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FEBRUARY 18-19, 2005 10 ADAR I 5765

Pop Quiz:What time of day was the Menorah lit?


"And you will command the Children of Israel that they shall take for you clear olive oil" (Shemot 27:20)

Our perashah begins with the command to produce pure, clear olive oil to use to light the Menorah every day in the Mishkan. In the Talmud (Menahot 86b) a point is made concerning the wording of our verse, "They shall take for you clear olive oil." The Talmud says that the oil should be brought to Moshe Rabenu only. Do not bring the oil to Hashem. What could be the meaning of this statement? Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch says that there is an important hint for us. The candles of oil of the Menorah represent Torah study. Since it represents Torah study, one must go to Moshe only. The oil, the light from which to study Torah, must be brought to Moshe. This teaches us that Torah study is a tradition from man to man back to Moshe Rabenu. For just as Moshe Rabenu is in charge of the oil to light the Menorah, so too is he in charge of the traditional teachings of the Torah.

This means that there are certain concepts and facts that are known through tradition, otherwise known as "masoret." Let me give one important example. We know that the world is 5765 years old. This is known by calculating the years as written in the Torah with day one being the first day of creation. Science wants to say that the world is billions of years old. Some people like to synthesize these two conflicting views by saying the Torah agrees with science because the six days of creation were not six days, but six billion or six trillion years. This is against our masoret, the traditional teachings of the Torah. It was handed down from Moshe that six days are six days, period.

Let us stick to our traditions and be proud of them. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

One of the eight garments that the Kohen Gadol wore was the me'il - the robe which was made of totally blue wool. It also had bells attached to the bottom so that when the Kohen Gadol walked it would be heard that he was approaching. The Torah emphasizes that these sounds should be heard when he enters the Holy Chamber and this way he will merit to live.

The Rabbis learn from here that although there are deep and esoteric reasons for these bells, on a simple level they are there to announce the arrival of the Kohen Gadol. We learn from here the importance of derech eress, common protocol. When we enter a room or a house, even our own, we should always knock so as not to startle others. If there are strangers inside, how much more so should we not enter without permission. Sometimes we think that since we're involved in a misvah it's OK to bypass derech eress. From the Kohen Gadol who is doing the biggest misvah we see otherwise. As the famous statement goes "Derech eress preceeds the Torah." Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Question: Why doesn't the hazan take three steps back after he concludes his repetition of the Amidah?

Answer: He relies on the three steps he will take at the end of "Kaddish Titkabal." (Sefer Ta'amei Haminhagim Umkorei Hadinim)


This week's Haftarah: Yehezkel 43:10-27.

Our perashah discusses the special clothing of the Kohanim and the consecration of the Mishkan. In this haftarah, the prophet Yehezkel sees a vision of the Altar which would be consecrated when the Bet Hamikdash is rebuilt. The haftarah goes on to describe the offerings that would be burned on the Altar, just as our perashah details the sacrifices that would be offered.

Answer to Pop Quiz: Every evening.

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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