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The Princess's Apron

Thursday, 6 February, 2014 - 9:10 pm

My dear uncle Zalman Deitsch ob"m, was a successful businessman as well as a pioneer in mivtzah mezuzah (the Lubavitcher Rebbe's campaign to ensure every Jewish home and office have a kosher mezuzah). He dedicated much precious time to making house calls to affix mezuzahs. One year on July 4th, he took his young son, Mendy, along. If you want a free mezuzah for any business or home in Harford or Cecil County just let me know, Harford Chabad will deliver it in his memory.- ed

As they drove up to a large house at the end of a cul-de-sac, they noticed dozens of cars parked haphazardly. They realized that the house they were heading towards was hosting a wild, all-out party. The owner graciously greeted them and escorted them from room to room so they could put up the mezuzahs.

As they drove back to Crown Heights, Reb Zalman matter-of-factly told his son, "Mendeleh, the Baal Shem Tov teaches that everything we see or hear guides us in our service of Hashem. Sometimes what we see teaches us what we should do, and other times it teaches us what we should not do."                          

The Princess's Apron

When it comes to the ephod, Rashi explains, "My heart tells me that he [the Kohen Gadol] was girded with it from behind, its width being like the width of an [average] man's back, similar to a kind of apron called porzent [or pourceint], that princesses wear when they ride horseback."

What does Rashi mean, "My heart tells me"?

 Once, while walking outside, Rashi noticed a princess riding on a horse. She was not riding side-saddle, which was considered the lady like and modest way for women to ride, and he wondered, "Why would G-d bring this immodest scene to my attention?" Later, while writing his explanation to Chumash, he realized it was to help him visualize and explain what the ephod must have looked like.

Unbeatable Soul

It's easy enough to find lessons in everything we see and hear when it doesn't conflict with Torah, but when we see or hear something that is contradictory to Judaism, it's a lot more challenging.

This is where Rashi steps in and teaches us how to react. Namely, nothing in this world happens without divine purpose.

 It's important that we educate ourselves and our children, to know what our Jewish values are and what contradicts our belief system. At the same time, we can't let opportunities go to waste. If G-d shows us something, even something we are not permitted to look at, it is our responsibility to learn something holy from it.

What did you learn from this week?

Have a great Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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