Posts Tagged 'Yom Kippur'

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.

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Holiday Crash Course, Part II – Yom Kippur – September 30th

Holiday Crash Course, Part II – Yom Kippur – September 30th

Join us tomorrow night for part II…

 Holiday Crash Course

 

Click Here To RSVP
or email malkytrav@gmail.com

Special Event: Holiday Crash Course, September 23

Special Event: Holiday Crash Course, September 23

The first in a series of educational events…

 Holiday Crash Course

 

Click Here To RSVP
or email malkytrav@gmail.com

Parshas Behar | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Behar| The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 9, 2013 – Candle lighting 7:44, Shabbos Ends 8:53

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.

This week we read Parshas Behar. In Parshas Behar, the Torah tells us of the mitzvah to help a fellow Jew who has come upon hard times. “And if your brother becomes poor, and his hand (means) falter with you  (in your proximity), you shall strengthen him… (Leviticus 25:35) This is the basic commandment to help a Jew. The Torah uses seemingly extra words when it describes the situation of this Jew who is in need of help. It is described as he is poor “with you”. What is the expression of  “with you”? The Jew who is giving the help has not fallen upon hard times. Why would the Torah describe the person who is in need as being  “with you”?

The Ben Ish Chai offers an explanation based upon a story. There was once a king who had an only son. The King wanted his son to learn any type of wisdom possible, so that he would one day be fit to succeed his father, and to take over as king. He hired a very wise man to teach his son. The man trained the prince for a few years, and when they were finished, he sent him back to the king to be tested on what he had learnt. The king tested his son and was amazed with the amount of wisdom that he had been taught. He ordered that 100,000 gold coins be given to the wise man who had taught his son, and that he be treated with great honor and respect.

A little while later, the wise man sent a message to the king, asking that he send the prince back so that he could teach him one more thing that had been left out. When the prince arrived, the  wise man locked the door, and began giving the prince lashes. After whipping him 50 times, he sent the prince back home, bleeding and all bruised up. When the king saw what had been done to his son, he immediately dispatched his soldiers to bring the wise man to him, and to hang him on the gallows. Before the wise man was to be hung, the king asked him the obvious question: “Why did you do such a foolish thing? You were receiving the greatest honor and glory that anyone could get, why did you beat up the prince”?

The wise man responded,”Your majesty, I am an honest person. When you asked me to teach your son all that he would know to be able to be a good king one day, I had a dilemma. One day your son will be the king. As such, he will have to decide how to administer punishments to people who have committed crimes. How will he know how many lashes to give each person? If he has no clue what it feels like to get lashes, how could he decide how many lashes to give for each crime? Maybe he will give so many lashes, that he will kill someone; maybe he will let a criminal who has committed a serious crime escape with a relatively light punishment. I felt that the only way to solve this problem was to teach your son firsthand what it feels like to get punished. Now I can be assured that when he assumes the throne one day, he will punish his subjects in a fair way.”

The king was so impressed with the answer of the wise man, that he freed him and sent him back home with his reward.

This, the Ben Ish Chai explains, is the meaning of the word imach – with you. The Torah wants us not just to give money to a poor person. The Torah wants us to first feel the pain that the poor person has, and understand how he or she feels. Only after that, when we feel the pain of the poor person, can we really try to help him or her.

We so often have to deal with people who are in need. Sometimes it is financial need. Even more often, it is emotional need. Whether a person needs a boost to their morale, to their prestige, to their happiness, or any of the other many areas of life that a person may need help with – the first thing we must do is to try to understand and feel what they are going through. If we can stop before simply giving help, and just try to first feel what our friend is going through, then the help we can hopefully provide will be much stronger and more effective. This lesson, from this simple word  imach – with you,  can hopefully change the way we relate to all those who we try to help.

