Jewish Thought

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Naso I

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This week we read the Torah portion of Naso, the longest Parshah in the entire Torah. As such, it discusses several different subjects. Among that which is discussed is the law of a Sotah, an unfaithful wife. At the beginning of this subject, the Torah says[1], “Should any man’s wife go astray ….” The word which the Torah uses for “going astray” (תשטה) is related to the Hebrew word for folly or foolishness (שטות). Rashi is quick to point this out. He cites the words “Should any man’s wife go astray” and explains as follows. “Our Sages teach that adulterers do not sin unless a spirit of folly (שְׁטוּת) enters them …” In fact, the Sages teach this as a general rule which applies to all types of sins. The Talmud[2] tells us that “Resh Lakish said, ‘A person does not commit a transgression unless a spirit of folly (שטות) enters into him; as the Torah says, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray (תשטה).'”

Rashi and the Sages are telling us that one would never sin unless he is overcome by temporary insanity. The Torah contains 613 commandments. Why teach us this concept here? Many of these Mitzvos are so much more common than adultery! Why not use one of the other 612 commandments to teach us that sin is a form of insanity?

Our relationship with G-d is analogous to that of a wife to her husband. That is the basis of an entire book of the Bible, the Song of Songs. Hence when a Jew sins, he is comparable to an unfaithful wife. Hashem gives us life, sustains us, and takes care of us, and he cares for every detail of our existence. Listening to Him should be axiomatic! How is it possible for one to ignore what “her Husband” tells her? Moreover, how and why should I allow myself to “wander” and express interest in a different “Husband?”

There are two possible explanations. One is that I am unaware of the care that G-d shows me, and I was never taught about the relationship I have with my “spouse.” In that case, now is the time for my fellow Jews who are fortunate enough to have received a Jewish education to share their knowledge with me.

If I am fortunate enough to have a proper Jewish education and nevertheless choose to stray (G-d forbid), I must be temporarily insane. But that is no reason to despair, and it is only temporary. I always have the option to get my priorities straight and do Teshuvah.

May Hashem help us all to regain our sanity!

Have a wonderful Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 2, Page 311-314


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Bamidbar 5:12.

[2]. Talmud Sotah 3, a.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Bamidbar Ii

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This week we begin reading the fourth book of the Torah. It is called Bamidbar, meaning “In the Wilderness.” Our Sages refer to it as Chumash Hapekudim, meaning the “Book of Counting.” We indeed find that this book begins with counting the Jewish people, and this would seem to be the reason for the English name of this book, Numbers.

This book begins[1], “Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert in the Tent of Meeting on the first day of the second month. This was in the second year after the Exodus from the land of Egypt. He said, ‘Take the sum of all the Jewish people by families following their fathers’ houses. You shall take a head count of every male according to the number of their names.’” In the first verse, Rashi cites the words, “The Lord spoke… in the Sinai Desert… on the first of the month.” He explains that “Because they (the Jews) were precious to Him, He counted them often. When they left Egypt, He counted them[2]. When many fell because of the golden calf, He counted them to know the number of the survivors[3]. He counted them when He came to cause His Presence to rest upon them (by erecting the Mishkan). On the first of Nissan, the Mishkan was erected. On the first of Iyar, He counted them.”

This appears to be quite baffling. The reason for counting what is precious is to know how much of it one has. People count their money because the amount of money they have fluctuates. However, this does not apply to the omniscient G-d! Hashem always knows how many Jews there are!

The explanation is that counting expresses a unique characteristic of the counted item. Each “object” is counted as one, no more and no less. This tells the greatness of each Jew. Whether one is intelligent, refined, or unrefined, we each have a common denominator: the soul clothed within us. The soul is a veritable part of G-d, and its essence is the “great equalizer.” From that perspective, each of us is equal. That is the reason that G-d took a census. G-d expressed, i.e., revealed the greatness of every one of us.

This Parshah is always read before the festival of Shavuos, the time we received the Torah. Why did each one of us merit to receive Hashem’s law? Because just the Torah is a part of Hashem, so too is each of us.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos! May we all merit receiving the Torah in joy and internalizing all of its holy teachings!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 8


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Bamidbar 1:1-2.

[2]. Parshas Bo, Shemos 12:37.

[3]. Parshas Ki Siso,  Shemos 32:28.

Pearls of Rashi: Bamidbar I

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This coming Shabbos, we will read the Torah portion of Bamidbar – meaning “In the Wilderness.” It is always read before Shavuos when we received the Torah[1].

Our Torah portion tells us that[2]These are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe at Mount Sinai.” Rashi cites the words “These are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe” and makes the following comments. “(The Torah says ‘the descendants of Aharon and Moshe,’) yet only the sons of Aharon are mentioned. However, they are considered descendants of Moshe because he taught them Torah. This teaches us that whoever teaches Torah to the son of his fellow man is regarded as if he had begotten him[3].”

Everything in the Torah is precise. This is also true of analogies that the Torah makes use of. This is true of the comparison between teaching Torah and fathering a child. However, it would seem that the two are not entirely alike. A person is only born once, and from that point on, the individual grows and develops. Therefore, it would seem that Rashi (and the Talmud) should have said that “this teaches us that whoever teaches Torah to the son of his fellow man Torah for the first time is regarded as if he had begotten him.” It is at that point that the individual is born. Afterward, he is just developing.

This can be understood with the help of a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov. He taught that creation was not a one-time event; it is an ongoing process. Hashem is creating and re-creating the world every moment[4]. Based on this, the life force of each of us is constantly being created.

We say in the Siddur,[5] “for they (meaning the words of Torah) are our life and the length of our days.” In other words, the life of each of us is dependent upon Torah.

This means that had one not taught “the son of his fellow man” Torah, he would have lacked the renewed life energy he needed to receive at that moment to remain in existence. Hence, he actually “fathered,” brought about the creation of his fellow at that moment.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos! May we all merit receiving the Torah in joy and internalizing all of its holy teachings!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 23, Pages 8 – 16


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. In fact, this year we read Parshas Bamidbar the day before Shavuos.

[2]. Bamidbar 3:1.

[3]. The source of Rashi’s words is from the Talmud, Sanhedrin 19, b.

[4]. See Shaar Hayichud Ve’emunah Chapter 1 where this is explained at length.

[5]. See the blessing before Shema in the Evening Service.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Behar I

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This week’s Torah portion, Behar, begins by teaching us the Sabbatical year and the Jubilee year laws. We would count six years, during which we would work the land. During the seventh, Sabbatical – Shmittah year, we would neither work, plant nor harvest the land. Furthermore, after seven cycles of seven years comes the Jubilee – Yovel year, when working the land is also prohibited.

The Torah introduces this by saying,[1] “Hashem spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai, saying.” Rashi is bothered that Hashem gave us all Mitzvos at Mount Sinai, not only these. Therefore, he explains that the Torah mentions Har Sinai in this context to teach us an important lesson. Just Hashem gave us the laws of Yovel and Shmittah at Sinai with all of their details; the same is true of all other commandments.

One year out of seven, we do not focus on our earthly needs. We place our faith totally in Hashem. However, it is not G-d’s intention for the world to work this way in general. For six years, we abide by the laws of nature. However, this prepares us for the seventh year. The seventh year makes it possible for us to serve Hashem throughout the other six. The Torah tells us that[2] “the land shall rest a Shabbos to the Lord.” Rashi explains that it is “for the sake of the Lord. This is just as it says of the Shabbos of Creation.” We spend six days of the week working within the world’s natural order. This prepares us for the seventh day, Shabbos. Likewise, Shabbos prepares us for the six weekdays.

On Shabbos, as during Shmittah, we transcend nature, relying solely on Hashem. During the week and the six years, we work within the laws of nature, using the world to elevate it.

How is it possible for a human to straddle between the natural and the Divine? The answer comes from Har Sinai. The portion begins, “And the Lord spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai, saying.”

The Midrash tells us[3] that when Hashem was about to give the Torah to the Jewish people, He gathered together all of the mountains. Each mountain claimed that Hashem should give the Torah on it, and Hashem asked them why they were complaining. “Being bigger does not matter, and I choose Sinai, for it is the smallest of all mountains.”

If being the lowest is advantageous, why give the Torah on a mountain? Why not give it in a valley or on a plain? If Hashem gives us the Torah on a mountain, why not give it on the tallest mountain?

The answer is that “the smallest mountain” best expresses the idea of the Torah. The idea is that we are small people who are involved with nature. Simultaneously, we must be mountains, giants, united with G-d Almighty Himself.

I wish one and all a Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 1, Page 273-281


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 25:1.

[2]. Ibid, Vayikroh 25:2.

[3]. Midrash Tehillim 68:72.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Emor I

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In this week’s Parshah, Emor, the Torah commands us to count the Omer. Beginning with the second day of Pesach, we must count forty-nine days. On the fiftieth day, we celebrate the festival of Shavuos. We read that[1]you shall count for yourselves seven weeks from the day after “Shabbos” … Rashi cites the words “from the day after Shabbos” and comments as follows. “On the day after the (first day of) the festival (of Passover).” In other words, the term Shabbos here does not refer to the seventh day of the week. Instead, it relates to another day of rest, specifically, the first day of the Passover festival.

The Talmud tells us[2] that the Baisusim[3]  interpreted the words “from the day after Shabbos” literally. Hence, they began the counting of the Omer on the night following Shabbos. However, our Sages explain that here the word “Shabbos” refers to the first day of Pesach, and therefore, the day that we begin the count depends on which day of the week Pesach begins.

We need to understand the meaning behind this. This entire disagreement is because the Torah used a word that appears to be ambiguous. Granted, the word Shabbos can, and at times does, refer to a festival. The Torah could have said “from the day following Yom Tov” instead of “the day after Shabbos.” This would have left no room for any errors.

We can answer this question in the following manner. G-d took us out of Egypt to give us the Torah. However, we weren’t quite up to the task. The centuries of slavery to the immoral Egyptians caused us to sink low. One of the ideas of counting the Omer was to refine and rectify the attributes of our Animal Soul as a preparation to receive the Torah.

The Hebrew word for counting the Omer is “Sefiras HaOmer – ספירת העומר.” The word Sefira means counting, but it is also related to the name “Sapir – [4]ספיר,” which is a type of precious stone. By counting the Omer, we cause ourselves to “shine.”

Hashem divided nature into units of seven, i.e., the seven days of creation. The seventh day, Shabbos, is the pinnacle of the week, and however, it is still within the seven days of Hashem’s creation of the world. The day after Shabbos is a level of G-dliness, which is totally above the limitations of nature. To ready ourselves to receive the Torah, we must draw on this transcendent level of Divine aid.

May we use these days of counting the Omer to their fullest and merit to receive the Torah with joy and internalize it.

I wish one and all a Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 1, Page 265


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 23:15.

[2]. Talmud Menochos 65, a.

[3]. They were a heretical sect of Jews. They did not accept the Oral Law, which was taught by the Sages of the Talmud.

[4]. This is usually translated as a sapphire.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Acharei

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This week we will read the Torah portion Acharei. Near the end of the Parshah, the Torah teaches us prohibited relationships. The Parshah concludes with[1], “you shall observe My charge, not to commit any of the terrible practices that were done before you, and not become defiled by them. I am the Hashem, your G-d.

Rashi cites the words from the verse “and not become defiled by them. I am the Hashem your G-d,” and explains as follows. “But if you do become defiled, says Hashem, ‘I am not your G-d, and you will be cut off from Me. What benefit will I have from you? Moreover, you will deserve annihilation.’ Therefore, the verse says, ‘I am the Lord, your G-d.'”

We know how particular and precise Rashi is with his language. Writing “I have no benefit from you ” would have been much clearer.” Why does he express this seemingly round-about manner, “what benefit will I have from you?”

King Shlomo (Solomon) tells us[2] that “Hashem has made everything for His sake; even the wicked for the day of evil.” How can we say that Hashem created the wicked for His sake? Chassidic thought explains this[3]. The purpose of the wicked’s creation is to “should repent of his evil, and turn his evil into “day” and light above.”

How is it possible for one to reach this level? How can one repent and turn his evil into light? The answer is that this is a result of contemplating that Hashem (so to speak) asks him, “what benefit will I have from you?”

Hashem has pleasure from each of us. The proof is that He created us! At times this benefit is hidden; it can temporarily become concealed by dirt. The way to reveal the inherent goodness in each of us is by deep thought into what he can do to benefit (so to speak) Hashem.

We will undoubtedly attain complete and true redemption through our combined thoughts on bringing pleasure to G-d and our collective actions.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 22, Page 101


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 18:30.

[2]. Mishlei 16:4.

[3]. See Tanya Chapter 27.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Metzora

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This week’s Torah portion, Metzora, tells of the laws of one finding Tzora’as on his house. The Torah says that[1] “When you come to the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as a possession, and I place a lesion of Tzora’as upon a house in the land of your possession …” Rashi comments that “Finding lesions of Tzora’as is (actually) good news for the Jews. The Emorim had hidden away treasures of gold inside the walls of their houses throughout the entire forty years that the Jews were in the desert. Because of finding the lesion, one would demolish the house and find them.”

Why does Rashi assume that the Emorim hid their treasures throughout the forty years? It would seem much more straightforward to say that they began hiding their treasures after the conquest of Sichon and Og by the Jews. Rashi writes that Sichon and Og were the two kings upon whom the Emorim relied[2]. It would seem that it was then, near the end of the forty years, that they would have become frightened and begin hiding their gold.

We can answer this in the following manner. Hiding one’s treasures in the walls of his house is indicative of two contradictory feelings. On the one hand, he is afraid of being conquered, so he hides his treasure. On the other hand, hiding it in the walls of his house demonstrates that he is confident about returning to his home.

This explains why they began hiding their treasures immediately after the Jews left Egypt. At the time of the Exodus, they already knew that the Jews would possess their land, and therefore, that was when they began hiding their gold.

They knew that Hashem told Avrohom that[3] “the fourth generation will return here (to Israel), for the iniquity of the Emorim will not be complete until then.” This demonstrated that the Land of Israel does not tolerate sin, so the Jews could not return to Israel until the “sin of the Emorim was complete.” Since a nation’s sins would not allow him to remain in this land, they hoped that at some point, they would retake the land (and their homes) because the Jews would not (Chas Veshalom) merit to remain.

May our actions earn us the right to return to Israel with the complete and true redemption with Moshiach! I wish one and all a good Shabbos, and a Kosher, and a happy Pesach!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 32, Page 91


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 14:34.

[2]. Parshas Balak, Bamidbar 22:2.

[3]. Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 15:16.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Shemini-Poroh

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This week we read the Torah portion of Shemini. In last week’s Parshah, we read of the seven days of preparing the Mishkan, how Moshe would assemble it each day. This week we finally arrive at the point where the portable sanctuary would be ready for use; it would be used each day throughout the Jews’ sojourn in the wilderness.

The Torah tells us that Aharon’s oldest sons, Nodov and Avihu, participated in this occasion. They offered Ketores – Incense. “… each took his pan, put fire in them. They placed incense upon it and brought before Hashem foreign fire, which He had not commanded.[1]” This was tragic, as the Torah immediately exclaims[2], “fire went forth from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before Hashem.”

Why did they receive such a severe punishment? Rashi cites two of our Sages; Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yishmoel. “Rabbi Eliezer says that Aharon’s sons only died because they rendered a halachic decision before Moshe, their teacher. Rabbi Yishmoel says that (the reason they died was that) they had entered the sanctuary after having drunk wine.”

What does this mean to us; what lesson can we learn from this? None of us can even remotely approach the exalted level of Nodov and Avihu. Nevertheless, “they died only because they rendered a halachic decision in the presence of Moshe, their teacher.” No matter how great one thinks he is or how great he is, he must always humble himself before his teacher. No one may declare himself a rabbi and believe that he has no reason to wait for someone else’s ruling. That was the sole reason that Aharon’s sons died; “they died only because they rendered a halachic decision in the presence of Moshe, their teacher.”

However, humility alone does not suffice. One must strive to grasp everything he learns to the best of his ability. As Rabbi Yishmoel said, the problem was that “they entered the sanctuary after having drunk wine.”  Wine is the spiritual idea of Binah, meaning understanding, and having drunk wine implies that one is at one with his knowledge. That’s how we must learn. However, when we “enter the sanctuary,” when we are involved in prayer, it must be with the most incredible humility. 

