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PARASHA KI TISA | 17-24 Adar I, 5779

Friday, 22 February, 2019 - 12:04 pm

Shacharis 7 AM
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 5:25 PM

Shacharis: 9 AM /Sof Zman Krias Shema 9:41 AM/
Shabbos Mincha 5:25 PM /Seuda Slishit Lite
Maariv/Havdalah 6:25 PM

Sun Shacharis 9 AM 
Mon -  Fri Shacharis 7 AM
Sun - Thu Mincha 5:30 PM, followed immediately by Maariv

Kiddush and cholent sponsors this week are Mitch Benedon and Isaac Keil.  This Kiddush is to celebrate Isaac's two year anniversary in Seattle!!  It is also to commemorate Mitch's two year anniversary--and his final Shabbat in Seattle!  He will be moving back to NJ and we are sad to see him leave!  The delicious meat cholent is made by Rabbi Mendy Levitin.

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 for current status.

Avos U'Banim - Motzei Shabbos 7:30 PM
Thank you to Mendel Herbstman for sponsoring ! Featuring Rebbe Videos, Torah, Raffle, Prizes, Food.

Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in the CSTL Social Hall.  In honor of the Rabbi Joseph Caro’s Shulchan Aruch,  published on this date in 1565.

Hosted by Lesley Weichbrodt , 5815 Vassar NE. Featuring Seattle Talent Benoria Levy.  SPACE LIMITED!

Meet Tammy Fisher, author of “Fearless Parenting” .  A delicious breakfast will be served.  RSVP to Chaya Elishevitz

Finding Joy in Contemporary Times – WED FEB 27th 7:30 – 9 PM
A special presentation at CSTL by Rabbi Mendy Levitin. This is particularly relevant during our month of Adar. A real learning experience! Please support our endeavor. Dr. Vernon Neppe

Mexican Food catered by The Summit.  Fine Wines.  Deadline to Register is Thursday Feb. 21st   Discounted pricing available  Separate children's dinner & program with dedicated counselors and

Come say Tehilim

Sunday Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin –
Following 9 am 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,

Rebbi’s Sicho with Rabbi Mendy – SHABBOS 4:30 PM 
Words of Torah inspiration from the Rebbe. For Men and Women. In honor  of Chaya Sarah Malka bas Bracha  and Elanah Rivka bas Sarah for a full רפואה  שלימה  

Contact Shprintze Kavka to arrange to learn what you want to learn.  206-730-2764

All are welcome to this inspiring class the classes  are in honor  of Chaya Sarah Malka bas Bracha  and Elanah Rivka bas Sarah for a full רפואה  שלימה  

Talmud Class - Mesechet SANHEDRIN with Rabbi Mendy 
Please contact Shuky Meyer at +1-347-761-2134 to be added to the whatsapp group, for updated time and location 

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


All levels of knowledge are welcome! Light refreshments will be served. At the Kavka’s 4002 NE 72nd  Street . For a Refuah Shlaimah for  חיה שרה מלכה בת ברכה לאה חוה     

If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush, . 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.


The Ezra Bessaroth Ladies Auxiliary are baking their amazing, delectable Hamantashen for Purim. There will be three varieties to choose from, Poppy. Apricot and Raspberry. To order send your request by email to  Muriel  or call Susan in the EB office at 206-722-5500. Supplies are limited so order early. You will be contacted when ready to make arrangements for pick up.

GUEST SPEAKER - Rabbi Elchonon Zohn AT EZRA BESSAROTH -  SAT FEB 23rd 7:30 PM
Rabbi Zohn is the founder and director of the National Association of Chevra Kadisha.  He will be speaking on “The Mystical Meaning and Beauty Surrounding Jewish Burials". Everyone invited.

Commemorating the first yahrzeit of Chuck Broches OBM.  Gilah Kletenikof NYU will present the lecture:.  State of Emergency: Who has the Power? The Talmud on Law, Violence & Absolutism. A study in the Jewish Political Tradition with. Focusing on Sovereign Authority, Judicial Independence and the Balance of Powers. At Seattle Hebrew Academy.

