Posts Tagged 'Hashem'

Parshas Matos/Masai | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Matos/Masai | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

July 17, 2015 – Candle lighting 8:08 pm, Shabbos Ends 9:14 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 Matos and Parsha Masai. In Parshas Masai the Torah lists off all the places that the Jewish people stayed in during their 40 year journey through the desert. The commentaries are puzzled, why did the Torah have to tell us all the places that the Jews camped in? Is there any difference to us today whether the Jews camped in Chatzairos or in Hong Kong?  Certainly the Torah is not a book written to tell us trivia. There must be a practical lesson from knowing the places where the Jews stayed?

The Alter of Kelm tells us a beautiful lesson from this. We think that when we travel somewhere, our goal is just to reach the place we are going to. The time we spend going there is just a necessary evil that we have to waste time on in order to get to the place that we are going to. If we don’t make it to that place, then we look at all the time that we spent trying to get there as a waste of time.  For example, someone travels cross country to go to California. He or she will spend days or maybe even a couple of weeks on the road, countless hours looking for lodging, and hundreds if not thousands of dollars on the cost of the trip to California. When they finally get there, if the person they went to see is not there, or the place that they went to see is closed, they look at all the time that they spent traveling as a total waste.

The Torah is teaching us another perspective. From a spiritual perspective, every step we take in life has significance and power. Wherever we are at a certain time, there’s a reason for us to be there.  Something in this world will be brought to its perfection by us serving G-d in the particular place that we are found.

We may not know why, but we must recognize that everywhere we find ourselves in life has a purpose and a goal. This is the lesson of the travels of the Jewish people. The Torah wants us to recognize that each of the stops the Jews made on their way to Israel were for a reason; each had a role in bringing them closer to perfection. Hopefully we can apply this to our travels in life, and find a sense of meaning and purpose in all the places that we stop by 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.

Advertisements

Parshas Balak | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Balak | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

June 26, 2015 – Candle lighting 8:14 pm, Shabbos Ends 9:22 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 Joseph Levine, Yosef ben Laib Levine, late father of Adam and Alina Levine. Joe passed away this week, leaving behind an amazing legacy of doing and accomplishing many things for the Philadelphia Jewish community. May Hashem comfort Adam, his brothers Brian and Jonathon, and his sister Lindsey, amongst the other mourners of Israel and Jerusalem. May he be a good advocate above for Adam, Alina, Akiva, Aryeh, and all of his children and grandchildren.

This week we read Parshas Balak. In the Parsha we read of the episode of the  wicked prophet Bilaam, who had an amazing power and was able to curse those who he choose to, and inflict damage and even death to them. Bilaam tried to curse the Jewish people towards the end of their 40 year travel through the desert. When he came to do that, Hashem made a miracle, and instead of giving them curses, he actually ending up blessing them.

The Sages tell us that a person who has the following three characteristics is from the disciples of Abraham – a good eye (looking at people favorably), a humble spirit, and contentment with what they have. Whoever has three other characteristics is from the disciples of Bilaam the Rasha (the evil one) –  an evil eye, a egoistical spirit, and a desire for much more. (Ethics of the fathers, 5:23).

The words of our Sages are puzzling. Bilaam represents terrible immorality, hatred, attempting to annihilate the entire Jewish people, and even heresy in his relationship with Hashem. Yet, the Sages talk about flaws in his character. Isn’t this strange? Isn’t the point simple – the students of Abraham believe in Hashem, and serve Him, and the students of Bilaam are heretics and rebel against Him?

Rav Shlomo Heiman, the late head of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, explains a beautiful lesson from this. The Sages are trying to explain not only who these respective groups of people were, but what made these people into who they were. How could the students of Abraham, who lived in a world so full of idolatry, follow their teacher Abraham and cling to belief in Hashem? The answer, the Sages teach us, lies in the fact that they had good character traits. When a person has pure and good character, he will discover and live with the truth.

