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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Pirkei Avos’

A Judge We Can Depend On

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the ten days of repentance, and the awesome day of Yom Kippur when our judgment is sealed for the coming year, it’s so important for me to tell my readers how much I love the Ribbono Shel Olam, the Master of the Universe.

Why? Because when you love Hashem and are firm about it and focused on it, then it’s unshakeable,

Two weeks ago I decided, on the spur of the moment, to shoot over to Migron and spend the last Shabbos with the residents there before police and soldiers arrived to throw them off the land and out of the beautiful caravans they’d purchased. Fifty families, hundreds of children, had to leave because of a High Court decision.

Ya’akov Katz, “Katzele,” head of the National Union party, told me, “It’s Netanyahu’s fault because he fought against the new ‘Regulation Law,’ which failed to pass in the Knesset and could have bypassed the High Court decision.”

The prime minister felt that doing so would have slighted the country’s justice system and so he prepared replacement caravans a little lower down the mountain.

The people of Migron weren’t crying. They’d fought for six years and lost. They sang joyous songs together and had a big Kiddush while the children played on the swings outside for the last time. (Of course there will be new swings.)

The rabbi banged his hands on the shtender during his speech but summed up with: “This week is Parshas Ki Seitzai, ‘when you go out,’ and next Shabbos we’ll read Ki Savo, when you come in (to the new Migron!).”

And I was thinking, why wasn’t Benjamin Netanyahu there for Shabbos, to identify with the plight of the settlers? It would have been so beautiful!

Anyway, let’s return to my opening paragraph, to how much I love Hashem and why it pays for you to love Him too.

We know Hashem is perfect and His Torah is perfect. Reb Yehoshua ben Prachya says in Pirkei Avos, “You must judge all people on the scale of merit – this is God’s will.”

We know Hashem must keep His own Torah. Thus, when I love the Ribbono Shel Olam with complete focus, I can say to Him, “Please, my Beloved, judge me l’kaf zechut (on the scale of merit).”

He’ll answer, “But I know everything about you. Do you want to see your list of degrading sins?”

I, however, remain focused and say, “Excuse me, I love you, but who gave me my cunning yetzer hara? You did, Abba. I’ll be better in the coming year, but I want You to be better as well, and bring Mashiach and the glory of Israel!”

Now I hear a “sound of silence” from Above, and I quickly interject, “And you can’t say that your nation doesn’t deserve a new light shining on Zion! Because it was the wicked Balaam who told us a great secret about you [Bamidbar 23:21] when he said, ‘He [Hashem] sees no sin in Yaakov!’ ”

And then I smile upward and add, “And in Perek 2 of Pirkei Avos, Hillel states: ‘Do not judge your friend [all of Israel] until you stand in his place [and understand where he’s coming from].’

“You can’t judge me until you come down to my level. I’m human, I kvetch, I need my morning coffee, I have to make a living, but it’s Yom Kippur, I’m fasting…”

When you love Hashem, you discover that you are allowed to speak like this to your Maker.

Years ago at a wedding I found myself sitting next to the gadol Rav Rafael Soloveichik, zt”l, and I got into a conversation with him. He told me “Hashem loves chutzpah” – it’s actually something desired because it proves your faith (based on a Yerushalmi).

And so I urge my readers to come to Yom HaDin with love and chutzpah, like a child to a father. And may we receive a good judgment for ourselves and our charming nation.

And may I remind my readers that while it’s easy to criticize Prime Minister Netanyahu, remember this: Do not judge your fellow man until you understand that you wouldn’t want to be in his shoes for all the honor in the world.

Parshas Ki Tetze

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 35 5772

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
August 31, 2012 – 13 Elul 5772
7:09 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 8:14 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Ki Tetze
Weekly Haftara: Roni Akara, Aniya Soara (Isaiah 54:1 – 55:5)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 30
Mishna Yomit: Nedarim 1:4 – 2:1
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 113:4-6
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Korban Pesach chap. 9 – Hilchos Korban Chagigah 1
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 5:25 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:38 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: 1-2

Parshas Shoftim

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 34 5772

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
August 24, 2012 – 6 Elul 5772
7:20 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 8:26 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Shoftim
Weekly Haftara: Anochi Anochi (Isaiah 51:12‑52:12)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 23
Mishna Yomit: Kesuvos 13:1-2
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 109:2 –110:1
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Avodas Yom Kippur chap. 1-3
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 5:17 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:36 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: 6

