Tragedy in Israel: Memorial Service and Video Presentation tomorrow evening

Tragedy in Israel: Memorial Service and Video Presentation tomorrow evening

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

This Thursday Night at 8 PM at
The Bensalem Outreach Center 2446 Bristol Road, Bensalem

BJOC: Memorial Service for Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel

Call Malky at 215-941-0351 for info or Click malkytrav@gmail.com to RSVP

Parshas Balak and the Tragedy in Israel | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Balak and the Tragedy in Israel | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

July 4, 2014 - Candle lighting 8:14, Shabbos Ends 9:22

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

The Kollel Connection is dedicated this week in memory of the three murdered Israeli boys – Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach, and Gilad Shaar. May Hashem comfort their families among all other mourners of Israel and Jerusalem. May their killers be quickly found and destroyed, and may Hashem wipe the tears of pain from all our faces with the coming of the final redemption, soon and in our days.

This week we read Parshas Balak. In the Parsha, the Torah tells us of the story of Balak the Moabite king, who invited Bilaam, the evil prophet, to curse the Jewish people.  Initially, when Bilaam was asked to go and curse the Jewish people, Hashem appeared to him and told him not to go. Bilaam responded to the messengers of Balak who had come to get him, that he can’t go with officials such as them – hinting that he could only go with more prominent officials – although this is not what Hashem had said. Balak proceeded to send more important officials to get Bilaam, and Hashem this time allowed Bilaam to go, as long as he would only say the things that Hashem instructed him to say. At first glance, this seems very puzzling. Why would Hashem suddenly allow Bilaam to go, after telling him just a few days ago not to go? The Talmud explains that this is one of the sources for the concept, “the way a person wants to go, is the way Hashem allows him to go”. Bilaam knew that Hashem didn’t want him to go. Nonetheless, he still tried to get permission to go. If a person actively seeks to sin, although he knows that it is wrong, Hashem will allow them to do so.

As Bilaam is traveling on his donkey towards Balak, the famous incident of the donkey talking to Bilaam occurs. Three times an angel appears to the donkey, and delays its trip. One time the donkey is forced to stray off the road, one time it crushes the foot of Bilaam against a wall, and one time it just stops in its tracks to avoid the angel. Bilaam gets angry, and starts beating the donkey. At that moment, Hashem makes a miracle happen, and the donkey  begins talking to Bilaam.

The commentaries ask, why did Hashem make such an unusual miracle occur, to have the donkey actually speak to Bilaam? The Seforno explains that the reason Hashem did this was to arouse Bilaam to repent, as he saw that Hashem controls the power of speech. Rabainu Bachya adds to this thought: “It would have been right for Bilaam to have wondered when he saw this amazing miracle, that the donkey spoke… He should have realized that this came from Hashem as a message that he should not go to curse the Jews. However, because of his evil nature and his burning desire to go, he ignored the miracle and just responded to the donkey as one who is having an everyday conversation…”

The obvious lesson is that if we don’t react to events that happen around us, if we just go on with life as if nothing occurred, we are following in the footsteps of the wicked Bilaam.

This past week saw tragedy occur that should have shaken each and every one of us to the core. Young Jewish boys, in the prime of their life, were murdered by wild, cold blooded animals. As the entire Jewish people responded to their capture with heartfelt prayers and  tears, we now have to also respond to their murder with action. We talk not of the knee jerk reaction of terror. Certainly it behooves us to recognize our enemies, to see the animals who rejoice at the cold blooded murders of Jews, to appreciate what the PA and Hamas are in reality.  This all is true – but not enough. As Jews, we are obligated to react to events that occur, not to be like the wicked Bilaam who just moves on with his life as if nothing as happened, but to find some area of life – or some mitzvah – that we will strengthen in their memory. If unity among Jews was achieved during the two weeks that their fate was unknown, let us strive to promote that unity. If prayers and sincere cries were uttered from the depths of our hearts during this time, let us continue them.  If Torah study, or lighting candles for Shabbos was initiated because of them – let that continue. Let us hope and pray that we will witness no more tragedy and pain, but the comfort and consolation that will accompany the coming of Moshiach, soon and in our days.

Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org  Sponsorships are only $36 a week.

