons who will never see adulthood.

And another mother mourns as her son becomes a stranger to her. She grieves what her son has become.

God give comfort to the mothers who cry out for their children. Hear their prayers. Bring them peace.

Parashat Pinhas

We have been saddened recently by the deaths of yeshiva students Gil-Ad Shaer,16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 who were kidnapped from a hitchhiking point in Gush Etzion and were then found dead two weeks ago, allegedly at the hands of Hamas extremists. Anger has been expressed by many over this terrorist act. Different people called for different action? Two days later, the burned corpse of 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir was found in the Jerusalem Forest. Was this Israeli retaliation? In the aftermath of these brutal murders, the Israeli government vows to and bring those responsible for the murder of the three students to justice. Hamas is calling for another Intifada. Hamas is shooting rockets at Israel and Israel is performing airstrikes on terrorist targets in Gaza. When is the response appropriate and when is it outside the bounds of acceptable behavior? What if we desire or choose actions that go against our values and who we are as human-beings? As we face these questions, we read this week of the Israelite priest and zealot Pinhas. Pinhas is the grandson of Aaron about whom it is said, “ohev shalom v’rodef shalom, ohev et habriyot …” – “he loves peace and pursues peace, he loves all creatures.” And yet, this grandson of a people-lover and peace-pursuer is famous for an act of violent, vigilante justice. When, at the conclusion of last week’s parasha, an Israelite man and Midianite woman were publicly engaged in relations, Pinhas took justice into his own hands and speared them both through the gut. While the Rabbis are suspicious both of Pinhas’ violence and his lack of legal process, the Torah is perfectly clear that God approves of his act as legitimate zeal and passion. In fact, God rewards Pinhas with two covenants, brit shalom, the covenant of peace, and brit kehunat olam, the eternal covenant of priesthood. What can be more of a paradox than one act of violence leading to a secure future of peace and priesthood? How are we to understand Pinhas, and what can we learn from him? Is he a hot, holy warrior whose instrument is the spear? Or is he a peaceful man of God whose instrument is prayer and sacrifice? The answer is both. He preferred prayers over spears, but he felt compelled by circumstances beyond his control to use his spear on this one occasion. Here was a public act of gross sexual impropriety; and the extant leadership, including Moses, was stymied, reduced to ineffectual weeping. Meanwhile, the plague God had sent was devastating the community. Under these circumstances – public apostasy, sexual immorality, immobilized leadership, massive plague – Pinhas felt like he had no choice but to act as he did. But a Rabbinic Midrash emphasizes Pinhas’ great discomfort with the spear by teaching that after he had committed this act of violence, he prayed, and it was this prayer that stopped the plague. According to this view, he deserved covenants of peace and priesthood, because he was a warrior only reluctantly. At heart, he was a priest and a man of peace. Like Pinhas, sometimes we feel compelled to do what we feel is necessary even though it may be contrary to our very essence, who we really are. Like Pinhas, afterwards, we may be uncomfortable or ashamed of our actions. This problem of circumstances making us into someone other than who we really are, is different for Pinhas than for us. Pinhas’ problem, his action, was in response to God’s open displeasure of the actions of the Israelites as demonstrated by the plague.  I am certainly not advocating violence or vigilante justice. However, we can derive a glimmer of a solution from Pinhas. After his moment of aberration, he went back to being a priest. His deeds, throughout the week, were priestly. In a similar way, even in a trying situation, we must find a way to express what is most important to us – to reinforce our value-driven essence through value-driven deeds. This is a lifelong challenge of expressing our quintessence in conduct. We can only strive to grow in our ability to accomplish this. When you find yourself in a situation that you struggle to resolve through the values of your soul, we can look to Pinhas. Like Pinhas, there will always be circumstances that squelch our essence. But Pinhas reminds us to try hard to reinforce our essence through daily conduct. If you are a priest, not a warrior, do priestly deeds as much as possible. In the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, it is not always easy to know the true essence of either side. This week the families of Naftali Fraenkel and Muhammad Abu Khdeir spoke with each other and consoled one another. Both begged for the violence to end. There is now a move to make this Tuesday, Shiva Asar b’Tammuz, a traditional fast day for Jews, into a joint fast day for Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, who wish to end the violence in the region. This, then, is the priestly side overtaking the warrior. We are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. God’s ways are complex and mysterious and sometimes so are ours. May we continue to grow in understanding and managing the challenges of being human.

