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Hanna's Dvar Torah

The moment of truth - Shlach

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What can help us to hold on in difficult moments?

Many times, at the moment of truth, all the nice theories disappear…

How many parents have guilt feelings because they screamed at their children after deciding for the umpteenth time to speak quietly to them? How many youngsters suddenly see it’s 3 am, even though they promised themselves that they will go to sleep early? How many children receive punishments because they hit their classmates, even though they have heard many times about how bad violence is? How many people on a diet have found themselves eating a 3-tier chocolate cake? The examples are endless… What can we do to help our nice theories become true in real life?

In such situations, the mind and the logic are not enough. We need something tangible, some action that will serve as a reminder.

This is one of the explanations of the mitsva of Tzitzit, about which we learn in this week’s Parasha, Shlach. Tzitzit is a square garment that men and boys wear, usually under their shirt. It has four corners, and attached to each one are 8 special fringes, with 5 knots. The numerical value of the word Tzitzit in Hebrew is 600 hundred, and together with the 5 knots and the 8 fringes, make a total of 613 – like the 613 Commandments Mitsvot in the Torah.

The Tzitzit reminds us that G-d is watching and awaits to see if we will succeed in doing His will. This tangible reminder many times can save us from stumbling and giving in to our instincts.

The Tzitzit are not expensive, they do not bother the one who wears it and it are not visible to all. It is preferable to have the fringes outside the cloth, in order to see them, but even if they are hidden inside or in the pants pockets, they still do their job. Why not grab the opportunity to do, without much difficulty, another Mitzva that will bring joy to G-d?

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

The making of an important book - Behaalotecha

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Why do people go to work every day?

An interesting study found that 90% of the people would continue to work even if they won the lottery. Why? Because the human being needs to fulfill him or herself.

This week’s Parasha Behaalotcha, begins with the commandment to Aharon, The High Priest, to light the Menorah every morning. Our Sages explain that this commandment was given to him after Aharon felt distressed and disappointed. At the inauguration of the Altar in the Mishkan, (Tabernacle), all the leaders of the 12 tribes brought offerings, except for Aharon… G-d reassured him that he had a different and important role, to light the Menorah every day.

Why was Aharon distressed? He was a righteous and humble man. This feeling certainly did not stem out of jealousy…

Everyone comes to the world with an important role. We need to do what we can to fulfill it correctly. When we succeed, we feel an incredible joy and fulfillment. On the other hand, if we fail, we feel distress and internal weakness. As if something essential was taken out from us. 

G-d reassured Aharon that his role was not lost. There was something special that only he could do, the lighting of the Menorah.

500 years ago, in Cracow, Poland, Rabbi Moshe Isserles, known as the Rama, started his life’s endeavor, a book where he would collect and organize all the laws which were scattered in the entire Talmud and the rabbinical books. In the middle of the writing, he received a similar work written by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the Ottoman Empire. A book which was exactly what the Rama wanted to do himself.

The Rama describes how shaken he was: would all his efforts be in vain? What he felt was not anger but disappointment. The Rama did not try to stop the publishing of the other book. He simply felt internally weak, empty that his role, the work of this life, was taken away from him.  

Finally, the Rama found a solution. He took he book of Rabbi Yosef Karo, which included all the laws and the customs of the Sefaradim and added the customs and variations of the Ashkenazim where they differ. The final result was better. This book, the Shulchan Aruch, is now found in all Jewish libraries around the world.

Each one of us has an important role in our world. Whoever wants to fulfill it, receives G-d’s held and succeeds. But we need to do the first step.

What is your role?

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

A stupid action - Naso

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What does the word “sin” mean to you?

For some, it means shame, for others hell, for other it reminds them of something fun.

According to our Sages, a sin is first and foremost, a very silly action.

I once read a strange letter that was written by a customer to the technical service that produced the user’s manual of the camera he just purchased.

 “Dear Sir, I’m holding the manual that you wrote and that I received along with the new camera I bought. The camera has many buttons, switches and different lights. All of these are mine! How do you dare to tell me what to do with each one? I and only I will decide what to do with each button and what each light means.”

Our Sages tell us that every person who sins is like this silly customer. By ignoring G-d’s Commandments, the user’s manual for the world He created, one can do something bad, corrupted egoistic, catastrophic, hedonistic, contemptuous or cowardly but primarily he does something very silly. 

Let’s be smart. Let’s study the Torah, which includes the user’s manual for this world and for our lives. Let’s think for a bit before we do something: Is this action smart? We usually enjoy most sins, but later regret them…

Shabbat Shalom!

Hanna

I only got one like! - Bamidbar

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Anyone using Facebook probably knows this feeling.

You think about a brilliant sentence or you post a beautiful picture. You are sure that within a few minutes, you will get dozens of likes. Time goes by and … nothing. Only a couple of hours later does one person press like.

How would you feel? Disappointed? Desperate?

Something similar happened to G-d.

Before giving the Torah to the Jewish people, the Midrash recounts, G-d proposed it to the other people of the world. But no one wanted it. One people did not like the prohibition against theft, another the prohibition against murder and yet a third one could not contend with the strict laws against adultery. G-d did not get even one like! Until he arrived to the Jewish people who agreed and wanted to receive the Torah.

If we measure it in terms of modern marketing, G-d’s campaign was not very successful.

But in the real world, the Torah had huge success. As opposed to the rest of the pagan ancient civilizations, Judaism is alive and well. It survived so many threats. The books of Torah were burnt, its study was forbidden. Yet the Jews continue to study and keep it until now, and its messages are relevant to all of us.

One such message, particularly suited for our days, is to choose the right thing, not what is the most popular and will gather the most likes.  

This Sunday 9/6/19 (and Monday 10/6/19), we will celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, the day where we made the wise choice and received the Torah from G-d. Come to relive this experience, listening to the 10 Commandments at 11:00, with many surprises.

Continue this wise choice by studying Torah in your everyday life. The classes of the Jewish Learning Institute, private lessons with Rabbi Mendel or Rabbi Natan, or with Nehama on women’s mitsvot, or the autonomous surfing of chabad.gr, is a good beginning.

Did you enjoy this piece? Give me a like! Mmmm, maybe it’s not really necessary, after all.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

Hanna

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