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Haftarah: Shemuel II 22:1-41

SEPTEMBER 10-12, 2010 3 TISHREI 5771


"It shall be a day of Shofar sounding for you." (Bemidbar 29:1)

When the Torah describes the blowing of the Shofar, the word teruah is used. The word teruah has two meanings: happiness and crying. We find it means happiness in the pasuk Hashem his G-d is with him and the friendship of the King is on him" (Bemidbar 23:27). In Tehillim: "Call out to Hashem all the earth open your mouths and sing joyous songs and play music" (Tehillim 98:4). On the other hand the Torah says "When you sound short blasts" (Bemidbar 10:5). The Targum translates these words, "And you blow wailing sounds," which means crying. Well, which is it? Is the teruah happiness or crying?

The answer to this question is precisely our objective. On Rosh Hashanah the Shofar is happiness and crying together. Because the greater the pain and the trembling and fear, the greater the level of teshubah. The greater the level of teshubah, the greater the reason to rejoice.

Imagine a person who is wounded and lying on the floor unable to move. All who see him will assume he is dead. However, if he still has a little bit of power to cry, others will hear his crying and save him. He knows that the moment he can cry he can be helped. So too on the High Holidays, the crying itself is the happiness. This is the power of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah. Happy Holiday. Rabbi Reuven Semah

Although Yom Kippur atones for a good portion of our sins, those transgressions between man and his fellow man are not forgiven unless we ask our friend to forgive us first. This should be a priority on everyone's list as we come to Yom Kippur, because we want to achieve the best atonement possible and we need to be forgiven by those we may have wronged. It is a proper custom to ask all of our friends' forgiveness before the holiday and to say we forgive them when asked by them.. It is especially important to kiss our parents' hands on Ereb Kippur and ask their forgiveness and, if they are not near us, to do it on the telephone. In addition, many synagogues have instituted that before Kal Nidre it is announced that everyone should forgive each other and everyone should say that they have forgiven. This creates a tremendous force of atonement in Heaven and will affect a Divine Pardon by Hashem to all His people. Tizku Leshanim Rabot.

Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"And Moshe came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun." (Debarim 32:44)

Many years earlier Moshe had changed the name of Hoshea to Yehoshua. Why is he now called Hoshea?

According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 2:6), when Hashem changed the name of the Matriarch Sarai to Sarah, He comforted the "yud" by telling it that eventually it would be added to the beginning of a man's name. Sarah's name change took place one year before the birth of Yitzchak, so she was then eighty-nine years old. Since Sarah passed away at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven, her name change was in effect for thirty-eight years of her life.

In the second year after the Jewish people's departure from Egypt, Moshe sent the spies to tour Eress Yisrael. At that time he prayed for Hoshea and added the yud from Sarah's name to his name. Moshe's death took place at the end of the forty years of the Jews' sojourn in the wilderness. This pasuk is talking about Moshe's last Shabbat on earth, which was exactly thirty-eight years after he took the yud from Sarah and added it to Yehoshua. Therefore, on this particular day, which marked the completion of the thirty-eight years the yud was originally supposed to be part of Sarah's name, Moshe called him by his original name, Hoshea.

Alternatively, the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel writes that when Moshe observed the humility of Hoshea, he added to his name the yud, which is the smallest letter of the alef-bet, and thus a symbol of humbleness, calling him Yehoshua.

This pasuk discusses the Shabbat of transition of offices when the authority was taken away from Moshe and given to Yehoshua. Now that Yehoshua was becoming the new leader of klal Yisrael, his Rebbe Moshe told him, omitting the yud, "As the leader of the Jewish community it is necessary that you be highly respected and feared by all. No longer may you be humble before all as you were heretofore." (Vedibarta Bam)


"And Hashem saw and spurned them, because of the provoking of His sons and daughters." (Debarim 32:19)

In the straightforward interpretation of this pasuk, Hashem is angered by the evil acts of His children. Harav Nissan Alpert z"l renders a homiletic interpretation which offers a profound insight into human nature. He applies the word "anger" to the sons and daughters, rather than attributing it to Hashem. The pasuk is consequently read in the following manner: Hashem spurned them because of the anger exhibited by His sons and daughters. Consider the impudence of Am Yisrael that they would demonstrate the arrogance to be "angry" at Hashem for not acceding to their selfishness and corruptness. How often do we aggravate matters by complaining virulently when our evil desires are not granted or by bitterly objecting when we ultimately receive our "due" retribution? If one chooses to live a life antithetical to Torah values, he should be prepared to accept the consequences which result from this decision. (Peninim on the Torah)


Trying to guess the future is lucrative for an entertainer, but it is a dangerous pursuit for the rest of us. Prophecy no longer exists, but predicting still intrigues the masses. The Talmud states, "Who is a wise person? One who can foresee the future" (Tameed 32a). Does this mean that there are no more wise men and women since prophecy has ceased?

