Back in 1996, Rabbi Finman was asked to speak to the niece of one of his students. After spending many hours answering her questions, the woman gave Rabbi Finman her e-mail address. Rabbi Finman wrote the woman a note and included in it a short insight into that week's Parsha and a short Chasidic story.
Realizing that this was something no one was yet doing,, Rabbi Finman sent the missive to his mailing list of about 30 people. Requests from recipients friends came pouring in. The next week Rabbi Finman sent the e-Parsha to 100 people. Within a year more than 2000 people were receiving it. Today, more than 14,000 receive the e-Parsha weekly and the requests keep coming in.
Ki Sissa 5777
Ki Sissa 5777
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In memory of Bennie Magy - Bentziyon ben Avraham v Elke Magy, who passed away Menachem Av 22, 5749 - August 23, 1989 and Rose Magy - Rivka Rayzel Bat Chayim Yaakov v'Chaya Tertza Arbit, who passed away Tamuz 2, 5765 - July 9, 2005. May their souls experience a lichtiger Gan Eden - an illuminated Garden of Eden and may their family only experience Simchas from now on. Sponsored by their son Paul Magy - Birmingham, Michigan.
Don't forget the YouParsha for Ki Sissa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4__dUvUSyk one of the 11 spices of the incense smelled bad
The Parsha of Ki Sisa, Exodus 30:11 - 34:35, primarily focuses on the sin of the golden calf. The portion begins, however, with the collection of the half shekel. Moshe was instructed to collect one half shekel, approximately half a dollar, to atone for the sin of the golden calf. This may seem an insignificant fine for so heinous a crime.
The world achieved a state of Garden of Eden-like perfection with the giving of the Torah. During the 40 days that Moses was on the mountain, there was no death, disease, disability, hatred, war or jealousy. The making and worshiping of the golden calf destroyed that state of perfection. We have been trying to clean up the mess for the last 3300 years. All Hashem asked for atonement was half a dollar?!
The half shekels were used to make the sockets that provided the foundation of the sanctuary built in the desert. This same metal, collected because of the sin of the golden calf, was to be the support of the place where Jews could commune with the Almighty.
The required amount to be given as an atonement for the golden calf was a "half" shekel. The Rebbe would often comment that every Jew is only a half. When we excite another person to become involved with Judaism, we are making ourselves whole. The Alter Rebbe writes that a shekel weighs 20 gerah. We were to give half a shekel to signify the ten powers of our soul; intellectual, emotional, etc. If we exert ourselves with the 10 powers of our soul, then Hashem will arouse his 10 powers to become, as the verse states, one "holy" shekel.
After Moshe convinced Hashem to forgive the Jewish people, he took advantage of the situation and requested G'd to, "Hareini na es k'vodecha - show me your glory." The Almighty hemmed and hawed but eventually did reveal himself to Moshe. Moshe was the leader or head of the Jewish people. People are not as tall as they are because of the height of their heads. People's heads are all about the same size. The difference in height is due to the legs (I know as my inseam is 38"). Before the sin of the golden calf, Moshe could not have asked to see Hashem. He, as the head, was not on a high enough level to witness it. It was only after the Jewish people were forgiven and considered baalei teshuva - true penitents, could he be privilege to great revelations.
Our sages tell us the one who sins and repents is considered on a higher level than one who has never sinned. That is not to say that one should sin on condition to later repent and be on a higher level. Hashem has already closed that loophole. If a person makes themselves a half shekel, they are serving Hashem to the fullest, then they too can demand, "Hareini na es k'vodecha, Show me your glory."
Reb Elchonon Shagalow, may Hashem avenge is murder, was a true Chosid. For many months he hid with his family in the attic of a shul in Stalinist Russia rather than be forced to work on Shabbos and send his children to the Russian schools. Keeping kosher in Russia during the '30's was a great challenge. One of his daughters commented that she had never had kosher cheese until she left Russia.
It once happened that some kosher butter became available. Unfortunately, the merchant used the same knife to cut lard. A plan was devised to procure this precious commodity without raising suspicion. Their four-year-old daughter would buy the butter.
The child walked cautiously to the store, carrying the kosher knife. She walked up to the counter, over which she could hardly see, and asked the man for some butter. She stipulated that that the butter must be cut with her knife, as her brother was allergic to lard and if he ate even the smallest amount, he would have a seizure. The man dutifully took the little girl's knife and cut a healthy slab of butter from the uncut side. The girl skipped home with her treasure in hand.
That night, as the Shagolow family enjoyed their delicacy, Reb Elchonon made a remark that planted itself deep in their souls. "You see, children, if a Jew really wants to keep kosher, Hashem will help him succeed."
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