Posts Tagged 'Ohr Hachaim'

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 Va’airo| The Kollel Connection

Parshas Va’airo | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 16, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:41 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:50 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 Va’airo. In the Parsha we read  many times that Hashem tells Moses that He is hardening the heart of Pharaoh. The commentaries ask, how could Hashem harden the heart  of Pharaoh? Is this not denying Pharaoh free will – the ability to choose whether to sin or not?

At the end of the parsha, we read of the plague of hail. The Torah tells us that the plague was so strong that it destroyed much of the crops of Egypt. Pharaoh was so overwhelmed by this plague, that he summoned Moses and Aaron and asked them to pray to Hashem that the hail stop, and he will then let the Jews go. ( Exodus 9:28). The Torah then tells us that Moses responded to Pharaoh,  telling him that he will pray that the hail stop,  but he knows that Pharaoh and his servants do not yet fear Hashem. The Torah then mentions that the hail had destroyed the flax and barley, but not the wheat and the spelt… The Torah tells us that they were not destroyed because they were afilos – which means that miracles (niflaos) happened to them. The Torah then proceeds to tell us that Moses went and prayed for Pharaoh that the hail should stop.

The Ohr Hachaim poses a simple question: Why do we have to hear about which crops were destroyed and which were not in the middle of the story? Isn’t that detail out of place? Why doesn’t it just say that Pharaoh asked them to pray, and they did,…?  The Ohr Hachaim answers that this fact – that some of the crops were miraculously spared from the hail – was what prompted Moses to say that Pharaoh would not really let the Jews leave. Once Pharaoh saw that there was a miracle and some crops survived, he let himself believe that there was more than one Deity in control, and that some other Deity prevented Hashem from destroying the crops under its control. That is why it is so essential for the Torah to tell us about this miraculous saving of the crops, to understand the hardening of Pharaohs’ heart.

Nachmanidies explains, this is really the explanation of why Hashem hardened the heart of Pharaoh. Once Pharaoh was under attack from the first few plagues, he would have given in just to escape them. Hashem made his heart harder, so that he will make an objective decision whether to return to Hashem or not.

Often we feel overwhelmed by a challenge that we face in life. If we can just bear this thought in mind –  if the Almighty picked a given situation for us, it’s because we can rise to that situation and overcome the challenges that face us from it, then we will have a much easier time dealing with it. This episode of Pharaoh has to teach us that all details of any struggle that we have are given to us with Divine providence, that will enable us somehow to shine from the circumstance that we have to deal with.

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.

KC 360 – Parshas Eikev | The Kollel Connection

KC 360 – Parshas Eikev | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

July 26th  Candle lighting 8:07 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 Shabbos we read  Parshas Eikev.  In Parshas Eikev the Torah describes to us the special closeness that Hashem has to the Jewish people. The Torah tells us “And you shall know in your heart, that just as a father chastises his son, so too does Hashem your G-d chastise you”. (Deuteronomy 8:5) The famed commentary Ohr Hachaim explains that the Torah is telling us more than just a fact. He explains that the Torah is teaching us to see the bond of love that Hashem has for us. The very reality that Hashem punishes us, is proof that He cares about us.  When a person sees someone else’s child do bad, it doesn’t bother him so much. Very often he won’t bother to chastise him at all. However, when a person sees their own child do wrong, it really bothers them. They will not be able to remain quiet. The fact that Hashem chastises us, and doesn’t just look the other way when we do bad, proves that He has the closeness to us that a father has to his children.

This, the Ohr Hachaim, explains, is why the Torah uses the expression that “Hashem your G-d chastises you.” The very fact that there is rebuke, indicates our closeness to Hashem. If Hashem was not our G-d, He wouldn’t bother giving us rebuke.

The Gaon of Vilna expressed this idea in a similar way. The verse says in Proverbs, “For  the one who Hashem loves He will give rebuke to, and as a father he will love his son.” (Proverbs 3:12) The Gaon of Vilna explained that if someone gives his friend rebuke, and the friend does not listen to him, he leaves him to go on his own way. However, if a son doesn’t listen to his father’s rebuke, he does not just leave him, but continues to rebuke him until he leaves his bad ways. The reason he treats his son differently, is because of the great love that he has for him. This leaves tremendous pain with the father if he allows his child to do the wrong thing.

Proof of this love, comes when he stops giving rebuke to his son. At that point, the limitless love of a father pours out to his son. This is what the verse in Proverbs is telling us – For the one Hashem loves He will give rebuke to – but this is an act of love, as a father to a son. Proof of this is, that when Hashem has finished giving us rebuke, He will shower us with blessing as a father does to His children.

Of course we don’t look for punishment, and hope not to deserve it. But the Ohr Hachaim tells us that the Torah is trying to lift us. When, G-d forbid, we do experience punishment, in whatever shape it is, we have to try to see the closeness to Hashem that is being imparted to us in this punishment. Of course, punishment need not be a life threatening situation. The Talmud teaches us that even when we have the inconvenience of putting our hands into our pockets and pulling out the wrong coin, that is also a form of punishment. Whatever the shape of the punishment that we experience is, the Ohr Hachaim gives us a new perspective on accepting it – to try to find the love and connection to Hashem that is in it.

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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