Category Archives: Newsletter

2018 – 2020 MYC Election Results

Under the supervision of the Supervisory Council, a total of 402 valid votes were cast in the 2018-2020 Mashadi Youth Committee elections held on Sunday Nov. 18. 2018 which include 18 absentee ballots.  An additional 8 votes were declared invalid due to having voted above or below the allowed limits. The results:
2018-2020 MYC Members (alphabetically)
Brandon Benilevi
Ariella Ebrani
Itai Hakimian
Elirom Kalatizadeh
Warren Kalaty
Nathan Kashizadeh
Rachel Levian
Ryan LeVian
Adam Livi
Michael Livi
Yael Livian
Naomi Livieim
Elliot Namdar
Mark Nassimian
Alexander Rahmani
2018-2020 MYC Alternates
1. Ilan Bassali
2. Michelle Karmely
3. Ariel Basalely
4. Kevin Hakimi
5. Yasmine Aziz
6. Rachel Aziz
7. Nick Hakimi
2018-2020 MYC Advisers (alphabetically)
Charlotte Bassalian
Mike Chafian
Ben Davoodzadeh
Daniel Dilamani
David Dilamani
Tomer Enayatian
Valentina Ghalandar
Raphael Gorjian
Ashley Hakimian
Joshua Hakimian
Limor Heskia
Jon Ismaili
David Karimzadeh
Kevin Kashinejad
Kevin Kashizadeh
Ilana Levy
Nicola Liuim
Daniel Livian
David Lolai
Daniel Namdar
Steve Shahverdi
Supervisory Council
Eddie LeVian
Cathy Banilivy
Herbert Livi
Allen Hakimian
Lida Nemati

2014 – 2016 MYC Election Results

We are pleased to announce the 2014 – 2016 MYC election results in alphabetical order:

Aaron Aziz
Carolina Aziz
Debbie Aziz
Michelle Bassaly
Shirley Carmili
Gab Etessami
Melyna Hadjibay
Shelby Hakimian
Daniel Kamali
Jamie Karmely
Jacob Namdar
Josh Namdar
Melanie Namdar
Igal Nassim
Jonathan Zar


  1. Nathan Kashizadeh
  2. Gabriel Kalaty
  3. Lior Kashimallak
  4. Benjamin Azizi
  5. Daniel Hakimian
  6. Talia Bassali
  7. Sandy Moheban

There were a total of 462 ballots, of which 5 were invalid. 457 ballots were valid.

Sisterhood Referendum Results 2014

With 1,210 votes cast for the referendum, including 41 absentee ballots, 1,079 voters comprising of 89.2% of the total vote approved an amendment to the UMJCA by laws modifying the term of the Sisterhood to two years. There were 115 no votes and 16 abstentions. We will now be counting all votes cast for the Sisterhood election and the MYC election. Stay tuned!

Supervisory Council


Parashat Lech Lecha!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

G-d speaks to Avram, commanding him to “Go from your land,
from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show
you.” There, G-d says, he will make him into a great nation. Avram and his wife
Sarai, accompanied by his nephew Lot, journey to the Land of Canaan, where Avram
continues to spread the message of a One G-d.

A famine forces Avram to depart for Egypt, where beautiful Sarai is taken to Pharaoh’s palace; Avram escapes death because they present themselves as brother and sister. A disease prevents the Egyptian king from touching her and convinces him to return her to

Back in the Land of Canaan, Lot separates from Avram and settles
in the evil city of Sodom, where he falls captive when a war breaks out in that
region. Avram sets out with a small army to rescue his nephew, defeats the four
kings, brings back his nephew and all his belongings, plus all the belongings of
the defeated kings.

Still childless ten years after their arrival in the Land, Sarai tells Avram to marry her maidservant Hagar. Hagar conceives, becomes disrespectful toward her mistress, and then flees when Sarai treats her harshly. An angel convinces her to return and tells her that her son will father a populous nation. Ishmael is born in Abram’s 86th year.

Thirteen years later, G-d changes Avram’s name to Avraham and Sarai’s to Sarah, and promises that a son will be born to them; whom they should call Isaac (“will laugh”).
Avraham is commanded to circumcise himself and his descendents as a “sign of the
covenant between Me and you.”

” Dvar Torah ”

Avraham Avinu is one of the most beloved biblical character in
the entire Torah among our sages. Everyone single one of them talks so highly of
him. It seems that even Hashem can’t wait to show off his loyal servant to us.
The first two parashiot of the Torah, Bereshit and Noach, span two thousand
years of human life and events. The Torah records these two millennia in an
almost fast forward mode, only stopping at a few instances of historical
importance – the stories of Adam and Eve, Kayin and Abel, Noach and the Flood,
and the Tower of Babel. However, in this week’s parsha, the Torah slows down
considerably, barely covering a century in relating to us the life of our
father, Avraham. It is as though the Torah in the two previous parashiot was in
a hurry to get to Avraham and his life and tell us about his achievements.

Although Hashem loved Avraham so much, but he didn’t give him an easily
life. The journey through life of Avraham was all about tests. His journey of
tests begins by Hashem asking him to leave his hometown, his friends, his
relatives and his business, and go to an unknown land which Hashem will show
him. Avraham was seventy five years old at the time. We all know how difficult
it is to move from one country to another and start a new life again, especially
when you are not young anymore. But Avraham obeyed G-d’s commandment without a
delay. Yet, as soon as he enters the land, he is faced with a severe famine and
he is forced to move down to Egypt, where his wife is captured by the king. When
he goes back to Israel, he is told that his descendants will be as many as the
stars in the sky, yet his wife remained barren! As soon as he wants to settle
down, his nephew is captured in a war, and he goes to rescue him, risking his life……….

Test after test after test! Ten times to be exact, Hashem tested Avraham. But you may ask yourself, why did Hashem need to test Avraham so many times? Did Hashem have any doubts in his mind that Avraham believes in him?! Did Avraham show any lack of faith ever?! So why did Hashem let Avraham go through so much hardship in his life? Also, why keep testing him if he keeps passing the tests?!

I read an interesting explanation given by Rabbi Eli Scheller. He says, God knew at all times that Avraham would pass the tests. However, He still tested Avraham to enable him to become greater. How he handled the tests and how he overcomed the challenges, are what made Avraham one of greatest human beings. You see, a trial brings out the abilities and potential that is buried deep within a person. For example, you’ll get to know if a
student is a genius, only when he keeps getting 100% in all his tests. Similarly, a man with an anger problem can go to anger management classes so many times and promise that he’ll never get angry again, but until he is put in a challenging situation we cannot say that the man has been cured. A test is what brings a person to the next level. Putting everything you know into action makes all the difference.

With Avraham passing all his tests, it took him to an all new level of greatness. He showed us how to have faith in Hashem at all times, even when things are not going right; How to help a relative in the time of need; How to be hospitable and be delighted to have guests; How to handle our wealth and share it with others; How to not be influenced by our
immoral surroundings; And above all, how to treat, respect and love a barren
wife! All these tests brought out the unique characteristics of Avraham and the
reason why Hashem loved him so much and chose him to be the father of all nations.

Yes my friends, we all dread to be faced with challenges and tragedies in our lives. We all want to have a comfortable, worry-free and an easy life. But what if we are faced with a challenge or a tragedy? Are we going to give up, or are we going to deal with it and try our best to overcome the challenge?! We learn from Avraham Avinu that challenges can make a person grow and make him a greater person. It brings out the best qualities in a person. It makes life more appreciative and gives more meaning to life. To be faced
with a challenge in life is not a sign of failure, but rather, it’s a tool to grow and achieve your best!

Well, we don’t need to look far to find an example. Recently, our dear friend Brian Hakimian was faced with a challenge in his life. He was faced with a life threatening illness. But, like Avraham, he didn’t give up and he faced his challenge. With great enthusiasm, he fights his battle to his best ability and overcomes his fear. He never lost faith in Hashem
and he knows that Hashem will help him to overcome his challenge. This challenge
has surely made him grow into a better person and has brought the best out of
him. We wish him all the best and we pray for his full recovery. He is an inspiration to us all and we raise our hats to him!

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;


Parashiot Bereshit & Noach!

Dear Friends;

Since we missed Parashat Bereshit last week due to the
Chag, we try to cover two parashiot this week, so we won’t fall behind. I hope
that you’ll enjoy the following Parashiot summaries followed by a Dvar

” Parashat Bereshit in a  Nutshell ”

G-d creates the world in six days. On the first day He
makes darkness and light. On the 2nd day He forms the heavens, dividing the
“upper waters” from the “lower waters.” On the 3rd day He sets the boundaries of
land and sea and calls forth trees and greenery from the earth. On the 4th day
He fixes the position of the sun, moon and stars as timekeepers and illuminators
of the earth. Fish, birds and reptiles are created on the fifth day;
land-animals, and then the human being, on the sixth. G-d ceases work on the
seventh day, and sanctifies it as a day of rest.

G-d forms the human body from the dust of the earth and blows into his nostrils a “living soul.” Originally Man is a single person, but deciding that “it is not good that man be
alone,” G-d takes a “side” from the man, forms it into a woman, and marries them
to each other.

Adam and Eve are placed in the Garden of Eden and
commanded not to eat from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” The serpent
persuades Eve to violate the command, and she shares the forbidden fruit with
her husband. Because of their sin, it is decreed that man will experience death,
returning to the soil from which he was formed, and that all his livelihood will
come only through struggle and hardship. Man is banished from the

Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain quarrels with
Abel and murders him, and becomes a rootless wanderer. A third son is born to
Adam, Seth, whose tenth-generation descendant, Noah, is the only righteous man
in a corrupt world!

” Parashat Noach in a Nutshell ”

Parshat Noach begins by describing Noach’s righteousness,
compared with the wickedness of his generation. As a result of Mankind’s evil,
Hashem brings a flood to destroy every living creature, sparing only Noach, his
family, and at least one pair of every animal species, who live in an ark during
the lengthy flood. When the waters declined, almost a year after the rains first
began, Noach sends out a raven and a dove so as to determine whether the land
has dried sufficiently so that they can leave the ark to resettle the earth once
again. Hashem promises that He will never again destroy all of Mankind by means
of a flood, and He designates the rainbow as a sign for that eternal covenant.