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 Emor | The Kollel Connection

Parshas Emor| The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

May 2, 2013 – Candle lighting 7:37, Shabbos Ends 8:46

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 Emor. In Parshas Emor, the Torah tells us of the obligation to observe all the holidays. However, when the Torah introduces the holidays, it proceeds telling us about them with a strange line: “Tell the Jewish people, these are the holidays of Hashem. Six days you should work, and on the seventh day you shall rest,…  (Leviticus 23:3) The obvious question is, why would the Torah introduce telling us of the holidays, by telling us about the Shabbos first? Isn’t the topic of Shabbos a separate topic, to be discussed in its time and place? Why would it be spoken about now, as the Holidays are to be discussed? We also find in this week’s Parsha the prohibition of Chilul Hashem, of doing things that desecrate the honor of Hashem. This is situated right before the commandment of Shabbos, always suggesting to us some connection between the two commandments.

The commentaries offer various explanations. I would like to offer a simple thought, based on an incident that just occurred here in Bensalem, Pa. Every year, our township celebrates a very large fall festival called Bensalem pride day, on the first Saturday of October. This is a large festival, described by the township in the following words: “Bensalem Fall Festival is considered one of the “Best of Bucks” community celebrations, in which we host all day entertainment on the TD Bank Amphitheater Stage and our beautiful Central Park grounds, along with amusements, food vendors, street vendors and car show. The day ends with a fabulous concert and then some of the best fireworks on the East Coast.”

This year, of course, in a rare occurrence, the first Saturday of October coincides with Yom Kippur. When it was found out that the township festival would be on Yom Kippur, several Jewish residents were up in arms. They called upon the Mayor to change the date of the event, to another Saturday, at all cost. When he apologized for the oversight, (It is very rare for Yom Kippur to come out on the first Shabbos of October), but explained that at this point it would cost the township thousands of dollars to make a change, he was accused of being an anti Semite, and subjected to all sorts of pressure.

Of course, our Roman Catholic Mayor of Italian descent, Joe DiGirolamo, reached out to us, the Orthodox part of Bensalem, being the most noticeably Jewish residents of the town. I assured the Mayor, that it was irrelevant to any Jew whether the festival was on the first Saturday in October, the last Saturday in September, or a different Saturday in October. The reality is that Saturday always comes out on Shabbos. This has been the case since the first week of Creation, and will be so until the end of time. To any Jew, participating in any festival on the Sabbath would be unthinkable, unless they break the Shabbos,  which is even more severe a prohibition than breaking Yom Kippur. There was (and still is) no reason for the township to change the date of the festival. No good purpose of observing Jewish law could come out of such a change. I even wrote a letter to this effect to the mayor, which was read out loud at a township committee meeting that was discussing the crisis.

The Township committee meeting took place, but the protests didn’t stop. Apparently, to some Jews, Shabbos just didn’t have any relevance. As long as the festival is not on Yom Kippur, they feel free to attend, – and if the township would not understand their feelings, whether or not they had any validity in Jewish law, the Township was being insensitive, not respecting their Jewish “religion”, and would not be allowed to proceed.

When the Torah introduced the festivals to the Jewish people, perhaps it first talked about Shabbos just to try to prevent such a terrible attitude. Many Jews identify with the holidays. They will get matzah on Passover, find an Esrog or Succah on Sukkos, and try to hear a shofar on Rosh Hashana. They will certainly make it to synagogue on Yom Kippur. These few times a year, their Jewish identity comes out in a beautiful and commendable way. But somehow Shabbos, which comes every week, which has been the badge of honor and glory of the Jewish people throughout our history, which is precious enough to be called the sign of the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people – somehow Shabbos just gets lost. The Torah precedes the festivals by instructing about the Shabbos – to tell us –  it’s not enough to just be Jews on the festivals! Keep the Shabbos!!! Mark this special day of rest with holiness, with a day to spend with the family, with a day to shut off from the mundane world and connect with your Creator!!! Then, after you have the weekly bond that will make you a Jew who is connected to the Almighty, then proceed ahead and mark special additional days to deepen that relation several times a year.

