Torah Fax   
Friday - Shabbat September 4 - 5

Join us for our inaugural Shabbat at The Chabad Shul's new location, 166 West 97th st! Click here for details.

We will have a Farbrengen celebrating our inaugural Shabbat in our new location following the Kiddush Shabbat day. All our welcome!

Kiddush is is sponsored by Hank and Debbie Sheinkopf in honor of the anniversary of the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Isaac. Thank you to Isaac Sheinkopf for reading the Torah reading and happy birthday to Leslie James

Have your Mezuzot and Tefillin checked for the New Year! Our Sofer is coming to the West Side this Wednesday, Sep 9. Click here for details.

Torah Reading: Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8)
Candle Lighting Time 7:04 PM
Shabbat ends 8:03
Pirkei Avot Chapter 3 - 4

Charity Ends At Home  

This week's Parshah of Ki Tavo deals with three ways in which we can fulfill the Mitzvah of charity and share our bounty with those that are less fortunate. The first Mitzvah is Bikkurim, the first fruits to ripen in our fields which are to be brought to the Temple and given to the Kohanim. The second Mitzvah is that of "gleanings." Gleanings refers to the stalks of wheat that fall while we bundle the harvest into sheaves. All of the stalks that fall to the ground should be left for the poor. The third Mitzvah is that of tithes, to separate certain percentages of our crops and give them to Kohanim and Levites. 

These three types of charity actually become designated as charity at three distinct times. The first fruits are identified as holy while they are still connected to the tree, as soon as they ripen. The gleanings become the property of the poor at the time of harvest, as they fall to the ground. The tithes do not become the property of the charity until they are brought to the Kohanim, some time after harvest.

The unique quality about each of these three forms of giving will be understood after a brief introduction about the Jewish approach to charity. 

A fundamental idea in Judaism with regard to charity is that the real recipient of our giving is G‑d. Even when we give to a Kohain, G‑d's designated servant in the Holy Temple, or if we give to a poor widow or orphan, we are actually giving G‑d our money. Obviously, G‑d doesn't need the money, so He shares His money with those that are, in fact, needy. 

Looking at "Jewish charity" from this perspective, we can perhaps learn a spiritual message in our daily lives from each of the three aforementioned types of charity discussed in our Parshah. 

Bikkurim become "G‑d's property" immediately upon maturity, before the farmer has had any opportunity to acquire them. This can be compared to the recitation of the Modeh Ani prayer. According to Jewish Law, the very first thing a Jew must do upon awakening is to recite this prayer which discusses our appreciation to G‑d for having restored our soul to us after a long night of slumber. First thing in the morning, before we have had any time for personal matters, before we have even dressed or brushed our teeth, we must dedicate that first pristine moment of consciousness to relate solely to G‑d and recognize that He has granted us life. 

Stage two in our daily cycle is when we get ready to "step out into the world." We prepare to go to our job and deal with our other daily tasks; we prepare to tackle the world around us. At that point, we must also try to acknowledge that G‑d directs are steps and provides us with all of our needs. To appreciate this aspect of G‑d's providence, we recite the daily Morning Blessings, which thank G‑d for giving us intellect, purpose and even such basic things as clothing and shoes. The morning blessings also contain a prayer for success in our day's activities and the hope that we will have proper dealings with good and upright people. 

This can be compared to the gleanings that one leaves for the poor (read: for G‑d) at the time the farmer is harvesting the crops for his own personal use. As we are about to enjoy the fruit of our labor, we must recognize that all of this bounty is a result of G‑d's blessings and support.

The third stage in our day's agenda is when we actually engage in our daily activities; we go into the "real world" and try to assert our dominion over it. In the midst of the swirl of activities that take us through the day, it is imperative (though far from easy!) to be aware of G‑d's guiding hand. A moment of thought about G‑d in the middle of the day, or perhaps a quick Torah study session during a coffee break can do wonders for the soul, as well as for one's peace of mind. These few minutes in the middle of the day can be most powerful, because creating that oasis in time takes a great amount of effort and concentration. Our sages say that the most important prayer of the day is Minchah. Unlike Shacharit which is recited at the beginning of the day, or Ma'ariv which is prayed after the day's activities are a distant memory, Minchah is done in the middle of the day - while the phones are still ringing and the demands of the day are overwhelming. To take a few moments away from the deadlines, meetings and e-mail messages and think about G‑d is most appreciated on High.

This can be compared to final form of charity we discussed, the giving of tithes to the Kohanim. After we have brought our crops home, symbolically declaring "All of this is mine," we remember that all of our success is G‑d's. In the midst of enjoying our bountiful crops and our prosperity, we recognize that ultimately, G‑d is in control, and we give a percentage of the produce to His Kohanim.

May we merit that in the merit of our charity and prayers, we see the rebuilding of the Third Temple and may we once again have the ability to bring our first fruits to the Kohanim in Jerusalem!  

Moshiach Matters

In the daily prayer “Uva L'Tziyon Goel U’Leshavei, And a redeemer shall come to Zion and to those who repent,” the last two letters of the word Goel - redeemer, (Alef Lamed), and the first two letters of the word U’Leshavei - and to those who repent, (Vav Lamed), spell Elul, signifying that th final month of the year, Elul, which is a month of repentance and preparation for the New Year, is also a time to prepare for the redemption. (Avudraham)
Moshiach - It’s a Jewish issue.
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