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Haftarah: Melachim I 18:20-39

FEBRUARY 14-15, 2013 15 ADAR I 5774


"Hashem said to Moshe, 'Carve for yourself two stone tablets." (Shemot 34:1)

It says in Mishlei, "Tov ayin hu yevorach - one with a good eye will be blessed" (22:9). The Midrash says that tov ayin refers to Moshe Rabenu, and the Midrash gives two examples of Moshe having a "good eye" (being generous with his possessions). The first example is from our perashah quoted above. "Pesol lecha," which means "carve for yourself," the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Originally the Torah was for Moshe and his descendants, but Moshe taught it to all the people. The second is that Hashem told Moshe to give Yehoshua semicha with one hand. Moshe was tov ayin and he put two hands on Yehoshua.

Rabbi Frand asks a question in the name of Rabbi B. Povarsky (Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevezh). If Reuven asks Shimon to give $100 to sedakah and Shimon, instead of one hundred gives two hundred, this shows generosity on the part of Shimon, because now he has less money. But why is Moshe considered generous for sharing Torah with Israel? He wasn't worth any less after he shared it. Also, what difference does it make if he gave semicha with one or two hands to Yehoshua? Does a two-hand semicha diminish Moshe in any way?

The answer shows a deep psychological principal hidden in the Midrash.

' We all want out friends to have good things. But do we want them to have it as good as we have it? Let's say one is blessed with wonderful children. He surely wants his next-door neighbor to have wonderful children too. But deep down, he hopes that his own children will be just that much better. Every young man who gets engaged thinks that his bride is the most perfect person ever created. Now, of course he wants his friends to get engaged to great girls. But not quite as great as his bride. This is a realistic, if unfortunate, aspect of human nature. A tov ayin (good eye) person is one who wants others to have it exactly as good as he has it. He wants his neighbor's children to be as good as his, he wants his friends' brides to be as amazing as his.

Moshe Rabenu had the most precious commodity ever. Not only did he share it with the Jewish people, he totally relinquished any special rights he had to it. He wanted the rest of the nation to become as great in Torah as he was. Also, when he gave Yehshua semicha, he wanted his disciple to become as great a leader as he was. To be a tov ayin is difficult because it runs against human nature. Maybe because it's so difficult is the reward so great, that he himself will receive blessing from Hashem. "Tov ayin hu yevorach." Shababt Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"I have endowed the heart of every wise-hearted person with wisdom" (Shemot 31:6)

Hashem appointed Besalel and Aholiab to make the Mishkan and to use all those with wisdom in their hearts to assist them. If we think about it, these people had just been enslaved for many years in Egypt doing menial work. Where did anyone have experience or background to be able to create the magnificent utensils of the Mishkan?

The answer is that Hashem gave wisdom to the "wise at heart." The one who wanted to use his heart to serve Hashem was given wisdom for G-d, Who is the Source of all knowledge. This is a lesson for us. We don't have to know everything to serve Hashem; we have to want to know everything to serve Him. There is a lot of potential in us and in our children which is waiting to be tapped. It needs the will and the direction. Let's not allow all that potential to go to waste with all the distractions of today's society! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"I implore! This people have committed a grievous sin." (Shemot 32:31)

What did Moshe Rabenu mean by this statement? Of course the people had committed a grave sin. There was no question about this. On the contrary, by restating the offense, he was essentially adding insult to injury. In his Oheb Yisrael, the Apter Rav, z"l, explains that when a person commits a sin, the greatest punishment is the realization that he has sinned against Hashem. This does not come immediately, but, after introspection, he becomes cognitive of Hashem's eminence; and thus, the sin which he has committed takes on a different guise. How could he have sinned against the One Who gave him everything - Who continues to sustain him? He begins to realize that, by commission of this sin, he has distanced himself from the Source of all sanctity. He will slowly develop a sense of shame, which will ultimately lead to regret and remorse. He will then accept upon himself not to sin again. Indeed, one who finds himself on the level of this approach will benefit much more than if he were to experience the harshest punishment.

This is what Moshe said to Hashem. "The nation has sinned egregiously" - and they know it. What greater shame can there be? What punishment supersedes the pain they must sustain, knowing that they have sinned against their great Benefactor? The shame they are experiencing upon confronting the sin will certainly catalyze such regret that this will never happen again. For this reason, they deserve forgiveness and pardon.

How fortunate is one who achieves such a level of reflection, in which the very fact that he "sinned" is sufficient punishment for him. The realization of the blemish created by the sin, and the distance it accords the sinner in his relationship to Hashem, comprise all of the punishment the person needs. (Peninim on the Torah)


One of the most frequently used phrases in airline advertising is "on-time." Research conducted by airlines and their image consultants has determined that people place on-time arrival at the top of their priority list when deciding which carrier to choose for a flight.

Although they may demand that airlines keep to a schedule, many people seem to feel that they personally are exempt from being prompt. Arriving twenty (or more) minutes late for an important meeting, luncheon date, or social gathering has come to be known as being "fashionably late." Traffic congestion and parking difficulties are frequently proffered - although unacceptable - apologies for failure to arrive on time.

Coming late sends many messages. Did you ever think that a late arrival is tantamount to saying, "My time is more valuable than yours!" or "I have no problem making you wait!"?

Leaving at the last possible minute and not building enough leeway into your travel plans to account for the inevitable delay is a sign of disregard for other people's time.

This is a simple application of ve'ahavta lere'acha kamocha (love your fellow man as you love yourself) (Vayikra 19:18).

The next time you arrange to meet others, for whatever reason, ask yourself, "What message do I want to convey?" Then plan properly to take the unforeseen into account, and gear yourself for an on-time arrival. It will let the other party know that you respect their time as much as your own. It will also portray you as an efficient individual with whom it pays to deal more often. It may take a few minutes, but it will save hours and hours of apologies. (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)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

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