Friday, Adar 26, 5777 / March 24, 2017
This Shabbat we again read from two Torahs. From the first Torah we read the final two Parshiot in the Book of Exodus (Shmot), Vayakhel and Pekudei. From the second Torah we read Parshat HaChodesh – about the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh, which G-d gave us two weeks before the Exodus.
Parshat HaChodesh is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Being that Rosh Chodesh is Monday night and Tuesday (one day) we read the Parsha this Shabbat.
The matzah we eat at the Seder celebrates the miracle of The Exodus when we left Egypt in great haste and as a result the dough of our forefathers didn’t have enough time to rise and was baked flat. Our sages explain that there is also a deeper meaning to eating matzah on Pesach. It is not only a remembrance of what took place many years ago, it’s also a lesson which is valid to this day.
Our sages tell us that matzah, which is flat, represents humility. Bread (Chametz), which is prohibited on Pesach, is made from dough that rises and represents haughtiness. The lesson of the matzah on Pesach is, that, although we have been chosen by G-d as His people and attained our freedom from slavery, we must always remember to be humble, just like the matzah..
A Talmudic sage was once walking with Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet). On the way, they passed by a dead horse. The smell was unbearable so the sage held his nose with his fingers. However, the smell didn't bother Eliyahu Hanavi.
Then they walked by a wealthy man dressed very elegantly. He was wearing a wonderful perfume. The rich man held his head high and walked as if the whole world belonged to him. As the man passed, Eliyahu Hanavi held his nose.
“When we passed the dead horse you didn't hold your nose. Yet, when this man walked by us you held your nose! Tell me, why?" asked the sage.
Eliyahu Hanavi answered him, "The spiritual smell of this haughty person (“ba’al Ga’avah”) is much worse than the physical smell of the dead horse."
When the Jewish people were enslaved they naturally felt very humble. Now, that they were attaining their freedom, G-d told them to eat matzah, as a reminder to always be humble.
Montrealcandle lighting time: 6:54 / Shabbat ends: 7:58
Dedicated in memory of David Berkovitz – David ben Levi Naftali -yartzeit is today.
May his Neshama-soul rest in peace in Gan Eden. May his memory be a blessing.
From: his grandson, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.
Thursday, Adar 25, 5777 / March 23, 2017
This Shabbat we read the last two Parshiot of the book of Shmot (Exodus) – Vayakhel& Pekudei.
In Parshat Vayakhel, we read that the people donated so generously for the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that Moshe had to announce not to bring any more contributions. In Parshat Pekudei, we read how Moshe gives an exact accountingof all the gold, silver and copper donated and how they were used.
Our sages say that Moshe did this to eliminate any doubt among the people that he personally may have gained from the contributions. Moshe was a selfless leader of his people with no personal gain.
One must be very careful with people’s perception. According to Halacha (Jewish law) when one goes around collecting for charity and at the same time receives payment for a personal loan, they should not put that money in their pocket. Someone may suspect that they are taking charity money for personal use. Instead, their money should also be put in the charity basket or box. Only when they return home, can they take out whatever is theirs.
In Europe, Magidim (preachers) would travel from place to place to deliver Torah sermons. Then there was a collection made for them.
Once, a Magid came to the city of Premishlan, where Rabbi Meir was rabbi. The Magid delivered a brilliant sermon on Shabbat. After Shabbat, he was presented with the amount of money that was collected for him. However, he wasn't pleased with the amount.
Before leaving town, he visited Rabbi Meir's home to say good-bye. He noticed that people came to Rabbi Meir to ask his advice and receive his blessings. In return, they left generous contributions so that Rabbi Meir could help the poor and needy .
"I don't understand," remarked the Magid to Rabbi Meir, "Why do people give you so generously; while for my sermon, they gave very little?"
"It's simple," replied Rabbi Meir with a smile. "When a person learns from a Rabbi or Magid, he becomes the role model. The person strives to be like the Rabbi or Magid. The townspeople know that I have little desire for money. I give it away to the poor. So, they too, are willing to give.”
"But you give sermons so youcan earn money for yourself. When the townspeople see that, they imitate you and are reluctant to part with it because they too want the money for themselves!"
HAVE A VERY GOOD, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL DAY
On the 10th Yartzeit anniversary, of Margaret Zoldan, we remember her for her love to her family, and for her kindness to all who knew her.
May the Neshamah have an aliyah in Gan Eden.
Andre, Esther, Zachary, Benjamin, Jonah.