Friday, April 20, 2018

No New Dvar Torah this Week

Due to amazing and fantastic circumstances, there will be no new Dvar Torah this week. Please click here to read and listen to last year's Dvar Torah for Parshas Acharei mos-Kedoshim.
Due to the eighth day of Pesach falling out on Shabbos, Eretz Yisrael and CHU"L will be one parsha off for the next several weeks. Since we are based in Eretz Yisrael, we will be following their schedule. Please click here for the dvar Torah and Podcast for this week's Parsha being read in CHU"L (Tazria-Metzora).

Shabbat Shalom!





For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM

Friday, April 13, 2018

Dvar Torah & Podcast for Parshas Tazria-Metzora

Due to the eighth day of Pesach falling out on Shabbos, Eretz Yisrael and CHU"L will be one parsha off for the next several weeks. Since we are based in Eretz Yisrael, we will be following their schedule. Please click here for the dvar Torah and Podcast for this week's Parsha being read in CHU"L (Shemini).

       Parshas Tazria-Metzora is best known for the laws of tzara’as, lesions which appear on your skin as a result of speaking Lashon Hara. However, there are other types of tzara’as which appear on your house or clothing. Tzara’as on a house is a particularly interesting idea.
       The pasuk reads, “כִּ֤י תָבֹ֨אוּ֙ אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֛י נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם לַֽאֲחֻזָּ֑ה וְנָֽתַתִּי֙ נֶ֣גַע צָרַ֔עַת בְּבֵ֖ית אֶ֥רֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶֽם“When you come to the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as a possession, and I place a lesion of tzara’as upon a house in the land of your possession.” (Vayikra 14:34). If these lesions are indeed tzara’as, you may end up having to destroy the entire house! However, as we have explained in a previous Dvar Torah, Rashi tells us that this is in fact might be a blessing in disguise. When the Bnei Yisrael were approaching Eretz Yisrael, the people living there at the time hid their possessions in the walls of their houses. Years later, after breaking down the walls of his house because of tzara’as, a Jew was liable to find a treasure trove inside his walls! In fact, this still happens nowadays in Eretz Yisrael when they dig up old foundations of houses built before the establishment of the State of Israel.
       The Kli Yakar focuses on the language of the pasuk and comes up with several questions. First of all, why does the pasuk specify that these laws apply only in Eretz Yisrael? Could tzara’as on the house not occur in the desert? Other forms of tzara’as certainly did. Secondly, why does Hashem mention here that He is giving us the land as a possession? While this phrase is found several times throughout the Torah, there is always a reason behind it. Finally, why does the pasuk end with the phrase “upon a house in the land of your possession”; why can’t it just say “in your houses”?
       The answer lies in the reason why tzara’as appears specifically on a house. As we explained, tzara’as appears on your body due to speaking Lashon Hara, the reason it appears on your house due to stinginess, or an inappropriate desire for money. Our possessions are given to us by Hashem for the purpose of supporting ourselves and our families, as well as to help others in need.
       This is especially true in Eretz Yisrael where Hashem drove out the nations living there, without us even having to fight a battle. There it is most apparent that our land is a gift from Him. If you don’t recognize your purpose in having this property even then, you will receive a clear message in the form of tzara’as. Therefore, the pasuk writes specifically about Eretz Yisrael and what should be our viewpoint.

Shabbat Shalom!





Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on Apple Podcasts) 

For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dvar Torah & Podcast for Pesach 5778


       AIMeMTorah would like to wish all of our readers a Happy Pesach and a Chag Kosher V'Sameach!
       
