March 6, 1999 18 Adar 5759
A BLEND OF SCENTS by Rabbi Reuven Semah
"Hashem said to Moshe: Take yourself spices etc. and helbenah" (Shemot 30:34)
Our perashah talks about the ketoret. The ketoret is an offering of
spices burned on the altar twice a day, which gives off a most wonderful
fragrance. One of the spices listed is helbenah, which on its own has a
very foul odor. However, when combined in the ketoret it enhances the
aroma to give a good fragrance. From this the Sages learn a lesson that
sinners should be included with the community in its prayers (Rashi).
WISE AT HEART by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"I have endowed the heart of every wise-hearted person with wisdom" (Shemot 31:6)
Hashem appointed Besalel and Aholiab to make the Mishkan and to use all those with wisdom in their hearts to assist them. If we think about it, these people had just been enslaved for many years in Egypt doing menial work. Where did anyone have experience or background to be able to create the magnificent utensils of the Mishkan?
The answer is that Hashem gave wisdom to the "wise at heart." The one who wanted to use his heart to serve Hashem was given wisdom for G-d, Who is the Source of all knowledge. This is a lesson for us. We don't have to know everything to serve Hashem; we have to want to know everything to serve Him. There is a lot of potential in us and in our children which is waiting to be tapped. It needs the will and the direction. Let's not allow all that potential to go to waste with all the distractions of today's society! Shabbat Shalom.
THE FAST OF ESTHER
"Do not make any idols...Keep the festival of matzot; eat matzah for seven days." (Shemot 34:17-18)
What is the connection between idol worship and eating matzah? Haman's plan to destroy the Jewish people was a punishment for worshiping idols in the days of Nebuchadnessar (Megillah 12a). Before Esther went before Ahashverosh to plead for the Jewish people, she told Mordechai to declare a three-day period of fasting. Since the fast took place on Pesah, the Jews were unable to properly observe Pesah that year by eating matzah for seven days. The Torah is hinting to this event by telling us, "Do not worship any idols and consequently you will be able to eat matzah seven days during Pesah." (Vedibarta Bam)
Please preserve the sanctity of this bulletin. It contains words of
Back to this week's Parsha | Previous Issues
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.