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SIMON SAYS

Insights and guidance from the Torah

by Rav Dovid Simon

Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Contents
Parshah ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Breisheit: Where Are You?...................................................................................................................................................................... 6 Noach: Protect from Inside and Outside ................................................................................................................................................ 7 VaYera: Youth.......................................................................................................................................................................................... 8 Toldot: Defined by Actions ..................................................................................................................................................................... 9 Vayeshev: Bonding ................................................................................................................................................................................ 10 Vayigash: On a Journey ......................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Vayachi: Yaakov & Yosef's Legacy ......................................................................................................................................................... 12 Shmot: Who We Really Are .................................................................................................................................................................. 13 VaEra: Showing Respect........................................................................................................................................................................ 14 Bo: To Serve Hashem ............................................................................................................................................................................ 15 BShalach: The Power of Ones Strengths............................................................................................................................................. 16 Trumah: Involved in Prayer ................................................................................................................................................................... 17 Ki Tisa: Contemplate Our Actions ......................................................................................................................................................... 18 Tetzaveh: Multiple Opportunities......................................................................................................................................................... 19 Vayakhel: The Mishkan ......................................................................................................................................................................... 20 Pekuday: Look Inside ............................................................................................................................................................................ 21 Vayikra: Sacrifices ................................................................................................................................................................................. 22
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Rav Dovid Simon

Tazriah: What is Holy ............................................................................................................................................................................ 23 Kedoshim: Wake Up! ............................................................................................................................................................................ 24 Emor: True Emunah .............................................................................................................................................................................. 26 Emor: The Beginning ............................................................................................................................................................................. 27 Bamidbar: Community .......................................................................................................................................................................... 28 Naso: Efforts Count ............................................................................................................................................................................... 29 Balak: Seeing Hashem ........................................................................................................................................................................... 30 Balak: Restraint ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Holidays ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 32 Rosh Hashanah: The Challenge of Parenting ........................................................................................................................................ 33 Rosh Hashanah: School is Back!!! ......................................................................................................................................................... 34 Succot: Puts Life Into Perspective ......................................................................................................................................................... 35 Chanukah: Todays Battles .................................................................................................................................................................... 36 Chanukah: Great Potential.................................................................................................................................................................... 37 Purim: Power of Wine ........................................................................................................................................................................... 38 Pesach: Good Feelings .......................................................................................................................................................................... 39 Pesach: True Growth............................................................................................................................................................................. 40 Pesach: Reconnecting ........................................................................................................................................................................... 41 Shavuot: Signs ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 42 Shavuot: Togetherness ......................................................................................................................................................................... 43 Tisha BAv: Overcoming ........................................................................................................................................................................ 44 Education .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 45
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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Respecting Property.............................................................................................................................................................................. 46 Davenning With Children ...................................................................................................................................................................... 47 The Power of Youth .............................................................................................................................................................................. 48 Letting Go .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 49 The Power of Speech & Silence ............................................................................................................................................................ 50 About......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 51 Rav Simon.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 52 Kehillat Bnei Aharon ............................................................................................................................................................................. 52

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Parshah

Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Breisheit: Where Are You?


After and ate from the , they heard Hashem coming and they went and hid. The Torah at this stage writes: ' Hashem called out to Adam and said to him where are you? Many ask: Hashem didnt know where they were that he had to call out? The Midrash explains that the question really means: how is it that yesterday you were with me and now you with the ?In other words Hashem is saying to him: I dont know you! Where is the man I created and formed? The Midrash in Eicha writes that 3 people used the terminology of while reproving Am Yisrael. Moshe said: how can I bear the burden alone? Yeshayahu said:

how has the town turned into a promiscuous place? And Yirmiyahu said: how is the city sitting all alone and desolate? All of these questions really mean: where are you and what has become of you? Moshe is saying: this nation that has worshiped the golden calf is not the same nation of Matan Torah! I dont recognize them! Where is the nation that I really know? Yeshayahu is similarly asking about the city of Yerushalayim: where is the special city that used to be so full of great things? All I see know is a promiscuous place! So too Yirmiyahu is asking: where is that city that I knew to be the most beautiful place on earth and know is so barren and desolate? This is the question we have to be aware of. We have a responsibility to our heritage and our uniqueness. We have to ensure that Hashem never has to ask that question: because it is so clear who we are and where we are holding.

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Noach: Protect from Inside and Outside


One of the most challenging issues we have to deal with is how to protect ourselves and our families from the negative influences around us. Probably, the single most important factor in our struggle is the way we structure and build our home and environment. How to do so, maybe we can glean some ideas from this weeks Parsha. First we find Noach is commanded to use Gofer wood. What is unique about wood is that it is a materiel that can never become impure. When we build our home we should make sure that the atmosphere is one of holiness & purity, and not "the opposite. The ark was built with 3 different levels. The lowest level was for all the garbage. The middle level was

where the animals lived. And the top level was where Noach lived with his family. We have to understand the different levels that exist in our lives and make to sure to regulate them to their right places. It is not the garbage that should be on top nor the physical drives, rather it is the great spirituality of man that should be riding the crest. Just as Noach was commanded to put proofing on the outside and the inside, due to the power of the water outside, so too we have to protect from inside and outside. But most important we need vision, a guiding light to give us the direction we need, like the light in the ark. We need the window to outside world, however we have to make sure that it only lets in the light and not the damaging elements. May we all merit to achieve these goals.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

VaYera: Youth
For one living in Sodom, there were a number of laws that had to be kept. Among them was the prohibition of taking in guests: . This was something that was accepted and understood by every single person. As the verse states and the people of Sdom gathered around the house, from youth to elders, the whole city to its edge. In the words of Rashi: from on edge of the city to the other, they all gathered to protest this infringement of the law (of Lot taking in visitors). Lot we know has somewhat left the fold when he left Avraham, as we see in the fact that the place he chose to live was in Sdom. In addition it is clear he would have been destroyed together with Sdom if not for his connection with Avraham Avinu. Being so, why did Lot go out of his way to take care of the guests knowing full well the consequences of his actions? Even to the level of sacrificing his own two daughters!

The answer we see from another quote of Rashi. The verse says: Lot saw them and ran towards them. Why did he run? Says Rashi: Because he had learned the art of hospitality in the house of Avraham. We see from here how important what Chazal call is: that which was learned in ones youth. What a child sees and experiences in his youth, is embedded deep into the Neshama, and when the time comes will give him tremendous strength and energy to stand up to all challenges, even at the cost of his own life. Sadly many people switch things around and tend to mess about in their youth with the understanding that one day they will become more serious. One could not be more wrong. The success of an individual is with the tools and behavior he has acquired in his youth. And while this does not exclude the ability of an adult to make substantial changes in his life, they will always be subject to those influences that affected him as a child. As parents our responsibility is to ensure that those experiences and influences that affect our children are those that are going to have a positive effect on the life and not, has vshalom, otherwise.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Toldot: Defined by Actions


The Torah describes Yaakov & Esav growing up, and Esav becoming a Man of the field whereas Yaakov is a Ish Tam a complete human being. Rashi comments on the words: the boys grew up that as long as kids are small their characters and morals arent clearly recognizable. Only once they have reached the age of 13, one turned to idol worship while the other turned to the Beit Midrash. Therefore adds the Medrash: at the age of 13, a father says the blessing of: " In other words: even though as soon as they where born they clearly showed where their tendencies lay, it doesnt necessarily mean that thats what their essence is. Only once, they are adults and they continue in that behavior, then they can be defined by their actions.

This is the great challenge of Chinuch. To understand children when they are younger is an art, but this really is the crucial time to recognize, who they are, what could be the consequences of every action that they do. Therefore, instead of waiting for them to grow up and then having a relationship, rather spend some time when they are younger, try to see who they really are, and then you will be able to give them the proper direction and the tools they need to continue on the proper path.

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Simon Says

Vayeshev: Bonding
The Parsha starts with the words: ' And Yaakov settled down etc. Why the emphasis on Yaakovs settling down? Says Rashi: that Yaakov after all his troubles and issues with Eisav and Lavan, he finally wanted to rest a bit and spend some time in peace. However Hashem sees things differently and feels that the Tzadikim are not her in this world to sit back and rest, therefore immediately the story of Yosef took place. What does this mean? Is it so bad if the Tzadikim were able to have a bit of peace in this world in order to focus more on their spirituality? No! there is no question that they too are entitled to have a bit of peace of mind, however what Rashi is referring to is the aspect of Chinuch and teaching their children. In this there is no respite. Yaakov thought that due to the fact that all his children where great people that even Hashem

himself praises them, he was already exempt from teaching them. But then comes the story of Yosef and we see that a person is never finished with the education of his children. Even great people like the sons of Yaakov, still needed their fathers direction on how to behave. As we come up to Chanukah this is the time to reiterate and strengthen that bond with our children, and to understand how far our responsibility really goes.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Vayigash: On a Journey
After Yosef had revealed himself to his brothers, he sent them back to their father Yaakov, to bring him down to Egypt. In order that Yaakov would realize that it was really him, Yosef sent him wagons which as Rashi explains: was a hint to the last topic that they had learned together, the issue of .The words wagon, and calf, both written the same way. The obvious question is: where does Rashi get this from? There are plenty other things that he could be hinting to? refers to the law, if a dead body is found on the outskirts of a town and no one knows how he died, the Rabbis from the closest town have to bring a calf as a sacrifice and say: our hands did not spill this blood! Do we really think that the Rabbis did this that they have to come to declare otherwise? The Sages

explain: that implicit in the declaration is the idea that when a person leaves our house or goes on a journey we are supposed to accompany him part of the way. This gives him spiritual protection from the elements as if others are with him. Therefore, the Rabbis declare: in our town, we make sure that people are accompanied and we had no hand in this person going out to face the world without protection. If we think for a moment, the last time Yaakov and Yosef where together was when Yosef was sent by his father to his brothers. As Yosef is about to leave, Yaakov gets up to accompany him. As Yosef protests, Yaakov says to him: remember the law of that one should always accompany one who is leaving! So obviously this was the last law they discussed together. When we send our kids out into the world, they are going on a journey with many perils and negative elements, and they need all the protection they can get. Therefore lets accompany them as they go out on their way and ensure them the spiritual protection during their journey.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Vayachi: Yaakov & Yosef's Legacy


This week we will be leining the last parsha in Breishit. As the story of Yaakov comes to a close and he is about to give the final blessings to his sons, he calls Yosef and tells him: I am about to pass on and his two sons (Menashe & Ephraim) that were born in Mitzrayim before I came, they will be considered to me like my own sons the other Shvatim. This language is very troubling. I would have thought the opposite: those that were born after Yaakov came should be more like his sons, verses those that were born before there was really little connection between them until Yaakov came to Mitzrayim? Says R' Moshe Feinstein Zt"l: we see from here how far the obligation of education goes, and that we have to ensure it's quality.

For our children to sit between the walls of the Beit Medrash and be well educated' that is relatively easy. The challenge is that a person will be able take his learning and moral behavior and keep to it in all places, even amongst idol worshipers. What Yaakov had taught Yosef was that he had the image of his father in front of him at all times, so much so that not only Yosef couldn't do wrong as a result neither could his children. Therefore Yaakov considered them as his sons " "since it was very apparent that they got to where they were, because of Yaakov himself. Whereas any other kids grew up with the rest of the Shvatimand therefore their behavior would be more expected and the greatness of Yaakov doesn't shine out.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Shmot: Who We Really Are


The Parsha this week is the first in what is known as: "which is an abbreviation of the first 6 Parshiyot in Shmot: , , , , . There is an old tradition that this period is the time to review once again and heighten our knowledge of those Halachot dealing with Family Purity and the holiness of the Jewish home, and encourage more involvement of those whom until now hadnt learned. What is the connection? Why do we review these laws specifically at this time? These Parshiyot deal with the process and growth of Am Yisrael, all the way from being slaves in Egypt until finally receiving the Torah at Har Sinai and becoming a special and unique people. To maintain that uniqueness of a life of morality requires certain guidelines and parameters. Hashem in his infinite

wisdom understood the makeup of man & woman and put into place the structure that is required to raise the level of human intimacy to a much deeper and meaningful place, so we would be able to fulfill our true roles as examples to the rest of the world. This period is a reminder of who we really are, where we came from and what we became, and therefore the most appropriate time to once again reassess our personal lives and evaluate what we can do to enhance them

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Simon Says

VaEra: Showing Respect


The Midrash tells us that when Moshe & Aharon came to Pharaoh they were commanded to treat him with respect (see Rashi). Even though he is not a Jewish king and a wicked one too, still they were told to treat him with respect. The Gemarah in Masechet Shabbat describes that due to the complexity of running a kingdom or country, it would be impossible to sit down and write out all that had to be done and taken care of, even for the course of only one day! The Gemarah when saying this, even about non Jewish kingdoms, uses terminologies of praise comparable to the praises we use for Hashem. The obvious question is: How could this be? The truth us when Hashem has given a nation the power to rule over Am Yisrael, they are not really ruling. As the verse describes: even when

they are in the land of their enemies I have not forsaken or despised them. Thus when a governing nation makes a decree against the Jews, it is only at the behest of Hashem. Therefore the same words we would use to praise God are applicable here too. As hard as it might sound, when we show respect to conquering nations, essentially we are showing respect to Hashem. The Gemarah tell us to run to show our respects to a king and make the bracha blessed is he whom gave from his honour to flesh and blood. And by doing so if one merits he will gain perception. What does it mean: If he merits? To see an evil king?! Rather it means that if he merits understanding that this king is no more then a mirage of what the true king is, and an example that Hashem is showing him how to respect and honour a king. Then when the time comes for Mashiach, he will appreciate the contrast and what a true king really is, and show the appropriately proper respect and honour.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Bo: To Serve Hashem


When Pharaoh was talking to Moshe about letting the Jews go, he asked him: whom do you want to go? When Moshe answered: ' children, elders etc. will go, Pharaoh answer was: no! Only the men will go since that is what you really want. The question is, that Moshe never said only the men, so from where does Pharaoh get this idea that this is Moshes request? The answer is that Pharaoh did not really hear it, only from his perspective he figured that the Jews were going to bring sacrifices and serve their G-d, and the ones who normally do so are the men, not the women & children! So what he meant was: since you are ultimately asking to go and serve your G-d you are really only asking for the men, and you dont need anybody else!

From here, we see the basic fundamental difference between the way the world views serving G-d, verses the way of Am Yisrael. The Torah demand from a Jew to serve Hashem at all times, in all circumstances, every place and every age. Therefore there is no difference whether people are old, young, male or female, everyone has their part. Obviously, the responsibility of an older person is different from one who is young, it is however the responsibility of those who are older, to find and clarify the role of those who are younger. When each and every person is doing what they are supposed to, altogether they make up that unique entity of Am Yisrael, and then they are fitting for redemption and the right to live as a nation in Eretz Yisrael.

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Simon Says

BShalach: The Power of Ones Strengths


As Moshe Rabeinu was standing over while they were fighting their battle with Amalek, the Torah describes how Moshes arms became weary and he sat down with Aharon holding one arm aloft and Chur the other. The language the torah uses is : . The question is - Why is it necessary to emphasize that from each side their was One holding and not use the general statement: they held up his arms? Aharon and Chur were two very different people with very different personalities and characters. Aharon is known as the , , whereas Chur was the when it came to fighting G-ds

battles, there was Chur, and he ultimately died trying to stop the Golden Calf being built. Therefore the terminology is used for both of them, each one being a separate and unique entity. Moshe had the ability to merge and mesh these two strengths, however when he wasnt around (during the time of the Golden Calf) this ability disappeared which was when we saw the differences between Aharon and Chur. When it come to Chinuch first and foremost we need to know that every child is different and has their unique and special gifts. If we take the time to discern and clarify this uniqueness then we will be able to really give that special and focused energy that our kids are entitled too. Once we have explored and understood these different strengths, then maybe we can begin to see a way bring out all of a childs potential, to make him realize what his capabilities are, and to drive him forward to realize all this latent potential..

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Rav Dovid Simon

Trumah: Involved in Prayer


People sometimes think that in order to truly elevate oneself spiritually and bring G-d into this world, you need to be involved in prayer, holiness etc. and somewhat removed and disconnected from the physicality of this world. As a source for this behavior, there is a verse quoted from the Parsha: Make for me a Temple and I will dwell amongst them. In order for G-d to be in this world, we need to be like a Mikdash. However, this is not the case. We do not need to go searching for all types of Holy behavior; rather all we need to do is to keep the Torah & Mitzvot as part of our regular life, and that in itself will bring the Kedushah and Shechina to us.

As we see in the Haftara: This house that you are building, if you go in my statues and keep my laws and guard the mitzvoth to walk in their ways, I will keep all my promises The conditions for G-d presence are no more than keeping the basics. We see this in the terminology of the verse: I will dwell in them while it should have said: I will dwell in it! We see from here, that just to be involved, every person at his/her level, this already brings Hashems Shechina into that person and they are considered like a mini Holy Temple.
U U

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Ki Tisa: Contemplate Our Actions


The Gemarah in Sanhedrin states: that due to all the required conditions there never was and never will be a case of - the rebellious son. A similar statement is made regarding the a city that worships idols and consequently has to be burned to the ground. However, then the Gemarah quotes Rav Yonatan who claims to have seen a case of and even sat on his grave, and to have seen the burnt down city and sat on the ruins. How is it that Rav Yonatan happened to be the person whom had the luck to see both these things that the Rabbis claim couldnt be? Furthermore, why the emphasis of sitting on the grave and the ruins? Maybe we can explain based on another Gemarah, that after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and

consequently the disbanding of the Sanhedrin, there are still the 4 death penalties in the world, only that they happen by what to us would seem natural circumstances. Stoning would be equal to for example: falling of the roof4. Burning would be equal to getting burned or poisoned etc. That is whar Rav Yonatan means: the concept of he saw. He saw a grave of a child and he found out that he had behaved as a rebellious son and consequently had died unnaturally. So too with the burnt city. But not that the process was actually carried out. This is the meaning of the sitting: he sat on the grave and the ruins and contemplated the situation and he came to the conclusion that G-d will was carried out any case. While it is may be not our responsibility to stop evaluating why other people have died, it is ours to thing and consider what is happening to us? And what is Hashems message for us? For this we need to take an example from Rav Yonatan: to take the time and effort to contemplate our actions and our lives and then we will be merit a proper .

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Rav Dovid Simon

Tetzaveh: Multiple Opportunities


I heard a wonderful idea this week. After we learn, we customarily say the words of Rabbi Chananya Ben Akashiya: " Hashem wanted to look for more merit for Am Yisroel, therefore he gave them much Torah & Mitzvot. The question is asked: if Hashem was looking for ways for us to get more credit, why not just give more for the Mitzvot we do? Why do we need more? The answer is: that every person is different and different things speak to different people. In order for a person to really merit something, he has to put all his effort and energy into what he is doing, in a total selfless way. Not everybody can apply that to the exact same thing. For some people, acts relating

to Chessed speak to them more, whereas for others they relate more to davening in Shul. In order that everyone will be able to find a Mitzvah that they can relate to, and dedicate themselves totally to it, Hashem gave multiple Mitzvot, multiple opportunities to connect. No one can claim that they do not have a place to truly express themselves in Torah and Mitzvot. All it requires is a bit of thought and introspection, and then we can find our unique place in Avodat Hashem with a Mitzvah that is tailor made for us.

