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Haftarah: Shemuel I 11:14-12:22

JUNE 23-24, 2011 23 SIVAN 5771

Shabuot will be celebrated from Tuesday night, June 7 through Thursday, June 9.


“And he shall not be like Korah and his assembly.” (Bemidbar 17:5)

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 110a) understands the verse above as a commandment on all people not to maintain a quarrel. However, Rabbi Shimshon Pincus z”l offers another interpretation. The Torah is telling us a fact that a quarrel like the quarrel of Korah never happened before and will never happen again in history. In this instance Moshe Rabenu was 100% right and Korah was 100% wrong! Korah did not have a grain of truth to his side of the argument. This type of argument is a once in a history happening; all other times in any argument no one is completely right or completely wrong. There is a blend of both and one side may be more right than the other.

If we keep this in mind, that our opponent in the argument always has something right on his side, many arguments will vanish. This is especially true when both sides are observant Jews. Both sides agree that the main purpose of our religion is to observe its laws. Many times both approaches are within Torah guidelines and their different opinions are the beauty of Torah. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"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, "????? - It is enough for you," which is similar to "???????" 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


Some people do achieve happiness. Others chase the dream of satisfaction and joy unsuccessfully for a lifetime. The ones who fail to catch the dream are burdened with attitudes and traits that prevent them from reaching their goal.

One characteristic that causes people to feel dissatisfied is envy. Rabbi Elazar haKapar used to say: “Envy, desire, and honor take a person out of the world” (Pirkei Abot 4:28). The world he referred to was this world, since these traits yield a life of sorrow and dissatisfaction with whatever people acquire.

Babies are fun to watch as they develop and grow into little children and then into adults. Every little step – from rolling over, to crawling, to clapping hands – is greeted with cheers of approval from adult onlookers. The baby responds with a gleeful smile to the adult accolades. The child is truly happy.

If little children were to compare their capabilities to those of adults, they would realize how many basic skills they were lacking, and might be overcome by a strong sense of emptiness. But since babies are only aware of themselves, they are happy.

Be smart enough to learn from a baby. A key to happiness is to avoid looking at those who are better off than you are. Learn from the infant not to look at levels that are beyond you.

We can all learn from the words of Rabbi Alexander Aryeh Mandelbaum (Simcha, The Spark of Life): “There is never a need to consider others’ material advantages, and even other people’s spiritual accomplishments should be taken only as possible goals, not as a basis for negative comparisons. By properly appreciating the good that Hashem bestowed upon you and by taking pride in whatever spiritual perfection you have attained, according to your own level, you will be able to feel true happiness, in every situation, all of the time.” (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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