In Loving Memory of our Dear Parents

Benjamin Assa & Rebeca Assa z"L

Perasha Ajarei - Mot

Since this Parasha was dictated to Moshe after the deaths of Aharon´s sons, it is named Acharei-Mot, “after the deaths.” However, the Torah interrupted the chronological order to insert two basic themes in Judaism: Laws of Kashrut and Impurities.

The Parasha speaks about the sacrifices that were offered in the Temple on the most sacred day: YOM KIPPUR, That is why this Parasha is read on Yom Kippur. 

Only on the holiest day of the year,Yom Kippur, and after bringing a series of specially ordained offerings, the Kohen Gadol ("high priest") would purify himself, put on white linen garments, and enter the Kódesh Hakodashím (the holiest place of the Temple).

Through a profound preparation, the Kohen Gadol carried out the process of the Magistral Service, which, sought and obtained forgiveness from G-D for all Bnei Israel.

The Yehudim, as a sign of submission to Hashem, offered Korbanot inside the Holy Temple, it was forbidden to do so outside. 

The blood of these Korbanot was thrown on top of the Altar in the Sanctuary, while the fat of the Korban had to be burnt. 

The Torah states: “None of you shall eat blood, and the stranger who sojourns among you shall not eat blood, and any of you who traps a quarry of a wild animal or bird that may be eaten, and sheds its blood, he shall cover it [the blood] with dust.”

And the reason for this is: “the soul of any flesh is its blood.”

The Parasha continues detailing the forbidden relations:

-with your father or mother.
-with your father´s wife
-with your sister
-with your son´s daughter

-with your daughter´s daughter
-with the daughter or your husband´s wife
-with your mom or dad´s sister 
-with your dad´s brother or with his wife

-with your daughter in law
-with a woman and her daughter
-with a woman and her sister
-with an impure woman
-with your friend´s wife
-with a man (homosexuality)
-with an animal

“For anyone who commits any of these abominations, the persons doing so shall be cut off from the midst of their people.” (Karait)

Perasha of Pesach

Since the 1st day of Pesaj falls on Shabbat, we read the Torah portion regarding Pesaj.

Hashem commands Am Israel to observe and respect the holiday of Pesaj by refraining from eating or owning chametz from the 14th of Nissan to the 21st of Nissan at night.

And He warns us, anyone who eats or owns chametz during these days, will be cut from the congregation of Israel: Karet.

 

Moshe orders all the people of Israel to buy for themselves a sheep (which was idolized by the Egyptians) to slaughter, then to sprinkle its blood across the lintel and 2 doorposts. Hashem will pass to smite all of the Egyptian first born, and He will see the blood on the lintel and 2 doorposts and will “pass over” the entrance and will not permit the destroyer to enter the house of the Jews to smite their first born.

Am Israel immediately accepted Moshe´s command.

And it came to pass at midnight, that Hashem smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt.

In desperation Pharoh went to search for Moshe and Aharon and ordered them, and all their children. out of Egypt.

And Am Israel left the land of Egypt with many riches, because, although unexplainable, the Egyptians gave them their jewels and all valuable objects of gold and silver.

600,000 adult men left Egypt, plus wives and children: 300,000 Jews!!!! Plus the Egyptians that joined the people of Israel.

And the reading of the Torah for this week concludes with the command to fulfill the Korban Pesaj with all of its details.

¡ PESAJ KASHER VE SAMEAJ  and SHABAT SHALOM!

Perasha Metzora

This parasha begins by Hashem commanding Moshe in regards to the Korbanot that the person cured from Tzaarat needed to bring in order to be purified. 

"Metzorá" was the person affected by Tzáarat. 

And Hashem concludes the laws of Tzaarat by describing the symptoms and treatment of tzaarat on the walls of the house.

It continues discussing the halachot concerning impurities as a result of certain physical conditions “ZAB” for the man and “ZABA” for the woman.

And the Parasha explains when a man becomes ritually impure following seminal emissions and when a woman becomes ritually impure through her menstruation, uterine bleeding, and childbirth, a process known as NIDDA.

The Parasha ends with this phrase: “... and you should warn the Bnei Israel in regards to these impurities, to avoid perishing because of these impurities by profaning My Sanctuary...”

Perasha Tazria

Parasha Tazria continues with the laws of ritual impurity and purity, it begins by detailing the laws pertaining to the woman who just gave birth, 

If she gave birth to a boy, the law states that she was impure for 7 seven days, if she gave birth to a girl she was impure for 14 days and continued with 33 days in which she is still ´´affected,´´ and remained impure with all matters concerning the Bais Hamikdash.

After that, she was purified by offering two korbanot.

The Parasha continues defining the laws of impurity that affects the person stricken with tzaraat (leprosy). 

