Parshat Hashavuah

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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L’Chaim Weekly Magazine for Parshas T’rumah 5769 (ISSUE # 1060)

Posted on February 27, 2009. Filed under: 17337154, 17337730, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, L’Chaim Weekly, L’Chaim Weekly Magazine, L’Chayim Weekly, L’Chayim Weekly Magazine, Lechayim Weekly, Lechayim Weekly Magazine, Parshas T’ruma, Parshas T’rumah, Parshas Terumah, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat T’ruma, Parshat T’rumah, Parshat Terumah, T’ruma, T’rumah, Terumah, The Truth, Torah, Torah is THE Truth, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly Parshah, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |




L’CHAIM – ISSUE # 1060


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.



February 27, 2009       Parshas T’rumah             3 Adar, 5769


Spiritual Genetics

Have you heard of the Lemba tribe in Zimbabwe? They have a tradition that they are one of the ten “lost tribes” of the Jewish people.

According to their tradition, about 2,500 years ago they left Judea (the period prior to the second Temple). After a stay in Yemen, one group migrated to Ethiopia, and a second continued farther south to where the Lemba eventually settled.

They have several practices that resemble Biblical Judaism. Among other things, they are monotheists, they have a holy day (like Shabbat), they consider themselves a chosen people, they don’t eat certain foods or combinations (milk and meat) prohibited in the Torah, they have a form of ritual slaughter, they practice circumcision, and put a Star of David on their tombstones. They even have a form of conversion.

Furthermore, the man who led them, Buba, was a kohen – and they have a priestly class. This becomes important later.

They also have “language markers” – words that don’t belong in the African language they speak.

In 1998 geneticists in the U.S., Israel and England examined the “y”

chromosome of Lemba men. Why? Because in 1997 scientists found a genetic marker of Jewish priesthood on the “y” chromosome. The “Kohen Gene” was quite distinct; other Jewish men didn’t have it, but kohanim all over the world did. It was genetic proof of Jewish tradi-tion, or at least a critical part of it.

And the descendants of Buba, the Lemba priests, shared that marker. This meant that their oral history had some basis, that at some point there was strong evidence of a connection to the Jewish people.

Why is this significant?

Well, for one thing, it gives greater weight to oral tradition. It’s a scientific nod to Yehudah HaLevi who, in the Kuzari, explained that one way we know the Torah is true is because there has been an unchallenged chain of transmission.

It’s significant for another reason. We declare that we are children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that our Jewishness is part of the very fabric of our being. What these genetic markers tell us is that we carry within us the information of our ancestors. We are a living history.

There’s another interesting aspect to all this. Information gets encoded because of encounters with the environment. Science tells us that our genes “learn” from experience; the kohen gene gets passed down from father to son in an unbroken chain. But our actions also influence what gets passed on.

In simple terms, when parents perform mitzvot (commandments), consistently, this becomes part of the “family genetics.” It gets passed down from generation to generation, not just as an oral tradition, but as part of what that family does, and therefore, who they are.

In a sense, then, we encode our spiritual genes with mitzvot, and pass on that “spiritual genetic code” to our children, and they to their children, and so on.

And since spiritual genetics are also influenced by the environment, we can gain the “mitzva gene” (as converts do), by our actions. So not only are we a living history, we can acquire and pass on, as surely as we do blood type or eye color, a spiritual genetics, an inheritance of mitzvot and G-dliness.




This week’s Torah portion, Teruma, opens with G-d’s command to Moses:

“Speak to the Children of Israel, that they may bring me a contribution, from every one whose heart prompts him…gold, and silver and copper.”

As we find out further in the Torah reading, the Jews responded in droves, donating much of their wealth for the purpose of erecting the Tabernacle in the desert. Vast amounts of precious metal were amassed, necessary for making all of the Tabernacle’s many implements. Obviously, a donation of gold is at a higher level than one of silver or copper – commodities that are worth far less. Our Sages interpreted the contribution of each metal as symbolic of the different levels that exist in the giving of tzedaka (charity).

The Hebrew word for gold is zahav, an acronym for “he who gives in fullness of health (ze hanoten bari).” This refers to the highest level of charity, when one shares his wealth with others solely to fulfill the commandment of tzedaka (charity). Kesef (silver), stands for k’sheyesh sakanat pachad – when a person gives tzedaka because he is fearful, hoping that the merit of his charity will prevent evil from befalling him. This level of giving tzedaka is lower than the first, for the giver is motivated by the desire for personal gain. The lowest level of charity is that of copper – nechoshet, the letters of which stand for netinat choleh she’omer tenu – the charitable donation of one who is ill. This person, motivated by the desire to alleviate his own suffering, remembers to fulfill the mitzva of tzedaka only when he himself is in pain, hoping thereby to alleviate his misery.

On a deeper level, the differences between gold, silver and copper symbolize the differences between the First, Second and Third Holy Temples. Gold, the most precious metal, alludes to the First Holy Temple, the most perfect and complete of G-d’s dwelling places. Silver, although valuable, is worth far less than gold. This alludes to the Second Holy Temple, which was missing five items present in the First, among them the Ark of the Covenant.

These deficiencies reflected the fearful state of the mind of the Jewish people at that time, who worried that the Holy Temple would once again be destroyed. Indeed, history proved that their fears were legitimate.

Lastly, copper is symbolic of our present state of being, while we yet suffer the pains of the exile. Like one who is stricken with any other illness, we must cry out to our Father in Heaven, begging Him to establish the Third Holy Temple that will last forever.

Adapted from a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Vayigash 5752




An Angel Came to the Funeral

by Asna Wise

I live in Toronto and recently lost my mother, who lived in Israel. I am an only child with no husband or children. My mother was my entire family, my ally and my counselor, my one true friend who loved me and worried about me.

I had to travel to Israel quickly to arrange her burial. I had no idea how things were done there – who to deal with, where she would be buried, legal formalities. I was too distressed and confused to think straight. I asked the Rebbetzin at my Chabad synagogue, Rebbetzin Goldie Plotkin, to recommend someone in Israel who could help. She suggested her brother in Jerusalem, Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov.

My Mom had been raised in an Orthodox home. Her father was a rabbi and she had two brothers who studied in the great yeshiva in Ponevizh before they were murdered by the Nazis. This had to be done right for my Mom, and I knew that if Chabad got involved it would be.

I phoned Rabbi Shemtov from Ben Gurion Airport, and without hesitation he set things into motion. He contacted the Chevra Kaddisha (Holy Burial

Society) and found out where my Mom was, where she would be buried, and who was looking after her. He made sure everything was done according to Jewish law, and even promised to attend the funeral.

