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Haftarah: Yehezkel 44:15-31

MAY 11-12, 2012 20 IYAR 5772
Day 35 of the Omer


"When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born" (Vayikra 22:27)

The perashah mentions the animals that are eligible to be brought as a sacrifice. Rabbi Abraham Schorr explains that the Midrash gives an interesting insight as to why these particular animals - an ox, a sheep or a goat - were chosen. Hashem always loves the underdog. If one righteous man pursues and bothers another, Hashem favors the pursued one. If a wicked man pursues a saddik, Hashem favors the saddik. If a saddik pursues a rasha, Hashem will favor the rasha! Hashem always loves the underdog. So too with korbanot. The ox is pursued by the lion, the goat is pursued by the leopard and the sheep by the wolf.

The Sefat Emet explains that the lion's nature is to pursue the ox, but it is deeper than that. The nature of things in this world are based on physical powers, and these powers oppose the spiritual side of things. If the lion pursues the ox, that is because the ox has something about it that is spiritual. That is why these animals are pursued.

This has application to us as well. The Jew is one who is a member of the next world. Therefore the physical forces of this world oppose him. The more spiritual and religious the Jew, the more opposition he has. It's a battle but it's a battle we cherish. A person shouldn't feel down if he is pursued by the yeser hara because it is a sign that the person has greatness inside.

This is a great encouragement to our generation. Ours is the generation of the Mashiah. Our generation is the one that will greet the Mashiah, what no other generation had the merit to do. It is because of this that we are pursued so much with so many difficulties. If our generation is so plagued with immorality, it's because we are so close to greeting the Mashiah and all the forces of impurity are trying to stop us from being worthy of this great honor. If we can safeguard our inner purity by not getting swept up for just a little longer, we will merit that great day of the mashiah's arrival, Amen. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Say to the Kohanim and say to them..." (Vayikra 21:1)

The Torah repeats the word "emor v'amarta" as if emphasizing this commandment that the Kohanim should not become defiled by a dead body. The Rabbis learn from the extra word that we must train our children to keep the misvot just like we do. The question is asked, "Why is the obligation to teach our children to keep the commandants said by the laws of Kohanim and their prohibition to become impure?"

One possible answer is that when a Kohen tells his son not to come in contact with impurity, the son may question his father, "How come the other people don't have this restriction? Even very observant people are allowed to touch a dead body. How come I may not?" The Kohen father must tell his son, "You are different, my son. You are a Kohen. We have greater responsibilities; therefore, more is expected of us." This is the way we should train our children. We have to build them up and show them how great they can be, and that more is expected of them than of the rest of the world. The Jewish people have a mission in this world and when a child realizes that he has a part in that mission, then he will rise to the occasion and become that special person. Compared to the rest of the world, we are a kingdom of Kohanim and therefore have to act and live on a different level! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


It is customary to study Pirkei Abot (Ethics of the Fathers) during the six weeks between Pesah and Shabuot, one chapter every Shabbat.

"There is no man who does not have his hour." (Abot 4:3)

What is the sha'ah- hour- that every man has?

The word sha'ah is not only a period of time, but can also mean "turn." When Kayin and Hebel brought their gifts to Hashem, it is written, "ve'el Kayin ve'el minachto lo sha'ah"- to Kayin and his offering He did not turn." Here, too, the word sha'ah means a turn, and the Mishnah is teaching that there is no man who cannot turn around and change.

Rabbi Meir of Premishlan once said to his students, "We say of the A-mighty G-d that thanks to our teshubah, 'as far as east from west He has distanced our transgressions from us.' Perhaps one of you can tell me how far east is from west?"

The students grappled with this problem, and each one came up with a different astronomical figure. Suddenly, the Rabbi interrupted them and declared, "You are all in error! From east to west is only one swerve. When one stands facing east and turns around, instantly, he is facing west. This is the immediacy of teshubah." (Vedibarta Bam)

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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.

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