Leprosy was caused by a spiritual deficiency, that is why the person stricken was revised by a Kohen and not by a doctor. 

If the person was declared impure by the Kohen, he was isolated from the camp for 7 days. If on the 7
th day he was not cured from all blemishes, the Kohen would once again declare him impure for 7 days and would revise him when those 7 days concluded. Once again he would be checked by the Kohen, if the spots disappeared he was declared pure!

The Parasha continues detailing the different cases of Tzaarat:
Inflammations, burns, leprosy on the face or head, clothes and utensils. 

Perasha Shemini

 

This Parasha carries the name Shemini, because it narrates all that occurred on the 8th day of the inauguration of the Mishkan.


On day ´´Shemini,´´ 1st of Nissan 2449, one year after the exodus from Egypt, the shechina descended upon the Mishkan.


Aharon and his sons took to the Altar 2 korbanot. The nation of Israel took 4 korbanot. And Aharon raised his hands and blessed the people with ´´Birkat Kohanim, ´´ the priestly blessing. 
A pillar of fire descended from the Heavens and consumed the sacrifices on the altar, all of Bnei Israel witnessed this miracle, they fell on their faces and praised Hashem. 

And then tragedy struck! Two of Aharon´s son, Nadav and Avihu, without consulting Moshe, decided to place their own fire on the mizbaya too. A Heavenly fire emerged from the Heavens and consumed them. 


Moshe, in complete dismay, consoles Aharon by telling him that Hashem had chosen his sons to sanctify His great name and that they should serve as an example for any one else who dared violate the laws of the Mishkan. 

Aharon kept silence and accepted Hashem´s judgement with serenity and faith. 

Moshe commands Mishael and Eltzafan, cousins of Aharon´s sons, to remove the corpses from the Mishkan. Moshe forbids Aharon and his two remaining sons, Elazar and Itamar, to exhibit any signs of mourning, since any interruption of the services of the Mishkan would ruin the joy felt by Am Israel. 
Aharon and his sons obeyed. 

Then Hashem warns Moshe and Aharon that they are not allowed to consume any alcoholic beverage prior to performing any priestly service. 

Moshe´s anger was kindled when he finds out Aharon´s sons did not eat their portion of the Rosh Chodesh sacrifice (something all Cohanim had to do). Aharon, in defense of his sons, tells Moshe that they had not participated in the sacrifice and were therefore not obligated to eat from it. Moshe accepts Aharons defense and corrects his attitude. 

The last part of the Parasha speaks about Kashrut: ¨and these are the animals that you may eat and these are the ones that are forbidden to you...´´


The parasha continues by detailing the characteristics of the permitted and prohibited animals.


And the concluding passuk states ´´For I am the L rd your G d; you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy, for I am holy . . .



DID YOU KNOW.... that on the last day of the Inauguration of the Mishkan (day Shemini) Hashem commanded that a kid goat be offered to atone for the sin of the sale Joseph?

This act atoned for the sin since after the sale the brothers dipped his clothing in the blood of a kid goat. Hashem chose this day to be appropriate because the sale of Joseph demonstrated the great rivalry that existed amongst the Tribes of Israel, and the Inauguration of the Mishkan had it its essence the purpose of uniting all of Am Israel. 


And here lies the importance of why all the Yehudim need to love one another, help one another, respect each other and each others needs, so we can fulfill Hashem´s will and with this unity bring Mashiaj in our days!!!! AMEN

Perasha Vayikrah

With this Parasha be begin the 3rd book of the Chumash: Vayikra, Leviticus, since for the most part it speaks of the rituals carried out by Kohanim who were descendants of Aharon, and Aharon was a Levy = Leviticus.


All the Parashiot in the book of Vayikra took place in one month.!!!

Vayikra begins with Hashem communicating the laws governing the bringing of the korbanot (offerings), the animal and mealofferings that are the central feature of the service performed in the Sanctuary.

The Jew would go to the Mishkan with his Korban and present it to the Kohen, who was in charge of conducting this Holy ritual.

The Korban evoked Heavenly satisfaction, by binding this world with the upper heavens, they call forth Divine blessing, and strengthen the bond between the Yehudi and Hashem.

Only Kosher species were acceptable for a sacrifice, so they could be eaten later.

In some cases flour and oil were used as offerings. 

There were more than 50 different types of Korbanot, divided in 5 groups:

Olah, Mincha, Shlamim, Chattat and Asham. 

Olah: it was superior to all Korbanot, his gift to Hashem was a wish to purify himself and attach himself to Bore Olam and an act of gratitude.  

Mincha: Was also an act of gratitude. It was an offering consisting mostly of flour and oil.

