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Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 6 Mishna 3: Respect for those that have taught us

“He who learns from his fellowman a single chapter, a single halachah, a single verse, a single Torah statement or even a single letter, must treat him with honor. For this we find in the case of David, King of Israel, who learned nothing from Achitophel except for two things, yet called him his teacher, his guide, his intimate, as it is said: ‘You are a man of my measure, my guide and my intimate. One can derive from this the following: If David King of Israel who learned nothing from Achitophel except for two things, called him his teacher, his guide, his intimate one who learns from his fellowman a single chapter, a single halacha, a single verse, a single statement, or even a single letter, how much more must he treat him with honor! And honor is due only for Torah as it is aid, ‘The wise shall inherit honor…’ and the perfect shall inherit good. And only Torah is truly good, as it is said, ‘I have given you a good teaching, do not forsake My Torah'”.
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Parshas Titzaveh: Does what we wear matter?

“He who learns from his fellowman a single chapter, a single halachah, a single verse, a single Torah statement or even a single letter, must treat him with honor. For this we find in the case of David, King of Israel, who learned nothing from Achitophel except for two things, yet called him his teacher, his guide, his intimate, as it is said: ‘You are a man of my measure, my guide and my intimate. One can derive from this the following: If David King of Israel who learned nothing from Achitophel except for two things, called him his teacher, his guide, his intimate one who learns from his fellowman a single chapter, a single halacha, a single verse, a single statement, or even a single letter, how much more must he treat him with honor! And honor is due only for Torah as it is aid, ‘The wise shall inherit honor…’ and the perfect shall inherit good. And only Torah is truly good, as it is said, ‘I have given you a good teaching, do not forsake My Torah'”.

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Parshas Vaera: Look at the Goodness G-d does for us!

“Hashem said unto Moshe, ‘Say to Aharon Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt; over their rivers, over their canals, over their reservoirs, and over all their gatherings of water, and they shall become blood; there shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in the wooden and stone vessels” (Exodus 7:19)

The plague of blood is the first of the plagues that will go on to decimate Egypt. When we read about the plagues and hear about the miracles that occurred in Egypt, we may wonder what was so great about them in the first place? G-d is the one in charge of nature and controls it, so can’t He change things if He so desires for whatever reason? Certainly He can and did but what is the deeper message here?

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Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 6 Mishna 2: The Truly Free Person is one who learns Torah

“Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Every day a heavenly voice resounds from Mount Horeb , proclaiming these words: ‘Woe to the people for their disregard of the Torah! For whoever does not occupy himself with the Torah is considered rebuked as it is said, ‘Like a golden ring in the snout of a swine is a fair woman lacking in taste’. The Torah says, ‘The tablets were the work of G-d and the writing was the writing of G-d, engraved upon the tablets.’ Read not here charut meaning engraved but heruth which means freedom, for none can be considered free except those who occupy themselves with the study of the Torah. Anyone who occupies himself with the study shall be exalted, as it is said, ‘Through the Torah gift one attains the heritage of G-d; by the heritage of G-d one is raised to high places'”.

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Parshas Shemos: Why did G-d Send us to Egypt anyway?

“The daughter of Pharaoh said, ‘Go. The girl went and summoned teh boy’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this boy and nurse him for me and I will give your pay. So the woman took the boy and nursed him. The boy grew up and she brought him to the daughter of Pharaoh and he was a son to her. She called his name Moshe as she said, ‘For I drew him from the water” (Shemos 2:5-10)

Moshe would not nurse from a non-Jewish woman and Moshe was then nursed by his mother. He then is taken by Pharaoh’s daughter and she essentially raises him in the her father’s palace. So right under Pharaoh’s nose is the one that will save the Jewish people from his clutches. Why did G-d set it up this way?

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Parshas Vayechi: G-d Runs the World!

“His brothers themselves also went and flung themselves before him and said, ‘We are ready to be your slaves.’ But Yosef said to them, ‘Fear not, for am I instead of G-d? Although you intended me harm, G-d intended it for good in order to accomplish it is as clear as this day that a vast people be kept alive” (Genesis 50:18-20).

After everything that Yosef has been through, he realizes where everything comes from and that even if we don’t understand why we go through certain things, G-d knows what he is doing! He reassures the brothers and tells them not to worry because G-d makes everything happen even though we are not privy to the why’s about it!
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Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 26: No Pain no Gain!

“Ben He-He said: According to the effort is the reward”

Isn’t true that anything that comes easy probably isn’t worth it? Here the Mishna tells us that we will reap the benefits of our actions by putting maximum effort into something. It can’t be with that type of effort we will come out on the short end of the stick.

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ParshasVayigash: The path to Jewish Continuity

“And he sent Yehuda before him to Yosef to show the way before him to Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen” (Genesis 46:28)

Why is Yehuda sent to Goshen? The commentaries explain that the reason is so that he would be able to set up an educational infrastructure which would be ready when the rest of the people would come down there. This is important because before a Jew moves into a community they have to see what the presence is of the Jews that live there.

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Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 25: The Torah is not Obsolete!

“Ben Bag Bag said: “Study Torah again and again, for everything is contained in it; constantly examine it, grow old and gray over it, and swerve not from it, for there is nothing more excellent than it”

The Mishna seems obvious here. Don’t we already know how much effort it takes to learn Torah? Isn’t the only way to grasp it properly is to constantly review, do some more review and then review again some more? What is the novelty here that the Mishna is trying to teach us?

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ParshasMiketz: G-d is Orchestrating our Lives!

“And Yosef saw his brethren and he knew them but made himself strange to them and spoke roughly to them to buy food; and he said tho them, ‘Where do you come from? And they said From the land of Canaan to buy food” (Genesis 42:7)

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