Hanna's Dvar Torah

The worth of a gift - Vayikra

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Which gift would you give more joy, a new iPhone or a keychain?

Does who the giver is make a difference?

This week’s Parasha Vayikra teaches us about the possibilities a Jew has if he wants to offer something from his self to G-d. He can offer a fat animal as a sacrifice for the Temple. If he does not have enough money, he can offer a bird. If even this is difficult for him, he can bring a sacrifice made of flour and oil.

Which sacrifice is better? Which offering brings more joy to G-d?

Our Sages explain us that for G-d, quantity doesn’t matter. One brings more, one brings less, the most important is that they do it for G-d. If it is done with the proper intention, the sacrifices have an equal value in the eyes of G-d.

Sometimes, we think that our efforts don’t have value. Since we cannot compete with the incredible Chesed philanthropy projects or our neighbor or the prodigious Torah study of the rabbi. Then, why try at all? From the words of our Sages we understand that what matters is to give what we can wholeheartedly.

On the other hand, if someone wealthy decides to bring an inexpensive sacrifice, it will not be counted for him. Intention is not enough; our efforts need to correspond to our possibilities.

There was once a farmer who spoke a lot about how much he loves the kind and how devoted he is to him. If he had a golden palace, he said, he would give it to the king. He if had plenty of gold, he would give it all to the king. He would do the same if he had large flocks and expensive diamonds. Someone asked him what he would do if he had two chickens. Would he also give them to the king? The farmer answered negatively, and upon seeing the surprise of the listeners, explained: Palace, fields, flocks, he doesn’t have any of this, but two chickens are his only property…

Let us give to G-d what we have. Let us not be discouraged by what others give that we cannot give, it is enough to know that we did the best that we can, with all our heart.

Shabbat Shalom!


4 tips for educating our children - Vayakhel-Pekude

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What is the secret to being good parents?

In the portions of this week Vayakhel-Pekude, we read about the donations of the Jews towards the building of the portable Sanctuary. The first donations came from the women, who brought their jewelry: earrings, nose rings, (finger) rings and bracelets that are worn on the arm. Each of these pieces of jewelry has something to teach is about the education of our children.

First, we need ears. We need to listen to G-d’s commandments, because they guide us towards the best possible way to live our lives. We also need to listen to our children, not only when we talk to them, but also when they speak with their siblings and friends. This can teach us many things about them, which will help us educate them right. On the other hand, our children listen to us and many times, express themselves like us and imitate our behavior. Therefore, parents need to educate themselves and make sure to be good role models for their children.

Then, we need a nose. We need to improve our sense of smell. We need to “smell” and sense who are the friends of our children. Are they a good influence on them? Good friends influence our children towards the good, and the opposite is true as well…

The ring is worn on the finger. We need to show and explain to our children what the right way is, with patience and in a pleasant manner.

Finally, we need something on the arm that symbolizes discipline. To grow healthy children, we need limits, discipline, and order. Children who grow without rules will not be happy at the end.

May we grow happy and healthy children, who will make the world a better place.

Shabbat Shalom,


A coin on fire - Ki Tisa

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What can you buy with one coin?

A snack, a toy, or a pen.

You will not be able to buy something bigger. You would definitely not be able to buy your very life.

Yet, in this week’s Parasha Ki Tisa, the Jews bought back their lives with one coin. Because of the sin of the Golden Calf, all the Jews who sinned merited the death penalty. Moses prayed on behalf of the People and begged G-d to forgive them. G-d listened to Moses and told him to gather from every Jew a coin of a half-shekel, to atone for them.

Our Sages tell us that it was difficult for Moses to understand this commandment. How is possible for a small coin to bring forgiveness for such a great sin?

G-d answered, showing him a coin of fire. Indeed, a small coin on its own does not have such a big power. But when a Jew gives it with “fire”, with warmth and feeling, from the bottom of his heart, it can bring him forgiveness.

Do not underestimate the small actions. Do not underestimate the feeling that accompany them.

Let us try this week to do one good action with more “fire” than what we are used to.

Shabbat Shalom,


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