FEBRUARY 6-7, 2009 13 SHEBAT 5769
"Behold I shall rain down for you food from Heaven" (Shemot 16:4)
Our perashah is famous for the amazing miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea. It was truly an electrifying event. As the perashah continues we learn of another amazing miracle, the miracle of the "mann." This was a delectable food that Hashem directly fed the Jewish people for all the years that they were in the desert. The mann came down every day but the people were not to take more than one day's ration. This was to train the Jewish people to rely on Hashem. If one has only one day's food, and no other food in storage, and every day Hashem rains down the food, they would get used to relying on Hashem only. The Israelites learned to trust that Hashem will provide for all of their needs and therefore a lesson to us to rely on Hashem for all of our needs. Given today's economic situation, this lesson is essential and crucial. As we know we are obligated to try our best to earn our livelihood, but at the same time feeling confident that Hashem will take care of us.
Here is a great story that shows how real this concept is. When Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro lived in the Har Nof section of Yerushalayim, he was forced to frequently move from one apartment to the next. On one of these occasions, after being informed by his current landlord that he would have to move out when his lease expired, Rav Shapiro was unable to find a new apartment. The date was fast approaching with no new residence in sight. A family member suggested to the Rav that he request an extension on the lease. Rav Moshe Shmuel refused, saying that if the landlord needed the apartment, it would not be proper to pressure him with such a request.
In the meantime, the date was drawing closer and closer and his search for a new apartment did not generate any positive results. And then the unthinkable happened; moving day arrived with no place to move. The family faced a real predicament; what should they do? Rav Moshe Shmuel instructed them to pack up all of their possessions and hire a moving company.
When the movers arrived, they asked for directions to the new apartment. The family instructed the movers to ask the question to Rav Moshe Shmuel. The Rav calmly replied that after the movers finished packing up all of the possessions and loading the truck, he would then instruct them where to go.
The workers busied themselves with the task at hand, and Rav Moshe Shmuel sat down to learn. He learned calmly and peacefully without any appearance of tension or stress due to the pressure of the situation. And indeed, in the middle of all the packing, the telephone rang with the news that an appropriate apartment had been found!
Therefore, as one president said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." May Hashem provide us always with an easy and bountiful livelihood. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
One of the beautiful customs that we have is that of families getting together to celebrate Tu Bishbat. Some have plates and plates of all the different fruits and nuts representing all the berachot while other families have bags of these delicacies for the children. Besides showing appreciation to Hashem for all His bounty, what relevance does this holiday have to us?
The Rabbis tell us that on Tu Bishbat, the juices of the trees begin to flow again, getting ready for another season of producing leaves and fruits. It is a time that Hashem "remembers" the trees, deciding which one will flourish and which one will not, and indeed, the Sages tell us that one should pray for a nice Etrog on Tu Bishbat. The lesson for us is very heartening. If Hashem, Who runs the entire universe, can involve Himself with the smallest detail of which tree will grow to which size, is He not watching and guiding and protecting all His creations, especially His Chosen People? If we can appease Him regarding the welfare of plants and trees by making the right berachot on Tu Bishbat, surely we can pray to Him to bring about our salvation on a general and individual level. We need His protection all the time, especially for our people living in Israel, who are always the target of our enemies, may Hashem protect them! Let us continue our beautiful customs and learn the underlying lesson that it is Hashem who rules the world and to Him do we turn for everything. Tizku Leshanim Rabot! Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
Speech, which differentiates man from all other creatures, is very often taken for granted, and abused. It's so easy to talk, so natural, that we give it little thought. Consequently, almost all of us say some pretty foolish things during the course of a day. And sometimes we get so caught up in trying to express our own thoughts that we don't listen to what others are saying.
The trick to being a good talker is to learn how to be a good listener. Everyone works at teaching children to talk, but you have to search far and wide to find someone who spends any time at all teaching their children the art of listening.
To improve your ability to listen, try these exercises:
1) Don't finish other people's sentences for them. It is written (Abot 5:7), "A wise person…does not interrupt his friend…"
2) Don't answer until you have heard the complete question.
3) Don't pre-judge a conversation. Don't jump to conclusions about its outcome before even having the conversation.
4) Listen to your children carefully. Count to six before answering them.
Everyone agrees that you should look before you leap. It is just as important to think before you speak! (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 firstname.lastname@example.org (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.
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