Posts Tagged ‘Moshe’

3
Oct

Moses The Builder

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

I’m sitting in my sukkah despite it being soaked; there’s no way I would miss a visit from Moses. I cleaned up as well as I could, after all, this is the man who supervised the construction of the Mishkan. He had the Ultimate Architect, an awesome foreman/artist in Betzalel, unlimited supplies, and a huge team of workers. I, well, suffice it to say that my sukkah was constructed by someone who still believes in the Maginot Line! I have all my excuses ready if my visitor will be disappointed in my construction project. I admit that I prefer to keep the conversation focused on the failings of my little sukkah than to be tested by Moses. So, here goes!

I sing my invitation to Moses, and he quickly appears, sits down, slowly looks around, stares up for a few moments at my s’chach, and, smiles. “I see that I did a good job,” he comments. I stare openmouthed at him, happy that he considers my sukkah a “good job,” but wondering why he would take credit for my Leaning Tower of Canvas.

I wait for our great teacher to speak. “You’re the one who believes that the Mishkan serves a greater purpose than the Temple in Jerusalem, are you not?”

“Yes, Rebbi, I am.”

“Why?”

“I believe that the Mishkan allows us to create holy spaces wherever we are; create a Temple environment even while in exile.”

“Exactly,” he says, “what I constructed, the Mishkan, is eternal, and it is what helped you create a holy space even in this horribly constructed sukkah! I can say, looking at your sukkah, that I did a good job.”

I smile.

“Rebbi, may I ask a question?”

“Of course.”

“How did Rebbi accomplish that sense of the eternal in the Mishkan?”

“When the project was finished I blessed the people in two ways: ‘May the pleasantness of my Master, our Lord, be upon us, and may He establish our handiwork for us (Psalm 90).’ I taught them to have God as a partner in every action so that He would find our handiwork as a source of pleasantness, or Nachas. I then blessed them, ‘May you always have the desire for God to dwell among you,’ it’s only a matter of how much you desire God’s Presence in everything you do.”

Moses gave me a serious look and asked, “What have you done that will have eternal effect?”

I stop smiling.

“I believe that I have taught people to think on their own, to study your Torah as if you are speaking directly to them.”

“You are building thinkers; the most significant building project of all. Do more.” And, he left.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
15
Sep

The Walk

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

Almost forty years before this week’s portion of Vayeilech, “And we (Moshe) walked,”    God began revelation by saying, “Thus shalt you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel,” understood as an instruction to teach each person in the manner with which he or she could relate. Strangely, we never find Moshe speaking to each individual in this personalized manner. Rather, “Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which God commanded him.”

And God said to Moses: “Go, Lech, to the people,” reminiscent of His first charge to Abraham, “Go from your country, Lech Lecha,” and, again, we find that Moshe seems to do something other than what God commanded, “And Moses went down from the mount to the people,” he did not Lech, go, but ‘went down.’

Until this week’s portion, Vayeilech, “And Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel.” It seems that on this, the final day of Moshe’s life, he fulfilled the Lech of long ago, and the personalized instruction first commanded at Sinai, because Vayeilech is understood as Moshe going to each family to offer personalized words of farewell.

Abraham too ends the significant part of his life as patriarch with a Lech: “And He said: ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go, lech lecha, into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of’.”

Moshe could not fulfill the personalized Lech until the end of his life, when he could go to each person with an individual message. The commandment of Sinai was to take them on a journey that would culminate in this sense of Lech, a personalized message that would allow each his or her individual journey with God.

We read of Abraham’s ultimate Lech on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, because his journey too was one that would serve as an example of walking with God, journeying through life with God; the real challenge and blessing of Rosh Hashanah: Discover your own personal journey through life.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
4
Apr

The Conference of the Birds

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

One of my favorite parts of the Haggadah is the part that isn’t there: Moshe’s role in redeeming Israel, an appropriate message for groups gathered for the Seder:

In the 12th Century poem, The Conference of the Birds, the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their king, as they have none. The hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird roughly equivalent to the Western phoenix. The hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represent a human fault which prevents man from attaining enlightenment. When the group of thirty birds finally reach the dwelling place of the Simorgh, all they find is a lake in which they see their own reflection.

