Parshas Hashavua

A Parsha Story by: Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Parshat Bamidbar 5769

Posted on May 21, 2009. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Bamidbar, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Parshas Bamidbar, Parshas Hashavua, Parshas Hashavuah, Parshat Bamidbar, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:

Parshat Bamidbar 5769

Join Rabbi Bolton on FaceBook & Twitter!

In this week’s Torah portion, G-d tells Moses to count the Jews and then begin the journeys in the desert.

The birth, independence, identity and existence of the Jews depended on miracles. Their origin from Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt, the receiving of the Torah and their sustenance in the desert was all totally above nature.

But in addition to this, their life in the desert and later in Israel centered around an edifice called the Holy Temple (in the desert it was portable and was called the “Mishkan”) where they were reminded of these miracles constantly and served the Creator who made them.

But the Temple service was in the hands of the Levites.

At first glance it is not so clear why each person couldn’t just do it himself? Why did there have to be a special class for serving G-d?

To understand this, here are two stories (Ma ShSiper Li HaRebbe vol. 2 pgs. 90 and 82)

The Fourth Rebbe of Chabad, Rebbe Shmuel, nicknamed the Maharash, was perhaps the most mysterious of all the chain of seven Rebbes.

On one hand he surrounded himself with pomp and riches, golden vessels, ornamented clothes and a fine carriage drawn by the most expensive horses.  But on the other, it was obvious that he was doing it all for supernal purposes.

Everyday the Rebbe would tell his driver to hitch up the horses to his magnificent carriage and take a ride into the woods.

It was inconceivable to the Rebbe’s Chassidim that the Rebbe would just go for a pleasure ride, they were sure that there must be some deep mystical practices the Rebbe did there in the woods far from the human eye. But the only one that knew, besides the Rebbe, was his driver and the Rebbe warned the driver to never tell anyone what he saw.

The driver was no fool. He knew that one word would get him fired and the pay was good. So anytime any of the Chassidim asked him anything he would simply turn and walk away.

But the curiosity of the Chassidim and their desire to learn was stronger than the driver’s opposition and they devised a plan.

I just so happened that one of them, who was friendly with the driver and had done him several favors with no thought of remuneration, had a birthday or some other occasion and had invited the driver to come.

The other Chassidim took advantage of this, bought several bottles of vodka, and made sure that anytime anyone made a ‘L’chayim’ the driver would be included.

Then, when everyone was inebriated, and the driver many-times so, each began telling personal stories until it became the driver’s turn.

He stood, cleared his throat, took another L’chayim, sat down and began to talk in a quiet voice.

“You know, you fellows have a very wonderful Rabbi! But he is also very strange. Very strange person.” Everyone was listening.

“You know, I take him everyday to the woods. Deep, deep, deep into the woods.” He paused, took another L’chayim and continued. “You know what he does? We stop in the same place every day. There is a big log there. The Rebbe sits down on this log and starts to cry. That’s right. He cries and cries like a baby. And while he’s crying, ants begin to pour out of these holes in the ground and cover his body. Big ants that bite. Until his whole body is covered. And he cries and cries!

“Then, suddenly, all at once after a few minutes, all the ants leave! He doesn’t do anything but cry and for some reason they all leave him.

“Then, the Rebbe stops his crying, returns to the carriage and we leave. But I can’t understand it! I can’t figure it out. I mean, your Rebbe has a beautiful house, nice horses, a good driver, a fine wife and children. He has a good life! What has he got to cry about?! Why is he crying? And even more I don’t understand those ants. How they know when to leave him? I mean, he doesn’t do anything to make them leave! They just all leave at once! It’s like he is their boss or something.”

The second story:

Once the Rebbe Maharash was on a long train ride and one of his Chassidim by the name of Rav Yaakov Reshel got on the train near nightfall at the city of Dvinsk to accompany him. His intention was to accompany the Rebbe for less than an hour till he went to sleep and then get off at the next stop and return to Dvinsk.

But, to his surprise, a few minutes into the ride, the Rebbe asked him to stay till the morning.

Rav Yaakov was honored by the request and couldn’t refuse. It was, in fact, a great pleasure to be with the Rebbe. But he hadn’t brought his Talit and Tefillin (prayer shawl and phylacteries Jews put on for the morning prayers).

He paid for an adjoining compartment and when the Rebbe lay down to sleep he left the Rebbe’s room and went to his. Early the next morning the Rebbe, who had woken even earlier and had already finished praying, sent a porter to call Rav Yaakov to his room. When he entered he saw that the Rebbe was sitting with eyes closed laughing.

He didn’t have a chance to sit down before the train came to a stop and a well dressed, clean shaven young man got on, asked the conductor something and then headed straight for the Rebbe’s compartment. But when he entered and saw the Rebbe sitting there, smiling with eyes closed and Rav Yaakov standing there he seemed confused and just sat down opposite the Rebbe.

The train began to move and five minutes later when they were outside of the town the Rebbe suddenly opened his eyes, stared deeply into those of the young man and said “Why do you possess a dangerous item? What have you got in your pocket? Show me!”

The young man turned pale and began to shake. He stuck his trembling hand into his pocket and pulled out…a small pistol! He handed it to the Rebbe who opened the window and threw it out into the passing bushes.

It seems that the Maskilim (Jews that wanted to uproot Judaism and replace it with more ‘modern’ ideas) had planned to assassinate the Rebbe because of all the troubles he made for them at government levels. But when the young man saw the Rebbe was not alone and then felt his holiness, he changed his mind.

The Rebbe gave his Talit and Tefillin to Rav Yaakov who left the Rebbe and the young man alone and went to his compartment to pray. When he returned the Rebbe took the Tefillin and said to his young companion “Would you like to pray?”

Suddenly, the young man began to frown and then burst out in awesome tears as he took the Tefillin. The Rebbe comforted him: “Don’t worry, one who is forced to sin is not a really a sinner”.

At the next stop the young man got off and the stop after Rav Yaakov parted from the Rebbe and also got off.

This answers our question. The reason G-d chose one particular tribe to be in charge of holy things is that there has to be someone totally separated from the world and devoted totally to G-dliness who can ‘raise’ and inspire those ‘normal’ people who are occupied with more mundane things.

Just like the Rebbe in our stories; the reason he cried and invited the ants was because he was a totally holy person: as we see that he ruled over the ants and knew what the young man was thinking. But on the other hand he suffered in order to raise and purify the world. That is why he opposed the ‘Maskilim’ and put himself into danger because his ‘job’ was to raise and purify others; as we see he did to the young ‘assassin’.

But in the future, when Moshiach changes man’s priorities, all Jews will be at the level of Levites; their only occupation will be to know and assist the entire world in Knowing the Creator (Mimonidies, M’lachim 12:5).

But it all depends on us to do just a little more, even one more good deed to bring Moshiach even one instant earlier….

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2009 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Yeshiva Ohr T’mimim (OhrTmimim.Org/torah) in PO Box 232, K’far Chabad, 72915 Israe-l

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

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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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |




L’CHAIM – ISSUE # 1062


Copyright (c) 2009

Lubavitch Youth Organization – L.Y.O.

Brooklyn, NY


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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.




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.




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://




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: For more info about this special mitzva visit Http://

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




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




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



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.




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)




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.




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.”



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


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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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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.

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

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Rabbi Bolton’s Parsha Story: Parshas Vayechi 5769

Posted on January 9, 2009. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story | Torah, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Parshas Hashavua, Parshas Hashavuah, Parshas Vayechi, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Vayechi, 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:

Vayechi 5769

This week’s Torah portion tells us of the blessings that Yaakov gave to his sons shortly before he passed away

At first glance this is not understood. What exactly are blessings aren’t they just good wishes? And what do we care about blessings given some 3,500 years ago? Even more, Yaakov’s sons eventually became the 12 tribes and today we don’t even know where they are or even if these still exist!

To understand this here is a story (The Storyteller Vol. 3 Pg 177)

The city of Nikolsberg, Moravia (now Czechoslovakia) was famous for its long chain of great Rabbis reaching back almost a thousand years. Among them were the famous Maharal of Prague and the Tosfos Yom Tov but perhaps the last in the line was the great Tzadik Rebbe Shmuel Shmelka; pupil of the Chassidic master the Maggid of Mazrich (successor of the Baal Shem Tov) some 250 years ago.

Rabbi Shmelka was truly fitting for the post; he was a great Talmudic and Legal genius, his advice was impeccable and his brotherly love was seemingly without limit. Many were the nights that his eyes saw no sleep because he was involved in the problems of others and he was very proficient in the mysteries of Kabbalah.

But despite his flawless character and selfless nature he was once the center of a controversy that only miracles were able to quell.

One of the richer Jews in Nikolsberg, who we will call Groisman, was sued by one of its poorer members. The details were not passed down so it’s not clear what the suit was about nor the amount involved but what we do know is that Rabbi Shmelka, after hearing all the arguments and seeing the evidence, decided in favor of the poor man.

Groisman was boiling mad; not only had been found guilty and lost money he had been humiliated publicly by a nobody! He declared war! After all, he told himself, he didn’t become the wealthiest man in town by surrendering!

He was clever about it. First he began quietly complaining and, because he was rich, people began to listen. At first it was only his family and friends but slowly the circle began to widen. Friends spoke to their friends and their friends to their friends until within a few months the town became a cauldron of discontent.

Gradually Groisman’s claims became clear; ‘The Rabbi, he whispered to a ready audience, is one of the Chassidim who consult the Kaballah and other mystical books for their decisions. Who knows when he would claim that some angel or spirit told him to change the Torah! Indeed, this is probably the reason he found me guilty. Maybe tomorrow he’ll make up a new religion!

The tone of things became increasingly sinister until one day placards appeared on the street announcing a meeting in the great Synagogue to discuss ‘pressing issues’.

That night some one thousand men were packed into the huge auditorium and the voices began to be angrier until they finally took a vote and decided to oust the Rabbi! Groisman had succeeded!

Suddenly the voice of the old Shamash (sextant) of the Synagogue rang out from somewhere. “Wait! WAIT!! I want to talk!”

Everyone looked up to see the old fellow standing at the podium in the middle of the Synagogue open hands raised for silence.

He must have been over eighty years old and his high pitched voice rang clearly over the crowd until everyone’s curiosity was aroused. “Wait!! I want to talk!” He kept repeating until there was silence.

As far as anyone remembered he had never raised his voice or spoken more than a few quiet sentences in all the years he had been in the Synagogue. What could he want now? He cleared his throat and spoke.

“I want to say something important.” He looked around to see that everyone was listening and continued. “Two things that I saw that I swore I would never tell but I think it’s important.”

The room was still.

“It was about ten years ago, just after we chose our Reb Shmelka. Well, I was making my rounds early in the morning before sunrise, ringing my bell and knocking on windows to wake everyone up for the Morning Prayer. When I got to the Rabbi’s house I saw the light was on in his window so I looked in. There he was sitting and learning Talmud with some wild-looking long-haired Jew with leather girdle around his waist.”

I figured it must be some traveler or something, really I thought it might be one of the ’36 hidden Holy Men (Tzaddikim) that I read about somewhere but I kept quiet.
“But when I saw him again there the next morning, standing before the Rabbi and listening to his learning I decided I’d ask. Later that day I caught the Rabbi alone in Synagogue after the prayers and asked him who the man was and the Rabbi was very surprised.

“‘What, you saw him?’ he asked a few times. Until he finally said, ‘Well if you saw him then I’ll tell you. That was Elijah the prophet (who lived some 2,700 years ago and appears regularly to the righteous) but best not to talk about it.’

The Shamash cleared his voice and continued. “Then a few days later I saw him again but this time it was really frightening.

“It was late at night and the Rabbi was standing at the door holding a candle holder with two very bright candles escorting some people from his house. When they got to the door I saw them. One was the same Elijah the Prophet but the other. Well I couldn’t believe my eyes but it was a real king with royal garments and a crown . and even carrying a royal scepter! I was petrified with fear and awe.

“The Rabbi escorted his guests out the door for a few more steps until they disappeared then he returned to his house to continue his Torah study.

“Well, I don’t know what made me do it but I waited a few minutes, said a prayer, approached the Rabbi’s door and knocked. He had been so friendly to me the time before I figured he would tell me who that king was.

“So I went in and told him that I just happened to be passing and saw what I saw and I asked my question.

“The Rabbi looked at me for a while, told me to sit down and explained.

“He said that a few weeks ago in a certain town in Poland a tragedy occurred. There, there lived a simple Jewish artisan who was obsessed with hatred for idols and idolatry. He made his living by making small dolls and toys and the third of the Ten Commandments “You shall not make for yourselves any carved idol or any image’ literally burned in his heart. In fact he spoke of it non-stop.

“One night he went crazy. He ran into town and began smashing every statue he saw including the ones in front of the Church until he was caught by a crowd and beaten and killed for his crime. It was with greatest difficulty that the Jewish community there was able to convince the gentiles that he acted alone but the whole thing was so traumatic on the elders of the community that they refused to provide for his widow from the widow’s fund.

“They argued that because the poor fellow knew very well that he would be killed for his actions he was responsible for throwing his life and his money away and she should be paid from the communal charity like all the other paupers, which meant a lot less money.

“Anyway she complained to the Rabbis of her town and when they couldn’t decide what to do, they brought the case to our Rabbi.

“That was yesterday in the day. Last night the Rabbi was sitting and pouring through books for a solution when the two visitors I mentioned visited him.

“And that king was none other than Menasha, the idolatrous son of King Hezkiahu (see Kings 2:21:19)!

“He said that since his death, over two thousand years ago, he had been reincarnated time and time again to atone for his blasphemous sins (among which was erecting an idol in the Holy Temple!) but his soul found no rest until it became incarnated in this Jewish artisan.

That explains his unexplainable hatred of idols; it was the result of Menasha’s tormented soul seeking repentance.

“And that’s why he came to Rav Shmelka; to explain to him that the artisan was neither crazy nor suicidal, rather he was sacrificing his life to destroy idolatry and sanctify G-d’s name; the only thing that would purify Menasha’s soul. Reb Shmelka didn’t tell me what he would decide but he did ask me to keep the matter quiet but I couldn’t.

Now, my friends and brothers.” The Shamash concluded. “I felt I had to tell you this so you should know what a holy Rabbi we have. I beg you not to be angry with him and I hope he won’t be angry with me for telling.” Then turning to Mr. Groisman he said, “Surely if he decided against you it was for the benefit of everyone involved including youor at least your soul.”

The group dispersed and the impeachment was canceled.

This explains our questions.

Just as the sins of King Menasha had a spiritual effect long after his life ended so the blessings of Jacob exist to this very day because blessings are much more than just good wishes. Rather they are eternal, spiritual bundles of goodness that can change the physical world for the better.

But not everyone can bless; Only someone who really has love and affection for the one being blessed.

More than anything else Yaakov truly desired Moshiach and the future redemption (see Rashi on Gen.33:14) and his blessings were designed to hasten its arrival (see Rashi 47:28). Then he would again be united with his children in the Holy Land.

Just as Menasha, perhaps the worst sinner of all time, found comfort and forgiveness so will all Jewish souls; the blessings of Jacob will take full effect. That is why Yaakov blessed his sons; because in the future when Moshiach will gather all the Jews to the holy land it will be revealed that every Jew is holy, the tribes will again be reinstated and Yaakov’s blessings will really come true.

But now it’s all up to us; we just have to do all we can to make it all real and bring

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Yeshiva Ohr T’mimim in K’far-Chabad, Israel and their website is: OhrTmimim.Org/torah

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!!! ***

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

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Rabbi Bolton’s Parsha Story: Parshas Vayigash

Posted on January 1, 2009. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story | Torah, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Parshas Hashavua, Parshas Hashavuah, Parshas Vayigash, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Vayigash, 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:

Vayigash 5769

In this week’s Torah portion we read of the re-uniting of Yosef and his brothers in Egypt.

The Torah tells us that when Yosef saw his brother Benjamin they hugged and fell on each other’s shoulders and wept.

Rashi, the foremost commentator on the Bible, explains that Yosef wept on the two Holy Temples that were to be destroyed in the land of Benjamin and Benjamin wept on the destroyed Tabernacle in Shilo in the portion of Yosef.

But at first glance this is not clear. After all, Benjamin and Yosef as the only sons of Rachel were very close. Why not just say that they wept from joy after being united! What have the Temples and Tabernacles got to do with it? And why did each one cry for the Temple of the OTHER? Why not each their own?

To understand this, here is a story (The Storyteller vol. 3 Pg 171)

Some 200 years ago in a small village in Poland lived an old, poor, simple Jew called Getzel HaMafshet (the hide remover) and his wife in a run-down hut.

