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Hanna's Dvar Torah

The three victims of gossip - Noach

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This week’s Torah portion Noach begins with the words: “This is the genealogy of Noe”. One would expect the rest of the sentence to list the names of Noe’s children. Instead, the Torah stops to describe Noe himself and tell us that he was a righteous person, and only then does it list the names of his children. Why this interruption and change from the original subject?

To answer this question, we first need to understand something else.

The Talmud declares that Lashon Hara (literally evil tongue, or gossip) metaphorically “kills” three people: the one speaking, the one listening and the one who is being discussed. We can understand why the speaker and his audience are punished, since Lashon Hara is such a terrible sin, but why should the poor victim who they spoke about suffer?

When we speak, we bring to light thoughts that were otherwise hidden. Generally, speech has the great power of revealing hidden things. When someone says bad things about someone else, he uncovers and strengthens these bad elements in him. Thus, the Lashon Hara has an effect on the victim who was being spoken about.

The same applies to positive words as well. When we speak about the good elements of someone, we help to reveal and strengthen them even more.

This is the reason the Torah stops to say something good about Noe, to strengthen his positive traits. Noe, who was the only righteous person in the world, needed a lot of strength in order not to get carried away like the rest of the people.

Let us follow this approach in our personal lives and our personal relationships. Let us discuss the good characteristics and the good actions of the others, and not the opposite. In this way, the world will be filled with better people and will be a kinder and safer place.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

"Let there be light" - Bereshit

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Happy Birthday!

We have many new beginnings today. This week, we start the reading of the Torah from the beginning, after having completed it on Simchat Torah. It is also the beginning of the 6th (!) year of my Parsha column. Finally, the portion of this week Bereshit starts with the Creation of the world, the beginning of everything.

The first thing that G-d created on the first day of the Creation was light. This is surprising. The light is not an independent creature. It is useful only when there is someone like a person, animal or plant that can benefit from it. Why then did G-d start the Creation with it? The light could have waited and be created along with the plants, on the third day.

This resembles an architect who builds a house. Before he begins, he prepares a plan and defines the goal, the destination. In the same way, G-d, at the beginning of the Creation, defined its goal and destination, the light, in the spiritual sense. When we illuminate an object, we reveal it. Metaphorically, when we illuminate something or someone, we reveal his capacities and his potential, the purpose of his existence.

Many people are satisfied with considering themselves good people, only because they live peacefully and do not hurt anyone. If G-d simply wanted us not to hurt anyone, He did not need to create us… If we were not born at all, we surely would not have disturbed anyone.

G-d expects from us the positive action of bringing light, of uncovering the good and the G-dliness in everything and everyone. It is not enough not to hurt, we need to help. It is not enough not to destroy, we need to build.

Like G-d at the beginning of Creation, let us dedicate a moment at the beginning of our creative day to remember the purpose and destination of our creation: to bring light. Let this thought lead and direct the rest of our day. Thus, our days will be brighter, and our world will be better, until Mashiach comes thanks to us and our actions.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

What do we celebrate on Simchat Torah?

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On Pesach, we left from Egypt. On Shavuot, G-d gave us the Ten commandments. But no particular event took place on Simchat Torah. So what do we celebrate?

The Midrash gives us a parable. There was a king who organized a 7-day feast for his children, who lived scattered across the country. When the week came to an end and the time came for them to leave, the king said: “Your separation is difficult. Please stay with me one more day.” The king of the story is G-d, Who after the seven days of Sukkot requests from His people one more festive day, Simchat Torah.

But… how does one extra day help? If the children stay for another day, will the separation on the next day be easier? Also, why does the king speak about “your” separation. He should have said “our” separation.

In Hebrew, the word “separation” (preda) is the same as the word “division”. As we explained last week, Sukkot symbolizes the unity of the Jewish people.

Yet the seven days of Sukkot passed, and G-d sees that the unity is still not perfect. Yes, we are all together, but not truly united. There is a risk that after the end of Sukkot, we will return to the previous situation... This is why G-d speaks about your separation (preda), meaning your division (among the Jewish people). G-d wants us to perfect our unity so it can last for the entire upcoming year.

On Simchat Torah, we all dance together with the Torah. The Torah is closed and covered, and there is no apparent difference between us. One may know more, one even more, but all dance equally together with the Torah. All reveal the deep connection we have in our soul with the Torah and our Creator. Now, all the children can go back to their homes, without this separation causing division.