The Sages teach us that “we learn the laws of Pesach thirty days before the holiday.” For Pesach, we must remove and destroy all of our Chometz – leavened bread. Leavening, i.e., rising, symbolizes the concept of arrogance. We now find ourselves within those thirty days. May we succeed in removing all of the Chometz from within ourselves.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 12, Pages 49-56


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 10:1.

[2]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 10:2.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Tzav I

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This week we read the Torah portion of Tzav. In it, we find that[1] “he shall then take off his garments and put on other garments, and he shall take out the ashes to a clean place outside the camp.” The Torah writes this regarding removing the pile of ashes that accumulated on the altar. These ashes were the remnants of the sacrifices offered daily on the altar.

Rashi cites the words “he shall then take off his garments” and explains as follows. “This is not an obligation, but rather it is the proper manner to conduct oneself. When taking out the ashes, he should not soil the garments in which he regularly officiates. A servant should not wear the same clothing while cooking food for his master as he does when mixing a glass of wine for his master. Therefore, the Torah continues ‘and put on other garments,’ inferior to those priestly vestments, Bigdai Kehunah, which he had been wearing until now.”

Upon further reflection, something is not clear. Hashem creates each person differently. We all have our talents with which we must serve Him. It is not only the clothing that he must change; the servant must be changed. One suited to work in the kitchen is not necessarily suited to pour the king’s wine, and vice versa.

We can explain this in the following manner. Why is it that the same servant who pours wine would not get involved in the kitchen? Because it does not suit him, he feels that working in the kitchen is beneath him.

However, this is only true of a human servant who has a human master; it does not apply to serving the Almighty. We must view every facet of Divine service equally. The Sages said this as follows[2]. “One must not weigh and measure the Divine commandments … the (seemingly) least significant … and the (seemingly) most significant … shall all be (considered) equal.”

By performing all Mitzvos equally, without exception, may we all merit an “Exodus” from our current exile through our righteous Moshiach now!

I am wishing one and all a happy and kosher Pesach!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 37, Beginning with Page 5


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 6:4.

[2]. See Midrash Tanchumah, Torah portion Aikev, 2.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayakhel

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This week we read the Torah portion Vayakhel. Moshe gathers the entire Jewish nation together and discusses the laws of Shabbos. He then tells them to donate the materials needed for constructing the Mishkan.

Moshe introduces the discussion of the Mishkan by saying that[1] “… this is the word that Hashem has commanded me to say.” Rashi cites the words from the verse, “this is the word that Hashem has commanded.” He explains that Hashem has commanded “me to say to you.”  

We need to understand what Rashi is adding to our understanding of Moshe’s words. Obviously, Moshe tells us what Hashem commanded him to say to us! There does not seem to be a need for any explanation whatsoever.

The explanation is that the word saying (לאמר in Hebrew), always connotes transmitting words to someone else. Hashem commanded Moshe to tell us these commandments but not to perform them. This explains why Rashi says further on that[2] “Moshe had done no work in the Mishkan.”  However, this leaves us with another question. Why did Moshe, of all people, not participate in building the Mishkan?

We can understand this by examining a deeper aspect of Moshe. His entire being was Torah. Therefore, he was the only one who received the Torah from Hashem for all Jews in all generations. Our Sages tell us[3] that “young students studying Torah are not permitted to neglect their learning to build the Bais Hamikdosh.” If this is true of the Torah study of young children, how much more so is it true of Moshe’s Torah study? That is why Moshe was not involved in the building of the Tabernacle. The entire point was that Torah study is even higher than the Mishkan’s level.

However, he was the only one that could convey this part of the Torah to the Jews, and Hashem told it to him so that he would be able to command it to us. That is why Rashi writes, “to command it to me to say to you.”

Some can make Torah their constant occupation, and this is an even higher form of Divine service than transforming the “gold, silver, and copper” of the world into a G-dly sanctuary. Nevertheless, this does not exempt them from teaching Torah to others. They must teach others who are not exclusively devoted to Torah study how to transform this physical world into a sanctuary for Hashem.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a happy month!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Pages 221-224


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshas, Shemos 35:4.

[2]. Rashi’s comments to Parshas Pekudei, Shemos 39:33.

[3]. See Talmud Shabbos 119, b.