Torah Tidbits with Rabbi Daniel Kahane

Today, Sunday, the 5th of Adar I, is the Shloshim for Sammy Farkas, Yitzchak ben Moshe David. Thirty days from his passing, as well as his birthday. We are also two days away from the 7th of Adar IMoshe Rabbeinu’s birthday and passing.

The Parasha is Tetzaveh, which is the one weekly portion of the Torah since the introduction of Moses in which his name is not mentioned. This is said to be a hidden reference to Moses’ passing. The connection between Tetzaveh and Moses’ death is so strong that when there are two Adars, Moses’ yahrzeit is commemorated on the first Adar, because it is then that Tetzaveh will be read. Furthermore, most opinions in the Talmud state that Moshe was also born on Adar I.

Tetzaveh opens with the following words:  And you shall command [“Tetzaveh”] the Children of Israel, and they shall bring to you pure olive oil, crushed for the luminary [for illumination], to raise up a constant flame.”

The last Chassidic discourse (“ma’amar”) reviewed and distributed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe before his passing was also on this parasha, and delivered during Adar I. It is about the relationship between Moses and the rest of the Jewish people.

The Rebbe explains in the ma’amar that Tetzaveh means “to command,” but also to bind, unite – the same root as the word mitzvah. “So, And you shall “command” the Children of Israel means that Moses binds and unites the Children of Israel with the Infinite Light [Hashem]. And though Moses influencing Israel (binding them with the Infinite Light), Moses is enhanced.”

For thirty days, our community has felt crushed. What we have seen as a result has been a tremendous outpouring of good and of light, in honor of Sammy, who was such an inspiring luminary.  Sammy, like Moses, has undoubtedly bound and united each of us with Hashem in a way that is difficult to describe or express. And through this, Sammy himself has been elevated.

 Our job is to now continue past the Shloshim, and ensure that Sammy’s life example, his smile and unbelievably caring and positive ways, remain a constant flame.

Rabbi Daniel Kahane
High School Judaic Studies