Archive for March, 2009

L’Chaim Weekly Magazine for Parshas Ki Tisa / Ki Sisa 5769 (ISSUE # 1062)

Posted on March 13, 2009. Filed under: Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Ki Sisa, Ki Tisa, L’Chaim Weekly, L’Chaim Weekly Magazine, L’Chayim Weekly, L’Chayim Weekly Magazine, Lechayim Weekly, Lechayim Weekly Magazine, Parshas Hashavua, Parshas Hashavuah, Parshas Ki Sisa, Parshas Ki Tisa, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Ki Tisa, The Truth, Torah, Torah is THE Truth, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly Parshah, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

=======================================================================

B”H

—–

L’CHAIM – ISSUE # 1062

*********************************************************************

Copyright (c) 2009

Lubavitch Youth Organization – L.Y.O.

Brooklyn, NY

————–

Electronic version provided free at:

www.LchaimWeekly.org

——————–

Palm-Pilot version provided free at:

www.LchaimWeekly.org/lchaim/5769/1062.prc

——————–

To receive the L’CHAIM by e-mail

write to: listserv@LchaimWeekly.org

Subscribe W1

*********************************************************************

THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR EVERY JEWISH PERSON

Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.

*********************************************************************

March 13, 2009 Ki Sisa 17 Adar, 5769

*********************************************************************

The Three Essential Food Groups

We all know that there are three essential food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Each of these food groups supplies us with energy, but we require each of them for a different purpose.

Let’s start with carbohydrates. These are our main source of energy.

There are three types of carbohydrates: sugar (which comes in two forms)

– the quick energy food; starches – slower, provides long term energy; fiber – we can’t digest these.

Then there’s protein. We also get energy from protein, but it has another function. Proteins are the “growth and maintenance” food. They keep the cells functioning. Proteins also help us digest food and fight off infection.

Then there’s fat. Fat stores energy. Fat also insulates the body against cold. We all know that too much fat is bad for us, but we need some fat, and the right kind can prevent disease.

Just as the body needs all three food groups to survive and prosper, so, too the soul needs its “three essential food groups.” We can see the three essential “spiritual” food groups in the following expression of our Sages: “The world stands on three things: on Torah, on Divine Service (prayer) and on acts of loving-kindness (mitzvot – commandments).”

These three areas of human activity, upon which the world depends, correspond to the three food groups upon which the human body depends, as we’ll explain.

Acts of loving-kindness (mitzvot) correspond to the carbohydrates we eat. How so? Unless we’re on a special diet, most of our energy comes from carbohydrates. Similarly, unless we are a rare individual who spends all day in study or all day in prayer, most of spiritual activity is expressed in mitzvot – performance of the commandments. And like the three types of carbohydrates, we can classify three types of mitzvot.

Sugar, the quick energy, the most common form – these are the mitzvot we do every day.

Starches, the slower, longer lasting energy, less common – these are the mitzvot that occur occasionally, (like matza on Passover) that sustain us for longer periods of time.

Fiber, the indigestible carbohydrate are the prohibitions, the command-ments we fulfill by not acting.

Torah corresponds to protein. It is through Torah study that we grow.

Through Torah we maintain our connection to G-d, that is, we gain (or

absorb) inspiration. Torah heals us, enables us to fight off spiritual diseases, enables us to understand “what’s going on” with the mitzvot, In short, Torah keeps us functioning.

Divine Service, or prayer corresponds to fat. A little goes a long way.

A long, long way. Not only that, prayer insulates us, keeps us spiritually warm, excited about Judaism and G-d. It protects us against the “cold,” that freezes our fervor, chill our enthusiasm for things spiritual (like mitzvot!).

And yes there are “bad prayers” – prayers that, like fat, are “saturated.” That is, a prayer that is “saturated” with the person’s ego has no room for G-d. Such a “saturated prayer” just increases a person’s arrogance, harming one spiritually, interfering with one’s relationship with G-d.

An “unsaturated prayer,” on the other hand, indicates a state of self-nullification, where the ego is put aside and the person makes room for G-d within himself – as G-d commands in regard to the Tabernacle:

“make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell within them” – that is, within the individual.

So make sure that when checking your diet for the three essential food groups, you also check your spiritual diet for the three essential spiritual food groups.

*********************************************************************

LIVING WITH THE REBBE – THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION

*********************************************************************

This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tisa, contains an interesting exchange between Moses and G-d. “Show me, I pray, Your glory,” asks Moses. G-d replies, “You cannot see My face…you will see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

The Torah is obviously speaking in symbolic terms. “Face” refers to a clear revelation of G-dliness, in much the same way that an individual’s face reveals his inner self; glimpsing a person’s “back” reveals far less about the person. But what did G-d show Moses?

The great commentator, Rashi, explains that G-d showed Moses the knot of His tefilin (phylacteries). What kind of answer to Moses’ petition was that?

In order to understand, we must first place the exchange in its proper context. Moses made this request after the Jews sinned by making the Golden Calf. After such a grave sin, how could they ever be forgiven?

What possible merit did the Jews have for G-d to absolve them of idolatry? Rashi explains that G-d’s answer was to teach Moses the proper way for a Jew to pray for Divine mercy.

Sin itself defies logic. How could it be that a Jew, a member of a nation described as “believers, the children of believers,” should sin?

How can a Jew, who believes in his innermost heart that G-d created the world and continues to sustain it every minute of the day, denies this by transgressing G-d’s will?

