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TZAV/PARAH 5784

03/29/2024 11:04:31 AM

Mar29

Dear congregants, 

As I sit down to write these lines, we have learned of the passing of former Senator Joe Lieberman. An Orthodox Jew, he was a model of integrity, and reached high office while remaining a shomer mitsvot. His memory will surely be for a blessing. “chaval `al de’avdin.”

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This week we read parashat Parah: that is, after the reading of the weekly parasha in Vayiqra’, we read from Sefer BaMidbar the description of the Parah Adumah, known in English as the “red heifer.” Tradition tells us that this was the one mitsvah that King Shlomo, the wisest of all people, could not understand.

Now, in his introduction to the Parah adumah, Rabbeinu Bahya quotes the beginning of chapter 2 of Proverbs, where Shlomo tells us “mitsvotai titsponitakh,” The word “titspon” comes from the verb meaning “to hide.” It usually is understood as meaning to “internalize,” just like the Hebrew word “matspun,” meaning “conscience,” is something intangible that is internalized in the body. As Malbim explains that above phrase in Proverbs, “watch these mitsvot in your heart, and don’t forget them.”

Certainly, we should be proud of the misvot that we do. But perhaps the above verse in Proverbs is telling us that there are some mitsvot that don’t have to be flaunted. Let me elaborate: there are elaborate rules for a cow to qualify as a “parahadumah.” Rambam, in his Mishneh Torah, tells us that there have been 9 red heifers in Jewish history: one in time of Moses, one used by Ezra, 7 from Ezra to destruction of the second Temple, and none since. The 10th will usher in the age of Messiah. 

Now, there was a story in the news back in January that the Temple Institute of Jerusalem found 5 such heifers in Texas back in ‘22, and imported them to Israel with the goal of using them as part of the purification process, leading to the building of the 3rd Temple. Hamas claimed that this inspired them to make the attack on Oct 7. Now, we all know that this claim of Hamas is an EVIL justification for their evil deeds on Oct 7. Nevertheless, I think that King Shlomo would have said that the Temple Institute would have been better off to internalize that mitsvah, and wait for the Mashiach, rather than supplying Hamas with an excuse for murder. 

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From the internet: in the spirit of Purim

CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE BETWEEN RUSSIA AND ISIS

For their conflict to be over, there should be an independent ISIS State established next to Russia. I urge Russia to provide humanitarian aid to ISIS, including food, water, medicine, and electricity.     FREE ISIS

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A soon as the UN adopts the above resolution, we can talk about a cease fire in Gaza! LOL!

Shabbat shalom, Shalom `al Yisrael, Rabbi Menahem White

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784