The virtual Kehilla of Orthodox Jewry of Greater Montreal

T'u b'Av - Maidens went out and danced in a circle

JbFI9755880TuBavChabad  There were no yome tovim for Israel as T'u b'Av and Yom Kippur.

Let it be , Yom Kippur, the end of slicha and kopere, the day when the second tablets were given, but why t'u b'Av.

We know of 7 events on that day.I saw an insight ascribed to the holy Rebbe R' Avraham Yehoshua Hershel of Mezibuz; The Chazal say that in the future haShem will make a circle for tzaddikim....When people move in a circle, there is no head or bottom , so too there will be no jealousy between tzaddikim , just as the heavenly 'mazalos' where each one goes up 'backwards' and its 'face' to the back of its friend 'below' which looks as that he goes up first.

The 15th letter of the laphebet is the somech , a circle.This was the simcha of t'u b'Av.

Perhaps withg this we can understand a difficult medrash.We know that each year after the slanders of the spies 15,000 people dug their graves and lay down to die (the genration of 600,000 / by 40 years).The last 9th of av , 15,000 dug their graves, but lo and behold in the morning , they are still alive!

Maybe it is a mistake; so they lie down again, and again , till the full moon.and they realize the decree of death has been lifted.The first simcha of t'u b'Av.

What had actually happnened to that decree , why were they still alive.No one can give an answer for the horrors ofthe many  Hitlers y's our people have had to endure, but one thing we know, those who survived the camps had no sense of jealousy of one to another.The Jewish people are a corporate body which transcends place and time.That is why the whole generation needed a tikun for the sin of the few.But if all had died, then the generation wouldn't have its tikun complete .The tikun for loshon hara is to wipe out completely all vestiges of smallness and petty jealousy.

The entrance to Gan Eden on earth is the capacity to love .this is the dance of the maidens , the time for shidduchin , and the time for the shidduch of the jewish people with their betrothed, the Ribbono shel Olam.

Mazla tov , Montreal.

And let us begin to look forward to the High holy Days!


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Burning of the Red Heifer - The Burning of the Talmud - The Tragedy in Nice France

Zos Chukas haTorah Adom ki Yomus b'ohel

Ein divrey torah miskayim ela b'mi she memes atzmo alehaBook Burning Christian 300x276

אין דברי תןרה מתקים אלא במי שמימית עצמו עליה

'A man who dies in the tent ' - the words of torah can only reside in someone who totally immerses himself - ie. to be dead to the world- in the tents of torah'

How especially poignant to us are the words of the baal medrash become , when we read that when the church burnt the talmud , they did so with an official 'executioner'.Actually ,yes, the words of the living talmud are ingrained in the souls of our people and not on old parchment.

Twenty four cartloads of jewish books burnt "at the stake" in front of the Louvre in Paris June 17, 1242 ,Friday, erev shabbas, parshas Chukas (this writer's gentile birthday and bar mitzva sedra).It was the beginning of more than 500 years of such profanity (the last fire in 1757). The great sages of the time  decreed a fast on Friday erev shabbas as they understood the destruction to tie in to the parsha ,(one of the baale tosfos asked a shela b'shemayim and was answered that the day was the cause -'This is the chok (law without explanation) of the torah.

The Church was right, the ideas and sacrifice of our people for living words of haShem through the mesorah was  dangerous to them.That event signaled the end of the great Jewish presence in France.In an article attributed to Rabbi Wein's history lessons 

the ramifications were many ,including and up to the future secular Nazis and their evil ways..tammuza 300x238

          כאשר יענו אתו כן ירבה וכן יפרץ    

The more they were afflicted , the more they grew and spread

While the Church and their students continually degraded themselves , the burnings had the opposite effect on the Jews.Rabbenu Yonah connected that desecration with the burning of the Rambam's works in 1233 , also in Paris (which he himself had partially instigated ) .As a result he wrote the Shaare Teshuva -  'The Gates of Repentance' the pillar of the mussar movement.That work and others to follow would focus on building the inner sanctums of the ethical and religious jew .Our passion for the talmud just grew, and many say that the incessant burnings actually contributed to the flowering of kabbala amongst our people.

Last week's terrible sick 'attack' in Nice France , made this writer wonder.Google describes Nice as  "the city today balances old-world decadence with modern urban energy." I saw a well written article at   which impressed me.It describes the situation as a 'Clash of Civilizations".The anniversary of the storming of the Bastille was called trhe Feast of Federation,the celebration of French culture , of French ideals of "liberty, equality and fraternity".

"The revolution extolled reason; the fundamentalists worship at the alter of apocalyptic irrationality. And the revolution proclaimed (although it often failed to respect) freedom, including freedom of religion; the fundamentalists seek a caliphate in which only the laws of Islam prevail."

"But the revolution also established an enduring concept of citizenship that underpinned the French nation, “one and indivisible”. Far more than any other European country, it was open to foreigners; it demanded, however, that they join the nation on its terms. As Michael Walzer put it, “foreigners were welcomed — so long as they learned the French language, committed themselves to the republic, sent their children to state schools, and celebrated Bastille Day”.

It was equally insistent on what they were not to do: isolate themselves in ethnic enclaves that clashed with the broader community of citizens. Already in 1791, the refusal of a right to differentiate and divide was expressed in the Legislative Assembly’s debate on the emancipation of the Jews by Clermont-Tonnerre, a deputy of the centre, when he spoke for the majority (which favoured emancipation): “One must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation,” Clermont-Tonnerre declared, “and grant everything to the Jews as individuals.”

"In the country which long prided itself on being the “eldest daughter” of the church, there are more devout young Muslims than devout young Catholics and Protestants combined."


It seems somewhat ironic that the “eldest daughter of the church" who tried as much as they could to sniff out our national souls are facing today  the challenge of the end of theirs.

Perhaps this is hinted to at the end of the parsha - כי אש יצאה מחשבון להבה מקרית סיחן אכלה ער מואב בעלי במות ארנון - 'A fire went out from Cheshbon , a flame from the city of Sichon,it ate Or of Moab ,and baale bomos of Arnon.'

We were not allowed to go to war with Moab as we could not take their land ;it was given to the son of Lot.So a 'fire' went out from Sichon , the king of Emoree - from the land of Canaan, and ate up - conquered Moab.So , when Sichon went out to war with us, and we won, we were allowed to take those lands as our own.

The first Rashi in Chumash tells us that the torah as lawbook should have started with the first mitzva - the sanctification of the month.But it starts with sefer breishis , which we can't truly understand , to teach us that haShem , the Creator takes the land and gives it to whom He wishes.This is the ultimate answer to the world who will ultimately call us 'thieves.'

We  don't truly know the ways of haShem , and we certainly don't wish bad on any of haShem's creatures, but it is our deep belief that all the turmoil and horrors and fears we are going through today are a process of the ending of evil (b'ezer haShem it should be mostly by self annhilation) and ignorance and confusion and the unfolding of the blessings to mankind,as we are free to fulfill our raison detre as the 'Conscience of Mankind' and the  'Light unto the Nations.'

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2 Parshos R'Shimon Faith Israel א׳י אמונה ר׳ שׁמעון בּחוקתי בּהר


A friend of mine commented that R' Shimon's yahrzeit seems to coincide with parshas Behar more than Parshas b'Chukosay.

After all, R'Shimon lived in the cave for 12 years without work as we are expected to do every 7 in Israel.Yet the parsha read this week in Israel is 'b Chukosay (for us  next week).I told him , maybe it is because we find that the Chasam Sofer teaches that the halacha is not like R' Shimon in Israel once we all live there.Even R' Shimon agrees that the very work in Israel is holy (perhaps this is the story when he and his son came out the second time and saw the Yid running to prepare for shabbas).

Yet ,even that work, as holy as it is, is only so ,if we show our faith and live it, as is demanded of us, in Israel , every 7 years as to working the land, and for all of us, every 7 days.

Maybe the real take away for all of us, is the simcha of the unity of our people, the People of the Torah.The Chazal teach that anyone who resides 'chutz l'aretz', is as if he has no g-d.Ultimately as the Maharl teaches,it is the Land which unites us,and thereby  allows us to sanctify all of our life affairs.

In Behar we are taught to do business with one another preferentially and also, to step back to some extent from private  ownership(shmitte).

R'Shimon lived in the cave because of the curses enunciated in b'Chukosay, so that we, in our generation starting to Return can practice keeping shmitta and all mitzvos.And we know this is only possible  as all Yidden are responsible for each other.In unity and love for each other  - not only in tzedeka, while accepting personally in our lives torah and mitzvos.

 Ashreichem Yisrael! Mi metahar eschem - Aviechem she bashemayim!


In that spirit that we are all one; I'd like to formally extend a special thanks to Boruch Fischlewitz, a wonderful 'metzia' out of Far Rockaway who has been gracing us with his insights and 'chidushim' on the parsha for the last number of weeks (in the blog section of the site).Next time you are in greater NY , certainly in the 5 towns , and need a driver, please be sure to contact Boruch (just be prepared for pleasant surprises)



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'Rememberance Day' 'Never Again' ,ט'ב'אב ,יום כיפור ,בכל דור ודור

Yom Ha'Shoah - Holocaust Memorial Day

My Rebbe , hagoan , hatzaddik, R' Yitzchok Hutner , ztz'l, did not use the term 'Hashoa', because the word connotes a 'breakdown ' of history .Anyone who learns his שנים מקרא ואח תרגום (weekly chumash--bible study) knows that it was all clearly told to us in the torah.

In fact, the more success we have, the more we stand out (which always happens ; the 'Yiddle' seems to inevitably rise to the top), the more the hatred.Whenever we abandon our Sinaitic Mission as a 'Holy Nation and Kingdom of Priests', that prominence becomes our downfall.

Interestingly enough, I was told by gyores who was a stewardess that she had visited the first 'place' burnt in Krystal nacht  - Mendlesohn's Temple!

At the seder we call out - In every generation our enemies try to destroy us -בכל דור ודור

 We know that the first night of Pesach conicides to the same day of the week as the 9th of Av, which is the real Memorance day.

The Gaon , R' Yonsan Eybeshitz would say that our survival as a people amongst 70 wolves (ie the nations of the world) was more remarkable than any of the miracles recorded in the 'Exodus.'Anyone who takes a look at the situation facing the  and people of Israel today sees clearly that that  only that Bris haShem made with our forefathers is what keeps us alive.

 Someone sent me a video made by in 2011 explaining why Israel can't return to the 1948 borders. Anyone who ''realistically '' views that video realizes by all that is so-called 'natural' we don't exist , chalila.and ,if anything ,things are much worse today.

We can't say - 'Never again' so simply.We must pray that our historical return to our homeland should coincide with a complete and true teshuva - return to our roots.

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   (3:23) “V’eschanon el Hashem- And I prayed to Hashem.”

