Would the Rav please provide a bit of background information? I am a sixth-generation Rav on my father’s side. While my father was born in America, his forebears were born in Hungary. All were Hungarian Rabbanim from the town of Szerencs in northern Hungary; my great-great-grandfather, Rav Avraham Shmuel Goldberger, z”l, came to America in the 1890s. My great-grandfather, his son, Harav Yehuda Leib, z”l, was a Rav in Szerencs and then in New York City on the Lower East Side, where he served as Rav at Chevra Bachurim Anshei Ungaren, located on Third Avenue and Avenue C. He w...
1) Beis Hamikdash - Place of Connection Ramban and other Rishonim talk about the mishkan and the amazing and beautiful ideas which can be learned from these parshiyos. Ramban explains that the mishkan is a place of connection with the Rebbono Shel Olam and we will learn how to connect with Hashem through learning these parshiyos. Hidden Dwelling Ramban writes his famous line (Shemos 25:1), “V’sod hamishkan,” the secret of the mishkan, “Hu sheyihiyeh hakavod”, is that the honor of G-d, “asher shachein al Har Sinai” which dwelled on Har Sinai, “shochein alav b’nistar”, dwells in the mishkan in a hidden manner. When Hashem revealed Himself at Sinai, that was an open revelation where Hashem opened up Shamayim, like the Ramban descr...
Tomorrow, 2 Adar, is the yahrtzeit of my Zadie, Rabbi Yaakov Bulka. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak, z"l. In this week's parsha, as part of the description of the construction of the mishkan, the beams are described (36:29) as being paired at the bottom as well as the top. The terminlogoy used  (26:24) is, "and they shall be soamim on the bottom and together they shall be samim on top." The words toamim and tamim mean essentially the same thing. They are to be paired. As Rashi describes, the beams had to be flush with each other from the bottom to the top and were joined together with a ring on top. Why is a different word used for the bottom and the top?   When Rivkah gives birth to Yaakov and Eisav, the pasuk ...
Russian officials had disdainful words Saturday for a U.S. indictment that charged 13 Russians with interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Children’s stories, the plot of a preposterous Hollywood movie and “just blabber” were a few of the glib analogies they pressed into service. The language, while dismissive, suggested that Russia feels cornered by the unrelenting allegations that the Kremlin had a role in President Donald Trump’s election. Repeated denials and hope that the intrigue would fade away have been Moscow’s strategy for maintaining the popular expectation that its ties with Washington would improve under Trump. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials have deflected the suspicion that Trump colluded with Moscow and the ...
Top Russian and American officials exchanged barbs Saturday in Germany over the U.S. indictment of 13 Russians accused of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump's national security advisor, said at the Munich Security Conference that the federal indictments showed the U.S. was becoming "more and more adept at tracing the origins of this espionage and subversion." "As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain," McMaster told a Russian delegate to the conference. Just minutes before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had dismissed the indictments as "just blabber," according to remarks through an interpreter. "I have no response," Lavrov...
Read More
President Donald Trump traveled to Broward County, Fla., on Friday to visit with victims who were injured in the grisly school shooting in Parkland this week. A series of images posted on Instagram shows the president and First Lady Melania Trump, who were scheduled to be at Trump’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago this weekend, speaking with victims and their families at the hospital and posing with medical staff. “Our entire Nation, with one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims and their families in Parkland, Florida,” reads a lengthy caption accompanying the post. The pair also used the trip to meet with local law enforcement officials, in an effort to “learn everything we can” and “secure our schools, and tackle the difficult iss...
Outgoing Chief State Archivist Dr. Yaakov L.M. Fattal warned that most of Israel’s archives are closed in the name of national security concerns and will never be opened, Haaretz reported. The hidden material includes material potentially embarrassing to the state, such as human rights violations, he explained. He complained that the archive is not handled in a manner befitting a democratic state; even released material is subject to unreasonable restrictions. For example, why were the minutes of meetings of the inner cabinet from just before the Six-Day War only released now after 50 years? 500,000 people used the State Archives in 2017. 19 million of its 400 million pages are available on the department’s website.
The alleged scheme was run by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm based in St. Petersburg, Russia Friday's election-interference indictment brought by Robert Mueller, the U.S. special counsel, underscores how thoroughly social-media companies like Facebook and Twitter were played by Russian propagandists. And it's not clear if the companies have taken sufficient action to prevent something similar from happening again. Thirteen Russians, including a businessman close to Vladimir Putin, were charged Friday in a plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election through social media propaganda. The indictment said the Russians' conspiracy aimed, in part, to help Republican Donald Trump and harm the prospects of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The all...
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Friday he is very close to striking a deal with the FBI over releasing his classified countermemo that offers a point-by-point rebuttal of the GOP surveillance memo released earlier this month. “I think we’re very close to reaching an agreement on it,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said during a Center on Foreign Relations event. Read more at The Hill.
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Terumah - Beam Me Up!Inviting Hashem into Our Lives

