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From seven to seven – Sefiras Haomer

This week’s parsha discusses the mitzva of Sefiras HaOmer: וספרתם לכם ממחרת השבת מיום הביאכם את עמר התנופה שבע שבתות תמימת תהיינה. עד ממחרת השבת השביעת תספרו חמשים יום והקרבתם מנחה חדשה לה'. “You shall count for yourselves from the day after the rest-day (Pesach), from the day that you offer the Omer sacrifice, seven complete weeks there shall be.  Until the day that follows the seventh week  you ...

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Hachodesh Hazeh Lachem – Moreinu HaRav shlit”a

 החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים ראשון הוא לכם לחדשי השנה,  This month shall be for you the beginning of the months,  it shall be for you the first of the months of the year.                 The Medrash states[2], R’ Levi in the name of R’ Yossi bar Ilai said ‘it is appropriate that the bigger one count according to the bigger ...

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Purim – Behind the Mask

אסתר מן התורה מנין? שנאמר "ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני." What is the source for "Esther" from the Torah?  From the verse, "I will hide (astir) My presence on that day."[1] From here we see that the concealment of Hashem's presence is the central theme of the holiday of Purim.  Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos commemorate the openly revealed miracles experienced by our forefathers: the Exodus and the splitting ...

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The Third Beis Hamikdash

ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם The Rishonim debate whether the third and final Beis HaMikdash will be built by human hands, like the first two, or will descend from Heaven as a structure of fire made by Hashem's own hands, as implied by the verse, "מקדש ה' כוננו ידיך- The Mikdash, Hashem, that Your hands have made."[2] The Rambam[3]states clearly that Moshiach will build the third Beis HaMikdash, aided by the re ...

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Har Sinai

פן תשכח את הדברים אשר ראו עיניך[1]                Har Sinai.  We are commanded never to forget this momentous event, as the passuk states, "השמר לך... פן תשכח את הדברים אשר ראו עיניך", beware and guard yourself lest you forget the things your eyes have seen.  According to the Ramban, this is counted as one of the מצות לא תעשה, the negative commandments.[2]          ...

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The Legacy of the Forefathers

The Ramban calls Sefer Bereishis “The Book of Creation,” since it begins with a description of the world’s creation, and continues with the lives of our Forefathers who “created” the patterns that their descendants were destined to follow.[1]  Our Forefathers’ mitzvos and good deeds were not intended for their own spiritual benefit, or even for the benefit of their generation, but for the benefit of the ent ...

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A New Beginning

היום הזה נהיית לעם לה' אלקיך “Today you have become a nation to Hashem your G‑d.”[1] Rashi explains that the word “today” refers not to the specific day on which Moshe delivered this message to Bnei Yisrael.  Rather it means that on each and every day we must feel as if we had just now entered into a covenant with Hashem. Constant renewal is the key to remaining fresh and energetic in Hashem’s service.  Oth ...

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The Zealot’s Reward

In this week’s parshah, we learn about the reward claimed by Pinchas for his zealotry in defending Hashem’s honor: “Behold, I grant him My covenant of peace.”  Rashi explains that Pinchas justly earned his reward.[1] What does Rashi mean to add?  Is it not obvious that Pinchas deserved reward for fulfilling this important mitzva, in which he sanctified the Name of Heaven, and prevented a plague that could h ...

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The Savagery of Yishmael

Unable to curse Bnei Yisroel, Bilam returned to his homeland in disgrace.  But before he went, he turned his powers of prophecy to the future, to gaze behind the curtains of secrecy, and foretell what would befall the nations of the world in the end of days.  Among these prophecies, he said the following possuk:   "וישא משלו ויאמר אוי מי יחיה משמו אל."   “And he lifted his parable (employed his po ...

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Learning Torah L’Shma

Torah L'Shma Introductory Note Our Sages[1] have greatly commended one who learns Torah לשמה-Lishmo-literally, for its own sake.[2] Many times in the Talmud [Pesachim 50b, Nazir 23b, Horiyos 10b, Sotah 22b, Sotah 47a, Sanhedrin 105b, Erchin 16b] they have stated that one should always learn Torah, even if it not Lishmo, for through this one will eventually reach Lishmo. The goal, though, is total Lishmo. Tw ...

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