In Loving Memory of our Dear Parents

Benjamin Assa & Rebeca Assa z"L

Parasha Devarim

This is the first Parasha of the Sefer Devarim. Devarim means “words,” since Moshe explains and resumes all that occurred during their stay in the wilderness, and reviews the laws and precepts Hashem has commanded to Bnei Israel.

Moshe then details how he had appointed judges and the leaders of the Tribes.

Then Moshe mentions the sad and terrible episode of the “Meraglim,” the spies that went to the Promised Land only to return with a slanderous report, disillusioning The People with their words, causing the terrible consequence in which an entire generation of adults was condemned to die in the desert.

The Parasha continues recalling the failed attempt of The People to cross the territory of Eisav to shorten their travels, and being denied passage by their inhabitants, and so Bnei Israel had to travel through the land of Moab to complete their remaining 38 year sentence.

The Parasha ends with the summary of the confrontation with Sichon and Og, in which Israel managed to be victorious thanks to Hashem´s assistance!!

And Moshe tells Yehoshua: “Your eyes have seen all that G-d your G-d has done to these two kings; so shall G-d do to all the kingdoms into which you will pass. You shall not fear them: for G-d your G-d, He shall fight for you."

 ¡¡ SHABAT SHALOM !!

Parashiot Matot - Maase

 

 

 

 

 

Parasha Mattot: 

 

 

 

This Parasha begins with the laws related to vows and promises: "According to all that proceeds out of his mouth, shall he do.”

 

 Before passing away, Moshe is told by Hashem, “Take revenge for the children of Israel against the Midianites,” after the account with Bilaam the Rasha. 

 

Moshe immediately gathers 1000 men from each tribe to form an army to attack Midian. 

 

And Israel was triumphant, they defeated Midian by killing the 5 kings and the evil prophet Bilaam. 

 

And Moshe was angry with the leaders of each battalion upon their return, because they did not kill the women of Midian, for they were the ones who caused the terrible sin.

 

…. “and the soldiers obeyed Moshe!”

 

 Moshe also tells them to undergo the seven-day purification process for one who comes in contact with the dead, they needed to remain outside the camp for 7 days. 

 

 

Elazar instructs them on the laws of hagalah (“koshering”—the cleansing of utensils of the non-kosher food absorbed in them), by which to cleanse the “gold, silver, copper, iron, tin and lead” utensils captured in the war

 

Then Hashem orders a tally of the spoils taken from the war in Midian and it is then divided in equal parts among the soldiers and the rest of the People.

 

But the soldiers, thankful with Hashem for not having lost not one man in the war, decide to donate all the gold they were given to the Sanctuary.  The donated gold totaled 16,750 shekels.

 

The tribes of Reuben and Gad (later joined by half of the tribe of Manashe) ask for the lands east of the Jordan as their portion in the Promised Land, these being prime pastureland for their cattle.

 

Initially Moshe is angered by their request, to which they explain that they will help the rest of the People in the conquest of the Promised Land, and it will be only afterwards that they will return to those territories to dedicate themselves to their cattle.  

 

 

Moshe agrees on the condition that they fulfill their promise, and that is how the Tribes of Reuven and Gad, and half the Tribe of Menashe establish on the other side of the Jordan River.

 

 

 

Parasha Maase

 

 

With this Parasha we conclude the Book of Bamidbar, it recounts the 42 stations from the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, throughout our 40 years in the wilderness.

 

Then Hashem explains the geographic boundaries of The Land we are about to inherit and its division.

 

Hashem shows Moshe All of The Promised Land (the land, its rivers, oceans and mountains).  Our chachamim assure us that Moshe, although he did not enter The Land, knew it better than Yeoshua who conquered it with his own feet.

 

 

The Parasha mentions the future representative of each Tribe. Each tribe was allotted a portion of land, the Leviim were given 48 cities in which to dwell. 

 

 

The Parasha concludes with the daughters of Tzelofjad, who receive the order from Hashem to marry men from their same tribe (Menashe) to avoid having to transfer the inheritance from one tribe to the other, and so they each married their cousin from their father´s side.

 

 

 

 SHABBAT SHALOM!

 

 

 

Parasha Pinchas

Hashem praises Pinchas ben Elazar, grandson of Aharon, for his courageous act that stopped Hashem´s wrath in the previous parasha.

He is appointed Kohen on his own merit and Hashem promises him a covenant of shalom, peace.

Hashem instructs Moshe to attack Midyan for plotting against Am Israel and having caused the people of Israel to sin. 

Then Hashem orders the last counting of Bnei Israel in the desert, all men over the age of 20 were counted, and the total account was 601,730 people.

