Tag Archive | Judaism

Weekly Kabbalah Newsletter #234

Kabbalah, Bnei Baruch - Kabbalah Education & Research Institute

“Only the spiritual body, or the soul, is the human being in me because the animate body cares only for itself, the animal, and exists only as long as this animal is alive. More…”

Awakening the Spiritual Human
That Exists in Us All

A collection of weekly quotes, highlights from events, book deals and new articles and videos.

Please click here to read Weekly Kabbalah Newsletter #234.

SOURCE:

Torah Reading for Shabbos 20th Adar, 5770

Books

Torah Reading for Shabbat 20th ADAR, 5770 – Ki Tisa

Chassidic Pearls
The Power of Patience – Ki Tisa
By: Rabbi Lazer Brody

Rabbi Winston’s Window
What a Choice! – Parshat Ki Tisa
By: Rabbi Pinchas Winston

Torah Portion – Jacob’s Ladder
Drawing a Line in the Sand – Ki Tisa
By: Jacob Rupp

Stories for the Shabbat Table
The Cave
By: Rabbi Tzvi Meir Cohn

Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom
Warriors of Transcendence, Part 7 – The Dare
By Rabbi Erez Moshe Doron

Beginner – Intermediate Parsha – Ki Tisa(Exodus 30:11-34:35)
When It Counts
By Rabbi Max Weimman

Advanced Parsha – Ki Tisa(Exodus 30:11-34:35)
Measure For Measure
By Rabbi Noson Weisz – Aish Jerusalem

Universal Torah – Shabbat Parshat KI TISA
Torah Reading:

Exodus 30:11-34:35
by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Weekly Haftara
I Kings Chapter 18.1-39
by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Weekly Haftara – Sephardi ritual
I Kings Chapter 18.20-39
by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

From our Sages on the Parshah – Parshah In Depth
Ki Tisa Verses: Exodus 30:11-34:35
Source Chabad org

The Kehot Chumash
Parshah Ki-Tisa – Parshah in PDF Format
Source Chabad org

Parshas HaShavua – Quick Vort
Parshas Ki Sisa: Rav Isaac Sher – Making The Eigel Was Not An Aveira
Source RevachL’Neshama

Parshas HaShavua – Quick Vort
Parshas Ki Sisa: The Chofetz Chaim To Rav Shimon Schwab – Answer The Call!
Source RevachL’Neshama

Parshas HaShavua – Quick Vort
Parshas Ki Sisa: Maharal Tzintz – Cashing In The Malach HaMaves’s Gift
Source RevachL’Neshama

Parshas HaShavua – Quick Vort
Parshas Ki Sisa: Rav Eliezer HaGadol Ashkenazi – Is Ayin Hara Really A Threat When Counting?
Source RevachL’Neshama

Parshas HaShavua – Quick Vort
Parshas Ki Sisa: Betzalel, Chur, and Payback
Source RevachL’Neshama

Peninim on the Torah
PARSHAS KI SISA
By Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum

Chasidic Insights on the Weekly Parsha
CHASIDIC INSIGHTS PARSHAS KI SISO 5770 (from 5764) BS”D
By Zvi Akiva Fleisher

What’s Bothering Rashi?
Parashas Ki Sisa (70)
By Dr. Avigdor Bonchek

The Baal Shem Tov Times
Ki Tisa
By Rabbi Tzvi Meir Cohn

Ari Insights on the Weekly Torah Reading
Fixing the Mixing
By Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (from the Writings of the Ari as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital); translated and edited by Moshe Yakov Wisnefsky

The Zohar – Teachings from the primary text of Kabbala, “The Book of Shining Light”
Traveling Blues
From Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, translation & commentary by Shmuel-Simcha Treister

Chasidic Masters – An anthology of inspirational insights from the Baal Shem Tov and the Hasidic leaders of the succeeding generations
Sins, Snakes, & Golden Calf
By Yitzchok Wagshul, based on the writings of the Ari, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Mystical Classics – An anthology of explanations from the Ramban, Rabeinu Bachya, the Shelah, Rabbi Alshich, and the Ohr Hachayim
Acquiring Spiritual Elevation
By Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz; adapted from Shenei Luchot HaBrit by Eliyahu Munk

Ascent Lights – Contemporary illuminations from the director of Ascent-of-Safed
Facing Each Day
By Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter

Mystic Stories – Wonders and Inspirations from Master Kabbalists, Chasidic Rebbes, remarkable Jews
The Precious Coin
By Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles

Contemporary Kabbalists – Penetrating insights for our times from leading Kabbalists & mystics from the 20-21th centuries
Preparations and Revelations
From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe – Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson By Moshe Yakov Wisnefsky

TORAH PORTION – Beginner Level, Intermediate Level and Advanced Level
Learn about this week’s Torah Portion: Ki Sisa,
By: Torah.org

Sources

Aish HaTorah   |   Azamra   |   Breslev.co.il   |   Baal Shem Tov Foundation   |   Chabad.org   |   Kabbalah Online   |   RevachL’Neshama   |   Shema Yisrael Torah Network   |   Torah.org

Tiny URL Shortener Service Used: TinyURL!™

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Childhood Memories

Childhood Memories, reprinted with kind authorization of
Hazon - Renewing Our Universal Vision

My Search for the Soul of Zion – 98b

Childhood Memories:

In this letter, I will review with you some memories from my childhood. These memories are particularly relevant to the next stage of our series:

Dear Friends,

I was a frail child who was often sick, and I therefore loved to read books. I developed a special interest in the history of the earth’s peoples. During this period, I started to attend the Hebrew School at our local synagogue, where I began to learn about the history of our people.

