Sunday, September 5, 2021

Booklet for Tishrei

 


This is a booklet I prepared for Tishrei, I wanted to make it available to you and to your communities as you see fit. If you are going to print it I suggest printing it in black and white and in booklet form. Enjoy. 
   
 Thank you MMK for all your help making these booklets. 
 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Project to do for Yom Kippur

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Teachers are always looking for a project to do with their students, and parents can do this with their children. 


Besamim kits for Yom Kippur 


Why Besamim kits for Yom Kippur? 


There is a tradition to say 100 blessings every day. This is easy to do on a regular weekday when we are already obligated to say around 90 blessings in our prayers. Part of that is the Amida, in which we say 19, and there are 3 of those every day, but on Shabbos and Yom Tov there are only 7 blessings in the Amida, and even though there is a 4th Amida, we are left with a big deficit. 


How do we make up the quota? The blessings that we say around the meals help. However on Yom Kippur we don't eat, so how are you going to make up the quota? These Besamim kits will help you get there. And you can use them on Shabbos and Yom Tov too. 


Also there are several spices from the Ketores which was a central service on Yom Kippur. 


You can use this as a tool to teach them about the Ketores, that we say a blessing over things that smell good and that we have a custom to say 100 blessings a day. 


There are four different blessings that we can say. 


Over fruit, whether it grows on a tree or from the ground. Asher Nosan Reiach Tov Bapeiros. 

 

Over everything else that grows from a tree. Borei Atzei Besamim. 


Over everything else that grows from the ground. Borei Isvei Besamim. 

 

Over everything else. Borei Minei Besamim. 


The idea is to get the four bottles of spices, clearly labeled with the blessings, and in a zip lock bag, in order that the whole family can enjoy it over Yom Kippur. 


I have done most of the work for you. 


I make them for shuls in my area and I always get positive feedback. 



Shopping list. Links to all the things I use. Spices, bottles, etc.   

Instructions 

Labels

Information Sheet.to go with the Besamim kits. 

Laws of blessings on aromatics, by my brother Dovid . I print it on the other side of the information Sheet.     

 

Examples of things you can use. 


For Asher Nosan Reiach Tov Bapeiros. Dried fruit that smell good. For example, coffee, coconut, apple, pineapple, banana and guava. 


For Borei Atzei Besamim. Dried flowers, leaves, needles, bark, resin and roots that smell good. For example, roses, rosemary, myrtle, frankincense, Mastic and spikenard. 


For Borei Isvei Besamim. Dried Chamomile, mint, peppermint, spearmint, fennel, and Orris. 


For Borei Minei Besamim. Cloves, Cinnamon, lemon essential oil, musk, and Candy Cap Mushroom. 


Why dried? Because otherwise it will rot. 


You can do something simple like coffee, rosemary, mint, and Cinnamon. Most people have that in their pantry. For mint, you can use mint tea. And Cinnamon was in the Ketores. 


From feedback we can tell you that coffee, myrtle, spearmint, and lemon essential oil wakes people up and therefore most appreciated. With coffee, and spearmint being the favorites. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Fixed link. Dvar Torah Booklet for Sthavouth


These are two booklets I prepared for Shavouth, I wanted to make it available to you and to your communities as you see fit. If you are going to print it I suggest printing it in black and white and in booklet form. Enjoy. 
   
Thank you MMK for all your help making these booklets. 
 

 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dvar Torah Booklet for Shavouth


These are two booklets I prepared for Shavouth, I wanted to make it available to you and to your communities as you see fit. If you are going to print it I suggest printing it in black and white and in booklet form. Enjoy. 
   
Thank you MMK for all your help making these booklets. 
 
 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Dvar Torah Booklets for Pesach


These are two booklets I prepared for Pesach, one for the first days and one for the second days. I wanted to make it available to you and to your community as you see fit. If you are going to print it I suggest printing it in black and white and in booklet form. Enjoy. 

