Parshas Tsav | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Tsav | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 27, 2015 – Candle lighting 7:00 pm, Shabbos Ends 8:09 pm

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.

The Kollel connection this week is dedicated in honor of all the Jewish housewives who are working so hard to prepare Passover for their families. May Hashem give them only nachas and the joy of a beautiful holiday with their loved ones.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Tsav. In the parsha, we learn the details. of the various sacrifices that were offered in the temple. One of the sacrifices was a korban Todah, a thanksgiving offering. This sacrifice was offered by anyone who experienced any of the following four circumstances: A sick  person who recovered from their illness,  a person who was freed from incarceration, and a person who safely traveled over an ocean or through a desert. While these are the four cases that Jewish law requires to bring a sacrifice,  the truth is that every person has to feel appreciation and express gratitude for every minute of life that they have. Our sages express this thought by saying the following: “For every breath of air that a person takes,  he must thank G-d”. Rav Chiya bar Abba added,  the soul of a person seeks to leave this physical world all the time, but Hashem does not let this happen.  Rav Levi in the name of Rav Chanina explained, for every breath that a person takes,  he or she must praise Hashem.

In the amida prayer that we say three times a day,  we say the following words: ” Vchol Hachaim yoducha selah” – “And EVERY live person will thank you.” The commentaries explain that the word EVERY comes to stress that every single person,  no matter what their circumstances, must thank Hashem for the very life that they have. Even a person who is going through trying times, must try to recognize and feel gratitude for the very life that they have.

There is a beautiful story told that illustrates this point in a most powerful way. A group of people got lost in Siberia, in the middle of a dark night. As the night progressed, they were feeling the bitter cold winds that seemed to affect every part of their body, with no idea where to go. To make matters worse, their provisions had run out, they didn’t have adequate clothing, and as the night went on they felt their very life ebbing from them. Just as time was about to run out, a person miraculously appeared, and took them into his warm house, providing them with food, drink and shelter. Is it conceivable that any of these travelers who were on the verge of dying, would be crazy enough to complain that his co-traveler got a bigger piece than he did? Would they say something about not having a big enough pillow? Certainly every person there would feel immense gratitude to their host for the selfless act he did in saving their life.

This is the  feeling that we must have to Hashem. We have to feel gratitude to Him for every breath that we take, for the eyes that we can see with, for the ears that we can listen with, and all the other parts of our bodies that function. If the feelings of gratitude are truly felt, hopefully any feeling we had of jealousy, depression, and unhappiness will dissipate. Instead of complaining, we will feel true joy with what we have, and enjoy the great gifts that Hashem has given us to their fullest.

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 Vayikrah | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayikrah | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 20, 2015 – Candle lighting 6:54 pm, Shabbos Ends 7:53 pm

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.

The Kollel connection this week is dedicated in honor of the birth of Bris of  Zevy Biron. Mazel tov to parents Naftoli and Tzirel Leah Biron, and to Grandparents Rabbi Asher and Chani Biron, and Rabbi Moshe and Malky Travitsky.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Vayikrah. The Parsha begins with the word Vayikra, (and He called), which means that Hashem called to Moses to tell him the laws that are discussed in the Parsha. In a most unusual change, the last letter in the word vayikra – which is an aleph, is written smaller than the rest of the letters in the Torah. The Sages ask, why is this written so differently than regular?   The Sages tell us, that Moses really didn’t want to write the letter aleph at all at the end of the word vayikra. If he would have left out that letter, it would have spelled the word vayikar – which means that Hashem chanced upon Moses. This wording would show much less importance to Moses – it would indicate that Hashem spoke to Moses when He “chanced” upon him, but not that Hashem specifically called him. Hashem wanted the idea that He called Moses, an expression of Hashem’s love and connection to him, to be used. Moses, in his great humility, wanted to write vayikar – which would have shown just that Hashem was not so close to him. The end result was that Moses did write the aleph, but was allowed to make it small.

The commentaries ask, if we are being taught the lesson of humility, why couldn’t Hashem allow Moses to leave out the letter  aleph all together and write vayikar? Would the lesson of the importance of humility be that much stronger if the vayikar (and He chanced upon) was used?

The late Torah Sage Rav Eliezer Shach explains, that there is a second lesson being taught to us here. If the word Vayikar (and He chanced upon) was used, a terrible mistake could be made. A person may think that there is such a thing as “chance” in the life of a Jew. In truth, nothing ever happens by chance.  There is no such a thing as “chance” in the life of a Jew.  A person must always realize that whatever is happening to them in life is happening for a reason. We can never feel alone or abandoned.  In order to reinforce this lesson the Torah used the word vayikra (and He called) rather then vayikar (and He chanced upon).

In this  one small aleph we are taught two huge lessons, the importance of humility and at the same time the importance of recognizing the hand of Hashem that guides every step of our everyday life.

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 Vayakheil/Pekudai | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayakheil/Pekudai | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 13, 2015 – Candle lighting 6:46 pm, Shabbos Ends 7:55 pm

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.

The Kollel connection this week is dedicated in honor of the birth of Baby Biron. Mazel tov to parents Naftoli and Tzirel Leah Biron, and to Grandparents Rabbi Asher and Chani Biron, and Rabbi Moshe and Malky Travitsky. We hope you can  join us for the bris next Thursday morning in the shul in Bensalem!!!

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Vayakheil and Parshas Pekudai. In the Parsha, we read of the donations that were made to build the Tabernacle. The Torah tells us that the princes brought their special donation – the priceless gems used on the shoulders and breastplate of the high priest. In truth, this was worth more than all the other donations that were made for the tabernacle. Yet, when the Torah tells us that this present was offered by the princes,  the word “nesieim”- meaning princes, is spelled missing a letter. The Sages tell us that this was a punishment to the princes, for being lazy when the time came to join the Jewish people and donate money to the building of the Tabernacle.

Why did these great men not join the rest of the Jewish people in providing the funds needed for the building of Tabernacle? The Sages tell us that the princes didn’t believe that the Jewish people would really  donate all the money needed to finish the building. Therefore, they said “Let everyone else give whatever they want. We will give the rest to finish off the Tabernacle.” At first glance this seems a strange. Wouldn’t any of us rejoice to get such an amazing offer for the project that we are trying to finish? It would be the greatest joy for the executive director of any institution to know that all their budget deficits are covered at the end of the year. Why are the princes faulted for making this offer?

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz explains that the Torah is teaching us a lesson in human emotions. We may sometimes think that we are motivated to do something for a very good and noble reason; while in reality our motivation is for another reason. The princes thought that their reason was because in this way they would be helping more. The Torah teaches us that in reality, they really had other factors – in this case laziness – that prevented them from offering their donation right away.

The story is told of a great person who many years ago, (before the dangers of smoking were known), when cigarettes had to be rolled by hand, who felt a deep craving for a cigarette in the middle of the night. He awoke, and decided that it was too much indulgence in this world for him to take the cigarette and make it. Then he thought to himself, “this may be laziness that I don’t want to get out of bed and roll a cigarette”. In the end, he decided to get out of bed, roll the cigarette, and then not smoke it!!

The practical lesson that we learn from this is to always try to think over what we are doing twice. We can never assume that our reasoning for doing something is pure. We always have to think it over a second time, to analyze why we are doing or reacting in the particular manner that we want to.

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 Ki Sisa | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Ki Sisa | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 6, 2015 – Candle lighting 5:38 pm, Shabbos Ends 6:47 pm

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.

The Kollel connection this week is dedicated in memory of Fraidy Malka bas Yitzchok Moshe Halevi, Mrs. Frieda Einfeld, a’h. 