The Midrash explains that Moshe prayed 515 Tefilos the exact numerical value of the word “V’eschanon” Hashem told Moshe not to continue praying even one more tefilah. For if he prayed one more prayer Hashem would have had to acquiesce and if Moshe was permitted to enter the land of Israel he would have built the Beis Hamikdosh and when Yisroel would sin, Hashem could not take it out on the wood and stone because whatever Moshe built was eternal. Instead he would have to take it out on Klal Yisroel. It was therefore beneficial for Klal Yisroel that Moshe not be allowed to enter the land. The word V’eschanon is also equal to the word tefillah, meaning that this is the ultimate expression of beseeching Hashem. The names Yitzchok and Rivkah equal 515 as well. Their prayers for children on Har Moriah caused great change in the world and cost Avraham 5 years of his life. Avraham was promised a good life, to die without ever seeing his descendants stray off the path. But when Yitzchok and Rivkah prayed on Har Moriah Hashem allowed himself to be persuaded the result was Essav being born 5 years before his time. So if 515 is the ultimate in tefillah what is the 516th tefillah. If 515 equals the word Tefillah and the word V’eschanon what does 516 equal? It equals the words Yiboneh Hamikdosh-The building of the future eternal house of Hashem.

   Why was now the time for Moshe to pray to Hashem, and didn’t we just read in last week's parsha (1:37) "Gam Bi Hisanef Hashem B'gelalchem-With me as well, Hashem was angry because of you." Moshe just said that Hashem didn’t let me in because of you? Why mention his prayers which weren’t answered? Moshe was giving Mussar to Klal Yisroel in the entire seferDevarim. Here he is saying that I alone prayed to be let in to the land. The entire forty years in the Midbar whenever they made Hashem angry Moshe was there to pray for them. Even, at one point, to the extent of being willing to forfeit his life on their behalf. But here before his death he says “Ve’eschanon el Hashem I alone prayed to Hashem. No one else prayed for him. He did not pray at Mey Meriva where the decree was set in place because he had hoped that the entire community would protest on his behalf, but that was not to be the case.

   This parsha is always read the Shabbos following Tisha B’av. As Klal Yisroel is exiled from the land, Moshe Rabeinu stands at the entrance of Eretz Yisroel and pleads to be able to cross over and see the "good land over the Jordan the good mountain and the Levanon." The good mountain is Jerusalem and the Levanon is the Beis Hamikdosh which whitens the sins of Yisroel. (Levanon is white)

   The gemarrah says that the fifteenth of Av was one of the greatest days because throughout the forty years in the Midbar on Tisha B’av, 15,000 Jews would dig their own graves, say good bye to their wives and children and sleep in their graves. In the morning those that remained alive would cover over the dead. In the fortieth year no one passed away. They thought that perhaps they had the wrong day and so continued to sleep in their graves until they saw the full moon on the 15th of the month. They then realized the decree of dying in the desert had ended. This is one of the reasons that it is considered a Yom Tov. In the Gemarah in Taanis (31:A) Rashi says that at this time of year the moon begins to dominate the 24 hour period. At times the moon is visible during the day. This could be why Moshe felt it was a good time to pray to Hashem.

   The Benei Yissaschar writes that the fifteenth of Av is special because it is 40 days before the 25th of Elul the day of the creation of the world. We know that 40 days prior to the birth of a child a Bas Kol announces the soul mate for that child. Therefore 40 days before the creation of the world on the 15th of Av it was announced that the creation of Klal Yisroel would take place.

   Alternatively the 15th of Av could be read as the 15th of Alef Beis. The fifteenth letter of the Alef Beis is Samach, which is a circle. The Seforim write that in the future Hashem will create a circle for all of the righteous people. This will eliminate all jealousy for in a circle everyone is in equal distance from the center. This is why there is no greater day than the 15th of Av.

   So why then were his prayers not answered? The answer to this might be found in the posuk (3:26) “Vayisaber Hashem Bi Le’Manchem-Hashem grew angry with me because of you.” The word Lemanchem really means for your sake. Had Moshe been allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel and built the Beis Hamikdosh, it would have never been destroyed. And we know that when Klal Yisroel sinned Hashem was able to vent his anger on the wood and stones of the Mikdosh instead of Yisroel. Therefore the word Lemanchem is used here. Meaning that for your sake I was unable to have my prayers answered.

     The Aish Hadas says that this number of prayers was meant for the welfare of mankind until the Moshiach comes. According to Osios d'R.Akiva the present world will end in the year 6093 from creation. Moshe died in the year 2488. He prayed for the remaining 3605 years which comes out to 515 Shmita years from the time of his death to the time of Moshiach.

   Why was Moshe not allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel even after all of his pleading? He recited the thirteen attributes which he was taught by Hashem. He had made many valid arguments to Hashem. He took the bones of Yosef out of Mitzraim but was not allowed to finish the mitzvah of burying him in Eretz Yisroel. And Moshe himself was not permitted to be buried in Eretz Yisroel. He taught all the mitzvos to Benei Yisroel yet he could not do all of them since many pertain only to the land.

   Hashem told Moshe that either he would die in the Midbar or all of Klal Yisroel would be destroyed. The reason was because if Moshe was allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel the Beis Hamikdosh would have been built immediately and such a structure would have had enough Kiddusha that it could never be destroyed. We know that when a person commits a sin Hashem first punishes him through his belongings. If he still does not listen then he is himself punished. Hashem knew that in the future Benei Yisroel would sin, if punishment could not be taken out on the stones of the Beis Hamikdosh it would have to be taken out on them. So by not going into Eretz Yisroel Moishe was saving Klal Yisroel.

   Yosef merited to be buried in the Eretz Yisroel because when he was in prison he acknowledged his origin even though he knew they would degrade him. Moshe on the other hand said he was an Egyptian when he fled to Midian. He did not acknowledge his origin and therefore was not permitted to be buried in Eretz Yisroel. As far as the mitzvos of Eretz Yisroel, Hashem credited him as if he had fulfilled all of them because he was the one who taught them to Benei Yisroel and because he had such a desire to complete them. When Dovid Hamelech heard that he would not be permitted to build the Beis Hamikdosh he still did all of the preparations he could for its eventual construction. He purchased the land and the material; he made sure the Kohanim studied all the Avodah. For that, the Beis Hamikdosh was always called in his name. Similarly

because Moshe so desired to perform all the mitzvos he was credited as if he did them.

   Hashem finally said to Moshe (3:26) “Rav Le’cha- you are asking too much!’ We find a similar statement in Parshas Korach when Korach accused Moshe of taking too much for himself with regard to the fact that Aharon was the Kohen Gadol. Moshe later replied back to Korach Rav Le’cha with regard to the fact that Korach headed the family of Leviim that carried the Aron which contained the Luchos. For this Hashem was angry at Moshe. On his level he should not have answered him this way. Therefore now on the last days of Moshe’s life, the same words are spoken to him. Rav Le’cha- you are asking too much! Hashem repays man for even the minutest digressions.

   Why did Moshe wish to enter the land of Israel? It could not just be in order to enjoy the fruits of the land. Moshe knew that they were mitzvos that can only be done in the land. If so how do we understand Hashem's response? Hashem said to him (3:26) “Rav Le’cha- you are asking too much!’ Asend to the top of the cliff and raise your eyes westward, Northward, southward, and eastward, and see with your eyes, for you shall not cross this Jordan." How was this meant to appease Moshe? You can't enter the land but I will allow you to view it from afar? How with this satisfy Moshe's desire to fulfill those commandments that only apply to the land of Israel?

   There are two aspects to Mitzvah rewards. One is that a person obeys Hashem's command. The second is that through Mitzvah performance a person becomes transformed. He can now have a closer relationship with Hashem. This is what Moshe desired. He felt that something was missing without those mitzvos pertaining to the land. Hashem responds by telling him to view the land. How would this appease Moshe? The Kli Yakar writesthatthere is a physical part of a mitzvah and a spiritual part. The physical part can be accomplished by the act of doing the mitzvah. The spiritual part may be achieved through sight. What Hashem was saying is that he would credit Moshe as if he had performed the Mitzvos physically merely by viewing the land.

     Another explanation of the words Rav Lach is that when Moshe said to Hashem (3:25)

Ebrah-Nah V’ereh es Ha’aretz Hatovah- Let me go over I pray and see the good land.” The word Nah would seem to be extra. But we say in Tehillem (90:10) that a person’s life span is but 70 years. Moshe at the time was 120 years old. So what he was saying was please Hashem you have given me 50 extra years, let me have one more 51 (Nah=51) so I can see the land. Hashem replied Rav Lach. The word Lach equals 50, meaning you have too much with 50 extra years. As it says in Breishis (6:3) “Beshagam hu Basar-Man is but flesh” and will only live 120 years. (Beis Yakov)

   (3:29) “V’neshev B’goi Mul Beis Peor-So we remained in the valley, opposite Beis Peor.”This provides us with the foundation for the custom of buying a grave site in our lifetime and to visit it from time to time. Moshe knew that he would die and be buried there opposite Peor and did not leave that place until the day he died.

   In this week’s parsha we have the repetition of the Aseres Hadibros. Moshe recounts how Benei Yisroel pleaded with Moshe to be the intermediary for them so they would not die. When Benei Yisroel heard the first words spoken by Hashem the power of Hashem's word caused their neshama's to leave them. Why did Hashem have it happen this way? He could have made them be able to withstand the Dibros instead of resurrecting them? It says that the entire Torah is contained in the first words of the Dibros. Hashem wanted them to experience the entire Torah unencumbered by the impurities of the physical world. Through this all future generations would remain loyal to Hashem because at least for one time they had been free of such pollutants.

(4:4) “Ve'atem Devakim B'Hashem-And you who are attached to Hashem. There are 247 words in Shema. They represent the 248 limbs of the human body which we complete when we add the word Emes to the end of the Shema. This is meant for the purpose of prolonging life through adherence to the Torah. The word Atem has the same letters as the word Emes. When we attach (Dovak) the word Emes to the name of Hashem then we can complete the limbs of the body and have life (Chaim).

   (4:9) “Rak H’shomer Lecha U’Shmore Nafshecha M’ode Pen tishkach es-H’devorim Asher Rou Aynechah U’pen Yosuru M’levavecha Kol Yimey Chayecha, V’hodatom L’vonecha U’livinei Vonecha-Only take heed to yourself, and keep your soul diligent, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life, but make them known to your children and your children’s children.” From here the Rambam learns that it is a Mitzvah to teach not only your children but your grandchildren as well.

   (4:20) “Vayotzi Eschem Mekur Habarzel”Hashem took us out from this furnace of Mitzraim. Originally the Shevotim did not treat each other equally. Those Tribes that were born of the maidservants were considered inferior by those born from Yakov's wives. But when they began their servitude in Mitzraim they all became equal in the slavery. This is alluded to in the word Barzel the initial letters of which represent the matriarch's names. Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpa.

   (5:12) Shomor es Yom H’Shabbos L’Kadsho- Safeguard the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.”In the first recorded version of the Ten Commandments this commandment was introduced with the word Zachor-to remember. According toR.Bachya the reason is to include women in the obligation to listen to Kiddush and Havdalah. Women are not obligated to perform positive commandments that are time bound. If the Torah had not written the word Shomor here, the laws of formal sanctification of Shabbos, Kiddush, and the formal termination of the Shabbos, Havdalah, would not have been applicable to women. This statement covers the Shabbos from beginning to end. This could be the meaning of the words “Shomor V’zachor B’dibur Echad- the words Remember and Guard were said in one utterance.”