 The Tribe of Levy was counted separately, the men from one month old were counted, and the total was 23,000 people.

 They were the new generation of the People of Israel, shortly before entering the Promised Land.

Hashem tells Moshe that the Promised Land will be distributed according to the number of people from each tribe.

But the daughters of Tzelafchad ( a man from the tribe of Menashe) present themselves before Moshe requesting a share in the Land, since their father had died leaving no male offspring.

 The daughters of Tzelafchad argued correctly and received a double portion, their father´s portion and their grandfather´s portion as well (since their father was first-born).

Here Hashem commanded Moshe to teach Bnei Israel the laws of inheritance.  

Then Hashem announces to Moshe that the time of his death has arrived.

Moshe prayed to Hashem for Him to appoint a capable successor to lead the people into the Promised Land before his passing.

And Hashem orders Moshe to take Yehoshua ben Nun and present him to the Kohen and to all of the congregation and to announce his leadership.

And that is how Yehoshua was assigned as Moshe´s successor.

 

At the end of the Parasha the laws of the Korbanot (sacrifices) for Shabbat, Rosh Jodesh, Pesaj, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succot are explained.

Parasha Balak

 

Balak was king over Moav. After seeing that the Jews had just defeated 2 powerful giants Sichon and Og (in the previous parasha),  the Moavim were seized with fright as Am Israel approached them.

 

Balak sends for Bilam, a prophet and sorcerer, to curse Am Israel so they could be defeated.

 

Hashem appears to Bilam in a dream and allows him to go with Balak with the condition not to curse the Jews.

 

On his way with Balak, Bilam was riding on his she-ass when an angel appears. The she-ass saw that the angel had his sword drawn and turned from the path, but Bilam, who did not perceive the angel, hit the animal and drove it back on to the road.

 

And this happened 3 times, that the she-ass saw the angel, and on the 3rd time that Bilam hits the animal, this one says to Bilam:

“What have I done that I deserved to be beaten 3 times?”

 

That´s when Hashem reveals the angel so Bilam can see it and the angel tells him that he will only say what Hashem allows him to say.

 

Bilam arrives with Balak and is ready to curse the Jews and erase their memory from the face of the earth. (chas ve shalom).

 

 

As Bilam was formulating a curse in his heart, Hashem twisted his tongue and out of his mouth came out the best BLESSINGS!!! And this occurred 3 times.

 

When Bilam sees Balak getting angry, he tells him that he will ONLY be able to say what Hashem allows him to say.

 

And so Bilam ( who knew which sin is the one that most damages the relationship between Hashem and Am Israel) advises Balak to set up at trap and seduce the Jewish men to sin.

 

And that´s what Balak did, the Midyanite girls seduced the Jewish men, and the people of Israel denigrated themselves!!!

 

And the anger of Hashem was kindled against Israel and a plague attacks killing many.

 

Following Hashem´s orders, Moshe executes all those involved in this disgraceful act.

 

And Pinchas, grandson of Aharon, appears and kills Zimri (corrupt leader from the tribe of Shimon), who is caught in the middle of an atrocious with a Midyanite woman, and in front of everyone, he executes them by thrusting his spear through both Zimri and Kozbi.

 

Pinchas´s zealous act stopped Hashem´s fury and the plague came to an end.

 

24,000 Jews died in the plague (all from the Tribe of Shimon!)

 

 

¡¡ SHABAT SHALOM !!

Parasha Chukat

The Parasha begins with the “Laws of the Red Heifer,”

through its ashes people could purify themselves from the impurity acquired by coming in contact with a dead person. 

In total 9 red heifers have existed, which their ashes purified the People for more than 1000 years during the times of the Beit Hamikdash.

On the tenth of Nissan of the fortieth year in the wilderness, Miriam passes away...”And there was no water for the congregation,” in her merit the People had drinking water during the 40 years in the wilderness.

Bnei Israel found themselves in tremendous distress after the Well suddenly disappeared, andThe people complainedto Moshe and Aaron: “Why have you made us come out of Egypt, to bring us into this evil place?”

Hashem instructs Moshe to “gather the congregation together, you and Aaron your brother; and you shall speak to the rock before their eyes, and it shall give forth its water.”

But Moshe, feeling the People´s pressure, lifted up his hand and with his rod struck the rock twice, and water came out in abundance.

Immediately Hashem tells Moshe and Aaron: “Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the Land which I have promised them.” 

Arriving to Hor Hahar, Hashem announces to Moshe and Aaron that Aaron shall die, and instructs Moshe to take Aaron, and Aaron’s son Elazar, up to the top of the mountain, where he should dress Elazar in Aaron’s priestly garments, and there Aaron will die. When all of the congregation learned of Aaron´s passing, they wept for 30 days, all the house of Israel.

