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Parashat Bamidbar & Shavuot | 1 -8 Sivan 5777

Fri- May 25th Erev Shabbos – ROSH CHODESH SIVAN
Shacharis 6:50 am
Mincha/Candles 8:35 pm
Maariv and Sefira 9:32 pm /COUNT #46/

Sat May 26th – Shabbos 
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:12 am
Mincha  8:35 pm /SEUDA SLISHIT/Pirkei Avot Chapter 6
Maariv/Havdalah 9:45 pm /COUNT OMER #47/

Weekdays
Sun Shacharis: 9  am, Mincha 8:40 pm, Maariv 9:35 pm /COUNT OMER #48/
Mon Shacharis  7 am, Mincha 8:40 pm, Maariv 9:36 pm /COUNT OMER #49/

Tue- May 30th Erev Shavuos
Shacharis 7 am
Mincha /Candles 8:39 pm
Maariv after 9:37 pm /ALL NIGHT LEARNING FROM 11:30 pm/

Wed May 31st – Shavuos 
Alot haShachar 2:57 am (16.1 degrees)
Sunrise 5:16 am
Shacharis: 10 am /Latest Shema 9:11 am
Mincha  8:39 pm  
Maariv/Candles and Yahrzeit Candles from existing flame after  9:50 pm

Thu June 1st  – Shavuos Day 2 
Shacharis: 9:30 am YIZKOR
Mincha  8:00 pm /FARBRENGEN
Maariv/Havdalah 9:51 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush is sponsored by Alter and Mendy Levitin and family in honor of our grandfather Reb ישכור דוב בן יונה וויס ZT"Z (27 Iyar). My his Neshmah have an Aliyha, and be a good advocate for all his decendent, family and friends. Seuda Slishit

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site 
www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

KIDS PROGRAM AND SHAVUOT ICE CREAM BAR WED MAY 31ST 
Kids program starts 10:30 am.  Ice Cream bar and special program with Rabbi Herbstman starts after the reading of the Ten Commandments.   Sponsored by the CSTL Kids Club and Mrs. Chanie Levitin.

SHAVUOS ALL-NIGHT LEARNING AT CSTL TUESDAY, MAY 30TH FROM 11:30 PM 
Tikkun Leil Shavuot learning begins with the reading of Rambam’s 613 Mitzvot at 11:30 pm.  Learning for Women will also start at 11:30 pm.   Learning for men will extend from 12:30 am toAlot haShachar 2:57 am.  Everyone (men and women) is welcome to attend. Please contact Dr. Neppe for more information or to sponsor refreshments.

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHILDREN
The shul board would like to remind parents that they have sole responsibility for their children at CSTL

CHAIRS AND TABLES AT SHUL are for Shul Use Only.  
PLEASE do not remove them from the building.  PLEASE return any that are out of the building.    Thank you for your help.

DONATE TO CSTL VIA CREDIT CARD AT YOUR CONVENIENCE
Ivan now has a credit card reader for his smart phone, available at most week-day services.  We accept Visa-MasterCard-Amex-Discover, and of course Cash and Check!

LADIES TEHILIM – SUN 10 am
Come say Tehilim

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

Camp Gan Israel Seattle Goes to Six Weeks! Mon Jul 3rd to Fri Aug 11th 
Campers ages 2 -12 are excited about Gan Izzy 2017, especially since we’ve added a sixth week! For six fabulous weeks, your child can enjoy everything summer has to offer: swimming, crafts, sports, days at the beach, excursions to museums, roller skating, berry picking, and more, all in a loving, safe, Jewish environment. What could be better?! Campers from a wide range of backgrounds are welcomed, and given lots of love and attention from our enthusiastic group of specially recruited and trained counselors—some of whom are CGIS alumni themselves.  Camp Gan Israel Seattle: Mon Jul 3rd to Fri Aug 11th. Fun that lasts a summer...memories that last a lifetime! Register now for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and/or 6 weeks at
http://www.campganisraelseattle.org/ DON’T MISS OUT ON THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush, 
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.


COMMUNITY NEWS

Memorial Day Learning at the Kollel Mon May 29th 9:45 – 11 a:30 am
Special guest speakers: Rabbi Shaul Engelsberg, Rabbi Ben Hassan & Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers. Bagels & coffee served. More info: 
www.seattlekollel.com

Women's Summer Musical Performance Sun June 4, 5:00 pm
For Women Only at Stroum Jewish Community Center. Netzah Hernandez, Director Netzah Hernandez with special guests, Ruth Fast with her Israeli Dance Group and Sigrid Benezra with her harp. Cost: $20 Adults/$10 Children. RSVP: theSeattleKollel.com or purchase tickets at
www.seattlekollel.com/women-s-summer-musical-performance .

Full Day SEED Camp June 26 - Aug. 11
For boys entering 3rd grade & up, Aug. 14-18, Half Day. At the Kollel. Register at:
www.seattlekollel.com/camp-seedJewish 

Community Night at the ballpark Tue June 6th 7:10 pm
Seattle Mariners take on the Minnesota Twins! Great seats for just $20.  www.JewishInSeattle.org

EZRA BESSAROTH LADIES AUXILLIARY SEPHARDI FEST SUN JUNE 11th 
Sephardic Foods, childrens activities, craft booths.

SEATTLE KOLLEL SUNDAY TORAH 9 am – 10:15 AM
Learning for adults and for children 5th through 8th grades.

Seattle Kollel Wed Apr 26 - May 24, 7-8 pm, Hebrew Crash Course
rabbiavrohomdavid@gmail.com 

Camp and Israel Scholarship Applications Available
Apply for Jewish overnight camp scholarships, first-time camper grants, teen Israel scholarships.
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Mishmar Chavura with Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld Thu 9pm
Parsha Learning and Discussion. Everyone welcome to join the conversation.  5240 38th Ave. NE.  Snacks served

NEED A DRIVER – CALL GERSHON!
For all your transportation needs, call Gershon Grashin (206) 856-2754


SICHO FOR BAMIDBAR
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507833/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Bamidbar-2nd-Day-of-Sivan-5750-1990.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

1. This week’s Torah portion, Parshas Bamidbar is always read before the festival of Shavuos, “the season of the giving of our Torah.” Usually, as this year, it is read on the Shabbos directly preceding Shavuos. In other years, Parshas Naso is read directly before the holiday and Parshas Bamidbar is read on the preceding week.

On the surface, Shavuos shares a more apparent connection with Naso than with BamidbarNaso means “lift up” and thus relates to the giving of the Torah which brought the Jews to a true state of elevation. G‑d “chose us from all the nations and gave us His Torah,” giving us the opportunity to establish a bond with His will and wisdom.

In contrast, Bamidbar, meaning “in the desert,” refers to a seemingly undesirable place, a barren land, unfit for human habitation.1 Why did G‑d choose to give the Torah in such a place?

One of the resolutions of this question is that Torah study requires absolute and total concentration. When a person studies Torah, nothing else should be on his mind. He must remove all worldly matters — and even any other Torah subjects2 — from his thoughts and concentrate on the subject he is studying.3

This is further emphasized by the Torah passage which describes the giving of the Torah which begins: “In the third month,... on this day, they came to the Sinai desert.” The mention of “the third month”4 underscores the relation of the Torah to the number three. Similarly, our Sages describe the Torah as “a threefold light.”

There are three elements5 to Torah study: G‑d’s giving the Torah, the Jews receiving it, and the Torah itself. The connection of the number three to the Sinai desert which, as explained above, implies that while a person is studying, there is nothing in his world but the Torah indicates that, in regard to these three elements, G‑d’s giving the Torah and its reception by the Jews are secondary, and the primary concern is the Torah itself.

The Torah is “one Torah,” a single unified entity.6 When a person studies it, he becomes totally absorbed in this unity as our Sages declared, “The Holy One, blessed be He, Israel, and the Torah are one.” In Tanya, the Alter Rebbeexplains how this unity is established. When a person studies Torah, his intellect — which is one with the person himself — becomes one with the subject matter in a “perfect unity to which there is no resemblance or comparison in physical terms, to be totally one and unified.”

