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Corona-Torah - Classes - Rabbi Wes Kalmar

Classes/Divrei Torah given by Rabbi Kalmar in the time of CoronaVirus:

June 23, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class (given by Bob Rabinoff) - Parshat Balak

June 16, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class (given by Bob Rabinoff) - Parshat Chukat

June 13, 2021: TeLeM - Third program - Shiur "Baseball and Cheating: A Jewish Approach"

June 9, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Korah

June 2, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Shelach

TeLeM - Second program, Sun. May 30 - Shiur "What is considered an Acceptable Risk in Halacha?"

May 12, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Bamidbar

May 5, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Behar

April 28, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Emor

TeLeM - First program, Sun., April 25 - Shiur "Is it Jewish to Hunt?"

April 21, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Achrei-Mot - Kedoshim

April 14, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Tazria

April 4, 2021: Rabbi Kalmar's 8th Day Message "Why It's Time To Come Back to Shul"

April 2, 2021: Last Days of Pesach Message:  "God will not walk out on me now: When R. Abraham Twerski went to an AA Meeting"

March 26, 2021: Pesach Message for Kids and Kids at Heart

March 22, 2021: Haggadah and Seder Share

March 17, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Vayikra

March 10, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Vayakhel

March 3, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Ki Tisa

February 17, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Terumah

February 10, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Mishpatim

January 27, 2021: ASKT Cooks - tu b'shevat program 5781 - click here

January 20, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Bo

January 13, 2021: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat VaEira

December 30, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Vayechi

December 23, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Vayigash

December 16, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Miketz

December 9, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Vayeshev

December 2, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Vayishlach

November 25, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class was not recorded, sorry for the inconvenience.

November 18, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Toldot

November 11, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Chayei Sarah

November 4, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Vayera

October 28, 2020: Exploring Parsha Class - Parshat Lech Lecha

October 26, 2020:  Recording of Rabbi/Dr. Aaron Glatt’s pandemic Q&A with Milwaukee  Click Here

October 19, 2020: Daily Tehillim & Chizuk Call Hosted by Naftali Herrmann, featured speaker is Rabbi Wes Kalmar of Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah in Glendale, Wisconsin:

Rabbi Kalmar's talk on "The Ark, the Pandemic, and the Jew's Job in the world" starts at minute 1.  The conversation with Naftali Herrman of the OU about our community begins at 11:48


"Get Back to Where You Once Belonged:  A Deeper Understanding of the meaning of Succot and Kohelet" (October 8, 2020)

Pre-Pesach Prep Class (April 2, 2020)

"Beating Back the Wave of Sin with a Club of Amen: Fulfilling Our Purpose" - (May 14, 2020)

"Revelation, Suffering, and the Flesh and Blood Messiah" - (May 27, 2020)
Click Here for the Source sheet for this class

Great Controversies in Jewish History Class series for the month of July, 2020:

(July 8, 2020): Class 1
17th Century -  Shabbetai Tzvi: The Man, the Movement, the Madness

(July 15, 2020): Class 2
18th Century - The Emden/Eyebshuetz Controversy: How Two of the Greatest Rabbis of the Day Divided the Jewish World 

(July 22, 2020): Class 3
19th Century - Chassidim vs. Misnagdim: How this Battle Shaped Jewish Life Until Today

(July 28, 2020): Class 4
20th Century - To Accept Reparations of Not: The Debate that Almost Tore Apart a Young Israel

(Tuesday September 15) Selichot / Pre Rosh Hashana Shiur

Corona-Torah - Sermon - Rabbi Wes Kalmar


Click on the title of the sermon for the transcript of the sermon:

These sermons have been recorded by Rabbi Kalmar in the time of CoronaVirus.

Click on the Parsha title for the video of the sermon:

“Response to Anti-Semitism: Jewish Unity” (no text)

Parshat Bamidbar (May 14/15, 2021)

"Shabbos and Shemittah - Recharging Our Spiritual Battery" "Shabbos and Shemittah - Recharging Our Spiritual Battery" (no text)

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai (May 7 / 8, 2021)

“What do we say after the tragedy in Meron”

Parshat Emor (April 30 / May 1, 2021)

“The State of Israel is a source of Pride and Inspiration”

Parshat Achrei-Mot-Kedoshim (April 23/24, 2021)

"The Angel in the Nazi Uniform"

Parshat Tazria-Metzora (April 16/17, 2021)

"It's Enough."

Parshat Shemini / Birkat HaChodesh (April 9/10, 2021)

"Commanded??!! Who Says So??!!! (no text)

Parshat Tzav (March 26/27, 2021)

"The Pursuit of Perfection"

Parshat Vayikra (March 19/20, 2021)

“One year of Covid-19 and Counting our (100) Blessings”

Parshat Vayakhel / Pekudei (March 12/13, 2021)

The ‘Back to Shul’ Dilemma and Why Purim (and You) Inspired Me This Year

Parshat Ki Tisa / Shabbat Parah (March 5/6, 2021)

“Yes Zeresh, there is a Jewish People or Why I love the holiday of Purim”

Parshat Tetzaveh / Purim (February 26/27, 2021)

"Reaching Across the Aron"

Parshat Terumah / Shabbat Zachor (February 19 / 20, 2021)

“The Three Torah Shabbos at the Teen Minyan in Prague and Taking the Path of More Resistance”

Parshat Mishpatim / Shabbat Shekalim / Rosh Chodesh (February 12 / 13, 2021)

“Understanding God, Others and Ourselves”

Parshat Yitro 5781 (February 5 / 6, 2021)

