As the Book of Shemot opens, Yosef and his brothers have all died, a new Pharaoh has emerged in Egypt and enslaved Bnei Yisrael, and the Jews have gone through tremendous population growth. The subject of Shemot, Vayeira, Bo and Beshalach is the process of freeing this large group from Pharaoh’s control. While we read these opening chapters, the editorial board of Kol HaBirah is giving birth to a new newspaper for the Greater Washington area’s Jewish community.
According to Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, King David was the first to use the term HaBirah, to describe the Beit HaMikdash. Prior to the time-period of the Purim story, there is no other mention of “birah” in Tanach. To a Jew in the time of Esther, “Kol HaBirah” would mean a lot more than the voice of Washington, DC, the capital–– it would mean the voice of Hashem, from the central focal point of Judaism. Referring to the capital city of Shushan as “HaBirah” in the Megillah is a sarcastic condemnation of the failure of the people of that generation to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Mishkan.