   In addition perhaps we can say that the reason Shabbos was given over to us in a miraculous way was to teach that Shabbos is above nature. R.Bechaya writes that we have both Shomor and Zochor because Hashem originally wanted to create a world with midas Hadin but opted for both Midas Ha’din and Midas Ha’Rachamim.

The Zohar writes that Shomor represents night and Zachor represents day. For Hashem they constitute a single utterance representing two aspects of a single reality.

   The question remains which of the two are written on the Luchos? Was it Zochor or Shomor? The Chasam Soferanswers that it must be Shomor as we read this n the Shachris Tefilos: "V'Kosuv Bohem Shmiras Shabbos"

   (5:19) “Kol Gadol V’lo Yosof- A great voice that never ceased.” The Shelah writes that this means every future Chidush that would ever be said afterward all originate from Sinai.

   (5:21) “ Roinu Ki Yidabaer Elokim es-Odom Vochoi-You saw

that Hashem will speak to a person and he can live.” However they did die? Plus the next verse says that they complained and said “We should hear Hashem’s words from you Moshe, why should we all die?”But on closer inspection we find the word Odom used here. On the level of Odom they could withstand the direct communication with G-d. The next verse says “ Ki Mi Kol Basar-For is there any human” a person of mere flesh, not on that lofty level, cannot withstand such direct communication with G-D. This could also explain verse 5:25 which Hashem says “Vayishma Hashem es KOL Divreichem-Hashem heard the SOUND of their words.” He heard the meaning behind there words. They meant that standing at Sinai they lost their Bechira they had no choice but to obey, there was no room for doubt. However they said man is not placed in this world to be a blind follower, he was given free choice. This is the meaning of “it was good in the eyes of Hashem.”

   (5:22) “V'atoh Lomah Nomus-But now why should we die?” Klal Yisroel wanted to hear the Torah from an intermediary rather than directly from Hashem because they feared dying if they heard directly from Hashem. The question is it should be the other way around? They just heard directly from Hashem and were still able to talk about it? Furthermore where did they get this from? When Hashem created man it says “Vayipach B'apo Nishmas Chaim-Hashem blew into man the breath of life.” Now if a mere breath can create life how much more can speech do? The Sefas Emessays that each one of the Dibros caused their neshamas to leave their bodies and be replaced by a higher one. Just as Techiyas Hamaisim needs death first, here too the neshamas needed to go through a similar process. They told Moishe to be their intermediary because he had perfected his body to the point where he could withstand the levels being thrust at them. They feared not being able to keep up with the elevated Neshamas speaking with Hashem would entail. We see that they were correct from the following verse. Hashem agreed with their request.

   (5:25) “Vayishma Hashem es-Kol Divreichem…Vayomer Hashem Aylai Shomati es-Kol Divrei H’om-Hashem heard the sound of your words…and Hashem said to me I heard the sound of the words of this people.” What is the meaning of “the sound of the words” repeated twice in this posuk? In verse 22 Klal Yisroel said “if we continue to hear the voice of Hashem, our G-D, any longer we will die.” When exactly did they say this? Could it be possible that they would interrupt Hashem in the middle of the Aseres Hadibros? According to the Ramban this is the meaning of “the sound of the words.” Hashem understood what was in the hearts of the nation not what they actually said but their thoughts.

(5:28) “Vatoh Poh Amod Imodi Vadabrah Aylecha es Kol Ha’Mtivah-But as for you, stand here by me, and I will speak to you all the commandment.” Why is the singular word for Mitzvah used? What command does it speak of? The parsha begins with prayer then goes on to repeat the Ten Comandments and then this posuk in question. This concept of Moses having his prayers rejected is not an easy one for us to understand. How can it be that Moses, the father of all prophets, could not get his prayers answered?

   In order to answer these questions, we must re-evaluate what prayer is and what are its spiritual dynamics. When a person is ill, he turns to Hashem in prayer. If the prayer is accepted by Hashem, then the person recovers. Superficially, it seems as if Hashem changed His mind, as if Hashem can be "sweet talked" into backing down from a previously stated position, so to speak. It also seems as if Hashem waits in heaven for our words of supplication, and, if

they do not arrive, He wreaks His vengeance on us. Furthermore, we are aware that Hashem is an infinite Being who is by definition unchanging; if this is the case, then how can Hashem “change his mind?” The answer is subtle, yet simple. Hashem does not change. Man does. The man who fell ill was relatively alienated from Hashem. The man who prays is a man who is close to Hashem -- he is not the same man who fell ill. He has forged a new relationship with Hashem, but Hashem remains unchanged. Man often believes that the reason that he prays is that he is ill; what he does not understand is that the reason he is ill is because he has not prayed, or searched for a complete relationship with Hashem. Now that he has prayed he no longer needs to be ill. What about Moshe? Moshe was unlike other people, there was nothing lacking in Moshe’s spiritual makeup, therefore nothing needed to be healed. Moshe did not need to pray. Moshe’s remaining in exile was not due to a lack in him. It was caused by the relatively low spiritual level of his people. We have seen on other occasions that had Moshe’s entered into the Land of Israel, the Temple never would have been destroyed, and Moses would have been the Messiah. The only problem was that the people were unworthy. What went wrong? They told Moishe that they cannot bear to hear the word of Hashem directly from Him. Instead they wished to hear it indirectly from Moishe. This is where they erred. Had they heard all Ten Commandments directly from Hashem they never would have made the Golden Calf. The Talmud teaches: Had the tablets not been broken, no nation nor language would have controlled them. (Eruvin 54a)

   The cause for the shattering of the tablets was, of course, the Golden Calf. Once the tablets were shattered the spiritual ability of the nation was handicapped. Things had changed; the people had become distanced from Hashem, from the Shechina. Now we can understand why the Ten Commandments are taught again in this week's Torah portion. Moishe wishes to turn back the clock, and take the nation to the spiritual strata, which they enjoyed while standing at Sinai, prior to the Golden Calf. What they needed was to reconnect to Hashem. This is the mitzvah that Hashem wishes to teach Moishe at this point. This is the mitzvah the posuk speaks of. The mitzvah to love Hashem found in the Shema. This is the only way to get back to the spiritual heights the nation briefly enjoyed. Love of Hashem is not something that comes directly to the heart of a person, but rather is something we cannot feel properly without development in learning and Mitzvos -- the Mitzvah is to do all the preparation, to heal ourselves of the things which block our hearts from love of Hashem, and thus to come to feel that love properly.

Only after learning Torah and doing Mitzvos can one hope to come to the appropriate level of love of Hashem. It's not something that happens overnight. So it is appropriate to teach this Mitzvah in Devarim, after teaching us the Torah, Mitzvos, all of the ways we can follow in His Pathways -- because these are the things which help us achieve love of Hashem.

   In the end, Moishe’s efforts fell short, but the “lecture” which he left us remains. The people of Yisrael simply have to read this week's Torah portion in order to get an idea on how to reunite with Hashem, and to become one with the Shechina. Just like our teacher, Moishe.

The Sefas Emes questionshow could we be commanded to love? It is in the nature of the person to love something or not. It can not be commanded? He answers that Hashem placed in every heart the

love of Hashem, but it is buried deep inside. Only through doing the mitzvos can it come to the surface.

   (6:4) “Shema Yisroel-Hear O Israel” The words of Israel’s profession of Faith has been with the Jewish people since their inception. This verse out of 4875 verses in the Torah, was chosen as our mantra for all time. The Shema has always been on the lips of Jewish martyrs as they entered the gas chambers to their deaths, for Israel and for Hashem.

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(1:1)Ayleh HaDevorim-These are the words.

This is the only Sefer that begins with Kol Yisroeland ends with Kol YisroelWe begin the fifth Sefer of the Torah in the fifth month of the year. This corresponds to the fifth level of the Neshama. There are five levels of the soul. Nefesh Ruach, Neshama, Chaye & Yichidah. Yichidah, the final level, is oneness with Hashem. It is the most hidden of all the five levels and is the level that will be revealed in the future. After each of the four exiles another level was revealed. We are now in the final exile, that of Yishmael, and what will be revealed, will be revealed to Kol Yisrael-To all of Israel. Every member of Israel will experience his own redemption. The long exile of Edom that we have endured, was only endured in the merit of Torah. However the final exile will require Tefillah-Prayer to combat the strength of Yishmaels prayers. Perhaps this is why the Sefer is called Devarim-words. Because in the final days it is the words of our Tefillos that will be most desired by Hashem.

   With this we might explain Moshe Rabeinus sin, that of the missed opportunity to sanctify Hashems name by speaking to the rock to draw water. Before entering the land of Israel, Hashem wanted a display of the power of words. Thirty-Eight years earlier it was negative words that prevented them from entering the land. Now Hashem gave Moshe the opportunity to correct the sin of the spies with words. Shehakol Nihiye Bdevoroh-All exists through His word.would have new meaning upon entering the Holy Land. But that revelation was never made.

Sefer Devarim is usually read in the fifth month of Av the Shabbos before Tisha Bav called Shabbos Chazon-The Shabbos of Vision. The entire Sefer is one of Moshes vision. Concealed in his words, the future is veiled. Scattered throughout, the secrets of the final redemption await us. We have only to ask.

   (1:1)Ayleh HaDevorim-These are the words. The first words of the seferDevarim infer that thesewords are different from those that came before. What the Torah wished to stress was that only these words were said by Moshe without having to be commanded by Hashem. Whereas the first four books were said by Hashem himself including every single letter and detail.(Ohr Hachaim)

   The question is how can the Ohr Hachaim say this? The Gemarrah in Sanhedin says that if a person believes that the entire Torah is from heaven except one posuk he is considered to have dishonored the word of Hashem. How can he say that Moshe said the entire sefer of Devarim? The Kli Chemdah say's that Hashem gave the first four books to Moshe just as Hashem said them. But in the sefer Devarim Moishe expanded on the explanations of some of the mitzvos himself. Afterwards Hashem commanded him to write the entire Torah down including Moshe's direct words.

   Now if Moshe said these words why are they not in chronological order? The reason is because all of the sins that Moshe recounts are all alluded to and not mentioned directly. The order was another attempt to spare the honor of Benei Yisroel.

   This sefer was said on the last days of Moshes life. He began to speak to Klal Yisroel on the first day of Shevat and we know that he died on the seventh day of Adar. This means that this was the last thirty-six days of Moshes life. The Ohr Hachaim writes that this is alluded to in the word Ayleh which has the numerical value of thirty-six.

     The question arises as to why the Sefer Devarim is Moshes own words? What lesson are we meant to extract from this? We

know that these were the last days of Moshes life. As such he had elevated himself to become the most complete human being that ever lived. Moshe Rabeinu was the model of what man can achieve. He went from a Kevad Peh-a heavy mouth, an inability to speak, to an orator whose words became part of the Torah. These words, according to the Abarbanel, are actually the oldest source of the Oral Torah extant. Moshe was on his last days, doing the Mitzvah of expounding on the written Torah.

   Sefer Devarimis called Mishneh Torah-The repetition of the Torah. Mainly because most of the laws contained in it have already been said or hinted at in the first four books. But according to what we have just said perhaps we can see a deeper understanding. When a person is nifter the relatives left behind learn Mishnayos for the sake of that departed soul. The reason for this is that the letters of the words Mishneh are the same as that of the word Neshama. This highest form of gematria is when the letters of two words are actually the same but just rearrangedIt would then come out that by calling Sefer Devarim- Mishneh Torah, means that this Sefer is the Neshama of the Torah, the soul of the Torah. How do we understand this?