The same question applies in reverse. How could the students of Bilaam the rasha, who lived in a time when miracles were so open, the Exodus from Egypt and the ten plagues occurred, the parting and crossing of the sea, the revelation at Sinai, …. – how could they live lives so dedicated to immorality and wickedness? The answer, the Sages teach us all boils down to bad character traits.

The powerful lesson that we walk away with is the importance of character. The more we can perfect our character, the more we can address any flaws in it and perfect them, the closer we will become to Hashem , and the more loyal servants of Him we will become.

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 26, 2015 – Candle lighting 8:14 pm, Shabbos Ends 9:23 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 is dedicated this week in honor of the seventieth birthday of Mel Twersky. May his youthful vigor continue to bring joy to all those who know him, and a smile to all who meet him, as he continues his beautiful path of selfless kindness and concern for all around him!!

This week we read Parshas Chukas. In the Parsha we read of the episode of the death of the high priest, Aaron. The Torah tells us that when Aaron died, the entire Jewish people mourned for him (Numbers 20:29). Our Sages explain that the reason the words the entire Jewish people are used, is to include all Jews – even those who may not have appreciated the greatness of other Torah scholars such as Moses. Why did all Jews appreciate what Aaron was – even more so than when Moses passed away? The Sages explain that Aaron was a person who always made peace. Whether it was between a husband and a wife, between siblings, between neighbors, friends,… Aaron found a way to make peace between warring factions. The Sages tell us that when Aaron passed away, his coffin was followed by 80,000 young men, all named Aaron in his honor, all children from homes where the spouses were on the verge of divorce, and Aaron managed to make peace between them.

This is the meaning to the command that the Sages tell us, “Be from the disciples of Aaron, love peace, chase after peace, love people, and bring them close to the Torah” (Ethics of the Fathers)

In sefer Charaidim, the author writes that the reason our Sages told us to be from the disciples of Aaron, was because Aaron made this his way of life. He would take off time from his studies, and travel away to make peace whenever he heard that there was an argument. It’s said that in the city of Tzefas there was a great Sage named Rav Yosef Saragusi who was constantly involved in making peace among families, friends, and even among Gentiles. It is said that in this merit he was given the privilege to see  Elijah the prophet. This was such an amazing event, that he was buried in that place where he merited to see Elijah the prophet.

The wording used by our Sages when they tell us to follow in the footsteps of Aaron the priest and to promote peace, is hevai mtalmidav shel Aaron – be from the disciples of Aaron. The commentaries explain that the word hevai – does not really mean “you should be”. Rather, it means “you should become”. The commentaries explain that this is an instruction to each of us. We can never say, “He or she has the temperament for bringing peace. I just can’t do it!!” Our Sages, when they tell us “become” a disciple of Aaron, are telling us that even if today we don’t feel we are yet on that level, each and every one of us has that capacity if we try, to become a person who brings peace in this world. We can be a miniature Aaron, who helps lift people’s lives and promotes peace among our fellow Jews.

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 Shelach | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Shelach | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

June 12, 2015 – Candle lighting 8:11 pm, Shabbos Ends 9:19 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 Shelach. In the Parsha we read of the episode of the spies. Moses sent twelve men to spy the land of Israel before the Jewish people would enter to conquer it. All of these twelve men, the Torah tells us, were great leaders among the Jewish people. Tragically, as the episode unfolded, ten of these men turned against Hashem, and spoke against the land of Israel, discouraging the Jews from going there, and even doubting the ability of Hashem to give them the land.

There were two spies who stood firm in their loyalty to Hashem. They were Joshua and Caleb. When the spies initially came with their bad report to the Jewish people, they gave their damaging report, claiming that the land  could not be conquered by the Jews. After their report, Caleb countered with a claim that the land could be conquered. The Torah tells us that Caleb managed to silence the Jewish people, to listen to Moses. After Caleb did this, the spies countered and managed to frighten the Jewish people to the point where they began to cry and asked to return to Egypt. This tragic episode ended with Hashem’s decree that the Jewish people would spend forty years in the desert before entering the land of Israel.

