Posts Tagged 'Talmud'

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 Vayikrah | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayikrah | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 20, 2015 – Candle lighting 6:54 pm, Shabbos Ends 7:53 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 honor of the birth of Bris of  Zevy Biron. Mazel tov to parents Naftoli and Tzirel Leah Biron, and to Grandparents Rabbi Asher and Chani Biron, and Rabbi Moshe and Malky Travitsky.

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Vayikrah. The Parsha begins with the word Vayikra, (and He called), which means that Hashem called to Moses to tell him the laws that are discussed in the Parsha. In a most unusual change, the last letter in the word vayikra – which is an aleph, is written smaller than the rest of the letters in the Torah. The Sages ask, why is this written so differently than regular?   The Sages tell us, that Moses really didn’t want to write the letter aleph at all at the end of the word vayikra. If he would have left out that letter, it would have spelled the word vayikar – which means that Hashem chanced upon Moses. This wording would show much less importance to Moses – it would indicate that Hashem spoke to Moses when He “chanced” upon him, but not that Hashem specifically called him. Hashem wanted the idea that He called Moses, an expression of Hashem’s love and connection to him, to be used. Moses, in his great humility, wanted to write vayikar – which would have shown just that Hashem was not so close to him. The end result was that Moses did write the aleph, but was allowed to make it small.

The commentaries ask, if we are being taught the lesson of humility, why couldn’t Hashem allow Moses to leave out the letter  aleph all together and write vayikar? Would the lesson of the importance of humility be that much stronger if the vayikar (and He chanced upon) was used?

The late Torah Sage Rav Eliezer Shach explains, that there is a second lesson being taught to us here. If the word Vayikar (and He chanced upon) was used, a terrible mistake could be made. A person may think that there is such a thing as “chance” in the life of a Jew. In truth, nothing ever happens by chance.  There is no such a thing as “chance” in the life of a Jew.  A person must always realize that whatever is happening to them in life is happening for a reason. We can never feel alone or abandoned.  In order to reinforce this lesson the Torah used the word vayikra (and He called) rather then vayikar (and He chanced upon).

In this  one small aleph we are taught two huge lessons, the importance of humility and at the same time the importance of recognizing the hand of Hashem that guides every step of our everyday life.

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 Vayakheil/Pekudai | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayakheil/Pekudai | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 13, 2015 – Candle lighting 6:46 pm, Shabbos Ends 7:55 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 honor of the birth of Baby Biron. Mazel tov to parents Naftoli and Tzirel Leah Biron, and to Grandparents Rabbi Asher and Chani Biron, and Rabbi Moshe and Malky Travitsky. We hope you can  join us for the bris next Thursday morning in the shul in Bensalem!!!

We appreciate your comments and feedback.

This week we read Parshas Vayakheil and Parshas Pekudai. In the Parsha, we read of the donations that were made to build the Tabernacle. The Torah tells us that the princes brought their special donation – the priceless gems used on the shoulders and breastplate of the high priest. In truth, this was worth more than all the other donations that were made for the tabernacle. Yet, when the Torah tells us that this present was offered by the princes,  the word “nesieim”– meaning princes, is spelled missing a letter. The Sages tell us that this was a punishment to the princes, for being lazy when the time came to join the Jewish people and donate money to the building of the Tabernacle.

Why did these great men not join the rest of the Jewish people in providing the funds needed for the building of Tabernacle? The Sages tell us that the princes didn’t believe that the Jewish people would really  donate all the money needed to finish the building. Therefore, they said “Let everyone else give whatever they want. We will give the rest to finish off the Tabernacle.” At first glance this seems a strange. Wouldn’t any of us rejoice to get such an amazing offer for the project that we are trying to finish? It would be the greatest joy for the executive director of any institution to know that all their budget deficits are covered at the end of the year. Why are the princes faulted for making this offer?