The story recounts the longing of a group of birds who desire to know the great Simorgh, and who, under the guidance of a leader bird, start their journey toward the land of Simorgh. One by one, they drop out of the journey, each offering an excuse and unable to endure the journey. Each bird has a special significance, and a corresponding didactic fault. The guiding bird is the hoopoe, while the nightingale symbolizes the lover. The parrot is seeking the fountain of immortality, not God and the peacock symbolizes the “fallen soul” who is in alliance with Satan. The thirty birds seeking the Simorgh realize that Simorgh is nothing more than their transcendent totality.

We have a similar story in the Book of Judges, when Yotam, the only surviving child of Gideon, responds to the people who have chosen to follow Avimelech:

“When Yotam was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, ‘Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you:

‘One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’

‘But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’

‘Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’

‘But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’

‘Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’

‘But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

‘Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’

‘The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’ (Judges 9:7-15).”

Yotam sends a message to Avimelech’s followers, and to us; we lose ourselves when we search for that one person who will take care of everything, who will save us, guide us, and lead us to freedom. It is not the one person, but, to “see their own reflection,” and to realize that what we seek, “is nothing more than their transcendent totality,” what we have when we soar together at the Seder, challenging each other, arguing about ideas that matter to us, questioning God’s role in history and the definition of freedom.

No, Moshe does not directly appear in the Haggadah, because it is not a story about him, but about us.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
1
Mar

Fighting To Look Up

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Dedicated to the memory of Raizel Devorah bat David Shaykin on her Yahrtzeit

“It happened that when Moses raised his hand, Israel grew stronger, and when he lowered his hand, Amalek was stronger (Exodus 17:11).” “Was it Moses’ hands that won the battle or lost it? Rather, as long as Israel looked heavenward and subjected their heart to their Father in Heaven, they would prevail (Rosh Hashanah 3:8).” Sounds beautiful, but who was watching Moses’ hands? It couldn’t have been the soldiers engaged in battle; “Can we please pause our sword fight so I can look up toward Heaven?” It must have been the people safe inside the Clouds of Glory who were watching Moses. Did they stand around all day at the foot of the mountain watching, and immediately forget God when Moses lowered his hands? If they were looking up toward Moses on the mountain, why did he need to raise his hands?

This was the battle of “Zachor,” which means, “Remember.” We are commanded to remember how Amalek attacked Israel on their way from Egypt to Sinai. Moses raised his hands because he wanted the people inside the Cloud to remember that there was a war just outside the camp. The soldiers were doing their job. The people had to remember the soldiers during every moment of the battle. When the people stopped looking up toward Heaven in prayer for those who were engaged in battle, the soldiers lost their strength. They needed the people back home to remember them, and pray for them.

How often do we think of our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq who are fighting for their country? How many times a day do we pray for them? Do we “lower our hands,” and forget to look up toward Heaven and pray for their protection. How often do we remember the soldiers putting their lives on the line for Israel? Are we looking up at Moses’ hands reminding us to constantly think of them and pray? Do we forget them and stop looking up toward Heaven in prayer?

There are people all around us who are fighting wars against physical enemies, hunger, cruelty, ignorance, and hatred, and Moses points upward for us to remember them and pray, and yet…

Moses was criticized by God for his “Hands Pointed Up” approach. It’s all too easy to climb a mountain and look heavenward when someone else is doing the actual fighting. God wanted Moses to fight, not to be a Heaven Pointer.  Heaven Pointing is a privilege we must first earn by being directly involved. Moses understood, which is why he raised his hands; he was teaching the people to use their hands to reach Heavenward. It wasn’t enough to for them to look up toward Moses; they had to reach upward, as was their teacher. It’s very easy to look up to Heaven in the safety of the Cloud. Looking up toward Heaven without reaching is not considered a commitment to Heaven. Moses lowered his hands and they forgot just like that, because they were looking without reaching.

