Printed from CSTLSeattle.org

Newsletter

Parshas Tezaveh ZACHOR - PURIM | 8-15 Adar, 5778

This Shabbos is called Shabbos Zachor. It is very important that everyone come to shul to hear the Torah reading of the special Maftir, as it is a fulfillment of a Biblical law. Men have an obligation to fulfill this commandment and it is customary that women try to fulfill this commandment, when possible.

EREV SHABBOS FRI FEB 23rd 
Shacharis 7:00 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 5:27 pm

SHABBOS SAT FEB 24th 
Shacharis: 9:00 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 9:47 am/
Mincha 5:27 pm /Seuda Slishit Lite
Maariv/Havdalah 6:26 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT 
Kiddush Lite. Galit Lurya is co-sponsoring Shabbos Zachor Kiddush in honor of her birthday and sharing it with Moshe Rabbenu's birthday and yahrzeit. Meat cholent is prepared and sponsored by Rabbi Mendy Levitin. Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9:00 am
Mon,Tue,Thu, Fri Shacharis 7:00 am  
Wed Shacharis 6:50 am /FAST OF ESTHER/
Sun -Tue Mincha 5:35 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 6:15 pm/

FAST OF ESTHER Wed Feb 28th
Fast Begins 5:20 am /16.1 degrees/
Shacharis: 6:50 am /Selichos/
Mincha 5:15 pm /Fast of Esther/
Fast Ends 6:23 pm /Eat after hearing megillah

PURIM – Wed Feb 28th & Thu Mar 1st  
Wed Maariv/Megilah Reading/Party 6:30 pm
Thu Shacharis 7:00 am /Megilah Reading/
Thu Mincha 1:30 pm /Megilah Reading/
Thu Maariv 8:00 pm

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65thStreet 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.

MAGICAL PURIM PARTY AT CSTL WED FEB 28th 6:30 pm
Megilah Reading, Magician, Music, Dancing!  Chinese Food by Island Crust, Face-painting and Raffle. $20/adult, $10/child, $60/family. Pre-Pay http://www.cstlseattle.org/3182565

Pj library at MMSC Mon FEB 26 10:00 am
Special Purim Story time for kids at MMSC. Info: Chaya Elishevitz  chaya1818@gmail.com

PlaySpace for Children at CSTL –
The CSTL board, as well as other members, are working on creating a safe play space for our children in the parking lot behind the building. A committee has been recently established, Please email Tamar Azous at tamar@azous.com to help!

FARBRENGEN ALERT – CHES ADAR FRI FEB 23rd 4:00 PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in honor of the Yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbenu, Zayin Adar. In front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah,

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please email 
elizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION 10:00 am – Noon 
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10:00 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9:00 am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9:00 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

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush, 
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. 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. NEW Sponsorships now available:  Presidential Kiddush $50, Chulent $100.


COMMUNITY NEWS

BCMH Sushi & Trivia Melavah Malka SAT FEB 24th 8:30 pm
RSVP at: 
www.bcmhseattle.org

The Shmurah  Matzah Co-op is Open for Orders!
Each year before Pesach we make a group purchase of double wrapped palletized  Shmurah Matzah from the renown Lubavitch Matzah Bakery. We calculate the cost of the Matzah by adding the shipping and price per pound of the Shmurah Matzah to arrive at the final sale price without additional fees or markup. Shmurah Matzah is available in Wheat, Whole Wheat, Spelt, and reduced-price broken Matzahs for non-Seder meals. To order: sbrandeis@gmail.com

Rabbi Frand at BCMH Tue Mar 6th 7:45 pm
Drasha Topic: "Gratitude is a Two Way Street"

Kollel Avot Ubanim Grand Finale Motzei Shabbos, March 3rd 7:45 pm 
with Henrik Bothe, physical comedian, at Sephardic Bikur Holim. Sponosred by Dr. Elie and Miriam Levy. More info: www.seattlekollel.com

This year Affordable Kosher will not be opening Passover Depot.
However, all the merchandise will be available at the Safeway store at 3820 Rainier AVE S, Sea. 98118 Info:  Info@AffordableKosher.com

THE SEPHARDIC JEWISH BROTHERHOOD BIRTHRIGHT TRIP JUN 24-JULY 4
Tour Israel with amazing people with Greek, Sephardic, and Turkish backgrounds. The trip is totally FREE and anyone between the ages of 18 and 26 who hasn't been on a Birthright Israel trip before is eligible. What's more, we are working on creating an extended portion of the Trip to Salonica, Greece!
info@sephardicbrotherhood.com

INTENSIVE MODERN HEBREW AT UW
Learn Hebrew in Nine Weeks! www.summer.uw.edu. HadarKH@uw.edu

UPCOMING BISTRO NIGHTS AT THE SUMMIT
Here are a list of upcoming Bistro Night dinners at the Summit: June 19th, August 21st (rooftop outdoor event), October 23rd, December 11th. For more information or to make a reservation, please email Chrise@summitatfirsthill.org.

Jewish Overnight Summer Camp Scholarships! DEADLINE TUE MAR 6th
Camp gives children an opportunity to explore interests, make lifelong friends, and learn what Judaism means to them, while having loads of fun too! To help more children experience Jewish camp, the Federation awards need-based scholarships..
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Teen Israel Experience Scholarships! DEADLINE MAR 26th 
A journey to Israel is a life-changing experience for a Jewish teen. Young people who have visited our Jewish homeland return with wonderful stories about gaining a stronger Jewish identity. The Federation offers generous need-based scholarships, with support from the Samis Foundation. 
www.JewishInSeattle.org

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Jewish Prisoner Services International (JPSI)
Please help with the very important chesed of Pidyon Shevuim.  Volunteers are needed to Visiting/Teaching at Jails and Prison, Advocacy, Answering letters from inmates, Web database development and database work. info@jpsi.org and list your area of interest, please include your preferred contact information  Thank You, Matthew Perry, Secretary/Treasurer JPSI, 206-617-2367

ARC Babysitting Class Sun Mar 11, 9:00 am-4:45 pm
For kids ages 11-15 in BCMH Yavneh Youth Building. Cost: $85/BCMH Members , $95/Non-Members. Pay via Pay Pal at www.bcmhseattle.org  

Camp Yavneh 2018, June 25th - August 17th 
Registration now open for Camp Yavneh. Staff applications now available at
www.campyavnehseattle.com    

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9 PM – 11 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.

Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Sunday, April 8, 7:00 pm,  
At Ezra Bessaroth www.EzraBessaroth.net


REBBE’S SICHO FOR ZACHOR
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507789/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Tetzaveh-9th-Day-of-Adar-5751-1991.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

This week’s Torah portion begins with the command to light the Menorah, “And you shall command the children of Israel and they shall bring you pure olive oil for the light to keep a lamp burning constantly. It [the Menorah] should be prepared in the Tent of Meeting... from the evening until the morning.”

These verses raise several questions: a) Generally, the Torah uses the expressions “Command the children of Israel,” “Speak to the children of Israel,” and the like, when conveying a command. What is the intent behind the expression, “And you shall command the children of Israel,” which appears to imply that Moshe himself should be the originator of the command? b) Why must the oil be brought to Moshe when the Menorah was to be lit by Aharon? c) On the surface, the verse should say, “oil to illuminate,” not “oil for the light.” d) First, the verse speaks about “the light” (ma’or) in Hebrew and then, it mentions “a lamp” (ner). e) The first verse speaks of keeping “a lamp burning constantly,” while the second verse mentions it burning “from the evening until the morning.” f) The expression “to keep burning,” (le’ha’alos, literally “to raise up,”) is not ordinary. Seemingly, the verse should have said, “to kindle the light.”

There is also a problematic dimension in the conclusion of the Torah portion which describes the fashioning of the incense altar. On the surface, it would have been more appropriate to mention this together with all the other vessels of the Sanctuary in ParshasTerumah. Based on the principle, “the beginning is rooted in the end,” it follows that there is a connection between the two points and the explanation of the placement of the description of the incense altar is dependent on an understanding of the opening verse of the Torah portion.

The above difficulties can be resolved within the context of another concept. Parshas Tetzaveh possesses a unique dimension, being the only parshah in the Torah from the time Moshe was born onward in which Moshe’s name is not mentioned. Our Rabbis explain that the reason for this omission is that Moshe had asked G‑d, if He would not to forgive the Jews for the sin of the Golden Calf, to “Blot me out of Your book which You have written.” Since “the curse of a wise man will be fulfilled even when it was uttered conditionally,” it was in this parshah, that Moshe’s “curse” was fulfilled. Although the Torah is associated with Moshe’s name, as the prophet declares, “Remember the Torah of Moshe, My servant,” and Moshe’s name is constantly mentioned,1 e.g., “And G‑d spoke to Moshe,” “And G‑d said to Moshe,” in this parshah, Moshe’s name is omitted.

