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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Korah 5777

Friday, June 23, 2017 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

In this week's perasha, we read the story of the rebellion of Korah and his assembly. Korah persuaded 250 fellow Levites to join him in opposing the leadership of Moshe and Aharon by attempting to overthrow them. Korah was a great man. Our sages tell us he had "Ruah HaKodesh", Divine inspiration. Korah was one of the bearers of the Holy Ark. Only the holiest of men were allowed to carry the Ark due to its holiness. How then did such a worthy man cause dissension and undermine the leadership of Moshe and Aharon that was Divinely assigned? Rashi was puzzled by this and answered that jealousy was the cause of this sin. When his cousin, Elissaphan, son of Uzziel, was placed in charge of the Kehatite family, Korah in effect became his inferior. Korah thought this to be unfair since he was the son of Yisshar who was older than Uzziel. We learn from this that even the righteous are not immune from the bad trait of envy and jealousy. ...

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Perashat Shelah 5777

Friday, June 16, 2017 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

This week we read Perashat Shelah-Lekha. The perasha begins with the episode of the Meraglim, the twelve spies that were sent to report back to Moshe about the nature of the land of Kena'an and its inhabitants. As it turned out, ten out of the twelve spies that were sent gave a bad report on the land and in turn were severely punished to die in the desert. Why? Did they really do something wrong? Weren't they asked to make their own personal observations? If so, why should they be punished? ...

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Perashat Beha'alotekha 5777

Friday, June 09, 2017 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

Our perasha, Beha'alotekha, opens with the fashioning of the golden Menorah for the Tabernacle. The Menorah was the most complex utensil to be built for the Tabernacle. The Menorah, which was intricate in design and featured many delicate details, had to be hammered out from one special talent of gold. The Midrash says that Moshe Rabbenu had a hard time making the Menorah and was therefore shown a prophetic vision of the Menorah's design. Yet, Moshe was still not able to execute the task, so Hashem told him to throw a block of gold into the fire, from which a beautiful Menorah miraculously emerged. ...

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Perashat Nasso 5777

Friday, June 02, 2017 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

This Shabbat comes right after Shabuot, during the forty days Moshe sat up on Har Sinai and did not have food or drink. The sefarim say that these are days of mercy and kindness, shown by the fact that we do not recite Tahanun for another week. ...

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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 mnemonic 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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