After Aaron´s passing, the people of Arad attacked the children of Israel, taking with them some Jews as captives, because it was Aaron´s merit that the 7 Clouds of Glory protected Am Israel, but with Aaron´s death, the Clouds no longer existed.

In tremendous despair the People beg Hashem for the recuperation of the captives, and that is how the people of Arad are defeated and the captives are rescued.

The Clouds of Glory were only briefly absent from the Camp. Hashem restored them to Am Israel, in the merit of Moshe.

Once again the People complain to Moshe about the long journey through the desert and the mann (Heavenly food), which is why Hashem sends serpents to attack the People.

Hashem said to Moshe: “Make for yourself a serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass that every one who is bitten, when he looks heavenward, he shall live.” 

Then a great miracle occurs at the River Arnon, as the Emorite soldiers were approaching to attack Bnei Israel, Hashem moved the two mountain ranges until they smacked together, crushing all the enemy soldiers. After discovering the great miracle Hashem had performed for them, they sang a song of praise about the wonderful Well of Miriam that had revealed the great miracle for them!!

The Parasha concludes by mentioning the first two conquests of Am Israel: the 1st with Sichon and the 2nd with Og the king of Bashan.

Perasha Korach

This Torah portion tells the story of Korach. 

Korach was a very wealthy and intelligent Yehudi that had everything one can ask for. He was an important leader of Israel, but let himself be manipulated and influenced by Dasan and Aviram (two bad characters). 

Unfortunately jealousy got the best of Korach. Korach together with 250 tribal judges, rebelled and contested the authority of Moshe and Aharon, accusing them of abusing their power, creating a dictatorship and only showing prefiencial statuses towards the Cohanim. 

Moshe tried to talk with them and said, "Take the necessary elements to present before G-D "Ketoret" (Holy Incense), and like this we will ultimately see who is the man that G-D has chosen as His Messenger ... 

And so it happened each one took the holy incense and presented it at the entrance of the Mishkan in front of Moshe and Aharon.  

The floor began to shake until the ground opened its mouth and swallowed Korach, Dasan and Aviram together with their families and all of their belongings.  

The ground above them then closed and they disappeared from the surface. 

Then G-D sent a blazing lightning that consumed the 250 judges involved in the incense. 
  
The People of Israel, upset by the misfortunate occurrence that had just happened, decided to face off against Aaron and Moses. 

G-D's let out his anger against the people causing a plague with a death toll of 14,700 victims! 

Seeing this Aharon hurried and offered a Ketoret offering to G-D and that's how the plague stopped. 

Then G-D ordered Moshe to seek a wood rod (Scepter) from the representatives of each tribe. On each rod to write the name of the representative, and on the staff of Levi write the name of Aaron. Then to be placed inside of the Ohel moed. 

The next day the staff that has flowers on it will be the person chosen by G-D. 

This was done, and the very next day the rod of Aaron had blossomed. Moshe showed the People. G-D Ordered him to keep this staff in memory of the rebellion ... in order that no additional deaths occur. 

The Perasha ends mentioning the important responsibility of the Kohanim and Leviím to guard the sanctity of the Mishkan, and the obligation of the Jewish people to tithe 10 percent of their income to the Leviim and the Kohanim for being G-D's servants. 

Shabbat Shalom !!

 

Parasha Behaalotecha

This Parasha explains various events and mitzvot:

- It begins detailing Hashem´s indication to Aaron on the mitzvah of preparing and lighting the Menorah: the candelabra containing 6 arms which needed to point to the central arm.

_It continues explaining the process the Leviim must go through in order to initiate the Holy Services. A Levi became an apprentice in the Sanctuary at the age of 25. After studying for 5 years, he could begin the actual service a the age of 30. He would retire from the heavy work load at the age of 50, turning to lighter tasks. 

-One year after leaving Egypt, Moshe repeated to Bnei Israel the detailed laws of Pesaj. They offered the Korban Pesaj, but those who were impure were 
unable to do the Mitzvah, but had the opportunity to do so the following month, “Pesaj Sheni.” This mitzvah was only performed in the times of the Sanctuaries, nowadays we only celebrate it as a remembrance. 
-The Clouds of Glory settled upon the Mishkan, and according to their movement the Bnei Israel would settle or depart. And with the sound of the trumpets blown by the Kohanim, the wars, holidays and departures would be announced. 

-The Torah speak
s about Yitro, Moshe´s father-in-law, who coverts to Judaism in the wilderness. He is renamed to Chovaiv, Lover of the Torah, after his conversion to Judaism. 