“Home Sweet Home – Home Glorious Home”

Parshat Beshalach 5781 (January 29 / 30, 2021)

The Tougher Moon and the Secret of Jewish Continuity

Parshat Bo 5781 (January 22 / 23, 2021)

“The Loss of My Rebbe, Rav Yehudah Kelemer z’tl and the Power of Hope” Parshat VaEira 5781 (January 15 / 16, 2021)

“The Jewish People Have Lost a Great Leader: The Legacy of Rebbetzin Dr. Aviva Weisbord, A'h” Rabbi Wes Kalmar's Vayechi Message

Parshat Vayechi 5781 (January 1/2, 2021)
 "Cheating the System: Not the Torah Way" Parshat Vayigash 5781 (December 25/26, 2020)
"I Was Wrong"-Humanity’s Most Profound Words?" Parshat Miketz 5781 (December 18 / 19, 2020)
"Rejecting Comfort Means Holding out Hope" Parshat Vayeshev 5781 (December 11 / 12, 2020)
"Great to be a Guest” (no text) Parshat Vayishlach 5781 (December 4 / 5, 2020)
"Thanksgiving vs Black Friday: Yaakov's two dreams" (no text)

Parshat Vayeitzei 5781 (November 27 / 28, 2020)

“Mr. Roger’s Sweaters and the Generation of Mockers” Parshat Toldot 5781 (November 20 / 21, 2020)

The Crazy Shema Guy and Why It’s So Important to Say Shema Before 9:10am

Parshat Chayei Sarah 5781 (November 13 / 14, 2020)
"Will not take no for an answer" (no text) Parshat Vayera 5781 (November 6 / 7, 2020)
"How can I be a Tzaddik?" (no text) Parshat Noach 5781 (October 23 / 24, 2020)
"Adam Gives Chava a Name: What the First Marriage Can teach us for all time" (no text) Parshat Bereshit 5781 (October 16 / 17, 2020)
"Bringing Joy to a Young Boy" (no text) Simchat Torah Message 5781 (October 9-11, 2020)
"The Sheltering Tabernacle of Faith - We are Not Alone!"

Click in the box above to listen to Succot Message 5781 (Oct. 2/3,2020)

“Teshuva With Every Breath – Live Life!" Shabbat Shuva Message (September 24 - 25, 2020)
"Wouldn’t this be a good time for Eliyahu to come?" (no text) Rosh HaShana Message (September 18 - 20, 2020)

Bar Mitzvah Speeches from: Martin, Rebbetzin Jessica and Rabbi Wes Kalmar (no text)

Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilech (September 11 / 12, 2020)
"Happy With What I Have" (no text) Parshat Ki Tavo (September 4 / 5, 2020)
"Smile! You Are On Covid Camera" Parshat Ki Teitzei (August 28 / 29, 2020)

“How to Be a True Leader”

Parshat Eikev (August 7 / 8, 2020)
“Rabbi, Please tell me something Comforting!” Parshat Va'Etchanan / Shabbat Nachamu (July 31 / August 1, 2020)
"The Hunt for the Vaccine - Hoping for a Star that is among the Sand" Parshat Devarim / Shabbat Chazon 5780 (July 24/25, 2020)
"Taking a Vow to Combat Selfishness" Parshat Mattos-Massei 5780 (July 17/18, 2020)
“Racism, Anti-Semitism, Speaking Truth to Peace and My New Hero” Parshat Pinchus 5780 (July 10/11, 2020)
The 38 Year Gap in the Desert: Transition Trauma Parshat Chukas-Balak 5780 (July 3/4, 2020)
"The Pit of Despair, Westley, the Sons of Korach and Hope" Parshat Korach 5780 (June 26/27, 2020)
“How the Muppets and the Spies have something to tell us about what we might be missing” Parshat Sh'lach 5780 (June 19/20, 2020)

“COVID-19 and Moshe Throws a Fit”, Or “Why It’s Been 13 Weeks of Lockdown and I Feel Worse Than Ever”

Parshat Behaalosecha 5780 (June 12/13, 2020)
"Rabbi Norman Lamm Z'TL and Some Thoughts about Racism" Parshat Naso 5780 (June 5/6, 2020)
“A little bit of Jewish Chutzpah - Why we need some" Shavuot 5780 (May 28-30, 2020)

"Yerushalayim, Shavuot and Bamidbar: Jewish Unity"

Parashat Bamidbar 5780

(May 22 / 23, 2020)

“When Faith in God is a Bad Thing and Wednesday’s Supreme Court Decision”

Parashat Behar-Bechukosai 5780

(May 15/16, 2020)

"After the Fallen:  What to do in face of Terrible Loss"

Parashat Emor 5780 (May 8/9, 2020)

#536 "Be Holy: With What You Got"

Parashat Acharei-Mot Kedoshim

(May 1/2, 2020)

"Passive vs. Aggressive Holiness"

Parashat Tazria-Metzora (April 24/25, 2020)

"A Year of Blessings"

Parshat Shemini  (April 17 / 18, 2020)

"Fly By Miracles"

Last Days of Passover (April 14-16, 2020)


Rabbi Wes Kalmar message
(erev Pesach, April 8, 2020)

"The Rasha, Charoset, and the Power of Showing Up"

Shabbat HaGadol Drasha (April 3/4, 2020)

"Continuous Partial Attention is not Love"

Parshat Vayikra (March 27/28, 2020)

"Why is COVID-19 Happening Now?"

Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei (March 20/21, 2020)

Message from Rabbi Kalmar (March 15, 2020)
(As of March 15, 2020 we are suspending minyanim at ASKT in order to prevent the spread of Corona Virus. This does not mean the shul is shutting down.)


Rabbi Kalmar's Top lists...


More SGAN - Food and New Couple and more

Date: May 5, 2020
More Kosher Food from Chicago (Milwaukee seems to be very popular all of a sudden)
1.   A message Great Chicago sent me:
We're coming back Milwaukee!!

Attention Milwaukee residents, we are happy to announce Great Chicago will be coming to town this Thursday between 5-7pm for delivery. Ordering will start Wednesday and last orders will be Thursday noon. There is a  50 minimum with a  10 delivery fee.

All orders must be placed through our website or our "Great Chicago app"(As a PICK UP) available on the app store. Please make sure to add "Milwaukee delivery" option under the Popcorn chicken category and include your delivery information under "special instructions".

Ps. Shabbos drummets and chicken fingers are also available  under the shabbos menu!!

2.  And MORE Kosher food from Chicago!  EJ's sent me the following:
The Website to view full menu and also ability to place order from there is

Yes we have gluten free for those asking!!  
3. New Couple moving to Glendale in mid June
We want to give a warm welcome to Rafi and Leora Massey, and their three kids,  (Amitai, Micah, and Jacob - almost 6, 4 and 10 months) who are moving to a house they purchased in Glendale. Leora is doing a fellowship at MCW and Rafi is a Pharmacist and are moving from the Lincolnwood/Chicago area. 
4. Message from Sid:
Dear Rabbi,
Did u see my daughter dancing along with the other caregivers of Shaarei Tzedek hospital?
BH the progress & great strides accomplished here to contain the virus resulting in these special wards being closed & finding antibody that neutralizes the coronavirus.
Stay safe. Stay healthy!
My best wishes to all in the community.
5. More Israel Good News News - EU is not Boycotting Israel - it's funding Israel!!!
EU finance for Israeli coronavirus treatment. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) advancing Israel’s Pluristem 50 million Euros to fund 50% of its pioneering regenerative PLX cell therapy platform. Pluristem’s treatment has saved six critically ill Israeli coronavirus patients (see previously).

Subject: Some Good ASKT News

Date: May 5, 2020

A la Jon Krasinski’s SGN (Some Good News) network I want to share with you some good news:


#1 See the doctors and nurses in a Shaarei Tzedek hospital ward in Jerusalem celebrating their last Covid patient by dancing!

4 out of 6 Coronavirus Wards have closed!  (thanks to Yaffa Arieff for sharing this)


#2  Fun for Families   Escape the ZOOM!!! – A Virtual Escape Room Experience for Families and Friends – Wednesday May 6th at 7:30 central time.


#3 More fun for Families  -  Family Movie Trivia Night  NCSY – for 5th-8th Graders


#4 New Kosher Food from Chicago!– Shabbat in a Box – Order by 4 pm today!!!!  From Chicago Tailgators





#5 More Kosher Food – Ferrante’s tomorrow



#6 More Kosher Food! Pizza From Ferrantes

Hello to our new kosher frozen pizza. A whopping 16x12. $15 Its chalav yisrael add some to your Wed May 6th curbside order. Curbside 3-7pm call 414-967-8254 to order


#7 Women’s Tehillim Sing A Long Tonight – With singing from Mara Kleiman, Yaffa Karan, Rebecca Kalmar, Eliana Kalmar and Shayna Herzage (YU Fellow) and words of gathering from Rebbetzin Jessica Kalmar – (For Women  Only)

8 pm Zoom


#8  Pre Shabbat Ruach with Chanan Posner at 5 pm on Friday!


#9  Good News from Israel website and Newsletter – a whole bunch of good news from Israel on a regular basis.


#10 One example from Good News From Israel - Arab doctor carries the Sefer. (TY Janglo) Dr. Abed Zahalka of the Mayanei Hayeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak has formed deep ties to the Haredi community in the city. Dressed in full protective equipment, the Arab-Israeli doctor recently brought a holy Torah scroll into the coronavirus ward for the patients to read from.

Subject: Yom Ha'atzmaut Treats
Date: April 28, 2020
1. A recitation of Hallel by our own Joel Eckhardt - click here
2. A video of the Prayer for the State of Israel from Cantorfest 2013 at ASKT - click here
3. Israel in Story and Song - Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter and Shim Craimer.  The Extraoridnary and Inspiring Story of the Modern State of Israel using the Power of Words and Melodies. At 10 am central time  -  or (see flyer below)
4. A video link to last week's very special Pre Shabbat Ruach with Joel Eckhardt and Ilan Eckhardt - click here
Subject: Top Five - Yom HaZikaron, Yom Ha'atzmaut, Amud Yomi, Pizza, and Corona Torah and messages