   The soul is what gives life, what animates the physical body. The first four books are the body of the Torah. Sefer Devarim is the soul. It is the repetition of the written Torah expounded by man. The Torah unread and unlearned has no life of its own. However what Moshe accomplished in his final days was to set the example for us to follow and this is our mission, to give Torah life. By taking the written Torah and expounding upon it, by bringing out the depth buried in each and every letter, the Torah comes alive.

   (1:14) Vatomru Tov Hadovor Asher Debartah Lasos-You said it was good that which you proposed. When Moshe recounts the advise he received from his father in law Yisro regarding the appointment of judges, he said; You decided the matter for your benefit.Rashi says they should have said Our teacher Moshe! From whom is it better to learn, from you or from your student?Moshe was aware of their thoughts. They knew Moshe was beyond reproach. If they would get an unfavorable judgement they could not bribe Moshe. So they were pleased with the plan suggested by Yisro. But it wasnt just a matter of respect for Moshe Rabeinu, The teaching they would have received from Moshe was on a level that no other could come near. His light came from the Ohr Haganuz He was the spiritual conduit to connect the Torah to this world. This is why, in parshas Mattos, Moshe did not teach the laws of purifying vessels to the returning Jews after the war with Midyan. After seeing the soldiers bringing back Midianite women, who had been the source of the problem in the first place, Moshe became very angry. This anger cost him his prophecy and resulted in the laws being taught by Elozar Hakohein instead. We know that the difference between Moshe and Yehoshua was compared to the difference between the sun and the moon.

By not learning the laws of Kashrus from Moshe, we lost vital information about the exile and how to survive it. Just as heat causes the taste to become absorbed in the walls of a vessel, requiring heat to remove it, likewise the heat of anger and the heat of passion cause a Jew to become more absorbed in exile, necessitating heat, or difficulties to extract him from exile. The greater the heat, the greater the absorption and the more severe the process of kashering.

   Taught by anyone else all that would get through would be the basic laws of kashrus, not the message of the exile and how to avoid it. Hence for more than 3,000 years we have been absorbed

into exile, into our host societies, and in need of kashering. With Tisha Bav coming we need to recall all of the kashering we have undergone in exile until this point and contemplate the importance of Moshe Rabeinu even now. After all it will be his neshama that will be reincarnated into the Moshiach to guide us towards the end of days.

   (1:22)Vayachperu- Lanu es-Haaretz-Let them spy out the land. The term Vayachperu is an unusual term. To spy out the land is usually said using the word Lsur However the word Vayachperuhas the connotation of seeing negatively. The spies went to seek out the negativity of the land. This is the lesson Moshe was teaching as he admonished the nation.

The Benei Yisroel was commanded not to do battle with the descendants of Essau because of the tremendous Kibud Av that Essau had for his father. Hashem was paying Essau his due in this world in order not to have to pay him in Olam Haboh. The question is if Essau really paid his father such respect why was he being paid only in this world? The Tiferes Tzion answers that the reward for a mitzvah depends on the motives of the person fulfilling it. If he is only doing it to satisfy his moral feeling of what is right instead of for the mitzvah, Hashem rewards such an act in this world. Since Essav honored his father only for this reason and not for the mitzvah his descendants were only rewarded in this world.

(1:36)Zulasi Kalev Ben Yefuneh Hu Yirenah-Save for Calev Ben Yefuneh he shall see the land. We find that once again Yehoshua is not mentioned together with Calev as being the only ones permitted to enter Ertez Yisroel. Rather two posukim later the Torah writes (1:38) Yehoshua bin Nun HOmaid Lifanecha Hu Yavo Shama-Yehoshu bin Nun who stands before you, he shall come there. In Parshas Shelach, as well, we find Yehoshua not mentioned the first time that Hashem reveals who will escape punishment from the incident of the spies. (Bamidbar 14:24) Only the second time the Torah mentions the exclusion from punishment does it say except for Calev ... and Yehoshua.(Bamidbar 14:30)

   Yehoshua was treated midah keneged midah (measure for measure) because at first when the meraglim spoke against Eretz Yisroel he did not speak up. He let Calev refute what the spies were saying. He assumed they would not listen to him because he was Moishes disciple. Only later did they both rent their clothing and say The land is very good.This is why he is mentioned separately. Another reason could be because he was the one who was destined to replace Moishe in leading the nation into the land. Therefore he thought they would assume he was biased when it came to speaking about Eretz Yisroel. Actually it was his appointment as leader that facilitated his being forgiven for his sin of not joining Calev at first in following Hashem wholeheartedly.The Talmud Yerushalmi explains three are forgiven for their sins, one who becomes a bridegroom, one who converts and one who is appointed to a position of leadership. (Bikurim 3:3) R.Zalman Sorotzkin

   (1:45) Vyorad es Homori-And the Amorim came down. After the Meraglim return with their negative report about the land of Israel many Jews decided to attempt to go up into the land to conquer it even though they were told that Hashem would not be with them. Moishe is saying here, that the Amorim came down and battled them. The question is that if we look in parshas Shelach (14:44) we find that it was Amalek and Canaan that battled them not Amorim? The Sharei Aahron answers this question by saying

the following. Amalek and Canaan were at the bottom of the mountain the Amorim were above. When the posuk says they went out it means that they informed the Amalekim of the fact that Klal Yisroels approach was imminent. Amalek therefore went to do battle with them. The reason why Amalek was mentioned in parshas Shelach was because they were the ones who actually fought. What Moishe is telling us here is the real reason behind that. It was the Amorim who instigated the battle.

   (2:3) Rav Lochem Sov es-Hhor Hazeh-Many days you have circled this mountain. They circled around Seir for nineteen years, as long as the rest of the travels. This is a reference to our long exile in Edom.

   (2:3) Penu Lochem Tzfonah-Turn your faces northThe Kol Torah explains this to mean advise for surviving Golus. Keep yourselves hidden. The word Tzafune can also mean Kabbalah. The advise being to survive the long exile we must keep the Torah fresh therefore turn to that which has richness and depth. Kabbalah.

   (2:6) Ochel Tishbru Mitom BKesef VOchaltem VGam Mayim Tichru Mitem BKesef UShsisem- You shall purchase food from them for money and eat it, also water shall you buy from them for money and drink it. It would seem somewhat redundant to say that the food and water purchased should be consumed? Why else would it be purchased if not for consumption? The Sefer Kaaras Kesef writes that Yisroel did not need to buy food or water from them. But Hashem commanded this in order for them to realize that they lacked nothing. All of the years that they were in the Midbar being sustained by the well of Miriam and the Munn from heaven, nothing was lacking. They tasted the water that they purchased and the food they bought, and found that what Hashem provided was superior to it. Hashem wanted them to appreciate what they had.

   (2:25) Hayom Hazeh Achel Tais Pachdecha V'yirasecha al-Penei Ho'amim Tachas Kol-hashmayim-This day I will begin to put the dread and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the heaven.What is the meaning of This Dayand under the heavenHashem had been performing miracles for Yisroel all along? What makes this day exceptional? Rashi says that Hashem caused the sun to stand still at noon for 36 hours. This was because they had just encountered Moav and Edom and left them unscathed. They had requested permission to cross their lands but were denied. It could have appeared as if they were incapable of conquering them. If they were now to face the seven nations of the land of Canaan that had 31 kings surely they would not succeed? Hashem therefore made this miracle now. The stopping of the sun signaled that their deity was under Hashem's rule and that Hashem was willing and able to battle on Klal Yisroel's behalf.

   (3:21) Ves-Yehoshua Tzivisi Base Hahe- I commanded Yehoshua at that time.out of the 31 times the name Yehoshua appears in the Torah, this is the only time it is spelled with an extra letter. The letter "Vav". R. Dovid Feinstein explains the extra letter to refer to prayer. Yehoshua had exceptional powers of prayer. Had he harnessed that power at the time he led the nation into the land he would have been able to do what the members of the great assembly did hundreds of years later, eradicate idolatry. For this reason he authored the second half of "Aleinu" which speaks of exactly that. A supplication for the abolishment of idolatry from the world.

Sefer Devorim is the only book since Bereishis that does not begin with the letter Vav. This is the only place in the Torah

where the name of Yehoshua is spelled with an extra Vav””perhaps the Vav that was missing from the beginning of the Sefer. Moshe is telling Yehoshua Your eyes have seen everything Hashem has done to these two kings, so will Hashem do to all of the kings where you cross over. Do not fear them for Hashem, your G-d will wage war for you. Hashem, will wage war for you, but you must remain connected to Hashem. That is the Vav Hchibor - the letter of attachment. If you remain connected to Hashem He will do battle for you. Perhaps we can suggest that at this point Moshe was commanding Yehoshua to become his replacement and just as he had added a letter of Hashem's name, the "Hey", to his name when he sent out the spies, changing Hoshea to Yehoshua, so too here he is adding another letter of Hashem's name to strengthen him for his new role. As the Parsha ends "Ki Hashem Elokeichem Hu H'Nilcham Lochem-Hashem your G-d He shall wage war for you.

   The Gematria of the name Yehoshua equals 391 in its normal spelling. The same as the phrase Gadol VAtzum Mimenu-Great and stronger than us. This follows the world of Tevah, the laws of nature. By the laws of nature the 31 kings were bigger and stronger than us. But the name Yehoshua spelled with the extra Vavequals 397 in Gematria. The same as the phrase Ki Hashem Elokeychem Hu HNilcham Lochem-Hashem your G-d will wage war for you.


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(33:1) “Ayleh MasseyBenei Yisroel-These are the journeys of the children of Israel.”  


Why is the name of this weeks Parsha called Massey, which refers to the traveling, when what the Torah really describes here isthe camps that were set up? Also in the very second posuk (33:2) it says “Vayichtov Moshe es-Moitzaeyhem Le’MaseyhemAl-Pi Hashem V’Ayleh Maseyhem L’Motzaeyhem- And Moshe wrote their goings forth according to their journeys at the bidding of Hashemand these were thejourneys according to the goings fourth.” Why is the order of   their travels reversed from the way it appears in the beginning? The Ohr Hachaimwrites that the going fourth was for a purpose. It was meant for Yisroel to seek out sparks of Kiddusha that are trapped in a shell of tumeh that make their home in the Midbar. It is the mission of Klal Yisroel to release them from this source by traveling through such places and acting as a magnet of Kiddusah to bring them back to their rightful place. According to the Zohar these sparks could be captured only while actively journeying not while they were encamped. Therefore it was the travels that the Torah mentions not the stops.

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(30:3) Eish Ki Yidor Nedar L’Hashem-When a man pledges a vow.”


The parsha begins with the mitzvos of Nedarim. Since the last parsha dealt with korbonos of Yom Tov the connection between the two is that when a person vows to bring his korbon he is obligated to fulfill his promise on the coming Yom Tov, when he visits the Bais Hamikdosh.

   The Sefas Emes writesthrough a vow Yisroel were given the power to endow an object with Holiness by mere words. This is one of the most elevated powers that man is capable of and is why it was placed near the end of the Torah.