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Simon Says

Vayakhel: The Mishkan


The Torah in parshat tells us that after "had brought all the donations for the Mishkan, there was still a lot left over. The Midrash tell us that Moshe turned to Hashem and asked him what to do with the leftovers? And Hashem answered him: leave it for the a Miskan for testimony. Where have we ever seen anything about another Mishkan? The answer is that there is only one Mishkan, and it is call the Mishkan Haeidut because of the Aron that resides there which has the inside. In other words: the whole sanctity of the Mishkan comes about as a result of the Torah residing inside. There is a big difference between the Avoda bringing of the sacrifices and the Torah. You can only sacrifice during the day and there are clear rules and restrictions on what, when, and how to bring. However Torah has no limits. We are obligated to

learn Torah at every possible moment: and you shall toil in it day and night. Therefore Am Yisrael brought unlimited donations for the sake of the Torah which is unlimited, until they were told to stop. This is what the Midrash means: Leave it for the dont use the rest! Leave it in the Mishkan as testimony to the fact that the Torah is unlimited without restrictions, rather the source and basis for whom we are and what we represent. This past week I took the 8th grade boys from the Chinuch Atzmai school for a test on 6 Daf Gemarah by Harav Shteinman Shlita. To see a person in his mid nineties who lives for Torah and is a living, breathing example of Torah, dedicate an hour from his time for kids, is the greatest testimony I could ever give to boys what the Torah is and what it brings to our lives.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Pekuday: Look Inside


In the Parshiyot that we read last week and BH will read this week, the topic is the building of the Mishkan and its vessels. While it seems to be that we are spending a lot of time focusing on the external details: how everything should be made, what materials must be used etc., we see from "that everything in the Mishkan and its contents in reality are coming to give us different messages for life. This fact in itself: not to get too focused on the outside and instead try to understand what really is important, is probably one of the strongest messages itself. We see this hinted over and over again in the verses. For example: if we take the Aron. The Torah tells us that we are supposed to put the into the Aron. And then the Torah goes and repeats the exact same thing again! Why? Says Rashi: to tell us to put

the in first and only then put the the cover on top. The question is: that is obvious! Why do we need the Torah to tell us that? The answer is: that without what is inside there is no purpose for the Aron and therefore we have to emphasize he fact that we put the in and only then close it. The proof for this is: that in the 2nd Beit Hamikdash when we didnt have the ,we didnt have the Aron either. This idea is absolutely crucial in the world of Chinuch. We tend to get caught up in what we see on the outside: the behavior, the talk etc., and we forget to look inside of the children and see their special qualities and the true gems that they really are. Let us take a moment of thought before we decide about others, and focus on the special Neshama inside, instead of getting caught up with the outside.

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Simon Says

Vayikra: Sacrifices
The Gemara in Brachot brings the well known quote in the name of Rabbi Yehoshu ben Levi that the prayers we have today were enacted by the Rabbis in place of the Korbanot the sacrifices, more specifically the Korban Olah The Burnt Offering. In describing the Korban Olah, the Torah tells us to skin the animal and cut it up into pieces, therefore these aspects should exist in prayer too. The Shulchan Aruch talks about the true righteous people who would spend some time in solitude in preparation for Tefila until they were able to as if remove their outside skin and connect more so to their true inner being. In addition, for a person to truly daven he is required to humble himself and understand that in relation to Hashem he is insignificant and disinterred.

By a person fulfilling these two aspects to the best of his ability, he will then be considered as having brought a sacrifice, himself to Hashem. After having reached this stage, one could find it hard to bring himself to even speak to Hashem, therefore we start the Tefilah with words: ' asking for the help and strength to actually pray. May Hashem listen to all our Tefilot and the Beit Hamikdash rebuilt .

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Rav Dovid Simon

Tazriah: What is Holy


In this weeks Parsha we read about a woman who gives birth to a son: "'." The Gemarah in Shavuot brings two opinions as to what we can learn from the juxtaposition of the closing verses of Shemini and the opening verses of Tazria. In Parshat Shmini we have the verses that discuss differentiating Havdalah - between pure/impure, holy/unholy, closely followed by the verse in Tazria that discuss the birth of a male. These two opinions are as follows; One who makes Havdalah on wine will have - male children. One who makes Havdalah on wine will have - male children who will be fitting to teach Torah.

What is the connection between having children and Havdalah on Motzai Shabbat? The answer is that on Motzai Shabbat every person has to use their innate intelligence in order to see and appreciate the difference between the Holy and the profane in every facet of life (as we see in the words of the Havdalah). Anyone who is able to do this is fulfilling the concept of = remembering ones purpose. This is the idea of having the ability to know what is right and what is wrong. This is also the idea behind the use of wine. Wine, the Gemarah says, has the ability to open up locked and closed hearts. Once a person opens his heart then he is truly able to see and understand when an action or deed is Holy or "profane. [This is the basis for a Jewish marriage. Knowing and using our capabilities to find the right and proper way to build a home based on Torah and Mitzvot. If we do that then may we all be Zocheh to have who can teach and transfer onwards through the generations the power of remembering to remember and take the time to ask: is this holy or not?]

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Simon Says

Kedoshim: Wake Up!


When one has to deal with a child who is misbehaving, before coming down too hard on him, it is usually preferably to somehow give the kid the message that he is not heading in the right direction. If he doesnt get the hint and as a result somehow modify his behavior, then unfortunately he might have to be dealt with in a harsher manner. This is true with the way Hashem deals with us too. There are those times in our life that maybe we are not exactly doing what we should be, and Hashem sends us a hint to wake up and do something! Even if we dont completely mend our ways, we have to make some change. There was a religious Jew after surgery recuperating at a certain Kibbutz. During one of his walks in the fields a tractor pulls up and the driver asks him if he can come and join a Minyan for a brit. Afterwards they asked him if he would like to come and make a

Lechayim with the grandfather, and he agreed. Seeing a religious person the grandfather called him over and told him this story. I was living in Berlin before things deteriorated and the Jews were still living the good life. We were into the culture and atmosphere of revision that prevailed in Germany at that time. One Shabbat the Karliner Rebbe came to town and was slated to speak Friday night in the main shul. Since a Rebbe was a rare event in Germany, many came to hear him driving too shul the way they were used to. The Rebbe waiting to speak was very perturbed and when he got up to talk he said: this week is Parshat Kedoshim and we see different commands that Moshe is to tell Am Yisrael. 1) Be Holy 2) Be in awe of your mother & father 3) Keep my Shabbat 4) ' I am Hashem. Said the Rebbe: when I speak to my Chassidim I say: Be Holy! And they know that means to keep Shabbat,

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Rav Dovid Simon

eat kosher etc. When I speak to the lay people I have to be more specific: Be in awe of your mother & father! When I speak to the more simple folk I have to lower the expectations and say: Keep Shabbat! However to you here in Berlin I cant even tell you that, therefore my words to you are: I am G-d! Dont ever forget that! And the Rebbe gave such a clap on the Bima that the windows shook. I came home said the old man and told my wife: thats it! We are getting out of Germany. We left against all our friends advice and came to Israel and I didnt become any more religious. However since at least I did something I have merited to see my grandson having a Brit in Eretz Yisrael.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Emor: True Emunah


