4 parshiot and leadership

We are going all the way back to Parshat Yitro. Parshat Yitro is about receiving the 10 commandments and teaching Moshe and all future leaders how to lead properly. In parsha Yitro we say Nassah V Nishma- we will do and we will listen basically accepting the Torah and all of its commandments. Why does such a holy Parsha carry the name of Yitro who was not even Jewish? Because Yitro taught Moshe that in order to be a good leader you cannot do everything yourself, but rather you must delegate and set up court systems and teach others your knowledge. From there we go into parsha Mishptaim which many people find to be a let down from Yitro because it deals with the mundane laws of every day living. But really it is just the opposite   in order to live a spiritual life that will affect you and others around you must know what to do every day in terms of the Torah. It is all about Nasah V Nishamh a theme that runs throughout the all parshaiot. We will do – we will live our lives and we will listen- according to the Torah. From there we go into parsha’s Treumah, in Treumah we deal with the gifts to the Kohanim. Where we give the Kohanim and the Levim part of our crops and our flocks as a gift as mandated by the Torah. This goes completely against the human nature. As humans we do not like to part with stuff that we worked hard to earn. This all about teaching us to be leaders in this world, to do and to listen. When we get to the next parsha Tetzvah, we see two more examples of leadership here. When the Jewish people sinned with the golden calf, Moshe when asking Hashm to forgive the Jewish people, said if you do not forgive them take me out of your Torah. Moshe wasn’t issuing a threat, rather realizing that without the Jewish people he had failed in his job as their leader and did not want to be separated from them. A true leader will do everything possible for his people, to the extent of giving up his honor and possibly even his life to save others. So therefore Moshe’s name is not mentioned in the entire parsha. Tetzvah tells us all about the clothing of the Kohanim (begda Kehuna) From here we see that while clothing does not make the man, when the man is truly worthy on the inside, his clothing will reflect that without any effort on his part. The Kohanim did not , the Kohen Gadol did not ask for these clothing but rather they were given to them with specific instructions on how to wear them and when. This is an important concept in the idea that the clothes make the man, you have to be worthy first to be the Kohen Gadol before you get to wear the clothes.


What does Parshas Bo, Tu’B”Shevat, Parshat Be’shalach and the pasuk פותח את ידך,ומשביע לכל חי רצון, have in common with each other?   In parshas Bo we learn about respect, and we also get three mitzvahs.  In terms of respect we are shown by the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu never addresses Pharaoh by anything less […]


An Idea from the Ohr Hachaim. We see that Moshe turns to Hashm and asks how could it be, that my coming has made the pain worse for my brethren? You promised me that I was here to take them out. We see from Hashm’s response that he truly feels our pain and cares about us. He responds to Moshe by first reminding him that had appeared to Avahram, Yitzchok, and Yaackov each separately in their own time due to their own merits. So he asks rhetorically how can it be that I who appeared to the forefathers of this nation do not care for them. He says I feel their pain, and I hear their voices crying out, I want to bring them out, but it is not yet the right time. It must be done in the proper way so that they can become the nation they are supposed to be. 


What does this teach us? It teaches us the more we cry out and connect to G-d the more he is invested in us. He wants to take us out, but we must first reach that pinnacle that will allow us to reach and fulfill our full potential. May we merit to see the coming of Mashiach soon and speedily in our days!

Sharp Foods

Taken from the Kashrus in the Kitchen Q & A by Rabbi A Weisenfeld

What is considered a sharp food?

The following foods when raw; onion, radish, garlic, leek, and horseradish, lemons, limes, esrog. Lemon juice, salty fish, olives, pickles, brine and according to some vinegar.

Preparation of sharp food : includes such objects as grates, knives, slicer, choppers, pestle,shredder and forks.Therefore one should be careful to mark these objects in a manner which is easily noticeable to know if they are meat, diary, or pareve.

Does one need to wait 6 hours between eating an onion which was cut with a clean meat knife and eating dairy? No

One should not cook a meat onion with dairy foods. If one did so and wishes to eat the food, he must make sure that the diary food is 60 times the amount as the size of the knife blade that was used to cut the onion. ( only the part that was actually used must be used in calculations.

Even if the knife was not used in the last twenty-four hours when cutting sharp foods the taste comes out due to the pressure the knife applies.

You are not allowed to cut an onion with a diary knife on meaty plate.

A peeled onion placed on a non pareve plate stays pareve. Placing a peeled onion on cold meat, makes that onion become meaty.

After eating sharp food that was fried in meaty pan, one does not need to wait six hours before eating diary.


A quick thought on Shemos from Rashi.

At the end of the book of Bershishs  we see the Jewish people have been counted as they went down to Egypt, and their names told to us.  Now the first line in the book of Shemos  tells us again the names of the Jewish people according to their tribes. Why? The idea that I heard at a Shabbos table this week, is the following that you cannot see the stars or the moon when the sun is shining for  the most part. So when Yaackov was still alive he was considered like the sun, and it was only after he passed away that the greatness of the tribes and their descendants was able to be seen. Every person can shine, because we are each a star in our own way, don’t get disappointed or frustrated when you stand next to a sun, that person too is just a star, you will be able to shine in a different area focus on your strong points to begin with and slowly but surely you will be able to become stronger in all areas of your life.  Yaackov is likened to the sun because he was Emet and Tiferet. Which means that he brought about balance in this world by connecting the middahs of chessed and din.

Vayechi- The end of an Era

As heard from Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein on Torah Anytime

This year Parshas Vayechi fell out on the same week as Asarah B’Tevet.  Asarah B’Tevet is all about remembering beginnings and being aware of their importance and how it affects the present and the future. Parshas Vayechi is about what’s in a name and hakarot hatov (having thanks/gratitude). How are the two connected?  When we look at the names of Yosef’s children, Menashe’s name means  “Hashem has comforted me and made me forget where I came from and my family, along with all the trials that came with them”.  Where as Ephraim’s name means “Hashem has given me success in a foreign country that is not my own, and has allowed me to carry out my father’s legacy in this strange place”. We learn from this that Ephraim sat and learned Torah. It is because of this sign of hakarot hatov that Yaackov blessed Ephraim with his right hand the stronger of the two.

The tenth of Tevet is about the first breaching of the walls of Yerushalayim it was a symbol of what was yet to come, it was a chance to do teshuva. Even more so today, it is a reminder of what happens when we don’t follow the Torah, when we don’t have achdus among ourselves. It’s a forebearer of the coming of Mashiach, but only if we pay attention to the lessons that we are supposed to be learning from it.

Accepting Responsibility Parsha Vayigash

As heard from Rabbi Ariel Shoshan of Ahavas Torah Shul – Scottsdale, Arizona

In Parshas Vayigash we see Yosef and his brothers meeting and being aware of who Yosef is.  Yet we also see for the first time in Jewish history someone taking responsibility for their own actions.  Where do we see this, first off with Yehuda who steps up to the plate for Binyamin.   In the way he never did for Yosef,  by pleading for Yosef to keep him instead. Because, if Binyamin does not return  with the brothers, then not only will his father die of a broken heart, but Yehuda will lose his portion in the world to come.  By Yehuda taking responsibility for  what was happening with Binyamin, who was and is innocent in the whole matter, we see Yosef revealing himself to them.  We see their embarrassment at what they did in their past, but it does not stop them from understanding and knowing that they where wrong and owning up to that. 

This generation will be the generation to bring the Mashiach.  Because our desires ( the good and the bad ones) have become accessible wherever we are.  Therefore, in order to overcome them we have to overcome our embarrassment that goes along with that.