Posts Tagged 'sin'

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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Yom Kippur 2014/5775 | The Kollel Connection

Yom Kippur 2014/5775 | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

October 3, 2014 – Candle lighting 6:20, Shabbos/Yom Kippur Ends 7:28

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 celebrate Yom Kippur –  the Day of Atonement. In a very beautiful statement in the mishna, Rabbi Akiva tells us “Happy are you, the Jewish people. Before Whom do you become pure, and Who cleanses you? Your father in heaven…” (Yoma 85b). At first glance Rabbi Akiva’s statement seems a little unnecessary. Certainly when we are given a chance to purify ourselves, and to start fresh, that is a cause for celebration. Why would it be necessary for Rabbi Akiva to point this out? Doesn’t everyone who gets a chance to start fresh feel joy?

The Nesivos Shalom offers a beautiful thought to answer this. Rabbi Akiva is not talking about the fact that we become cleansed. He is talking about how we become cleansed. After a Jew has become ritually defiled through a whole year, how can he or she suddenly become purified of all their sins? How can those spiritual impurities that separate between this Jew and Hashem suddenly disappear?

Rabbi Akiva is pointing out that the very fact that we are so close to Hashem, that is the very cause of the purity that cleans away the effect of sin. The more we feel and recognize the closeness we have to Hashem, the more we are purified from sin.

In another approach, the Nesivas Shalom suggests that the point of Rabbi Akiva is pointing to us to recognize the very source of our atonement is the joy that we feel knowing that we are a  child to the Master of the World, and that Hashem is our father. When we can feel it properly,  then that closeness to Hashem comes to us, and we stand much closer to obtaining atonement.

May this realization bring us closer to Hashem, and help us come back to Him, amongst the entire Jewish people!!!!

Wishing you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

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

KC 362 – Parshas Shoftim | The Kollel Connection

KC 362 – Parshas Shoftim | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

August 9th  Candle lighting 7:46 Shabbos Ends 8:52 PM

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

This Shabbos we read  Parshas Shoftim. In Parshas Shoftim  the Torah tells us what to do if a Jewish man or woman sin before Hashem and break His covenant by serving an idol or another deity. The Torah tells us that when we hear of this we must investigate this thoroughly.  If we find that this is true, and this terrible sin has been done in the Jewish people, then we must punish this individual in the most severe way, with capital punishment. (Deuteronomy 17:4)     The commentaries wonder, why does the Torah have to mention that this sin as done “in the Jewish people”? What do the words “in the Jewish people” add to explaining the magnitude  of this sin of idol worship? Obviously, one who denies the very being of his or her Creator deserves the most severe punishment. However, that it is a point that is clear with or without the Torah telling us that this sin occurred “in the Jewish people”? Why are these words added to explain the sin that has been done?

The commentaries offer a most beautiful and important point. Whenever a Jew does a sin there is an effect that is made upon the entire Jewish people. This brings down the spiritual level of all of us. It dulls our senses to feelings of spirituality that we naturally have, it leaves us feeling less resistance to doing a sin, and less apt to do good deeds (mitzvohs). This is what the Torah teaches us with the words  “in the Jewish people”. Never can a Jew feel that his or her actions have no consequence to our people. Every ting that we do has an effect upon others, whether we see that effect or not.

If this is true in a negative sense, this is certainly true in a positive way. Our Sages tell us that the power of good is 500 times more powerful than the power of evil. If when we do a negative deed there is an effect on others, then when we do a good deed – a  mitzvah, there certainly is an effect on others. This is a most important lesson. The Torah wants us to realize and feel how important the actions we take are. Whether in a positive sense, or a negative sense, there is no such thing as ever just doing something that has no bearing on others.  The Torah teaches us that every action of ours affects others; it is truly “in the Jewish people”.

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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