Friday, June 25, 2010

Parshas Balak

Sometimes we think ignorance is bliss, that if we didn’t know better then we can’t be accountable for what we did wrong. But there is something called common sense, we have to use our intelligence to try to judge what’s right and wrong.

Something to say:

I have sinned for I did not know (22:34).

In this parshah, the evil prophet Balaam set out to curse the Jews. As the Torah relates, his she-donkey stopped in its tracks three times because an angel, unseen by Balaam, blocked its way. Finally, the angel did become visible to him, and Balaam cried out.

The Sh’lah asks: if Balaam really didn’t know that there was anything wrong with his plan, what was his sin? The answer is that a person is held responsible for that which he should know. God gives each person understanding, and Balaam was intelligent enough to understand that a donkey wouldn’t suddenly veer off the path or stop three times for no reason. Obviously, God was sending him a message.

We can be accountable for sins we have done, even if we haven’t learned about them. Since we should have known better. Or should have taken the time to learn about them, so as not to commit a sin.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Parshas Chukas

In this weeks parshah Moshe hits the rock to bring out water for Bnei Yisroel. When I see the word “hit” I think of children being punished. Here Moshe was supposed to speak to the rock instead of hitting it. I think we can learn out that parents should speak to their children too, instead of hitting them.

Something to say:

And he struck the rock (20:11)

This parshah describes the incident of the rock at the “waters of strife” in the Wilderness. Moses was told by God to speak to the rock, which would then bring forth water for the entire nation. According to Rashi, the fact that Moses hit the rock rather than just speaking to it was the sin that prevented him from entering Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Shmuel of Slonim asks: How could Moses, the ultimate servant of God, possibly commit such a sin? Wasn’t he aware that he was violating a direct command of God? He answers that miracles occur on various levels. To hit the rock involved a physical effort, but to produce water from the rock merely by speaking to it was a miracle on a higher level. One reasons that Moses hit the rock was that he did not think the Jewish people were worthy of a miracle on a higher level. We learn from this explanation that one should not underestimate the strengths and merits of the Jewish nation.

Parents sometimes think speaking to their kid won’t be enough, and that they have to be physical to get them to behave. But that is not so, parents shouldn’t underestimate their children, and realize that speaking can be enough.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Parshas Korach

This weeks Parsha Dvar Torah is L’Iyloy Nishmas הענה בת אביגדור

Something to say:

The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them (16:32).

In Pirkei Avos we are told that ten things were created in the twilight of the first Erev Shabbos of creation. One of them was the opening of the earth, which swallowed Korach and his congregation after their dispute with Moses. What do we learn from the fact that the mouth of the earth was created in twilight?

The Me’orah Shel Torah answers that when a person finds himself in difficult circumstances, it may seem to him as though there is no solution. He should realize, however, that the solution has already been prepared, and it is his job to uncover it – a task that requires continuous, intense effort. In this parshah, this principle is clearly illustrated: Although Moses was in serious danger and in a very difficult situation with korach, the mouth of the earth had already been prepared for his opponents from the time of Creation. We walk through life for the most part oblivious to the elaborate plans that god has designed for our benefit.

Hashem sends the Refuah before the Makah. He prepared a way for us to overcome a sorrow before he sends it down. It’s a comforting thought to know that Hashem has good plans for us. That it will all work out, and all be good. We just have to keep that in mind when we feel sad at the loss of a loved one, that Hashem has created a way for us to be healed and be loved and cared for.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Parshas Shelach

You ever notice how once you hear about something you start seeing it all over? Lots of times we see things without taking it in or noticing it, because it’s not on our mind. Once we hear about it, and it’s on our mind, then we pay more attention and see it more often.

Something to say:

You shall not go explore after your hearts and after your eyes (15:39).

Rashi explains: the eye sees, the heart desires, and the body commits the sin. The Toldos Ephraim points out that Rashi should have followed the sequence of the verse; the heart desires and the eye sees. However, he answers that what the heart does not desire, the eye does not see at all.

We see what we want to see. So someone who has good on their mind will see the good. Someone who thinks of evil will see the evil. So lets keep our hearts and mind on the good, and we will see good.