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Haftarah: Melachim I 18:20-39

MARCH 6-7, 2015 16 ADAR 5775


"For Mordechai the Jew… a great man among the Jews and he found favor with the multitude of his brethren, he sought the good of his people and was concerned for the welfare of all his posterity." (Esther 10:3)

The final verse of the Megillah contains a message and a theme that binds together the entire Megillah.

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler zt"l notes that the greatness of the Jewish people at the time of the Purim events lay in the fact that they completely subjugated themselves to Mordechai. They could have rationalized that the danger was actually Mordechai's fault because he refused to bow before Haman, which ignited Haman's wrath. But they were wise enough to realize that their only hope was to hearken to Mordechai and rectify their failure to have listened to him when he implored them not to attend the feast of Ahashverosh.

Why did the nation collectively follow Mordechai's lead?

Rav Mattisyahu Solomon explains that it was because they all knew how much Mordechai loved them and cared for them. They knew that everything Mordechai instructed them to do stemmed from his unbridled devotion and dedication to his people. They listened to Mordechai because they knew instinctively what the final verse of the Megillah relates - that Mordechai sought the good of his people and concerned himself with their posterity.

The whole salvation of Purim resulted from their listening to Mordechai and they listened to him because they knew how much he loved them.

It has been said, "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care!"

Mordechai's love for his people indirectly brought about the salvation of Purim. It is little wonder then why giving to others (Mishloah Manot and Matanot Laebyonim) is such an integral part of our observance on Purim day! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

Aharon told the people who were requesting a substitute for Moshe to "go to the ladies and children and ask them for their gold jewelry." Aharon figured that they would resist giving it since jewelry is so precious to them, and by that time Moshe would return. What happened was totally unexpected! The ladies said, "We are not giving up our gold at all because we believe that Moshe is coming and we want no part of the golden calf." Indeed, that's why Rosh Hodesh, which should have been a full blown holiday for the Jewish people, if not for the golden calf, is still a minor holiday for the ladies.

We see that we should never underestimate anyone. Aharon thought the ladies would eventually give their gold because they would probably go along with the men. But in the long run they were the most loyal to Moshe and Hashem. There is a lot of greatness in people. We have to search for it and find it, and never sell anyone short, because if we have faith in people, they will live up to the greatness expected of them! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Sharp Object

Many parents have limited time available for bonding with their offspring, yet a good deal of that precious time is spent giving warnings.

"Don't climb up there! A person could slip and fall!" many a mother has admonished her little boy.

"Don't go near the stove! It is very hot!" others have cautioned.

"Here are the keys. Don't drive too fast!" parents regularly warn their children.

It wasn't too long ago that I heard a man ask his daughter to please bring him a knife with which to cut his fruit. As she returned, he said, "Don't carry a knife with the point facing away from you. You could inadvertently cut someone that way. Hold the knife with the sharp part facing down and with the blunt handle facing upward."

A bell went off in my head. "How careful one must be with something sharp. If that father is so worried about the sharp point of a knife, which can only cause physical harm, how careful must I be with my sharp tongue, which can cause emotional hurt to my victim and untold spiritual damage to me!"

The Torah warns us to be very aware of the feelings of others. Yes, we must be extra careful with the poor and with orphans and widows, yet we must also exercise intelligent restraint when dealing with even the toughest and strongest of our acquaintances. A wrong word - even uttered in innocence - may cause great emotional pain.

We all spend a good portion of our waking hours communicating with others. This gives us ample opportunities to practice thinking before speaking.

It only takes a moment of thought to consider the ripple effect of your words, before they leave your lips. It is a minute that may cancel the statement but save another the pain, and you the suffering, that hurtful words can cause. (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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