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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 54:1-10

AUGUST 28-29, 2015 14 ELUL 5775


"Don't take the mother with the children."

The Torah commands us that if we see a bird's nest, do not take the mother with the children. Send the mother bird away first and then take the children. One of the explanations given for this misvah is that it's the mother bird's compromised position of being within arm's reach, due to her hovering over her children, that makes it possible for someone to take her. The Torah will not allow us to take advantage of the vulnerability which comes about through her self-sacrifice for her children.

Rabbi Dovid Kaplan tells an amazing true story of a mother. It was tough having a mother who only had one eye. Jeff was embarrassed when his friends would come over and he was embarrassed to be seen with his mom in public. True, she had a glass eye where her original one had been, but after a few minutes of looking at her, one could tell the eye wasn't real. Even after Jeff got married he still cringed whenever anyone new met his mother. Eventually, his mother died at the ripe old age of eighty-eight.

During the shiva, the family was reading some of the letters and notes she left behind. One of them was addressed directly to Jeff. "To my loving son, Jeff. I know I was a source of embarrassment to you and I always felt bad. Had I lost my eye in an accident, I wouldn't have felt guilty, as it wouldn't have been my fault. But you see, my not having an eye was entirely my fault. When you were born, you were missing an eye. The only way you would be able to have a functioning eye was if a human eye would be transplanted into you immediately, which would then give it a chance to grow as an actual part of your body. I gladly allowed the doctor to remove one of my eyes so that you wouldn't have to suffer. I'm so sorry for causing you all that embarrassment. With all my love, Mom."

Children have no idea how much parents sacrifice for them. Jeff finally got it. I think he was far more embarrassed after she died than while she was alive. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Our son is rebellious; he does not heed our voice." (Debarim 21:20)

Although the conditions necessary to punish a wayward and rebellious son with the appropriate punishment are difficult to come by, and indeed some say it never happened, we can learn some important lessons from this perashah. The Torah says that the parents say, "This is our son and he doesn't listen to our voice," emphasizing that the parents are united in their upbringing of their child and in the ultimate punishment. Then, they are entitled to bring him to bet din, since they have done the best they could, the fault being the son's.

This teaches us how important it is for both parents to be together in raising a child. If he hears two voices, rather than "our voice," he will get mixed messages and will quickly learn to manipulate one against the other to get his own way. Many times, parents might not agree on a certain point regarding their child, be it about permissiveness or about punishment, etc. They should discuss it between themselves first and come out with one voice to the child. Then, even if the child knows it's really the wish of one parent and not the other, he sees a unified front and won't be able to "divide and conquer." This is a well known rule which we may be very aware of, but if we take the time and energy to implement it on a regular basis, we will see more success in raising fine children. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Waiting on line, driving in traffic, or waiting to be served in a restaurant all are situations that can sabotage your equanimity if you expect quick movement to suit your needs. But these are also situations in which stretching your expectations is good for your health. Rabbi Zelig Pliskin suggests a good way to keep your cool. "Always expect things to take longer than you expect, and you will find it easier to remain patient" (Patience, page 108).

The actual time it takes for something to happen can only be determined after the fact. Inefficiency, unexpected circumstances, and wrong assumptions are variables that can make your guesstimate of time very inaccurate. Remember, your estimate of the actual duration of an event is only one of many possibilities.

When you are considering how long something will take, add twenty-five percent to your guesstimate to cover the variables. If you pad, the quick results will make you happy. If you don't pad enough - at least you won't get as aggravated as if you didn't pad at all. It only takes a minor adjustment in your calculations, but this is a health tip you cannot live without. (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)

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