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Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

JUNE 9-10, 2011 9 SIVAN 5771

Shabuot will be celebrated from Tuesday night, June 7 through Thursday, June 9.


"Against the enemy who oppress you, you shall sound short blasts of the trumpets." (Bemidbar 10:9)

Our perashah speaks about the misvah of the trumpets. The trumpets were blown for a number of occasions. They were blown to gather the people, to announce that the nation will travel onward in the desert, and as an alarm for war. The Rambam (Laws of Ta'anit 1:1) says that the Torah is not limiting the occasions to the ones mentioned, but it is a general rule that a call must be sent out on any trouble that occurs. We must cry out to Hashem when a calamity happens because all bad events are a result of our deeds and we need to repent. Therefore we always cry out to Hashem. We must never attribute events to nature.

A true story was told about a year ago about Yossi Stein (name changed). Yossi was 18 years old, lives in Israel and learns in Yeshivah. One day Yossi started feeling strange. At first the symptoms were intermittent and he tried to ignore them and go on with his daily routine. But as they increased in frequency and severity, he realized he'd have to tell his parents and see a doctor. The doctor examined him and became very concerned,.and ordered many tests to be done immediately. Yoss's mother became frantic but the doctor held back and wouldn't say what it was until the results were in. The tests and doctors' opinions came back much worse than anything they had imagined. Yossi would need a liver transplant. They were advised to apply for a liver in a country in Europe. Their only option was Brussels, the world center for liver transplants, but they usually gave priority to European citizens. However, Yossi's situation was so desperate that they decided to book the flight anyway. "It's not up to the doctors, in any event," Mrs. Stein kept repeating to herself. "It's up to Hashem. If He wills it, somehow we will get what Yossi needs. We can only try." The cry was sounded as the prayers began.

They arrived in Brussels and entered the hospital, and he was placed on a waiting list. They were warned that four or five patients were in line ahead of him. They settled down to wait. In the meantime, up above, a decree had been issued. A volcano in Iceland erupted, emitting tons of ash and clouds of smoke and gas into the air. Thousands of people were now stranded in airports all over Northern Europe because of these clouds. Jets were grounded, business transactions were interrupted and much of European life ground to a halt. And all the while in Belgium, a young man prayed to Hashem to save his life, joined by the entire family and many friends.

In the midst of all this, an organ became available in Brussels. The hospital immediately notified the first person on the list, but he was stranded in another European country and could not get there in time. The hospital went down the list and got the same story until they got to Yossi! This type of transplant could not wait much longer, so Yossi got the precious organ. After the surgery, the doctors told the Steins that Yossi's liver had deteriorated so badly that had the events not turned out the way they did, he might not have lived out the week.

When Hashem wills it, he has many ways to answer our prayers. Perhaps that volcanic cloud was meant to help one ill young man recover. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Why should we be excluded from sacrificing?" (Bemidbar 9:7)

When a group of Jews who were ritually impure could not participate in the Korban Pesah, they reacted in an unusual way. They complained to Moshe and said, "Why should we be exempt from this misvah just because we are tny (unclean)? Isn't there something for us to do?" In the merit of this response, they were given a new misvah of Pesah Sheni, where a person can "make up" the misvah of Korban Pesah.

This attitude is very precious in the eyes of Hashem, and it is something we should think about. Many times we start to do a misvah, but it doesn't work out. How do we feel about being off the hook? Are we relieved, as if another burden is off of us, or do we feel the lack of opportunity to serve Hashem?

There was once a great Rabbi who came to a large yeshivah with a proposal. Whoever could answer his difficult question would have a chance to marry his daughter. The question was extremely difficult, and although many potential answers were suggested, no one came up with the right response, so the Rabbi headed back to his town. On the way back home, the Rabbi saw someone trying to catch up to him, and when he stopped, he realized it was one of the students from the yeshivah. "Did you think of another answer?" the Rabbi asked. "No, but I couldn't bear not to know the right answer," the student replied. The Rabbi then exclaimed, "You are the one for my daughter if you feel that way about Torah!"

We should analyze our approach to Torah and misvot and realize they are opportunities rather than burdens. That way we will fulfill them in a better way, and it will further enrich and uplift our lives. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"Why are you adding that graph to your report?" Sarah asked Rivkah.

"Well, I though the buyer might want to know about that aspect of our proposal," replied the frazzled, deadline-pressured employee.

"I think it will confuse the issue, and it won't help you sell your plan," replied the well-meaning manager.

Sometimes you can get lost in the details. Too much attention paid to the intricacies of a project make you lose sight of the goal you are trying to achieve at the end of the day.

A good question to ask is not "How am I doing?" but, rather, "What am I doing?" In other words, be focused on what you are trying to achieve. This is more vital in life than is a passing business project that is here today and gone tomorrow. The myriads of distractions life has to offer should not confuse you. You are here to perform.

Says the Mesillat Yesharim: "A person must have a clear picture of his or her duty in this world." People are born to make the world a better place than it was on their birth days. They can create many novel products that make life easier for others. They can start organizations that will help hundreds, and eventually thousands, of individuals. They can achieve success by self-improvement and growth in their adherence to the instructions of the Torah. They can also change the world by really helping even one other person see the light.

Ask yourself, "What am I doing here?" - and you will find a way to reach the purpose for which you were created. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

* * * * *

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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