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Haftarah: Melachim I 1:1-31

NOVEMBER 21-22, 2008 24 HESHVAN 5769

Rosh Hodesh Kislev will be celebrated on Friday, November 28.

Pop Quiz: How long did Eliezer stay in the house of Betuel, Ribkah's father?


"The years of Sarah's life" (Beresheet 23:1)

Our perashah begins with a sad note, the passing of our matriarch, Sarah. Abraham Abinu, her devoted husband, comes to bury and eulogize his wife of many years. Let's read a story of true devotion as printed in a letter to the editor column.

Last week on a very busy morning, at approximately 8:30 a.m., an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 a.m. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided that since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam I saw that it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors and got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no; he said he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and she was a victim of Alzheimer's. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, and that she has not recognized him in five years.

I was surprised and asked him. "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?" He smiled as he patted my hand and said, "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is." I had to hold back my tears as he left. I had goose bumps on my arm. I thought, "That's the kind of love I want in my life. True love." True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be. Peace is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank. Signed, Dr. Isaac Abramson. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Swear to me you will not take a Canaanite woman for my son" ?(Beresheet 24:2-3)

Abraham commanded Eliezer, his servant, to find a wife for Yitzhak, but not from the daughters of Canaan. He made him swear with G-d's Name that he would be faithful to his word. It is amazing to realize that Eliezer was the trusted servant of Abraham, who ran the entire household of Abraham and who was the one who faithfully transmitted all the teachings of Abraham to others. Yet when it came to finding a wife for Yitzhak, Abraham had to make Eliezer swear, and not just swear but also to use Hashem's Name in his oath.

The lesson to be derived is that when it comes to physical things, Abraham trusted Eliezer, but regarding something as important as a wife for Yitzhak, which will impact upon the future of the Jewish people, one must take any precaution possible.

When we enter business relationships or involve ourselves with any financial endeavors, we are super cautious to protect ourselves. How about if it involves verifying if something is kosher and permitted to eat, or whether one may or may not do something on Shabbat? Are we as concerned or cautious? Do we just "assume" since everyone is eating it or doing it? Seeing how Abraham put his priorities, maybe we should rearrange ours. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Answer to Pop Quiz: One night.

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.

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