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Haftarah: Yehezkel 45:18 - 46:15

MARCH 12-13, 2010 27 ADAR 5770

Rosh Hodesh Nisan will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 16.

Remember to move your clocks forward one hour on Saturday night.


"The people exceeded in bringing more than the labor of the work that Hashem commanded to perform." (Shemot 36:5)

After collecting what they needed to build the Mishkan, the people in charge of its construction came to Moshe and told him that the materials gathered exceeded their needs. Moshe spread the word among the Jewish people to cease bringing items. Money was being collected for a specific project; when that goal was reached, the campaigning stopped. The people were actually held back. The people were so generous that the entire fundraising process was completed in just two days. (36:3).

Rabbi Menachem Zaks z"l asks, why did Moshe stop them? Why not let them bring as much as they wanted, and make more and fancier vessels? After all, the Bet Hamikdash designed by King Solomon and the construction of Hordus were much more elaborate than the Mishkan and contained many more vessels. Why couldn't the people of the desert do the same for the Mishkan? Plus more people would get more misvot! Rabbi Zaks answers that there was a fundamental difference between the Mishkan and the Bet Hamikdash. The Mishkan was built as a temporary structure that was to travel with the people in the desert on their way to Israel. All of the parts of the Mishkan had to be carried and reconstructed by the Leviim. Since the Mishkan was to be carried by people, it was not fair to add more weight for them to carry. Therefore Moshe put an end to further donation. On the other hand, the Bet Hamikdash was a permanent structure. Therefore the more donations that were accepted, the more misvot the givers would acquire.

This can be a lesson for us whenever we want to do a misvah. It is important to consider the impact on others. For example, if a person enters a crowded shul after the people started praying the Amidah, he might push his way through the praying people to reach his seat. In general, a person is supposed to pray in a set place and use the same seat. One reason is that when a person is familiar with a set place, it helps him concentrate more on the words he is praying. The latecomer may feel that the importance of his own prayer justifies disturbing all the other people and causing them to lose their concentration. Is this person acting properly? Clearly he is putting his own needs ahead of everyone else's.

We can also learn a lesson about spending money. We should consider the burden we place on another Jew. When we spend a few extra dollars on fancier clothing for our children or furnishing for our homes, we must stop to consider our actions. Are we creating a burden for our friends who may not be able to keep up but feel they must? When it comes to things like extra features in a new car, we should be careful what we choose. Of course we all may agree that a person who drives in comfort has the ability to be more alert, just like the one who comes to shul and had a set seat is capable of praying better. But that doesn't mean he is permitted to drive over someone to reach his place. Now we can understand the reason why the Israelites were "forced" to stop bringing money for the Mishkan. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"He made the washbasin of copper...from the mirrors of the legions" (Shemot 38:8)

The washbasin was made from the copper mirrors which the women donated to the Mishkan. Even though Moshe hesitated to use mirrors used to beautify women for something so sublime as the Mishkan, Hashem told him that this was very dear in His eyes. The women used to beautify themselves in order to restore the spirits of their downtrodden husbands in Egypt, and thus they were able to be fruitful and multiply. Hashem said that this is very precious to Him and should be used for the washbasin.

What connection is there between a washbasin and mirrors? Every time a kohen would do the service in the Mishkan, he had to purify himself by washing his hands and feet. When he saw the mirrors in the washbasin, he would undoubtedly look at his reflection in the mirror. This would allow him to purify his spiritual self by causing him to observe himself and remember which traits he would have to cleanse within himself. So the copper mirrors enabled the kohen not only to wash his hands and feet but also wash out any impurities of his character. This was especially important since he was about to serve the rest of the Jewish people and he might have been tempted to see negative traits in others. He was now reminded to rectify his own traits before judging others.

Whenever we leave the house we look at the mirror to see if we are presentable. We should learn this lesson and also look at our flaws in the "mirror" before going out into the world and seeing other people. This will put us in a better perspective to see only the good in others. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


You are only human, and sometimes you just can't take it. Your blood starts to boil. Good sense gets pushed to the back of the cranium, and anger takes over. At that point, it is possible to do something stupid and act in a manner you will soon regret.

But what can be done when you just can't bear it anymore?

Temper control is a lifelong task. Maimonides says that in all character traits we should strive to develop a middle course - except for the trait of conceit and the trait of anger. Those two traits are so bad that we should work on eliminating them completely from our personalities.

But what is a person to do? After all, we are only human.

A surprisingly effective approach is to write down your grievances. Your feelings will be vented and your businesslike approach to frustration will help put things into perspective. Write a private "letter to the complaint department" outlining what, exactly, is making you so unhappy, and watch the temper index drop.

Whenever you are about to "lose it," take out a pad and pencil and start writing. It only takes a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and feelings, but it will save you hours - or even years - of regret. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

* * * * *

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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