       We have arrived once again at the holiday of Pesach and one of my favorite nights of the year, the Seder! As I say every year, the Hagadah is one of my favorite books to study and develop new ideas from. Every year, we try to examine a different part of the Hagadah and glean new insights. This year, we will focus on three paragraphs found in the middle of Magid, beginning with “רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר“Rabi Yosi Haglili says”.
       These three paragraphs contain a machlokes between Rabi Yosi Haglili, Rabi Eliezer, and Rabi Akiva as to exactly how many makkos the Egyptians received from Hashem while in Mitzrayim and later by Krias Yam Suf. They all agree that the Egyptians received five times as many makkos while at the sea, but they disagree as to the exact numbers. Rabi Yosi says they received ten while in Mitzrayim and fifty by the sea. Rabi Eliezer says that each makkah in Mitzrayim was actually four different makkos; therefore, the numbers are forty and 200. Rabi Akiva says each makkah was really five different makkos, and therefore the numbers are fifty and 250. The whole argument is based on how exactly to learn out the meaning of a pasuk in Tehillim (78:49). (Rabi Yosi doesn’t learn out anything from this pasuk, instead relying on the pasuk in Shemos 14:31.)
       Several questions immediately come to mind after reading these paragraphs, but the one that stands out is what difference does it make how many makkos there were? What exactly are they arguing about here?
       The most common answer to this question comes from the Vilna Gaon. He quotes a pasuk which says, “כל המחלה אשר שמתי במצרים לא אשים עליך“(If you will listen to all Hashem tells you) Any of the diseases I placed upon Egypt, I will not place upon you” (Shemos 15:26). Hashem tells us that he will not do anything to us that He did to the Egyptians. Therefore, if the Egyptians only received ten makkos, there are only ten things we won’t receive. But if there were 250 makkos, we wouldn’t be able to receive any of those! So the more makkos there are, the better it is for us.
       Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon offers an explanation which adds on a beautiful piece to this GR”A. The makkos created a clear distinction between the Jews and Egyptians. While the Egyptian searched for water, choked on frogs, and scratched at his lice, the Jew sat calmly by watching it all happen in perfect comfort. It was very clear that Hashem was singling out the Egyptians for punishment as well as raising the Jews up out of love. Now, while it was certainly possible for this to be shown with just ten makkos, the more makkos there were, the more we can point out Hashem’s love for us. With every additional makkah, Hashem was showing His love for Bnei Yisrael that they were not evil like the Egyptians, that they deserved prominence instead of punishment. This is the argument between these Tannaim, and this is why it’s important to know how many there were.
       There is no better night for this discussion than the Seder, the night where we point out the direct hashgachah we receive in this world from Hashem. In fact, the very next paragraph in Magid is the song of Dayeinu, a list of every act of hashgachah from the time we left Mitzrayim until we entered Eretz Yisrael. May we all be blessed with this continued hashgachah, until it brings us to the true Geulah, speedily in our days!

Chag Kosher V’Sameach!


Click here for last year's Dvar Torah & Podcast for Pesach




Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on Apple Podcasts) 

For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM

Friday, March 23, 2018

No New Dvar Torah this Week

In anticipation of next week's Dvar Torah for Pesach, there is no new Dvar Torah this week for Parshas Tzav. Please click here for a previous year's Dvar Torah. We will return, b'ezrat Hashem, next week with a new Dvar Torah.

Shabbat Shalom!

There is no Podcast this week. Please click here to visit our full library of podcasts and find us on iTunes as well.




For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM

Friday, March 16, 2018

No New Dvar Torah this Week

Due to circumstances beyond control, there is no new Dvar Torah this week. Please click here to enjoy a previous year's Dvar Torah for Parshas Vayikra. We will return, b'ezrat Hashem, next week with a brand new Dvar Torah.

Shabbat Shalom!

There is no Podcast this week. Please click here to visit our full library of podcasts and find us on iTunes as well.




For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM

Friday, March 9, 2018

Dvar Torah & Podcast for Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei


       Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei is primarily a repeat of two previous parshiyos in Sefer Shemos, Terumah and Tetzaveh. While those parshiyos discussed what was required for the construction of the Mishkan, this week’s parsha deals with the construction itself. While it may seem a waste of space to simply repeat everything we’ve seen before, there are many new lessons and ideas that come from this. For example, the Torah tells us several times throughout the parsha that all the construction was done exactly the way Hashem commanded it to be done. There were many creative people involved with the development of the Mishkan, and they had the best materials to work with. Still, none were tempted to develop their own designs and creations; they stuck to the exact plans and modifications that Hashem had set for them.
       This idea was a tremendous credit to the Bnei Yisrael and showed a tremendous love and devotion to Hashem. But truthfully, the entire concept of the Mishkan was an example of this. Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky points out that while the Mishkan ended up being used for 40 years in the desert and another 400 years in Eretz Yisrael prior to the building of the Beis Hamikdash, it was really only supposed to be used for a few months! Until the sin of the Meraglim, the Bnei Yisrael were supposed to enter Eretz Yisrael a few months after Matan Torah. According to Reb Yaakov, under those circumstances, they would have immediately built the Beis Hamikdash, and the Mishkan would have become obsolete.
       This sheds an entirely different light on the establishment of the Mishkan. Moshe called for Bnei Yisrael to donate anything of value they had towards the construction. The most expensive and rare materials were to be used. And even though this building was only supposed to function for a number of months, no one hesitated to bring whatever was needed. In fact, the pesukim tell us there was a surplus! The nation clearly spared no effort or expense in fulfilling the mitzvah of making a home for Hashem in this world.
       This is an important lesson for us as well. We have no idea of the reward for a mitzvah. And when looking at the mitzvah of the Mishkan, this idea is only confirmed. Therefore, it is important for us to treat every mitzvah with equal value and effort. Ultimately, that is what Hashem desires from us in the performance of the mitzvos; not only to perform them, but to place value in fulfilling His word regardless of the difficulty, glamor, or extent of the mitzvah.

