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Dear  Naaleh Friend,
This week we feature a class on this week's parsha, Parshat Ki Tisa. Mrs. Chana Prero gives a great parsha shiur in her Torah class, Parshat Ki Tisa: Moshe's Tent.  In this Torah shiur on Mrs. Prero analyzes the incident of Moshe removing his tent from the camp of the Jewish People.   

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This week's edition of our Torat Imecha Newsletter on Parshat Ki Tisa is available on our Newsletter page
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Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
Based on shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles
Summary by  Channie Koplowitz Stein
After informing Moshe about the sin of the golden calf, Hashem says, "I have seen this people, and behold it is a stiff-necked people. And now leave Me, and let My anger flare up against them." Later, when Hashem agrees to let Bnei Yisrael enter the Land, He again says, "I shall not ascend among you, for you are a stiff-necked people." Finally, Moshe beseeches Hashem, "Let my Lord go among us - for it is a stiff-necked people, and You shall forgive our iniquity and our error, and make us Your heritage." From this exchange, it seems that Hashem could have forgiven Bnei Yisrael for the idol worship, but their stubbornness was unforgivable. What is it about this trait that is so evil? How could Moshe then use that trait as the very argument for Hashem to again be in their midst?
The Yalkut Yosif Lekach quotes the Saba of Kelm in explaining that man's spiritual essence is based on his ability to accept reproof. People are able to justify anything from their personal perspectives, but if someone wants to improve and grow, he must be able to admit his mistakes and accept criticism. That is why, as Ethics from Sinai notes, Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi taught that the best life path a person should choose is to love reproof, for only then can he correct his faults and achieve peace. Bnei Yisrael sinned grievously, but there is always the possibility of teshuvah. However, when one is stubborn and refuses to admit that he is wrong, he will not repent.
What does the phrase "stiff-necked" actually mean? Rabbi Schwadron explains that it means that you have turned away from someone or something and refuse to look back. This is what Bnei Yisrael did to Chur when he tried to prevent them from making the idol. Instead of admitting their mistake, they killed him. This obstinacy would have sealed our fate had not Moshe intervened on our behalf. But even later in history, Yirmiya tells us why Hashem has chosen to destroy the Beit Hamikdash and exile us. "It is because you [Bnei Yisrael] said 'I have not sinned.' " We hadn't learned, even after all the years.
Admitting, "I was wrong," and meaning it is much more powerful than saying, "I'm sorry," which doesn't pinpoint the problem and therefore doesn't lead to improvement. If you constantly justify your actions, you simply cannot improve. A particular wrong action is fairly easy to correct, but a character trait, such as stubbornness, is much harder to uproot. The Chochmat Hamatzpun, citing Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, posits that when one sins, one has used his free choice and chosen poorly, but he can then choose to change. On the other hand, a negative character trait, especially stubbornness, corrupts one's essence. Rashi notes this character trait in an even earlier incident with Bnei Yisrael. They had just witnessed the splitting of the sea and so many other miracles. Yet immediately after they arrived at Marah, they approached Moshe with chutzpah, demanding water. This attitude reflected the negative trait of "stiff-necked" and an inability to change. Seeing miracles is meaningless unless it becomes a vehicle for change.
Rav Yechezkel Levenstein explains that obstinacy is a result of arrogance and ego. It is the refusal to accept another's perspective. Stubborn people won't even accept actual evidence placed before them if it will disprove what they believe. They will never believe that any criticism is directed at them; it is always directed at someone else. Therefore notes the Tiv Hatorah, they will never change and do teshuvah.
The Shaarei Derech points out that whether stubbornness is good or bad depends on how the person uses it. The Aish Kodesh advises parents and teachers to train a stubborn child to use that stubbornness toward Hashem's service, to insist on davening properly and to learn Torah with tremendous diligence. Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, citing Rav Dessler, notes that tefillah, prayer, is an excellent tool for countering the stubborn streak.
In the first part of Hashem's dialogue with Moshe, Hashem tells Moshe to leave Him alone although Moshe had not yet said anything. Thus, Hashem hinted to Moshe to pray for Bnei Yisrael. Tefillah is a form of submission to Hashem. Davening out loud and articulating one's thoughts are particularly effective as they open us up to feelings of dependency and receiving from Hashem. Through prayer we articulate, "I am not perfect, I am in need, and I make mistakes."
It is this refusal to bend in spite of circumstances and "proof" that has allowed Bnei Yisrael to survive and cling to its religion throughout the Diaspora. This obstinacy is the hallmark and strength of the Jew. As the Aish Kodesh writes, in times of great challenge one needs to remain stubborn in one's faith. And this was Moshe's argument. "Hashem," Moshe said, "We will use this very characteristic to survive as Your people."
Pesach: Birth of a Nation- Egypt 
Based on shiur by Rebbetzin Leah Kohn 
In Egypt, the Egyptians had no need to rely on rain. They had the the Nile. In contrast, Eretz Yisrael is dependent on rain. The Nile gave the Egyptians the illusion that they were in control. When a person thinks he's independent, he starts to attribute whatever he has to his own capabilities. When you have the resources, it's easy to think you just need to work hard and then you'll have all that you need and want. This was the Egyptian attitude. We have the resources, we can utilize them, and we don't need any deity to help us. Additionally, their knowledge of the laws of nature, in some areas even more than we know today, strengthened their corrupted view. For the more a person knows about the laws of nature, the more he can control and take advantage of it and the more he can prosper. This was the situation in Egypt. When a person or nation has all that it needs and starts to attribute it all to themselves, the next stage is to take Hashem out of the picture. And in fact Pharaoh asked, " Mi Hashem , who is Hashem?" I have my own resources. I don't need to connect to Him. I can control my fate and do what I want.
The next stage was enslaving others to serve them. If it's all about me being successful, people can also be my resources. The Egyptians created a hierarchy. Each sect would enslave the sect below. The lowest of all were the Jews who were subjugated by everyone. Both physically and spiritually, they were in a very difficult situation. They had no energy left to develop spiritually, to the point that when Moshe came to talk them about redemption they were unable to listen.