Noach plants a vineyard, drinks from its produce, and becomes drunk. In
his intoxicated state, he shamefully uncovers himself in his tent. While his son
Cham dealt with his father inappropriately, Noach’s other two sons, Shem and
Yefet, cover their father in a respectful manner. Once sober, Noach responds by
blessing Shem and Yefet, and by cursing Cham and his son Canaan.

Generations pass and the world is repopulated. The people attempt
to wage war against Hashem by building the Tower of Babel, and Hashem responds
by mixing up their languages and dispersing them across the planet.

The Torah portion concludes on an encouraging note with Abraham’s birth and his
marriage to Sarah.

” Dvar Torah ”

At the beginning of Parshat Noach, the Torah says: ” Noach was a righteous man, perfect in his generation…. G-d saw that all flesh on earth had become corrupt and lawless, and G-d told Noach that He had decided to bring a flood to destroy all flesh. G-d directed Noach to make an Ark for himself, his wife, his sons and their wives, and he should gather two of every kind of animals – male and female, and they will all survive in the Ark….. and
Noach did exactly as Hashem had commanded him!”

Some Chachamim praise Noach, when the Torah mentions that he was righteous in his generation, since it is not an easy job to stay righteous when you are surrounded all around by corrupt and evil people. While others criticize him, for his righteousness is
only achieved when compared with his generation only. If he would have been
compared to Avraham or Moshe, for example, he would never reach their level of

But you may ask yourself, why should Noach’s righteousness even be in doubt?! The Torah says that “Noach did exactly as G-d has commanded him”. In Judaism, a righteous person is described as someone who fears G-d and follows his commandments. So, why on earth is Noach even criticized?! It’s as if someone keeps ALL the commandments of the Torah, and then you tell him that he is not righteous. It’s unheard of! So, what did Noach do wrong? Why should there even be a doubt in Noach’s righteousness? Why couldn’t the Torah just say that Noach was righteous, period?! Why did the Torah have to mention “in his generation”?

The Chachamim say, Noach’s major mistake was that he did not
stand up to defend the other people. He only cared about himself and his family
and not the survival of others! He had 120 years to build the Ark, but he did
not even pray once to Hashem, not destroy all the living creatures. He could not
even convince one other person to come with him into the Ark. When Hashem
informs his loyal servants about the destruction of his people, he expects his
prophets to defend them! And this is why some Chachamim say that Noach does not
reach the level of righteousness of Avraham and Moshe. When Hashem wanted to
destroy the people of “Sedom and Gemara”, the first thing that Avraham did was
to defend its residents and stop Hashem from destroying the innocent with the
guilty party. Also, after the sin of the Golden Calf, Hashem wanted to destroy
all the Benei Israel and make a new nation from Moshe. But Moshe argued with
Hashem that if he wants to destroy all of his Chosen People, he better erase his
name from his book also! Noach, unfortunately, wasn’t thinking about others. He
did not even argue once with Hashem: “What if there are only ten righteous
people in the world, why should they die because of the wickedness of the
others? Why do the innocent babies have to die? Why do all the beautiful trees,
flowers and plants have to die? Why do some innocent animals have to die?”
Noach, sadly enough, remained silent. In his mind, he thought that these people
deserve to die, but he should have known better! We are not suppose to judge
others! We should always try to see the good in others, and not their evil! By
being good ourselves, is not good enough. We have to influence others to be good
too! And sadly, this is the reason why Noach is considered righteous, ONLY in
his generation.

Yes my friends, to be a good and a G-d fearing person is
not good enough; we have to try make others to be good too! We have to try to
teach others to believe in G-d and help them to keep his commandments too. When we
pray for health and prosperity for ourselves, we need to pray for others too.
The misfortune and suffering of others should make us feel sad too. We should
always pray for the welfare of the others even if we don’t agree with what they
do. We should always be against destruction and killing, and cherish and respect
life. We should be the people of peace and love, and not hatred and fight!
Remember that we are not here to judge others, but rather, we are here to care
for others. We are all responsible to teach our children, our families and
friends about the mitzvot of Hashem and try to help others as much as we can.
Judaism is not an individual religion, but rather, it can only survive as a
congregation, when people live in peace and harmony and serve G-d

So my friends, always remember the message of this week’s
parsha: “If you are a good person, you are considered to be righteous, only in
your generation, but if you are good and you help others to be good too, then
you’ve earned the title of righteousness which lasts forever”.

Shabbat Shalom, Rosh Chodesh Tov &


Mashadi Tennis Finals

With the help of Mehdi Nassimi, Cyrus Elian, Behnam Pourattarian, Igal Nassim and David Karimzadeh we have finally reached the final weekend of matches. We would also like to thank Mehdi for hosting the finals.

The finals for the men’s singles and doubles tournaments will take place this Sunday September 22nd 2013 at 11AM at Mehdi and Ania Nassimi’s residence, 4 Pheasant Run. The matchup for singles is David Karimzadeh v Ariel Hakimi. Following the singles final,  the doubles matchup will take place between the winner of Alex Rahmani / Michael Hakimi and Simon Kashfi / Jared Hakimian vs the winner of David Karimzadeh / Sammy Hakimian and Benny Nabavian / Ray Hakimian. 

We’d like to thank all the participants in this year’s tournament.  I hope you had a good time, and hopefully we will have this tournament for many years to come.

The attached file shows the tournament brackets.

Mashadi Tennis 2013

Parashiot Nitzavim, Vayelech!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following parashiot
summary followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parshiot in a Nutshell ”

The Parshah of Nitzavim start by saying: “You stand today,
all of you, before the L-rd your G-d: your heads, your tribes, your elders, your
officers, and every Israelite man; your young ones, your wives, the stranger in
your gate; from your wood hewer to your water drawer.”

Moshe warns of the exile and desolation of the Land that will result if Israel abandons G-d’s laws, but he then prophecises that, in the end, “You will return to the L-rd your

Then Moshe says: “For the Mitzvah which I command you this day, it
is not beyond you nor is it remote from you. It is not in heaven… It is not
across the sea…. Rather, it is very close to you, in your mouth, in your
heart, that you may do it.”

Moshe also talks about freedom of choice: “I have set before you life and goodness, and death and evil; in that I command you this day to love G-d, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments… Life and death I have set before you, blessing and curse. And you shall choose life.”

The Parshah of Vayelech recounts the events on Moshe’s last
day of earthly life. “I am one hundred and twenty years old today,” he says to
the people, “and I can no longer go forth and come in.” He transfers the
leadership to Joshua, and writes the Torah in a scroll which he entrusts to the
Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

The mitzvah of Hak’hel (“Gather”) is given: every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot of the first year of the shemittah cycle, the entire people of Israel — men, women
and children — should gather at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the king
should read to them from the Torah.

The Parsha concludes with the
prediction that the people of Israel will turn away from their covenant with G-d
causing Him to hide His face from them, but also with the promise that the words
of the Torah “shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their

” Dvar Torah ”

“Life”, is by far the most precious thing anyone can
possess. Every man’s dream is to live a long life. Even the animals know the
importance of life since every single one of them fights for its life in order
to survival. Out of all the greatest blessings in the world that a person can
ask for, whether it’s health, happiness, prosperity or long life,  the blessing
of longevity surpasses the rest by far, because you need to be alive in order to
receive the other blessings!

Well in this week’s Parashat Nitzavim, the
Torah also talks about the importance of life. On Moshe Rabeinu’s 120th birthday
which is also the last day of his life, Moshe gathers the entire congregation to
give them his farewell speech. He basically tells them that if they would
follow G-d’s commandments, Hashem will bless them and they will prosper in the
promised Land, but G-d forbid, if they do not follow, they will be accursed and
they will perish from the Land. Towards the end of his speech, Moshe tells them
the following: ” I call upon you today, the heaven and the earth as witnesses
for you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. And you shall
choose LIFE, so that you and your children may live.”

Basically what Moshe is telling the Benei Israel is that they have a choice. If they’ll keep
Hashem’s commandments they will live, but if G-d forbid, they don’t listen to
the voice of G-d, they will surely perish away. But what’s so mind bugling is
that Moshe tells them which one is the right choice?! “and you shall choose
LIFE…..” Surely anyone with a sane mind knows that life is better than death?!
So why did Moshe have to tell them which one is the right answer?! Couldn’t they
figure it out by themselves?!

The Chachamim give the following explanation. The reason why Moshe gives them the answer to this simple dilemma, is to emphasize the importance of life! Life is so precious that Moshe had to spell it out for them so that there won’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind to choose life over death! In Judaism life is so important that under no
circumstances death has priority over life. Suicide is strictly forbidden! Even
in the case of a very sick person, we have to fight for his life till the last
second. To demonstrate the importance of life, the Torah tells us that the
reward for honoring parents which is considered to be one of the hardest mitzvot
of the Torah, is longevity. Even Moshe seems to be sad on the last day of his
life, when Hashem tells him it’s time to leave this world. Moshe tells them to
choose life because there is no greater reward than to “live”!!

But you may ask yourself, what is so special about life that the Torah demands from us
to choose life over death in any circumstances? After all, in Talmud it says
that the world that we live in is just a corridor to get us through to our
ultimate destination, “Olam Haba”- the world to come! It is there that our souls
are going to live forever! It is there that there won’t be anymore pain or
suffering! It is there that every soul is going to be closer to the Almighty! So
why can’t we speed up our journey to get to our final destination?

The Chachamim explain that the only reason that this world has superiority over the
world to come is because, only in this world we can show compassion towards
other human beings. In the world to come, for example, you won’t be able to give
charity to the poor, because there won’t be any poor people over there. You
won’t be able to visit the sick, because there will be no more sick people
there. You won’t be able to care for the elderly, because there won’t be any old
people there anymore. All these things can only be done in this world! The Torah
is telling us to choose life, but it wants us to choose the right way to live.
Hashem wants us to live a meaningful life, a life committed to higher values and
a higher purpose. A life that is filled with love for each other; a life that we
care for one another!

Yes my friends, life is the most precious thing
anyone can possess, we should never take it for granted. Cherish every moment of
it and be grateful to Hashem. Life is so valuable that the Torah has to spell it
out for us. But life without a goal is meaningless. So what do you think is the
purpose of life? Well, some of us might think that the purpose of life is to
accumulate as much wealth as possible; some of us might think that the purpose
of life is to have as much fun as possible; and some of us might think that the
purpose of life is to devote our lives entirely to Hashem by praying and
studying Torah, day and night! Or, could it be that the purpose of life is to
show compassion to our fellow human beings and to care for one another?! The
Chachamim say that the only thing you can take with you to the next world is
your “Ma-asim Tovim”, your good deeds and everything else is going to be left
behind. So, let us do the things which lasts forever!

Remember that every second you are alive is a gift from G-d, so use the time wisely and don’t let it go to waste! It’s the only opportunity you have to do G-d’s wishes before you
reach your final destination! After all, life is too short to just let it pass by!!

As we are approaching Rosh Hashana, I would like to take this
opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New year. Rosh Hashana is a day of Judgment
where our destiny is going to be decided for the year to come. Accordingly, I
wish that all of your prayers be accepted by the Almighty, and your names to be
written in the book of good health, happiness, prosperity and above all, in the
book of “LIFE”!!!

Shabath Shalom, Shana Tova and


Parashat Ki-Tavo!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary
followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Moshe instructs the people of Israel: When you enter the
land that G-d is giving to you as your eternal heritage, and you settle it and
cultivate it, bring the first-ripened fruits of your orchard to the Holy Temple,
and declare your gratitude for all that G-d has done for you.

Our Parsha also includes the laws of the tithes given to the Levites and to the poor. Moshe
reminds the people that they are G-d’s chosen people, and that they, in turn,
have chosen G-d.

The latter part of Ki Tavo consists of the Tochachah
(“Rebuke”). After listing the blessings with which G-d will reward the people
when they follow the laws of the Torah, Moses gives a long, harsh account of the
bad things — illness, famine, poverty and exile — that shall befall them if
they abandon G-d’s commandments.

Moses concludes by telling the people
that only today, forty years after their birth as a people, have they attained
“a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear.”

” Dvar Torah ”

In the second half of this week’s Parsha, Moshe uses only fourteen verses to describe the rewards and blessings which G-d will shower upon the Jews when they will keep His commandments. After reading the brief, yet sufficient, praises and rewards for being obedience, Moshe warns them about the consequences of disobeying Hashem’s commandments. Fifty-five consecutive verses to be exact, of describing the chilling suffering, misery and torture, that will be fallen upon the Jewish nation, if they don’t listen to the voice of G-d. The Torah speaks of destruction, famine, war, illness and exile.
Many of the calamities are so appalling that they are too difficult to
comprehend to. Indeed, the Chazan in the Shul, is expected to read these verses
quickly and in a quieter voice than usual, to avoid depressing the congregation
on Shabbat.

But in the midst of all these rebukes, Moshe tells them the
actual reason for all these punishments. He says: ” Because you did not serve
Hashem, your G-d, with joy and goodness of heart, when you had

Don’t you think that the way Moshe describes the reason for
the punishments seems a little peculiar?! It seems, from this pasuk, that the
reason for all these calamities is not being disobedient, but rather, it’s the
lack of joy in performing G-d’s commandments that can be dreadful.

But you may ask yourself, why is Hashem so concern about the feelings of our heart?
Why does he care if we are happy or not when we perform his commandments? Why
does it matter if we put on Teffilin with a frown on our faces? What’s the big
deal to feel depressed when going to Kanissa on Shabath? So, why is it so
essential to be “happy” when performing the mitzvot, that Hashem is willing to
destroy us, if we show the lack of it?? I’m sorry, but It’s too hard for me to
accept that all the miseries described in this week’s parsha is due to lack of
joy and not because of being disobedient!! So, how do you explain Moshe’s

Well, one of the explanations that I read is as follows:
Hashem is only going to bring all these miseries upon us if, G-d forbid, we
don’t keep the commandments! But Moshe is trying to tell us that the reason we
don’t keep the commandments, is because we didn’t enjoy them in the first place!
You see, you can do a certain task, once, twice, three times,….ten times and
so on. But if you don’t enjoy it, you’ll start doing it less and less until
you’ll eventually end up not doing it at all. Same goes with the mitzvot. If you
don’t enjoy and feel the happiness when you do a mitzvah, then you will start
doing it less an less until, G-d forbid, you will not do it at all! And this is
what Moshe means by “Because you did not serve Hashem with joy and goodness of
heart….”. Because if they would have felt the “joy” when they performed the
commandments, they would have never stopped doing them!!!

But you may ask yourself, how can we achieve this level of happiness that Hashem requires from us?? What if we simply don’t enjoy putting on tefillin everyday or go to Kanissa every Shabath?? How can we find the joy in the mitzvot that are not exciting to

Well, “Happiness” is a state of mind achieved when you benefit from
doing or receiving something. For example, when you buy a new car, you are
happy, because you can benefit from driving the new car. When you go out with
your friends, you are happy, because it relaxes your mind and your mind benefits
from it. The Chachamim use the same logic to explain why we should be happy when
performing the mitzvot. We should know that all the mitzvot that we do are for
our own benefit!! Hashem does not benefit whatsoever from us performing his
commandments! We are the only beneficiaries! By keeping the commandments, we
will be blessed with good health, we will be blessed with prosperity, we will be
blessed with happiness, we will be blessed with healthy children and many many
more blessings. If we truly believe in that, then to feel happy when performing
the mitzvot should not be so difficult!

Yes my friends, try to find the joy in every mitzva that you do, because if you don’t enjoy them, G-d forbid, you’ll stop doing them altogether. Doing the mitzvot of the Torah should not be a burden upon us, but rather, it should be a delight! Because for every mitzvah
that you do Hashem is going to bless you even more.

As we are approaching the High Holidays and we need to come to Kanissa more often, let us find the joy in coming to Kanissa. “Beit-Kenesset” is not just a praying Hall,
it is a “Gathering Hall”. It’s a place of worship and a place to socialize too.
Did you know that socializing is a mitzvah? Because when you socialize with your
friend and you ask him about his welfare and his family, it means that you care
about him, and Hashem likes that. So, Kanissa is a place to pray, to talk, to
laugh, but all at the right times. There are times that we have to pray, there
are times that we need to be quiet and listen to the Torah, and there are times
that we can talk and mingle among friends. Keeping in mind that Sanctuary is a
holy place and we have to be respectful towards the Almighty and

So my friends, try to find the joy in every mitzvah that you do.
Show your enthusiasm when serving Hashem and teach it to your children too. We
have a beautiful religion where we have to live in total harmony with G-d and
other human beings. And the thing which keeps us all together is our holy Torah.
Let us cherish it and keep its commandments with joy!

Shabbat Shalom
& Regards;


Parashat Ki-Tetzei!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary
followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Seventy-four of the Torah’s 613 commandments are
mentioned in this week’s Parsha. They include the following: If a soldier
desires a beautiful captive woman in a battle, the only way to get intimate with
her is by marrying her. If a man marries two wives, and the less-favored wife
bears a firstborn son, this son has the right to inherit a double portion. The
penalty for a rebellious son, who will inevitably degenerate into a monstrous
criminal, is stoning. A body must not be left on the gallows overnight. Lost
property must be return. Men are forbidden from wearing women’s clothing and
vice versa. A mother bird may not be taken together with her eggs. A fence must
be built around the roof of a house.

It is forbidden to plant a mixture of seeds, to plow with an ox and a donkey together or to combine wool and linen in a garment. A four-cornered garment must have twisted threads (tzitzit) on its corners. Laws regarding forbidden relationships are detailed. An escaped slave must not be returned to his master.

Taking interest for lending to a Jew
is forbidden. Benei Yisrael are not to make vows. A worker may eat of the fruit
he is harvesting. Laws for divorce and marriage are mentioned. For the first
year of marriage, a husband is exempt from the army and stays home to make
rejoice with his wife. The penalty for kidnapping for profit is death. Even for
an overdue loan, the creditor must return the collateral daily if the debtor
needs it. Workers’ pay must not be delayed. The guilty may not be subjugated by
punishing an innocent relative. Because of their vulnerability, converts and
orphans have special rights of protection. The poor are to have a portion of the
harvest. An ox must not be muzzled while threshing. It is a mitzvah for a man to
marry his brother’s widow if the deceased left no offspring. Weights and
measures must be accurate and used honestly.

The parsha concludes with the mitzvah to erase the name of Amalek, for in spite of knowing about the Exodus, they ambushed the Jewish People.

” Dvar Torah ”

Although I have sent this Dvar Torah before, but I feel
that the message is so important that we need to be constantly reminded of it.
So I hope that you’ll enjoy reading it once again.

This week’s Parsha is
packed with mitzvot, seventy four to be exact. It covers many different areas,
from the sexual desires of a soldier on the battlefield, all the way to have
compassion for the mother bird by not taking her eggs in front of her eyes. But
I would like to talk about a more sensitive subject; the laws of “divorce”. In
this week’s Parsha, the Torah briefly mentions: ” If a man marries a woman, and
it will be if she does not find favor in his eyes for he found in her an “ervat
davar” (unseemly conduct), then he may divorce her!”

In Talmud, there is a whole section which discusses the laws of divorce known as “Tractate Gittin”. For those of you who are not so familiar with Talmud, like myself, it consists of two parts; Mishnah and Gemara. Mishnayot are the collection of Torah’s oral
laws, compiled by numerous scholars, while the Gemara are the commentaries on
the Mishnah given by subsequent scholars. The way the Talmud is written is quite
unique. Different Rabbis give their opinions regarding a Jewish law and they
even argue and disagree with each other. There is no right or wrong answer! It
just opens your mind to different ways of viewing the same law.