The answer is that all sin stems from forgetfulness. It is only when a Jew forgets the true nature of the world that he transgresses; when he forgets that G-d is the only absolute reality he strays from the right path. The minute a Jew is reminded of this, there is no room for sin and it ceases to exist.

This, then, is the significance of the knot of the tefilin. If sin is only the result of a Jew’s forgetfulness, he need only be reminded of G-d and he will not transgress. This is accomplished by the tallit and tzitit (ritual fringes), whose purpose is to remind the Jew of his task in life, as it states in the Torah, “And you shall see it, and remember.” The tefilin serve the same purpose: “And it shall be as a remembrance between your eyes.”

Most specifically, it is the knot of the tefilin which symbolizes this, as a knot serves both as a reminder (such as when one ties a knot around one’s finger to remember something), and as a symbol of the binding knot between G-d and the Jewish people.

By showing Moses the knot of the tefilin, G-d was instructing him how to seek atonement, for if we always bear in mind that there is nothing but G-d, there is no room for sin.

Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

*********************************************************************

SLICE OF LIFE

*********************************************************************

Rabbi Dov Oliver and David Yair

Imagine that you are twenty-one years old, overseas for the first time in your life, sitting on a bus and driving through Israel in the midst of wartime. Nearby is a burly, bearded rabbi from Australia putting tefilin on your new roommate.

There are 50 people on the bus. A few hours ago you knew none of them.

Jason, to your left, is boasting about how much money he raked in at his bar mitzva. Amidst a messy and bumpy game of poker, Richard, to the right is divulging that his real name is something totally unpronounceable in Yiddish that sounds distinctly like what your grandparents shouted at each other when the chicken burnt.

This is all followed by some playful Jewish boys club-style banter until the rabbi gives you a hearty slap on the back and exclaims, “And what name did you score on the big day?”

“Big day?” you ask, your mind trying to wrap itself around what the rabbi could possibly mean.

“You know, when you were just a wee lad, eight days old…at your brit (ritual circumcision)! What’s the name they gave you at your brit?”

“Huh, brit?” you stammer, wondering if you were supposed to have already picked up Hebrew two hours into your trip. “Oh… that..” you reply, as it suddenly dawns on you what he is referring to. “Umm, well I never exactly did have one of those.”

“No worries at all, mate,” shoots back the rabbi you have now learned is Rabbi Oliver.

“Well, I sort of did,” you offer. “It’s just it was sort of no frills, not that I remember much, but I know it was done in a hospital by a doctor, does that still count?” you ask, figuring the answer must be yes, because it would appear this is a once-in-a-lifetime type of procedure.

“Well, now that you ask, no, not really mate, it doesn’t really count,”

Rabbi Oliver responds.

“Uh-oh,” you reply.

“I think you mean oy vey,” chimes in Richard.

“Not a case of oy vey at all,” protests Rabbi Oliver. “First of all, with or without a proper brit you are still just as Jewish as Moses, King David, King Solomon, me or Adam Sandler. Secondly, we can arrange a retroactive brit for you at no cost, no hassle, almost no pain and with a big smorgasbord! So what do you reckon?” beams the Rabbi.

Suddenly the poker players are in full cry. “All in, ante up. Come on, go for it Dave,” your new “friends” start cajoling you. “That rocks dude, having your brit on your first trip to Israel, come on, go for it, and we’ll all get a party!”

“Um, well… okay,” responds either a deep spiritual voice from within your soul or a standard peer group pressure concession.

“Good on ya, mate!” booms the rabbi, and the rest, as they say, is history.

A few days before the end of your incredible Mayanot Taglit-Birthright Israel experience in Israel the “brit” takes place. It’s actually known as a Hatofat Dam Brit – a procedure where a single drop of blood is taken.

After arriving in Jerusalem, you and Rabbi Oliver meet the mohel (ritual circumcisor), a very warm and friendly man by the name of Rabbi Kremer.

Sensing your apprehension, he calmly explains the procedure to you as well as explaining the significance of a Brit Mila, answering all your questions and steadying your turning stomach. In the end it’s not painful, in fact you are waiting for the pain, when he informs you it’s all over, phew!

Later that day, you and a group of other students from your bus, Mayanot 36, receive your official Jewish names. You receive your name, David Yair, after being called up for an aliya to the Torah at the Western Wall. This is followed by a celebratory meal made all the more special by the guest performance of a highly talented young Chabad singer named Moshe Hecht.

That night you sleep with a certain satisfaction and increased sense of belonging. Being Jewish is not always easy, you have to do things that go against the grain, you have to be brave, you have to take a stand, and today you did.

A brit literally means a covenant, a sign between you and G-d. A Mayanot Birthright trip is precisely that, but on this trip you “doubled up” on the sign, you went all in and you won!

Rabbi Dov Oliver and his wife Shevy are the co-directors of Hillel

of Rockland County, New York. Mayanot is one of the most sought

after trip providers for free Taglit-Birthright Israel trips to

Israel. For more info and to sign up
visit Http://www.mayanotisrael.com.

*********************************************************************

WHAT’S NEW

*********************************************************************

Birkat HaChama: Blessing of the Sun

Once every 28 years a special prayer – Birkat Hachama – is recited blessing the sun. The Talmud explains that at this time the sun returns to the position that it was at the time of Creation. The next time this once-in-28-year-mitzva (commandment) will occur is the morning of April 8, 2009 (14 Nissan, 5769). A number of booklets containing the full text and translation of the prayer service recited at that time have been published by the Kehot Publication Society, the text can be found at:

http://www.LchaimWeekly.org/sun/. For more info about this special mitzva visit Http://www.chabad.org/sun

Pearls for the Shabbat Table

A collection of thoughts on the weekly Torah portions and Jewish Festivals, Pearls for the Shabbos Table will stir the minds of anyone gathered for the Shabbat or holiday meal. Its easy-to-read style is designed to be accessible to children, while its powerful messages are sure to inspire deeper discussion even amongst the more seasoned scholars. From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, adapted by Rabbi Y.Y. Alperowitz

*********************************************************************

THE REBBE WRITES

*********************************************************************

Freely adapted and translated

12 Menachem Av, 5712 (1952)

It pained me to learn that you are still in a downhearted mood, and according to my understanding this is the mood in your household as well.

I don’t want to go on at length and enter into a debate as to whether your attitude is correct or not. Understandably, it does not take much contemplation to appreciate why you are all in such a frame of mind after the tragedy that occurred – may we all never know of such events again.

The above notwithstanding, Jews in general and chassidim in particular as “believers” are expected to unequivocally cleave to G-d, keeping their relationship with Him open, as the verse states, “And you who cleave to the L-rd your G-d are all alive today.”

Life, true life, does not mean simply marking time, it means that one’s life lacks for nothing, with both the person and his family possessing their entire spiritual and material needs.

Since the possibility exists that – G-d forbid – they have not earned this generous bounty from G-d, therefore the holy Zohar (II, p. 184b) tenders the advice: “They – this physical world and man in general – exist by the ‘radiant countenance’ [i.e., the joy and positivity,] that is emitted from below. In like manner they then draw down upon themselves the same qualities from Above. Man’s joy draws down a corresponding measure of joy from Above.”

Concisely stated: When one strengthens himself in his bitachon [trust] in G-d that He will surely provide those matters with which a person can be in good spirits, happy and joyous, doing so in such a powerful manner that his bitachon affects his daily life, then one draws down this Divine beneficence from Above. One then verily sees that his bitachon was justified.

May G-d help that you, your wife, and your entire family experience this as quickly as possible and in as discernible a manner as possible.

* * *

11 Nissan, 5701 (1951)

… Surely you are correct in writing that you have already suffered enough; it is high time for everyone to be helped in all that they require, particularly with regard to good health, and I hope you will be able to convey to me glad tidings regarding your improved health.

I wish to note the following, although I am not entirely sure whether this is wholly germane to your situation:

Quite often, a person’s feelings of self-assurance and security are dependent on something outside of and higher than himself – in simpler terms, [they are dependent] on his feelings of faith and bitachon in the Creator of the world as a whole and man’s personal world in particular.

After the earthshaking events of our generation, which have shaken various spiritual foundations and torn away many individuals from deeply rooted family and national traditions, it affected many people and caused them to think that they were left hanging in the wind; [i.e., without something to which they could anchor their lives].

I am referring here even to those of them who are believers; their faith became something that was disconnected from their practical everyday life. They would think about their faith, recite Shema Yisrael or Modeh Ani, often thinking about the meaning of the words, and yet they would go around the entire day with the thought that they were entirely alone, each of them drawing conclusions from these thoughts according to their nature and personality.

The most realistic manner of helping such individuals regain their equilibrium is by revealing within them their familial and ancestral traditions that even now remain concealed within their souls.

They will then perceive that man is not alone. Moreover, they will realize that man is the master of his lot only to a certain extent; for the most part it depends on G-d.

Consequently, the person need not place all the burdens of his life on his own shoulders, feeling a tremendously weighty responsibility for everything that happens to him. Surely he need not be filled with despair regarding specific matters or specific situations.

When such individuals are connected with their fount of faith and bitachon, which without the slightest doubt remains deeply rooted in them, this will lead to their peace of mind and will enable them to live their lives in a healthier manner and better be able to fulfill the unique tasks that each and every individual has in life. …

From Healthy in Body, Mind and Soul, compiled by Rabbi Sholom

B. Wineberg, published by Sichos in English

*********************************************************************

A CALL TO ACTION

*********************************************************************

Preparations for Passover

Our Sages state that 30 days before a holiday, we should learn the laws pertaining to it. It is just about 30 days before the holiday of Passover and we should begin studying the laws of the upcoming holiday.

Learn to conduct your own Seder, find out what constitutes “chametz”

(leavened products), get the real scoop on the difference between Passover cleaning and spring cleaning. Call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center and sign up for a Passover class today!

In memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg and the other

kedoshim of Mumbai

*********************************************************************

A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR

Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman

*********************************************************************

This week we read the third of the four special Torah portions, Parshat Para.

Parshat Para describes the offering of the red heifer (the para aduma) and begins, “This is the decree of the Torah.” These words indicate that the significance of the red heifer relates to the Torah and its mitzvot in its entirety.

The mitzva of the red heifer reveals two tendencies in a person’s G-dly

service: a yearning to cling to G-d, known as “ratzo” and the willingness to carry out G-d’s will in this world, known as “shov.”

These two qualities are fundamental thrusts of Torah and mitzvot.

The burning of the red heifer with fire represents the thrust of ascending upward – ratzo. Fire is characterized by activity and a constant upward movement. The use of “living water in a vessel” which was combined with the ashes of the red heifer refers to the service of shov, for water naturally descends from above to below. Furthermore, when found on a flat surface, water remains in its place, reflecting the quality of tranquility.

Ratzo and shov are fundamental thrusts in Torah, not merely because of the unity they can bring about within the world, but because these two tendencies reflect positive qualities which must be emulated in our service of G-d. A Jew must possess the quality of ratzo. He must not be content with remaining at his present level, but must always seek to advance further. He must always be “running to fulfill a mitzva.” Even though he has reached a high level, he must always seek to attain higher heights.

In contrast, ratzo alone is insufficient and it is necessary to internalize all the new levels one reaches, making sure that they become a part of one’s nature. This is reflected in an approach of settledness (shov). It does not, however imply complacency. Rather, the internalization of one level produces the desire to reach higher peaks.

After reaching those new peaks, one must work to internalize them, which, in turn produces a desire to reach even higher peaks.

May we all grow in both areas of growth and tranquility, ratzo and shov until we reach the highest height of all and actually greet Moshiach.

*********************************************************************

THOUGHTS THAT COUNT

*********************************************************************

This they shall give…half a shekel (machatzit) of the shekel of the Sanctuary (Ex. 30:13)

The Hebrew word “machatzit” is spelled mem-chet-tzadik-yud-tav. The letter tzadik, which also means a righteous person, is exactly in the center. The two letters nearest to the tzadik are chet and yud, which spell “chai,” meaning alive. The two letters furthest from the tzadik are mem and tav, which spell “meit,” or dead. From this we learn that being close to a tzadik imbues us with life, and that giving tzedaka (charity, symbolized by the half-shekel) saves us from death.

(Sifrei Chasidut)

* * *

The shekel is an allusion to the soul; the gematria (numerical

equivalent) of “shekel” is the same as for “nefesh” (soul). Every Jew is given “half” of his soul from Above; his obligation is to elevate the other “half” under his control to the same level as the first, through serving G-d and performing good deeds.

(Rabbi Chanoch of Alexander)

* * *

The Tablets were written on both their sides (Ex. 32:15)

The two sides of the Tablets are an allusion to the two aspects of Torah, the revealed (nigleh) and the hidden (nistar). If a person publicly denies the Divinity of the Torah’s mystical teachings, it is a sign that inwardly, he also denies the sanctity of the revealed portion.

(The Chatam Sofer)

*********************************************************************

IT ONCE HAPPENED

*********************************************************************

Reb Yerucham was never much of a breadwinner. Instead, he devoted all his time to Torah-study and prayer while his wife, Leah went to the marketplace to conduct business.

She would make small purchases which she would in turn, sell to her neighbors at a small profit. The arrangement worked well, for although they never had much, they both felt very privileged to be able to serve G-d by devoting themselves to His Torah.

In the winter, though, when the roads were blocked with snow and ice, and the farmers couldn’t make it into the market, Leah didn’t fare so well.

She was forced to sustain her family on the few coins she had managed to squirrel away during the previous months. Every time she had to dip into her meager “capital” her heart fell.

When only a few pennies remained, she decided it was time to go to her husband. “Yerucham, what are we going to do? How are we going to feed our children?”

Reb Yerucham lifted his eyes from his tome and replied, “Have faith. Our Heavenly Father has never forsaken us before, and will not forsake us now…”

“What good is faith on an empty stomach!” the poor woman said bitterly.

“I can’t bear to see my children starving! What am I to say to them when they cry for bread tomorrow morning?”

“Don’t worry now – till tomorrow morning there is ample time for G-d to provide for our needs. Put your trust in Him, Leah; He won’t forsake us.”

Poor Leah left the room very troubled, but a little comforted by her husband’s assurances. Reb Yerucham went outside, and as he was about to come back in, he spotted something lying in the mud.

He picked it up and brought it into the house. He washed it, and sure enough, it was a silver coin!

Now, his wife would be happy and they would be able to manage a little longer. But then another thought passed through his mind, “If G-d had wanted to send them sustenance, couldn’t He find a better way than throwing him a muddy coin?

No, He doesn’t want me to accept it this way; He is only testing our faith in Him.”

So Yerucham decided that in the morning he would put the coin into the tzedaka (charity) box.

Yerucham became so engrossed in his study that he was startled by his wife’s cry of joy when she spied the silver coin on his table. “Don’t get too excited; it’s not ours!” he said quickly.

“What do you mean?”

“I have already donated it to charity.”

Looking into his wife’s shocked eyes which were already filling the tears, he continued explaining, “Imagine if I were to give you a present and throw it into the garbage heap, saying, ‘Go pick it up, dear.’ You wouldn’t want it anymore. Well, I believe that G-d has sent this coin to us as a test of our faith in His readiness to provide for us. Be strong in your faith, and you will see that I’ll be proven right.”

Leah walked out of the room, shaking her head. She knew that her husband was a scholar and a saintly man, but there was not one morsel of food in the house. Meanwhile Reb Yerucham sat by the light of a candle studying into the wee hours.

Late that night two tired merchants were travelling through one of the persistent snow storms that had enclosed the little hamlet.

Exhausted, they saw a faint glimmer of a candle in the pitch, black darkness. They knocked on Reb Yerucham’s door asking for accommodation.

He agreed, but very apologetically, since he had very little to offer them.

The men were just happy to have a place to sleep. They spread out their bountiful food supplies on the table and invited their hosts to join them in a feast fit for a king.

During the meal, the conversation took a scholarly turn and the merchants saw that their host was no country bumpkin, but a very learned and wise man.

One of the merchants turned to his companion and said, “Why should we trouble ourselves to travel all the way to Lemberg to mediate our dispute when we have a great scholar right here.”

“Yes, I agree,” said the second, and he proceeded to explain.

“We are not only partners, but also close friends, but we have a disagreement which we want to present before a great rabbi. We were about to continue to Lemberg, but we feel that you are a person very qualified to judge the problem, and G-d has brought us to your door. We will be happy to pay you the same amount we would have paid the Rabbi of Lemberg.

Reb Yerucham didn’t usually involve himself in judgements or arbitrations, but under the circumstances, since the two men were so anxious to settle in a peaceful fashion, he agreed to take up their case.

The following morning, Yerucham and his guests made their way to the synagogue for the morning prayers. Yerucham slipped the silver coin into the charity box, thanking G-d for not forsaking him and his family in their hour of need, and sending him generous sustenance in an honorable and worthy manner.

*********************************************************************

MOSHIACH MATTERS

*********************************************************************

The redemption of Israel is likened to a process of “sprouting” and “flourishing,” – tzmicha. One of the names in the Bible for Moshiach himself is Tzemach, “the sprout,” as it is written: “His name is Tzemach and from beneath him [from the earth] he will flourish.”

(Http://www.inner.org)

*********************************************************************

END OF TEXT – L’CHAIM 1062 – Ki Sisa 5769

*********************************************************************

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Parsha Story by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton for Parshat Ki Tisa (AKA: Ki Sisa) 5769

Posted on March 13, 2009. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Ki Sisa, Ki Tisa, Parshas Hashavua, Parshas Hashavuah, Parshas Ki Sisa, Parshas Ki Tisa, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Ki Tisa, Rabbi Bolton Stories, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Story by Rabbi Bolton, The Parshah Story, The Truth, Torah, Torah is THE Truth, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly Parshah, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BS”D

A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:

Parshat Ki Tisa (AKA: Ki Sisa) 5769

This week’s Torah portion contains the most embarrassing story ever told; the Golden Calf fiasco.

The Jewish people had just left polytheistic Egypt amidst miracles and wonders to become the ‘Chosen People’ of G-d and bring monotheism to the world: to rid the world of selfish idolatry and convey the message of G-d’s goodness and Oneness and bring blessing to all mankind.

But instead they did the opposite! Just 40 days after they saw and heard G-d tell them not to worship idols (in the Ten Commandments) …… they worshiped one and brought punishment and curses upon themselves.

But what is even more interesting is the Haftorah.

The ‘Haftorah’ is a portion, usually from the prophets, read aloud in Synagogue immediately after the regular Torah reading on Shabbat that has some connection to the Torah portion.

But this week the Haftorah seems to convey exactly the OPPOSITE message and actually encourages idolatry!

This week’s Haftorah (Kings 1:18:1) tells us of a similarly shameful episode in the history of Judaism. It was about six hundred years after Mt. Sinai in the days of the first Holy Temple when, despite the fact that all of the Jews were living in the Holy Land and holiness was everywhere, almost all the Jews worshipped an idol called ‘Baal’.

G-d sent His prophet Elijah to wake the people up…. But it didn’t work. It seems that Jews had (and still have albeit to a much lesser degree) a surprising affinity to idolatry.

Finally Elijah had no alternative then to call for a public showdown on Mount Carmel between him and the Baal worshipers. The rules were; whoever could bring fire from heaven onto his sacrifice would be the winner.

The Haftorah tells us that the prophets of Baal made an altar of stone, slaughtered upon it oxen, prayed, invoked, danced, screamed and even gashed their flesh for a few hours but…. No supernal fire.

Then came Elijah’s turn; he stepped up to his altar, turned to the people and said “How long will you waver in belief? If G-d is the L-rd worship only Him but if Baal is right then worship him!” (18:21)

He then raised his hands to heaven, called out “Answer me G-d, Answer me!” And fire burst forth from above and devoured his sacrifice together with all the stones in the massive altar he built and the people fell on their faces and yelled “G-d is all, G-d is all”

In our portion G-d and Moses tell the people don’t worship idols and here Elijah is telling everyone “If Baal is right ….. SERVE the BAAL!!”

Even more, how could such words come from the mouth of holy Elijah the prophet?? How could he suggest that Jews should worship Baal? (G-d forbid!)

To understand this here is a story. (HaGeula weekly page #446)

Rabbi Levi Vilmovski, today the manager of all the Torah institutions in the city of Migdal HaEmek has hundreds of interesting stories to tell but there is one that stands out.

It occurred some thirty years ago when he ran the Chabad House in Holon shortly after the Lubavitcher Rebbe ordered his Chassidim to go from house to house and explain how the Mezuza, besides being a commandment of G-d and a blessing, protects the home and those in it like a helmet protects a soldier.

So Rabbi Levi and his partner decided to follow the Rebbe’s orders and advertise their Chabad House at the same time by offering to check the Mezuzot on people’s houses for free.

He took young men from a local Chabad school, gave them thousands of pamphlets, told them to distribute them to every home in Holon and in a short time hundreds of responses arrived.

But one pamphlet caught his eye; it had the words ‘URGENT URGENT’ written on it in large letters and underlined twice.

Looked important.

He called the phone number written there, introduced himself and the voice on the other end said, “Chabad? Wow! Am I happy to hear from you!! Yes! I’m Ben Tzion S…. and it is very urgent. My wife is very ill and …. Well I thought that maybe the mezuzot…..”

That evening Rabbi Levi visited the home of Ben Tzion and heard a sad story. He was the owner of a successful factory in Tel Aviv but over a year and a half ago his wife came down with a severe case of depression and his life had been turned upside down.

At first he thought it would just pass but it didn’t. In fact it got to the point that she was unable to even get out of bed the entire day. He’d taken her to almost every doctor and professor whether conventional or alternative listed in the phone book but so far, except for losing his money, nothing worked. The doctors said she was too far gone.

So when he saw the pamphlet on Mezuza from the Chabad House he knew he had to give it a try.

