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OCTOBER 24-25, 2003 29 TISHREI 5764

Don't forget to move your clocks back one hour on Saturday night.

Rosh Hodesh Heshvan will be celebrated on Sunday and Monday, Oct. 26 & 27.

Pop Quiz: Who killed Kayin?


"Hashem had not sent rain and there was no man to work the soil. (Beresheet 2:5)

Rashi tells us that the plants and grass were created on the third day, but stood at the surface of the ground and did not sprout until Adam was created, for when Adam saw that the world needs rain to make the vegetation grow, he prayed to Hashem for rain, and it came down and made everything grow.

We can learn from here that Hashem prepares what we need before we even see it. We don't have it, however, because we don't realize we need it, and therefore don't pray for it. It is only when we recognize our need for something and turn to G-d for that thing, that Hashem makes it happen for us. This is true both for spiritual matters and physical things. We first have to recognize what we are missing to be able to ask for it, and then Hashem will make it "sprout."

As we begin the new year, let us remember to ask Hashem for our needs, especially

those involving our spiritual life. Let us ask Him for peace of mind and tranquillity to be able to study and pray and bring up our children the right way. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"And the earth was unformed and void...and G-d said, 'Let there be light' " (Beresheet 1:2-3)

What better way to start a new cycle of the Torah, than with an insightful thought from Rabbi Avigdor Miller. In the second verse of the Torah, it says that when Hashem first created the world, matter and water were "unformed." But, no matter can intrinsically be unformed, for even the atom is a planned miracle of stupendous ingenuity. This stupendous cunning of design is even more apparent in the arrangement of molecules and chemical combinations, such as water. Yet despite its intrinsic wisdom of design, all matter was, on the first day, in a chaotic mixture, waiting to be set into purposeful order.

But order never comes out of chaos by itself. Eternity could have passed, yet the confusion of matter would have continued and would even have become more disordered. The "Tohu Vabohu" could assume purposeful shape solely when "G-d said." Even if all parts of an automobile were lying scattered in a field, despite billions of years of upheavals of the earth, and of hurricanes, the parts would never assemble at random to form an automobile. Purposeful order can result only when "G-d said..."

This simple idea, that order in the world is only from Hashem, is something that is denied by millions of people. How fortunate we are to be part of the Jewish people, who have the Torah that reveals to us the truth about the world in the beginning. How fortunate we are to have great hachamim to point out to us important truths of the Torah, that we might have missed on our own. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah


[Before the flood] "Hashem saw that man did much evil in the land, and all the thoughts of his heart were evil the entire day." (Beresheet 6:5)

Seforno explains that "man did much evil" refers to the past, and "the thoughts of his heart were evil" refers to the future. They would not listen to anyone who would try to correct them and therefore there was no hope that they would do teshubah.

Regardless of how many faults a person has, if he accepts criticism there is hope that he will improve. A person who loves criticism will be grateful to anyone who shows him ways to improve. As Rabbi Noah Weinberg says, "Everyone is grateful to someone who tells him that in his carelessness he dropped his wallet with a large sum of money in it. That should be our attitude toward constructive criticism."

Question: What is your present attitude towards criticism? Are you willing to ask five people who know you to give you criticism? (Growth through Torah)


Question: Why is it necessary for the hazan to call out, "Kohanim," to summon the Kohanim? Why can't they come on their own?

Answer: We learn this from the words, "emor lahem," which means, "say to them," or, "say to the Kohanim." The reasoning behind it may be: The Kohanim may only bless with the approval of the congregation. (Excerpted from Siddur Abir Yaacob, published by Sephardic Press)


This week's Haftarah: Yeshayahu 42:5-21.

There are two connections between the perashah and the haftarah.

First, the perashah begins with the creation of the world. In the haftarah, the prophet Yeshayahu reminds the Jewish nation that G-d, Who is the creator of the world, continues creating every day. Creation is not something that was done just once. It is an ongoing miracle.

Second, in the perashah, man is the only creature given the power to choose between right and wrong. In the haftarah, Yeshayahu tells the people that G-d created the Jewish nation in order to be a "light for the nations." It is their duty to show the nations what is right, so that they, too, can become closer to G-d. (Tell it From the Torah)

Answer to Pop Quiz: Lemech.

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