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Haftarah: Yehezkel 36:16-36

MARCH 13-14, 2015 23 ADAR 5775


“These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony, reckoned at Moshe’s bidding.” (Shemot 38:21)

The Midrash states that there were unscrupulous Jews who accused Moshe of taking materials donated to the Mishkan for his personal use. To prove his integrity, as soon as the Mishkan was completed, Moshe made a thorough accounting of all of the donated materials used in building the Mishkan, and publicized it.

Rabbi Dani Staum mentions the Oznayim Latorah that says, that in regard to the Egel, the golden calf, which was also constructed out of donated materials, there was no such demand for an accounting of how the money was spent.

This attitude has remained part of the Jewish people throughout the generations. Wherever a collection is made for holy and worthy causes, there is always a demand that the record books of the charity be made public. Yet when money is amassed for sinful causes there is no demand to see how the money is used.

In the heart of a Jew there is a deeply embedded desire to fulfill the bidding of his Creator. When a Jew donates money to sedakah he wants to ensure that what he has given is truly being used for holy causes. However, when a Jew gives money for the proverbial “golden calf,” deep inside him his heart grieves over his sinful donation. In such a case he subconsciously wishes that his money not be used for its intended purpose, and therefore he has no interest in “seeing the books.” Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

“See how Hashem has chosen Besal’el, son of Uri, son of Hur” (Shemot 35:30)

Moshe told the Jewish people, “See how Hashem has chosen Besal’el, son of Uri, son of Hur to oversee the Mishkan.” The Rabbis tell us that some people complained to Moshe, “Everyone who has a high position is related to you.” Besal’el was a great-nephew of Moshe and the people wanted to know why he was privileged to be in charge of the Mishkan.

Hashem answered the people by describing the lineage of Besal’el. His grandfather was Hur, who was killed trying to stop the people from doing the golden calf. We could have imagined that what Hur did was a great act personally, but what could it benefit his family in the future? The answer is that when someone has self-sacrifice, it is never forgotten. Rather, it will end up helping his family in the future. The sacrifice of Hur trying to stop the golden calf resulted in the appointment of his grandson to build the Mishkan. And we know that the main goal of the Mishkan was to atone for the golden calf. No good deed is ever overlooked, especially one that involves sacrifice. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Matzah allegorically represents humility. Its flat, plain appearance, simple ingredients, and bland taste all reinforce the image of the humble, unassuming being.

Most of us would describe humble people as shy, bent over, and soft spoken, maybe even afraid of their own shadows. But Rabenu Yonah paints quite a different picture. “The essence of humility,” he explains, “is a true understanding of one’s self-worth.” Moshe Rabenu was the greatest man of all time, yet the Torah praises him as the most humble of all time. He did not underplay his true worth; therefore, insecurity did not compel him to prove his worth to others through showy, haughty behavior.

Each of us has our own insecurities. Very often the only way we can protect our ego is by knocking someone else down or putting on false airs of greatness to impress our friends. Insecurity is the source of haughtiness. We must realize that each of us was given a holy soul and many talents to achieve our personal perfection, our individual greatness, in this world. Our potential is immeasurable.

Rather than surrendering to the urge to put someone down, think for a moment – about yourself and how great you really could be if you would only build yourself and fulfill your potential, rather than destroy someone else.

Take a new look at yourself. It will help you reach your full potential for greatness. (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.

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