[This concept is also alluded to in the name Tanya. To explain: Tanya is referred to as, “The Written Torah of Chassidus,”7 which is “the soul of the Torah.” Accordingly, the wording in the text is extremely precise just as the wording of the Written Torah is far more precise than that of the oral law. Thus, the first word of the text, which has been used by the Rebbeim as the name of the text, was surely carefully chosen.8

This raises a question because the name Tanya has no apparent connection to the goal of the text, which as the Alter Rebbe writes on the title page is “based on the verse, ‘The matter is very close to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, to accomplish it,’ to explain how it is very close....”

This difficulty can be resolved as follows: On a simple level,9 the name Tanya which means “It has been taught,” alludes to the importance of Torah study. Although Tanya will open a person up to a deeper level of service of G‑d, to love and fear of Him, its essential emphasis is on the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah, achieving a perfect unity between the wisdom of man and the wisdom of G‑d. This concept is so fundamental to the text that it was alluded to in its very name.

In this context, it is worthy to stress the importance of studying Tanya, and in particular, its opening chapters. There are those who feel that since they have studied Tanya previously, it is unnecessary for them to continue this study and would rather study other subjects in Chassidus. This is a wrong perspective. Tanya must be constantly studied, in particular, the opening chapters including the preface. (This study should come in addition to the study of Tanya within the study of Chitas.)]

The emphasis on the study of Torah to the extent that nothing else exists in one’s world but the Torah, also relates to the content of Parshas Bamidbar, which describes the census of the Jews. Rashi explains that taking this census reveals the dearness of the Jews before G‑d, “because they are dear to Him, He counts them always.”

There are 600,000 Jewish souls.10 Similarly, the Rabbis teach that the name Yisrael is an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “There are 600,000 letters in the Torah.”11 Nevertheless, despite this multiplicity, ultimately, both the Torah and the Jewish people are single indivisible entities. The “one people” are connected with the “one Torah” and the “one G‑d,” to the extent that “Israel, the Torah, and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all one.” This is the ultimate expression of the dearness of the Jewish people.

This relates to our Sages’ description of Sinai as the mountain from which “hatred descended to the world.” This statement can be explained as follows: It is written: “He placed the world in their hearts,” i.e., G‑d placed the future of the world in the heart of every man. The existence of the entire world depends on man. Through his service in worldly matters, “turning away from evil” and “doing good,” man has the power to correct the entire world.

Thus, when there is nothing else in a Jew’s world but Torah, he brings about a parallel situation in the world at large. All the undesirable aspects of the world are negated, or transformed into good, and it is revealed how the entire world exists only for the sake of the Torah.

May we receive the Torah with happiness and inner feeling. (This is the blessing the Previous Rebbe would give for the holiday of Shavuos.) And may we merit the age when, “a new Torah will emerge from Me,” with the coming of Mashiach.

* * *

2. The above concepts can be connected with the sixth12 chapter of Pirkei Avos, which we study this week. This chapter begins with the statement: “The Sages taught in the language of the Mishnah: ‘Blessed be He who chose you and your teachings.”‘ The word “Sages” refers to each and every Jew who is a member of “a wise and understanding nation.” These qualities are revealed through the Torah. Therefore, a Jew’s behavior must be permeated by the Torah, it being the only thing in his world.

Pirkei Avos continues:

“The tablets were the work of G‑d and the writing was the writing of G‑d, charus (‘engraved’) on the tablets.” Do not read charus, but cherus (‘freedom’). There is no free man except one who occupies himself with the study of Torah.

The Shaloh explains that when our Sages teach, “Do not read..., but...” their intention is to add a new interpretation, but not to negate the simple meaning of the verse. Thus, the teaching mentioned above reveals that the Torah is connected with both freedom and engraving.

Chassidus explains that engraved letters are unique in that they are an integral part of (and not a separate entity from) the object on which they are written. When a Jew studies Torah in a manner of “engraving,” he becomes unified entirely with the Torah he studies. His entire existence becomes Torah. This leads to true freedom; he is lifted above all worries and distraction.

This has an effect in the world at large as the chapter continues, “Whoever repeats a concept in the name of its author brings redemp­tion to the world.”13The world, which in its present state, conceals G‑dliness, will become permeated by the quality of redemption.

Thus, the world will be elevated to a state where it will be revealed that, “Everything which G‑d created in this world was created solely for His glory.” “Glory” refers to Torah as Pirkei Avos mentions beforehand, “There is no glory other than Torah.” Thus, it will be revealed that there is nothing else within the entire world, but the Torah.

The chapter concludes, “The L‑rd will reign forever and ever.” According to the Kabbalistic tradition when the letters of ועד (translated as “ever”) are transposed the word אחד, “one,” is produced, implying that the unity of “the L‑rd is our G‑d, the L‑rd is One,” will be revealed “forever and ever.” This will be revealed, not only to the Jews, but also to the nations of the world as it is written, “Then, I will transform the nations to a clear speech, that they may all call on the name of the L‑rd.”

* * *

3. Our Sages teach that the Jewish children were chosen as the guarantors of the Torah. Therefore, it is appropriate that they, even infants of a very young age,14 should be present in the synagogue to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. This can be accomplished without great difficulty since in most communities, there are several synagogues, and often, several different times of prayer at a single synagogue. Therefore, the entire family need not attend the Torah reading together and a convenient time can be arranged so that all Jewish children can hear the Ten Commandments.

Before the Torah reading, it is proper to explain to the children how important receiving the Torah is and how they should prepare to receive it. Although G‑d gives the Torah in a generous manner, He desires that the Jews prepare themselves to receive it. This will allow them to receive the Torah in a full and complete manner.

Similarly, adults should prepare to receive the Torah by increasing their Torah study. In particular they should increase the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah (Torah’s mystic dimensions). This realm of study shares a connection with the holiday of Shavuos. To explain: Our Sages interpret the verse, “Honey and milk will be under your tongue,” as a reference to Pnimiyus HaTorah, stating, “Subjects which are as sweet as honey and milk should be ‘under your tongue,’ (i.e., not studied openly).” On Shavuos, it is customary to eat sweet milchig foods, indicating that this is a time when this realm of knowledge is given prominence.

This is also reflected by the narrative of the giving of the Torah when G‑d’s chariot,15 associated with the deeper aspects of Pnimiyus HaTorah, was revealed to every Jew. Even though ordinarily, one begins with the study of the revealed dimensions of Torah law, when the Torah was given, an exception was made and, at the very outset, even before the declaration of the Ten Commandments, G‑dliness was revealed.

The vision of G‑dliness perceived by the Jews was also comprehended intellectually. Not only did they see G‑dliness, they also internalized this vision. Thus, our Sages explained that at the giving of the Torah, the Jews “saw what was normally heard and heard what was normally seen,” implying that the revelation effected, not only the power of sight, but also the power of hearing, which is connected with the power of understanding.

Since the revelation at Mount Sinai included an emphasis on Ma’aseh Merkavah, Pnimiyus HaTorah, it is appropriate that the preparation for receiving the Torah anew should also emphasize this subject matter. This will also effect our study of Nigleh (the teachings of Torah law). Pnimiyus HaTorah is called, “the soul of Torah,” and Nigleh, its body. It is natural for the body to be drawn after the soul.

The increase in Torah study should begin this Shabbos. As mentioned several times throughout the year, on Shabbos, there should be an effort to “gather together groups to study Torah.” Surely, this applies on the Shabbos which precedes the giving of the Torah. Therefore, it is proper to utilize the remaining hours of this Shabbos to gather together Jews to study Torah communally (preferably, in a manner of “When ten people sit and study Torah...” or in even greater numbers as it is written, “Among the multitude of people is the glory of the king”). Simultaneously, these gatherings should also be used to mention all the preparations for the holiday of Shavuos.16

May the “running to the performance of a mitzvah,” the efforts to gather Jews in shul for Torah study, lead to the time when we run to greet Mashiach. Indeed, there will be no need to run, for Mashiach will come directly here to the Previous Rebbe’s shul and house of study. Then, “a great congregation will return here,” the Jewish people, together with all the elements of the world which they elevated, will come back to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.

4. We can also derive a lesson from the day on which Shavuos is celebrated. Our Sages teach א-ת, ב-ש; i.e., on the day of Alef, the first day of Pesach, will fall Tuf, Tishah BeAv. On the day of Beis, the second day of Pesach, will fall Shin, the holiday of Shavuos.

This implies that the experience of “the season of our freedom” on Pesach will transform all the negative factors of Tishah BeAv into good, bringing about the ultimate redemption.