My Mom’s funeral was an ordeal for me. As soon as it was over people started to leave. Just then Rabbi Shemtov drove up with his son, Mendy.

He asked everyone to stay just a few more moments, and gave a beautiful eulogy about my Mom’s background, how she moved to Israel and how committed she was to the country. I had told him only a few details about her and yet he managed to deliver this beautiful, touching speech.

He was the only one who spoke. Her other friends looked anxious to go and seemed to scatter as soon as his speech was done. I had come to the funeral in a taxi and now someone drove me back to my Mom’s apartment.

I was alone. I sat in my mother’s silent home, surrounded by her things, her pictures, and my memories, and felt a grief that was unbearable. Yet in this darkness G-d remembered me. There was a knock on the door and Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov came in. He said, “Why are you sitting here alone?”

I said, “I don’t know. Because no one came with me.” I had never sat shiva before and had no idea what to expect or what I was supposed to do.

This angel said, “I am going out to get you candles.”

Half an hour later I heard footsteps on the stairs and saw Rabbi Shemtov and Mendy dragging bags and bags of food – up to the third floor of a building with no elevator, in the midday heat. He filled up my refrigerator; two weeks later I was still eating the food he’d brought.

Rabbi Shemtov set up five candles for me. We lit them and he told me what blessing to say. Then he set up a tzedaka (charity) plate and gave tzedaka. He found a small, low bench for me to sit on, he covered the mirrors and told me all the rules and customs of shiva (the first seven days of mourning). I asked him to arrange for Kaddish to be said for my Mom at a yeshiva in Jerusalem, which he immediately agreed to do.

Then he asked how Kaddish was going to be said for my mother during the week of shiva at her home. I did not know ten men in Israel for a minyan (quorom). I did not live there and most of my Mom’s friends were old ladies. We went out together to find a synagogue and found an Ashkenazi synagogue a block away. Rabbi Shemtov spoke to the gabbai (sexton), explained my situation and arranged for the gabbai to say Kaddish and Kel Mallai Rachamim for my mother. The gabbai opened a private room for me near where the men daven. I could cry there as much as I wanted and not be embarrassed. Rabbi Shemtov even bent over pages of a prayer book for me so I would know which parts to say. That evening, the gabbai shared a Torah thought in honor of my mother.

As we left the shul (synagogue), Rabbi Shemtov gave me the blessing for mourners and his son Mendy also said the blessing. By now it was dark, and he still had a three-hour drive from Kiryat Bialik, where my Mom lived, back to Jerusalem. This man – to whom I was a stranger – had spent an entire day looking after me, plus six hours of driving.

Now, Rabbi Shemtov is not a man with spare time. First, he has a family with seven small children. Furthermore, he is the executive director of two yeshivos and has other obligations. This man is not a millionaire.

Gasoline costs money, and he shopped for me like he would shop for his own sister.

Rabbi Shemtov did all this for a person he did not know who needed help at a difficult time. There are angels walking the earth and one of them is Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov.

Reprinted with permission from the N’Shei Chabad Newsletter




New Torah Scrolls

A new Torah scroll was completed and dedicated at the Chabad House on Montezuma Road in S. Diego, California. Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s fourth largest city, recently dedicated a Torah scroll for the first time in over 100 years. The Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS Jewish Community Center in Nizhny Novgorod dedicated the Torah. The FJC Jewish Community Center in Krasnodor, Russia, also recently held a celebration for the dedication of a new Torah scroll. Until now, the community has been using a borrowed Torah scroll. The Moshiach Center of Chicago, Illinois, celebrated the dedication of a Torah scroll written in memory of a young child, Menachem Mendel Fine, who passed away. The Beis Menachem Synagogue in Petersburg, Russia, dedicated their second Torah scroll this year. In the Chabad synagogue in the settlement town of Adam, Israel, a new Torah scroll was dedicated. A new torah scroll was also dedicated in the Chabad House of Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, Israel.




Freely translated and adapted

Adar 1, 5714 (1954)

From time to time I inquire about your wellbeing and receive news about your welfare from your children. I am surprised by the fact that on a number of occasions they have told me that your mood is not as it should be.

In general, each and every one of us, when we search and ponder our lives, even during the last few years when matters do not seem to be going so well, will observe G-d’s kindness and goodness, up to and including matters that were not at all expected.

In fact, the individual sees these things to an even greater extent than does another – as each person knows in his or her own life.

This should lead the person to recognize and acknowledge the blessings and goodness that he has received from G-d, and quite possibly, on more than one occasion, the person has received these blessings without any effort on his part.

This leads to the inevitable conclusion that if there do exist matters that are contrary to a person’s desires, then it may very well be one of two things:

Firstly, quite often a person does not truly know what is best for him and if that which he desires will indeed bring him true benefit or possibly the opposite.

Even when the individual concludes that he knows with one-hundred-percent certainty that the thing is good for him, he still cannot possibly know the reasons why he has not been granted these matters for the time being.

This is analogous to the business world: A good and experienced businessperson will not sell his merchandise at an inopportune time. And this is the case even when he can realize a profit, but that he reckons that by selling his merchandise at a later date he can realize a far greater profit.

The same is so with G-d’s goodness. If it is delayed, it is in all probability because at a later time G-d’s beneficence will be in a much greater manner in both quantity and quality.

This is particularly true in your case, where G-d has blessed you with true nachas (pride) from children, something which is not so often found …. Since you and your wife can anticipate even more nachas from your children, your going around unhappy (something which can be interpreted as dissatisfaction – G-d forbid – with the manner in which G-d conducts your affairs) defies understanding. Moreover, to a certain extent this is an expression of ingratitude to G-d.

It is self-understood that I am not writing to you in order to admonish you but to convince you that even according to the way you look at your life, the good things in your life are incomparably greater and more significant than those matters that you think are – temporarily – not as they should be.

Bear in mind that when a businessman makes an accounting, he does not consider each item individually, but makes a total accounting of the inventory as a whole. And so too regarding the “balance sheet” of events in your life.

It is my hope that the above few lines will move you to reconsider the “calculation” that you are making. I am sure that when you will do so, you will reach a much happier conclusion than you have reached until now. …

* * *

26 Adar 1, 5717 (1957)

… Surely I need not explain at length to an individual like yourself that there is no room for feeling downhearted from your encountering some difficulties in the course of fulfilling your true task in life, that of “I was created to serve my Maker.”

Such feelings are from the machinations of the evil inclination that seeks to bring the person to a crestfallen state. In point of fact, the entire purpose of the evil inclination lies in man’s vanquishing him.

