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Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 46:13-28

JANUARY 15-16, 2016 6 SHEBAT 5776


“You must tell your children on that day saying, ‘Because of this Hashem did this for me when I came out of Egypt.’” (Shemot 13:8)

The Gemara says that we learn from the above pasuk that a person is obligated to see himself as if he personally was redeemed from Egypt. How can we relate to this, that it means literally, that you came out of Egypt even though you are living thousands of years later?

Rabbi Shimon Schwab gives a great analogy, explaining how this concept is to be taken literally. When he was a young child a cauldron of scalding water accidentally spilled on his arm. All the skin of his arm peeled off, and it took many months for it to heal. As we know, a person’s flesh is composed of cells that, as they die, are replaced by new cells. What’s more, one’s appearance changes as one grows older. Nevertheless, although many years have passed since that incident occurred, he could still hold up his arm and truthfully proclaim, “This is the arm that was burned when I was a child,” because even though the arm has grown and the cells that make up the arm have changed over the years, it’s still the same arm that was injured when he was a child.

Similarly, the Jewish Nation is a living organism made up of all generations of Jews. The Klal Yisrael that was redeemed from Egypt is the same Klal Yisrael that exists today. The old cells of our ancestors have been replaced with new cells – us, their descendants. Each one of us is a part of the great organism of Jewish humanity that emerged from Egypt. Thus, every person can truthfully declare that Klal Yisrael of today left Egypt – and I was among them.

The Jewish Nation is not only united as one soul, but our very bodies constitute the regeneration of the old cells that constituted Klal Yisrael at the time of the Exodus. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

“All of your servants will come down to me…and he left Pharaoh’s presence in anger” (Shemot 11:8)

When Moshe was telling Pharaoh about the last plague, which was the death of every first born, he said to Pharaoh, “Your servants will come to me to ask me to leave, and that’s when I will leave Egypt.” Moshe didn’t say to Pharaoh, “You will come to me to ask me to leave,” even though that’s what really happened, because he didn’t want to show dishonor to the king of Egypt. This is truly amazing, because right at the end of this verse it says that Moshe stormed out of the palace in anger for the way Pharaoh had spoken to him. If someone is angry, does he still have the presence of mind to show honor and to speak in a certain way? This should reinforce to us the greatness of our leaders, such as Moshe Rabenu. Although he got angry at Pharaoh, he was in complete control of himself, down to the exact words with which he should speak to the king. Everything Moshe did was exactly measured in order to be able to do the will of Hashem.

Indeed, many of our great Sages followed in Moshe’s footsteps in this respect. There was a great Rabbi of the previous generation who once got angry at what his son had done, but waited two weeks, until he was totally in control of his emotions, before rebuking him! On the one hand, we can’t help but be in awe of such self-discipline, but on the other hand, we have to learn from them how to behave in such situations. How often do we fly off the handle just because we’re upset? Even in anger or frustration we must learn to stay in control and use the right words and the right tone of voice. We will be the real beneficiaries of such self-control. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Lots of people are complaining lately; something must be going around. “My throat hurts”…”I’ve got a sinus headache”…”I just don’t feel 100%.” Although nobody wants to be sick, the potential for spiritual growth exists when we are stricken by any one of various maladies, whether major or minor. The Chochmah u’Mussar (Hacham Avraham Antebi zt”l, Aleppo Av Bet Din) says that whenever we suffer, we should try to find something positive in our discomfort. One beneficial aspect of illness or deprivation is that when our condition improves, we begin to appreciate our health and good fortune. We value “normal” situations more after they are taken away and then restored. People who had been very ill and then recuperated, appreciate their health to a greater degree. People who have suffered poverty appreciate their sustenance – however meager – so much more than those who have always been well off. Pause for a moment and think about how good you feel. You don’t have a headache, stomachache, or sore throat. Appreciate your good condition while you have it. Don’t wait for a Heavenly lesson – which might involve taking away what you possess just to make you realize how good it was! (One Minute With Yourself – Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

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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.

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