Posts Tagged 'commandment'

Parshas Shoftim | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Shoftim | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

August 29, 2014 – Candle lighting 7:18, Shabbos Ends 8:24

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 Aharon Sofer, the young Yeshiva boy from Lakewood, who died this week while on a trip to the forest during his summer vacation. May Hashem bring comfort to his parents, siblings, and family among the other mourners of Israel and Jerusalem.

This week we read Parshas Shoftim.  Parshas Shoftim begins with the commandment to appoint judges in all cities of the Jewish community.  The wording that the Torah uses is, titen lecha – you should appoint for you (singular) as opposed to titen lachem (for you plural). The commentaries point out that the Torah is alluding by speaking in the singular that aside from the commandment to appoint judges for the community, there is another message that the Torah is giving us as individuals:

Shoftim and Shotrim – Judges and police refer to the power of the intellect (Judges) and the power of the emotion / heart (police). The Torah is telling us that we have to learn to be in control of both our intellect and our emotion. We have to develop the ability to tell ourselves “no” when we are not supposed to do something. Rather than to always give in to every urge and whim that we feel, even when it is wrong, the Torah demands that we must learn to control ourselves. The temporary feeling of hardship to control a desire, is followed by a most powerful feeling of satisfaction at having overcome it, and being stronger than it.

Immediately after this, the Torah tells us to be an honest judge, and not to pervert judgment. Continuing in the flow of the previous thought,  we are warned that when we have to make a decision, we have to weigh the factors influencing our thoughts with complete honesty. We have to recognize that when we feel inclined to take it easy, we may be influenced by laziness; when we are doing a mitzvah in public we may be pushed forward to do so by a desire for honor,…

As we read the Parsha, and look around the community seeing what effect powerful honest judges can have on the community, we also have to see what powerful effect being honest personal judges can have on ourselves. If we can push ourselves to think before we act, to retrain our deeds until we see if they are the right thing to do, we will certainly live happier lives, and be better servants of Hashem.

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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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.

Parshsios Tzav/Zachor | The Kollel Connection

Parshsios Tzav/Zachor | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 14, 2013 – Candle lighting 5:47, Shabbos Ends 7:56

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.

This week we read Parshas Tzav. It is also Parshas Zachor, the Shabbos that we read in the maftir aliyah, the last aliyah on Shabbos morning, about the war that Amalek waged against the Jewish people when they left Egypt. In contrast to the Torah reading that we do every Shabbos, which is only Rabbinical, this Torah reading is a Torah commandment.

In the Parsha, the Torah tells us about the procedure for a sin offering – a Korban Chatas. The Torah tells us that the sin offering is to be slaughtered in the same place as the sacrifice of an olah (an offering that is totally burnt). (Leviticus 6:18)  The wording of this verse is rather puzzling. We know that the place for both a sin offering and an olah offering is on the North side of the Temple. Why does the Torah tell us that the sin offering should be in the place of the olah offering? Why doesn’t it just say that the sin offering should be on the North side of the Temple? Is there a connection between the fact that the sin offering is on the North side, and that the olah offering is on the North side?

The classic commentator the Kli Yakar, explains that in fact there is a connection between the place for slaughtering the sin offering and the olah offering. A sin offering is brought for an accidental transgression of one of the most serious of all sins – one that if done deliberately would carry with it Karais, an early death and the cutting of the soul from its source. An olah offering is brought for thoughts of doing a sin, certainly a bad thing, but not even close to the reasons for bringing a sin (chatas) offering. If the sin offering and the olah offering were made in different places, than it would be obvious to everyone watching when a person was bringing a sin offering for doing a most serious sin. This would cause the person a lot of embarrassment. In order to avoid this, the Torah said that a person should bring both offerings in the same place – so no one would realize whether a person was now bringing a sin offering or an olah offering. This teaches us the importance of making sure that there is no embarrassment caused to any Jew, even if he or she is a sinner.

This explains why the Torah connected the two offerings – for the reason that the sin offering is on the North side of the Temple is exactly because the olah offering is offered there also, and will thus save a Jew from being embarrassed.

Rav Chatzkel Levinstein, the famed Mashgiach of the Yeshiva of Ponovez, is quoted as having told someone “We have a tradition that if someone would have a chance to build the third Temple, it would come at the cost of causing someone to feel bad, they should refrain from building it.”

This lesson comes at a most appropriate time. Even as we prepare for the joyous partying and merrymaking of Purim, we must be careful not to cause any bad feelings or hurt emotions to another person.

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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