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Haftarah: Shoftim 11:1-33

JUNE 14-15, 2013 7 TAMUZ 5773


"And he struck the rock." (Bemidbar 20:11)

The termination of Moshe Rabenu's leadership was announced in our perashah. Moshe was told by Hashem to speak to the rock, which would then bring forth water for the entire nation. According to Rashi, the fact that Moshe hit the rock rather than just speaking to it was the sin that prevented him from entering the Land of Israel.

Rabbi Shemuel of Slonim asks: How could Moshe, the ultimate servant of Hashem, possibly commit such a sin? Wasn't he aware that he was violating a direct command of Hashem? He answers that miracles occur on various levels. To hit the rock involved a physical effort, but to produce water from the rock merely by speaking to it was a miracle on a higher level. One reason that Moshe hit the rock was that he did not think the Jewish people were worthy of a miracle on a higher level. We learn from this explanation that one should not underestimate the strengths and merits of the Jewish nation.

This principle is not only applied to Moshe Rabenu, but to any leader of the Jewish people. Every Rabbi is the leader of his kahal. It is important that a Rabbi should know his kahal; he must realize what level they are on and not make demands upon them that are unrealistic. However, at the same time he must not limit how far they can grow and what level of serving Hashem they can reach. The Rabbi is obligated to communicate to the people in a way that is encouraging but not demanding, the Torah standard of Halachah. The Rabbi must always believe in the great potential of his people and not lose hope that they can truly attain greatness. Every man and woman must hear from the Rabbi, "You can do it!" And then the day will come that they did.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Then Israel sang" (Bemidbar 21:17)

The Jewish people sang a song of thanksgiving after they were saved from the Emori'im . Rashi tells us of a fascinating episode. The enemies of the Jews decided to ambush the Jewish people while they were crossing between two mountains, by throwing rocks on them from the two mountaintops. Hashem caused the mountains to come together miraculously and crush the enemy before the Jews ever came to that pass. The Jewish nation didn't even know of the miracle until afterwards when they saw the dead floating in the waters, and there they began to sing to Hashem.

We see from here that very often we are not even aware of the miracles Hashem does for us, as it says, "uxhbc rhfn xbv kgc iht." We sometimes complain when we miss a traffic light or miss the bus, not realizing that we may have just been the recipient of a great favor. Whenever we see the Hand of Hashem revealed to us, this should give us faith and encouragement for all other occurrences when the miracle is not readily apparent. Miracles are all around us, we just have to see them - "there is no one more blind than those who refuse to see!" Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


When trying to decide whether or not to participate in a business deal, you must figure the potential loss, the return on investment, and the drain on capital and liquidity. Then you can make an intelligent move. Sharp businesspeople love to jump on an opportunity where the potential for loss is low, and the profit potential, high.

There is an area of Torah observance that our Sages teach pays a dividend in this world and deposits eternal capital in the World to Come: acts of hesed (kindness).

Sometimes helping another may require a big investment of money and also a great deal of time - a commodity which, in today's fast-paced world, is very valuable. But as with every other rule, there is an exception. You can offer someone else something as simple as an encouraging word and earn major returns in the "business" of Torah and misvot. This true act of hesed costs literally nothing and takes hardly any time at all.

Should someone make you aware of a personal problem, don't reply, "It's your own fault," or, "Why can't you solve your own problems?" Instead, offer some advice or sympathy. "I'm sorry to hear it. Maybe if I can't help, I can at least recommend someone who can."

Take a minute and earn capital for eternity. It only takes a moment of understanding to score big. (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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