Seattle Nigun Collective – THU MAR 7th 7:30-9 PM
With special guest from Jerusalem - Yisrael Smith.  Come and sing, bring a nigun to share or come learn new nigunim and old favorites!  At Mercaz.

Rabbi Simon Benzaquen is offering classes on the Laws of Kashrut (Thursday nights at 7:30pm), and on the Laws of Shabbat (2nd, 3rd & 4th Wednesdays at 7:30pm). These are text-based classes well-suited for individuals of all backgrounds and skill levels. All are welcome. All classes at Ezra Bessaroth.

Nominations for the Federation’s Jewish Communal Professional Award
Deadline for submitting nominations for the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle 2019 Pamela Waechter z"l Jewish Communal Professional Award is Friday, March 15, 2019. Contact Cindy Bockelman: or 206-774-2251. More info:

Talmud with Rabbi Fox Monday mornings, 10:00 am
At Minyan Ohr Chadash. Email  to receive sources before each session.

Torah,Tea and Cookies with Rabbi Rosenfeld – THU 9 PM
At Mercaz – 6011 37th Ave NE.  

Avos U’Banim at the Seattle Kollel Every Saturday Night 6:30-7:30 PM

Seattle Kollel HEBREW LEVEL 2 Monday Evenings, Feb. 25-Mar. 18, 7:30PM, 
"Reach your peak with Hebrew Crash Course Level 2". More info: (206) 722-8289 or

Derech Emunah Annual Winter Garden Party SUN MAR 3rd 6 PM
At the home of Ike Almo. For reservations, contact Cheryl in the DE School Office or

Registration for Sephardic Adventure Camp is now open. Dates are August 1-18. For more information go to

Sunday Morning Women's Shiur 10:20 AM
Topic: "Tomer Devorah: Emulating the Attributes of Hashem". A three part series given by Rabbi Yaakov Tanenbaum, BCMH Beis Midrash

Seattle Kollel Mishna Yomit Seder Nezikin & Tractate Bava Kama MON evenings.
More info:  or (206) 369-1215

Airport, local trips, and kosher restaurant delivery! Eli Duban, driver
Competitive rates, excellent service.  Contact Eli at 206-771-2670


Parshas Ki Sisa describes concepts that range across a broad spectrum, from one extreme to the other including the giving of the First Tablets, the sin of the Golden Calf and the destruction of the Tablets, Moshe’s prayers for forgiveness, Moshe’s vision of G‑d’s glory, the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, the giving of the Second Tablets, and the shining of Moshe’s face.2

A question arises. The Torah is not a historical record. Hence, although these events all occurred within chronological proximity to each other, we must understand: Why does the Torah mention concepts of such extreme polarity in a direct sequence?3

To clarify the radical nature of the changes in sequence: The First Tablets represent an extremely high spiritual level, “the Tablets were the work of G‑d and the writing, the writing of G‑d.”4 Conversely, the breaking of these Tablets (because of the sin of the Golden Calf), represents a most extreme descent. Conversely, the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy and Moshe’s vision of G‑d’s glory represent an extremely high spiritual level. Afterwards, the giving of the Second Tablets represents a further change, for they were different in nature from the First Tablets (the most obvious difference being as opposed to the First Tablets which were “the work of G‑d,” the Second Tablets were hewn by Moshe).5

Despite these differences, however, the fact that all of these concepts were recorded in a single sequence in a single Torah reading indicates that they share a connection. That connection is reflected in the name of the Torah reading Ki Sisa, which literally means “When you lift up.” Herein, lies an obvious question. The sin of the Golden Calf represents an unprecedented descent. The impurity which had blemished the souls of the Jewish people after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, had departed after the giving of the Torah, returned after this sin. This sin is the source and root of all other sins, and all the punishments suffered by the Jewish people throughout the centuries have a connection to this sin. If so, how can it have a place in the portion which reflects the ascent of the Jewish people?