Later in the Parsha, Hashem promises great reward to Caleb for what he did in opposing the spies (14:24). Rav Moshe Feinstien asks, why is it that Caleb gets this great reward? After all, he didn’t succeed in getting the Jews not to listen to the spies? In the end, the spies carried the day and the Jews did not want to go to Israel? One could say that Caleb gets reward for trying, but Rav Feinstien says that this certainly not the simple understanding of what the Torah is rewarding Caleb for.

Rabbi Feinstein answers with a beautiful and amazing point. Often in life, one manages to make an impact on others, or on oneself, but then later falls again. Did that time that they were uplifted count for anything, or do we say it was worthless since it didn’t last anyway? Rav Feinstien points out that we know that we are obligated to break Shabbos to save a life, even if it is only going to help for a few minutes. This is true in all areas of life. If we lift ourselves or someone else for any amount of time, we have done a great thing. Hashem will reward us for this for eternity.

This is exactly what happened with Caleb. The spies came and gave a terrible report. At that point the Jewish people were siding with them. Caleb came along, and convinced the Jewish people that Moses was right. At that time, the Jews were back on the proper path and siding with Moses. Afterwards, the spies came and convinced the Jews back to rebel against Moses. However, the fact is that Caleb did accomplish a major thing during that time that the Jews returned. For this he gets eternal reward. We must have this inspiration for ourselves. Whenever we do something good, not matter for how long, no matter if it lasts, we must realize that it’s a major accomplishment that will give us eternal reward.

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 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.

Parshas Shemini | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Shemini | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

April 17, 2015 – Candle lighting 7:22 pm, Shabbos Ends 8:31 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 Shemini. In Parshas Shemini, the basic laws of kosher are given. We are told that  for an animal to be kosher, it must have two signs: it must chew its cud, and have split feet (hooves). Rav Moshe Sternbach explains that the two signs of an animal being kosher represent two types of behavior: Chewing the cud is internal. By looking at the animal from the outside, one can’t tell if it chews its cud or it doesn’t. This represents the actions a person does internally, that no one sees. Having split hooves, on the other hand, is external. By looking at the animal from the outside one sees right away whether the animal has split hooves or not. This represents the actions that a person does externally, that everyone sees. With the signs of what makes an animal kosher, the Torah teaches us that we must act like good Jews both on the inside and on the outside. If a person acts like a Jew, but their heart is far from Hashem, that is unacceptable. So too, if a person feels that they have a “Jewish heart”- but they are reluctant to act like a Jew on the outside, that is unacceptable. They have just rendered themselves as a “non-kosher” being. We have to serve Hashem both on the inside –  in our hearts, and in our recognizable external deeds.

In the classic work mesillas yeshorim, the author explains that in one way the prohibitions regarding food are more severe than all other prohibitions. He explains that this is because the food we eat actually becomes part of us. If there is something wrong with it, it changes our very essence. Just as no sane human being would eat poison, so too no thinking person would eat something not kosher, that will alter his or her very being on such a bad way. He goes on to say, that even when one has a doubt whether something is kosher they must stay away from it – just as they would if they were not sure if there was poison in it.

The medrash brings out this point in a most amazing way, with a lesson that can alter our eating habits forever. The medrash tells us that when Abraham and Sarah were celebrating the birth of Isaac, there were those who doubted whether Sarah was really the mother of this baby. After all, she was already 90 years old! In order to test her, they each brought their own infant and challenged Sarah – this 90 year old woman – to see if she could nurse them. Sarah did, and they accepted the miracle that at her advanced age she had given birth to Isaac. The medrash says that the children who nursed from Sarah all ended up converting to Judaism, and if we find someone today who converts and becomes a Jew, he or she is a descendant from those who nursed from Sarah.

The obvious point is, not only does bad food that we eat have a destructive force upon us. The food that we eat as a mitzvah, with a properly said blessing, with positive focus –  intent to be healthy and serve Hashem, then we actually can grow from the experience of eating. Unlike an animal that simply eats to exist, we can become elevated and closer to our Creator by eating the food that he provides 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.

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.


Follow BJOC

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: