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Reeh

PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
ROSH YESHIVA
IN
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.

AND

MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL


Menachim Z. Shimanowitz

You too can dedicate a Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or in memory of someone close to you.
For further info, click here.

PARSHA
FACTS

NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 55!!
17 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
38 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)

NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 126

NUMBER OF WORDS: 1932

NUMBER OF LETTERS: 7442

HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 54:11- 55:5 עניה סוערה .

This is the third of seven Haftorot, - the שבע דנחמתא - the Seven Haftorot of Consolation, that precede Rosh HaShana.

Shabbat Mevarchim Chodesh Elul
ראש חדש Rosh Chodesh
- Tuesday & Wednesday - August 22 & 23.

We begin to recite לדוד ד' אורי after Maariv, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh (Nusach Sefard: after Mincha) and Shachrit through Shemini Atzeret.
We begin to blow תשר"ת every day at the conclusion
of the morning service through the day before Erev Rosh HaShana.

This week we study Chapter 6 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"
פרשת ראה
THE
PARSHA
In our last episode Moshe told the Bnei Yisroel that Torah and Mitzvot are the keys to conquest and the good life in Eretz Yisroel. As our Parsha opens, Moshe puts more Mitzvot on the table. There are fifty-five Mitzvot in this Parsha. Here's a little taste...

LEAVING
IDOLS
IDLE

As the Bnei Yisroel prepare to deal with the Canaanim, there's one sure thing about those nations: they do like their idolatry. Moshe warns that there are idols on every mountain and under every tree. There are temples and altars and a tree called Ashaira which they consider holy.

This Mitzvah applies to every generation. A king must send out soldiers on search and destroy missions.


KORBAN
CORNER

A korban (sacrifice) can only be offered by a Kohain at the place where the Shechina rests. When the Jews enter Eretz Yisroel, Hashem will reveal a spot to set up the Mishkan and, later, a permanent temple, the Bait Hamikdash.

Over the years the Mishkan was set up in four sites before the Bait Hamikdash was built.

  • First stop was Gilgal for 14 years.
  • Second was Shilo for 369 years.
  • Nov was the third site for 13 years.
  • Fourth was Givon for 44 years.

Finally, the Shechina rested in the first Bait Hamikdash in Yerushalayim for 410 years before it was destroyed.


BLOODY
BETTER
NOT

Moshe again reminds the Bnei Yisroel that eating blood is forbidden. Why would anyone want to eat blood? Blood was a biggie on the Yetzer Hora list in those days. Just like idol worship, blood was a craving.

SLAUGHTER
ORDER

The Mitzvah of Shechita (slaughtering animals and birds in a kosher way) is all in the wrist. A Shochet (a Jew trained in Torah Law to properly slaughter animals) must cut the animal's throat in a very specific spot with a knife that has no nicks - otherwise, the animal that was not slaughtered properly is called a neveilah. A neveilah may not be eaten by a Jew.

Even though the Mitzvah of Shechita is a chok (that means that the Torah does not give a reason for it), Shechita drains the blood very thoroughly which helps us with the Mitzvah of not eating blood.


PROPHETING
FROM
PROPHESY

Chances are that lots of prophets will pop up in a nation so close to Hashem. And where there are prophets there are bound to be false prophets. How can you tell a prophet from someone who 'profits from prophesy'?

Here are two signs: If a person says that an idol spoke to him, he's completely off the mark! This is a false prophet who must be put to death by a Beit Din (Jewish Court).

If a person claims that Hashem told him to stop keeping certain Mitzvot completely, he is a false prophet. Even if he shows powers and abilities beyond mortal man, he is still not to be believed. This is a sure sign of a test from Hashem. The false prophet is merely a puppet.


INSTIGATING
IDOLATRY

Just in case you haven't noticed, idolatry is sort of a running theme here. That's because it isn't just a sin - it takes real chutzpah for a Jew who has witnessed the miracles of the desert and learned Torah and Mitzvot to turn to idol worship.

What's worse than an idol worshipper? A Maisis (instigator). A guy who instigates idol worship! Idol worshippers come and go but an instigator really has a lot of chutzpah. It is your duty to bring him to Beit Din. The problem is that you need two witnesses to catch an instigator. If you are the only witness you should trick him into repeating his instigating words to a friend; then you have a second witness and you can drag him off to Beit Din.

Even worse than an idol instigator is the Ir Hanidachat (Misled City). That is a Jewish city where the majority of the population were persuaded to worship idols. Such a city must be destroyed, NEVER to be rebuilt. All idol worshippers in that city must be put to death.


KOSHER
CORNER

Moshe reminds the Bnei Yisroel to eat only Kosher animals, fish and birds. The Torah mentions two telltale signs of a kosher animal:
  • Split hooves, and
  • If it chews its cud.

Certain animals chew their food, swallow it and then return the food to the mouth again for a second chewing.

A kosher animal MUST HAVE BOTH signs - don't be fooled by some animals that have one sign and not the other. A camel chews its cud but does not have fully split hooves. A pig has split hooves but does not chew its cud.

Hashem knows all His creatures.
Did you know, that other than the ten animals listed here as kosher, none other has EVER been found?
The same is true of the 'one sign' kind. Only the four animals listed here, have only one of the two kosher signs.

We may not eat the meat of a non-kosher animal, and we may also not drink their milk.

A Kosher fish must have two signs:

Fins and Scales.

If we find a fish with scales we may eat it, because all fish with scales always have fins. The opposite (a fish with fins having scales) is not always true.

When it comes to birds, the Torah mentions 24 non-kosher birds that are forbidden to eat. There are no others. All others are kosher. Basically, the Torah forbids birds of prey - birds that hurt other animals.

Then Moshe adds that Bnei Yisroel must not mix milk and meat.


HANGING
WITH THE
HOLIES

A farmer is supposed to separate approximately one fiftieth of his harvest of certain grains and fruit every year, as Terumah, and give it to a Kohain. Now the Torah tells us that after that, the farmer separates a tenth of his remaining harvest. This portion, called Ma'aser Rishon is given to a Levi. Then the farmer has to separate another tenth of his remaining harvest. This is called Ma'aser Sheini - the second Ma'aser. This Ma'aser is separated in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th years of the seven year Shmita cycle. The farmer and his family throw Ma'aser Sheini into the pickup truck and drive over to Yerushalayim where they eat the produce themselves.

The point is to hang out with the holy. In Yerushalayim, the Bait Hamikdash was a place of miracles. The Sanhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court) was in session and many tzadikim lived in the holy city. It was a place to really feel Hashem's presence.This Mitzvah is designed to lure a farmer from the daily grind to a heavenly experience.

If it costs too much to transport the Ma'aser Sheini to Yerushalayim, a farmer can sell the food and buy food once he and his family get to Yerushalayim.


LEAVE
A TITHE
FOR THE
POOR

In the third and sixth year of the seven year cycle, Ma'aser Sheini becomes Ma'aser Ani. This tenth goes to the poor, who come to the fields to claim their portion and may eat it anywhere.

ALL DEBTS
ARE OFF

During the Shmita year only the land of Eretz Yisroel gets a break from planting.

When it comes to debts, all Jewish debts all over the world are off at the very end of the Shmita year. This means that any Jew who owes another Jew money is free of debt.

Why? It teaches us that Hashem controls the flow of money. A rich person might possess it temporarily but only Hashem determines who gets to keep it.

Of course, it is only proper, that the borrower try to repay the debt before the end of the Shmita year. There are also certain types of loans that are not cancelled by Shmita.


TZEDAKAH
AND
TZADIKIM

In a perfect world where every Jew is a tzadik, there would be no reason to give tzedakah because Hashem would make sure that there would be no poor people. But Hashem knows that, unfortunately, the Jewish nation is not perfect and future generations would need to support the poor.

In the desert every Jew is provided for with Mann. But once the Bnei Yisroel enter Eretz Yisroel, people are bound to have bad harvests, borrow money, make bad deals and become poor. That's why it is important to set up rules for taking care of the poor.


SERVANT
SEVERANCE

Back in Shemot, in Parshat Mishpatim, Moshe spoke about a Jew who steals and can't pay back the money. The Torah makes a unique arrangement. The person becomes a servant and his wages go to pay the debt. After a maximum of six years a Hebrew servant is freed.

Now Moshe makes a point that when a Hebrew slave is freed, the master must send him away with presents: meat, bread and wine. This is an offer of kindness and charity. When the servant is freed, he has no possessions. This gives him a fresh start.

If a Hebrew servant wants to remain a slave after his time is up. His master takes him to the Beth Din where they pierce the servant's ear against a door post, and he can then remain a slave until Yovel. This is a sign of Hashem's dissatisfaction. Hashem wants us all to be His servants and not servants to others.


PERFECT
FIRST

Hashem commands Bnei Yisroel that all first born cattle and sheep that are Moom (defect) free be consecrated to Hashem.

No working the firstborn ox, or shearing the firstborn sheep, They must be brought as sacrifices to Hashem and the meat given to the Kohanim to be eaten by themselves and their families. A Jew who is not a Kohain may not eat that meat.

But if the animal has a permanent visible defect, (determined by a qualified expert), it stays home and may be eaten by anyone.


YOM TOV'S
HERE

Now, Moshe reintroduces the Shalosh Regalim (three holidays);
  • Pesach
  • Shavuot
  • Sukkot
They are called Shalosh Regalim because when these Yomim Tovim (holidays) came around, people headed up to Yerushalayim to the Bait Hamikdash to offer korbanot to Hashem.

PESACH (PASSOVER)

Pesach, is the Yom Tov where Hashem commands us to remember the Yetziat Mitzrayim, (exodus from Egypt).

In the times of the Bait Hamikdash the entire nation traveled from all over Eretz Yisroel to celebrate the holiday of freedom. On Erev Pesach each family brought a lamb to be used as a Korban Pesach. Once the animal was slaughtered, it was roasted and eaten that evening with Maror (bitter herbs) and Matzoh (unleavened bread).

Today we celebrate Pesach with a Seder. We read the Hagadah and perform the Mitzvah of remembering Yetziat Mitzrayim, (the exodus from Egypt). On Pesach we are not allowed to eat chometz (leavened bread).

For more details about Pesach, See our Pesach pages.

In Eretz Yisroel there are seven days to this Yom Tov. On the first and seventh day we don't do any Melachot.

The five days in between are called "Chol Hamoed." They are sort of like a weekday when it comes to melachot, but they are holy and part of the Yom Tov.

In the Bait Hamikdash, the Kohanim would offer a mussaf service on all days of Pesach.

Today, outside of Eretz Yisroel we celebrate eight days of Pesach - two days at the beginning and two at the end where we don't do melachot and four days in between of Chol Hamoed.


TIME TO
COUNT

The second day of Pesach is also a starting point in the countdown to Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah). For 49 days we count "the Omer" starting with "Hayom Yom Eh-chud L'omer" - ("Today is one day of the omer counting") and ending with "Hayom Tish-ah V'Arba-imYom She-heim Shivah Sha-vu-ot L'omer" - ("Today is forty nine days which is seven weeks of the omer counting.")

These 49 days represent the 49 days of preparation from Yetziat Mitzrayim (exodus from Egypt) to Matan Torah on the seventh day of Sivan.


TIME
TO GET
THE
TORAH

Hashem commands the Bnei Yisroel that on the fiftieth day of counting the Omer we must celebrate the Yom Tov of Shavuot.

Like the other Regalim, we don't do melacha on Shavuot.

Even though the Yom Tov of Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah, nowhere in the Torah is this mentioned. This teaches us that we must constantly receive the Torah in our hearts.

For more details about Shavuot, See our Shavuot pages.


SUKKOT

Sukkot is the third of the Shalosh Regalim. On the 15th of Tishrei the Bnei Yisroel are commanded to leave their homes and celebrate this Yom Tov by living in temporary dwellings called Sukkot ("Sue COAT," and in Yiddish, "Sukkos" rhymes with "BOOK us.")

On Sukkot it is a mitzvah to take the Arba Minim (Four Species).

  • Etrog (citron)
  • Lulav (a date palm branch)
  • 3 Hadassim (myrtle twigs)
  • 2 Aravot (willow twigs)

This Yom Tov reminds us that Hashem is our protector.

For more details about Sukkot, See our Sukkot pages.


The Shalosh Regalim are repeated here to emphasize the requirements of Oleh Regel, visiting the Bait Hamikdash at these times with special Korbanot to Hashem, and to celebrate the Yomim Tovim (holidays) with Simcha (joy), by having festive meals, special clothes, treats for the kiddies and learning Torah. MOST important of all, Hashem remind us to share that joy with those who need the help.
Tune in next week when Moshe sets up the judicial system. From judge to king, there'll be more Mitzvot and Mussar in the next exciting episode of:
Parsha on Parade

Midrash Maven
See the Midrash Maven on Re'eh


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