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JULY 1-2, 2005 25 SIVAN 5765

Rosh Hodesh Tamuz will be celebrated on Thursday and Friday, July 6 & 7.

Pop Quiz: What grew on Aharon's staff?


"It's enough for you, sons of Levi." (Bemidbar 16:7)

When Korah, Datan and Abiram came to Moshe and questioned his authority, they also expressed their wishes to become like the Kohanim, and serve G-d in a closer way. Moshe tried to diffuse the issue by saying that they already have a special status by being Leviim (Levites), so why ask for more? Ultimately, this became a major rebellion, and the only way it could be squashed is by an open miracle of the earth swallowing up Korah and his followers. This was Divine proof that Moshe was correct in his decision.

However, the Midrash tells us that forty years later, when Moshe begged and pleaded with Hashem to try to enter Israel, Hashem refused him with the same words that Moshe used to Korah, "Rab lach - It is enough for you," which is similar to "Rab lachem/" Hashem was saying to him, "Moshe, it is enough for you to be the leader here. You don't have to go to Israel." The reason these same words were used was that Moshe was being shown that it is incorrect to tell someone not to strive for a greater position in spiritual matters. Although Korah used the wrong methods and ultimately paid with his life, he still wanted an opportunity to get closer to Hashem, and Moshe seemed to be telling him, "It's enough. You don't need more."

We learn from here an important lesson. If we see someone getting close to Hashem more than we are able to handle for ourselves, we should never hold him back. Sometimes we see people learning more Torah than we do, or praying Amidah for a longer time. Even if we cannot be like them, we should not discourage them. We should understand that everyone has to be comfortable on his own level and ideally, we should be happy that Hashem is being served in a better way. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"And they beleaguered Moshe and Aharon and they said to them, 'You have enough!'" (Bemidbar 16:3)

Korah was considered one of the greatest people of his generation, but when he chose to quarrel with Moshe Rabenu he met his terrible downfall. The Hafess Hayim writes that machloket - dissention - is one of the most destructive acts people can do because it wreaks havoc in people's lives and it causes great spiritual damage to the soul. Let us look into something which is a danger signal and something that can actually cause a quarrel.

We all know that interrupting a person in the middle of a conversation is a breach of derech eress, (common courtesy). But the interruption is much more than lack of courtesy. It also sends a message that says, "What you have to say is really unimportant. My understanding of the situation is much greater than yours so why waste our time listening to you when I know so much better..." Most often the person who interrupted really has not fully listened to his friends' statements. Also, if he interrupts he doesn't give the other person enough time to explain himself or his position. Many times he won't say what he really means until the end. By interrupting you cramp his style, block his thought process and take away part of his presentation. This problem can lead to a quarrel simply due to the fact that the interrupter doesn't even know what his friend is saying and he frustrates his friend, which can lead to a fight.

You may be interested in the following article from a medical journal (quoted by Avi Shulman). "Obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all risk factors for a heart attack. Half of the heart attack victims have no advance warning symptoms. Several university studies have found that people who interrupt conversations are at greater risk for heart problems. In fact, one study at Duke University found that people who interrupt are up to seven times more likely to get heart disease! Why is this so? The researchers theorize that people who interrupt are excessively competitive and controlling - two hallmarks of the worst 'type A' personalities. Now here's the amazing part. These high risk people can lower their risk by simply becoming good listeners. In one study the test objects focused on being silent while others talked. Result: they lowered both their blood pressure and their stress hormone levels!"

How more meaningful are the words of the Sages in Pirkei Abot: "Seven traits characterize an uncultivated person and seven a learned person...the wise person does not interrupt the words of his fellow." Our perashah warns us not to be like Korah. Listening to others speak will help towards this goal. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah


"Therefore you and your congregation who gather together are against G-d; and Aharon, who is he that you complain against him" (Bemidbar 16:11)

Rabbi Shlomo Kluger wrote that when someone verbally abuses a very distinguished person and then does the same to a simple person, the simple person will not take offense because of what was said. This is what Moshe said to Korah. Since you are really complaining against Hashem, how can your words hurt Aharon? He will easily remain oblivious to what you say since he sees that you also have complaints against Hashem.

When coming into contact with a very critical person or with a very coarse person who speaks roughly and with insolence to everyone, you need not take offense at what he says. He does not only speak this way towards you but does so to others also. There is therefore no reason to take what he says against you personally. Realize that the problem is his, not yours, and free yourself from any possible hurt feelings because of what he says. (Growth through Torah)


Question: Why do we say a berachah on the fire during habdalah?

Answer: When Hashem originally showed Adam how to make a fire on the first Saturday night, Adam said this berachah. This is why we only say this berachah in the Saturday night habdalah, and not after a Yom Tob (on a different night of the week). (Sefer Ta'amei Haminhagim Umekorei Hadinim)


This week's Haftarah: Shemuel I 11:14-12:22.

This haftarah is from the book of Shemuel, who was a descendant of Korah, the subject of our perashah. Shemuel makes a declaration to the nation, stating that he never took anything from the people, and never dealt wrongly with them. In our perashah, Moshe is accused by Korah and his followers of taking the top positions for himself and for his family. Moshe responds by saying that he didn't even take compensation for the donkey he used to bring his family to Egypt when he returned to bring them out. Such is the integrity of our leaders.

Answer to Pop Quiz: A blossom, a bud and almonds.

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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