On the surface, the omission of Moshe’s name appears to have negative connotations. Nevertheless, since everything is controlled by G‑d Who is the essence of good and, “it is the nature of the good to do good,” we can assume that even the fulfillment of Moshe’s request to be blotted out from the Torah contains a positive dimension. Indeed, we are forced to say that it reflects a particularly elevated level.

To explain this concept: Although Moshe’s name is not mentioned, the words, “And you shall command,” refer to him. Furthermore, “And you” refers to the essence of Moshe’s being, a level higher than that communicated by his name. For a person’s name is not the essence of his being, it is an added dimension to his being which allows him to relate to others. Simply put, why does a person have a name? So that others can call him. In and of himself, he has no need for a name. Thus, before a person is given a name, the essence of a person exists. Therefore, even after the name is given, it represents an additional dimension, something other than the person’s essence.2

“And You,” on the other hand, reflects the essence of a person’s being, the dimension that is totally at one with the essence of G‑d. Thus, although the name Moshe reflects a very high level,3 it is merely a name which is an addition to the essence of his being. In contrast, “And you” refers to the essence of his being, the dimension which transcends all names and relates to G‑d’s essence. Thus, by using the expression “And you” rather than Moshe’s name, the Torah reveals a higher and deeper dimension of his being.

This explanation is, however, problematic. If “And you” represents a revelation of a higher dimension of Moshe’s being, how can we possibly say that his request to be “blotted out” of the Torah is fulfilled in Parshas Tetzaveh?

This difficulty can be explained as follows: The essence is above all revelation, not only revelation to others, but also, revelation to oneself. It cannot by revealed in one’s thoughts or feelings. The rationale for this is that every revelation has a particular medium of expression which defines — and thus limits — it. Since the essence is truly unlimited, there can be no medium which reveals it.4

Nevertheless, although on one hand, the essence does not come into revelation, that statement must be interpreted to mean that the essence never descends into the limits of the mediums of revelation. It does not mean that the essence never expresses itself. On the contrary, because it is the essence, it transcends both hiddenness and revelation and therefore, expresses itself — not within the usual mediums and limits of revelation — but as it is, on its essential level.5

Based on the above, we can appreciate how, by referring to him with the expression “And you,” G‑d “blotted Moshe out” of the Torah. Since “And you” refers to the essence, a level that transcends all revelation and names, Moshe — i.e., the existence of Moshe within the context of limitation — is blotted out.6 It is only the essence of his being that is expressed. And it is through the mitzvah of the Menorah that this quality is revealed.

This concept allows for the resolution of the difficulties mentioned previously. However, there is a need to explain one further concept: Lighting the Menorah is representative of the totality of a Jew’s service. He must kindle “the lamp of G‑d which is the soul of man” with “the light of Torah and the candle of mitzvah.” In this manner, his soul will shine with this light, true light, which will illuminate a person’s soul, his body, and his portion in the world at large, shedding light on those individuals around one. Indeed, this light will illuminate the entire world, showing how the world is connected with G‑dliness, how it is a dwelling for Him, blessed be He.7

The potential to carry out this service comes from Moshe, our teacher, as implied by the expressions, “And you shall command,” “and they shall bring you.” As explained above, “And you” refers to Moshe’s essence. Tetzaveh, the Hebrew for “command,” relates to the word tzavsah, meaning “connect.” When the essence of Moshe connects to “the children of Israel,” the potential is granted to illuminate the world. Furthermore, the oil is brought “for the light,” i.e., we reveal the source of light and revelation, including the ultimate source, G‑d’s essence.

This is made possible by being “crushed,” i.e., the service of bittul, “My soul will be as dust for all.” This grants the potential to “open my heart for Your Torah,” for a person to become one with the source of light present within the Torah, with G‑d’s essence.

This grants the potential “to keep a lamp burning constantly,” for light to shine at all times, even within the context of the limitations of this world — time and space. (The latter concept is alluded to by the phrase, “from the evening to the morning.”)

This concept is relevant to every Jew, because every Jew possesses a spark of Moshe our teacher.8 Thus, “And you” can refer to the essence of each Jew’s individual soul, the dimension which transcends revelation and hiddenness and is united with G‑d’s essence. This potential, which can also be openly expressed, generates the possibility to carry out our service in all situations.

Based on the above, we can interpret the verses cited previously as follows: “And you” teaches that each person must carry out this service himself. It is not sufficient that he appoint an agent, he must be personally involved. Furthermore, that involvement must relate to the essence of his being, “And you.”9

Tetzaveh refers, as explained above, to the concept of connection, establishing a bond with the worldly environment in which one lives. A person cannot live with his head in the heavens, preoccupied only with spiritual matters. He must involve himself with his environment. Indeed, since the essence of his being is involved in his service, the fact that he establishes a connection with his material environment will not be a hindrance. He will be able to express the highest levels of service on the lowest material plane.

This in turn must be communicated to “the children of Israel,”10 i.e., one cannot remain content with one’s own service. Instead, one must reach out to others in the spirit of “And you shall love your fellowman as yourself.”

This will allow one “to take to you,” to bring everything with which he comes in contact, into the connection with the essence of his being described above.

This service involves “olive oil,” i.e., taking olives, a bitter food, and transforming it into a positive quality. A person should not content himself with activities that are pleasant and sweet. Instead, he must involve himself with the material aspects of the world, entities which must be transformed. Nevertheless, through his service, he produces “pure” oil, transforming even these lowly elements and refining them.

This is made possible because one is “crushed,” i.e., one’s nature is dominated by the service of bittul, mentioned previously.11 And it is through this service, that one reaches “the light,” the very source of light as described above.

This service will “keep a lamp burning constantly.” In particular, “le’ha’alos,” translated as “to keep burning,” means to elevate. The above service elevates all the elements of our lowly world. Ner, (נר) the Hebrew for “lamp,” is also significant for it is numerically equivalent to 250, the total number of the limbs of the body, plus our two hands.12 These are the mediums through which a Jew elevates the material entities of this world.

This service continues “constantly,” and moreover, it is carried out, “from the evening until the morning,” i.e., it is drawn down into the limits of time.13 This all comes of a result of the fundamental connection with the level “And you,” the essence of a Jew, a potential which transcends all definition.

* * *

2. The above concepts also relate to the description of the incense altar in the conclusion of the parshah. One of the reasons why the incense altar is described at the conclusion of Parshas Tetzaveh and not together with the other vessels of the Sanctuary in Parshas Terumah is that the incense offering represented a unique service of a more elevated nature than the other services of the Sanctuary.

Indeed, its place in the Torah, at the conclusion of Parshas Tetzaveh, parallels its place in the order of the offerings in the Sanctuary, where it was the last of the offerings brought each day. It is last because it reflects the ultimate intent and the perfection of our service. Ketores, the Hebrew for incense also means “connection,” reflecting the connection with G‑d established through this sacrifice. In this vein, the Zohar uses the phrase b’chad ketirah esketrinah, “With one bond, I have connected myself.” Thus, it reflects a process of essential connection parallel to that explained above in connection with the verse, “And you shall command.”

To elaborate: The primary service in the Sanctuary and later, in the Beis HaMikdash, was the offering of sacrifices. The Hebrew for sacrifice, korban, is related to the word korov,meaning “close;” i.e., the sacrifices were a process of drawing close to G‑d.

The ketoros, however, represents a deeper bond. Not only is one close to G‑d, one establishes a bond of oneness with Him. Since the soul is enclothed within the body, there is room to think that oneness with G‑d is not an imperative; though one should approach Him, there is no need to rise totally above the limits of our material world.

The potential to establish such a bond of oneness stems from the service of “And you shall command” described above, the connection with the essence of the soul. As long as we are speaking about a limited dimension of the soul — i.e., any of the five names used to described it — a person’s entire existence will not be bound to G‑d. When the connection is established with the essence of the soul, it pervades and permeates every aspect of one’s being, including even one’s material existence.

This is reflected in the ultimate expression of the ketores, the incense offering of Yom Kippur, the day on which the Jews as they exist within the context of this material world “resemble the ministering angels.” On this day, the essence of the soul is revealed within a person’s physical body.

In microcosm, this level is reflected in the essential connection established through prayer each day as reflected in the Baal Shem Tov’s statement that, “It is an act of great Divine kindness that a person continues to exist after prayer.”

