B"H Tuesday, 7 Elul 5774 | September 02 2014
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 Parshas Matos-Masei 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
The Torah is called Torat Chaim; the Teaching of Life. Every word, idea, story and commandment contains precious gems of wisdom teaching us why we were created and how we can serve our Creator and fulfill our purpose in life.

But it wasn't till the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov called Chassidut that these hidden gems were made available to every Jew; even the simplest.

For instance, this week's double portion; the first part, Matot (staffs), begins with the laws of oaths and the second, Massei (journeys) begins with the forty two journeys the Jews made in the desert.

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 Parshat Balak 

This week's reading stars two of the most negative people in history: Balak the evil King of Moav and Bilam the master sorcerer who knew how to curse at the exact moment that G-d was angry.

Both were arch anti-Semites (Bilam was worse) who concentrated all their forces here on destroying the Jews.

But ironically the outcome of this evil plot was the most positive and optimistic predictions in the entire Torah - Moshiach!

"I see him but not now etc…(24:17-20)

Moshiach will be a Jew, a descendent of King David, who will educate all mankind, build the Holy Temple, gather the Jews back to Israel, subdue all forces of disease and destruction and bring world peace, and prosperity. (Mimonides, Laws of Kings 11:1)

But what does this have to do with these two evil men Balak and Bilam?

    
 
 Parshat Chukat & 12th Tammuz 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton

This week's Torah portion begins with the complicated and completely illogical laws of the Red Cow.

The Torah and The commandments have been copied by many religions, but no religion has anything like the Red Cow.

And the reason is simple. It makes no sense! The Torah invented the entire thing; how dead bodies defile Jewish people and how the Red Cow purifies them ... all for no apparent reason.

Also this coming week Chabad Chassidim will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the miraculous release of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak from sure death in communist prison, which eventually led to his moving to America and founding today's 'outreach' movement.

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 Parshat Behaalotecha 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton

This week features a statement traditionally said in Synagogues all over
the world each time the Torah scroll is taken from the ark to be read
publicly.

"And it was when the ark (containing the Tablets) traveled (in the
desert) that Moses said, 'Rise up, G-d, and scatter Your enemies, and
those who hate You will flee before You'." (10:35)

This statement was first made by Moses each time the Jews began one of
their 42 journeys in the desert; Rashi explains that the ark would float
ahead of them three days journey, hence Mose's call to 'Rise up'.

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 Parshas Naso 
This week's Torah portion contains eleven negative and seven positive
commandments, one of which is the 'Blessings of the Cohanim'.

The Cohanim are the priestly tribe; basically, all Jews who are direct
descendents of Aaron (Moses' brother). And the blessing they give is: "May
G-d bless and protect you. May G-d shine His face to you and grace you. May
G-d raise His favor and give you peace." (11:24-26)

But, at first glance, this is not so understood. Aren't blessings in the
hands of G-d? How can people bless?

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 Emor 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
The highlights of this week are Parshat Emor, Pesech Sheni, Sfirat HaOmer and Lag B’Omer.

Here is a story that connects them:

The Yom Kippur war (1973) left Israel with thousands of casualties, and one of them was Mr. Sadon.

He had been lying for weeks in critical condition in Tzrifim Hospital and the doctors weren't optimistic. But his wife, sitting by his bedside, knew better. Somehow she was sure that against all odds everything would be all right.....she was writing a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

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 Shemini 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
This week’s section tells of the death of Nadav and Avihu, punished by G-d for entering the Holy of Holies on the opening day of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).

The Torah does not praise death, or even the rewards of the afterlife.

Exactly the opposite, death is associated with ‘Tuma’ (impurity), and ‘Chait’ (the sins of Adam and the Golden Calf brought death into the world).

In fact death is so abhorrent to Judaism that in order to save a life one may cancel almost all of the Torah’s commandments!

Therefore it is strange that in this week’s section (10:3) Moshe praises these two sons of Aaron whose actions brought about their own deaths.

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 Passover 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton

This week millions of Jews throughout the world will be sitting with family and guests around brightly lit, festive tables eating Matzo and bitter herbs, drinking four cups of wine and reminding each other about the miracles G-d did for the Jews.

They will be celebrating the holiday of Passover for the 3,318th time in history.

That's right; millions of Jews every year since the exodus have never missed a year of Pesach Seder.

And probably the most basic commandment of the Seder is the talking about leaving Egypt. Besides carrying the spirit of the night it is the foundation of all Judaism (first of the Ten Commandments) and is mandatory not only on Pesach but on every day of the year. The Rabbis even wrote a book called the Haggada containing all the necessary praises and ideas of the night to facilitate this vital commandment.

But strangely the main character of the Exodus, Moses, is mentioned only once in this entire book. (in the paragraph beginning "Rabbi Yossi HaGalili Omer")!

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 Vayikra 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton

If you look in a Torah scroll you will see that the first word in this week's section ends with a small letter "VAYIKRa" (G-d CALLED).

That's the way it's supposed to be written.

This does not seem to make sense. This small letter changes neither the meaning nor the pronunciation of the word. Why is it small?

Even more, why does the Torah use 'G-d CALLED' here and deviate from the usual term; "G-d SPOKE (VaY'DABER)"?

Also, this week begins the month of Nissan; the month of miracles and we begin and we begin to learn the detailed laws of animal sacrifices.…. Is there any connection?

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 Vayakhel-Pekudei 
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
This week's double section has a stong connection to bringing Moshiach.

First of all, it deals totally with the building of the Tabernacle, preparing us for the third Temple that Moshiach will build (Mimonedies Laws of Kings 11:1).

Also, this Shabbat we finish the book of Exodus and begin the book of Leviticus; i.e. leaving the desert and beginning to offer sacrifices; Again hinting at the Temple service that Moshiach will renew (ibid).

And finally, on this Shabbat we 'bless' the coming month of Nissan - the month when we were redeemed from Egypt and WILL be redeemed from the present exile (Talmud R"H 11a).

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 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton: Ki Sisa 
This weeks portion begins with a strange commandment; G-d told Moshe that each Jew was to give a half-shekel coin to ‘atone for his soul’. At first glance this doesn’t make much sense.

How can giving a coin bring atonement?

One of the Talmudic commentaries (‘Tosefot’, Chulin 42a) explains that Moshe had this same question and G-d answered him by producing a ‘coin of fire from under His Throne’.

To understand all this here is a story.

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 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on Parshas Terumah 

This week’s section tell us about Mission Impossible; constructing a building for G-d to live in.

The very idea is the ultimate paradox; how can G-d, who creates all existence (both spiritual and physical … constantly), ‘fit’ into a house?

He is infinite and His power is unlimited. Certainly much greater than, for example, a puny creation such as the sun. What walls could contain such energy?! It sounds like insanity to speak in such terms.

Or blasphemy; if G-d can be limited to a room perhaps He isn’t as great and infinite as we think He is?!

The simple solution would be to answer that the Mishkan was made from unusual or supernatural materials … but it wasn’t. It was made from ordinary gold, silver, copper etc. brought by ordinary Jewish men women and
even children.

So how did it contain G-d?

The answer may be found in the following parable.

    
 
 Mishpatim 
This week's section begins with G-d telling Moses 'These are the laws (Mishpatim) you should put before them (Lifnayhem)'. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that 'Mishpatim' are the type of Torah laws that make practical sense (like the damage cases mentioned in our section). They aren't like the Torah ...
    
 
 Yitro 
This week we read about the giving of the Torah. Besides being the basis of the Jewish faith it is an event unequaled in history. In fact no one ever so much as dared to invent such a story … not even religions that claim to ‘replace’ Judaism.. G-d, the creator of all ...
    
 
 Vayeshev 
This week's Torah section is read each year in connection with Chanukah.
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 Vayishlach 
In this weeks portion we read about the confrontation between of Jacob and his brother Esau.
    

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