Shlamim: was a free-will offering and through the donation of the Korban the Yehudi expressed his happiness. 

Chattat and Asham: They were brought by a Jew who transgressed and wished to repent. 

Perasha Pekudeh

This is the last Parasha of the Chumash Shemot, and just how its name indicates (pekudei = accounts) this portion of the Torah in part dedicates itself to the audit done for all of the gold, silver and copper used for the construction of the Mishkan.

The goldsmiths and the artisans presented Moshe with all of the integral parts of the Mishkan, exactly as Hashem had commanded. Realizing that he had fulfilled the Divine purpose, Moshe blesses them. 

The parasha continues with the making of the priestly garments. 

Moshe receives the order to set up the Mishkan, he then places each vessel in its proper place. 

The statement ¨Moshe fulfilled Hashem´s commandment as Hashem had told him¨ recurs throughout the Parasha numerous times, to teach us that Moshe built the Mishkan ¨as Hashem told him.¨

The Cloud of the Shechina descended upon the Mishkan and filled it with its presence.

Out of respect for the Shechina, Moshe did not enter the Mishkan until the Cloud stood over the Tabernacle. 

And this is how it came about, on the first on Nissan, Moshe entered the Mishkan with much happiness. 

And this is how the second book of our sacred Torah concludes!


¡¡ SHABAT SHALOM !!

Parasha Vayakhel

The Parshah of Vayak'hel records the actual fulfillment of G-d's commandments on how to build the Mishkan, in accordance with the instructions Moshe received which were recounted in earlier parashiot. 


It should be noted that last week's parashah, Ki-Tisa, took place on the day of Yom Kippur of the year 2448, 6 months after the exodus from Egypt , and this parasha was on the morning after Yom Kippur. 

After Moshe descends from the Mount with the second tablets, he warns the Jewish Nation to observe the laws of Shabbat, Moshe tells them that they can not transgress its laws by building the Mishkan.


Moshe continues informing them everything related to the donations for the building of the Mishkan. All Bnei Israel began to work with eagerness toward the building of the Mishkan and joyfully and enthusiastically brought all the necessary donations.


Betzalel and Ahaliav were chosen to be the ones who would build the vessels of the Mishkan. They were inspired with Divine understanding in order to enable them to create the vessels exactly as Hashem had commanded. 

After a few days, the artisans informed Moshe that they had enough donations. Moshe asked the Nation to stop with the contributions.

The Parasha mentions the elaboration of: the Altar of Burnt Offerings, the Basin, the tapestries, the tent covering, the walls of the Mishkan, the Parochet, the screen for the doorway, the Ark, the Kaporet (Ark´s cover), the table, the Menorah, the Incense Altar and the courtyard. Betzalel also madethe Anointing Oil holy, and the Incense of Spices pure..

Parasha Tetzaveh

G-D says to Moshe, ¨You shall command the children of Israel, that they bring to you pure olive oilcrushed for the light, to raise an everlasting flame.¨ And with this order, Bnei Israel receives a new mitzvah, the kindling of the menorah with the purest of oils, oil obtained from the first pressing of an olive oil.

Hashem assigns Aharon and his descendants to be Kohanim, and Aharon becomes the first Kohen Hagadol.

The Kohen Hagadol wore 8 priestly garments: 

1.THE BREAST PLATE (CHOSHEN MISHPAT): 

It was a square chest plate, containing 12 gems, in each was engraved the name of the 12 sons of Yaacov..

2.THE APRON (EFOD): 

It was an apron woven with golden threads. Its back was supported by two shoulder straps overlapping the kohen´s shoulders to the front. The stones were engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

3. THE MANTEL (ME´IL):

It was a sleeveless mantle made of sky blue wool, attached to its bottom hem were adornments that tinkled when the Kohen walked.

4. THE HEAD PLATE (TZITZ):

Worn on the Kohen´s forehead, it was a golden plate on which was engraved the letters ¨kodesh laHashem.¨

5. SHIRT (KETÓNET):

Shirt-like garment woven from white linen, reached down to the kohen´s soles.

6.BREECHES (MICHNASAYIM):

They were woven from white linen.

7. THE BELT (AVNAIT):

It was a belt woven from four different kinds of materials. It was very long and went around the kohen´s waist several times.

8. THE TURBAN (MITZNEFET, MIGBA´AS): 

It consisted of a long ribbon of white linen that wrapped around the kohen´s head several times.

The Kohanim wore four garments:

  • the ketonet, the shirt

  • the mishnasayim, the breeches

  • the avnait, the belt

  • the migba´as, the turban

 Moshe presented Aharon and his children, by the entrance of the Mishkan, dressed in their priestly garments. The inauguration of the Mishkan lasted seven days.