Accordingly, in Talmud there is a Mishnah which discusses “ervat
davar” (unseemly conduct) and what should be a justified reason for a man to
divorce his wife. The following Rabbis, or school of thoughts, give their
opinions:  Beith Shammai, who is known for a strict opinion in most matters says
that divorce should only occur over a matter of immorality. Beith Hillel says,
that divorce is permitted “even if she burns his soup.” And Rabbi Akiva, whose
devotion and gratitude to his wife is legendary, says that “even if he finds a
nicer woman, (he may divorce her).”!!!!!!

WOW!!! What is this Mishnah saying?! I’m sorry, but to me, this Mishnah is unacceptable!! We are talking about the greatest sages of all times!! How can they say a “burnt soup” can be a reason for a divorce??? How can they even mention, “if a man finds a nicer
looking woman”, he can divorce his wife and go after the nicer one???? To me,
this Mishnah sounds too absurd and irrational!! In Orthodox communities, the
rate of divorce is the lowest compared to any other communities!!! Very rarely
you see a Rabbi divorcing his wife. Confused with the whole scenario, I thought
maybe studying this Mishnah is too difficult for me and I should let it go, but
on the contrary, it made me more curious than ever to find an answer.

As I was searching for answers, suddenly, I found the following story said by Rabbi
Binyamin Kamenetzky which goes as follows:

Rabbi Dovid was happily married to his dear and loving wife for nearly half a century. Her sudden death cast him into a terrible depression for which there was almost no cure. His son and daughter-in-law, Roizy, graciously invited him to stay at their home and
share everything with them. Rabbi Dovid’s daughter-in-law, cooked every meal for
him but Rabbi Dovid was never pleased. No matter how deliciously the meals were,
he would sigh and mutter to himself, loud enough for his son to hear, “this was
not the way your Mom made the soup.”

Roizy poured through her mother-in-law’s old recipe books and tried to re-create the delicious taste for which her father-in-law longed. But Rabbi Dovid was still not pleased.

One day, while the soup was on the fire, Rabbi Dovid’s grandchild fell
outside. In her haste to get to the child, Roizy almost dropped in the entire
pepper shaker in the soup. In addition, by the time the child was washed and
bandaged, the soup was totally burned!

There was nothing for Rabbi Dovid’s daughter-in-law to do but serve the severely spiced, burnt soup.

She stood in agony as her elderly father in-law brought the soup to his
lips. This time he would probably more than mumble a complaint. But it was not
to be. A wide smile broke across Rabbi Dovid’s face. “Delicious my dear
daughter,” said the Rabbi with tears in his eye. “Absolutely delicious! This is
exactly how my wife used to make the soup!!!!!!!!!!”

The Chachamim explain the Gemara as follows: The Gemara is giving us a sign, when a marriage needs to be repaired. If a man tastes the burnt soup that his loving wife cooked
for him and he is repulsed, then he is missing the love for his wife that the
Torah requires from him. Rabbi Akiva, who did not even look at any other women
and stayed faithful to his wife for his entire life, declared that if a man
finds a woman whom he thinks is better looking than his wife, then there is
something wrong in his marriage and needs evaluation and repair! BECAUSE EVERY
MAN MUST ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT THERE IS NOTHING TASTIER THAN HIS WIFE’S COOKING, AND THAT THERE IS NO ONE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN THE WOMAN HE HAS MARRIED!!! To the man, his entire thoughts should be focused on his wife and children only; everything else is secondary!!! The Gemara is giving us a sarcastic example of
the “Burnt soup”, to show us that even a small argument can turn into a big
fight, and G-d forbid, can end up in a divorce if we don’t handle it in a
rational way. It is up to us to choose to love our wife and make her the most
desirable woman in our life and live a happy life, or G-d forbid, we can
constantly look around and compare her with other women and other cooks and find
faults in her and live a miserable life. The choice is ours!!! The Gemara is not
teaching us when is the right time to get a divorce, but rather, it is telling
us the secret of how to stay together!!

So my friends, the secret to a successful marriage is not to marry the most beautiful woman, but if you find your wife to be the most beautiful woman in YOUR eyes, then you’ve found the key to a happy and everlasting marriage!

Shabbat Shalom &


Parashat Shoftim!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parsha summary
followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Moshe instructs the people of Israel to appoint judges and
law-enforcement officers in every city.

A minimum of two credible witnesses is required for conviction and punishment.

A Jewish king may only have possessions and symbols of power adequate for the honor ofhis office, but not for self glorification.

Hashem promises the Jewish people that he
will send them prophets to guide them, and Moshe explains how a genuine prophet
may be distinguished from a false one.

The Parsha includes the prohibitions against idolatry and sorcery; guidelines for the creation of “cities of refuge” for the inadvertent murderer. Also set forth are many of the
rules of war: the exemption from battle for one who has just built a home,
planted a vineyard, married, or is “afraid and soft-hearted”; the requirement to
offer terms of peace before attacking a city.

If a corpse is found between cities, the elders of the nearest city must take a heifer, slaughter it, and wash their hands over it, saying that they are not guilty of the

” Dvar Torah ”

The main principals for humanity are liberty, equality and justice. Justice is not only
being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and
upholding it, whenever found against the wrong — Theodore

The foundation of civilization is based on justice! No
civilized society can survive without a judiciary system, and a set of law and
order. And Judaism cannot agree more with this system. This week’s parsha starts
off by telling us to appoint judges and lawmakers for ourselves. It continues by
telling us the famous quote, “tzedek, tzedek, tirdof”….. “Righteousness,
Righteousness, you shall pursue”….. The Chachamim are bothered by the
repetition of word “righteousness”. Why does the Torah need to repeat it twice?
Rabbi Frand explains that “The pursuit OF righteousness must also be pursued
WITH righteousness”. We are not merely being taught to run AFTER justice. We are
told to run AFTER justice WITH justice. The torah continues to explain that in
order to pursue justice, we have to appoint a righteous judges. A judge cannot
take a bribe. A judge cannot take the side of the weak or the powerful, since
the Torah says that a judge cannot show favoritism towards a widow or an orphan,
nor towards wealthy and powerful. Indeed, a judge has to be totally unbiased and
try his best to make a fair judgment.

In a western society’s court of law, where there is a dispute between two parties, the judge has to determine who is right and who is wrong; who has to be  rewarded and who has to be punished. The judge’s main role is to find who is guilty and who is innocent.
The judge has the full authority to make this decision. But in a Jewish court of
law, the judge’s role is different. His role is not to just find the guilty
party and punish him, but rather, his main role is to give people a fair trial.
Indeed the Torah sets down numerous rules and regulations which delimit the
judge’s power to judge, and ensure that when he does judge, he does so with
utmost caution and sensitivity.

We can get a better understanding of the
Judge’s role in a Jewish court of law by looking at the law regarding the
“indefensible criminal.”. This is how it works.

Under Torah law, capital crimes are tried by a tribunal of 23 judges called a “Minor Sanhedrin.” After hearing the testimony of the witnesses, the judges themselves would split into two groups: those inclined to argue for the defense of the accused would serve
as his “defense team” and seek to convince their colleagues of his innocence;
those inclined to convict would make the case for his guilt. Then the judges
would vote. A majority of one was sufficient to set him free, while a majority
of two was necessary to convict.

But what if all twenty-three judges form an initial opinion of guilt? What if the evidence is so compelling and the crime so horrifying that not a single member of the tribunal chooses to argue in the accused’s favor? In such a case, says Torah law, the accused cannot be convicted and must be exonerated by the court.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains the
rationale behind this law as follows: No man is so utterly evil that there is
nothing to be said in his defense. There is always some explanation, some
justification, some perspective from which the underlying goodness of his soul
can be glimpsed. This does not mean that he is going to be found innocent, in
the legal sense, by a court of law. But if not a single member of the court
perceives the “innocent side” of the person standing accused before them, this
court then obviously has very little understanding of who he is and what he has
done. Such a court has disqualified itself from passing judgment on

The Lubavitcher Rebbe therefore says that you cannot judge a person
until you see something good in that person! Justice has to be done with
righteousness, and righteousness is achieved when you can see a good in

Yes my friends, judging people is the most difficult task.
That’s why the Torah asks us to appoint professional judges who should make
judgments and not us, since we don’t know all the facts. In the Talmud it says
“Do not judge your fellow until you have reached his place.” What the Talmud is
really saying, I suspect, is, “Don’t judge your fellow, ever,” since “his place”
is a place where you can never truly be. Why do you think that the Torah is so
much against “Lashon Hara”? It’s because when you hear something evil about
someone, you immediately become judgmental. But that’s wrong since you haven’t
heard anything in his defense. You cannot judge a person by just what one guy is
telling you?! Or for example, when a couple are having a fight and one spouse
comes and tells you his side of the story, you immediately take his side without
hearing what the other spouse has to say. This will bring more friction between
the couple, which is wrong.

Remember that we are not here to judge people. That’s the job of the righteous judges. And anyway, the ultimate judgment is done by Hashem himself. Let us do the things that we are suppose to do, which is to be kind to our fellow human beings, and to serve G-d with joy!

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;


Parashat Re’eh!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parsha summary
followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Moshe says to the people of Israel, “I place before you
today a blessing and a curse” —  the blessing that will come when they fulfill
G-d’s commandments, and the curse if they abandon them.

A Temple should be established in “the place that G-d will choose to dwell His name there”, where the people should bring their sacrifices to Him; it is forbidden to make
offerings to G-d in any other place.

A false prophet, or one who entices others to worship idols, should be put to death; an idolatrous city must be destroyed. The identifying signs for kosher animals and fishes, and the list of non-kosher birds are repeated.

A tenth of all produce is to be eaten in Jerusalem, or else exchanged for money with which food is purchased and eaten there. Firstborn cattle and sheep are to be offered in the Temple and their meat eaten by the Kohen.

The mitzvah of charity obligates a Jew to aid a needy
fellow with a gift or loan. On the Sabbatical year (occurring every seventh
year) all loans are to be forgiven.

