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Haftarah: Melachim I 1:1-31

NOVEMBER 14-15, 2014 22 HESHVAN 5775


“Do not take a wife for my son from the daughters of Canaan.” (Beresheet 24:3)

The choice of a wife for Yitzhak was a matter of great concern to Abraham. The entire future of the holy nation depended on the character of this woman. Abraham was aware of his function as the founder of the nation of Israel. The women of Canaan had bad character traits that would work to the detriment of the marriage and the entire nation of Israel.

Rabbi Ephraim Nissenbaum tells a story of a young man with an elderly widowed mother. He set a precondition for marriage: the woman he married must be willing to have his mother live with them, as she had no one else to care for her. Unfortunately, he could not find any woman who would agree to this.

His friends spoke to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach to convince him to put his mother in a nursing home, where she would be cared for. Rav Shlomo Zalman refused.

“I agree with the young man,” he explained. “Good character traits are necessary in a wife. A wife who doesn’t want to assist her mother-in-law lacks character.”

Eventually the young man met a wonderful woman and they got engaged. Shortly after the engagement, Rav Shlomo Zalman spoke to the fellow and recommended he put his mother in a facility.

“Now that your kallah has proven her good character, you should know that having your mother live with you at the beginning of your marriage may cause unnecessary stress. That is not advisable.” Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

“And Sarah died in Kiryat Arba” (Beresheet 23:2)

The Rabbis tell us that Sarah passed away when she heard that Yitzhak was almost killed. The shock of such drastic news was enough to make Sarah lose her life. However, we also know that Sarah was greater than Abraham in prophecy, so if Abraham was able to perform the act itself without being overwhelmed by his emotions, why could Sarah not bear this trauma, since she is the greater of the two?

The answer is that fulfilling a iuhxb, a test, often seems beyond one’s capabilities. However, Hashem, Who commands one to be tested, also gives him the strength to bear the challenge. The misvah itself reinforces the person doing it. Abraham was commanded to do the Akedah, the binding of Yitzhak, so he was given the strength to bear the test. Sarah was not herself commanded in this misvah, and so relying only on her natural strength, she passed away merely upon hearing the news of Yitzhak’s near death.

We are constantly faced with challenges, and some of them seem so overwhelming to us, even to the point where we feel it’s impossible to pass this test. We have to know that if Hashem gives a test, He also gives the wherewithal to pass the challenge. We just have to look deep inside of ourselves and pray for His guidance. There, we will find it! Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Most people pray. Some devote a great deal of time to prayer and to the reciting of Tehillim.

It is unfortunate, however, that many individuals who spend their time involved in this activity don’t expend the effort to do it right. When you are praying, you are talking to Hashem – yes – really talking to Him! Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity.

The trick is to anticipate. David Hamelech said, “Al zot yitpallel kol Hasid elecha le’et metzo – For this every pious person should pray to You for the time of finding” (Tehillim 32:6). His suggestion is to ask Hashem for anything and everything we might need. Many people really feel their prayers in times of trouble and dire need. But we should not limit our prayers to what we believe we are missing; we should train ourselves to ask for continuance of all the good that we already have. We should pray to the One Above that our lives should not diminish, but instead, improve.

Remember that while prayer – any prayer – is valuable, there is no comparison between one who prays under duress and one who prays out of sincere appreciation. Today, thank Hashem for all past gifts and then ask Him for greater happiness in the future. (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 (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

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