* * *

3. The above concepts can be connected to the uniqueness of the present date, the Ninth of Adar. On that day, the Previous Rebbe arrived in America with the intent of establishing his permanent dwelling there and establishing America as the center for the service of “spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outward.” This reflects the connection between the essential light, “the wellsprings of Chassidus,” with the lowest of all levels. Indeed, this date marked the beginning of the primary efforts to spread Chassidus and Yiddishkeit in the outer reaches of the world at large.

The potential for this service is generated by the Moshe of the generation, the Previous Rebbe, whose utter bittul (the level of “crushed” mentioned previously) establishes a connection with the essence of the light.

In particular, the present year, the 51st anniversary of the Previous Rebbe’s arrival is significant. We have already completed the first year in the second Jubilee cycle. Reaching this landmark calls for an intensification of our efforts and activities to carry out the service begun on the Ninth of Adar. Despite all the activity which has been carried out until now, until the redemption actually comes and this world is revealed as G‑d’s dwelling, the place where His essence is expressed, more activity is required. Each person must do his part in this effort as reflected in the Rambam’s statement that a person should always see himself as equally balanced between good and evil and the world as equally balanced between good and evil and with one good deed, he can bring salvation to himself and to the entire world.14

Parshas Terumah “When Adar Enters, Joy Increases” | 1-8 Adar, 5778

EREV SHABBOS  FRI FEB 16th  
Shacharis 6:50 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 5:16 pm

SHABBOS SAT FEB 17th 
Shacharis: 9:00 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 9:47 am/
Mincha 5:16 pm /Seuda Slishit Lite
Maariv/Havdalah 6:16 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT 
Kiddush Lite. Chulent (Fleishig) by Rabbi Mendy Levitin is sponsored by Rabbi Alter and Debbie Levitin. Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9:00 am
Mon - Fri Shacharis 7:00 am  
Sun -Thu Mincha 5:25 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 6:15 pm/

SUNDAY BRUNCH – SUNDAY 18th FEBRUARY 10:00 AM
Featuring Holocaust survivor, Mr Steve Adler. We’re hoping particularly to educate about the Holocaust and we encourage children to come too (provided they’re supervised by a parent and able to show appropriate behavior during the talk). We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Holocaust Center for Humanity of Seattle, and particularly Julia Thompson in facilitating this. Vernon Neppe, Chair of Education at CSTL.

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.

PlaySpace for Children at CSTL – Committee Meeting Thu Feb 22nd  8:00pm
The CSTL board, as well as other members, are working on creating a safe play space for our children in the parking lot behind the building. A committee has been recently established, but we are looking for others who would like to provide feedback and support for this project. This can include input, as well as donations to an already existent fund. There is a scheduled meeting for Thursday, February 22 at 8pm. If you would like to be involved or have any questions, please email Tamar Azous at tamar@azous.com. We are really excited for the opportunity to continue to enhance the resources of our Shul.

FARBRENGEN ALERT – 1 ADAR FRI FEB 15th  3:00PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please email 
elizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION  10:00 am – Noon 
Followed by Cocao and Marshmallows  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

AVOS U’BONIM SEASON FINALE MELEVAH MALKA SAT NIGHT FEB 17th  7:00 PM
Father and son/daughter learning. Inspirational Living Torah video. Grand Raffle.  Prizes. Info: 
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com. Generously sponsored

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10:00 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9:00 am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9:00 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

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush, 
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. 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

Seattle Kollel Presidents’ Day Learning at the Kollel Mon Feb. 19th 
www.seattlekollel.com

EZRA BESSAROTH LADIES AUXILIARY HAMENTASHEN SALE SUN FEB 18th 10:00-11:00 am
The EBLA has Prune, Poppy, and Apricot Hamentashen available now for purchase, for $12 a dozen.  After Feb 26 they will have Strawberry and Raspberry. Available Sunday, February 18 from 10-11 am at the EB social hall.  You may also place your orders by calling 206 722-5500 and arrangements will be made for a convenient pick up time.

Kolel Avot Ubanim Grand Finale Motzei Shabbos, March 3rd 7:45 pm 
with Henrik Bothe, physical comedian, at Sephardic Bikur Holim. Sponosred by Dr. Elie and Miriam Levy. More info: 
www.seattlekollel.com   

Torah Day School Carnival Sunday, Feb. 25th  1:00 - 3:00 pm
Suggested donation: $10/person. The community is invited. Location: 1625 S Columbian Way, Sea. More info: 
www.tdsseattle.org  

Jewish Overnight Summer Camp Scholarships! DEADLINE TUE MAR 6th
Camp gives children an opportunity to explore interests, make lifelong friends, and learn what Judaism means to them, while having loads of fun too! To help more children experience Jewish camp, the Federation awards need-based scholarships.. 
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Teen Israel Experience Scholarships! DEADLINE MAR 26th 
A journey to Israel is a life-changing experience for a Jewish teen. Young people who have visited our Jewish homeland return with wonderful stories about gaining a stronger Jewish identity. The Federation offers generous need-based scholarships, with support from the Samis Foundation.
www.JewishInSeattle.org

PAVE GRANTS TO Create a DIY Jewish Experience: DEADLINE FEB 23rd 
PAVE is offering grants of up to $120 to 10 recipients ages 25 to 45 to create Jewish experiences with friends and family. 
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Seattle Kollel President's Day Learning MON FEB 19th
More info: 
www.seattlekollel.com

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Jewish Prisoner Services International (JPSI)
Please help with the very important chesed of Pidyon Shevuim.  Volunteers are needed to Visiting/Teaching at Jails and Prison, Advocacy, Answering letters from inmates, Web database development and database work. info@jpsi.org and list your area of interest, please include your preferred contact information  Thank You, Matthew Perry, Secretary/Treasurer JPSI, 206-617-2367

ARC Babysitting Class Sun Mar 11, 9:00 am-4:45 pm
For kids ages 11-15 in BCMH Yavneh Youth Building. Cost: $85/BCMH Members , $95/Non-Members. Pay via Pay Pal at www.bcmhseattle.org  

Camp Yavneh 2018, June 25th - August 17th 
Registration now open for Camp Yavneh. Staff applications now available at
www.campyavnehseattle.com    

BCMH Sushi & Trivia Melavah Malka SAT FEB  24th  8:30 pm
RSVP at: 
www.bcmhseattle.org

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, 
taryno@jewishinseattle.org  or (206) 774-2217.

Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Sunday, April 8, 7:00 pm,  
At Ezra Bessaroth www.EzraBessaroth.net


REBBE’S SICHO FOR TERUMAH
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507788/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Terumah-2nd-Day-of-Adar-5751-1991.htm © SichosInEnglish.org 

This Shabbos falls in the beginning of the month of Adar, a month whose nature is characterized by our Sages’ statement, “When the month of Adar enters, we increase our joy.” Joy is a fundamental concept in the service of G‑d that is appropriate throughout the year as it is written, “Serve G‑d with joy.” To quote the Rambam: “The happiness with which a person should rejoice in the fulfillment of the mitzvos and the love of G‑d who commanded them is a great service.”

Since the service of G‑d must continue every moment of our lives, for “I was created only to serve my Creator,” it follows that at every moment of our lives, we must be involved in the joy mentioned above. Thus, theRama concludes his gloss to the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, “A good-hearted person is always celebrating.”

Beyond this happiness which is relevant at all times, there is an additional measure of happiness associated with the month of Adar. Indeed, that additional happiness is felt, “When the month of Adar enters,” at the very beginning of the month.

In particular, this applies on the present day which is the second of Adar, which together with the two days of Rosh Chodesh Adar represents achazakah, a three day continuum of happiness. Also, Shabbos is referred to as “the days of rejoicing.” And thus there is a unique dimension of happiness associated with the present day.

To focus on our Sages’ expression, “When the month of Adar enters, we increase our joy” in greater depth: In his commentary on the Talmud,Rashi explains the reason for our increase in happiness, “These are days of miracles for the Jewish people, Purim and Pesach.” The commentaries question why Rashi mentions Pesach. On the contrary, what connection do the miracles of Pesach share with the beginning of the month of Adar? And also, we do not find as great a stress on celebration and happiness in the month of Nissan. According to Rashi’s commentary, Nissan should also be characterized by happiness.1

Also, the expression, “increase our joy” implies that the joy is of the same nature as that experienced throughout the year, there is merely more of it. On the surface, since the joy of Adar is associated with unique miracles, it should be of a totally different kind than the joy experienced throughout the year.

