subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

shore.gif (51285 bytes)

Back to This Week's Parsha Archive of previous issues


Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 46:13-28

January 14-15, 2011 10 Shebat 5771

Tu B'Shebat will be celebrated on Thursday, January 20.


"For I am Hashem your healer." (Shemot 15:26)

We live in a time where man has made great strides in the field of medicine and healing. On one hand we see people reaching very old age. On the other hand we have loved ones with severe illnesses at a young age. A physician is in an important position in how he dispenses care to the sick and how he relates to elderly people should they get sick. Rabbi Shimon Pincus gives us a parable, which helps us and the physicians to relate properly in these situations.

Sometimes one passes by a construction site. At the site are very large steel beams that weigh at least ten tons. In order to lift these beams and place them in position in the frame of the building, a large crane is used that lifts these beams. While a giant beam is being held up in mid-air, a lone construction worker comes and stands on the high walls. Remarkably, this lone worker, with one bare hand, guides this beam and places it in the correct spot. How can he do this? The beam is very heavy! The answer is, since the crane is already lifting the beam, it is possible to move it even with one hand.

When it comes to healing, we are not the main ones in the picture; Hashem is the central figure in the picture. Hashem is like the crane; He does everything and therefore all healing is in his hands. Even the one who is very sick and beyond help is not limited by the ability of the doctors, for Hashem heals all flesh and does it in a wondrous way. Hashem is called the "Living G-d." The definition of life is when a person is connected to Hashem. Just as a person enters a perfume store and the fragrance clings to the person, so too, every minute that a person lives in this world of Hashem, that person is connected to Hashem. The Torah tells us, "I am Hashem your healer."

Healing a human being is not like fixing an automobile. Healing is connecting to Hashem and therefore doesn't have limits. The question is how the physician views his profession. If he sees himself like sort of a mechanic, then sometimes an auto mechanic will decide that the car is not worth fixing and advises the owner to buy a new one. It just doesn't pay to invest any more money in the old one. A mistake shouldn't be made and think that it's not worth it to invest any time on an old person. As long as a person is alive he is still connected to Hashem, which means the person is connected to infinite kindness, which is full of surprises. The only thing that we should do is pray and try. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

As we sit and eat our variety of fruits and delicacies this Shabbat, which is Tu Bishbat, we should take a moment and dwell on the significance of this day. The custom is to make berachot on different species of fruits and nuts, especially those which Eress Yisrael is noted for, such as grains, wine, etc. By doing so we cause Hashem to bless these items, which in turn produce more bounty.

When we say Boreh Nefashot, the after-blessing for many foods, the blessing encompasses two main categories: Our necessities, like bread and water, and all the luxury foods with which man could live without, but make life so enjoyable. On both of these we thank Hashem in the Boreh Nefashot. During Tu Bishbat, when we see the vast abundance of special fruits and nuts that Hashem created for our enjoyment, we should be ever grateful that He gave us so many ways to enjoy this world.

Another lesson for Tu Bishbat is the following. It is freezing outside and all trees have shut down for the season. However, the Rabbis say that on Tu Bishbat the sap begins to rise in these dead-looking trees, getting ready for a new season. So too, we have to see people (and ourselves) in that vein. Even if it looks like they (or we) are not producing, the potential is there to start producing again. We have to let the "sap flow." Happy Tu Bishbat and Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


A Rabbi once asked his student, "Where have you been all day?"

The student answered proudly, "I spent the whole day learning in the study hall!"

"I was not referring to your body," the Rabbi elaborated. "I was referring to your mind. Where were you all day?"

We often spend time in the past, brooding over some error we have made. Other times we live in the future, worrying about something that has not yet occurred and might never happen. The point the Rabbi was trying to teach his student is that people have the ability to choose where they spend their time: in the here-and-now, or someplace else. The secret to happiness is to enjoy the present. Maximize the "now" by not letting things that have already happened bother you. Also, don't be overly conbcerned about tomorrow.

According to Rabbi Zelig Pliskin: "Just being aware that you frequently fail to keep your mind in the present can enable you to increase your ability to do so" (Gateway to Happiness). (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)


A number of years ago, in the city of Petach Tikvah, a recent oleh, immigrant, to the Holy Land, was called up to the Torah. He began to recite the berachah, blessing. Suddenly, he broke down in bitter weeping. He could not continue, and he had to sit down, whereupon he continued his uncontrolled sobbing for some time.

After the prayers were concluded, the man told his story: "Today is my birthday. I was born eighty-three years ago. The last time I had an aliyah to the Torah was on my Bar Misvah, seventy years ago. The event took place in Vilna, in the shul of the gadol ha'dor, pre-eminent leader of the generation, Harav Chaim Ozer Grodzenski, z"l. After my aliyah, Rav Chaim Ozer called my father over and queried him concerning my school. My father responded that I went to the local gymnasium, a secular school.

"At that moment, Rav Chaim Ozer grabbed my father by the lapel of his suit and said, 'You should know, that if your son continues his education in a secular school and does not receive a Torah education, he will assimilate, and seventy years will pass before he will again be called up to the Torah.' Regrettably, my father ignored the Sage's warning, and exactly seventy years have gone by since my last aliyah. This is why I broke down." Interestingly, the street in Petach Tikvah on which the shul was located was Rechov Chaim Ozer. One does not ignore the admonition of a saddik. Hashem does not; we certainly should not either. (Peninim on the Torah)

* * * * *

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.

Please preserve the sanctity of this bulletin. It contains words of
Torah and should be treated with respect.
Past issues of this bulletin are available on the Internet courtesy of the
Shema Yisrael Torah Network. To view them or to see many other Torah items, please go to their site.
Other Torah e-mail you may enjoy:
send e-mail to and put in the message:
subscribe aram-soba

Please pass this bulletin along to a friend. You may subscribe to
this bulletin by sending e-mail to
and putting in the message: subscribe jersey-shore.
To unsubscribe, send the message 'unsubscribe jersey-shore' to

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel