Thursday, March 14, 2019

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

                   
This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated in memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM

And in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

Any abrupt change of font size in a written work attracts attention. Surely so in the Torah, where every detail and nuance is of great importance.

In this week's Torah portion, which begins the third Book of the Torah, Vayikra (Leviticus - 1:1-5:26), there is a particular change of font. The letter Alef, as it is written in the Torah in the opening verse of this week’s portion “Vayikra el Moshe” ("And G-d called to Moses"), is tiny. Noticeably smaller than the usual sized Alef or the other letters in that passage, it excites comment and query from synagogue audiences every year.

Chasidic thought explains that this change is to give an indication of Moshe’s (Moses') unparalleled humility. Though he was unique amongst  men in his communicating directly with G-d, despite the fact that he was the leader who had defeated the Egyptians and freed the Jews and brought the Torah down to the world at Sinai, he nonetheless remained the most humble man ever to exist on this earth (Numbers 12:3).

Interestingly, the small Alef of our Parsha is contrasted by another font change elsewhere in the Bible. The name 'Adam', the first man and the personal handiwork of G-d, is written once with an oversized Alef, (Divrei Hayamim [Chronicles] 1:1)  to denote his grandeur and, by extension, the potential greatness of all humans--the ultimate purpose of creation,

To exist is to have a purpose. G-d created nothing without reason. One needs to constantly bear in mind one's responsibilities and to live up to the large Alef.

Recognition of one's worth, however, should never lead to hubris and conceit. Moses, the most accomplished person ever to live, was also the most humble. The small Alef reflected his awareness that his talent and ability were gifts from G-d. He constantly asked himself, "Have I truly utilized my full capabilities?"

Humility does not mean self-delusion, but rather an awareness of one's talents, tempered by the acknowledgement of where they come from. Moshe was aware of his qualities but he did not take any credit for it. In fact, he would say: "Were somebody else to be granted these qualities, they would surely do even better."

This dual perspective of the dueling Alefs -- an uplifting recognition of one's achievements tempered by the deflating sense of accomplishment -- invokes a humility, yet with a drive to accomplish in religion and life and thus justify one's very existence.

(Excerpts from chabad.org -  Rabbi  Elisha Greenbaum)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion, please contact Rabbi Shusterman at yshusterman@chedermonsey.org

Cheder Chabad Dinner this Sunday - You can still reserve your seat!

Cheder Chabad of Monsey is having their annual dinner to help support the Cheder. This is your chance to be part of this amazing event, and continue to be an integral partner with the Cheder.


Here is everything you need to know about the Cheder Chabad Monsey dinner.


The date:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

10 Adar II, 5779


The location:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Suffern, NY


Tickets:
Single $180 / Couples $360

What's still needed of me?


What else can I do for our children's Cheder?
Upgrade your RSVP to a full page ad to honor someone special


On behalf of your children, their teachers, and the entire Monsey Chabad Community, Thank you!

Have a wonderful week, 


Cheder Chabad Monsey Dinner Committee


Friday, March 1, 2019

Parsha Perspective

     By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated
                  In memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM

in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

“Let all those wise of heart come and do”—Exodus 35:10.

This week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel (Shmos [Exodus] 35:1-38:20) Moses called upon each individual member of the Children of Israel to come forward and use their particular skill (“wisdom”) to build the Mishkan—the desert Tabernacle. The Mishkan was an amazing work of art and engineering, and much wisdom and skill were required to build it. 

But why does he issue a call for the “wise of heart”? Is this not a contradiction in terms? After all, wisdom is in the mind, while emotions are in the heart!

Perhaps the Torah is teaching us a valuable lesson, especially applicable in the construction of our personal Mishkan.

Skill alone is sterile, while emotion alone is unpredictable. The wise person can know something and it can have no effect on his or her life—it remains in the display case of their brain, never used to direct their behavior. 

Another person may have profound experiences of deep religious emotion expressed so strongly that they reach a point where they lose sight of other good things in which they should be involved, or they become overly critical of others who seem not to be as enthused as they. 

Hence, G‑d directs Moses to tell the Jewish people: As each and every one of you is building a personal Mishkan—a Sanctuary for G‑d made of the stuff of your life—remember to be “wise of heart.” 

“Wise”—allow G‑dly wisdom to direct your feelings in a constructive, balanced and inclusive way.

“Of heart”—allow this knowledge to create a current of excitement and passion for the good and the G‑dly that fills your body and changes your world.

 (Excerpts from Chabad.org – by  Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion, 
please contact Rabbi Shusterman at yshusterman@chedermonsey.org

Shabbos שקלים פ' ויקהל מברכים אדר שני and week of Parshas פקודי