Indeed, this, i.e., that the evil inclination be vanquished, is also the desire of the evil inclination itself, as is to be understood from the holy Zohar, quoted in Tanya,ch. 29.

Ultimately, even those matters that presently conceal and obscure goodness and holiness are themselves transformed into good – and not only in a manner of “All that G d does, He does for the good,” i.e., that goodness will eventually result, but in a manner of “This too is for the good,” i.e., that the matter itself becomes good.

This difference is to be understood from the story itself of Nachum Ish Gam Zu, wherein the transformation of the earth into weapons served as overtly revealed goodness, as opposed to the expression “All that G d does, He does for the good,” wherein it was merely “for the good” but it was not transformed into actual goodness.

This is particularly so as we are now commencing the days of the month in which there is the joyous festival of Purim, about which our holy Torah states: “The month” – i.e., this is true of the entire month – “that was transformed for the Jews into a month of joy and Yom Tov.”

Now, the concept of “transformation” during this month means that the entire month is propitious for transforming those untoward events into a form of “joy and Yom Tov” that is palpably revealed to us.

From Healthy in Body, Mind and Soul, translated and compiled

by Rabbi S. B. Wineberg, published by Sichos in English

* * *

… I surely need not emphasize to you that a true businessman is not one who can manage his affairs when conditions are favorable and matters are running smoothly and successfully, but also, and even more so, when he demonstrates that he knows how to deal with adversity and the occasional setback.

Indeed, facing up to the challenge of adversity makes one a stronger and more effective executive than before, with an added dimension of experience and a keener acumen, which can be put to good use even when things begin to turn upwards.

Sometimes, a temporary setback is just what is needed for the resumption of the advance with greater vigor, as in the case of an athlete having to negotiate a hurdle, where stepping back is necessary in order to facilitate a higher leap.

From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 25 Shevat, 5736




Maintain Your Jewish Name

Our Sages stated that one of the reasons the Jews merited the redemption from Egypt was that “they did not change their names.” They continued using Hebrew names throughout the entire exile. Find out what your Jewish name is (a Jewish name can be Hebrew or Yiddish) and your mother’s and father’s Jewish names. If you were never given a Jewish name, chose one yourself after consulting your rabbi. Consider slowly switching to using your Jewish name.

In memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg and the other kedoshim of Mumbai



Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman


It’s Adar, be happy! This is the basic theme of the Jewish month in which we find ourselves. “When Adar begins, we increase in joy,” our Sages teach.

But why should we be so happy just because it is Adar? In Adar we celebrate the joyous holiday of Purim, commemorating the time when the unity and prayers of the Jewish people brought about the nullification of Haman’s wicked plan to annihilate the Jews.

Our Sages declared Purim a day of festivity and rejoicing; of sharing our joy with our fellow-Jews. As Purim is the central holiday of Adar and the “theme” of the month, the entire month is permeated with our pursuit of joy and happiness. The Talmud describes Adar as having “a healthy mazal.”

It is a month which brings the Jewish people strength and true health.

In the month of Adar, G-d’s blessings for a good and sweet year are renewed, intensified, and increased. These provide more good reasons to rejoice!

In our day and age we have another reason to rejoice when Adar begins.

Jewish teachings explain that “Joy breaks all boundaries.” As we stand literally on the threshold of the long-awaited Redemption of the Jewish people and the entire world, the Rebbe has suggested that our every action be permeated with joy in the hope that this will break through the last boundaries of exile.

May the joy we experience in these, the last days of exile, hasten the coming of the ultimate joy, the coming of Moshiach. May we join one Redemption to another and connect the redemption of Purim to the Messianic Redemption. May it take place imminently.




And they shall take for Me an offering (Ex. 25:2)

The word “offering” has two meanings: something set aside for a special purpose and that which is picked up and raised. An offering made to G-d achieves both of these objectives. Setting aside one’s money to do a mitzva (commandment) elevates the physical object that is bought with the money, transforming the material into holiness, as it says in Tanya:

“G-d gives man corporeality in order to transform it into spirituality.”

(Likutei Sichot)

* * *

Speak to the Children of Israel, that they may bring Me a contribution (Ex. 25:2)

“The fool gives, and the clever man takes,” states the popular expression. What does this refer to? The giving of tzedaka (charity).

The fool thinks he is parting with something belonging to him; the clever man realizes that whatever he gives, he actually receives [its reward].

(Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin)

* * *

They shall make Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst (Ex.


It is taught in the name of Rabbi Tarfon: How great is the significance of human labor and practical action! From the above verse we see G-d did not cause his Divine Presence to rest in the Sanctuary until Israel had performed the tasks connected to its erection.

(Avot D’Rabbi Natan)

* * *

According to Maimonides, this positive commandment refers not only to the erection of the Sanctuary, but the building of the First, Second and Third Holy Temples as well. When Moshiach comes and the Third Holy Temple is established, the original Sanctuary built by Moses will also be revealed, for a special connection exists between the two. Just as the Sanctuary was built in the desert, by an individual who himself never set foot in the Holy Land, so will the Third Holy Temple reflect the good deeds we have performed and our service of G-d throughout the present exile.

(Peninei Hageula)




The Rizhiner Rebbe had thousands of Chasidim in Ukraine while Czar Nicholas sat on his throne. It was during this period that the opponents of Chasidism made terrible accusations against Chasidim which reached even the highest gentile authorities.

One time the Czar was told that the Rizhiner Rebbe considered himself a king, and that he did not recognize the authority of the Russian crown.

Incensed, the Czar decided to dispatch an infiltrator to make an investigation.

The infiltrator was a high-ranking officer, a renegade Jew happy to turn informer. Arriving in Rizhin, he asserted that he wanted ask the tzadik (holy, righteous person) for his blessing for business endeavors. To ingratiate himself with the Chasidim, he bought refreshments. Then he began discussing his business, attacking the government for making laws and restrictions. The infiltrator was surprised that not one voice was raised in his favor. He repeated this performance several times, but each time was met by total silence from his listeners.

One afternoon he was ushered into the Rebbe’s room. The spy began to tell the Rebbe how, as a wealthy merchant, he was suffering from the terrible decrees and regulations imposed by the government.

The Rebbe looked deeply at his visitor and said, “I will tell you a story.

In a small village lived a Jewish innkeeper who had an only son named Yossel. Because the village was so isolated, Yossel had no Jewish friends. His best friend was Stepan, the son of the gentile handyman who worked for his father. Stepan had a quick mind and enjoyed sitting in on Yossel’s Torah lessons. In fact, Stepan was quicker than Yossel to grasp the lessons.

