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Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi David Shasho

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה כְּתָב־לְךָ֖ אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה כִּ֞י עַל־פִּ֣י ׀ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה כָּרַ֧תִּי אִתְּךָ֛ בְּרִ֖ית וְאֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

And Hashem said to Moshe, “Write down these commandments, for in accordance with these commandments I make a covenant with you and with Israel.” The Ben Ish Chai explains that from this Pasuk we learn the source for the Oral Torah (תורה שבעל פה). Chazal have learned in many places that the words ״כִּי עַל פִּי״ specifically refer to the Oral Torah. From these words the Gemara (Gittin 60b) teaches that Hashem only made a covenant with the Jewish people because of the Oral Torah.

There is another name given to the Oral Torah. It is known as Emunah (faith) because it is our duty to believe and trust in our Rabbis who learned out things from the Written Torah which were not specified otherwise. We therefore find that whoever studies the Oral Torah (Gemara) is delving into Emunah.

Tosafot in the Gemara Sanhedrin (7a) asks a question on two sources which seem to contradict each other. In one place it says when someone dies he will be judged firstly on his Torah studies. Whereas in another place it says he will be first asked, “Did you deal in business with Emunah? Did you set time to study Torah?” Which question was asked first?

With this understanding we can answer this question. When he is asked if he conducted business with Emunah, the Emunah referred to here is the Oral Torah. Only after being asked about that, is he asked if he also set time for studying the Written Torah. Those are the first two questions which need to be answered when someone passes away. Did you set time for studying both Torahs?

In the Oral Torah there are six orders ((זרעים,מועד,נשים,נזיקין,קדשים,טהרות
Each one individually is called Emunah (אמונה). If you take the numerical value of the word it equals 102 – times six (for the six orders) equals 612. This is also the numerical value of the word בּרית (covenant). כִּ֞י עַל־פִּ֣י ׀ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה כָּרַ֧תִּי אִתְּךָ֛ בְּרִ֖ית וְאֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ Only for these words, the Oral Torah, did God make a covenant with us.

Let us all strive to grow in our Torah learning which will also build our Emunah and trust in Hashem. This will help us live a more productive and meaningful life.

Shabbat Shalom!!

 

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Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi Shlomo Zargari

Shalom,

In parashat תצוה (כח, לג) the pasuk talks about the glorious garments that the Kohen Gadol must wear. Among them is the מעיל which is a garment similar to a long Talit Katan. It has embroidered pomegranates and bells on the bottom:

וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ עַל־שׁוּלָ֗יו רִמֹּנֵי֙ תְּכֵ֤לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן֙ וְתוֹלַ֣עַת שָׁנִ֔י עַל־שׁוּלָ֖יו סָבִ֑יב וּפַעֲמֹנֵ֥י זָהָ֛ב בְּתוֹכָ֖ם סָבִֽיב׃

On its hem make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, all around the hem, with bells of gold between them all around:

The Talmud in Hulin 89b teaches us the following:

אמר רבי יצחק מאי דכתיב (תהלים נח, ב) האמנם אלם צדק תדברון מישרים תשפטו בני אדם מה אומנותו של אדם בעולם הזה ישים עצמו כאלם יכול אף לדברי תורה תלמוד לומר צדק תדברון יכול יגיס דעתו ת”ל מישרים תשפטו בני אדם

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Do you indeed [ha’umnam] speak as a righteous company [elem]? Do you judge with equity [meisharim] the sons of men” (Tehilim 58:2)? The verse is interpreted as follows: What should be a person’s occupation [umanut] be in this world? He should render himself silent as a mute [ilem]. If so, one might have thought that he should render himself as a mute even with regard to words of Torah. Therefore, the verse states: “Speak as a righteous company,” indicating that one should speak the righteous words of Torah…

We learn from here, says the holy חפץ חיים, that anytime one has a moment, he should not sit idle but study the Torah. If for any reason he cannot study, he should make himself like a mute that can’t open his mouth. That’s why on the bottom of this garment there were pomegranates and the bells. The bells make sounds, alluding to Torah study. The pomegranate is silent and that’s a hint for us to keep silent when we aren’t learning Torah. When one behaves in such manner, the Torah promises us:

וְנִשְׁמַ֣ע ק֠וֹלוֹ בְּבֹא֨וֹ אֶל־הַקֹּ֜דֶשׁ לִפְנֵ֧י ה…

…so that the sound of it is heard when he comes into the sanctuary before HaShem …

His prayers and Torah will be heard by The Almighty. Amen

 

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Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi David Cohen

They shall make a Sanctuary for Me so that I may dwell among them. (25:8)

It is apropos that the first week Yachad Kollel begins learning in the new building is Parshat Terumah, the portion dealing with the building of the Mishkan. The Alshich HaKadosh, zl, notes the use of the word, b’tocham, in them, rather than b’tocho, in it. This teaches that every Jew must serve as a veritable Mishkan, sanctuary, for Hashem. Every Jew is a mikdash me’at, miniature sanctuary. This should be our self-view, and likewise, the way we look at others.

So while the Kollel enjoys the surrounding of a new beit midrash building, it is the people who it was built for that are the real Mishkan. May the community merit to see the mishkan me’at that is within us and the mikdash me’at that is the Kollel grow together!

Shabbat Shalom

 

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Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi Shemuel Akhamzadeh

וְכִֽי־יַכֶּ֨ה אִ֜ישׁ אֶת־עֵ֥ין עַבְדּ֛וֹ אֽוֹ־אֶת־עֵ֥ין אֲמָת֖וֹ וְשִֽׁחֲתָ֑הּ לַֽחָפְשִׁ֥י יְשַׁלְּחֶ֖נּוּ תַּ֥חַת עֵינֽוֹ׃

When a man (master) strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye.

Many question Hashem’s fairness and mercy when a child is born with a certain defect, or when a youngster gets sick or passes. Obviously, this is very hard for the relatives and everyone should pray for them. However, Ben Ish Chai in his drashot on the parasha gives an explanation to solve the riddle. He says we can see the answer from the words of this pasuk: וְכִֽי־יַכֶּ֨ה אִ֜יש – when a man strikes his slave. This phrase is hinting to when Hashem strikes a person by a blemish. לַֽחָפְשִׁ֥י יְשַׁלְּחֶ֖נּוּ – It is for sending him free on the account of a certain spiritual blemish.

Ben Ish Chai continues to explain from the following verse: וְאִם־שֵׁ֥ן עַבְדּ֛וֹ אֽוֹ־שֵׁ֥ן אֲמָת֖וֹ יַפִּ֑יל – If he knocks out the tooth of his slave (he goes free). שֵׁ֥ן is a shortened form of the Hebrew word Shana (year). If the master causes the years of his servant to be lost, it is to free him from his blemish. He explains that the Neshama actually begs Hashem for these defects since they will help fix the soul.

Shabbat Shalom

 

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Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi Yosef Shemtov

This week’s portion contains the most important incident in the Torah which is Matan Torah. Rambam states our belief in Judaism is not because of the miracles Moshe performed, but rather because 600,000 Jews from age 20 and up were at Har Sinai and heard the Almighty talking. They all agreed by saying, “Naaseh ve nishma,” meaning we have so much faith in you that we are willing to do everything we are commanded and we will educate ourselves about it. No other nation in the world can claim that God spoke to them. This was only because of the Almighty’s love for Beni Israel.

It is interesting to note that before receiving the Torah, it says Beni Israel were standing under Mount Sinai. The Gemara asks why does it say under the mountain? Shouldn’t it say by the mountain?The Gemara answers that the Almighty picked up the mountain and placed it on top of the nation and warned them that if they don’t accept Torah, the world will cease to exist and they all would die.

The obvious question is, “Didn’t they say ‘Naasee ve nishma’ (we will do and educate ourselves)? So what was the reason for forcing them?”
Maaral answers that God wanted to show Beni Israel that of course we need to accept the Torah lovingly, but we need to understand that the world cannot exist without the Torah and merit in the world only exists because of Torah.

That’s why we make a blessing everyday thanking Hashem that we had merit that the Torah was given to Beni Israel, because Torah is the source of all the blessing. Let’s try to bring this great blessing to ourselves and family by keeping and learning the Torah.