The Parasha continues with the narration of the rebels who began complaining and criticizing the slow pace when walking , and this negative attitude angered Hashem, and a terrible fire consumed the guilty.

- The Egyptian converts began to complian about their inability to satisfy their cravings, since they were fed up with the Man. Hashem was very angry and a fire fell from Heaven and devoured the instigators of the Egyptian converts.

 

-The fire also consumed the souls of the Elders of the Sanhedrin, they had been liable to the death penalty since matan Torah, for having derived enjoyment from the sight of the Shechina.

 

-Hashem grants Moshe´s request and appoints 70 new Elders who will assist him in his leadership and Moshe shares his ruach hakodesh with the Elders. 

Also t
wo great Sages among Our people, Eldad y Medad, as gift received prophecy for acting humbly and believing that they were underserving of their position.

And suddenly a swarm of slavs (quails) fell on the Camp, and the People hunted and collected them. Hashem´s anger shook the People sending a mortal plague.

This place was called “Graves of the Lusters,” Kivros Hata'ava, because the lusters for meat had perished there. 

- The Parasha 
ends with the sad event of Miriam speaking Lashon Hara to Aharon about their brother Moshe, in reference to the woman he had taken a as wife. And they said: “Did Hashem only speak with Aharon?” and Hashem heard them and Called them into the Sanctuary, and Hashem said to them “When I direct myself towards you it is through a dream, Moshe´s prophecy is different.  I speak to him faced to face, with perfect clarity. How could you have spoken like hat about My Loyal Servant Moshe?”  and Miriam was covered with leprosy.  Moshe begged Hashem to heal  Miriam.  

And the Parasha concludes when Miriam remains out of the camp for 7 days, and the People refuse to continue their travels until Miriam´s return…"

Parasha Naso

The name of the Parasha Naso signifies “census”, since Moshe was commanded to count the Leviim between the ages of 30 and 50 to see who was fit for the avoda (work) of the Sanctuary.


The total Leviim counted fit for the avoda was: 8580 people. 

The Parasha continues by mentioning 4 laws:

1. Laws concerning impure people who had leave the camp.

2. Laws concerning theft

3. Laws concerning the Sotah: the woman suspected of adultery.

4. Laws concerning the Nazir: a person who makes a voluntary vow to refrain from drinking wine, shearing his hair, and having contact with the dead, including his parents. He sanctifies himself during his period of Nezirut. After his term of nezirut the nazir brings a serious of sacrifices. The nazir´s hair which had grown freely throughout the nezirut, is now completely shorn and burnt in the fire beneath the peace offering.

Hashem told Moshe to command the Kohanim to bless the Jewish people every day during the day-time prayers, in the Diaspora, we recite Birkat kohanim only on the Yamim Tovim.

" Yebarejejá Hash'm Veishmeréja ...".

The last chapter tells of the inauguration of the Mishkan, in which the 12 nesiim (leaders) of each tribe brought sacrifices for 12 consecutive days.
The Parasha concludes with the verse: “And when Moshe came into the Mishkan to speak with Him, he heard the very voice Voice that he had heard at Har Sinai. Now it came form the kaporet that was upon the aron from between the two keruvim, and from there the Voice spoke to him.” 


¡¡ Shabbat Shalom and Besorot Tovot !! 

Perasha Bamidbar

With this Parasha we begin the 4th book of our Torah: Bamidbar, which means “in the desert.”

 

The book of Bamidmar narrates what happens to Am Israel from the 2ndyear we were in the desert, covering the 39 remaining years.

 

The parasha begins with the census Hashem ordered after the inauguration of the Mishkan.

 

In charge of the census were, Moshe, Aaron, and the leaders of each of the Tribes of Israel.

 

The were counted by collecting half-shekel coin “Majhazit Hashekel” from each.

El conteo era por medio de una moneda de medio ciclo: "Majhazít Hashékel". Each male over the age of 20 introduced the coin into an urn, and so the coins were counted and not the people directly.

 

The total number of Bnei Israel after the census: 603,550 men between the ages of 20 and 60.

 

The census did not include the Leviim which were 22,000 people, counted from the age of 1 month.

 

The Parasha continues by mentioning the division and the order of Bnei Israel in 4 groups:

1st: Yehuda, Yissachar, Zevulun, were in front toward the East.

2nd:Ruven, Shimon and Gad they were on the Southern side.

3rd: Dan, Asher, Naftali they were on the Northern side.

4th: Efraim, Menashe, and Binyamin, they were on the back toward the West.

 

In the center was the Mishkan and was surrounded on all four sides by the Leviim, as its honor guards.

