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Dear  Naaleh Friend,
 
As Elul continues we hope you will take some time to learn from the many Naaleh classes available for this time of year.  Mrs. Shira Smiles brings us on insight on this week's Parsha and connection to Teshuva in Eul in her Naaleh.com class  Continuous Compassion from the series Living the Parsha 5777 .   In this class on Parshat Ki Tavo, Mrs. Shira Smiles discusses the mitzvot of biur, viduy maasrot, and the concept of vidui as it relates to teshuva.

To watch this class now and to learn more please click on the image below: 
 

This week's edition of our Torat Imecha Newsletter on this week's Parsha is available on our Newsletter page
Click here for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 
 
Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
Money Matters: Secular Courts Part III
If two parties sign a contract that any disputes will be decided in a secular court, the clause is invalid. The only exception is a case where a Jew and a non-Jew sign such a contract between them. If afterwards, the non-Jew sold his share to a Jew, disputes revert back to be decided in a beit din . If one is called to give testimony against a Jew in a secular court, one may go and say what one needs to, but one shouldn't initially volunteer to do so. A non-Jew can be chosen as an arbitrator to arbitrate a dispute between two Jews as it is not considered going to a secular court.

A man parked his car and left to go somewhere. When he returned he found his car door smashed. No one knew who did it. The insurance company sent him to an assessor who assessed the damage and said that the door must be changed. The owner had to pay $500 and the insurance company payed $2,000. Afterwards a neighbor came to him and admitted that he had done it. He said he had a friend that could've fixed the door for $200. He was prepared to reimburse him that amount. If the neighbor would've admitted his guilt right away, it could have been assessed how much was really needed to fix the door. But after it was already fixed, it can longer be proven. So how much does he need to pay?

The Ohr Somayach discusses a case like this. Two people were walking. Each had a donkey with him and both donkeys fell into the river. One owner knew how to swim, the other didn't. The second owner asked the first owner to save his donkey and he would pay him the loss of his donkey. But the first donkey managed to get out himself and the owner didn't end up suffering a loss. The second owner now claimed that since the donkey survived there was no need to pay. However according to Jewish law he still has to pay. He obligated himself and he must keep his word regardless of whether the animal  survived. Based on this, the damager must pay the full $2500. The fact that he had insurance and didn't suffer a complete loss does not matter. The owner must return the $2,000 back to the insurance company as one of their conditions is that they will only pay when no one else will pay.


Parshat Ki Tavo: The Source of Self Effacement
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles
Summary by Channie Koplowitz Stein

Parshat Ki Tovo begins with the mitzvah of bikurim , bringing the first fruits to the kohain and dedicating them to Hashem. At the conclusion, the farmer prostrates himself before Hashem, a requirement unique to bikurim . The Shaarei Derech cites the Midrash that the world was created in the merit of three mitzvot, referred to as reishit , beginning, and for which there exists a Rosh Hashanah to commemorate the beginning of the world. They are challah (the first of your dough), tithes, and bikurim . What was so special about bikurim ?  The Midrash Tanchuma tells us that today, since we no longer have a beit hamikdosh and bikurim , we have the mitzvah of praying three times a day instead. What is the connection? The Meirosh Tzurim mentions another rather cryptic association with this passage. Perek Shirah records the praise of the dog which is the verse alluding to this passage, "Come let us prostrate ourselves and bow down and bless Hashem our Maker." The Moda Labinah quoting the Zohar states that the key mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah is Yoma Dedinah , the Day of Judgment. While we understand that judgment is the essence of the day, how is that a mitzvah?

Rabbi Leff asks, why did the Torah command us to bring the first fruit instead of the best fruit? Because the first, the beginning, lays the foundation for all that is to follow, and like the foundation of a building, it must be without blemish if what follows is to be sustainable. If one wants to infuse sanctity into a project, one must begin with sanctity. As the Tolna Rebbe explains, although it appears that our work and nature have partnered to produce this fruit, all nature comes from Hashem. Therefore we dedicate the first fruits to Hashem so that all the rest of our endeavors will be equally holy. The Shaarei Derech citing the Baal Haturim notes that there is no letter samech in the entire passage of bikurim . The samech is a circular letter implying that nature makes thing happen cyclically. Bringing bikurim to Hashem belies this philosophy and "gives back" to Hashem that which is rightfully His. What then is the connection between bikurim and prayer?  Rabbi Frieman continues. We pray because even when all is well we have no guarantees that the status quo will continue. Everything can change in one moment. We start our day with Modeh Ani , we continue with declaring that Hashem renews creation each day, and we daven two more times in the day. Dogs, extremely brazen creatures, still recognize their masters and obey their commands. They acknowledge Hashem's mastery over their very nature in the verse they sing to Hashem, writes the Tzabeni Rav. Since Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a new year, everything can change. Therefore one should approach it as one who is poor and downtrodden. As the Sifsei Chaim writes, if you want a good year, realize with full clarity that we have nothing, and we must beg anew for everything. We have no guarantees that what we have we will retain. We are completely dependent on Hashem. Therefore, writes the Tiv Hatorah, we should train ourselves to say, " Im yirtzeh Hashem, " or, " B'ezrat Hashem ," - with God's will and His help, constantly in our conversations, because all could change in a moment. The Talelei Chaim reinforces this message. Rosh and Reishit mean not only head and beginning, but also source. On Rosh Hashanah we connect ourselves to our ultimate Source and are charged with revealing His presence in the world. It is the Day of Judgment when we have the ability to plug in to Hashem and recharge our batteries to do His will, for He is the One Who empowers us.