Thank you MMK for all your help making these booklets. 
 


Monday, March 22, 2021

If It Wasn't For The Frogs

 print        Shabbos Haggadol

In the story of Pesach “Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him, Thus says Hashem… if you refuse to let them go, I will plague your entire country with frogs.’” 

On this the Midrash says, "Our teachers taught, what is ‘the greatest advantage in all the land?’ Even things that seem unnecessary in the world, like flies, fleas and gnats, they too are a part of G-d’s creation... Even things that seem unnecessary in the universe, like snakes and scorpions, were also a part of G-d’s creation of the world. Hashem says to the prophets, Did you assume that if you do not fulfill my charge I do not have other messengers? “The greatest advantage in all the land is His.” My mission will be fulfilled even by a snake, even by a scorpion and even by a frog. Know that so it is, for if not for the tzirah, how would Hashem have inflicted retribution on the Amorites? And if not for the frogs, how would Hashem have exacted retribution from the Egyptians? Thus, it is stated, “I will plague (your entire country with frogs).”

There were other plagues that were by far more severe than the frogs. For example, There was the first plague of blood that hit the Nile, which was not only their source of drinking water, but it was also what drove their whole economy. Egypt was an agricultural giant, the water of the Nile was the source of all their produce and they also had a fishing industry which was devastated by the blood. 

There was the last plague, the slaying of the firstborn, which was definitely more devastating than the frogs. The rest of the plagues were also hard on the Egyptians, and at the splitting of the sea they all drowned, which was surely worse than frogs. So how can the Midrash say, "If not for the frogs, how would Hashem have exacted retribution from the Egyptians?"? 

The purpose of the plagues was not to punish Pharaoh and the Egyptians, rather, as the verse says, "And Egypt will know that I Am Hashem." That G-dliness should be revealed in Egypt. And that only could be done by breaking Egypt and that was done through the plagues. 

And since what was blocking G-dliness from being revealed in Egypt were the attitudes of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the main thing that broke through and changed their attitude was the frogs, as will be explained. 

There are three ways rebellion or denial of Hashem takes form, each one getting worse than the previous one. 

The first form of rebellion in Hashem, is claiming that there is another that has power other than Hashem. He doesn't directly deny Hashem's existence, because he knows that his existence depends on Hashem, rather he calls Hashem, the G-d of gods. 

The second is the one who says that Hashem is G-d of gods, but denies that existence is dependent on Hashem, rather he thinks that he is responsible for his own existence and the things around him. Like Pharaoh who said, "the Nile is mine and I made it." And when he says that Hashem is G-d of gods, he means that Hashem is more powerful than him or his gods, but denies that existence is dependent on the G-d of gods. 

The third is the one who outright denies and fights against Hashem's existence, he doesn't even consider Him the G-d of gods. 

While on the surface the third one, the outright denial of Hashem seems the worst of all, but when you look deeper, the one who says, "the Nile is mine and I made it," is a lot worse. 

To explain. In the first way of thinking, he believes in another power, but by saying that Hashem is the G-d of gods, he is recognizing that his existence is from Hashem. 

In the third way of thinking, true he outright denies and fights against Hashem's existence, but the fact that he is fighting so hard to deny it, means that it bothers him, deep down he believes in G-dliness. 

However, the second way of thinking, the way of Pharaoh who said, "the Nile is mine and I made it," he only sees himself. The fact that he calls Hashem the G-d of gods has nothing to do with him, he is his own entity. Therefore he is totally apathetic to G-dliness. 

The same as it is with these three groups, so it is with the creations that Hashem created. 

There are creations that give honor to Hashem, as you can immediately see their positive purpose that they were created far. Then there are those that are dangerous or their purpose is a negative one, like snakes and scorpions, but you can see their purpose, and you can see through them that Hashem doesn't create anything in vain. 

These two attest to Hashem's existence, because through the handiwork you can get a sense of its creator. 