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz explains that the Torah is teaching us a lesson in human emotions. We may sometimes think that we are motivated to do something for a very good and noble reason; while in reality our motivation is for another reason. The princes thought that their reason was because in this way they would be helping more. The Torah teaches us that in reality, they really had other factors – in this case laziness – that prevented them from offering their donation right away.

The story is told of a great person who many years ago, (before the dangers of smoking were known), when cigarettes had to be rolled by hand, who felt a deep craving for a cigarette in the middle of the night. He awoke, and decided that it was too much indulgence in this world for him to take the cigarette and make it. Then he thought to himself, “this may be laziness that I don’t want to get out of bed and roll a cigarette”. In the end, he decided to get out of bed, roll the cigarette, and then not smoke it!!

The practical lesson that we learn from this is to always try to think over what we are doing twice. We can never assume that our reasoning for doing something is pure. We always have to think it over a second time, to analyze why we are doing or reacting in the particular manner that we want 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.

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.

Parshas Tetzaveh | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Tetzaveh | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

February 27, 2015 – Candle lighting 5:31 pm, Shabbos Ends 6:40 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 Tetzaveh. It is also Sabbas Zachor, the weekend that we read the section in the Torah in which we are commended to eradicate all vestige of the evil nation Amalaik.

Rav Laib Chasmen, one of the late mussar (ethics) commentators, points out a lesson from the story of Amalaik that is important for every Jew to recognize. What was the origin of Amalaik? The Talmud (Sanhedrin 99b) tells us that there was a woman named Timna. She desired to convert to Judaism, and join the house of Abraham. When she came to Abraham to ask to join his people, he turned her down. In spite of the fact that Abraham’s entire life was dedicated to reaching out to people and introducing them to monotheism, apparently he saw in this woman something that made him feel that she was not the right person to convert. Isaac and Jacob subsequently also rejected her. In the end, she married a son of Esau named Eliphaz, and they had a son named Amalaik. This son became the arch enemy of the Jewish people. Why was he born from her? Because the Patriarchs should not have pushed her away, but should have accepted her. (Ibid)

Rav Chasmen points out, we know that Abraham tried all the time to reach out to people. The very fact that he did not accept Timna, indicates that he saw something wrong with her. Indeed, we see that her son was the  wicked Amalaik. Nevertheless, Abraham is faulted for pushing her away. The lesson is obvious: In life, we often are able to help people come closer to Hashem but for various reasons, we hold back. This is wrong. We learn from this episode of Amalaik that we must reach out to whoever we can, and bring them closer to Hashem, to the best of our ability.

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 Vayechi| The Kollel Connection

Parshas Vayechi | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

January 6, 2014 – Candle lighting 4:27 pm, Shabbos Ends 5:36 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 dedicated in memory of Debbie Mindel, who tragically passed away this week. Debbie was responsible, caring and always full of a special energy. In the year we had the privelege to know her, we watched her amazing growth along with her family.  She brought with her smiles and joy and made us feel uplifted every time we met her.  Her sudden untimely passing leaves a void that is impossible to fill.

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 Vayechi. In the Parsha we read the blessings that Jacob gave to each of his sons before he died. In the blessing of Judah, we find a very interesting verse that it used, with a very uplifting and powerful message. When Jacob tells of the great success that will be the future of Judah, he says “Red eyed from wine, and lben shinayim maichalav – white toothed from milk” (Genesis 49:12). The simple meaning of these words is that Judah will have such an abundance of wine, that his eyes will look red, and such an abundance of milk, that his teeth will look white. This is a blessing of material wealth for the tribe of Judah.

