Category Archives: Chabad.

Parashat Va’yera וַיֵּרָ֤א

Genesis 18 – 22

א וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ יְהוָ֔ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א וְה֛וּא יֹשֵׁ֥ב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹ֖הֶל כְּחֹ֥ם הַיּֽוֹם׃
ב וַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה֙ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים נִצָּבִ֖ים עָלָ֑יו וַיַּ֗רְא וַיָּ֤רָץ לִקְרָאתָם֙ מִפֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרְצָה׃ 
A coversation with my Rabbi.
For the last several weeks I have had a wonderful conversation with my Rabbi about the beginning of Bereshit and the message that Hashem has given us through the Torah. One of the central questions that have to be answered in the story of Adam and Hava is why. Why? What is the purpose of this story and why has the majority of religions perceived this story as one of sin and punishment?
What if there another story, that is not so popular. One that belongs to the original holders of the Torah. What if Adam and Hava followed the path that has lead every one of their children to have a place in the world of Tikkun?
Did Adam and Hava really sin? Or, did they simply obey, and fixed the world that was outside the Garden? A world that was the lowest part. Judaism believes that sometimes one has to sin to do something greater. Not, the means justify the end, but something, that has to be done, to bring about the will of Hashem, that is greater than the moment.
You may ask, how did they fix the world? Look at this world and all its problems. This is not a world I would want for anyone, you might say. Yes, this world has a million and one problems or should I say six billion problems. And this is the beauty of it all. We all have a garden to make and a world to keep.
What if you were and Doctor and no one ever got sick or became ill. Being a doctor was your only job forever. What would you do in a world that? A perfect world.
I’m not claiming to know the mind of Hashem. Or, why things are so terrible in this world. I can only see that there are some very beautiful people in this world and they make this world worthwhile.
You see, now, I have an obligation to humanity and also, to Hashem, every day. I have to emulate Hashem in this world. To care for the stranger and the widow and the orphan. To care for my fellow Jew. To visit the ones in prison. To feed the hungry and to care for my family. To teach them the way of righteousness and judgment. To teach them the way of our fathers and mothers.
Being Jewish is a practice and not something that one ever learns completely. We are always learning and practicing. And yes, many times we miss the mark. It is something you do every day. Day in and day out, whether you feel like it or not. Our faith requires that we take responsibility for this world and not try to give it to someone else. In the end, Hashem is asking each one of us, “where have you gone”?

Parashat Va’era -וָאֵרָ֗א

Parashat Va’era

Exodus 6 – 9

ב וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֵלָ֖יו אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה׃

ג וָאֵרָ֗א אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֶל־יִצְחָ֥ק וְאֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֖ב בְּאֵ֣ל שַׁדָּ֑י וּשְׁמִ֣י יְהוָ֔ה לֹ֥א נוֹדַ֖עְתִּי לָהֶֽם׃

ד וְגַ֨ם הֲקִמֹ֤תִי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי֙ אִתָּ֔ם לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶ֖ם אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן אֵ֛ת אֶ֥רֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶ֖ם אֲשֶׁר־גָּ֥רוּ בָֽהּ׃

(2) And God spoke unto Moses, and said unto him: ‘I am the LORD; (3) and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name ….a I made Me not known to them.

The words of Hashem as the “ וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֵלָ֖יו אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ (3) וָאֵרָ֗א אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֶל־יִצְחָ֥ק וְאֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֖ב בְּאֵ֣ל שַׁדָּ֑י וּשְׁמִ֣י יְהוָ֔ה לֹ֥א נוֹדַ֖עְתִּי לָהֶֽם׃ ” are a secret, that is revealed in the names of the El of Abraham, El of Isaac, El of Yaacov.

