Posts Tagged 'Jerusalem'

Parshas Vayishlach | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayishlach | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

December 5, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:16 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:24 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 in memory of the innocent victims of the barbaric terrorist attack that took place in Jerusalem this week. May Hashem bring comfort to all the widows and orphans caused by this tragedy, may He grant a speedy recovery to all those injured by these attacks, and may He avenge their deaths from the wicked animals who perpetrate such crimes.

This week we read Parshas Vayishlach. In this Parsha we watch the fascinating meeting between Esau and Jacob. After being  separated for over 20 years, Esau and Jacob finally met each other.  Before they met, Jacob prepared for the worst. Knowing of Esau’s deep hatred for him, Jacob separated his camp into two groups. At one point, as Jacob crossed them over a river, Jacob was left alone. The angel of Esau then came, and in a very famous battle, Jacob and the angel struggled through the night. In the morning, as the angel saw that he could not defeat Jacob, he asked to be allowed to leave. Jacob refused to let him leave until he gave him a blessing, an event that symbolizes the eventual triumph of Jacob over Esau.

The Chofetz Chaim asked a very obvious question: We have three patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why is it that from all three, only Jacob is the one attacked by an angel. Why him more than Abraham or Isaac?

The Chofetz Chaim explains that Judaism is built on three pillars: Kindness (Chesed), Prayer (Avoda) and Torah study (Torah). Abraham was the patriarch that was the pillar of kindness. Isaac was the patriarch who was the pillar of prayer. Jacob was the one who was the pillar of Torah study. Indeed, tradition tells us that before going to the house of Laban, Jacob prepared by spending 14 years in a house of study, learning Torah.

The reason the angel fought with Jacob rather than with Abraham and Isaac, is the very reason that Torah is so much more powerful than any other commandment. Our sages tell us that  the Almighty says “I’ve created an evil inclination in man, and I’ve created the antidote for it – Torah” (Talmud Kidushin 39b). We can do many good deeds, but without the power of Torah, we are like an army fighting a war with no ammunition. While the evil inclination challenges all good things that we do, his greatest enemy is the study of Torah. This is why he came to fight Jacob, who represented the study of Torah, more than fighting the other patriarchs.

Often we find people who do many good things, helping people and even connecting to Hashem. Yet, for some reason, they find it hard to commit to study Torah on a regular basis. This is truly the battle of the angel with Jacob, being fought over again, thousands of years later. We have to learn from the strength that our patriarch Jacob showed, when he fought the angel and persevered over him.

Please join us here in the kollel, at anytime during the week. We offer all men and women in our community the opportunity to be modern day Jacobs, and to grow in their connection to Judaism with Torah study. Join me in my new class on the prophets – starting from the story of Joshua – on Tuesday nights at 8:00. Or come some other time. Any time, any subject – just KEEP CALM AND STUDY TORAH!!!

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 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.

Asara B’Teves | The Kollel Connection

Asara B’Teves | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

December 13, 2013 – Candle lighting 4:16, Shabbos Ends 5:24

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

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

This Friday we mark the fast day of Asara B’Teves, the tenth day of Teves. The reason we fast on this day, is because this is the day that Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, laid siege to Jerusalem, ultimately breaching its walls and destroying the Temple after a few years. The obvious question that we must ask is, why would we mark the day that siege was laid to Jerusalem so many years later? Our pain for the laying siege of Jerusalem would seem to be only as a prelude to its destruction; once we already fast on Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of Av, which was the day the Temple was actually destroyed, why would we also mark Asara B’Teves?

The Torah tells us that if Asara B’Teves would come out on a Shabbos, we would fast on Shabbos. At first glance, this seems very puzzling. We know that when Tisha B’Av comes out on Shabbos, we push off the fast until Sunday. Why would Asara B’Teves be different?

The only time we find that one may fast on Shabbos, is when one needs merit for a danger that they are in right now. When one is merely commemorating a past tragedy, one does not fast on the Shabbos. Asara Bteves commemorates the beginning of the physical destruction of the Temple. The lesson that it teaches us, is that we have to look not only at the end result, what happened at the end, but also at what caused the problem. If we are told this on the physical level, this is certainly true on a spiritual level. What the fast of Asara B’Teves teaches us, then, is that we have to look at the root cause of the destruction of the Temple, not just at the final outcome.

The Talmud tells us that the second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred among Jews. The Chofetz Chaim quotes the words of our Sages that not only did this sin of sinas chinam, baseless hatred, cause the destruction of the Temple 2,000 years ago. Every generation that the Temple is not built, we say it is for the same sin of baseless hatred that caused it to be destroyed. If so, the fast of Asara B’Teves tells us to look at the root of the destruction of the Temple as a current problem, not just as a past one. This helps us understand why we would fast on Asara B’Teves even if it is on a Shabbos – for we are not simply marking a past historical event, but are   marking the current cause of our exile.

If we want to rectify this sin, we must change the feeling of baseless hatred that affect us and instead plant feelings of love among Jews. In the Parsha  that we read this week, Parshas Vayechi, we read of the blessings that Jacob gives to his sons right before he dies. He tells them “Hikabzu vagida lachem es asher yikra eschem bacharis hayamim” – gather and I will tell you what will happen to you in the end of times. (Genesis 49:1) The shelah writes that the lesson Jacob was teaching his sons was, that if you want to get to the end of times – if you want to have the Messiah come, then the only way to accomplish this is hikabzu – be together. When you promote and feel unity, then you will be able to merit the coming of the messiah. May we soon see that time when all Jews unite, and our true feelings of care and concern for each other bring us the coming of the Messiah. Amen!

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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