In Loving Memory of our Dear Parents

Benjamin Assa & Rebeca Assa z"L

Parasha 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 2nd year 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.

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!!! 

Perasha Bejukotay

This 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.

Perasha Kedoshim

The Parasha Kedoshim ('holy ones") begins with Hashem´s statement to the people of Israel:

You shall be holy, for I, G-d your G-d, am holy.


This Parasha mentions 48 mitzvoth, 13 which are Mitzvoth Ase= duties and 35 Mitzvoth lo Taase = prohibitions).


These mitzvoth give the People of Israel a privileged category of being “Kedoshim.”

In this Parasha we learn the famous phrase “Veahabta Lereaja Kamoja” = “Love your fellow man as yourself.”

Because most of the mitzvoth mentioned here have to do with our relations:
-Respect your parents
-Do not deceive your fellow man
-Do not lie
-Do not take revenge or hold a grudge
-Do not hate your fellow man
-Judge others favorably
-Do not exploit your employee
-Do not curse someone who is deaf

-Do not hate another Jew in secret

-Do not go about as a talebearer
....amongst others

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 !!


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