Then there are things like frogs, which to the average person, and to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, have no purpose, they are benign. When you see them, you wonder what purpose could they possibly have? It makes room to question if there is someone in charge. 

These frogs did Hashem's bidding, and what more they did it with self sacrifice, they even jumped into the Egyptian ovens. When they saw what the frogs did for Hashem, it broke their way of thinking and they knew that "I Am Hashem!" None of the other plagues were like the frogs, they were either things that are normally positive or negative, and they showed that there was a Craftsman Who created them, Hashem. 

May we merit to once again see the hand of Hashem in everything with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Reward for Keeping, Enjoying and Honoring Shabbos

     
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On Shabbos, Before reciting the morning kiddush we say verses  from Isaiah, "If you will restrain your foot because it is Shabbos, from doing your desires on My holy day, and you will declare Shabbos as a (time of) pleasure, a holy day of honor for Hashem, and you will honor it by not carrying out your (regular) activities, not pursuing your desired (labors), and not speaking about (financial) things. Then you will find pleasure with Hashem, and I will raise you on the high places of the earth, and you will enjoy the heritage of Yaakov, your father, for the mouth of Hashem has spoken."

The Rambam says, "Anyone who keeps Shabbos according to its laws, and honors it and finds pleasure in it to the best of his ability, it has been clearly handed down, that his reward will be in this world, in addition to what is hidden away for him in the world to come, as it says, 'Then you will find pleasure with Hashem...'"

The Rambam is explaining the simple meaning of the verses. "If you will restrain your foot because it is Shabbos, from doing your desires on My holy day," means keeping the laws of Shabbos. "And you will declare Shabbos as a (time of) pleasure..." This is finding pleasure in Shabbos. "And you will honor it by not carrying out your (regular) activities..." This refers to honoring the Shabbos. 

"Then you will find pleasure with Hashem, and I will raise you on the high places of the earth, and you will enjoy the heritage of Yaakov your father." The Rambam explains that his reward will be in this world, in addition to what is hidden away for him in the world to come. In other words, Shabbos is special, in that its reward is threefold. 

First, the regular reward, which the Rambam explains elsewhere that the reward for mitzvahs is in the world to come, which is basking in the light of Hashem. This is "enjoying the heritage of Yaakov." On top of that, we will enjoy the light of Hashem in this world as well, that is why he says, "in addition to what is hidden away for him in the world to come," because it is the same kind of reward, but in this world. This reward is unique to keeping Shabbos, and is learned from the words, "Then you will find pleasure with Hashem." 

Then there is a physical reward, this reward is different from the other rewards in two ways. First, it is not "the reward," it is just that because you are doing the mitzvahs, Hashem gives you your needs, so you can continue to do what Hashem wants without difficulty. Second, it is a limited reward, while the others are unlimited. 

Being limited, there could be various levels of comfort rewarded. So the verse says, "I will raise you on the high places of the earth." That the reward will be the best of the earth. 

Why does Shabbos have such a great reward, greater than any other mitzvah? 

Just before the Rambam says the reward for keeping Shabbos, he says, "Both Shabbos and idol worship are equal to all the other mitzvahs of the Torah, and Shabbos is the sign between us and the Holy One Blessed Be He..." Idol worship is a denial of the essential underpinnings and sanctity of the Jewish people. By comparing Shabbos to idol worship, he is saying that Shabbos is different from the other mitzvahs. While all the other mitzvahs add to our holiness, not doing them does not constitute a denial of the essential underpinnings and sanctity of the Jewish people. Shabbos, on the other hand, is an essential part of who we are, keeping Shabbos is therefore, upholding the essential underpinnings and sanctity of the Jewish people. 

Shabbos is the time when our unity with Hashem shines bright, it is therefore a taste of the world to come, when we will experience Hashem's essence which we are one with. This is the pleasure of Shabbos, a taste of Hashem's essence. 

May we soon merit to experience the time that is called, "The day that is entirely Shabbos," the time of Moshiach, with the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.