Parshas VaEs’chanan

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 31 5772

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
August 3, 2012 – 15 Av 5772
7:48 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 8:58 NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: VaEs’chanan
Weekly Haftara: Nachamu, Nachamu (Isaiah 40:1-26)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 2
Mishna Yomit: Chullin 3:7-4:1
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 94:4-6
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Bias Mikdash chap. 2-4
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 4:52 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:28 a.m. NYC E.D.T. Pirkei Avos: 3

This Friday, Erev Shabbos, is Chamisha Asar B’Av – the 15th of Av – which our Talmud (Ta’anis 26b) refers to as a special festival that was celebrated when our holy Temple existed in Jerusalem. We do not say Tachanun. This Shabbos, is referred to as Shabbos Nachamu as we read the Haftara Nachamu Nachamu.

All tefillos as ususal, except that we do not say Av Harachamim or Hazkaras Neshamos before Musaf, or Tzidkas’cha following Mincha. We resume the study of Pirkei Avos (chap. 3).

Remembering Har Sinai

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In this week’s parshah Moshe Rabbeinu recounts ma’mad Har Sinai – the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai. Additionally, the Torah warns us earlier in the parshah not to forget the revelation that we witnessed at Har Sinai, for as the pasuk says: “Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen and lest you remove them from your heart all the days of your life, and make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Devarim 4:9).

The Rambam does not count this as a negative commandment. The Ramban, in his commentary to the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos (in the section of the prohibitions that the Rambam neglected to count mitzvah 2), writes that we learn from this pasuk that there is a prohibition for one to forget ma’mad Har Sinai and that the Rambam forgot to count it. He continues by explaining the importance of this mitzvah: for if we were to believe that our Torah came from a navi, even a true navi whom we trust, it would not be the same; another navi or dream could then discredit the Torah, creating doubt in our minds. However, now that we know that the Torah was given by Hashem to millions of people, no doubt could ever arise in our minds, since we were the ones who witnessed Hashem’s act of giving us the Torah.

The Magen Avraham (60:2) asks why Chazal did not decree that we should read from the Torah about the giving of the Torah, similar to the decree that we read about annihilating Amalek – since we must remember both events. He answers that it is because we have the Yom Tov of Shavuos to read about it – and that is sufficient.

The Aruch Hashulchan suggests another reason why we do not have a special reading on Shabbos to remember the giving of the Torah. He writes that even according to the Ramban’s view that it is a negative commandment to forget the giving of the Torah, it is only a prohibition to forget and not a positive commandment to remember. We only have special Torah readings when there is a mitzvah to remember, not against forgetting.

However, other Rishonim argue with the Ramban by saying that there is no negative commandment to forget ma’mad Har Sinai; rather the pasuk is prohibiting forgetting the Torah itself. The Yereim (359) says that the pasuk is referring to forgetting Torah, and draws a proof from the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (3:8) that says that anyone who forgets what he has learned is considered to be deserving of death. The Mishnah quotes this pasuk as a reference. The same is implicit from the Sefer Mitzvos Ketanos (96).

The sefer Megillas Esther (commentary to the Ramban’s commentary to the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos) explains that the Rambam did not count this pasuk as a negative commandment because he understood (like the other Rishonim) that it is referring to forgetting the Torah itself. This makes it a general mitzvah that encompasses all of the Torah, commanding us to follow the Torah and its mitzvos. The Rambam does not count this type of mitzvah in his count of mitzvos.

The Ramban asks on himself a question from the Gemara in Kiddushin 30a, which derives from this pasuk that when one learns Torah with his grandchildren Hashem considers it to be as if he himself accepted Torah on Har Sinai. Seemingly, the Gemara understands that this pasuk is referring to learning Torah and not remembering about the giving of the Torah. The Ramban answers that learning about emunas haTorah (belief in the Torah) is learning Torah as well.

The sefer Hararei Kedem suggests that the Rambam agrees with the Ramban that the pasuk is referring to forgetting the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai, yet the Rambam did not count it (among his mitzvos) because he believes that the prohibition of forgetting ma’mad Har Sinai is a part of the mitzvah of learning Torah. The Ramban explained that the teaching of emunas haTorah is also regarded as learning Torah.

This can be interpreted this way: There are two parts to the mitzvah of learning Torah. One is to learn Torah; the second is to teach emunas haTorah. It is regarding the second aspect of the mitzvah that the Gemara in Kiddushin said that one who learns with his grandchildren is considered as having accepted the Torah on Har Sinai himself. This is because when one learns Torah with his grandfather, it is as if he is learning with someone from one generation closer to Har Sinai. This learning has both aspects of the mitzvah in it. It has the actual learning, and it strengthens the grandchild’s belief in the Torah. Thus, regarding emunas haTorah, the Gemara reveres a grandfather who teaches Torah to his grandchildren – for it is as if he has accepted the Torah on Har Sinai.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Friday, July 27th, 2012

A powerful lesson on how to end our days of mourning…

Dear Rachel,

Not long ago you ran a letter from a mother-in-law who, in her words, counts herself lucky (see Chronicles, 6-15). Her letter was a beautiful testimony to her children by way of a positive affirmation of the mother/daughter-in-law relationship, and I trust you don’t mind publishing another article with a positive slant. Though my mother-in-law does figure into my story, the emphasis is on hope and miracles, and faith in Hashem.

For years now we have had an extremely difficult time with parnassah. Ever since the real estate market took a nasty tumble and our world turned upside down, it’s been a struggle just to keep our family fed. Most of our close friends and neighbors have come to realize that we are not well off, but they have no idea to what degree. Yet our emunah remains strong and intact, and day-by-day we have somehow managed to survive.

The yeshivas our children attend have for the most part been understanding of our plight, but come summertime it is difficult to explain to our children why their friends are away at camp (or in day camp) while they must entertain themselves at home. Baruch Hashem this summer our eldest two have summer jobs, and, miracle of miracles, our 12-year old son was offered a scholarship in a recognized sleep-away camp. This still leaves us with a few youngsters at home, but who’s complaining…

The great news became sobering when we saw the list of items our son needed to take to camp. No way would we be able to pull this off — and no way would we deprive him of such a wonderful opportunity. It was time to sell the only item of value that I had held onto: my modest engagement ring.

Our extended family chipped in to help us out, and together with the money we received for the ring it looked like we would make it. My mother-in-law, who lives in a different town, had bought some items of clothing on sale and had a neighbor of hers visiting our neck of the woods deliver them.

When the amiable Mr. Neighbor showed up at our door with my mother-in-law’s package, he informed us that he too had contributed something that we would find in the bag. (Apparently he knew something of our situation.) After he left we checked the contents of the package and were surprised to find a heavy coffee can filled to the brim with coins and bills.

Within a day or so of this incident, our gas was shut off due to an unpaid bill. No amount of pleading moved the company personnel to have rachmonus on us; they wouldn’t even accept a partial payment. We were told that in order to restore the service we would need to pay up in full — a sum of $877.81.

Since whatever we had left from the sale of the ring would hardly cover even half that amount, we decided to raid the piggy bank we hadn’t touched in years. (Long ago we had begun to accumulate spare change in an empty water bottle.) My husband and I, coffee can and water bottle in hand, took off for the local bank that has an automated coin changer.

When we added the money we had left to the tally of the two containers, the total came to $877 and change — the exact amount we needed to have our gas turned back on!

Needless to say, only Hashem could orchestrate such a “coincidence” — to show us that He is in charge and helps those who rely on Him to help them out. We all know that without the doings of chessed the world would literally not have a leg to stand on, and we are truly appreciative of those who partner with Him in carrying out gemilus chassadimin every form.

Thank you, Hashem!

Dear Thank,

What a heart-warming letter and affirmation of the Jewish heart that cannot bear to see another suffer. Would more people be made aware of your dire circumstances, no doubt more would be showing up at your door bearing their filled “coffee cans.”

Parshas Mattos-Mass’ei

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Vol. LX No. 29 5772
New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
July 20, 2012 – 1 Av 5772
8:02 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 9:14 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Mattos-Mass’ei
Weekly Haftara: Shim’u Devar Hashem (Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2)
Daf Yomi: Nidah 60
Mishna Yomit: Kesuvos 2:7-8
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 86:1 – 87:2
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Ma’aser Sheni v’Neta Reva’i chap. 11; Hilchos Bikurim chap. 2
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 4:36 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:22 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: 2

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/weekly-luach/parshas-mattos-massei/2012/07/18/

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