' ... What is the connection between Shabbat and the Chagim? Says Rashi: Whoever keeps the Chagim it is as if he has kept Shabbat and whoever desecrated the Chagim it is as if he has desecrated the Shabbat. What does Rashi mean? Keeping Shabbat is the absolute declaration of our trust and faith in the fact that G-d is the creator of this world, and therefore one who desecrates the Shabbat it is as if he has denied all of the creation. The Chagin is a declaration of the fact the G-d runs this world, even to the level of changing nature in order to take care of Am Yisrael. Comes along the Torah and says that these two things are inseparable. We cannot believe in one and not the other. Belief in the creation without the belief in Hashems continued running of the world is

as if he doesnt belief in the creation either. A creation without continued guidance is worthless. If the world is without guidance there is no need for keeping the Torah and Mitzvot, and if there is no need for Torah and Mitzvot there is no need for the creation. This is the connection between Shabbat and the Chagim. If we "desecrate one, we are throwing out the whole package. Therefore the Parsha also writes the whole topic of giving to the poor in the middle of the Chagim, in order to show us that this too is an essential part of our Emunah. If we belief Hashem is running the world, there will be no hesitation in our understanding to take care and give from our own to the poor. If we think it is all ours and we have no obligation to give, or until we are convinced to give, again we are denying our whole purpose for being in this world. May we all merit to experience this true Emunah in every aspect of our lives

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Simon Says

Rav Dovid Simon

Emor: The Beginning


When bringing a sacrifice the Torah tells us to make sure that at the time of Shechita it is done . Rashi explains: make sure that the sacrifice will fulfill its purpose as atonement for you. How is this? As the next verse explains: eat it only on that day have in mind during the shechita process that you are only going to eat it during the allotted time. Any other thought differing from that invalidates the Korban. This is true for all other aspects of the Korban: make sure to be thinking and focusing on the right owners, right time, right place etc. We see that proper/improper thoughts at the outset are what define the validity of our actions. This is the power of the beginning, the proper start one should make. Bris Mila being the first of the physical mitzvoth is equated to all the mitzvoth. Shabbat being the first of the negative mitzvoth is equated to all the negative mitzvoth. If one has the

proper concentration during the 1st bracha in the Amida he has fulfilled his obligation even if he didnt on the rest. Whereas if he had the proper concentration on the rest and not the beginning, he has not. We see where we are supposed to concentrate our efforts, both for ourselves and all the more so for our children. If we invest more in the beginning: right time, right place, right environment etc, then there is a chance for our kids to make it and maybe for us too.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Bamidbar: Community
One of the main themes in this weeks Parsha is that of the different flags and the tribes that they represented. Due to the length that the Torah goes into to describe all the details obviously this is a very important part of the framework and structure of Bnei Yisrael. If so how come Hashem waited until now to give over these laws, a year after they left Mitzrayim, and not instruct them immediately as soon as they had left? If we think about it, all these different flags and camps that were part of Am Yisrael in reality are a cause for separation. Each group had their neighbors that were separate from all the others. Why then did Hashem want that this is the way the nation should camp and travel? Yes, if the result of such encampment would be a distancing of the tribes from each other, then for sure that was not Hashems intention. However in

the middle of the Machane was the Aron and the Mishkan, therefore everyone surrounding that Mishkan are essentially all focused together to the same place. This is the key to who and what Am Yisrael are. Each and every tribe has their characteristics that are unique to them and therefore have to keep that uniqueness. However that can only be if everyone is focusing on ."If we are all working to the same goal then the differences that we have dont make a difference, rather on the contrary that shows the real greatness of a people. We can be different but in reality we are really one.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Naso: Efforts Count


In the listing of the sons of Levi, the Torah also describes their responsibilities vis--vis what they are supposed to carry of the Mishkan when it travels. The tribe of Kehat was responsible the Aron and the rest of the Holy vessels. We also know that the Aron really carried those that seemed to be carrying them. So in true sense, the actual work of Bnei Kehat is not so difficult verses the son of Gershon who had to carry the wood beams from the walls. If so, how come the verse when defining the age of the working Levi'im (30-50 = prime of life) says that the sons of Gershon where also strong, when it should be saying that the sons of Kehat were of the same age even though that their strength was not needed! And why was that strength really needed? Many times we ask the question: if I can succeed without trying to hard, why bother trying and just

wasting time? Or the opposite: I'm not going to manage in any case, so why bother? The answer is: that the effort one puts into something is what makes it count. Not whether he actually succeeds or he can manage without it. This is what Hashem is coming to teach us. True we might not need the efforts of the sons of Kehat, but they need to put in the effort or in real terms or in potential terms, in order for them to appreciate their responsibilities. Therefore the verse emphasizes: not only the sons of Gershon have to be in their prime of life, but also the sons of Kehat. Remember! Our efforts count, not the results!

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Simon Says

Balak: Seeing Hashem


This weeks Parsha describes how Balak seeing the aftermath of the battle between Bnei Yisrael and the Emorites came to the conclusion that something had to be done to get rid of Am Yisrael and therefore he went and hired Bilam to curse them. This is in stark contrast to what happened with Yitro. When he heard what had taken place with Am Yisrael, he decided to convert and join them. The question is why? If anything, seeing is supposed to have a much greater impact on a person then just hearing, so why did they act so differently? In the Haggada for Pesach is seems to be that the question of the wise and wicked sons are the same: Why are you doing all these things? so why is one defined as wicked and the other as wise? The Gaon of Vilna explains the difference. The wise son asks: What are all these things that Hashem our G-d has commanded you to do whereas the wicked son in

his question doesnt mentioned G-d at all: What is this work you are doing? Even though the question is the same, however one is prepared to see G-d is what happens in this world and the other isnt. So too with Yitro the verse describes what he heard that Hashem had done, whereas with Balak it only refers to the fact that he saw what Bnei Yisrael did. No mention of G-d When a person is prepared to see Hashem in whatever happens in this world, that is what clearly defines him as a descendent of Avraham Avinu. However one who persistently denies any Godly involvement in whatever happens, is going with the behavior of Bilam. May we merit to open our eyes and see the greatness of Hashem in every small facet of our lives.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Balak: Restraint
One of the hardest challenges in todays society is the unwillingness to come out the underdog, or in the commonly used phrased: I will not be Friair!! This is the underlying approach to life that if someone insults me I cannot allow him to get away with it without an appropriate response. If someone else is going to gain, why not me? This attitude permeates and affects all ages. As a principal when we try to educate the kids in school, many times they cannot even understand what is wrong. He insulted me! He hit me! She started! To walk away is just unthinkable. However this is the way a Jew should behave. As the Mishna in Avot describes to us the difference between those students of Avraham Avinu and those of Bilam Harasha, we see that the common denominator between all the differences is the willingness to humble oneself, not to expect that everyone is going to bow down and kowtow to me! This is what is unique about Am Yisrael. We are still in Galut and the ability to not respond to every

antagonism is ultimately what makes us great and more spiritual people. As we head out to the summer holidays and the possibilities of more interaction with others are there, this is time to awaken ourselves to those points which really show the difference between who is a student of Bilam Harasha, and who is really a true student of Avraham Avinu.

