Posts Tagged 'commandments'

Parshas Acharai Mos/Kedoshim | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Acharai Mos/Kedoshim | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 1, 2015 – Candle lighting 7:36 pm, Shabbos Ends 8:45 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 Acharai Mos and Kedoshim.  In Parshas Kedoshim, the Torah tells us many of the commandments affecting our relationships with our fellow Jew. One of them is, “Do not hate your brother in your heart.” (Leviticus 19:17) The classic commentary Ohr Hachaim asks, why would the Torah not first finish telling us not to feel hatred in our heart, and then explain the person we are referring to (a brother)?

The Ohr Hachaim answers, that the Torah is teaching us the amount of hatred we can’t have. Even to just feel that someone is less than our brother, is already transgressing the prohibition of hatred.

The Talmud tells us that if someone doesn’t speak with another person for three days because they are upset with them, they are considered an enemy. They are not allowed to be a judge in a case for him. The sin of baseless hatred is so severe that it caused the destruction of the Temple, and to this day has prevented it from being rebuilt. A sobering realization is this point – that emotions can already be called hatred if they simply make us feel that we don’t want to relate to someone as a brother.  Our Sages stress the severity of this sin, telling us that in punishment for the sin of baseless hatred quarrels and disputes arise in one’s home, and tragedies come to one’s family, r’l.

How can we change the feelings of hatred we harbor to others? Our Sages give us one piece of advice: If you want to come to love your fellow Jew, get involved in doing good things for him. When we help others, the feelings of resentment and ill will that we had for him will slowly dissipate. Instead we will find ourselves  feelings of care, concern, and of love for our fellow Jew. This is the amazing power that giving to others has, as it changes our perspective and helps us relate to them with the feelings of love and warmth that the Torah expects from us.

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 Ki Tzaisai | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Ki Tzaisai | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

September 5, 2014 – Candle lighting 7:06, Shabbos Ends 8:13

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.

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.   We appreciate your comments and feedback. The Kollel Connection is dedicated this week in memory of Melvin Robbins, whose yartziet was this week.  

This week we read Parshas Ki Tzaisai.  Parshas Ki Tzaisai contains many varied commandments. At the end of the Parsha, the Torah tells us “A complete and correct weight shall be for you, and a complete and honest measure shall be for you … (Deuteronomy 25:15).  Rashi quotes the words of our Sages that the ending words “shall be for you” indicate that if we are honest, Hashem promises us that in return we will have something – a lot of material success. Indeed, the Sages teach us that when a person passes away, the first question he is asked in heaven is, “were you honest in business”?

The Chofetz Chaim adds, that when a person does what they are supposed to, blessing resides in all that they do. He explains that when a person does what Hashem wants, Hashem brings His Divine presence to be with him or her. Just as when a wealthy parent visits a poor child, they bring something along with them, so too when Hashem comes to us, He brings blessing to us. However, that’s only true if we are honest. Too often we get overcome with temptation, and end up doing something dishonest. In that case we are like a child whose parent comes to give him a present, but he slams the door and doesn’t let his parent in. The Chofetz Chaim explains that Hashem stands by a Jew’s door waiting to give him or her blessing and success. But instead of acting with honesty and allowing Hashem in, he or she does something dishonest, and Hashem removes the blessing He was waiting to give us. This is the power that being honest has, aside from the merit it carries in the world to come.

There is a story brought down of a time in the last two hundred years, when there was a drought in one of the Arab Lands. The local King summoned the Jewish Rabbis, and told them “I know that if you pray there will be rain. I am decreeing that if there is no rain within the next seven days, all the Jews in my Kingdom will be thrown into exile and banished from here.” The Rabbis declared public days of prayer and fasting. As the seventh day approached, they declared a special day of prayer, where every single man, woman, and child must appear in the main synagogue in town. The next day thousands of Jews gathered to pray. Suddenly, the entire crowd was silenced, as the Rabbi announced “whoever has the power to help now and doesn’t, will not have atonement for this.” Suddenly, a simple shopkeeper who sold vegetables called out “Wait for me!” he ran to his store, brought back his scales that he used to weigh the produce that he sold, and put them on the table. He then burst out in tears “Master of the world! In my entire life I was careful to give every single customer what they paid for! I never took money that I didn’t deserve! In the merit of my honesty, please have mercy upon your people that we won’t die in a drought, and we won’t be banished from our homes!