Date: April 27, 2020

1. Yom HaZikaron started already in Israel this evening and continues through tomorrow.  We will have our own Yom HaZikaron program via zoom tomorrow evening at 7 pm.
For more Yom HaZikaron programming see my Top Ten from last week - which can be found at the page listed in 4 below.
2. Yom Ha'atzmaut -  Remember to say Hallel on Wednesday morning following Shacharit if that is your custom.  Some have the custom to say it with a bracha, some without and some with a full hallel and some with a half hallel.    Some do not say Hallel at all but still observe Yom Ha'atzmaut.  All are valid approaches.  Our custom is not to say Tachanun Tuesday at mincha, nor at Shacharit on Wednesday and to skip Lamenatzeach on Wednesday as well.   
We will celebrate with a meal, a concert, mincha together and some words of inspiration starting at 6 pm via zoom.
For more Yom Ha'Atzmaut programming see my Top Ten from last week - which can be found at the page listed in 4 below.
3.  Kamtza bar Kamtza stories plus more at Amud Yomi - We have just begun a series of aggadata - Talmud stories from the time of the destruction of the Temple which are really interesting.  This would be a great time to join our morning Talmud class.  We are meeting Sunday-Friday at 7:30 am via free conference call - just call
4. Corona Torah and Messages -   If you are looking for any Torah that I sent out in these past six weeks - videos or text or if you are looking for information that was emailed out since the beginning of Corona - any of my Top Tens or other messages - you can find them at our website at this page.  
5. Pizza from EJ's - Delivered to Milwaukee!  Check out to decide what you would like to order.  You must call 224-534-7215 to place order, prepay and specify Milwaukee delivery.  For $5 more delivery will be available to your door, sometime between 4:15 and 8:15 pm on Wednesday April 29th. Otherwise pickup will be somewhere on the West Side, details to be shared soon. Orders are due tomorrow, Tuesday April 28th by 6:30 pm. If you have questions ask for Sarah when you call the store.
Date: Thu, Apr 23, 2020 at 3:17 PM
Subject: TOP TEN - Pre-Shabbat Ruach with Joel Echkardt, Yom Ha'atzmaut, Yom HaZikaron, Music, and Much More
Message contents:
I hope you are doing all right and staying safe and healthy and upbeat.  I want to share with you my top ten for today - with events, classes, music, kosher food info, and much more.
#1  Tomorrow, April 24 at 5:00 pm - join us for Pre-Shabbat Ruach and a Rosh Chodesh A-Capella concert with Joel Eckhardt:  Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: or on a telephone,  At the prompt, enter the Zoom meeting ID: 
#2  Pirkei Avot in memory of Nachshon - This Shabbat is the first Yahrtzeit of Nachshon Eckhardt z'l, beloved son of Tzvi and Temima Eckhardt and beloved grandson of Joel and Chana Eckhardt.  As a community this Shabbat we will be learning Pirkei Avot at 1:00pm -  physically apart but with hearts together as one.  Pirkei Avot is part of the Mishna and the same Hebrew letters that make up Mishna make up Neshama - soul.  The study of Mishna is considered to be a good way to give merit to the soul of the deceased.  Pirkei Avot is also studied between Pesach and Shavuot and we are up to the 2nd Chapter.  You can find a copy of it here and below and attached as a document and in your siddur after Shabbat Mincha.  Please have in mind the soul of Nachshon Meir ben Tzvi Ariel when you study some or all of the second chapter of Pirkei Avot at 1:00 pm this Shabbat, April 25. 
#3 Davening - today, April 23 - still no Tachanun (that changes on Sunday, April 26), Tomorrow - Friday, April 24 is Rosh Chodesh Iyyar - so remember to say Yaaleh ViYavo in Maariv tonight and tomorrow during Shacharit and Mincha Shemoneh Esreh, half Hallel tomorrow and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh.  On Shabbat - Yaaleh ViYavo, half Hallel and special Mussaf Shabbat Rosh Chodesh.   On Yom Ha'atzmaut, next Wednesday morning our custom is to say Hallel - some say it with a bracha, some say it without.  We have all been missing being together and davening together.  And while davening virtually does not fulfill the requirements of a minyan we will have a chance to do Mincha next week after the concert and we will do it together via Zoom.
#4 Yom HaZikaron is this coming Monday night, April 27 and Tuesday, April 28th.  I want to share with you some resources to help you remember and commemorate Israel's fallen soldiers.  

a. See this powerful program with Rabbi Lau, Miriam Peretz, Chief Cantor Shai Abramson and so much more - live at 6:30 pm on Tuesday by clicking here.  
b. Another pre-recorded program entitled "From Remembrance to Independence: Behind the Scenes of Israel's Founding" which can be found here includes  "Fascinating eyewitness accounts of Israel's founding from: − Rabbi Norman Lamm − President Harry Truman − Ambassador Yehuda Avner • Television quality films on the fall of Gush Etzion and the 1947 UN Vote on partition • Inspiring introductory words for Yom Ha’Atzmaut from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin • El Maleh Rachamim by Shlomo Katz"   
c. Also - our own Federation community program will be at 6 pm on Monday the 27th and can be accessed here
d. In addition - we will be having our own Yom HaZikaron program at ASKT (zoom) on Tuesday which will include video footage from the OU, including Miriam Peretz in conversation with Rabbi Avi Berman, Executive Director of OU Israel- Miriam Peretz is recipient of Israel prize for Lifetime Achievement who lost two sons during IDF service Lt. Col. Shai Abramson, IDF Chief Cantor for recitation of Kail Maleh, Mi SheBerach and Hatikvah and Never before seen footage of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik z'l on the miracles behind the creation of the State of Israel.   
Details of exact time and Zoom will be available soon.
#5 Yom Ha'atzmaut  - Wednesday, April 29 at 6:00 pm at ASKT (zoom) we will have a live concert with Ilan Eckhardt, a full Israeli meal delivered from Taboun in Chicago, mincha together and an inspiring talk from Rabbi Reuven Brand, Rosh Kollel of the Torah MiTzion Kollel in Chicago "A Celebration of the Colors Blue and White: the meaning of the flag of Israel"
Remember to wear blue and white to the zoom celebration! To order food go to:

There will also be a celebration with Jews around the world on Wednesday the 29th at 1pm our time, sponsored by the Federation.
#6   Beautiful and Haunting new music from Yishay Ribo - Israeli hit artist - can be found here.   Find below a loose translation (by Rabbi Yisrael Motzen) of this song which captures our current predicament so well. 
#7  Lashon Hara  This one is a repeat - before Pesach I sent out a flyer signed by rabbis in our community about a citywide project to protect ourselves from saying Lashon Hara (gossip) between now and Lag B'Omer (April 8th - May 11th) especially during the hours of 7:00 and 8:00 pm each night.  You can email  an "I'm in" to say you are committing to doing so.  I will be sending out some mini classes about Lashon Hara in the near future.   
#8  Sprecher Beers and Sodas are kosher again!!  Kol HaKavod to the new owner and to Wisconsin Kosher for making this happen!
#9  Tikvah Live - Monday, April 27 at 4:00 pm - The Strengths of Israel: A Civilizational Assessment - Ran Baratz - live from Jerusalem.  Take a look - should be really interesting.
#10  Omer - How's the counting of the Omer going?  Today (Thursday, April 23) is day 14.   Missed one or more?  Feeling down about it?  Don't despair!  According to the overwhelming majority of opinions you can and should be still counting the omer every night - so don't give up!  Because of the small number of opinions who say that it needs to be consecutive - you no longer make a bracha on counting the omer once you have missed one.  But you still count the Omer each night.  Click here to see the count and what to say for each day.
Ok - that's enough for one day.  Wishing everyone a fantastic day!
Rabbi Kalmar
Translation of Yishay Ribo's new song: Keter Melucah 
A loose and imperfect translation below. 

בין תרומה לתצווה
יום הולדת קצת משונה
הכל רגיל כאן לכאורה
במה קהל ואהבה

Between (Parshas) Terumah and (Parshas) Tetzaveh
A slightly different birthday party
Everything seems to be just fine
Stages full of people and love

בין תצווה לכי תישא
אסתר פורים משתה שמחה
מי יחנה ומי יסע
ומי ישא בתוצאה

Between (Parshas) Tetzaveh and (Parshas) Ki Sisa
Esther, Purim, drinks, and joy,
Who will stay and who will travel
And who will pay the consequences

בין כי תישא לויקהל
עולם מפסיק להתקהל
להשתתק להסתגר
ישמעל אדום וישראל

Between (Parshas) Ki Sisa and (Parshas) Vayakheil
The world stops gathering
To be quiet, to be closed down
Yishmael, Edom, and Yisrael

בין ויקהל לפקודי
אין איש בעיר ובשדה
כבר אין מול מי להתנהל
מגדל בבל שוב מתבלבל

Between (Parshas) Vayakhel) and (Parshas) Pekudei
There’s no one in the city or field
There’s no one to deal with
The Tower of Bavel is once again confounded

ומה אתה רוצה שנבין מזה
איך מתרחקים ומתקרבים  בכאב הזה
רוצה לחיות אותך
ולא להיות לבד

What do You want us to understand from this?
How do we distance ourselves and draw near in this pain?
We want to live with You
And not to be alone

ומה אתה רוצה שנלמד מזה
ואיך נדע להתאחד בפרוד הזה
עד שניתן לך
כתר מלוכה

What do you want us to learn from this?
How will we know how to unify in this separation?
Until we give You,
the Keser Melucha

בין פקודי לויקרא
כולנו באותה סירה
אביב הגיע פסח בא
ואיתו תקווה רבה

Between (Parshas) Pekudei and (Parshas) Vayikra
We are all in the same boat
The spring has arrived, Pesach is coming
And with it, much hope

שתקרע את רוע הגזירה
לכה דודי לקראת כלה
כבר אין לנו כוחות יותר
להתמודד להלחם

“To rip up the evil decree”
“Come my beloved to greet the Bride”
We don’t have strength anymore
To cope, to battle on

ומה אתה רוצה שנבין מזה
איך מתרחקים ומתקרבים עם הכאב הזה
רוצה לחיות אותך
ולא להיות לבד

What do You want us to understand from this?
How do we distance ourselves and draw near in this pain?
We want to live with You
And not to be alone

ומה אתה רוצה שנלמד מזה
ואיך נדע להתאחד בפרוד הזה
עד שניתן לך
כתר מלוכה

What do you want us to learn from this?
How will we know how to unify in this separation?
Until we give You,
the Keser Melucha

ומה אתה רוצה שנבין מזה
איך מתנתקים ומתחברים אל הלב הזה
רוצה לחיות אותך
ולא להיות לבד

What do You want us to understand from this
How to disconnect and reattach this heart
We want to live with You
And not be alone

ומה אתה רוצה שנלמד מזה
ואיך נדע להתאחד בפרוד הזה
שמע ישראל ה׳
אחד ושמו אחד

What do you want us to learn from this?
How will we know how to unite in this separation?
Shema Yisrael
Hashem is one and His name is one”
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Pirkei Avot Chapter 2

1. רַבִּי אוֹמֵר, אֵיזוֹהִי דֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה שֶׁיָּבֹר לוֹ הָאָדָם, כֹּל שֶׁהִיא תִפְאֶרֶת לְעוֹשֶׂיהָ וְתִפְאֶרֶת לוֹ מִן הָאָדָם. וֶהֱוֵי זָהִיר בְּמִצְוָה קַלָּה כְבַחֲמוּרָה, שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל מִצְוֹת. וֶהֱוֵי מְחַשֵּׁב הֶפְסֵד מִצְוָה כְּנֶגֶד שְׂכָרָהּ, וּשְׂכַר עֲבֵרָה כְנֶגֶד הֶפְסֵדָהּ. וְהִסְתַּכֵּל בִּשְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים וְאִי אַתָּה בָא לִידֵי עֲבֵרָה, דַּע מַה לְּמַעְלָה מִמְּךָ, עַיִן רוֹאָה וְאֹזֶן שׁוֹמַעַת, וְכָל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ בַסֵּפֶר נִכְתָּבִין:

Rabbi Said: which is the straight path that a man should choose for himself? One which is an honor to the person adopting it, and [on account of which] honor [accrues] to him from others. And be careful with a light commandment as with a grave one, for you did know not the reward for the fulfillment of the commandments. Also, reckon the loss [that may be sustained through the fulfillment] of a commandment against the reward [accruing] thereby, and the gain [that may be obtained through the committing] of a transgression against the loss [entailed] thereby. Apply your mind to three things and you will not come into the clutches of sin: Know what there is above you: an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and all your deeds are written in a book.

2רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל בְּנוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי יְהוּדָה הַנָּשִׂיא אוֹמֵר, יָפֶה תַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה עִם דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, שֶׁיְּגִיעַת שְׁנֵיהֶם מְשַׁכַּחַת  עָוֹן. וְכָל תּוֹרָה שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהּ מְלָאכָה, סוֹפָהּ בְּטֵלָה וְגוֹרֶרֶת עָוֹן. וְכָל הָעֲמֵלִים עִם הַצִּבּוּר, יִהְיוּ עֲמֵלִים עִמָּהֶם לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, שֶׁזְּכוּת אֲבוֹתָם מְסַיַּעְתָּן וְצִדְקָתָם עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד. וְאַתֶּם, מַעֲלֶה אֲנִי עֲלֵיכֶם שָׂכָר הַרְבֵּה כְּאִלּוּ עֲשִׂיתֶם:

Rabban Gamaliel the son of Rabbi Judah Hanasi said: excellent is the study of the Torah when combined with a worldly occupation, for toil in them both keeps sin out of one’s mind; But [study of the] Torah which is not combined with a worldly occupation, in the end comes to be neglected and becomes the cause of sin. And all who labor with the community, should labor with them for the sake Heaven, for the merit of their forefathers sustains them (the community), and their (the forefather’s) righteousness endures for ever; And as for you, [God in such case says] I credit you with a rich reward, as if you [yourselves] had [actually] accomplished [it all].

3 הֱווּ זְהִירִין בָּרָשׁוּת, שֶׁאֵין מְקָרְבִין לוֹ לָאָדָם אֶלָּא לְצֹרֶךְ עַצְמָן. נִרְאִין כְּאוֹהֲבִין בִּשְׁעַת הֲנָאָתָן, וְאֵין עוֹמְדִין לוֹ לָאָדָם בִּשְׁעַת דָּחְקוֹ:

Be careful [in your dealings] with the ruling authorities for they do not befriend a person except for their own needs; they seem like friends when it is to their own interest, but they do not stand by a man in the hour of his distress.

4 הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, עֲשֵׂה רְצוֹנוֹ כִרְצוֹנְךָ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה רְצוֹנְךָ כִרְצוֹנוֹ. בַּטֵּל רְצוֹנְךָ מִפְּנֵי רְצוֹנוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּבַטֵּל רְצוֹן אֲחֵרִים מִפְּנֵי רְצוֹנֶךָ. הִלֵּל אוֹמֵר, אַל תִּפְרֹשׁ מִן הַצִּבּוּר, וְאַל תַּאֲמִין בְּעַצְמְךָ עַד יוֹם מוֹתְךָ, וְאַל תָּדִין אֶת חֲבֵרְךָ עַד שֶׁתַּגִּיעַ לִמְקוֹמוֹ, וְאַל תֹּאמַר דָּבָר שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִשְׁמֹעַ, שֶׁסּוֹפוֹ לְהִשָּׁמַע. וְאַל תֹּאמַר לִכְשֶׁאִפָּנֶה אֶשְׁנֶה, שֶׁמָּא לֹא תִפָּנֶה:

He used to say: do His will as though it were your will, so that He will do your will as though it were His. Set aside your will in the face of His will, so that he may set aside the will of others for the sake of your will. Hillel said: do not separate yourself from the community, Do not trust in yourself until the day of your death, Do not judge not your fellow man until you have reached his place. Do not say something that cannot be understood [trusting] that in the end it will be understood. Say not: ‘when I shall have leisure I shall study;’ perhaps you will not have leisure.

5 הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אֵין בּוּר יְרֵא חֵטְא, וְלֹא עַם הָאָרֶץ חָסִיד, וְלֹא הַבַּיְשָׁן לָמֵד, וְלֹא הַקַּפְּדָן מְלַמֵּד, וְלֹא כָל הַמַּרְבֶּה בִסְחוֹרָה מַחְכִּים. וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אֲנָשִׁים, הִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִהְיוֹת אִישׁ:

He used to say: A brute is not sin-fearing, nor is an ignorant person pious; nor can a timid person learn, nor can an impatient person teach; nor will someone who engages too much in business become wise. In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.

אַף הוּא רָאָה גֻלְגֹּלֶת אַחַת שֶׁצָּפָה עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם. אָמַר
לָהּ, עַל דַּאֲטֵפְתְּ, אַטְפוּךְ. וְסוֹף מְטִיפַיִךְ יְטוּפוּן :6

Moreover he saw a skull floating on the face of the water. He said to it: because you drowned others, they drowned you. And in the end, they that drowned you will be drowned.

7הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, מַרְבֶּה בָשָׂר, מַרְבֶּה רִמָּה. מַרְבֶּה נְכָסִים, מַרְבֶּה דְאָגָה. מַרְבֶּה נָשִׁים, מַרְבֶּה כְשָׁפִים . מַרְבֶּה שְׁפָחוֹת, מַרְבֶּה זִמָּה. מַרְבֶּה עֲבָדִים, מַרְבֶּה גָזֵל. מַרְבֶּה תוֹרָה, מַרְבֶּה חַיִּים. מַרְבֶּה יְשִׁיבָה, מַרְבֶּה חָכְמָה. מַרְבֶּה עֵצָה, מַרְבֶּה תְבוּנָה. מַרְבֶּה צְדָקָה, מַרְבֶּה שָׁלוֹם. קָנָה שֵׁם טוֹב, קָנָה לְעַצְמוֹ. קָנָה לוֹ דִבְרֵי תוֹרָה, קָנָה לוֹ חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:

He used to say: The more flesh, the more worms; The more property, the more anxiety; The more wives, the more witchcraft; The more female slaves, the more lewdness; The more slaves, the more robbery; [But] the more Torah, the more life; The more sitting [in the company of scholars], the more wisdom; The more counsel, the more understanding; The more charity, the more peace. If one acquires a good name, he has acquired something for himself; If one acquires for himself knowledge of Torah, he has acquired life in the world to come.

8רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי קִבֵּל מֵהִלֵּל וּמִשַּׁמָּאי. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם לָמַדְתָּ תוֹרָה הַרְבֵּה, אַל תַּחֲזִיק טוֹבָה  לְעַצְמְךָ, כִּי לְכָךְ נוֹצָרְתָּ. חֲמִשָּׁה תַלְמִידִים הָיוּ לוֹ לְרַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי, וְאֵלּוּ הֵן, רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן הוֹרְקְנוֹס, וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן חֲנַנְיָה, וְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַכֹּהֵן, וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן נְתַנְאֵל, וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲרָךְ. הוּא הָיָה מוֹנֶה שִׁבְחָן. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן הוֹרְקְנוֹס, בּוֹר סוּד שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְאַבֵּד טִפָּה. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן חֲנַנְיָה, אַשְׁרֵי יוֹלַדְתּוֹ. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַכֹּהֵן, חָסִיד. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן נְתַנְאֵל, יְרֵא חֵטְא. וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲרָךְ, מַעְיָן הַמִּתְגַּבֵּר. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם יִהְיוּ כָל חַכְמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכַף מֹאזְנַיִם, וֶאֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן הוֹרְקְנוֹס בְּכַף שְׁנִיָּה, מַכְרִיעַ אֶת כֻּלָּם. אַבָּא שָׁאוּל אוֹמֵר מִשְּׁמוֹ, אִם יִהְיוּ כָל חַכְמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכַף מֹאזְנַיִם וְרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן הוֹרְקְנוֹס אַף עִמָּהֶם, וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲרָךְ בְּכַף שְׁנִיָּה, מַכְרִיעַ אֶת כֻּלָּם:

Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai received [the oral tradition] from Hillel and Shammai.He used to say: if you have learned much Torah, do not claim credit for yourself, because for such a purpose were you created. Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai had five disciples and they were these: Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, Rabbi Yose, the priest, Rabbi Shimon ben Nethaneel and Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach. He [Rabbi Johanan] used to list their outstanding virtues: Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus is a plastered cistern which loses not a drop; Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah happy is the woman that gave birth to him; Rabbi Yose, the priest, is a pious man; Rabbi Simeon ben Nethaneel is one that fears sin, And Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach is like a spring that [ever] gathers force. He [Rabbi Yohanan] used to say: if all the sages of Israel were on one scale of the balance and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus on the other scale, he would outweigh them all. Abba Shaul said in his name: if all the sages of Israel were on one scale of the balance, and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus also with them, and Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach on the other scale, he would outweigh them all.

9 אָמַר לָהֶם, צְאוּ וּרְאוּ אֵיזוֹהִי דֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה שֶׁיִּדְבַּק בָּהּ הָאָדָם. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, עַיִן טוֹבָה. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר, חָבֵר טוֹב. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, שָׁכֵן טוֹב. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הָרוֹאֶה אֶת הַנּוֹלָד. רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר, לֵב טוֹב. אָמַר לָהֶם, רוֹאֶה אֲנִי אֶת דִּבְרֵי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲרָךְ מִדִּבְרֵיכֶם, שֶׁבִּכְלָל דְּבָרָיו דִּבְרֵיכֶם. אָמַר לָהֶם צְאוּ וּרְאוּ אֵיזוֹהִי דֶרֶךְ רָעָה שֶׁיִּתְרַחֵק מִמֶּנָּה הָאָדָם. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, עַיִן רָעָה. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר, חָבֵר רָע. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, שָׁכֵן רָע. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הַלֹּוֶה וְאֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם. אֶחָד הַלֹּוֶה מִן הָאָדָם, כְּלֹוֶה מִן הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים לז) לֹוֶה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם, וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן. רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר, לֵב רָע. אָמַר לָהֶם, רוֹאֶה אֲנִי אֶת דִּבְרֵי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲרָךְ מִדִּבְרֵיכֶם, שֶׁבִּכְלָל דְּבָרָיו דִּבְרֵיכֶם:

He [Rabban Yohanan] said unto them: go forth and observe which is the right way to which a man should cleave? Rabbi Eliezer said, a good eye; Rabbi Joshua said, a good companion; Rabbi Yose said, a good neighbor; Rabbi Shimon said, foresight. Rabbi Elazar said, a good heart. He [Rabban Yohanan] said to them: I prefer the words of Elazar ben Arach, for in his words your words are included. He [Rabban Yohanan] said unto them: go forth and observe which is the evil way which a man should shun? Rabbi Eliezer said, an evil eye; Rabbi Joshua said, an evil companion; Rabbi Yose said, an evil neighbor; Rabbi Shimon said, one who borrows and does not repay for he that borrows from man is as one who borrows from God, blessed be He, as it is said, “the wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous deal graciously and give” (Psalms 37:21). Rabbi Elazar said, an evil heart. He [Rabban Yohanan] said to them: I prefer the words of Elazar ben Arach, for in his words your words are included.

10 הֵם אָמְרוּ שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, יְהִי כְבוֹד חֲבֵרְךָ חָבִיב עָלֶיךָ כְּשֶׁלָּךְ, וְאַל תְּהִי נוֹחַ לִכְעֹס. וְשׁוּב יוֹם אֶחָד לִפְנֵי מִיתָתְךָ. וֶהֱוֵי מִתְחַמֵּם כְּנֶגֶד אוּרָן שֶׁל חֲכָמִים, וֶהֱוֵי זָהִיר בְּגַחַלְתָּן שֶׁלֹּא תִכָּוֶה, שֶׁנְּשִׁיכָתָן נְשִׁיכַת שׁוּעָל, וַעֲקִיצָתָן עֲקִיצַת עַקְרָב, וּלְחִישָׁתָן לְחִישַׁת שָׂרָף, וְכָל דִּבְרֵיהֶם כְּגַחֲלֵי אֵשׁ:

They [each] said three things: Rabbi Eliezer said: Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own; And be not easily provoked to anger; And repent one day before your death. And [he also said:] warm yourself before the fire of the wise, but beware of being singed by their glowing coals, for their bite is the bite of a fox, and their sting is the sting of a scorpion, and their hiss is the hiss of a serpent, and all their words are like coals of fire.

רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר, עַיִן הָרָע, וְיֵצֶר הָרָע, וְשִׂנְאַת הַבְּרִיּוֹת, מוֹצִיאִין אֶת הָאָדָם מִן הָעוֹלָם :11

Rabbi Joshua said: an evil eye, the evil inclination, and hatred for humankind put a person out of the world.

12רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, יְהִי מָמוֹן חֲבֵרְךָ חָבִיב עָלֶיךָ כְּשֶׁלָּךְ,  וְהַתְקֵן עַצְמְךָ לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה, שֶׁאֵינָהּ יְרֻשָּׁה לָךְ. וְכָל  מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יִהְיוּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמָיִם:

Rabbi Yose said: Let the property of your fellow be as precious unto you as your own; Make yourself fit to study Torah for it will not be yours by inheritance; And let all your actions be for [the sake of] the name of heaven.

13רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבַתְּפִלָּה . וּכְשֶׁאַתָּה מִתְפַּלֵּל, אַל תַּעַשׂ תְּפִלָּתְךָ קֶבַע, אֶלָּא  רַחֲמִים וְתַחֲנוּנִים לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יואל ב) כִּי חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם הוּא אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב חֶסֶד וְנִחָם עַל הָרָעָה. וְאַל תְּהִי רָשָׁע בִּפְנֵי עַצְמְךָ:

Rabbi Shimon said: Be careful with the reading of Shema and the prayer, And when you pray, do not make your prayer something automatic, but a plea for compassion before God, for it is said: “for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, and renouncing punishment” (Joel 2:13); And be not wicked in your own esteem.

14רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי שָׁקוּד לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה, וְדַע מַה  שֶּׁתָּשִׁיב לְאֶפִּיקוֹרוֹס. וְדַע לִפְנֵי מִי אַתָּה עָמֵל. וְנֶאֱמָן הוּא בַעַל מְלַאכְתְּךָ שֶׁיְּשַׁלֶּם לָךְ שְׂכַר פְּעֻלָּתֶךְ:

Rabbi Elazar said: Be diligent in the study the Torah; And know how to answer an epicuros, And know before whom you toil, and that your employer is faithful, for He will pay you the reward of your labor.

רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן אוֹמֵר, הַיּוֹם קָצָר וְהַמְּלָאכָה מְרֻבָּה, וְהַפּוֹעֲלִים עֲצֵלִים, וְהַשָּׂכָר הַרְבֵּה, וּבַעַל הַבַּיִת דּוֹחֵק :15

Rabbi Tarfon said: the day is short, and the work is plentiful, and the laborers are indolent, and the reward is great, and the master of the house is insistent.

16 הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה. אִם לָמַדְתָּ תוֹרָה הַרְבֵּה, נוֹתְנִים לְךָ שָׂכָר הַרְבֵּה. וְנֶאֱמָן הוּא בַעַל מְלַאכְתְּךָ שֶׁיְּשַׁלֵּם לְךָ שְׂכַר פְּעֻלָּתֶךָ. וְדַע מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא:

He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it; If you have studied much Torah, you shall be given much reward. Faithful is your employer to pay you the reward of your labor; And know that the grant of reward unto the righteous is in the age to come.

Mon, June 17 2024 11 Sivan 5784