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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Matot-Masei

Friday, July 17, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

In this week’s perasha, we read about the request made by the two tribes of Reuben and Gad to receive their portion on the eastern side of the Jordan river rather than in Eres Yisrael proper with the rest of the tribes. Initially, Moshe Rabbenu refuses their request, arguing that it is not fair for them to settle this land while the rest of the tribes have not yet conquered the land that they are to receive west of the Jordan river. The tribes of Reuben and Gad counter by promising that they will build pens for their animals and cities for their families and then go out to do battle with the rest of their brethren before returning home to their families on the eastern bank of the Jordan. [Bemidbar 32:16-19] At the end, Moshe Rabbenu did grant their request; however, as Rashi explains [Bemidbar 32:16], Moshe Rabbenu points out to the leaders of Reuben and Gad that their priorities are confused. First, he says, you must take care of your families, and only afterwards tend to your animals. ...

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Perashat Pinhas

Friday, July 10, 2015 Author: Rabbi Eli Abadie

The famous song “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” released in 1965 by the group The Byrds says: “To everything there is a season, and there is time to every purpose under Heaven”. Of course, this song is based almost word by word on King Solomon Ecclesiastes 3: השמים תחת חפץ לכל ועת זמן לכל – everything has a season, and there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. This also applies to people. We all have our moment and purpose in life. At times we can find our moment early in the early part of our lifetime, and at times we find it later. However, there are also people amongst us who live their entire life and without ever recognizing their moment to shine.

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Perashat Balak

Friday, July 03, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

​So important is the influence of one’s speech that King Solomon, the wisest of men, teaches us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” [Prov. 18:21] Indeed, our rabbis teach us that speech is a very powerful thing and that we must use it wisely and carefully. Any misuse can result in sin and severe consequences. Rabbi Y. Frand points out that Perashat Balak contains an incident which teaches us a tremendous ethical lesson in the area of speech. This incident involves the heathen prophet Bil’am, who wielded magical power in the manipulation of his speech. Whoever he blessed was blessed; whoever he cursed was cursed. ...

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Perashat Hukkat

Friday, June 26, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

In this week's perasha, we read about the sin of Moshe and Aharon at "Mei Merivah" - the "Waters of Strife". Rather than speaking to the rock to provide water to quench the people's thirst, as he was commanded, Moshe Rabbenu struck it instead. As a result, it was decreed that both Moshe and Aharon would perish in the wilderness and not lead the people into the Promised Land. ...

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Perashat Korah

Friday, June 19, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

Rabbi Yosef Hayim A”H. the head of the Babylonian Jewish community, over 100 years ago, writes, that there are three ways a person can assume a position of leadership. The first is by inheritance. If he is the next in line in a ruling family dynasty, he habitually becomes the next leader. This is usually the way kings and monarch assume the throne. The second is by promises to the populace, during a campaign, of favors and gifts after he is elected. This is usually seen in our modern era, with candidates for President and/or Prime Minister. People look forward to these gifts, favors and influence, as they elect their leader. ...

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Perashat Shelah

Friday, June 12, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

The central topic of this week’s perasha is the episode of the scouts sent by Moshe Rabbenu to evaluate the Land of Canaan prior to its conquest by B’nei Yisrael. Following this episode, the Torah enumerates two missvot, that of the Nesakhim; the libations that accompanied the sacrifices in the Temple, and Hafrashat Hallah; setting aside a portion of one’s bread as a gift for the Kohanim. Our Hakhamim asked what is the connection between these seemingly unrelated missvot? Several of the commentators, among them Rashi and Ramban, point out that these missvot were given to the people of Israel in order to console them in the wake of the edict issued following the sin of the scouts and to reaffirm that Boreh Olam would eventually bring them to the Land of Israel. The Torah therefore, uses the expression, “when you shall enter the land,” with regard to these missvot in order to teach us that they did not apply in the wilderness, but their obligation began only once they entered the land. ...

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Perashat Beha'alotekha

Friday, June 05, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

We all have heard the phrase “Leaders Come, Leaders Go”. It insinuates that leaders are expendable and replaceable. We have seen throughout history, although, all leaders come and go and most leaders are expendables, however only a few are replaceable. In Perashat Beha’alotekha, Moshe Rabbenu, after facing a group of complainers about their dissatisfaction with the Manna demanding meat and vegetables, appears to be in despair to the point of wanting to resign from his assignment of leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. ...

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Perashat Naso

Friday, May 29, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

We all know of the concept of being a “copy cat”. If we try to remember the many times somebody tried to copy us or we tried to copy them, we can go back to our days of childhood. When we played with a toy, our friend wanted to play exactly with that same toy. In school, when we received a good grade on a project, our friend wanted to do the same project to receive a good grade as well. As teenagers, when we bought certain clothing or a special car, again our friend wanted to copy us and buy the same thing. Even as adults, when we start a business and we are successful with certain customers, our friend will start a similar business and tries to copy us and take our customers away (mind you, they call that competition!).This is the story of humanity; one person tries to copy, duplicate or imitate others. ...

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Perashat Bamidbar

Friday, May 22, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

As the traditional Summer season begins this Memorial Day Weekend, it is also a time of year very special to us as Jews. We celebrate three beginnings on these days: The new Month of Sivan, the Holiday of Shabuot, and the beginning of the fourth Book of the Torah – Bamidbar We celebrated Rosh Hodesh Sivan - the new month of Sivan this week, representing the renewal of the moon cycle. The Jewish nation has been likened to the Moon cycle as it waxes and wanes during its life cycle. So too the Jewish Nation throughout history has had its ups and downs; at times we have been strong, and at other times we have been weak and persecuted. Through it all, we remain a proud nation with the blessings of Hashem. ...

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Perashat Behar-Behukotay

Friday, May 15, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

Among the missvot found in Perashat Behar, is the missva of Shemittah, the Sabbatical year. During the Shemittah year, the farmer has to give up ownership of his field and whatever produce grows is hefker, or free for the taking. A number of commentators explain that the reason behind this missva is so that we will come to recognize that Boreh Olam is really the true owner of all our possessions. ...

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