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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 54:1-10

SEPTEMBER 5-6, 2014 11 ELUL 5774


"If a man has a wayward, rebellious son…and should say to the elders of the city, 'Our son here is wayward and rebellious.'" (Debarim 21:18-20)

When the Torah describes the ben sorer umoreh, the word "moreh" is written in the long form, with a vav. However, when the pasuk relates the parents' description of their son, the word "moreh" is written in an abbreviated form (chaser) without a vav. What is the reason for this?

Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita (quoted in Torah Ladaat) answers that the Torah wished to point out a basic character trait: parents tend to overlook and minimize the faults of their children (hence the abbreviated form of moreh). If they would take preventive actions when they see a problem developing and nip it in the bud, before it blossoms into a major crisis, they would save themselves much heartache and aggravation.

Today we don't have the law of ben sorer umoreh, but we can apply its lessons to today's upbringing and education of our children. There is a partnership between parents and the Yeshivah. Both the parents and the educators should use early detection of potential problems in the education process. A child must be set up from the beginning to be able to succeed in school. It's not good to use wishful thinking that it will be good, if there are any potential weaknesses. It is far better to give the child extra support when he starts and only later remove it if it is shown to be unnecessary. Both parents and schools should be aware of early signs of potential extra needs to guarantee success. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"When you will go out to war against your enemies" (Debarim 21:10)

The Torah tells us that when you go out to war G-d will give the enemy in your hands and you will take captives. Is that always the case that when we go to war we will win over our enemies?

The Rabbis tell us this refers to the constant wars we have with out arch-enemy, the yeser hara, the evil inclination. The Torah is teaching us an amazing lesson. If we only go to war with him, already we have won the battle because we know to be aware of his tricks and we are therefore committed to win him. Our problem with the evil inclination is that we let him take over our lives and don't put up any resistance. That's because we feel we don't stand a chance with him. But the truth is that if we attempt to fight him, we are more than halfway there and then Hashem will give him to us in our hands. As the Selihot season begins, we should know that by coming to Selihot and minyan or classes, we are going out to war with the yeser hara. Then Hashem will help us by giving him into our hands even in other areas so that we can truly better our lives. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


The wizardry of modern technology has given sports fans the opportunity to view a great play or a disputed call be the referee. The videotape replay provides an instant review of the action on the field from several different angles and at variable speeds, and even offers a freeze-frame look at the game.

Although this advance has given fans the opportunity to analyze and clarify what has happened at high speeds with slow-motion clarity, there is a difference between a first look and watching the replay. While engrossed in the excitement of the game, your heart beats with the anticipation of success and the apprehension of defeat. On the other hand, when you view a replay, the cool, analytical self takes over. Once you know the result, you can calmly view in retrospect what you might have missed in the heat of the battle. The "unknown" has been eliminated, and so low blood pressure is maintained.

The history of mankind was written by Hashem many millennia ago. In Isaiah (41:4) it states that Hashem proclaims from the beginning of time, the fate of future generations (koreh hadorot merosh). We are merely watching the videotape of life as the story plays out from Creation to ultimate salvation. If you totally trust that Hashem is in charge and that all He does is good, then you can better cope with the vicissitudes of life.

Should one of the dips on the time line of life occur, don't panic. The scene you are watching is just the replay. The producer/director has written a happy ending. It only takes a heartbeat to put things in perspective and get back on a calm track. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

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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.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

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