Parshat VaYehi

Three men came to the angel of fire and asked him to entrust them with his most precious possession, the white fire. The angel gave it to them with the instruction, “Keep it well and use it wisely.” Thereupon, the three joyous men departed, each to his own home.

The first one walked into a dark valley where people were groping in total blackness. On all sides, he heard their cries of anguish, “If only someone would bring light and liberate us from this dark prison.” The man, deeply moved by their cries, and with the fire which the angel had given him, kindled wood and made a huge fire which led them out of the darkness toward the light of the sun.

The second man’s journey took him to a snowcapped mountain where people were freezing. He was so moved by their plight that he used the fire which the angel had given him to light a fire to provide warmth for the people. The third man thought, “How can I keep my fire safe so that the winds will not blow it out nor the rains extinguish it? I will hide it within my heart where no harm can come to it.”

When the three men returned from their journeys and appeared before the angel of fire, the angel asked each in turn, “How did you use my gift?” The first on answered that he made a light for the distressed people in darkness. Thereupon, the angel said, “Your fire will never burn out.” The second man replied that by the fire he saved people from freezing to death. “You fire, too, will never burn out,” said the angel. The third one said, “I have brought my fire safely to the end of the journey. So, it is hidden in my heart.” “Oh, poor man,” exclaimed the angel, as he showed him that the fire had gone out. “My white fire can live only when it is used and shared with others.”

When we return the Torah to the ark we sing, “עץ חיים היא…” “It is a Tree of Life for those who cling to it … Renew our days as of old. There are some very moving tunes for this but what does it really mean? How can we renew our days by clinging to the Torah? And how is the Torah a Tree of Life?

Let’s examine with the metaphor of the Torah as a Tree of Life. A tree needs fresh air and sunlight and so does the Torah. As with the white fire, the Torah must be used and shared with others. Just as a tree needs care, so does the Torah. A tree has sturdy roots, as does the Torah. Our ancestors have passed it down to us. Trees also last eternally. It continues to bear fruit year after year. In order for the Torah to continue to bear fruit, it must be passed on to our children.

In this week’s parasha, VaYehi, Jacob brings his sons together before his death saying, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come.” He then speaks to each son in turn, giving them each a blessing for the future. Jacob has a very personal relationship with God and wants his children to carry on that relationship.

Jacob’s desire to pass on his relationship with God can best be explained through the following story which also explains the three paragraphs of the Shema. At the end of his life, Jacob wants to ensure that his children maintain the relationship with God that he and his ancestors have enjoyed. He gathers them together and says to the “You must love God …” thereby reciting the first paragraph of the Shema. He continues, by explaining the blessings for obeying God and the curses for disobeying. This is the second paragraph of the Shema. Finally, he recites the third paragraph telling his children to remember the commandments by tying tzitzit onto their garments. The sons respond in unison, “Hear, Israel (another name for Jacob), Adonai is our God, Adonai is One.” Jacob, thereby, blesses his children with their relationship with God which continues to this day.

A powerful custom has become popular at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. The parents and grandparents are invited onto the bimah and the Torah is passed from grandparent to parent to child. When I see this, I feel the entirety of our tradition passing from our ancestors to us. The message is that Torah, in its largest meaning, is passed from generation to generation, midor l’dor. Just as Jacob passed on his relationship with God to his children, we are charged with passing our relationship on to our children.

The prayer, Eitz Hayyim tells us that we must cling to the Torah. This means action. The Torah, the prayer promises, “renews our days” when we use the lessons found in it. The Rabbis teach, “Great is the teaching of Torah, for the teaching leads to action. In other words, Torah is not measured by one’s knowledge but by how one turns the knowledge into action. We are obligated to use what we learn to help finish the work of creation and help make this world a better place for all.

This is the lesson that must be passed on to the next generation. In order for the Torah to be a Tree of Life, one needs to cling to it and use what we learn to help God in repairing the world, tikkun olam. The world will then be renewed to the ideal of the Garden of Eden by hastening the coming of the Messiah.

Parshat VaYigash

As a child, I used to wear a wonderful t-shirt that said, “A woman’s place is in the house … and Senate.” I come from a family that was devoted to feminist ideals. Therefore, I have always been bothered, as I studied the Torah, how few women are mentioned, and, of those, how few are mentioned by name. It gave me the message that only men are important. Their contributions made the Jewish people. This week’s parasha, VaYigash, mentions a woman that few people recognize. Serach bat Asher, the daughter of Asher, is mentioned among all of the family who went down to Egypt with Jacob. Who is she?

Just as one may believe that anyone not mentioned or named in the Torah must not be important, anyone that is named must be an important figure. However, Serach bat Asher only appears as a name on a list. Except that she is not just a name on a list because she is a woman and no other woman’s name appears on this list. Are we to assume that no other women lived among Jacob’s family? I doubt that. Rather, she must be mentioned because she was special and accomplished special tasks.

The Rabbis agree and share four stories, not in the Torah, about Serach bat Asher that help explain her import.

The first is found in the midrash for parshat VaYigash. After Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, they go back home and must tell their elderly father that the son he thought was dead is, in fact, alive and well and living in Egypt. As the brothers return home, they try to think of a way to break the news to their father gently. The son for whom he still mourns is alive. They fear that the news will kill him.

On the way home, the brothers run into Serach bat Asher in the forest. She is known as a talented singer and a wise woman. In addition, she plays the harp. The brothers send Serach, with her harp, to her grandfather and ask her to break the news to him that Joseph is still alive. Serach takes her harp, comes to her grandfather’s home, and sits near Jacob. She sings, “Joseph my uncle is living, and he rules throughout the Land of Egypt. He is not dead.” She sings these words until Jacob can take them in and hear their message. The words and the notes of her song re-awaken Jacob’s spirit, and life comes back into his eyes.

For the gift of life she brings him with her song, Jacob grants Serach eternal life. She is, therefore, alive hundreds of years later when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Most of the people forgot the life in Israel but Serach bat Asher still remembers. When Moses comes back from the wilderness and claims to be sent by God to deliver the people out of Egypt, the Israelites do not know what to do and they consult Serach. A special sign has been passed on from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to his sons one of whom is Asher who has passed it on to his daughter Serach.

The elders come before Serach bat Asher and tell her, “a man has come, and he has performed miracles in our sight.” She tells them that the miracles count for nothing. They then say to her, “He said the words, פקוד פקדתי, I will surely remember.” Serach bat Asher responds, “If this is so, he is the man who will lead Israel from slavery into freedom.” On Serach’s word, the people of Israel accepted Moses as their leader. Serach uses her knowledge of the ancestral past to move the Israelites forward into the future.

The third story occurred when the people are preparing to leave Egypt. The tenth plague has wiped out all of Egypt’s firstborn and the Children of Israel need to leave in a hurry but the pillar of cloud that God has sent to guide the people stands still and refuses to move. Moses does not know what to do so he goes to each tribe individually asking if anyone knows why this is happening. When he asks the tribe of Asher, Serach steps forward and explains to Moses that the pillar is waiting for them to fulfill the promise made to Joseph. They cannot leave without bringing the bones of her uncle Joseph with them. She shows Moses where the bones are buried and the people are able to depart. Her knowledge of the past, again allows Serach bat Asher to help the people of Israel move forward into their future.

The final story occurred in the second century of the Common Era. Rabbi Yochanan is teaching about the parting of the Reed Sea and explains that the walls of the water looked to the Israelites like lattice bars. Serach bat Asher interrupts and says, “I was there and it was not like that.” She explains that the walls of water actually looked like clear glass. Why does she appear in a story in the second century and why did I include this story? Perhaps, I just like the idea that a woman can enter the Beit Midrash, a house of study, and contradict a great scholar like Rabbi Yochanan. But there is another reason. To Serach bat Asher, the past is as clear as glass. She lived it and still remembers it. To Rabbi Yochanan, looking at the past, he is an outsider looking in. He feels like he is looking through lattice bars.

Serach uses her voice to link generations and to guide her people through moments of shock and transition. She accompanies the people of Israel as they come down to Egypt and remains with then as they are redeemed from Egypt, helping them to move forward. She is a guide for people who have forgotten the stories, the secrets, the songs that their grandfathers and grandmothers knew.

Serach bat Asher not only knows the secrets and mysteries of the past, she is a mystery. Her experiences need to be shared with others throughout history. We can learn a lesson from her. When we look at the past, study its texts, when we read of one explanation, we must be prepared to say, I was there and it was not like that.” We must use our own experiences to make the past a wall of clear glass rather than of lattice bars.

Parshat Miketz

On Friday night, parents bless their children. Our matriarchs serve as the model for our daughters. “ישימך אלקים כשרה, רבקה, רחל, ולאה” “May God bless you like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah.” This makes sense, since each one represents important qualities with which we want to imbue our children. Accordingly, one might think that the patriarchs would serve as the model for our sons. Instead, we say, “ישימך אלקים כאפריים וכמנשה.” “May God bless you like Efraim and Menasseh.” This is not a parallel blessing to daughters. We choose not to express our wish for our sons to emulate the patriarchs. We need to explore how Joseph’s sons, Efraim and Menasseh, two generations later, serve as the model for our sons.

In this week’s parasha, Miketz, Efraim and Menasseh are introduced. We learn of their births and about the names that Joseph chooses for them. What Efraim and Menasseh’s names symbolize gives us the reason for the Friday night blessing. Through his choice of names, Joseph teaches us important lessons about how to live our lives after experiencing pain and hurt, and how to release ourselves from our pain.

The Rabbis addressed the topic of pain through the story of the Garden of Eden. When God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for eating from the tree of knowledge, God laments that human-beings will now experience pain. The classic Jewish understanding of God’s lament explains that God cries with us. We see God portrayed as the parent who mourns the fact that he/she can no longer protect his/her child from every bump and scrape. Indeed, ever since the Garden of Eden, everyone experiences adversity. Joseph teaches us how to navigate through the pain.

Cher says it best. In her song, Believe, she expresses Joseph’s struggle. Cher sings, “Do you believe in life after love?” Rather than ask about another love, Cher simply wants to know how to keep on living after a love affair ends. This love affair represents shattered expectations and dreams.

Joseph’s first son, Menasseh’s name comes from the Hebrew root which means forget. Joseph explains, “For God has made me forget all my trouble I endured in my father’s household.” At first glance, this name seems contradictory. After all, if you name your son for your past suffering, are you really forgetting? Why does Joseph choose a name that constantly serves as reminder of his suffering, thereby preventing him from forgetting?

Joseph, in fact, does not forget. We see, later in the parasha, that Joseph remembers all that happened to him in his father’s house. Joseph encounters his brothers making them suffer until they prove that they have changed. First, he imprisons them all. Then, he forces them to leave one brother behind in jail while they return to bring Benjamin with them. Finally, he threatens to imprison Benjamin for life.

If Joseph remembers everything, then, why does he name his son Menasseh, to forget?

I have long contemplated this seeming contradiction. I want to share with you what I have come to understand. Joseph does not forget the past. Instead, Joseph remembers the past. However, Joseph releases himself from the burden of the past. He no longer holds onto the hurt and learns to thrive despite the pain that he suffered. He forgives but does not, in fact, forget.

Judaism teaches the paradox that remembering leads to healing. Remembering, in Hebrew, comes from the root zayin-kaf-reish. We observe a special Shabbat, Shabbat Zachor, before Purim. God obligates us to remember what Amalek did to us. They attacked us from behind, killing the old and the weak. We take that Shabbat to remind ourselves of their actions. You may ask why we carve out time to remember something so painful. We do what is necessary to continue our lives. By setting a specific time for remembering, we don’t spend all of our time dwelling on it. This is a paradigm for how to continue after we experience emotional or physical trauma. We easily fall into the trap of keeping that memory with us constantly, blaming someone else for wronging us. However, holding a grudge against someone else is like drinking the poison and expecting them to die. We know that doesn’t work with the poison but we often need to be reminded that when we carry around those dark feelings toward someone else, we aren’t hurting them in any way, but rather wasting our own precious time and energy.

We now move on to examine Efraim’s name. Joseph explains Efraim’s name, stating “For, God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Joseph moved on and is now fruitful. He marries a wife who bears him two sons and he serves as second in command to Pharaoh. He achieves much in Egypt despite his brothers’ attempt to destroy him physically by killing him or emotionally by selling him into slavery. Joseph learned to move forward with his life. He learned to heal himself so that that life after pain exists. He thrives in the face of pain. The names he bestows upon his two sons demonstrate how to journey from pain to healing.

I work with the L’Chaim Center which carries out community outreach and education in creative ways. The mission statement is “finding joy in the midst of adversity.” They do not suggest, in any way, that everything is for the better. We all wish that we, and even more so our loved ones, would not have to suffer at all. However, we know that difficulties, pain, and trauma are inevitable. Instead, while suffering, we can still find moments of joy, lessons for growth, and reasons to keep going.

This reminds me of a cartoon that shows a train heading into a dark tunnel. The caption reads, “due to budgetary constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel is temporarily out of order.” We laugh now but sometimes we look at things this way. We become so bogged down by our own suffering that we fail to see the positive in front of us.

Tradition teaches us that four angels surround us to help us through difficult times. Michael (literally, who is like God) stands on the right. He is on the right which indicates favored, close status, so he brings us closer to God. On our left is Gavriel (from the root Gibur, meaning power). He provides us with strength and stands, therefore, on our left, our weaker side. In front of us. is Uriel. His name comes from Or, light, and he guides us on our path. Finally, behind us is Refael, the angel of healing, from refuah. Refael stands behind us because, sometimes, when we are sick, either physically or emotionally, we can become overwhelmed, exhausted, and literally stuck. Refael behind us can give us a good kick in the rear to make sure that we continue to move forward. Also, with Refael behind us, we feel that our suffering lies behind us.

Further explanation of healing comes from the reverse order of Efraim and Menasseh in the Friday night blessing. Menasseh, the eldest, belongs first. Yet, when Jacob blesses his grandsons just before his death, he switches his hands, thereby giving Efraim the blessing of the firstborn. This provides another insight into the way in which these sons serve as a model for our children and ourselves. Efraim stands for moving forward in the face of adversity and Menasseh symbolizes forgetting by forgiving those who made us suffer. We begin to move forward even as we struggle to forgive and let go of the past.

The Torah teaches us the message that, through Joseph’s naming of his sons, we can, and should, move on after hardship and pain, though we may never forget the afflictions in our lives. Joseph demonstrates this incredibly important value when he tests his brothers and their loyalty to each other and to their father. Eventually he reveals his identity to them and in the end he rescues them from the famine.

We can apply this lesson today. The burdens we carry with us in life — our past hardships and afflictions — weigh us down only as long as we let them. Instead, allow past experiences to help shape future actions in positive ways. We make a difference in our lives and in the lives of our friends and family by doing this. In naming his sons, Joseph allows his past to constantly remind him, despite the literal meaning of his sons’ names, and ultimately his past inspires him to do good for others.

This blessing we want give to our children. May they not suffer any pain. But this is unrealistic, so when they do, may they learn from it, move past the suffering, and continue forward. This, after all, defines healing. We feel shalem, whole, through healing, and we then find shalom, peace.

Parshat Chayyei Sarah

Immediately preceding traditional Jewish weddings, the bride is covered with a veil in a ceremony called bedeken (from the Yiddish meaning “covering”). As this happens, the rabbi utters the words from Genesis 24:60, “May you grow into thousands of myriads.” These are the same words that Laban uttered as Rebecca left her family to marry Isaac. What is the connection between covering the bride with a veil and Rebecca? The Torah this week tells of Rebecca’s arrival to meet Isaac. “She said to the servant, “Who is this man coming in the field to meet us?” And the servant replied, “He is my master.” So she took the veil and covered herself. (Gen. 24:65)

According to Genesis Rabbah, there were two who covered themselves with a veil and who gave birth to twins: Rebecca and Tamar who veiled herself in order to disguise herself from Judah. What is the relationship of the veil to the twins? Rebecca’s twins, Jacob & Esau, were a portent of the war of one brother against another. Tamar’s twins, Peretz and Zerach (Gen. 38:29-30), are a hint of peace for from them will come with Messiah, the prince of peace.

Both of these matters, the war of brothers and the messianic peace, are covered with a veil. They are a mystery. No one knows when the first will end and the second will prevail. But one is bound to the other. When the Holy One removes the veil from one, the second will be revealed.

The veil, then, is really what hides Messiah from us. We do not know when the Messiah will come, where the Messiah will come. Everything regarding Messiah is veiled in mystery. Esau and Jacob’s life was one of strife and struggle and the lives of Peretz and Zerach was pre-messianic. We don’t understand why. Like the time of the Messiah, it remains a mystery to us; it is veiled.

Parshat Vayera

This week’s parsha is so full of well-known stories that it is difficult to focus on just one. Instead, I choose to speak about one word. Now that I have your waiting to discover what the word will be, I will set the stage. God and Avraham have become closer. They have made a pact together. Avraham has traveled a great distance at God’s insistence and has even circumcised himself at the age of 99. God has made a great show of this covenant with a fiery sword and by taking Avraham out to look at the stars. God now decides to share with Avraham some of God’s less positive future plans. God tells Avraham that because of their evil behavior, all of Sodom and Amorah will be destroyed.

The famous story continues that Avraham argues with God and pleads for God to save the cities if there are some righteous people in them. This is where the word appears. “ויגש אברהם”, “And Avraham approached.” Rashi notes three other occurrences of the word ויגש, and he approachred, in the Tanakh. The word ויגש is used in I Chronicles when Yoav approaches the Arameans to make war, the word ויגש is used in Parshat Vayigash when Judah approaches his brother Joseph who is in power in Egypt to make peace, and the word ויגש is used in I Kings when Elijah approaches the altar that will be a test of God’s presence, to pray.

We are, therefore, given, by Rashi, three different usages of the word ויגש, and he approached. One is to make war. The second is to make peace with one who is in power. And the third is to pray to God. Rashi tells us that, in the case of Avraham confronting God over Sodom, the word ויגש means all three. Avraham approaches God to challenge God just as Yoav challenges the Arameans before making war. Avraham approaches God to appease God whom Avraham knows is more powerful just as Judah tries to appease Joseph who is more powerful than he. Finally, Avraham approaches God in order to pray to God for mercy. All of these things were encompassed in the act of approach. What a complex conversation Avraham was about to have with God.

This is the nature of prayer, though. Whenever we dialogue with God. Sometimes we enter the synagogue with something in our minds and during the course of the prayer another set of feelings or thoughts – completely unexpected – emerges. And sometimes, the circumstances about which we pray are intrinsically complex, and we pray for conflicting outcomes. We may want our terminally ill relative to be cured, and yet we also want him/her to have the peaceful release that can only come with death. We may want our children to have the best but may also want them to make their own choices and live with their own consequences. These dramas of the soul have a real model in Avraham’s life-and-death confrontation with God.

Rashi teaches of 3 other instances of the word ויגש. However, the search that I did yielded a total of 19 occurrences of the word. Rashi chose these three examples to make a point. Rashi recognized the complex and often contradictory nature of prayer. We are often not clear ourselves as to our true motives or desires.

In addition, Rashi sensitizes us to the drama of the moment of confrontation with God by making us aware of the moment before confrontation. In the same manner, we must pay more attention to the moments leading up to prayer. In our day, this translates to the quiet moments as we enter the synagogue, kiss the mezuzah, wrap ourselves in a tallit. The moments when we stare at the siddur or into space. These are our moments of approaching. If Rashi could fill Avraham’s moments of approach with meaning, there is hope that we can fill ours with meaning, as well.