Years passed, and it was time to look for a bride for Yossel. A matchmaker came to the little village to interview him. Stepan sat together with Yossel as the matchmaker questioned him on Jewish topics.

Each time a question was posed, however, Yossel was silent, while Stepan supplied the answer. It was clear to the matchmaker that this boy was not a good prospect and he left. The innkeeper decided to separate his son from Stepan.

After much thought, he decided to send away both father and son. When the handyman heard, he protested: ‘Why should I be punished on account of my son? Let him go out into the world.’ And so Stepan left the inn.

For many months Stepan went from one study hall to another masquerading as a Jewish orphan and receiving hospitality from Jews wherever he went.

Eventually he tired of that life and decided to move to a large city, where he enrolled in a university and excelled in his studies. When he completed his courses he began searching for a good opportunity.

One day, arriving in a very distant city, he heard that the citizens were about to choose a new ruler, something they did every three years.

All candidates were to present themselves at the palace where their suitability for kingship would be determined. Stepan rushed to the palace. With his outstanding intelligence he was chosen king.

Soon after his coronation the new king inexplicably began making terrible decrees against the local Jews. The most devastating was that the Jews would have to leave the realm at the end of twelve months!

The Chief Rabbi declared a public fast, during which the people begged G-d to soften the king’s heart. On the fourth day, he called a meeting of the seven most prominent members of the community at which he related to them his strange dream. He dreamed that in a faraway land there was a young innkeeper named Yossel who would be able to change the decree of the king. Strangely enough, each man present had had the exact same dream.

Messengers were dispatched at once to bring the innkeeper to their city.

They related their strange tale and begged him to accompany them and Yossel agreed. The prominent Jews of the city managed to arrange a meeting with the king, and Yossel was ushered into the royal throne room. Stepan was overjoyed to see his old friend, and they embraced each other warmly.

“What is this I am told about the evil decrees you have made against the Jews of this realm?” asked Yossel.

“I really don’t have anything against the Jews,” Stepan replied. “In fact, they have always treated me very kindly, but as soon as I became king, I felt that I had to make these new decrees. I don’t entirely understand why.”

The Chief Rabbi explained: “Your majesty, our Torah teaches that the hearts of kings and rulers are in the hand of G-d. When Jews keep the Torah they fare well. But when they rebel against G-d, He hardens the heart of their king and they fall prey to evil decrees. Nonetheless, they do not pray for another king, for they know that it is their own actions that shape their destiny and not the will of the king.”

Having concluded his story, the Rizhiner looked into the eyes of the informer and said: Go and tell those who have sent you that the accusations against the Jews are untrue. They are loyal citizens and pray for the welfare of their rulers and the country in which they live.

Adapted from Talks and Talesn




Everyone should realize the ability they have to affect others. This is closely connected with the idea of Hakhel (the year following the Sabbatical year in which all Jews would gather in the Holy Temple to hear the king read the Torah) to influence all men, women and children in taking on a greater commitment to Judaism. One shouldn’t think, “I can always begin later on…” On the contrary, haste is of the utmost importance, and one must begin as soon as possible. The efforts expended on positively affecting others will hasten the fulfillment of Hakhel in the plain sense, with the arrival of Moshiach.

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 29 Elul, 5747-1987)


END OF TEXT – L’CHAIM 1060 – Terumah 5769


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Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Parsha Story for Parshat Terumah (AKA: T’rumah / T’ruma) 5769

Posted on February 27, 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 T’ruma, Parshas T’rumah, Parshas Terumah, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat T’ruma, Parshat T’rumah, Parshat Terumah, Rabbi Bolton Stories, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Story by Rabbi Bolton, T’ruma, T’rumah, Terumah, 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 Terumah (AKA: T’rumah / T’ruma) 5769

This week we begin the month of Adar; the “Month that transforms sadness to joy, mourning to festivity” (Esther 9:22). We also read this Shabbat the Torah portion “T’ruma” which explains the building of the Holy Temple.

The reason that Adar is called the ‘month’ that changes sadness to joy is because it contains the holiday of Purim; the happiest holiday in Judaism. But, seemingly this is no reason to call it the happiest MONTH.

Also the idea of a Holy Temple doesn’t seem to fit the message of Judaism that G-d is omnipresent and infinite?

G-d is everywhere! Why do we need a holy Temple?

To understand this… here is a story. (HaGeula weekly page #445)

Mrs. Nechama Dina Bernstein took her pupils for an outing.  Why not? It was one of the eight days of Chanukah when Jewish schools of all sorts take vacations and make special programs. But this outing was special. She took the girls to a local shopping center in New Jersey to light, not Chanukah candles but Jews.

It was an invention of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; to go into public places, search for uneducated/ uninspired/ unattached Jews and give them a taste of Judaism.  In this case it meant telling them about the holiday of Chanukah and its laws, customs and deeper meanings.

Mrs. Bernstein was a very responsible, precise teacher and she demanded the same from her pupils; tardiness or disorder of any sort was out of the question.

So when they agreed that the girls would split up into groups of three to cover as much area as possible and would meet back at the bus in an hour and a half it meant no later than an hour and a half!

The girls took pamphlets and Chanukah candles and set off in different direction while she took what remained and went alone to search for Jews in a different direction.

After almost an hour of successful wandering about and talking to women about the holiday she looked at her watch to see that forty minutes remained, enough for two or perhaps three more discussions.  She noticed several women and a young man sitting around the table of an outdoor restaurant and approached.

“Anyone here Jewish?” She asked the women with a smile. Two women raised their hand in good spirits and a lively conversation ensued.  She told them about the holiday, they asked questions, she answered, they replied and the conversation continued for several minutes. Meanwhile the other women, who were just saying goodbye when Mrs. Bernstein appeared, left while the young man, who obviously was not Jewish, sat and listened to the discussion.

Suddenly Mrs. Bernstein looked at her watch and exclaimed. “Oh, my goodness! We’ve been talking for forty five minutes! I must go!!! I’m already late!”

She shook hands with the women, they exchanged telephone numbers, left some of the pamphlets and candles with them and ran off to her pupils and the bus.

But she stopped. A voice inside of her was saying she shouldn’t have completely ignored the young man, ‘You should have at least asked him if he was Jewish’. But then she thought again. ‘Why, that’s foolish! I’m late! And he didn’t look at all Jewish! I’m not going back!”

But the first voice won.

She turned around, walked briskly back to the table, approached the young man who was now sitting alone and said “Excuse me but, by the way, are you Jewish?”

She never would have expected his reaction. His eyes filled with tears, he began trembling so severely that the food fell from his fork on his shirt leaving a large stain and he began to cry.

Mrs. Bernstein was confused, she apologized handed him a few napkins and apologized again.

“Why did you ask me that?!” the young man said between sniffles. “Why did you come back and ask me that!?” He said again drying his eyes and blowing his nose a few times.

“I don’t really know.” She replied. “I can’t really explain it. I just did. But why are you crying? What happened? I’m sorry. But please tell me, are you Jewish?”

“I’ll tell you.” He replied. “I don’t think you understand what a miracle just happened now.” He invited her to sit down and began to talk.

“First of all my name is Fred (pseudonym) I was born to a Jewish mother, so that makes me Jewish, right? But my father is not Jewish. To you that probably isn’t important because I’m still a Jew but to me it meant confusion.

“My mother wasn’t at all observant, I mean she did marry a gentile, but for some reason she insisted that if they had children they would be given an orthodox Jewish education. Doesn’t make sense but my father agreed and when I was born… I became that child.

“When I was three they enrolled me in a real Jewish school and by the age of five I not only could read the Torah, I looked and acted like a religious Jew with a yarmulke, locks of hair at the sides of my head, Tzitzis, on the four corners of my garments; the whole business!

“But you can imagine what a feeling I had everyday when I went back to my totally non-religious home. And although my parents didn’t bother me about my Jewish appearance the kids in school bothered me about my home. They were just little kids and, well you know how kids can be cruel sometimes. But they mostly made fun because of my appearance. I looked exactly like my father; blond hair, blue eyes, small bobbed nose in other words like a total gentile and every once in a while even the teachers made remarks.

“Anyway, it made me confused and miserable and when my parents saw how it was ruining me they talked it over and when I got to the fifth grade they decided to move me to a normal public school.

“After the move it only took a few days till I removed all the signs of Judaism, made new friends and almost forgot the whole episode but deep in my heart I knew I was different.  What I had learned in the Jewish school stuck with me, but so did the negative experiences.

“Sometimes I even would talk to G-d and ask Him why He put me in this confusion but I didn’t get any answers; only more confusion.  So I tried to take my mind off it and just live life like everyone else.

“But once in a while I had attacks of identity and one of them was just now. When you came and asked everyone except me if they were Jewish my heart broke; all the frustration, anger and sadness came back to me.  Then, when you walked away I decided to have my final talk with G-d.  I said ‘G-d, if that lady comes back here and asks me if I’m Jewish then….. I’m Jewish. But if not….. I’m never going to think about it or talk to you about it again!’

“So if you are wondering why you came back… now you know; it was G-d answering my prayers!”

This answers our questions.

When someone decides to make a real change in life it doesn’t just mean just changing appearance, attitude or personality. These are only from the soul outward.

True change means changing oneself to reveal one’s soul and live according to the truth; according to the will of the Creator.

Like Fred when he prayed and risked being different and Mrs. Bernstein when she returned to the table and risked missing her bus. Both were interested only in one thing; what does G-d want from them. And when they made the decision it changed their lives and certainly the lives of those around them.

That is why the miracle of Purim, when the Jews refused to deny their Judaism and escape Haman’s decree of ‘Destroy all the Jews’, effected the entire month and the Holy Temple, where Jews devoted themselves totally to the Creator, effected the entire world.

Because when one makes that decision to live only according to the will of the Creator it can connects the infinite to the finite; all time and space.

This is why one of the main accomplishments of Moshiach will be to change the priorities of all the Jewish people (like it was in Purim) and build a Third Temple (like in our weekly Torah portion).

Because through these changes the entire creation; all time, space and consciousness, will be PERMANENTLY purified to reveal the TRUE oneness of G-d.

It’s all up to us, to change ourselves and do all we can to 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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Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story Parshat Mishpatim (5769)

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Mishpatim, Parshas Mishpatim, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Mishpatim, 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 Mishpatim 5769

In this week’s Torah portion are found 23 positive and 30 negative commandments; fifty three deeds that G-d, the Creator of the Universe, wants the Jews to treat differently than everyone else.

Many of them deal with the law of the Eved Ivri; a Jewish Slave.  According to Judaism a Jew can sell himself or be sold as a slave to another Jew for a certain amount of time.

The Torah is a book of life, every word and certainly every commandment contains eternal and vital lessons for all time. But here seems to be an exception. This law of Eved Ivri has not been in effect for over 2,500 years.  If so what is the eternal lesson?

To understand this, here is a story (Weekly Shabbat page ‘Shmu U’tchi Nafshechem’ #487)

Bentzi (short for Ben-Tzion) was 32 years old and he hadn’t been an observant Jew most of his life, nor had his parents. He received a ‘normal’ Israeli education like all the other children but several years ago his brother began to take Judaism seriously which did something to him and he began to do the same.

So for the last few years he had been what is popularly known as a ‘Baal T’shuva’; a Jew ‘Returning’ to his hidden Jewish identity; constantly improving his actions, speech and thought to be more spiritually and positively oriented in tune to the Torah.

For instance, as the holiday of Passover approached he made it a point to learn more about its mystical content and be more enthusiastic about its laws and customs. So when his brother suggested that he buy special, hand made Matzot (Unleavened bread) from a place called Kollel Chabad in Jerusalem he immediately took a bus from his home in a town called Maale Adumim and went there.

It took him a bit of searching through the winding streets of old Jerusalem but when he arrived at the building he was in for an unpleasant surprise. There was no one in the room except one respectable-looking white-bearded Chassid but when Bentzi asked if this is where they sell Matzot the Chassid turned to him and replied, ‘Looking to buy Matzot? There aren’t any here! Sold out!’

“Sold out?” Bentzi said incredulously. “But there’s still a week before the holiday!?  How could it be?”

He thought a few seconds and asked. “Well, maybe tell me where I can buy Matzot?”

“Go to the bookstore called HaMayfitz. There is a Rabbi called Gerson Henich Cohen. He’ll sell you Matzot. But you should hurry!”

Benzi thanked the man and rushed out of the room as he yelled over his shoulder, “Have a Kosher and happy Passover!”

As he was running he couldn’t help thinking to himself that the whole thing seemed very strange. How could it be that there were no Matzot in the Matza store? Especially a week from the holiday? That means that hundreds of families would suffer! Maybe even more! Where would they get Matzot?”

Suddenly he realized that he must have taken a wrong turn, he looked around for a few seconds to figure out where he was but he didn’t exactly recognize the area. He was standing near the bottom of a steeply inclined side street that emptied into a busy main street.