1) Beis Hamikdash - Place of Connection

Ramban and other Rishonim talk about the mishkan and the amazing and beautiful ideas which can be learned from these parshiyos. Ramban explains that the mishkan is a place of connection with the Rebbono Shel Olam and we will learn how to connect with Hashem through learning these parshiyos.

Hidden Dwelling

Ramban writes his famous line (Shemos 25:1), “V’sod hamishkan,” the secret of the mishkan, “Hu sheyihiyeh hakavod”, is that the honor of G-d, “asher shachein al Har Sinai” which dwelled on Har Sinai, “shochein alav b’nistar”, dwells in the mishkan in a hidden manner. When Hashem revealed Himself at Sinai, that was an open revelation where Hashem opened up Shamayim, like the Ramban describes, like the pesukim describes: As you saw Hashem there. He spoke to the Jewish people and took away all doubts from their heart, and forever this nation will carry around the emunah in the Rebono Shel Olam who created the world, took us out of Egypt, gave us the Torah and the mitzvos, will give us reward and punishment.  

The mishkan is a place where the Jews, after they walk away from Sinai, they need to preserve what they learned and invite Hashem in hiding, in the hidden part of our lives, like the Chovos HaLevavos refers to the chochmas hamatzpune, the internal world, our subconscious, our thoughts, that’s where the Rebono Shel Olam dwells, and that’s what the mishkan is all about. Just as Hashem revealed Himself at Har Sinai to give the Torah, so too we ask Hashem to dwell with us, to live with us and to be part of our lives. Hashem dwells where he is invited in, b’chol makom asher azkir es Sh’mi, avo aleicha u’veirachticha. Hashem will come in wherever He is invited. Our job, as we learn through the parshiyos of the mishkan is to open our hearts and invite Hashem into our houses, into our lives.

Human Invite

Hashem gaves us the opportunity to invite him into our hearts and minds. The following is a fascinating story that shows how each one of us is really an embodiment of Godliness.

I would like to share with you a phenomenal story which I personally verified and received permission to print from the person involved, Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf, Executive Director of the Seymour J. Abrams Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School of Chicago. It was 1989, and Rabbi Wolf was in need of funds for the day school. They had just launched a program whose mission was to provide Russian immigrants with a Jewish education, connecting them back to their roots that the iron curtain had tried to separate them from. Mr. Seymour J. Abrams, a renowned philanthropist, was CEO of Brickyard Bank of Chicago where the day school held an account.

One fateful day, a conversation took place that would forever link Mr. Abrams and the school. Rabbi Wolf was casually talking with Mr. Abrams who then wished to expand his extensive Judaic collection. At the time, Chabad was a powerful organization in Eastern Europe and Mr. Abrams was hoping to enlist their help in obtaining some Judaic items from Russia. He mentioned to the Rabbi that he very much wanted to get hold of some precious Judaic and old Sifrei Torah located there. The Rabbi had a brainstorm and promised him that he would have the Sifrei Torah in a few hours! Mr. Abrams was perplexed by this offer. How could this job be carried out so speedily?