Rabbi Levi immediately removed the Mezuza of the front door, opened it, removed the parchment and began checking the letters to see if they were whole and complete. It wasn’t hard to find what was wrong. To his shock he saw an entire word; the word “Nafshechem” ‘Your Soul’ (Deut.11:13) almost completely rubbed out!

When he showed it to Ben Tzion he almost fainted. Could it be that this had something to do with his wife’s ‘soul’? He didn’t ask questions. He bought a new mezuzah on the spot, Reb Levi put it on his door and took the rest of the mezuzot to be checked properly.

A day later Rabbi Levi called Ben Tzion and heard that his wife’s state was slightly better; she was talking a bit, but she still refused to get out of bed.

So Rabbi Levi paid him another visit and they called the office of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in New York for a blessing for his wife.

Two days later Rabbi Levi called Ben Tzion again but this time he didn’t want to talk on the phone. “Rabbi, you have to come over!” he said excitedly.

When he got to Ben Tzion’s house he couldn’t help feeling that something had changed. First of all there was the smell of food and the house seemed much tidier.

“Let me tell you what happened” Ben Tzion said excitedly as he offered the Rabbi a seat. “Yesterday morning I woke up and made myself breakfast before going to work, like I do every day. But when I came back I smelled something burning or cooking! The first thought that crossed my mind was ‘Oh no!! I must have left the fire burning from this morning! Who knows what damage has been done! Thank G-d the house didn’t burn down.’ But when I ran into the kitchen I got the surprise of my life… it was my wife!! She was cooking!! She hasn’t cooked for over a year and she was standing there cooking!

“But do you know what got her out of bed?! You know what she told me! Here, I’ll call her and let her tell you herself.”

Ben Tzion called his wife and she entered the room, said hello and thanked the Rabbi for his efforts and told him what happened. It was the first time the Rabbi had seen her, up till now she had been hidden in her room.

“It was the most amazing thing!” She said. “Yesterday I woke up feeling a little better but I was too miserable and afraid to get out of bed. I was just about to go back to sleep when suddenly this old man with a white beard appeared in my room!

“I was really surprised, but he wasn’t scary at all. He just stood next to my bed and said. ‘Get up! Get out of bed!’ For some reason I couldn’t refuse him and I got up but as soon as I did he disappeared! Since then I feel that I returned to myself! It was like I woke from a long deep sleep.”

Rabbi Vilmovski took a card out of his pocket with the Rebbe’s picture on it and showed it to her. “Oh!” She exclaimed. “That’s him! He’s the one I saw!”

Shortly thereafter they all flew to the Rebbe to thank him and to this day, thirty years later, they are still in touch and the woman’s depression has never returned.

This answers our questions.

The reason given in the Torah that the Jews bowed to the Golden Calf was that they thought that Moses was dead. (32:1 see Rashi)

Moses taught and inspired the people to be aware of and feel G-d all the time. And without Moses Jews feel only themselves ……. like sheep without a shepherd.

This false egotism is the source of idolatry, war, sickness and all bad things… including depression.

Indeed, this is the reason that in the days of Moshiach there will be none of this negativity; because Moshiach will teach the world to think about G-d (Rambam, M’lachim 12:5) even more successfully than Moses did.

And this is the point that Elijah the prophet was making. Often a person continues being an egotist and an idolater because he has good qualities as well …. like the Jews he was speaking to; they worshiped both G-d AND idolatry.

That’s why he told them to consider worshiping ONLY Baal (G-d forbid).

He knew they would never dream of denying G-d (denying G-d was almost unheard of until only the last few hundred years) but on the other hand they liked idolatry as well and their belief in G-d made them overlook this.

So Elijah told them; ‘Stop fooling yourselves! If you really think it’s okay to serve Baal and be an egotist then don’t think G-d agrees with you; your good deeds don’t lessen your mistake!

But our generation is different. Ours is the generation of Moshiach! The day is very close… even today… when we will be aware of our Creator constantly and we will awaken our true ego… our G-dly soul (as explained in the second chapter of Tanya). Then the world will be perfected with no more war, strife, hunger, pain or disease. It’s all up to us to do just one more good deed and bring….

Moshiach NOW!!



Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Yeshiva Ohr T’mimim (OhrTmimim.Org/torah) in K’far Chabad, Israe-l

All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.



We recommend that you visit them for more info…

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Purim: When, How, What?

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: 4 Mitzvahs for Purim, 4 Mitzvos for Purim, 4 things you need to do on Purim, A Miracle in Our Times, Al Hanissim Prayer, Ester, Esther, Haman, How is Purim celebrated, Jewish Customs, Jewish Miracles, Jewish traditions, Mishloach Manos, Mordechai, Parshas Mishpatim, Purim, Real, Seriously Dude!, Shushan Purim, sweet, The Truth, Torah, Torah is THE Truth, True, Truth, We WANT Moshiach NOW!!!, What?, What’s Purim, Wow! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BS”D

Hey everbody!  It’s Purim Today!!!

Do you know what Purim is?

How do we celebrate it?

***

We had a question IF it’s OK to marry on Purim

So, we asked a Rabbi on Askmoses.com who said that we do NOT marry on Purim since we do NOT want to MIx the two Simchos together, as to NOT to take away from the significance, the importance & the holiness of Purim!!!

***

What is Purim?

purim-mordechai-on-horse

A. Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrating G-d‘s problem with one ancient anti-Semite’s Final Solution. The story of Purim is the subject of the Scroll of Esther, one of the 24 books in the TaNaCH. Purim is one of two Jewish holidays enacted by the Sages in contrast to the biblical holidays commanded to Moses. (The other is Chanukah.)

B. Purim is the plural for lots in Persian. Haman (pronounced Hah-mahn), the chief of staff of the Persian Empire, attempted the ethnic cleansing of the kingdom’s Jewish population. He cast lots to determine what date would be best to wipe out the Jews, came up with the 13th day of the Hebrew month Adar, dispatched an imperial Jew-annihilation order to every government office, and sat back to take a drink. Little did Haman know that the recently coronated Queen Esther was Jewish and the cousin of his arch-nemesis, the Jewish government official Mordechai. Through his palace contact Hatach, Mordechai begged Esther to intervene, which she did—greatly annoying her royal hubby Ahasuerus (AKA: Achashverosh) who was rather ruffled to hear that someone wanted to murder his wife and her whole extended family. “Who’s the slob?” snarled the king. “He’s sitting right in front of you,” sobbed Esther. “‘Tis Haman!” Haman and family were hung, the annihilation order was countered with a Jewish self-defense provision (which resulted in empire-wide street combat between the Jews and their enemies), and the Jews triumphed.

Jews were the doctors and lawyers of their day. They were successful… they climbed all social ladders, they were Persians. But somewhere, somehow, they forgot about G-d

C. To mark this great miracle, Mordechai and Esther instituted that every year the 14th of Adar, the day the Jews rested from battle against their foes, be celebrated with feasts and rejoicing.1

D. Purim is more than just a dramatic true story. While outwardly an ethnic celebration, its inner significance is its hidden spiritual side–the restoration of the Jewish people’s tarnished spiritual identity. At the time of the Purim story, all the world’s Jews made their home in the contemporary superpower, the Persian Empire, which stretched from India to Ethiopia. They were the doctors and lawyers of their day. They were successful–profoundly, proudly successful. They were doing great. They identified with their host society, they fit in, they climbed all social ladders, they were Persians. But somewhere, somehow, they forgot about G-d. When their prestige, position and powerful connections failed them in the face of Haman’s hate, when even their own sister in the palace did lunch with their main malefactor, they turned all their hopes to Heaven and rushed headlong into the open arms of their Fathers’ faith. The resulting spiritual renaissance so reinvigorated and revolutionized Jewish society that in a few short years, the Second Temple was built and the 70-year Persian Exile came to a close

Footnotes:

1. Esther 9:20-32. In Shushan, the Persian capital, the Jews continued to defend themselves on the 14th of Adar and rested on the 15th. The 15th of Adar is also a holiday. See “What is Shushan Purim?”

How is Purim celebrated?

1. Take a Scroll

Go to your local synagogue and listen as the whole story of Purim is read from a hand-written scroll of parchment called a Megillah. The Megillah is read once on Purim eve and a second time the next morning, Purim day. During the reading, make sure to make lots of noise when the name of Haman is mentioned. You might want to get hold of a “gragger” a special noisemaker for the occasion. (If you are unable to make it to synagogue, contact your closest Chabad Center. It’s quite likely they can get someone to come read the Megillah for you.)

…to celebrate in a way that you’re coasting on a plane that takes you beyond your natural inhibitions and constraints. Let loose and celebrate

2. Food Gifts

Send a gift of at least two ready to eat food-types to at least one friend on Purim. See Mishloach Manot: Who What Where and When?

3. Gifts to the Poor

Give a monetary gift to at least two poor people. It is best to give directly to the poor on Purim but if that is not possible, give to a charity organization or place money in a charity box. See Why do we give charity on Purim?

4. Eat

Some time on Purim day, have a great feast. The Talmud instructs us to get so “spiced” (drunk) that we know not the difference between blessed is Mordechai and cursed is Haman. Obviously this does not apply to minors or those sloppy with their drinks. The idea is to celebrate in a way that you’re coasting on a plane that takes you beyond your natural inhibitions and constraints. Let loose and celebrate. (Remember: Purim practitioners drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.) See If getting drunk is inappropriate, why is it a Mitzvah to get drunk on Purim?

5. Thank G-d

We add a short section of thanksgiving to the Amidah and to the Grace After Meals. See Where can I download the prayers for Purim?

***   This is ONLY the additions for Purim, HOWEVER, for the FULL Text for the Grace After Meal, you can go to:

http://www.chabad.org/media/pdf/92404.pdf

Where can I download the prayers for Purim?

Actually, Purim has the least prayers of all Jewish holidays. (Perhaps we are intended to spend the day rejoicing and uniting with our fellow Jews, not holed up in the synagogue).

We do, however, add a short section to the Amidah and to the Grace After Meals. Click here for the text of this prayer — in Hebrew and English.

***   This is ONLY the additions for Purim, HOWEVER, for the FULL Text for the Grace After Meal, you can go to:

http://www.chabad.org/media/pdf/92404.pdf


Al Hanissim Prayer:

Text and Translation for the “Al Hanissim” prayer said on Purim during the daily prayers and grace after meals.

al-hanissim-prayer-1

When is Purim?

calendar

Purim is on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar.1 [During a Leap Year, Purim is on the 14th day of Adar II.]

For the year 2009, Purim starts at nightfall, Monday, March 9th, and ends at nightfall, Tuesday, March 10th.  [Click here for the exact times of nightfall for any location.]

Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish nation over Haman‘s decree of annihilation. Click here to read more about What is Purim? , How is Pruim celebrated?, and also What is Shushan Purim?.

