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Tetzaveh(Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Tetzaveh 5777

GOOD MORNING!  Were you ever interested in Kabbalah, mysticism? If there is a God, people would love to have a spiritual connection, a feeling of awe and holiness permeating their lives. Most people would love that connection right now without having to study or work for it. Give me a few quick mantras or exercises and connect me up! However, like most things in life, there is no quick fix for a spiritual connection. It does take study, contemplation, effort and action.

Torah is compared to a meal -- the 5 Books of Moses and the Talmud are the bread and the meat, and Kabbalah is the wine. One is supposed to be 40 years old, married and a Talmudic scholar before starting to learn Kabbalah. If one drinks wine before consuming the staples there can be problems.

The Talmud (Tractate Hagigah) tells the story of 4 people who entered the Pardes ("Orchard" -- a code word for studying Kabbalah). One died, one became a heretic, one went insane and the fourth, Rabbi Akiva, went in and came out unscathed. Be that as it may, there are some legitimate efforts to bring practical wisdom under the framework of Kabbalah. It tends to intrigue people if the wisdom is packaged as Kabbalah, mysticism.

Rabbi Max Weiman, an Aish alumnus, created a website, Rabbi Weiman writes, "Kabbalah is Jewish mysticism. It has many aspects and has been around as long as there have been people in existence. God taught Moses things He wanted written down. That's the Written Tradition, or the Torah. God also taught Moses things He wanted to remain an Oral Tradition. Most of this is contained in the Talmud. Kabbalah is part of the Oral Tradition.

"Many insights into life's ultimate purpose can be understood through the concepts of Kabbalah. You can also learn invaluable things about yourself from studying these mystical concepts.

"The Torah and Jewish Law teach people how to relate to God. The Kabbalah teaches us how God relates to us. It's a description of the spiritual underpinnings of the universe.

"Even though much of this wisdom is kept among those that are on the level to understand and use it properly, there is an incredible amount that is open to the masses. Many people can gain tremendous insights and improve their lives and connection to the Infinite Being."

Rabbi Weiman shares with us a short list of ideas that I think are of tremendous value to keep in mind:



  1. Everything has meaning and purpose. All the events of our life are lessons.
  2. The Creator is always trying to help you with your challenges.
  3. The purpose of life is to grow spiritually by dealing with life's tests.
  4. God is constantly communicating with us.
  5. All challenges have positive elements. Everything is for your good.
  6. God is hidden in all the events of your life.
  7. You can learn something important from every person in your life.
  8. Prayer isn't just pouring out your heart or asking God for favors, but it is also a tool for meditation and introspection.
  9. Happiness is a tool, not a goal. Ask yourself, "What do you really want out of life?"
  10. With God's help you can accomplish anything.


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Torah Portion of the week

Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20 - 30:10

The Torah continues this week with the command to make for use in the Mishkan, the Portable Sanctuary -- oil for the Menorah and clothes for the Cohanim, the Priests. It then gives instruction for the consecration of the Cohanim and the Outer Altar. The portion concludes with instructions for constructing the Incense Altar.

* * *

Dvar Torah
from Twerski on Chumash by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.

Purim begins after Shabbat Tetzaveh, therefore, it is appropriate to include a Purim message here.

Commenting on the verse, "And these days of Purim should never cease among the Jews" (Esther 9:28), the Midrash states that even when all the other festivals are discontinued, Purim will always remain. The commentaries give various interpretations on what this Midrash may mean, but it is evident from this Midrash that Purim has extraordinary significance, and surpasses in importance even the Scriptural festivals of Passover, Shavuos and Succos. What is it that gives Purim such great significance?

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev explains that supernatural miracles, great as they may be, are of only a temporary duration. The salvation of the Israelites by the dividing of the waters of the Reed Sea was indeed an exceptional occurrence, but it was witnessed only by that generation, and for us it is a historical incident. We do not expect miracles of that type to occur.

The salvation of Purim, however, did not consist of any supernatural miracle. Every event could be seen as a perfectly natural happening. A king becomes intoxicated and in his drunken rage has the queen executed. He chooses a Jewess as his new queen, and she conceals her origin. Her uncle discovers a palace intrigue to assassinate the king, and the queen reports this to the king, thereby saving his life. The anti-semitic prime minister extracts a decree from the king to exterminate the Jews in his kingdom. The king is reminded that it was a Jew who saved his life. The queen turns the king's wrath against the prime minister, who is executed. The queen reveals her Jewish origin, her uncle is appointed as prime minister and the Jews are saved.

It is only when the entire sequence of events is put together that one sees the guiding Hand of God saving His people.... Miracles such as these are with us today. No laws of nature are suspended, but the guiding Hand of God causes "natural" events to occur in such a way that results in our salvation.

The realization that everything in the world is orchestrated by God is a fundamental principle of Judaism. This teaching of Purim should be with us every day of every year. As we say in the Amidah (daily prayers), "for Your miracles are with us every day." This belief enables us to entrust our lives to the care of God, and should stimulate us to live our lives according to His commandments.


Candle Lighting Times

March 10
(or go to

Jerusalem 5:08
Guatemala 5:54 - Hong Kong 6:13 - Honolulu 6:21
J'Burg 6:11 - London 5:39 - Los Angeles 5:39
Melbourne 7:29 - Mexico City 6:27 - Miami 6:09
New York 5:39 - Singapore 7:00 - Toronto 6:00

Quote of the Week

Live simply, love generously,
care deeply, speak kindly,
and leave the rest to God
--  Ronald Reagan



With Deep Appreciation to
With Special Thanks to
James & Patricia


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Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Copyright © 2018 Rabbi Kalman Packouz

March 5, 2017

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