Posts Tagged 'Jew'

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 Vayikrah | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayikrah | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 20, 2015 – Candle lighting 6:54 pm, Shabbos Ends 7:53 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 the birth of Bris of  Zevy Biron. Mazel tov to parents Naftoli and Tzirel Leah Biron, and to Grandparents Rabbi Asher and Chani Biron, and Rabbi Moshe and Malky Travitsky.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Vayikrah. The Parsha begins with the word Vayikra, (and He called), which means that Hashem called to Moses to tell him the laws that are discussed in the Parsha. In a most unusual change, the last letter in the word vayikra – which is an aleph, is written smaller than the rest of the letters in the Torah. The Sages ask, why is this written so differently than regular?   The Sages tell us, that Moses really didn’t want to write the letter aleph at all at the end of the word vayikra. If he would have left out that letter, it would have spelled the word vayikar – which means that Hashem chanced upon Moses. This wording would show much less importance to Moses – it would indicate that Hashem spoke to Moses when He “chanced” upon him, but not that Hashem specifically called him. Hashem wanted the idea that He called Moses, an expression of Hashem’s love and connection to him, to be used. Moses, in his great humility, wanted to write vayikar – which would have shown just that Hashem was not so close to him. The end result was that Moses did write the aleph, but was allowed to make it small.

The commentaries ask, if we are being taught the lesson of humility, why couldn’t Hashem allow Moses to leave out the letter  aleph all together and write vayikar? Would the lesson of the importance of humility be that much stronger if the vayikar (and He chanced upon) was used?

The late Torah Sage Rav Eliezer Shach explains, that there is a second lesson being taught to us here. If the word Vayikar (and He chanced upon) was used, a terrible mistake could be made. A person may think that there is such a thing as “chance” in the life of a Jew. In truth, nothing ever happens by chance.  There is no such a thing as “chance” in the life of a Jew.  A person must always realize that whatever is happening to them in life is happening for a reason. We can never feel alone or abandoned.  In order to reinforce this lesson the Torah used the word vayikra (and He called) rather then vayikar (and He chanced upon).

In this  one small aleph we are taught two huge lessons, the importance of humility and at the same time the importance of recognizing the hand of Hashem that guides every step of our everyday 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.

Parshas Behar | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Behar| The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 9, 2013 – Candle lighting 7:44, Shabbos Ends 8:53

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 Behar. In Parshas Behar, the Torah tells us of the mitzvah to help a fellow Jew who has come upon hard times. “And if your brother becomes poor, and his hand (means) falter with you  (in your proximity), you shall strengthen him… (Leviticus 25:35) This is the basic commandment to help a Jew. The Torah uses seemingly extra words when it describes the situation of this Jew who is in need of help. It is described as he is poor “with you”. What is the expression of  “with you”? The Jew who is giving the help has not fallen upon hard times. Why would the Torah describe the person who is in need as being  “with you”?

The Ben Ish Chai offers an explanation based upon a story. There was once a king who had an only son. The King wanted his son to learn any type of wisdom possible, so that he would one day be fit to succeed his father, and to take over as king. He hired a very wise man to teach his son. The man trained the prince for a few years, and when they were finished, he sent him back to the king to be tested on what he had learnt. The king tested his son and was amazed with the amount of wisdom that he had been taught. He ordered that 100,000 gold coins be given to the wise man who had taught his son, and that he be treated with great honor and respect.

A little while later, the wise man sent a message to the king, asking that he send the prince back so that he could teach him one more thing that had been left out. When the prince arrived, the  wise man locked the door, and began giving the prince lashes. After whipping him 50 times, he sent the prince back home, bleeding and all bruised up. When the king saw what had been done to his son, he immediately dispatched his soldiers to bring the wise man to him, and to hang him on the gallows. Before the wise man was to be hung, the king asked him the obvious question: “Why did you do such a foolish thing? You were receiving the greatest honor and glory that anyone could get, why did you beat up the prince”?

The wise man responded,”Your majesty, I am an honest person. When you asked me to teach your son all that he would know to be able to be a good king one day, I had a dilemma. One day your son will be the king. As such, he will have to decide how to administer punishments to people who have committed crimes. How will he know how many lashes to give each person? If he has no clue what it feels like to get lashes, how could he decide how many lashes to give for each crime? Maybe he will give so many lashes, that he will kill someone; maybe he will let a criminal who has committed a serious crime escape with a relatively light punishment. I felt that the only way to solve this problem was to teach your son firsthand what it feels like to get punished. Now I can be assured that when he assumes the throne one day, he will punish his subjects in a fair way.”

The king was so impressed with the answer of the wise man, that he freed him and sent him back home with his reward.

This, the Ben Ish Chai explains, is the meaning of the word imach – with you. The Torah wants us not just to give money to a poor person. The Torah wants us to first feel the pain that the poor person has, and understand how he or she feels. Only after that, when we feel the pain of the poor person, can we really try to help him or her.

We so often have to deal with people who are in need. Sometimes it is financial need. Even more often, it is emotional need. Whether a person needs a boost to their morale, to their prestige, to their happiness, or any of the other many areas of life that a person may need help with – the first thing we must do is to try to understand and feel what they are going through. If we can stop before simply giving help, and just try to first feel what our friend is going through, then the help we can hopefully provide will be much stronger and more effective. This lesson, from this simple word  imach – with you,  can hopefully change the way we relate to all those who we try to help.

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.

Parshsios Tazria/Hachodesh | The Kollel Connection

Parshsios Tazria/Hachodesh | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 28, 2013 – Candle lighting 7:02, Shabbos Ends 8:11

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 is dedicated this week in memory of Mrs. Edith Rieder, a’h, matriarch of the Rieder family. May Hashem comfort her beautiful family among the other mourners of Israel and Jerusalem, and may they know no more sorrow. 

This week we read Parshas Tazria. It is also Parshas Hachodesh, being the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Nissan, when we read of the special mitzvah of sanctifying the New moon on Rosh Chodesh, the first of the month. In Parshas Tazria, the Torah tells us the laws of a person who is punished with tzaraas, a skin discoloration that would come upon a Jew who had sinned. In particular, our Sages teach us, this punishment would come upon a Jew who had spoken lashan hara, evil gossip or reports, against another Jew. Even if the report was true, the person who spoke these words is faulted for having spoken evil about another Jew. He or she is punished for their sin, and their punishment is quiet severe. When one has tzaraas, he or she is banished and must leave the entire Jewish community, staying away from all other Jews. He or she cannot be in the company of anyone else, even of someone who also has tzaraas. Why is it that they are punished with such an extreme decree of being alone, and not associating with others? Why can’t they at least associate with other people who also have this affliction of tzaraas?

Our Sages teach us that this is given to them in direct proportion to the sin that causes tzaraas. When one says lashan hara, when one spreads bad gossip about others, they cause friction and separation among people. Whether it’s between friends, neighbors, or even family members, the result is that people who were united are now separated from each other. In direct proportion to that, the Torah tells the person who has tzaraas to spend time alone, to think and contemplate why it was that such a punishment befell them. By focusing on themselves, they can hopefully realize their mistake, and repent for it.

When a punishment comes to the Jewish people, people begin to try to figure out why Hashem made this particular tragedy occur in the time and place that it did. When a person is in the company of others, even if they are all basically good people, they tend to focus on seeing the faults of other people, and focusing on why someone else has to change. This is precisely what the Torah didn’t want to happen. The Torah wants each person to focus on themselves, and to fix up in themselves whatever they can. This is why the person with tzaraas is told to go out of the camp alone – so that he or she can focus on improving themselves and correcting whatever sins brought about this malady of tzaraas. The lesson we are taught – when we see something that needs correcting by someone else – first look in the mirror and see if it is something that really applies to us ourselves!!!!

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

January 31, 2013 – Candle lighting 4:59, Shabbos Ends 6:08

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 Terumah.  In the Parsha, we read of the instructions that Moses was given to raise the funds needed for the construction of the Tabernacle in the desert. Moses was told to ask people for their donations of all the materials needed, such as gold, silver, copper, wool,… When enough would be donated to construct the Tabernacle, the construction would begin. At first glance, we could ask, why did Hashem want the tabernacle to be constructed based on our donations? Couldn’t He have just as easily showered down whatever gold, silver, and other material was needed from heaven?

A second question also arises from the manner in which the materials for the construction were raised. Even if Hashem wanted us to donate it, there is still a question regarding the way it was donated. We know that there are two types of donations that were requested of the Jewish people when they were in the desert. One was a flat rate donation of half a shekel that every Jewish man had to give. It made no difference whether one was poor or rich, the requirement was that every Jewish person had to participate equally in this donation. This type of donation was used to raise the money for the silver sockets that held up the very beams of the Tabernacle, and to buy the animals used for the daily Tamid sacrifice that was offered in the Temple. The clear message of this was that for the base that supported the whole Tabernacle, and for the merit of the daily Tamid sacrifice, every Jew had to be represented equally.

When it came to the actual construction of the Tabernacle, the  Torah made no such requirement. Every Jew gave according to what he wanted to give. “Kol nidiv lev” – everyone gave according to the generosity that they felt in their heart.  Why was this the way the Tabernacle was built? Wouldn’t there have been a beauty of having everyone participate equally in the building of the Tabernacle?

The commentaries explain that the building of the Tabernacle had to be done from generosity of Jews that was not  a requirement to give. The very essence of the Tabernacle, and the cause that brought Hashem’s presence to be there, was the love that the Jewish people showed for Hashem. That love was demonstrated and borne out by the Jews donating the material that was needed for the Tabernacle. Precisely because there was no amount that they had to give, rather they gave what they wanted to give, there was a bond of love created by them with Hashem.

This lesson is one that is eternal. Often we ask ourselves, “Do I really have to do this”? The answer may well be no, I don’t. But then we rise to the level of saying – “but I want to do it!!!” The love of the Jew for his or her Creator, that propels us to do things that we may not have had to do, could very well be the instrument that connects us with our Creator and insures our very survival as 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.


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