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The years, the life of Sarah all were good ןיהיו חיי שרה

ויהיו חיי שרה 

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The years that Sara lived


 Still reeling from the news last moetze Shabbas of the shul massacre in Pittsburgh to learn of  a hate incident in Sprng Valley this past shabbas ,the famous question is asked,'when will it all end?Actualy,I was asked this week,the famous question,'when will Moshiach come?" I answered , he is already here, just we really don't care or really want to know; it might upset our routine.

(Maybe I am slightly ahead of time, but the famous statement of the Aroch Chaim , that the 'owned ,ie the servant , Yishmael, will admit who is master;Yitzchok', in this week's parsha , is beginning to be realized in our time...

 Oman sends revolutionary message about Israel to Arab states )

Just think a little of the incredible changes that have been going on in our lives , so recently , as Jews in Israel, and in the Diaspora.The incredible success of the small land of Israel sorrounded by a sea of ignorance and of hate, brings blessings of science and humanitarian aid worldwide.And this is  parralleled by a tremendous growth unimaginably, of Torah institutions, the heart and soul of our people, in the Holy land and here ,in the golah.

The commentaries ask that the parsha starts  with the years that Sara lived, and yet just mentions her death.And they ask on Rashi , who brings the medrash that they were all good years, when we know the opposite, she had years of incredible difficulty and pain.Most of her life, she suffered childlessness;twice she was in the hands of hated goyish kings, and in the end, she died in the shock (according to the medrash) hearing how Yitzchok was almost slaughtered.

How can we say her years were all good?The answer is that yes, they were all good.Her inner life, her inner purity were actually all good; she carried within that bouyant joy so much so , that she could transfer all this to her children.That is why the holy tanna , Rabbi Akiva could say generations later, 'what did Esther  see to rule over 127 countries? She learned from Sara who lived 127 years.What did Rabbi Akiva mean that Esther saw?Esther too was in the hands of a goyish king.But she could learn from her matriach not to lose her inner purity and faith.The name Sara comes from a prince, princess , to rule.She was able to rule over herself for 127 years and in the end, her great granddaughter saw, learned from her to rule over 127 medinas, countries.

(1+2+7 =10, in Hebrew a yud, the smallest letter which refers to the world above and which was given to Yehoshua when that letter was taken away from Sarai as her name was changed to Sara , who ruled over the whole world, not just over Abram.The Rabbanan , as Yehoshua ,the first 'talmid',who accepted his rebbe's teachings,  are feminine as they live and accept the Kingdom of haShem in this world).

I am not sure, but perhaps we can say that even her death,in shock over her son's "almost dying" , was actually a form of 'kiddush haShem'.Her neshema left her , to go to the heights her son was ready to go.

It is that strength which has kept us alive all these years.As Sara was able to laugh when Yitzchok was born and say 'all who hear will laugh with me"; it is that same inner joy and faith which brings about the miracle of the modern State of Israel in spite of generations of having to endure incessant sick animal hate .

All the world will laugh with me !

 

 

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And Abraham accompanied the angels ואברחם הולך עמם לשלחם

Abraham accompanied the angels away

Rashi: He thought they were real human guests

 The mitzva of l'vaya -- accompaning the guest away is geater than the mitzva of hachannasas orchim (inviting uests to one's home) and the mitzva of hachnnasas orchim is greater than accepting the Shechine(the presence of the Creater)

Anyone with eyes to see realizes that the world is inexorably coming closer to the Geulah.The miracle of the rebirth of our people on our land, the miracle of being backed by the most powerful country on earth, the miracle of our people being a Center of inventive genius , the 'Startup Nation'. Events are happenning today which no one thought possible a century ago.And yet, so many of our people are drifting ,or have already drifted so far a way. How do you explain these words, to ourselves and to our brothers and sisters still living 'outside'?

What kind of skewred religion is this?Isn't devotion, being close to haShem ,what it is all about?Prayer, I understand is religion, involvement with old religious texts ,maybe. But bringing people home; that is religion? And accompaning them away is even a greater mitzva ? How?

Is it so important for me, a staunch member of the Torah observant community of Montreal to have the answers? I think , yes.We live in an age when it is not possible to hide. 'Derech Eretz ' kodmah l' torah, the ways of living which our holy  ancestors taught us, lay the foundation for all the centuries of labour in torah and prayer and we have gone through.Ultimately, becoming more genuine as jews,is what will bring the final, complete Geulah for ourselves and our kin , still living 'outside'.

*Perhaps my thoughts were in this direction because this past shabbas saw a worldwide https://theshabbosproject.org/  (9of which I could not find being practiced here in Montreal, this year), but , really we need this ourselves, even those who are  Ffb*

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 I stopped writing late last night (moetze shabbas), planning to resume this morning.But waking up to the shock of the Pittsburgh mass shooting, makes it a little difficult to simply pick up where I left off.As one individual was quoted at the Western Wall in this article  .. https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/index.html

Israel Rosenberg: "We are all one nation and what makes us different is that we are really one spirit together. We are one soul so when someone gets hurt in America, everyone in Israel feels it into their soul because we are one connected soul."

Maybe it relates to some of the thoughts we whad in mind to write.

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When the angels first appear to Avraham, he adresses them (or the Creator,  two different opinions brought by Rashi), with the Name 'Adon--oy' -- my Master.Avraham was the first to use this name.We are created in the image of G-d, but haShem , the creator is not some uncontrollable power, he is our personal Master to whom we owe all the good and allegiance.He created us and put us intot his world and sustains us here; by going in His ways, we show our gratitude.

Inviting another individual , also created in the image of haShem, into our home, is 'going in His ways'.I saw an incredible thought from the gaon Rav Yitzchok Soloveitchik shlite.That guest feels a little bit uncomfortable (as the seforim explain , since we are 'g-dly',it is difficult for us to accept from others,in fact , that is why we are placed in this world, to accept the 'g-dly' blessings through our work, so it should not be 'nahama d'kisufe -- 'bread of shame'.

When the owner of the household, accompanies the guest away , he shows the 'free meal' was an honour for the owner, because he treasured the presence of guest. This ''levaya', accompanient ,is therfore the ultimate in going in haShem's ways.

Being Jewish is not 'other worldly', it is bringing haShem into our lives, here on earth.That is why (according to the opinion that Avraham referred to haShem as 'Ado-noy)', he was in the middle of 'communion ' ,prayer, and asked haShem not to leave as he must attend to the guests.Becuase 'hachnasas orchim is greaer than accepting the 'shechine'.

It is for this reason , we are given the holy Land.as the first rashi iun chumas says, really the torah should start with 'hachodesh haze teheye lachem' the first mitzva given to the peopel , 'kiddush hachodesh', the sanctifying of the new moonth, but 'koach maasov higid l'amo ltes lahem nachals goyim' .HaShem told his nation of His strength, Creation , to give them the land  (take away from Canaan and give it to us.).

Contrast the ways of Avraham, the lover of humanity, the giver ultimate with the ways ,in the coming parsha, of 'Chaya Sarah,Efron, whose words were so magnamious, so 'giving' ,but was actually out to cheat to the ultimate.

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Go to Yourself, for Yourself לן לן

לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך

פירש רש' - להנאתך ולטובתך


The  famous question asked, is what sort of 'Test' is it to Avram to go to the 'Land ' if it is for his good?Furthermore, why is this usually considered the first of the 10 tests whereas that of being thrown into the fire by Nimrod in 'Ur Kasdim' is not even explicitly mentioned in the Torah?

Many answers are given.

This year, I was thinking that the  challenge of growth and success and wealth can often be much more difficult to deal with , than even to fight for one's beliefs. In fact for a religious jew truly connected in service to his Creator, nothing can be more destructive.Fame can change a person.Spiritual growth comes from humilty and simplicity.Through all of history our leaders have shunned the limelight.

Moreover ,being told to cut off all natural ties in order to live a holy life on earth in order to bring blessings to all the people on earth, is a massive  responsibility.We see in Avram and all his descendants the constant fear of sin.And ,indeed being the 'Chosen People" has meant to us , in most of our  history , terrible suffering.

And , yet ,it really is for our good, because fulfilling our oursleves, being what we were meant to be ,is the greatest of satisfactions, in this world and in the next.So, this is the 'Test' the torah tells us of, because here Avram , and ourselves , his children ,are given our 'Mission'  as a people to follow the Ribono shel Olam, even if we don't always understand , to grow and go in his holy ways, and thereby bring  blessings to all of mankind.

This may very well be  the most fundamental 'test' of our times.We, the 'frum' jews have become not only successful, but very much  visible.We have to constantly ask ourselves , are we living truly a 'spiritual life', or is the 'chulent'  on the kiddush plate ,the totality of our committment ? (Maybe , transforming gashmius to spiritual is really our job, but probably there ahs to be a little more than the chulent plate).

Are we sharing our blessings ?

There is a holocaust going on today , not of spilled blood , but of intermarriage.Every Jew today needs to be an ambassador.

 In our times ,it is not possible to hide, in fact that was one reason we built this site, bnoth to be a  'virtual kehilla', and a window 'in' from those still 'outside'

This last Shabbas , Montreal Jewry were treated to two very different examples of torah personalities making a trip of  "Lech Lecha".