Rabbi Wolf then left and returned shortly after. With him he brought two young Russian boys who had just arrived with their parents from the Soviet Union. “Here they are,” said the Rabbi. Mr. Abrams requested an explanation. Rabbi Wolf then passionately declared, “here are the Eastern European Sifrei Torah that you wanted, they are living Sifrei Torah!”

Mr. Abrams saw the children’s innocent faces and their deep desire to connect to their Jewish heritage. He was truly moved. With tears in his eyes, he expressed to the Rabbi how touched he was by the demonstration and asked to know how he could help them. Immediately, he paid a full scholarship for the two boys. The school’s relationship with Mr. Abrams grew steadily and in 1992 he generously sponsored the dedication of the entire school, which now bears his name. His philanthropy has continued ever since and we pray that Hashem grant him only health and success to continue his generosity. All of this began with the appreciation of how precious a Jewish soul is and how every person is a living Sefer Torah! (I sincerely thank Rabbi Wolf for sharing this truly touching and relevant story with me. It is a lesson for all of us. Also, thank you to Ari Kirshner for making the introduction.)    

2) Why Repeat Luchos?

Ramban (Shemos 25:21) has a question, when  describing the aron, it says that you should have the aron and put the luchos inside, and the aron is described as being this box. We know there was wood; there was gold. Then there’s the kapores which is the top part, and then the keruvim on top of that.  Ramban is a little bit confused about what the pasuk is saying over here. We already were told that inside the aron you should put the eidos, the luchos.  That was already said earlier so, why does the Torah repeat this exact say direction about the aron.

Rashi: Telling Us When

Rashi answers that it’s coming to teach us that: Only while the aron is standing there, without a kapores covering is when you should put the eidos there, and then afterwards you should put the kapores on top of that. Ramban rejects this because if this was a tzivui, then the pesukim don’t seem to be expressing that because it says the aron could be called an ‘aron’ even when the kapores is there, so I don’t see any indication that you’re supposed to put the luchos inside only now?

Ramban: What Creates the Eidus

Ramban rejects all this, and says: What’s going on here is that when it comes to the keruvim the Torah describes what they are. They’re angels that spread their wings out, but it doesn’t tell us at all what their purpose is, what are they about? Therefore, this pasuk is coming to teach us  a new idea, that you should put the kapores, which is the top part of the aron, and on top of that it has keruvim on it, and what is the point?  You should put it because that’s where Hashem will speak from. I will come and speak to Moshe there, and I will dwell my shechinah there and I will speak. Hashem says, “I will speak mibein shnei hakeruvim, from between the two keruvim. That’s the whole purpose. That’s what creates the aron as the eidus.  It’s the place where Hashem’s voice emanates. Just like we find by the merkava, the chariot of G-d where Yechezkal describes that he saw the keruvim, and that’s why Hashem is called “yoshev hakeruvim”, the one who dwells in the keruvim.

Place of Peace

Obviously these are sodos HaTorah, and this is all from the Ramban, but what I take from this is a very interesting idea which is: Why is Hashem’s voice emanating from the keruvim? We know that the keruvim reflected Hashem and the Jews. When the Jews were close to Hashem, they were hugging each other, they were facing one another. But when the Jews were distant from Hashem they were looking away. So Hashem dwells in a place of Shalom. Right?  “Ein kli machzik beracha l’Yisrael kimo shalom.” Hashem dwells in a place of Shalom. That’s what brings Hashem’s shechinah down, and that’s the lesson that we’re supposed to learn from the keruvim that Hashem says: This is where my voice emanates when there’s peace.  That’s where you hear it.

How to Initiate

My daughter Ahuva asked me a question, which I think is a beautiful question. Why is it that in Hebrew, when we say “Shalom aleichem", and the person who replies reverses the order.  They say, “Aleichem Shalom.”  What’s the difference?  If someone says, “Good morning,” you say back to them, “Good morning.” You don’t say “morning good.”  So, why do you reverse it?

