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Insights and guidance from the Torah by Rav Dovid Simon

Insights and guidance from the Torah by Rav Dovid Simon

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  • 1. SIMONSAYSInsights and guidance from the Torahby Rav Dovid Simon
  • 2. Rav Dovid Simon Simon SaysContentsParshah ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Breisheit: Where Are You?...................................................................................................................................................................... 6 Noach: Protect from Inside and Outside ................................................................................................................................................ 7 VaYera: Youth.......................................................................................................................................................................................... 8 Toldot: Defined by Actions ..................................................................................................................................................................... 9 Vayishlach: The Promise Of Protection ................................................................................................................................................ 10 Vayeshev: Bonding ................................................................................................................................................................................ 11 Vayigash: On a Journey ......................................................................................................................................................................... 12 Mikeitz: A Greater Plan ......................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Vayachi: Yaakov & Yosefs Legacy ......................................................................................................................................................... 14 Shmot: Who We Really Are .................................................................................................................................................................. 15 VaEra: Showing Respect........................................................................................................................................................................ 16 Bo: To Serve Hashem ............................................................................................................................................................................ 17 B’Shalach: The Power of One’s Strengths............................................................................................................................................. 18 Trumah: Involved in Prayer ................................................................................................................................................................... 19 Tetzaveh: Multiple Opportunities......................................................................................................................................................... 20 Vayakhel: The Mishkan ......................................................................................................................................................................... 21 Pekuday: Look Inside ............................................................................................................................................................................ 22 Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 2
  • 3. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon Vayikra: Sacrifices ................................................................................................................................................................................. 23 Tazriah: What is Holy ............................................................................................................................................................................ 24 Kedoshim: Wake Up! ............................................................................................................................................................................ 25 Emor: True Emunah .............................................................................................................................................................................. 27 Emor: The Beginning ............................................................................................................................................................................. 28 Bamidbar: Community .......................................................................................................................................................................... 29 Naso: Efforts Count ............................................................................................................................................................................... 30 Balak: Seeing Hashem ........................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Balak: Restraint ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 32 Ki Tetzei: Contemplate Our Actions ...................................................................................................................................................... 33Holidays ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 34 Rosh Hashanah: The Challenge of Parenting ........................................................................................................................................ 35 Rosh Hashanah: School is Back!!! ......................................................................................................................................................... 36 Succot: Puts Life Into Perspective ......................................................................................................................................................... 37 Chanukah: Today’s Battles .................................................................................................................................................................... 38 Chanukah: Great Potential.................................................................................................................................................................... 39 Purim: Power of Wine ........................................................................................................................................................................... 40 Pesach: Good Feelings .......................................................................................................................................................................... 41 Pesach: True Growth............................................................................................................................................................................. 42 Pesach: Reconnecting ........................................................................................................................................................................... 43 Shavuot: Signs ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 44 Shavuot: Togetherness ......................................................................................................................................................................... 45 Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 3
  • 4. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says Tisha B’Av: Overcoming ........................................................................................................................................................................ 46Education .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 47 Respecting Property.............................................................................................................................................................................. 48 Davenning With Children ...................................................................................................................................................................... 49 The Power of Youth .............................................................................................................................................................................. 50 Letting Go .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 51 Disagreement with the Right Intentions............................................................................................................................................... 52 The Power of Speech & Silence ............................................................................................................................................................ 53About......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 54 Rav Simon.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 55 Kehillat Bnei Aharon ............................................................................................................................................................................. 55 Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 4
  • 5. Parshah
  • 6. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says ‫ – ”נאמנה‬how has the town turned into aBreisheit: promiscuous place? And Yirmiyahu said: “ ‫איכה ישבה‬ ‫ – ”בדד‬how is the city sitting all alone and desolate?Where Are All of these questions really mean: where are you and what has become of you? Moshe is saying: this nation that has worshiped theYou? golden calf is not the same nation of Matan Torah! I don’t recognize them! Where is the nation that IAfter ‫ אדם‬and ‫ חוה‬ate from the ‫ ,עץ הדעת‬they heard really know?Hashem coming and they went and hid. The Torah at Yeshayahu is similarly asking about the city ofthis stage writes: “ ‫ויקרא ה אלקים אל האדם ויאמר לו‬ Yerushalayim: where is the special city that used to‫ – ”איכה‬Hashem called out to Adam and said to him be so full of great things? All I see know is a“‫ – ”איכה‬where are you? promiscuous place!Many ask: Hashem didn’t know where they were that So too Yirmiyahu is asking: where is that city that Ihe had to call out? The Midrash explains that the knew to be the most beautiful place on earth andquestion really means: how is it that yesterday you know is so barren and desolate?were with me and now you with the ‫ ?נחש‬In other This is the question we have to be aware of. We havewords Hashem is saying to him: I don’t know you! a responsibility to our heritage and our uniqueness.Where is the man I created and formed? We have to ensure that Hashem never has to ask thatThe Midrash in Eicha writes that 3 people used the question: “‫ ”איכה‬because it is so clear who we areterminology of “‫ ”איכה‬while reproving Am Yisrael. and where we are holding.Moshe said: “‫ – ”איכה אשא לבדי‬how can I bear theburden alone? Yeshayahu said: “ ‫איכה היתה לזונה קריה‬ Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 6
  • 7. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon where the animals lived. And the top level was whereNoach: Protect Noach lived with his family. We have to understand the different levels that exist in our lives and make tofrom Inside and sure to regulate them to their right places. It is not the garbage that should be on top nor the physical drives, rather it is the great spirituality of man thatOutside should be riding the crest. Just as Noach was commanded to put proofing on the outside and the inside, due to the power of theOne of the most challenging issues we have to deal water outside, so too we have to protect from insidewith is how to protect ourselves and our families and outside.from the negative influences around us. But most important we need vision, a guiding light toProbably, the single most important factor in our give us the direction we need, like the light in the ark.struggle is the way we structure and build our home We need the window to outside world, however weand environment. How to do so, maybe we can glean have to make sure that it only lets in the light and notsome ideas from this weeks Parsha. the damaging elements.First we find Noach is commanded to use “Gofer May we all merit to achieve these goals.wood”. What is unique about wood is that it is amateriel that can never become ‫ – טמא‬impure. Whenwe build our home we should make sure that theatmosphere is one of ‫ – קדושה וטהרה‬holiness &purity, and not ‫ ח"ו‬the opposite.The ark was built with 3 different levels. The lowestlevel was for all the garbage. The middle level was Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 7
  • 8. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says The answer we see from another quote of Rashi. TheVaYera: Youth verse says: “‫ – ”וירא לוט וירץ לקראתם‬Lot saw them and ran towards them. Why did he run? Says Rashi:For one living in Sodom, there were a number of laws Because he had learned the art of hospitality in thethat had to be kept. Among them was the prohibition house of Avraham. We see from here how importantof taking in guests: “‫ .”הכנסת אורחים‬This was what Chazal call is: “‫ – ”גירסא דינקותא‬that which wassomething that was accepted and understood by learned in one’s youth. What a child sees andevery single person. As the verse states “ ‫ואנשי סדום‬ experiences in his youth, is embedded deep into the‫ – ”נסבו על בית מנער ועד זקן כל העם מקצה‬and the Neshama, and when the time comes will give himpeople of Sdom gathered around the house, from tremendous strength and energy to stand up to allyouth to elders, the whole city to its edge. challenges, even at the cost of his own life.In the words of Rashi: from on edge of the city to the Sadly many people switch things around and tend toother, they all gathered to protest this infringement mess about in their youth with the understandingof the law (of Lot taking in visitors). Lot we know has that “one day” they will become more serious. Onesomewhat “left the fold” when he left Avraham, as could not be more wrong. The success of anwe see in the fact that the place he chose to live was individual is with the tools and behavior he hasin Sdom. In addition it is clear he would have been acquired in his youth. And while this does notdestroyed together with Sdom if not for his exclude the ability of an adult to make substantialconnection with Avraham Avinu. changes in his life, they will always be subject toBeing so, why did Lot go out of his way to take care of those influences that affected him as a child.the guests knowing full well the consequences of his As parents our responsibility is to ensure that thoseactions? Even to the level of sacrificing his own two experiences and influences that affect our childrendaughters! are those that are going to have a positive effect on the life and not, has v’shalom, otherwise. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 8
  • 9. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon This is the great challenge of Chinuch. To understandToldot: Defined children when they are younger is an art, but this really is the crucial time to recognize, who they are,by Actions what could be the consequences of every action that they do. Therefore, instead of waiting for them to grow up and then having a relationship, rather spendThe Torah describes Yaakov & Esav growing up, and some time when they are younger, try to see whoEsav becoming a “Man of the field” whereas Yaakov they really are, and then you will be able to give themis a “Ish Tam” a complete human being. Rashi the proper direction and the tools they need tocomments on the words: “‫ – ”ויגדלו הנערים‬the boys continue on the proper path.grew up – that as long as kids are small theircharacters and morals aren’t clearly recognizable.Only once they have reached the age of 13, oneturned to idol worship while the other turned to theBeit Midrash.Therefore adds the Medrash: at the age of 13, afather says the blessing of: ‫ברוך שפטרני מענשו של‬"‫”זה‬In other words: even though as soon as they whereborn they clearly showed where their tendencies lay,it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what theiressence is. Only once, they are adults and theycontinue in that behavior, then they can be definedby their actions. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 9
  • 10. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says The Rosh Yeshiva understood that the danger wasVayishlach: The imminent and continued to ask: what would happen if ‫ ח”ו‬he managed to destroy European Jewry whichPromise Of constitutes the bulk and glory of the Jewish world? There will be no “other camp” left! To this responded the Chafetz Chayim: we find aProtection verse for this too in the words of the prophet Ovadya: “‫ – ”ובהר ציון תהיה פליטה והיה קודש‬In the Mount of Zion their will be an escape etc.In 1932 when Hitler (‫ )ימ”ש‬rose to power and tookcontrol of the government, the Chafetz Chayim was The Rav left shaking with the understanding thatasked by one of the Roshei Yeshiva in Radin: Since he while the fate of the European Jewry was at stake,had declared so openly and blatantly what his Eretz Yisrael would be saved. And so it was that theintentions were regarding the Jews and their might of the German armies started receding as theydestruction, what is going to be their fate? What is approached the shores of Eretz Yisrael.going to happen in Germany and Poland? In a time when our enemies are raising their headsAnswered the Chafetz Chayim: he will not succeed! again, may Hashem continue to protect his peopleHe will never be able to totally annihilate and restrict especially in the Land of Israel, and soon hasten thethe Yiden everywhere. And the source for this is the redemption.Pasuk in the Parsha that states:“ ‫אִם יָבוֹא עשָׂו אֶל המּחנֶה האַחת והכּהוּ והיָה המּחנֶה הנִּשְׁאָר‬ ַ ֲ ַ ַ ָ ְ ָ ִ ְ ַ ָ ֲ ַ ַ ֵ‫”לפליט‬ָ ֵ ְ ִIf Eisav should come and strike one camp, the othercamp will escape a similar fate. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 10
  • 11. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon himself praises them, he was already exempt fromVayeshev: teaching them. But then comes the story of Yosef and we see that a person is never finished with theBonding education of his children. Even great people like the sons of Yaakov, still needed their father’s direction on how to behave.The Parsha starts with the words: “‫– ”וישב יעקב וגו‬ As we come up to Chanukah this is the time toAnd Yaakov settled down etc. Why the emphasis on reiterate and strengthen that bond with our children,Yaakov’s settling down? Says Rashi: that Yaakov after and to understand how far our responsibility reallyall his troubles and issues with Eisav and Lavan, he goes.finally wanted to rest a bit and spend some time inpeace. However Hashem sees things differently andfeels that the Tzadikim are not her in this world to sitback and rest, therefore immediately the story ofYosef took place.What does this mean? Is it so bad if the Tzadikimwere able to have a bit of peace in this world in orderto focus more on their spirituality?No! there is no question that they too are entitled tohave a bit of peace of mind, however what Rashi isreferring to is the aspect of Chinuch and teachingtheir children. In this there is no respite.Yaakov thought that due to the fact that all hischildren where great people that even Hashem Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 11
  • 12. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says explain: that implicit in the declaration is the ideaVayigash: On a that when a person leaves our house or goes on a journey we are supposed to accompany him part ofJourney the way. This gives him spiritual protection from the elements as if others are with him. Therefore, the Rabbis declare: in our town, we make sure thatAfter Yosef had revealed himself to his brothers, he people are accompanied and we had no hand in thissent them back to their father Yaakov, to bring him person going out to face the world withoutdown to Egypt. In order that Yaakov would realize protection.that it was really him, Yosef sent him ‫ – עגלות‬wagons If we think for a moment, the last time Yaakov andwhich as Rashi explains: was a hint to the last topic Yosef where together was when Yosef was sent bythat they had learned together, the issue of ‫עגלה‬ his father to his brothers. As Yosef is about to leave,‫ .ערופה‬The words ‫ – עגלה‬wagon, and ‫ – עגלה‬calf, Yaakov gets up to accompany him. As Yosef protests,both written the same way. Yaakov says to him: remember the law of ‫עגלה ערופה‬The obvious question is: where does Rashi get this that one should always accompany one who isfrom? There are plenty other things that he could be leaving! So obviously this was the last law theyhinting to? discussed together.‫ עגלה ערופה‬refers to the law, if a dead body is found When we send our kids out into the world, they areon the outskirts of a town and no one knows how he going on a journey with many perils and negativedied, the Rabbis from the closest town have to bring elements, and they need all the protection they cana calf as a sacrifice and say: our hands did not spill get. Therefore lets accompany them as they go outthis blood! on their way and ensure them the spiritual protectionDo we really think that the Rabbis did this that they during their journey.have to come to declare otherwise? The Sages Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 12
  • 13. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon reverted back to its normal impoverished state. ThisMikeitz: A is what the verse means: “and they looked as bad as before.”Greater Plan Life is such that there are many up and downs, whether within our personal lives or in the interaction we have with others. We don’t know whyThe Parsha starts off with the dream of Pharoah Hashem gives wealth to some and poverty to others,giving a prediction about what is going to be joy to some and sorrow to others, nor what is thehappening in the future. In the dream he sees that main purpose of all that happens around us. We arealthough the seven thin cows eat the fat cows, it but like cogs in a big machine.makes no difference to their state of being. The versedescribes it thus: For us, what it means to be aware that everything we have is because of what we have done and the effort“ ‫וַתָּ ב ֹאנָה אֶל קִרבּנָה וְ�א נוֹדַ ע כּי באוּ אֶל קִרבּנָה וּמַראֵיהֶן רע‬ ַ ְ ֶ ְ ָ ִ ֶ ְ we put into it. Many times there is a greater plan. If‫”כּאשֶׁר בּתְּ חלּה‬ ָ ִ ַ ֲ ַ we understand this, then our perspective on life“- and they were swallowed up and it made no takes on a much healthier approach and gives us theimpression on them, and they looked as bad as ability to truly focus on what we can learn from life,before.” without getting caught up with life itself..Explains the Meshech Chochma: when things happenin the world we don’t necessarily know what themain purpose is behind it all. The fact that Mitzyarimwas not a wealthy place, rather on the contrary, andthe fact that there was time of plenty in Mitzrayimwas only for the purpose of Bnei Yisrael, andtherefore when they left after 210 years everything Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 13
  • 14. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says For our children to sit between the walls of the BeitVayachi: Medrash and be well educated that is relatively easy. The challenge is that a person will be able take hisYaakov & learning and moral behavior and keep to it in all places, even amongst idol worshipers. What Yaakov had taught Yosef was that he had theYosefs Legacy image of his father in front of him at all times, so much so that not only Yosef couldnt do wrong as a result neither could his children.This week we will be leining the last parsha inBreishit. As the story of Yaakov comes to a close and Therefore Yaakov considered them as his sons " ‫לי‬he is about to give the final blessings to his sons, he ‫ – "הם‬since it was very apparent that they got tocalls Yosef and tells him: I am about to pass on and where they were, because of Yaakov himself.his two sons (Menashe & Ephraim) that were born in Whereas any other kids grew up with the rest of theMitzrayim before I came, they will be considered to Shvatimand therefore their behavior would be moreme like my own sons – the other Shvatim. expected and the greatness of Yaakov doesnt shine out.This language is very troubling. I would have thoughtthe opposite: those that were born after Yaakovcame should be more like his sons, verses those thatwere born before there was really little connectionbetween them until Yaakov came to Mitzrayim?Says R Moshe Feinstein Zt"l: we see from here howfar the obligation of education goes, and that wehave to ensure its quality. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 14
  • 15. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon wisdom understood the makeup of man & womanShmot: Who and put into place the structure that is required to raise the level of human intimacy to a much deeperWe Really Are and meaningful place, so we would be able to fulfill our true roles as examples to the rest of the world. This period is a reminder of who we really are, whereThe Parsha this week is the first in what is known as: we came from and what we became, and therefore“‫ ”שובבי"ם‬which is an abbreviation of the first 6 the most appropriate time to once again reassess ourParshiyot in Shmot: ‫שמות, וארא, בא, בשלח, יתרו‬ personal lives and evaluate what we can do to‫.משפטים‬ enhance them.There is an old tradition that this period is the time toreview once again and heighten our knowledge ofthose Halachot dealing with Family Purity and theholiness of the Jewish home, and encourage moreinvolvement of those whom until now hadn’tlearned.What is the connection? Why do we review theselaws specifically at this time?These Parshiyot deal with the process and growth ofAm Yisrael, all the way from being slaves in Egyptuntil finally receiving the Torah at Har Sinai andbecoming a special and unique people. To maintainthat uniqueness of a life of morality requires certainguidelines and parameters. Hashem in his infinite Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 15
  • 16. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says they are in the land of their enemies I have notVaEra: Showing forsaken or despised them. Thus when a governing nation makes a decree against the Jews, it is only atRespect the behest of Hashem. Therefore the same words we would use to praise God are applicable here too. As hard as it might sound, when we show respect toThe Midrash tells us that when Moshe & Aharon conquering nations, essentially we are showingcame to Pharaoh they were commanded to treat him respect to Hashem. The Gemarah tell us to run towith respect (see Rashi). Even though he is not a show our respects to a king and make the brachaJewish king and a wicked one too, still they were told “‫ – ”ברוך שנתן מכבודו לבשר ודם‬blessed is he whomto treat him with respect. gave from his honour to flesh and blood. And byThe Gemarah in Masechet Shabbat describes that doing so “‫ – ”אם יזכה יבחין‬if one merits he will gaindue to the complexity of running a kingdom or perception. What does it mean: If he merits? To seecountry, it would be impossible to sit down and write an evil king?! Rather it means that if he meritsout all that had to be done and taken care of, even understanding that this king is no more then a miragefor the course of only one day! The Gemarah when of what the true king is, and an example that Hashemsaying this, even about non Jewish kingdoms, uses is showing him how to respect and honour a king.terminologies of praise comparable to the praises we Then when the time comes for Mashiach, he willuse for Hashem. The obvious question is: How could appreciate the contrast and what a true king really is,this be? and show the appropriately proper respect andThe truth us when Hashem has given a nation the honour.power to rule over Am Yisrael, they are not reallyruling. As the verse describes: “ ‫ואף גם זאת בהיותם‬‫ – ”בארץ אויביהם לא מאסתים ולא געלתים‬even when Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 16
  • 17. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon From here, we see the basic fundamental differenceBo: To Serve between the way the world views serving G-d, verses the way of Am Yisrael. The Torah demand from a JewHashem to serve Hashem at all times, in all circumstances, every place and every age. Therefore there is no difference whether people are old, young, male orWhen Pharaoh was talking to Moshe about letting female, everyone has their part.the Jews go, he asked him: “‫ – ”מי ומי ההולכים‬whom Obviously, the responsibility of an older person isdo you want to go? When Moshe answered: “ ‫בנערינו‬ different from one who is young, it is however the‫ – ”ובזקננו נלך וגו‬children, elders etc. will go, Pharaoh responsibility of those who are older, to find andanswer was: no! Only the men will go since that is clarify the role of those who are younger. When eachwhat you really want. and every person is doing what they are supposed to,The question is, that Moshe never said only the men, altogether they make up that unique entity of Amso from where does Pharaoh get this idea that this is Yisrael, and then they are fitting for redemption andMoshe’s request? the right to live as a nation in Eretz Yisrael.The answer is that Pharaoh did not really hear it, onlyfrom his perspective he figured that the Jews weregoing to bring sacrifices and serve their G-d, and theones who normally do so are the men, not thewomen & children! So what he meant was: since youare ultimately asking to go and serve your G-d youare really only asking for the men, and you don’tneed anybody else! Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 17
  • 18. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says battles, there was Chur, and he ultimately died tryingB’Shalach: The to stop the Golden Calf being built. Therefore the terminology “‫ ”אחד‬is used for both ofPower of One’s them, each one being a separate and unique entity. Moshe had the ability to merge and mesh these two strengths, however when he wasn’t around (duringStrengths the time of the Golden Calf) this ability disappeared which was when we saw the differences between Aharon and Chur.As Moshe Rabeinu was standing over ‫ עם ישראל‬whilethey were fighting their battle with Amalek, the When it come to Chinuch first and foremost we needTorah describes how Moshe’s arms became weary to know that every child is different and has theirand he sat down with Aharon holding one arm aloft unique and special gifts. If we take the time toand Chur the other. discern and clarify this uniqueness then we will be able to really give that special and focused energyThe language the torah uses is :” ‫ואהרון וחור תמכו בידיו‬ that our kids are entitled too.‫ .”מזה אחד ומזה אחד‬The question is - Why is itnecessary to emphasize that from each side their was Once we have explored and understood these“One” holding and not use the general statement: different strengths, then maybe we can begin to see“they held up his arms”? a way bring out all of a child’s potential, to make him realize what his capabilities are, and to drive himAharon and Chur were two very different people with forward to realize all this latent potential.very different personalities and characters. Aharon isknown as the “‫אוהב שלום ורודף שלום, – ”איש שלום‬‫ ,אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה‬whereas Chur was the“‫ – ”איש מלחמה‬when it came to fighting G-d’s Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 18
  • 19. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon As we see in the Haftara: “This house that you areTrumah: building, if you go in my statues and keep my laws and guard the mitzvoth to walk in their ways, I willInvolved in keep all my promises…” The conditions for G-d presence are no more than keeping the basics. We see this in the terminology of the verse: “ ‫ושכנתי‬Prayer ‫ – ”בתוכם‬I will dwell in them while it should have U U said: “I will dwell in it”! We see from here, that just to be involved, every person at his/her level, thisPeople sometimes think that in order to truly elevate already brings Hashem’s Shechina into that persononeself spiritually and bring G-d into this world, you and they are considered like a mini Holy Temple.need to be involved in prayer, holiness etc. andsomewhat removed and disconnected from thephysicality of this world. As a source for thisbehavior, there is a verse quoted from the Parsha:“‫ – ”ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם‬Make for me a Templeand I will dwell amongst them. In order for G-d to bein this world, we need to be like a Mikdash.However, this is not the case. We do not need to gosearching for all types of “Holy” behavior; rather allwe need to do is to keep the Torah & Mitzvot as partof our regular life, and that in itself will bring theKedushah and Shechina to us. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 19
  • 20. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says to Chessed speak to them more, whereas for othersTetzaveh: they relate more to davening in Shul.Multiple In order that everyone will be able to find a Mitzvah that they can relate to, and dedicate themselves totally to it, Hashem gave multiple Mitzvot, multipleOpportunities opportunities to connect. No one can claim that they do not have a place toI heard a wonderful idea this week. After we learn, truly express themselves in Torah and Mitzvot. All itwe customarily say the words of Rabbi Chananya Ben requires is a bit of thought and introspection, andAkashiya: “ ‫רצה הקב"ה לזכות את ישראל לפיכך הרבה‬ then we can find our unique place in Avodat Hashem‫ – ”להם תורה ומצות‬Hashem wanted to look for more with a Mitzvah that is tailor made for us.merit for Am Yisroel, therefore he gave them muchTorah & Mitzvot. The question is asked: if Hashemwas looking for ways for us to get more credit, whynot just give more for the Mitzvot we do? Why do weneed more?The answer is: that every person is different anddifferent things speak to different people. In orderfor a person to really merit something, he has to putall his effort and energy into what he is doing, in atotal selfless way. Not everybody can apply that tothe exact same thing. For some people, acts relating Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 20
  • 21. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon learn Torah at every possible moment: “and you shallVayakhel: The toil in it day and night”. Therefore Am Yisrael brought unlimited donations for the sake of the Torah whichMishkan is unlimited, until they were told to stop. This is what the Midrash means: Leave it for the ‫משכן‬ ‫ – העדות‬don’t use the rest! Leave it in the Mishkan asThe Torah in parshat ‫ ויקהל‬tells us that after ‫ בנ"י‬had testimony to the fact that the Torah is unlimitedbrought all the donations for the Mishkan, there was without restrictions, rather the source and basis forstill a lot left over. The Midrash tell us that Moshe whom we are and what we represent.turned to Hashem and asked him what to do with theleftovers? And Hashem answered him: leave it for This past week I took the 8th grade boys from thethe ‫ – משכן לעדות‬a Miskan for testimony. Chinuch Atzmai school for a test on 6 Daf Gemarah by Harav Shteinman Shlita. To see a person in his midWhere have we ever seen anything about another nineties who lives for Torah and is a living, breathingMishkan? example of Torah, dedicate an hour from his time forThe answer is that there is only one Mishkan, and it is kids, is the greatest testimony I could ever give tocall the “Mishkan Haeidut” because of the Aron that boys what the Torah is and what it brings to our lives.resides there which has the ‫ לוחות העדות‬inside. Inother words: the whole sanctity of the Mishkancomes about as a result of the Torah residing inside.There is a big difference between the Avoda –bringing of the sacrifices and the Torah. You can onlysacrifice during the day and there are clear rules andrestrictions on what, when, and how to bring.However Torah has no limits. We are obligated to Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 21
  • 22. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says the ‫ לוחות‬in first and only then put the ‫ – כפורת‬thePekuday: Look cover on top. The question is: that is obvious! Why do we need theInside Torah to tell us that? The answer is: that without what is inside there is no purpose for the Aron and therefore we have toIn the Parshiyot that we read last week and B”H willread this week, the topic is the building of the emphasize he fact that we put the ‫ לוחות‬in and onlyMishkan and it’s ‫ – כלים‬vessels. then close it. The proof for this is: that in the 2nd Beit Hamikdash when we didn’t have the ‫ ,לוחות‬we didn’tWhile it seems to be that we are spending a lot of have the Aron either.time focusing on the external details: how everythingshould be made, what materials must be used etc., This idea is absolutely crucial in the world of Chinuch.we see from ‫ חז"ל‬that everything in the Mishkan and We tend to get caught up in what we see on theits contents in reality are coming to give us different outside: the behavior, the talk etc., and we forget tomessages for life. look inside of the children and see their special qualities and the true gems that they really are.This fact in itself: not to get too focused on theoutside and instead try to understand what really is Let us take a moment of thought before we decideimportant, is probably one of the strongest messages about others, and focus on the special Neshamaitself. inside, instead of getting caught up with the outside.We see this hinted over and over again in the verses.For example: if we take the Aron. The Torah tells usthat we are supposed to put the ‫ לוחות הברית‬into theAron. And then the Torah goes and repeats the exactsame thing again! Why? Says Rashi: to tell us to put Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 22
  • 23. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon By a person fulfilling these two aspects to the best ofVayikra: his ability, he will then be considered as having brought a sacrifice, himself to Hashem.Sacrifices After having reached this stage, one could find it hard to bring himself to even speak to Hashem, therefore we start the Tefilah with words: ‫ה שפתי תפתח ופי‬The Gemara in Brachot brings the well known quote ‫ – יגיד תהילתך‬asking for the help and strength toin the name of Rabbi Yehoshu ben Levi that the actually pray.prayers we have today were enacted by the Rabbis inplace of the Korbanot – the sacrifices, more May Hashem listen to all our Tefilot and the Beitspecifically the Korban Olah – The Burnt Offering. Hamikdash rebuilt ‫.ונואכל שם מהפסחים ומהזבחים‬In describing the Korban Olah, the Torah tells us toskin the animal and cut it up into pieces, thereforethese aspects should exist in prayer too.The Shulchan Aruch talks about the true righteouspeople who would spend some time in solitude inpreparation for Tefila until they were able to as ifremove their outside skin and connect more so totheir true inner being.In addition, for a person to truly daven he is requiredto humble himself and understand that in relation toHashem he is insignificant and disinterred. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 23
  • 24. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says What is the connection between having children andTazriah: What is Havdalah on Motzai Shabbat? The answer is that on Motzai Shabbat every personHoly has to use their innate intelligence in order to see and appreciate the difference between the Holy and the profane in every facet of life (as we see in theIn this week’s Parsha we read about a woman who words of the Havdalah). Anyone who is able to dogives birth to a son: "‫."אישה כי תזריע וילדה זכר וכו‬ this is fulfilling the concept of ‫ = זכירה‬rememberingThe Gemarah in Shavuot brings two opinions as to one’s purpose. This is the idea of “‫– ”בנים זכרים‬what we can learn from the juxtaposition of the having the ability to know what is right and what isclosing verses of Shemini and the opening verses of wrong.Tazria. This is also the idea behind the use of wine. Wine,In Parshat Shmini we have the verses that discuss the Gemarah says, has the ability to open up lockeddifferentiating – Havdalah - between pure/impure, and closed hearts. Once a person opens his heartholy/unholy, closely followed by the verse in Tazria then he is truly able to see and understand when anthat discuss the birth of a male. action or deed is Holy or ‫ ח"ו‬profane.These two opinions are as follows; [This is the basis for a Jewish marriage. Knowing andOne who makes Havdalah on wine will have ‫בנים‬ using our capabilities to find the right and proper way‫ - זכרים‬male children. to build a home based on Torah and Mitzvot. If we do that then may we all be Zocheh to have ‫בנים זכרים‬One who makes Havdalah on wine will have ‫בנים‬ who can teach and transfer onwards through the‫ - זכרים‬male children who will be fitting to teach generations the power of ‫ – זכירה‬remembering toTorah. remember and take the time to ask: is this holy or not?] Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 24
  • 25. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon Le’chayim with the grandfather, and he agreed.Kedoshim: Seeing a religious person the grandfather called him over and told him this story.Wake Up! I was living in Berlin before things deteriorated and the Jews were still living the good life. We were into the culture and atmosphere of revision that prevailedWhen one has to deal with a child who is in Germany at that time.misbehaving, before coming down too hard on him, itis usually preferably to somehow give the kid the One Shabbat the Karliner Rebbe came to town andmessage that he is not heading in the right direction. was slated to speak Friday night in the main shul.If he doesn’t get the hint and as a result somehow Since a Rebbe was a rare event in Germany, manymodify his behavior, then unfortunately he might came to hear him driving too shul the way they werehave to be dealt with in a harsher manner. used to.This is true with the way Hashem deals with us too. The Rebbe waiting to speak was very perturbed and when he got up to talk he said: this week is ParshatThere are those times in our life that maybe we are Kedoshim and we see different commands thatnot exactly doing what we should be, and Hashem Moshe is to tell Am Yisrael.sends us a hint to wake up and do something! Even if 1) ‫ – קדושים תהיו‬Be Holywe don’t completely mend our ways, we have tomake some change. 2) ‫ – איש אמו ואביו תיראו‬Be in awe of your mother & fatherThere was a religious Jew after surgery recuperating 3) ‫ – שבתותי תשמורו‬Keep my Shabbatat a certain Kibbutz. During one of his walks in the 4) ‫ – אני ה‬I am Hashem.fields a tractor pulls up and the driver asks him if hecan come and join a Minyan for a brit. Afterwards Said the Rebbe: when I speak to my Chassidim I say:they asked him if he would like to come and make a Be Holy! And they know that means to keep Shabbat, Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 25
  • 26. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Sayseat kosher etc. When I speak to the lay people I haveto be more specific: Be in awe of your mother &father! When I speak to the more simple folk I haveto lower the expectations and say: Keep Shabbat!However to you here in Berlin I can’t even tell youthat, therefore my words to you are: I am G-d! Don’tever forget that! And the Rebbe gave such a clap onthe Bima that the windows shook.I came home said the old man and told my wife:that’s it! We are getting out of Germany.We left against all our friends’ advice and came toIsrael and I didn’t become any more religious.However since at least I did something I have meritedto see my grandson having a Brit in Eretz Yisrael. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 26
  • 27. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon as if he doesn’t belief in the creation either. AEmor: True creation without continued guidance is worthless. If the world is without guidance there is no need forEmunah keeping the Torah and Mitzvot, and if there is no need for Torah and Mitzvot there is no need for the creation. “ ‫מועדי ה אשר תקראו אותם במועדם...ששת ימים תעשה‬ This is the connection between Shabbat and the‫ – ”מלאכה‬What is the connection between Shabbat Chagim. If we ‫ ח"ו‬desecrate one, we are throwing outand the Chagim? Says Rashi: Whoever keeps the the whole package.Chagim it is as if he has kept Shabbat’ and whoeverdesecrated the Chagim it is as if he has desecrated Therefore the Parsha also writes the whole topic ofthe Shabbat. ‫ – מתנות עניים‬giving to the poor in the middle of the Chagim, in order to show us that this too is anWhat does Rashi mean? Keeping Shabbat is the essential part of our Emunah. If we belief Hashem isabsolute declaration of our trust and faith in the fact running the world, there will be no hesitation in ourthat G-d is the creator of this world, and therefore understanding to take care and give from our own toone who desecrates the Shabbat it is as if he has the poor. If we think it is all ours and we have nodenied all of the creation. The Chagin is a declaration obligation to give, or until we are convinced to give,of the fact the G-d runs this world, even to the level again we are denying our whole purpose for being inof changing nature in order to take care of Am this world.Yisrael. May we all merit to experience this true Emunah inComes along the Torah and says that these two every aspect of our livesthings are inseparable. We cannot believe in one andnot the other. Belief in the creation without thebelief in Hashem’s continued running of the world is Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 27
  • 28. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says proper concentration during the 1st bracha in theEmor: The Amida he has fulfilled his obligation even if he didn’t on the rest. Whereas if he had the properBeginning concentration on the rest and not the beginning, he has not. We see where we are supposed to concentrate ourWhen bringing a sacrifice the Torah tells us to make efforts, both for ourselves and all the more so for oursure that at the time of Shechita it is done “‫.”לרצונכם‬ children. If we invest more in the beginning: rightRashi explains: make sure that the sacrifice will fulfill time, right place, right environment etc, then there isits purpose as atonement for you. How is this? As the a chance for our kids to make it and maybe for usnext verse explains: eat it only on that day – have in too.mind during the shechita process that you are onlygoing to eat it during the allotted time. Any otherthought differing from that invalidates the Korban.This is true for all other aspects of the Korban: makesure to be thinking and focusing on the right owners,right time, right place etc.We see that proper/improper thoughts at the outsetare what define the validity of our actions.This is the power of the beginning, the proper startone should make. Bris Mila being the first of thephysical mitzvoth is equated to all the mitzvoth.Shabbat being the first of the negative mitzvoth isequated to all the negative mitzvoth. If one has the Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 28
  • 29. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon the middle of the Machane was the Aron and theBamidbar: Mishkan, therefore everyone surrounding that Mishkan are essentially all focused together to theCommunity same place. This is the key to who and what Am Yisrael are. Each and every tribe has their characteristics that areOne of the main themes in this week’s Parsha is that unique to them and therefore have to keep thatof the different flags and the tribes that they uniqueness. However that can only be if everyone isrepresented. Due to the length that the Torah goes focusing on ‫ .הקב"ה‬If we are all working to the sameinto to describe all the details obviously this is a very goal then the differences that we have don’t make aimportant part of the framework and structure of difference, rather on the contrary that shows the realBnei Yisrael. If so how come Hashem waited until greatness of a people. We can be different but innow to give over these laws, a year after they left reality we are really one.Mitzrayim, and not instruct them immediately assoon as they had left?If we think about it, all these different flags andcamps that were part of Am Yisrael in reality are acause for separation. Each group had their neighborsthat were separate from all the others. Why then didHashem want that this is the way the nation shouldcamp and travel?Yes, if the result of such encampment would be adistancing of the tribes from each other, then forsure that was not Hashem’s intention. However in Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 29
  • 30. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says wasting time? Or the opposite: Im not going toNaso: Efforts manage in any case, so why bother? The answer is: that the effort one puts intoCount something is what makes it count. Not whether he actually succeeds or he can manage without it. This is what Hashem is coming to teach us. True weIn the listing of the sons of Levi, the Torah alsodescribes their responsibilities vis-à-vis what they are might not need the efforts of the sons of Kehat, butsupposed to carry of the Mishkan when it travels. they need to put in the effort or in real terms or in potential terms, in order for them to appreciate theirThe tribe of Kehat was responsible the Aron and the responsibilities. Therefore the verse emphasizes: notrest of the Holy vessels. We also know that the Aron only the sons of Gershon have to be in their prime ofreally carried those that seemed to be carrying them. life, but also the sons of Kehat.So in true sense, the actual work of Bnei Kehat is notso difficult verses the son of Gershon who had to Remember! Our efforts count, not the results!carry the wood beams from the walls.If so, how come the verse when defining the age ofthe working Leviim (30-50 = prime of life) says thatthe sons of Gershon where also strong, when itshould be saying that the sons of Kehat were of thesame age even though that their strength was notneeded! And why was that strength really needed?Many times we ask the question: if I can succeedwithout trying to hard, why bother trying and just Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 30
  • 31. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon his question doesn’t mentioned G-d at all: “What isBalak: Seeing this work you are doing? Even though the question is the same, however one is prepared to see G-d isHashem what happens in this world and the other isn’t. So too with Yitro the verse describes what he heard that Hashem had done, whereas with Balak it onlyThis week’s Parsha describes how Balak seeing the refers to the fact that he saw what Bnei Yisrael did.aftermath of the battle between Bnei Yisrael and the No mention of G-dEmorites came to the conclusion that something hadto be done to get rid of Am Yisrael and therefore he When a person is prepared to see Hashem inwent and hired Bilam to curse them. whatever happens in this world, that is what clearly defines him as a descendent of Avraham Avinu.This is in stark contrast to what happened with Yitro. However one who persistently denies any GodlyWhen he heard what had taken place with Am involvement in whatever happens, is going with theYisrael, he decided to convert and join them. The behavior of Bilam.question is why? If anything, seeing is supposed tohave a much greater impact on a person then just May we merit to open our eyes and see thehearing, so why did they act so differently? greatness of Hashem in every small facet of our lives.In the Haggada for Pesach is seems to be that thequestion of the wise and wicked sons are the same:“Why are you doing all these things?” so why is onedefined as wicked and the other as wise? The Gaonof Vilna explains the difference. The wise son asks:What are all these things that Hashem our G-d hascommanded you to do” whereas the wicked son in Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 31
  • 32. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says antagonism is ultimately what makes us great andBalak: Restraint more spiritual people. As we head out to the summer holidays and theOne of the hardest challenges in today’s society is the possibilities of more interaction with others areunwillingness to come out the underdog, or in the there, this is time to awaken ourselves to thosecommonly used phrased: I will not be Friair!! This is points which really show the difference between whothe underlying approach to life that if someone is a student of Bilam Harasha, and who is really a trueinsults me I cannot allow him to get away with it student of Avraham Avinu.without an appropriate response. If someone else isgoing to gain, why not me?This attitude permeates and affects all ages. As aprincipal when we try to educate the kids in school,many times they cannot even understand what iswrong. He insulted me! He hit me! She started! Towalk away is just unthinkable.However this is the way a Jew should behave. As theMishna in Avot describes to us the differencebetween those students of Avraham Avinu and thoseof Bilam Harasha, we see that the commondenominator between all the differences is thewillingness to humble oneself, not to expect thateveryone is going to bow down and kowtow to me!This is what is unique about Am Yisrael. We are still inGalut and the ability to not respond to every Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 32
  • 33. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon consequently the disbanding of the Sanhedrin, thereKi Tetzei: are still the 4 death penalties in the world, only that they happen by what to us would seem naturalContemplate circumstances. Stoning would be equal to for example: falling of the roof4. Burning would be equal to getting burned or poisoned etc.Our Actions That is whar Rav Yonatan means: the concept of ‫בן‬ ‫ סורר ומורה‬he saw. He saw a grave of a child and he found out that he had behaved as a rebellious sonThe Gemarah in Sanhedrin states: that due to all the and consequently had died unnaturally. So too withrequired conditions there never was and never will the burnt city. But not that the process was actuallybe a case of ‫ - בן סורר ומורה‬the rebellious son. A carried out.similar statement is made regarding the ‫- עיר הנדחת‬a city that worships idols and consequently has to be This is the meaning of the sitting: he sat on the graveburned to the ground. However, then the Gemarah and the ruins and contemplated the situation and hequotes Rav Yonatan who claims to have seen a case came to the conclusion that G-d will was carried outof ‫ בן סורר ומורה‬and even sat on his grave, and to any case.have seen the burnt down city and sat on the ruins. While it is may be not our responsibility to stopHow is it that Rav Yonatan happened to be the evaluating why other people have died, it is ours toperson whom had the luck to see both these things thing and consider what is happening to us? Andthat the Rabbis claim couldn’t be? Furthermore, why what is Hashem’s message for us?the emphasis of sitting on the grave and the ruins? For this we need to take an example from RavMaybe we can explain based on another Gemarah, Yonatan: to take the time and effort to contemplatethat after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and our actions and our lives and then we will be merit a proper ‫.כתיבה וחתימה טובה‬ Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 33
  • 34. Holidays
  • 35. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon unattainable for children today, would be somewhatRosh foolish and asking for trouble. Just as we want our kids to realize that maybe whatHashanah: The they think or do might not be the correct way, so too we have to be open to the possibility that we too might be in the wrong and are willing to make theChallenge of necessary changes. This essentially is the basis for Teshuva. Only once a person realizes that maybe the life they have beenParenting living is somewhat flawed and that there is another possibility or approach to life, only then can theyOne of the greatest challenges we can have as begin the process of Teshuva, of change andparents or teachers is coming to the realization that reconsideration of ideals and values that we were somaybe the approach that Ive taken or the method convinced in their absoluteness.employed is flawed or even incorrect. May Hashem give us all the insight to see these otherMany of us are convinced that our "derech" is the possibilities and the strength to actually act on them.correct one, and while there might be a lot to be said A ‫ כתיבה וחתימה טובה‬to all of Klal Yisrael and mayfor such a derech, it doesnt necessary mean that it is Hashem bring peace and prosperity to all of Eretzapplicable under all circumstances. YisraelFor example: To lay down boundaries and limits isdefinitely something that is important to do (albeit intodays generation it seems somewhat forgotten),however to set limits that might be too hard or Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 35
  • 36. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says If we try and analyze these different approaches, weRosh can take some very important messages for our own “New Year”.Hashanah: How we come into Shul and speak to Hashem, is totally depended on our attitude. If we come in as finalists and a feeling that we have done our part andSchool is now we are just finishing off, the chances are, just like we would waste the entire year with limited achievement, we will end up squandering ourBack!!! opportunity to meet and talk to Hashem with a result of limited achievement.From one aspect, the fact that the 1st of September However if we come in as 1st graders, with a it bit ofthis year is so close to Rosh Hashanah, it is quite hard shyness, with a bit of humility, a bit of uncertainty,on the teachers due to the fact that by the time the then the push to succeed will be much greater and sokids are a finally a little settled, they immediately go will our achievements.again on holiday. However from another aspect the May all of Am Yisrael have a Ktiva Vachatimah Tovawhole concept of starting a new year is directlyrelated to Rosh Hashanah.We see the different ages coming in. those who arein their last year have a certain attitude towardsschool, whereas those who are only starting in 1stgrade have a totally different attitude. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 36
  • 37. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon realizes that the pleasures of this world areSuccot: Puts temporary and aren’t around forever, only then can they truly begin to enjoy themselves. This is why weLife Into go out to the Succah. In order to tell ourselves that life overall is temporary and that at any given moment things can change. This is the message ofPerspective the temporary dwelling, the Succah. At this stage one learns to appreciate what they do have and really begin to enjoy every moment of it.The main idea behind the mitzvah of Succot This is what the Mishna in Pirkei Avot says: “ ‫איזהו‬according to the Rambam is to reach the highest level ‫ – ”עשיר השמח בחלקו‬who is true wealthy person? Heof Simcha – Joy that one could. Whilst every Chag has who is happy with his lot!an aspect of Simcha, Succot is very special in thisregard. This is why Succot is known as: “‫.”זמן שמחתנו‬ This doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy life. On the contrary! If Hashem has given it to us, it is there forThe obvious question is: why then do we leave the us to benefit and enjoy. However the true deepcomfort of our homes and go out to a place which is enjoyment of Zman Simchateinu” can only comeso much less comfortable? Shouldn’t we stay in the once we understand the proper balance of how thingnice air-conditioning fly free atmosphere and really stand in our world.enjoy ourselves?The answer is: that to enjoy true joy first we have toget our perspectives right. A person, who is whollyinto the physicality of this world, does not necessarilymean that he is happy. How many people who arewealthy but are still miserable? Only once a person Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 37
  • 38. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says into the hands of a few, impure into the hands of theChanukah: pure, wicked into the hands of the righteous, and those who turned against the Torah into the hands ofToday’s Battles those who guarded it". These are the miracles we should remember and take the message from them for today. We are stillAs we approach Chanukah and we begin to smell the battling those Greek forces and they are trying in allaroma of the sufganiyot and the latkes, it awakens ways to infiltrate into the very essence of the Jewishwithin us again, all the ideas that Chanukah people.represents. One of the most crucial battlegrounds is the area ofHowever, most of us focus on the miracle of the jug religious Jewish education. There is an ongoingof oil and the fact that we light the candles for eight infiltration of those Hellenistic ideas that the Greeksdays in order to commemorate that event and espoused, that we have are losing track of whatpublicize Hashems greatness. But in reality if we look Hashem really wants from us and from our children.a bit deeper, we see that the true miracle ofChanukah is much greater. This Chanukah we should take a moment to evaluate the true message of Chanukah and ask ourselves: areIn the tefilah of Al Hanissim there is very little we prepared to be like the Maccabees and take thosemention of the lighting of the candles at all and the steps that are required, for us and our families to livedirection on the tefilah is elsewhere. The tefilah the life of : "Mi Chamocha Baeilim Hashem".describes how we were put in spiritual danger by theGreeks: "To forget your Torah and to transgress yourwill" and then Hashem with great compassion andcaring went to battle and brought about greatmiracles of: "Brave into the hands of the weak, many Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 38
  • 39. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon deep inside themselves and realize the importance ofChanukah: the Torah and what it meant for the nation’s survival, with Hashem’s help and their willingness, all theGreat Potential barriers came down and they merited a great victory. B”H we also will take the Chanukah message to hearRecently one of my friends had a Down syndrome and together with our families, realize the greatchild, and he was describing to me how many people potential inside every single one of us.(out of the goodness of their hearts) were tellingthem about the different difficulties involved with A Freilicha Chanukahraising such a child. When he shared this informationwith his doctor, the doctor categorically disagreed bysaying: A child will be what we make him! How weperceive our children’s abilities and guide them toreach their maximum potential is what makes themunique, regardless of whatever seemingly limitationsthey might have.This is true for every single one of our children. Everyperson has their special talents and at the same timealso certain limitations. How we let those limitationsbecome handicaps, is entirely up to us.This is the message of Chanukah. The Jews werefaced with a tremendous danger of spiritual andphysical destruction, but when they were able to dig Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 39
  • 40. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says total abandoning of all limits, then the true self willPurim: Power become apparent. Is there no greater introspection than this?!of Wine This is the power of wine too. ‫– נכנס יין יוצא סוד‬ through drinking we can see the true worth and character of a person, and he himself can use thatThis month of Adar we find ourselves with mixed slight curbing of senses that comes as a result ofemotions. From one aspect it is Adar and therefore a drinking to connect to Hashem in spiritual andtime of joy, and on the other hand when 8 boys emotional ways he never thought of before.sitting learning Torah are cut down in brutally by aterrorist’s bullets it is hard to express that joy. May we all truly merit to see all our enemies fall just like Haman, and to really connect this Purim toThis brings forth the question of the general behavior Hashem at the highest levels possible.of people and especially of kids on Purim. There is ahuge misconception due to the permissiveatmosphere that exists, that joy means letting looseand breaking down of all barriers.This cannot be further from the truth. As Chazal tellus ‫ – פורים = כיפורים‬there are aspects on Purim thatare comparable to Yom Kippur. Just like Yom Kippuris a day of self introspection so to is Purim. Howeveron Purim the introspection is done by seeing who wereally are though the power of Simcha and wine. If aperson can take that Simcha and use it in a way toraise himself spiritually and not ‫ ח"ו‬degenerate into Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 40
  • 41. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon We see from here the tremendous importance howPesach: Good one is supposed to take care of their guests. Just giving a great meal is not enough; part of HachnasatFeelings Orchim is the emotional and spiritual rise they are supposed to get from us. This can constitute the special atmosphere of the Chag or it can be theIn the Haggadah we recite the words: ‫"כל דכפין יתא‬ unique feeling of closeness to Hashem that one can "‫ - ויכול כל דצריך יתא ויפסח‬whoever is hungry should feel in our home. This can come about through thecome and eat, whoever is in need should come and Divrei Torah we say at the table, through the singing,partake in the eating of the Pesach offering. or jut from the way each person behaves to eachWhy does the Haggadah have to repeat it itself? other.What was said in the first sentence already clearly May we all be Zoche to truly inspire ourselves, andindicates what our intentions are: to invite in anyone then through our Hachnasat Orchim let others to see,in need! experience, and take from some of this spirituality forMaybe what the Ba’al Haggadah is trying to tell us is: themselves.that when we invite people into our homes there aretwo factors to focus on 1) to bring them in and givethem food 2) give them a spiritual experience thatthey won’t forget. The Korban Pesach represents thisspirituality, and that is the second statement wemake: whoever is in need of a spiritual uplifting, weare welcoming them into our homes to give themthis. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 41
  • 42. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says This is also the process that takes place during thePesach: True period between Purim & Pesach. Starting with the full acceptance of the Torah willingly on Purim,Growth followed by the involvement with all the halachot leading up to Pesach which creates the structure and framework of Am Yisrael, it will bring us to theWe have come through Purim and now we are on the Haggadah which is the culmination of the spiritualhome stretch for Pesach. The Rabbis teach us: ‫שואלין‬ growth that we can feel and appreciate as if we‫ – ודורשין בהלכות הפסח קודם הפסח שלושים יום‬we ask ourselves had been in Mitzrayim and Hashem raisedand clarify the Halachot of Pesach 30 days before us up with the framework and growth to become aPesach. true spiritual people.This essentially means that we start on Purim a May we all be Zoche to see the final Geulah ‫במהרה‬process that continues and concludes with the saying ‫.בימינו אמן‬of the Haggadah on Seder night. What is exactly isthis process?Rav Volbe Zt”l in his book on Chinuch speaks aboutthe two separate approaches that when combinedtogether, produce the child that will be a trueMentch. There is the “Building” aspect where we givethe structure and framework, that without it the kidwill be a wild animal. And there is the “Growth”process where we let the kid grow and develop thosenatural strength that G-d has given him, that withoutthis the child will just be a robot! Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 42
  • 43. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon This is a period of ‫ ,אמונה‬a time for reconnecting inPesach: the deepest way to our creator. If we understand how deep this trust can go and apply it to our lives,Reconnecting than just like in the time of ‫ יציאת מצרים‬where Hashem showed his greatness to those who trusted him, so too Hashem will reveal himself again to us,A few days ago I ran into a friend of mine and he told give us the strength of character to stand up to whatme that the main funding for his work had fallen is right, and give us the proper guidance to live in athrough and as a result of that he had not been paid way worthy of our ancestors whom had received thebefore Pesach. All he had in his account was 24 NIS. Torah at Har Sinai.Not knowing what to do he went to ask his Rabbi and May we all merit a ‫ ,חג כשר ושמח‬and to see thehe was told: Pesach is also known as ‫ – חג האמונה‬the fulfillment of the verse: “‫”ונאכל מן הזבחים ומן הפסחים‬Chag that relates to our close relationship to Hashem in the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash ‫במהרה בימינו‬and our deep trust we have in him. Therefore he ‫.אמן‬should go ahead and prepare for the Chag as usual(within reason) and Hashem will provide.I feel this is also very true in regards to the worldevents that are happening around us today.We are left with almost no credit in the bank. Thenations of the world seem to ignore our plight andour need for self survival, and even our erstwhile allyAmerica, seems to be heading down that path. Whatdo we do? How are we going to survive?The answer is the same the Rabbi gave to my friend. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 43
  • 44. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says completing this task successfully, Eliezers falls on hisShavuot: Signs face and thanks Hashem for his help, an obvious sign of his reliability. However Avraham still did not trustAfter Layning from the Torah we make a Bracha: him and even made him take an oath. Furthermore if"‫ – "אשר נתן לנו תורת אמת וחיי עולם נטע בתוכנו‬that Avraham could have gone himself, he would have.Hashem gave us the true Torah and eternal life was Therefore, said the Rav, we see that when somethingrooted into us. is important to ones life we shouldnt rely on anyoneDo we really understand and appreciate the meaning even the most trustworthy person. [the man did notof "‫ ?"תורת אמת‬From the language of the Bracha it is listen and ended up losing everything].seems that as a result of us receiving this “ True Here is an example of how the Torah can give usTorah”, it will become rooted within us eternally. direction even in the seemingly more mundane partsWhat does this mean? of our life,A man came to speak to the Alter of Kelm, one of the "‫ – "תורת אמת‬the truth of the Torah that Hashemleading Torah giants of the last generation, seeking gave us is so strong, that everything that we do in oursome advice regarding a business matter. At that lives, however mundane, can be analysed andtime in Russia it was forbidden for Jews to own land, resolved with reference to the torah.and therefore he wanted to register some land under The net result of this is that these “Torah True”the name of one of the local Non-Jewish landowners concepts become ingrained and rooted within uswith whom he had a very good and honest eternally, and they shed light and focus for us andrelationship. The Rav answered him: everything that our families on every decision we make.we do in life has its source in the Torah, therefore let May we all merit to receive and internalize theseus see what the Torah has to say about it. Torah concepts and bring great light into our lives.When Avraham Avinu was looking for a wife for hisson, he sent his servant Eliezer on the mission. When Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 44
  • 45. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon The answer is that it depends of the context. WhenShavuot: the word “Am” is used regarding a negative deed then it is negative, however if the context is positiveTogetherness than it is also positive. How could this be? The word “‫ – ”עַ ם‬Nation is spelt the same way as “‫ – ”עִ ם‬together. TogethernessIn Parshat Yitro and in Parshat Mishpatim while denotes a friendship between people and adescribing the process of Matan Torah, Bnei Yisrael willingness to hear each other, a strong bond whichare referred to as “‫ – ”העם‬The Nation. And not just can bring them together: “‫ – ”כאיש אחד בלב אחד‬likeonce but 24 times! one man with one heart. If this togetherness is usedThis seems to contradict that which is mentioned in for negative purposes, then it is our responsibility tothe Midrash Tanchuma in Parshat Balak, that every break it up and separate between them. If we don’ttime the Torah uses the word “‫ ”העם‬it is derogatory! and they are still united, then this is the “‫ ”עם‬in itsAs we see there in Balak “ ‫ויחל העם לזנות אל בנות‬ negative sense. However, when we use that unity for‫ – ”מואב‬The nation started straying after the girls of positive behavior and more spirituality, then it is aMoav. Or as we see in this weeks Parsha: “ ‫ויהי העם‬ tremendous power and strength that can bring about‫ – ”כמתאוננים וגו‬and the nation was complaining etc. a Kabbalat Hatorah.and many other examples. How does this fit in with Just as Am Yisrael merited to receive the Torah dueall the times “The Nation” is mentioned at Har Sinai? to their: “‫ ,”כאיש אחד בלב אחד‬may we also merit thisEspecially since the verse itself says: “ ‫ועמך כולם‬ year, to focus together, accept one another, be called‫ – ”צדיקים‬and your nation are all righteous, or the that “Am Yisrael” with all its power and might, andverse in Devarim that says: “‫ – ”כי עם קדוש אתה וגו‬for again receive the Torah: “‫”כאיש אחד בלב אחד‬you are a holy nation etc. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 45
  • 46. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says When someone insults me, instead of focusing on theTisha B’Av: negative aspect of the incident, let us focus instead on how does Hashem want me to deal with this? andOvercoming then accordingly sometimes we have to retaliate and sometimes keep quite. Either way, if we understand that it comes from Hashem, even though there isThe Rabbis teach us: If in a person lifetime the Beit room for negative feelings, however it won’t turnHamikdash was not rebuilt it is as if it was destroyed into hatred.during his life. Obviously this means that if it has not This is the “needless hatred” the Rabbis are referringbeen rebuilt the cause for the destruction have not to. Even though it seems there might be grounds forbeen remedied. it, to hate due to Hashem’s challenges is consideredThe 2nd Temple was destroyed due to ‫– שנאת חנם‬ “needless”.needless hatred. That means we still have this issue This is not an easy task but proving ourselves in thisto deal with. What does “needless hatred” mean? manner will bring the rebuilding of the BeitHow many people show enmity to others for no ‫ במהרה בימינו אמן‬Hamikdash.reason? Everyone has a reason why he doesn’t likeanother!As we go through life we have many challenges whichHashem is specifically tailoring to every singleindividual in order for that person to become a betterhuman being and bring out G-d’s greatness into theworld. A person grows through overcoming thesehurdles and realizing what the real world is about. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 46
  • 47. Education
  • 48. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says On the laws of ‫ בין אדם למקום‬it is not clear how farRespecting we have to go to ensure proper behavior, however on the issues ‫ בין אדם לחבירו‬it is clear according to allProperty opinions that parents have to "go all the way" and if there are no parents to fulfill this role the obligation fall on the Beit Din.A child causes damage to anothers property, or We see the importance of educating our children tosteals from a friend, even though from a pure respect others and their property. It is not goodHalachik perspective he is exempt (being that he is a enough to rely on the gan, school or neighbor. Everyminor), however what about from an ethical point of person has to do their part to ensure the continuousview? Are we obligated to stop him or not? harmonious living between people in all ways.What about is he is eating something treif orspeaking Lashan Hara, what are our obligations? Arethey the same in all the above scenarios?The Rambam writes: " ‫ראוי לבית דין להכות את הקטנים‬‫ – "על הגנבה כפי כח הקטן כדי שלא יהיו רגילין בה‬It isincumbent on the Beit Din to beat the child forstealing (according to his strength) in order to avoidsuch behavior in the future. R Yosef Cairo in hiscommentary (Kesef Mishna) however clarifies thatwe only find this law in relation to behavior betweenman and man (‫ )בין אדם לחבירו‬but in issues betweenman and G-d (‫ )בין אדם למקום‬there is no such rule. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 48
  • 49. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon But the problem is not so much the interference toDavenning With others as the image and perspective the child gets of a Beit Knesset which he can carry through his life. IfChildren the image he carries is one of awe and respect, than there is a chance when he is older that he will treat the shul with the same respect.One of the old age questions that parents have is: To summarize: it is preferable to bring them olderShould I bring my kids to shul? At what age? And if verses younger, when they are at a stage that theyso, what should my expectations be insofar as their can truly appreciate what a shul is.participation and actual presence inside? (Versesplaying outside) May Hashem accept all our Tefilot, and the Tefilot of all of Am YisraelThe source for bringing children to shul, is a Tosfot onthe Gemarah in Moed Katan regarding the fact thatthere is an obligation to bring all children, even thebabies to the Beit Hamikdash for the Mitzvah ofHakheil. So too it would seem one should bring theirchildren, even the babies to shul.However that might be good for a baby to get theatmosphere, but a child whom is not lying in a criband cannot sit down and appreciate the spirituality,says Rav Volbe zt"l that it is preferably not to bringthem to shul, if all they are going to do is play insideand outside. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 49
  • 50. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says voice, notices when anyone gets angry etc. It isThe Power of impossible to foresee how spiritually destructive the setting of an improper example can be.Youth Conversely, a positive behavioral message from parents can have a great spiritual effect on children. If parents are meticulous in their behavior within theFrom the moment of their birth, children are family unit and also externally to others, whether itextremely sensitive to their environment, and as they be in their observance of mitzvoth or purely in thegrow older and mature they appreciate more and way they interact socially, this will be picked up inmore the nuances within the social group of which detail by their kids.they are a part. May Hashem give us the strength and ability to doBased on the verse in Eicha : “ ‫שאי אליו כפיך על נפש‬ what is right and appropriate, so that we could be‫ – ”עולליך‬Lift up your hands towards Him for the life that proper example for our kids.of your young children – says the ‫ תנא דבי אליהו‬that aperson should daven and do everything he can toensure that his children do not become involved ininappropriate behavior. And then the ‫תנא דבי‬‫אליהו‬continues : “ If a child hears inappropriatewords from his parents’ he is obligated to speak out,lest the effect of these words leads to tragedy”.Says Rav Volbe Zt”l: we see from here how parentshave to be careful about what they say or do in frontof their children. A child notices every word or actionand digests it. He listens very carefully to a raised Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 50
  • 51. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon The Hebrew word "‫( "אחריות‬responsibility) comesLetting Go from the word "‫( "אחרית‬end). Responsibility means that what comes out in the end is on my shoulders.We tend to think that only when our children are No person can be held responsible for something ifolder it is important to "Let Go", with the he has no control over it. Therefore if we want tounderstanding that they adults and can be teach our kids to be responsible, we have to giveresponsible for themselves. However the truth is that them the ability to do things by themselves and takethis is applicable to all children at all ages. control where they can. LET GO!!!Human nature is to want to control ones life bythemselves, and children are no different. It is animportant part of their education to give them theability to be able to make those decisions, so thatthey can have more control over their own lives.Just like parents learn to ask questions and get adviceand it isnt a contradiction to the fact that they canstand on their own two feet, so too the kids eventhough they might need the advice and guidance oftheir parents, they still have to be able to stand firmthemselves.We are afraid that our children might not succeed,however failure can be a powerful lesson for a childwhat not to do or what he should do next time. If wedont let go, we are withholding this important lessonfrom them. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 51
  • 52. Rav Dovid Simon Simon Says As the commentaries write: if the purpose of theDisagreement ‫ מחלוקת‬is to find the truth and is not a question of pride and honour and who comes out better, thenwith the Right what we will get out of such a disagreement is a closer look at the truth and ultimately a much closer relationship between warring sides.Intentions The Gemarah tells us how over the years many of the Halachot were forgotten, and it was only through this power of true discussion, albeit sometimes evenWe Sometimes it seems we are our own worst heated, that they were able to reconstruct that whichenemies. As a people we are known to disagree and had been lost.argue a lot, which in the end can ‫ ח"ו‬bring aboutterrible consequences. However this is not necessarly We live in a generation that everyone has to be righta negative trait. and the Truth at times is somewhat irrelevent. We need to look a bit beyond ourselves and use this traitAs we see in many places in Chazal there is a very in the correct way. Then not only wont we see all theimportant place for ‫ מחלוקת‬and the tremendous negative forces ‫ ח"ו‬that can come out, rather on thepositive results one could get from a disagreement. It contrary we will see a greater and deeper outpouringall comes down to ones attitude. As the Gemarah in of wisdom, and regardless of what we hold, it willEiruvin states: Three years Beit Shammai an Beit Hillel only bring us closer to each other.disagreed, couldnt come to a conclusion, andspecifically in that case the Mishna in Pirkei Avot says B"H we will have the strength for this and then all thethat a disagreement with the right intention ( ‫לשם‬ needless hatred that brought about the destruction‫ )שמים‬is that of Hillel and Shammai. of the Beit Hamikdash will disappear and then the true glory of Hashem can come back ‫.בביאת משיח צדקהנו אמן‬ Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 52
  • 53. Simon Says Rav Dovid Simon way: causing strife, Lashan Hara etc. which rips apartThe Power of the fabric of human society. However the Gemara in Chulin says that theSpeech & expertise of a person in this world is his ability to stay silent! If so how do these two fit together? The answer is that in order for speech to be effectiveSilence depends on if a person knows when to keep quite. If we always are speaking, the words becomeThe Torah writes that when G-d created man he cheapened and less in value. But the person thatbecame: "‫ – "נפש חיה‬a living soul, which Rashi weighs out his words and is not so quick to speak,explains means: the ability of speech, and that is when he actually does say something the impact iswhat makes him different from animals. It is with this much greater.power that man can relate to others and build a How true is this in relation to our children. One of thehuman society. key factors in chinuch is working out the balanceThis strength is not only used for interpersonal when it is important to say something, and when it isrelationships but also as a tool to connect to Hashem important to keep to the saying of the Rabbis: ‫לא‬through the medium of Tefilah, Viduy and learning ‫ – מצאתי טוב משתיקה‬I didnt find anything betterTorah. And it could also ‫ ח"ו‬be used in a negative than silence. Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 53
  • 54. Rav Dovid Simon Simon SaysAbout Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 54
  • 55. Simon Says Rav Dovid SimonRav SimonRav Dovid Simon serves as spiritual leader for Kehillat Bnei Aharon and is the Principal of the Raanana AtzmaiSchool . He not only provides guidance and ensures for proper functioning of the Kehillat Bnei Aharon minyan,but tirelessly avails himself for leading shiurim, speaking to the kehillah, and being open and available forquestions and discussions.Kehillat Bnei AharonKehillat Bnei Aharon is an open community and welcomes all who wish to pray there. The kehillah was foundedover 13 years ago by a dedicated group of newcomers to Raanana, looking to establish a warm, supportivecommunity focused around Torah learning and inspirational prayer. Today Kehillat Bnei Aharon is in its largestfacility yet and boasts a regular contingent of shiurim throughout the week and Shabbat.Kehillat Bnei Aharon is located at 7 Arlozorov on the 2nd floor in Raanana.More information can be found on the website at www.kbaraanana.org Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org 55