Getzel had been a strong, robust fellow whose job was to strip the hides from slaughtered cattle in the slaughter house. It was difficult work and paid very little but he had been good at it, it was just about all he knew how to do and he was totally satisfied with the meager life he and his wife led. He was a quiet fellow but always had a smile on his face, a warm handshake, a word of praise for G-d and a good word for and about everyone.

He wasn’t able to really learn Torah, only to read from the Prayer Book and the Book of Psalms but he was healthy and happy.

In fact, only at the age of seventy did he begin to slow down. But gradually, as the years passed, he lessened his hours of work and his wife had to do some sewing and cooking for others to make ends meet.

Finally, when Getzel must have been close to eighty, his wife appeared before the Rabbi of the town saying that her husband felt the time had come for him to return his soul to his Father in Heaven and he wanted to ask the Rabbi something.

The Rabbi closed the book he was studying, and followed the woman to her humble dwelling.

She stepped aside respectfully to let the Rabbi open the door but when he did, and saw Getzel lying in bed a sudden look of astonishment passed over his face and he closed it, stepped back for a few seconds, then opened it again and entered.

Getzel’s pale face lit up a bit when he saw the Rabbi and he even tried to hold out his hand to shake, but he was too weak.

Getzel’s voice was barely audible. He apologized for troubling the Rabbi and explained why he did it.

“Rabbi, listen, I’m about to go and I am very troubled. I never really did much for G-d here. I was too illiterate to teach or even learn Torah. Why, I could barely read the prayers. No good deeds either. I was always working or resting and I was too poor to give charity. Heh! I don’t think I ever helped anyone! That’s why I called you.

“Now I’m going before the heavenly court and, well… I have nothing to show for the time I was here. Don’t even have a son or someone to say Kaddish (mourners prayer) for my soul either; never had children.

“That’s why I’ve troubled you Rabbi … please forgive me a thousand times. Please do me this favor! Even though, I have no money to pay, please find someone to say Kaddish for me and pray for my soul.” And he began to cry silently.

“Of-course, Getzel! I promise” answered the Rabbi. “You don’t have to cry. But listen, Getzel, listen. What you said about good deeds. Well, I don’t think you’re right. That is, I’m sure you must have done something outstandingly good; some big Mitzvah. Maybe you forgot. Think Getzel! Please try to remember. I’m sure you did something.”

Getzel slowly shook his head no and a tear ran down his cheek. “Good deed?” He whispered “No, nothing! No. Nothin’…” Suddenly he closed his eyes and was silent.

His eyes opened, looking at the Rabbi with satisfaction. “You’re right! There is something. It’s not so special… but it was …..Something!

“A long time ago, maybe fifty years, I was walking to work, to the slaughter house, when I hear a noise. I looked up and saw horses galloping full speed, pulling a carriage filled with ladies and children screaming. It was coming toward me fast, racing down the hill. The driver must have been drunk or something but it was barreling down weaving back and forth, filled with women and children all screaming and crying.

I was young and strong back then. I jumped in the middle of the road and began waving my hands to force the horses to the side. Then when the wagon was almost on me I jumped aside, grabbed on, jumped in, sat next to the driver who was completely drunk, and slowed it down. The people were all confused, almost fainting, dressed up like going to a wedding. So I drove it into the town where a wedding was just beginning, tied it to a post and went to work.”

The story took a lot of energy from Getzel, he lay back down but his eyes were bright with hope.

“I guess I saved their lives Rabbi. But, how did you know? I mean, if you hadn’t forced me…. I don’t know how I remembered! How did you know? “

The Rabbi leaned forward and said. “My dear Getzel, did you notice that when I first came in to your room I was so surprised I closed the door again? I was surprised because I saw something. You know what I saw Getzel?

“Well, over your head was a Menorah burning! It was glowing with a brilliant shine! I knew you must have done something special. My dear Getzel, you are a Tzaddik!! I knew it when I saw that light. And now I know what it is.

“Do you hear me Getzel?” The Rabbi continued softly, the Mishnah in Sanhedrin says that anyone who saves even one person has merit as though he saved the entire world and you saved many worlds many times over!! If you ask me Getzel, in heaven you have nothing to worry about!”

Getzel was nodding his head and smiling at the Rabbi in wide-eyed astonishment with tears of joy and gratitude.