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Holidays

Simon Says

Rav Dovid Simon

Rosh Hashanah: The Challenge of Parenting


One of the greatest challenges we can have as parents or teachers is coming to the realization that maybe the approach that I've taken or the method employed is flawed or even incorrect. Many of us are convinced that our "derech" is the correct one, and while there might be a lot to be said for such a derech, it doesn't necessary mean that it is applicable under all circumstances. For example: To lay down boundaries and limits is definitely something that is important to do (albeit in today's generation it seems somewhat forgotten), however to set limits that might be too hard or

unattainable for children today, would be somewhat foolish and asking for trouble. Just as we want our kids to realize that maybe what they think or do might not be the correct way, so too we have to be open to the possibility that we too might be in the wrong and are willing to make the necessary changes. This essentially is the basis for Teshuva. Only once a person realizes that maybe the life they have been living is somewhat flawed and that there is another possibility or approach to life, only then can they begin the process of Teshuva, of change and reconsideration of ideals and values that we were so convinced in their absoluteness. May Hashem give us all the insight to see these other possibilities and the strength to actually act on them. A to all of Klal Yisrael and may Hashem bring peace and prosperity to all of Eretz Yisrael

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Simon Says

Rosh Hashanah: School is Back!!!


From one aspect, the fact that the 1st of September this year is so close to Rosh Hashanah, it is quite hard on the teachers due to the fact that by the time the kids are a finally a little settled, they immediately go again on holiday. However from another aspect the whole concept of starting a new year is directly related to Rosh Hashanah. We see the different ages coming in. those who are in their last year have a certain attitude towards school, whereas those who are only starting in 1st grade have a totally different attitude.

If we try and analyze these different approaches, we can take some very important messages for our own New Year. How we come into Shul and speak to Hashem, is totally depended on our attitude. If we come in as finalists and a feeling that we have done our part and now we are just finishing off, the chances are, just like we would waste the entire year with limited achievement, we will end up squandering our opportunity to meet and talk to Hashem with a result of limited achievement. However if we come in as 1st graders, with a it bit of shyness, with a bit of humility, a bit of uncertainty, then the push to succeed will be much greater and so will our achievements. May all of Am Yisrael have a Ktiva Vachatimah Tova

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Rav Dovid Simon

Succot: Puts Life Into Perspective


The main idea behind the mitzvah of Succot according to the Rambam is to reach the highest level of Simcha Joy that one could. Whilst every Chag has an aspect of Simcha, Succot is very special in this regard. This is why Succot is known as: . The obvious question is: why then do we leave the comfort of our homes and go out to a place which is so much less comfortable? Shouldnt we stay in the nice air-conditioning fly free atmosphere and really enjoy ourselves? The answer is: that to enjoy true joy first we have to get our perspectives right. A person, who is wholly into the physicality of this world, does not necessarily mean that he is happy. How many people who are wealthy but are still miserable? Only once a person

realizes that the pleasures of this world are temporary and arent around forever, only then can they truly begin to enjoy themselves. This is why we go out to the Succah. In order to tell ourselves that life overall is temporary and that at any given moment things can change. This is the message of the temporary dwelling, the Succah. At this stage one learns to appreciate what they do have and really begin to enjoy every moment of it. This is what the Mishna in Pirkei Avot says: who is true wealthy person? He who is happy with his lot! This doesnt mean that we cant enjoy life. On the contrary! If Hashem has given it to us, it is there for us to benefit and enjoy. However the true deep enjoyment of Zman Simchateinu can only come once we understand the proper balance of how thing stand in our world.

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Simon Says

Chanukah: Todays Battles


As we approach Chanukah and we begin to smell the aroma of the sufganiyot and the latkes, it awakens within us again, all the ideas that Chanukah represents. However, most of us focus on the miracle of the jug of oil and the fact that we light the candles for eight days in order to commemorate that event and publicize Hashem's greatness. But in reality if we look a bit deeper, we see that the true miracle of Chanukah is much greater. In the tefilah of Al Hanissim there is very little mention of the lighting of the candles at all and the direction on the tefilah is elsewhere. The tefilah describes how we were put in spiritual danger by the Greeks: "To forget your Torah and to transgress your will" and then Hashem with great compassion and caring went to battle and brought about great miracles of: "Brave into the hands of the weak, many

into the hands of a few, impure into the hands of the pure, wicked into the hands of the righteous, and those who turned against the Torah into the hands of those who guarded it". These are the miracles we should remember and take the message from them for today. We are still battling those Greek forces and they are trying in all ways to infiltrate into the very essence of the Jewish people. One of the most crucial battlegrounds is the area of religious Jewish education. There is an ongoing infiltration of those Hellenistic ideas that the Greeks espoused, that we have are losing track of what Hashem really wants from us and from our children. This Chanukah we should take a moment to evaluate the true message of Chanukah and ask ourselves: are we prepared to be like the Maccabees and take those steps that are required, for us and our families to live the life of : "Mi Chamocha Baeilim Hashem".

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Rav Dovid Simon

Chanukah: Great Potential


Recently one of my friends had a Down syndrome child, and he was describing to me how many people (out of the goodness of their hearts) were telling them about the different difficulties involved with raising such a child. When he shared this information with his doctor, the doctor categorically disagreed by saying: A child will be what we make him! How we perceive our childrens abilities and guide them to reach their maximum potential is what makes them unique, regardless of whatever seemingly limitations they might have. This is true for every single one of our children. Every person has their special talents and at the same time also certain limitations. How we let those limitations become handicaps, is entirely up to us. This is the message of Chanukah. The Jews were faced with a tremendous danger of spiritual and physical destruction, but when they were able to dig

deep inside themselves and realize the importance of the Torah and what it meant for the nations survival, with Hashems help and their willingness, all the barriers came down and they merited a great victory. BH we also will take the Chanukah message to hear and together with our families, realize the great potential inside every single one of us. A Freilicha Chanukah

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Simon Says

Purim: Power of Wine


This month of Adar we find ourselves with mixed emotions. From one aspect it is Adar and therefore a time of joy, and on the other hand when 8 boys sitting learning Torah are cut down in brutally by a terrorists bullets it is hard to express that joy. This brings forth the question of the general behavior of people and especially of kids on Purim. There is a huge misconception due to the permissive atmosphere that exists, that joy means letting loose and breaking down of all barriers. This cannot be further from the truth. As Chazal tell us = there are aspects on Purim that are comparable to Yom Kippur. Just like Yom Kippur is a day of self introspection so to is Purim. However on Purim the introspection is done by seeing who we really are though the power of Simcha and wine. If a person can take that Simcha and use it in a way to raise himself spiritually and not "degenerate into

total abandoning of all limits, then the true self will become apparent. Is there no greater introspection than this?! This is the power of wine too. through drinking we can see the true worth and character of a person, and he himself can use that slight curbing of senses that comes as a result of drinking to connect to Hashem in spiritual and emotional ways he never thought of before. May we all truly merit to see all our enemies fall just like Haman, and to really connect this Purim to Hashem at the highest levels possible.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Pesach: Good Feelings


In the Haggadah we recite the words: " " - whoever is hungry should come and eat, whoever is in need should come and partake in the eating of the Pesach offering. Why does the Haggadah have to repeat it itself? What was said in the first sentence already clearly indicates what our intentions are: to invite in anyone in need! Maybe what the Baal Haggadah is trying to tell us is: that when we invite people into our homes there are two factors to focus on 1) to bring them in and give them food 2) give them a spiritual experience that they wont forget. The Korban Pesach represents this spirituality, and that is the second statement we make: whoever is in need of a spiritual uplifting, we are welcoming them into our homes to give them this.