The following are the beginning dates for Purim for the next few years:

2010 — nightfall, February 27

2011 — nightfall, March 19

2012 — nightfall, March 7

Footnotes:

1. In certain cities in Israel, Purim is observed on the 15th of Adar and is known as Shushan Purim. See What is Shushan Purim?

(http://www.askmoses.com/qa_detail.html?h=529&o=56435).

What is Shushan Purim?

David: What is Shushan Purim?

Rabbi Marcus: Shushan Purim refers to the day after Purim. It commemorates the day when the Jews of Shushan, the Persian capital, finally rested after defeating their enemies.

Rabbi Marcus: The Book of Esther1 records that in the rest of the kingdom, the Jews fought and beat their enemies on the thirteenth of Adar and rested on the fourteenth. That’s why Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth. But in Shushan, due to a special request by Queen Esther, the Jews received special dispensation from the king to continue fighting on the fourteenth—hence Shushan Purim, which is celebrated on the fifteenth of Adar.

David: I heard something about walled-cities and Shushan Purim?

Rabbi Marcus: Indeed. Shushan was a walled city. So in order to commemorate the celebration of the Jews of Shushan, other walled cities celebrate Purim on the fifteenth as well. Now, because Shushan was the capital city, it was considered prestigious to celebrate Purim on the same day as Shushan. The problem with that was that at the time that Purim was established, all the cities of the Land of Israel lay in ruins. So in order to grant some prestige to the Land of Israel, the sages said that inhabitants of any city that had a wall around it in the days of Joshua—even if now it lay crumbled—should celebrate Purim on the fifteenth like Shushan.2

Rabbi Marcus: In this way the Land of Israel was honored in the commemoration of Purim. If a city did not have a wall in the days of Joshua but had one in the days of Purim, its inhabitants would read on the fourteenth (except Shushan, which did not have a wall in the days of Joshua).

Rabbi Marcus: The Rishonim point out the connection between Joshua and Purim: Haman was a descendant of Amalek, the perpetual enemy of Israel. Joshua was the first to wage war against them (see Exodus 17:9). Thus the celebration of Purim is associated with Joshua.

Rabbi Marcus: Today, Jerusalem and Shushan are the only cities that are considered walled-cities as far as Shushan Purim is concerned. There are other cities in the land of Israel about which there is some doubt. The inhabitants of such cities, like Safed, observe the fifteenth as well “just in case.” (I.e., they read the Megillah but without saying the blessing.)

[Read the sequel to this chat: How do un-walled cities celebrate Shushan Purim? ]

Footnotes

· 1. Esther 9:16-18

· 2. Talmud tractate Megillah 2a-b. Maimonidies laws of Megillah 1:4-5

David: How do un-walled cities celebrate Shushan Purim?

David: I’m back again with another question…

Rabbi Marcus: My pleasure! What’s on your mind?

David: How do un-walled cities celebrate Shushan Purim?

Rabbi Marcus: Well, it is a festive day, which is celebrated with a bit of feasting, though not as much as Purim proper. We omit the Tachnun prayer as we do on Shabbat and holidays. You can’t fast on Shushan Purim; and if there is a funeral, we shouldn’t know from it, no eulogy is said. You don’t say the special prayer for Purim (v’al Hanissim).

Rabbi Marcus: Good news, though: if you want to get married on Shushan Purim, you can! (Though you can’t on Purim, since we don’t mix one joy with another. That’s why you can’t get married on a Jewish holiday. You have to give each celebration its own platform and date.)

Mishloach Manot: Who, What, Where and When?

food-basket

Everyone is required to send a food package to at least one Jewish acquaintance on Purim. This package is called Mishloach Manot — distribution of [food] portions. The package(s) must consist of at lease two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages.

Here are some Halachot pertaining to Mishloach Manot:

1) This Mitzvah must be performed during the daylight hours of Purim day;1 preferably after hearing the daytime Megillah reading.2

2) If you have little children, make sure they too send Mishloach Manot to their friends.3 It’s tons of fun, and educational to boot!

3) It is customary to send the Mishloach Manot via a third party. Little children make great, enthusiastic messengers! Also, have some treats handy to give out to those children who will be delivering Mishloach Manot to your home, and remind them to recite the proper B’rachah.

4) For reasons of modesty, men should send Mishloach Manot to male-friends, while women should give to female-friends.4 Alternatively, one family can send Mishloach Manot to another family.

5) It isn’t proper to send Mishloach Manot to a mourner. This includes anyone who has, G-d forbid, lost a father or mother within the last twelve months, or someone whose spouse, brother, sister, son or daughter has passed on within the last thirty days.5

6) Though we are required to give Mishloach Manot to only one person, someone who gives to more people is called “praiseworthy,” and this is a traditional opportunity for expressing our gratitude and friendship towards others. Nevertheless, it is better to spend money on giving Purim charity than on elaborate Mishloach Manot.6

7) The Mishloach Manot must consist of Kosher food. Now, duh…

See also Why do we give away food on Purim?

Footnotes:

· 1. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:5

· 2. One should have in mind Mishloach Manot and Charity to the poor, when hearing the Shehechiyanu blessing for the Megillah reading. (See Siddur Yavetz on Purim).

· 3. Pri Megadim Orach Chayim 695:14. See also Shevach HaMoadim laws of Purim 11:6.

· 4. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:4

· 5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:7. A mourner however must give Mishloach Manot. S/he should give someone something basic (just to fulfill the Mitzvah) but not a lavish basket etc.

· 6. Kitzur 142:1

The above info was found on Http://www.AskMoses.com

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

To find a Purim event in a city near you, please go to the following address:

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/events.htm

********************************************************************

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...