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Haftarah: Yehezkel 20:2-20

APRIL 23-24, 2010 10 IYAR 5770


"You shall reprove your fellow and you shall not bear a sin because of him." (Vayikra 19:17)

We are commanded to reprove and correct our fellow man. The verse continues that we must not sin because of this. Rashi explains, do not make his face pale by reproving him in public. The next verse continues, "You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people, you shall love your fellow as yourself - I am Hashem." Is there a connection between reproving a friend and not taking revenge?

The Divrei Yehezkel (quoted in Hameir) explains that sometimes you might reprove your friend to take the right path in life. However, he might not listen and as a result he has a downfall. Nevertheless, do not take revenge or bear a grudge by saying (or feeling) "I told you so." Do not feel happy in his downfall because he did not listen. But, the verse continues, on the contrary, "Love your fellow man as yourself." For just as you would not take revenge on yourself, so too you should not take revenge on your friend.

To have compassion instead of allowing the reaction of, I told you so, takes strength of character. The Torah commands such strength. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"You shall be holy" (Vayikra 19:2)

When we think of the term "holiness" we tend to associate it with ascetic behavior, such as fasting and abstaining from the regular activities of this world. This perashah teaches us otherwise. The Torah commands us to be holy and then immediately exhorts us to honor our parents, to pay our bills on time, not to embarrass others and a host of laws which contribute to peace and harmony amongst our people. Our concept of holiness is living a life which is very active in the society in which we live, but living it in a way which will make our stay in this world a meaningful one. If we think about others when we do our thing, not only by not hurting them but by helping and assisting them, this leads to holiness. All of the misvot, whether between man and Hashem or man to man, lead a person to "kedushah" - holiness. That's why all the blessings prior to the misvot have the words "asher kidshanu b'misvotav - Who has sanctified us with His misvot." Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"You shall rebuke your fellow man, and you shall not bear sin because of him." (Vayikra 19:17)

The Hafess Hayim frequently told public speakers to focus on the great value and beauty of following the Torah way of life. Most people suffer enough already and it is improper to add to their suffering by arousing guilt feelings. What needs to be stressed is the great blessing one will find in following the Torah and the elevation and enrichment of performing good deeds and improving one's character traits.

It is a mistake to think that the way to correct others is by embarrassing and humiliating them. This is clearly forbidden even when trying to correct someone. In trying to motivate someone to do something, there are two possible patterns. You can try to show the person how he will benefit by doing it and therefore he will want to do it for the positive gain. The other choice is to threaten a person with dire warnings of the harm in not doing it. The Hafess Hayim, who was imbued with great love for Hashem and love for people, stressed focusing on the positive. Let this be your guide.

Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler would never censure any of his students in a personal way. Rather, he would give general talks on the benefits of having positive traits and on the harm and loss of negative traits. Someone once complained to the Hazon Ish that Rabbi Dessler was not showing enough toughness towards his students. But the Hazon Ish agreed with Rabbi Dessler's approach, saying, "Meshichah is a stronger kinyan than hazakah." (This is a concept borrowed from halachah and meant in this context that it is preferable to draw someone to positive qualities by influencing him to want to have the positive trait rather than forcing someone to act positively.) (Growth through Torah)


It is customary to study Pirkei Abot (Ethics of the Fathers) during the six weeks between Pesah and Shabuot, one chapter every Shabbat.

"Anyone whose good deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom will endure." (Pirkei Abot 3:10)

Why should one's deeds have an effect on his wisdom or vice versa?

There are two approaches to performance of misvot. Some people do those misvot whose importance and significance they understand. Others do the misvot because they are the command of Hashem regardless of whether they comprehend them or not. Among misvot in general there are also two categories; some are Mishpatim - civil laws - laws dictated by human logic. Others are hukim - statutes - which are above the comprehension of man.

The person whose deeds are more than his wisdom, refers to the one who performs all the misvot even if he does not know all the wisdom underlying them. For such a person, "hochmato mitkayemet" - he will surely perform the misvot which his understanding and logic dictate to be proper.

However, the one who must have much "hochmah - knowledge" - about the misvah before he performs it and who only complies when his wisdom assents, refrains from doing the misvot his "hochmah - wisdom" - does not understand. Ultimately, "ein hochmato mitkayemet" - he will not do even the misvot which his wisdom also confirms because he will pervert his way of thinking and conclude that they are not proper and should not be done.

Even the misvot which are logical should not be performed because our wisdom agrees that they are correct, but because they are the will of Hashem. Human logic can at times become so perverted that it can justify a wrongdoing, and thus if one does a misvah now because it is the right thing to do and not because it is the will of Hashem, at a later date his logic may conclude just the reverse.

Alternatively, the rule is, "Action speaks louder than words." The Mishnah is imparting an important message to those who are endeavoring to impress upon people what is right and wrong. The great scholar whose utterances are the epitome of wisdom should always bear in mind that if his deeds are more than his wisdom, i.e. if he does more than he preaches, then "hochmato mitkayemet" - the wisdom he is trying to convey to the people will remain with them. The people, impressed by his sincerity, will accept his words of wisdom.

However, if his wisdom exceeds his deeds, he is a big talker and an underachiever, and he does not practice what he preaches. Then, regardless of his eloquence and wisdom, "ein hochmato mitkayemet" - his words will have no lasting effect on his listeners. (Vedibarta Bam)

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A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

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