Zachor is a call to reach, a summons to action; a message we will hear only when we “remember” those who are on the front lines of life directly engaged in the battle. We are commanded to “Remember” Shabbat by sanctifying it with action. We are commanded to “Remember” what happened to Miriam who spoke ill of her brother Moses and actively change our speech.

The best way to “Remember” is to actively reach higher. Write a letter to a soldier. Send a package. We can’t just look up; we have to reach.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
17
Jan

What Kind of Leader

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

When I heard a rabbi describe himself as, “the Rav Moshe Feinstein of our generation,” I realized that it’s not just presidential candidates who claim to be the reincarnation of Lincoln or Reagan, but people in all areas of life who claim to lead as did a great person from the past.

It’s not always so blatant; I observe rabbis imitating their teachers when responding to a halachic question, using their teacher’s words and mannerisms. People imitate those they admire. They appear to lead as did their teacher. I always heard my grandfather zt”l consider how his rebbi, the Alter of Slabodka, would have responded to a situation, but he never tried to be his teacher; he was who he was; deeply rooted in the past, but highly sensitive to the present and future. Yesterday, my sister and I were discussing how extraordinary it was for a man so rooted in the Yeshiva world of Europe to be so aware of the different needs of American students.

What happens when a situation demands an entirely new type of leader? The Rambam was unlike anyone before him; his approaches disconcerted the established rabbinic authorities of his time. The Baal Shem Tov responded to the unique demands of the post Shabtai Tzvi and Chelministki pogroms with an entirely new approach. He certainly shook up the establishment! We then have the iconoclasts who define themselves as such in imitation of the Baal Shem Tov. They present themselves as “unique” in imitation of someone else!

Which takes us back to Moshe: His generation, the slaves in Egypt, needed a leader who was different from the Patriarchs and Joseph. We suggested in “All in the Family,” that when the people “forgot” Joseph they were severing a link to the past. Perhaps, it was an expression of a deeper sense of disconnect; a sense that even Joseph would be unable to save them from their current situation. No wonder Moshe insists to God, “They will not believe in me!” They need a leader who will carry them as an alate protector, “On the wings of eagles,” not someone with a speech impediment!

Even if he can perform a bunch of miracles and claim them as signs; What kind of leader is Moshe projecting? We know that he wants to insert God into their vocabulary, (see “Debate Performance”) and succeeds only to disappoint them when their situation gets worse. Moshe begins to wonder what kind of leader he will be (“A Leader’s Spirit.”)

We will explore his decision making as we began in “Moment to Decide,” and attempt to diagnose the symptoms exhibited by the nation he was to lead.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
1
Aug

“We Will Follow Him” by Prof Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

Follow the Leader

Aylu Hadvarim Asher Debear Moshe. These are the words that Moses spoke to the children of Israel. This is the first sentence in the book of Deuteronomy. But we must stop the Torah reading right here because something is wrong. We were taught in the book of Exodus that Moses had a speech defect and his brother Aaron would be his spokesman. Now Moses began a 2 ½ hour speech and the people listened. What was different than when Moses first went to Egypt to free the people?

When we first meet someone who wants to be our leader, we can be swayed by the articulate person. The person who stammers will not be chosen to be the leader. But the real test of a leader is whether that person delivers what he said he would do. The Torah is teaching us not only how to be a good leader but also how to be a good follower. If your leader does not deliver, find a new leader who will.

As a leader, Moses delivered on what he had promised. He led them out of the land of Egypt, led them to Mount Sinai, and took them to the borders of Israel. Therefore, when he stood up to give his 2 ½ hour speech, the people strained and listened to hear what he had to say. As good followers they understood you followed someone who delivered on his promises.

That is why I think the correct translation of Aylu hadvarim is not, “These are the words”. The

word Dvarim can also mean, “Things”. So I believe the correct translation is, “These are the

things about which Moses spoke to the Children of Israel”. The things he did made him a good

leader, and the good followers listened for 2 ½ hours.

Will we be good followers?

