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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 49:14-51:3

AUGUST 26-27, 2016 23 AB 5776


"For man does not live on bread alone, rather, by the word of Hashem..." (Debarim 8:3)

The simple meaning of this verse is that it's not the actual food which sustains a person, but rather it's the command that Hashem gives for people to be able to live. However, we can understand this in a novel way based on the verse ???????????" ?????" which tells us to bless Hashem for the food that we eat. It's not the food that keeps us going; it's the berachot we say before and after eating which provides the real nourishment for a person. If we would realize the effect that our blessings have on the world and all its contents, we would grab every opportunity to say a berachah. Indeed, Bircat hamazon, grace after meals, is the only berachah which is mentioned in the Torah, and its reward is truly unbelievable. But even a regular short blessing, which takes only a few seconds, can bring such bounty and prosperity to the one who says it. Let's start off by just one extra berachah a day and may we be blessed in return. Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Opportunity Knocks

Some people hate to cook, while others enjoy it but can't stand washing dishes. The odor of a dirty hand towel nauseates certain individuals and even the thought of using a handkerchief can be revolting to many.

Everyone has pet peeves and aversions. But just as every action has a reaction, and every measure, a countermeasure, so too, every repugnant task and distasteful object has a potential solution. Listen well, and you'll hear opportunity knocking when you least expect it.

For example:

Hate to cook? You're not the only one. It must have been someone like you who saw the possibilities and started the fast-food industry.

Don't want to spend time slaving over a hot stove? Buy pre-cooked, just-heat-'em-up dinners, and stick them into a…microwave oven! Not one, but two inventions to cut down your time in the kitchen!

Dislike washing dishes? Somebody already invented throw-away plastic and paper serving utensils!

Keep in mind that many of the inventions and developments in the world were introduced by Hashem to help us to do what we do. As Ben Zoma stated (Berachot, 58a), "Blessed is He who created all of these (people) to serve me."

Disgusted by those smelly kitchen towels, but don't want to wash them after each use? Try another clever innovation: paper towels! And while you're at it, try paper napkins, disposable diapers, facial tissues…in fact, check out the entire line of non-reusable, no-need-to-wash items. These are, most likely, the brainchildren of the "I-hate-laundry" brigade!

And how about sticky notes? Can't you just see the logic that might have led to their invention? Can't find a paper clip, hmmm let's see about getting one paper to stick to another without damaging either one!

When you encounter one of life's inevitable problems, look for the built-in opportunity. It might be that the issue you can't tolerate annoys many others, too. If you come up with a life-enhancing solution, this problem may be your vehicle for striking it rich. It only takes a minute to look past the problem and listen for the "knock." (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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