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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Bamidbar 5777

Friday, May 26, 2017 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

The Shulhan Arukh writes that, “Perashat BaMidbar is always read before Asseret (Shabuot).” The Shulhan Arukh provides us with a nemonic device to remember this: Menu Ve’issru - meaning “count” – as in the counting of Bene Yisrael in this perasha, and Ve’issru - then “pause” - which refers to “Asseret”; one of the names by which the Torah refers to the holiday of Shabuot. Many comment that if Hashem’s will is that Perashat BaMidbar be read before Shabuot, then there must be a connection. ...

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Perashat Behar-Behukotay 5777

Friday, May 19, 2017 Author: Rabbi David Stav

This Shabbat, we'll read Perashat Behar-Behukotay. Most of the social andeconomic issues in Biblical discourse and the Jewish world are addressed in this reading. The first part of the Torah portion discusses the laws of the Shemitta, the Sabbatical year, which recurs every seven years. This is the year that farmers stop tilling their fields. The populace is free to visit the orchards and help themselves to all kinds of fruits. Many reasons were given for this unique year. ...

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Perashat Emor 5777

Friday, May 12, 2017 Author: Rabbi Yosef Bitton

In this week's Parasha, Emor, we find the description of the main Jewish holidays, Pesah, Shabu'ot, Sukkot, etc. In the Hebrew calendar there are 12 months (or 13 when there is a leap year and a second month of Adar is added, which happens every 3 years or so). In the Torah the names of the months are designed with ordinal numbers: first month, second month, third month, and so on. The month of Nisan, for example, is the first of the 12 months of the year. Notice, by the way, that the new year does not begin in Nisan. Those who follow the Gregorian calendar will find this very weird. January is the first month of the months of the year, and it is also the first month of the year, that is, the new year begins in January. In the Hebrew calendar, however, the year begins in the seventh month of the year, which is the month of Tishri (in modern Hebrew they say "Tishre"), and the first month of the month is Nisan. ...

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Perashat Ahare Mot-Kedoshim 5777

Friday, May 05, 2017 Author: Rabbi Gavriel Koskas

In this week's perasha, Kedoshim, we find one of the most famous verses in the Torah: "Ve-ahavta Le'reakha Kamokha" - "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." ...

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Perashat Tazria-Messora 5777

Friday, April 28, 2017 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

The central theme of this week's double-perasha, Tazria-Messora, is the various Divine plagues that would be visited upon the nation; these include the plagues on the body, clothing and the houses. Our sages explain that these plagues are not physical in nature, but rather are the results of one's sins. They come as warnings to the people to examine their deeds, with the aim of rectifying their behavior; only then can these maladies be remedied. It is for this reason, that the person affected by these plagues must go to a Kohen, a priest, for a diagnosis - for it is only the Kohen, who as the spiritual leader, has the capability of recognizing the spiritual shortcomings of the person in question. This entire issue is very difficult for the modern person to comprehend; nevertheless, we should try to understand it as best as we can - especially concerning the plagues of the houses. ...

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Perashat Shemini 5777

Friday, April 21, 2017 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

In this week's perasha, Shemini, we read about the deaths of Aharon's two sons, Nadab and Abihu. The midrash on our perasha states as follows: "Moshe said to Aharon: My brother; at Sinai I was told that Hashem would sanctify this house [i.e., the Mishkan, the Tabernacle] with a great person - and I thought that it would be sanctified through me. However, now it would appear that your two sons [i.e., Nadab and Abihu] are greater than you and me." ...

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Perashat Sav 5777

Friday, April 07, 2017 Author: Rabbi Isaac Wahnon

Hag HaPesah vs. Hag HaMassot In a few days, all of us will be sitting around the Seder table, saying the Haggada, singing the traditional songs, and transmitting to our children our thousand-year old stories –overlaid with so many magical experiences – while, at the same time, expressing our gratitude for the miracles that Hashem did - and continues to do for us in every generation, thereby demonstrating our longing for Him to continue His blessing. This experience infuses us with inspiration, excitement, joy and pride that we are a part of this amazing nation, ‘Am Yisrael.

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Perashat Vayikra 5777

Friday, March 31, 2017 Author: Rabbi Joseph Dweck

Vayikra : Punctuated Affection "Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots." - Nathaniel Hawthorn ...

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Perashat Vayakhel-Pekudei 5777

Friday, March 24, 2017 Author: HaRav HaGaon Shelomo Moshe Amar

In this Shabbat’s Torah portions Vayakhel-Pekudei, we conclude Sefer Shemot which relates how we became a nation. The book of Shemot started out with describing the very beginning of our nation as slaves, working at hard labor under the harsh and cruel hand of the evil Pharaoh, who made the lives of Bnei Yisrael miserable through a brutal enslavement of both body and soul, along with horrible decrees. When the people cried out about their hardship, Hashem revealed himself to Moshe and sent him to salvage and rescue them from bondage to freedom, through signs and wonders and, “an outstretched arm.” ...

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Perashat Ki Tissa 5777

Friday, March 17, 2017 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

In this week’s perasha, we read about the breaking of the first Luhot, the first “Tablets of the Law” that were received by Moshe Rabbenu. There was a remarkable difference in the manner in which the first and second sets of Luhot reached his hands. The first were handed to him by Boreh Olam. G-d revealed Himself at Mt. Sinai in the presence of all the people amidst thunder and lightning and pronounced the Ten Commandments. Our Hakhamim teach us, that at that time, afilu oaf lo parah – that the silence was so absolute, that it was not even disturbed by the flight of a bird. [Exodus Rabbah 29] The entire universe held its breath in awe and reverence during those precious historical moments. The task of Moshe Rabbenu was easy and pleasant, as everyone was eager to accept the Torah. They proclaimed in unison, “Na’ase VeNishma” – “We will do and obey” [Ex. 24:7]. The Talmud relates that the angels were so enthusiastic with this response, that they placed two crowns on the head of each Jew; one for na’ase and one for nishma. [Shabbat 88a]

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