We see from here the tremendous importance how one is supposed to take care of their guests. Just giving a great meal is not enough; part of Hachnasat Orchim is the emotional and spiritual rise they are supposed to get from us. This can constitute the special atmosphere of the Chag or it can be the unique feeling of closeness to Hashem that one can feel in our home. This can come about through the Divrei Torah we say at the table, through the singing, or jut from the way each person behaves to each other. May we all be Zoche to truly inspire ourselves, and then through our Hachnasat Orchim let others to see, experience, and take from some of this spirituality for themselves.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Pesach: True Growth


We have come through Purim and now we are on the home stretch for Pesach. The Rabbis teach us: we ask and clarify the Halachot of Pesach 30 days before Pesach. This essentially means that we start on Purim a process that continues and concludes with the saying of the Haggadah on Seder night. What is exactly is this process? Rav Volbe Ztl in his book on Chinuch speaks about the two separate approaches that when combined together, produce the child that will be a true Mentch. There is the Building aspect where we give the structure and framework, that without it the kid will be a wild animal. And there is the Growth process where we let the kid grow and develop those natural strength that G-d has given him, that without this the child will just be a robot!

This is also the process that takes place during the period between Purim & Pesach. Starting with the full acceptance of the Torah willingly on Purim, followed by the involvement with all the halachot leading up to Pesach which creates the structure and framework of Am Yisrael, it will bring us to the Haggadah which is the culmination of the spiritual growth that we can feel and appreciate as if we ourselves had been in Mitzrayim and Hashem raised us up with the framework and growth to become a true spiritual people. May we all be Zoche to see the final Geulah .

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Rav Dovid Simon

Pesach: Reconnecting
A few days ago I ran into a friend of mine and he told me that the main funding for his work had fallen through and as a result of that he had not been paid before Pesach. All he had in his account was 24 NIS. Not knowing what to do he went to ask his Rabbi and he was told: Pesach is also known as the Chag that relates to our close relationship to Hashem and our deep trust we have in him. Therefore he should go ahead and prepare for the Chag as usual (within reason) and Hashem will provide. I feel this is also very true in regards to the world events that are happening around us today. We are left with almost no credit in the bank. The nations of the world seem to ignore our plight and our need for self survival, and even our erstwhile ally America, seems to be heading down that path. What do we do? How are we going to survive? The answer is the same the Rabbi gave to my friend.

This is a period of ,a time for reconnecting in the deepest way to our creator. If we understand how deep this trust can go and apply it to our lives, than just like in the time of where Hashem showed his greatness to those who trusted him, so too Hashem will reveal himself again to us, give us the strength of character to stand up to what is right, and give us the proper guidance to live in a way worthy of our ancestors whom had received the Torah at Har Sinai. May we all merit a , and to see the fulfillment of the verse: in the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash .

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Simon Says

Shavuot: Signs
After Layning from the Torah we make a Bracha: " " that Hashem gave us the true Torah and eternal life was rooted into us. Do we really understand and appreciate the meaning of " ?" From the language of the Bracha it is seems that as a result of us receiving this True Torah, it will become rooted within us eternally. What does this mean? A man came to speak to the Alter of Kelm, one of the leading Torah giants of the last generation, seeking some advice regarding a business matter. At that time in Russia it was forbidden for Jews to own land, and therefore he wanted to register some land under the name of one of the local Non-Jewish landowners with whom he had a very good and honest relationship. The Rav answered him: everything that we do in life has its source in the Torah, therefore let us see what the Torah has to say about it. When Avraham Avinu was looking for a wife for his son, he sent his servant Eliezer on the mission. When

completing this task successfully, Eliezer's falls on his face and thanks Hashem for his help, an obvious sign of his reliability. However Avraham still did not trust him and even made him take an oath. Furthermore if Avraham could have gone himself, he would have. Therefore, said the Rav, we see that when something is important to one's life we shouldn't rely on anyone even the most trustworthy person. [the man did not listen and ended up losing everything]. Here is an example of how the Torah can give us direction even in the seemingly more mundane parts of our life, " " the truth of the Torah that Hashem gave us is so strong, that everything that we do in our lives, however mundane, can be analysed and resolved with reference to the torah. The net result of this is that these Torah True concepts become ingrained and rooted within us eternally, and they shed light and focus for us and our families on every decision we make. May we all merit to receive and internalize these Torah concepts and bring great light into our lives.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Shavuot: Togetherness
In Parshat Yitro and in Parshat Mishpatim while describing the process of Matan Torah, Bnei Yisrael are referred to as The Nation. And not just once but 24 times! This seems to contradict that which is mentioned in the Midrash Tanchuma in Parshat Balak, that every time the Torah uses the word it is derogatory! As we see there in Balak The nation started straying after the girls of Moav. Or as we see in this weeks Parsha: ' and the nation was complaining etc. and many other examples. How does this fit in with all the times The Nation is mentioned at Har Sinai? Especially since the verse itself says: and your nation are all righteous, or the verse in Devarim that says: ' for you are a holy nation etc.

The answer is that it depends of the context. When the word Am is used regarding a negative deed then it is negative, however if the context is positive than it is also positive. How could this be? The word Nation is spelt the same way as together. Togetherness denotes a friendship between people and a willingness to hear each other, a strong bond which can bring them together: like one man with one heart. If this togetherness is used for negative purposes, then it is our responsibility to break it up and separate between them. If we dont and they are still united, then this is the in its negative sense. However, when we use that unity for positive behavior and more spirituality, then it is a tremendous power and strength that can bring about a Kabbalat Hatorah. Just as Am Yisrael merited to receive the Torah due to their: , may we also merit this year, to focus together, accept one another, be called that Am Yisrael with all its power and might, and again receive the Torah: /

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Simon Says

Tisha BAv: Overcoming


The Rabbis teach us: If in a person lifetime the Beit Hamikdash was not rebuilt it is as if it was destroyed during his life. Obviously this means that if it has not been rebuilt the cause for the destruction have not been remedied. The 2nd Temple was destroyed due to needless hatred. That means we still have this issue to deal with. What does needless hatred mean? How many people show enmity to others for no reason? Everyone has a reason why he doesnt like another! As we go through life we have many challenges which Hashem is specifically tailoring to every single individual in order for that person to become a better human being and bring out G-ds greatness into the world. A person grows through overcoming these hurdles and realizing what the real world is about.

