Tag Archive for Torah

Shabbat Shalom-Weekly Parsha

Shabbat Shalom Eve of Shavuot B’mindbar (“In the wilderness”) Num. 1:1-4:20

Haftarah Hos. 2:1-22(3:24)

Shavuot Exo. 19:1-26 Num. 28:26-31

Hatarah Eze/1:1-28, 3:12

Candle Lighting Times

Read Entire Story in Battalion of Deborah

Unity at Sinai

by Rabbi Noah Weinberg

When the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai, the entire nation was unified. The lesson is clear for us today.

Throughout the Torah, the Jewish people are always referred to in the plural form. This is evident in Exodus 19:2, which says the Jews “journeyed (vayi’su)… arrived (vaya’vo’u)… encamped (vaya’chanu)” — all references are in the plural.

But then this verse ends with a surprise: Vayichan sham Yisrael neged ha’har — “and the Jews encamped (singular) opposite the mountain.”

In coming to Sinai, the Jewish people are referred to in the singular form. Rashi says this emphasizes how the entire nation encamped “with a single goal, and a singular desire.”

Unity was a prerequisite for Sinai. An event with such earthshaking consequences could only be possible with unity.

UNDER ATTACK

How were the Jews able to achieve such unity at Sinai?

In Exodus chapters 15-17, the Jews are having a hard time. There’s no water — and they complain. Then there’s no meat — and they complain. They’re so upset that Moses is afraid they’ll kill him! Then again no water. The Jews are fighting and bickering terribly.

Then Amalek came and battled Israel. An outside threat shook us. What happened next? The Jews encamped in unity at Sinai.

When Jews are threatened as a people, we get the message loud and clear. We know we are one. In the Six Day War, all Jews stood together. In the struggle for Soviet Jewry, all Jews rallied together. When we’re attacked, we become one.

The Commandment of Counting

by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Counting the Omer teaches us mindfulness, and opens our hearts to the power of stories.

The commandment to count the omer is one of the more curious prescriptions of the Torah. We are told to count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot even though, of course, the number of days never changes. Therefore, it is very much an effort in which the process is in and of itself a value.

The word for “number” in Hebrew is mispar. Its root is closely related to the word for “story” ― sipur. What is the relationship between the two?

A collection of events becomes a story ― as opposed to a random anthology of events ― when there is a beginning in which the characters are introduced, a middle in which conflict takes place, and an end in which there is resolution.

Our lives flow by so quickly that we frequently lose awareness of the awesome power of our own stories. The metamorphosis of today into tomorrow is subtle enough for us to lose consciousness of beginnings and ends.

Understanding Lag B’Omer

by Yair Danielsohn What lies behind this enigmatic festival? And why the bonfires?

In Israel, months before the advent of the festival of Lag B’Omer — the 33rd day of the Omer, the 49 days that bridge between Passover and Shavuot — one can see youngsters dragging all types of combustibles, from fallen trees to broken chairs to old mattresses. Their destination? The nearest empty lot, where they pile their treasured possessions to impossible heights and wait with eager anticipation until the night of Lag B’Omer, arguably their favorite time of year, when they turn the piles into enormous conflagrations. Ask anyone what the bonfires are for, and you’ll be told they are in celebration of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a great sage who lived and taught approximately half a century after the destruction of the second Temple.

What lies behind this rather enigmatic festival of Lag B’Omer? What’s so special about the 33rd day of the Omer? And who was Rabbi Shimon, to whose name Lag B’Omer is inextricably tied, and why do we celebrate him? And why the bonfires?

Make the counting count

Instead of counting down toward the big day, with the Omer we count up

The Jewish people left Egypt on Passover, and 50 days later (on the holiday of Shavuot) received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Today, in revisiting that Sinai experience, we observe a special mitzvah called “Counting the Omer,” where we actually count aloud each of these days, beginning on the second night of Passover. (The Omer was a special offering brought to the Holy Temple during this season.)

Counting in anticipation of an exciting event is quite understandable. At one time or another, we’ve all probably said something like, “Grandma’s coming to visit in a week and a half,” or “Only 17 more days til my birthday!” But there’s one subtle difference: The usual method is to count down toward the big day, whereas in the case of the Omer, we count up ― from one to 50. Why the difference?

Massacre in Toulouse

A Call From the Heart by Mrs. Eva Sandle

My heart is broken. I am unable to speak. There are no ways for me to be able to express the great and all-consuming pain resulting from the murder of my dear husband Rabbi Jonathan and our sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, and of Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the dedicated principal of Ozar Hatorah and his wife, Rabbi Yaakov and Mrs. Monsonego.

May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering.

The spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished Because so many of you, my cherished brothers and sisters in France and around the world, are asking what you can do on my behalf, on behalf of my daughter Liora and on behalf of the souls of my dear husband and children, I feel that, difficult though it may be, it is incumbent upon me to answer your entreaties.

My husband’s life was dedicated to teaching Torah. We moved back to the country of his birth to help young people learn about the beauty of Torah. He was truly a good man, loving, giving, and selfless. He was sensitive to all of G-d’s creatures, always searching for ways to reveal the goodness in others.