A year after I started learning about Jewish history, I was in the fourth grade of our local public school, and our class was given a book on the history of the world. Towards the beginning of the book, there was a small chapter about the People of Israel, and this chapter ended with the story of King Solomon. The concluding message of this chapter was that the People of Israel began to decline after King Solomon passed away, and that they no longer had an important role in world history. The chapter on Israel was followed by a number of large chapters on the development and influence of Christianity. In the rest of the book, there was no mention of any Jewish contributions to the world, and this greatly troubled me. I felt that this omission was an insult to the honor of our people. I found some comfort when I later learned in my Torah classes about the coming of the Messiah and the birth of the messianic age, for in this age of our ingathering and renewal, the nations will finally recognize our contributions, and the honor of our people will be restored. As the Prophet proclaimed:

“Nations will perceive your righteousness and all the sovereigns your honor” (Isaiah 62:2).

Rabbi Gabriel Beer, the rabbi of our synagogue, noticed my growing interest in Torah study, and he suggested to my parents that I leave public school and begin to study Torah at a Jewish day school which was located in Far Rockaway, a few miles to the east of our neighborhood. My mother was the first to agree with the idea, and she told my father that I should be free to pursue my soul’s desire, as she had a feeling that the study of Torah was to be my life’s mission.

My father was worried, however, that this religious study would cause me to become a parochial person who would no longer be concerned about the welfare of the world. After much discussion, he agreed that I should begin to study Torah at the day school, as his strong sense of fairness and his respect for my mother’s intuition caused him to feel that I should be free to develop the potential that my mother saw in me.

At age ten, I started to attend the day school, and my father’s fears were alleviated when he saw that I still had an interest in the problems of the world. We continued our regular discussions on the challenges facing humanity, and he was pleased when I would cite sources from our tradition which described the universal vision of the Torah and the way our people are to fulfill this vision. He was also pleased when I shared with him a little poem I had written which contained the following message:

We learned to fly in the air like birds; we learned to swim like fish in the sea, and now let’s learn to walk the earth like men.

A few years after I started the day school, I read an article which described how new states in Africa and Asia were sending farmers to the State of Israel, where they would learn about Israel’s innovative agricultural methods which were causing the desert to bloom. The story had a quote from Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, who said that Israel’s help to these developing nations was a fulfillment of the biblical vision of our becoming a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). Although I thought it was admirable that the State of Israel was helping the developing nations in this way, I asked myself the following questions: Was the teaching of agricultural methods to other nations the goal of our long and challenging journey through history? Was this what the Prophet meant when he spoke of our being a light to the nations?

My parents had instilled in me a passionate yearning for a caring and just world; moreover, my rebbes (Torah teachers) made me aware that our path to such a world is through developing a caring and just society in Zion through fulfilling the Torah, as in this way, we could serve as a social model for all the nations. This is the messianic goal of our journey through history; thus, the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed to Zion:

“Nations will walk by your light and sovereigns by the glow of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:3).

The light of Zion is Torah, as the Prophet also proclaimed: “From Zion will come forth Torah (Isaiah 2:3), and as a result, the nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares” (Ibid 2:4). I therefore wanted Israel to be more than just a nation that would teach agricultural skills to other nations. I wanted Israel to teach through the power of its own example the spiritual skills which would enable all human beings to become truly human, so that the entire world will experience peace and harmony.

I was not always able to maintain a full awareness of this higher vision. The State of Israel’s technological and economic accomplishments, as well as its ability to defend itself against its surrounding enemies, were a source of enormous pride for many Jews, including myself, especially after the Holocaust. The excitement over these initial accomplishments is understandable; however, this excitement can cause us to forget the following truth: These accomplishments have the potential to serve as means to our ultimate goal, but they are not the goal itself. As the following story indicates, I needed to be reminded of this truth:

During a morning recess of my Talmud class when I was in my senior year of high school, I and a few friends were reading the New York Times, and we became excited about a front page story which showed a picture of Israel’s new and beautiful Trans-Atlantic liner – the “SS. Shalom” – arriving in New York on its maiden voyage. We were proud that a picture of Israel’s new luxury liner was on the front page of the New York Times, and we felt that this was a great honor for our nation. Our rebbe, Rabbi Gershon Weinreb, of blessed memory, noticed our great excitement. He came over, looked at the picture, and said to us in a gentle voice: “Is this what you are excited about?” He repeated the question and then walked away. I was at first stunned by his remark, but I then realized that he was trying to remind us that having a luxury liner like other nations was not the true honor of our nation. Another reminder came a few years later when, due to financial difficulties, the SS Shalom was sold to the German Atlantic Line in 1967.

When I moved to Jerusalem, I began to devote myself to the study of the universal role of our nation in the Land of Zion. I found it especially meaningful that the true honor of our nation among the other nations was defined by Moshe, our Teacher, in his farewell address to our people before we entered the Land. In the following passage, he conveyed to us the message that we will gain honor among the nations when we fulfill the Torah in the midst of the Land:

“See! I have taught you statutes and social laws, as Hashem, my God, has commanded me, to do so in the midst of the Land to which you come, to possess it. You shall safeguard and fulfill them, for it is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples, who shall hear all these statutes and who shall say, ‘Surely a wise and understanding people is this great nation!’ ” (Deuteronomy 4:5,6)

Our people therefore have a spiritual raison d’etre in the Land of Zion, and as I shall discuss in the next segment of our series, this awareness caused me to realize that our people must be guided by spiritual leaders.

Be Well, and Shalom,

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

(See below)

You are invited to send a New Year contribution of any amount to help support the work of Hazon – Our Universal Vision. Contributions can be sent payable to Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen at the following address:

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

Sha’arei Torah 6, Apt. 1

Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem

96387, Israel

 
Childhood Memories,
reprinted with the kind authorization of:
Hazon - Renewing Our Universal Vision
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Secular Kibbutzim are Rediscovering Jewish Prayer

Secular Kibbutzim are Rediscovering Jewish Prayer, reprinted with kind authorization of
Hazon - Renewing Our Universal Vision

“Hear our voice, Hashem, our G-d, spare us and have compassion on us; and accept – with compassion and favor – our prayers. Bring us back to You, Hashem, and we shall return; renew our days as of old.” (From the selichos – prayers for forgiveness)

Dear Friends,

I have attached excerpts from an article about a new development on secular kibbutzim, and these excerpts will be followed by my comments:

……………………

Synagogues Flourish in Secular Kibbutzim

Elul 6, 5769, 26 August 09 08:00

by Hillel Fendel

(Israelnationalnews.com) A few years ago, a member of Kibbutz Deganiah predicted, “There has been no synagogue here in 100 years, and there won’t be one in the next 100 years.” She was wrong.

Not only is there a synagogue in Deganiah, founded in 1910 as Israel’s first Kibbutz ever, but similar houses of worship (popularly known as “shuls”) are open and active in other secular kibbutzim in the north such as Ein Harod and Maoz Chaim, as well as in other secular communities in the region such as Tomrat.

Another example of a long shul-less kibbutz is Givat HaShloshah, founded by a long-time member who suddenly realized that she wanted to commemorate her one “Jewish” day of the year – Yom Kippur – at home. The woman waged a one-person campaign to gather together a Torah scroll, prayer books, a building – and now, a scant few years later, some 15-20 people take part in weekly Sabbath prayers.

Just ten weeks ago, at a joyous Torah scroll installation ceremony in the famously-secular Kibbutz Ein Harod, the son of one of the more active shul “members” came and asked him, “What do you need a synagogue for, anyway?” The father answered, “We went far away – too far.” The reference was to the escape from Torah Judaism by many of the early Zionist pioneers – a vacuum that is now once again being filled with spirituality.

The above story is told by Rabbi Shlomo Raanan, head of the Ayelet HaShachar (Morning Star) association that – among its many other activities – accompanies secular communities that wish to build a synagogue or otherwise enhance their connection to Judaism. Two years ago, for instance, more than 500 northern farmers took part in a “telephone chavruta (study partner)” program organized by Ayelet HaShachar on matters concerning the Shemittah (Sabbatical) year.

Though many kibbutzim were predicated on the idea that no synagogue would ever be built there, “today there are those who feel that there is a communal need for a synagogue,” Raanan told B’Sheva’s Ofrah Lax.

“First Time I Have Felt Jewish”

The founding of the synagogue in Kibbutz Maoz Chaim, a bastion of secularity since its founding in 1937 just east of Beit She’an, did not happen without some rancor. Only after two votes of the entire membership was a building approved for designation as a synagogue – and even then, only by the narrow margin of two votes. Friday night services are held regularly, and the members hope to expand to Sabbath morning services as well.

The shul’s founder told this story: “One long-time resident, a 78-year-old who immigrated from Argentina 40 years ago, told me after his first visit to the synagogue, ‘I’ve been in Israel all these years, and this was the first time I felt Jewish. I plan to come every week, and I want you to teach me the prayers.’ I told him that the whole thing was worth it just for that.”

“Just today,” Rabbi Raanan told Israel National News on Tuesday, “an eye surgeon asked us for help in starting a synagogue in Barkan, near Ariel. And we are already at work on Yom Kippur prayers in kibbutzim such as HaHotrim, Hof HaCarmel, and others that have never had synagogues.”

…Another story told by Raanan: “A few years ago, I was in Deganiah [Israel’s first kibbutz], and I asked where the synagogue was. The secretary told me, ‘For 100 years we haven’t had one, and we won’t have one in the next 100 years either.’ Two years ago, I was again in Deganiah, on Simchat Torah [the holiday commemorating the joy of Torah], and I pointed to the newly-opened synagogue and said, ‘This is our true Torah joy.’”

“The name of the game,” says Raanan, in between organizing Torah classes and other programs for those who have never enjoyed them before, “is patience and tolerance. Each place according to its own pace and requests.”

……………………………………

Last year, I shared with you excerpts from an article by Yonoson Rosenblum in the summer issue of the Jewish Observer, the magazine of Agudath Israel of America. The article cited examples of successful Torah outreach in Israel, and one of the examples is a Chareidi organization named, Ayelet HaShachar (Morning Star), which is mentioned in the above article. In addition to helping the kibbutzim to establish synagogues, Ayelet HaShachar has been placing Torah-committed couples on more than 60 kibbutzim and smaller settlements around the country. Among the kibbutzim which have benefited from the warm and dedicated outreach of these couples is Kibbutz Geva, which experienced its first Yom Kippur service two years ago. A member of the kibbutz wrote a thank you letter to the director of Ayelet HaShachar expressing appreciation “for having created for us a Mikdash Me’at (Miniature Sanctuary) in the midst of our everyday lives and secular existence, and for having made it possible for us to touch the holiness, the elevation, of this unique day – Yom Hakippurim.” The kibbutz member adds:

“The emotions during the prayers broke down all barriers, and enabled us to touch every link in the chain of our common tradition, reaching back to the roots of our common existence.”

Over two years ago, I met a group of students who had recently graduated secular Israeli high schools. They had come to my Chareidi neighborhood, Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem, in order to experience the holiness and harmony of a traditional Shabbos. I first noticed them at the Friday night service of the congregation where I was praying that night, and these visiting students joined with great enthusiasm in the singing of the joyous psalms and prayers welcoming the arrival of the Shabbos Queen. I noticed one student in this group who was singing and swaying like a chassid, and his light-filled face expressed great yearning as he sung with great fervor the ancient Hebrew words of these psalms and prayers.

As I watched him and the other students, there emerged feelings of hope in my heart. Their presence in our Jerusalem neighborhood reminded me of the prophetic promises that our people are destined to be reunited through a return to our spiritual roots. We experienced a taste of this unity that Shabbos evening, especially when we all joined together in a circle-dance, as we sang the concluding stanzas of the “Lecho Dodi” hymn which refer to the end of our humiliation in exile, the renewal of Zion, and the rejoicing of G-d with our people.

After the services were over, the students received warm Shabbos blessings from the members of the congregation. The students then began to walk to the homes of their hosts for the Friday night meal. I and the student that I noticed earlier were walking in the same direction, and I asked him where he was from. He told me that he was from a HaShomer Hatza’ir kibbutz in the north and that he was very inspired by our services. (HaShomer Hatza’ir is a leftist kibbutz movement.) He asked me about my background, so I mentioned that I am from the spiritually-searching generation of the 60’s. He told me that he was interested in this searching generation, and he began to tell me more about his own spiritual searching within Judaism; however, our conversation was interrupted when he needed to enter the home of his hosts.

When I arrived home that evening, I asked Hashem to continue to guide this student and all the other students on their homecoming journey. And I hoped that I would have the privilege of meeting them again.

The above information reminds us that beneath the surface of a turbulent Israeli society are currents of spiritual renewal. These currents are a reminder of the following Divine promise to Israel regarding the dawn of the messianic age of spiritual enlightenment:

“Never again will your sun set, and your moon will not be withdrawn; for Hashem will be unto you an eternal light, and the days of your mourning will be ended. Your people will all be righteous; they will inherit the land forever; a shoot of My planting, My handiwork in which to glory.” (Isaiah 60:20, 21)

The above passage is from the “haftorah” – portion from the Prophets – which we chanted on this past Shabbos. It is one of the haftorahs of comfort which are chanted during the period between Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashana.

May Hashem redeem us and comfort us.

Shalom,

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

(See below)

You are invited to send a New Year contribution of any amount to help support the work of Hazon – Our Universal Vision. Contributions can be sent payable to Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen at the following address:

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

Sha’arei Torah 6, Apt. 1

Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem

96387, Israel

 
Secular Kibbutzim are Rediscovering Jewish Prayer,
reprinted with the kind authorization of:
Hazon - Renewing Our Universal Vision
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Preoccupied with a troubling thought…

Brethren:

For the entire Shabbat, which ended not so long ago, I was preoccupied with a troubling thought. It struck me that we are not completely aware of the terrible situation Eretz Ysrael is facing. The fact is that there are very dark clouds hoovering over our Holy Land.

Presently our Government is caught in a terrible dilemma, seemingly prepared to give in to the pressure of the Muslim President of the U.S.A. Barack Hussein Obama. He demands that we freeze all future construction and proceed to evict 300,000 of our Brethren from Samaria and Judea, Heaven forbid, and hand over Jerusalem to our enemies, Heaven forbid.

I beg you to please stop fighting with each other; whether you are a Religious Zionist, Haredi, Secular, or Reformist, we are all Jews, and therefore we must remember this fact at this moment in history.

A Zionist, Secular, or Haredi, is definitely not my enemy. Such distinctions did not save any Jew during the Shoah. The spokesman for our common enemy today is Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim, and his consorts. We should focus all our attention on Obama and his consorts, and counterattack this evil.

It’s true that some of our Holy Sages advised and warned us not to return to and form a Government in Eretz Yisrael, till Moshiach came. But Rav Teichtal, desperate to escape the Nazis, realized too late that Hashem had opened a way for us, and that it was because we failed to understand this that the terrible sufferings were visited upon us.

In spite of all obstacles, we formed a Government, and fought to establish our Jewish homeland. But too many of those who built Eretz Yisrael failed to acknowledge the fact that only because of Hashem’s Mercy and the love that He has for His children, we are still alive. They believed that it was through their power alone that Yisrael came into being. Unfortunately they took everything for granted, left Hashem out of the plan, and didn’t walk in the Path of Torah.

I’ll give you just one small example of what I’m referring to.

Don’t you think things would be quite different today if when The Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were liberated during the 1967 Six Day War, we would have got hold of all those foreigners living there, be it Arabs, Xians, or whatever and put them on trucks and delivered them to the border? Of course the world would have raised its voice, but that would have only lasted a couple of months, and everything would be quite different today.

Unfortunately today there are some of us, who believe that the people who call themselves “Palestinians” have more of a right to our Holy Land than we do. Even though it makes no difference to them that the Torah tells us to whom Hashem gave Eretz Yisrael, they should consider the International Law they talk about so often. In 1922 this Law established the Jewish Homeland from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. We cannot expect them to accept that this was by Hashem’s will. But we can expect – no, demand – that they abide by their precious International Law.

I want to request my Brethren, please stop all that baseless hatred towards your fellow Jew and start showing tolerance, patience, mercy, LOVE toward each other. Let us all unite in prayer and beg Hashem to strengthen and give wisdom to our Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, in order that he have the conviction to tell Barack Hussein Obama and his consorts that Eretz Yisrael is not evicting one single Jew from his house in Holy Land, Heaven forbid; that the building of houses will continue, and that not one single inch of Holy Land will be handed over to our enemies, Heaven forbid. Give Mr. Netanyahu the wisdom to see that Klal Yisrael has suffered and been distressed enough.

Another thing that should be taken into consideration is the fact that every Nation in the world has their own constitution to serve their own purpose and existence. It’s obvious that we Jews are distinct in the world and that we should have different rulings. How can it be possible to have Arabs in the Government, even if they have been born in the Holy Land? They are and will always be hostile to us, and will do whatever it takes to afflict us. Therefore, the Government should give these people a different status, but definitely not to rule over Jews. And our government should proclaim that and we don’t follow man, but our King Hashem.

Has any gentile government told the Palestinians to stop firing rockets or mortar bombs into Eretz Yisrael. Of course the answer is “NO”; therefore I ask why should our Government even think of negotiating with these criminals, Heaven forbid.

Be warned that “the hearts of rulers and kings are in the hand of G-d.”, and that we are presently being tried by our King regarding in whom we place our emuna; so let’s show Hashem that we put all of our Emuna in Him, that He is our Ribbono shel Olam.

And to conclude, Brethren I can guarantee that the day we all unite and place our Emuna in Hashem, nobody, repeat, nobody will ever be able to afflict one single Jew.

Today, start changing your mind frame, and start saying “Hashem will deliver Klal Yisrael from her enemies“.

Note: I want to thank Brother Bob Martin, who was so kind in reviewing and correcting this post for me.

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Loving Kindness Day 152 Delicate Matters

Loving Kindness – SEFER AHAVAS CHESED

Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

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Loving Kindness

Day 152 – Delicate Matters

SEFER AHAVAS CHESED — Part III Chapter III

      One of the three purposes of visiting the sick (see Day 153) is to gently guide them toward settling their material as well as spiritual accounts. When a person’s health is compromised, the possibility arises that the details of his financial dealings may become lost or misconstrued. One is obligated, according to the Shulchan Aruch, to help him put his dealings into writing if necessary, and to verify matters such as loans, credit and consignments.

      There is a significant problem in meeting this obligation, the Chofetz Chaim acknowledges, and that is the possibility of causing the patient alarm. If his friends are trying to settle his affairs, he may reason, they must be expecting his imminent departure.

      The Chofetz Chaim recommends a custom outlined in the Chochmas HaAdam which overcomes this obstacle: Certain communities had a rule that on the third day of a person’s illness, the synagogue’s administrator would visit the patient and discuss writing or updating his will. Because the practice was established and uniformly applied, there was no implication of doom in it.

      In the area of spiritual accounting, the obligations and obstacles are similar. It is entirely possible to frighten a patient to near-death by telling him it is time to repent for his sins. Nonetheless, one of the goals in the act of bikur cholim is to guide the patient to repentance and to the recitation of “Viduy,” the confession that is recited before one passes into the Next World. The Chofetz Chaim points out that Viduy need not be seen as a frightening event. Repentance is a standard feature of a Jew’s spiritual life, and when a person is ill, one may be able to encourage him to see it as a merit for recovery rather than a last rite.

      Despite the importance of this aspect of bikur cholim, the Chofetz Chaim acknowledges it may sometimes be impossible to introduce the topic without alarming the patient. In that case, silence is the best policy.

      If it is clear that the sick person knows that his life is ebbing, one should discuss with a rabbi the appropriate way to proceed with Viduy. In the event that one is advised to say Viduy with the person, great tact is essential to avoid robbing the person of hope. Relatives who may become tearful should be asked politely to leave the room. The patient should be assured that repentance and confession are a powerful merit for a long life.

      If the patient is unable to recite the words, he should be encouraged to let his heart do the speaking. If necessary, one can read the words to him and he can listen. If he is unable to do that much, he can say or think the words, “May it be Hashem’s will that my passing should atone for my sins.” No matter what the outcome of the illness, repentance can only do good. If this does turn out to be the person’s last days, his confession provides him with an eternal asset, for anyone who recites it automatically receives a portion in the World to Come. If he recovers, the Viduy has certainly not been wasted, for it sends him forward into life endowed with a pure, cleansed soul.

Step by Step

In appropriate situations, I will try to assist those I visit with settling their affairs, or ascertain that someone is taking on this responsibility.

 

Taken from “Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness – Daily Lessons in the Power of Giving,” a project of Mesorah Publications and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

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ABOUT THE CHOFETZ CHAIM HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

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Loving Kindness Day 151 – Heroes

Loving Kindness – SEFER AHAVAS CHESED

Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

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Loving Kindness

Day 151 – Heroes

SEFER AHAVAS CHESED — Part III Chapter III

      Caring for the sick is not just a personal obligation, says the Chofetz Chaim. Every community should have an organization dedicated to this mitzvah, for it is a source of essential help to those in need and a source of great blessing for the entire community. Such a society should have one central mission, and that is to supply whatever is needed by the patient and his family. A bikur cholim organization has to step into the sick person’s home and assess the situation. One person may need a doctor. Another may need someone to care for the children. Another may need meals for the family. A bikur cholim society’s concerns extend to any assistance required to weather the crisis.

      “How good and beautiful it would be,” says the Chofetz Chaim, “if every city had such an organization.” This is especially so because the absence of these services can violate the Torah prohibition “You shall not stand aside while your fellow’s blood is shed” (Vayikra 19:16). In other words, one is not permitted to stand idly by as another person’s life ebbs away. In its simplest sense, this law means that one must stop and help a person who is ill or injured. This, most people instinctively understand; they are willing to step up to the role of hero to rescue a person in distress. The blood of one’s fellow, however, may not be spilling in an action packed episode requiring heroic intervention. The old woman in the attic apartment who feels too ill to take herself to the doctor is also “your fellow.” Her blood — her life — may also be ebbing away, and one easily might be lulled into standing by idly. “I’m sure her children are looking in on her,” one might think, or “Her landlady must check in on her.” Knocking on her door might not seem like a heroic lifesaving gesture, yet it is. For such a deed, one earns the Torah’s promised reward: “Fortunate is he who cares wisely for the needy. On the day of evil, Hashem will save him”(Tehillim 41:2).

      Those who project themselves into the lives of neighbors who are suffering with illness can conceive of acts of kindness nearly boundless in their merit. The Chofetz Chaim refers to one city in which a group of people took turns sitting through the night at the bedside of a sick man. Their chesed sprouted hundreds of offshoots. They tended to the patient, they comforted him, they gave the patient’s family a chance to sleep, which enabled them to care for him and keep his business going, which in turn enabled the household to function. All this could be attributed to this one service the community provided.

      Although the mission of bikur cholim is to ease the plight of the needy sick, its services can be of value to the wealthy as well. Even when someone can hire help, he cannot always hire reliable, compassionate help. Those who step in to offer their assistance provide a resource money cannot buy. They give the patient tangible help combined with the priceless intangible of knowing his neighbors care about him. A city populated by individuals willing to help each other in this way, says the Chofetz Chaim, is a city blessed.

Step by Step

If it is realistic for me, I will find out what I can do for my local bikur cholim organization. If there is no such group, I will try to initiate formation of one.

 

Taken from “Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness – Daily Lessons in the Power of Giving,” a project of Mesorah Publications and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

To subscribe or unsubscribe: e-mail them at kindness@chofetzchaimusa.org with subject subscribe or unsubscribe.

To order tapes, books, learning programs and their free catalog call them at 866-593-8399.

Please treat printed version with the respect due Torah materials.

ABOUT THE CHOFETZ CHAIM HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

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Loving Kindness Day 150 Someone Else

Loving Kindness – SEFER AHAVAS CHESED

Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

Become a daily email sponsor and help us provide thousands with easy access to the Torah’s inspiration. As a merit for a departed loved one, or for a recovery from illness, your sponsorship will go a long way toward bringing people the most effective tool for deaaling with life’s troubles. Your dedication will reach over 8,000 recipients per day. Just email back the date and dedication you would like printed, along with your contact information to es@chofetzchaimusa.org.

Loving Kindness

Day 150 – Someone Else

SEFER AHAVAS CHESED — Part III Chapter III

      There is a job that needs to be done — a job that strikes most people as unpleasant, time consuming, upsetting and awkward. If there is a long line of other people who are likely to take on this task, the average person is more than happy to leave it to them. The job is bikur cholim, and this is the yezter hara-induced reasoning that causes otherwise compassionate, well-meaning people to overlook the mitzvah.

      No one is immune from the sin of complacency in this regard. The Talmud (Nedarim 41a) records a story of a student of Rabbi Akiva who became ill. Rabbi Akiva had thousands of students, representing the cream of the generation’s Torah scholars. Not one of them, however, took it upon himself to visit this sick colleague, for each was sure that others were doing so. The students were all too busy, but their teacher – Rabbi Akiva — was not. He went to visit his student and was shocked to find him alone and untended. Rabbi Akiva swept his room, washed the floor and spent some time with his student. “Rabbi,” the student told him, “you gave me life.” When Rabbi Akiva returned to the learning hall, he delivered to his students the stark admonition that “one who does not visit the sick, it is as if he is shedding blood.”

      The comparison is more than metaphorical. One visitor might be the person who knows the right doctor for the patient’s illness. He might have experience with an effective medication or treatment. He might have access to something or someone the patient needs. One person can make a life-and-death difference.

      The Chofetz Chaim criticizes his generation for laxity in the mitzvah of bikur cholim, especially in regard to the poor of the community. The obligation to visit the sick extends to everyone, he states, and applies especially to the poor, for in the case of the poor, the accusation of “bloodshed” is even more likely to reflect reality. The poor person may not be able to afford a good doctor and proper medication. He may not have household help to clean his surroundings and prepare his meals. He may lack adequate heat and a warm blanket to keep him comfortable. While the beloved rebbe or respected community leader is showered with attention in his moment of need, the poor man might suffer alone. Without visitors, he could lie in his bed for days unheeded, feeling as if he simply does not exist. The despair alone could rob him of his will to recover.

      The Talmud (Kesubos 68a) compares one who averts his eyes from the needs of others to one who engages in idol worship. Following the yetzer hara’s advice in this matter is like casting oneself upon a strong tide that pulls inexorably away from Torah and mitzvos. Averting one’s eyes — not looking — means not seeing. Not seeing means remaining unaware of someone’s pain, emotional stress and material deprivation. The yetzer hara understands that once a person sees all this, he will feel compelled to help and a flood of chesed will result. The person may raise money to help the poor, sick man. He may offer advice, assistance, comfort. He may find that in the end, he is credited with saving someone’s life.

Step by Step

I will fight off the urge to leave bikur cholim to others whom I perceive as being more obligated or qualified to help.

 

Taken from “Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness – Daily Lessons in the Power of Giving,” a project of Mesorah Publications and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

To subscribe or unsubscribe: e-mail them at kindness@chofetzchaimusa.org with subject subscribe or unsubscribe.

To order tapes, books, learning programs and their free catalog call them at 866-593-8399.

Please treat printed version with the respect due Torah materials.

ABOUT THE CHOFETZ CHAIM HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

Taken from my Kindness Email Subscription
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Loving Kindness Day 149 – Just Rewards

Loving Kindness – SEFER AHAVAS CHESED

Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

Become a daily email sponsor and help us provide thousands with easy access to the Torah’s inspiration. As a merit for a departed loved one, or for a recovery from illness, your sponsorship will go a long way toward bringing people the most effective tool for deaaling with life’s troubles. Your dedication will reach over 8,000 recipients per day. Just email back the date and dedication you would like printed, along with your contact information to es@chofetzchaimusa.org.

Loving Kindness

Day 149 – Just Rewards

SEFER AHAVAS CHESED — Part III Chapter III

      The benefits of bikur cholim to the person suffering from ill health are clear to see. The benefits to the person who performs the mitzvah may not be as patently obvious to the casual observer, but they are indeed a tangible reality in this world, as well as an everlasting spiritual treasure in the World to Come. The Chofetz Chaim first provides a glimpse of the spiritual reward, quoting from the Talmud (Nedarim 40a): “One who visits a sick person is saved from Gehinnom, as the verse [Tehillim 41:2] says, ‘Fortunate is he who cares wisely for the needy, for on the day of evil, Hashem will save him.’ ” The day of evil is the Day of Judgment, which every person must eventually face at the end of his time on earth. The evil from which Hashem saves him is the fire of Gehinnom.

The Talmudic verse continues with a description of the rewards granted in this world to one who cares for the sick. “Hashem will protect him and give him life and make him prosper in the land.” The protection to which the verse refers is protection against the yetzer hara. The blessing of “life” is protection from suffering and pain. The prosperity in the land is material wealth that will cause the person to be honored by those among whom he lives.

      Citing the Sefer Keren Orah, the Chofetz Chaim explains how these three earthly rewards correspond, measure for measure, to the benefits one bestows upon the sick person through bikur cholim: One who visits the sick has three objectives. First, he seeks to enhance the patient’s physical comfort. In return, he earns Hashem’s protection from physical suffering. Secondly, where it is possible and appropriate, the visitor is obliged to gently guide the person toward a spiritual view of his situation. He should encourage him to consider avenues of self-improvement that would bring merit for his recovery, since Hashem is the source of both forgiveness and healing. In return for his efforts in building the patient’s spiritual strength, Hashem protects him from the corrosive effects of his own yetzer hara. The visitor’s third objective is to build up the patient’s will to live, letting him know that he is valued, and that his well-being is of concern to others. As reward for the honor and dignity the visitor bestows upon the patient, Hashem grants him wealth and the honor that accompanies it.

      In these three ways, the person who sets out to benefit those suffering through illness benefits himself most of all. He creates a well-endowed fund of merit that will protect and support him as he continues in his holy endeavors throughout a long and fruitful life.

Step by Step

When I tend to someone who is ill, I will keep in mind that all I am giving is ultimately to my own benefit.

 

Taken from “Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness – Daily Lessons in the Power of Giving,” a project of Mesorah Publications and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

To subscribe or unsubscribe: e-mail them at kindness@chofetzchaimusa.org with subject subscribe or unsubscribe.

To order tapes, books, learning programs and their free catalog call them at 866-593-8399.

Please treat printed version with the respect due Torah materials.

ABOUT THE CHOFETZ CHAIM HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

Taken from my Kindness Email Subscription
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Aryeh’s DIARY 25th Av to 2nd Elul 5769

Aryehs Diary

DIARY
Courtesy of pumpaid.org

DIARY
25 Av-2 Elul 5769
14-22 August 2009

Friday night-Saturday 14-15 August / 25 Av
Shabbat Parshat RE’EH
Shabbat Mevarchin ELUL
Torah Reading: RE-EH, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17. Haftara: Isaiah 54:11-55:5.
Shabbat Mevarchin blessing the coming month of Elul. The Molad (junction of the sun and the moon) will be on the night of Thursday 20 August at 11:03 and 6 chalakim.

Saturday night-Sunday 15-16 August / 26 Av
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe (1887-1979).

Those responsible for the Shofar blowing in the synagogue during the month of Elul and on the High Holidays should ensure that the Shofar is truly kosher and has not been artificially treated to conceal flaws.

Wednesday 19 August / 29 Av
Today is observed as Yom Kippur Katan (“minor day of atonement”), a day of optional fasting (from dawn to nightfall) and penitential prayers in preparation for the coming Rosh Chodesh Elul, which begins on Wednesday night.

Wednesday night-Thursday 19-20 August /30 Av
Rosh Chodesh Elul First Day
Today is 3280 years since the conclusion of the thirty days of mourning for Aharon the High Priest in the year 2488 (1272 B.C.E.).

Chodesh Tov UMevorach!!!
Have a Good and Blessed Month!!!

Attributes of the month of Elul: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: KEH KEH VAV YOD, contained in the final Hebrew letters of the words of the verse ootzedakaH tihyeH lanOO kI “and it shall be righteousness to us when…” (Deut 6:25). The month’s corresponding letter is: YOD; Human attribute: ACTION; Body Part: LEFT HAND ; Tribe: GAD; Constellation: BETULAH (Virgo, the Maiden).

Thursday night-Friday 20-21 August / 1 Elul
Rosh Chodesh Elul Second Day

On this day Moses ascended Mt Sinai for his third forty-day stay culminating on 10 Tishri (Yom Kippur) when he received the Second Tablets after accomplishing G-d’s reconciliation with Israel following the sin of the golden calf. In our times too, these forty days are a time of supreme favor (Ratzon) and the gates of Teshuvah, return to G-d, are open to all.

At the conclusion of the morning prayers the Shofar is sounded today and every day (except Shabbat) until one day prior to the eve of Rosh Hashanah, as a reminder to arouse ourselves in Teshuvah in preparation for the coming Days of Awe.

From today onwards until Shemini Atzeret (last day of Succot), Psalm 27 “HaShem is my light…” is recited daily after the morning and afternoon (Chassidim custom) or evening (Lithuanian custom) prayers. “Everyone who recites it morning and evening is assured he will live out his years in goodness and pleasantness, and he removes from himself all the accusing forces and nullifies all harsh and evil decrees, and he will win his case in the Judgment” (ARI).

It is appropriate to have one’s Mezuzot and Tefilin checked during the month of Elul to ensure that they are not flawed.

Friday night-Saturday 21-22 August / 2 Elul
Shabbat Parshat SHOFTIM
Torah Reading: SHOFTIM, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9. Haftara: Isaiah 51:12-52:12.
Today is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Gershon Shaul Yomtov Lipman Heller (1578-1654), author of the Tosfos Yom Tov in-depth commentary on the Mishneh.

During the Elul season of repentance, Israel are like the inhabitants of a city who go out to greet the King in the fields prior to His entry into the city (on Rosh Hashanah), and now each individual has the opportunity to approach the King in person in advance of the coming Day of Judgment.

 

SOURCE: Aazamra.org - Torah for Our Time

Azamra means “I will sing” (Psalms 146:2)

“And the way to sing the song of joy is by seeking the good in all people, especially in ourselves. Each good point is one more note in the song of life!”

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

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