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Haftarah: Hoshea 2:1-22

MAY 25-26, 2012 5 SIVAN 5772
Day 49 of the Omer

Shabuot will be celebrated on Sunday & Monday, May 27 & 28.


"Honor your father and your mother." (Shemot 20:12)

On the holiday of Shabuot, Israel received the Torah. The Ten Commandments are inscribed on two tablets, five on each. The first tablet contains laws regarding man's relationship to Hashem, while the second refers to relationships among people. This shows us the significance that Hashem attaches to the honor He wants us to show parents, because Hashem included this commandment on the first tablet. When people honor their parents Hashem regards it as if they honored Him.

A great story (quoted in Tubecha Yabiu) illustrates this point. Once a Jewish person went to a faraway land in order to make a livelihood and bring it back home to his family. The man went with his father and the son was able to acquire gold and silver items that had great value. Finally the man decided to go back home, but his father stayed. The son packed his precious cargo in a sack and got ready to leave. The father noticed that the sack was very heavy so he advised his son to make it a little easier to carry. He told him that instead of carrying the whole load on one shoulder, he should balance it by placing another sack full of rocks on his other shoulder. If he had balance it would be easier and he will arrive safely home. The son asked no questions and did exactly as his father told him, and carried an extra sack of stones. However, people who saw him didn't understand the purpose of the extra sack. When he explained what his father commanded, they still didn't understand. If all he needed was balance, why the rocks? The balance could be accomplished by dividing the gold and silver into two sacks! The son ignored them and continued on his way.

Finally he boarded a ship to take him home. However, during the trip they ran into a terrible storm at sea. The crew did all they could to lighten the load to prevent the ship from sinking. Finally the captain gave the order that in order to save the lives of the passengers, each passenger must throw overboard one half of his cargo. Each one must divide his property and throw half away. Now everyone realized the good fortune of the son. In the merit of listening to his father he was able to throw away a sack of rocks instead of half of his fortune. His father's instructions didn't seem to have any logic, but the son followed anyway.

Perhaps this is part of the reason why honoring parents were placed on the first tablet. There might be times that we should not question a parent in the same way that one would not question Hashem. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Holiday. Rabbi Reuven Semah

As we stand on the threshold of Shabuot, the holiday of the receiving of the Torah, we would do well to read the Mishnah in the last chapter of Pirkei Abot which lists the forty-eight qualities necessary to acquire the Torah. Among them are refinement of character, humility, happiness, empathy and so on.

The first one, however, is the most important, for that is STUDY. If we want to know anything in the Torah we must, first and foremost, study at a set time, preferably with a teacher. Many are those who have made a commitment to study some parts of Torah, be it Midrash, halachah or Gemara, and those who have dedicated themselves to it have benefited tremendously. Now is the time to say to ourselves, let's try some serious Torah learning. We will then have reenacted the Receiving of the Torah as on Mount Sinai, and we and our families will be the benefactors. Tizku Leshanim Rabot. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


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

"Let your deeds exceed your learning." (Abot 6:5)

Our practice is to first put on the tefillin shel yad (the hand tefillin) and then the tefillin shel rosh (the head tefillin). When we are ready to remove them, we first take off the tefillin from the head and then the tefillin of the hand.

Why this order?

The hand represents action. One performs most actions with the hand. The head is the seat of the intellect and represents learning. One uses his head to learn. According to our custom, the tefillin of the hand are on the person a longer period of time than the tefillin of the head. This alludes to the teaching of our Beraita, "Let your deeds exceed your learning." (Vedibarta Bam)

* * * * *

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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