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.

Parshas Bo| The Kollel Connection

Parshas Bo | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 23, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:49 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:58 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 again dedicated in memory of  Debbie Mindel, who tragically passed away a few weeks ago. May Hashem comfort her husband Ray, her children Reva  and Simon, and the entire family amongst the other mourners of Israel.  

This week we read Parshas Bo. In the Parsha we read of the first mitzvah, the first commandment, given to the Jewish people. That is the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh, the mitzvah to sanctify the new month. Every month the Jewish court had to hear testimony from witnesses who saw the new moon, and sanctify it.  The Torah tells us that the month of Nissan, which is the month of the Exodus and the month in which we celebrate Passover, is the first month of the year.

Rav Moshe Feinstien poses an obvious question: Why is it that when counting the year we change the year from the month of Tishrai (Rosh Hashana), but when counting the months we change in Nissan? Wouldn’t it make sense to change both at the same point in time? Certainly in the secular calendar, we count both January as the start of a new year, and as the first month of the year. Why do we do it different in the Jewish calendar?

He explains that there are two separate lessons taught to us by these two countings. On Rosh Hashana we mark the creation of the world. We recognize Hashem as the Creator of the world, and acknowledge His Kingship over the world. This is done on Rosh Hashana, as this is the day the world was created. On Nissan, we focus on hashgacha pratis – on the lesson of Hashem’s involvement and direction in the world. The lesson of the Exodus , the ten plagues, the crossing of the sea,… was that Hashem is involved in this world to this day, directing what goes on in it. Whether we understand everything yet or not, He has a reason for everything that goes on, and directs all that happens in this world. In this lesson, Nissan is the beginning of the year.

            If we appreciate this, the mitzvah the Jewish people were given of marking Rosh Chodesh is much more than just marking the first day of the month. We are being taught that Hashem is involved in all aspects of this world. Rather than to worry about details of our life, about events in the world, about things happening around us, we are given the lesson that Hashem is watching over and directing all events in this world. Certainly Hashem asks us to make our effort. However, at the end of the day, He is controlling what will and won’t happen. The result of realizing this, the serenity that should be felt by a person who is aware of this, is something that hopefully will give a person much more calmness and pleasure in all aspects of his or her life. Frustrations, anxieties, and pressures can hopefully change to pleasure, happiness, and serenity. This is the power of this mitzvah we read of – the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh.

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 Va’airo| The Kollel Connection

Parshas Va’airo | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 16, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:41 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:50 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 Va’airo. In the Parsha we read  many times that Hashem tells Moses that He is hardening the heart of Pharaoh. The commentaries ask, how could Hashem harden the heart  of Pharaoh? Is this not denying Pharaoh free will – the ability to choose whether to sin or not?

At the end of the parsha, we read of the plague of hail. The Torah tells us that the plague was so strong that it destroyed much of the crops of Egypt. Pharaoh was so overwhelmed by this plague, that he summoned Moses and Aaron and asked them to pray to Hashem that the hail stop, and he will then let the Jews go. ( Exodus 9:28). The Torah then tells us that Moses responded to Pharaoh,  telling him that he will pray that the hail stop,  but he knows that Pharaoh and his servants do not yet fear Hashem. The Torah then mentions that the hail had destroyed the flax and barley, but not the wheat and the spelt… The Torah tells us that they were not destroyed because they were afilos – which means that miracles (niflaos) happened to them. The Torah then proceeds to tell us that Moses went and prayed for Pharaoh that the hail should stop.

The Ohr Hachaim poses a simple question: Why do we have to hear about which crops were destroyed and which were not in the middle of the story? Isn’t that detail out of place? Why doesn’t it just say that Pharaoh asked them to pray, and they did,…?  The Ohr Hachaim answers that this fact – that some of the crops were miraculously spared from the hail – was what prompted Moses to say that Pharaoh would not really let the Jews leave. Once Pharaoh saw that there was a miracle and some crops survived, he let himself believe that there was more than one Deity in control, and that some other Deity prevented Hashem from destroying the crops under its control. That is why it is so essential for the Torah to tell us about this miraculous saving of the crops, to understand the hardening of Pharaohs’ heart.

Nachmanidies explains, this is really the explanation of why Hashem hardened the heart of Pharaoh. Once Pharaoh was under attack from the first few plagues, he would have given in just to escape them. Hashem made his heart harder, so that he will make an objective decision whether to return to Hashem or not.

Often we feel overwhelmed by a challenge that we face in life. If we can just bear this thought in mind –  if the Almighty picked a given situation for us, it’s because we can rise to that situation and overcome the challenges that face us from it, then we will have a much easier time dealing with it. This episode of Pharaoh has to teach us that all details of any struggle that we have are given to us with Divine providence, that will enable us somehow to shine from the circumstance that we have to deal with.

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 Shemos| The Kollel Connection

Parshas Shemos | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 9, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:34 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:43 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 again dedicated in memory of  Debbie Mindel, who tragically passed away last week. May Hashem comfort her husband Ray, her children Reva  and Simon, and the entire family amongst the other mourners of Israel.  