Shabbat Shalom!

Chazak Chazak V’Nischazek!







Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on Apple Podcasts) 

For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dvar Torah & Podcast for Purim

       Too often, perhaps because of the fact that we are allowed to do work unlike Shabbos and other holidays, or because there are so many elements packed into one day, Purim is overlooked as a day of spiritual growth. While the mitzvos of the day are meant to be performed with that mindset, the frenetic, hectic, and overwhelming activities of the day don’t lend themselves to sitting and thinking. Too easily, fundamental aspects of Purim are lost in the shuffle. In this Dvar Torah, we will examine one such fundamental idea.
       The Gemarah (Megillah 16) tells us of an interesting encounter between Haman and Mordechai. When Haman came to the Beis Medrash to take Mordechai to the parade in his honor, he asked them what they were learning. As it was Pesach, they were learning the halachos of the Korban Omer, the barley offering brought on the second day of Pesach; specifically the halachos of the flour brought as a Korban Mincha. Upon hearing this, Haman uttered, “Your handful of flour has overpowered my 10,000 pieces of silver.” He knew from that point that he had no chance of defeating the Jewish People; and the very next day, he was killed.
       The medrash continues on this point and says that the merit of the mitzvah of the Omer which provided the salvation for the Jewish People by the story of Purim. Wow! What is the connection between Omer and Purim and what is the great merit found in the mitzvah of Omer that could provide salvation for the Jewish People?
       Rav Eliyahu Dessler, ZT”L, in his sefer, Michtav M’Eliyahu, expounds on this idea. When we think about all the work we put in so we can just survive, we understand immediately how difficult it is. We work very hard to bring home money for food. The food preparation itself is not easy either; many hours are put in to preparing a meal from start to finish. But when we look at nature, we think everything is so easy. In many instances without any effort on the part of any person, food comes out of the ground. Something as simple as planting a seed in the ground and leaving it alone for some time, can result in beautiful produce. The sun rises and sets by itself, no need to wire electricity around the city. And while we need to do laundry, the air and ground are washed every so often by the rain.
       But this is not true; food doesn’t just sprout from the ground. The soil must be right, there must be plenty of rain, the seed needs sunlight as well. And while these things happen naturally, that doesn’t mean there is no effort behind it. Hashem is behind every single step of this process, but because we have come to think of it as a natural occurrence, we don’t see how this is a miracle as well. Barley is a good representative of this. It is a grain which is cheap, not usually used for human consumption, a plant which was often left to its’ own devices. However, in reality, even barley is from the greatest of Hashem’s miracles. We just need to look at nature and understand how all of it is supernatural.
       This is the avodah of Purim. Looking at the entire story of Purim, every aspect of it was completely natural. Vashti made Achashverosh upset, so he killed her and picked a new wife, the most beautiful woman he could find. She happened to be related to the Gadol Hador who also happened to overhear a plot to assassinate the king. Years later, the king decided to repay the favor and gave this man tremendous influence. At the same time, the king’s trusted advisor, Haman, rose through the ranks of government. He decided to kill the Jews, but his plans were foiled when it was discovered that the queen herself was Jewish! The king was furious and immediately did away with him, saving the Jews in the meanwhile. What a tremendous set of circumstances! But without proper perspective, that’s exactly how this story would be seen.
       It’s our job on Purim to look at the world and understand how everything, whether it be the interactions between kings and common folk, or how the barley stalks rise and the sun sets every day, it is all a miracle; there is nothing simple or natural about it. It’s all significant and is part of Hashem’s plan.
       And by the way, the day Haman was killed was the second day of Pesach, the same day we brought the Korban Omer in the Beis Hamikdash.
Purim Sameach!




Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on Apple Podcasts) 

For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM