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Hanna's Dvar Torah

How to talk so kids will listen? - Emor

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How to talk so kids will listen?

How can we give over our traditions and our values to our children?

These are big questions that preoccupy all parents and teachers. This week’s Parasha Emor gives us a precious advice.

“G-d said to Moses: Tell the Kohanim (Priests) and tell them…” and introduce the laws of ritual purity. But why the repetition? Why say twice “tell them”? Our Sages explain that this indicates that the Kohanim also have to give over this message to their children, and the older ones have to watch over the younger ones and make sure that they keep the laws.

But the word the Torah uses is not to “teach” but “to enjoin” (lehazhir), which comes from the same root as “to shine.” (zohar). Thus, the Torah teaches us how to convey messages, with light and joy, with love and patience. Not with shouting and punishments…

When the older ones teach the younger ones, the students are not the only ones to benefit. The Talmud mentions that when one person teaches and helps another, G-d “opens the eyes” of both. Eventually, the teacher will end up with a better understanding than before.

I personally see feel this very strongly. Every time I write to you, I need to study the subject well, and in this way, I understand it and I remember it better. It is the same when I study for a test with a friend that has difficulties with the lessons, I benefit from it as well.

Let us think how we can transmit important values to the people in our circle of influence. Let us do it in a shining manner, full of love and patience. Let us remember that this is not a waste of time, because eventually not only will we have helped someone else, but we will benefit ourselves as well.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

 

A "Moment of Silence" in school - Acharei-Kedoshim

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What is the “moment of silence” and why did the Rebbe encourage it?

Two thieves broke into a clothing store and started to empty it. As they were carrying the goods, one thief looked at the label of a dress, sees the expensive price and said in shock: “They are such thieves!”.

The Talmud tells us that a thief is like and idol-worshipper. But what is the connection between those two sins? One is about our relationship with G-d, and the other our relationship with fellow people. Also, why is there mention only about the thief who steals secretly at night and not the robber who steals openly and violently?

The robber does not care about anyone. He does not fear G-d but does not fear people either. On the other hand, the thief comes in hiding. He is scared to see people. But G-d? He does not care about Him, he does not fear Him… This is like idolatry because it shows the thief’s approach to G-d…

In 1983, the Rebbe said that the only way to raise and educate honest people is based on the faith in G-d. Each one of us needs to know that G-d always watches over us and cares about our actions. We may escape the policeman, but we can never hide from G-d. We need to act with honesty at every single moment.

The Rebbe proposed and encouraged to have a daily “Moment of Silence” in all schools, including public schools. A moment for all pupils, regardless of their religion, where each one will think about G-d and what He wants from the people. This has become a routine in many schools in the United States. The Rebbe insisted that the “Moment of Silence” does not concern only Jews, or only religious people but every one of us, in order to have an honest society.

Ας αρχίσουμε και εμείς να αφιερώνουμε ένα λεπτό κάθε μέρα σκεπτόμενοι τον Θ-ό. Ας ενθαρρύνουμε τους φίλους και συγγενείς μας να κάνουν το ίδιο. Και το σημαντικότερο, ας έχουμε πάντα στο μυαλό ότι ο Θ-ός μας κοιτά συνεχώς, και αυτό θα μας οδηγήσει να πράττουμε καλύτερα.

Let us start ourselves to dedicate one moment every day to think about G-d. Le us encourage our friends and relatives to do the same. And most importantly, le us always have in mind that G-d watches over us and this will lead us to behave better.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

Find out more about the Moment of Silence here

 

Harmless talk - Tazria Metzora

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We talk, talk, talk… We tell our adventures, we share our dreams and concerns, we exchange opinions about important topics. But sometimes, we also gossip, we criticize the rest of the world. Does it disturb anyone? After all, we did harm to no one, we just talked…

The Talmud has a different opinion. It explains that the evil tongue and the gossip hurt three people: the speaker, the listener, and the one that is being talked about. But what is the last one guilty of? Is it his or her fault that other people spoke about him or her?

Words have the very strong power to uncover things which are hidden. Speech reveals our hidden thoughts to others but also uncovers and strengthens our characteristics and feelings. When I say about someone that s/he is cruel, at the same moment I strengthen and reveal his cruelty. This is not exactly what I intended to do…

On the other hand, I can use this power for the good. If I praise the generosity of someone, I will strengthen it. Incredible, isn’t it?

Of course, besides for the spiritual power of the words, there is also the practical effect. Words that we say spread around can cause big damage or bring great help, depending of what we choose to say.

Let us decide to avoid saying bad words about others, even if we feel that they deserve them. If we speak, we may strengthen their negative traits. Let us try to see and point out the good characteristics of other people. We will all benefit from it.  

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

 

 

A strange count - Shemini

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One comic used to say: “There are 3 types of people: those who know how to count, and those who don’t…” 😉

In this week’s Parasha Shemini, we see a strange count.

When the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was ready, Moses and Aharon had 7 days for rehearsals before the Service at the Temple started normally. Then, on the 8th day, the service of the Mishkan started formally and the Divine Presence appeared. But why is it called the 8th day? Would it not be more appropriate to call it the 1st day?

The question becomes stronger when we understand the tremendous difference between the 7 first days and the 8th. During the preparations, the Jews did whatever they could as humans with limited capabilities. The Divine Presence that appeared on the 8th day was very high and infinite, it was something on a totally different level. Why then, do we count all the days together?

The answer is that, indeed, the 8th day was much more special than the previous 7, but it happened because of the 7 days of preparation. Even though the human actions were limited, it was thanks to them that G-d accorded a much bigger result, which we could not have achieve on our own.

Sometimes, we get discouraged and we think that some things are unattainable for us. We feel that we do not have the necessary strength and we give up before even trying. Here the Torah teaches us that we have the possibility to achieve it! We will do what we can on our side and G-d will complete the parts that we did not have the capability to achieve.

Let us not be afraid from something that seems difficult and out of reach from us. Let us dare, let us do whatever we are capable of and G-d will complete what is needed and help us achieve it.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

An unbelievable redemption - Last Days of Pesach

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Can you imagine our world without violence, illness, egoism, and poverty? Difficult, ah?

Our ancestors in Egypt also could not imagine a different reality. After all, they were slaves all their lives… In the beginning, when Moses came with the promise of the liberation, it was difficult for the Jews to believe. And yet, they were liberated.

The Redemption from Egypt was the first Redemption, but not the last one. Since we are not living yet in a perfect world… We are waiting for the final and complete redemption with the coming of Mashiach.

But, as then in Egypt, many of us find it difficult to believe that something like this is possible. And yet… it will happen.

This is timely, because while the First Days of Pesach are connected with the first Redemption from Egypt, the Last Days of Pesach, which begin tomorrow evening (Friday 5/04/21) are connected with the Final Redemption.

First, the very anticipating and believing is very important, and brings the Redemption closer.

Second, when we remember and await the Redemption, this urges us to behave better and add more Mitzvot and good deeds in our lives. Thus, we will merit the Redemption more speedily.

Let us anticipate Moshiach, even though it seems far away from our reality.

Let us add one more good deed to bring him closer.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

Hanna

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