When someone insults me, instead of focusing on the negative aspect of the incident, let us focus instead on how does Hashem want me to deal with this? and then accordingly sometimes we have to retaliate and sometimes keep quite. Either way, if we understand that it comes from Hashem, even though there is room for negative feelings, however it wont turn into hatred. This is the needless hatred the Rabbis are referring to. Even though it seems there might be grounds for it, to hate due to Hashems challenges is considered needless. This is not an easy task but proving ourselves in this manner will bring the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash.

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Education

Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Respecting Property
A child causes damage to another's property, or steals from a friend, even though from a pure Halachik perspective he is exempt (being that he is a minor), however what about from an ethical point of view? Are we obligated to stop him or not? What about is he is eating something treif or speaking Lashan Hara, what are our obligations? Are they the same in all the above scenarios? The Rambam writes: " " It is incumbent on the Beit Din to beat the child for stealing (according to his strength) in order to avoid such behavior in the future. R' Yosef Cairo in his commentary (Kesef Mishna) however clarifies that we only find this law in relation to behavior between man and man ( ) but in issues between man and G-d ( ) there is no such rule.

On the laws of it is not clear how far we have to go to ensure proper behavior, however on the issues it is clear according to all opinions that parents have to "go all the way" and if there are no parents to fulfill this role the obligation fall on the Beit Din. We see the importance of educating our children to respect others and their property. It is not good enough to rely on the gan, school or neighbor. Every person has to do their part to ensure the continuous harmonious living between people in all ways.

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Rav Dovid Simon

Davenning With Children


One of the old age questions that parents have is: Should I bring my kids to shul? At what age? And if so, what should my expectations be insofar as their participation and actual presence inside? (Verses playing outside) The source for bringing children to shul, is a Tosfot on the Gemarah in Moed Katan regarding the fact that there is an obligation to bring all children, even the babies to the Beit Hamikdash for the Mitzvah of Hakheil. So too it would seem one should bring their children, even the babies to shul. However that might be good for a baby to get the atmosphere, but a child whom is not lying in a crib and cannot sit down and appreciate the spirituality, says Rav Volbe zt"l that it is preferably not to bring them to shul, if all they are going to do is play inside and outside.

But the problem is not so much the interference to others as the image and perspective the child gets of a Beit Knesset which he can carry through his life. If the image he carries is one of awe and respect, than there is a chance when he is older that he will treat the shul with the same respect. To summarize: it is preferable to bring them older verses younger, when they are at a stage that they can truly appreciate what a shul is. May Hashem accept all our Tefilot, and the Tefilot of all of Am Yisrael

Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

The Power of Youth


From the moment of their birth, children are extremely sensitive to their environment, and as they grow older and mature they appreciate more and more the nuances within the social group of which they are a part. Based on the verse in Eicha : Lift up your hands towards Him for the life of your young children says the that a person should daven and do everything he can to ensure that his children do not become involved in inappropriate behavior. And then the continues : If a child hears inappropriate words from his parents he is obligated to speak out, lest the effect of these words leads to tragedy. Says Rav Volbe Ztl: we see from here how parents have to be careful about what they say or do in front of their children. A child notices every word or action and digests it. He listens very carefully to a raised

voice, notices when anyone gets angry etc. It is impossible to foresee how spiritually destructive the setting of an improper example can be. Conversely, a positive behavioral message from parents can have a great spiritual effect on children. If parents are meticulous in their behavior within the family unit and also externally to others, whether it be in their observance of mitzvoth or purely in the way they interact socially, this will be picked up in detail by their kids. May Hashem give us the strength and ability to do what is right and appropriate, so that we could be that proper example for our kids.

Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org

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Simon Says

Rav Dovid Simon

Letting Go
We tend to think that only when our children are older it is important to "Let Go", with the understanding that they adults and can be responsible for themselves. However the truth is that this is applicable to all children at all ages. Human nature is to want to control one's life by themselves, and children are no different. It is an important part of their education to give them the ability to be able to make those decisions, so that they can have more control over their own lives. Just like parents learn to ask questions and get advice and it isn't a contradiction to the fact that they can stand on their own two feet, so too the kids even though they might need the advice and guidance of their parents, they still have to be able to stand firm themselves. We are afraid that our children might not succeed, however failure can be a powerful lesson for a child what not to do or what he should do next time. If we don't let go, we are withholding this important lesson from them.

The Hebrew word "( "responsibility) comes from the word "( "end). Responsibility means that what comes out in the end is on my shoulders. No person can be held responsible for something if he has no control over it. Therefore if we want to teach our kids to be responsible, we have to give them the ability to do things by themselves and take control where they can. LET GO!!!

Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

The Power of Speech & Silence


The Torah writes that when G-d created man he became: " " a living soul, which Rashi explains means: the ability of speech, and that is what makes him different from animals. It is with this power that man can relate to others and build a human society. This strength is not only used for interpersonal relationships but also as a tool to connect to Hashem through the medium of Tefilah, Viduy and learning Torah. And it could also "be used in a negative

way: causing strife, Lashan Hara etc. which rips apart the fabric of human society. However the Gemara in Chulin says that the expertise of a person in this world is his ability to stay silent! If so how do these two fit together? The answer is that in order for speech to be effective depends on if a person knows when to keep quite. If we always are speaking, the words become cheapened and less in value. But the person that weighs out his words and is not so quick to speak, when he actually does say something the impact is much greater. How true is this in relation to our children. One of the key factors in chinuch is working out the balance when it is important to say something, and when it is important to keep to the saying of the Rabbis: I didn't find anything better than silence.

Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org

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Simon Says

Rav Dovid Simon

About
Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org

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Rav Dovid Simon

Simon Says

Rav Simon
Rav Dovid Simon serves as spiritual leader for Kehillat Bnei Aharon and is the Principal of the Raanana Atzmai School . He not only provides guidance and ensures for proper functioning of the Kehillat Bnei Aharon minyan, but tirelessly avails himself for leading shiurim, speaking to the kehillah, and being open and available for questions and discussions.

Kehillat Bnei Aharon


Kehillat Bnei Aharon is an open community and welcomes all who wish to pray there. The kehillah was founded over 13 years ago by a dedicated group of newcomers to Raanana, looking to establish a warm, supportive community focused around Torah learning and inspirational prayer. Today Kehillat Bnei Aharon is in its largest facility yet and boasts a regular contingent of shiurim throughout the week and Shabbat. Kehillat Bnei Aharon is located at 7 Arlozorov on the 2nd floor in Raanana. More information can be found on the website at www.kbaraanana.org

Kehillat Bnei Aharon www.kbaraanana.org

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