Tishrei with the Rebbe – Intro

It is hard to believe we are so close to the Beginning of the Year, Rosh Hashana. The air is full of Teshuva as we start the month of Elul.

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My Dvar Torah for Re’eh 5773

Parsha Re’eh 

Seeing the Blessing…. 

“ Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse.” Reeh 11:26

Hashem places before us blessing and curses, and we are told to see them. Often it is easy to see the curses as we struggle with our daily lives. But we must also see the blessings and recognize them as coming from Hashem. Hashem tests us with both blessings and curses. We all know that sometimes things which seem to be blessings, in the end turn out to be curses. And likewise sometimes things which seem to be curses, in the end turn out to be blessings in disguise.

The path the Torah teaches us is to listen and see Hashem’s providence in our lives. Through the performance of the commandments we show our love to our G-d. When we violate his will we demonstrate our lack of faith in his governing the world. This is why the curse is a result of our action, we have the choice to do right or wrong.

Recognizing the Idolatry… 

The Jewish faith requires us to reject worshiping idols without exception. Idols, throughout history, have provided man with a way to avoid taking responsibility for the world, while giving him a way to influence the future. Praying to the sun, the moon, and the stars is the way many civilizations developed, and to this day some still do pray to wood and stone. But the basic psychology of idolatry goes a lot deeper than worshiping wood and stone, and gets down to the question about ‘What has ultimate power in this world?’

Judaism clearly and without question denies any power beside Hashem. He is the ONE G-d, and there is no other, Ein Ode Milvado. Worshiping anything by attributing power to it independent of Hashem is a sin, and Hashem hates those Jews who bow mentally, emotionally, physically to any physical object.

Today we have idols all around us. They have been formed in the media, in the news, and in the government. Some of the recent scandals in politics reveals a very troubling picture of how badly people have succumbed to some of the most dangerous idols.

Our portion commands of us to smash these idols, to free ourselves and our world of the false belief that these physical items actually bring us any reward or merit. The only true merit is in acknowledging that Hashem is the source of all blessing, and to thank him.

Giving from the heart… 

If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you shall not close your hand from your needy brother. Rather, you shall open your hand to him, and you shall lend him sufficient for his needs, which he is lacking. Reeh 15:7-8

Reeh contains some of the most direct commands concerning giving to the poor person. We are commanded to give to a brother in need, and with a happy heart, and sufficient for his needs. This commandment seems very imposing because it is natural for a person to be concerned with his or her personal needs and want to save the money they have in case they need it tomorrow.

The Torah is teaching us that the blessing we have at the moment is based upon our actions. If we have faith in Hashem we should be able to give what we have now, and we will be provided for in the future. We place our future livelihood into Hashems hands, and through our kind deed we merit kindness from our King in Heaven, HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

I provided a room to a man who would have otherwise been homeless. I know that giving to those in need will bring blessing to those who give, and those who receive will also be blessed. The man who stayed in my home used the time to study for his contractor license and when he left my home became successful in his profession.

Re’eh and this world… 

The news this week has been very troubling. Our Jewish home land of Israel is under increased pressures to commit suicide, there is the EU boycott of Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria, Nassralah and the new Iranian president both incited the destruction of Israel because of al-quds day. And the most troubling news, as the Rabbi knows, is the discussion of releasing 104 blood-drenched terrorist prisoners in a gesture to get the PA to negotiate the giving of Israeli land to the arabs.

The Torah expressly forbids such deals, as a terrorist who has sworn to kill more Jews should be dealt with according to the Torah laws concerning such wicked men. This weeks portion contains the following pasuk:

You shall not do so to the Lord, your God; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates, they did to their gods, for also their sons and their daughters they would burn in fire to their gods. Re’eh 12:31

Those who swear to kill Jews, who throw stones and stab Jews in Jerusalem, who send their children to blow themselves up, to blow our children up. These are those the Torah is talking about, the arabs who believe their god wants them to burn their children, rather than to live in peace, these are those who our G-d who values life hates.