The association of Shavuos with the second day of Pesach is significant this year since it falls on Wednesday, “the day on which the luminaries were suspended [in the heavens].” The term “luminaries” refers primarily to the sun and the moon. They can be associated with the written law and the oral law respectively. Both these were given to Moshe on Mount Sinai. The entire oral law including even “every new concept which an experienced Sage will develop” was included in that initial revelation.

On Shavuos, may we receive the Torah anew with joy and inner feeling and may this lead to our receiving “the new Torah that will emerge from Me,” in the Messianic age. Our Sages declared, “All the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have passed and the matter is dependent only on teshuvah.” Our Sages also teach that even a fleeting thought of teshuvah is enough for one to be considered a completely righteous man. Thus, through teshuvah we will nullify the reason for the exile, our sins, as we recite in prayer, “because of our sins we were exiled from our land.” When the reason for the exile ceases to exist, the exile itself will end and we will proceed together to greet Mashiach.

Behar – Bechukosai Yom Yerushalayim - Mevarchim Sivan | 25 Iyar – 1 Sivan 5777

Fri- May 19th Erev Shabbos
Shacharis 7 am
Mincha/Candles 8:27 pm
Maariv and Sefira 9:23 pm /COUNT #39/

Sat May 20th – Shabbos 
Tehilim for Mevarchim Sivan 8 am
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:15 am
Mincha  8:27 pm /SEUDA SLISHIT/Pirkei Avot Chapter 5
Maariv/Havdalah 9:36 pm /COUNT OMER #40/

Weekdays
Sun Shacharis: 9  am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:26 pm /COUNT OMER #41/
Mon Shacharis  7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:27 pm /COUNT OMER #42/
Tue Shacharis 7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:28 pm /COUNT OMER #43/
Wed Shacharis 7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:30 pm /COUNT OMER #44/ Yom Yerushalayim
Thu Shacharis 7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:32 pm /COUNT OMER #45/
Fri Shacharis 6:50 am /ROSH CHODESH SIVAN

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush sponsor this Shabbos, May 20th ( 24th  Iyar) is Dr Norman Share ( Natan ben Ya'acov Ha Cohen) in honor and memory of the 36th Yahrzeit (20 Nisan) of beloved wife, Barbara Ruth Bat Avraham ( z"l).Seuda Slishit

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site 
www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

SHAVUOS ALL-NIGHT LEARNING AT CSTL TUESDAY, MAY 30TH 
Schedule to follow.

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHILDREN
The shul board would like to remind parents that they have sole responsibility for their children at CSTL

CHAIRS AND TABLES AT SHUL are for Shul Use Only.  
PLEASE do not remove them from the building.  PLEASE return any that are out of the building.    Thank you for your help.

DONATE TO CSTL VIA CREDIT CARD AT YOUR CONVENIENCE
Ivan now has a credit card reader for his smart phone, available at most week-day services.  We accept Visa-MasterCard-Amex-Discover, and of course Cash and Check!

LADIES TEHILIM – SUN 10 am
Come say Tehilim

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

Camp Gan Israel Seattle Goes to Six Weeks! Mon Jul 3rd to Fri Aug 11th 
Campers ages 2 -12 are excited about Gan Izzy 2017, especially since we’ve added a sixth week! For six fabulous weeks, your child can enjoy everything summer has to offer: swimming, crafts, sports, days at the beach, excursions to museums, roller skating, berry picking, and more, all in a loving, safe, Jewish environment. What could be better?! Campers from a wide range of backgrounds are welcomed, and given lots of love and attention from our enthusiastic group of specially recruited and trained counselors—some of whom are CGIS alumni themselves.  Camp Gan Israel Seattle: Mon Jul 3rd to Fri Aug 11th. Fun that lasts a summer...memories that last a lifetime! Register now for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and/or 6 weeks at
http://www.campganisraelseattle.org/ DON’T MISS OUT ON THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,

miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.


COMMUNITY NEWS

FOR WOMEN ONLY:Learn how to learn with the Feldenkrais Method®
My name is Renee Debaste and I am a Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practioner. I teach Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® class at Chabad of Snohomish County at 11:00 a.m. on the first and third Sunday of the month. Our shul is located at 18717 76th Ave W #B in Lynnwood. The class is for women only and free of charge. Please join us this Sunday, May 21st for a gentle lesson designed to reduce tension while increasing awareness and expanding ease of movement. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat if you have one. I have extras if you don't. For more information or to reserve a spot in the class, please contact me at 206-778-5168 or
rdebaste@gmail.com

Yom Yerushalayim Tues. evening, May 23rd 6-9 PM
Family BBQ at Ezra Bessaroth. Celebrate Jerusalem Day 5777. 
www.EzraBessaroth.Net

"Honor Our Fallen Veterans" Wed, May 24th at 6:00 pm
Join us as we help the Jewish War Veterans Assoc. place flags at the graves of Jewish Veterans in the Bikur Cholim & Sephardic Historical Cemeteries. Meet at the Bikur Cholim Cemetery, 1340 N 115th Street.. Sponsored by BCMH, Torah Day School & Chabad UW. If you need a ride or would like to co-sponsor this event, please contact Ari Hoffman.

Jewish Community Night at the ballpark Tue June 6th 7:10 pm
Seattle Mariners take on the Minnesota Twins! Great seats for just $20.  www.JewishInSeattle.org

NYHS GOURMET FOOD & DESSERT AUCTION Wed May 24th 6:30 pm - 9 pm
At the Seward Park home of Dr. Menachem and Judy Maimon,.  Free and open to all!   Join NYHS is this unique tradition. Auctioneers Simon Amiel and Leah Gladstein will entertain as you sample, bid and buy delicious hand-crafted kosher goodies from our community chefs! RSVP and/or to Donate items, contact us at nyhs@nyhs.org or call 206-551-9322.

EZRA BESSAROTH LADIES AUXILLIARY SEPHARDI FEST SUN JUNE 11th 
Sephardic Foods, childrens activities, craft booths.

SEATTLE KOLLEL SUNDAY TORAH 9 am – 10:15 AM
Learning for adults and for children 5th through 8th grades.

Seattle Kollel Wed Apr 26 - May 24, 7-8 pm, Hebrew Crash Course
rabbiavrohomdavid@gmail.com 

Camp and Israel Scholarship Applications Available
Apply for Jewish overnight camp scholarships, first-time camper grants, teen Israel scholarships.
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Mishmar Chavura with Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld Thu 9pm
Parsha Learning and Discussion. Everyone welcome to join the conversation.  5240 38th Ave. NE.  Snacks served

NEED A DRIVER – CALL GERSHON!
For all your transportation needs, call Gershon Grashin (206) 856-2754


SICHO FOR YOM YERUSHALAYIM
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507830/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Behar-Bechukosai-24th-Day-of-Iyar-5750-1990.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

1. On this Shabbos, we bless the month of Sivan, the third month of the year, the month which contains “the season of the giving of our Torah.” Our Sages connect the giving of the Torah with the number three, “G‑d gave a threefold light to a threefold people through the third [of Amram’s children]... in the third month.”

The connection with three is further emphasized by the fact that generally, the Shabbos on which the month of Sivan is blessed falls on the Shabbos when the reading of the Book of Vayikra, the third book of the Torah, is completed. Furthermore, when that reading is concluded, we declare: chazak, chazak, vinischazeik (“Be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened”), a threefold statement, reinforcing our commitment to Torah.

The concept can be explained as follows: The Torah was given on Mount Sinai to show a person how to serve G‑d within the context of this physical world and how to conduct himself in accordance with G‑d’s will. In this manner, the person’s entire being, body and soul, will be permeated with holiness and through these activities, he will be able to refine the world around him.

To make this possible, G‑d gave the Torah in a manner which is appropriate for a human being and this material world, so that it can permeate through and encompass man and the world in a complete manner. Accordingly, since there are three divisions within man and within the world at large, the Torah is also associated with this number.

To explain: A healthy person’s behavior is balanced between thought, speech, and action. Generally, a person first thinks through a desired activity. Afterwards, he takes counsel with knowledgeable friends (speech), and then acts accordingly. There are two aspects to this concept: a) All three phases are necessary. It is not sufficient for a concept to remain on the level of thought or speech. Rather, it must be brought down to the level of deed. On the contrary, particularly, in the context of our world, “deed is most essential.” The expression of a concept in deed adds a dimension of completeness to the levels of thought and speech. b) For deed to be complete, it must be preceded by thought and speech. Otherwise, it will be rash and haphazard. When a deed is thought out and talked over with friends, it is performed with the confidence that this is the proper way to deal with the question and thus, it is performed in a more successful manner.