I believe that the p’shat is, and I’m sure someone has said this before me that the word shalom means peace, but it’s also the name of Hashem.  Chosamo shel Hakadosh Baruch Hu is emes, and Chazal tell us in other places that Hashem is shalom as well, and so it’s Hashem’s name, and so the first person that’s offering “Hello”, a warm hello and sign of peace, they have the privilege that they have the first words that come out of their mouth could be Hashem’s name.  Why?  Because it says, “Bakeish shalom v’rodfeihu.”  And, there’s many beautiful midrashim on that.  It says, “Bakeish shalom v’rodfeihu,” you should always pursue peace even if the person that you’re trying to pursue is not interested.  Try.  There’s a tremendous zechus for a person to always try to make shalom. Therefore, the person who is trying to pursue the peace and trying to welcome the peace, he has a zechus that he gets to say Hashem’s name first. We show the chashivus of how great he is.  He gets to say, “Shalom”, Hashem's name, first, because one who is pursuing the peace, and actively putting himself forward to ask for peace, he gets the credit that he gets to say Hashem’s name first because he’s closest to Hashem.  The next person who’s responding, it’s beautiful that he is accepting, but he only gets to say Hashem’s name as the second word, aleichem shalom. In life we should always strive to be the ones to offer shalom first, to offer that peace first because that’s what Hashem wants from us.

3) Place for Blessing

“Zer zahav saviv.” (Shemos 25:24) The shulchan had a golden crown. Ramban brings down from Rashi that it’s a siman for malchus. The shulchan represents osheir and gedulah, wealth and honor.  Shulchan melachim that we always talk about, the table of the king, that’s a place where his honor is shown. Ramban states this is the sod of the shulchan that the beracha of Hashem only falls upon something that is present and available for it to fall upon. “Vayar Elokim es kol asher asah, v’hinei tov me’od,” there needs to be some root of item that’s there, and then the beracha can expand upon that. Just like Elisha said to the woman who was asking for a miracle and needed money: What’s in the house? The beracha fell upon her oil, but as  soon as she ran out of vessels, “ein kaili,” there was no more kli, and, therefore, it stopped. So, too the Shulchan is a place, the Ramban is saying al pi sod, that the bread is there.  We put it there, but there’s a beracha mitzuyah b’issah, that even a little tiny piece of the lechem hapanim filled the kohein up. There had to be something. Hashem always wants us to do some hishtadlus, put something there, but He’ll do the rest.  And, that’s why it stays hot the whole week as well.

Kli To Receive Ruchniyus

The Rebono Shel Olam is unlimited in His ability to give us.  Just like Elisha told the woman: Just keep pouring that oil.  Hashem is unlimited.  The oil will never stop.  But, if you run out of keli, you run out of a vessel, and you’re not able to receive it, that’s where it stops. This is how ruchniyus works as well. However much we are harcheiv pi, v’amaleihu, how much we open our mouth and say, “Rebono Shel Olam I want the ruchniyus,” that’s how much we’re going to get, and however much we say: Okay.  No more.  I can’t handle anymore.  I’m not pursuing anymore, that’s when Hashem stops.

4) Lechem Hapanim: Why This Name?

It’s a machlokes rishonim exactly what lechem hapanim means (Shemos 25:30). The pasuk calls the lechem panim. Ramban brings down a couple of interesting p’shatim which are always enlightening.  The first p’shat is Rashi, “Sheyeish lo panim roim l’kan u’l’kan.”  So, it has two sides or two faces and they go in different directions.  And, that’s what it means.

In Front of Hashem

Ramban brings down a p’shat according to Ibn Ezra, and he says they’re called lechem hapanim because they were in front of Hashem always. Their name means the bread that’s constantly in front of me. That’s what it means.