The world was built on love/chesed and brought into a place of chaos and then rectification. These three things are the foundations of the world.
So many of us are like a child of three years old and our love and faithful obedience toward those we love is blind and untrained. We see the world as a child. We are nieve and unable to see around the corners.
Many are like Yosef at the age of seventeen, immature and unable to be directed, because we know everything, and our goals and dreams must be first, and primary to all others wishes and objectives. Our careers are what we are chasing, and Hashem will have to wait, until I am ready, to hear from Him. The one chasing this world does not need direction from above, to find the way below. Do you remember seventeen and know everything?
Wo, are my grey hairs, for I am a man of eighty.  With much strength, and wisdom, to bring stability, and balance to the world.  But the world has passed me by because it has failed in its own self-portrait. Like Moses, sent at eighty to free a people that were destined to be great but had to be strengthened in the fire of Egypt, in that narrow place. Moses was eighty, you see?
The world has not given to those in need. The world has not helped the ones, who need help the most. The world has not forgiven the ones that need forgiveness, the guilty have lost hope of ever being forgiven. We all have sought honor for ourselves, and everything given, must have something in return, to give to me, or it is not worth my time or effort.  There must be a reward for everything, I do.
Remember, that you were once in that same state, of not knowing. Like a child and then young, looking for a friend to help you overcome the ordeal you were standing in. Empathy was looking to find a home, but you were hurt, and offended, by someone’s words, and could not give, or share a kind word of support.
You see, loving kindness built this world, and judgment will one day have its place. Abraham taught us this lesson when asked Hashem, to save the wicked along with the righteous in that place. Isaac was not offended when the wells of his father were covered up and no longer provided living water to those who needed it. Great love, have they, who love your Torah and nothing shall offend them.
Can you not see, that the world is not a place of sin and punishment, but a place to grow, and to become like the El of Abraham, the El of Isaac and the El of Yaacov. A place of chesed, strength, and truth, all working together. Everyone working as a crew, together, to bring us to the mountain of Hashem to serve Him there. To do and to hear. That was the plan. On that day Hashem will be One and His name will be  ONE.
Hashem gave Israel a free gift in Egypt. As He defeated the Egyptians through His ten emunations and then He took us out to the place of words, and then told us, now you must do it yourselves. You must defeat, this world.

 

 

Parashat Shemot

Parashat Shemot

Exodus 1 – 6

א וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַבָּאִ֖ים מִצְרָ֑יְמָה אֵ֣ת יַעֲקֹ֔ב אִ֥ישׁ וּבֵית֖וֹ בָּֽאוּ׃

ברְאוּבֵ֣ן שִׁמְע֔וֹן לֵוִ֖י וִיהוּדָֽה׃

ג יִשָּׂשכָ֥ר זְבוּלֻ֖ן וּבְנְיָמִֽן׃

ד דָּ֥ן וְנַפְתָּלִ֖י גָּ֥ד וְאָשֵֽׁר׃

 

My thoughts this week in the Torah Portion comes from a lecture I heard from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks where he states ”

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” said Moshe to God. “And how can I possibly get the Israelites out of Egypt?” On the surface the meaning is clear. Moshe is asking two things. The first: who am I, to be worthy of so great a mission? The second: how can I possibly succeed?

God never answered the first question. Perhaps in a strange way, Moshe answered himself. In Tanakh as a whole, the people who turn out to be the most worthy are the ones who deny they are worthy at all. Through a close examination of the text, we can understand Moshe’s question leading to a deeper exploration of worthiness and identity. ”

Who am I?

Seventeen years ago, I began a journey, and I still do not know where it will take me. As Rabbi Sacks spoke in his lecture on the question Moshe had, concerning, who was He/Moshe? I could identify with the book of Shemot, and I gathered a greater insight into my own question of, who am I? People often ask me, why do you care so much about where you come from? Why does it matter so much about your heritage? You were not born Jewish and you have lived as an Egyptian and a Midianite, in a place, so far away from Judaism.

Moses to was raised as a prince in Egypt, and removed from the Jewish people. Moshe was known as an Egyptian raised by an Egyptian princess in the palace of Pharoah. Moshe was also known as a Midianite, who was married to a Midianite priest’s daughter. Shemot 2:21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man; and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22 And she bore a son, and he called’ his name Gershom; for he said: ‘I have been as a stranger in a strange land.’