Indeed, there always has to be a hesitation between thought and speech and deed. There is an allusion to this concept in the Hebrew letter, Hay (v). The Hay has three lines which reflect the three potentials of thought, speech, and action. Two lines (thought and speech) are joined together. The third line (deed) is, however, separated from the previous two to indicate that one must pause and think over one’s deeds.1 Even though one is sure (on the level of thought and speech) that one is doing the proper thing, before one actually performs a deed, one must hesitate and reconsider the matter.2

Thus, it is through the exercise of these three potentials that a person reaches a level of perfection. Similarly, based on the principle that each person is “a world in microcosm,” a similar order exists in the world at large.3 Thus, there are three spiritual worlds, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, which correspond to the three potentials, thought, speech, and action. Furthermore, each of these three realms is itself broken up into three levels: Chabad (the intellectual powers), Chagas (the primary emotions), Nehim (the emotions connected with applying a concept in deed).4

A parallel to the concepts explained above applies in this context as well: a) This world — and not the higher spiritual worlds — is the ultimate purpose of the entire creation. G‑d desired “a dwelling in the lower worlds,” in our material realm. b) Simultaneously, in this world, we must realize that this is merely the third world, that it is the lowest level, and it receives its life-energy from the realms above it. This will allow G‑dliness to be drawn down from the higher worlds into this world.

The ultimate purpose of the creation of this world, the establishment of a dwelling for G‑d, is accomplished through man’s service on the level of deed. In the spiritual worlds, the soul exists on a higher plane and expresses the qualities of thought (in Beriah) and speech (in Yetzirah). In this world, a person expresses all three potentials and, in particular, the potential of deed.

In this context, we can understand the expression that Torah, service, and deeds of kindness are the three pillars on which the world stands. The service of Torah is connected primarily with speech, service with thought, and deeds of kindness with action. Similarly, each mitzvah has three dimensions: its intent (thought), the blessing recited before its performance (speech), and the actual performance of the mitzvah (deed).

Of these three dimensions, “deed is most essential.” For example, in regard to the recitation of the Shema, a person who meditated on the Shema with full concentration, but did not actually recite the words, did not fulfill his obligation. The actual recitation of the words is what is most important. Conversely, however, the fulfillment of a mitzvah is complete only when it is associated with the intent for the mitzvah. Otherwise, it is considered as a body without a soul.

Based on the above, we can understand the connection between the giving of the Torah and the number three. As explained above, the giving of the Torah was intended to elevate the world and refine it according to G‑d’s will. Since man and the world at large possess three dimensions, it is a threefold service, encompassing thought, speech, and action, that refines and elevates a person and the entire world at large. Accordingly, the Torah has itself descended to allow for such service and has expressions on all the levels of thought, speech, and action. To emphasize this, the Torah is structured as a threefold light, the recipients of Torah were a threefold people, and the time during which the Torah was given was also associated with three, the third month.

This is associated with the conclusion of the third Book of the Torah which is usually read in connection with the Shabbos on which the month of Sivan is blessed. The Book of Vayikra contains many Torah laws (in contrast to the other four Books which also contain many sections of narrative). Most of these laws involve the sacrifices in the Beis HaMikdash. That service involves three dimensions, the intent of the sacrifice, the song recited by the Levites, and the actual sacrificial service. Alternatively, these three divisions can be seen as our prayers that take the place of the sacrifices (thought), the study of the laws of the sacrifices (speech), and the actual sacrifice (deed).

The parshiyos, Behar and Bechukosai, also share a connection to the above concepts. Both of these parshiyos, begin by mentioning — or alluding to — the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Parshas Behar begins: “And G‑d spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai...” The commentaries explain:

Just as both the general concept and the particular applications of Shemitah(the subject of this revelation) were granted at Sinai, the entire Torah was given — both its general concepts and its particular applications — at Sinai.

Similarly, parshas Bechukosai begins with statements about the entire Torah, “If you will walk in My statutes, keep My mitzvos, and observe them”5 and concludes, “These are the mitzvos which the L‑rd commended Moshe for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.”6

2. Parshas Behar begins: “When you enter the land... the land will rest as a Shabbos unto G‑d. You shall sow your fields for six years... and in the seventh year, you shall rest.” Even though the resting of the land, the Shemitah year, is not observed until six years have past, the Torah mentions it first, indicating that this should be the goal and purpose of settling the land. The object of our efforts should not be our material activities, but rather, drawing G‑dliness into the world. The six years of agricultural work should be carried out with this intent in mind.

The phrase, “When you enter the land,” can also be interpreted metaphorically to refer to the soul’s descent into this material world and the “six years of sowing the land,” the six millennia of service to make this world a dwelling for G‑d. This service must be permeated with the intent that ultimately, “the land will rest as a Shabbos unto G‑d.”

On this basis, we can see a connection to the concepts described above. The service of deed, “sowing the land,” must be preceded by the intention of bringing about “a Shabbos unto G‑d.” When this intention permeates a person’s thought processes thoroughly, he can proceed to carry out this intent through the various activities required in preparing the world to be a dwelling for G‑d.

This pattern is reflected in our behavior each morning. The Shulchan Aruchrequires that we “meditate on before whom one is lying” (thought), recite Modeh Ani (speech), nullifying ourselves totally before G‑d. This generates the potential to carry out our service throughout the day (deed).7

3. The potential for a Jew to serve G‑d on the three planes of thought, speech, and action is derived from the fact that G‑d created the world in this fashion. This concept can be explained within the context of the opening Mishnah of the fifth chapter of Pirkei Avos:

The world was created by means of Ten [Divine] Utterances. What does this come to teach us, for indeed, it could have been created by one utterance? [It was done so] in order to bring retribution upon the wicked who destroy the world which was created by ten utterances, and to bestow ample reward upon the righteous who sustain the world which was created by ten utterances.

The commentaries question: If the world could have been created with a single utterance, what difference does it make that, in fact, G‑d created the world with ten utterances? If a person bought an article that was worth one dollar for ten dollars and then it was stolen, surely, the thief is not obligated to pay more than one dollar.

This difficulty can be resolved as follows: Though G‑d could have created the world with a single utterance, it would have been a different world. The world would have been on the level of thought, totally nullified to G‑dliness without the same concepts of limitation and differentiation that exist at present.8

G‑d’s intention, however, was not to create a spiritual world of that nature, but rather, a material world as we have before us, a world in which the creations feel their individual identities and thus, have the power of choice. In this manner, their service and self-nullification to G‑d comes about, not as an innate natural tendency, but rather as a product of their own effort.

The revelation of G‑dliness through service of this nature, the creation of a dwelling for G‑d in the lower worlds, could not be brought about through a single utterance of creation. To allow for the existence of the world in its present state, ten utterances of creation are necessary. Therefore, the wicked and the righteous deserve the full reward or punishment as befits behavior in a world brought into being through ten statements of creation.

This explanation is problematic. Since the world as it exists now could not be created through a single utterance of creation, what is the purpose of the Mishnah’s statement that, potentially, the world could have been created with a single utterance?

This question can be explained within the context of the previous concepts. As mentioned above, the thought which precedes a deed has an effect on the deed. Thus, the fact that there was a potential — and in spiritual realms, a potential is an actuality — to create the world with a single utterance,9 i.e., to bring into a being a world on a higher spiritual plane, has an effect on the world as it exists at present. Though the world was created with ten utterances to create a material environment which brings about the possibility of choice, the fact that it could have been brought into existence with a single utterance endows the world with the potential to become a dwelling for G‑d.10

To express the concept slightly differently: The potential for a dwelling for G‑d to be established within the world comes from the level of a single utterance. The expression of that potential “in the lower worlds,” that G‑d’s dwelling be established through the willful choice of creations who feel separate from Him, is made possible by the fact that, in actuality, the world was created by ten utterances.11

These concepts are reflected in the service of each individual. In the spiritual realms, the soul is united with G‑d on the level of thought. This unity generates the potential that afterwards, as the soul descends into this world, it can carry out the intent for its existence, the service of deed, transforming the world into a dwelling place for G‑d.