Bitachon in Quest for Parnassah

Ramban brings down al derech haemes, al pi, kabballah, the word l’fany means that because it’s places in the North, birchas Hashem hi t’ashir, Hashem’s blessing makes us grow wealthy.  We know that the tzafon, the north, always represents the place which is hidden.  The shechina is not there.  Mi’tzafon tipatach hara’ah.  The gemara tells us that evil comes from the North.  Why is that?  Because the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, and it stays mostly in the darom, south.  That’s why it’s called dar, darom, that’s where the great sun dwells, and tzafun means hidden. The North, tzafun, is the darkest area where the sun shines the least. Like we have in the haggaddah: tzafun, something that is hidden away, the afikomen.

The place of rah is the place of challenge where man happens, where man fights the milchamah of going out to earn parnassah, which is exactly what lechem hapanim is about, parnassah.  Hashem feeds us.  With that kli zayim, man fights his battle, the zayin is the zan and mefarneis, where he recognizes that Hashem is the one who is feeding you or will you fight the battle and get distracted by it. Lechem, bread that we fight for is from the word milchama, locheim, to fight.  It’s a battle, and in that tzafun, that north where it’s located you have an opportunity to either connect to Hashem very deeply or, chas v’shalom, to be distracted and think that “kochi v’otzem yadi asah li es hachayil hazeh”.  

Lechem hapanim l’fany tamid hints to the ability to recognize that it’s in the area where I’m going to be fighting for parnassah, and I’m going to be fighting and looking at Olam Hazeh and thinking that, yeah, I need to work harder in order to make money, but when I still keep it hot from erev Shabbos to erev Shabbos and when I have bracha mitzuyah b’isa, when the Rebono Shel Olam takes care of me because of my bitachon, that’s the biggest challenges.

We should be zocheh to open our hearts and minds and to accept Hashem’s bracha.


Rabbi Yosef Tropper is a rav and psychotherapist. Learn more and subscribe at ParshaThemes.com

Read More
Jerusalem, Israel – Feb. 17, 2018 – A fire in the dirah of Mir bachurim in Yerushalayim, presumanly caused by an overloaded electric panel, destroyed their possessions, but, b’Chasdei Hashem, there were no injuries.
The public soon will learn who's been visiting key White House agencies. Public Citizen says the U.S. Secret Service has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the consumer advocacy group over visitor logs for four White House agencies. The agencies are the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality. Public Citizen alleged in the suit that the Trump administration was violating the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release information about visitors to these agencies. Under the settlement, visitor records from the past year will be available for review in the agencies' online reading rooms on a monthly basis. Public Citizen says th...
SimchasSimchas Simcha
Major General Yoav Mordechai urges Gaza residents 'not to let Hamas lead them to hell,' says attack on IDF soldiers 'sign of cowardice.' Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Major General Yoav Mordechai posted a message to Gaza's citizens on his Arabic-language Facebook page. "Like we promised - we keep our word!" he wrote. "We attacked important terror targetsbelonging to Hamas, who is responsible for Gaza. Gaza residents, stay away from the border and do not allow Hamas to take advantage of you. Your hope is not with disturbance of order near the security fence on the Gaza's border." "Unfortunately, your money, which could have been a source of hope for you, is being invested in Hamas' tunnels and milita...
IDF forces shoot Gazans attemptin The IDF on Saturday night attacked a cell of at least four terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israeli territory from Rafah in southern Gaza. An IDF tank shot at the suspects, and Arab media claims two were injured and the other two were killed. Earlier on Saturday evening, a rocket fired from Gaza hit an Israeli home in Sha'ar Hanegev. The rocket hit the building's roof, damaging the structure. By a miracle, the rocket did not explode, and the family members, all of whom were at home at the time, were not injured. The IDF also attacked six Hamas terror targets, including terror tunnels running from the Zeitoun area into Israeli territory. g to illegally cross into Israel.
Nichum AveilimNichum Aveilim Aveilim
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook south and central Mexico Friday, causing people to flee swaying buildings and office towers in the country's capital, where residents were still jittery after a deadly quake five months ago. Crowds gathered on Mexico City's central Reforma Avenue as well as on streets in Oaxaca state's capital, nearer the quake's epicenter, which was in a rural area close to Mexico's Pacific coast and the border with Guerrero state. There were no immediate reports of deaths. "It was awful," said Mercedes Rojas Huerta, 57, who was sitting on a bench outside her home in Mexico City's trendy Condesa district, too frightened to go back inside. "It started to shake; the cars were going here and there. What do I do...
Explosives detonate near IDF forces patrolling Gaza border, severely injuring four soldiers. A hidden roadside bomb detonated Saturday afternoon near IDF Golani Brigade forces patrolling the Gaza-Israel border fence. The soldiers approached a flag attached to the fence, setting off the bomb, which seems to have been buried there during Arab protests, which acted as cover, on Friday. An IDF source said the detonation occurred at 3:40p.m. In a statement, an IDF spokesperson confirmed that two IDF soldiers were severely injured in the blast. A third IDF soldier was lightly injured in the blast, and a fourth was moderately injured. All were transferred to Soroka hospital in Beer Sheva for medical treatment, where the two severely injured soldiers underwent surgery. All the soldiers'...
Job Listings Jobs
The Dow extended its winning streak Friday, though stocks ended the day mixed after authorities revealed indictments related to the investigation of Russia. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 19 points, or 0.08%, to 25,220. The S&P 500 added 1.02 points, or 0.04%, to 2,732. The Nasdaq Composite fell 16.96 points, or 0.23%, to 7,239. Stocks have mounted a six-day rally in the wake of last week’s broad sell-off, bringing all three major indexes back into positive territory on the year. Concerns over rising inflation were subdued this week, even as the Labor Department reported a stronger increase in consumer prices than expected. Wall Street briefly erased its gains Friday after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of committing &ldq...
Facial hair is trendy worldwide these days, but in Jerusalem beards have never gone out of style, projecting religious mysticism, nationalism and ideals of masculinity. For men of all faiths in the holy city, a beard can be an important statement of religious devotion, connecting past generations to God through the tangled strands of history. Facial hair also reflects social mores in many communities. In some cases, it can even reflect one's political views. Nowhere is this more visible than in Jerusalem's Old City, where bearded ultra-Orthodox Jews, Christian clerics and devout Muslims all come into contact in a densely packed mix of some of the world's most sensitive holy sites. For Eitan Press, 40, growing a beard is a spiritual journey that embodies ancient concepts o...
Classifieds Classifieds
From an early morning shacharis in Virginia, to the Capitol, to a White House briefing and then back to the Senate Russell Office building, the second day of Agudath Israel of America’s leadership mission to Washington D.C. was packed with opportunities for participants to discuss the Agudah’s 2018 federal agenda with influential elected officials and politicians. The first session of the day, chaired by the Agudah’s national director for state relations, Rabbi A.D. Motzen, began at 9 AM at the U.S. Capitol House Visitor Center and addressed crucial issues including Israeli security, a high priority agenda item that has been enjoying bipartisan support, concerns about Iran, BDS, anti-Semitism, school choice and religious liberties. The mission was addressed by...
Jerusalem - Ben-Gurion Airport opened the fourth passenger wing in its main terminal on Thursday, a sign that Israeli air travel continues to expand amid a growing economy and calmer security. The new extension in Terminal 3, Wing E, will accommodate up to 1,800 more passengers per hour, allowing for dozens of additional incoming and outgoing flights daily. That should reduce the load on the other congested wings and improve service provided for passengers. Wing E was designed by Israeli star architect Moshe Safdie and assisted by architect Irit Kochavi. “As part of a fruitful cooperation with the Israel Airports Authority, the fourth wing that my office was responsible for designing will enable the expansion of the capacity of those departing and entering Israel, thus further ope...
More articles