Let us unite around the Torah. The current situation will maybe not allow us to celebrate in the synagogue with the Sefer Torah, but each one of us has a Jewish book or leaflet in our homes. Let us take it in our hands and dance with it and our family. We will unite spiritually with the thousands of Jews around the world who will do the same.

May this deep unity stay with us for the whole upcoming year and in its merit, may Mashiach come speedily!

Shabbat Shalom & Chag Sameach!

Hanna

Who is the best Jew? - Sukkot

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There is a special Mitzvah on Sukkot: hold together and shake the 4 Species: The Etrog (citrus fruit), the Lulav (palm frond), the Hadasim (myrtle branches) and the Aravot (willow branches). Each one of those has different characteristics: one has a good smell (myrtle), the other has a good taste (date, the fruit of the palm), the third has both taste and smell (citrus) while the last one has neither smell nor taste (willow). Yet, to fulfill the Mitsvah, we need all four species, none can be missing.

Our Sages explain that the 4 Species symbolize the Jewish people. There are those who learn Torah, and nurture themselves with its wisdom, thus, they have a “good taste”. There are those who do good deeds, thus they have a “good smell” and everyone wants to be near them. Some have both qualities, and some have none: not the study nor the good deeds. We could think that the last ones are not good and significant Jews, and that we can ignore them. But this Mitzvah teaches us that even those are part of the Jewish people and that each one is needed.  

This is one of the unique characteristics of the Jewish people which I appreciate a lot.

Whether you are a Jewish journalist, taxi driver, employee, minister, merchant, or tailor, you are not worth any less that the most important rabbi. Everyone needs to study the Torah, observe the Mitzvot and pray to G-d. Everyone needs to get married, have children, and have a positive influence on the world. Of course, G-d’s expectations depends on the different qualities of each person and his or her lifestyle. If you have more intelligence, free time, patience, or other talents, you need to do even more than others. G-d wants us to utilize all the talents He has given us for a good purpose. But generally, the basic requirements are the same for everyone.

This gives a different perspective to many subjects, such as the prayer or the synagogue. Every one is able to pray to G-d from wherever he or she is located. The communal prayer has even more power than the individual prayer, this is why certain prayers can only be said in the presence of a Minyan (10 Jewish men), for instance, reading from the Sefer Torah or reciting the Kaddish. These gatherings for prayers usually happen in the synagogue but it is not required. I have assisted to prayers in someone’s living-room, in a stadium, in a parking lot and even in the kitchen of a plane (with the permission of the staff). Especially now with the COVID-19, we see even more prayers happening in various outdoors locations. The person leading the prayer, the Chazan, may be a Rabbi, but it is not required. Any Jew that knows the prayer can lead it. In other words, going to the synagogue is not like assisting to a show where you come to hear a cantor pray without doing anything yourself. G-d is waiting to hear everyone’s prayer, according to their knowledge, in Hebrew or in translation, in the words of our Sages or in their own words.

The center of our religion is not the synagogue nor the rabbi, but each Jewish person and his or her home. The rabbi teaches us, guides us so we can do things in the right way, he inspires and encourages us but this cannot be a substitute for our own study, our own Mitzvot and our own relationship with G-d.

Even if it seems difficult this year, let us try this Sukkot to shake the 4 Species ourselves*. As we shake them, let us remember that each Jew is significant and that no one is superfluous. G-d awaits each and every one of us.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,

Hanna

* Whoever does not have his own set of the 4 Species can contact Chabad of Greece. As we explained above, the rabbi is here to help and will come to visit you so you can perform this Mitzvah.

The Haggada inside the Sukka?!!!

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Imagine your family inside the Sukka reading the Haggadah… The father makes Kiddush and before drinking the first cup of wine, he looks at the green roof, the s'chach… does it sound strange? How did Pesach and Sukkot get mixed up? The truth is that both holidays celebrate the same event. On Pesach we commemorate our Exodus from Egypt and on Sukkot we commemorate the Clouds of Glory that protected us during our errands in the desert, under the burning sun, for 40 years until we entered the land of Israel.

Why then do we celebrate Sukkot half a year later? It would have been more correct to have Sukkot immediately after, or even at the same time as Pesach, when it all started.

Pesach is at the beginning of the spring and summer. Many people go out to sit outside anyway, because of the weather… If they see the Jews in shadowy huts, they may think that the reason they do it is for their comfort, not because it is a commandment of G-d. To make it cleat that Sukkot is only for the sake of the Mitzvah, we celebrate it in autumn, when it is cold and sometimes rains. Devotion to G-d.

There lies an important message. Even when things are difficult and dark, this is exactly the time to do more actions to light up the world. We are not afraid of the darkness, the cold and the winter! We will do many Mitsvot and bring Mashiach now!

Chag Sameach!

Hanna

Chana and Rosh Hashana

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Did you know that my name appears during the service of Rosh Hashana?

As in every Shabbat and Holiday, after reading the Parashah from the Five Books of Moses, we read the Haftarah, an excerpt from the Prophets that is connected to the content of the Parashah. On Rosh Hashana, we read about Hanna.

Chana was married for many years, but she did not have children. On Rosh Hashana, she went with her husband to the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and started to pray silently, begging G-d to give her children. The High Priest Eli, who saw her praying, thought she was drunk and reprimanded her. Chana answered that she was not drunk, but that she was praying with all her heart. Eli recognized it and blessed her. The child who was born the next year became the prophet Shmuel (Samuel), an important personality in Jewish history.

But things are not that simple. We need to remember that Eli was not a regular person. He was a High Priest and his blessings were powerful. How could he confuse Hanna’s wholehearted prayer with the behavior of a drunk person?

Rosh Hashana is the day where we crown again G-d as our King. It is a great and significant day. Yet, the Rosh Hashana prayers include requests for our personal needs: health, material affairs etc. How is it possible to focus on such selfish concerns on such an important and spiritual day?  

This was Eli’s reprimand to Chana. A drunk person thinks that the whole world revolves around him… He thinks that everything about him and he does not care about others. When Eli scolded Chana about her drunkenness, he meant that she was being selfish. A woman of such spiritual stature (Chana was a prophetess) should focus on spiritual matters on this important day, not on her personal needs…

Chana explained to him that she was not drunk. Her request for children was not only a personal wish, but that she wanted to raise these children as Jews who will serve G-d.  

This is the message that appears again and again in this blog. Judaism does not require us to abandon the material world and deal only with spiritual matters. We need to use all what is found in the world, but with the correct intentions and with the purpose of serving G-d.

Let us think about it this Rosh Hashana. Let us dedicate time for prayer, introspection, and a wholehearted conversation with G-d, in our own words. We will crown Him as our King and decide to please Him with our actions this coming year. We will ask Him for all that we need and want in order to be able to serve Him with ease and joy.

Shana Tova Umetuka and Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

The footsteps - Nitsavim-Vayelech

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A famous story tells about a man who turned to G-d with a question: “You promised me that you will walk along with me throughout my journey in life, but looking at the path, I see only one set of footprints… Where were You during all the difficult moments?” G-d answered him: “The footsteps you see are Mine. I was carrying you on my shoulders during the entire journey”.

In this week’s Parasha Nitsavim-Vayelech, we learn about the end of our exile (whoever does not feel we are in exile should open a newspaper in order to be reminded…). The expression the Torah uses is “G-d will return all the Jewish people”. In Hebrew, we use one word when someone himself comes back and another one when someone returns something. The word the Torah uses is the first one: in the final Redemption, G-d will also return, G-d will also be redeemed. Because in the most difficult moments, He is there, with us.

Let us remember this in the difficult moments and not despair. G-d is here, our pain is also His, and He cares for us. Let us make one step towards Him and we will all merit the Redemption. G-d is awaiting us,

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

Are you the spontaneous or the organized type? - Ki Tavo

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Which type of character are you? Spontaneous or organized?

Which help is more valuable? The spontaneous help when we see someone in trouble while walking in the street and stop to help him? Or the scheduled help when we plan to devote time especially for helping?

Which “Thank you” is more special, the spontaneous “Thank you” with the shining eyes immediately after receiving something, or the organized “Thank you” with details, a letter and a small gift?

In this week’s Parasha Ki Tavo, we read about the Bikurim. When the fruits grow and our heart fills up with joy and gratitude, we remember to Whom we owe all this goodness and we bring the first fruits to Jerusalem, to G-d. Those first fruits are called Bikurim, which comes from the Hebrew word Bechor, firstborn. This Mitzvah is performed only with fruits from the land of Israel and only when the Temple existed. But the spiritual message of the Bikurim apply to every time and every place.  

The process of conquering and dividing the Land of Israel among the Jews took 14 years. Our Sages disagree as to when the Mitzvah of Bikurim started to apply: from the moment they entered the land of Israel and started to enjoy its fruits, or only after the conquest was finished and each tribe was installed in its portion of land? When should we say “Thank you”? Spontaneously and immediately, or scheduled and organized?

Every day, we have two kind of “Thank you” for G-d. One is a spontaneous, as soon as we wake up. Before getting out of bed, before we even start to think and prepare, we say “Mode Ani”, a sentence of spontaneous thanks to G-d for giving us life for another day.

Later, after waking up completely, getting dressed and organized, comes the prayer. During the time of prayer, we meditate more about the greatness of G-d and how much He provides for us. The “Thank you” of the prayer comes from our entire being, with all our heart.

Which “Thank you” is more important? Each one has a quality that the other doesn’t have. On the one hand, the spontaneity, which comes from deep inside us, doesn’t include thoughts and feelings and it is not certain that it will later influence our actions. On the other hand, the organized “Thank you”, which is indeed less spontaneous and immediate, but has an effect on all our personality.

Ultimately, we need both kinds of “Thank you”. Which kind of “Thank you” speaks to you more? The more spontaneous ones should try to say Mode Ani every day of the coming week as they wake up. The more organized ones should say “Shema Israel” after having mediated on G-d and His kindness to us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

Do involuntary sins count? - Ki Tetse

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When someone does something positive by mistake, does it have any value? If someone does something bad involuntarily, what does it mean?

In this week’s Parasha Ki Tetse, we learn about an interesting Mitzvah. When we put an ox to thresh the grain, we are forbidden to muzzle it, in other words we must allow him to eat from the grain it is threshing. This law applies whenever we give a task involving food to an animal.

What happens when the ox walks over the field, not in order to thresh it, but to make a shortcut. Does the law prohibiting to muzzle it apply? The ox may not intend to thresh, but it is doing it, nevertheless. The conclusion is that since the ox is not intending to thresh the grain, we are allowed to prevent it from eating it.  

We can learn from this something very meaningful regarding the actions we do by mistake.

The sins we do without intending to, do not count as sins. If someone did not intend to open the light on Shabbat but he did it involuntarily by leaning on the wall, this does not count as a sin. G-d knows the truth.

On the other hand, the Mitzvot that we do always count, even it we did not do them on purpose and even if someone else forced us to do them. If someone’s money fell in the street, and a poor man found it and used it to feed himself and his family, this counts as “Tzedakah” for the man who lost the money. Even though this was not his intention at all.

Why does a positive action done without intention still count as a Mitzvah, whereas a sin done without intention is not counted as an Avera?

Because the truth is that we are never separated from G-d, our soul is always united with Him. Deep inside, we always want to act according to G-d’s will. What is strange and unnatural is when we do not act like this. Someone has to do the wrong thing on purpose in order for it to count.

Let us start every day of the upcoming week with the special words of Mode Ani*, reminding ourselves of our true identity. Let us contemplate that our soul is always united with G-d, and that the natural thing for is to do is to act righteously.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

Does my body belong to me? - Shoftim

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The idea that “my body belongs to me” is discussed a lot these days. “Since my body is mine”, some argue, “I can do with it whatever I wish, as long as I don’t harm those around me.” It sounds logical. Naturally, there must be laws about what affects other people. But why should anyone mix in what concerns my own body?

In this week’s Parasha, we learn that the Jewish penal system includes death penalty for some very serious sins. Death penalty can only be given if there were two witnesses who saw the sin with their own eyes. The Maimonides explain that the death penalty cannot be applied based only on the admission of the sinner. If someone admits to committing a murder but there were no witnesses, he is not sentenced to death. Yet, in matters relating to money and other property, if someone admits something, that is accepted and considered as the best proof for his culpability. In the words of the Talmud: “The admission by a litigant is worth a hundred witnesses”.

Why this difference between the laws relating to someone’s body and someone’s possessions?