Parshas Chukas | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Chukas | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

June 27, 2014 - Candle lighting 8:14, Shabbos Ends 9:22

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

The Kollel Connection is dedicated this week in memory of Bart Cotler,  May his neshama – his soul – have an elevation through these words of Torah, and may her family be comforted among the other mourners of Israel and of Jerusalem

This week we read Parshas Chukas. In the Parsha, the Torah tells us of the death of Aaron, the high priest. The Torah says that “All the people saw that Aaron had died; and they cried for Aaron thirty days, the entire Jewish people.” (Numbers 20:29) Our Sages tell us that the words the entire Jewish people teach us an extraordinary fact. When Aaron died, even more people mourned for him than for Moses!! Since Aaron spent so much of his time making peace between partners, spouses, family and friends, everyone appreciated him and deeply mourned his loss. In an amazing statement, the Sages tell us that 80,000 young men all with the name Aaron followed him in mourning. They all carried his name,  since they were all born from a marriage that was on the verge of being terminated due to strife, and was saved through the efforts of Aaron. In a sign of gratitude, when each of these 80,000 couples had a son, they named him Aaron. This number is only from those homes that Aaron made peace and subsequently had a son. If we think of the amount of time this must have taken from Aaron, it becomes hard to imagine how he devoted such a huge amount of his life towards this goal of making peace among Jews.

The Sages tell us in Ethics of the fathers, “Hevai mtalmidave shel Aaron… – usually translated as “you should be from the disciples of Aaron, who loved peace and chased peace… “ The commentaries tell us that there is a slightly different translation, based on the word used “hevai”. Rather than meaning you should be, they tell us that hevai means you should become!” The Sages are teaching us that even if we don’t have an easy time being a peace maker, we can change and do it if we apply ourselves.

The Pelah yoetz offers advise for anyone who wants to try to make peace: “If you will say to someone who is involved in an argument “Don’t you know how great peace is, and how much Hashem hates arguments?” He will respond to you “I know, but how can I be in peace with those who constantly anger me…” You should then respond to him, “If peace would be so easy, Hashem would not give so much reward for making peace. In proportion to the hardship and challenge is the reward. Imagine if you were told by Hashem that if you make peace with your enemy, you will live for a thousand years, and if you make an argument with him you will die immediately. Would you then find it impossible to make peace? Certainly for the opportunity to live a thousand years, you would find the strength to make peace. Certainly if the product of your making peace will be eternal reward in the world to come, and nachas to Hashem, we must find the strength inside ourselves to make peace in all cases.”

Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org  Sponsorships are only $36 a week.

Parshas Korach | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Korach | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

June 20, 2014 - Candle lighting 8:14, Shabbos Ends 9:22

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

The Kollel Connection is dedicated this week in memory of Miriam Schwartz, late mother of Noreen Sagoskin. May her neshama – her soul – have an elevation through these words of Torah, and may her family be comforted among the other mourners of Israel and of Jerusalem. 

This week we read Parshas Korach. In the Parsha, the Torah tells us of the terrible episode of the argument and rebellion made by Korach and his followers against Moses. There are many lessons from the episode. Our Sages tell us that Korach was a very great person – so great that he attracted many followers in his rebellion. He was great enough to have people who were heads of Sanhedrin, of Jewish courts, agree with him. What caused such a great person to foolishly challenge Moses? Our Sages tell us that it was jealousy – a clear lesson in the power of bad character traits to affect even the greatest of people.

Today we would like to focus on another lesson from the story of Korach – the power of machlokes – argument. Maimonides wrote a powerful summation of what machlokes – argument does: “Prophets have prophesized, Wise men have said words of wisdom, and they have tried to describe the evil of machlokes – argument; but they have not been able to describe it in its entirety.” (Last will of Maimonides)

Rav Chaim Pilagi, writes “I have seen throughout my life, every man and woman, family, city, or country that had an argument with another, neither side emerged clean. Both suffered physically and monetarily.”  In his classic work Kaf Hachaim (Chapter 27) he writes “I saw with my own eyes, that every home that had an argument on Friday as Shabbos approached, or on Friday night, suffered during the following week. Something bad happened to them.

One time on a Friday night I heard my neighbor arguing with his wife after the Kiddush regarding some part of the meal. I arose from my own table and walked over to his house, and sat down by his table. When they saw me, they quickly made peace. Whenever I met him afterwards, he always thanked me and told me that that Friday night was a turning point in his life; from then on he never fought with his wife…

I have written this in my book in order that others will learn from me and do so with their neighbors, and bring salvation to the world. If one involves himself in making peace between his fellow man, and between spouses, it is impossible that he himself will instigate a fight, and thus peace with be increased in the world…”

The story is told of Rav Yoizel Horowitz, (the alter of Nevardick), who was once informed that a great supporter of Torah had died in Germany, and had left his building for the Yeshiva in Nevardick. Rav Horowitz quickly made a special trip and headed out towards Germany. While he was on his way, he heard that people from another yeshiva were also traveling to the same place to get the building.   Rav Horowitz realized that there was the potential for an argument, a machlokes, to break out. He turned around and headed back to his own home, and never even asked what ever happened to that building.

We will close with the amazing words of the Zohar, quoted in Shemiras Haloshon Section 2 Chapter 7. “If there would be one Synagogue that would properly keep the trait of peace, we could merit the coming of the Messiah.” May we merit to be  that Synagogue, and merit to his coming, soon and in our times.

Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org  Sponsorships are only $36 a week.

“Naaseh Vnishma” | The Kollel Connection

“Naaseh Vnishma” | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

June 6, 2014 - Candle lighting 8:08, Shabbos Ends 9:16

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

We have just finished celebrating the holiday of Shavuos, when we celebrate G-d’s giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. Our Sages tell us, that the Almighty first offered the Torah to all the nations of the world, but they asked “What was in it”? Each nation heard about a part of the Torah that it did not want to keep – whether not to steal, not to commit immoral acts,… and refused to take it. When the Jewish people were offered the Torah, they didn’t ask what it was that they were accepting. In an amazing act of dedication to G-d, they unconditionally accepted the Torah, saying “naaseh vnishma” – we will do the Torah even before we understand it, and then we will try to understand it. This unconditional acceptance of the Torah was something that stands as a merit to the Jewish people till this day.

This week I received an email that certainly flies against this very concept of naaseh vnishmah – the concept of accepting Hashem’s will as something that we must follow. It would be more comfortable to not even bring up this subject, and to pretend that this email never came. But it  did, and I believe that this email must be addressed, to clarify the severity of the issues involved for those who may not know better. Hiding behind some very flowery titles such as “equality”, “respect”, tolerance”,… some of the most severe prohibitions of the Torah are tossed out, trampled upon, and disregarded.

This email noted that this weekend was LGBTQ Pride and Jewish LGBTQ Pride. The email suggested that “It is a time to stand alongside and with our LGBTQ Jewish friends, family, colleagues, and congregants. It is a time to speak up for equal rights for all; to celebrate our diversity and unity–to celebrate Life.” And then the email proposed that special ”prayers” be said this Saturday in Synagogues, that were written by people who called themselves “Rabbis”!

If we are looking for the Jewish attitude to this movement, how far do we have to go? What does the Torah mean when it says “And a man you shall not lie with as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination.“? (Leviticus 18:22) What is the punishment contained in the Torah in Leviticus 20:13?   Does the Torah leave the attitude of a Jew towards these ways of living unclear?

True, people may have different types of temptations and instincts. If one will say that they have a temptation to live this kind of lifestyle, and that it is hard for them to control it, that may be so. But are we allowed to do things just because we have an urge to do them? Is the fact that the Torah does tell these people to control their feelings in no undefinite terms unclear? If a person has a passion to steal does that allow him to steal? If a person has a temptation to commit adultery, does that become permitted? Does the Torah not make demands of us to control our passions?

Is there anything unclear about the intent of the Torah? The obvious truth is that the Torah’s response to this is clear as daylight. It remains the responsibility of people to live up to the Torah’s standards.

We can understand the reason for those people who are caught up in desires for alternative lifestyles to try to change the Torah, and try to allow this behavior that the Torah clearly calls an abomination. After all, it is hard to change. Controlling temptations takes work, and effort. What about the “Rabbis” who are advocating this?

Why would a person that calls themselves a “Rabbi” advocate  the “sacred work of creating spaces that are welcoming and affirming” to such terrible behavior? Is such a person a “Rabbi” or a clown? Does a  “Rabbi’” do what is popular or what is right? Is a  Rabbi supposed to follow what public opinion polls show is popular? Is a Rabbi supposed to follow or lead?

May the spirit that we just celebrated in Shavuos, of “naaseh vnishma” – of doing the will of the Almighty no matter whether we understand it or not, whether it is easy or not, and whether we would have suggested it or not, come back to the entire Jewish people soon in our days!
Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org  Sponsorships are only $36 a week.

Parshas Naso/Shavuos | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Naso/Shavuos | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 30, 2013 - Candle lighting 8:03, Shabbos Ends 9:11

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Naso.  It is also the second of the special five days leading up to Shavuos, the day we received the Torah from Hashem. These five days are forever afforded a special status, since the time of the revelation at Sinai. The story of the revelation begins with the arrival of the Jewish people to Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the month of Sivan. This year that comes out on Friday. From that point on, until the day of  Shavuos, were five days that the Jews prepared for the most important event that would change the world forever – the Revelation at Sinai. On the second day of Sivan, (which this year is this Shabbos), Hashem told Moses to give the Jewish people a message: “And now if you will listen to My voice and keep My covenant, you will be to Me a treasure from all the nations,…. And you will be to Me a kingdom of officers and a holy people,….” (Exodus 19:5-6).

