parashas Ki Tisa 5780

B”H Shiur for parashas Ki Tisa 578017 Adar 5780 (March 13, 2020) H’Shem plagued the people, because they made the calf. ” – Exodus 32:5, JPS 1917 Tanach Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights; during this time, H’Shem spoke with Moses – according to some commentators, Moses received the instruction […]

parashas Ki Tisa 5780 — The Olive Branch

weekly reading: Tetzaveh The Light of Insight

B”H Shiur for parashas Tetzaveh 5780 “Bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually.” – Exodus 27:20 The light in our lives, that kindles our understanding is a gift from H’Shem, without any shadow; yet, the intuition we receive from Him is often clouded by our […]

weekly reading: Tetzaveh — The Olive Branch

weekly portion: Terumah 5780

B”H Shiur for parashas Terumah 5780 “”Let them make me a sanctuary [mikdash] that I may dwell among them.” – Exodus 25:8 The purpose of the building of the Mishkan (portable tabernacle in the desert) was to provide a sanctuary (mikdash) for the L-RD to dwell amongst the B’nei Yisrael. H’Shem’s presence rested between the […]

weekly portion: Terumah 5780 — Etz Chayim

weekly portion: Terumah 5780

B”H Shiur for parashas Terumah 5780 “”Let them make me a sanctuary [mikdash] that I may dwell among them.” – Exodus 25:8 The purpose of the building of the Mishkan (portable tabernacle in the desert) was to provide a sanctuary (mikdash) for the L-RD to dwell amongst the B’nei Yisrael. H’Shem’s presence rested between the […]

weekly portion: Terumah 5780 — Etz Chayim

parashas Mishpatim: The Doorway

B”H parashas Mishpatim It is notable that the parashas begins with the ordinance (mishpat) that a Jewish bondsman may serve his master for six years; however, in the seventh year he goes free. The Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt for 216 years. We received the Torah less than two months after leaving Egypt. […]

The Doorway — Etz Chayim

parashas Yisro: Belief

B”H Shiur for parashas Yisro 5780 Measure for measure, H’Shem enacted judgment upon Egypt. Turning the Nile River into blood, reminded Pharaoh of his guilt, concerning his decree against male infants, that they be drowned in the Nile. And, the perishing of Pharaoh and his army at the Sea of Reeds was an expression of […]

Yisro’s Belief — Etz Chayim

parashas Beshalach: G-d’s Protection

B”H

Shiur for parashas Beshalach 5780

“The pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people.”

– Exodus 13:22, JPS 1917 Tanach

Upon departing from their former lives as slaves in Egypt, B’nei Yisrael was provided with H’Shem’s presence in the form of “the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.” Upon reaching the edge of the Sea of Reeds, “the angel of G-d, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them” (Exodus 14:19, JPS 1917 Tanach).

The Angel of G-d appears to be synonymous with the pillar of fire. One way to view this is as the Angel of G-d actually standing between the Israelite camp and the camp of the Egyptian army. The pillar of cloud obscured the Israelite camp from the reach of the Egyptians. And, the Angel of G-d provided spiritual protection. Also, the Angel of G-d continued to accompany B’nei Yisrael on their journey through the desert:

“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them, and carried them all the days of old.”

– Isaiah 63:9, JPS 1917 Tanach

parashas Bo 5780

B”H

“And the L-RD said unto Moses: Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these My signs in the midst of them.'”

– Exodus 10:1, JPS 1917 Tanach

According to the Zohar, when Moses entered Pharaohs inner chamber, considered to be the abode of evil, HShems Presence was with him. This is drawn from the translation of the word, bo, as meaning “come” to Pharaoh, instead of “go” to Pharaoh. Because H’Shem said to Moses, in a manner of speaking, come with me, into the abode of the serpent, and My Presence will be with you when you confront Pharaoh. To some degree, what is written in the Zohar seems to imply that this inner chamber was actually a spiritual abode of darkness, as if Moses was brought face to face with the power of the serpent that sustained Pharaoh and all of Egypt. The only reason that this would be necessary is to break that power through G-d’s might.

Moshe may have also felt some trepidation about confronting Pharaoh within the court this time. Having grown up in the previous Pharaoh’s court, he knew full well the level of darkness in the form of idolatry, present within Pharaoh’s inner chambers. The servants of Pharaoh were well skilled in the ways of darkness associated with these deities. Their so-called powers were not from G-d; rather, their strength was dependent upon the sitra achrah, literally, “the other side.” This why the Zohar refers to Pharaoh’s inner chamber as the abode of evil; for in the absence of G-d, there is only evil.

Yet, H’Shem reassured Moshe, that He would be present with Him, even in this darkest of abodes. At this point, Moses, accompanied by Aaron, delivered the warning for the eighth plague – the plague of locusts. The description of the plague was severe enough that “Pharaoh’s servants said unto him: ‘How long shall this man be a snare to us? let the men go, that they may serve the L-RD their G-d, knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” (Exodus 10:7, JPS 1917 Tanach). It is the nature of evil, that when it lifts up it’s ugly head, it does so in insolent pride against G-d – for Pharaoh did not relent.

parashas Va’eira 5780 – Despondency

Shiur for parashas Va’eira 5780

“And Moses spoke so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for impatience of spirit, and for cruel bondage.”

– Exodus 6:9, JPS 1917 Tanach

Moshe and Aaron approached Pharaoh, concerning the people’s welfare; however, Pharaoh only increased their workload. When Moshe appealed to H’Shem, saying, “why is it that Thou hast sent me?” (Exodus 5:22, JPS), he was disillusioned, because the Chlldren of Israel were now suffering even more, and the redemption seemed further away. Yet, H’Shem responded that Moshe would see the redemption, which would be “with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments” (Exodus 6:6, JPS). Even so, when he took this message back to the people, they were not able to hear the impending redemption as a reality, because they were despondent.

Literally, the Torah records that the people’s spirit was broken, as if they were without hope. This is exactly when H’Shem chose to act on their behalf, for the sake of their freedom; and, He commanded Moshe to return to Pharaoah, “that he let the children of Israel go out of his land” (Exodus 6:11, JPS). Thus begins the intervention of G-d, on behalf of His people, to bring them out of bondage, in order to serve Him, according to His commandments that were given at Sinai.

“The L-RD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as are of a contrite spirit.”

– Psalm 34:19, JPS 1917 Tanach

parashas Shemot 5780 – Out of Egypt

B”H

Shiur for parashas Shemot 5780

“No man repenteth him of his wickedness, saying: ‘What have I done?’ Every one turneth away in his course, as a horse that rusheth headlong in the battle.”

– Jeremiah 8:6, JPS 1917 Tanach

The Ramchal notes in his book, entitled, Mesillas Yesharim – the Path of the Just – that most people, who do not reflect upon the nature of their ways, in thought, speech and deed, are comparable to “a horse that rusheth headlong in the battle” (Jeremiah 8:6), an analogy for those who do not repent of their aveiros (transgressions).

The unrepentant continue in their recalcitrant ways, bringing them closer to the edge of danger, as their misdeeds increase until they are brought face to face with the enemy (the yetzer harah). In contrast, those who do teshuvah (repentance), in stride with the discernment, granted to them by H’Shem, will prevent the occurrence of aveirah upon aveirah (sin upon sin), thus taking the reins of a runaway horse, so to speak, before their animal soul leads them totally astray.

The task of man, b’tzelim Elokim, created in G-d’s image, is to follow a path of righteousness, countering the animal soul, otherwise known as the yetzer hara or evil inclination, that makes an attempt to derail his efforts to serve H’Shem.

Ramchal advocates heshbon hanefesh – an accounting of the soul – to be made every day, in order to bring the conscious individual closer to his true self, by repenting of his sins, and seeking atonement on a daily basis, with a heartfelt attempt to search his soul. Ideally, the search would include minor and major transgressions, as well as what King David referred to as the sins of the heels, the aveiros (transgressions) that most people trample upon, so to speak, that is they disregard these aveiros, as if they are to little to be of consequence. Yet, Dovid HaMelech himself was concerned that these type of sins might keep him out of Gan Eden.

When B’nei Yisrael walked three days into the wilderness after leaving Mitzraim (Egypt),they were faced with the prospect of an immediate encounter with Pharaoh’s army, whose charioteers had caught up to the Children of Israel, encamped at the Sea of Reeds. There was no leeway for hesitation, when a path was provided through the waters of the sea for B’nei Yisrael. They were granted passage along a path upon the seabed, swept dry by an East wind. Likewise, there should be no hesitation in our efforts when we are shown a way to escape from aveiros (sins). The yetzer harah (evil inclination) may pursue us; however, H’Shem will show us the way to freedom.

Where did the path to freedom begin for B’nei Yisrael? A glimmer of light shone upon the darkest days of captivity when “when they heard that the L-RD had remembered the children of Israel, and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped” (Exodus 4:31, JPS 1917 Tanach). Despite their harsh circumstances, they found hope in the message of the redeemer, who conferred to them that G-d had surely remembered, otherwise translated as “visited” them – yifkod pekodti – the same words that had been passed along the generations, since the time when Joseph told his brothers that G-d would surely visit them and bring them out of Egypt into the Promised Land (see Genesis 50:25).

In like manner, G-d will answer our heartfelt prayers for help with the challenges we face in life in due time. Along the way, He will bring us into covenant relationship to Him, wherein we may start anew on the derech (path) of righteousness. Like B’nei Yisrael, who had sunk to the forty-ninth level of impurity, before redemption, we can be freed from the muck and mire of our life, by taking the first step, like Nachson who walked into the Sea of Reeds, even before the sea actually parted.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started