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Parsha of the Week

        This week's parshas is Parshas Ki Tavo, and you will learn about the topic of Bikurim.

        You have an imagination, right? Let's just pretend that you are a farmer in Eretz Yisrael (Israel). You own grain fields, vineyards, and fields of vegetables. The crops are starting to come up from the ground. One day you come by to check on your crops and you see a golden stalk of ripe barley. This barley belongs to Hashem, and you have to bring it to the Bais Hamikdash (The Holy Temple) as "Bikurim". You go and get a piece of string and come back and tie the string around the first barley so this way you know which stalk ripened first. When harvest comes you put the stalk aside.

        If you have a vineyard you should check it too, and when you see the first grape then you should also tie a string around it. What if there are several grapes that ripen at the same time? If several grapes ripen at the same time only one of them need to be set aside as "Bikurim". You might even have an apple tree or a field of potatoes, but you do not bring "Bikurim" from this tree. Why is it that you do not bring "Bikurim" from an apple tree or a field of potatoes? The answer is that there are only seven kinds of fruit that Eretz Yisrael (Israel) is famous for. Which are: Wheat, Barley, Grapes, Pomegranate, Figs, Olives, Dates

         Bikurim is only brought from these varieties. These seven crops do not all ripen at the same time. When one ripens it is tied around with a string marking it and it is set aside until all of the kinds of crops that you have and can do "Bikurim" on are ready. When ready you may bring the crops to the Bais Hamikdash (The Holy Temple) as "Bikurim". If you scared that the fruit will spoil or get bad you may dry it. This makes it still usable. For example, when grapes are dried they become raisins.

        If you give someone a gift you would wrap it nicely. "Bikurim" is a gift for Hashem and must be arranged nicely and brought to the Bais Hamikdash (The Holy Temple) anytime between Shavuos and Chanuka.

        We bring Bikurim to Beis Hamikdash every year, except of the Shmita Year. That year the products are "hefker", they do not belong to anyone, so one cannot bring Bikurim in the Year of Smitta.


This week's Parsha is for the Refua Shelama for Rabbi Shelim Tzvi Ben Chana Gittel

Shabbat Shalom! Have a Good Shabbos!

        This week’s parsha is parshas Ki Teitzei, which is about Moshe continuing to teach mitzvos that would apply when the Jews lived in Eretz Yisrael (Israel). Moshe spoke about the unity of the Jewish people.  

        Sometimes during a war the Jewish army would capture and hold prisoners. What happened if a Jewish soldier saw a Non-Jewish captive woman and wanted to marry her? Hashem said, “If I forbid the Jews to marry a non-Jewish captive, some soldiers might not be able conquer their Yetzer Hara (The Bad Soul). They will do the sin anyway. I will, therefore, permit it, but they must keep special laws. These laws are quite difficult, so perhaps the soldier will change his mind.”

What are these special laws?

a. When the Jewish man brings home the non-Jewish captive, she must shave off all her hair. Hashem commanded this because the soldier may have liked the woman because of her hair, and if he did only like her hair now he would not want to marry her.
b. She must let her nails grow long so they will look unattractive.
c. She must remove her beautiful garments.
The soldier might now look at her and think, “How can I think of marrying this non-Jewish woman instead of a Jewish woman? She was not as pretty as I thought she was. I was wrong in wanting to marry her!” 

        What is a “Ben sorer umoreh” (The Rebellious son)?
        Within the three months after a boy becomes Bar Mitzvah, he steals money from his Father. With the stolen money he buys meat and wine. He spends lots of time with bad people, and in their presence he eats the meat and gobbles up the wine. There were two witnesses who tried to discourage him from behaving like this. If the boy continues to act this way, the parents may bring him to the Beis Din (Jewish Court) of three judges. They tell the judges what happened. The Judges order a Malkos for the young man. It is supposed to teach him to improve his behavior. If the boy returns to his old ways, and he does the same bad things, the parents now can bring their son to a Beis Din (Jewish Court) of twenty-three judges. If certain conditions are fulfilled, he is sentenced to death. He is called a Ben sorer umoreh - The Rebellious son. The question arises, does this young man really deserve to die because he stole money and he gorged himself with meat? Hashem said, that it is true that he committed a small crime, but later in life, he might commit a serious crime, such as murder or hijacking a car with a small child in it. Was a Jewish boy ever put to death for being rebellious? The answer is no! All the conditions could never be fulfilled. It can’t be possible. For example, he can’t be sentenced to death, if he did not eat the meat in a way that the rabbis (sages) find disgusting.

        If this din does not really occur, why is it in the Torah? For two reasons: One that we learn and we gain rewards for learning. Two, that we may learn a lesson from this. While the religious children are growing up, they hear all the instructions, such as “Do This” or ‘Go to Daven” or “Your skirt is not Tzniut”. Children might not appreciate these directions, but when they become adults, they see that this is the right way to go. People who listen to their parent’s words will be happy. The Ben sorer umoreh (The Rebellious son) meets with a sad ending, because he refused to listen to his parents.

This week's Dvar Torah is in Memory of R’ Yosef ben Avrohom Robinson

Shabbat Shalom! Have a Good Shabbos!