August 28 Candle Lighting 7:19 PM Shabbos Ends 8:26
Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area
Welcome to the Kollel Connection. We appreciate your comments and feedback. This weeks Kollel Connection is sponsored in honor of the recent Bar Mitzvah of Yosef Kahn. Mazel Tov to Yosef, to his parents Baruch and Faigy Kahn, and to the entire family.
Please Help!!!!!!!!! We are at the height of preparations for our first ever local Kollel dinner, to be held in a little over two weeks, on September 15. Please call Malky at (215) 891- 0443 if you can help in any way.
This week’s Parsha is Parshas Ki Tzaitzai. In the Parsha we are told of several nations who are not allowed to marry into the Jewish people. The Egyptians and the Edomites are not permitted to marry a Jew until the third generation from when they have converted. An Amonite and a Moabite, on the other hand, are never allowed to marry into the Jewish people. Even after ten generations, they are forbidden to marry a Jew. Why is there a difference between these two groups of nations?
The answer lies in the reasons behind the prohibition for these people to marry into the Jewish people. Egyptians and the Edomites both threatened or actually hurt the Jewish people physically. The Egyptians held us as slaves and killed many Jews in Egypt. The Edomites came out with the sword to threaten us. Amon and Moab, on the other hand, threatened us spiritually. They caused the Jewish people to sin when they sent their daughters to seduce the Jews. As a result, they are eternally banned from ever marrying a Jew. This, the Medrash tells us, shows that if one causes another person to sin, it is worse than if he had killed him. Those who caused us to sin may never marry a Jew, while those who killed us may one day do so.
This in itself is an amazing and important concept for us to absorb. Certainly, if we can appreciate the depth of this lesson to us, the severity of sin becomes much more clear. To feel and understand that causing someone to sin is worse than committing murder is certainly a level in understanding the severity of sin.
However, Rabbi Yisoel Salanter explains, this lesson goes even further. What if we didn’t actually cause someone to sin? What if we just didn’t prevent him from sinning when we could have done so?
Rav Salanter explains that the status of this scenario can be learned from another case in the Torah. In the Torah tells us that if a body was found, killed by an unknown assailant, the elders of the closest city to the body are responsible to make a declaration. “Our hands did not spill this blood, and our eyes did not see it”. What does this mean? Does anyone for a second think that the elders of the city are murderers? The Talmud tells us that what the elders are saying is that they did not cause his death. They did not allow him to leave their town without food, and did not allow him to leave without being accompanied. What we see from here, then, is that in the eyes of the Torah, if the elders would have allowed him to leave without food,… it would be as if they had killed him. Not preventing a tragedy from occurring is being equated with actually causing it to happen.
If so, explains Rav Salanter, there is a tremendous lesson here regarding responsibility we have to others to prevent them from sin. If we are able to stop someone from doing a sin and we fail to do so, we are considered to have caused that sin. We are now held accountable for something that is worse than actual murder.
The beautiful concept of responsibility for our fellow Jews, is especially important as we prepare ourselves for the High Holy Days that come only once a year. As we consider in what ways we can improve and do better, we certainly must consider in what ways we can affect and help our fellow Jew stay away from sin.
Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!
Rabbi Moshe Travitsky
Up Coming Classes & Events
Part II of Hebrew Reading Crash Course will be this Wed. night at 8:00 P.M.
Please join us for a phone-a-thon for upcoming dinner this Wed. night starting 6:00 P.M. in the office upstairs from the shul.
For more information about any of our classes and programs, please call 215-752-5032, or visit us at www.Bensalemoutreach.org.
Schmooze and News!
Shop Rite Scripts (food cards) are now available in the office! Help the Bensalem Outreach Center at no cost to you!
For example: Need $100 of groceries buy a card from us take it to ShopRite (works like a gift card) and the Outreach Center gets 5% of the money from that card. Pick them up from the Travitsky home- 2725 Woodsview Drive - (215) 891-0443, or the office 2446 Bristol – on top of the shul (215) 752-5032.
To sponsor an issue of the Kollel Connection, please email BJOC@bensalemoutreach.org Sponsorships are only $36 a week.