Perhaps we can better understand how our attitude on Rosh Hashanah can affect our lives by way of a parable from the Matnas Chaim. A boy was adopted by a man in the construction business. The father raised the boy with much love and gave him everything he needed. When the boy grew up, he decided he wanted to repay his father for all his kindnesses by building him a magnificent mansion. He presented his idea to his father who then gave him a letter to present at his warehouses giving him immediate access to all materials he requested at no cost. Other people waiting in line to fulfill their purchases had to pay full price for all their materials and were not only puzzled but also angry. After all, they did not know that all the materials this man was collecting were to be used for a home for the owner of the construction company himself. Similarly, on Rosh Hashanah we approach Hashem with the desire to coronate Him on earth and to do His bidding. We hope that in doing so, we will be granted all the blessings necessary to accomplish our task.

Rabbi Roberts notes that the Ramban considered humility the greatest of all character qualities, and the mitzvah of bikurim is a model for humility. Although the farmer has invested so much into this crop, he nevertheless acknowledges that it all belongs to Hashem. The passage immediately preceding bikurim is Parshat Zachor , where we are commanded to remember how Amalek attacked us as we left Egypt.  Amalek is also referred to as reishit goyim , the head, or chief, among nations. They were unafraid to challenge anyone, even God Who had already demonstrated His supremacy to every other nation. Amalek was the epitome of arrogance. Even their name is numerically equivalent to haughtiness, ram , both totaling 240. The Torah juxtaposes these two passages for us to note the contrast, and especially on Rosh Hashanah to distance ourselves from arrogance. We must recognize our own inadequacies to merit Divine grace. As Rabbi Reiss points out, when I pray before Hashem, it is because I realize my own nothingness and recognize that He is the Source of all. The essence of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is complete humility, writes the Netivot Shalom. That's why many have the custom to prostrate themselves fully and bow during Aleinu and the recitation of the Avodah as the kohain did in the Beit Hamikdosh and as the farmer did when he brought the bikurim . We must efface the ego which stands between ourselves and Hashem. To this end, we substitute prayer three times daily for the bikurim . When we bow before Hashem, we are demonstrating our willingness to break our arrogance and acknowledge that our life energy comes from Hashem. The Sifsei Chaim notes that Rosh Hashanah is called Yom Teruah , the day of sounding the broken notes of the shofar , for on this day we come before Hashem completely broken and humble. This is the proactive mitzvah of the day, notes the Avodat Avodah, to stand in humility before Hashem and accept His sovereignty over us. Perhaps a good way to incorporate this idea into our daily lives is to stop at the word Melech every time we say a bracha and to ponder the meaning of standing before the King. May we merit to be inscribed in the Book of Life for a year of revealed goodness and blessing.




The Mussaf   prayer is divided in three sections, Malchiyot, Zichronot , and Shofrot. The first prayer in Malchiyot is Aleinu . Throughout the year, Aleinu is one of the last tefilot that people tend to rush through. On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it takes its true place of honor.  There are 10 verses in each of the three sections. The first verse in Malchiyot appears at the end of Aleinu , " Kakatuv b'Torotecha Hashem yimloch lolam vaed. " This world is called olam from the root word he'elem (hidden) as it serves to conceal Hashem's glory. When we say these words, we can have in mind, "Hashem, where you are hidden from me, in those areas where it is difficult for me to see you as King, Hashem yimloch l'olam vaed , help me to see you within that concealment."

"Lo hibit aven b'Yaakov..." Hashem doesn't see any inequity in Yaakov. When we say these words we're implanting within ourselves the belief that Hashem loves us. He does not see our sins. Rather He chooses to concentrate on our inherent purity and strengths and on the hidden potential within each of us. We ask Hashem that just as our ancestors, the generation that left Egypt were loyal to Hashem, so too should we reach that level. To the degree that they could not be found guilty of any sins may we too be found worthy. May we serve Hashem with all our heart and souls at all times and all situations.

" Vayehi b'sherun melech..."   Yeshuran refers to Klal Yisrael . The Zohar says, " Yisrael  v'araysa  v'kudsha brich hu chad hu . The Jewish people, the Torah, and Hashem are one." The King is within us. We ask Hashem, "Help me to believe that you are with me always, no matter where I am.  Just our ancestors saw and felt Your presence constantly, may we too merit to sense Your light and loving presence with us always."



Bchasdei Hashem Torah Tapestry Devarim is available for sale.
The sefer contains a lengthy essay on a topic from each Parsha, with a focus on spiritual growth.  There is a special chapter devoted to our personal development in the month of Elul.
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Cost $20 plus $5 shipping.

Featured Classes
Parshat Ki Tavo
Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Elul- Island of Refuge
Mrs. Shira Smiles
Parshat Ki Tavo Submission to G-d
Rabbi Hershel Reichman
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