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Parshat Pekudei (10/03/10)  Machon MeirMachon Meir  ENGLISH  :MeirTV English

Rabbi Netanel Frankenthal


For over 35 years, Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to get a deeper understanding what it truly means to be a member of the Jewish people. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all over the world because of the institute’s encouragement of living in the Land of Israel. Machon Meir has also created a strategy to distribute Torah worldwide through their media channel, Arutz Meir. Since it began, Arutz Meir has debuted a range of television series and archived over 25,000 classes which are constantly being updated and viewed daily throughout the world in 5 different languages. With a variety of topics and discussions led by renowned Jewish scholars, our viewers will surely find a class that will create sparks of inspiration. Whether you are looking to connect to your Jewish heritage or you are simply seeking out answers, we exist to imbue the words of Torah and engage our viewers with real and meaningful

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Rabbi Yona levin


“За чашкой чая”
Беседа в тёплой, неформальной обстановке о том,
как современный интеллигентный слушатель воспринимает нашу традицию.
В передаче мы попробуем получить ответы на непростые вопросы,
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Присоединяйтесь, приходите к нам на чашечку чая.
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Por más de 35 años, Machon Meir ha dado a conocer a través de Israel como el lugar para obtener una comprensión más profunda lo que realmente significa ser un miembro del pueblo judío. También se ha convertido en el punto de aterrizaje para muchos nuevos inmigrantes de todas partes del mundo, porque de aliento de la vida en la Tierra de Israel del instituto. Majón Meir también ha creado una estrategia para distribuir la Torá en todo el mundo a través de su canal de medios, Arutz Meir. Desde sus inicios, Arutz Meir ha estrenado una serie de series de televisión y archivado más de 25.000 clases que constantemente se están actualizando y ver todos los días en todo el mundo en 5 idiomas diferentes. Con una variedad de temas y discusiones dirigidas por renombrados eruditos judíos, nuestros televidentes seguramente encontrará una clase que va a crear chispas de inspiración.

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הרב יואב מלכא

 

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ETHICS OF OUR FATHERS: (Chapter 1 )

B”H

Sivan 7, 5774 * June 5, 2014

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E T H I C S   O F   O U R   F A T H E R S
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Minding the Child: The Soul of a Metaphor
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Assume a Master for yourself

– Ethics of our Fathers, 1:6

*       *       *

“And they believed in G-d and in Moses His servant” (Exodus 14:31).

What was the nature of Israel’s relationship to Moses? Moses, after all, is a human being. And yet, the Torah uses the very same word to connote Israel’s belief in him and in the Almighty (“they believed in G-d and in Moses”). Indeed, the Midrash derives from this that “One who believes in Moses, believes in the Almighty; one who does not believe in Moses, does not believe in the Almighty(!)”

The Talmud goes even further, applying the same to the sages and Torah authorities of all generations. On the verse, “To love the L-rd your G-d and to cleave to Him,” it states: “Is it then possible to cleave to the Divine…? But whoever attaches himself to a Torah scholar, the Torah considers it as if he had attached himself to G-d….”

The Awareness Factor

“So says G-d: My firstborn child, Israel” (Exodus 4:22).

In what way is G-d our “father”? There are, of course, the obvious parallels. G-d creates us and provides us with sustenance and direction. He loves us with the boundless, all-forgiving love of a father.

Chassidic teaching delves further into the metaphor. It examines the biological and psychological dynamics of the father-child model, and employs them to better understand our relationship to each other and to our Father in Heaven.

A microscopic bit of matter, originating in the father’s body, triggers the generation of a life. In the mother’s womb, a single cell develops into a brain, heart, eyes, ears, arms, legs, toenails; soon it emerges into the world to function as a thinking, feeling and achieving human being.

Physically, what began in the father’s body and psyche is now a separate, distinct and (eventually) independent individual. Yet there is a good reason we say, “Like father like son.” On a deeper level, the child remains inseparable from his begetter.

In the words of the Talmud, “A son is a limb of his father.” At the very heart of his consciousness lies an inescapable truth: he is his father’s child, an extension of his being, a projection of his personality. In body, they have become two distinct entities; in essence they are one.

One may argue: perhaps in the child’s mind, the seat of his identity, the singularity of parent and offspring lives on. Here, the child’s relationship with his father is sensed, here resides the recognition of their intrinsic oneness. But the brain is only one of the child’s many organs and limbs. The rest of him may indeed stem from its ancestral source, but is now a wholly separate entity.

Obviously, this is not the case – any more than it would be correct to say that the eyes alone see or that “just” the mouth speaks. The component parts of the human being comprise a single, integrated whole; it is the person who sees, the person who speaks, the person who is aware. The toenail of the child, by virtue of its physical and neurological interconnection with the brain, is no less one with the father than is the brain itself, the organ which facilitates this oneness.

But what if the toenail, or any other limb of the body, severs its connection with the mind? This would cut it off from its own center of vitality and consciousness, and, as a result, also from its parental origins. In other words, the unity of all the child’s limbs and organs with the father’s essence is dependent upon their maintaining their connection with their own mind, a connection that imbues them all with the awareness of this unity.

The Body Israel

My firstborn child, Israel.

Israel, too, is comprised of many “organs” and “limbs.”

In each generation, great sages devoted their lives to assimilate the Divine essence of Torah. These are the mind of Israel, whose entire being is permeated with the awareness of G-d’s truth. Israel also has a heart, individuals whose lives exemplify compassion and piety, and hands, its great builders and achievers. Each and every individual, from the “Moses of the generation” to the “ordinary” foot soldier, forms an integral part of the body of G-d’s firstborn – each is equally “the limb of the father.”

But, as with the physical father-child relationship, it is the mind of the child that cements his bond with his father. As long as the many organs and limbs of his body remain a single integrated whole, they are all equally the father’s child. But it is only by virtue of their connection to their mind that they possess the awareness which makes their physically “detached” selves one with their source.

The same applies to the “body” that is Israel: it is our life- bond with our “mind” that both integrates us as unified whole and facilitates our connection to our Creator and Source. True, a Jew cannot ever sever his bond with his G-d any more than even the lowliest “toenail” of the child’s body can “choose” to go off on its own and undo its relationship with its father; but while we cannot change what we are, we can determine to what extent our identity as G-d’s child will be expressed in our daily life.

We can chose, G-d forbid, to disassociate ourselves from the leaders that G-d has implanted in our midst, thus banishing our relationship with Him to the subconscious cellar of our soul. Or, we can intensify our bond to the minds of Israel, thereby making our bond with the Almighty a tangible and vibrant reality.

*     *     *

Jack Of All Trades

Said Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch:

There are those who question the need of a mentor to guide them through life. They claim that each and every individual can forge his own relationship with G-d unaided. They argue that since the Jewish faith rejects the concept of an “intermediary” between man and G-d, they have no use for mentor or master.

They fail to understand that the entire Jewish people are a single entity, that every individual soul is, in truth, but a limb or organ of the general soul of Israel. Just as each limb and organ of the human body has its function at which it excels, so, too, every soul has its role and mission, as well as its limitations: the “loftiest” of souls is dependent upon the “lowliest” for the attainment of the single, unified goal. And were any limb to strike out on its own, detaching itself from the “head” which provides the entire body with vitality and direction – the results are self-understood.

When someone adapts the attitude that he can do it all on his own, he reminds me of the story told about the goy and the tefillin. Once, a Jew noticed a pair of tefillin in the house of a gentile peasant. Upon seeing a holy object in such a place, he began to inquire about the tefillin, wishing to purchase them from the goy. The peasant, who had looted the tefillin at a recent pogrom, grew agitated and defensive. “What do you mean, where did I get them?” he blurted out, “Why, I made them myself! I myself am a shoemaker!”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Introductory reading to Ethics of the Fathers:

All Israel has a share in the World to Come, as is stated: “And your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever. They are the shoot of My planting, the work of My hands, in which I take pride.” (Sanhedrin, 11:1)

Chapter One

1. Moses received the Torah from [G-d at] Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly. They [the Men of the Great Assembly] would always say these three things: Be cautious in judgment. Establish many pupils. And make a safety fence around the Torah.

2. Shimon the Righteous was among the last surviving members of the Great assembly. He would say: The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.

3. Antignos of Socho received the tradition from Shimon the Righteous. He would say: Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you.

4. Yossei the son of Yoezer of Tzreidah, and Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem, received the tradition from them. Yossei the son of Yoezer of Tzreidah would say: Let your home be a meeting place for the sages; dust yourself in the soil of their feet, and drink thirstily of their words.

5. Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem would say: Let your home be wide open, and let the poor be members of your household. And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one’s own wife—how much more so regarding the wife of another. Hence, the sages said: One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects the study of Torah, and, in the end, inherits purgatory.

6. Joshua the son of Perachia and Nitai the Arbelite received from them. Joshua the son of Perachia would say: Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit.

7. Nitai the Arbelite would say: Distance yourself from a bad neighbor, do not cleave to a wicked person, and do not abandon belief in retribution.

8. Judah the son of Tabbai and Shimon the son of Shotach received from them. Judah the son of Tabbai would say: When sitting in judgement, do not act as a counselor-at-law. When the litigants stand before you, consider them both guilty; and when they leave your courtroom, having accepted the judgement, regard them as equally righteous.

9. Shimon the son of Shotach would say: Increasingly cross-examine the witnesses. Be careful with your words, lest they learn from them how to lie.

10. Shmaayah and Avtalyon received from them. Shmaayah would say: Love work, loath mastery, and avoid intimacy with the government.

11. Avtalyon would say: Scholars, be careful with your words. For you may be exiled to a place inhabited by evil elements [who will distort your words to suit their negative purposes]. The disciples who come after you will then drink of these evil waters and be destroyed, and the Name of Heaven will be desecrated.

12. Hillel and Shammai received from them. Hillel would say: Be of the disciples of Aaron—a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to Torah.

13. He would also say: One who advances his name, destroys his name. One who does not increase, diminishes. One who does not learn is deserving of death. And one who make personal use of the crown of Torah shall perish.

14. He would also say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?

15. Shammai would say: Make your Torah study a permanent fixture of your life. Say little and do much. And receive every man with a pleasant countenance.

16. Rabban Gamliel would say: Assume for yourself a master; stay away from doubt; and do not accustom yourself to tithe by estimation.

17. His son, Shimon, would say: All my life I have been raised among the wise, and I have found nothing better for the body than silence. The essential thing is not study, but deed. And one who speaks excessively brings on sin.

18. Rabbi Shimon the son of Gamliel would say: On three things the world endures: law, truth and peace. As is stated, “Truth, and a judgement of peace, you should administer at your [city] gates.”

Studied at the conclusion of each lesson of the Ethics:

Rabbi Chananiah the son of Akashiah would say: G-d desired to merit the people of Israel; therefore, He gave them Torah and mitzvot in abundance. As is stated, “G-d desired, for sake of his righteousness, that Torah be magnified and made glorious.” (Makot, 3:16)

TORAH STUDIES: Parshat Behaalotecha

 

Behaalotcha
Sivan 7, 5774 · June 5, 2014

 

This Sidra opens with the command to Aaron to light the lamps of the Menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum that stood in the Sanctuary. The symbolism of the Menorah and the act of lighting, is the theme of the Sicha, together with the example which Aaron’s service represents.

1. Aaron’s Love

Aaron, whose duties as the High Priest are described in this week’s Sidra, was known for his love towards every creature. Hillel said of him, in Pirkei Avot,1 “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow-creatures and drawing them near to the Torah.”

What was the feature of his way of life that stands as a supreme example of spreading the spiritual light of Torah? It was that he did not wait for those who stood in darkness to come within the circle of light, but that he went out to them. He went, in Hillel’s words, to his “fellow creatures,” a word including those who had no other merit than that they too, were G-d’s creations.2 But nonetheless he “drew them near to the Torah” rather than drawing the Torah near to them. He did not simplify or compromise its demands to bring it down to their level. He did not lower the Torah; he raised men.

2. Lighting the Lamps

This facet of Aaron’s life is suggested in this Sidra, which opens with the command, “When you light (literally, ‘raise up’) the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the candlestick.”3

The lamps of the Menorah of the Sanctuary are a symbol of the Jewish soul—“The lamp of the L-rd is the soul of man.”4 And the seven lamps, the branches of the Menorah, are the seven kinds of Jewish soul.5 Aaron’s task was to raise up every soul, to bring out the Divine within the Jew from its concealment in the subconscious.

The Rabbis sought an explanation for the fact that the word “raise up” (behaalotecha) isused, instead of the more obvious “light” or “kindle.” And they concluded that the verse meant that Aaron was to kindle them “until the flame rises up by itself.”6

Aaron’s spiritual achievement was therefore not only to light the flame in the souls of the Jewish people, but to take them to the stage where they would give light of their own accord. He did not simply create disciples, people who were dependent on his inspiration. He engendered in them a love of G-d that they could sustain without his help.

3. Three Rules

There are three rules which applied to the Menorah in the Sanctuary and the Temple.7

Firstly, even a person who was not a priest could light the lamps.

But, secondly, only a priest could prepare the lamps, setting the wicks and the oil.

And, thirdly, the Menorah could only be lit in the Temple Sanctuary.

These rules are similarly the conditions in which spiritual awakening can take place, lighting the lamp of the soul.

Firstly, it is not the prerogative of the priest alone, or of the chosen few, to spread the light of Torah. The task belongs to every Jew, both as a privilege and as an obligation. Hillel’s words, “Be of the disciples of Aaron” were addressed to every individual.

But only the priest can do the preparation. We may be tempted to think that in pursuit of our aim of drawing Jews to the life of Torah, the end justifies the means; that concessions can be made on our own initiative for the sake of winning commitment. But against this is the warning that not everyone is capable of deciding which interpretations, which lines of influence are valid. This belongs to the priest.

What is a priest? In the time of the Temple, when Jews first possessed their land, the priests had no share of its territory. “G-d is his inheritance,” his only possession. This was his sanctity. In Rambam’s words,8 “Not only the tribe of Levi, but any man of any place whose spirit is willing… to separate himself and to stand before G-d and to minister to and serve Him,” he and only he is the mentor in whose footsteps we must follow.

And the place where the lamps are to be lit is in the Sanctuary. There are shades and levels of holiness. The Sanctuary is not the only holy place. But this specific task of lighting the flame could not be done in any place of a lesser degree of holiness. We must awaken the spirit of ourselves and others, to the highest degree of sanctity possible.

4. Seven Branches

The Menorah in the Sanctuary had seven branches and these represent the seven kinds of Jewish soul. There are some whose vocation is to serve G-d with love and kindness (chesed), some with fear and strictness (gevurah) and some who synthesize the two (tiferet). In all, there are seven general paths to the service of G-d and each Jew has one which is his own personal direction. But common to them all is the fact that they are alight with the flame of Torah: They burn with love and they shed the light of truth within the Sanctuary and from there to the whole world.

There was a peculiarity of the Temple, that its windows were “broad and narrow,”9 on which the Rabbis comment,10 “they were broad on the outside and narrow within, for I (G-d) am not in need of light.” Unlike other buildings whose windows are designed to admit light, the Temple was constructed to send light out to the world.

The source of this light was the lamps, the souls of the Israelites. And although each of them was unique, with his own special talents to bring to his work, they shared the fact that they were all sources of light.

This is the common goal of the efforts of every Jew, to bring the light of Torah to the world. Their means may differ—some approaching through strictness, some through love. But for those who choose the path of love, the ends and the means are the same: The goal is light and the way is light. This was Aaron’s path, “loving peace and pursuing peace, loving his fellow creatures and drawing them near to Torah.” And so has been the path of the great leaders of Chabad, lighting the dormant flame in the souls of Jews wherever they were to be found, preferring to be close than to be aloof, to be kind rather than severe, in bringing all our people near to Torah.

(Source: Likkutei Sichot, Vol. II pp. 314-318 (adapted))

 

CHASSIDIC DIMENSION: Paschal Prerequisites (Behaalotecha )

Behaalos’cha
Sivan 7, 5774 · June 5, 2014

 

Paschal PrerequisitesIn the portion of Behaalos’cha, the Torah relates1 how the Jewish people brought the Paschal offering in the desert on the fourteenth of Nissan , one year after their Exodus from Egypt. At that time, certain individuals were ritually impure and so could not bring their offering.In response to their lament “Why should we lose the privilege of bringing the offering,” G-d said that those unable to bring the Paschal offering on the fourteenth of Nissancould do so one month later, on the fourteenth of Iyar. This “makeup” offering is known as Pesach Sheni , the “Second Passover.”

In the simple context of the verse, there are three elements that may prevent one from bringing the Paschal offering at the appointed time. These are:

a) the individual was ritually impure during the time of the offering;

b) the person was outside the Courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash ;

c) the individual’s chametz was still in existence.

Why are these three elements prerequisites to offering the Pesach Rishon , the “First Passover”?

All sacrificial offerings, korbanos , possess three general components. First and most essential is — as indicated by the name korban, which is derived from the root karov , or near — that of drawing close to G-d.2

The second aspect of korbanos is that they elevate that which is below to the higher spiritual realms. This applied particularly to the portion of the korban that was consumed by the heavenly fire which descended upon the altar.3

The third element in korbanos is they draw down G-dliness from above. This applies mainly to the portion that was eaten by the priests, or by the individual who brought the offering. By consuming the korban, its sanctity permeated the individual, becoming his very flesh and blood.4

With regard to the Paschal offering, these three elements exist to an even greater degree, for the following reasons:

The closeness to G-d accomplished by the Paschal offering is far greater than that achieved by other offerings. This is because the spirituality attained is not merely an advance from level to level, but rather — as the name Pesach (Hebrew for “leaping”5) implies — that a Jew is thereby empowered to “leap” out of his previous existence, becoming an entirely new entity. The Paschal offering thus surpasses other offerings, after the bringing of which a person remains essentially unchanged.

The elevation of that which is below to a higher spiritual realm is also greater in the Paschal offering than in other offerings, for the elevation is accomplished even in that portion that is eaten. This is because that part as well is to be “roasted over fire.6 Fire — rising as it does from lower to higher — echoes the elevation from below to above.

So too with regard to the G-dliness drawn down through eating the Paschal offering. It too is greater than that afforded by other offerings, for “the Paschal offering originated for the purpose of being eaten.”7

In order to accomplish these three things, it is necessary

a) for the person’s chametz to have been destroyed;

b) that he be ritually pure; and

c) that he find himself within the confines of the Beis HaMikdash.

Chametz denotes arrogance.8 Since G-d says of a haughty individual that “We cannot dwell together,”9 the possession of chametz precludes drawing close to G-d, something that is integral to the Paschal offering.

The state of ritual impurity counters the elevation contained within the Paschal offering. Ritual impurity is an intangible; it cannot be grasped physically or even intellectually.10It consists of a change in a person’s spiritual status, whereby a soul’s spirituality is diminished. It therefore hinders a person’s ability to lift himself out of the physical world and become part of the spiritual one.

Being outside the Beis HaMikdash involves the physical body. Although a person may desire to be inside the Beis HaMikdash , and consequently — because of his heartfelt desire — in a spiritual sense he indeed is inside,11 his physical self is still outside. This is the opposite of the drawing down of G-dliness accomplished by eating the Paschal offering.

Pesach Sheni teaches us that even when one is lacking in any, or even all, of these three elements, and thus cannot bring the Paschal offering in its appointed time, “it is never too late; one can always rectify the past.”12

Based on Likkutei Sichos , Vol. VIII, pp. 67-74.

Heavenly Food

In the Torah portion of Behaalos’cha, the Torah speaks at length about the manna, the heavenly food that sustained the Jewish people during our 40-year sojourn in the desert.

With regard to the manna, the Gemara notes: The verse states13 that “When the dew would descend upon the camp during the night, the manna would settle upon it.” From this verse it would seem that the manna descended within the encampment.

However, the verse also states:14 “The people went out and collected [the manna].” This would seem to indicate that the people had to go outside the camp in order to get it. Moreover, yet another verse states:15 “The people would spread out and collect [themanna].” In other words, the people would have to go a long way to receive the manna.

How are we to reconcile these three verses?

The Gemara answers that the verses are speaking of three different categories of Jews: The righteous had the manna descend at the entrance to their tents; the intermediates would go out a short distance and collect it; while the wicked would have to go a greater distance.

The manna is described in the Torah as “bread from heaven.”16 Because of this, there are some Sages17 who say that the blessing over manna was “who brings forth bread from heaven.”

The difference between physical bread and heavenly bread is that regular bread requires a great deal of labor to prepare.18 In addition, it produces waste products. This was not so with the manna. All the various forms of labor were not necessary; moreover, the manna did not produce any waste.19

This very special food was eaten by all the Jews while in the desert, serving as sustenance not only for the righteous and intermediate, but also for the wicked. Even for them it produced no waste. In other words, even when the manna was consumed by the wicked, it retained its essential nature.

And not only was the manna itself not subject to change; it even produced a change for the better in those who ate it — it refined even the wicked. Thus our Sages of blessed memory state20 that by eating the manna, the Jewish people became worthy of receiving and expounding the Torah.

Thus, the effect of the manna was felt by each of the 600,000 Jews who received the Torah. For each Jew has a unique contribution to make.21 By eating the manna, even the lowliest was able to reveal and expound on his unique portion of Torah.

And although it is true that even after eating the manna some of the wicked remained wicked, and did not become elevated even to the intermediate category, it nevertheless had a positive effect on them as well.

In light of the above, we can understand our Rabbis’ advice22 that if one does not know which portion to read on Shabbos, he should read the portion of the manna, for that portion was transmitted on Shabbos.

The above statement must be understood. Many portions were said on Shabbos, foremost among them the portion of the Ten Commandments.23 Why not recite thatportion when in doubt as to which one should be read?

According to the above, the reason is entirely understandable, for there is a unique relationship between the manna and Shabbos.

The nature of the manna was such that even as it descended from on high to this world it lost none of its spiritual qualities — so much so, that even when eaten by a wicked person it produced no waste, but rather refined him.

This same quality is found in Shabbos: The sanctity of Shabbos is so great that although it is a mitzvah to delight in physical pleasures on that day, we are nevertheless assured24 that — unlike the weekdays, when indulging in physical delights coarsens us — this delight will have no deleterious effect on our spirituality. On the contrary, the delight itself becomes a mitzvah.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, pp. 1035-1038.

 GARDEN OF TORAH: A Path of Light (Behaalotecha)

Sivan 7, 5774 · June 5, 2014
A Path of Light
Behaalos’cha

 

Adapted from
Sefer HaSichos 5749, p. 522ff;
Sefer HaSichos 5751, p. 598ff;
Sichos Shabbos Parshas Matos-Masei, 5743

The Goal of Education

In a single verse:1 “Educate a child according to his way; even when he grows older, he will not depart from it,” King Solomon communicates several fundamental concepts regarding the Torah approach to education.

The goal of education is not merely to transmit information, but to mold the student’s character, to set his feet on a path which he can follow all his life.

Every child will set out on a “way,” for life does not allow us to stand still, and as we undergo transitions, a route will be forged. But a child should be prepared for these transitions; they should not take him by surprise. That is the purpose of education to give him a standard of values and principles that teach him how to look ahead, to face and overcome life’s challenges.

Moreover, these guiding principles should be more than intellectual truths; they should be integral elements of the child’s makeup. This is the core of the learning experience to internalize ideas and make them part of oneself, instead of merely comprehending them in the abstract.

When a child is educated in this manner, he will be prepared to proceed on his way. Not only will he possess the focus, direction, and inner strength to confront challenges, he will have the initiative to seek them out. For knowledge empowers and energizes. When a child has learned principles and values which ring true, he will feel energy welling up within him which will naturally seek expression in positive life experiences.

Encouraging Individuality

Important in this process is the realization that every child has “his way” a nature of his own. As the Previous Rebbe would say:2 “Every individual Jew has a spiritual mission in his life.” Although we all share the common goal of transforming our world into a dwelling fit for G-d,3 each of us has individual gifts and tendencies. Expression of these different tendencies allows the Divine purpose to be manifest in various paths, giving it a more comprehensive scope.

A teacher should therefore not try to push all his students in a single direction. Instead, he should appreciate the gifts of each individual and cultivate their expression.4 Even when teaching the universal truths of the Torah, a teacher’s goal should not be conformity. Instead, he should try to enable every student to internalize these truths in a manner that suits his own nature.5

Shining Lamps

These concepts are alluded to in this week’s Torah reading which begins with the command to Aharon to kindle the menorah in the Sanctuary. The menorah symbolizes the Jewish people,6 for the purpose of every Jew’s existence is to spread Divine light throughout the world, as it is written:7 “The soul of man is the lamp of G-d.” For with “the light of the Torah, and the candle of mitzvos,”8 our people illuminate the world.

The menorah extends upward in seven branches, which symbolize seven different paths of Divine service. And yet it was made of a single piece of gold,9 indicating that the various qualities of the Jewish people do not detract from their fundamental unity. Diversity need not lead to division, and the development of true unity comes from a synthesis of different thrusts, every person expressing his own unique talents and personality.

Independent Efforts

When relaying G-d’s command to Aharon to kindle the menorah , the Torah uses the phrase,10 Behaalos’cha es haneiros, literally: “When you raise up the lamps.” Rashiexplains that this means the priest should apply the flame to the wick “until the flame rises on its own,” and shines independently.

Interpreting this concept allegorically, each of the expressions Rashi uses reflects a fundamental concept.

“The flame” Every person is potentially “a lamp.” But a flame realizes the potential, producing radiant light.

“Rises” A person should not remain content with his current level, no matter how refined. Instead, he should seek to proceed further, searching for a higher and more complete degree of Divine service.

“On its own” A person must internalize the influence of his teachers until their light becomes his own. The knowledge he learns should endow him with the power to “shine” independently.11

Moreover, he should “rise on his own,” i.e., the desire to proceed should become one’s own nature. Even without the encouragement of others, he should continually seek to advance.

Similarly, when teaching others, our intent should be that they also become “a flame which rises on its own” independent lamps who spread the “light of Torah” throughout their environment.

Journeying Forward

Behaalos’cha is not only the beginning of the Torah reading, it is the Torah reading’s name; the lessons it communicates relate to the reading in its entirety. This is expressed by the bulk of the Torah reading, which describes the preparations for and the initial stages of the journey of the Jewish people through the desert. The Baal Shem Tov explains12 that these journeys are reflected in the journeys of every individual through life.

The Jewish people did not remain at Mount Sinai, where they received the Torah and constructed the Sanctuary. Instead, they took the Torah and the Sanctuary with them as they set out on their journey through the desert of the world. Similarly, the kindling of the light in a person’s soul the goal of his education should enable him to take this “light of Torah,” with him in his journeys through the world. By spreading the light of Torah through these journeys, every individual contributes to fulfilling the purpose of all existence the establishment of a dwelling for G-d in our material world.

In that vein, the journeys of the Jewish people through the desert are also interpreted13 as an allusion of the journeys of our people through the ages toward the consummation of that purpose, the revelation of the light of Mashiach. And then we will join in the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, where we will see the priests again kindle the menorah.

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Parshat Pekudei (10/03/10)  Machon MeirMachon Meir  ENGLISH  :MeirTV English

Rabbi Dov Bigon


For over 35 years, Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to get a deeper understanding what it truly means to be a member of the Jewish people. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all over the world because of the institute’s encouragement of living in the Land of Israel. Machon Meir has also created a strategy to distribute Torah worldwide through their media channel, Arutz Meir. Since it began, Arutz Meir has debuted a range of television series and archived over 25,000 classes which are constantly being updated and viewed daily throughout the world in 5 different languages. With a variety of topics and discussions led by renowned Jewish scholars, our viewers will surely find a class that will create sparks of inspiration. Whether you are looking to connect to your Jewish heritage or you are simply seeking out answers, we exist to imbue the words of Torah and engage our viewers with real and meaningful

Paracha Pekoude (01/03/11)  Machon MeirMachon Meir MeirTvFrench

Rav Yossef David

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Rabbi Yona levin 1-2


“За чашкой чая”
Беседа в тёплой, неформальной обстановке о том,
как современный интеллигентный слушатель воспринимает нашу традицию.
В передаче мы попробуем получить ответы на непростые вопросы,
которые еврейский народ задаёт уже не первое тысячелетие.
Присоединяйтесь, приходите к нам на чашечку чая.
Не стесняйтесь, чувствуйте себя как дома!
Из цикла передач “За Чашкой Чая” 96-го канала из Иерусалима.
Наша Традиция на вашем языке!

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   ESPAÑOL MeirTvSpanish
Por más de 35 años, Machon Meir ha dado a conocer a través de Israel como el lugar para obtener una comprensión más profunda lo que realmente significa ser un miembro del pueblo judío. También se ha convertido en el punto de aterrizaje para muchos nuevos inmigrantes de todas partes del mundo, porque de aliento de la vida en la Tierra de Israel del instituto. Majón Meir también ha creado una estrategia para distribuir la Torá en todo el mundo a través de su canal de medios, Arutz Meir. Desde sus inicios, Arutz Meir ha estrenado una serie de series de televisión y archivado más de 25.000 clases que constantemente se están actualizando y ver todos los días en todo el mundo en 5 idiomas diferentes. Con una variedad de temas y discusiones dirigidas por renombrados eruditos judíos, nuestros televidentes seguramente encontrará una clase que va a crear chispas de inspiración.

Rabino Rafael Spangenthal

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   עברית    Rabbi Dov Bigon

Rabbi Yonam Eliyahu

 

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GARDEN OF TORAH: A Fulcrum By Which We Can Move The World (Naso)

 

Iyar 29, 5774 · May 29, 2014
A Fulcrum By Which We Can Move the World
Naso

 

Adapted from
Sefer HaSichos 5750, p. 493ff

Why Rav Yosef Would Celebrate

When describing the new dimension of Divine service brought about by the giving of the Torah, the Talmud1 states that Rav Yosef would hold a unique celebration, because:

If it were not for that day which caused [a radical change]… how many Yosefs would there be in the marketplace?

Rashi explains:

If it were not for the day on which I studied Torah and became uplifted… behold, there are many people in the street named Yosef. What difference would there be between me and them?

Rav Yosef was speaking in allegoric terms. The marketplace serves as an analogy for our material world, highlighting three aspects of our existence:

a) In the marketplace, there are many separate domains; each storekeeper has his own shop or place of business;

b) It is a place of intense activity, every individual eagerly striving to make a profit;

c) These profits are made through business transactions.

In the analogue: our world is characterized by plurality. Every element of existence is a separate entity, with no obvious connection to the others.2 It is, however, in this realm in contrast to the World to Come3 where the soul can truly advance and profit. Therefore, our worldly activities are charged with excitement and energy.4

The “business exchanges which generate profit” involve bringing entities from one domain to another; causing material entities which appear to be separate to join in entering G-d’s possession, as it were, by revealing their inner spiritual core.

A Lasting Change

Rav Yosef speaks of “Yosefs in the marketplace.” The name Yosef is associated with making an increase.5 Rav Yosef was saying that even before the giving of the Torah, there were “many Yosefs in the marketplace,” i.e., there were spiritual leaders able to generate the profit that results from bringing the material into contact with the spiritual. Nevertheless, the giving of the Torah made a difference.

Firstly, it established unity. Before the giving of the Torah, there were “many Yosefs,” i.e., the efforts of the different spiritual leaders, although significant, were diverse; each had a thrust of his own. The giving of the Torah, however, generates a higher light, one that brings about a synthesis between different approaches. It allows a level of oneness which is manifold and all-encompassing.

In addition, as reflected in the words of Rashi quoted previously, the giving of the Torah generated the potential for worldly entities to become “uplifted.” Before the giving of the Torah, although spiritual leaders were able to reveal G-dliness within the world, these revelations did not affect the world’s material substance.

For example, when Yaakov laid out the poplar, almond, and chestnut staves before Lavan’s flock,6 his actions evoked the same spiritual energies as are drawn down into the world through our performance of the mitzvah of tefillin.7 After this spiritual service was completed, however, the staves remained ordinary pieces of wood; Yaakov’s service left no lasting effect.8 In contrast, when a Jew puts on tefillin, the tefillinbecome sacred; the mitzvah imparts spirituality into their physical substance,9 and elevates them above the worldly plane.

Not Merely History

Although the radical change Rav Yosef described is associated with the giving of the Torah at Sinai, the intent is not merely to recount a historical event. For our nation’s past is not separate from its present. In that vein, on the verse, “these days are recalled and carried out,”10 the AriZal explains11 that when a holiday is recalled in the proper manner, it is “carried out” again, i.e., the spiritual influences which distinguished it are felt once more.12 Thus, each year, the celebration of the giving of the Torah on Shavuos brings a person to a deeper connection to G-d, and to a more elevated plane of oneness.

This is reflected in the name of the Torah reading of the Shabbos which follows Shavuos, Parshas Naso.13 Naso means “lift up.” More particularly, the literal meaning of the verse14 with which the parshah begins is “Lift up the heads….”15 The head, the seat of intellect, is the most developed part of our physical bodies. And yet the giving of the Torah makes us able to “lift” our heads to a radically higher rung.

For when a person studies Torah, it is not merely a matter of man contemplating G-d with mortal eyes. Instead, man is assimilating G-d’s wisdom into his thought processes. And the knowledge of the Divine which a person thus gains remains within him, changing and elevating his way of thinking.16

Extending the Connection

A question can, however, be raised: The command to “lift up the heads” was given as part of the charge to count the Levites. The objects of the command which begins our Torah reading are “the descendants of Gershon” the Levites charged with carrying the curtains which covered the Sanctuary. It was the descendants of Kehos who were responsible for the ark which contained the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, and the menorah, which are both associated with Torah, and the command to count themwas mentioned in the previous Torah reading, Parshas Bamidbar.17 If the intent ofParshas Naso is to highlight the elevating effect of Torah study, why is the charge associated with the descendants of Gershon?

The answer is that Torah study should not remain an isolated spiritual activity. Instead, it should elevate one’s service of prayer (the spiritual activity associated with the descendants of Gershon) and indeed, every aspect of one’s conduct. Moreover, when a person has raised his spiritual level in this fashion, he has the ability to elevate the world around him, bringing it to a deeper level of connection with G-d.

This is reflected in the conclusion of the Torah reading, which describes the final stages of the dedication of the Sanctuary. For the purpose of the Sanctuary was to spread holiness throughout the world, bringing its material dimensions closer to G-d through the sacrificial offerings.18

Applying these lessons dedicating ourselves to Torah study, and using that study to elevate our conduct and our environment will hasten the coming of the time when mankind and the world at large will reach its ultimate peak: “The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.”19

 

ONCE UPON A CHASID: “My Lubavitch” (Naso)

Iyar 29, 5774 · May 29, 2014
“My Lubavitch”

Moses took the wagons and the oxen and gave them to the Levites… according to their workload… But to the Kehos family he did not give any; for theirs was [the most] holy work, they bore it on their shoulders…(7:6-9)

Every year, Reb Shlomo ‘the Yellow’, the melamed of Nevel, would walk to Lubavitch to spend the Simchat Torah festival with his rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer. Even in his later years when his strength had failed him, he refused to climb onto a wagon for even a minute; every step of the way was taken on his own two feet. “In my Lubavitch,” Reb Shlomo maintained, “no horse will take part.”

Once he said: “There will come a time when I shall stand before the heavenly court. What will I have to show for myself? What have I done with the years which have been granted me? We both know that the life of Reb Shmuel the melamedleaves much to be desired.

“But there is one thing that no one can take from me. My Lubavitch. Every year I came to the Rebbe. But imagine that when I present my Lubavitch before the heavenly court, along comes a horse claiming partnership; it was he, after all, who schlepped me to Lubavitch. The truth is, I can probably win my case against the horse, but I have no desire to have it out with a horse over my trips to the Rebbe. No horse will be involved in my Lubavitch!”

 

CHASSIDIC DIMENSION: Shabbos – “Before and After” (Naso)

Iyar 29, 5774 · May 29, 2014
Naso

 

Shabbos — “Before and After”The Torah portion Naso is commonly read on the Shabbos following Shavuos. Since the festivals are related to the Torah portions in whose time they fall,1 it is understandable that within Naso there is an allusion to the special qualities of this Shabbos.

What is special about this Shabbos; where is it alluded to in the portion of Naso ?

Before G-d gave the Torah at Mattan Torah , there was a “rift” between Heaven and earth: “Those who were on high could not descend below; those who were below could not ascend on high.”2 Mattan Torah healed this rift; Heaven and earth could then be united. Thus, the mitzvos performed before Mattan Torah lacked the quality of themitzvos performed afterwards.3

The same holds true for the commandment of Shabbos. Although the Jews observed Shabbos even before Mattan Torah ,4 their observance then could not compare to their observance once the Torah was given.

Since all past events are “reawakened” at the time of year during which they first occurred,5 we understand that the Shabbos following Shavuos is an echo of the firstShabbos after Shavuos , to wit: it is the first complete Shabbos observed as a result ofMattan Torah.

Before Mattan Torah , “on high” had yet to descend “below,” and the performance ofmitzvos was limited by a person’s individual capacity. As a result, it was impossible to infuse the objects with which one performed mitzvos with the infinity of holiness.

When G-d gave the Torah to the world, the mitzvos emanated from His essence. “On High descended below” and man became able to perform mitzvos with G-d-givenpower. Consequently, the physical objects used in the performance of mitzvosthemselves become G-dly — “below ascends on High.”

This is particularly germane to Shabbos: The intrinsic quality of Shabbos — even prior to Mattan Torah — is loftier than creation, for Shabbos commemorates the cessation of creative labor. This is why a Jew is granted on Shabbos “a simple love for G-d that transcends intellect.” This love is much loftier than the rational weekday love that grows from toil and labor.6

This higher degree of love transforms a person and his animal soul, so that he ceases to desire those things he desires during the rest of the week.

Thus, Shabbos is intrinsically lofty in two aspects: Shabbos is itself “on high,” i.e., Shabbos is illumined by a degree of holiness that cannot be attained through man’s service alone; and with regard to “below,” on Shabbos even the animal soul is transformed.

These inherent qualities notwithstanding — qualities remarkably similar to the achievement of Mattan Torah — there is still no comparison between the sanctity of Shabbos before Mattan Torah and the sanctity it achieves afterwards.

This unique quality, mirrored every year in the Shabbos following Shavuos, is alluded to in the portion of Naso, which states at the outset: “Count Gershon’s descendants….7 “

The name Gershon is etymologically related8 both to the bringing out of produce9 — in spiritual terms, revealing one’s latent love for G-d — and to the “chasing away” of evil.10 These two actions bear a remarkable similarity to what transpires on Shabbos.

Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. VIII pp. 49-60.

G-d Makes Himself Heard

The Torah portion Naso concludes by relating that when Moshe would enter theMishkan , he would hear G-d’s voice emanating from between the two Keruvim. The portion concludes by stating once again: “Thus would G-d speak to him.”11

Rashi12 explains that the verse reiterates “Thus would G-d speak to him ,” to inform us that although Aharon may have been in the Mishkan at the time, only Moshe would hear G-d’s voice.

This was no ordinary occurrence, for as Rashi goes on to say, G-d’s voice was as powerful then as it was when it spoke at Sinai. Rather, it was a miracle that in theMishkan only Moshe would hear it.

This gives rise to the following question: Since G-d’s voice was so powerful, why did Moshe have to enter the Mishkan at all? And if G-d desired that only Moshe hear Him, He could have done so, just as within the Mishkan only Moshe heard Him speak.

Rashi concludes by stating that “when the voice reached the entrance of the Mishkan it would cease, and would not emanate outside the Mishkan.” Thus, in order for Moshe to hear G-d speaking, it was necessary that he be within the Mishkan.

But this, too, must be understood: Since by right the voice should have been heard outside the Mishkan , why did it stop at the entrance, thus compelling Moshe to enter in order to hear it?