The explanation of the above concepts is as follows: The celebration of Purim is associated with the renewal of our commitment to the Torah. Thus on the verse, “The Jews established and accepted,...” our Sages commented that “they now established what they had already accepted when the Torah had been given.” Although the Jewish people had willingly accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai, it was not affirmed as an intrinsic, unalterable part of their beings until the events of Purim. At the giving of Torah, “G‑d held the mountain over their heads like a tub,” forcing them to accept it, as it were. In contrast, in the era of Purim, the Jews accepted the Torah willingly.

Here we see the connection to Pesach because the ultimate intent of the exodus of Egypt was to lead to the giving of the Torah as G‑d promised Moshe, “When you take this people out of Egypt, you will serve G‑d on this mountain.”

Our Sages’ statement explaining the uniqueness of the Jews’ affirmation of the Torah on Purim is, however, problematic. The deficiency in the Jews’ acceptance of the Torah on Mount Sinai is that it was associated with miracles, that the influence of these miracles upon the Jewish people was so great, that they had no free will. Thus they were forced to accept the Torah. As Rashi emphasizes in his commentary to the above passage, however, the events of Purim were also associated with miracles. Thus, the question arises: Why are the events of Purim considered more of a willful acceptance of the Torah than the process which began with the exodus from Egypt and which was completed at Mount Sinai.

This question can be resolved within the context of the theme that the Purim miracle involves the transformation of darkness into light or to use the phraseology of the Megillah, “the month that was transformed.” The very same Achashverosh who ordered to have the Jews killed, ordered the Jews to do “what is right in their eyes.” In contrast, during the exodus from Egypt, the nature of the Egyptians was not transformed, and, on the contrary, it was necessary to wipe them out entirely through the miracles of the Red Sea.

To explain the contrast in a slightly different manner: The essence of the Pesach miracles was the revelation beyond the limits of nature. “The King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them.” Thus, it was the intensity of the revelation which nullified the opposing forces. On Purim, in contrast, the miracles were enclothed within the forces of nature and thus, the essential emphasis was on the transformation of the nature of the Jews’ setting within the world and not on the nullification of the opposing forces.

Thus these two approaches are also reflected in the Jews’ relationship with the Torah. After the exodus from Egypt, the emphasis was on receiving the revelation from Above, responding to G‑d’s prompts. In contrast, the acceptance of the Torah on Purim was characterized by an inner desire of the Jewish people, an arousal stemming from their own initiative.

The uniqueness of the miracles of Purim evokes a happiness of a different nature, a happiness which surpasses understanding, ad d’lo yoda.Happiness and miracles are interrelated for “happiness breaks through boundaries” and similarly, miracles represent a breaking through the boundaries of nature.

Although in general, all miracles represent the breaking of the boundaries of nature, in particular, there is an aspect of the Purim miracles which surpasses all other miracles in this quality. Breaking through boundaries does not represent the utter nullification of the limiting forces. Rather, it implies that a boundary exists and yet it becomes broken. Thus, since Pesach is associated with the revelation from above, its miracles involve the nullification — but not the breaking through — of nature’s boundaries. In contrast, in Purim, the boundaries of nature were not nullified. Nevertheless, although the natural setting remained in force, a miracle above nature “broke through.”

Since the miracles of Pesach represent a nullification of all the opposing forces, the redemption that follows this nullification is not as great a new development. In contrast, in regard to the miracles of Purim, even after the miracles transpired, Achashverosh remained in power. And therefore, the fact that in such a setting, Haman’s decrees were nullified and Mordechai and the Jewish people as a whole were given positions of power, reflects how the power of redemption breaks through the boundaries of exile.

For this reason, the joy — which breaks through boundaries — of Purim is greater than that of other holidays, transcending all limits, ad d’lo yoda. Since the Megillah associates the totality of the month with the Purim miracle, describing it as “the month which was transformed,” the joy of Purim affects the entire month and therefore, “When the month of Adar enters, we increase our joy.”

Rashi, however, also mentions the miracles of Pesach because the ultimate of happiness involves the appreciation of the advantages of both the miracles of Pesach and the miracles of Purim and the fusion of these two services.

The miracles of Pesach possess an advantage; they reveal a higher level of G‑dliness, a dimension which transcends nature entirely. Nevertheless, this revelation negates — and is not internalized within — the limits of our worldly existence. Thus the miracles of Purim are a necessary complement for they involve the limits of nature. Nevertheless, they also require the complement of Pesach for they are lacking the dimension which transcends nature.

To restate the concept in other terms: The miracles of Pesach represented the redemption from Egypt. However, Egypt was nullified, it was not transformed into good. In contrast, the miracles of Purim did reflect the transformation of Achashverosh. However, the redemption of Purim was not complete. Even afterwards, we remained subjects of Achashverosh.

Thus, the ultimate of redemption reflects the fusion of both Pesach and Purim, that the forces of nature be transformed and not nullified, but that the redemption be complete and not partial. This will be revealed in the Era of Redemption when “as in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders;” i.e., there will be a revelation from Above which resembles — indeed which transcends — the revelations of the exodus from Egypt. Simultaneously, that revelation will be connected with the transformation — not the nullification — of the world as reflected by the prophecy, “I will transform the nations, [making them] pure of speech.”

Based on the above, we can also resolve the problem raised originally that, our Sages’ expression “When the month of Adar enters, we increase our joy,” implies that the happiness of Adar is merely an increase, but not of a different nature, than the happiness experienced throughout the year.

The happiness of Purim which results from the miraculous breaking through the boundaries of nature [but doing so within the context of nature as explained above] is also connected with the Jews’ reaffirmation of their acceptance of the Torah on Purim. Both of the concepts share an emphasis on internalizing G‑dliness within the world. The Jews’ willful acceptance of the Torah is paralleled by the transformation of the worldly aspects of our environment.

The reaffirmation of the acceptance of the Torah on Purim must be drawn down throughout the entire year, affecting the totality of our service. Therefore, the happiness of Purim is drawn down throughout the entire year, emphasizing how Torah permeates (rather than breaks) our worldly environment.2 Thus, the happiness associated with the acceptance of the Torah is of the same nature as that of Purim. Purim, however, represents an intensification of that happiness each year.

2. There is a connection between the above concepts and this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Terumah. Parshas Terumah continues the theme of the giving of the Torah, begun in Parshas Yisro. The giving of the Torah emphasizes how the Torah is given within the context of our material world. Parshas Terumah develops this theme further, revealing how a Sanctuary for G‑d can be established within this material world, how physical entities can become a dwelling for Him.

To explain: On the opening verse of Parshas Terumah, “And you shall take an offering for Me,” our Sages comment:

There is a sale in which the one who makes the sale is sold together with the merchandise. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, “I sold My Torah to you, it is as if I sold Myself with it.... I gave you My Torah, I cannot part from it, nor can I tell you not to take it. Wherever you go, make a dwelling for Me and I will dwell within. This is what is meant by the command, “And you shall make Me a Sanctuary.”3

Indeed, the construction of the Sanctuary represents the fulfillment of the intention of the giving of the Torah, that G‑dliness be drawn down to the world as it exists within its own context. There are two dimensions to the revelation of the giving of the Torah: the spiritual realms descend to the material and the material realms ascend to the spiritual.

Parshas Yisro represents the descent of the spiritual into the material, while the construction of the Sanctuary described in Parshas Terumahreflects how the world, as it exists within its own context, becomes a dwelling for G‑d.4 Thus, Parshas Terumah is appropriate for the month of Adar, a month which as explained above, is associated with the transformation — and not the nullification — of the framework of material existence within its own context.5

In particular, there are two dimensions to Parshas Terumah: a) The connection between Terumah and the Torah. Terumah (תרומה) can be broken up into Torah (תורה) and mem (מ), the mem alluding to the forty days in which the Torah was transmitted to Moshe. Thus, Terumah relates to the Torah as it is transmitted within this world. b) Terumah refers to the physical entities from which the Sanctuary was made, the gold, silver, brass, and the like which became a dwelling for G‑d.

These two dimensions which exist within Parshas Terumah parallel the two aspects of Purim described above. The concept of the transmission of the Torah relates to the dimension of Purim associated with the Jews’ willful reaffirmation of their commitment to the Torah. And the concept of the physical entities of the world becoming part of G‑d’s dwelling parallels the transformation of Achashverosh and the natural setting which accompanied the Purim miracle.

The ultimate expression of this process of transformation will be realized in the era of Redemption. At present, “we are servants of Achashverosh,” and our efforts of transforming our worldly environment are therefore limited. It will not be until the era of Redemption that this process will be completed in a full sense.

