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  KD MAGAZINE!                      ב"ה     
 

  Shalom and Bracha!

  This Shabbat we read from two Torah scrolls. In the first we read the portion of Tzav. The portion begins with the Mitzvah of removal of ashes from the altar and maintaining a constant flame on the altar. Each morning, the ashes from the previous day’s offerings were removed from the altar. First, a portion of the ashes were placed next to the altar. Thereafter, the remaining ashes were removed from the altar and placed outside of the Temple. The ashes next to the altar were miraculously absorbed in their place.

  We know that Hashem does not make miracles unless there is a special reason. Why should the ashes be placed next to the altar and be absorbed there? This gives us a lesson about the Mitzvot that we perform. The offerings on the altar teach us the effect of Mitzvot. When we brought an offering, a mundane animal was elevated to a spiritual plane. The Gemara teaches that there was a lion of fire that ate the offerings, demonstrating that they became part of the heavens. When we do a Mitzvah, we take a mundane object and sanctify it by using for Hashem’s will.

  The ashes being absorbed represent permanence. Part of every offering remained and became part of the altar. Similarly, every Mitzvah that we do has permanence. If we do an act of charity, although the money is long gone, the Mitzvah remains. The cumulative effect in the world and in the heart and soul of the one who does the Mitzvah remains.

  The altar had a constant flame. The altar represents the Jewish heart. The flame burns forever. We must always serve Hashem with warmth. The Tzemach Tzedek often said that between coldness and apostasy is a small division. This has a deep connection to the portion of Zachor, where Amalek seeks to cool our enthusiasm.

   The portion continues with the consecration of the Temple. After great effort in construction, this week the Temple service began. This has a special connection to Purim. The Gemara teaches that three Mitzvot applied consecutively upon entering Israel: appointing a king, destroying Amalek, and building the Temple. Since Purim is the destruction of Amalek, this week is ideal for the construction of the Temple.

  May Hashem grant that this Shabbat we merit the final annihilation of Amalek and the consecration of the third Beit Hamikdash through Moshiach.

  Purim Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,

 Rabbi Biggs

 B”H

Parshat Zachor-Keep the Fire Burning

    As this is the Shabbat before Purim, for the Maftir we take out a second scroll and read a special portion, Parshat Zachor. Haman was a descendant of Amalek, and therefore the Shabbat before Purim we read about the annihilation of Amalek. Parshat Zachor is unique in that it is the only portion in the Torah that is a defined Mitzvah to hear. It is always a Mitzvah to listen to the Torah being read, but there is a specific Mitzvah to hear the portion of Zachor. It is desirable that ladies also hear the reading of Parshat Zachor.

  When the Jewish people left Egypt, after the splitting of the Red Sea, the nation of Amalek came and attacked them. After a miraculous war, the Jewish people were commanded that upon settling in Israel they must annihilate the memory of Amalek. As in every Mitzvah, the destruction of Amalek parallels a concept in service of Hashem that is relevant even when the physical Mitzvah doesn’t apply.

  Parshat Zachor begins “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt. He encountered you on the way, and cut down the weak…” In addition to meaning encountered you, the term “Karcha” means that he cooled you off. Rashi explains that upon leaving Egypt the nations of the world feared the Jewish people. They were “too hot to touch.” After Amalek had attacked them, although Amalek lost, they were attackable.

  In a spiritual sense, becoming closer to Hashem is a concept of Exodus. The word Mitzrayim (Egypt) comes from the Hebrew root Metzarim, which means boundaries and limitations. Going beyond our boundaries and rising in the service of Hashem is our personal Exodus from Mitzrayim. However, even after we feel the joy and excitement of coming closer to Hashem, our negative inclination tells us to cool down, to take it easy. He tries to convince us that it suffices to be as good as before. Why strive? Why the excitement? This is Amalek. This is the root of all evil. We must completely ignore our negative side and reach true self-emancipation.

  In describing the war with Amalek, the Torah relates something fascinating. When Moshe raised his hands, the Jewish people were victorious. When he lowered them, Amalek prevailed. When dealing with inner evil, particularly intense evil, our own efforts are insufficient. We must turn to the Tzaddikim of the generation. Our efforts combined with their merits and prayers will prevail.

  The final vanquishing of Amalek will be in the time of Moshiach. May Hashem grant that through our battling the Amalek within us we will speedily merit the coming of Moshiach and respite from all of our enemies.

  Shabbat Shalom

  Rabbi Biggs

B”H

Purim!

  Shalom and Bracha!

    Saturday night and Sunday are Purim. Purim is the celebration of the salvation of the Jewish people from annihilation through the efforts of Mordechai and Esther. Purim has four major Mitzvot. Inclusiveness is integral to all of them. Haman slandered the Jewish people as being a divided people. By including as many fellow Jews as possible in the observance of Purim, we negate his slander.

  The first Mitzvah of Purim is listening to the Megillah. The Megillah is read Saturday night and again Sunday morning. Although we must hear each word of the Megillah, it is customary to make noise whenever Haman the wicked or Haman the son of Hamdata is said. This is to fulfill the Mitzvah of erasing Amalek’s name. A significant part of the Megillah reading is Pirsumei Nissa, publicizing the miracle. Before approaching the king to save the Jewish people, Esther asked Mordechai to gather the Jewish people. It is therefore desirable to have as many people as possible attend the reading.

  The second is Mishloach Manot, sending gifts of food. A minimum of two kinds of food or drink must be sent to a friend on Purim. The custom is to give more than two kinds to many people and that men send to men and women send to women. By including among the recipients Jewish people who are unaccustomed to the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot, we not only share joy but also the beauty of our heritage.

  The third is Matanot Laevyonim, giving charity to at least two poor people on the day of Purim. Giving money to many poor people is a greater Mitzvah than send food to many friends. Gifts to the poor can be sent through emissaries. In the spirit of inclusion, it is a great Mitzvah to encourage others to participate in Matanot Laevyonim.

  The fourth is to eat a festive meal on the day of Purim. It is customary to say L’chayim at this meal. There is a special addition to the Grace after meals on Purim. The true joy of the festive meal is when we invite guests and share the joy with others.

  Purim teaches us that the survival of the Jewish people is fully in the hands of Hashem. When we place our faith fully in Him, even our darkest hour can be transformed into our greatest joy.

  In this month when mourning was replaced by festivity, may the pain of the last moments of exile be replaced by the joy of redemption.

  L’chayim and Purim Sameach!!

Rabbi Biggs

If you wish to donate for destitute families in Israel, please email me at rabbibiggs@gmail.com

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There is a great Purim Website at http://www.chabadgn.com/holidays/purim

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