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Ki Sisa. In the Parsha, we read the episode of the golden calf, the tragic incident in which the Jewish people made a golden calf to replace Moses, who they believed had died. The Medrash tells us that when the Jewish men wanted to build the golden calf, they went to their wives to take their jewelry for this task. The women refused to give their jewelry, telling the men “How could we deny Hashem Who has done for us all these miracles, and make an idol”? When the men saw that they could not get the jewelry from their wives, they gave the jewelry that they themselves had, and built the golden calf from that, without the jewelry of their wives.

The Sages tell us that in the merit of their refusal to give their jewelry for idolatry, Hashem gave Jewish women a special holiday – the holiday of Rosh Chodesh, (the first day of every Jewish month), which to this day is considered a holiday for the women more than for the men. The Tur adds to this, that the three festivals of the year, Passover, Succos, and Shavuos, are related to the three patriarchs. The days of twelve days of Rosh Chodesh are related to the twelve tribes, the twelve sons of Jacob. When the Jewish men sinned with the golden calf, Rosh Chodesh was taken from them and given to their wives. Based on this, many women have a custom not to do various forms of work on Rosh Chodesh.

If we think about the sin of the golden calf, we can see a very powerful lesson here. The early commentaries (Nachmanidies, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra,… ) teach us that the Jews did not mean to serve the golden calf as a deity. No fool would say to a piece of metal that was just a few minutes ago jewelry on their face, “You are my G-d oh Israel”! Rather, the point of the golden calf was to appoint a leader who would lead them as Moses did. The Revelation at Sinai had left them with a picture of Hashem’s Throne, with the image of a golden calf.

If so, there was no deep philosophical battle going on between believers of different faiths. What was the issue between the men and women here, and what do we learn from the behavior of the women? The point is that the women simply did what they were supposed to do. Their belief in G-d was clear and simple: If we are not supposed to appoint an intermediary between us and G-d, than we won’t.  The men allowed the panic of the moment that they thought Moses died, and the desires they may have felt to be free of his leadership, to lead them in the direction that they took – to make a golden calf. The women taught us the power of what we call emunah peshuta – clear, unequivocal faith. When we have a situation that can be challenging, we must learn from these righteous women and muster the strength to simply stay the course, and do what we are supposed to.

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 Tetzaveh | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Tetzaveh | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

February 27, 2015 – Candle lighting 5:31 pm, Shabbos Ends 6:40 pm

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 Tetzaveh. It is also Sabbas Zachor, the weekend that we read the section in the Torah in which we are commended to eradicate all vestige of the evil nation Amalaik.

Rav Laib Chasmen, one of the late mussar (ethics) commentators, points out a lesson from the story of Amalaik that is important for every Jew to recognize. What was the origin of Amalaik? The Talmud (Sanhedrin 99b) tells us that there was a woman named Timna. She desired to convert to Judaism, and join the house of Abraham. When she came to Abraham to ask to join his people, he turned her down. In spite of the fact that Abraham’s entire life was dedicated to reaching out to people and introducing them to monotheism, apparently he saw in this woman something that made him feel that she was not the right person to convert. Isaac and Jacob subsequently also rejected her. In the end, she married a son of Esau named Eliphaz, and they had a son named Amalaik. This son became the arch enemy of the Jewish people. Why was he born from her? Because the Patriarchs should not have pushed her away, but should have accepted her. (Ibid)

Rav Chasmen points out, we know that Abraham tried all the time to reach out to people. The very fact that he did not accept Timna, indicates that he saw something wrong with her. Indeed, we see that her son was the  wicked Amalaik. Nevertheless, Abraham is faulted for pushing her away. The lesson is obvious: In life, we often are able to help people come closer to Hashem but for various reasons, we hold back. This is wrong. We learn from this episode of Amalaik that we must reach out to whoever we can, and bring them closer to Hashem, to the best of our ability.

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 Terumah | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Terumah | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

February 20, 2015 – Candle lighting 5:23 pm, Shabbos Ends 6:32 pm

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 Terumah. In the Parsha, we read of the collection of funds that was done for the Tabernacle in the desert. There are several very important points that our commentaries raise from this parsha. First of all, the famed commentary Bais Halevi points out that the topic of raising money to give to the tabernacle is deliberately put next to the portion of last week (mishpatim) that deals with financial laws. This is not coincidence. The Torah is teaching us that when we want to donate money for charity, we have to make sure that it is money that is earned honestly. We can’t donate money that is earned by stealing from others. The ends don’t justify the means. We can’t just give to charity by taking money from others.

When the Torah instructs us regarding donating money to the Tabernacle, the wording used is that they should “take” a donation. Why is the word “take” used, and not the more easily understood word to “give”? Don’t we give donations, rather than to take them? The Bais Halevi makes another point here. We often think that when we put money in the bank, we are taking money that we will have for ourselves; When we donate money, we are giving money away. In truth, it is just the opposite. As much as we may try to save money, when a person passes away and goes to the afterlife, none of their money comes with them. On the other hand, when  we donate money to charity, that is something that will remain as a merit for us forever. In reality, we are taking something for ourselves.

One more point: The Torah tells us that the poles that were used to carry the ark had to stay on the ark all the time. One was not allowed to take them off the ark. Why was this so? The other utensils also had poles, but they were removed when the utensil was not being carried. Why did the poles of the ark have to always stay on them? The Meshech Chochmah explains that the poles of the ark represented those who support the Torah. The connection between the ark and the poles represents the fact that those who study Torah and those who support it, are considered one unit. The law that the poles could never be removed represents the constant obligation to support Torah that never ceases.

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 Beshalach | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Beshalach | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 30, 2015 – Candle lighting 4:57 pm, Shabbos Ends 6:07 pm

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 this week is dedicated in memory of Rav Zechariah ben Zalman Hillel, Rav Zechariah Fendel zt”l.  May his memory be an inspiration to all whose lives he touched, and may his neshama (soul) have nachas from all the good deeds being performed by his descendants and students.

It is also dedicated in honor of the new baby Baum born this week. Mazel Tov to the parents, Rabbi Aaron Simcha and Nechama Rena Baum, and to the grandparents, Rabbi and Mrs. Avraham and Mindy Baum, and Rabbi and Mrs. Moshe and Malky Travitsky. Whoever can, please join us next Tuesday morning in the shul in Bensalem at 8:30 A.M. for the bris.

This week we read Parshas Beshalach.  In the Parsha we read of the travels of the Jewish people in the desert after the crossing of the sea. The Torah tells us that they came to Marah. They were not able to drink from the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Then the Torah tells us that they came to Eilim. There they found twelve springs of water, and seventy palm trees, and were able to enjoy them. (Exodus 15:23, 27)

The commentaries point out two great lessons in the travel through life that we all go through, that we learn from this episode:

1 –  The famed Kotzker Rebbe explains that the words “they were bitter” does not refer to the water. Rather, it refers to the Jews themselves. When a person is bitter,  everything they taste is bitter.  In reality, this has nothing to do with the food,  but with the person voicing his or her opinion.

In his classic work Growth Through Torah,  Rabbi Zelig Pliskin points out that this is true in many areas of life.  Positive people will see good things all around them. Negative people will always find negativity in the world.  If we can sweeten ourselves,  we will suddenly find positive things around us in all areas of life. A positive person sees only good in all the situations they encounter in life.

2 – After this episode with the bitter water at Marah,  the Torah tells us that the Jews went to Eilim,  where they had plenty of water.  The Ibn Ezra explains that this is the reason that they spent 20 days in Eilim,  while only one day in Marah.

The Chafetz Chaim comments that we see from here another lesson in complaining. Often people complain about their situation in life,  as if the situation will last forever. If the Jews would have realized that they would soon have water in Eilim,  they never would have complained in Marah. The story is told of a great man who had a ring with a special inscription on it that he would look at whenever he was going through a rough time.  The words inscribed on it were “this too shall pass”. If we can only remember that the challenges that we face,  as great as they may be, are only temporary,  that would give us the strength to move on and overcome them.

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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