If we would pick an introductory line to tell the Jewish people before giving them the Torah, what would it be? Would we offer a sales pitch trying to show the beauty of Torah? Would we offer a strong warning how important it is to observe the Torah – to describe the severity of judgment and the punishment that awaits a person for every single time they have sinned? Perhaps we would describe how great the eternal reward is for every single one of the mitzvohs that we do?

Hashem chose none of the above. Rather, he chose to talk about how important we are. Why were these the lines that Hashem told Moses to tell the Jewish people before they get the Torah?

If we think about it, what is the greatest factor that prevents us from using all our potential to serve Hashem? Could you imagine the force and power that we would pray with if we could sense that He is ignoring everything else that is going on in the world, and just listening to us talk to Him? Could you imagine a person saying “I’m too tired to go to Synagogue” if he felt that the Almighty is waiting for him?

In truth, one could easily see that the source of most of our shortcomings in serving Hashem, is a lack of appreciation for how special our mitzvahs are. If we fully understood and felt how special we are to Hashem, and how beloved the things we do are to Him, then our entire approach to doing the commandments would be different.

Just for a quick illustration:   Can you imagine the excitement of someone who is asked to prepare something for the President and to eat it at a private meal with him? Will he or she mind making the food? Will it bother them to get up early that morning? Will they feel resentment at having to do this, or feel happy at this special moment?

This is our introduction to Sinai: Realize that you are my treasure. Value that relationship; act as a holy people act, as the most cherished people on earth. With an introduction like that, we are sure to find it much easier to joyfully accept on ourselves the responsibilities and obligations that we were taught at Sinai.

Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org  Sponsorships are only $36 a week.

Parshas Bamidbar | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Bamidbar | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 23, 2013 - Candle lighting 7:57, Shabbos Ends 9:06

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Bamidbar.  In Parshas Bamidbar the Torah teaches us about the flags that were set up for each tribe in the desert. Rather than having one national flag for the entire Jewish people, each tribe had its own individual flag. In this week’s parsha we learn that these flags were set up in the second year from when the Jews had left Egypt. A classic question asked by our commentaries is, why would Hashem have had them wait a full year – till the second year from the Exodus, to command us to set up the individual flags for each of the tribes? Why couldn’t the commandment to make flags for each tribe be given as soon as the Jewish people left Egypt?

In a beautiful thought, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky tells us that the flags given to each tribe could have presented a challenge for the Jewish people. We all understand that when Americans see the famous picture of marines putting up the flag on Iwo Jima, there is a patriotic feeling that is aroused in them. When a Russian sees the Russian flag raised over Crimea, he feels a patriotic flow of emotion. In the case of the tribal flags that the Jewish people had, however, there was a danger of having bad feelings aroused. Since these flags were tribal ones, it was very possible for each tribe to feel that their flag or symbol separated them from the totality of the rest of the Jewish people. Therefore, the first year that the Jewish people were in the desert they were not given the mitzvah to make these flags – so as not to cause any feelings of separation between Jews.

The second year, there was a new factor to take into consideration. We know that the Talmud describes the unifying factor the Temple has on our prayers. When a Jew lives to the North of Jerusalem, he turns to the South to pray. When a Jew lives to the South of Jerusalem, he turns to the North to pray. If he or she is to the east, they face west, and if they live to the west, they face east. The end result is that every Jew all over the world is facing the same direction to pray. This is an amazing factor that expresses and causes unity among all Jews.

This, Rav Kamenetsky explains, is exactly why the commandment to make flags could only take place in the second year of the Exodus. Once we had the Tabernacle built, and we had the unifying factor that would bind all Jews together in place, we could now show the individual power of each tribe. As long as everyone was headed in the same direction, with the same goal of serving Hashem in mind, we were fine to have the individual flags that stood for each tribe’s unique strengths. Just as the limbs of a body have their own individual jobs, but all work together for the same cause, hopefully each Jew sees their own individual personality as part of one great power that serves Hashem together.

Hopefully, as we think about this concept of unity accomplished by having the Tabernacle to bring us together, we can all find the commonality we need in our times to bring the Jewish people. Certainly we  have a lot of different strengths, and a lot of different ideas. If we can use them all for one common goal of serving Hashem, they will hopefully unite us together as one.

Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org  Sponsorships are only $36 a week.


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