Not at all. The forecast of a wise person is a logical application of understanding, by which the individual calculates the consequences of a given behavior. Wise people can decide what to do because they can determine the results of specific actions.

Most people don't realize that every person can achieve this level of "prophecy" by applying their Hashem-given mental prowess. Unfortunately, too many ignore this special talent and do things that harm, rather than benefit, themselves. Even those who are not adept at the art of evaluation and prediction may seek the help of individuals more astute than they are to choose a successful course for the future.

Whenever you are about to do something in order to improve your position, anticipate the potential results of whatever course you have chosen to take. Evaluate the possible outcome of any deed, and then make the decision to act or not to act. That is wisdom: study the consequences before acting. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)


On the ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, we recite Abinu Malkenu (Our Father Our King) after the Amidah. In this prayer, we make many requests from Hashem for the new year. Why do we refer to Hashem as both our Father and our King?

A father has a very strong desire to do good for his son, and he is very merciful towards him. However, there are times when it is not within the father's means to give the son all that he needs. A king, though, has the ability to provide almost anything that he wishes the person to have, but his love and mercy for the people is nothing like a father's toward his son. We therefore refer to Hashem as both a Father and a King ,- a Father because He loves us and wants to do good for us, and a King because He has the ability to shower upon us all the blessings that He wishes to give us.

Nevertheless, there are times when even a king's hands are tied. If a king makes a decree, and one of his favorite officers violates the decree, the king is forced to punish the officer, even though he would rather not do so. This is something we need to keep in mind on this Day of Judgment. Hashem is, in fact, our Father in Heaven, who desires to give us unlimited blessings, but He is also the King. He has made decrees which require punishments to come upon the sinner. This will prevent our Father from blessing us.

There is only one solution - teshubah (repentance). By repenting for our sins, we can once again open up the floodgates of berachah.

This explains why we start the Abinu Malkenu by asking forgiveness for our sins, and only later do we ask for a year of blessing and success. (Lekah Tob)


A story is told of a foreigner who came to America and wanted to open a department store. Not knowing the American lifestyle, he walked the streets to learn how business is done in America, and he noticed that a certain store was attracting a much larger crowd than all the others. When he inquired as to the reason, he was informed that there was a sign above the store which read, "Grand Opening" and that this usually attracts many people. He continued on his stroll and noticed another store a few blocks away which was also attracting more customers than all the others stores. Again he inquired and he was told that above this store was a sign "Going out of Business" and that such a sign also tends to attract many inquisitive people.

Wanting his store to be a tremendous success, and unfamiliar with the English language, he hired a sign maker to copy both signs and place them above the entrance to his store. Business was terrible; people did not come in because they were convinced that his store was operated by a lunatic.

This story, which has an amusing note to it, unfortunately portrays many facets of life in general, and Jewish milestones in particular. Bar Misvah is the first celebration in which a young Jewish boy actively participates. But how sad is it when the Bar Misvah boy and his family, after attending services in the synagogue drive away on Shabbat to a non-kosher restaurant for a festive meal. In actuality, for this boy and his family, the "grand opening" and "going out of business" took place at the same time.

There are many weddings which were entered into with much love and anticipation, and unfortunately end immediately afterwards with strife and animosity. The same holds true with businessmen who enter into a partnership which immediately turns into a disastrous battle in court. I am sure you can think of more examples of the "grand opening" and the "going out of business" taking place in quick succession.

In the Musaf liturgy we declare, "Hayom harat olam - today is the birth of the world." In reality, the creation of the world started a few days earlier, but Rosh Hashanah is the birth of Adam, the first man, through whom the creation of the world reached fruition.

On this day Adam, the progenitor of mankind, made his "Grand Opening." Annually, on Rosh Hashanah, Hashem gives each man and woman the chance to start afresh and make a "grand opening." There are also some people who have a "grand opening" followed very quickly by a "going out of business." They make lofty resolutions and commitments regarding their relationship with other people and with Hashem in the year to come. Unfortunately, these are often very quickly disregarded and forgotten.

Let us resolve to stay in business throughout the year, and go from strength to strength in our devotion and observance of Torah and Judaism. With such an approach our "grand opening" will bring happy and prosperous results. (Vedibarta Bam)

* * * * *

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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