Those who flew planes into the World Trade Center are the same ones who are pushing Israel into acting like cowards. Their ideology will not allow a Jewish state to exist, and we must not succumb to allowing them to push the Jewish state around.

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Video Study for Parsha Re’eh

Shalom mytorah readers,

I apologize again for a late posting. I have been very agitated by the news that Israel is prepared to release 104 terrorists (G-d Forbid!). This is a terrible injustice to the entire Jewish people. We must pray that these brutal beasts get justice once and for all, and that there is a punishment for killing Jews. And may the families of the victims of those beasts be comforted. But I have spoken with my Rabbi and I feel a little better, so I will post the weekly portion thread now.

This week is another mitzvot packed portion. The portion of Re’eh in the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy)is read this Shabbat in synagogues around the world.

We read the statement Hashem makes concerning placing free-will in our hands, we can choose the blessing or the curse, as our heart desires. The portion contains the command to build the Sanctuary for Hashem in the place he has chosen (Jerusalem). Also included are the commandments to appear in Jerusalem during the pilgrimage festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Succot.

We are told that Hashem abhors idolatry and all forms of idol worship must be erased from the land which we are about to enter (Israel). We must not listen to false prophets and those who want to break our bond with the Master of the Universe, the one who freed us from bondage in Egypt.

This portion also puts a great amount of emphasis on the idea that every Jew is responsible for every other Jew. We are told we must support the poor Jew, giving Tzedakah (righteousness) to every beggar who asks, and to give with joy… This is tough in todays world but it is a mitzvah of the Torah and we must learn it’s lesson.

http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2272/jewish/Reeh-in-a-Nutshell.htm

“See,” says Moses to the people of Israel, “I place before you today a blessing and a curse”—the blessing that will come when they fulfill G‑d’s commandments, and the curse if they abandon them. These should be proclaimed on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal when the people cross over into the Holy Land.

A Temple should be established in “the place that G‑d will choose to make dwell His name there,” where the people should bring their sacrifices to Him; it is forbidden to make offerings to G‑d in any other place. It is permitted to slaughter animals elsewhere, not as a sacrifice but to eat their meat; the blood (which in the Temple is poured upon the altar), however, may not be eaten.

A false prophet, or one who entices others to worship idols, should be put to death; an idolatrous city must be destroyed. The identifying signs for kosher animals and fish, and the list of non-kosher birds (first given in Leviticus 11), are repeated.

A tenth of all produce is to be eaten in Jerusalem, or else exchanged for money with which food is purchased and eaten there. On certain years this tithe is given to the poor instead. Firstborn cattle and sheep are to be offered in the Temple, and their meat eaten by the kohanim (priests).

The mitzvah of charity obligates a Jew to aid a needy fellow with a gift or loan. On the Sabbatical year (occurring every seventh year), all loans are to be forgiven. All indentured servants are to be set free after six years of service.

Our Parshah concludes with the laws of the three pilgrimage festivals—Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot—when all should go to “see and be seen” before G‑d in the Holy Temple.

Let us start with the latest video from Rabbi Chaim Richman from the Temple Institute. Rabbi Richman is the English spokesperson for the Temple Institute, an organization which is working to build the vessels for the Temple and the clothing of the Priests.

Rabbi Finkelstein expounds on the true meaning of Tzedakah, and how we must give with a feeling heart to those in need.

Rabbi Machlis in Jerusalem is a true Baal Chesed because he opens his home to all who want to come and enjoy the Shabbat with himself and his family. Here the hospitable Rabbi talks about our portion..

Rabbi Yitzak Ginsburg is a great teacher of mystical aspects of our Torah. Here the Rabbi gives us some of the deeper meanings in the portion.

Rabbi Chaim Miller from TorahInTen and Kol Menachem, gives us the another Chassidic understanding of the portion.

Rabbi Trugman of BeTheIsrael is a great teacher and a student of Rabbi Ginsburg. Here is his 10 minute talk on Re’eh.

From last years lesson on the portion, Rabbi Chaim Richman once again…

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Boycott Roger Waters – He is a Jew hater

Stay tuned for a complete expose on the Jew hating Pink Floyd member. In my youth I was quite a fan of the Pink Floyd but when I heard this monster spout such hatred of the Jewish state I realized how evil he is. It is time to boycott and burn his CD’s DVD’s and other recorded material.

PS: I do not buy his latest ‘my best friends are Jewish’ ruse. The man has exhibited a very despicable form of Jew hatred.

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muman613’s 5773 Nine Days ‘Kinot’

Vision of the Third Temple

Oy Vavoy, here we are in the year 5773 and the Holy Temple, the house of Hashem, has still not been built. Not only that, but Israel seems on a political path which will result in a virtual suicide of the Jewish state with leaders who seem to lack leadership qualities. How sad it is to watch our Holy Land being bargained and compromised in the name of a supposed peace which any sane person would realize is a sad fantasy.

The enemies of the Jewish people are poking their hateful heads out and openly expressing their antisemitic ideas as the Shoah fades into the memory hole. It is unreal to see some of the insane comments on YouTube on Shoah videos by neo-Nazis who claim that the whole thing was made up. Not only that but our other enemy embodied in Ishmael conspire on every border with a lust for Jewish blood. If not for their lust for their own blood maybe things would not be as ‘peaceful’ as they seem.

Sure we read about the number of missiles which have rained down on Jewish cities, the rushing into bomb shelters after hearing 15 second warning sirens. And we sigh a sigh of relief when we hear that nobody was injured or that the Iron Dome operated as designed. But this is not a way an upright Jew should have to live. Woe onto the Jewish people collectively for countenancing such cruelty.

So many of our troubles are caused by our own failings. I was raised with a firm belief that Jews posses a special quality which, if it is harnessed, will permit us to have unlimited power of vision and connection with the source of life. We all have this innate ability, as the Torah teaches, to operate above the level of nature.

But a reality check brings me back down to a sad realization that the world is far from the Torah goal, and we are spiraling further and further from the way. I have had a saying from before my Teshuva which basically said ‘Reality is when the brick hits your head’. You know that when a brick hits your head -THAT- is real, because you cannot ignore it and it hurts a heck of a lot.

We must not allow ourselves to be lured into a state of depression. As several of the Rabbis I have posted in the ‘Three Weeks’ thread have said it is pointless to be depressed. A state of mourning is not intended to bring about depression because depression results in inaction and sin. The Torah clearly states that Hashem wants us to serve his will with joy.

So I have been successful in experiencing a mournful joy and also a joyous mourning. It is this state which brings about the contemplation and the pain, and permits me to formulate a view of Jewish history. This state permits me to feel the pain of my fellow Jews, and to try to share what I feel and have learned.

The Jews must not lose hope because hopelessness precedes depression, and depression leads to inaction and sin, and we must not permit ourselves to be caught in that trap. It is my belief that through each of us learning what we can of the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings and what the sages of the Talmud wrote we can each find something which will bring blessing to the people of Israel. Through the simple trust and faith in the word of Hashem we bring blessing to the world.

As we cry we also must think about what it is we can do to better our situation. Hashem helps those who put in the effort to acheive. Miracles do happen, but they only happen when we do our part in the deal. Hashem made a covenant with our forefathers and that covenant is surely still in effect. There are many things a Jew is obligated to.

We have the commandments which we can observe, and we have communal responsibilities which include giving Tzedakah to Jewish causes. I am not ashamed that I give more to Jewish causes than to other causes. This is because we are such a small nation and every little bit helps to feed the poor, support the settlers in difficult situations in Judea and Samaria, support your local community through the shul.

As I count myself among the Kahanists I will also say that the loss of Rabbi Kahane is most certainly something to cry about. How sad I am that I never attended a talk of his because at the time I was far from my faith. I cry sometimes when I watch his videos and am in awe of his grasp of Torah his love for the Jewish people even if many of them did not accept his teaching. Like so many of the prophets of our Tanach, his words were rejected and so many years later we see he was absolutely right about just about everything.

So my activism is considered pro-Kahanist and I am certainly not shy about sharing it with my minyan and Rabbis. Maybe Hashem is making it easy for me and in some places I might not be so welcome for my Kahanist leanings, but over the years I believe I have inspired some of my community to share our views. My advice is that we must convey the message of Jewish strength and the time is quickly coming when I think our views will be more mainstream.

This is why I feel like Rabbi Akiva after the Temple was destroyed. Rabbi Akiva laughed when he saw a fox running out of where the Kadosh HaKadoshim (Holy of Holies) used to be. The other Rabbis he walked with were weeping bitter tears. They asked Rabbi Akiva why he was laughing, he asked them why they were crying. They said that they were weeping because the sight of a fox running around where only the High Priest was permitted made them realise that they were alone and the Temple era was over. Rabbi Akiva said he was laughing because now that the Temple was destroyed he knew that the prophets were correct and a Third Temple would some day be built.

So too we see the destruction which the Talmud and the prophets discuss in the age before Moshiach. We see all so clearly that the prophets knew because Hashem put the words in their mouths. We see that the nations are only acting like they are the friends of the Jews, but when push comes to shove we know that Israel would be sold down the drain, if the arabs request it. So too Rabbi Kahane foresaw that even in America there would be a rise in antisemitism when the economy went sour.

I know we, the Jewish people, have unlimited ability when we put our minds to something. We have collective power of bringing blessing to the world. We must harness this ability before the world runs off its rocker. Whether we ‘deserve’ it or not the redemption will come, but I do prefer the scenario where we deserve it.

May we all merit seeing the rebuilding of the Third Beit HaMikdash and the flourishing of Jerusalem, and the righteous redeemer speedily and in our days.

Artists Rendition of Third Temple

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Video Study for Parsha Pinchas

Shalom Everyone,

I am looking forward to the upcoming July 4th week because I am taking 4 days off that week and will have some more time to study Torah with a friend of my Rabbi. I have been so busy the last few weeks with both personal and work issues. But nothing can make me forget studying Torah, nothing that I can imagine…

This week we are reading the Parsha named after Pinchas, a man who in last weeks portion acted ZEALOUSLY to protect the honor of G-d and Moses while Zimri & Cosby were openly flaunting the law in front of the people. What Zimri was doing was causing the entire Jewish people to weep and cry as it seemed Moshe was confused about what to do.

This is where Pinchas took the situation into his hands and acted in a manner which stopped a plague which was destroying the people. This week Pinchas is rewarded for his act by being given ‘THE COVENANT OF PEACE’ which means he was made into a Kohen. Although Pinchas was descended from Aaron, which should have made him a kohen anyway, the fact that he was born to Aarons son before the sons of Aaron were given the Kohen position, thus he was not a kohen because only sons born after Aarons sons were made kohens would be kohens (read that sentence again).

This parsha contains another counting (census) of the people and the story of the daughters of Zelefachad…

Here is Chabads parsha in a nutshell:

http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2236/jewish/Pinchas-in-a-Nutshell.htm …

Aaron’s grandson Pinchas is rewarded for his act of zealotry in killing the Simeonite prince Zimri and the Midianite princess who was his paramour: G‑d grants him a covenant of peace and the priesthood.

A census of the people counts 601,730 men between the ages of twenty and sixty. Moses is instructed on how the Land is to be divided by lottery among the tribes and families of Israel. The five daughters of Tzelafchad petition Moses that they be granted the portion of the land belonging to their father, who died without sons; G‑d accepts their claim and incorporates it into the Torah’s laws of inheritance.

Moses empowers Joshua to succeed him and lead the people into the Land of Israel.

The Parshah concludes with a detailed list of the daily offerings, and the additional offerings brought on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh (first of the month), and the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.

Let us start with Rabbi Finkelstein:

And a short shmuz from Rabbi Shafier:

Rabbi Nagin gives a spiritual outlook on the parsha:

Two of my favorite Kabbalah Rabbis, Rabbi Trugman and his teacher Rabbi Ginsburg:

Rabbi Shlomo Katz, a student of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, gives an hour shuir on our portion:

 

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Aleinu Prayer – Saul Kaye Video

One of my favorite prayers occurs at the end of the prayer service. When we sing the Aleinu and bow and give thanks to the Creator of All, and he who frees us from the bondage of Egypt.

Saul Kaye’s album Tefillah/Prayer contains several of our most intimate prayers (including the Shema, Oseh Shalom, Adon Olan, and many others). I have created a montage of photos from the Kotel (Western Wall) set to Mr. Kayes Aleinu.

English Translation

It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to acclaim the greatness of the One who forms all creation. For God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us the same as other families of the Earth. God did not place us in the same situations as others, and our destiny is not the same as anyone else’s.

And we bend our knees, and bow down, and give thanks, before the Ruler, the Ruler of Rulers, the Holy One, Blessed is God. The One who spread out the heavens, and made the foundations of the Earth, and whose precious dwelling is in the heavens above, and whose powerful Presence is in the highest heights. Adonai is our God, there is none else.

Our God is truth, and nothing else compares. As it is written in Your Torah: “And you shall know today, and take to heart, that Adonai is the only God, in the heavens above and on Earth below. There is no other.”

Therefore we put our hope in You, Adonai our God, to soon see the glory of Your strength, to remove all idols from the Earth, and to completely cut off all false gods; to repair the world, Your holy empire. And for all living flesh to call Your name, and for all the wicked of the Earth to turn to You. May all the world’s inhabitants recognize and know that to You every knee must bend and every tongue must swear loyalty. Before You, Adonai, our God, may all bow down, and give honor to Your precious name, and may all take upon themselves the yoke of Your rule. And may You reign over them soon and forever and always. Because all rule is Yours alone, and You will rule in honor forever and ever.

As it is written in Your Torah:
“Adonai will reign forever and ever.”

And it is said: “Adonai will be Ruler over the whole Earth, and on that day, God will be One, and God’s name will be One.

Transliteration

Aleinu le’shabeiach la’adon hakol, 
lateit gedulah leyotzeir bereshit, 
she’lo asanu ke’goyei ha’aratzot, 
ve’lo samanu ke’mishpechot ha’adamah, 
she’lo sam chelkeinu kahem, 
ve’goraleinu ke’chol hamonam. 
Va’anachnu korim, u’mishtachavim, u’modim, 
lifnei melech, malchei ham’lachim, 
hakadosh baruch Hu. 
She’hu noteh shamayim, ve’yoseid aretz, 
u’moshav yikaro bashamayim mi-ma’al, 
u’sh’chinat u-zo be’gavhei me’romim. 
Hu Eloheinu, ein od. Emet malkeinu, efes zulato. 
Kakatuv be’torato, ve’yadata hayom, ve’hashevota Eil le’vavecha. 
Ki Adonai, Hu ha-Elohim, bashamayim mi-ma’al, 
ve’al ha’aretz mi-tachat. Ein od. 
Kakatuv be’toratecha: “Adonai yimloch le’olam va’ed.” 
Ve’ne’emar: “Ve’haya Adonai le’melech al kol ha’aretz, 
bayom hahu yihiyeh Adonai echad, u’shemo echad.”

I pray for the peace of Jerusalem every day. Considering how delicate the situation is in Eretz Yisrael I cannot fathom how we survive each day without the divine protection of our heavenly father, HaKadosh Baruch Hu. I firmly believe that his eye is on Jerusalem and our actions decide whether we will remain, or be exiled.

We just started the period known as the Three-Weeks. This is the time when our Holy Temple was in the process of being destroyed by the Roman conquerors who defiled the Holy of Holies. It is a period of mourning and reflecting on what we did and did not do to avoid this ‘decree’.

Aleinu Hebrew Text

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