He looked up to see if there was anyone around to ask directions to when suddenly he heard something rattling in the distance and what he saw made his heart skip a beat; it was a baby carriage barreling down the street in his direction from the top of the hill. It was approaching going fast and in seconds it would run into the busy street if he didn’t move fast to stop it …..  If there was a baby in that carriage it would be a sure catastrophe! For a second he froze as the sound of the carriage wheels whistled louder and louder; louder than the noise of the cars in the street behind him.  He ran as fast as possible, lunged and caught it!

He looked inside the carriage. There was a baby there! He had saved a life!

Bentzi looked up the street and saw in the distance a man and his wife looking in a store window and discussing something. He pushed the carriage up toward them and asked if it was theirs. “Why yes!” They both said in an almost in unison not understanding what he was doing and how it got in his hands. When he explained what happened they were ashamed, happy, grateful and confused at once.

Bentzi was as confused as they were, ‘Good thing that Kollel Chabad ran out of Matzot!!’ He thought to himself.

But what about his Matzot?! He had almost forgotten! He said a quick good bye, wished them a happy holiday and hurried away from the couple.

After asking a few people for directions to the ‘HaMayfitz’ book store he finally found it, entered and asked for hand-made Chabad Matzot.

“Matzot?” The owner replied “We don’t sell Matzot here. Never did. If you want to buy a good book, or maybe a pair of Tefillin or a Mezuza, yes. But Matzot, sorry! If you want Matzot go to Kollel Chabad. Kollel Chabad has Matzot.”

“But I was just there!” Bentzi tried to protest. “How could it be? They told me to come here! They said they ran out of Matzot and said I should go to HaMayfitz. This is HaMayfitz right?”

“Listen.” The man behind the counter said. “I’m glad you came here, yes, this is HaMafitz and you can come every day if you want but we don’t sell Matzot. Never did! And I don’t believe that Kollel Chabad ran out. Can’t be. Why, there’s still a week before Pesach! Any case, here we certainly don’t have any.”

Bentzi knew the way and in just ten minutes he was entering the Kollel Chabad building. This time when he entered their Matza shop someone else was standing at the counter.  “Tell me,” Bentzi said. “Have you got Matzot here? I was here a half hour ago and they told me you ran out. Are there Matzot or not?”

“Ran out of Matzot?” The man said incredulously. “Here, come here.” He motioned to Bentzi to step behind the counter then turned around, opened a door behind him and told Bentzi to have a look.  It was a room filled from floor to ceiling with large cartons of ….. Matzot! Hundreds of them! “How many cartons do you want?”

Bentzi told the story to many people since then and the usual comment is; “That Chassid who sent you from Collel Chabad must have been Elijah the Prophet. (Elijah who lived some 2700 years ago, never died and appears regularly in this world to help people.)  HaShem must have sent him to send you to save that baby.”

This answers our question.

When a Jew became an Eved Ivri he/she lost their independent will and became someone’s slave every moment of the day.

At face value this is very bad but in a deeper sense this attitude is invaluable and basic to Judaism; to be a servant of the Creator in EVERYTHING we do. Even when we would like to give up.

Even when things don’t go as we would like, or even opposite to our plans, we must never forget that G-d is the boss and we are but servants. Namely, we must do all we can to succeed but leave the results up to G-d.

Something like how Bentzi saw in our story that all his running around, taking wrong turns and ‘wasted’ energy was really for the best and without it a life might have been lost.

Similarly with us; we must be Jewish servants to the King of the Universe. Then we will see and realize that all the confusion and ‘wrong turns’ of our exile of the last 2,000 years was really for the best and soon Elijah the Prophet will announce to all of us ……..

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!!! ***

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

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Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Parsha Story for Parshat Beshalach (B’shalach) 5769

Posted on February 6, 2009. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, B'shalach, Beshalach, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Parshas B'shalach, Parshas Beshalach, Parshat B'shalach, Parshat Besahalach, Parshat Beshalach, 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 Beshalach (B’shalach) 5769

In this Torah portion we read about the splitting of the Reed (‘red’) Sea.

Never in history was or would there be anything like it; an entire nation of several million people escaped from the most powerful army in the world by walking on dry land in the middle of a sea! And then, as soon as they got to the other side the water miraculously caved in and drowned their pursuers!

[And it’s not just history. That nation has been miraculously surviving such enemies for thousands of years and still exists today; the Jews!]

But at first glance this is not understood.

What was the purpose of these miracles at the sea? Why didn’t G-d just kill the evil Egyptians in their sleep and take the Jews quietly out. Why all the fanfare? And G-d split the sea at the last moment? (See 14:9-12) Why all the tension?!

Also this week was the tenth of Sh’vat, the day that the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak passed away and his son in law, the Seventh Rebbe, who said that this generation would be the generation of ‘Moshiach’, took over.

Is there as connection?

To understand this here is a story (Rabosainu N’si’ainu pg 186)

The sixth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch; Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak was a truly remarkable man, wise, spiritually gifted and brave. Besides being gifted in all aspects of the Torah and of secular knowledge …. he was a man of action.

In Russia he single handedly stood against the atheistic, murderous regime of Stalin by sending thousands of his followers throughout Russia to teach Torah to children at the risk (and often the cost) of their lives. And in the last ten years of his life in the U.S.A. he began the ‘outreach’ movement that has totally transformed Judaism today.

But the main driving force in his life was love; helping others and doing everything possible to alleviate suffering. And he taught his followers to do the same.

For instance when Rabbi Michel Vishedski (a neighbor of mine in K’far Chabad) escaped Russia some 50 years ago and settled in New York he did everything in his power to help Russian Jewry and he took it upon himself to visit all the orthodox synagogues in New York and see if they could help as well.

One of his meetings was with one Rabbi Rabinovitz; the head Rabbi of the Bronx. When he arrived at his synagogue he found the place empty, as most synagogues are in the early afternoon, and the Rabbi seated at a long table in a chair next to the head of the table.

Rabbi Michel shook the Rabbi’s hand, introduced himself and, supposing that the Rabbi had left the head seat vacant for him, sat in it.

“Excuse me,” Rabbi Rabinovitz said, “Please don’t sit in that chair. It’s the head seat and I always leave it vacant.”

Rabbi Vishedski apologized and stood up and when he took a different seat the Rabbi smiled, apologized himself for not warning him and said. “You’re a Lubavitcher, right? Well then, you’ll probably understand the reason I leave that seat open. It was because of a dream.”