“Now I have a favor to ask of you.” The Rabbi continued. “When you get to heaven, if you are able to, I want you to let me know how the heavenly court dealt with you. And regarding the saying of Kaddish, I promise to have it taken care of.”

That evening Getzel passed away and the next day was buried among the righteous of the community. Three days later he appeared to the Rabbi in a dream and said.

“Rabbi, hello! I made a promise to you and now I am permitted to fulfill it. I came to tell you that when I appeared before the Heavenly Court a huge scale was placed before me. In the cup on its right side, to my surprise, were stacked up quite a few good deeds and it made me feel good. But then on the left side they started piling all my wrongdoings and I was really scared. They were so many, a lot more than the good ones, that it got closer and closer to the ground. The Judge raised his gavel and was about to bring it down but then just as sentence was about to be pronounced, a wagon drawn by a pair of horses came dashing out of nowhere and landed on the right side of the scale!

“Not just the wagon! The horses, the mud on the wagon wheels and, of course, all the ladies and children in the wagon including the drunken driver! It reversed the whole thing. Suddenly the scale tilted in my favor and a host of bright angels jumped aboard the wagon to weigh it down totally. Then a voice came from Heaven saying ‘Open the Gates of Righteousness for the Tzaddikim!’ and the gates of heaven opened. But before I entered I was told I had to first fulfill my promise to you.

“Now I must go, but please tell everyone that what seems to be small, even one good deed, in the physical world can tip all the scales here.”

This answers our questions.

There is no reason to cry or get emotional about one’s own problems. These demand immediate action, not crying. Like when Getzel in our story saw the wagon, he knew that he had to act fast and not think or cry.

But if we see problems of others that are out of our control and there is nothing we can DO to solve or correct… then we must at least cry, pray and hope that they will do all they can to fix it.

That is why Yosef and Benjamin wept for the Temples; because Yosef and Benjamin were not just individual people with private problems. Their lives touched at the essence of man and the purpose of all mankind. And there is nothing more essential to mankind than the Holy Temples where the Creator was revealed in His creation.

Therefore each wept for the other’s destruction because each knew that it was the most they could do; in the end each person has to correct his/her own faults and selfish attitudes that cause destruction and exile; others can only cry and feel for them. (Something like the Rabbi did for Getzel in our story).

This is a very important lesson to us. We must fix ourselves up in every way possible; eliminate hatred, worry, jealousy, negativity and selfishness…. the real causes of our problems and of the terrible exile we’re in.
But we must also cry, pray and feel for others when we can’t actively help.

Then, in the merit of brotherly love we can look forward to the building of the Third Temple, the gathering of all the Jews in Jerusalem and true world peace, blessing and joy with…

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Yeshiva Ohr T’mimim in K’far-Chabad, Israel and their website is: OhrTmimim.Org/torah

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

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*** 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!!! ***


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The Parshah in a Nutshell: Parshas Vayigash

Posted on January 1, 2009. Filed under: Happy Channukah, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Parshas Hashavua, Parshas Hashavuah, Parshas Vayigash, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Vayigash, The Parsha in a Nutshell, The Parshah in a Nutshell, The Truth, Torah, Torah is THE Truth, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly Parshah, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Parshah in a Nutshell

(A Summary of the Parsha)

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On this week’s Parsha:


Genesis 44:18-47:27

Judah approaches Joseph to plead for the release of Benjamin, offering himself as a slave to the Egyptian ruler in Benjamin‘s stead. Upon witnessing his brothers’ loyalty to one another, Joseph reveals his identity to them. “I am Joseph,” he declares. “Is my father still alive?”

The brothers are overcome by shame and remorse, but Joseph comforts them. “It was not you who sent me here,” he says to them, “but G-d. It has all been ordained from Above to save us, and the entire region, from famine.”

The brothers rush back to Canaan with the news. Jacob comes to Egypt with his sons and their families — seventy souls in all — and is reunited with his beloved son after 22 years. On his way to Egypt he receives the Divine promise: “Fear not to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. I will go down with you into Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again.”

Joseph gathers the wealth of Egypt by selling food and seed during the famine. Pharaoh gives Jacob‘s family the fertile county of Goshen to settle, and the children of Israel prosper in their Egyptian exile.

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*** 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!!! ***

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