Similarly, although in every place and in every era, the Divine Presence dwells within the Sanctuary, in microcosm within the Jewish heart and within each particular Jewish home, nevertheless, the ultimate expression of a dwelling for G‑d will be in the era of Redemption, in the Third Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

3. The above concepts should also be applied within our actual conduct. Thus, reflection on the above should produce: a) an increase in Torah study for as explained above, the word Terumah includes the word Torah. b) An increase in giving to tzedakah, giving our financial resources for a G‑dly purpose. Jewish law requires one to give a minimum of ten percent of one’s capital, and preferably twenty percent. At present, however, one should give without any reservations at all.6 c) Making one’s home and one’s environment, a dwelling for G‑d, a Sanctuary in microcosm. d) Influencing gentiles to observe the seven universal laws commanded to Noach and his descendants and thus, preparing for the fulfillment of the prophecy, “I will transform the nations to a clear speech.”7 e) Spreading the mitzvos of Purim through the Purim campaign. There should not be a single Jew in a far removed corner of the world who does not have the opportunity to fulfill all the Purim mitzvos.

And all the above should be carried out with joy, the increased happiness of the month of Adar, which breaks through the boundaries of the world, transcending all limitations.

These activities will enhance the wondrous nature of the present year, causing G‑d to nullify all the undesirable elements associated with Haman and his household. On the contrary, the nations of the world will — as they did to Mordechai — elevate the Jews and bring them to positions of power and influence.

These two developments, the nullification of the enemies of the Jewish people and the assistance the gentile nations will offer the Jews, represent a foretaste of the era of Redemption, when we will witness the fulfillment of the prophecies, “And I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the earth,” and “And all your brethren of the nations shall bring an offering for G‑d... in a pure vessel.”

May we soon no longer have to content ourselves with a foretaste for the redemption will have actually come. Thus, we will “join redemption to redemption,” and even before celebrating the redemptions of Purim and Pesach, experience the ultimate and complete redemption. May it be in the immediate future.

Parshas Mishpatim SHEKALIM – MEVARCHIM ADAR | 24 Shevat – 1 Adar, 5778

EREV SHABBOS  FRI FEB 9th 
Shacharis 7 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 5:05 pm

SHABBOS SAT FEB 10th 
Tehilim for Mevarchim Adar 7:30 am
Shacharis: 9 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 9:53 am/
Mincha 5:05 pm /Seuda Slishit Lite

Maariv/Havdalah 6:06 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush Lite. Chulent (Fleishig) by Rabbi Mendy Levitin is sponsored anonymously in the memory and merit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneersonעייה who’s yahrzeit was this week. Her empowering role as the matriarch of Lubavitch should elevate and inspire the stewardship of all Jewish women. Whether in the home, the community or the workplace, we should strive to emulate her qualities as an  ‏עובד השם.  ”Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9 am
Mon - Wed Shacharis 7 am  
Thu & Fri Shacharis 6:50 am /ROSH CHODESH ADAR/
Sun -Wed Mincha 5:15 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 6:15 pm/

SUNDAY BRUNCH – SUNDAY 18th FEBRUARY 10 AM
Featuring Holocaust survivor, Mr Steve Adler. We’re hoping particularly to educate about the Holocaust and we encourage children to come too (provided they’re supervised by a parent and able to show appropriate behavior during the talk). We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Holocaust Center for Humanity of Seattle, and particularly Julia Thompson in facilitating this. Vernon Neppe, Chair of Education at CSTL.

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65thStreet 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.

FARBRENGEN ALERT – 25th  SHEVAT FRI FEB 9th   3PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah, in honor of the Yahrzeit of  Rebetzin Menucha Rochel Slonim. 
http://chabadhebron.com/chof-daled-shevat-yarzeit-of-menucha-rochel-slonim/  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menucha_Rochel_Slonim

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

PAINT AND SIP – SUN FEB 11th 7:30PM
Hosted by Myriam Caro. A ChabadofSeattle.org project.  Info: 
MHerbstman@gmail.com

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please email 
elizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION  10 am – Noon 
Followed by Cocao and Marshmallows  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

AVOS U’BONIM MELEVAH MALKA SAT NIGHT FEB 10th 
Father and son/daughter learning. Inspirational Living Torah video. Grand Raffle.  Prizes. Info:  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com.  Generously sponsored

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

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

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush, 
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. 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

Jewish Overnight Summer Camp Scholarships! DEADLINE TUE MAR 6th
Camp gives children an opportunity to explore interests, make lifelong friends, and learn what Judaism means to them, while having loads of fun too! To help more children experience Jewish camp, the Federation awards need-based scholarships..
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Teen Israel Experience Scholarships! DEADLINE MAR 26th 
A journey to Israel is a life-changing experience for a Jewish teen. Young people who have visited our Jewish homeland return with wonderful stories about gaining a stronger Jewish identity. The Federation offers generous need-based scholarships, with support from the Samis Foundation. 
www.JewishInSeattle.org

PAVE GRANTS TO Create a DIY Jewish Experience: DEADLINE FEB 23rd 
PAVE is offering grants of up to $120 to 10 recipients ages 25 to 45 to create Jewish experiences with friends and family. 
www.JewishInSeattle.org

Seattle Kollel President's Day Learning MON FEB 19th,
More info: 
www.seattlekollel.com

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Jewish Prisoner Services International (JPSI)
Please help with the very important chesed of Pidyon Shevuim.  Volunteers are needed to Visiting/Teaching at Jails and Prison, Advocacy, Answering letters from inmates, Web database development and database work. info@jpsi.org and list your area of interest, please include your preferred contact information  Thank You, Matthew Perry, Secretary/Treasurer JPSI, 206-617-2367

Camp Yavneh 2018, June 25th - August 17th 
Registration now open for Camp Yavneh. Staff applications now available at
www.campyavnehseattle.com     

BCMH Sushi & Trivia Melavah Malka – SAT FEB 24th  8:30 pm,
RSVP at: 
www.bcmhseattle.org

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9 PM – 11 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

REBBITZIN SEIGELBAUM FROM BAT AYIN RETURNS TO SEATTLE FEB 10th & 11th 
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

Mercaz Shabbaton Feb 10-11th 
With Rav Natan Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Bat Ayin Yeshiva. Sponsorship available. Email: 
info@mercazseattle.org

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.


REBBE’S SICHO FOR SHEKALIM
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507786/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Mishpatim-25th-Day-of-Shevat-5751-1991.htm  © SichosInEnglish.org

There are four special Torah readings which take place before the month of Nisan — Shekalim, Zachor, Parah and HaChodesh. Every concept in Torah contains a lesson in how we should lead our lives; the word “Torah” in fact stems from the word “lesson” (hora’ah). This is especially true for the four parshiyos, which have been singled out from the regular order of Torah readings to be repeated in this specific order. Parshas Shekalim, since it is the first of the four, has special significance among them. Its lesson is of general significance, and conveys the fundamental and primary principles which should guide our G‑dly service.

The basic idea of giving Shekalim is that of tzedakah (charity). This is particularly true today after the Beis HaMikdash has been destroyed, and the mitzvah of giving shekalim in its original form is no longer possible. Today this mitzvah is commemorated through giving a coin worth half of the standard currency (similar to the half-Shekel) to tzedakah on the Fast of Esther.

Tzedakah represents all the mitzvos, “outweighs” them all” and is called the mitzvah by the Jerusalem Talmud. In addition, tzedakah must be done constantly, for two reasons:

a) G‑d created a world order in which there is giving and receiving. This was the reason that need and want are present in the world — in order that there be the possibility of performing tzedakah and kindness.

Tzedakah, therefore, is an intrinsic part of the creation. This is reflected in the fact that a command to give tzedakah was not really necessary: it is a logical imperative, and therefore binding on all human beings. It is even part of the nature of animals, which are kind to their children and, often, even to others.

Since tzedakah is an essential feature of the nature of the world, it is present as long as the world still exists, i.e. constantly.

b) Everything G‑d gives to the world is similar to His “tzedakah.” His gracious endowment of our very life and sustenance is clear proof of His great kindness. Nevertheless, this kindness is granted middah k’neged middah — commensurate to our actions. We must therefore involve ourselves in charitable acts in order to merit His “tzedakah.” And since we are constantly dependent upon His tzedakah, our charitable acts must also be constant.

This explains the fundamental importance of Parshas Shekalim over the over three special parshiyos. It is connected with tzedakah, which is constant, and applies in all places and situations.

2. These two explanations actually correspond to two different dimensions of tzedakah. Tzedakah in the simple sense is possible only when the recipient is lacking something. However, this is only when a person gives tzedakah. There is a second type of tzedakah — G‑d’s tzedakah — which comes even when the recipient is not really lacking anything at all. Instead of merely taking one out of an impoverished state, His tzedakah could be compared to granting someone wealth.