“Really? A dream?” Rav Michel was interested and seeing his interest, Rabbi Rabinovitz, smiled and began telling him the story.

“It began almost twenty years ago, 1949. I had survived the holocaust, moved from Romania to New York, got married and began thinking about a job. I had a few ideas about how to make a living but I couldn’t make up my mind. Then someone suggested that I go see the Lubavitcher Rebbe for advice.

“I called up and I got an appointment. It was Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe and I got in to see him. He wasn’t so healthy and it wasn’t easy to understand him but after he heard my questions he said that he thought I should be a Rabbi. He was very clear about that and he said I should let him know what happened.

“Well sure enough, a while later I got this offer to be the head Rabbi here of the Bronx so I went back and asked the Rebbe if I should take it. He closed his eyes, thought for a minute and finally looked up and said.

“‘A Shul (synagogue) is a Shul. But I don’t like the Shamash (sexton-caretaker).’

Then he again closed his eyes and repeated; ‘A Shul is a Shul. But I don’t like the Shamash’.

Then he blessed me with success in the new job and asked me to return two weeks to see him again.

“So I followed his advice and took the job. But when I came back two Sundays later I found a huge crowd gathered outside his building…. For his funeral! They told me that the Rebbe had passed away on Shabbat! The Rebbe invited me to his funeral. I felt he was telling me that our contact would continue.

“Anyway, things went fine in the Shul; I got along well with everyone and the place began to become popular but I sensed something wrong. Gradually I found out what it was; the Shamash of the Shul was speaking against me. He even had himself a small following of complainers.

“At first he was quiet about it but eventually it got public and the politics threw the Synagogue and myself into turmoil. When I thought I was going crazy I decided to go the Rebbe’s son in law who had become the next Rebbe, for advice.

“I got in to see him and it was the most amazing experience in my life. As soon as I told him my problem he said; ‘My father in Law told you that a Shul is a Shul but that he didn’t like the Shamash!’

“It was simply uncanny. Remember, this was years later and I never told anyone what the Previous Rebbe said to me! Anyway he continued, told me not to worry and to just be patient and that eventually I’d catch the Shamash doing something wrong.’

“Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened! Just a few weeks later I was having trouble sleeping one night and took a walk to the Shul and who do I see also walking around outside but the president and the janitor. It seems that they also couldn’t sleep. Anyway as we got near to the Shul we noticed something strange; a few lights were on inside and someone was in there doing something. So we entered silently and what did we see? The Shamash was emptying all the charity boxes into his pocket! Needless to say he got fired the next day and my problems were over…. almost.

“Like I said our synagogue became popular and after a few years there was no where to sit. We needed to expand but there was no where to expand to, all the land around the Shul was taken. But just then the butcher next to us decided he wanted to sell us his place so he could expand elsewhere. It was a miracle!!

“And the butcher was so friendly. We came to an agreement, he gave us a great price and we shook hands, didn’t even write a bill of sale! The next week the butcher moved to a big store he bought across the street and we knocked down a wall, did a bit of remodeling and like magic our Shul became almost twice as big as it was! Everyone was happy! For a while.

“But after a few years the butcher’s new place also became small on him. He was succeeding and he wanted to expand again; to move his refrigerators to somewhere nearby and use the space for more customers. But he also had a problem finding a place to buy. Until he suddenly remembered the building he sold us and that there had been no bill of sale!

“He got a lawyer, sent us letters telling us to leave and when we tried to reason with him, took us to court and got an order of eviction. Things happened fast and we were going crazy but there was nothing we could do. Then, the night before the eviction I had a dream.

“I dreamt that I was standing in this room and at the head of this table, where I told you not to sit, was the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe with his son in law, the present Rebbe, standing next to him. The Rebbe smiled and said, ‘Why are you so worried? G-d will direct everything in the best way.’

“Then his son in law said ‘ The Rebbe told you that a Shul is a Shul. It means that once a butcher shop becomes a Shul it can’t become a butcher shop again. Don’t worry.’

“Suddenly I woke up! I looked at my watch. I was late! I was supposed to wake up an hour ago! I got dressed and ran to the Shul as fast as I could, but it was too late. There were police everywhere, all our congregants were standing in the street trying to talk to them while some ten husky fellows were carrying all the seats out of our Shul.

“But suddenly there was a big crash from the new butcher shop across the street then screams. Everyone turned to see. One of the workers came running out the door screaming ‘Call an ambulance! Get a doctor! Help!! The boss is hurt!!”

“It seems that somehow a huge chandelier that was hanging in the butcher shop came loose and fell on the owner knocking him unconscious. I ran over there and there was blood everywhere! But before the ambulance arrived he came to and limped out the door holding his bleeding head and yelling like a madman. “Put the chairs back!! Don’t evict them!! I lied!! I lied!!! They really paid for my store. I’m sorry!!”

“The ambulance took him anyway, the policeman shrugged his shoulders told the movers to return everything and that was the end of it! Just as the Rebbe said.

‘That is why I never let anyone sit in this chair.

This answers our questions. The reason G-d split the sea was to prepare the Jews for receiving the Torah and to teach them how to use it afterwards.

At Mount Sinai all the spiritual worlds ‘split’ to reveal the Creator of the Universe, just as the sea split to reveal the dry land. And so it was when the sea split; the Jews had awesome revelations of G-d! (See Rashi on Zeh Kaili 15:2).

But G-d also tested and strengthened them beforehand to ignore the pressures of the world (as symbolized by Pharaoh and his forces) by spitting the sea at the last moment; just as He did to the Rabbi in our story.

But just as Moses took the Jews from Egypt and brought them to Mt. Sinai so the mystical book ‘the Zohar’ promises that in every generation there will be a Moses, a potential Moshiach, to reveal G-dliness and take us all through the pressures, darkness, fears and doubts of this world to the true redemption, when all the Jews will be together in Israel and there will be world peace and prosperity. Just as the Rebbe did in our story.

We are now in the last minute! It all depends on us to ignore the pressures and do all we can to 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!!! ***

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

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Rabbi Bolton Story for Parshas: Sh’mos (5769)

Posted on January 16, 2009. Filed under: 15756794, A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, Parshas Sh’mos, Parshas Sh’mot, Parshas Shemot, Parshas Shmos, Parshas Shmot, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Shemot, Rabbi Bolton Stories, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Sh’mos, Sh’mot, Shemot, Shmot, 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:

Shemot (AKA: Sh’mot / Sh’mos) 5769

This week we begin the second book of the Pentateuch; the book of Exodus (Sh’mot) where we are introduced to three concepts found only in Judaism: Exile, Redemption and most important….Moses.