As soon as he finished speaking, the skies darkened, and rain came down.

This is the power of honesty and integrity that bring the greatest blessing from 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.

Parshas Bechukosai | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Bechukosai | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 16, 2013 – Candle lighting 7:51, Shabbos Ends 9:00

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 honor of the upsherin (first haircut) of Zechariah Biron. Mazel tov to his parents, Naftoli and Tzirel Leah Biron, and to their entire family!!!

This week we read Parshas Bechukosai. In Parshas Bechukosai, the Torah tells us of  the blessings that will occur if we keep the Torah and keep its commandments. Then, the Torah proceeds to list 98 curses that will befall the Jewish people if we don’t study the Torah, and don’t heed its commandments. The graphic details of horror and punishment that we are warned will befall us, are enough to melt even the stiffest heart. Because of the harshness of these curses, they are usually read in a lower and quicker tone than the rest of the Torah reading. There were Synagogues where they were read so silently, that it was almost as if the one reading the Torah was reading them to himself. The Chofetz Chaim spoke out against this custom, explaining that this is not proper. If  we are obligated to read these curses from the Torah, then it is obvious that Hashem wants us to hear them and to be moved by them, so that we will improve our behavior and come closer to Him. If they are read so low so that no one hears it, we have defeated the purpose of having this Torah reading.

In truth, when we hear these curses that are promised to the Jewish people if we do bad, a question does come to mind. As we know, Judaism teaches us that Hashem created the world to give us pleasure. He has created a special place, the world to come (Olam Haba), where we will one day get the greatest pleasure imaginable. In the meantime, to get to that world, we have to go through challenges in this world. Every time we do a positive deed, (a mitzvah), or we overcome temptation to do a sin, (an avairo), we earn reward in the world to come. Every time we live through a situation of challenge, (a nisayon), we become more perfected, and earn more of a reward in the world to come. This is all explained in beautiful detail in the first chapter of the classic work “Path of the Just” (Messilas Yeshorim).  Where do the horrific punishments spoken of in this week’s Parsha come in to all of this?

In a beautiful analogy, the commentators explain that the very punishment that Hashem promises us, is also an illustration of his love and care for us. Imagine the child who runs into the street in front of his parents’ house. Miraculously, he or she is not hit by a car. What do a caring father or mother do? Will they ignore the incident and pretend that it didn’t happen? Such an attitude will certainly encourage the child to do such a reckless and crazy thing again. A loving parent, who truly cares about the life of their child, will make sure that some form of punishment is given to them. Although it may be bitter for the child right now, in the end the parent may well be saving their child’s life.

In a similar way, we have to understand the concept of punishment from Hashem. Certainly punishment is hard to accept, and we hope not to have to taste it. Certainly it is easy to talk when we are not the person who has to experience it. However, the fact is that Hashem did not rely simply on the promise that He made to us of everlasting reward to make sure that we live our life the way that we should. Even though that promise of eternal pleasure that is the most powerful feeling in the world should have been enough to motivate us, He loves us to much to rely on that alone. In order to make sure that we live our life properly, in order to for us to use the golden opportunity that life presents to us, He has warned us of horrible punishments if we don’t listen to Him. This is exactly what a loving parent does when they want their cherished child to succeed in life – to push them forward by promising dire consequences for misbehavior, so that they will not copy the mistakes of others.

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 Kedoshim | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Kedoshim | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

April 25, 2013 – Candle lighting 7:30, Shabbos Ends 8:39

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 Kedoshim. In Parshas Kedoshim, many of the great ethical commandments that we have are recorded. Included in these is the commandment to judge our fellow Jew favorably. The Talmud tells us that if one judges his or her fellow man favorably, Hashem will in turn judge him or her favorably. This is an amazing way for us to find merit, when the time comes that we need to find favor in the eyes of  Hashem.

Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein relates the following story: There was a lady who had to travel overseas. She arrived in the airport early, and was very hungry. Since she still had several hours till the flight would take off, she went into a kiosk and bought a bag of biscuits. She put them in her carry on walked to an area that she could sit and eat. She put her carry on onto the table, and walked out for a minute. When she came back, she opened the bag of biscuits that she had left there, and started to eat one.

Suddenly, she noticed the man sitting next to her taking a biscuit from her bag of biscuits! She held herself back from saying anything, and took a second biscuit. The other person followed suit, and also took a second one. She felt the rage building inside of her, but was very hungry, so she just kept on eating, followed each time by this other person eating an equal amount. He seemed to be enjoying his biscuits, while she was beside herself in anger as she ate them. When they got up to the last biscuit, he took the biscuit and split it in half. He took half of it and ate it, and gave her the second half. Her anger really got strong, as she watched this man being kind and sharing with her, her own biscuits.

She then went to her seat in the plane, and opened up her carry on. To her utter amazement, she saw her bag of biscuits right there on the top of her carry on. As she felt embarrassment grow inside of her, she realized that all the biscuits that she had eaten before were really not even her biscuits at all!! She had been the kindness of this other man the whole time, as she thought he had been taking something from her!!!

This is the idea of judging one favorably – to realize that there are factors that we don’t know about, history that we are unaware of, and circumstances that change the whole picture – and to therefore give our fellow Jew the benefit of the doubt.

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

December 20, 2013 – Candle lighting 4:19, Shabbos Ends 5:28

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

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

This week’s Kollel Connection is dedicated in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of Binyomin Kahn. Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Kahn and the entire Kahn/Goldman Family!

This week we begin the book of Exodus – Shemos, with Parshas Shemos. In Parshas Shemos, we read of the beginning of the enslavement of the Jewish people. The Torah tells us that a “new” king arose in Egypt, who didn’t know Joseph, and who told his people that he wanted to enslave the Jewish people. The Talmud cites one opinion that in fact this Pharaoh was not really a new king, but was the same old king who decided on a new approach to the Jewish people. The question arises, why would this king suddenly decide on a new approach to the Jewish people? What caused his sudden change of heart?

Rav Yissochar Frand, the famed author and speaker from Baltimore, quotes the words of the Mikdash Mordechai, written by Rabbi Mordechai Ilan. When the Torah describes the arrival of Jacob and his family to Egypt, the words used are that they were the Jews who were “Habaim Mitzraima” – the ones who were coming to Egypt (Exodus 1:1). The wording is strange, because they had already come to Egypt. Why would the Torah use the present tense? At the end of that verse, the Torah tells us “ish ubaiso bau – each man and his family had come” – in the past tense. Why is the tense changed?

In a beautiful thought, Rav Frand points out that often people think that when we act as Jews should, we are looked down by our Gentile neighbors; when we act like our Gentile neighbors, then they look up at us. In reality, the opposite is often the case. When we live as Jews are supposed to live, stick to our principles and observe the commandments, then we are respected by the Gentiles. When we compromise our principles, and try to act like the gentiles, they lose their respect for us.

The first generation of Jews that came to Egypt with Jacob always felt like they really belonged in Israel. They felt like strangers in Egypt, and were always living with a feeling as if they were still coming now to Egypt. Their identity was always like a Jew who happened to be in Egypt. Therefore, they had respect in the eyes of Pharaoh. The next generation, already developed a different attitude. As the Torah tells us, the land was full of them” (Exodus 1:7). They left the land of Goshen that Joseph had put them into, and spread out among all of Egyptian society. They already felt that they were Egyptians, who happened to have come from a Jewish background. That is why the Torah says that they had come – in the past tense – to Egypt. They looked at their past as history. When looking at this type of Jew, Pharaoh did not feel respect for them. He developed a “new” policy for this “new” Jew, that was a total change of how he had treated the first generation of Jews.

The lesson that we learn from the Torah, is to try to instill in ourselves and our children pride in what we are. There is no reason to feel any shame in being a Jew, and in observing the commandments. We have to look at the commandments as a badge of pride that the Almighty has given us to wear as we go through 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.


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