All of the above difficulties can be resolved within the explanation of a unique phenomenon that is present in Parshas Ki Sisa:6 G‑d has imbued the world with the following pattern: The beginning, the head, reflects the purpose and goal of the entire entity. Afterwards, the middle sets in motion a process leading to the achievement of that purpose and then, the conclusion, where the goal is actualized and consummated.

These three stages can be defined as:

a) The Torah, “the beginning of the path,” which preceded the world and which is the purpose of creation as our Sages commented on the word Bereishis;7 b) The creation through which the world is brought into being and given a chance to fulfill its purpose; c) The Redemption, the ultimate purpose of the world’s existence.

These three stages are also alluded in the first three letters of the Hebrew Alef-beis. The alef is the first letter of the Ten Commandments and includes all the Ten Commandments within it. The beis is the first letter of the word Bereishis, the beginning of the Torah’s narrative of creation (and our Sages relate, “The world was created with a beis”). The third letter, the gimmel is the first letter of the world geulah meaning “redemption.”

In Kabbalistic terminology, these three phases can be described as: a) the Or Ein Sof,G‑d’s Infinite Light, which encompassed all existence;

b) the tzimtzum, the process of divine self-contraction which left a “vacuum and empty space;” and

c) the revelation of the Or Ein Sof within the vacuum created by the tzimtzum.8

All three stages of this process are openly expressed in our Torah reading. The First Tablets refer to the Torah as it transcends the world (and thus they begin with the letter alef). The descent into the context of worldliness is reflected by the sin of the Golden Calf.9And the giving of the Second Tablets reflect the ultimate elevation that comes after this descent.

To explain: Our Sages interpret the final words of the Torah, “before the eyes of the children of Israel,” as referring to Moshe’s breaking of the Tablets before the eyes of the Jewish people. They continue, explaining that G‑d acknowledged the positive dimensions of Moshe’s act and even congratulated him for it.

Although the question is asked: What positive purpose did breaking the Tablets have? In Chassidic thought, it is explained that breaking the Tablets enabled a higher dimension of Torah to be revealed. Through the process of sin and teshuvah, the Jews were elevated to a higher spiritual plane as our Sages declared, “In the place of baalei teshuvah, completely righteous men are unable to stand.” And this higher level is reflected in an increase of Torah knowledge. Thus our Sages relate that if Moshe had not destroyed the Tablets, we would have received only the Five Books of the Chumash and the Book of Yehoshua. Only after the breaking of the Tablets, were we granted the other dimensions of Torah study.

The advantage of the Second Tablets is also reflected in the contrast between the First and Second Tablets mentioned above: that the First Tablets were the “work of G‑d,” while the Second Tablets were hewn by Moshe. It is true that the First Tablets represented a higher level of revelation, but the advantage of the Second Tablets lay in that their holiness permeated the realm of worldly existence. Thus the First Tablets could be broken, for worldly existence represents a contrast and even a conflict with their holiness. The Second Tablets, by contrast, are eternal, for they represent the fusion of holiness with material existence.

This level is reflected in the ultimate fulfillment to be experienced by the Jewish people, the Redemption, which will follow the teshuvah of the Jewish people. And at that time, it will be revealed how the material dimensions of the world will have become fused with their ultimate spiritual purpose, how they all exist, “for the sake of the Torah.”

Thus we can see how the totality of this threefold sequence is contained in Parshas Ki Sisa. This also leads to another concept, that the flow from one stage to another is a sequence established by G‑d. And in this process, to reach the third stage, one must undergo the descent represented by the second stage.

This gives us a different perspective regarding sin: In Chassidic thought it is explained that sin is, to paraphrase a verse, “an awesome intrigue devised against man.” If a person’s yetzer hora overcomes him and makes him sin, this is because, from Above, the yetzer hora was prompted to bring him to this sin. The Jews, by nature, are above any connection with sin. Nevertheless, G‑d, however, devises “an awesome intrigue” in order to elevate our people to a higher level by having them undergo a descent beforehand.