Egypt was an agricultural society. The land was the source of their strength. The shepherds stood as the opposite of this lifestyle. They had nothing and would wander with their flocks from place to place to look for resources. The Torah describes them as to'avat Mitzrayim . The shepherds were considered a disgusting reality in Egypt because they depended on grass to feed their flock. This was the opposite of what Mitzrayim stood for. So the Jews had two things against them, their way of thinking and that they were shepherds. Yosef told them to tell Pharaoh they were shepherds. The Egyptians would understand that they were different and would not assimilate into their society. The whole structure of Egypt stood on the rigid laws of nature. And then Hashem chose a family of shepherds to tell people about Him and that He is above nature. He calls on man to be free like Him, not only from people but even from the laws of nature. This phenomena was the exact opposite of the lifestyle of the Egyptians.
The moment the Jewish nation began to form, Hashem told Avraham, " Lech lecha ." Hashem commanded Avraham to leave his birthplace, his family, and everything that made him feel secure and in control. He was told to leave everything behind and go to a place he did not know.
This is the fate of the Jewish people throughout the ages. When a person is not attached to all those things that give him security, he can look beyond to the one who can give him security. What keeps us together and maintains us throughout our long exile is our faith in Hashem. The formation of the Jewish nation was different than any other nation that starts with a culture or history. It was a very long process spanning hundreds of years because we are a nation by virtue of the fact that we are connected to Hashem. The whole story of the exile and redemption from Egypt is a story of the revelation of the hand of Hashem. The essence and existence of the Jewish people is a reflection of their connection to Hashem and they are meant to spread this knowledge to the world.
Based on shiur by Mrs. Shoshie Nissenbaum

The last of the 13 attributes is V'nakeh (And He cleanses). The first 12 attributes describe actions that Hashem takes, while the last attribute is directly linked to us. This is connected to the concept of the red heifer and the special portion of the week read on Parshat Parah in preparation for Pesach. A Jew who had become impure could not bring the Korban Pesach until he was purified by the ashes of the red heifer. The Midrash asks, why was the heifer a female while all the other sacrifices were male? The Midrash explains with a parable. When a child creates a mess, his mother is called in to clean up. The parah is connected to the word kaparah, atonement. The red heifer served as the atonement for the sin of the golden calf. It cleaned up after the sin.

At Matan Torah, Hashem removed the curse of death. All who were ill and maimed were healed. But after cheit ha'egel , death returned. Therefore the parah adumah was needed to purify those who had come in contact with a corpse. Death brings impurity upon a person. This is very similar to the primordial sin of Adam and Chavah in the Garden of Eden. Until they ate from the tree, there was no death in this world. After they sinned, Hashem brought illness and subsequently death into the world. The para adumah represents a fundamental deep cleansing. It possesses a potent power l'taher, to purify.

The Ohr Hachaim explains the verse in Shir Hashirim, " Kumi lach...u'lechi heni hasesav avar. " Get up and go to yourself because the winter has passed. The Ohr Hachaim reads this as " Kumi lechi l'lichluch ." Get up and go to your dirt. Everyone has a junk drawer where we toss all those things we don't know what to do with. Some people collect stamps and marbles. Others collect hurts, insults, and pain. Erev Pesach is the opportune time to clean it all out.

The Bnei Yissachar asks, why do we not say Shehechiyanu on bedikat and biur chametz ? He explains that the Shechiyanu recited on Purim also relates to the preparation, cleaning and burning of the chometz . It all starts 30 days before when Hashem gives us a special opportunity not just to clean our physical homes but to empty our emotional junk drawers as well.
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