A S C Vayigash. Y K Acharei Mot. W V S K Bamidbar. F H F U Shelach. N E R H Shemot. T A M Beshalach. T E L Pinchas. W Y T S Haazinu. O O Mikeitz. R Y C Vayechi. T M S Naso. H O J Chukat. B N C Vaeira. This brings me closer. A member of the prominent Chabad family of Hecht rabbis, on this recent Thursday, Hanoch Hecht sports a distinctive maroon velvet kipa, a light-blue striped suit and an open-collared white shirt.
Despite the cold, he left his coat at home, opting instead for a light brown plaid scarf.
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The rabbi has lived in Dutchess County with his wife, Tzivie, and children for nine years. For people too busy to travel to a class, he brings his classes to them. No homework, no tuition, no pitch to put on tefillin or commit to doing any specific mitzvah. He compares his program to Speed Dating which was invented by another, albeit much larger, Jewish educational organization, Aish HaTorah.
Sometimes, students cancel at the last minute. With Purim approaching, Rabbi Hecht recently touched on some features of the holiday that celebrates Jewish survival in ancient Persia. The Mishnah employed the prohibition of Leviticus to imagine how one could with one action violate up to nine separate commandments. One could 1 plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together in violation of Deuteronomy 2 and 3 that are two animals dedicated to the sanctuary, 4 plowing mixed seeds sown in a vineyard in violation of Deuteronomy , 5 during a Sabbatical year in violation of Leviticus , 6 on a Festival-day in violation of, for example, Leviticus , 7 when the plower is a priest in violation of Leviticus and 8 a Nazirite in violation of Numbers plowing in a contaminated place.
Chananya ben Chachinai said that the plower also may have been wearing a garment of wool and linen in violation of Leviticus and Deuteronomy They said to him that this would not be in the same category as the other violations. He replied that neither is the Nazirite in the same category as the other violations. The Gemara implied that the sin of Moses in striking the rock at Meribah compared favorably to the sin of David.
The Gemara reported that Moses and David were two good leaders of Israel. Moses begged God that his sin be recorded, as it is in Numbers , —24, and —14, and Deuteronomy David, however, begged that his sin be blotted out, as Psalm says, "Happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is pardoned. One had committed an indecent act, while the other had eaten unripe figs of the seventh year in violation of Leviticus The woman who had eaten unripe figs begged the court to make known for what offense she was being flogged, lest people say that she was being punished for the same sin as the other woman.
The court thus made known her sin, and the Torah repeatedly records the sin of Moses. The latter parts of tractate Arakhin in the Mishnah, Tosefta, and Babylonian Talmud interpreted the laws of the jubilee year in Leviticus — The Mishnah taught that the jubilee year had the same ritual as Rosh Hashanah for blowing the shofar and for blessings. But Rabbi Judah said that on Rosh Hashanah, the blast was made with a ram's horn shofar, while on jubilee the blast was made with an antelope's or some say a goat's horn shofar.
The Mishnah taught that exile resulted from among other things transgressing the commandment in Leviticus —5 and Exodus —11 to observe a Sabbatical year for the land. A Midrash interpreted the words "it shall be a jubilee unto you " in Leviticus to teach that God gave the year of release and the jubilee to the Israelites alone, and not to other nations. And similarly, the Midrash interpreted the words "To give you the land of Canaan" in Leviticus to teach that God gave the Land of Israel to the Israelites alone. At a feast, Rabbi served his disciples tender and tough cuts of beef tongue.
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When his disciples chose the tender over the tough, Rabbi instructed them so to let their tongues be tender to one another. Rabbi taught that this was the meaning of Leviticus when Moses admonished: "And if you sell anything. In a Baraita , the Rabbis interpreted the words "you shall not wrong one another" in Leviticus to prohibit verbal wrongs, as Leviticus had already addressed monetary wrongs.
The Baraita cited as examples of verbal wrongs: 1 reminding penitents of their former deeds, 2 reminding converts' children of their ancestors' deeds, 3 questioning the propriety of converts' coming to study Torah, 4 speaking to those visited by suffering as Job's companions spoke to him in Job —7, and 5 directing donkey drivers seeking grain to a person whom one knows has never sold grain.
The Gemara said that Scripture uses the words "and you shall fear your God" as in Leviticus concerning cases where intent matters, cases that are known only to the heart.
Rabbi Johanan said on the authority of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai that verbal wrongs are more heinous than monetary wrongs, because of verbal wrongs it is written in Leviticus , "and you shall fear your God," but not of monetary wrongs in Leviticus Rabbi Eleazar said that verbal wrongs affect the victim's person, while monetary wrongs affect only the victim's money. Rabbi Samuel bar Nahmani said that while restoration is possible in cases of monetary wrongs, it is not in cases of verbal wrongs. And a Tanna taught before Rav Nahman bar Isaac that one who publicly makes a neighbor blanch from shame is as one who sheds blood.
Whereupon Rav Nahman remarked how he had seen the blood rush from a person's face upon such shaming. Rabbi Phinehas in the name of Rabbi Reuben interpreted the words "If your brother grows poor. Rabbi Phinehas taught that God will reward with life anyone who gives a coin to a poor person, for the donor could be giving not just a coin, but life.
Rabbi Phinehas explained that if a loaf costs ten coins, and a poor person has but nine, then the gift of a single coin allows the poor person to buy the loaf, eat, and become refreshed.
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Thus, Rabbi Phinehas taught, when illness strikes the donor, and the donor's soul presses to leave the donor's body, God will return the gift of life. Bearing this in mind, when Rabbi Tanhum's mother went to buy him a pound of meat, she would buy him two pounds, one for him and one for the poor. The Sifra read the words of Leviticus , "You shall support him," to teach that one should not let one's brother who grows poor to fall down. The Sifra compared financial strains to a load on a donkey. While the donkey is still standing in place, a single person can take hold of it and lead it.
But if the donkey falls to the ground, five people cannot pick it up again. The Midrash taught that one who exacts interest from an Israelite thus has no fear of God. Rav Nahman bar Isaac explaining the position of Rabbi Eleazar interpreted the words "that your brother may live with you" in Leviticus to teach that one who has exacted interest should return it to the borrower, so that the borrower could survive economically.
A Baraita considered the case where two people were traveling on a journey, and one had a container of water; if both drank, they would both die, but if only one drank, then that one might reach civilization and survive. Ben Patura taught that it is better that both should drink and die, rather than that only one should drink and see the other die. But Rabbi Akiva interpreted the words "that your brother may live with you " in Leviticus to teach that concern for one's own life takes precedence over concern for another's.
Part of chapter 1 of Tractate Kiddushin in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Jerusalem Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud interpreted the laws of the Hebrew servant in Exodus —11 and —27; Leviticus —55; and Deuteronomy — Abaye said that because the law in Leviticus —43 and elsewhere required the master to treat a Hebrew slave well — and as an equal in food, drink, and sleeping accommodations — it was said that buying a Hebrew slave was like buying a master.
Thus the master could not eat white bread and have the servant eat black bread. The master could not drink old wine and have the servant drink new wine. The master could not sleep on a feather bed and have the servant sleep on straw. Hence, they said that buying a Hebrew servant was like buying a master. Similarly, Rabbi Simeon deduced from the words of Leviticus , "Then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him ," that the master was liable to provide for the servant's children until the servant went out. And Rabbi Simeon deduced from the words of Exodus , "If he is married, then his wife shall go out with him ," that the master was responsible to provide for the servant's wife, as well.
And the Sifra read Leviticus , "whom I took out of the land of Egypt" to imply that God took the Israelites out on the condition that they not be sold as slaves are sold.