This week we read Parshas Shemos. In the Parsha we read the episode of Moses and the burning bush. Moses was walking in the desert, taking care of his father in law’s sheep, when he saw a burning bush. The bush was on fire, but was not being consumed. Moses turned, and went to see this wondrous sight. In the medrash, there are two opinions of how far out of his way Moses went to see this. Rav Yochanan says he went three steps. Raish Lakish says he merely turned his neck to see it. When he did, Hashem said to him “You have pained yourself to see this, I will now reveal myself to you”. What does this medrash mean? Is the little effort of walking three steps, or of turning his neck, enough to give Moses the reward of being the redeemer of the Jewish people?

Rav Dessler explains in the name of the Alter of Kelm, that this is a classic fulfillment of what our Sages have taught us “If you open your heart the size of an eye of a needle, I will open it the size of the doorways of the temple.” Hashem waits for us to make that first step. When we do, he gives us the strength to see it through to the end. Moses made that first step – either walking three steps, or turning his head. Once he did, Hashem rewarded him with limitless success.

The famous commentator Rav Leib Chasman offers a powerful analogy to drive this point home. There was once a person who was starving, in dire need of food and drink. As he traveled and got weaker, he chanced upon a house that had a table laden with food and drink, available for anyone who wanted to come in and take it. The only problem was, that the door to the house was locked! The  traveler found a key ring full of keys, and tried every single one. Not one of them worked for this door!!! The only possibility he had left was to take a file and just file away one small tiny piece of metal on one of the keys, so it would work in this hole. Imagine the pain of this person if he does not have a file to do that!! All the wealth and success that he needs is waiting to be his, if he could just do the small task of removing one small piece of metal. If he doesn’t do it, he will end up dying on the doorstep of this house.

In our life, we have a similar challenge. We have to find meaning in life, find a connection to Hashem and feel our relationship with Him. It sometimes feels like a big challenge. The only difference is, we do have the  file and key to open the door to success. All we have to do is open our hearts a little bit – the size of the hole of a needle, and we will then find ourselves connected to Hashem totally. If we can use the key that we have – if we can make that first step with all our hearts, we can then be assured that we will find the connection to Hashem in all aspects of our life that we so desperately need.

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 Vayechi| The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayechi | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 6, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:27 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:36 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 Debbie Mindel, who tragically passed away this week. Debbie was responsible, caring and always full of a special energy. In the year we had the privelege to know her, we watched her amazing growth along with her family.  She brought with her smiles and joy and made us feel uplifted every time we met her.  Her sudden untimely passing leaves a void that is impossible to fill.

May Hashem comfort her husband Ray, her children Reva  and Simon, and the entire family amongst the other mourners of Israel.

This week we read Parshas Vayechi. In the Parsha we read the blessings that Jacob gave to each of his sons before he died. In the blessing of Judah, we find a very interesting verse that it used, with a very uplifting and powerful message. When Jacob tells of the great success that will be the future of Judah, he says “Red eyed from wine, and lben shinayim maichalav – white toothed from milk” (Genesis 49:12). The simple meaning of these words is that Judah will have such an abundance of wine, that his eyes will look red, and such an abundance of milk, that his teeth will look white. This is a blessing of material wealth for the tribe of Judah.

Our Sages, in a play on the words, offer another thought. “Better is a person who whitens his or her teeth (lbun shinayim)  by smiling at someone, than one who gives them milk to drink (maichalav). (Talmud, Kesuvos 111b). The Alter of Slabodka points out an amazing lesson that we learn from this statement of our Sages. Imagine how much respect we would have for someone who schlepped every day to various hospitals and institutions, to give milk to the residents there who so desperately needed it. Words could not be enough to describe the kindness of this person. Yet, the Sages point out that even greater is one who smiles at another person and lifts their spirits. The wealth of opportunity that this opens up for us is indescribable. Throughout our day, as we come in contact with people from all walks of life, we have a constant opportunity to lift people’s spirits and to make them feel good – just by smiling at them. What a special opportunity!! The Sages instruct us “Accept every human being with a pleasant expression. This is to say, that if a person gives someone all the gifts that there are in the world, but does so with a sour face, it’s as if they have given nothing. However, if they accept their friend with a smile it is considered as if they had given them all the gifts of the world.” We have to realize the hundreds of opportunities that we have to do kindness in such a simple way, every day, and utilize them by giving people hope and  a good feeling – all with one friendly smile!!!

The Talmud tells us that one time the Sage Rav Broka Chuzaah was in a marketplace and met Elijah. He asked Elijah if there were any people in this particular marketplace who were assured a place in the world to come. Elijah pointed to two men. Rav Broka ran over to them, and asked them what they did. They replied, “we are jesters. Whenever we see someone who looks sad or depressed, we go over to them and cheer them up” (Talmud Taanis 22a). The clear lesson we are taught is how careful we must be to try to lift other people’s spirits.

We all mourn the loss of Debbie Mindel who lived a life bringing joy to others. She was a unique woman who lifted the spirits of all.  In the short time we were privileged to know her, she inspired us! May Hashem help us all follow in her footsteps and five strength to Ray, Reva, Simon and her entire family at this time.

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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