The new Rebbe of Viznitz Montreal, left his own beis medrash to join the  'uptown ' crowd, not usually used to a Rebbe's Tisch.Montreal has always been a 'chassidische' community with deep ties to the Jewry in Europe from before the war.So bringing this to the new generation ,is in a sense , for many ,' going to oneself.''

On the other end of the spectrum, the community in Cote St Luc was treated to a visit by the emuna tour of Rabbis

Shalom arush and Lazer Brody ...................

A - Hashem Love us, B - Emuna in The Absolute Oneness, C - Revealed and Hidden Kindness D - Emuna with True Thanks for Endless love Hashem has for us all, E - Emuna in Wisepeople and Torah, F - Key to finding a soul mate and Shalom Bayit, G - Greatest gift in World to talk to King, Matchmaker, Best friend, Wealthiest provider, Thank you Hashem 60 mins a day and live fulfilled Paradised in this world, clean, healthy, and Emuna Innovation Truly..

 

 

 

 
 
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Tzaddik B'dorosuv Yesh dorshin ligni v'yesh l'shvach

Noah's ArkAfter two months; a month of penitence and a month of closeness to haShem, we try to make a'soft landing', 'mar Cheshvon, the month of 'bitter' Cheshvon is upon us.The World seems to spiral down, down , down, the Flood and a new world.

We ae al familar with the two opinions brought by Rashi.Noah was a tzaddik in his generations. some say l'shvach (praise); he was a tzaddik when the whoel world was wicked.Some say l'gnai(for shame),if he had lived in the times of Abraham he would not have counted as anything.

It is kind of a strange way to think.The whole world was saved by Noah. and did the world truly improve?The mishna in Avos uses he same words -- 10 generations from adom till Noah, all the generations make angry and come , til the flood.Ten enerations from noah til avraham. All the genrations amde angry and come .. till Avrahma ,our father acceped the schar(reward of all.

The Eyberste wants to shower us with blessings ; he can't unless we earn those blessings.The sins till the Flood were destruction of middos. People had descended into living animals בשגם הוא בשר , and were therefore prey to them.This had to end.

The sins till Avraham were those of belief, but the people were no longer animalistic.We could eat animals as they  had been saved by man.Coming out of the ark ,Noah was told that we are created in the image of haShem. There definitely were people who deseved reward, but somehow, they could not hold it.As 'vessels', they were cracked.

The world had matured ,but that maturity was built on the foundation of Noah's righteousness.

We've seen this happen many times in history.The generations leading up to the Nazis ,of cursed memory,were actively destroying our heritage as a holy people. So our people had to suffer a holocaust..As a result , we witness an incredible growth of torah true yidden still in golus and enormous growth in the holy land itself.

The enigma of a gentile with questanable personal morality fighting for our legitimate rights to our land and for the strenthening of traditonlvalues in the USA is a direct result.

Mar Cheshvon has no holidays, but it is atime to quietly rebuild.

gut Shabbas!

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השקיפה ממעון קדשך מן השמים...View from Your High Holy Dwelling

Ezra decreed that we read the tocheche before the end of the year ..

שתכלה שנה וקללתיה

it seems the bad is inevitable, we need a way to wash away the accumlation of the bad every year in order to start again ,refreshed, renewed, because .ultimately , that is not what it is all about.Moshe Rabbenu gave us the steady, weekly readings, Monday , Thursday and  Shabbas.Ezra, who had gone through the years of exile and rebuilt the Temple ,taught us this secret of renewal.

I think this is also how to read and understand the reading earlier in the parsha, 'viduy maaser.'After 3 years,erev Pesach,the Yid says viduy maaser.After giving the two maasers and have given to the poor..." I've done all that is incumbent upon me, you too haShem , from your palce high above, look down and bless your people".....

It's kind of incredible.Don't our rabbis teach us not to expect haShem to fulfill our requests? Are we then so deserving?

and Rashi adds that all 'hashkafa ' is for the bad, but charity can change the bad to the good.Why is hashkafa for the bad, and if it so, why do we even mention that attribute?

And finally , as we prepare this Moetze Shabbas to say slichos, we know 'viduy' as the admission (modeh ani )of wrong doing.Why do the chazal call this parsha 'viduy maaser"?Giving a tenth to the Leviim so that all is taken care of properly in the Temple, going to Yerushalayim to imbue ourselves with fear of Heaven, and give the rest to those who live full time in learning , is a necessity.And even though it is a zechus, we really have no merit , because it is a necessity ; this is what we are all about as a people.If we are compassionate, then we are giving of ourselves.

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