Posts Tagged 'Kosher'

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.

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Parshsios Shemini/Parah | The Kollel Connection

Parshsios Shemini/Parah | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 21, 2013 – Candle lighting 6:54, Shabbos Ends 8:03

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 Shemini. It is also Parshas Parah, as we read of the purification that was done to the Jewish people, before they would enter the temple. This is read specifically before Passover, when all Jews had to be pure to enter the temple and partake of the special Paschal lamb.

In Parshas Shemini, the Torah tells us the laws of keeping kosher. The famous rule is given in this week’s Parsha, that in order to be kosher, an animal must have two signs: It must chew its cud, and it must have split hooves. (Leviticus 11:3) The Torah lists several animals that have one of the two signs, but not both. Most famous of these, is the chazir, the pig, which has split hooves but does not chew its cud. The overwhelming majority of animals have either both signs of being kosher, or none. Even among the few animals that have one sign, there is only one that has the sign of split hooves but does not chew its cud. That is the pig. The commentaries ask why is it that the pig, which of all animals of the world is the one most synonymous with something that is not kosher, should be the one animal that gives the outward appearance as if it is kosher?

One simple lesson is that we should never be deceived by external looks. A man could look pious or religious, yet be a total faker. A person may call themselves a “Rabbi”, yet tell people that they may drive on the Sabbath. My father advised me many years ago, that it would be better to be a plumber and be an honest Jew, than to be such a “Rabbi” and be a faker. The pig is exactly that type of fake “Rabbi”. It looks kosher from the outside, but is totally non-kosher inside of it. Desire for honor, money, or other things has caused many a person to say or do things that are not really true.

Another beautiful point is brought down by the Aron L’eydus. Often a person will feel that he or she is having a hard time in their service of Hashem. They may be having a hard time focusing on their prayers, or in doing any of the commandments. They feel as if they are being pushed away by Hashem, and as if their service of Hashem is not desired. They feel ready to give up. This is a terrible mistake, and a lack of understanding why we may find something hard.

A person must know that even in such circumstances, even when the going is tough and rough, we must push with all our strength to come close to Hashem. Any hardship that we have, we must know, is simply a test from heaven to see if we are ready to serve Him even when it is hard to. Perhaps this moment of challenge is precisely the moment in our lives that we were brought in to this world to overcome.

This lesson we learn from the chazir, the pig. The nature of the chazir is, that even when it is pushed away from the place it is in, it pushes itself back to its first spot. The very name for this animal, chazir, comes from the Hebrew word chazara – which is to come back. This is why it has signs of purity on its feet – to show that although its entire body is impure, what it does with its feet – to fight and go back to the place it was hard to stay in, and not to give up, is a good and positive character trait.

May we all find that strength to fight and meet the challenges that come our way and seek to push us down, as we rise to the occasion and  overcome them.

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 Beshalach | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Beshalach | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 10, 2013 – Candle lighting 4:35, Shabbos Ends 5:35

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 births of Shalom Mermelstien and Naama Malka Beshansky. Mazel tov to Rabbi Binyomin and Naomi Mermelstein, and to the entire Mermelstein and Pollack family. Mazel tov also to Rabbi Ephraim and KB Beshansky, and to the entire Beshansky and Katz family.

This week we read Parshas Beshalach. In the Parsha, we read of the episode of the crossing of the sea by the Jewish people, when the waters miraculously split, and then came together to drown the Egyptians. The Jews had left Egypt on Thursday, the fifteenth of Nissan. The following Tuesday, Pharaoh chased after them with six hundred chosen chariots and warriors, and lay siege against them at the sea. The Jews found themselves hopelessly surrounded, by Pharaoh and his armies on one side, and by the waters of the sea on the other. Hashem told the Jews to walk into the Sea, they did, and the waters split. The Egyptians then pursued them into the sea and were drowned. This miracle is celebrated on the Seventh day of Passover, when we make a holiday commemorating this event.

The commentaries pose a most basic question: When the Egyptians surrounded the Jews, there were far many more Jews than there were Egyptians. True, the Egyptians were armed heavily and trained, but doesn’t it seem odd that the Torah does not describe any thought of the Jews challenging the Egyptians?

The Ibn Ezra comments, that since the Jewish people had been slaves to the Egyptians, they were brought up with a mentality of subjugation to their masters. They were psychologically unable to challenge the Egyptians and fight against them (Exodus 14:13). He adds that this is another factor in why Hashem had it come out that the generation that had grown up as slaves died out, before the Jews came to Israel, so that a new generation that did not have this slave mentality would be ready to fight against the people of Israel (Canaan).

Rav Chaim Shmualevitz points out, that this concept of slave mentality is a challenge that we deal with all the time. So often we feel that we would like to improve in a certain area – but we say to ourselves “I can’t!” We know we tend to get angry, and we really don’t want to get upset – but we give up by saying to ourselves, “this is what I am”. We want to take the time to help our spouse with some house chores, but we say “I just can’t!” We want to spend time calling or visiting our parents, but we just feel “I am not able to!”

We know we should keep kosher or keep Shabbos, but we tell ourselves that we can’t change! The list goes on and on. If there is something that we have to take from this thought of the Ibn Ezra, Rav Shmualevitz says, it’s that we have to rise above being slaves. We have to recognize that we are free, are without restraints, and really can do what we know that we are supposed to do. We just have to try. When we do, we will suddenly discover the power of change that we really have within us, and the reservoirs of strength that we can tap into within 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.

Save The Date – Tuesday, December 24: Enjoy Chinese Cuisine at the Bensalem Outreach Center

 

Enjoy Chinese Cuisine at the Bensalem Outreach Center

Tuesday December 24 at BJOC

Kosher Chinese

Email bjoc@bensalemoutreach.org to RSVP


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