Perhaps there is relevance here for the connection of the concept of kiddush Hashem – sanctifying Hashem’s name, and Chillul Hashem – desecrating His name. When we stick to real Judaism, do what is really right, keep the Shabbos as we should, and the festivals as we should, we sanctify Hashem’s name. We show the world a people that is dedicated to doing the will of its Creator, throughout the year. We show the world a people that adjusts its life to live the way Hashem has told us to. However, when we don’t want to keep the Shabbos, we only want to do some rituals that show our Jewish identity, but we blatantly transgress the most basic commandments of Judaism, we show the world that Judaism has no more relevance to us than being a social way of life. As long as we have bagels and cream cheese, and go to Synagogue on Yom Kippur, we are good Jews. This is a desecration of Hashem’s name. This makes a mockery of any real commitment to Hashem.

It is this attitude is what is being picked up in the recent Pew report. It is this attitude that thousands and even millions of Jewish kids pick up and reject when they decide that there is no reason for them to avoid intermarriage – after all, they are not committed to a “Jewish social club”. Hopefully, it is this attitude that we will overcome as more Jews discover true Judaism, and make it really be part of their lives.

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 367 – Yom Kippur | The Kollel Connection

KC 367 – Yom Kippur | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

September 13th    Candle lighting 6:53  Yom Kippur Ends 7:59  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.

We join the entire Jewish world in ushering in Yom Kippur this Friday night. No other day in the Jewish calendar evokes such strong feelings as Yom Kippur does, from Jews of all types and all backgrounds. Around the world Jews will flock to Synagogues, soul stirring speeches will be given, tearful prayer will be uttered, and charity will be pledged. Each of us, in our own way, looks for a merit and some way to find favor in the eyes of Hashem.

Our Sages give us various ideas to work with to be meritorious in judgment. One idea is that if a person is forgoing to others, then Hashem is forgoing with them. This does not mean to say that a person can be a sinner and then just expect to be absolved by Hashem for being a nice person. However, it is certain that if a person sincerely regrets having done anything wrong and asks Hashem forgiveness, the response will be affected by whether they are a forgiving person themselves. If they are forgiving to others, the Talmud tells us that Hashem says that they themselves also deserve to be forgiven. If they  never forgive others, then Hashem says, why should I forgive them when they themselves don’t forgive others?

There is a second very important idea that is given to us by our Rabbi’s. When we come to Hashem on Yom Kippur, and pledge to be better this coming year, we should have a specific and concrete change in mind that we will make for the coming year. This is much more powerful than the generic statement “I will be better”. Of course, we all feel on Yom Kippur that we want to be better. At the same time, we all understand that if an employee wants to impress his or her employer with their sincerity to improve, they will not just say “I will be better.” Rather, they will come with a plan showing detailed changes that they will make to improve their job performance. In a similar way, if we come on Yom Kippur with a specific way that we plan to improve, that invokes much more mercy from Hashem.

Such a change need not be, or should not be complicated and overwhelming. The most simple changes can often be the most powerful. A person who forgets or neglects to say the morning Shema will awake five minutes earlier to make sure that they leave time to say it, or will give ten dollars to charity every time that they forget. A person who is prone to anger will wait ten seconds before responding to someone else’s comment, so that their feelings of anger have dissipated. A person who forgets to make Kiddush on Friday night will not eat anything on Friday night until they make Kiddush. These are all small commitments, but ones that promise change in a person and show their serious intent.  The story is told of a person who used to skip lunch on Friday in order to have a stronger appetite when Shabbos arrived. Over time he noticed that on Friday afternoons he was more prone to getting angry. He realized that he was grumpy because of his hunger brought about when he skipped lunch. That Yom Kippur he accepted to start eating a small lunch on Fridays, so that he should not get agitated.

If we can find a practical, concrete change to make and accept it upon ourselves on Yom Kippur, that will be a true merit to be meritorious in judgment

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.


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