Friday, March 2, 2007

Let's get stoned!

Parsha for the Table

Vol 2 Issue 19

Parshas Tetzaveh

“Everyone is a jewel”

Twelve stones on the choshen, representing the twelve tribes. This seems to be wrong. In the name of unity, shouldn’t we have ONE stone representing the entire Klal Yisrael?

The Chofetz Chaim gave a parable along these lines:

There was once a factory owner in England during WWI who was given an exemption from the draft. He decided to close his factory anyway and joined the British air force, where he became a very successful pilot. After one successful mission where he had shot down three German planes he was arrested upon landing at his British home base.

“I am a war hero” he exclaimed!

“You are a fool.” The military policeman answered. “ It’s true you have shot down many enemy planes, but because you closed your factory we are very short on supplies we need to win the war!”

Within different groups of Jews there are different abilities and talents that are needed to fulfill our purpose as the chosen nation. And within each person the same is true.

Have a great Shabbos,

Rabbi Bader

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Do You Really Want Me?

Parsha for the Table
Vol 2 Issue 18
Parshas Terumah

עשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם
"And they shall make for me a Mikdash, and I will dwell among them."

The commentators point out an anomaly in this possuk. It doesn't say I will dwell there, rather, "I will dwell among them." In other words, the purpose of the Mishkan was not for Hashem to dwell there, rather it was the means for us to be close to Hashem. Some of the commentators have made mini-sefarim explaining how each part of the Mishkan represents a different part of the body (i.e.- the Malbim). The message is clear. Each individual has to perfect himself through Torah and mitzvos in order to be close to Hashem.

But for all this intellectual talk, there is something that I think is missing. The desire. Before we can even begin to discuss what it takes to have Hashem's presence rest upon us individually, we have to first really want that closeness to Hashem. Even if only on a superficial level, we have to be able to say, "Hashem, we want to be close to You, all the time!" Only then will it help to get all the other details right that lead us there.

Have a great Shabbas.
Rabbi Bader.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"More questions"

Parsha for the Table
Vol 2 Issue 17
פרשת משפטים

"More questions"
(24,3) Moishe tells a small group of mitzvos.(7 mitzvos bnei noach, shabbos, kibud av vaim, para aduma, and the "dinim" that they learnt in Marah-Rashi) and we answer "Na'aseh"
(24,7) Moishe reads to us the entire Sefer Breishis until Matan Torah, and the "Mitzvos" that were commanded at Marah (Rashi), and we answer "Na'aseh v'Nishma"

If I have right pshat in the pasuk, we are loaded with questions.
1. Why did we only say Na'aseh the first time, and Na'aseh v'Nishma the second time?
2. What is the difference between dinim of Marah and the commandments of Marah?
3. What is the purpose of having a two-part process?

Have a great Shabbos
Rabbi Bader

Friday, February 9, 2007

"Can G-d be shot down?!!!!"

Parsha for the Table
Vol 2 issue 16
Parshas Yisro
לעלוי נשמת יוסף בן אלטר איסר

"Can G-d be shot down?!!!!"

"On wings of eagles" Hashem took us from Mitzrayim (19,4 ). Rashi explains that this eagle flies higher then any other birds and consequently is only afraid of the arrows of people. It says "Better I take the arrows then my kids." So to Hashem absorbed the Egyption arrows in the "clouds of glory" when it was in-between the chasing Egyption army and Klal Yisral.

Question: When the eagle places its babies on its back, it is sacrificing its own safety. How that be compared to Hashem, who by definition cannot be hurt.
Sorry, I'm stumped. Any ideas?

Friday, February 2, 2007

Wife problems? Kidnap her!

Parsha for the Table
Volume 2 Issue 15
לעילוי נשמת חנה בת ר' מרדכי גימפל
Wife problems? Kidnap her!

Klal Yisrael leaves Egypt after witnessing tremendous miracles from Hashem. A short while later they find themselves facing the Yam Suf with nowhere to turn but up. Why did Hashem so suddenly put them in such a dire situation?
The Midrash tells us a story that sheds some light on what is happening.
There was once a King who was traveling when he happened upon a woman being attacked by ruffians. He and his soldiers subsequently saved her. She was very appreciative and began to spend time with the king. The King found her company pleasing and decided to marry her. After some time, she started to ignore the King. So the King hired a new band of ruffians to stage a kidnapping. She screams. He saved her. Relationship saved.
When Klal Yisrael left Mitzraim they began to take Hashem for granted. Hashem caused the change of events to lead them to call out to Him. What's eye opening about this Medrish is not that Hashem wants us to call out to Him; rather he wants us to have a consistent and honest relationship with Him.
Have a great Shabbos.
Rabbi Bader

Friday, January 26, 2007

The First Jewish Holocaust

Parsha for the Table
Volume 2 Issue 14

פרשת בא: לעלוי נשמת עטל בת יצחק משה

“The First Jewish Holocaust”

The act of slaughtering the Pesach lamb, which was at that time one of the Egyptian gods, required tremendous mesiras nefesh. Imagine all the Jews walking into the Catholic Churches, taking down the statues and crosses and burning them for Lag B’Omer.
But there is an aspect of this deed that I have not seen discussed. Rashi tells us (10:22) that during the first three days of darkness there were many evil Jews who died. Rashi in parshas Beshalach (13:18) tells us that the number that died was 4/5 of clal Yisrael.
So let’s do some simple math.
We know there were 600,000 men between the ages of 20 and 60 that left Egypt. That would mean that 2.4 million men of the same age died during the darkness. Add in women and the elderly, it would certainly not be unimaginable to assume that around 6 million Jews perished during that three day period.
Now, imagine what it would take, after watching most of your friends and family perish, to now go and risk your lives to listen to the words of Hashem to make the korban Pesach.
It’s not a wonder that we celebrate this night for the next 3000 years.
“Mi C’Amcha Yisrael?”
Have a great Shabbas.
Rabbi Bader

If you’d like to sponsor an issue drop me a line (all proceeds go to my student incentive fund).

Friday, January 19, 2007

"Go Ahead...MAKE MY DAY" (Dirty Harry)

Parsha for the Table
Volume 2 Issue 13
Parshas Vaera

The movie and video game culture that we live in has taught us that the one who wins the fight is the one who has the better one-liner when he pulls the trigger. Nowadays, it would almost be unthinkable to create a hero that doesn't talk down his opponents. We look up to sports players who know how to show up the other team. Clal Yisroel has a different way.
In the beginning of the Parsha, Hashem makes a seemingly strange command to Moshe and Ahron. He tells them to deal with Clal Yisroel pleasantly and with patience, and to treat Pharoah with respect (6:13, Rashi).
You might think that when trying to get people to listen to you, you need to have all the options of speech available; to speak softly, or to speak harshly, as situations demand. Especially when dealing with a man like Pharoah, who bathed in babies blood, it wouldn't matter how to speak to him.
If this is how we're supposed to save Clal Yisroel and punish Pharoah, with soft spoken words and patience, how much more so should we use these same attributes when speaking with our friends and family?
Sorry for last week, have a great Shabbas, Rabbi Bader.

Friday, January 5, 2007

“The Saddest Conversation Ever”

Parsha for the Table
Vol 2 Issue 12
Parshas Vayechi

“The Saddest Conversation Ever”

In my mind, it has to be the last few psukim of Sefer Breishis.

When Yaacov Avinu dies, Yosaif’s brothers come to him to plea for their lives. They still thought he would kill them. So they invented a story that Yaacov had commanded him not to harm them. Yosaif then proceeds to pacify them and convince them that even if he wanted to he couldn’t harm them. (Look in Rashi there.)
We, the readers of the Chumash, could just start crying. This is just one big lack of communication!! Imagine a scene where the Chofetz Chaim is trying to convince R’ Chaim Kanievsky, R’ Mattisyahu Solomon, R’ Moshe Feinstein, Rebbi David Abuchatzeira, and Harav Nebenzahl Shlita that he truly loves them and won’t have them killed. What a sad way to end Breishis!
How can we have peace in Klal Yisrael if the great sons of Yaacov couldn’t unite?

Maybe after all of the building of the foundation of our nation that the Avos did, Hashem saw a hole in our unity that needed to be fixed. Perhaps this is one of the purposes of the torture and slavery of Golus Mitzraim, to bring us together in a way that only adversity can. And if so, this is the proper prelude for Sefer Shmos, explaining how Hashem Yisborach is truly looking to help us reach our potential in this world. Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazeik. Have courage; G-d is looking out for us.

Have a great Shabbos
Rabbi Bader