This will be understood in light of Rashi ’s explanation that G-d’s voice was “the same voice that spoke to him at Sinai.”

We find that “the voice that spoke to him at Sinai” also was subject to cessation, albeit not a cessation in space (as was the case with the voice in the Mishkan), but a cessation in time. For after Mattan Torah , “when the ram’s horn sounded a long blast,”13 the “Divine Presence departed and the voice ceased.”14

The reason for the cessation of the voice is clear: Were it to have continued followingMattan Torah it would have precluded Divine service predicated on man’s freedom of choice; when G-d’s mighty voice in its full glory proclaims “I am G-d your L-rd,”15 there is no room for choosing anything other than G-d’s will.

Just as this is so regarding the cessation of the voice in time, it is true with regard to G-d’s voice ceasing in space — at the entrance of the Mishkan.

Since this voice was “the [very same] voice that spoke to him at Sinai” — with the same degree of revelation and sanctity — it is understandable that were it to have been drawn down on an ongoing basis outside the Mishkan , then the whole world would have automatically been transformed into a Mishkan , and once again the ability to freely choose to serve G-d would have been thwarted.

Moreover, “G-d earnestly desired to have a dwelling place [specifically] in thenethermost level”16 — in the crass physical world. It was in such a world that G-d desired that His voice be drawn down and revealed as man’s service transformed this world into a dwelling for Him.

Were this world to be constantly inundated by G-d’s voice, then it would neither be a lowly world, nor would man be needed to accomplish its transformation, since it would be G-dly in its own right.

There is a lesson here: We should not be satisfied with enclosing ourselves in our own private Mishkan of Torah study, where G-d’s voice is constantly heard, and neglecting the rest of the world. Rather, man’s main service is to let the world outside the Mishkan know that which was revealed, thereby transforming the planet into a dwelling place for G-d.

Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XIII, pp. 20-23.

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Parshat Pekudei (10/03/10)  Machon MeirMachon Meir  ENGLISH  :MeirTV English

Rabbi Netanel Frankenthal


For over 35 years, Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to get a deeper understanding what it truly means to be a member of the Jewish people. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all over the world because of the institute’s encouragement of living in the Land of Israel. Machon Meir has also created a strategy to distribute Torah worldwide through their media channel, Arutz Meir. Since it began, Arutz Meir has debuted a range of television series and archived over 25,000 classes which are constantly being updated and viewed daily throughout the world in 5 different languages. With a variety of topics and discussions led by renowned Jewish scholars, our viewers will surely find a class that will create sparks of inspiration. Whether you are looking to connect to your Jewish heritage or you are simply seeking out answers, we exist to imbue the words of Torah and engage our viewers with real and meaningful

Paracha Pekoude (01/03/11)  Machon MeirMachon Meir MeirTvFrench

Rav Yossef David

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   MeirTvRussian

Rabbi Yona levin


“За чашкой чая”
Беседа в тёплой, неформальной обстановке о том,
как современный интеллигентный слушатель воспринимает нашу традицию.
В передаче мы попробуем получить ответы на непростые вопросы,
которые еврейский народ задаёт уже не первое тысячелетие.
Присоединяйтесь, приходите к нам на чашечку чая.
Не стесняйтесь, чувствуйте себя как дома!
Из цикла передач “За Чашкой Чая” 96-го канала из Иерусалима.
Наша Традиция на вашем языке!

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   ESPAÑOL MeirTvSpanish
Por más de 35 años, Machon Meir ha dado a conocer a través de Israel como el lugar para obtener una comprensión más profunda lo que realmente significa ser un miembro del pueblo judío. También se ha convertido en el punto de aterrizaje para muchos nuevos inmigrantes de todas partes del mundo, porque de aliento de la vida en la Tierra de Israel del instituto. Majón Meir también ha creado una estrategia para distribuir la Torá en todo el mundo a través de su canal de medios, Arutz Meir. Desde sus inicios, Arutz Meir ha estrenado una serie de series de televisión y archivado más de 25.000 clases que constantemente se están actualizando y ver todos los días en todo el mundo en 5 idiomas diferentes. Con una variedad de temas y discusiones dirigidas por renombrados eruditos judíos, nuestros televidentes seguramente encontrará una clase que va a crear chispas de inspiración.

Rabino Rafael Spangenthal

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   עברית    Rabbi Dov Bigon

Rabbi Yoav Malka

 

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YOUR HOLIDAY GUIDE: Shavuot 5775 – 2015 (May 23-25, 2015)

Your Shavuot Guide – 2015
 
Editor’s Note

Shavuot begins this year on Saturday evening, May 23, 2015, and continues through nightfall of May 25, 2015. What follows is a how-to guide to the basics of Shavuot observance.

Out of respect for the sanctity of the holiday, please print out this holiday guidebefore the onset of the holiday and keep it handy throughout the holiday for reference purposes.The Chabad.org staff wishes you and yours a happy Shavuot!

Shavuot 101

What Is Shavuot?

The Torah was given by G‑d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai more than 3300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of G‑d’s gift, and G‑d “re-gives” the Torah.

The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.

The giving of the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event—one that touched the essence of the Jewish soul for all times. Our sages have compared it to a wedding between G‑d and the Jewish people. Shavuot also means “oaths,” for on this day G‑d swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

In ancient times, two wheat loaves would be offered in Holy Temple. It was also at this time that people would begin to bring bikkurim, their first and choicest fruits, to thank G‑d for Israel’s bounty.

The holiday of Shavuot is a two-day holiday, beginning at sundown of the 5th of Sivan and lasting until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan. (In Israel it is a one-day holiday, ending at nightfall of the 6th of Sivan.)

  • Women and girls light holiday candles to usher in the holiday, on both the first and second evenings of the holidays.
  • It is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot.
  • All men, women and children should go to the synagogue on the first day ofShavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
  • As on other holidays, special meals are eaten, and no “work” may be performed.
  • It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Among other reasons, this commemorates the fact that upon receiving the Torah, including the kosher laws, the Jewish people could not cook meat in their pots, which had yet to be rendered kosher.
  • On the second day of Shavuot, the Yizkor memorial service is recited.
  • Some communities read the Book of Ruth publicly, as King David—whose passing occurred on this day—was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite.

Click here for more about Shavuot.

What Is the Torah?

The Torah is composed of two parts: the Written Law and the Oral Law. The written Torah contains the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings. Together with the Written Torah, Moses was also given the Oral Law, which explains and clarifies the Written Law. It was transmitted orally from generation to generation, and eventually transcribed in the Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, and the entire corpus of Torah literature that was developed over the millennia.

The word Torah means “instruction” or “guide.” The Torah guides our every step and move through its 613 mitzvahs. The word mitzvah means both “commandment” and “connection.” Through the study of Torah and fulfillment of mitzvahs, we connect ourselves and our environment to G‑d. G‑d’s purpose in creating the world is that we sanctify all of creation, imbuing it with holiness and spirituality.

On the holiday of Shavuot, the entire Jewish nation heard from G‑d the Ten Commandments. The next day Moses went up to Mount Sinai, where he was taught by G‑d the rest of the Torah—both the Written and Oral Laws—which he then transmitted to the entire nation.

Click for related content:

What is the Torah?
The Torah: Law, Truth and Peace

The Role of Children

When the Torah is read in the synagogue on Shavuot, we experience anew the Sinaitic transmission of the Torah by G‑d. Just as the Sinai event was attended by every Jewish man, woman and child, so too, every Jewish person should make every effort to be present in a synagogue on Sunday, May 24, 2015, as the Ten Commandments are read from the Torah.

There is also special significance to bringing children, even the youngest of infants, to hear the Ten Commandments.

Before G‑d gave the Torah to the Jewish people, He demanded guarantors. The Jews made a number of suggestions, all rejected by G‑d, until they declared, “Our children will be our guarantors that we will cherish and observe the Torah.” G‑d immediately accepted them and agreed to give the Torah.

Let us make sure to bring along all our “guarantors” to the synagogue on the first day ofShavuot.

Click here for the Shavuot Kids Zone.

Holiday Traditions

Learning on Shavuot night

On the first night of Shavuot (this year, Saturday night, May 23, 2015), Jews throughout the world observe the centuries-old custom of conducting an all-night vigil dedicated to Torah learning and preparation for receiving the Torah anew the next morning. One explanation for this tradition is that the Jewish people did not rise early on the day G‑d gave the Torah, and it was necessary for G‑d Himself to awaken them. To compensate for their behavior, Jews have accepted upon themselves the custom of remaining awake all night.

The Book of Ruth

The Book of Ruth is recited as part of the program of study for Shavuot night. Additionally, in many synagogues it is read publicly on the second day of Shavuot. There are several reasons for this custom:

  1. Shavuot is the birthday and yahrtzeit (anniversary of passing) of King David, and the Book of Ruth records his ancestry. Ruth and her husband Boaz were King David’s great-grandparents.
  2. The scenes of harvesting described in the book of Ruth are appropriate to the Festival of Harvest.
  3. Ruth was a sincere convert who embraced Judaism with all her heart. OnShavuot all Jews were converts—having accepted the Torah and all of its precepts.

Click here for the Book of Ruth

Click here for the story of Ruth

Click here for the story of King David

Eating Dairy Foods

It is customary to eat dairy foods on the first day of Shavuot. There are a number of reasons for this custom. Here are a few:

  • On the holiday of Shavuot, a two-loaf bread offering was brought in the Temple. To commemorate this, we eat two meals on Shavuot—first a dairy meal, and then, after a short break, we eat the traditional holiday meat meal.
  • With the giving of the Torah, the Jews became obligated to observe the kosher laws. As the Torah was given on Shabbat, no cattle could be slaughtered nor could utensils be koshered, and thus on that day they ate dairy.
  • The Torah is likened to nourishing milk. Also, the Hebrew word for milk ischalav, and when the numerical values of each of the letters in the wordchalav are added together—8 + 30 + 2—the total is forty. Forty is the number of days Moses spent on Mount Sinai when receiving the Torah.
  • When Moses ascended Mount Sinai, the angels urged G‑d to reconsider His decision to give His most precious Torah to earthly beings. “Bestow Your majesty upon the heavens . . . What is man that You should remember him, and the son of man that You should be mindful of him?” (Psalms 8:2–4). One of the reasons why the angels’ request went unheeded is because of the Jews’ meticulous adherence to the laws of the Torah—including the kosher laws. Not so the angels, who when visiting Abraham consumed butter and milk together with meat (Genesis 18:8). On Shavuot we therefore eat dairy products and then take a break before eating meat—in order to demonstrate our commitment to this mitzvah.

Click here for traditional Shavuot dairy recipes

Adorning the Home with Greenery and Flowers

Since Shavuot is also called the “Harvest Festival,” it is customary to adorn the home and synagogue with fruits, flowers and greens. Furthermore, our Sages relate that although Mount Sinai was situated in a desert, when the Torah was given the mountain bloomed and sprouted flowers.

 

Shavuot Calendar 2015

During the course of the holiday we don’t go to work, drive, write, or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook, to kindle a stove with a flame that existed before the holiday (or which was lit from such a flame), and to carry outdoors.

Shabbat,
Sivan 5—May 23
Shavuot eve

It is customary to decorate synagogues and homes withflowers and boughs .

The holiday of Shavuot begins tonight.

Women and girls light candles tonight to usher in the holiday. Click here for candle-lighting times in your city, and see below for the blessings one recites while lighting.

After the holiday evening prayers, a festive holiday meal, complete with the recitation of the holiday kiddush, is enjoyed.

On this night it is customary to remain awake and study Torah until dawn.

g
Sunday,
Sivan 6—May 24
First day of Shavuot
Torah reading: Exodus 19:1–20:23; Numbers 28:26–31
Haftorah: Ezekiel 1:1–28; 3:12

Reading of the Ten Commandments.

All men, women and children should go to the synagogue to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. Click hereto find a synagogue near you.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, encouraged the bringing of even theyoungest of children to the reading of the Ten Commandments in the synagogue on Shavuot. This is in commemoration of the Jewish people declaring: “Our children are our guarantors [that we will keep the Torah].” This, the Midrash states, was the only guarantee acceptable to G‑d.

The priests bless the congregation with the Priestly Blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Many communities chant the Akdamut poem before the reading of the Torah.

Kiddush is recited, and a holiday meal follows.

It is customary to eat dairy foods today. Click here for delicious dairy recipes.

Candle-lighting, from a pre-existing flame, after nightfall.Click here for candle-lighting times in your city, and see below for the blessings.

Whoever will say yizkor tomorrow lights a yahrtzeit candle tonight, also from a pre-existing flame.

After the holiday evening prayers, a festive holiday meal, complete with the recitation of the holiday kiddush, is again enjoyed.

g
Monday
Sivan 7—May 25
Second day of Shavuot
Torah reading: Deuteronomy 15:19–16:17; Numbers 28:26–31
Haftarah: Habakkuk 2:20–3:19

The Yizkor memorial service is recited (and charity is pledged) for the souls of departed loved ones.

The priests bless the congregation with the Priestly Blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Kiddush is recited, and a holiday meal follows.

Some communities have the custom to read the Book of Ruth on the second day of Shavuot.

The holiday ends tonight at nightfall. Click here for end of holiday times in your location.

Candle-Lighting Blessings

For both evenings of the holiday:

  1. Ba-rooch Ah-tah Ah-doh-nai Eh-lo-hei-nu Meh-lech ha-oh-lam ah-sher kee-deh-sha-nu beh-mitz-voh-tav veh-tzee-va-nu leh-had-lik neir shel yom tov.

    (Translation:) Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the holiday light.

  2. Ba-rooch Ah-tah Ah-doh-nai Eh-lo-hei-nu Meh-lech ha-oh-lam sheh-heh-cheh-yah-nu veh-kee-yeh-mah-nu ve-hee-gee-ah-nu liz-man ha-zeh.

    (Translation:) Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Useful Shavuot Links:

Shavuot Mega-Site

Global Shavuot Event Finder

The Story of Shavuot

Shavuot Personalities

Holiday Insights

Underage Underwriters—60-Second Inspirational Video Clip

Shavuot Kids’ Zone

Traditional Shavuot Recipes

Shavuot Audio Classes, Videos and Songs

 

Chabad.org, OU.org , Machon Meir , and more… WEEKLY Parasha Parshat Behar-Bechukotai , Language : english,SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES MULTI-LANGUAGES,

 

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Section Jewish Parshat language hebrew, french, english, spanish, german, russian, Machon Meir, CHABAD, The Jewish Woman, YOUTH/TEENS SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

 

Machon Meir

Rabbi Dov Begon

Parshat Pekudei (10/03/10)  Machon MeirMachon Meir  ENGLISH  :MeirTV English

 Rabbi Netanel Frankenthal


For over 35 years, Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to get a deeper understanding what it truly means to be a member of the Jewish people. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all over the world because of the institute’s encouragement of living in the Land of Israel. Machon Meir has also created a strategy to distribute Torah worldwide through their media channel, Arutz Meir. Since it began, Arutz Meir has debuted a range of television series and archived over 25,000 classes which are constantly being updated and viewed daily throughout the world in 5 different languages. With a variety of topics and discussions led by renowned Jewish scholars, our viewers will surely find a class that will create sparks of inspiration. Whether you are looking to connect to your Jewish heritage or you are simply seeking out answers, we exist to imbue the words of Torah and engage our viewers with real and meaningful

  Machon MeirMachon Meir MeirTvFrench

Rav Yossef David

Rav Dov Bigon

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   MeirTvRussian

Rav Yona Levin


“За чашкой чая”
Беседа в тёплой, неформальной обстановке о том,
как современный интеллигентный слушатель воспринимает нашу традицию.
В передаче мы попробуем получить ответы на непростые вопросы,
которые еврейский народ задаёт уже не первое тысячелетие.
Присоединяйтесь, приходите к нам на чашечку чая.
Не стесняйтесь, чувствуйте себя как дома!
Из цикла передач “За Чашкой Чая” 96-го канала из Иерусалима.
Наша Традиция на вашем языке!

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   ESPAÑOL MeirTvSpanish
Por más de 35 años, Machon Meir ha dado a conocer a través de Israel como el lugar para obtener una comprensión más profunda lo que realmente significa ser un miembro del pueblo judío. También se ha convertido en el punto de aterrizaje para muchos nuevos inmigrantes de todas partes del mundo, porque de aliento de la vida en la Tierra de Israel del instituto. Majón Meir también ha creado una estrategia para distribuir la Torá en todo el mundo a través de su canal de medios, Arutz Meir. Desde sus inicios, Arutz Meir ha estrenado una serie de series de televisión y archivado más de 25.000 clases que constantemente se están actualizando y ver todos los días en todo el mundo en 5 idiomas diferentes. Con una variedad de temas y discusiones dirigidas por renombrados eruditos judíos, nuestros televidentes seguramente encontrará una clase que va a crear chispas de inspiración.

Rabino Rafael Spangenthal

MeirTvSpanish

20.08.2014

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   עברית    Rabbi Dov Bigon

Rav Dov Bigon

Rav Dov Bigon

Machon Meir

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24JEWISH Parshat Hashavuah, Rabbanim, rav Reuben Ebrahimoff , language english, SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

 

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PARSHAH IN A NUTSHELL: Behar-Bechukotai

Iyar 24, 5775 · May 13, 2015
Behar-Bechukotai
Leviticus 25:1-27:34

On the mountain of Sinai, G-d communicates to Moses the laws of the sabbatical year: every seventh year, all work on the land should cease, and its produce becomes free for the taking for all, man and beast.

Seven sabbatical cycles are followed by afiftieth year — the jubilee year, on which work on the land ceases, all indentured servants are set free, and all ancestral estates in the Holy Land that have been sold revert to their original owners. Additional laws governing the sale of lands and the prohibitions against fraud andusury are also given.

G-d promises that if the people of Israel will keep His commandments, they will enjoymaterial prosperity and dwell secure in their homeland. But He also delivers a harsh “rebuke” warning of the exile, persecution and other evils that will befall them if they abandon their covenant with Him. Nevertheless, “Even when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away; nor will I ever abhor them, to destroy them and to break My covenant with them; for I am the L-rd their G-d.”

The Parshah concludes with the rules on how to calculate the value of different types of pledges made to G-d.

WEEKLY ALIYOT: Parshat Behar-Bechukotai

Iyar 24, 5775 · May 13, 2015
Behar-Bechukotai Aliya Summary

General Overview: This week’s double reading, Behar-Bechukotai, speaks about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, laws regulating commerce and the redemption of slaves. It also contains a vivid description of the rewards for observing G‑d’s commandments and the series of punishments that will befall us if we choose to disregard them. The Torah then discusses different types of gifts given to the Temple, and the animal tithe.


First Aliyah: G‑d commands Moses regarding the Sh’mitah (Sabbatical) and Jubilee years. Every seventh year is a Sabbatical year, when it is forbidden to work the land (in the Land of Israel). After seven sets of seven years a Jubilee year is proclaimed. During Jubilee years all the laws of the Sabbatical year apply, and, in addition to the Sabbatical laws, all slaves are set free and all lands revert to their original owners. We are commanded to conduct business ethically. Since all land reverts to their original owners during the Jubilee year, the amount of years remaining until the next Jubilee year must be taken into account whenever a real-estate sale is conducted, and the price should be set accordingly. The end of this aliyah enjoins us not to verbally harass or intentionally mislead our fellows.


Second Aliyah: This section addresses an obvious concern: “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not sow our gather our grain?!” G‑d reassures us that He will bless the sixth year’s harvest, and it will produce enough to provide for three years! The Torah then gives the rationale for the prohibition against selling land for perpetuity (instead, land can only be “leased” until the Jubilee year) — “Because the Land belongs to Me; you are strangers and residents with Me.” The seller of land, or his relative on his behalf, has the option of “redeeming” the land from the purchaser — provided that two years have past from the date of purchase.


Third Aliyah: The laws mentioned above apply to fields and homes in un-walled cities. Homes in walled cities, on the other hand, may only be redeemed up to one year after the sale; otherwise they become the permanent property of the buyer. Another exception to these rules is the property allotted to the Levites, which are always redeemable. We are commanded to assist our brethren by coming to their aid before they become financially ruined and dependent on the help of others. We are also forbidden from charging interest on a loan to a fellow Jew.


Fourth Aliyah: We are commanded to treat Jewish slaves respectfully, never subjecting them to demeaning labor. The Torah prescribes the redemption process for a Jew sold into slavery to a non-Jewish master. Either the slave himself or one of his relatives refunds to the master the amount of money for the years remaining until the Jubilee — when the slave will go free even if he were not to be “redeemed.” Brief mention is made of the prohibition against idolatry, and the requirement that we observe the Shabbat and revere the Holy Sanctuary. We are promised incredible blessing if we diligently study Torah and observe the mitzvot. The blessings include plentiful food, timely rain, security, peace in the land, the elimination of wild animals from the land, and incredible military success.


Fifth Aliyah: And more blessings: An overabundance of crops and G‑d’s presence will be revealed in our midst. This section then describes the severe, terrifying punishments which will be the Jews’ lot if they reject G‑d’s mitzvot. The punishments include disease, famine, enemy occupation of the land, exile, and desolation of the land. The non-observance of the Sabbatical year is singled out as the reason for the desolation of the land. The aliyah concludes with G‑d’s promise never to utterly forsake us even when we are exiled in the lands of our enemies.


Sixth Aliyah: This section discusses various endowments pledged to the Temple coffers. A person can pledge the worth of an individual, in which case the Torah prescribes how much the person must pay — depending on the gender and age of the individual who is being “assessed.” An animal which is pledged to the Temple must be offered on the altar if it is fit for sacrifice — otherwise it must be “redeemed” for its value. If the owner chooses to redeem it, he must add one fifth of its value to the redemption price. The same rule applies to a house which is pledged to the Temple.


Seventh Aliyah: This section discusses the endowment of land to the temple. If it is land which was part of the family lot (given to his ancestors when Israel was divided amongst the Tribes), and the owner chooses not to redeem it, it may be redeemed by any other individual. In this event, the land becomes the property of the priests during the next Jubilee year. Land which was purchased and then consecrated by the buyer can also be redeemed, but it reverts to its original owner when the Jubilee arrives. All firstborn livestock are sacrificed in the Temple. A person also has the option of dedicating and consecrating any of his belongings specifically for the use of the priests. The “Second Tithe,” which must be consumed by its owners in Jerusalem, is briefly mentioned. Also discussed is the animal tithe — every tenth animal is offered as a sacrifice, and the meat consumed by its owners. With this we conclude the Book of Leviticus.

TORAH STUDIES: Parshat Behar-Bechukotai

Iyar 24, 5775 · May 13, 2015
Behar-Bechukotai

 

Adapted by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

In the Sidra of Behar, instructions are given about the observance of two special kinds of sanctified year—the seventh year (Shemittah or “release”) when the land was rested and lay fallow; and the fiftieth year (Yovel or “Jubilee”) when the Hebrew slaves were emancipated and most property reverted to its original owner. The two institutions were connected, the Jubilee being the completion of seven seven-year cycles. It was not, itself, counted as a year in the seven-yearly reckoning. The Jubilee lapsed as a practical institution when some of the Tribes went into exile. But we can distinguish three periods in its history: (i) a time when the Jubilee was observed, (ii) a time during the second Temple when it was not observed but was still counted for the purpose of fixing the seven-year cycle, and (iii) a time (like the present) when neither Temple stood, and the seven-year cycle was counted without reference to the Jubilee. The Rebbe explores the spiritual meaning of the seventh and fiftieth years, and thus gives an inward interpretation to the three periods, and the religious consciousness they represent.

1. The Jubilee

“And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a Jubilee unto you; and you shall return every man unto his possession, and you shall return every man unto his family.”1

In this connection, the Talmud states: “When the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Menasseh went into exile, the Jubilees were abolished, as it is said, ‘And you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,—that is (only) at the time when all its inhabitants dwell upon it, but not at the time when some of them are exiled.”2

Despite the fact that the Jubilee—as a time of emancipation of slaves and restitution of property—lapsed, the (Babylonian) Talmud notes that even during the period of the second Temple, “They counted the Jubilees to keep the years of release holy.”3 Every seventh year was a year of release (“Shemittah”), a sabbatical year for the land when it was “released” from cultivation and lay fallow. In this cycle, according to the Rabbis,4the fiftieth year was not counted, so that they had to continue counting the Jubilees in order to be able to observe the Shemittah years of release in their proper time: To ensure that release was observed in the seventh year after the Jubilee rather than after the forty-ninth year.

Tosefot5 raises an objection: The Jerusalem Talmud states, “At a time when the Jubilee is not observed as a year of release, neither do you observe the seventh year as a release.”6 If so, during the second Temple period, when the Jubilee was not observed, merely counted, it should follow that the seven-year release of Shemittah should also have lapsed.

Rashi’s opinion7 is that the seventh year was observed during the Second Temple, only as a Rabbinic law. In other words, the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds are not in disagreement, the Jerusalem Talmud asserting that the sabbatical year was not (while the Jubilee was in abeyance) a requirement of Torah law, the Babylonian Talmud mentioning that it was nonetheless continued, by Rabbinic decree.

But according to Tosefot, the two Talmuds conflict, the Babylonian asserting that the seventh year was obligatory under Torah law, independently of the Jubilee, in disagreement with the Jerusalem Talmud.

2. The Spirit and the Law

The legal decisions of the early Rabbis, the Tannaim and the Amoraim, were not made merely as a result of a this-worldly reasoning.8 They were men of great spiritual insight, who saw matters in a spiritual light and then translated their vision into intellectual and legal terms. Since their souls differed in the visionary heights they were able to reach, so also their practical decisions differed, and this was the source of their legal disagreements.9

Seen in this way, we might say that the disagreement (according to Tosefot) between the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds as to whether the Shemittah year of release was required by Torah law during the second Temple period, has its origin in the different levels of spirituality these two works represent.

The Babylonian is the lower level. “ ‘He hath made me to dwell in dark places’—this, said Rabbi Jeremiah, refers to the Babylonian Talmud.’’10

At the higher level of the Jerusalem Talmud, it required the sanctity of the Jubilee to complete the sanctity of the Shemittah year. At the lower, Babylonian, level, the seventh year was complete in itself even without the Jubilee.

3. The Lapsing of the Jubilee

When the Second Temple was destroyed, the year of release was counted in a new way.

While the Temple stood, the fiftieth year was not counted as part of the seven-year cycle. But “during those seventy years between the destruction of the First Temple and the building of the Second, and also after the destruction of the Second, they did not count the Jubilee year, but only (unbroken) seven-year cycles.”11

Why, then, is there a difference between the way we count the year of release now, and in the Second Temple, when the Jubilee had ceased to be observed?

Using our previous concept, we might say that while the Temple existed, the level of spirituality was so high that the Shemittah year of release needed the higher sanctity of the Jubilee for its completion—at one period, the actual observance of the Jubilee at another, at least the counting of it. But when the Temple was destroyed, spiritual achievement sank to the point where the year of release no longer had any connection with the Jubilee.

4.The Inner Meaning of the Seventh
and Fiftieth Years

To understand all this, we must discover the equivalents of the seventh and fiftieth years in the religious life of man.

The seventh year, the time of release, represents the “acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of heaven.”12 This is when man suppresses his ego in obedience to G-d (bittul ha-yesh).13His ego still exists, and continually needs to be silenced. That is why, as every seventh year approached, its claim would be heard: “What shall we eat on the seventh year? Behold, we may not sow, nor gather in our increase.”14 Even though on each previous occasion it had seen for itself the fulfillment of G-d’s promise, “I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years,’’15 it always renewed its anxieties.

The Jubilee, on the other hand, represents the complete abnegation of one’s being to G-d (bittul bi-metziut). There is no longer a contending ego. Instead of serving G-d through an effort of willpower, one serves through understanding, an understanding so complete that it breaks through the curtain of self-deception that separates man from G-d. It is the “year of freedom,” meaning, freedom from concealment and from the ego that holds man in its chains.

5. Two Kinds of Obedience

Each of these levels has a certain merit vis-à-vis the other.16 Bittul bi-metziut, or the obedience that comes from understanding, has the advantage of being extensive. It encompasses the whole man in its orientation towards G-d.

Bittul ha-yesh, or the obedience that comes from an effort of will, has the advantage of being intensive. It is an intense spiritual struggle within the soul of man.

To give an analogy: There are two kinds of relationship between a servant and his master. There is the “simple” servant, whose real desire is to be free, but who serves because he accepts the burden of his situation. And there is the “faithful” servant, who serves his master out of love and a genuine desire to obey. Whereas the obedience of the latter is more complete, since his whole nature affirms his service, the obedience of the former is more intense because it is a result of a deliberate subjugation of part of his character. It cost him more in terms of inward effort.

6. The Three Ages

We can now see the full significance of the three periods in Jewish history with respect to the Jubilee and the year of release.

When the first Temple stood, both were observed, that is, Jewish spirituality combined obedience through love and understanding with obedience through effort and subjugation. Love lay even in their subjugation; their effort was also with understanding. The love which transcends the self returned to fill the self.

At the time of the Second Temple, the Jubilee was no longer observed but it was still counted. Love and understanding still counted, still left their traces, in the service of effort and will.

But when the Second Temple was destroyed, all that was left was the year of release, the intense struggle to conquer the ego, and obey for obedience’s sake. No trace of the Jubilee, of inward unanimity, remained.

7. A Disagreement Explained

So now we no longer see the things of the spirit with the clear light of understanding. We are forced to act against our reason, in a gesture of reluctant obedience. True inwardness is beyond us. And yet, the ultimate inwardness never departs. The essence of the soul is always present. In the current spiritual darkness of exile, it still works its subconscious, subliminal influence.

And this is the ultimate source of the disagreement between the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds as to whether the year of release is a matter of Torah or of Rabbinic Law in our time; that is to say, whether it still exists in its own right, or merely as a Rabbinic remembrance of times past,17 when the Jubilee was celebrated.

To the Babylonian Talmud, the product of exile, the observance of the seventh year and its corresponding service of “acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven” seemed like an act in itself, with no connection to that higher state of the Jubilee and the service which came through love and understanding.

The Jerusalem Talmud, with its higher spiritual awareness, still felt the Jubilee and its service as a continuing, if subliminal, presence. So they saw the year of release as still connected with, and observed in remembrance of, the time when it belonged together with the Jubilee, when the first Temple stood.

Similarly, it is also a preparation for the time when that former state will return, with the building of the third Temple, when the Messiah comes.

(Source: Likkutei Sichot, Vol. VII pp. 170-174)

Do Jews Cross Fingers?

Chabad.org Magazin

Iyar 23, 5775 · May 12, 2015
Editor’s Note:

Dear Friend,

With hot summer weather coming, it’s likely that racial tensions will continue to simmer in the U.S. From Missouri to Mississippi to Maryland, the frustration, violence, and deep-seated grievances are remarkably similar.

On both sides of the issue, people struggle to make sense of those with holding a diametrically opposite view. “How can they not see how wrong they are?” they fume. “Don’t they realize how destructive, violent, and narrow their approach is!” they declare self-righteously.

And therein lies the problem. As long as we see two sides, with competing worldviews and goals, peace cannot be achieved.

Rather, as the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—told New York City Mayor David Dinkins following the Crown Heights riots, “Forget both sides; it is one side, one people united . . .”

“All of them were created by the same G‑d for the same purpose,” the Rebbetold the mayor during an earlier meeting, “to add in all good . . .”

When we truly realize that we are all descendants of a common ancestor, created in the image of G‑d, everything else will fall into place.

With wishes for a safe, healthy, and peaceful summer,

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

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Why Israel and the Diaspora Read Different Parshahs (By Mendy Kaminker)
PARSHAH

Demanding obedience is a card parents often pull as leverage in a power struggle. But have the children learned anything meaningful?

By Rochel Holzkenner

More in Parshah:
Punishments or Gifts? (By Gittle Gesina)
Behar-Bechukotai In Depth
WHAT’S NEW AT CHABAD.ORG?

The first course in this series will focus on the laws of Shabbat. What are the requirements for Kiddush? How is food prepared before and during Shabbat? What can a person do, for example, in case of a medical emergency on Shabbat?

VIDEO

The Sages declare that when the first day of the seven-week ‘Omer’ countdown begins on a Sunday, then the count is perfect and complete. But surely the 49-day count is perfect regardless of which day in the week it starts? In answering this question, this class addresses two kinds of relationships and where perfection really begins.

By Moishe New
Watch Watch (49:04)

More in Video:
Knowledge vs. Wisdom (By Mendel Kalmenson)
Miriam bat Bilgah, Part 1 (By Binyomin Bitton)
STORY

There were lots of things I knew about Mr. Friedman, and many I didn’t. One fact I thought I understood was that he’s always been a man of ordinary means. So when I first heard about the Holocaust Torah, I thought I’d misunderstood.

By Yvette Miller

More in Story:
The Pearl from G-d (Ruth Rabbah 3:4; Exodus Rabbah 52:3)
LIFESTYLE

Showcase the beauty of Mount Sinai with this beautiful Shavuot cake.

By Miriam Szokovski

More in Lifestyle:
Discover the Secret to Perfect Floral Arrangements
One Heart (By Sara Seldowitz)
JEWISH NEWS

Two different programs offer Deaf children sports, excursions and more in a warm atmosphere and Jewish context. First of a series of articles on Chabad summer camps.

By Menachem Posner

More in Jewish News:
Q&A: Jewish Unity Celebrated in Copenhagen, Three Months After Terror Attacks (By Carin M. Smilk)
‘Daily Wisdom’ From Kehot Wins Benjamin Franklin Award (By Menachem Posner)
In Nepal, Preparing for Another Blow: Monsoon Season (By Menachem Posner)

YOUTH/TEEN Select Section WEEKLY Parasha Parshat Behar-Bechukotai SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Who’s Misameach?

09.03.2015

A Studio123 productions
Filmed by ALEX RADRIGEZ
Directed by Shia Fried
Edited by JACK MASO

בא אל פרעה כי אני הכבדתי את לבו יהונתן שטנצל יציאת מצרים שירי פסח bo el paro

15.01.2015
לקראת פרשת וארא אולפני ר’ חיים בנט עם מקהלת הילדים “רננו חסידים” שחררו שיר מיוחד של “בא אל פרעה כי אני הכבדתי את לבו”, הלחן מיוחד ומלא הומור והוקלט בחודש האחרון לראשונה , של נוסח עתיק ששמעו בבית משפחת שטנצל של בא אל פרעה כי אני הכבדתי את לבו.
שיר זה היה נוהג לשיר מזכה הרבים רבי שלמה שטנצל זצ”ל, בעקבות פטירתו בנו בעל התפילה הרב יונתן שטנצל החליט להקליט שיר זה על מנת ששיר זה, יהיה לנחלת הכלל, וגייס לעניין את מקהלת “נרננה” ואת המעבד המוכשר איתן פרישברג , את ר’ חיים בנט שגייס את מקהלת “רננו חסידים”

thetheme1

Section Jewish Parshat language hebrew, french, english, spanish, german, russian, Machon Meir, CHABAD, The Jewish Woman, YOUTH/TEENS SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Parshat Behar: Sustainable Farming in the Torah

Betcha didn’t know that the Torah has lots to say about sustainable farming practices. Organic farmer Emily Freed explains the laws of the land in down-to-earth language. So get your hands, or at least your ears, dirty!

This is Parshat Behar (בְּהַר “on the mount” Leviticus 25:1–26:2) Episode 32 of the weekly Torah cartoon from G-dcast.com. Each week, a different storyteller – some musical, some poetic, some just straight-up, tell the story of the current Torah portion…and then we animate it!

Parshat Bechukotai: What Happens When We Break The Covenant

Camp Ramah

Camp Ramah in New England is a Jewish overnight camp serving New England, parts of New York, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. We provide an inspiring Jewish experience each summer to over 700 campers and 200 staff.

Being a Man

01.09.2014
Why is 13 the age for a Bar Mitzvah?

By Charlie and Moshe Harary

Popular Birthright Israel & Jerusalem videos

MACHON MEIR YESHIVA JERUSALEM

06.04.2013
http://english.machonmeir.net/
Machon Meir is a Center for Jewish Studies that is located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel in the neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe. It was established by Rabbi Dov Bigon shortly after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Rabbi Bigon was a commander in the Israeli Defense Force that helped liberate Jerusalem and the Western Wall from the Jordanian Legion. After the war he began to contemplate the meaning of the Jewish Nation and decided to enroll himself in the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Bat Mitzvah NY Shabbaton – Chabad of Dollard

The Bat Mitzvah Girls enjoyed an amazing weekend in New York!

Sami and Tuvia – Who’s Bike is it Anyway? – Part I

15.07.2013
Judaism for Kids – Sami and Tuvia – Who’s Bike is it Anyway? Part I
Sami finds a bike by the dumpster, which he thinks was sent just for him. Little does he know that this bike belongs to someone else and is very important to him. What is Sami to do when he finds out someone is looking for this bike?

The Ultimate in Jewish Rock

Popular Yeshivat Lev Hatorah videos

The Yeshiva Boys Choir

 


Rock n’Roll Rabbi


Participating in the Torah

סיפור ילדותי

 

Noa raconte la paracha ,,,,,,,,,







Chemah Koli: introduction,comment apprendre à lire dans le Sepher Thora? – 613TV

20.11.2014
Raphaël David Skouri vous présente CHEMAH KOLI, une nouvelle émission de cette année pour 613TV!!

Pour plus de vidéos, abonnez-vous sur Free/Numericable/Darty-box

Torah Aura Productions

La Paracha avec Boubach saison — !!

Paracha …..Rosée de Miel

Parashas para niños

Un Cafe Con Dios

David Ben Yosef

Benny Hershcovich

Chabad House Bowery

כוכבית אתרוג

תלמוד תורה יסדת עוז תשעד
26.05.2014

Yavneh Hebrew Academy

Popular Shabbaton & NCSY videos

Celebrate 60 years of NCSY at the historic Shabbaton this Spring. Sign up online at your regional website or go to http://www.ncsy.org

Popular Shabbaton & Chabad videos

A fantastic group of Young Adults from Chabad NDG in the heart of Montreal’s trendy Monkland Village went down to Crown Heights, New York for an incredible Shabbaton weekend. It was the best of both the physical and spiritual worlds. This is a 6 minute documentary of our journey, reflections and inspiration
s… hope you enjoy it!

Filmed by Rabbi Yisroel Bernath on Canon Powershot SD1400 IS
Edited in iMovie for iPhone

Mitzvah Boulevard #3 – Shabbos Trailer

WEEKLY TORAH FOR  KIDS:  Parshat Behar-Bechukotai

Iyar 24, 5775 · May 13, 2015
Care to Win
By Mendy Loewenthal

“You must pass the ball to each other,” Mr. Gibson said. “If you want your team to win, you all need to work together, if you just try to run down with the ball and play your own game then your team will lose.”

Ben’s team was in the middle of the first game of the interschool competition and they had a new coach. They all stood huddled around him at halftime, listening to his words of wisdom and inspiration intended to keep them going through the second half and carry them through to a win.

“It doesn’t sound as if he cares whether we win or lose,” Ben said to David as they jogged out to the field. “All he says is, ‘if you do this you will win, if you do that you will lose.’ It’s all ‘if you,’ ‘if you.'”

“Instead of telling us that we will lose, it would be nice if he would encourage us…””Yeah,” David said. “Instead of telling us that we will lose, it would be nice if he would encourage us to play well in a positive way.”

“It’s like this week’s Torah reading,” Ben said. “The reading starts with the words ‘If you follow My laws.’ We had a long discussion in class about the word ‘if.’ Does it mean ‘if,’ or does it mean ‘please'”?

“What’s the difference?” David asked as they waited for the whistle to blow.

“Well, this little word,” Ben explained, “changes the whole meaning of the verse. It could make G‑d sound as if He doesn’t really care whether we win or lose, and all He is saying is ‘if you keep the mitzvot you will be blessed.’ Or, it could be a passionate plea from G‑d that we should keep the mitzvot and learn Torah, and consequently we will be blessed.”

“So,” David said, “what did you decide, does G‑d care if we do the mitzvot?”

“The Talmud says,” Ben explained “that G‑d is pleading with us to do the mitzvot. G‑d wants us to live a life filled with positive things. He wants us to study Torah and do the mitzvot, such as being kind to each other and kind to our parents, to our brothers and sisters and being good to a lonely person, and like Shabbat and kosher and so on.”

“Wow! Pleading with us! That’s amazing,” said David.

“Yeah,” said Ben. “But most importantly He wants us to win the game!”

“Remember to pass…!” David yelled as he ran for the ball…

JewishKids.org Update

Make a Duct Tape Rose & Cheesecake for Shavuot!

Iyar 21, 5775 · May 10, 2015
Hey kids!
We’re so lucky—the Jewish calendar is filled with holidays, and the next one, Shavuot, is fast approaching. On Shavuot we celebrate the giving of theTorah on Mount Sinai, when the children played a very important role!When G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people, the Jewish children were the guarantors! G-d knew that He could count on the Jewish boys and girls to make sure the Jewish people would love the Torah, learn it, and do its holy mitzvahs.

Every year we celebrate this special day, by going to the synagogue and hearing the Ten Commandments being read. On Wednesday, May 24, 2015, make sure to go to your local synagogue and hear the Ten Commandments.

On Shavuot, it’s also traditional to eat dairy and decorate the house withflowers and greenery.

We’ve got some great videos, crafts, recipes and stories to help you get ready for the holiday. Enjoy!

Have a great week,

Your friends at JewishKids.org

PS. Stay tuned for the opportunity to do the Shavuot mitzvahs and win great prizes in the upcoming Shavuot mission.

This Week’s Features

Watch Watch (8:08)
Watch Watch (5:01)

YOUTH/TEEN Select Section WEEKLY Parasha Parshat Emor SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Who’s Misameach?

09.03.2015

A Studio123 productions
Filmed by ALEX RADRIGEZ
Directed by Shia Fried
Edited by JACK MASO

בא אל פרעה כי אני הכבדתי את לבו יהונתן שטנצל יציאת מצרים שירי פסח bo el paro

15.01.2015
לקראת פרשת וארא אולפני ר’ חיים בנט עם מקהלת הילדים “רננו חסידים” שחררו שיר מיוחד של “בא אל פרעה כי אני הכבדתי את לבו”, הלחן מיוחד ומלא הומור והוקלט בחודש האחרון לראשונה , של נוסח עתיק ששמעו בבית משפחת שטנצל של בא אל פרעה כי אני הכבדתי את לבו.
שיר זה היה נוהג לשיר מזכה הרבים רבי שלמה שטנצל זצ”ל, בעקבות פטירתו בנו בעל התפילה הרב יונתן שטנצל החליט להקליט שיר זה על מנת ששיר זה, יהיה לנחלת הכלל, וגייס לעניין את מקהלת “נרננה” ואת המעבד המוכשר איתן פרישברג , את ר’ חיים בנט שגייס את מקהלת “רננו חסידים”

thetheme1

Section Jewish Parshat language hebrew, french, english, spanish, german, russian, Machon Meir, CHABAD, The Jewish Woman, YOUTH/TEENS SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Camp Ramah

Camp Ramah in New England is a Jewish overnight camp serving New England, parts of New York, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. We provide an inspiring Jewish experience each summer to over 700 campers and 200 staff.

Being a Man

01.09.2014
Why is 13 the age for a Bar Mitzvah?

By Charlie and Moshe Harary

Popular Birthright Israel & Jerusalem videos

MACHON MEIR YESHIVA JERUSALEM

06.04.2013
http://english.machonmeir.net/
Machon Meir is a Center for Jewish Studies that is located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel in the neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe. It was established by Rabbi Dov Bigon shortly after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Rabbi Bigon was a commander in the Israeli Defense Force that helped liberate Jerusalem and the Western Wall from the Jordanian Legion. After the war he began to contemplate the meaning of the Jewish Nation and decided to enroll himself in the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Bat Mitzvah NY Shabbaton – Chabad of Dollard

The Bat Mitzvah Girls enjoyed an amazing weekend in New York!

Sami and Tuvia – Who’s Bike is it Anyway? – Part I

15.07.2013
Judaism for Kids – Sami and Tuvia – Who’s Bike is it Anyway? Part I
Sami finds a bike by the dumpster, which he thinks was sent just for him. Little does he know that this bike belongs to someone else and is very important to him. What is Sami to do when he finds out someone is looking for this bike?

The Ultimate in Jewish Rock

Popular Yeshivat Lev Hatorah videos

The Yeshiva Boys Choir

 


Rock n’Roll Rabbi


Participating in the Torah

סיפור ילדותי

Parshat Emor: Your Exclusive Social Event Calendar of the Year

Parshat Kedoshim (What if Leviticus Rhymed?! Contagiously Musical Torah)

What if Leviticus Rhymed?!

This week’s Torah portion is chock full of rules for living…and the genius of singer/songwriter Elana Jagoda is that she took all those rules and made them rhyme. And rock. Give Kedoshim a listen and we promise, you won’t soon forget what’s holy and what’s not.

This is Episode 30 of the weekly Torah cartoon from G-dcast.com. Each week, a different storyteller – some musical, some poetic, some just straight-up, tell the story of the current Torah portion…and then we animate it!

Noa raconte la paracha ,,,,,,,,,







Chemah Koli: introduction,comment apprendre à lire dans le Sepher Thora? – 613TV

20.11.2014
Raphaël David Skouri vous présente CHEMAH KOLI, une nouvelle émission de cette année pour 613TV!!

Pour plus de vidéos, abonnez-vous sur Free/Numericable/Darty-box

Torah Aura Productions

La Paracha avec Boubach saison — !!

Paracha …..Rosée de Miel

Parashas para niños

Un Cafe Con Dios

David Ben Yosef

Benny Hershcovich

Chabad House Bowery

כוכבית אתרוג

תלמוד תורה יסדת עוז תשעד
26.05.2014

Yavneh Hebrew Academy

Popular Shabbaton & NCSY videos

Celebrate 60 years of NCSY at the historic Shabbaton this Spring. Sign up online at your regional website or go to http://www.ncsy.org

Popular Shabbaton & Chabad videos

A fantastic group of Young Adults from Chabad NDG in the heart of Montreal’s trendy Monkland Village went down to Crown Heights, New York for an incredible Shabbaton weekend. It was the best of both the physical and spiritual worlds. This is a 6 minute documentary of our journey, reflections and inspiration
s… hope you enjoy it!

Filmed by Rabbi Yisroel Bernath on Canon Powershot SD1400 IS
Edited in iMovie for iPhone

Mitzvah Boulevard #3 – Shabbos Trailer

WEEKLY TORAH FOR  KIDS:  Parshat Emor

Iyar 17, 5775 · May 6, 2015
Living with the Parshah: To Be a Cohen

Maya strapped on her seatbelt as her mother started the engine and they waited for her father to get into the car. It was Sunday afternoon and they were about to go to visit their cousins, who lived just outside the city.

Soon they were on their way. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Maya let the air rush through her hair as the car sped down the highway. She had been looking forward to this as her cousins had only recently moved to England. It would be the first time that Maya would be visiting them in their new home.

Soon they were out of the city, off the highway, driving along a beautiful winding country road. “Ah, the scenery is so pretty!” exclaimed Maya. “And the air is so fresh,” she added, opening her window wide and inhaling deeply.

“Yes,” agreed her mother from the driving seat, “we will be coming out here on holiday in the summer, to get some more of this fantastic air.” She too was a fan of country air and country landscape.

The car, driven by Maya’s mother, was moving down a delightful narrow lane, sporadically overhung with trees. Suddenly Maya’s father, sitting in the passenger seat at the front and looking at a map, sat up straight. “Hey! I’m sorry!” he called out.

“What’s the matter?” asked his wife.

“We have to turn off this road. Quick, stop the car!”

Maya’s mother smoothly brought the car to a halt. “What”s the problem?” asked Maya, now feeling annoyed. She thought to herself: Parents! They always have some kind of problem! Sitting in the back seat, she snorted audibly.

“I”m sorry,” said her father from the front, “but we cannot go along this route. We will have to go back and find another road.”

“Why?” asked Maya, “what is wrong with this lovely road? Mummy was just saying how beautiful it is here.”

Her mother peered at the map which Maya’s father was showing her. “Oh, a cemetery!” she said. “Sorry, I didn’t realize. It’s so good that you noticed it,” she said to Maya’s father as she began turning the car round, doing a neat three-point turn.

“The problem is,” she said, glancing back at Maya, “that on this road we will soon pass a cemetery. The map shows it very clearly.”

“What’s the deal with the cemetery? Why shouldn’t we go near it?” asked Maya, her annoyance gone and her interest sparked.

“We are a family of kohanim,” her mother replied. “That means we have special rules. Further along this road there are trees hanging over the road and creating a kind of canopy over the graves and us. Since Daddy is a kohen that is not allowed.”

“Oh, I remember,” said Maya. “In fact it’s in the sedra this week. But it doesn’t apply to a girl, does it, Mummy?”

“No, you are quite right. But it does apply to Daddy, and to your brother Chaim, if he would be here instead of being on holiday in Israel.”

“It’s good to remember about being a kohen,” said Maya. “Even out here in the country, the fact that you are a kohen matters. And when Moshiach comes, and there is a beautiful Temple again in Jerusalem, then the fact that you and Chaim are kohanimand can serve in the Temple will be fantastic.”

JewishKids.org Update

Watch the Miracles Video & Make a Spring Smoothie

Iyar 14, 5775 · May 3, 2015
Hey kids!

Today we celebrate Pesach Sheni—a “second Passover.”

A year after the Jews left Egypt, G-d instructed them to bring the Passover offering and eat it together with matzah and bitter herbs, as they had done the year before. There were some people who had become ritually impure and weren’t able to participate, but they didn’t want to miss out!

They asked, “Why should we miss out? We want to do this mitzvah, too!”

So G-d created a second opportunity for them. Anyone who was unable to bring the Passover offering on time, had a second chance one month later on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Iyar.

It’s customary to mark this day by eating matzah, but unlike on Passover, we don’t need to stay away from chametz. We’ve got some fun ideas for you to do with your Pesach Sheni matzah today.

This second Passover is about more than just matzah. It’s about missed opportunities and second chances. Pesach Sheni shows us that it’s never too late to do a mitzvah.

This Week’s Features

Watch Watch (5:13)

Chabad.org, OU.org , Machon Meir , and more… WEEKLY Parasha Parshat Emor, Language : english,SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES MULTI-LANGUAGES,

 

thetheme1

Section Jewish Parshat language hebrew, french, english, spanish, german, russian, Machon Meir, CHABAD, The Jewish Woman, YOUTH/TEENS SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

 

Machon Meir

Rabbi Dov Begon

Parshat Pekudei (10/03/10)  Machon MeirMachon Meir  ENGLISH  :MeirTV English

 Rabbi Netanel Frankenthal


For over 35 years, Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to get a deeper understanding what it truly means to be a member of the Jewish people. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all over the world because of the institute’s encouragement of living in the Land of Israel. Machon Meir has also created a strategy to distribute Torah worldwide through their media channel, Arutz Meir. Since it began, Arutz Meir has debuted a range of television series and archived over 25,000 classes which are constantly being updated and viewed daily throughout the world in 5 different languages. With a variety of topics and discussions led by renowned Jewish scholars, our viewers will surely find a class that will create sparks of inspiration. Whether you are looking to connect to your Jewish heritage or you are simply seeking out answers, we exist to imbue the words of Torah and engage our viewers with real and meaningful

  Machon MeirMachon Meir MeirTvFrench

Rav Yossef David

Rab Natan Menashe

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   MeirTvRussian

Rav Dov Bigon


“За чашкой чая”
Беседа в тёплой, неформальной обстановке о том,
как современный интеллигентный слушатель воспринимает нашу традицию.
В передаче мы попробуем получить ответы на непростые вопросы,
которые еврейский народ задаёт уже не первое тысячелетие.
Присоединяйтесь, приходите к нам на чашечку чая.
Не стесняйтесь, чувствуйте себя как дома!
Из цикла передач “За Чашкой Чая” 96-го канала из Иерусалима.
Наша Традиция на вашем языке!

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   ESPAÑOL MeirTvSpanish
Por más de 35 años, Machon Meir ha dado a conocer a través de Israel como el lugar para obtener una comprensión más profunda lo que realmente significa ser un miembro del pueblo judío. También se ha convertido en el punto de aterrizaje para muchos nuevos inmigrantes de todas partes del mundo, porque de aliento de la vida en la Tierra de Israel del instituto. Majón Meir también ha creado una estrategia para distribuir la Torá en todo el mundo a través de su canal de medios, Arutz Meir. Desde sus inicios, Arutz Meir ha estrenado una serie de series de televisión y archivado más de 25.000 clases que constantemente se están actualizando y ver todos los días en todo el mundo en 5 idiomas diferentes. Con una variedad de temas y discusiones dirigidas por renombrados eruditos judíos, nuestros televidentes seguramente encontrará una clase que va a crear chispas de inspiración.

Rabino Rafael Spangenthal

MeirTvSpanish

20.08.2014

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   עברית    Rabbi Dov Bigon

Rav Dov Bigon

Machon Meir

oushabbat

24JEWISH Parshat Hashavuah, Rabbanim, rav Reuben Ebrahimoff , language english, SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

 

chabad

PARSHAH IN A NUTSHELL: Emor

Emor
Iyar 17, 5775 · May 6, 2015
Leviticus 21:1-24:23

The Torah section of Emor (“Speak“) begins with the special laws pertaining to the Kohanim(“priests”), the Kohen Gadol (“High Priest”), and the Temple service: A Kohen may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, save on the occasion of the death of a close relative. A Kohen may not marry a divorcee or a woman with a promiscuous past; a Kohen Gadol can marry only a virgin. A Kohen with a physicaldeformity cannot serve in the Holy Temple, nor can a deformed animal be brought as an offering.

A newborn calf, lamb, or kid must be left with its mother for seven days before being eligible for an offering; one may not slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day.

The second part of Emor lists the annual Callings of Holiness — the festivals of the Jewish calendar: the weekly Shabbat; the bringing of the Passover offering on 14 Nissan; the seven-day Passover festival beginning on 15 Nissan; the bringing of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the 2nd day of Passover, and the commencement, on that day, of the 49-day Counting of the Omer, culminating in the festival of Shavuot on the 50th day; a “remembrance of shofarblowing” on 1 Tishrei; a solemn fast day on 10 Tishrei; the Sukkot festival — during which we are to dwell in huts for seven days and take the “Four Kinds” — beginning on15 Tishrei; and the immediately following holiday of the “8th day” of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret).

Next the Torah discusses the lighting of the Menorah in the Temple, and theshowbread (Lechem Hapanim) placed weekly on the table there.

Emor concludes with the incident of a man executed for blasphemy, and the penalties for murder (death) and for injuring one’s fellow or destroying his property (monetary compensation).

WEEKLY ALIYOT

Iyar 17, 5775 · May 6, 2015
Emor Aliya Summary

General Overview: This week’s reading, Emor, discusses the laws which pertain to Kohanim (priests), and various laws which relate to sacrifices. These are followed by a lengthy discussion of the festivals. The portion concludes with the story of a blasphemer who was put to death.


First Aliyah: The aliyah discusses the Kohen’s obligation to maintain a high level of ritual purity, and the women he may marry. An ordinary Kohen is prohibited to come in contact with a human corpse — except to attend the funerals of his next of kin — and may not marry a divorcee as well as some other women. The High Priest is not permitted to attend even family funerals, and is required to marry a virgin.


Second Aliyah: This section discusses bodily blemishes and ritual impurities which disqualify a Kohen from performing the Temple priestly duties. The aliyah then lays down the rules regarding who in the Kohen’s household may eat terumah, the tithe from produce given to the Kohanim.


Third Aliyah: Blemished animals are disqualified for sacrificial use. This aliyah also forbids the castration of animals, sacrificing animals before they are eight days old, and slaughtering a mother animal and her child on the same day. The aliyah concludes with the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem, sanctifying G‑d’s Name by giving one’s life rather than transgressing certain cardinal sins.


Fourth Aliyah: This section begins a lengthy discussion about the Jewish holidays. After making brief mention of the Shabbat, the Torah talks about the holiday of Passover and the mitzvah of eating matzah. On the second day of this holiday, an “omer” barley offering is brought in the Temple. This is followed by a seven-week counting period that culminates with the holiday of Shavuot. After discussing the Shavuot Temple service, the Torah briefly interrupts the holiday discussion to mention the obligation, when harvesting fields, to leave certain gifts for the poor.


Fifth Aliyah: The High Holidays are discussed. We are commanded to hear the shofar(ram’s horn) on Rosh Hashanah, and to “afflict” ourselves on Yom Kippur.


Sixth Aliyah: The autumn holiday of Sukkot is now introduced. During this seven-day holiday we are commanded to sit in outdoor booths, take the Four Species (citron, palm branch, myrtles, and willows), and rejoice before G‑d. The final holiday is Shemini Atzeret, a one-day holiday which immediately follows Sukkot.


Seventh Aliyah: We are instructed to use the purest of olive oils for the daily kindling of the Temple menorah, and to arrange twelve “showbreads” on the Temple Table every Shabbat. The Torah then tells the story of a Jewish man who was put to death for blaspheming G‑d. The portion concludes with the penalties for committing murder, property damages, and personal injury.

 

TORAH STUDIES: Parshat Emor

Iyar 17, 5775 · May 6, 2015
Emor

An historic controversy arose between the Rabbis and sectarians as to the meaning of the command of counting the Omer: “And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the Shabbat.” The Rabbis understood Shabbat to mean Pesach (i.e., “the day of rest”). The sectarians took it to mean, literally, the seventh day, and so they always began their counting on a Sunday. Although the Rabbis proved their case, why did the Torah use a word so open to misinterpretation? In answering this question, the Sicha branches out into a detailed study of the three stages from the Exodus from Egypt to the Giving of the Torah on Sinai, both as they occurred historically and as they recur daily in the life of the individual.

1. The Day After

In Emor, the commandment of counting the Omer is stated:1 “And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the day of rest (‘Shabbat’), from the day that you brought the sheaf (‘Omer’) of the waving; there shall be seven complete weeks.” The Talmud2 tells us that the sect of the Boethusians interpreted the word Shabbat to mean the seventh day, rather than the “day of rest” of Pesach. As a consequence they held that the counting of the Omer always begins on a Sunday. There was considerable debate, during which the Rabbis brought many scriptural proofs to establish that the Boethusian interpretation was false. But a persistent question remains: Why did the Torah leave room for this error, instead of stating explicitly, “on the day after the Pesach?”

2. Three Months

In the Sidra of Shemot,3 G-d tells Moses, “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve G-d upon this mountain.” In other words, the purpose of the Exodus from Egypt lay in the Giving of the Torah. Between these two events, the Exodus and the Revelation on Sinai came the seven weeks of the Omer. These seven weeks were the necessary transition between the start and the completion of redemption.

Three months were involved in this process:

Nissan, in which the Exodus took place; Iyar, which is wholly taken up with the counting of the Omer; and Sivan, in which the Torah was given. Only these three are explicitly mentioned in the context of the redemption. Of Nissan it is written:4 “the month of Spring,… in it you came out of Egypt.” Of Iyar we find,5 “the second month… after they had come out of the land of Egypt.” And of Sivan,6 “In the third month after the Children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt.” All three are mentioned because each was an integral part of the redemption.

3. Three Kinds of Food

Of these three, Pesach is linked to the eating of Matzah. The Omer was a measure of barley.7 And Shavuot has a special offering of two loaves, of fine flour baked with leaven.8

This presents a number of difficulties.

Only two meal offerings did not consist of wheat: The Omer, and the offering of a wife suspected of infidelity. Both of these were of barley. In the latter case the Talmud9 gives a reason: Her offering was to be of animal food as a humiliation for her immorality. But why was the Omer of animal food?

On Pesach we are forbidden to eat leaven, because leaven symbolizes man’s inclination to pride and self-esteem. As leaven raises the dough, so pride inflates a man to arrogance. But why, in that case, are we allowed to eat leaven the rest of the year, and indeed obliged (in the Temple) to do so on Shavuot.

4. “Draw Me; We Will Run After You”

In the Song of Songs, there is a verse,10 “Draw me, we will run after you; the king has brought me into his chambers.” Each of these three phrases refers to one of the three stages of the departure from Egypt. “Draw me” is the Exodus. “We will run after you” is the counting of the Omer. “The king has brought me into his chambers” is the Giving of the Torah.

“Draw me” is passive—it refers to the Israelites being taken out by G-d. Also it is singular. Whereas “We will run after you” is both active and plural.

By the end of their enslavement, the Israelites were assimilated into the heathen ways of their captors. They were not deserving of redemption. They had to be seized and drawn out of their captivity by the initiative of G-d. Since they were not inwardly prepared for it, this unexpected revelation did not alter them inwardly.11 They were taken hold of by G-d rather than by the promptings of their heart. And although their “G-dly soul” responded, their “animal soul” was unchanged. One part of their being received the revelation, but the other, the capacity for evil, remained. Indeed, this is why, as the Alter Rebbe explains,12 the Israelites fled from Egypt. What they were running from was the evil within themselves.

So we can understand the phrase “Draw me.” Firstly, when we take possession of an object by seizing hold of it, nothing is changed in the subject itself; it merely changes hands: In this case, from Israel’s being in the hand of Pharaoh to their being in the hand of G-d. Israel in itself was unchanged.

Secondly, it was passive. The drawing out of Egypt was achieved by the hand of Heaven, not by any spontaneous act on the part of the Israelites.

Thirdly, it was singular. The revelation of this sudden intervention of G-d affected only one side of their being. Their spirit responded; their physical passions did not.

5. Intellect and Passion

For all this, the purpose of a revelation is that the spirit should change the physical nature of man as well. If man were meant to be pure spirit, he would not have needed a body.13 The point of a religious life within the world is to bring every side of human nature into G-d’s work: “‘And you shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart’—this means, with both your inclinations.”14 This interplay not only elevates the physical side of man, but also his spiritual life, by adding to it the drive and energy of physical passion.15 Man as an intellectual being is dispassionate: His emotions and desires are mitigated by the rational control he exercises over them. But animal energy, be it literally in an animal or in the instinctual drives of man, is unchecked, powerful. “There is much increase by the strength of an ox.”16 When the animal in man is no longer at war with his spirit, but is sublimated to it, all its passionate intensity is transferred to the life of holiness.

This is why the Omer was of barley, animal food. Because this was the labor of that period, to transform the “animal soul” of the Israelites, which had remained unaffected by the initial revelation in Egypt.

How is this done? By meditation. Meditation on the nature of G-d awakens love and fear. At first, when one knows that rebellion, pride, animal obstinacy, is still a power within oneself, one must “flee” from it. This is the time of suppression. But once one has left the “Egypt” of temptation, there comes a time of meditation and sublimation, when the two sides of man no longer battle for possession, and when the spirit rules, and physical nature transfers its energy.

Thus Solomon wrote, “We will run after you.” We will run, because our service is quickened by this new source of energy. We will run, because it is we, not G-d, who take the religious initiative. And “We,” in the plural, because both sides of our nature are caught up in this effort of reaching out towards G-d, and each gives impetus to the other.

6. The Final Stage

There is still a further stage. At the Exodus, there was the Divine call. During the Omer, there was man’s response. But at the Giving of the Torah, there was the final abnegation of man in the face of G-d. While, for forty-nine days, he was transforming himself, he was still a self, still using his powers and relying on himself. But at Sinai, in the face of G-d, “with every single word that went forth from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He, the souls of Israel departed.”17 They were empty: The only reality was G-d.

Thus it is that on Pesach we may not eat leaven. At the outset, when pride and fulfillness preserve their power, they must be suppressed, set aside. They cannot be combated rationally, for they can subvert the mind: “They are wise to do evil.”18

At the stage of the Omer, we use our understanding to redirect our emotions. We use the leaven in ourselves to change ourselves.

And when, at the point of Shavuot, we reach the final openness of all our being to G-d, then we are obliged to use the leaven, making every part of our nature into a channel for the light of G-d.

7. Every Day

The Rabbis said, “In every generation, and every day, a man is obliged to see himself as if he had gone out of Egypt that very day.”19 So each of the three stages of the exodus are components of the task of every day.

In the beginning of our prayers we say, “I give acknowledgment before you…” (the Modeh Ani prayer). This is the acknowledgment, the surrender to G-d, that precedes understanding. It is the Nissan of the day, the individual exodus.

There then follow the Psalms of Praise (Pesukei Dezimrah) and the Shema and its benedictions. These are the prayers of meditation, and understanding. “Hear, O Israel,” the first phrase of the Shema, means “understand.” And through this meditation, the emotions are awakened, and the love of G-d is aroused with “all your heart and all your soul and all your might.” This is the daily equivalent of the month of Iyar and the counting of the Omer.

But, so far, this represents only the battle against half, the “animal” half, of one’s nature (bittul ha-yesh). There still awaits the final extinction of self-consciousness (bittul bi-metziut) which comes during the Amidah prayer, when “like a slave before his master”20 we have no self with which to speak. We are empty of words. We say, “O L-rd, open my lips.” And this is the Sivan of the day, the moment when we confront—like the Israelites at Sinai—the all-possessing presence of G-d.

8. After the Shabbat

Now, finally, we realize why the Torah, in the verse quoted at the outset, says, “On the morrow after the Shabbat” instead of “…after the Pesach.”

To achieve the transformation of the “animal soul” demands the deepest reserves of spiritual energy. To have brought the Israelites out of their entrenched impurity needed more than an “angel”—an emissary—it needed G-d himself in His Glory and Essence. If this was true of the escape from evil, it is more so for the transformation of evil into good. It would need a spiritual source able to enter into the heart of evil without being affected.

Shabbat is a source of intense spirituality. It is the apex of the week. But it still belongs to the week, and thus to time and the finite.21 “The morrow after the Shabbat” refers to the step beyond Shabbat, beyond time itself: A revelation higher than the world.

To count the forty-nine days of Omer, that is, to transform into holiness every emotion that we feed, we must rest our efforts on the “morrow after the Shabbat”—the light of G-d from beyond the world.

(Source: Likkutei Sichot, Vol. I pp. 265-270)