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Month: January 2024

Bo: Eternal Rise Without Cease

Bo: Eternal Rise Without Cease

In this week’s parsha, we read about the first mitzvah in the Torah. The previous commandments were given to individuals; for example, Abraham was given the commandment of circumcision. The first commandment is to calculate the time and dates according to the lunar cycle. Calculating time according to the moon has a lot of inner meaning. Time is precious, and if it is not used properly, it is considered a loss that does not return.

But calculating time according to the moon has another meaning. The moon has phases of rising and waning, disappearance, and rebirth. The sun is relatively constant, not different from day to day. A man may oscillate between ups and downs in the worship of God, which deceives him. He is in some spiritual upheaval. This applies to any single person as well as to the kingship of King Moshiach, which experiences ups and downs until the final and eternal rise in the coming redemption.

Here, the lunar calendar has a lesson for us. The moon descends to the point of its disappearance. But decline is as much a part of life as birth. Decline does not mean disappearance, but renewal. Like the moon, everyone has the power of resurrection—the power to relive in every moment the infinite presence of the infinite Creator. It is part of the first mitzvah for Noah’s sons as well as for Jews. To believe and feel the infinity of the Creator.

A process of change and growth in people is hinted at in the moon’s cycles. The sun, with its brightness, does not change. The changing, evolving, growing, and renewing moon always has a rebirth experience. This is also true in general life. Soon we will all experience the renewal of the entire creation in true and complete redemption.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.

The last stage of the mikveh construction

The last stage of the mikveh construction

We are approaching the last stage of the mikveh construction.
Today beautiful tiles are being put on the walls of the mikveh. The beautiful tiles are made from a mountain Rock from north Japan.
After laying the tiles, we will wait for rainwater to fill the reservoir. Once filled, the mikveh will be kosher for immersion. We are glad to share our joy in the finishing stages of our mikveh onsen.

To complete this Mikveh construction project, we need your support.
Please let us complete this, and let’s bring more light to the world.
Donation link below
https://chabadjapan.org/donate/

https://youtu.be/_JybC5lG3vM
Va’era: Do We Really Have Free Will?

Va’era: Do We Really Have Free Will?

Have you ever wondered why we praise or blame people for their actions? Why do we reward good deeds and punish bad ones? The answer lies in the concept of free will. Free will means that we have the power to choose between right and wrong and that our choices matter. Without free will, there would be no point in rewarding or punishing anyone. For example, we don’t punish a robot for doing something evil, because it was programmed to do so. But humans are different. We can think, reason, and decide for ourselves. We can choose to do good or evil, and we are responsible for the consequences of our choices. That’s why we have the 7 Noahide laws given on Mt. Sinai that guide us and hold us accountable.

In this portion, we read about how G-d sent Moses to demand that Pharaoh let the Israelites go from slavery in Egypt. But every time Pharaoh seemed to agree, G-d hardened his heart and made him change his mind. This happened ten times until G-d unleashed the final plague that killed all the firstborn Egyptians. Then Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go.

But how can G-d punish Pharaoh for refusing to free the Israelites, if He made him refuse? Where is Pharaoh’s free will in this story? How can he be held accountable for his actions, if he had no choice?

The Torah says that Pharaoh deserved to have his free will taken away because he had abused Jews so much before. He had oppressed and enslaved the Israelites and ignored their cries for mercy. He had hardened his own heart many times, to the extent that G-d has decided to take away his choice and to punish him hard.

The story of Pharaoh teaches us a valuable lesson about free will. It shows us that free will is a gift from G-d, but also a responsibility. It shows us that our choices have consequences, both for ourselves and for others. It shows us that we should use our free will wisely and morally, and not abuse it or lose it. It shows us that G-d wants us to choose good over evil, and to follow His will. This principle applies to the observance of the 7 Noahide laws as well.

Pharaoh was a very mighty king who ruled the entire civilization, yet he could not escape the hand of G-d. The story of Pharaoh is relevant to today’s world. It warns that any ruler who tries to harm or deceive the Jewish people will face retribution from G-d, just like Pharaoh did. It reminds us that G-d is always watching over His chosen people and will protect them from their enemies. The Torah assures us that no one can defeat the Jewish people and that those who attempt to do so will suffer the consequences of their evil actions.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.

Shemot: Full Trust in G-d will Hasten the Private and General Redemption

Shemot: Full Trust in G-d will Hasten the Private and General Redemption

This Torah portion tells us how Pharaoh revealed that Moses had killed an Egyptian to save a Jewish man (Exodus 2:15). Moses was scared when he found out that Pharoah knew it. Pharaoh then tried to kill him. So Moses escaped from Egypt to the Sinai desert. He should have relied on G‑d’s protection, but he lost it by doubting divine providence. Nothing would have happened if Moses had not been fearful and had not expressed his fear. But since Moses feared, he gave room for the fear to materialize.

In the same way, when we encounter difficulties in doing our divine mission, we should know that we can attract G‑d’s assistance by trusting that He will help us. Full trust in G-d’s observance is crucial in our lives. With that being said, being sure of G‑d’s help does not mean that we should not do what is necessary to avoid or solve our problems; it only means that we should trust G‑d to make our efforts successful.

The entire Jewish people experience the crisis due to the war in the land of Israel. Anyone can see the rise of antisemitism, the double standard towards Jews around the world. But no worries; this process was foreseen by our sages. Some kabbalistic sources say that close to the redemption, many of the nations will challenge the Jewish people. However, this is a good sign; the reason is that before sunrise, the darkness is picking up. Before complete redemption, there might be spiritual darkness. This should strengthen our trust in G-d and nullify our fears, as the last elevation of creation to the kingship of Mosciach is around the corner. We just have to open the door, change our mindset, and let it in.

The Torah teaches us that the Jews were freed from Egypt because they trusted in G‑d. Likewise, our full trust that G‑d will bring us out of our current exile will make the redemption come sooner. Observing the 7 Noahide laws is surely one of the things that could bring about salvation for the entire world sooner.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.