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Hanna's Dvar Torah

Sorry, it was by mistake! - Vayikra

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Did you ever blame someone for something they said even though they claimed that did it by mistake and did not mean it?   

Did you ever get angry at someone for forgetting to do something?

In this week’s Parasha Vayikra, we learn about the different offerings that had to be brought to the Temple. One of them, the Chatat, had to be offered when someone made a sin by mistake, as part of his repentance procedure. Many ask though, why is repentance needed at all, since the sin was not done on purpose?

Many times, mistakes do not happen by chance. After all, everything comes from our subconscious.  

We will never blurt out something that never crossed our mind.

Something that is indeed very important for us will not be easily forgotten.

We are human and mistakes happen. It’s natural. We are not perfect. But we cannot ignore them. It is an opportunity to explore ourselves and to correct ourselves, not this specific mistake, but the thoughts, the feelings and the priorities that led to it.

Let’s fill our minds and our hearts with positive content and the rest will recede slowly slowly. Remember! Each of our actions and each of our words are meaningful.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

The Theory and the Practice - Vayakhel - Pekudei

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In a famous art exhibition, there was a wonderful painting, showing a field full of ripe wheat. A small bird was sitting on one of the stalks. The painting looked real. Everybody was admiring it until one farmer came and announced that there is a mistake in the painting! Everyone started laughing, thinking “what could a farmer understand in expensive art paintings?” But their laughter stopped when the farmer explained that it’s impossible for a bird to sit on a stalk, without the stalk bending. In the painting the stalk was straight like the others.

That’s how it is. Practice differs from theory.

Reading this week’s parashot Vayakel Pekudey, we have a strong feeling of “déjà vu”, that we already know what we ‘re reading. Indeed, these parashot are almost the same with the parashot Teruma and Tetsave we read 2-3 weeks ago. The small difference is that over there, we read about the dommandment and how to build the Mishkan, while here we read about the practice. Generally we know that the Torah is very accurate and parsimonious with words. Then why does the Torah need to repeat all these details? We could have economized so many words by saying in one sentence “The Jews built the Mishkan exactly how they were told”.

Usually there is a difference between theory and practice. When someone builds a house, there will sure be differences between the first plan, drawing the house of his/her dreams, and the final result. The architect will explain that the tractor can’t enter here, that you need a larger pipe there and that if you want to get the permission to build, you need to add this and that etc.

We could think that the same applies for the Tabernacle. That for sure there would be differences between the first plan that G-d told Moses on Mount Sinai, and the final result. But here we discover that the first plan was exactly the same as the final Mishkan. How could it be?

This is because here, we are talking about G-d. G-d is the Creator of reality. When He commands to do something, He doesn’t do it from high and far, He is here in the world and knows it well. He creates and sustains it. He always knows what he does.

Sometimes we think that indeed, the words of Torah are real, but the reality is a little different. In real life it’s not possible to keep Shabbat with all its details, to eat only Kosher and follow all the laws etc. That maybe we should adjust the Torah so it fits better to our lives.

This kind of thoughts would be maybe right if we were talking about human laws, as tax or traffic laws.

But when we talk about G-d, He knows the best. He creates us, our world and our challenges. If He commands something, He knows what He is saying and what are our abilities. It might not be easy, but it is surely doable.

Let’s try this week keep one Mitsvah, or a detail of one Mitsva, that we thought until now that we are not capable to fulfill.

Shabbat Shalom!


Hanna

Who can see G-d? - Ki Tisa

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A child calls his friend to join him in the sea.

-But the water is cold!

-In 5 minutes you’ll be used to it already.

-Then I’ll go in in 5 minutes…

In this week’s Parashah Ki Tisa, Moses asks G-d to see him – “Show me your glory”. G-d answers that He’ll be able to see him only from His back, but that he won’t be able to see His face.

What does this conversation mean? G-d doesn’t have a body that one could see…

Moses asked G-d to reveal to him the way He rules the world. Why are there good people that are suffering and bad people who live very well? What is G-d’s logic?

G-d answered him that it’s impossible for the human to comprehend the reason for everything that happens. G-d and His wisdom are unlimited. A simple human, with his limited mind, cannot get it.

But sometimes man can understand his Creator – when looking backwards. By analyzing the past, we may come to realize that even though something seemed incomprehensible and unbearable at the time it happened, it was ultimately for our good.

When we go through difficult times, let’s remember that G-d has a plan with which He rules the world and nothing happen without a reason. Even though we can’t understand it right now, in the future, it will be revealed that it was for our good.

When Moshiach will come we will understand it all, to the level that we will thank (!) Him for all our suffering over the years.

Let’s increase our faith and do one more Mitsvah, so G-d will bring us Moshiach very very soon!

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna 

Behind the masks - Purim

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How will you dress up this Purim?

One of the most important topics, except the spreading of the coronavirus and the results of the Israeli elections, is our Purim costumes. Some will choose cheerful costumes, other frightening ones, but we will forgive them if they scare us. It is only a costume.

Could it be that we dress up not only on Purim? Do our words and our appearance always express our true self? Or are we wearing masks, and if we remove them, we will reveal an entirely different person?

In the story of Purim, when Haman wanted to convince Achashverosh to kill all Jewish people, he argued that they are “a dispersed and scattered people”. They were not all the same. They had disagreements, more than a few of them.

But when the decree to kill all the Jews was issued, the unity of the Jewish people was revealed. Everyone fasted and prayed together. Suddenly, there were no more disagreements and animosity. They all felt that they were one.

This brotherhood immediately brought out the rescue, the big miracle of Purim. Because when the Jews take down the masks and the disguises that divide them, G-d reveals His love for His people.

This is also the reason that 3 of the 4 Mitzvot of Purim have a strong element of unity and brotherhood. We give charity to (at least 2 poor), enough for each one to buy a meal. We give Mishloach Manot, i.e (at least) two ready for consumption food to (at least) one friend (man to man, woman to woman). We feast together with friends and family, eating a festive meal. (The 4th Mitzvah is listening to the reading of the Meguila, in the evening and on the day of Purim)

All year round, we seem to be very different, different cultures, different interests, different priorities. Purim is the opportunity to take off our masks and reveal our true self. Uncover the brotherhood and unity that always exist in us but are sometimes disguised.

Let’s rejoice un unity, without the masks that hide our true self, fulfilling all the Mitzvot of Purim this Tuesday 10/03. It is not that difficult. And let’s try to continue like this, without the disguises that divide us, even after Purim ends.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim!

Hanna

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