Share
25
Mar

Of Priests and Policemen

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

“This unfortunate world has been blasted in all ages by two evil principles – Kingcraft and Priestcraft – that, taking advantage of to human necessities, in themselves not hard – salutary, and even beneficial in their natural operation – the necessity of civil government, and that of spiritual instruction, have warped them cruelly from their own pure direction, and converted them into the most odious, the most terrible and disastrous scourges of our race (William Howitt, “History of Priestcraft In All Ages and Nations”)

I can’t disagree with Howitt, nor can I control my joy when studying this week’s Parsha with Howitt’s criticisms in mind. The High Priest, the Kohen Gadol, Aharon, hesitates before assuming his lofty position. He is aware of his limitations and his faults. He feels undeserving. His concern is for the people, not for the position. He was willing to risk all at the Golden calf calf to save the people he so loved. Surely, he is not counted among those priests criticized above.

God sits severe and absolute limits in His Home: when Nadav and Avihu act on their own; when they violate the strict rules controlling the Kehuna, they immediately die. The Mishkan is not a place where Service of God can be warped even for a second.

I rejoice when Aharon, so soon after two of his sons die, stand up to Moshe, the King, and argues from his judgment. I rejoice even more when Moshe, the King, concedes the point, and celebrates the fact that his brother was right, he openly admits that his brother was right and he was wrong. Moshe’s Kingcraft was incorruptible.

In “The Blind Eye of History,” Charles Reith criticizes our habit of attempting to solve a problem by passing a new law. Most societies attempt to control disorder by passing laws; and most have failed.

However, the two portions we read this week, Shemini and Parah, both describe a law that precedes society, a system of law that exists before this society is born. A system of laws that challenge us to elevate ourselves, to understand the essence of the laws, to appreciate that we can not completely control human behavior; we can direct it with truth rooted in God. The laws of kashrut and the laws of the Parah Adumah are definitely not laws that are a response to a societal problem; they are a challenge to us, the people, and to the Kings and spiritual leaders.

In other words, these two portions make me feel safe, the Kingcraft and Priestcraft are controlled.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
16
Mar

Moshe and Purim Part Nine

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

What’s the name of the holiday? Purim. Why? Why did Haman throw lots? Why didn’t he choose a day? Because he didn’t believe in chance, he believed that the answer was important.

That’s why when it came out in Adar if this man believed everything was chance he would have said oh wow this is a sign that I’ll be able to be successful. Which means that he took this as a sign that this is what God wanted him to do. Haman was not a total “oh once there was a wicked wicked man” that’s not the way it was.  Haman was a very sophisticated enemy.

The worst thing that we do to ourselves and to our children is to present all the enemies of the Jewish people as being total idiots. They weren’t; they were brilliant, they were manipulative, they dealt with God. All these generations present all Christians as idiots, Know: there is sophistication there’s meaning, there’s substance, the difference between Amalek and the Jewish people is kchut  hasaarah– the thread of a hair. So it takes a lot of work. And sometimes that work, to internalize it takes a certain release, of barriers and that’s why you drink.

And by the way its not drinking to be selfish, if you ever watch movies or television shows there are always two guys at a bar who are bombed out- ‘you want to know what happened to me?’, ‘yeah, but we lost the game’, ‘my wife left me’, ‘and my car broke down’- these two guys are pouring out their hearts and they’re not having a conversation. That’s not what Purim is about, to be bombed.

It’s where you have a high, so all the barriers and inhibitions are gone. You have a joy, the ability to feel it is a gift on Purim. Because the way that God deals with us on each yom-tov, on each holiday is actually a recreation of how God dealt with us on the original day. And we can take advantage of those gifts. The only way to take advantage of Purim is to know that what I’m going to do on Purim is defeat certain inhibitions, certain masks and barriers, that I put up between myself and other people, between myself and God, between myself and myself.