From the Torah’s perspective, our body does not belong to us and is exclusively G-d’s property. Our money, our house and the rest of our possessions were given to us by G-d. We must utilize them according to G-d‘s will, but they are considered ours. On the contrary, our body does not belong to us. It is a loan from G-d and even though we have it in our control, it remains a divine property with a higher spiritual quality.  

Since our body does not belong to us, we are forbidden to harm it, not with actions, not even with an admission in court. We have a special responsibility to handle it correctly, according to the instructions of the Owner. Feed it with kosher food, dress it with modest clothing, not to harm it intentionally, as with a tattoo and generally take care of our health.

Let us keep the sanctity of our bodies and protect it. Let us choose a Mitzvah that is related to our bodies, such as avoiding mixing meat and dairy, which we will keep more carefully this week. When Mashiach will come very soon, we will be able to see with our eyes this sanctity, and not only believe that it exists.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

 Based on an article from Tali Lowenthal  

Why does evil exist? - Ree

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The air hostess in the El Al plane asks the passenger if he wants to have lunch. “What are my choices?” the passenger asks. “Yes, or no” the air hostess answers...

In this week’s Parasha Ree, G-d presents to the Jewish people one of the basic values of Judaism, the freedom of choice. We always have the choice of action, the choice between good and bad.

But why does evil exist in our lives, which stops us so many times from doing the right thing? Why did G-d create evil at all, why create something that will fight the good?

The answer lies in the basic value we mentioned, the freedom of choice. This possibility distinguishes us from the animals, who can act only according to their instincts. G-d does not want us to act like robots. He wants us to choose the right thing to do and this is why He created a second choice. Only in this way will our actions have importance and meaning.

This is why we should not get frightened when we see the evil around us. We need to remember that it is there only to give us the opportunity to make good and valuables choices. In other words, evil does not have a true existence; it is there only so we do not choose it. We will certainly overcome it!

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna 

The self-repetition of the Shema - Ekev

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Try to imagine a world without the word “because”.

We get a salary because we went to work every day. We leave the shop with our bags full because we paid. We are loved because we love, we are treated well because we treat others well.

Can we get past having a “because” for everything?

The Maimonides speaks about the person who “does the truth because it is the truth”, not only “because” of this or that… There are people who do good actions because this is the right thing to do, not as a means for something else.

We sometimes see it in our everyday lives. A parent loves and cares for his/her child “because it is my child”, not as a means to something else. But this rarely happens in other circumstances. Outside of our children, what we do is usually “because” of something.

The Shema Israel is one of the most important prayers. It accompanies us from our birth until our last breath, and we recite it twice daily, in the morning and in the evening.

The Shema is composed of 3 parts. The first two speak about G-d’s unity and various commandments: to love G-d, to study His Torah and teach it to our children, to wear Tefillin and fix Mezuzot on our doors. The third part speaks about the Mitzvah of Tzitzit and the remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt.

When looking closely at the Shema, we will notice that the first and second parts are almost identical. There is a basic difference: in the first part, the commandments are simply stated, while in the second part, they are accompanied by the promise of the reward we will receive if we follow them, and the punishment we will get if we don’t. Besides for this difference, these are the same exact commandments, with only small syntax changes.

If G-d was expecting us not to have any selfish motivations, then He would have told us only the first part of the Shema.

If G-d wanted us to stay as we are, motivated only by what will benefit us, He would have told us only the second part of the Shema.

But G-d wanted both. He accepts us as we are in this world, but He encourages us to rise above our natural state and try to approach the description of Maimonides, that is the person “who does the truth because it is the truth”.

Let us decide this week to say the Shema Israel every day, morning (for men while wearing Tefillin), or in the evening. As we recite it, let us think of G-d, who wants us to advance and do the right thing not only when or because we benefit from it. Let us try to rise to His expectations.  

May we merit to see the coming of Mashiach even before we fulfill our good decision!

Shabbat Shalom!

Hanna

Based on an article of Rabbi Yanky Tauber

The fatal mistake - Tisha Beav

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We always look for whom to blame when we are in pain. It is a human instinct. Would you like to know what is to be blamed for all our troubles?

Many years ago, in the Land of Israel, a wealthy man made a feast and invited many of the important people in town. His servant distributed the invitations, but he made a fatal mistake. Instead of inviting Kamtsa, a friend of the wealthy man, he invited Bar Kamtsa, an enemy of his… Bar Kamtsa was surprised by the invitation but he thought that his enemy wanted to reconcile with him. When the day of the feast came, he wore his best clothes and went to the celebration.

When the wealthy man saw Bar Kamtsa in the party hall, he became very angry and started yelling at him. Bar Kamtsa understood the mistake, but he was embarrassed to leave in such a way. He pleaded with the host to allow him to stay, promising that he will pay for his meal. The host would not listen to anything. Even when Bat Kamtsa offered to pay for the whole feast just to avoid the humiliation, the wealthy man refused and threw him out of the hall.

Bar Kamtsa was hurt and enraged. There were so many important people in the hall and not even one of them tried to help him and save him from the humiliation! He decided to take a global revenge. He traveled to Rome and slandered the Jews, accusing them of fomenting a revolt against the Cesar. This is how the destruction of Jerusalem started. Finally, the Romans burnt the Holy Temple, killed many Jews and exiled the rest of them.

Essentially, all our problems started there. During the Exile (Galut), G-d’s presence is not revealed, resulting in many material and spiritual troubles. When Mashiach comes, this entire problem will be resolved, and with it all the other problems. G-d’s presence will be revealed. Peace and brotherhood will reign everywhere. Everyone will have abundance. Illnesses will disappear and the dead will resurrect.

Today, on the 9th of the month of Av, we fast and we mourn the beginning of the destruction, the hatred between ourselves. It is an appropriate day to decide to stop all this pain. How? By uprooting the cause of the Exile. Because of senseless hatred, our Temple was destroyed. In the merit of our love and brotherhood, the Temple will be rebuilt, and the Redemption will arrive.

May it be very soon!

Hanna

The hit on the shoulder - Devarim

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In Jerusalem lived a very cheerful Jew named Nachum Margaliyot. He was always happy, despite leading a difficult life and losing two daughters. When he was asked how he can always be happy, he answered with a parable: “When you walk on the street and suddenly feel a hit on your shoulder, you turn around to see who did it. If it is a stranger, you will naturally get angry. But if you realize it is someone you love, you will understand that the hit was friendly and you will not get upset, even if it was painful. It is the same with me. I indeed received very painful hits, but every time I look back, I understand they came from a loving G-d. This is how I can continue to be cheerful, nevertheless. »

When you love G-d and you know that He loves you too, you interpret everything that happens to you as something positive for you.

In this week’s Parasha, Moses, before passing away, rebukes the people of Israel. Among other things, he reminds them that they complained that G-d took them out of Egypt because He hated them, to kill them in the desert. Their outlook was so distorted that even though they saw open miracles, they interpreted it as hatred.

Everything depends on “who hits us on the shoulder”. Let us wear the correct lenses to look at the reality and interpret it positively. Let us search for the hidden good in everything that happens to us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

Always on a journey - Matot- Masei

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This week, we will read a double Parasha: Matot and Masei, completing the fourth book of the Torah, Bamidbar – Numbers.

Let's discuss to the name of the second Parasha, Masei, which means “Journeys”. The Parasha starts with listing all the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, i.e, they traveled from this place and encamped in that place, they traveled from that place and encamped in a third place etc. Most of their time was spent encamping somewhere. The journey was only a means to get from one place to another. Why then is the whole Parasha called “Journeys”?

Each one of us goes through two phases in his or her life. The first is the “journey” when we grow, i.e when we put in efforts and advance. The second is that of the “encampment”, i.e when we rest and enjoy our achievements.   

Which phase is more important?

It says in the Ethics of our Fathers (Pirke Avot): “Who is wealthy? One who is happy with what he has”. We need not to search for more. If we have a car, we should not constantly be in the search of a better one.

Then, maybe the “encampment” phase is the most important one?

Rabbi Shneor Zalman, the first Rebbe and founder of the Chabad movement, explains that in certain situations, the spiritual and material matters are exact opposites. While in material matters, it is good to be satisfied with what you have, in spiritual matters, this is a big mistake. We must always advance, put in efforts to improve ourselves and the world around us.

This is the message of the name of the Parasha, Masei: Never to be satisfied with what we have, with whatever we have accomplished spiritually. We need to always be on a “journey” towards a better self and a better world.

Let’s think of an action we can take to advance and become better. One Mitzvah, some Torah study, more Tsedaka or volunteering. May these continued efforts bring Mashiach now!

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

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