Moshe was never raised with the Jewish people. He never suffered or understood their thoughts and ways. Moshe did not even know if they would accept him as a Jew. I have the same question and experience.

Rabbi Sacks spoke of the similarities between Moshe and Ruth.  Just like Moshe and Ruth, I felt as a stranger in a place not my own. Just like Moshe, I was born a Jew, but I did not belong to the Jewish people. I looked like an Egyptian and acted like an Egyptian. I did not grow up Jewish, therefore, I did not belong to the Jewish people. Ruth was not Jewish by birth and therefore she did not belong to the Jewish people but both knew when they identified with the suffering and the hardship they saw and they could not walk away from the suffering of the Jewish people.

I constantly hear in Christian and Messianic chatter, that, the Jews are lacking what Christian and Messianics have. That, they have some insight given to them because of Yeshua or Jesus and the so-called New Testament. That the Jews are going to be fooled in the end and follow a false Messiah because of their lack of seeing what they see. That the Temple is a Synagogue of Satan or the Jews have the Temple mount in the wrong place. That the oral law is made up and can not be trusted.  Many of these people are Jewish or identify as Jews.  Yet, they still have this idea that because of their knowledge and belief in the Nazarean they have a superior knowledge over the Jewish sages and rabbis.

In last weeks Torah portion Parashat Va’yehi, one would be lost without the oral tradition. Genesis Chapter 49 Verse 1
(1) And Jacob called unto his sons and said: ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the end of days. (2) Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; And hearken unto Israel your father. Just a straightforward reading of these two passages do not make sense without the irrevocable connection between the written and oral tradition. Ya’acov says nothing about what is going to happen to them and then gives them some obscure blessings, that really are not blessings at all if you look at them.

With that in mind, the oral traditions, and the plight of the Jewish people, the future redemption, the suffering and birth pangs to come. The Redeemer, the land of Israel, the proper understanding of the Tanach. Who is the Messiah? With all that said, “I have been a stranger in a strange land.’ Like Moshe, I could have been content living the life of an Egyptian/Midianite. Shemot 2:21  “And Moses was content to dwell with the man”.  Moshe could have lived the life of a prince in Egypt in the palace of Pharoah. Or stayed in the land of Midian. As Rabbi Sacks said, “that was where he was at, but that is not who he was”. But Moshe could not stay in either place after seeing the suffering of his people. I can no longer stay in the same place either after seeing such hatred for Jewish people.

But who was Moshe? He was not Jewish because he was not raised Jewish. He did not know the suffering of the Jew. He could not identify with their history. He was raised as an Egyptian Prince and lived forty years as an Egyptian.  Moshe spent forty years as a Midianite Shepherd and was content to live there. Moshe spent eighty years as someone other than a Jew. But, had he not been moved because of who he was who knows what his destiny might have been.

He asked Hashem “who am I”.

I too have been troubled by my own place in the Jewish world. Who am I? My grandfather is a Cohen from Mexico and I am the great-grandson of Moshe and Aaron. My mother told me, that her parents told her, not to tell anyone that they were Jewish. I am hated by my own family because I identify myself as Jewish. Moshe and Aaron, they are my grandfather’s, yet I do not know the slightest thing about the Jewish way of life and plight and suffering because I have not lived with them.

I just know that when Christians and Messianics find out, that I am Jewish, and do not believe the way they do. I can see the suffering of my people in their eyes. I can see the disdain, and pity, and feeling of sorrow they have toward the Jewish people.They believe that we are cut off from Hashem and His promises and that we are, as my cousin Messianic Rabbi Dr. Dennis Otero, says ” John 15;16  If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned “.  (see Jeremiah 11:16-17) He says that we are not part of the so-called new covenant. That we have no authority, what so ever, in Jewish law, and that, the “believers” took the place of Rabbis.

It was at the fire of the burning bush, that Moshe found his answer to, “who am I”? The burning bush is connected to Mount Sinai and there the Jewish people also found Hashem in the fire of the mountain. Hashem told Moshe, “they will know who sent you because “I will be with you”. (Not, I am, that I am” The Christian Bible misquotes the Hebrew every time in this passage)

Who I am, is where you will find, me. Shemot 2:11 “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown up, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren”.