           Regarding the chet of the Eigel, Hashem swore to destroy whoever worships powers other than Hashem. Moshe in defense of Klal Yisroel reminded Hashem of the laws of annulling vows that he had taught him on Har Sinai. Moshe was described as “Ish Ha'elokim” he was privileged to be able to annul vows made by Hashem like an “ish”/husband.

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Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Kohen


   (25:11) “Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Kohen.” The parsha begins by tracing the genealogy of Pinchas back to Aaron. Why was it necessary to mention his grandfather? The reason is because people doubted the sincerity of Pinchas’ actions. Perhaps since he descended from Yisro his deeds were not Leshaim Shomayim? Hashem therefore wished to publicize that he was a tzaddik the son of a tzaddik. Also Hashem wanted to heal some of the residual bad feelings that might have existed against Aaron who at the time when he made the Eigel had inadvertently become the cause of many Jewish deaths. Now a grandson of Aharon had come and saved many more lives than Aaron had ever even indirectly caused to be lost.

   (25:11) “Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Cohen-Pinchas the son of Elozer the son of Aharon the Cohen.” Pinchas was virtually unknown as a public figure. This perhaps is why his name is spelled with a small Yud to indicate that he was a simple man. After all Moishe and Ahaon stood up for Klal Yisroel several times and yet they were not awarded a Bris Sholeim? But it was expected of them as leaders to stand up for their people. Pinchas on the other hand was a common Jew. His acts therefore stand out all the more.

But there is a deeper message here. Pinchas through this act of zealotry merited to be one of only nine people to enter the next world without dying. The understanding of this is that when a person so negates his very essence for the sake of heaven, death is no longer an issue, its not needed for the tikun of that Neshama. Pinchas, took his life into his own hands and risked everything by killing Zimri. Perhaps we can say that this is why he was given the priesthood. This is akin to the type of sacrifices performed by the Kohanimin in the Beis Hamikdosh. We find the expression “Raiach Nechoach L’Hashem-A satisfying aroma to Hashem." frequently used there.If we look at the first mention of a concept in the Torah we can glean a better understanding of its root. At the end of parshas Noach we find the first mention of a “satisfying aroma.” After the flood, when Noach emerged from the ark, he brought a sacrifice which was totally consumed. Perhaps we could suggest that this phrase is used only in a case where there is no gain for the one performing the sacrifice. Every subsequent mention of a “satisfying aroma” is either by a Korban Olah or Minchaeach of which is totally consumed. The owner has no share in the sacrifice. Giving of themselves totally with nothing in return is the ultimate expression of sacrifice.

   Of the 33 times, “Raiach Nechoach L’Hashem-A satisfying aroma to Hashem” appears in the Torah it is only spelled with the letter “Heyas the definite article in front of the word Nichoach once (Reach Ha'Nichoach). This is the first mention of this “satisfying aroma” in the Torah, This is the essence of who Pinchas was, ready to be totally consumed for the sake of heaven. The numerical value of the name Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Kohen equals 956. The same as the verse (Bereishis 8:21)Vayorech Hashem es Raiach Hanichoach-Hashem smelled the pleasing aroma.” What pleasing aroma was in the air? That of total negation to Hashem and thus connecting totally with Hashem with no barriers of physicality in the way.

   Pinchas attains the pedigree of a Kohen after performing this act even though the Halacha is that a Kohen that has killed someone is no longer eligible to serve as a Kohen. The idea behind this is that when someone takes another person’s life he is erasing the likeness of Hashem from the world. The job of the Kohen is to increase the

awareness of Hashem in this world. Therefore he becomes excluded from the priestly service. However in the case of Pinchas, his act insured that the Tzelem Elokim would continue. (Tzror Hamoror)

   (25:12) “Lechain Emore Hininy Nosain lo es Bris Sholaim”.Hashem say’s that He is giving to Pinchas this Bris Sholaim! What does this mean for Pinchas and why is the letter “Vav” of the word Shalaim broken in half in the Sefer Torah? There is a Machlokes about this letter “Vav”. One holds it's a short “Vav” one holds it's a split “Vav”. The word Shalaim equals 376 the same as the words “Zehu Moshiach.” The Zohar say’s that Pinchas is Eliyahu, who will announce the coming of Moshiach, and that he never died. How could this be? We know that there is a Gizairah (a decree) for all men to die in this world. How could Pinchas be exempt from it? At the time of this incident where he killed the Nassi of Shevet Shimon and the princess of Midian, he became so terrified that his neshama left him. Earlier when Nadav and Avihu died it say's that their Neshamas remained hovering around Klal Yisroel. When they saw the Neshama of Pinchas leaving him they entered into his body. This is how he was able to get around the Gezairah of death. He fulfilledthe Gezairah through this. How was it possible for two neshamas to enter into one body? We know that a person who is not married is considered incomplete. Nadav and Avihu never married, so each was only half a zivug. Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Cohen-Pinchas now became the son of Aharon through the Neshamas of Nadav and Avihu.

   What is the connection between Pinchas and Nadav and Avihu? There are various interpretations as to the exact nature of the sin, which caused their death. But there is one common theme. Nadav and Avihu had an intense desire to draw close to Hashem. We know that Nadav and Avihu were also zealots. They went beyond the limitations of their status. They were impatient with the ways of Aharon and Moishe to the point that they overstepped their bounds. They would issue halachic opinions in Moishe’s presence. They advocated a bolder approach to coming close to Hashem. This is why the posuk tells us (16:1) “B’kirvosom Lifnei Hashem V’yomusu” they died when they attempted to come close to Hashem. Pinchas also had this zealous desire to draw close to Hashem, and he too, acted without authorization from Moishe. The law, which he carried out, was by its very nature one which transcends legal authority. It is the type of law that is accepted but not taught. (Shabbos 12b) It had to be an act of spontaneous zeal, and not of calculated vengeance. The neshamas of Nadav and Avihu were looking for a body to enter that would rectify their own sins. They found a kindred spirit in Pinchas. He displayed the same zeal to come close to Hashem but was able to channel it in a manner favorable to Hashem.

   Throughout the generations Eliyahu has visited Klal Yisroel. At the end of time he will come to announce the coming of Moshiach and bring Shalaim to the world. This is what Pinchas did. By standing up for Hashem he brought peace. Now the one who say's that the letter “Vav” is short holds that there is only peace at the end of time when Moshiach will come. The “Vav” in the word Shalaim is short. This could also be looked at as the letter “Yud” thus spelling the word Shelim which equals 380 in gematria. The gemarrah says that there were 80 Kohanim Gedolim in the first Beis Hamikdosh and 300 in the second. All were descendants of Pinchas. This is alluded to in the word Shelim. The one who say's the “Vav” is split believes that as long as the Shalaim is incomplete there can be no total peace in the world.

   Why the letter “Vav”? The letter “Vav” is the letter that joins together. But on a deeper level the Midrash explains that there are five times in the Torah where the name of Yakov is spelled with an extra letter “Vav” and there are five times when the name of Eliyahu is spelled without the letter “Vav.” This signifies that Yakov took five “Vav’s” away from Eliyahu as a bond to ensure that Eliyahu would someday redeem Yakov’s sons. Therefore the meaning of the broken “Vav” is that for the time being any peace we may see is incomplete. In order to enjoy true everlasting peace we must wait for the arrival of Eliyahu to redeem us and reclaim the “Vav’s” that he pledged. (Baal Haturim)

     (25:11) “Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Cohen-Pinchas the son of Elozer the son of Aharon the Cohen.” Why was it that Pinchas received the priesthood for his role in stopping a national sin? Why did he merit becoming Eliyahu Hanavi? To answer this we must look back to the origins of Jewish history. In Bereishis, when Avraham was still named Avram, His father brought him to Nimrod for destroying his idols. This was the first of Avraham’s ten trials. He was offered to serve the idol or be thrown into the fiery furnace. As we know he chose the latter and survived but his brother Horon did not. Horon figured that if Avraham survived he would be willing to give up his life but if he did not survive he would worship the idol. This was not a totally pure expression of devotion. But as we know in the spiritual world nothing is lost. His self-sacrifice was given a second chance to fulfill its destiny in the form of Aharon. Aharon, whose name contains the letters of Horon, was a reincarnation of Horon in order to rectify and fulfill that area in which his Neshama fell short. That opportunity took form when Moishe failed to return from the mountain on time. Klal Yisroel was given a vision of Moishe being carried off on his deathbed and they wanted to create a replacement for him. Chur, Aharon’s nephew, attempted to prevent the national sin but was stoned to death. When Aharon saw this he thought it would be better to stall the nation rather than risk the possibility of receiving the same fate as his nephew. The sin of killing the Kohen Gadol would be a sin too great for the nation to overcome. But he was wrong. He did not count on the strength of the Meserus Nefesh to protect him. Had he stood up to the crowds he would have prevailed. He would have corrected the soul of Horon and fulfilled his life’s mission. But this did not come about until 39 years later through his grandson Pinchas. At this point in time Pinchas faced a test that would save Klal Yisroel then and in the future. By putting his life on the line he not only survived the test but was granted eternal life in the form of Eliyahu Hanavi, to form the link for the final gulah.

     This characteristic of Meserus Nefesh has faced a roadblock on the way to the final redemption. It has been taken up in our time by the enemies of Klal Yisroel in the form of suicide bombers. May Hashem help us when our test of faith is presented to us, may we be able to rise up to the challenge.

     (24:14) “Veshaim Ish Yisroel-The name of the Israelite was.” Why the mentioning of the name of the sinner? And why is he called “Ish Yisroel?” This is a hint that even after such a tremendously sinful act as was done by Zimri, he was still considered Ish Yisroel. He had not been totally uprooted from his holy origin. The word Hamokah refers to what Pinchas had done to him. By adding the words Es Hamidyanis the Torah indicates that it was this relationship that was lost. Normally the effects of such a sin would cling to a person’s Neshama and would not be easily removed. This act of clinging to his soul is described by the term Hakoh, a fatal blow. This teaches that by becoming Pinchas' victim Zimri's soul was released from the negative spiritual force his soul had absorbed from Kosbi. His death acted as atonement and as soon as she departed from him physically, Zimri's soul no longer bore the imprint of that association. This is why he can now be called Ish Yisroel.

   Pinchas was the grandson of Aharon who was by nature an Ohaiv Shalom V'rodaif Shalom- a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace. Pinchas' nature was the same as Aharon’s. He was not a hot headed individual but a man of peace. Because of this he was considered a true Kanoi (zealot).

   How was it that Pinchas was able to stop the plague by his actions? And why were all of the deaths from one Shevet? We know that Billem is the one who advised Balak to entice Benei Yisroel into sinning with the princesses of Midyan. The Zohar writes that Billem was the antithesis of Moishe. He used his powers of speech to cast a spell on Klal Yisroel. It was Shevet Shimon that was particularly susceptible to this form of pollution because of their spiritual nature. The name Shimon, in Hebrew, comes from the word Shemah which means to listen or hear. The tribe of Shimon served Hashem through the power of hearing. Therefore, they were more susceptible than the other tribes to absorbing the pollution of Billem’s speech. In last weeks parsha it says (25:7) “Vayar Pinchas-And Pinchas saw” What he saw was the letter “Mem” floating above the tent. This letter was emitted by Billem and was about to join two other letters “Vav” and “Tav” which would spell the word “Maves-Death.”Pinchas saw this and acted quickly to avert any further disaster. He connected the letter “Mem” to his own name, which equals 208 and increased its value to 248. The same as the word “Ramach” (spear). He now not only had a physical spear but a spiritual one too! This enabled him to break the spell of Billem.