Since this descent is merely a means to lead to a greater ascent, it is brief — to borrow a phrase “I abandoned you for a fleeting moment.” The ascent which follows it, by contrast, is eternal. This pattern will be expressed in the ultimate Redemption. It has been preceded by an awesome descent, this present exile, but it will lead to a great and eternal ascent,10“a redemption never to be followed by exile.”

Thus when seen in this context, the descent is not merely for the purpose of an ascent, but is itself a stage of that ultimate ascent. Thus our Sages relate that the entire purpose of the sin of the Golden Calf was to allow for the potential of teshuvah.

Accordingly, we can appreciate how all three phases mentioned above are part of the sequence of Ki Sisa, the ascent of the Jewish people. The giving of the First Tablets reflected the first phase, the revelation of the intent.11 It was followed by the second phase, the descent, the sin and the breaking of the Tablets. This in turn motivated the Jewish people to turn to G‑d in teshuvah, evoking the third phase,12 the revelation of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy and the great ascent that found expression in the giving of the Second Tablets and the shining of Moshe’s countenance.13

The above also enables us to understand the connection between the Second Tablets and the shining of Moshe’s countenance. The giving of the Second Tablets followed the descent after the sin of the Golden Calf. Thus, they relate to the world as it exists within its own perspective. This is reflected in the fact that they were hewn by Moshe from stone in this world. Simultaneously, they are associated with great revelation — indeed, quantitatively, a greater revelation than the First Tablets. And thus, this revelation reflects a fusion of materiality and spirituality which brought about an elevation within the physical person of Moshe himself causing his face to shine.

Indeed, this revelation was so great that it was necessary for Moshe to place a veil over his face. This veil was necessary, however, only when Moshe and the Jewish people were involved with worldly matters, the refinement of the world at large. When Moshe communicated G‑d’s word to the people, he would remove this veil.

Moreover, even in regard to the world at large, this concealment is not a permanent factor. Ultimately, through the Jews’ service in refining and elevating the world, they make it possible for there to be a revelation of G‑dliness within the context of our worldly environment. This process will be consummated in the Era of the Redemption when “Your Master will no longer conceal Himself and your eyes will behold your Master,” “the glory of G‑d will be revealed and all flesh will see.”14

The three phases of service mentioned above are reflected in our divine service every day: We begin our day with the first stage, the declaration of intent, Modeh Ani, in which we thankfully acknowledge our connection with G‑d.15 This declaration is then given expression and allowed to take form in the morning prayers and the study session which follows them.

Afterwards, we proceed to the second stage, the descent into worldliness, our occupation with our surrounding environment through our daily business affairs. At the conclusion of the day, we reach the third stage, the ingathering of all the activities performed during the day. This is communicated in the final verse of the evening service, “Indeed, the righteous will thankfully acknowledge Your name.” (Significantly, this verse employs the same verb that is used in the phrase Modeh Ani.) And in a more particular sense, the person’s giving himself over to G‑d is reflected in the final verse of the prayers recited before retiring at night, Kerias Shema al hamitah, “In Your hands, I entrust my soul.”

The above is particularly relevant in the present generation, the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Redemption. The previous generations have completed the service of refining the world and our generation is confronted with the task of causing the third phase of the process, the Redemption, to actually come to fruition.

In this, we can take a lesson from the beginning of the Torah reading, the command to “lift up the heads” of the Jewish people. Significantly, this command was addressed to Moshe. It is Moshe — and similarly, the extension of Moshe that exists in every generation who infuses the Jewish people with the spiritual power to undergo this threefold process of ascent.

Similarly, the process of ascent is accomplished through the spark of Moshe that exists within every individual Jew.16 The spark of Moshe is identified with the power of mesirus nefesh, the willingness of every Jew to give himself over to G‑d.17 This source of commitment, however, is openly revealed in souls of the leaders of the generations, and will reach complete expression in the person of Mashiach.

May this be revealed in the very near future and may the happiness of the month of Adarbreak through all barriers and allow us to “join redemption to redemption,” and proceed from the redemption of Purim to the ultimate Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.

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