In last weeks portion, Ya’acov told the sons of Israel to gather themselves as one man. As, in the Sephardi way, no reform, no Conservative, no Orthodox, just Jews. That is who I am.

I too am asking Hashem, “who am I to go”

Hashem has sent me to tell the Jewish people, to tell them,  stop the baseless hatred and the indifference for each other. I will not be around you because you are not Jewish enough. I am happy where I am and I don’t need anyone else outside those who think like me.

Hear what Ya’acov our forefather said, Ezekiel 37 : (18) And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying: Wilt thou not tell us what thou meanest by these? (19) say into them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them unto him together with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand. (20) And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thy hand before their eyes. (21) And say unto them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; (22) and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all; (23) neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God. (24) And My servant David shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in Mine ordinances, and observe My statutes, and do them. (25) And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, for ever; and David My servant shall be their prince for ever. (26) Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them—it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will establish them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. (27) My dwelling-place also shall be over them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (28) And the nations shall know that I am the LORD that sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for ever.’

I will not stand with a people who claim, the Jews are blind, and they do not know the Messiah, and they are harlots, and teach an oral and written law that is man-made, and leads to destruction. The Torah is over and done. The New Testament is better. The Rabbi’s have no authority and we don’t follow men.

Yosef never spoke one word to his father about what his brothers did to him. Who is Messiah? 

A Second Thought About Giving Charity

A Second Thought About Giving Charity

A homeless person begging

The Talmud tells the amazing story of Mar Ukva who would go everyday to the home of a poor man and slip cash into his door post. The poor man really wished to know who was doing this and decided one day to find out. On that day Mar Ukva and his wife made the trip to the poor man’s house together but just as they were opening the door post the poor man came running towards them. The two of them fled because they did not want to embarrass the poor man by him finding out that one of the greatest rabbis of the generation was coming personally to his home everyday to secretly help him. The Talmud says that the only way they could escape him was to jump into a hot oven where the coals had already been raked. Mar Ukva’s feet began to burn and his wife told him to put his feet on top of hers because her’s were not burning. The Talmud explains that her merit of charity was greater than his because, being in the home, she could offer the poor instant care with ready made food while her husband’s care was only in the form of money. What makes the story even more incredible is that the Talmud says that when Mar Ukva was about to die he had a ledger where every coin he ever gave to charity had been recorded. And even though the amount was amazing he said, “the road is long and my supplies are few” referring to his upcoming trip to the Next World. He then gave away fifty percent of all his holdings which was considered ten times what the Talmud normally considered to be exceptionally wealthy. From this story you see an outstanding Torah scholar, a leading rabbi and perhaps one of the wealthiest men of his generation who not only took time and money to personally care for the poor but dreaded the thought of being discovered and honored for his donations. Something for us to all think about next time we pledge donations for honor or we feel particularly holy because we slipped a small coin into a desperate person’s hand. Talmud Kesubos 67b

https://www.facebook.com/thepeoplestalmud/

The Soul of Aharon the High Priest – Live Broadcast for August 5777

Streamed live on Aug 6, 2017

Aharon was Moshe Rabbeinu’s brother and served as the High Priest in the Desert Tabernacle.
What was Aharon’s greatest mistake and what should he have done differently? How was
Aharon partially responsible for the death of his two older sons? What made Aharon such a
great marriage counselor and how can that information help us today? These and many more
questions discussed in Rav Ginsburgh’s live broadcast for the month of August.

Rules of Jewish Hermeneutics

 

Rules of Jewish Hermeneutics

Rules of Jewish Hermeneutics 101

If one is truly interested in learning then one must first submit himself or herself to Judah the “LAWGIVER” otherwise, One, is a law unto himself. Judah – The Lawgiver of God Hebrew:  Mechoqeck

There are rules to interpreting the Tanach handed down to us from Moshe Rabbeinu has part of the Torah.    One can not on his own interpret the Torah without knowing Hebrew because the Torah  is only the notes of those who stood at Sinai for the Lecture.

House of The Water Pouring