Our Parshah concludes with the laws
of the three pilgrimage festivals — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot — when all
should go to “see and be seen” before G-d in the Holy

” Dvar Torah ”

In this week’s Parsha, Moshe continues to review the Torah laws with the Benei Yisrael.
Being the last few week’s of his life, Moshe advices the Benei Israel that the
secret to their survival in the promised land is by keeping Hashem’s
commandments. One of the commandments that he reviews with them, is the mitzvah
of giving charity! He tells them the following: ” If there will be among you a
needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land that
Hashem, your G-d, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you shall
not close your hand from your needy brother. Rather, you shall open your hand to
him, and you shall lend him sufficient for his needs, which he is
lacking.”Then a few pasuks later, Moshe continues to say: ” You shall surely
give him, and let your heart not feel bad when you give him, for in return for
this matter, Hashem will bless you in all your deeds…”.

Although the verses are quite self-explanatory, but still, the Chachmim could find ambiguity in the writing. What bothers them is that why does Moshe emphasize so much on the feelings of heart when he commands the people to help the poor? “You shall
not harden your heart”…… “Let your heart not feel bad”….. Usually when the
Torah repeats something, it’s trying to convey an important message.
Accordingly, from these two verses, the Chachamim derive that when giving
charity, you have to feel happy in your heart, which means, you have to give
charity with “joy”. When giving charity, the feeling of happiness in your heart
is as important as the act of giving the money itself! Some Chachamim go as far
as to say that the money given to charity without a joy and happiness of the
heart, does not count as part of your “Ma-aser”- 10% obligatory donation towards

But you may ask yourself, what is the big deal in giving money
to charity and not feeling happy about it? After all, when the poor comes and
knocks on your door, he is not after love and affection, but rather, he’s after
your money! He doesn’t want you to “open your heart”; he wants you to open your
wallet!!! Or for example, if a guy wants to write a 1/2 Million dollar check for
a charity organization, why should it matter if he is not feeling happy inside?
Shouldn’t the organization take the money anyway? Money is money; isn’t it??!!!
Also, it is not so easy to be joyous when giving money to charity. After all,
you might think that the money you give to charity, is the amount that you would
be able to spend less on yourself and on your family! So, why does the Torah
insists so much that we should be happy when giving charity?

Well, there is a story written in the Talmud that best explains the reason for being joyous
when giving charity. The story goes as follows:   “During the time of our Holy
Temple in Jerusalem, a Jewish livestock owner was obligated to give 10% of his
new flock to the Temple. How was this done? Every year, around Rosh Hashana
time, he would pen all his new cattle, from a year old and younger, in an
enclosure. He would then open up the gate and let them out one at a time. As
each animal exited the enclosure he would count: one, two, three,…… seven,
eight and nine. When he counted the tenth he would mark the animal with a red
dye. That animal would then be set aside to be brought to Jerusalem. The
procedure was repeated until all the animals were counted.

A question is asked regarding this prescribed process. Why make the rancher endure this whole process of penning the animals and then driving them out the exit one at a time?
Why not just take ten percent off the top, add a few extra to ensure that no
less than required ten percent was given, and avoid this seemingly time
consuming and senseless procedure?

The answer is that a very profound message is being conveyed to the rancher by virtue of this process. As each animal goes out the door, it is as if the Almighty is telling the person, ‘One is for you, two is for you, three is for you…’ After giving the owner nine,
the Almighty then asks for only one. After getting to keep nine, the rancher is
content and realizes how all of his wealth comes from G-d and although he is
giving, he is getting much more from the Almighty.”

And this is precisely the reason why we should be happy when giving money to the poor! We have to realize that all that we have are given to us by the Almighty, and we should be
happy and delighted to be able to share a small amount of it with others!

Yes my friends, the reason that we give charity isnot because we
have pity for the poor. We give charity in order to acknowledge that whatever we
have are blessings from Hashem and we should be extremely happy to be given the
opportunity to help the poor. We should give money to charity with joy, since
any lack of joy may result in us thinking that we have accumulated all this
wealth on our own! If Hashem has showered us with so much blessings, then we
should be honored to share some of it with others. If Hashem can be so giving,
then, why can’t we??

Remember that life is all about sharing and caring
for others. Whether Hashem has blessed us with wealth, intelligence, physical
ability or even a writing talent, we are obligated to share it with others and
let the others benefit from it too. This is the way to thank Hashem for all that
He has blessed us with! Keeping this thought in our minds, then it won’t be so
difficult to feel happy when giving money to the poor!!

So, the next time someone needy knocks on your door and asks you for money, make sure you smile first. Before you give him anything, think of all the good things that Hashem
has blessed you with. Then open your hands and give him whatever your heart
desires. And don’t think for a moment that you are doing him any favors, but
rather, you’ve been chosen to take part in this wonderful mitzvah. Remember that
these kind of  opportunities don’t knock on your door everyday. You have been
given the privilege this time……… Don’t let it go to waste!!

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;


Parashat Eikev!

Dear Friends;

I hope you’ll enjoy the following Parashat summary
followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Moshe continues to encourage the Children of Israel to
trust in Hashem and in the wonderful rewards which He will provide them if they
keep the Torah. Moshe assures them that they will successfully defeat the
nations of Canaan, at which point they must remove every trace of idol worship
remaining in the Holy Land.

Moshe reminds them about the miraculous manna
and the other wonders which Hashem provided for them throughout the past forty
years, and he warns them to beware of their own future prosperity and military
success which might cause them to forget Hashem. He further reminds them of
their transgressions in the desert, retelling the story of the golden calf at
length, and describing Hashem’s abundant mercy with them.
Moshe teaches the people the second paragraph of the Shema which stresses the fundamental doctrine of reward and punishment based upon our performance of the mitzvot. The Parsha concludes with Hashem’s promise that He will provide the Jewish people with protection if they observe the laws of the Torah.

” Dvar Torah ”

In this week’s Parsha, Moshe once again, reviews the adventures of the Benei Israel in their forty years journey in the desert. He tells the people that all of their accomplishments throughout their lives are not because of their own intelligence and strength, but rather, they are all because of Hashem’s generosity and blessings that he has bestowed upon
them. And to prove his point, Moshe reminds the people of the “Manna”, the
heavenly bread that Hashem provided for them throughout their forty years
journey in the desert. He tells them that “Hashem afflicted you and let you
hunger, then He fed you manna……. in order to make you know that man does not
live on bread alone, but by the utterance of G-d’s mouth does man live.” Then a
few pasuks later he says: ” He (Hashem), who fed you manna in the desert which
your forefathers did not know, in order to afflict you and in order to TEST you,
to do good for you in the end.”

Well, the Chachamim don’t waste anytime
to come up with the following question. What kind of a test is Moshe talking
about? Up till now, we thought that the purpose of the manna was to supply
enough nutrition for the people in the desert, but now, Moshe is telling us that
the purpose was to test the people?! So, what kind of a test was the test of

Well, as usual, the commentators have difference of opinions in
regards to the answer to this question. Since the time and the space don’t allow
us to discuss them all, we shall review only a few of them.

Rashi explains that the “Test” was referring to the laws that govern the manna. One
could not store away any manna for the next day. One had to collect a double
portion on Friday, since there was no manna showered down on Shabbat. And so
forth. Hashem wanted to see if we could follow a simple set of rules or not! But
unfortunately, some people failed the test and kept some manna for the next day
and it got rotten. And some people went out on Shabbat to collect manna, but
they couldn’t find any!

Rambam explains that the “Test” was to see if the
people who received the miraculous heavenly bread on a daily basis for forty
years, do they still see it as a miracle after a while, or does it become normal
to them and they see it as an act of nature? He says that unfortunately, after a
while, for most of the people traveling in the desert, the manna became part of
their routine lives and they didn’t see it as a miracle anymore. Only when they
entered Eretz Israel, when the manna stopped, then they realized what a great
blessing they’ve been having in the past!! Sometimes, unfortunately, we don’t
realize what a great blessing we have until we don’t have it any

Sforno, who is another great medieval commentator, explains that
the test of Manna was to see if the Jews would still follow the Torah when they
did not have to worry about their everyday livelihood. You see, in the desert,
the Benei Israel had it very easy. They didn’t need to worry about making money
since everything was provided for them for free. Manna was showered down to
their doorsteps everyday; their clothes never wore out; they lived in tents, so
they didn’t have any mortgages. They had no worries, since they had no expenses!
Accordingly, they had a lot of spare time on their hand. What did they do with
their spare time? Did they spend their free time to study torah and get closer
to G-d, or did they spend it on complaining to Moshe the whole time and going
after the forbidden sins?! And that was the real test of Manna, Sforno explains!
Unfortunately, we see that the Benei Israel failed the test. Instead of being
thankful to Hashem for all the miracles, they spent their free time complaining
to Moshe the whole time and going after the forbidden sins!

Yes my friends, the test of manna is an ongoing test in every generation. When, G-d
forbid, we are faced with troubles, sickness, life-threatening danger or even
death, we all become religious. We all come to Kanissas. We all pray with
enthusiasm. We all say Tehillim with tears streaming down our cheeks. We all
give charity generously. But when things are going well, when they are going
wonderfully, do we give much thought to the Almighty? Do we still put on our
tefillins everyday? Do we still go to Kanissa every Shabbat? Do we still give
charity generously? And above all, do we still spend time on studying the

You see, there is a great test in “bread being showered down from
the heaven to our doorsteps”! Showered with blessings without an effort is a
dangerous thing! B”H, when we are blessed with prosperity, health and happiness,
it gives us a great amount of leisure time and freedom of action. What do we do
we our spare time? Do we use this time to acknowledge G-d and to get closer to
Him, or do we use it to go after the “forbidden”?? And this is the great test of
the “Manna” that challenges us in every generation!

May we always be showered with blessings and miracles, but may we also past the test and acknowledge that whatever we have is because of Hashem’s generous blessings, and
not because of our own intelligence and strength!

Shabbat Shalom
& Regards;


Parashat Korach!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Korach, Datan and Aviram, and 250 leaders of Israel rebel against the authority of Moshe and Aharon. The rebellion results in their being swallowed by the earth. Many resent their death and blame Moshe. G-d’s “anger” is manifest by a plague that besets the nation, and many thousands died. Moshe intercedes once again for the people. He instructs Aharon to atone for them and the plague stops. Then G-d commands that staffs of all the tribes, be placed in the Mishkan. In the morning the staff of Levi, bearing Aharon’s name, sprouts, buds, blossoms and yields ripe almonds which proves that Levi’s tribe is chosen for priesthood and verifies Aharon’s position as the High Priest.