Other religions or nations may make similar claims but never in history has an entire nation been enslaved or freed or had a leader even vaguely similar to Moses.

Moses brought millions from slavery, provided their sustenance and protection for 40 years in the desert, brought them revelation of the Creator at Mount Sinai and every letter he spoke was exactly the word of G-d.

But at first glance this is not understood.

It is known that the Torah is eternal and every word and idea is vital and relevant. But here seems to be an exception.

Today there is no slavery: Jews are free, living wherever and however they want with no apparent need for redemption and certainly not for a Moses.

So what do these ideas mean to us today?

To understand this, here is a story about the first Rebbe of the Chabad Chassidim, Rebbe Shneur Zalman. (Otzar Sipurei Chabad vol. 15 pg. 59) (Who passed away on 24th of Teves which will be next week, 196 years ago)

One of the greatest humans that ever lived was Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi; the first Rebbe of the Chabad Chassidim. He was expert in all sciences, had memorized all the books of Judaism including the Kaballa and was a known healer and miracle worker.

One day a desperate looking man came knocking at the Rebbe’s door and was granted an audience. He had to wait for a day or two but finally entered and poured out his aching heart. He had no children. He and his wife had been to the greatest experts but nothing worked and now he needed the Rebbe’s blessing.

The Rebbe put his head down on his hands that were on the desk before him and after a minute looked up and said ‘If you are willing to have a son that is blind I can help you.’

The man closed his eyes, thought for only seconds and agreed.

Sure enough shortly thereafter his wife became pregnant and that very year was born a beautiful, intelligent, healthy child but… as the Rebbe had warned… completely blind.

Of course he returned to the Rebbe to thank him but several years later he returned again with a worried look on his face.

“I know that I agreed to have a son that couldn’t see but, Rebbe, after all, if you could do such a great miracle as convince G-d to give us a child with a soul and an entire, complicated body surely you can convince the Almighty to just give him two eyes.”

The Rebbe reminded him that this was the condition and that nothing could be done but the poor fellow insisted. He very politely but stubbornly insisted that the Rebbe could, should and must do another miracle.

The Rebbe refused repeatedly but after the fellow broke down weeping the Rebbe changed his tone and said, “Take your son, go to the city of Metz, look for a road that descends steeply, count seven houses and knock on the door and ask the owner if you can lodge at his house. If he agrees then put your bags down and start wandering the town. Spend as much time as possible wandering the streets till you find someone to help you.”

The next day the man packed his and his son’s bags and set off for the distant city of Metz. After a journey of several days they arrived, found the house they were looking for, got permission from the owner to stay there and, after putting their suitcases down, began wandering.

One morning as they were about to leave and asked them to sit down for a chat. “I don’t mind you staying by my house,” he said “Thank G-d, as you see I have plenty of room (the owner was obviously a wealthy man and his house was very large) but tell me, exactly what are you doing here? You’ve been here for more than a week and people tell me that you just wander the streets. Perhaps I can help?”

The visitor poured out his heart and told him why the Rebbe, Shneur Zalman, sent him.

“All the way to Metz?” The owner said. “Why that’s a journey of several days. How could he know what is in Metz? And what could there be here in Metz for you?”

They sat in silence for several minutes, shrugging their shoulders and turning up the palms of their hands in bewilderment.

Finally the owner said. “Listen, I have an idea. My wife and I took an orphan girl into our home that was a distant relative of ours. We brought her up gave her an education and everything. There is also a Yeshiva (Torah Academy) in Metz and every day they would send a boy to eat by us (In those days there were no lunch rooms and pupils would be distributed to private homes for meals). Well it so happened, this was years ago, that the gentile that worked guarding my orchards decided to quit and I offered this boy to take his place, for pay of course.

“Anyway, he took the offer but insisted that he not sleep in our house but rather we make him a small hut where he could live and guard at the same time. So the point of the story is that once, in fact it was the first night he worked here, my wife woke up in the middle of the night and saw fire burning inside his hut. But when I ran out to see what it was, the fire disappeared. And so it happened for several nights until I decided that this young fellow must have special powers. But neither I nor my wife ever mentioned it to anyone

“It wasn’t long before we decided to ask him if he was interested in marrying and if so if he would consider our orphan girl. He agreed on the condition that she would agree and that they would not live near us but rather in a concealed place in the woods and that he would bake bread and she would sell it in the market.

“She agreed to all this. They married and moved and since then they seem to be living a happy quiet life. But I’m sure that if you find their house and ask for a blessing you will get it. Probably this is the reason the Rebbe sent you here. And probably he told you to wander around because if the young man saw me escorting you he would certainly not want me to know of his powers. Now I’ll tell you where he lives.”
The Chassid took his son, found the place, knocked on the door and a young Jewish man that showed no sign of being anything but average answered and invited them in.

As soon as they entered the Chassid looked the young man in the eyes and said, half beseeching half commanding, “The Rebbe of Chabad, Rebbe Shneur Zalman, sent me. I want a blessing for my blind son.”

The young man looked with wide, unbelieving eyes and exclaimed almost in anger, “What, you mean to tell me that even here he was able to find me!? Is there no place I can hide from him!?”

Sure enough, the ‘young man’ was on of the “36 Hidden Tzaddikim” found in every generation and somehow the Rebbe knew. He blessed the boy, gave his father advice on how to cure him and in just a short time he was able to see like a normal person.

This explains our questions.

Exile and Exodus are very relevant today; just as the boy in our story was physically blind so today many of us are ‘blind’ to the Creator. We are plagued by loneliness, fear and depression; totally unaware that really we are never alone; G-d creates, provides for and protects us constantly.

This is called ‘exile’ (Golah). Our bodies are free but our souls are trapped in an intangible, meaningless present between an uncertain future and a dead past.

That is why we need Moses. Indeed, the Zohar teaches that in every generation there must be a Moses; a potential Moshiach (Messiah) like the Rebbe in our story, who will bring mankind to its senses and free us from our ‘blindness’.

This is called Redemption or ‘GeUla’.

The last Chabad Rebbe pointed out that this GeUla is much closer than we think; it just requires ADDING one letter (Alef) to Golah.

In other words; one more good deed, word or even thought can transform the entire world.

Hard to believe, but this is how Judaism began, what it is based on and what has been keeping it not just alive but vital for over 3,000 years. Miracles!

And just as G-d took us from Egypt with great miracles for SURE if we listen to the Moses of our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, we will see them again!

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of 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 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!!! ***

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

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

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.

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

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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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