Posts Tagged 'Shavuos'

Parshas Bamidbar | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Bamidbar | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 22, 2015 – Candle lighting 7:56 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 this week in honor of the upcoming marriage of Shabsi Travitsky and Bracha Pinter. May they built a bayis neeman byisroel, and special and amazing Jewish home, that will be a true source of nachas for their parents, grandparents, and all of Klall Yisroel!!!

This week we read Parshas Bamidbar. This Shabbos also marks the day before Shavuos, as we prepare to commemorate the holiday that changed the world, as Hashem gave the Torah to the Jewish people on this day. In the beginning of the Parsha we are taught a lesson that really ties in with the theme of the study of Torah that we focus on during the holiday of Shavuos. The book of Numbers begins by stating that Hashem spoke to Moses in the desert. The Sages explain that this is a statement meant to tell us more than a simple historical fact. They explain that one of the basic components necessary for the Jews to get the Torah, was that it be given in the desert. Why is that?

In truth, if we would be the ones deciding where the Torah should be given, would we pick the desert, or pick a beautiful oasis? Why was the Torah in fact given in the desert, in such an unattractive and unpleasant setting, when there are so many much more beautiful places where the Torah could have been given?

The commentaries tell us that there is most important lesson here. To acquire Torah one has to be ready to give of oneself and to sacrifice. If one feels they can only study if they have material wealth, financial success, or physical pleasures, they will never succeed in studying. There will always be distractions, and always be things that come up that they feel that they need. The ability to focus, to concentrate, and to try to really understand what they are learning, will be all but impossible. This lesson is the necessary introduction before beginning to study –  we must first really commit to giving it all it takes, giving it all we got, giving of our very fiber and essence to study and appreciate the great gift of the Torah that we were given on Shavuos. If we really learn from the lesson of being in the desert, we can then be prepared to truly apply ourselves properly in the study of Torah.

Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos and a Blessed Shavuos!!!!!!!! 

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 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.

“Naaseh Vnishma” | The Kollel Connection

“Naaseh Vnishma” | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

June 6, 2014 – Candle lighting 8:08, Shabbos Ends 9:16

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.

We have just finished celebrating the holiday of Shavuos, when we celebrate G-d’s giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. Our Sages tell us, that the Almighty first offered the Torah to all the nations of the world, but they asked “What was in it”? Each nation heard about a part of the Torah that it did not want to keep – whether not to steal, not to commit immoral acts,… and refused to take it. When the Jewish people were offered the Torah, they didn’t ask what it was that they were accepting. In an amazing act of dedication to G-d, they unconditionally accepted the Torah, saying “naaseh vnishma” – we will do the Torah even before we understand it, and then we will try to understand it. This unconditional acceptance of the Torah was something that stands as a merit to the Jewish people till this day.

This week I received an email that certainly flies against this very concept of naaseh vnishmah – the concept of accepting Hashem’s will as something that we must follow. It would be more comfortable to not even bring up this subject, and to pretend that this email never came. But it  did, and I believe that this email must be addressed, to clarify the severity of the issues involved for those who may not know better. Hiding behind some very flowery titles such as “equality”, “respect”, tolerance”,… some of the most severe prohibitions of the Torah are tossed out, trampled upon, and disregarded.

This email noted that this weekend was LGBTQ Pride and Jewish LGBTQ Pride. The email suggested that “It is a time to stand alongside and with our LGBTQ Jewish friends, family, colleagues, and congregants. It is a time to speak up for equal rights for all; to celebrate our diversity and unity–to celebrate Life.” And then the email proposed that special ”prayers” be said this Saturday in Synagogues, that were written by people who called themselves “Rabbis”!

If we are looking for the Jewish attitude to this movement, how far do we have to go? What does the Torah mean when it says “And a man you shall not lie with as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination.“? (Leviticus 18:22) What is the punishment contained in the Torah in Leviticus 20:13?   Does the Torah leave the attitude of a Jew towards these ways of living unclear?

True, people may have different types of temptations and instincts. If one will say that they have a temptation to live this kind of lifestyle, and that it is hard for them to control it, that may be so. But are we allowed to do things just because we have an urge to do them? Is the fact that the Torah does tell these people to control their feelings in no undefinite terms unclear? If a person has a passion to steal does that allow him to steal? If a person has a temptation to commit adultery, does that become permitted? Does the Torah not make demands of us to control our passions?

Is there anything unclear about the intent of the Torah? The obvious truth is that the Torah’s response to this is clear as daylight. It remains the responsibility of people to live up to the Torah’s standards.

We can understand the reason for those people who are caught up in desires for alternative lifestyles to try to change the Torah, and try to allow this behavior that the Torah clearly calls an abomination. After all, it is hard to change. Controlling temptations takes work, and effort. What about the “Rabbis” who are advocating this?

Why would a person that calls themselves a “Rabbi” advocate  the “sacred work of creating spaces that are welcoming and affirming” to such terrible behavior? Is such a person a “Rabbi” or a clown? Does a  “Rabbi’” do what is popular or what is right? Is a  Rabbi supposed to follow what public opinion polls show is popular? Is a Rabbi supposed to follow or lead?

May the spirit that we just celebrated in Shavuos, of “naaseh vnishma” – of doing the will of the Almighty no matter whether we understand it or not, whether it is easy or not, and whether we would have suggested it or not, come back to the entire Jewish people soon in our days!
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 Naso/Shavuos | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Naso/Shavuos | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 30, 2013 – Candle lighting 8:03, Shabbos Ends 9:11

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.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Naso.  It is also the second of the special five days leading up to Shavuos, the day we received the Torah from Hashem. These five days are forever afforded a special status, since the time of the revelation at Sinai. The story of the revelation begins with the arrival of the Jewish people to Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the month of Sivan. This year that comes out on Friday. From that point on, until the day of  Shavuos, were five days that the Jews prepared for the most important event that would change the world forever – the Revelation at Sinai. On the second day of Sivan, (which this year is this Shabbos), Hashem told Moses to give the Jewish people a message: “And now if you will listen to My voice and keep My covenant, you will be to Me a treasure from all the nations,…. And you will be to Me a kingdom of officers and a holy people,….” (Exodus 19:5-6).

If we would pick an introductory line to tell the Jewish people before giving them the Torah, what would it be? Would we offer a sales pitch trying to show the beauty of Torah? Would we offer a strong warning how important it is to observe the Torah – to describe the severity of judgment and the punishment that awaits a person for every single time they have sinned? Perhaps we would describe how great the eternal reward is for every single one of the mitzvohs that we do?

Hashem chose none of the above. Rather, he chose to talk about how important we are. Why were these the lines that Hashem told Moses to tell the Jewish people before they get the Torah?

If we think about it, what is the greatest factor that prevents us from using all our potential to serve Hashem? Could you imagine the force and power that we would pray with if we could sense that He is ignoring everything else that is going on in the world, and just listening to us talk to Him? Could you imagine a person saying “I’m too tired to go to Synagogue” if he felt that the Almighty is waiting for him?

In truth, one could easily see that the source of most of our shortcomings in serving Hashem, is a lack of appreciation for how special our mitzvahs are. If we fully understood and felt how special we are to Hashem, and how beloved the things we do are to Him, then our entire approach to doing the commandments would be different.

Just for a quick illustration:   Can you imagine the excitement of someone who is asked to prepare something for the President and to eat it at a private meal with him? Will he or she mind making the food? Will it bother them to get up early that morning? Will they feel resentment at having to do this, or feel happy at this special moment?

This is our introduction to Sinai: Realize that you are my treasure. Value that relationship; act as a holy people act, as the most cherished people on earth. With an introduction like that, we are sure to find it much easier to joyfully accept on ourselves the responsibilities and obligations that we were taught at Sinai.

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 369 – Shmini Atzeres | The Kollel Connection

KC 369 – Shmini Atzeres | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

September 25th    Candle lighting 6:33 P.M.

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.

We join the entire Jewish world in ushering in the Holiday of Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. Shmini Atzeres is a short holiday, in Torah law only one day, celebrated after the Seven days of Sukkos. Outside of Israel we celebrate this for two days. On the last day of this holiday, we celebrate Simchas Torah, as we complete the yearly cycle of the reading of the Torah.  Our Sages teach us that Shmini Atzeres is not simply the last day of Sukkos, but in fact is a separate holiday from Sukkos. This is borne out by the fact that on Shmini Atzeres we say the Shehechiyanu blessing that is only recited on a new holiday, unlike the seventh day of Passover when the shehechiyanu blessing is not recited.  Yet, we are told in the Torah of three holidays a year that we go to the Temple, not of four. Why is this? We also find that for Passover, Shavuos, and Succos, we are given a reason in the Torah. For Shmini Atzeres no reason is given, other than the statement that it is an Atzeres, (an assembly) (Leviticus 23:36). Why is that? Another question that needs explanation is, why do we in fact celebrate finishing the Torah on the end of Shmini Atzeres? True, this may be when we finish the yearly cycle of reading the Torah, but that could have just as easily been arranged to happen at a different time of the year. Why did the Sages institute the reading of the Torah to be completed and celebrated at this time of the year?

In the classic work, Nesivos Shalom, the author offers a beautiful explanation for this. In Jewish thought, the number seven represents things that we can attain within the realm of nature, things that are attainable in the seven days of creation. Regarding holiness, the number seven represents the level of holiness that we can attain in this world. The number eight represents holiness that is beyond or above the natural world.

The Seven days of Passover and Succos are very holy days, days of spiritual awakening and special connections between the Jew and his or her Creator. Special mitzvahs help forge that connection, the matzoh, the maror, the lulav, the sukkah,…  Shmini Atzeres is a whole new level. After traveling through Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos, a Jew is now at the level eight – at a level of connection so special that he or she finds themselves directly connecting to Hashem. The highest of levels – connecting with love rather than with fear – is now felt and experienced.

This is why we are directed to celebrate Simchas Torah, the joy of finishing the Torah and feeling our closeness to Hashem, on this day. The day that we feel love, closeness, and connection to our Creator is the perfect day to express the warmth and attachment that we have to His Torah and our joy in being the fortunate people who have received it.

Wishing you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Joyous Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah!!!!!!!!

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org  Sponsorships are only $36 a week.

KC 368 – Succos | The Kollel Connection

KC 368 – Succos | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

September 18th    Candle lighting 6:53

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.  We appreciate your comments and feedback.

We join the entire Jewish world in ushering in the Holiday of Succos this Wednesday night. For the next Seven days the Torah gives us a mitzvah to dwell in the Succah. At the same time we are given a mitzvah to rejoice before Hashem on this Holiday. As Maimonides writes, “Although there is a mitzvah to rejoice on all Holidays, on Succos there was a special mitzvah to rejoice before  Hashem,…. “. This is clearly indicated in our holiday prayers, where we describe Succos as zman simchasainu, the time of our joy. Clearly, although all holidays have a mitzvah to rejoice, Succos has an extra level of this. Why is this so, and how does living in the Succah play into this?

Rav Chaim Erentrai explains that the three festivals of Passover, Shavuos, and Succos each represent one part of our basic belief in the Almighty. Passover is to show our belief in Hashem, who created the world and can change whatever He wants in it. Shavuos is to affirm our belief in the Torah being given to us from heaven. The third holiday, Succos, is to express our knowledge and belief that Hashem controls and directs every aspect of our life. To reinforce that, and to stress that we are not only remembering a time thousands of years ago when Hashem protected the Jews in the desert, but we are recognizing that to this very minute He directs our lives and watches over us, we leave the comfort and safety of our home, and stay directly under that protection of Hashem.

If we think about what can make us happy and what can leave us unhappy, one simple fact emerges. When we feel that we are dependent on the mercy and whims of others, we get frustrated and upset. As long as other people can affect our well being, we are nervous and can easily become disappointed. When we realize that no one can affect us, unless it is Divinely ordained to be that way, then we can feel calm and assured of ourselves.

This is the joy that the Torah wants us to attain on Succos, a joy of unparalleled levels that  can leave us constantly serving Hashem with joy. The Torah tells us to leave our permanent home, to stay in the temporary dwelling of a succah, and to feel that we are directly under the protection of Hashem. If we can feel that way, then we can find ourselves feeling true joy in our lives as we feel connected to Him.

Wishing you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Sweet Succos!!!!!!!!

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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