Our Sages, in a play on the words, offer another thought. “Better is a person who whitens his or her teeth (lbun shinayim)  by smiling at someone, than one who gives them milk to drink (maichalav). (Talmud, Kesuvos 111b). The Alter of Slabodka points out an amazing lesson that we learn from this statement of our Sages. Imagine how much respect we would have for someone who schlepped every day to various hospitals and institutions, to give milk to the residents there who so desperately needed it. Words could not be enough to describe the kindness of this person. Yet, the Sages point out that even greater is one who smiles at another person and lifts their spirits. The wealth of opportunity that this opens up for us is indescribable. Throughout our day, as we come in contact with people from all walks of life, we have a constant opportunity to lift people’s spirits and to make them feel good – just by smiling at them. What a special opportunity!! The Sages instruct us “Accept every human being with a pleasant expression. This is to say, that if a person gives someone all the gifts that there are in the world, but does so with a sour face, it’s as if they have given nothing. However, if they accept their friend with a smile it is considered as if they had given them all the gifts of the world.” We have to realize the hundreds of opportunities that we have to do kindness in such a simple way, every day, and utilize them by giving people hope and  a good feeling – all with one friendly smile!!!

The Talmud tells us that one time the Sage Rav Broka Chuzaah was in a marketplace and met Elijah. He asked Elijah if there were any people in this particular marketplace who were assured a place in the world to come. Elijah pointed to two men. Rav Broka ran over to them, and asked them what they did. They replied, “we are jesters. Whenever we see someone who looks sad or depressed, we go over to them and cheer them up” (Talmud Taanis 22a). The clear lesson we are taught is how careful we must be to try to lift other people’s spirits.

We all mourn the loss of Debbie Mindel who lived a life bringing joy to others. She was a unique woman who lifted the spirits of all.  In the short time we were privileged to know her, she inspired us! May Hashem help us all follow in her footsteps and five strength to Ray, Reva, Simon and her entire family at this time.

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 Ki Tzaisai | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Ki Tzaisai | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

September 19, 2014 – Candle lighting 6:43, Shabbos Ends 7:50

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 Bensalem Kollel members for all their help in putting our dinner together this week.  

This week we read Parshas Nitzavim.  Parshas Nitzavim contains one of the most famous verses in the Torah: “For this mitzvah that I am commanding you today, is not far from you, nor is it distant. It is not in the heavens that you should say who will climb for us to heaven to take it for us, and teach it to us so we will do it. Nor is it over the ocean to say, who will cross over the ocean to take it for us, and teach it to us so we will do it. Rather it is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart to do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

What mitzvah is the Torah referring to when it tells us that it is so close to us to be able to do it? Nachmanidies explains that the mitzvah referred to here is the mitzvah of Teshuva / repentance. The Torah is telling us that Teshuva is very close to us, and there is no excuse not to repent. The commentaries all raise the same question: How can the Torah tell us that Teshuva is so simple and so close to us? We all know how hard it is for us to change our habits or ways of life? Is it easy for someone who smokes to stop smoking? How many people try over and over, again and again, to break the habit? How many people try to go on a diet yet fail? Why are the life changes that come along with Teshuva considered “easy” to do?

There is a beautiful approach offered, that we would like to share today. The Talmud tells us, that our evil inclination, our temptations and desire to sin, is very powerful. In fact, the Talmud tells us that it is so powerful that we really would not be able to overcome it, if not for the fact that Hashem gives us help. If Hashem helps us with it anyway, then why is it even  regarded  as a challenge? Why should we get reward for overcoming it?

The answer is, that Hashem doesn’t just give us a “free ride”. We don’t just get an automatic pass to go to Heaven. Hashem says, “You make the first step! You open a hole the size of a needle, and then I will finish the job! I will open gateways the size of the doors of the Temple!!” What the sages are teaching us, is that our job is just to begin the process. If we begin with true sincerity – and really try to come close to Hashem – then we will succeed!! He will make it happen!! If we don’t succeed, there is only one reason – we really are not trying!! If we try – we succeed!

This is the difference between changing other areas of life, and Teshuva. In any other area of life, even if we succeed at first and really try, we may not find the strength to continue to succeed. Teshuva  is different. Teshuva is really close to us; It really is as close as our heart and our mouth. We can do it! If we try – we are guaranteed to succeed – as long as we really try!

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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