The specific duties of the levi’im and kohanim are stated. The kohanim were not to be landowners, but were to receive their sustenance from the tithes and other mandated gifts brought by the people to the Mishkan.

” Dvar Torah ”

In this week’s parsha, we read about the disturbing story of Korach who rebelled against Moshe and Aaron and questioned their leadership. The Torah says that Korach along with Datan and Aviram gathered two hundred and fifty men, all of them leaders and men of renown, and they all came up to Moshe and Aaron with the following argument: ” It is too much for you! For the entire assembly, ALL of them are holy and Hashem is among them. Why do you elevate yourselves over the congregation of Hashem?”

Moshe responded to Korach by proposing a contest for the position of High Priest. He said to him: “You, your followers and Aaron, each shall bring an incense offering for Hashem tomorrow and the one whose offering is accepted by Hashem, he is the holy one.”

Moshe then tried to reason with them and told Korach that “you already have an important job of taking care of the Mishkan. Then why do you seek to get the priesthood and the leadership positions too?” Then he tried to talk sense into Datan and Aviram, but they won’t even come to sit at the table with Moshe. They didn’t want to work out their differences with Moshe. They just wanted Moshe to step down! They wanted a democratic election. They wanted Hashem to choose his leader from the candidates among each tribe.

Well, so far, in my opinion, their argument is not so much out of line. They wanted a confirmation from Hashem that Moshe and his brother Aaron are the true chosen leaders! But we suddenly see that Moshe is really upset and angry with Korach’s rebellious request. He tells Hashem: ” Do not turn to their offerings, for I have not even taken a single donkey of theirs, nor have I wronged even one of them.” And, eventually, he asks Hashem to kill them in such a supernatural way that no one has ever seen before. Soon after, the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and all their belongings, and they all descended alive to the pit. The earth covered them over and they were lost from the face of the earth forever.

The question that bothers the Chachamim is as follows. Why is Moshe so angry at Korach? Moshe has heard rebellious complaints from the people many times before, but he never reacted in this way. He always prayed to Hashem to forgive them for their sins, but this time he asked Hashem to not accept their offerings and eventually, he prayed for their destruction?! The Chachamim say that the severeness of a sin is measured by the method used to kill a convict when sentenced to death. So far, “stoning” was the worst method used in executing death penalties, but earth opening its mouth and swallowing the people alive, is by far the harshest method used! Accordingly, the Chachamim derive that Korach may have committed the worst sin of all times! So, what was the sin of Korach that both Hashem and Moshe couldn’t find it in their hearts to forgive? What did he do that was so wrong??

Well, a simple explanation is that Korach’s rebellious action was not against Moshe, but rather, it was against Hashem. He didn’t acknowledge Hashem’s decision in choosing Moshe and Aaron as the leaders, and that’s why Moshe was so upset. He wasn’t worried for his own honor, but he was worried that he may have disrespected the Almighty!

But Rabbi Frand has a different insight to this question which I found it to be more interesting. He says that the answer can be found in “one” word used in the first pasuk of this week’s parsha. It says “Korach son of Izhar, son of Kohath……. SEPARATED himself, with Datan and Aviram….. and stood before Moshe and Aaron!” Korach separated himself from the rest of the community; he created a division; he broke the chain of unity! And that was his biggest sin!!! Korach was not only held responsible for his own sin but for the affect it had on the nation. His rebellion divided the nation. He didn’t care what the rest of the community felt; he went after his own desires, disregarding the community’s interest. Moshe was not bothered by being challenged for the leadership position, but he was devastated to see Korach breaking the unity among his people. The Chachamim say that the sin of Korach was worse than the sin of the Golden Calf, since Hashem forgave the people accompanying the idolaters, but he didn’t forgive the people accompanying Korach; because the people at the time of Golden Calf were at least “united”.

Yes my friends, once again the Torah emphasizes the importance of unity. The foundation of Judaism is based on unity. Our only secret to survival is unity. Our strength and success is directly proportional to the level of our unity! There is nothing wrong to disagree with our leaders, but it should never create a division amongst the people. If there is a disagreement in the community for example, we should work it out together and have respect for each others view. We should each feel as a leader and look out for the interest of the whole community as a whole and not just ourselves. We should always have respect for our leaders and talk to them in a civilized manner and never humiliate them in public. Remember that we are all on the same team working towards the same goal. Nothing pleases Hashem more than to see his children getting along together. If only Korach would have approached Moshe in private and asked for a contest respectfully, then non of these would have happened. But unfortunately he did it in public, creating confusion and division amongst the people!

So my friends, remember that in a community we never use the words “You & Us”. It’s always US only!

Shabbat Shalom, Rosh Chodesh Tov & Regards;


9th Annual Mashadi Open Tennis Tournament

The Summer Tournament for All Community Members

Singles & Doubles

Singles: If we have enough people signing up, there will be two tournaments. Please indicate if you’d like to be in the over 35’s or under. You can choose regardless of your age.

Ages 16 and up (please specify singles, or doubles, or both): FREE

Registration deadline: Sunday June 2nd, 2013

Please email to signup

For more details:


Parashat Beha’alotcha!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Aaron is commanded to raise light in the lamps of the menorah, and the tribe of Levi is initiated into the service in the Sanctuary.

A “Second Passover” is instituted in response to the petition “Why should we be deprived?” by a group of Jews who were unable to bring the Passover offering in its appointed time because they were ritually impure. G-d instructs Moshe on the procedures for Israel’s journeys and encampments in the desert.

The people are dissatisfied with their “Heavenly Bread” (the manna) and demand that Moses supply them with meat. Moshe appoints 70 elders, by divine order, to assist him in the burden of governing the people.

Miriam speaks negatively of Moshe and is punished with “Tzaraat”; Moshe prays for her healing with the famous expression: “El Na Refa Na Lah”, which means:”Please G-d, heal her now.” The entire community waits seven days for her recovery.

” Dvar Torah ”

It always made me wonder about the motivation of someone who runs a marathon and comes in last. The charming couple in their sixties, strolling together towards the finish line–what made them do it? Each year, some 36,000 people line up to participate in the New York City Marathon, a grueling 26-mile route that snakes through all five Boroughs of the city. Of those thousands, only one will come out in front. Why do people run the marathon, knowing that they have no chance of coming in one of the top ten, top hundred or even the top thousand? Why do we still see the great joy on the face of the person who finishes at 35,898th position?! What’s the difference between the person who finishes last and the spectator who is just standing on the side line?

Well, the answer is quite simple. The people who run the marathon race, their aim is not to finish first, but rather, their aim is to just be a part of the race. For them, just completing the marathon itself is a badge of honor and pride, even if they finish last in the race.

In this week’s Parsha, the Torah describes the encampment of the Benei Yisrael in the desert. After hearing the sounds of the silver trumpets, the twelve tribes of Israel packed up their camp, lined up in designated order, and marched forth to their next destination. The tribe of Dan always marched last.

Their job was to bring up the rear and gather up any objects left behind; from missing socks, perhaps, all the way to lost children. They picked up after everyone else. It was not a very glorious role. Not nearly as impressive as leading the tribes, like Judah, or carrying the holy vessels like the Levites. But it was a job that needed to get done. They were dedicated to their job and they did never complain. They were just happy to be part the “race”, the race to serve Hashem!

And in addition to run a baggage claim department, the Danites also acted as a role model to the rest of the tribes. They were respected by the rest of the tribes because they never lost perspective. They showed everyone the importance of caring about other people’s property and be sensitive towards others. Those tribes who were the leaders or had an important job such as carrying the Mishkan, sometimes they would have become “baalei gaava”–haughty and they could have lost perspective. They would forget that it is Hashem who has given them their leadership positions. But by looking at the tribe of Dan and seeing how dedicated they are to their jobs, they learned to be humble again. The Danites, although were in last place, but they stayed focus to their job and were happy with what they were assigned to. They did what needed to be done and took care of the needs of others. With a wonderful blend of self-esteem, they felt no need to get ahead. They took pride in what they did and they were extremely happy just to be part of Hashem’s army!

Yes my friends, life is like a marathon race! The aim is not to finish first, but rather, the aim is just to be part of the race. And let’s not loose perspective. The race in life is not about who can accumulate more capital in their lifetime, nor is it about who can take the leadership positions, but the race is all about who can serve Hashem and be part of Hashem’s army. We are the Chosen people and we need to stay the Chosen people! This means that we have to follow Hashem’s commandments. But it doesn’t mean that we have to lead the race! Not everyone has to become Rabbis and great Talmid Chachams. Everyone can run at its own pace. As long as we try to do the best we can and we stay focused to our responsibilities as a Jew, we are doing fine. We started the race as a Jew and we have to finish the race as a Jew. Let’s not stop in the middle!

So my friends, take pride in being a Jew, be proud to be part of the race and be happy that you are not a spectator on the side line just like the rest of the world!

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;


Parashat Nasso!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parashat summary followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell”

After Hashem commands Moshe to purify the camp, the Torah describes the process to be carried out with a Sotah, a wife who was warned by her husband not to seclude herself with another man and was subsequently found doing so. She is taken to the Kohen in the Temple and, if she doesn’t admit her guilt, given sacred bitter waters to drink which will lead to one of two results: The waters will either establish her innocence, removing any doubt from her husband’s mind by blessing her with a child, or the waters will prove her guilt through a miraculous, horror death.

The Torah then describes the laws of the Nazir, a person who has voluntarily accepted upon himself to adopt a special state of holiness, usually for thirty days, by abstaining from eating or drinking any grape products, from cutting his hair, and from becoming contaminated through contact with a dead body.

After relating the blessings by which the Kohanim will bless the people, the parsha concludes with a lengthy listing of the offerings brought by each of the twelve tribal leaders during the dedication of the Mishkan for regular use. Each prince brought identical gifts which included gold, silver, animal, and meal offerings.

” Dvar Torah ”

The foundation for a solid marriage is based upon four things: Love, trust, respect and forgiveness. If any one of these four ingredients are missing in a marriage, then it creates instability in the union. And the most critical one of them all is, “trust”! Because once you start mistrusting your spouse, then the suspicion will eventually ruin your marriage. So, what do you do if you suspect your spouse of being engaged in immoral activities? What if you don’t trust your spouse of being faithful? How can you get a peace of mind? How could he or she prove her innocent? How can you build that trust again?

Well, in this week’s parsha, the Torah does talk about the man who suspects his wife of committing adultery. The topic is called “Isha Sotah”, a woman who is accused of committing adultery (literally translated as, “one who has strayed”). If she denies the claim, then the husband may take her to the Kohen. Under rare circumstances, if the husband demands for it, she is forced to drink a potion which reveals whether she is guilty or innocent. The way this drink works is quite dramatic. If she is truly innocent, once she drinks it, nothing happens to her and Hashem rewards her and her family with blessing them with a healthy baby. However, if she is guilty, the drink causes her stomach to rupture, killing her in a most dramatic way.

One of the ingredients of this so called “bitter water”, is the ink written on a parchment which is scraped from the parchment’s surface and poured into the water. The writing on the parchment includes the entire text of the Sotah’s oath written in the Torah which also includes Hashem’s full name in its original Hebrew letters.

The question that bothers the Chachamim is why the procedure includes erasing Hashem’s name from the parchment and adding it to the potion? Under normal circumstances, erasing Hashem’s name is strictly forbidden. Some Chachamim even go as far as to say that even erasing or deleting Hashem’s name in foreign languages are also prohibited. That’s why some Torah commentators avoid writing G-o-d, and they replace it with “G-d”!  So, If erasing Hashem’s name is consider to be a sin, why couldn’t Hashem perform a miracle without having to erase His name? Why was it necessary for Hashem’s name to be written on the parchment?! Why did Hashem make an exception this time and allow his name to be erased? What was so special about this case?

The Chachamim give the following explanation. First of all, we have to understand that the accused woman is quite guilty. The husband cannot just bring his wife to the Kohen and accuse her of adultery. He had to have seen his wife talking to a strange man in private for a while. In front of two witness, he had to give her a warning not to do it again. But she still ignores the warning and goes with the same strange man in a secluded closed area for a certain period of time. You may say, the man had all the rights to suspect her. She disobeyed the warning, she disrespected her husband’s disapproval and went after her own feelings. The husband has good grounds for a divorce case!
Halachicly, the husband and wife are not required to take the “Sotah” test. They can get a divorce right there and then. But this is when Hashem intervenes. He says I’m willing to do a miracle for you, just to save your marriage. I’m even willing to erase my name, just to get rid of the suspicion, in order to keep your “Shalom Bayit”–peace and harmony in your house !!!  Hashem desires that His name be erased in an effort to repair this marriage. Hashem knows that the woman has done something wrong and she has disobeyed her husband, but He is showing us, in order to keep a healthy relationship between husband and wife, there has to be sacrifices and forgiveness! If Hashem can tolerate the wife’s misdeed and is willing to erase his name to save the marriage, then so should the husband!

Keep in mind that going through the “Sotah” procedure is very embarrassing for the wife. Everyone will know that she’s been flirting with another man. But she’s sorry and is willing to go through this shameful process in order to keep their marriage. Public humiliation is no match to win the trust of her husband back! The husband is also making a big sacrifice. He has to overlook and to forgive his wife’s act of indecency! When both husband and wife have done their share of sacrifices, only then, Hashem will intervene miraculously and bring peace in their home and will shower them with the best blessing of all time, which is, a healthy new child!!

Yes my friends, to build a union between man and a woman, you need to have at least three of the main ingredients: love, trust and respect. But if you want it to last forever, you need to have the ability to sacrifice and to forgive. If Hashem is willing to sacrifice his holy name in order to keep the peace and harmony between the husband and his wife, then we should be willing to sacrifice too! Keeping the “Shalom Bayit” is so important that sometimes you are allowed and even obligated to bend the rules! In a relationship, we have to be forgiving and sometimes to overlook our spouse’s mistakes. Yes, mistakes do happen! Sometimes, one spouse does something without the approval of the other! As a result, it can either turn into a big argument, or if both parties are willing to sacrifice and to forgive, then they can keep the peace and harmony in their relationship and they can continue to live a happy life. All it takes is to have the courage to say “I’m sorry” and the will to forgive!

Imagine if the “strayed woman” is blessed with a healthy child when she gains back the trust of her husband, then how much more blessings is Hashem going to bestow upon us if we never loose the spouse’s trust in the first place!

Shabbat Shalom and regards;


Parashat Bamidbar!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parashat summary followed by a Dvar

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Parshat Bamidbar, is primarily involved with the census taken of the Jewish
people in the second month of their second year in the desert. After listing the
leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel, the Torah presents the totals of men
between the ages of twenty and sixty for each tribe, the overall count being
603,550. The encampment structure is then described, with the tribe of Levi in
the middle, safeguarding the Tabernacle and surrounded by the twelve tribes of
Israel, each in their own designated area. The appointment of the tribe of Levi
as the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people is presented, and their own census
is taken, apart from the rest of Israel.

The Parsha concludes with the instructions given to the family of Kehat, the
second son of Levi, for their role in dealing with the most sacred parts of the

” Dvar Torah ”

This week’s Parasha, is the start of the fourth book of the Torah called
“Bamidbar” which means ” in the desert”, but it’s mostly referred to and named
as the “Book of Numbers”. A major theme running throughout the Book of Numbers
is, well, “numbers”! The first few chapters in particular are a statistician’s
delight! It lists the number of army-age men in each of the twelve tribes, both
individually and in the aggregate, and it also lists the number of Levites,
broken down into various categories.

In the beginning of this week’s Parsha, Moshe was told to count the Jewish males
who are entitle and should be enrolled for the Army. The Torah says: “Take a
census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel according to their
families, according to their fathers’ household, by number of the names, every
male according to their head count. From twenty years of age and up — everyone
who goes out to the legion in Israel — you shall count them according to their
legions, you and Aaron.” This count included every tribe, except that of Levi.
They were reserved for a separate count. And their count was not of men ages
twenty and up. It began with a much younger crew. They were counted from one
month of age and up!

The obvious questions that comes to my mind, which probably comes to your minds
too, are as follows. Why were the tiny babies included in the count? Why were
the infants of the tribe of Levi counted and not the infants of the other
tribes? If Hashem believes in equality, that every Jewish soul should be counted
as ONE, then why to show favoritism towards the tribe of Levi and give them a
twenty years head start over the rest of the tribes? After all, what qualities
do the Levites’ children have, that are missing in the other eleven tribes,
which makes them worthy of a count, just like the strong soldiers in the army?

The Chachamim give the following explanation. The tribe of Levi were in charge
of safeguarding the sanctity of the Mishkan, the mobile sanctuary for Hashem.
They were not suppose to take parts in any legions of an army, but rather, they
were suppose to dedicate their lives in serving Hashem. To acknowledge Hashem,
to take part in serving Hashem and to work in the sanctuary, does not require a
minimum age. You can learn to serve Hashem at a very young age, even when you
are a baby! The tribe of Levi acted as teachers, mentors and Rabbis to the
entire congregation, and even their children were role models among the rest of
the children. The Torah is telling us that in order to be a soldier, you need to
be mature and physically fit, but to be able to serve Hashem, you require to be
holy and pure — two characteristics that can be found more commonly in
children. It’s true that most of the mitzvot in the Torah are for men above the
Bar Mitzvah age, but to learn Torah and to learn how to serve Hashem, you can
start at a very young age! The Levite’s fathers not only spent their time
teaching the Torah to the entire nation, but they spent a lot of time teaching
their own children, since they knew that they are going to be the future
teachers and Rabbis. And the Levites’ children loved to learn Torah and eagerly
followed their father’s foot steps in every step of the way in working in
sanctuary and to teach the other children. Both the children and their fathers
knew the importance of their task, and that’s why they were counted equally.
Imagine, if Hashem is respecting the Levites’ children so much that He includes
them in the count just for learning Torah from their fathers, then how much more
respect and encouragement we should give to our children when they learn Torah
and perform its Mitzvot!

Yes my friends, our children are our future! They are the ones who will continue
to safeguard our Torah, our heritage, our customs and our sanctity. And we are
the ones in charge of teaching it to them. Sometimes it’s difficult for us, or
we don’t have the time to teach the Torah to our children. That’s when we need
the help of the Rabbis, the Talmud Torahs and the Yeshivas to teach it to them.
Because, G-d forbid, if we don’t teach them the Torah, then who will safeguard
our heritage and who will pass on our three thousand years old religion to the
next generations?

Keep in mind that children can learn from a very young age. They observe and
they learn. I never forget the time when my older son, Ariel, was 3 or 4 years
old. One Sunday morning when I overslept, he came up to my bed, shook me and
said: “Dad–Dad! Wake up–wake up! You have to put that black thing on your
head!” I didn’t even know that he noticed me putting on the tefillin before?!
Now, B”H, the time has almost come for him to put that black thing on his head!!

So, we can see how important are the roles of the children when it comes to
Torah and mitzvot. In the Torah, they are given the same count as the heros on
the battlefield! Because they are the heros of our future! May G-d bless them

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;


Parashiot Behar-Bechukotai!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parashiot summaries, followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parashiot in a Nutshell ”

On the Mount Sinai, G-d tells Moshe the laws of the sabbatical year: every seventh year, all work on the land should cease, and its produce becomes free for the taking for all, man and beast.

Seven sabbatical cycles are followed by a fiftieth year — the jubilee year, on which work on the land ceases, all servants are set free, and all ancestral estates in the Holy Land that have been sold revert to their original owners. Additional laws governing the sale of lands and the prohibitions against fraud and lending money for interest are also given.

G-d promises that if the people of Israel will keep His commandments, they will enjoy material prosperity and dwell secure in their homeland. But He also delivers a harsh “rebuke” warning of the exile, persecution and other evils that will befall them if they abandon their covenant with Him. Nevertheless, “Even when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away; nor will I ever destroy them and to break My covenant with them; for I am the L-rd their G-d.”

The Parshah concludes with the rules on how to calculate the value of different types of pledges made to G-d.

” Dvar Torah ”

Nearly all the mitzvot given in the Torah are the laws either concerning the relationship between man and G-d, or the relationship between man and man. However, in this week’s Parashat Behar, the Torah talks about a mitzvah concerning the relationship between man and the land!

In Parashat Behar, the main topic of discussion is about the laws of “Shemitah”- the Sabbatical year for the land of Israel. All agricultural work in the Land of Israel must come to stop during every seventh year cycle. The laws of Shemitah requires the land to be at complete rest for the entire seventh year. It means that on the seventh year there is no sowing seeds, no plowing, no harvesting, no adding fertilizers and no watering the crops either!
Wow, this is a very difficult mitzvah to observe, especially in the old days, when the majority of the people were either farmers or shepherds. Not only you were unable to plant in order to feed your own family, but cutting off your livelihood completely for an entire year, requires an incredible amount of faith, especially when the entire nation plans to do the same thing at the same time.

But Hashem gives his assurance for those who keep the laws of Shemitah. The Torah says: ” The land will give its fruit [in the preceding years] and you will be satisfied; you will dwell securely upon it”.
After such a powerful promise, the Torah then brings up a hypothetical question to be raised by the people, namely, “What will we eat in the seventh year — behold! we will not sow and we will not gather our crops!”. And then Hashem reassures the people by saying: ” I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year and [the land] will yield a crop sufficient for three-year period “. This means that the sixth year will give sufficient crops until the end of the eight year!

But the Chachamim are bothered by the “double” assurances! First the Torah tells us that ” The land will give its fruit and you will be satisfied”! After such a guarantee, why should there be a doubt in people’s mind to ask ” What will we eat in the seventh year?” Why should Hashem promise again that the sixth year will produce three times a regular year?? Wasn’t the first assurance good enough??

The Chachamim give the following explanation. First of all, the reason that Hashem gave us the Mitzvah of “Shemitah” is not because the land needs to rest. Land does not need to rest! This is apparent from observing the lands outside Israel. Do you think that the vineyards in California or France produce less quality grapes than the ones in Israel? Although the non-Jews work their fields year after year after year, without a brake, they still produce good quality crops and fruits! Accordingly, the Chachamim say that the whole purpose of Shemitah is for the Jews to take a break from their routine lives and to realize that it’s not because of their hard labor that the land produces so much crops, but rather, it’s because of G-d’s will that they have accomplished to gather all these crops. Hashem can still feed them without them needing to work, if He wants to! The seventh year is the time to take our minds out of the material world and engage ourselves in spirituality. It’s the time to remind ourselves that our livelihood comes from Hashem’s blessings, and not from the strength of our arms, nor from the intelligence of our brain.

Accordingly, the Chachamim conclude that the mitzvah of Shemitah is a test! It’s a test of faith! Those who are true believers are satisfied with Hashem’s first assurance; that ” the land will produce its fruit and you will be satisfied “. They fully trust in Hashem that he will provide, which means that they will be satisfied with whatever Hashem provides for them! But those who lack in faith, they want to see a physical miracle. That’s why Hashem gives a second assurance for those people, that ” in the sixth year you will yield three times the regular crops! Since these people lack in faith, Hashem doesn’t want them to enter the seventh year being worried! He shows them the miracle before hand!  Hashem can tolerate people who lack in faith, since even these people are blessed to get crops for the seventh year. But G-d forbid, for those non-believers who don’t keep the Shemitah laws at all, the Torah says that they will be eventually be thrown out of their lands!

Although, the laws of Shemitah does not apply to many of us today, since we either don’t live in the land of Israel or we are not farmers, but the Chachamim use the same reasoning to explain the concept of Shabbat to us. Accordingly, they also say that the reason that Hashem has given us Shabbat is not because we need a day of rest every week, but rather, it’s a day that we should stop working and come to realize that whatever we’ve achieved in the previous week is not because of our hard work and our intelligence, but it’s because of Hashem’s generous blessings, and its He who provides our livelihood! It’s a day we should spend with the Almighty, go to Shul, pray and be thankful to him!

Yes my friends, all of our sustenance comes from the heaven above. No matter how smart we are or how mighty is our physical strength, our livelihood is fully dependent on G-d’s will! And to realize that, we need to take sometime off our routine lives and spend it with the Almighty. Making a living is a test of faith. Those of us who are true believers, we will eat and we will be satisfied with whatever Hashem has provided for us. But those of us who lack in faith, need to constantly run and worry about our future! In the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot we read the book of “Pirkei Avot”. In it, it says “Who is rich? Rich is the one who is happy with his share”. So one of the greatest blessings is to be satisfied with what you have.

You know, the best thing about having faith is that it gives you a peace of mind! So have faith and believe in the Almighty. He’ll stand up to his task if you show him your faith!

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;




Parashat Emor & the importance of “Life”!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parashat summary followed by Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

This week’s Parsha begins with the special laws dedicated to the Kohanim, the Kohen Gadol (“High Priest”), and the Temple service. A Kohen may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, unless it’s a close relative. A Kohen may not marry a divorcee, nor a harlot; and a Kohen Gadol can only marry a virgin. A Kohen with a physical deformity cannot serve in the Holy Temple, nor can a deformed animal be brought as an offering.

A newborn calf, lamb, or kid must be left with its mother for seven days before being eligible for an offering; one may not slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day.

The Torah then discusses the festivals throughout the year: (Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret); followed by two constant mitzvot maintained in the Mishkan: the lighting of the menorah every day and the displaying of the “show-bread” every week.

The parsha concludes with the horrible incident of a man who cursed G-d’s name (blasphemy) and was subsequently punished with the death penalty at Hashem’s command.

” Dvar Torah ”

I would like to dedicate this week’s Dvar Torah to Eluy Nishmat Nissan Ben Yona , late Mehran Hakimian (Mortezazadeh). May these Divrei Torahs help to bring comfort to his soul and to all of us who miss him dearly. Accordingly, with your permission, I would like to deviate from the weekly Parsha and say a few words on the importance of “Life”! I hope that you’ll enjoy reading it:

“Life”, is by far the most precious thing anyone can possess. Every man’s dream is to live a long life. Even the animals know the importance of life since every single one of them has to fight for his life in order to survival. Out of all the greatest blessings in the world that a person can ask for, whether it’s health, happiness or prosperity,  the blessing of longevity surpasses the rest by far, because you need to be alive in order to receive the other blessings!

The Torah also talks about the importance of life. In Parashat Nitzavim, , Moshe gathers the entire congregation On the last day of his life to give them his farewell speech. He basically tells them the secret to survival in the land of Israel. If they would follow G-d’s commandments, Hashem will bless them and they will prosper in the promised Land, but G-d forbid if they do not follow, they will be accursed and they will perish from the Land. Towards the end of his speech, Moshe tells them the following: ” I call upon you today, the heaven and the earth as witnesses for you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. And you shall choose LIFE, so that you and your children may live.”

So we see that even Moshe Rabeinu, just before his death, gives advice to the nation to choose life over death. Although Moshe was about to leave this world for a better place, a place which he could be closer to the Almighty which he loves so much, but he still wanted the people to know that the life in this world is more precious than anything else. You could tell that Moshe was very sad as he was about to leave this world!

But the question that comes to mind is, what is so special about life that the Torah demands from us to choose life over death? In Judaism, life is so important that the Halacha says that under no circumstances death has priority over life. Suicide is strictly forbidden! Even in the case of a very sick person, we have to fight for his life till the last second. To demonstrate the importance of life, the Torah tells us that the reward for honoring parents which is considered to be one of the hardest mitzvot of the Torah, is longevity.

But on the other hand, in Talmud it says that the world that we live in is just a corridor to get us through to our ultimate destination, “Olam Haba”- the world to come! It is there that our souls are going to live forever! It is there that there won’t be any pain or suffering anymore! It is there that every soul is going to be closer to the Almighty! So why can’t we speed up our journey to get to our final destination? Why does the Torah give preference to life over death?

The Chachamim give the following explanation. The only reason that this world has superiority over the world to come is because, only in this world we can perform the mitzvot of the Torah. Not necessarily the mitzvot between man and G-d, but mainly the mitzvot between man and man. The mitzvot such as to give charity, to help the poor, to respect parents, to be honest in business, to treat your employee with respect and to pay his wages on time, to visit the sick, to not take revenge, to not hold a grudge and to love your friend like yourself. All these things can only be done in this world! The Torah is telling us to choose life, because only in this life we have the chance to take care of others! Only in this world we can show compassion towards other human beings! Hashem wants us to live a meaningful life, a life committed to values and a higher purpose. In the world to come, we’ll have enough time to spend with the Almighty, but we will never have the chance to care for others!

Yes my friends, life is the greatest gift from the Heaven above; cherish every moment of it. Be very happy that you are alive and show your appreciation to G-d. Use your lifetime to accomplish, to grow, to improve and above all, to do G-d’s wishes. G-d has granted us a life but He has given us a mission too, and that is to have compassion for each other and to care for one another! Remember that to take care of others, to be kind to others and to forgive others is only possible to do in this world. In the world to come, you won’t be able to visit the sick, because there will be no more sick people there. You won’t be able to help the poor, because there won’t be any more poor people there.  So, let us not waste our precious lives in this world on the irrelevant issues and let us follow the path that Hashem is showing us. After all, life is only worth living, if there is a purpose to life!

This week, we have lost a dear friend. Mehran was a good husband, a good father, a good brother, a good son, a good friend and a good colleague. Although it may seem that his life may have ended a little too soon, but he has lived a full life according to the Torah. He understood the mission of life and he fulfilled it at its best. In his life time, he took care of so many people and he helped so many individual without asking for anything in return. He has touched the hearts of so many people from young to elderly that most people cannot achieve even if they would live for a full century. Yes, we may have lost a great person in this world,  but his soul will be a great gain in the Heaven above. We shall miss him greatly and we shall never forget him!

May he rest in peace and may Hashem comfort his family and everyone who loved him.

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;