Hashem commands that a lam be offered on the mizbach every morning and every afternoon.

And Hashem affirms the sanctity of the Mishkan, and announces that this will be His dwelling next to Bnei Israel.

THE INTERIOR ALTAR, THE MIZBACH HAPENIMI (which is not described in the previous parasha): 

It was made of shittim wood and covered with pure gold, measured 60 square centimeters and its height was 1.20 meters. It was located in the kodesh section between the shulchan and the menorah and it served for the burning of the ketoret, (incense), which was done every morning and every afternoon. Hashem said, ¨The ketoret is the most beloved of all offerings. All the other korbanot atone for transgressions, but the ketoret is offered purely to bring joy and happiness.¨

Only after the ketoret was offered did the Shechina come down to reside in the Mishkan.

 

Parasha Mishpatim

 

This Parasha contains a great number of laws Hashem taught Moshe immediately after the giving of the Torah.

Some of the laws cited in this Parasha are laws concerning:

 

-Slavery

-Damage done to his fellow man

-Civil liability for loans and deposits

-Abuse of minors

-Witchcraft

-Idolatry

-Proper treatment of a converse

-Prohibition against afflicting a widow or an orphan

-Robberies

-Loans

-Respect

-Bikurim

-Prohibition against eating Taref

-Returning something lost

-Lies, injustices and bribes

-Shmitta (Sabbatical Year)

-Observance of Shabbat

-Observance of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkoth

...Among others

Hashem then promises protection throughout their journey in the desert.

Hashem advises the Bnei Israel to follow His precepts so they can receive His blessings and inherit the PROMISED LAND, the conditions necessary to conquer it and the warning against assimilation.

At the end of Parasha Mishpatim, the Torah relates events which took place prior to Matan Torah. It narrates how Ha commanded that Moshe, Aharon and his children, along with the 70 Elders should ascend the mountain. On that day Moshe wrote the first Sefer Torah.

 

The Torah then continues narrating what occurred after the giving of the Torah: ¨And Hashem said to Moshe, "Come up to Me to the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets, the Law and the commandments, which I have written to instruct them."

And Moshe ascended the Har Sinai, and remained there for 40 days and 40 nights studying Torah in detail and with explanations.

Perasha Yitro

This Parasha begins with the reunion of Moshe with Yitro (his father in-law), Tzipora (his wife) and their two children, Gershom and Eliezer, by the camp of Bnei Israel.


Moshe´s wife and children had been returned to Midian to spare them suffering in Egypt and they arrived to the place where the Bnei Israel encamped in the desert.


And Moshe greets his father-in-law with a royal welcome and relates the miraculous events the children of Israel experienced and how Hashem saved them. 


And Yitro recognized Hashem, becoming the first guer tzeddek!!

After observing the daunting task of attending the needs of 600,000, Yitro advises Moshe to appoint a hierarchy of judges to share the burden.

 

Moshe, with Hashem´s approval, accepts Yitro´s advice, every great matter Moshe will deal with but delegates the most simple of tasks .

On Rosh Chodesh Sivan 2448, the Bnei Israel arrived in the desert of Har Sinai. 


Hashem sent Moshe to convey his proposal: "If the People obey My voice and keep My covenant, they shall be My chosen people".

And the people, with ONE voice, answered. ¨NAASE VENISHMA¨!!!!! “All that G d has spoken, we will do."

The People of Israel prepared themselves for the ¨Giving of the Torah.¨ G d instructs that the people should purify and sanctify themselves for two days, and warned the people against touching ¨even the edges¨ of the mountain for 3 days.

And on the 6th of Sivan, which was Shabbat, when it was morning, there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a loud sound of ashofar was heard, so that all the people in the camp trembled. The mountain was covered by smoke, because the Divine Presence descended upon it. 

And Moshe descended toward Am Israel. 

G d came down upon Mount Sinai, and Hashem spoke and the People heard, directly from the ¨mouth¨of Hashem the first two commandments. The other 8 commandments were taught to the people by Moshe. 


1. ¨I am Hashem, your G-d, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt.¨

  1. ¨You shall have no other gods!¨

  2. ¨Do not pronounce Hashem´s name in vain.¨

  3. ¨You shall observe the Shabbat.¨

  4. ¨You shall honor your father and mother.¨

  5. ¨You shall not murder,¨

  6. ¨You shall not commit adultery¨

  7. ¨You shall not steal.¨

  8. ¨You shall not bear false witness against your fellow man.¨

  9. ¨You shall not covet.¨

 

¨Do not fear¨ Moshe tells them, ¨for it was a great privilege Hashem has granted you.¨


The Parasha concludes by reiterating the prohibition against idol worshipping, and the prohibition to use any iron tools in constructing an altar to G d.


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