Shabbat Shalom Weekly: Vayikra 5768
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Vayikra(Leviticus 1-5)

Vayikra 5768

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GOOD MORNING! Remember these names: Yochai Lipshitz, Neria Cohen, Yonosan Yitzchak Eldar, Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, Roie Roth, Segev Peniel Avichayil, Avraham Dovid Moses, Doron Meherete. These are the young men who died in last week's terrorist attack in Jerusalem. They, and all of the victims of terror, deserve at least a few moments of our time to think of their lives, the pain to their families, the pain to the Jewish people and the pain to the Almighty. They deserve our prayers for them and their families.

It is relatively so easy for us to go on with our lives, while so many suffer. We cannot let ourselves be overwhelmed with the grief, but we cannot ignore it. On the door of my office I have a poster with the photos of over 1,000 Israelies murdered by Arab terrorists. It reminds me to thank the Almighty for all that I have and to help others who are suffering and in need. There are several organizations working to help the families of victims of terror. One organization worthy of support is the One Family Fund (http://www.OneFamilyFund.org).

Please pray for those wounded in that attack: Naftali ben Gila, Shimon Yechiel ben Tirza, Nadav ben Hadasa, Yosef ben Zehara, Reuven ben Noami, Elchanan Yosef ben Zehara.

Something else you might remember: March 13, 1964. 3:15 am Friday morning. Forty-four years ago. That is the date when Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death near her Queens, NY home. Over a half hour span the neighbors (the NY Times reported 38 people) watched - and no one called the police. Though the attacker left after stabbing her twice, no one went to her aid. He returned twice more to finish the deed.

The NY Times published an article 2 weeks later entitled, "Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police." When asked why he didn't call the police, one neighbor responded, "I didn't want to get involved." Though later investigation showed that there were perhaps only 12 neighbors who witnessed the scene, none saw the entire sequence of the 3 attacks - and no one called the police. The neighbors saw each other and assumed that someone else surely must have called the police.

Mark Gado writes in an article: "One dynamic brought forth was the 'Bystander Effect'. This theory speculates that as the 'number of bystanders increases, the likelihood of any one bystander helping another decreases.' As a result, additional time will pass before anyone seeks outside help for a person in distress. Another hypothesis is something called the 'Diffusion of Responsibility'. This is simply a decrease in the feeling of personal responsibility one feels when in the presence of many other people. The greater the number of bystanders, the less responsibility the individual feels. In cases where there are many people present during an emergency, it becomes much more likely that any one individual will simply do nothing."

What does the Torah say about personal responsibility? The Torah states, "...You shall not stand idly by while your fellow's blood is being shed..." (Leviticus 19:16). We have a personal responsibility to be involved. Rashi writes, do not stand idly by "to watch him die when you can save him. For instance, if he is drowning in a river or if an animal or bandits are coming upon him." If one cannot go himself, he is obligated to call others to the rescue.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 73a) is the source of Rashi's examples. The Talmud also teaches there that if you have evidence and are in a position to testify on behalf of your fellow, you are not permitted to remain silent.

The Code of Jewish Law, the Shulchan Aruch, sets forth, "Although one is not required to endanger his life to save another, he should not be overly protective of his own safety" (Choshen Mishpat 426:2).

A living example of what is written in the Code of Jewish Law is Yitzhak Dadon, a student at Mercaz HaRav. Yitzhak had his handgun with him. When he heard the firing, he cocked his gun, went to the roof overlooking the study hall and waited for the terrorist. He shot the terrorist twice, wounding him. The terrorist continued firing even after he was hurt ... until an IDF officer arrived, shot and killed him.

For more on "Taking Responsibility" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!

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Torah Portion of the Week
Vayikra

The book of Vayikra (Leviticus) primarily deals with what are commonly called "sacrifices" or "offerings." According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch: a "sacrifice" implies giving up something that is of value to oneself for the benefit of another. An "offering" implies a gift which satisfies the receiver. The Almighty does not need our gifts. He has no needs or desires. The Hebrew word is korban, which is best translated as a means of bringing oneself into a closer relationship with the Almighty. The offering of korbanot was only for our benefit to come close to the Almighty.

Ramban, a noted Spanish rabbi, explains that through the vicarious experience of what happened to the animal korbanot, the transgressor realized the seriousness of his transgression. This aided him in the process of teshuva - correcting his erring ways.

This week's portion includes the details of various types of korbanot: burnt, flour offering (proof that one does not need to offer "blood" to gain atonement), first grain, peace, sin (private and communal), guilt korbanot (varied upon one's ability to pay), korban for inadvertently expropriating something sacred to God, and also to help atone for dishonesty.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And if any person will sin, and violate one of the commandments of the Almighty which he should not have done, and he did not know, he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity." (Leviticus 5:17)

Why does the Torah prescribe an offering as a punishment for a person who transgresses without intent to transgress?

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, the author of Michtav M'Eliyahu (available in English under the title of Strive for Truth), explains that the Torah wants us to internalize its values and ideals. It is not sufficient for a person to have a superficial knowledge of Torah values. We need, rather, to make them a part of our inner being. The principle is that a person will not forget or make mistakes in regard to matters that are an integral part of his very being.

If you do forget or make mistakes in some matter, it is a sign that those values are not yet really a part of you. By bringing an offering, a person reminds himself to work on internalizing Torah values. This is our constant task - to integrate Torah values until they become so much a part of our personality that we will always remember them.


CANDLE LIGHTING - March 14
(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)

Jerusalem 5:11
Guatemala 5:54 - Hong Kong 6:14 - Honolulu 6:22
J'Burg 6:07 - London 5:44 - Los Angeles 5:42
Melbourne 7:24 - Mexico City 6:27 - Miami 7:12
New York 5:29 - Singapore 6:59 - Toronto 7:05



QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Your beliefs become your thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny.
- Mahatma Gandhi



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Published: March 8, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) Miguel Elias, March 15, 2008 10:38 PM

good

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