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Haftarah: Shemuel I 20:18-42

APRIL 20-21, 2012 29 NISAN 5772

Rosh Hodesh Iyar will be celebrated on Sunday & Monday, April 22 & 23.


"Take a young goat as a sin offering and a calf and a sheep."

During the dedication of the Mishkan, the Jewish people were required to bring many sacrifices. The Midrash says the goat comes to atone for the sin of the brothers who sold Yosef. The calf comes to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf. We understand why the sacrifice of the calf was necessary now. They were about to dedicate the Mishkan, a place where the presence of Hashem was to dwell. The sin of the Golden Calf was tantamount to idolatry, which was a direct affront to Hashem, so amends were very much in order. But why bring up the sale of Yosef now by requiring a goat to atone for the brothers' dipping Yosef's coat in the goat's blood? It was not a recent occurrence.

Rabbi Y. Frand explains that an underlying element of jealousy led to the sale of Yosef. The brothers felt that Yosef was trying to undermine them, and they decided it was their duty to sell him. Nevertheless the Torah says that jealousy caused their error. Now, at this time when the Mishkan will be dedicated, the Kohanim will be singled out from all the rest. One family will wear special garments and perform the services in the Mishkan. The Kohanim were an easy target of jealousy. This then was an exceedingly appropriate time to bring sacrifices to atone for the sin of selling Yosef. This would impress upon the people the extreme danger of giving in to jealousy. It had led to a disaster in the past and it could lead to disaster in the future unless it was nipped in the bud.

The dedication of the Mishkan, therefore, is a time to remember that in Judaism there are roles. There are roles for Kohanim, and for Levites. There are roles for men and a role for women. There are rich and there are poor. Everyone must be content with the role Hashem has assigned to him which will go far to end jealousy.

There are rich and there are poor. Each one has his test. The rich may not squander their money and must give enough to charity. They must try to be humble. The poor must accept their role with love, not to steal, and not to be jealous of the rich.

The layman must learn Torah every day and try to earn a livelihood. He must like and respect the man who learns Torah all day in Kollel. The person who learns in Kollel must learn with all his might and not waste a minute. He must be able to live in poverty and respect and love the layman. The woman's role is not like men. They must raise their children, be modest, and run their home. The man must take care of his wife and give her respect.

As we enter the time of the Omer, it is a time to honor each other, which can only happen when there is no jealousy. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

On the opening day of the Mishkan, Moshe told his brother, Aharon, "Step up and do the Divine service, for this is why you were chosen." The Midrash tells us that Aharon was reluctant to come forward because he kept on visualizing the Golden Calf before him, and he thought it was a sign that he was not fully forgiven. Hashem reassured him that he was indeed forgiven, and he was the one picked to lead the service.

We learn from Aharon a wonderful trait. If a person does something wrong, don't be so sure it's forgotten so quickly. Generally, we tend to forgive ourselves much faster than we forgive others. When someone wrongs us we may hold a grudge or just remember it in our hearts, but if we do the same thing to others and we ask their forgiveness, we feel, "Let bygones be bygones." If we would realize that just as we don't forget so quickly, maybe others are the same way, we would be more hesitant before we do something wrong. And even if something did happen through us we would remember it longer, just like Aharon did, so that we would be more regretful, and this would lead to a complete reconciliation. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


It is customary to study Pirkei Abot (Ethics of the Fathers) during the six weeks between Pesah and Shabuot, one chapter every Shabbat.

"Shimon the Righteous used to say, "The world stands on three things: On the study of Torah, the service of G-d and deeds of kindness." (Abot 1:2)

Instead of saying that the world stands on these three things and then enumerating them, shouldn't he have just said, "Study Torah, serve Hashem and do kindness"?

There is no question that over the years the world has progressed immensely. Modern technology has changed our lifestyle so drastically that the generation before us appears antiquated and primitive. Regardless of our great accomplishments, humanity continues to progress and develop even more sophisticatedly. With all this progress and advancement, some claim that Torah and its lifestyle should be modified to the contemporary modern age.

Shimon Hasaddik's message is that regardless of the progress and forward movement the world is making, there are three things in which the world must "omed"- stationary- remain the same as in previous times without being altered, modernized or modified in the minutest way. They are Torah, service of Hashem and acts of kindness. In regard to these, the Jew in all generations must practice and observe them in accordance with the old established, authentic ways of our Rabbis of previous generations. (Vedibarta Bam)

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A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

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