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MONEY MATTERS by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And if you shall say in your heart, 'It is my strength and the power of my hand that has made me this wealth'." (Debarim 8:17)

Our perashah continues with Moshe Rabenu rebuking and enlightening the people before his death. The time will come, Moshe Rabenu says, when people will say 'My own strength has earned me my wealth.' Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch says that "kohi", my power, means my natural abilities; "osem yadi", the strength of my hand, means a person's ability to surpass his normal capabilities with supreme effort. It is common to hear from people a certain attitude when they are asked to part with some of their money for a worthy cause. Basically, you might hear the following: "I have worked very hard for my money. As a matter of fact, I have put so much effort that I have even surpassed my own abilities to earn this money. Why should I give to others? Let them kill themselves for the money as I have!" This comment could even be heard when that person's own children need help.

There is only one crucial element missing in that entire statement. It wasn't you that made the money at all. It was from Hashem. Hashem gives extra money in order to help others and even more regarding one's own family. It is true that he made great efforts to earn that money and Hashem demands that he does. But bottom line, after all that required effort, Hashem gifts over to us money to help others. May Hashem bless us all with a great abundance of wealth and with a generous heart to use it wisely. Amen.
Shabbat Shalom.

WHAT A GREAT IDEA! by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"And you will remember that it is Hashem who gives you the strength to do this great deed." (Debarim 8:18)

Whenever a person accomplishes anything, he may be tempted to think that he was responsible for his success, so the Torah tells us that it is Hashem who gave you the strength to succeed. The Targum adds a very important word to the verse. He says, "You shall remember that it is Hashem Who gives you the idea which leads you to succeed."

This teaches us an amazing lesson. Even the idea itself which sets off an entire chain reaction, and ultimately leads to accomplishments is from Hashem. How many times are we in a tough situation looking for answers when all of a sudden, an idea "pops into our head" which gives us a way out? Every time a person thinks of something to do or remembers something important, he should thank Hashem for the idea itself for it is He who gives us the thought with which to succeed. Shabbat Shalom.


"And you shall eat and be satisfied and bless Hashem your G-d for the good land which He has given you." (Debarim 8:10)

This pasuk implies that the Bircat Hamazon is not merely a formal offering of gratitude for the meal which we have eaten. Rather, it proclaims our acknowledgment that Hashem is the source of all things. Indeed, we even submit our thanks to Hashem for providing us with our land. This seems enigmatic. Imagine being invited to someone's home for dinner and, after the meal, thanking the host for the use of his furniture and home during the course of the meal. This expression of gratitude is undoubtedly excessive. Why, then, is it necessary to specifically mention the land during Bircat Hamazon?

Harav B.Z. Baruk offers the following analogy in response. A person who was hunger stricken and thirsty is walking in the desert, completely exposed to the elements. Suddenly, a plane lands, as if from nowhere. A beautifully furnished home complete with a table laden with various delicacies ready for his consumption appears before him. Obviously, in such a situation, the individual's gratitude would extend beyond a simple acknowledgment of the delicious meal. He would indicate his appreciation for everything. Similarly, we should acknowledge that every meal we enjoy is a brand new creation, resulting from Hashem's beneficence. We have fallen victim to the sin of complacency by taking everything for granted. Regretfully, we reflect upon Hashem's favors only when we are denied them. Increasing our awareness would neutralize this apathetic attitude. (Peninim on the Torah)

Pop quiz: What did Moshe take with him when he went up to Har Sinai after breaking the first Tablets?
Answer to pop quiz:Two new tablets on which the Commandments would be engraved.

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