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AUGUST 26-27, 2005 22 AB 5765

Pop Quiz: What was Moshe commanded to do with the tablets that he broke?


"For I was terrified of the wrath and anger with which Hashem was provoked against you." (Debarim 9:19)

In our perashah, Moshe Rabenu recounts his experience after coming down from Mt. Sinai and finding the Israelites sinning with the Golden Calf. When he saw this, he was afraid that Hashem would get very angry and destroy the Jewish people. Moshe threw himself down before Hashem and begged Him to forgive the people. He prayed for mercy for forty days and nights without eating or drinking. The Talmud in Baba Batra (9b) says that if a person gives charity anonymously, it is a great merit. The Talmud quotes a verse from Mishle (21:14) that says "An anonymous gift will cover anger." The Gemara concludes that one who gives sedakah anonymously is greater than Moshe Rabenu! Of course, that cannot mean that the giver is greater than Moshe. It means that giving hidden charity calms Hashem's anger even more than the prayers of Moshe Rabenu.

Throughout his life, Rabbi Ezra Attiye z"l, the Rosh Yeshivah of Porat Yosef, made sure not to live beyond his means. He also instilled this great concept into his children. Even when it came to necessities, Rabbi Attiye begged his children not to buy their groceries on credit or borrow money. The Rabbi's way of life made a tremendous impression on his children. It is no wonder, then, that his youngest son, Rabbi David Atiyye, was utterly shocked when the local grocer asked him to relay the message to his father that his bill was overdue. Hacham David asked himself, "How could it be that my father had an account with the grocer, and how can it be that it was not paid?" Hacham David later discovered that the account his father had opened was not for himself but for a needy family in the community. He told the grocer not to charge them for what they bought and he himself would pay the bill every month. This arrangement went on secretly for a long time until the Rabbi fell ill and could no longer personally afford to pay the bill.

We should seek ways to give part of our charity dollars in a discreet manner. This will go a long way to protect Israel from possible danger. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And Now, Yisrael, what does Hashem ask from you, only to fear Him" (Debarim 12:10)

The Gemara teaches us that one is supposed to say 100 berachot every day, based on the above verse. Besides reading it as "???, what," it can be read as "me'ah, one hundred." In the course of a regular day, praying three times, eating three meals, we can usually come across 100 blessings. The question is, how is this law alluded to in this verse, since the words ??? and vtn are really different from one another?

The purpose of saying a berachah before or after we eat is to acknowledge that everything comes from Hashem. If we could say the berachot with a little concentration, it will bring us to a greater awareness of Hashem and His might and goodness. This is the method that the Rabbis saw as the best manner for acquiring fear of G-d. If a person lives his life with Hashem's Name on his lips, before and after eating, while praying and doing misvot, his fear of Hashem will develop and help him get close to Hashem.

Let us make our berachot with a little more thoughtfulness so that we will acquire that most desired attribute: Yir'at Shamayim, Fear of Hashem. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"In order to afflict you and to test you, to do good for you in your end" (Debarim 8:16)

The Hafess Hayim commented that the affliction of the Israelites was in order to test them out to see if they would behave in an elevated manner even though they had difficulties. The Hebrew term nasotecha, which means test, also means to be elevated. Both concepts fit together. When someone acts in an elevated manner when he has difficult life tests, he becomes elevated. This concept applies to each individual in each generation. This is especially so when you suffer because of doing Hashem's will. Instead of complaining when difficulties arise in your life, look for ways you can utilize those difficulties to improve your character and elevate yourself. When you view difficulties in this light they will be much easier to cope with. (Growth through Torah)


"And you say in you heart, 'My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.' But you should remember Hashem. Your G-d, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth" (Debarim 8:17-18)

Rabbi E. Dessler, z"l, explains that all which comprises an individual's creative personality, including his capacity to earn a livelihood, his intelligence, foresight, business acumen and skill, are the products of Hashem's beneficence. In fact, every facet of one's existence is derived from Hashem. The miracle of physical and mental health is not the direct result of the nutrition inherent in the food we eat. Rather, Hashem employs the food as a vehicle by which He imparts this seemingly natural blessing. Rabbi Dessler cites Targum Onkelos who explains that the thought process which catalyzes every endeavor is actually the work of Hashem. Hashem gives us the "ability" to make our livelihood. No part of our good fortune can be attributed to our own merit. How disparate is Torah hashkafah, philosophy, from that of contemporary society, which lauds and venerates the "self-made" man! One should realize that the "self-made" man is really one who has merited to be the recipient of a major gift from Hashem. Perhaps, if we were to be more cognizant of the origins of success, our appreciation of our gifts would be enhanced. (Peninim on the Torah)


This Week's Haftarah: Yeshayahu 49:14-51:3.

This haftarah is the second in the series of seven haftarot dealing with consolation that are read between Tish'ah B'Ab and Rosh Hashanah. Hashem tells the nation that the exile does not break the bond between Him and Israel. He will not let us be destroyed. At the end of the haftarah, Yeshayahu the prophet says that Hashem will restore the glory of the land, and that joy and gladness will be found there.

Answer to Pop Quiz: He was told to place them in the Aron (Ark).

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)

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