January 23-24, 2015 4 SHEBAT 5775
"…Nor could anyone rise from his place." (Shemot 10:23)
During the plague of darkness, the Egyptians could not move. Listen to a true story that happened in our time.
In Israel today, most people live in buildings with multiple dwellings. On a regular basis, meetings are held with all the tenants to make decisions on the proper maintenance of the building. One day, a meeting was held in the building in which Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef zt"l was living. The Rabbi was very absorbed in his learning and didn't attend. The chairperson of the group decided that they cannot start the meeting if the Rabbi didn't attend. The rest of the tenants felt it was unnecessary to trouble the Rabbi, especially since the Rabbi sent his driver as his representative, and planned to abide by whatever the majority decided.
The chairperson insisted that the Rabbi must attend in person. The Rabbi, who was a person who loved to make peace, closed his books and attended the meeting as soon as he heard about the situation. After the meeting was over and all the necessary decisions were made, all the attendees started returning to their apartments. All but one. The chairperson could not move from her place. Her legs were completely paralyzed!
The woman realized that she was being punished from Heaven for insulting the Rabbi and disturbing his learning. In her distress, she sent her neighbors to call the Rabbi to come so she could ask his forgiveness. The Rabbi came to her and blessed her with a refu'ah shelemah (speedy recovery) and warned her that from now on, she should be more respectful of the hachamim. She nodded her head and she was healed. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And let a man ask his friend for gold and silver" (Shemot 11:2)
The Jewish people were commanded to "borrow" gold and silver from the Egyptians to be able to serve G-d with these ornaments. Hashem willed it so in order that the Jews should be paid back for all their hard work which they contributed to Egypt. The question is: The Torah says they should ask their friends - Uv?g¥r; were the Egyptians our friends? At best, they were our hosts, albeit very cruel and vicious ones to say the least. Why call them our friends?
One of the commentators says a novel idea. The Jews were first told to borrow from among themselves any gold and silver jewelry they might own. When they had done each other the kindness of lending to someone what they needed, then the Egyptians would be more amenable to doing the same thing. The word Uv?g¥r - friend refers to the Jews themselves, that they should lend each other and then the Egyptians would follow suit.
The lesson is a truly powerful one. If we want to create a spirit of giving or sharing in the world, then we, the Jewish People have to act in that same way, and that will influence the nations to do the same. When we ask that Hashem show us mercy and tolerance and forgive us our faults, we have to be ready to do it first. That will cause that same spirit to be created in this world which in turn will cause Heaven to answer us measure for measure. We hold all the keys to Divine intervention. Let's use the right ones as often as we can. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
If you ask people what they want out of life, most would reply, "I just want to be happy." It sounds pretty simple, yet achieving happiness has eluded far too many denizens of our planet. Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel said that the goal of the laws of the Torah is to give a person the blueprint for building a happy life.
In his book Shem Olam, the Hafess Hayim says that we all get too involved in our worldly pursuits. The result is numbness to the joy of misvot.
If a man had an audience with a great emperor, and said or did certain things that the emperor recorded in his personal diary, the man would be ecstatic. "I made the emperor so happy," he would tell everyone he met. "He recorded my deed in his personal diary!" This pride, this happiness, would remain a source of conversation and excitement for years to come. It might even serve to help him forget some nagging problems and disturbances in his life. He might even be described as "happy"!
The Hafess Hayim then asks, "Tell me, my brother, does such a thought enter your mind once a week - or at least once a year - to feel as much joy and pleasure [as this man did for pleasing the emperor] in fulfilling a misvah?"
After doing a good deed - after performing one of Hashem's commandments - consider for a moment that the King has written your act in His personal diary. You should be happy that you have made Him happy. (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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