4. The coming days must be used in preparation for “the season of the giving of our Torah.” Each individual should resolve to increase his study of Torah — both the revealed realm of Torah law and Pnimiyus HaTorah, Torah’s mystic dimension — and fulfillment of mitzvos, stressing the interrelation of thought, speech, and deed.

In particular, based on the concept that our children are the “guarantors of the Torah,” efforts should be made to bring all Jewish children, even those of a very young age, to shul on Shavuos to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. Even though the children may not appreciate what they hear, their presence has an influence on the source of their souls.

May these activities lead to the acceptance of the Torah with happiness and inner feeling and may we — even before the holiday of Shavuos — proceed together with Mashiach to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the TempleMount.

* * *

5. This Shabbos, the International Convention of Lubavitch Women is being held. Surely, this convention will inspire good resolutions in the service of G‑d, in particular, in regard to the Convention’s theme, “All your children will be students of G‑d.” This emphasizes the importance of the efforts of Jewish women and girls to study Torah themselves and to inspire their husbands and families to Torah study as explained in the farbrengen last Shabbos. For example, when her husband or son comes home from a study session, a woman shows interest in the subject matter and discusses it.

In this context, the lesson from the verse: “When you enter the land... the land will rest as a Shabbos unto G‑d,” explained above is relevant. In setting up a Jewish home, first, the purpose of the home, that it is “a house for G‑d,” must be established. This is relevant, on a larger scale, to young couples who are first setting up their homes and, in the context of our day to day existence, to families who are already established. When the woman of the house, described as akeres habayis (which can be interpreted as “the essence of the home”), makes a decision to make Shabbos the essential element of the house, all the mundane activities of the home will be infused by that spirit.

Parashat Emor – Lag b’Omer | 16-25 Iyar 5777

Fri- May 12th Erev Shabbos
Shacharis 7 am
Mincha/Candles 8:18 pm
Maariv and Sefira 9:13 pm /COUNT #32/

Sat May 13th – Shabbos 
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:19 am
Mincha  8:18 pm /SEUDA SLISHIT/Pirkei Avot Chapter 4
Maariv/Havdalah 9:25 pm /COUNT OMER #33/

Weekdays
Sun Shacharis: 9  am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:16 pm /COUNT OMER #34/
Mon Shacharis  7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:18 pm /COUNT OMER #35/
Tue Shacharis 7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:19 pm /COUNT OMER #36/
Wed Shacharis 7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:20 pm /COUNT OMER #37/
Thu Shacharis 7 am, Mincha 8:30 pm, Maariv 9:22 pm /COUNT OMER #38/

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush is sponsored this week by Rabbi Elazar and Mrs. Esther Bogomilsky, in honor of their son Yossi's Bar Mitzvah!  May he grow up to a life of Torah, chuppah and ma'asim tovim! Seuda Slishit

MAZEL TOV MAZEL TOV
Mazel Tov to Rabbi Elazar and Mrs. Esther Bogomilsky, and the Bogomilsky, Kornfeld, and Levitin families on Yossi's Bar Mitzvah!  Welcome to the guests who are joining us for this event!

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site 
www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHILDREN
The shul board would like to remind parents that they have sole responsibility for their children at CSTL

CHAIRS AND TABLES AT SHUL are for Shul Use Only.  
PLEASE do not remove them from the building.  PLEASE return any that are out of the building.    Thank you for your help.

DONATE TO CSTL VIA CREDIT CARD AT YOUR CONVENIENCE
Ivan now has a credit card reader for his smart phone, available at most week-day services.  We accept Visa-MasterCard-Amex-Discover, and of course Cash and Check!

LADIES TEHILIM – SUN 10 am
Come say Tehilim

CSTL Lag B'Omer BBQ – Magnuson Park Shelter № 3. Sun May 14th Noon- 2PM
Featuring $4 hot dogs!  Sandbox for Tots!  Children’s Parade! Please contact Rabbi Herbstman to volunteer and for more information 
avrahamshlomo@hotmail.com  Co-sponsored by Chabad of Seattle

Lag Ba'omer BBQ at Green Lake  SUN MAY 14th 4-6 PM

Delicious Food! Music and fun activities. Discover the significance of this special day! All food will be provided by Chabad of NW Seattle!  Info:  Rabbi Yoni LevitinChabadofballard@gmail.com 206 851 9831

Lag BaOmer Brunch! Sunday, May 14th, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM.
Chabad of Capitol Hill invites you to brunch at Seattle Hebrew Academy. Enjoy a morning with family and friends, over a delicious brunch, exciting activities and more! Create and decorate your own heart shaped cookies in honor of Mother's Day! 

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

Camp Gan Israel Seattle Goes to Six Weeks! Mon Jul 3rd to Fri Aug 11th 
Campers ages 2 -12 are excited about Gan Izzy 2017, especially since we’ve added a sixth week! For six fabulous weeks, your child can enjoy everything summer has to offer: swimming, crafts, sports, days at the beach, excursions to museums, roller skating, berry picking, and more, all in a loving, safe, Jewish environment. What could be better?! Campers from a wide range of backgrounds are welcomed, and given lots of love and attention from our enthusiastic group of specially recruited and trained counselors—some of whom are CGIS alumni themselves.  Camp Gan Israel Seattle: Mon Jul 3rd to Fri Aug 11th. Fun that lasts a summer...memories that last a lifetime!Register now for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and/or 6 weeks at 
http://www.campganisraelseattle.org/DON’T MISS OUT ON THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush, 
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.


COMMUNITY NEWS

Yom Yerushalayim Tues. evening, May 23rd 6-9 PM
Family BBQ at Ezra Bessaroth. Celebrate Jerusalem Day 5777. 
www.EzraBessaroth.Net

SEPHARDIC RELIGIOUS SCHOOL – SUNDAYS AND TUESDAYS
The Sephardic Religious School (SRS) is a supplementary Jewish school serving Jewish children in Pre-School through Grade 8, meet on Sundays for 2 1/2 hours and Tuesdays for an additional 1 ½ hours. SRS is housed at the MI JCC and open to all Jewish children regardless of synagogue affiliation. We provide a warm, nurturing environment and fun through activities for our students. All grades have a basic curriculum with areas of two periods: Judaic Studies and Hebrew reading Groups. Judaic Studies classes: Tefilah - Prayers and Berachot - Blessings, Chagim - Holidays / Laws and Customs and Chumash (Bible). Hebrew Reading Groups cover learning to read and write in Hebrew with Hebrew vocabulary. Preparation for Bar and Bat Mitzvah reading and projects. SRS is open to everyone and our tuition has been designed to be affordable. Call Rachely Hemmat 206 992-2235 or email
srs.hebrewschool@gmail.com

Connections-The Jewish Marriage Institute Presents "Refresh Youth Marriage"
A 10-week pre-recorded teleconference. Reserve your spot at
http://www.ConnectionsMarriageInstitute.org

"Israel-From Creation to Innovation" Tues., May 16th  6:30-8:30 pm,
Guest speaker, Alon Ben-Gurion. No charge to attend. 
www.JewishInSeattle.org 

Jewish Community Night at the ballpark Tue June 6th 7:10 pm
Seattle Mariners take on the Minnesota Twins! Great seats for just $20.  www.JewishInSeattle.org

NYHS GOURMET FOOD & DESSERT AUCTION Wed May 24th 6:30 pm - 9 pm
At the Seward Park home of Dr. Menachem and Judy Maimon,.  Free and open to all!   Join NYHS is this unique tradition. Auctioneers Simon Amiel and Leah Gladstein will entertain as you sample, bid and buy delicious hand-crafted kosher goodies from our community chefs! RSVP and/or to Donate items, contact us at nyhs@nyhs.org or call 206-551-9322.

EZRA BESSAROTH LADIES AUXILLIARY SEPHARDI FEST SUN JUNE 11th 
Sephardic Foods, childrens activities, craft booths.

SEATTLE KOLLEL SUNDAY TORAH 9 am – 10:15 AM
Learning for adults and for children 5th through 8th grades.

Seattle Kollel Wed Apr 26 - May 24, 7-8 pm, Hebrew Crash Course
rabbiavrohomdavid@gmail.com 

Camp and Israel Scholarship Applications Available
Apply for Jewish overnight camp scholarships, first-time camper grants, teen Israel scholarships. 
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Mishmar Chavura with Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld Thu 9pm
Parsha Learning and Discussion. Everyone welcome to join the conversation.  5240 38th Ave. NE.  Snacks served

NEED A DRIVER – CALL GERSHON!
For all your transportation needs, call Gershon Grashin (206) 856-2754


SICHO FOR EMOR
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507902/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Emor-17th-Day-of-Iyar-5750-1990.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

1. This week’s Torah portion begins: “Tell the priests, the children of Aharon, and relate to them...” Our Sages, noting the apparent redundancy of the commands, “tell” and “relate,” explain that the verse is intended, “to charge the adults with [the education of] the children.”

This provokes a question: Since the education1 of children is of fundamental importance to the future of our people as our Sages declared, “If there are no kids, there will be no goats,” why is the education of our children not mentioned immediately after the giving of the Torah? Why is its mention postponed until the middle of the Book of Vayikra and, even then, it is not mentioned in the context of a matter of general relevance, but rather in regard to the laws of the priesthood?

These questions can be resolved within an explanation of the connection between the content of this Torah portion and the time of year when it is read. Parshas Emor is always read in the month of Iyar which is distinguished by its connection to the mitzvahof counting the Omer. Every day of this month is associated with this mitzvah. [The association of this mitzvah with parshas Emor is further emphasized by the fact that themitzvah of counting the Omer is related in detail in this Torah reading.]

The counting of the Omer is associated with education as emphasized by the fact that it commemorates the preparation (“education”) of the Jewish people to receive the Torah. The exodus from Egypt can be considered as the “birth” of the people and the seven weeks that followed a period of preparation as the Jews waited anxiously, counting the days until they received the Torah. Each year, this sequence is repeated, “advancing higher in holiness,” revealing deeper dimensions of the Torah, until ultimately, “a new Torah will emerge from Me,” in the Messianic age.

Chinuch, education, is not only relevant in the initial stages of one’s service. On the contrary, as a person grows and advances from level to level he must “educate” himself to prepare to reach the higher rung. This concept is alluded to in the counting of theOmer which: a) begins after Pesach, i.e., after the Jews have taken a leap forward in the service of G‑d; b) counts the days with cardinal numbers rather than ordinal ones, i.e., rather than say, “Today is the second day...,” “Today is the third day...” and the like. We say, “Today is two days to the Omer,” “Today is three days...,” indicating that each day includes within it the service of all the previous days and then, contributes a further dimension of growth itself.

The counting of the Omer is also related to the concept of Jewish unity. The “seven perfect weeks” of the Omer alludes to achieving perfection among the categories of the Jewish people alluded to by the seven branches of the Menorah which reflect our seven emotional qualities. During this period, all these seven categories must be perfected until they “shine.” (Sefirah which means “counting” also means “shining.”)

This concept is also related to the month of Iyar (אייר) whose Hebrew spelling serves as an acronym for the names Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov, and Rachel (אברהם, יצחק, יעקב, רחל), the four figures who have endowed their spiritual heritage to the totality of the Jewish people.2

This high level is also is also reflected in the expression our Sages use to communicate the obligation to educate our children, l’hazhir gedolim al hakatanimL’Hazhir also means “to shine,” i.e., these efforts will add shining light to the entire Jewish people, both the parents and the children and reveal their essential positive qualities.

This is also related to the name of the parshah, Emor which can also be interpreted to mean “grant praise and distinction” as in the verse: “You have granted praise and distinction to G‑d today.”3

An added dimension to the above is contributed this year by the fact that Shabbos Emorfalls on the day preceding Lag BaOmer. The 49 days of the counting of the Omer are associated with the refinement of our seven emotional characteristics. Each of these seven characteristics is included with the others and thus, each day of the Omer is connected with a specific quality. In this context, Lag BaOmer is connected with the quality, Hod she’b’hod.

In his Siddur, the Alter Rebbe explains that Hod she’b’hod concludes the counting of the fundamental emotions; the remaining qualities are external and do not relate to the essence of the emotions. Thus, counting Hod she’b’hod4 completes the primary aspects of the service of counting the Omer.

Thus, Lag BaOmer is connected with the holiday of Shavuos, the culmination of the counting of the Omer and the day which commemorates the giving of the Torah. That connection can be explained as follows: Lag BaOmer is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who revealed the teachings of Pnimiyus HaTorah. Furthermore, he brought about the nullification of the factors which separate between the reveal aspects of Torah (Torah law) and these teachings.

The revelation of the teachings of Pnimiyus HaTorah was the goal of the giving of the Torah as evident from the fact that, at the giving of the Torah, the entire Jewish people witnessed the revelation of G‑d’s chariot, Maaseh Merchavah. This subject is explained and clarified so that it can be understood and internalized5 in the teachings of Pnimiyus HaTorah.

In this context, the present day, the 32nd day of the Omer, is also significant. 32 is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word, ck, meaning “heart.” This word also shares a connection to the Torah which begins with the letter Beis and ends with the letterLamed. Similarly, its date, the 17th of Iyar is significant. 17 is numerical equivalent to the Hebrew, טוב, meaning “good.”6

Based on the above, we can understood the initial question: Why was the obligation to educate our children not mentioned directly after the giving of the Torah. As explained above, in their statement, our Sages used the word l’hazhir which means “to shine,” rather than another term meaning to educate. This implies that the goal is also to make the children who receive the education shine. Therefore, this does not apply in the initial stages of their education, but only after they have begun elevating themselves and are seeking to reach a level of completion.

To put it in other terms: The obligation to give children the basics of education is self-understood and does not require a commandment from the Torah.7 The command the Torah feels that it is necessary to relate — the obligation to educate one’s children until they shine — cannot be communicated at the outset and is mentioned only after one has begun one’s service.

There is a deeper lesson that can be derived from the words Emor and v’emartah (meaning “tell” and “and you shall relate”). Significantly, though they are separated in the verse, Rashi mentions them directly after each other to imply that they are a single concept, i.e., the efforts of the adults to educate the children is not separate from their own service, but rather, an extension of it. It is not that in addition to their own service, they also educate their children; but rather the adults and the children are united in a single service. Similarly, each one of the adults service is complete to the point that it extends beyond himself and has an influence on others as well.

Furthermore, just as the adults exert a positive influence on the children, this activity has an effect upon them causing them to “shine.” This comes about because the unity of the adults and the children draws down a light that transcends totally the differences between adults and children.

The above is reflected in the Jews’ efforts in “educating” the world (i.e., the world can be considered as a “child” when compared to the Jews who are like “adults”). The Jews must “polish” the world until it shines. This, in turn, will draw down a higher light for the Jews themselves.

There is also a mystic dimension to this concept. The word אמר, “tell,” is an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “fire, water, and wind,” three of the four fundamental elements of existence. The word, ואמרת contains these three letters, but also contains the letter tuf which reflects the Sefirah of Malchus which is associated with the element of earth. Emor, however, does not allude to the element of earth because earth is included in the other three elements, fire, air, and water. This can been seen from the fact that when water is boiled, a residue of earth remains.

These concepts are reflected in our behavior, “fire, water, and wind,” refer to our potentials for wisdom, understanding, and emotion. Exercise of these potentials alone is not sufficient and it is also necessary to add, “earth,” malchus, which refers to expression to others. This expression, however, is not an independent entity, but rather an extension of one’s inner qualities. Through this expression a greater and more encompassing light is generated.

There is a unique connection of the above to Lag BaOmerLag BaOmer, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s yahrzeit, is associated with the unity of the Jewish people. Thus, Rabbi Shimon is well-known for his interpretation of the verse, “How good and how sweet is it for brothers to sit together.”8 One of the most complete expressions of this unity is the establishment of oneness between adults and children, two opposites. For this reason,Lag BaOmer is celebrated by activities with Jewish children.

2. The above concepts are enhanced by a teaching of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the fourth chapter of Pirkei Avos.9 That teaching states:

Rabbi Shimon states: There are three crowns: The crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of kingship. The crown of a good name surpasses them all.

This raises an obvious question. Why doesn’t the Mishnah mention four crowns, including “the crown of a good name”?

The concept can be explained as follows: Torah, priesthood, and royalty refer to internal qualities within an individual’s personality. The “crown of a good name” refers to one’s activities with others. Rabbi Shimon explains that “crown of a good name” is not a separate entity, but rather an extension of the other three crowns. Our work with others has to be viewed, not as a different service, but as a continuation of one’s personal efforts of refinement.