   The Gemarrah in Nazir (23b) compares the actions of Zimri to those of Tamar (the daughter-in-law of Yehudah) and just as her actions were L’Shaim Shomayim so too were Zimri’s. But while hers produced the forerunner of the Moshiach, his caused the death of thousands of Jews.      

   The Ohr Hachaim comments regarding the laws of Yefas Tohar ( A beautiful woman permitted to an Israeli soldier in times of war) that sometimes a Neshama that has it’s source in a very high place becomes trapped in the shell of tumeh and that an association with a righteous person can free that Neshama and cause it to return to Kiddusha, to convert. The fact that the Torah writes the laws of Yefas Tohar is otherwise very difficult to understand. The only people who were permitted to go to war were those of the highest spiritual levels. Anyone with the slightest degree of sin was told to remain home. How could such a person be attracted to the sight of a beautiful woman? The Ohr Hachaim explains that this righteous person possessed the sensitivity to be able to pick up on a person with this type of Neshama. The type that had become trapped in the shell of tumeh and through association with a righteous person could become freed. This perhaps is what Zimri thought when he was attracted to Kozby. That the reason he was attracted to her was for the purpose of freeing a trapped soul. That perhaps he was destined to produce offspring that were great people. We find this by Yehoshua, who married a prostitute, and yet great people descended from that union.

 (25:17) “Tzoror es Hamidyanim- Treat them as enemies.” Of the two nations that Israel encountered the first Amalek ,endangered them physically, while the second, Midian, put their souls in danger. (Kol Torah)

     Hashem instructs Moishe “Tzoror es Hamidyanim- Treat them as enemies.” the loshon used is in the singular. Then it says “vehekisem osom” they should smite them which is a plural form? The reason is because originally Midian sent their kings daughter to try to snare Moishe himself. They thought that the best way to cause Israel to have a downfall would be if they could get to Moishe. So it was a personal thing that Hashem told Moishe to avenge. Therefore the use of the singular. But when that didn't work they tried to entice Klal Yisroel, therefore the use of the plural, it says that they should collectively smite Midian.

   (26:5) “Reuvein Bochor Yisrael Benei Reuvain Chanoch Mishpachas H’chanoci”   The parsha lists the genealogy of Benei Yisroel and attests to its purity by adding the letters of Hashem's name to the beginning and end of each shevet. The letter "hey" is found in the word for woman “Isha”. And the letter “yud” is found in the word for man “Ish”. The question is why does the “hey” appear first placing woman ahead of man in this praise? The answer is just that. In Mitzraim it was the women that were the most responsible for maintaining the purity of Benei Yisroel. It is for this reason that they are mentioned first.

   Throughout the sojourn in the Midbar the women always rose to the challenge. By the sin of the golden calf they refused to donate their gold. By the building of the Mishkon they were the first to donate their gold. They remained steadfast when the Meraglim slandered Eretz Yisroel. Why were the women able to withstand every challenge while the men seem to have failed so many tests? At the creation of man and woman in Bereishis we find when man was naming all of the animals, he found no match for himself. Hashem then created woman for him. He named her Isha for she came from Ish. The name Ish comes from the word Aish. Man is likened to fire for he is at times able to accomplish tremendous things, but like fire he can also be very destructive if left unchecked. This is the job of the woman. To keep the fire of man focused and in line. The Gematria of the word Isha is the same as the word Mussar. This could explain the measure for measure of the deaths of Aharon's two sons Nadav and Avihu. They were killed by fire, they refused to marry! Without the Isha to contain the fire they were consumed by it. The same letters of Isha are used by the first sacrifice brought in the Mishkon. " Reiach Nichoach Ishei L'Hashem " Fire being used for the first time for its ultimate purpose.

   We learned by the Macos in Mitzraim that every Plague that they experienced had the exact opposite effect on Benei Yisroel. If they experienced darkness the Jews experienced light. It even say's that by the Makeh of the first born Benei Yisroel also experienced a momentary death and were immediately reincarnated. This is why Hashem himself had to perform that particular Makeh, because resurrection of the dead is one of the three keys that are held exclusively by Hashem. But there was one aspect of the Macos Bechoros whose opposite effect we don't readily see. When the Bechorim were dying Rashi say's there was not one house that did not experience death. Because the Mitzriim were very promiscuous they had many first born from different husbands. So in many homes they would find several children dead. This was an additional pain that the Mitzriim had to experience. We find the opposite reaction in this week’s parsha. Hashem here is testifying to the purity of Klal Yisroel by adding the letters of his name to the names of each Shevet. Why was this brought down here at the end

of the wanderings in the midbar? After the incident with Kosbi the nations of the world had an opening to point a finger at the purity of Klal Yisroel. Therefore Hashem at this point testified by placing his name at the beginning and end of each family name.

   (26:11) U’Benei Korach lo Masu- And the children of Korach did not die.” The posuk says that the children of Korach did not die. Rashi comments that they did teshuva and were given a higher place in gehinom. If they did teshuva why were they not forgiven in full? The answer is that a person can do teshuva on his own avairos but the negative influence he affects to others can’t be so easily erased.

   (26:33) “U’Telaphchad ben Chaifer Lo-Hayu Bonim- Tzelaphchad the son of Chaifer had no sons.” When the daughters of Tzelaphchad came to Moishe they had a good claim. If their mother doesn't have to perform Yivum because she had daughters then why can't daughters be good enough for yerusha? The halocha was hidden from Moishe. Why was it necessary for the halacha to be hidden? Hashem didn't want Moishe to feel that he was on a very high madrege because he had separated himself from his wife all the years of the midbar. These daughters of Tzelaphchad were around forty years old and they were not married. If they had been married they would not have been entitled to a Yerusha. They chose not be married because they didn't want to lower their standards. Not because they couldn't find husbands. They were on a very high madrege. When Moishe saw this in them he realized that his separation from his wife was not as great a feat as their voluntary abstention was, since his was commanded by Hashem while they chose not to be married. In the end they did finally marry and Hashem granted them many children even though they were past the normal age for child bearing.

   This incident of the daughters of Tzelaphchad is the fifth and final case where a Halacha was brought about through a story. There was the one who cursed Hashem, Pesach shenei, the Mekoshesh, and the Eigel. Each one of these cases is reflected in the letters of Menatzpach. The letters of the Aleph Beis that are doubled, they appear one way in the middle of a word and another way at the end of a word. Mem-the wood gatherer, Nun- the one who cursed Hashem, Tzadik- the daughters of Tzelaphchad, Phey-Pesach Sheni and Chuf-was the Eigel. According to Pirkei D’ Rebeliezer each of these letters were used for a different geulah. The end letters relate to the end of an era. What is the connection? We know that Pinchas was a zealot, he was pro-active. So too were the daughters of Tzelaphchad. They did not wait for the halacha to come to them but rather initiated the question themselves. This is the lesson we must learn here. We too must we be pro-active when it comes to bringing the Moshiach. We must take the initiative in order for the final geulah to come.

   (26:46) "Serach Bas Asher" Why was she singled out here? Serach was the only person alive who had seen Yakov Avinu. She was the one who notified Yakov that his son was still alive. She was able to testify in Mitzrayim about the authenticity of Moshe. Whenever a challenge arose against Moshe, she was there as a witness. Now as Klal Yisroel were poised to finally enter the promised land the nation knew what she had been saying was true.

   (27:5) “Vayakrev Moshe es Mishpatan-Moshe brought their claim before Hashem.” Why is there a “Nun” at the end of the word Mishpat? Just as the fiftieth, “Nun” level of Daas was hidden from Moshe, so too was this law.

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 “Vayeshev Yisroel B’Shitim-Israel settled in Shittim.”

It was here that many of the men of Israel began to sin with the daughters of Moav. It is difficult to fathom how a people growing up in the Midbar and seeing all of the miracles they must have seen, could sin with the first sight of seductive women?The Midrash Tanchuma interprets the words “Vayeshev Yisroel B’Shitim-Israel settled in Shittim.” to indicate that there was a fountain at Shittim which caused people who drank from it to develope into adulterers, just as we know there are fountains of water which cause the people who drink from it to become strong or weak physically, or to influence their character in various ways. The waters of that well were the ones the people of Sodom had been drinking which affected their behavior. Seeing that it had such spiritually negative effects on the people drinking from it Hashem caused it to stop flowing. (RabeinuBachya)

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“Zos Chukas H’Torah"

   (19:2) “Zos Chukas H’Torah-These are the statutes of the Torah.” This week’s Parsha deals with death. The ashes of the Para Adumah that purify someone who came into contact with death, the death of Miriam and Aharon and the decree of Moshe’s death are all major themes here. With this parsha the sefer Bamidbar seems to change direction. Until now we have been dealing with the generation that emerged from Egypt. But from here on, the remainder of the Chumash recounts the history of the next generation. All of the events described from here on take place in the 40th year of the midbar wanderings. The point of this transition is the mitzvah of the Para Haduma. It is called a “Chok” because the meaning behind it has eluded even the greatest of minds. Rashi says that no reason is given for these “Chukim”. Yet he does say that if the nations of the world would mock the Torah saying, look at these mitzvos that make no sense, we precede this by saying that although they are a Chok beyond our comprehension, Klal Yisroel were still willing to comply.This could be the connection to last week’s parsha. In parshas Korach we learned that Korach challenged Moshe by using his own logic. He would tear down anything he could not understand. If a room is full of Torah scrolls how can it need a mezuzah? This is why our parsha begins with “Chukim” these are laws beyond human comprehension.

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Shelach Leche

(13:2) “Shelach-Send out.”

The incident concerning the spiesis the forbearer of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. The numerical value of the word Shelach is equal to 338. Not coincidently the year of the destruction was 3338.

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(8:2) “Behaloscha es-Ha’neros-When you light the lights.”

Rashi explains the connection between this Parsha and the end of the previous one. That when Aaron saw all of the donations made by the Nesiim he felt bad that neither he nor his shevet had any part of it. This is why the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah was directed exclusively towards him. The Ohr Hachaim asks why was it this mitzvah when there was so many others that Aharon had to perform? The Nesiim only brought their Korbaonos this one time, while Aharon and his descendants were to perform them for all time? He answers that the Mitzvah of cleaning and lighting the Menorah was even greater than bringing the Korbonos because each day it was necessary to dismantle the Menorah in order to clean it. So in effect Aharon, by reassembling the Menorah, was completing the Mishkon every day.

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Take a census of the sons of Gershon


(4:21-22) Vayidabaer Hashem el Moishe Leimor. Naso es Rosh Benei Gershon-Hashem told Moishe Take a census of the sons of Gershon.

It seems strange that this weeks parsha should begin with the oldest son of the tribe of Levi. In last weeks parsha the Torah began describing the duties of the Leviim by listing the sons of Kehas, the second of the tribe of Levi who had the most coveted job of carrying the holiest vessels of the Mishkon. The parsha then ends and we find the narrative continues in this weeks parsha with the duties of Gershon? Why was it necessary to separate the listing with a new parsha? We know that Parshas Nasso is usually read on the Shabbos following Shevuos. Since the Festivals are related to the Torah portions in whose time they fall, there must be an allusion to the special qualities of this Shabbos. What is special about this Shabbos?

