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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 54:1-1

SEPTEMBER 16-17, 2016 14 ELUL 5776

Rosh Hodesh Elul will be celebrated on Shabbat & Sunday, September 3 & 4.


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

The words "against your enemy" seem to be superfluous. What war does one fight that is not "against your enemy"? Our Sages teach us that the Torah is referring to a perpetual war one wages against his personal enemy, his yeser hara.

It says in Pirkei Abot (4:1), "Who is strong? One who conquers his inclination." Rabbi D. Staum quotes the Sefer Avodat Yisrael who says that it refers to one's personal inclination. Every person has unique character traits, life experiences, and natural tendencies. Therefore, every person must assess what protective measures he must take to protect himself from sin.

Rabbi Avraham Schorr adds that because every person has his own challenges and weaknesses, what is considered a "great yeser hara" for one person may be hardly a challenge for another. Not only is it not hard for one person to overcome the tests and challenges of another, but a person can never judge someone else for his failings. No one can truly understand how difficult and challenging something is for another. Our task is to maintain our focus in fighting our personal enemy - the enemy tailor-made for us and placed within us - in order to bring us to our best. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Hashem shouldn't see your nakedness so that He should turn away from you." (Debarim 23:15)

If we wonder why the Divine Presence is so hidden in our times, this verse provides the answer. When G-d sees that the Jewish People are not conducting themselves in a modest way, He turns away from us, leaving us in the dark. Although it says in another place in the Torah that G-d dwells amongst us even if we are impure, this refers to other kinds of improper behavior. When it comes to dressing immodestly, Hashem chooses not to be revealed amongst us. In these days, when the whole society is overwhelmingly encouraging this kind of dress code, everyone who makes an attempt to dress properly will be truly bringing blessings on themselves and on their families. Indeed, we have seen some people accept upon themselves to be more modestly attired, with the merit going to bring a speedy recovery for those who are stricken with difficult illnesses. This is a remarkable zechut. It is written that if a person has a temptation to see someone immodestly dressed and overcomes it, he should, at that very moment, pray to Hashem for whatever he wishes, because he has created such a magnificent zechut by overcoming his temptations. Therefore, it becomes an opportune moment to pray. We see how much Hashem rewards those who make modest dress part of their lives because they are bringing Hashem back to the Jewish People. Let us merit to be those fortunate ones. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

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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)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

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