I have to prepare for it, I have to understand the holiness of it, I have to make myself into a vehicle in order to accept it and accept God’s control and then one will be astounded by what one can change in ones life over Purim. A good Purim is irreplaceable; it is greater than Yom Kippur. Because on Yom Kippur your fasting and on Purim you’re drinking. If you can be holy when you drink, and I’m not talking about ‘holy dancing’ but really working on yourself and internalizing what happens in a pleasant high, which by the way has to be wine, you do not fulfill the mitzvah whiskey or beer you don’t. But hopefully well have a chance to get to that.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
16
Mar

Moshe and Purim Part Eight

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Transcribed and Prepared by Anna Beller: Listen to this passuk in the torah- reshit goyim Amalek– Amalek is the mightiest of all nations- beacharitam– but in their end- adi yoveid– they will be destroyed by adi. So the Gemara says what is adi? Ayin, dalet. Yud–  ad delo yada.

Amalek is also according to the zohar symbolized by the snake.  And of course the first word that God says after the sin- hamin me etz haddat– the Gemara says don’t say hamin but Haman– or the Gemara says that Ain ha torah nitmah ela be ochlei Haman- that torah can only be given to people who eat maan. So the Gemara says what are you talking about its not ochle ha maan but ochleh Haman– the people who destroy Haman, and it’s true, the only time you have a acceptance of the oral law are when the people ate Haman- those who destroyed Haman.

But this idea of rechiet goyim Amalek is also a very fundamental idea. The fact that they’re considered the king of all nations, they are not considered. Every one thinks that Amalek is here and the Jewish people are here. The Gemara says ain ben Amalek uh benei yisrael ellah kchut te saarah –the only difference between Amalek and the Jewish people was the thread of a hair. The difference is so subtle that most of us miss it. For people to tell you Amalek believes that God doesn’t run the world, and the Jewish people believe that God does run the world is not true because then its not kchut ha-saarah– that’s number one. You will read in every book in Jewish literature that Amalek believes in chance and the Jewish people don’t believe in chance, that’s not exactly true.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
15
Mar

Moshe & Purim Part Seven

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Transcribed and prepared by Anna Beller: What is the midah that Moshe Rabbeinu represents in the Sfirot? Netzach– that which is eternal. Meaning that you have a universal perspective from the beginning of time until the end of time. Moshe represents netzach so the representations of his failures are the exact issues that he had to fight, the issues of netzach.

What’s the midah of Purim? Netzachshoshanat Yaakov.. tshuasatan hayita la’netsach– so netsach is the midah of purim. Purim by the way is on the body is represented by the right foot. The left foot is hod which is Chanukah, the feet are always the symbols of independence and those are the two holidays of the oral law, both Purim and Chanukah. It takes us back to where we were to oral law.

How does Esther follow Moshe? How does Esther fix what Moshe has done wrong? And why is that an Amalek issue? First I’d like to get to how it’s an Amalek issue, explain it to you how it is generally understood but a little deeper, then we’ll do Esther then we’ll turn it all around.

The pasuk says: remember what Amalek did to you and you are obligated to wipe them out so that their memory does not exist, there seems to be a contradiction with this. According to the zohar, Purim is the holiest day of the year, its not a joke or a crazy Chassidic thing, Purim goes to the core of human existence because what happens on Purim? It frees you to deal with God as a real person, to accept the oral law. In order to accept the oral law, to use God’s Torah, to manipulate God’s torah, to be involved in the expression of God’s will, not just in obeying God’s will but being a determiner of God’s will, being an expression of God’s will, saying this is what God must want to hear, I must be highly attuned to God, have an incredible connection to God, enough of a connection that I am free to function, and believe that in my functioning God is going to be there. But in order to do that, I have to get rid of all sorts of garbage that we have on top of us and that is symbolized in the masks that we wear.

By the way, which time when Moshe came down from Sinai was he wearing a mask? The first tablets or the second? The second tablets. The first tablets represent the written law and the second tablets represent the oral law. And what was Moshe wearing? A mask. And he wears the mask when he is not talking. It says that they were too scared to look at him so he covered his face when they were not talking to him and when he was teaching torah the mask came off. Because there are no masks, that was the whole point, the removal of the mask.  The whole idea was that when he was teaching oral law there are no masks, that’s why you drink ad de lo yada until you lose daat. What is daat? Daat is awareness, daat is being into your role, your place who you are how people perceive you, how you present yourself how you project yourself. So that’s what daat is- ad de lo yada– until you don’t process through personal awareness.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share