This idea can be seen from Jewish law, which states that one must give tzedakahin proportion to one’s ability. It is well known that G‑d Himself fulfills all the mitzvos, and therefore He must give tzedakah in proportion to His limitless, unfathomable greatness. The same idea finds expression even in our performance of this mitzvah. One category of tzedakah is that of gemilus chassadim — giving an interest-free loan. Gemilus chassadim does not have the same qualifications of tzedakah which is in the form of a donation. In order for a person to be eligible to receive a donation, halachah requires that he be needy. If his total worth is 200 zuz or more, he is not permitted to receive donations; only if it is 199 (which is the numerical value of tzedakahzuz or less. Gemilus chassadim, on the other hand, can even be given to a wealthy person.

These two dimensions of tzedakah are actually interdependent, for only when the lower form (to fulfill a lack) is carried out does G‑d do His part and give a boundless blessing from Above.

The explanation of this is as follows: only in a low situation (where there is something lacking) is it necessary for G‑d to give a boundless revelation. We see this from the Talmud’s (Megillah 13b) statement that the shekalim given by the Jewish people in the generation of Haman nullified his evil decree. This must have permanent significance, for the Torah is not a history book. What lesson can we derive from the effect brought about by their shekalim?

The explanation of this is that in order to nullify the powerful evil embodied by Haman, it was necessary to have a revelation that completely transcended the order of worlds (seder hishtalshelus). When there is no such threat, a lower revelation will suffice; but the severity of the lack elicits a limitless, revealed response from G‑d. We therefore see that this level which transcends seder hishtalshelus is revealed only where there is lack. Similarly in our case: the higher dimension of tzedakah (G‑d’s response) is closely connected with the tzedakahgiven to fulfill someone’s want.

These same two dimensions of tzedakah are reflected in the two types of shekalim — that given for the communal sacrifices (terumas hamizbe’ach) and that given for the construction of the base of the Mishkan (terumas ho’adonim).The general function of sacrifices is to achieve atonement, as the verse itself says (Ex. 30:15), “to atone for your souls.” Atonement is necessary only where there is something lacking, and therefore corresponds to the first dimension of tzedakah— the level of G‑dliness commensurate with the worlds. The second type of shekalim, however, involved the construction of the Mishkan, which was constructed as the place for G‑d’s presence to be revealed. This revelation from Above — even where there is no lack per se — matches the second dimension of tzedakah, the infinite G‑dly revelation.

We can find these same two dimensions within the Mishkan itself. There are two opinions as to the primary function of the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash. The Rambam holds that its main purpose is the offering of sacrifices, while the Ramban finds foremost importance in its role as the place for the revelation of G‑d’s presence — especially above the Aron, the Holy Ark which contained the tablets.

[Their variant conclusions reflect the varied nature of their works. The Rambamintended his Mishneh Torah purely as work of halachah, governing how peopleshould act. He therefore stressed the service performed in the Beis HaMikdash,that of the sacrifices.

The Ramban, on the other hand, was explaining the Chumash, which contains the command, “Make for Me a Mikdash so that I shall dwell among you.” He therefore stressed the G‑dly revelation (the fulfillment of the promise, “I shall dwell”) in the Mishkan. This fits particularly well with the general spirit of the Ramban’s commentary, which (as he writes in the introduction to this work) contains Kabbalah. This revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah is closely related to the revelation of G‑dliness.]

The offering of sacrifices therefore corresponds to fulfilling a lack (atonement) and bringing a revelation commensurate with the world. The revelation of G‑d’s presence corresponds with bringing down an infinite revelation which transcends the worlds. And since the Mishkan contained both, it must also have a third level of revelation higher than both of them — a G‑dly revelation that has the power to unite the finite and infinite together.

Since everything has its source in Torah, it must contain these two dimensions of finite and infinite revelation. We find them reflected in the aspect of Torah which existed in the Mishkan, the Aron, which contained the two tablets.

We find something curious in the verses which describe the Aron (Ex. 25:10,17,21). First the Torah describes the construction of the Aron and the placing of the tablets inside. It then describes the Aron’s cover, the kapores. It then repeats the placing of the tablets as follows: “And you shall place the cover above the Aron and place in the Aron the testimonies [i.e. the Tablets] that I will give you.” This expression is most curious, since it speaks of the tablets being placed only after the Aron was covered, implying that the tablets were placed on top of the Aron rather than inside!

The Or HaChayim HaKadosh says that this alludes to the fact that the tablets represented a higher spiritual level than the kapores. From this we see the two dimensions discussed above embodied in the tablets. The tablets within the Aronrepresent the first level, that of a finite level of G‑dliness being drawn down intothe world. But there is a second dimension of Torah which is higher than the previous level. This is Torah not as it comes down to affect the world, but as it is itself united with G‑d. A similar idea is reflected in the existence of keruvim above the Aron. The two keruvim represented G‑d’s love for the Jewish people, a love which transcends even G‑d’s connection with Torah.

We find these two categories of finite and infinite within Torah even in our generation. Pnimiyus HaTorah is infinite in comparison with Nigleh; so too more recent revelations of Chassidus Chabad in comparison with earlier works in Pnimiyus HaTorah.

This can be understood in view of the Alter Rebbe’s famous parable of a king whose son became deathly ill, his only cure being to crush the most precious jewel of his crown, mix it with water and feed it to him. When he finally gave the cure, the son’s mouth was firmly closed; yet he still poured the mixture over his mouth in the hope that perhaps a single drop would enter and save his life. The same applies to the revelation of Chassidus, which is G‑d’s cure to awaken us from the darkness of exile and give us new life and energy in serving G‑d.

To analyze this further: being faint and weak alludes to two opposite traits. On the one hand it indicates a lack of life, corresponding to the first type of tzedakah— filling an emptiness. On the positive side, though, the word “weak” (chalosh)also means “lottery” (goral), which, as explained regarding Purim and Yom Kippur, represents a tremendously high revelation. Within the person, this is reflected by the fact that all his senses and faculties are hidden within him and raised to a higher internal level.

In the parable, the son swallows the cure, which becomes part of him. The same applies to Chassidus, which becomes internalized and brings an awakening and energizing of the individual. This applies in the both extremes we have been mentioning: a) It fulfills that which was lacking, and b) Brings a tremendous revelation from Above. Consequently, even someone who is “unconscious,” G‑d forbid, is awakened from his faint and proceeds to then pick up and drink all the other drops which did not find their way into him. As mentioned above, the highest revelations come to the place of need, and accomplish not only a fulfillment of that need but the greatest form of revealed good. The most complete revelation of this is the revelation of a dimension of Torah higher than both Nigleh and Pnimiyus, which will be experienced fully in the Messianic Age.

3. The practical lesson from all this is as follows: Parshas Shekalim stresses tzedakah, as does the month of Adar (which we bless this Shabbos), which contains Purim and the mitzvah of matanos l’evyonim. Every individual must therefore add in tzedakah. This applies in the physical sense, through giving money, food and drink. It also applies in the spiritual sense, through helping another person, giving advice, learning with him, etc.

The main thing, however, is the tzedakah of G‑d, which includes His revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah, including both its study and it being brought to others. May it be G‑d’s will that the increased study of Chassidus bring us to the immediate revelation of Mashiach, then we will be able to learn the secrets of Torah directly from him, since he is both a king and a teacher (melech and rav).This is indeed part of the king’s function — to provide all the needs of his subjects.

The appointment of Melech HaMashiach has in reality already occurred, as we say in the verse (Ps. 89:21), “I have found My servant Dovid; I have anointed him with My holy oil.” All that is needed is for the people to accept him as king and for the actualization of the total unity (hiskashrus) between the king and the people — with the complete and total redemption.

Parshas Yisro THE TEN UTTERANCES | 17-24 Shevat, 5778

EREV SHABBOS  FRI FEB 2nd  
Shacharis 7 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 4:54 pm

SHABBOS SAT FEB 3rd 
Shacharis: 9 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 9:58 am/
Mincha 4:54 pm /Seuda Slishit Lite

Maariv/Havdalah 5:55 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Thank you to Kiddish sponsor is Yaakov Kimelfeld, in memory of his father, Moshe ben Yaakov ZT”L, whose yahrzeit is 19th Shevat.  We will also have a delicious meat cholent, made by Rabbi Mendy Levitin. Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9 am
Mon - Fri Shacharis 7 am 
Sun -Wed Mincha 5:05 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 5:55 pm/

SUNDAY BRUNCH – SUNDAY 18th FEBRUARY 10 AM
Featuring Holocaust survivor, Mr Steve Adler. We’re hoping particularly to educate about the Holocaust and we encourage children to come too (provided they’re supervised by a parent and able to show appropriate behavior during the talk). We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Holocaust Center for Humanity of Seattle, and particularly Julia Thompson in facilitating this. Vernon Neppe, Chair of Education at CSTL.

