Posts Tagged 'Rosh Chodesh'

Parshas Ki Sisa | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Ki Sisa | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 6, 2015 – Candle lighting 5:38 pm, Shabbos Ends 6:47 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 memory of Fraidy Malka bas Yitzchok Moshe Halevi, Mrs. Frieda Einfeld, a’h. 

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Ki Sisa. In the Parsha, we read the episode of the golden calf, the tragic incident in which the Jewish people made a golden calf to replace Moses, who they believed had died. The Medrash tells us that when the Jewish men wanted to build the golden calf, they went to their wives to take their jewelry for this task. The women refused to give their jewelry, telling the men “How could we deny Hashem Who has done for us all these miracles, and make an idol”? When the men saw that they could not get the jewelry from their wives, they gave the jewelry that they themselves had, and built the golden calf from that, without the jewelry of their wives.

The Sages tell us that in the merit of their refusal to give their jewelry for idolatry, Hashem gave Jewish women a special holiday – the holiday of Rosh Chodesh, (the first day of every Jewish month), which to this day is considered a holiday for the women more than for the men. The Tur adds to this, that the three festivals of the year, Passover, Succos, and Shavuos, are related to the three patriarchs. The days of twelve days of Rosh Chodesh are related to the twelve tribes, the twelve sons of Jacob. When the Jewish men sinned with the golden calf, Rosh Chodesh was taken from them and given to their wives. Based on this, many women have a custom not to do various forms of work on Rosh Chodesh.

If we think about the sin of the golden calf, we can see a very powerful lesson here. The early commentaries (Nachmanidies, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra,… ) teach us that the Jews did not mean to serve the golden calf as a deity. No fool would say to a piece of metal that was just a few minutes ago jewelry on their face, “You are my G-d oh Israel”! Rather, the point of the golden calf was to appoint a leader who would lead them as Moses did. The Revelation at Sinai had left them with a picture of Hashem’s Throne, with the image of a golden calf.

If so, there was no deep philosophical battle going on between believers of different faiths. What was the issue between the men and women here, and what do we learn from the behavior of the women? The point is that the women simply did what they were supposed to do. Their belief in G-d was clear and simple: If we are not supposed to appoint an intermediary between us and G-d, than we won’t.  The men allowed the panic of the moment that they thought Moses died, and the desires they may have felt to be free of his leadership, to lead them in the direction that they took – to make a golden calf. The women taught us the power of what we call emunah peshuta – clear, unequivocal faith. When we have a situation that can be challenging, we must learn from these righteous women and muster the strength to simply stay the course, and do what we are supposed to.

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 Bo| The Kollel Connection

Parshas Bo | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 23, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:49 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:58 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 again dedicated in memory of  Debbie Mindel, who tragically passed away a few weeks ago. May Hashem comfort her husband Ray, her children Reva  and Simon, and the entire family amongst the other mourners of Israel.  

This week we read Parshas Bo. In the Parsha we read of the first mitzvah, the first commandment, given to the Jewish people. That is the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh, the mitzvah to sanctify the new month. Every month the Jewish court had to hear testimony from witnesses who saw the new moon, and sanctify it.  The Torah tells us that the month of Nissan, which is the month of the Exodus and the month in which we celebrate Passover, is the first month of the year.

Rav Moshe Feinstien poses an obvious question: Why is it that when counting the year we change the year from the month of Tishrai (Rosh Hashana), but when counting the months we change in Nissan? Wouldn’t it make sense to change both at the same point in time? Certainly in the secular calendar, we count both January as the start of a new year, and as the first month of the year. Why do we do it different in the Jewish calendar?

He explains that there are two separate lessons taught to us by these two countings. On Rosh Hashana we mark the creation of the world. We recognize Hashem as the Creator of the world, and acknowledge His Kingship over the world. This is done on Rosh Hashana, as this is the day the world was created. On Nissan, we focus on hashgacha pratis – on the lesson of Hashem’s involvement and direction in the world. The lesson of the Exodus , the ten plagues, the crossing of the sea,… was that Hashem is involved in this world to this day, directing what goes on in it. Whether we understand everything yet or not, He has a reason for everything that goes on, and directs all that happens in this world. In this lesson, Nissan is the beginning of the year.

            If we appreciate this, the mitzvah the Jewish people were given of marking Rosh Chodesh is much more than just marking the first day of the month. We are being taught that Hashem is involved in all aspects of this world. Rather than to worry about details of our life, about events in the world, about things happening around us, we are given the lesson that Hashem is watching over and directing all events in this world. Certainly Hashem asks us to make our effort. However, at the end of the day, He is controlling what will and won’t happen. The result of realizing this, the serenity that should be felt by a person who is aware of this, is something that hopefully will give a person much more calmness and pleasure in all aspects of his or her life. Frustrations, anxieties, and pressures can hopefully change to pleasure, happiness, and serenity. This is the power of this mitzvah we read of – the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh.

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 Metzora | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Metzora | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

April 4, 2013 – Candle lighting 7:09, Shabbos Ends 8:18

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 Metzora. We also marked the beginning of the month of the Jewish month of Nissan. At first glance, this may seem to be of little significance. Twelve times a year we mark Rosh Chodesh, as a new Jewish month starts. Is Nissan any different than the other 11 months of the year?  Yet, our Sages tell us something very unique about the month of Nissan. They tell us that just as our first redemption from Egypt occurred in Nissan, so too our final redemption will be in Nissan, when the messiah comes. This month ushered in tonight, is the month of redemption. Something in the message of Rosh Chodesh Nissan gives us the potential to be redeemed. What is that message?

What put us into exile in the first place, and what is the power that takes us out? The Torah tells us that the enslavement of the Jewish people began, when “A new king arose over Egypt, who didn’t know Joseph”. Our Sages tell us, that in fact this king was not physically new, and in reality he knew Joseph very well. The description of him being ”new”, and not knowing Joseph, is merely a reflection of his attitude. The old policy of respect and decency towards Joseph and his people was out. The “new” policy, of persecution and subjugation of the Jews, was in.

The commentaries teach us to understand this on a deeper level. When we serve G-d, when we do commandments, there’s the physical act we do. However, any mitzvah, any good deed, does not end there. There is the attitude, the feeling and emotion, that we put into our relationship with G-d. Is my prayer, my act of kindness, or my study of Torah just a repeat of something I did yesterday? Or there a vibrancy, energy, freshness, and excitement, in the way I am serving Hashem.

When we do mitzvahs properly – we have that freshness and that attitude of being “new”. When we lose it, when we feel like there no meaning in what we are doing, just actions that we do by rote, then the freshness is given to others. G-d sends other nations like Pharaoh who develop their own “new attitudes” and “new approaches “ to the Jews. We end up being subjugated and persecuted.

Rosh Chodesh represents rebirth: The new moon is reborn. What happened in the past happened – but now we are starting fresh. When the Jewish people received the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh Nissan, we got a lot more than a day to celebrate: We got a chance to start fresh. Maybe in the past we lost the right attitude of how to serve G-d – but on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the first month, we started anew. With that attitude, we had the merit to leave the servitude of Egypt, and to emerge as free people, serving our Creator.

If we think about new attitudes this Rosh Chodesh Nissan, there is a lot to think about. The Jewish people in America clearly need a “new” direction, if we are going to survive as a people. When the Pew report tells us that most American Jews are intermarrying, and will disappear within one or two generations as Jews, there is a clear need for a “new” approach. When Rabbis are scared to tell their congregations that the right thing to do is to marry another Jew, that intermarriage is wrong, that we are a proud people who were chosen by G-d to bring His message to the world, then something is very wrong. Clearly the old approach of watering down Judaism to our congregants, of telling them that they can do whatever they want and still be good Jews, is not working – and not true. The wakeup call that should be emerging from this Pew report has yet to be heard. It’s clearly time for a new approach – of telling it the way it is. We need make no apologies for the Almighty. He has clearly told us what He expects of us – and we have to follow His direction. The old notion that we can’t tell our youth what is expected of them, has to change. We have to develop a new attitude, recognizing the greatness in every Jewish boy and girl, in every Jewish man and woman, and telling them what the Almighty really wants from them. With a new approach let’s hope that this Rosh Chodesh Nissan will herald in a new era of redemption and relief, as all Jews return to their Creator and unite to serve Him together.

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.


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