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Haftarah: Yehezkel 20:2-20

APRIL 19-20, 2013 10 IYAR 5773


"Do not go around as a gossiper among your people." (Vayikra 19:16)

A wealthy, learned man came to the Hafess Hayim zt"l and asked to purchase all of his books except for the book Shemirat Halashon (the books that deals with the laws of lashon hara). When the Hafess Hayim asked him to explain his strange request, the man replied that since he constantly dealt with people in business and it was nearly impossible to avoid lashon hara, he felt that he would gain nothing from the book.

The Hafess Hayim responded that when he authored the book, he had presented the question to Hagaon Rabbi Yisrael Salanter zt"l, about what the book would accomplish and Rabbi Salanter replied, "If your book will accomplish nothing more than eliciting a sigh from one Jew who sinned with lashon hara, all of your efforts will have been worthwhile." (Torah Lada'at). Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Rebuke, you shall rebuke your fellow man" (Vayikra 19:17)

One of the many misvot in this week's perashah is to rebuke our fellow Jew if he is doing something wrong. As important as it is, it is also one of the least properly performed. Often, we don't want to get "involved" so we just don't say anything. Other times, we will be harsh and sometimes say too much and hurt the other person's feelings, and sometimes even embarrass him in front of others. The key to this misvah is, like everything else, how would we want to be rebuked ourselves?

If we would be driving with a low tire, we would want someone to tell us. When someone is doing something wrong, it's at least as bad as driving dangerously. Yet no one wants to be belittled or humiliated and we must always remember how we would feel.

Rabbi David Feinstein says that the Torah repeats the word jhfIT jfIv, rebuke you shall rebuke, to teach us that we should rebuke ourselves before we tell others what they're doing wrong. This is the same thought that was just mentioned. In order for our words to be effective, we should be sincere in our trying to improve others, and that is if we are also trying to better ourselves.

If we are careful how we rebuke others and do it with sensitivity and concern for their well being, our words will have the right effect and all of us will have improved tremendously. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

* * * * *

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.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

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