   Before the Torah was given there was a rift in the universe. From the time Adom ate from the Eitz Hadas there was a separation between Hashem and the physical world. It was impossible for the spiritual to exist in the physical. When the Torah was given there was a tremendous shaking in the physical world. Reports of earthquakes, volcano eruptions and floods are recorded by many different cultures and civilizations. The giving of the infinite Torah to the finite world was an unnatural phenomenon. But through this giving there was a mend in the cosmos. Heaven and earth could now be united. Thus the Mitzvos performed before Matan Torah lacked the quality of the mitzvos performed after Matan Torah. Since all past events are reawakened at the time of year during which they first occurred, we understand that the Shabbos following Shevuos is an echo of the first Shabbos following the giving of the Torah.

   The duties of the sons of Kehas were connected to the highest forms of Keddusha. Therefore their function could exist in a world before the Torah was given. Only after the healing accomplished through Matan Torah could there be the duties of Gershon. The physical parts of the Mishkon now could be connected to the spiritual essence.

   The Gemarrah in Brochos says it is greater to do a Mitzvah when commanded than when not commanded. Why is this so? We would think it would be greater to do something when not forced to, when it comes from our own initiative. But doing a mitzvah affects the entire universe. This can only be done when acting as an agent of Hashem. When Hashem commands us to do a Mitzvah he is in essence making us an agent to perform his will thus empowering us to change the physical world. Matan Torah is the time we became empowered as Hashems agents to affect our world through His mitzvos.

   The name of each parsha exemplifies its essence. Nasso means to uplift but it also is connected to the word for prince. The bulk of this parsha deals with the donations that were given by the princes of each tribe after Matan Torah. They each brought the same exact gift but for different reasons. They each looked at the world from a slightly different perspective. In so doing they elevated another aspect of the physical world.

   The Zohar writes that the name Yisroelis an acronym for Yesh Shishim Rebo Osios LTorah-There are Six Hundred Thousand Letters in the Torah. We know there are 600,000 core Neshamas to Klal Yisroel, which was also the total number of Jews counted in last weeks parsha. It therefore comes out that every Jewish soul has a corresponding letter in the Torah. The question however is what about the 22,000 Leviim? They were not included in the counting of the other tribes. Perhaps according to R.Zev Leff we can say the following. Every Torah scroll must have lines drawn in order to allow the writing of the letters to be uniform. The letters much touch the line at the top. There are no more than 30 letters permitted to a line but when counting spaces and paragraphs the average line contains 27 letters. If we divide the 600,000 letters in the Torah by 27 we come up with 22,000 as the

amount of lines in the Torah. This is what the tribe of Levi represents. They are the ones we must look up to and who keep Yisroel in line.

   (4:32) UVsheimos Tifkidu es Klei Mishmeres Mosom-By name you shall appoint the safeguarding of their load.What does appointment by name mean? The Shelah writes that the carrying of these vessels were extremely difficult. They were made of heavy materials. Investing them with Holy Names served like a soul to a body, and just like a live being carries itself, and his weight is lightened, so too these Holy items had an inner spirit which made them lighter.

(6:2) Rashi writes that the reason the Parsha of Nazir was written next to the parsha of Sotah is thatwhoever sees a Sotah in her disgrace should take the vow of Nezirus. The question is why? If he witnesses such a traumatic sight it should cause him to feel distanced from sinning? The answer could be that a person does not see things randomly. If he happened to be in that place at that time, there is a reason he was there to witness it. That is why he needs to take the vow of Nezirus. There must be something he needs to correct in his life and the sight he witnessed is a message to him.

(6:5) "תאר לא יאבר אל ראשו - No blade shall pass over his head" A Nazir must not shave his hair. Hair evokes mans resemblance to Hashem. It represents mans crowning glory of appearance. What makes hair symbolize strength?

   R.Bachya writes that the Nazir is on a spiritually higher level than the high priest. The high priests dominating attribute is that of Chesed whereas the predominant attribute of the Nazir is Binah, which is ranked higher than Chesed. The word Nazir is a reference to the crown, which is worn by the high priest. This is the meaning of the words "the crown of his God is on his head". The reason he must not drink wine or become ritually Impure is to keep his distance from forces which are beholden to the left side of the emanations, the part which is perceived as representing spiritually negative influences. On the other hand, he is warned not to shave his hair because hair represents strength as we know from Sampson. Hair grows incessantly and continues to grow even after death if the corpse is in a moist environment. Each single hair is a symbol of the far-flung activities of Hashem, activities which deal with minute details, just as every single hair seems by itself insignificant. Hairs represent a continuous development in all directions of the globe. As a reminder of this concept of G-d the "All-Present", the Nazir iscommanded to give the hair full and unrestrained opportunity to keep growing. The Nazir is cautioned not to destroy any part of his hair by means of a razor. It is similar to separating a sapling from its roots. Once separated it loses its nourishment and strength.

(6:7) "Laviv ULemo Lachiv ULachoso Lo Yitamu-To his father or his mother, to his brother or to his sister he shall not contaminate himself.We have learned in Vayikra (21:2) that a Kohen, who is also holy, is permitted to contaminate himself for close relatives while the nazzir is not? The Shem Meshmuelwrites that a Kohen receives his kiddusha from his family, from his father. While the nazzir attains his Kiddusha on his own, with no connection to his family. Therefore, the Kohen, whose Kiddusha is derived from his family may participate in the funeral of a family member.

   The Kohen Gadol is not permitted to attend the funeral of family members. Although he is a Kohen from his family, he is Kohen Gadol due to is own merits. (Shem Meshmuel)

   The parsha lists each of the princes gifts to the dedication of the Mishkon. Twelve times the same gifts are repeated. Why this repetition? The Torah wanted to show how each tribe was valued equally. That had only the first offering been described the importance of the others would have been belittled.

   Also the repetition teaches that although the donations were identical, the thoughts behind each of them differed. Each Nassi with Ruach Hakodeshchose gifts and measurements that symbolized the traits and history of his own tribe. Thats why each is listed individually because although externally they were the same the reflections behind them differed.

   (6::23) כה תברכו את בני ישראל אמור להם״-So shall you bless the Children of Israel say to them." The word "אמור" is spelled full with the extra "Vav".

Three reasons are given.

1- "Vav" equals six representing the six blessings found in the priestly blessings.

2- The word אמורequals 247 the same as זמר meaning song, the blessings must be sung.

3- The word אמור including the word equals 248 all of the bodily limbs are blessed.

     (7:1) Vayehe Bayom Kalos Moshe Lhokim es HaMishkon-And it was the day Moshe finished erecting the MishkonThe Torah always uses this as an expression of pain. The completion of the Mishkon should have been the most joyous of days? The Zohar writes that the pain here was that the Shechina was now leaving its heavenly abode.

   (7:2) Vayakrivu Nesiai YisroelHaim Nesiai Mattos-They drew near the princes of Yisroel..They were the heads of their tribes.Rashi explains that these were the officers over them in Egypt and were smitten because of them. Because these princes took a beating for their brethren, Hashem repaid them now by appointing them as princes over Yisroel. This is the meaning of Nesiai Mattoswhich can be read as princes of the rod.

   (7:12) Vayehe Hmakiriv Bayom HRishon ..Nachshon ben Aminodov- And it was the one who brought his offering on the first day, Nachshon ben Aminadav.Again we find this term of pain regarding the first dedication of the Mishkon? However on the day that the Mishkon was dedicated we know that Ahrons two sons died. Despite that terrible tragedy the dedications had to take place. Nachshon was chosen because of his display of self sacrifice at the splitting of the Red Sea they knew he would have the proper intention even though his sister was Elisheva, the wife of Aharon and the mother of Nadav and Avihu.

(7:18) Byom Hasheni Hikriv Nesanel ben Tzuor- On the second day Nesanel the son of Tzuor brought. The word Hikrivis not found by the other tribes. Rashi elaborates on the significance of the donations given here. The question is why did he choose to comment on the second day and not comment on the first day? The answer is because the prince of the tribe of Yissacher, Nesanel, was the one who suggested that each prince make a donation. This is the meaning of the word Hikrivin this context. It was he who brought. Very often we find that the second person that gives tries to outdo the first by giving a little more. This could have escalated with each tribe. But Nesanel gave exactly the same as the first prince thereby preventing any possible escalation. Even though it could have been perceived as humiliating to give the exact same donation, he still took that upon himself. That is why the word Hikrivis spelled without the letter Vav.

(7:19)   Karas KasefRashi says the numerical value of this gift was 930, the same as the number of years Adam lived. What significance does this have to the Mishkon? Also it says the weight of the silver was 130 shekalim, equal to the number of years that Adam separated from Chava. What is the relationship to the Mishkon?

   The Maharal says that the Mishkon was a microcosm of the perfect world. Everything that was in the creation of the world was in the creation of the Mishkon. Adam was represented by a bowl (ke'ara) because he was the mainstay (ikar) of mankind. He included all of the neshamas of future generations. Its weight was 130 shekalem to symbolize that Adam was 130 years old when his successor Shais was born, who became the founder of mankind.

   Each of the princes gave their particular gift for a different reason, yet each gift was exactly the same. Each prince had something in their tribe, which they wanted represented in their gift. Even the names of the nesium had significance. Nachshon ben AminadavThe name Nachshon comes from the word nachshol(wave) this signifies that when Benei Yisroel reached the shore of the yam suf, this nassi was the first to obey Hashem's command to go further. He leaped into the waves of the sea. The gift of the basin weighed 70 shekel to indicate that Shlomo and Moshiach, who both come from his tribe, would rule over 70 nations. The tribe of Dan had Shimshon come from that tribe. In the parsha of Nazir there are 130 words. Thats why they gave the silver plate weighing 130 shekalim. Each tribe had their own independent connection to the donations given.

   The Gemarrah in Sotah says that the proximity of the parsha of Sotah with the parsha of Nazir comes to teach us that if someone would see a Sotah it would compel him to declare himself a Nazir. The Ibin Ezra writes that the parsha of Nazir is next to the parsha of Birchas Kohanim to teach us that they both have Kiddusha. The Abarbanel takes this one step further by saying that it teaches us that even a simple Jew can attain the highest levels of Yidishkeit without having to be born into it like a Kohen. We can see another similarity between a Kohen and a Nazir. It says that the nazir must bring a korban after having been contaminated by coming in contact with a corpse. One of the reasons is because being on such an elevated state should have protected the people in his proximity from dying. We find a similar situation by a city of refuge. It says that if a person kills someone accidentally, he flees to this city to escape the wrath of the relatives of the deceased. He remains there until the current Kohen Gadol dies. This is for the same reason as the Nazir. The Kohain Gadol is responsible for the lives of his people.(Shem Meshmuel)

   At the end of the parsha it says (7:84) Zos Chanukas Hamizbeach Byom Hemoshach Oso-This was the dedication of the Altar, on the day it was anointed Then a few posukim later it says (7:88) Zos Chanukas Hamizbeach Acharei Hemoshach Oso-This was the dedication of the Altar after it was anointed. Why the repetition just four posukim later? It is very common for people to be excited when something is new. However as time passes the novelty usually wears off. The Torah is telling us that not only was there tremendous excitement on the day the altar was anointed but that even after it was anointed it did not lose its newness, but was cherished with the same awe as on the first day. (Chidushe Harim)


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Omer the day after Shabbos

During the time between Pesach and Shevuous we count the Omer.

Why is the term Sefiras H’omer used? The Omer was a onetime offering brought the day after Pesach consisting of barley-basic animal food. Forty-nine days later an offering o

If chametz is analogous to sin, to the Yetzer Hora which prevents us from performing Hashem's will, why is it permitted at all, at any time of the year? Why are chametz and se'or prohibited for only one week each year, and permissible during the remaining 51 weeks?

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   The Parsha begins with the words “ Im Bechukosaye Teilech. If you will go in my ways.”

We read this portion of the Torah every year before Matan Torah. This is in order to put the curses that are contained in this weeks parsha behind us before the new year. In fact they are read twice. Once before Rosh Hashana and once before Matan Torah. The question is what is the connection of these curses to Matan Torah?

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“Vayidabaer Hashem el-Moishe Behar Sinai-Hashem spoke to Moishe on Har Sinai.”


At Sinai Benei Yisroel reached a level so great that they would not have needed to worry about earthly pursuits. This too was what the Shmita year meant. If they keep the mitzvos, then in the year of Shmita they wont need to worry about food. So it was this mitzvah that encompassed the idea of totally relying on Hashem. Of leaving ones means of sustenance entirely in the hands of his own emunah. This is also why the posuk refers to the Shmitah year as Shabbos LHashem. It is a year that is focused entirely towards spiritual pursuits. We need a weekly Shabbos to remind us of our purpose in going through the six work days. But we also need a Shabbos of years to absorb the emunah into our bones. The Shmita year resembles the earth before the sin.. Just as the earth before the sin produced food without labor. So too the Shmita years produces without labor.

The word Shmita has the numerical value of 364. If you calculate the number of Shabbosim there are in 7 years (52 x 7) it equals 364. But since the solar year has 52 weeks plus one day, it comes out that every seven years there is one extra Shabbos? This could be why by Yovel the posuk says Shabbos Shabbosom an extra Shabbos.

   The Amida of the week days contain the same eighteen blessings for all three prayers. Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. The same is true with regards to the Amida of Yom Tov. However Shabbos is the exception. Each of the Shabbos prayers are different. The evening prayer corresponds to the original Shabbos of creation. A perfect time void of sin. The Morning prayer is a reminder of the giving of the Torah at Sinai, where Klal Yisroel attained the level of Adom before the sin. The afternoon prayer corresponds to the future Shabbos, when Moshiach will herald in the new world order.

   There are three Shabbosim. The first is the weekly Shabbos we have that represents the end of physical creation. The second is Shmita it is the Shabbos that happens every seven years. This is the Shabbos that is embedded in history. It represents the end of time when Hashem will be able to rest from the labor of moving history to its destination. Just as the weekly Shabbos is a time to reflect on our goal in life, so too the Shmita is reminiscent of our ultimate goal in Messianic times. The Yovel is the third Shabbos. It comes every fifty years and presents the Shabbos as the contact point between creation and Hashem, when all of mankind will once again unite with the creator. It is the Shabbos of the higher world, the realm of eight which is beyond the natural world of seven.

   There are many examples of the number seven being unique in the Torah. There are seven heavens, seven regions of the earth. Of the leaders of mankind the seventh was given the greatest honor. This was Chanoch who was said to have ascended to heaven alive. Of the builders of the Jewish people the seventh (Moshe) surpassed all the others Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov, Levi, Kahas, Amram, Moshe. The seventh day of the week, Shabbos. Of the months, the seventh, is Tishrei in which the entire year is judged. The number seven symbolizes the Torah, which according to one view has seven books. Since the Torah is the goal of existence, the number seven represents the spiritual highlight of that goal. The Shmita year is meant to teach the Jews that the success of his crops is not in his hands alone but he should be aware that Hashem makes the rainfall. The growth of the plants is not automatic. Everything depends on Hashem's will. The same is true of the businessmen who should not feel that his business or his factory are what give him his parnassa. There is only one giver of parnassa.

The first Mishneh in Avos says Moshe Kibel Torah MSinai-Moshe received the Torah from Sinai.The question is didnt Moishe receive the Torah on Sinai. What is the meaning of from Sinai? The Nesivos Sholom answers that Sinai here does not refer to the mountain but rather the experience. The heavens opened wide and the entire nation experienced Hashem in a way that was never again repeated. The sages teach that they had such absolute clarity of faith that they 'saw' the words of Hashem. They had no doubts about Hashems existence. This is what the Mishneh is teaching. Moshe received the Torah from Sinai Of course the Torah was received from Hashem. But the level of emunah that was reached through the experience at Sinai served as the conduit through which the Torah could and would flow down to us all.

(25:2) Veshavsah Haaretz Shabbos LHashem- The land shall observe a Shabbos rest for Hashem.Rashi says for the name of Hashem, just like it was stated by the Shabbos of Bereishis. What does this mean? What is the connection to the Shabbos of Bereishis?We know that the first Shabbos was not commanded to anyone. It was a Shabbos to Hashem. The purpose of the creation of the physical world was for the spiritual, represented by Shabbos. The Ramban writes that the comparison between Shemitah and Shabbos is that both bear testimony to Hashems creation of the universe in six days and His rest on the seventh. The years of the Shimitah cycle allude to the six thousand years of this worlds existence climaxed by the seventh millennium, which will be a period of Moshiach, of peace and tranquility. If Shmita relates to Shabbos and the six days of the week relate to the 6,000 years the world is destined to exist culminating in a thousand years of the Messianic era, what then is Yovel related to?

   Rabeinu Bachya writes that seven times seven years refers to the ultimate Yovel after 49,000 years which is the lifespan of the universe. This concept in turn could incorporate the concept discussed at length by the Ohr Hachaim in which the author is at pains to prove that our universe is not the first of these seven cycles but is already the fifth such cycle, previous cycles having contained lower forms of life only, including prehistoric man.

(25:9) Vehavartah Shofar Teruah Bchodesh Hashevi Basser Lachodesh BYom Hakipurim-And you shall sound the shofar in the seventh month on the tenth day on Yom Kippur. The posuk is telling us that we must blow shofar to herald in the Yovel year. The question is why wait until the tenth? Why isnt it counted from the first of the month, from Rosh Hashana? The Midrash says that this was done in order for the slaves to prepare themselves for freedom. From Rosh Hashana on they no longer worked but they were not yet free. They would sit at their masters table and eat from their food until Yom Kippur. This has a dual effect in that it also softens the blow for the master who goes through the hardship of relinquishing his slave.

   The Maharal explains that just like Yom Kippur returns things to their original state, so too does Yovel. When a person sins he falls under the rule of the Yetzer Horah and is no longer under the domain of Hashem. The Yetzer Horah rules over the physical body. So by going through a Yom Kippur he returns to Hashem and is now able to accept freedom. Also he writes that the number ten is always associated with Kiddusha. We find several examples of this throughout the Torah.

   (25:19) "V'ochaltem L'sova-You shall eat your fill."Rashi says that the blessings will be in the stomach. That a person will be satisfied with less. The Kasav Soferasks why should the blessing be to be satisfied with less? Why shouldn't there be plenty of food for everyone? He answers that people who become accustomed to excessive amounts of everything, whether food, money or luxuries, can never really feel secure. Having become dependent on more than enough they will feel deprived with anything less. Therefore the blessing is that people will not gorge themselves to excess but still be satisfied.

   (25:38) Losase Lochem es-Eretz Canaan Lhiyos Lochem Lelokim-To give you the land and to be your G-d.Rashi comments that whoever lives in Israel Hashem is his G-d and whoever leaves Eretz Yisroel is likened to an Idol worshipper. One can only be fully Jewish in Israel and one who leaves loses part of his Jewish identity. (Oznayim LTorah)

(25:30) BIyar Asher Lo Chomah-In a city that has a wall.Rashi writes that the word Lo is read with a vav but is written with an aleph. This would mean that the Torah writes no wallbut it means there is a wall.What is the meaning of this? Why would the Torah write it one way but mean the opposite? To understand this we must first understand what the walled cities were. When Yehoshua entered Eretz Yisroel he sanctified all those cities that were walled at the time. This miracle represented the fact that no human effort could stand in the way of the will of Hashem. On the other hand those walls built by the Jews contained no kiddusha because they represented the lack of faith placed in Hashems ability to protect them. So it comes out that the walls built by the gentiles, Lo spelled with an aleph, are viewed by the Torah as Lo Chomah no wall.. When read with a Vav meaning a wall built by the Jews, it is saying Lo-to him Chomah-a wall. In other words this wall was built for him (Lo) for his security which is a lack of emunah in Hashem. The selling of a house referred to here is not your typical sale where someone wishes to move up to a nicer home. Anyone who sold an ancestral dwelling did so only under the pressure of financial concerns. This follows after the warnings of a person who sells himself as a slave. Any home sold of the walled cities that were sanctified by Yehoshua could be redeemed in the first year only. After that they were lost and would not return to its original owner even at Yovel.

The parsha goes on to speak about the need to support the poor. When a person gives charity he gets more than he gives. He gives a small material amount but receives an inestimable wealth of spiritual merits. In Pirkei Avos it says there are ten things that were created each stronger than the next-1.rock, 2.iron,, 4.water, 5.clouds, 6.wind, 7.the body, 8.fear, 9.death, 10.tzedaka, which is stronger than all of the rest. The Maharal asks why is tzedaka stronger than the other things listed?He explains that the first nine are naturally strong, whereas tzedaka's strength is not a physical one. It bears the kiddusha of a mitzvah. Therefore it can even overpower death, which is bound by the confines of nature.

(25:1) Vayidabaer Hashem el-Moishe Behar Sinai-Hashem spoke to Moishe on Har Sinai.Rashi asks why is this din of Shmita mentioned as coming from Sinai, weren't all the mitzvos from Sinai? He answers that just as here the details were given, so too all the mitzvos that were given at Sinai even if the details weren't mentioned they were given at Sinai. But there is another reason for it's being mentioned.

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Daber el-Kol Adas Benei Yisroel V’omartoh Aleihem Kedoshim Tiyhu Ki Kodesh Ani Hashem-Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them be holy for I Hashem am holy.”


   (19:1) “Dabaer el-Kol Adas Benei Yisroel V’omartoh Aleihem Kedoshim Tiyhu Ki Kodesh Ani Hashem-Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them be holy for I Hashem am holy.” The parsha begins with a very general statement to be holy, then goes on to specific mitzvos that seem to parallel the Ten Commandments. How are we expected to be like Hashem who is holy?

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Vayidaber Hashem el-Moishe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu


                             ACHAREI MOS

(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moishe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu-Hashem spoke to Moishe after the death of Aharons two sons who brought an offering before Hashem and they died.” This verse seems to be a bit redundant. Acharei Mos, means Vayamusu? It seems as though we are speaking here of two deaths. The first when the fire appeared and consumed their souls. The second is the fact they died childless. Not having anyone to carry on their heritage meant that their eternal life had come to an end.

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