 

The Kohanim and Moshe camped, near the entrance to the Mishkan.

This position was while Bnei Israel camped.

 

When the Cloud of Glory (which always remained over the Mishkan) moved, Bnei Israel proceeded in formation according to Hashem´s specifications.

 

Each tribe had its own banner and its own flag, and the Kohanim sounded their trumpets to and from the camp. All this march lasted 40 years !!

 

The Leviim were in charge of the sacred work. Initially this work belonged to the firstborn of each tribe, having been saved in the last plague in Egypt, but because they were involved in the sin of the Golden Calf, this privilege was taken away and given to the Leviim who did not participate in this act.

 

Then he parasha continues mentioning the families of the Leviim. The specific labor and the location around the Mishkan of each family was mentioned.

 

Of the three Levite families, Gershon, Kehat, and Merari transported the Sanctuary. The family of Kehat was given the task of carrying the holiest of vessels, including the Kodesh Hakadoshim!!! 

Parasha Behar-Bechukotai

This Parasha speaks about the laws concerning two mitzvoth: “Shemitta” and “Yovel.”


Hashem communicates to Moshe the laws of “Shemitta,” Sabbatical year: every seventh year, all work on the land should stop, all types of agricultural activities must rest. 

During Shemitta all private ownership of the produce of the fields and vineyards is annulled and all of its produce becomes available for whomever desires them, the poor, even animals can serve themselves. 

Also in the year of "Shemitah" all personal debts are cancelled

After the 7th Shemitta (7x7=49), the 50th year is called Yovel, (Jubilee); in which all fields are returned to their original owners. 

During Yovel the fields were not worked, just as in Shemitta. All the fields become public property. Therefore, there were two successive years of rest for the land, the forty-nine and the fiftieth. 

All slaves were liberated in Yovel.


Like the laws of Shemitta, those of Yovel, indicated that Hashem is the sole owner of all of our belongings and what we have is only a loan. 

Nowadays, the laws of Shemitta are only observed in Eretz Israel, however the laws of Yovel are not observed for legal reasons.


The Parasha also mentions these mitzvoth:
Prohibition against overcharging.
Prohibition of lending or borrowing with interest from a Jew
Prohibition against Hurting Another Jew´s Feelings Verbally

And the Parasha concludes....”You shall keep My Sabbaths and fear My Sanctuary. I am the Lord”

 

 

 

Parasha Buchukotai is the last parasha of Sefer Vayikra. 

In the 1st part, we read about Hashem´s warning to the people of Israel:


….
If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them, I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit....and you will live in security in your land.

….”But if you do not obey me and you belittle My precepts and My orders cause you aversion, I will also act that way with you!!!”

Hashem presents two alternatives and predicts and announces the results of both.

It continues mentioning the different contributions a person could donate or promise for the Temple (money, animals, possessions, properties).  

Then it speaks about the tithe of the animals and the tenth of all the products from the field, one must separate. 

 

And this is the way this Parasha and Sefer Vayikra conclude!


¡¡ SHABAT SHALOM !! 

Parasha Emor

The first part of the Parasha speaks about the laws concerning the Kohanim, laws which are in effect today, too.

- A Kohen is prohibited from having any contact with the deceased, except for his spouse, parents, children, brothers, and unmarried sisters.

-"Met Mitzvah"is a corpse found in a deserted spot where there is no one near by to perform the burial, the Kohen must bury the dead body.

-The Torah prohibits the Kohen from marrying a divorced woman, a converse or a daughter born from a forbidden union.

-A Kohen with a physical defect was not be permitted to perform the services in the Beit Hamikdash.

-The Kohen Gadol could not have any contact with a dead body except to bury a “MET MITZVAH.”

The Kohen Gadol is more restricted in choosing a wife than the Kohen because of his superior holiness, the Kohen Gadol could not marry a divorced woman, a converse, a daughter born from a forbidden union or a widow.

The Parasha continues detailing the “Yamim Tovim” and the laws pertaining to each festival:

Shabat, Pesaj, Shavuot, Rosh-Hashaná, Yom Kippur, Succoth and Sheminí-Aseret.

Next, comes the commandment to light the Menorah, DAILY, inside the Sanctuary with pure olive oil. And the commandment to prepare WEEKLY the “Lechem Hapanim” (show breads) which were placed on the Table in the Sanctuary every Shabbat.

 

The Parasha ends with the episode of the blasphemer, “son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man” who pronounced and insulted Hashem´s Divine Four-Letter Name.

Hashem instructed Moshe to stone this Egyptian´s son, adding “This is the law for all generations... this sin incurs capital punishment by stoning.”


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