Saturday, March 17, 2018

Dvar Torah

This week we are privileged to begin the third book of Torah, Vayikra (Leviticus). The portion discusses the various different offerings and sacrifices which one can bring either as atonement or as a gesture of good will. There’s are offerings that are obligatory and those which are relevant only due to an occurrence. The most important element is the intention and the thought during the process.

The portion begins with Hashem calling Moshe and telling him the process of contributing an offering and the laws and details. The word vayikro - and He called is written with a small letter Alef at the end of the word. This can be read as vayikor to mean ant it occurred. Our sages teach us that this was due to Moshe’s humility, he didn’t want to write that Hashem called him but rather that it was an occurrence that it so happened that Hashem spoke with him, and not like the was a steady occurrence.
The Beis Avrohom of Slonim adds another dimension to this phrase. Pious Jews would always draw a message from anything they saw or anything that they heard for serving Hashem. For example, Reb Moshe Leib of Sasov was once traveling and a peasant asked him to help lift a heavy item. Reb Moshe Leib apologized and said I’m sorry but I can’t. “You can, you just don’t want to” responded the peasant. Reb Moshe Leib said that his whole trip was worth it just for that one message he heard from the peasant - you can, you just don’t want. Many times we convince ourselves about different things we should do, that we simply can’t, in reality, we can we just don’t have a desire strong enough.
Says the Beis Avrohom, vayikor el Moshe- anything which occurs to a pious Jew, vayidaber Hashem eilov- Hashem is talking to him. Everything that occurs around us, everything we see and hear, is G-d speaking to us.

In addition to the portion of the week we will be reading excerpts from the portion of Bo which discusses the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh and the laws of the Pesach offering. As we all know we are dependent on the lunar calendar. The moon is renewed every month, as do we. The Jewish nation has the ability to renew and start anew, even from the most difficult situations spiritually and physically. As our sages teach us Jews are compared to the moon, they may look like they are about disappear and they renew like a full moon. Our sages teach us that the month of Nisson has the juice to feed us all year. Let us utilize it and be blessed with the power of renewal for the better in all areas of life.

Gut Shabbos
Gut Chodesh,

Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cleveland Kolel - a big success

The Cleveland Kolel - Yad Chaim Mordechai under the leadership of Hagaon Rav Yaakov V. Katz, shlit"a, son of the founder of Telz in Cleveland, Maran Harav Chaim Mordechai Katz, zt"l, is a tremendous success, attracting yungeleit from all over. 

The new beautiful building serving as the Beis Medrash is truly magnificent and a display of
Kovod Hatorah!

תתפלל בכל לשון שאתה שומע

כי ממנו ניקח

"קדושינו אבות החסידות זי"ע אמרו שלא די לו לאיש שיתאפק מתאוותיו הרעות, רק גם חוב עליו להפוך כל רצון רע לקדושה, שברצון הזה שרצה את הרע, מעתה את הטוב ואת הקדושה ירצה. וכנ"ל מצאו בקדשם לזה רמז בתורה בהא שאמר משה רבינו לפרעה כי ממנו ניקח לעבוד את ד', גם ממנו מן החלק הבהמי הרע ניקח לעבודת ד'"
(הכשרת האברכים פרק ט)

מרא דנפש שלך

"אם באמת רוצה אתה שלא תהיה חס ושלום מן הרשעים שהם ברשות לבם רק מהצדיקים שלבם ברשותם ולא תהא הפקר ונכנע לכל תאווה חס ושלום, רק אתה תהיה מול על עצמך מרא דנפש שלך (דברים רבה פרשה ב) ... אז צריך אתה להתחיל בהתרגשויות קטנות המתרחשות בך.
למשל אם הביאו לפניך באכילתך שני מיני בשר, ונפלה הבטתך על מין אחד כי תתאווה לזה המין יותר, אז אכול מין השני וחתיכה זו שאתה מתאווה לה אל תאכל, ולא תאמר ומה בכל הלא גם זו של התר, וגם אין תאוותי כל כך חזקה עד שיהיה לי חוב לעמוד נגדה, רחם עליך ועל נפשך והחל את מלחמתך בניצני תאוותך הקטנים ועשה את עצמך לאיש גיבור חיל המושל על עצמו, ולבו אף כולו בידו"
(הכשרות האברכים פרק ט)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Dvar Torah - Parshat Terumah

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Terumah. Hashem requests that the Jews build a dwelling for His Presence amongst the Jews. For the project of building this Mishkan (Temple), it was necessary to receive donations of Gold, Silver, Copper and precious stones, and several other materials, for the completion of the project. Hashem commanded that donations be accepted from all, as this was going to be the Center for "all" Jews. The Torah goes on to describe the details of all the artifacts which were placed in the Mishkan, such as the Aron (ark), the Menorah, the Shulchan (table), Mizbeiach (altar) and so on.

I'd like to share with you some interesting facts related to details of the artifacts. The Aron in which the Tablets (Luchos) were placed, which held also the Torah, had special wooden staves covered with gold, which Torah commands us, shall never be removed from the ark. see Shemos 25/15. The staves, known as the Badim, symbolize those who support Torah. This is a message that those who support Torah will merit to be with those who learn and spread Torah in the world to come, as they are inseparable. We also know what our sages teach us that the Aron carried those which carried it. We know that the Aron was extremely heavy, it consisted of three boxes, two of which were pure gold and one was wood, probably the weight of a van... Miraculously during the journey thru the desert, it was moved from place to place, because the Aron carried those that carried it. So too, those who support Torah will be carried by the Torah.

Another observation commented by Chasidic masters. The Torah refers to the border made for the shulchan (table), in Shemos 25/27 "across the border shall be the rings". Leumas Hamigeres tihyeno Hatabaos. The word misgeres (border) comes from the word sogur - locked. Chassiddic masters teach us that when one reaches a situation where he feels locked in and bordered (limited), he shall loo to the rings, referring to the ring which Pharaoh gave Yosef, after having gone though such a difficult period, and the ring which will be reading about shortly, the ring which Achashveirosh gave Mordechai. Hashem is always there for us, even in the most difficult and unimaginable times, thing could turn for the best.