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65thStreet 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.

FARBRENGEN ALERT – 17 SHEVAT FRI FEB 2nd  3PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah, in honor of Chof-Beis Shevat, yahrzeit of the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson. 
www.chabad.org/calendar

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

PAINT AND SIP – SUN FEB 11th 7:30PM
Hosted by Myriam Caro. A ChabadofSeattle.org project.  Info: 
MHerbstman@gmail.com

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please email 
elizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION  10 am – Noon 
.Followed by Cocao and Marshmallows  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

PLEASE HELP US PAY FOR CSTL SECURITY
From the CSTL Board:  The membership of CSTL has spoken, and the consensus is that we wish to maintain a security presence at CSTL on Shabbat and chaggim. A four-hour shift (the minimum available) costs us $160, a total of around $10,000/year.  We are asking all families and member units to donate $100 to this fund.  To Donate:  
www.CSTLSeattle.org.

AVOS U’BONIM MELEVAH MALKA SAT NIGHT FEB 3rd  
Father and son/daughter learning. Inspirational Living Torah video.    Grand Raffle.  Prizes.  Info:  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com.  Generously sponsored by Rabbi Elazar and Esther Bogomilsky

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

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

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush, 
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. 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

KOSHER FOOD BANK Wed Feb 7th 5:00-6:30 pm,
Jewish Family Service's kosher food bank for the month of February. RSVP to:
emagasis@jfsseattle.org  if you plan to attend.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Jewish Prisoner Services International (JPSI)
Please help with the very important chesed of Pidyon Shevuim.  Volunteers are needed to Visiting/Teaching at Jails and Prison, Advocacy, Answering letters from inmates, Web database development and database work. info@jpsi.org and list your area of interest, please include your preferred contact information  Thank You, Matthew Perry, Secretary/Treasurer JPSI, 206-617-2367

Shiur for Women "Parsha & Prayer" Mon Feb. 5, 7:30 pm
Given by Rabbi Yaakov Tanenbaum, BCMH Beis Midrash.

Camp Yavneh 2018, June 25th - August 17th 
Registration now open for Camp Yavneh. Staff applications now available at
www.campyavnehseattle.com    

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9 PM – 11 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

REBBITZIN SEIGELBAUM FROM BAT AYIN RETURNS TO SEATTLE FEB 10th & 11th 
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

Mercaz Shabbaton Feb 10-11th 
With Rav Natan Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Bat Ayin Yeshiva. Sponsorship available. Email: 
info@mercazseattle.org

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.


REBBE’S SICHO FOR YISRO
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507785/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Yisro-18th-Day-of-Shvat-5751-1991.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

On the verse, “And G‑d spoke all these words,” our Sages commented:

This teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, recited the Ten Commandments in a single statement, something which is impossible for a human being to do. If so, what is meant by [the statement] of the commandments individually, “I am the L‑rd,...” “You shall have no other gods...”? He returned and explicitly mentioned each commandment in its own right.

We find the concept that G‑d recited two commandments simultaneously mentioned in two other instances in connection with the Ten Commandments: a) Our Sages relate that the first two commandments: “I am the L‑rd, Your G‑d” and “You shall have no other gods” were recited as a single commandment. b) In the first account of the Ten Commandments, it is written, “Remember the Shabbos,” and in the second account, it is written, “Observe the Shabbos.” Our Sages explain that both these commands were given as one.

The above concepts raise several questions. Firstly, since G‑d ultimately repeated each of the Ten Commandments individually, of what value was it to mention them all together? Also, every narrative in the Torah is intended to be a lesson in the service of G‑d. What lesson can we learn from G‑d’s mention of all the commandments together, something which is obviously beyond our human potential?

Furthermore, it is necessary to understand: Why after the entire Ten Commandments were recited together was this phenomenon repeated in regard to the first two commandments and then repeated again in regard to the commandments for the Shabbos?

These questions can be resolved on the basis of our Rabbis’ interpretation of the verse: “And G‑d spoke all these words, saying.” Generally, the word “saying,” laimor in Hebrew, implies a charge to relay a commandment to someone else. In this instance, however, that interpretation is not appropriate for the entire Jewish people were present. Hence, laimor is interpreted to mean “to repeat,” to repeat the words of Torah, in a manner that the words of Torah spoken by a Jew will be “G‑d’s word.” Our mouths will be merely intermediaries to communicate G‑d’s Torah.

Since the concept of G‑d’s relating all the Ten Commandments in a single statement and the concept that our Torah study is a reflection of G‑d’s word are derived from the same verse, we can assume that they are interconnected. Although it is impossible for man, with human power, to make two statements at the same time, since our study of Torah is not human speech, but G‑d’s word, we can also emulate this transcendent level.

To explain this concept in terms of our service, we must examine our Sages’ statements in regard to the Shabbos commandments: Our Sages taught:

“Remember” and “Observe” were recited in one statement. Similarly, the commandments “Those who transgress it (the Shabbos) will surely die,” and “On the Shabbos day, [offer] two lambs (whose sacrifice transgresses the Shabbos laws)” were recited in one statement. This is what is meant by the expression, “G‑d made a single statement. I heard two things.”

This quote reflects how the positive commandments — “Remember” and the offering of the Shabbos sacrifices — and the negative commandments — “Observe” and the prohibition against work — are in a essence a single matter. Both together express the holiness of the Shabbos. The fulfillment of the positive commandment and the observance of the prohibition have a single intent, increasing the holiness of the Shabbos. Therefore, the fulfillment of the positive commandment of offering the Shabbos sacrifices does not merely supersede the Shabbos prohibitions. In this instance, offering the Shabbos sacrifices — which involves performing forbidden labors — is an expression of the negative commandment as well for the goal of both the positive and negative commandments are the same.

To explain the above concept: The difference between positive commandments and negative commandments is that positive commandments involve “doing good,” performing a positive activity which draws down G‑dly light within a person’s soul and within the world at large. In contrast, the negative commandments involve “turning away from evil,” separating oneself from activities and elements which are against G‑d’s will. Our negation of these elements and activities nullifies and removes the spirit of impurity in the world at large.

Nevertheless, although the negative commandments appear to involve merely refraining from undesirable activity, they also possess a positive dimension. This can be inferred from the Maharsha’s interpretation of our Sages’ statement that Chabakuk established all the 613 commandments on a single base, “A righteous man will live by his faith.” The Maharsha explains that the multitude of mitzvosis only from the perspective of man, from G‑d’s perspective, all mitzvos share a single thrust.

The Maharsha continues, associating this concept with G‑d’s statement of the Ten Commandments in a single utterance, explaining that this reflects how He and His mitzvos are one, and that there is no multiplicity. Similarly, by coupling the mitzvah of believing in G‑d with the prohibition against other gods, all the positive and negative commandments are coupled together. This is impossible, however, for a human being limited by the constraints of material and temporal existence to emulate. Nevertheless, Chabakuk’s directive again included all the mitzvos in one single command, reflecting how even after the mitzvos are separated into positive and negative commandments, they can be unified in a single thrust.

To focus on this concept: All the commandments, even the negative commandments, are intended for a single purpose: to reveal G‑d. The manner in which the negative commandments perform this positive function does not involve carrying out a particular activity, but rather, refraining from action.

This is because their source is a higher dimension of G‑dliness which transcends the means of expression we have available. There cannot be an act which draws down this source within the world — as is the case in regard to the positive commandments — because this level cannot be comprehended. All we can do is ensure that we do not prevent the expression of these levels by transgressing these commandments and thus, creating obstacles.

Within this context, we can understand the function of the negative commandments in the Era of Redemption. All the mitzvos, both the positive and the negative commandments will still be in effect in that era for, “This Torah will never be rejected.” Yet one might ask: In that era, after “the spirit of impurity has been removed from the world,” what will be the function of the negative commandments? However, on the basis of the above, this question can be resolved. Then, we will realize the true purpose of the negative commandments, i.e., that it is not the negation of evil as at present, but rather drawing down those transcendent dimensions of G‑dliness of which we can have no positive appreciation.

At present, the negative commandments involve the nullification of undesirable elements because we live in a world where such negative elements exist. Thus, we are given commandments that involve refraining from activities so that we will not grant strength to these undesirable entities and thus hinder the revelation of G‑dliness.

After the negation of the evil, however, when “I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the earth,” the negative commandments will perform a higher function. Man and the world at large are capable of receiving only a limited measure of G‑dly revelation, that which is appropriate for them. A G‑dly revelation which transcends their existence can be appreciated only through the approach of negation, and this will be the role of the negative commandments in the Era of Redemption.