This is alluded to by the terminology used by the Mishnah. The Hebrew expression translated as “surpasses them all” literally means “ascends upon them,” i.e., when one has carried out the services of Torah, priesthood, and kingship, then sharing one’s qualities with others brings about a new crown which is higher than the other ones.

This is also connected to Rabbi Shimon’s stress on the oneness of the Jewish people as reflected in his explanation of the verse: “How good and how sweet it is for brothers to sit together.” This verse also relates to the unity between the Jews and G‑d for “brothers sitting together” can refer to G‑d and the Jews.10

The above sheds light on a statement of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai:

Come and see how dear Israel is before the Holy One, blessed be He, wherever they were exiled, the Divine Presence was exiled with them.... When they will be redeemed, the Divine Presence will accompany them.

The intent of this statement is that the unity between G‑d and the Jewish people is not for the sake of an external purpose, but rather a natural, innate bond. Accordingly, wherever Israel is found, the Divine Presence accompanies them.

In this context, it is worthy to contrast the manner in which this statement is quoted in the Talmud and in the text, Ein Yaakov. There are two primary differences: a) Ein Yaakov lists several different exiles which the Jewish people were forced to undergo, while the Talmud’s text is far more concise. b) Ein Yaakov spells the name Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai with an alef, while the Talmud omits that letter.

The differences can be explained based on the differences between the nature of the two texts. Ein Yaakov was intended for people on a low level of knowledge, while the Talmud can be studied only by those on a more advanced level. Therefore, to emphasize the oneness of G‑d with the Jewish people on all levels, the Ein Yaakov mentions all the places to which they were exiled.

It also includes a alef because the alef is the key to redemption. The only differences in the Hebrew words for “exile” (golah —גולה) and “redemption” (geulah —גאולה) is analef. The alef stands for Alufo shel Olam, G‑d, “the L‑rd of the world.” It is the revelation of G‑dliness which transforms the exile into redemption.

The lessons from parshas Emor mentioned above should motivate us to invest more energy in the unity of the Jewish people and in education, teaching young children, and also teaching adults, spreading forth the wellsprings of Chassidus, the legacy of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, outward. Similarly, efforts must be made to edu­cate gentiles and train them in the performance of their seven mitzvos.

In particular, the day of Lag BaOmer should be used to organize gatherings and parades to stress these objectives. May these parades inspire us to continue to “proceed from strength to strength.” And may we merit that in this “year of miracles,” and in preparation to the year 5751 whose Hebrew letters (תשנ"א) serve as an acronym for the phrase meaning, “May this be a year when ‘I will show you wonders’ ” (תהא שנת אראנו נפלאות), the fulfillment of the prophecies “I have found David, My servant, I have anointed him with holy oil,” which will bring about Blessed be the L‑rd forever and ever”

Parashat Acharei - Kedoshim | 9-16 Iyar 5777

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SICHO FOR ACHAREI - KEDOSHIM
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2518492/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Acharei-Kedoshim-13th-Day-of-Iyar-5745-1985.htm  © SichosInEnglish.org

1. Today’s farbrengen is primarily connected to the Torah reading of Acharei and Kedoshim. The Alter Rebbe taught us to live with the times — meaning the daily Torah section — how much more so on Shabbos when we read the entire portion!

The content and theme of every portion is represented by its name, in our case: Acharei- Kedoshim.

In some years we read Acharei on one Shabbos and Kedoshim on the following Shabbos, in which case the theme and lesson of the Torah portion would be related to each week independently. When they are combined, however, additional aspects are introduced, while all the previous themes continue. As the Talmud tells us regarding human potential: “The weight which a man can raise upon his shoulder is a third of the weight he can carry” (Sotah 31a); on which Rashi comments: “... when others help to set it on his shoulder.” (Rashi, loc. cit.) Thus, the whole is equal to more than the sum of its parts, because we have all the original components plus the new aspect created by the fusion of the two parts. Just as the unity of Ahavas Yisrael creates a new, loftier condition of “All together as one,” the same is also true in the case of Torah, which is the blueprint of the world.

What is the lesson of Acharei? The word Acharei refers to something which happened after the death of Aharon’s two sons. Aharon’s sons expired because their state of intense dveikus (attachment — devotion) to G‑dliness reached the point of Kelos Hanefesh (flight of the soul) which came as a result of their yearning to be absorbed in Divinity. Thus it was “After the death of the two sons of Aharon ...” that G‑d placed the emphasis on Divine service of the soul only as it is in a body, for only then can the purpose and goal of creation be attained; to make an abode for the Shechinah in the lower worlds:

Clearly, the purpose of the hishtalshelus (downward gradation) of the worlds and their descent, degree by degree, is not for the sake of the higher worlds, because for them this is a descent from the light of His blessed countenance. But the ultimate purpose [of creation] is this lowest world ... (Tanya ch. 36)

A further point to consider is that the condition of coming after something else is normally understood to connote a diminution. At the same time however, the latter stage serves as a conduit, or gathering, for the earlier, higher level; a form of ingathering of all the forces.

This may be clearly understood in our Divine service. When the soul enlivens the body and takes on temporal existence, it is surely a descent for the soul compared to its lofty spiritual state and its former level of Divine service. Nevertheless, it is specifically through this diminution that the true purpose of existence is fulfilled, to make an abode for G‑dliness in the physical world. This is the purpose of the hishtalshelus (downward gradation) of the worlds.

This teaching applies to everyone. The average person, involved in normal material matters, might be deterred or even depressed — the goal of spirituality seems to be so far away! Therefore Acharei comes to tell us: “Don’t be depressed. It is through your actions that the purpose of creation is realized.”

But the message of Acharei is broader; it is addressed to the scholar as well. Do not assume that being on the level of “Chiefs of the tribes” dictates that your Divine service should be “intense devotion, lovely, pleasant, sweetness, etc.” (Ohr HaChayim — commentary on sons of Aharon) You too must remember that the true purpose is to create an abode in the lower world — the lowest world. For that reason were you made scholars and chiefs, to incorporate your higher potentials in simple action.

What is the lesson of Kedoshim? “Kedoshim” (Be holy) is translated to mean, “Be self restraining.” The Ramban adds that we should:

.. practice moderation even in matters which are permitted ... Just as I am Holy so be you holy. Just as I am Pure so be you pure. (Ramban, beginning of Kedoshim)

This indicates the opposite theme of Acharei. Acharei said, descend to the world and get involved. Kedoshim says, abstain from worldly enterprise and stay aloof.

When the two viewpoints come together on the Shabbos of Acharei-Kedoshim we must stop a moment to consider and to understand what we are being told. The message we garner is that the Jew really has the ability to unite these two opposites. Just as G‑d “negates any restriction,” a Jew must also be like the Creator and unite the opposite themes of Acharei and Kedoshim together.

There is a Midrash which Chassidus explains:

“You shall be Holy ...,” might be taken to imply that your holiness is to be equal to Mine, and so Scripture plainly states, “... for I the L‑rd your G‑d am Holy”; that is to say, My Holiness is superior to yours. (Midrash, Vayikra Rabbah, 24:9)

The simple meaning of this Midrash is that we cannot attain the level of G‑dly Holiness. But, Chassidus interprets the Midrash in a positive way, “... your holiness is to be equal to Mine....” We can reach the level! And for those who challenge this approach, look at the Rashi on the verse: “For I am the Eternal your G‑d; you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, for I am Holy.” (Vayikra 11:44)

Rashi: “Just as I am Holy, I who am the L‑rd your G‑d, similarly make yourselves holy below on earth, ... because I will treat you as holy above.” (Rashi, loc. cit.)

In Toras Kohanim we also find: “If you will sanctify yourselves I will consider it that you have sanctified Me.” The Jew has the potential for holiness and the ability to increase, as it were, the Sanctity of G‑d.

Now, clearly this power is bestowed by G‑d; as an extension of His Holiness. He (G‑d) “... consider(s) it that ... have sanctified Me.” The Hebrew term used is “Maaleh Ani Aleichem,” which literally may be translated to “I raise you ....” G‑d raised the Jews to a point where our actions raise G‑d’s Holiness.