Thus from G‑d’s perspective, all the mitzvos both the positive and the negative commandments, have a single goal — “G‑d made a single statement” — the revelation of G‑dliness.1 However, since the intent is revelation within a world of division and this intent is accomplished through the service of man whose personality is similarly diversified, “I heard two things;” i.e., as the mitzvos are applied by man, there are differences.

With the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people, G‑d nullified the decree separating the spiritual realms from the physical. This allowed for the potential for man to realize and express the oneness of the mitzvos as they exist from G‑d’s perspective through his own service. Although by nature, man is limited and diversified, the giving of the Torah extended the opportunity of reflecting G‑d’s transcendent oneness in our approach to mitzvos.2

Man must begin by approaching the mitzvos with a recognition of the differences between the positive and the negative commandments and the differences in their intent, drawing down holiness and the negation of evil. The ultimate purpose, however, is to appreciate the Torah and mitzvos as they exist within G‑d’s perspective, that they are mediums for the revelation of G‑d’s will within the world. Thus, even the negative commandments have a positive purpose. They afford man a chance to develop a connection with G‑d, for they are also mitzvosand thus are a means of tzavsa, connection with G‑d. Indeed, they establish a connection with the higher levels of G‑dliness to which we can relate to only in this manner.

In this context, we can understand Rabbi Akiva’s statement that, when responding to the Ten Commandments, the Jews answered “Yes” to both the positive and negative commandments. At that time, the Jews saw all the commandments of having the same goal, drawing G‑dliness into the world.3

On a deeper level, although as explained above, the existence of negative commandments reflects a recognition of the limitations of the world, it can be explained that it is the negative commandments in particular that go beyond those limitations. As explained above, it is through the negative commandments that we can relate to the higher, transcendent aspects of G‑dliness. Also, the negative commandments extend a connection to Torah even to places and situations which are not fit to serve as vessels for G‑dliness. In contrast, the positive commandments are limited according to the nature of man and the world and they are capable of drawing G‑dliness only into places fit for positive activity.4

The significance of the negative commandments can be explained further through an analysis of our Sages’ statement in regard to kiddushin, the establishment of the marriage bond.5 They explain that this act “causes [a woman to be] forbidden to the entire world, as a consecrated article (hekdesh).”

The act of kiddushin is two dimensional: a) It establishes a positive connection between the groom and his bride; he acquires her as his wife; b) it causes relations between the women and other men to be forbidden.

These two dimensions are reflected in the ultimate marriage bond, the connection between G‑d and the Jewish people. There is a positive dimension, the unity between the Jews and G‑d. (This is expressed by the performance of the positive commandments.) There is also a dimension that involves prohibition. As a woman must set herself apart from other men, so too, the Jews must separate themselves from the undesirable elements in the world. (This is expressed through the observance of the negative commandments.)

The definition of kiddushin as causing a woman to be “forbidden to the entire world, as a consecrated article (hekdesh)” implies, however, that there is a positive dimension to the establishment of these prohibitions. This is reflected in the comparison to hekdesh, articles on which holiness above the nature of the world6 has been conveyed. It also implies that a bond with this holiness has been established7 and that this holiness is drawn down into the world.

It was explained above that the negative commandments draw down a level of G‑dliness that transcends the limitations of the world. For that reason, this level cannot be drawn down by a positive act, only through refraining an activity, i.e., negating our potential for action. This, however, is also a limitation.

Thus, the true infinite dimension of the Torah and its mitzvos is expressed in the fusion of the positive and negative in a single act performed by man. This is reflected in our Sages’ statement that the commandments “Those who transgress it (the Shabbos) will surely die,” and “On the Shabbos day, [offer] two lambs (whose sacrifice transgresses the Shabbos laws)” were recited in one statement. In such an instance, the fulfillment of the negative commandment is combined with a positive activity, bringing the sacrifices. Although offering the sacrifices involves the performance of activities which are otherwise forbidden on the Shabbos,8 this positive activity contributes to the holiness of the Shabbos, thus fulfilling the same purpose as the negative commandments.9

There is another positive activity which expresses the aspect of the mitzvos which transcends all limits. Our Sages declared, “Whoever studies the laws of a burnt offering (or any other mitzvah) is considered as if he brought a burnt offering (or fulfilled the mitzvah in question).” Although a person is not a priest, is not in the Beis HaMikdash (indeed, this applies even when the Beis HaMikdash is destroyed), through his study of the Torah, he can be considered as if he offered a sacrifice.

This concept also applies in regard to the negative commandments. By studying the laws of the negative commandments, one is considered to have fulfilled them; i.e., the influence produced by the negative commandments is drawn down through a positive activity, Torah study.

Indeed, the fullest expression of the unity of the mitzvos and their fundamental oneness — “G‑d made a single statement” — comes through the study of the Torah. Here, it is through the same activity, laboring in the study of the Torah, that one draws down the influence produced by both the positive and the negative commandments.10

* * *

2. There is a point of connection to the above concepts in this week’s parshah, Parshas Yisro. At the outset, in the narrative of Yisro’s joining the Jewish people, a concept is communicated which parallels the ideas explained above regarding the positive nature of the negative commandments.

The Torah relates that Yisro was “the priest of Midian,” a priest for idol worship, and quotes him as saying “Now I know that G‑d is greater than all the gods” on which our Sages commented, “There was not a single deity that Yisro had not served.” His conversion thus reflected “a transformation of darkness into light” which brought about “a revelation of G‑d in His glory in the higher realms and in the lower realms” and served as a preparation for the giving of the Torah.

The Torah was given to draw down an aspect of G‑dliness that transcends the world within the world — to use Kabbalistic terminology — to reveal the fiftieth gate of understanding. The transformation of darkness into light draws down this level, for such efforts reveal a level of light that is too great to be enclothed within this world.11

The conclusion of the parshah, the verse, “In every place where you will mention My name, I will come and bless you,” relates to the great levels attained through the study of the Torah. By using the expression “in every place,” the verse indicates that because of Torah study, “mentioning My name,” G‑d “will come and bless” even places that by nature are not fit for blessing. Even though the service of “turning away from evil” has not been completed, through the study of Torah, G‑d’s blessings can be drawn down. This is a result of the fact that when a Jew studies Torah, he is reciting “G‑d’s word,” and thus, there are no limits to its effects.

The above concepts can also be related to the parshah of the coming week, Parshas Mishpatim which we begin reading in the afternoon service. That parshah begins “And these are the judgments that you shall place before them.”

Our Sages emphasize that with the words “And these are,” the Torah connects the laws which are described in Parshas Mishpatim with the revelation at Mount Sinai. These laws are a continuation of the giving of the Torah. Although they represent the aspect of Torah that can be grasped by our intellect, it is obvious that their source is the transcendent revelation at Mount Sinai.

Also, our Sages interpret the phrase “that you shall place before them” as a charge to arrange one’s presentation of Torah concepts “as a set table, with everything prepared for a person to eat.” Although generally, a room should be cleaned before food is served, i.e., in the analog, a person should refine his conduct before attempting to advance further; nevertheless, the nature of Torah study is that, even when a person has not refined himself, he still is presented with “a set table.” Torah study gives him the potential to elevate his conduct, fusing the negation of evil and drawing down positive influence into a single activity.

This produces a directive for action. In general, Shabbos is a time when Jews should gather together for Torah study. In particular, this applies on Shabbos Parshas Yisro when we read the narrative of the giving of the Torah. Similarly, at this time, we should resolve to increase our study of the Torah and our involvement in communal study sessions. These sessions should also involve the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah as emphasized by the connection with Ma’aseh Merchavah (the mystic secrets of G‑d’s being) with the giving of the Torah.12

Study sessions of this nature should be established for every Jew, man, woman, and child, even those who are just beginning their connection with the Torah. Nevertheless, even at the beginning of one’s study, one shares a connection to the totality of the Torah. This is reflected in our Rabbis’ teaching that the kamatz alef aw which a young child first learning the alphabet studies reflects the kamatz alef aw which begins the word Anochi, the first word of the Ten Commandments and which includes within it, the entire Torah.

May our increase in the study of the Torah hasten the coming of the era when, “A new Torah will emerge from Me” in the Era of Redemption.13 Even before the Era of Redemption, the Jews will live in security. They need not fear despite the fact that the nations of the world challenge one another and the entire world is seized with panic and consternation. On the contrary, they must realize that “All that I have wrought, I have performed only for your sake” and that Mashiach will soon “stand on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and proclaim, ‘Humble ones, the time for your redemption has come.’ ”

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.