There is a parallel here to the interpretation of the verse: “... you should have a desire to the work of your hands.” (Iyov 14:15) Chassidus interprets this verse as meaning that G‑d “desires the work of our hands,” i.e. that our actions in this world are pleasing to G‑d and make an abode for the Shechinah in the world. Why is this actually the case? Because we are “G‑d’s handiwork” and just as a man can raise his hands above his head, so too, G‑d raised the work of His hands — the Jewish people — to a level higher than “Rosh — head.” The result is that our mitzvah actions give satisfaction to G‑d and bring an increase in His supernal Sanctity, so to speak.

Now, since we truly have this relationship to G‑d, there is no wonder that we also have the ability to unite opposites; the themes of Acharei and Kedoshim.

These two approaches of Acharei and Kedoshim may be compared to the two levels of: “... with all your heart, with all your soul ...” and “... with all your might.”

The Divine service of Acharei requires the person to keep his composure and presence of mind, which parallels the service of “with all your heart and ... soul.” The love for G‑d which is felt in your heart and soul must pulsate in a serene and settled manner; the opposite of “... when they approached G‑d and died.”

The manner of Divine service of Kedoshim however, is to be separated from the world, and to lose one’s self in a form of sublimation from the terrestrial to ethereal. This is embodied in the words “... with all your might”; the infinite and uncontrollable love, which cannot be encompassed by the heart, and bursts out in a surge of “flight of the soul,” out of the casing of the body, in ecstatic expiration.

Chassidus associates the state of “... with all your might” to the concept of “Doing the will of the Omnipresent.” Having become disembodied and having committed self-immolation he no longer exists as a “self,” but only as a vehicle “for doing G‑d’s will,” with G‑d’s Will — power.

Thus the condition of Kedoshim is the same concept as the idea of being likened to G‑d’s Holiness, mentioned earlier. The ultimate state of self-negation can only come from the higher power of being like G‑d. By acting in a manner of “... all your might” he actually “makes (not only does) G‑d’s will” (and places himself on the level of G‑d’s Holiness).

This same distinction may be applied in viewing the different approaches of tzaddikim (righteous) and baalei teshuvah (penitents). The tzaddik serves G‑d with all his “heart and soul” while the baal teshuvah serves G‑d with “all his might.” Because he was in the place of darkness and desolation, his thirst was stronger and harsher, and he reached a more intense longing and infinite love to free his soul from its prison and fall into the bosom of his Father, to truly cleave to Him.

Acharei symbolizes the tzaddik and Kedoshim symbolizes the baal teshuvah. So the baal teshuvah comes with the power of being “like G‑d,” and thereby adds holiness, from the infinite Torah levels; loftier than measure and restriction. This is the true idea of teshuvah, which explains why: “Where penitents stand, the completely righteous cannot stand” (Rambam, Teshuvah 7:4) This power is bestowed by G‑d — similar to the ability to add holiness (to G‑d).

This brings us to a more profound ability in the level of Kedoshim — to unite the opposites. Being that the power of Kedoshim stems from “being like G‑d,” just as G‑d is “unlimited by any restrictions,” so too, the Jew has the ability to unite antagonists. Now this lofty power of the infinite must penetrate to the level of Acharei.

Thus, the revelation of the quality of Holiness in the individual engenders the Divine service beyond limitations; but a deeper and stronger revelation will arouse more G‑dlike powers so that a new ability will emerge to be able to unite the opposites — Acharei and Kedoshim together, the finite and measured, with the infinite and immeasurable.

How can we understand this concept in practical application of Torah and mitzvos? The infinite power of G‑dliness that we possess will express itself in the superrational acceptance of the yoke of Heaven or in the practice of actual self-sacrifice to do a mitzvah. Consequently, the combination of Acharei and Kedoshim means to permeate the normal observance of Torah and mitzvos with self-sacrifice.

One who is righteous and stands in the states of “love of delights” in relation to G‑d, clearly makes no sacrifice when he does the will of G‑d. On the other hand, one who is in the lowly state of “a slave prefers the common ...,” (Gittin 13a) certainly for him, the observance of Torah is a complete burden and done only with great sacrifice.

Nevertheless, we say that for everyone, accepting the yoke of Heaven must be: “... the beginning of the service and its core and root.” (Tanya chap 41) Is this the combination we are seeking? No! In the tzaddik this root remains covered at the time of doing the mitzvah because of the intensity of desire that he feels at the time. At other times the root of his service might be revealed, but then the aspect of pleasure will be suppressed.

There is, however, a case where the joining of the opposites may be effected. Normally the Rambam lists the mitzvah of sanctifying G‑d’s name as a separate commandment:

All the members of the House of Israel are commanded to sanctify the Great Name of G‑d, as it is said, “But I will be hallowed among the children of Israel.” (Vayikra 22:32, Laws of Basic Principles of Torah 5:1)

There is a mitzvah to sanctify G‑d’s name, which can be associated to a general religious responsibility, beyond any specific mitzvah.

There is, however, a level on which the sacrifice of sanctification will penetrate into specific aspects of Torah and mitzvos. The Mechilta speaks of this phenomenon in its interpretation of the following verse:

And we shall say to him, what are these wounds between your hands? Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (Zechariah 13:6)

The Mechilta goes on:

Why are you taken out to be stoned? Because I have circumcised my son ... because I have observed Shabbos. Why are you taken out to be beheaded, because I ate matzah ... because I put on Tefillin ... because I did the will of Father in heaven.... These wounds have caused me to become beloved to my Father in heaven.” (Mechilta, Yisro 20:5)

Here now, we have a case where a specific mitzvah takes on the added aspect of being a sacrifice! To sanctify His Great Name. This is expressed in the Gemara:

.. if there is a “royal decree,” one must incur martyrdom rather than transgress even a minor precept ... Even to change one’s shoe strap.... (Sanhedrin 74 a-b)

Rashi explains that if Jews tied their shoes in a certain way, different from the gentiles, and there was a decree made against the Jews to force them to change their way, and the purpose was to subdue religious observance, than although this was only a custom, one must be ready for martyrdom.

So, normally a mitzvah is just a mitzvah, but when it is the subject of a decree against Judaism, then it exemplifies the essence of religion and one must be ready for sacrifices. Hence you have a concurrence of a normal mitzvah and supreme sacrifice. You can sanctify G‑d’s Name.

We, however, live in a “benevolent kingdom”; we are not hampered in our observance of Torah and there are certainly no life-threatening decrees! Do we lose the quality of sacrifice?

The answer is no. At least not in the figurative sense. Mesirus nefesh — martyrdom — may also be understood as mesirus haratzon — dedicating his will and devoting his desire. This is the real sacrifice — nullify your will in front of G‑d’s will.

Along these lines let us explain the concept for Jews in the lands of democracy and comfort. You study Chassidic philosophy and you intellectualize the true esoteric intention and purpose of Tefillin: the drawing of three levels of “mind” and four levels of “intellect,” in the Supernal Man and the nether man, the straps drawing down the radiance. You absorb these elaborate thoughts and meditate on them in your mind to the point that you are involved and motivated and enthused. You have found the inner pleasure of the mitzvah. But ... when you come to put on the Tefillin, having just concluded this satisfying mental exercise, you remember that the act of the mitzvah must be done because of accepting the yoke of Heaven and giving over your will and desire to G‑d. You do the mitzvah because it is the command and will of G‑d “... who has sanctified us with His commandments etc....” At this junction, you have the opportunity to try to be holy, to separate yourself from your well-developed understanding and pleasure, and to do the mitzvah only because of the command of G‑d. Now you have a real connection with the Will of Hashem. You have now united the opposites, the pleasure and the sacrifice; by accepting the yoke they both shine at once!

Here too, the average Jew, who has not yet studied the Chassidic insights into Tefillin, must also say the blessing, “... who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us ...” And he, too, has both aspects. Therefore a young boy or girl who does a mitzvah and says the blessing before he or she does the mitzvah also has all these benefits. For this is the fusion of Acharei and Kedoshim to infuse the orderly observance of mitzvos — Acharei — with the enthusiasm of self-sacrifice and the martyrdom of self-immolation — Kedoshim.

In our goal to spread the teachings of Chassidus there must also be the blending of contradictions. For the “wellspring” is at the loftiest level, “outside” is the lowest level — yet the “wellsprings” must go “outside” and spread the teachings. To accomplish this one must be in the state of “Ufaratzta,” beyond restrictions, then he can spread the wellsprings. This also breaks the restrictions of the galus and it brings the true and complete redemption through or righteous Mashiach, speedily and truly in our days — “immediately they are redeemed.”

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