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Haftarah: Shemuel I 11:14-12:22

JUNE 19-20, 2015 3 TAMUZ 5775


Moshe sent forth to summon Datan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab." (Vayikra 16:12)

In this week's perashah there is an outright rebellion, an attempt to overthrow Moshe Rabenu and Aharon Hakohen as the leaders of the nation. Having failed to sway Korah, Moshe appealed to the other leaders of the revolt, even to the veteran provocateurs, Datan and Abiram. From this the Sages derive that one should always seek to end a controversy (Rashi).

To fully appreciate this statement that one should always try to end a dispute, we need to know who Datan and Abiram were and what they tried to do to Moshe. They were enemies of Moshe even from the days they were in Egypt. When Moshe killed the Egyptian who was beating the Jew, they informed on Moshe to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. As a result, the king wanted to kill Moshe. Moshe was forced to flee Egypt and was in exile for fifty years! Therefore we see that Datan and Abiram wanted to have Moshe killed. Now the words of the Sages take on new meaning. Make peace and end the argument even with a person who wants to kill you!

Peacekeeping is not so simple, as illustrated in a story told by Rabbi Dovid Kaplan. Somehow word got back to the Rosh Yeshivah that two boys in the yeshivah, Lazer and Luzer, had had some sort of dispute and were not speaking to each other. Two days later, on the fast of the Seventeenth of Tamuz, the Rosh Yeshivah called Lazer over right before Minhah and went with him down to the lunchroom. He brought over a bowl with a bottle of milk and a box of cereal and told Lazer to start eating. Lazer didn't know what was going on and gave the Rosh Yeshivah a quizzical look. "Well, go ahead," the Rosh Yeshivah repeated. "But, Rebbe, it's Shiva Asar b"Tamuz."

"You're right, but you don't care about the cause of the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash, so you can eat." Lazer got the message.

The Rosh Yeshivah then repeated the same thing with Luzer. "The entire yeshivah is going to wait and not pray Minhah until the two of you make shalom," he said sternly. "And I mean real shalom."

They did.

Aharon Hakohen made shalom using all sorts of tricks, and the Mishnah in Pirkei Abot says one should strive to be a student of Aharon. The Rosh Yeshivah was a very good student.

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, "lk cr - It is enough for you," which is similar to "ofk cr/" 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


"Aharon returned to Moshe…the plague was halted." (Bemidbar 17:15)

The plague that was unleashed upon B'nei Yisrael wreaked death and destruction at a feverish pace. The pasuk tells us that Moshe ordered Aharon to take a pan filled with burning incense into the midst of the conflagration, and when he did so, "The plague was halted." Moshe knew the secret of ketoret, incense, and how it can halt deadly epidemics. He told it to Aharon in order to save the people. Two pesukim later, however, we find that Aharon returned to Moshe Rabenu at the entrance of Ohel Mo'ed and again, "The plague was halted." Why does the Torah reiterate the fact that the plague had stopped, and why was it necessary for Aharon to return to Moshe?

Rav Chaim Kaneivsky cites the Midrash Lekah Tov which states that after Aharon had brought about the cessation of the deadly epidemic, he went back to report the good news to Moshe Rabenu. Aharon understood that just as it was necessary to inform Moshe about the plague in order so that he should intercede before Hashem on behalf of the people, it was equally important to report back and deliver the good news that the disease had ended.

On many occasions, people are forced to ask a sadik to pray on their behalf, so that the great man's tefillot should reach Heaven and help them achieve their necessary salvation. But after the deed is done, it is incumbent upon the person to report back to the sadik to share the good news and gladden his heart. Indeed, the Hazon Ish zt"l complained that people would not inform him of good news after asking for his advice and tefillot. (Torah Tavlin)


Joseph had been dreaming of his daughter's wedding day for many years. But along with the anticipation came concern. Joseph was not a wealthy man. In fact, he could hardly make ends meet. He wondered if the pressure of financing a wedding and helping a young couple survive financially would be within his power to accomplish.

Joseph's father, Jacob, was a man of comfortable means, but, like his son, far from wealthy. His concerns prompted action in the form of a monthly savings plan on behalf of his son. Every month he took some of his earnings and put the money into a safety deposit box at the neighborhood bank. He told no one of his plan to gift the money to Joseph as soon as he asked for help.

The happy day came when Dena got engaged, and the family got together to share the joyous moment. Joseph acted as if he hadn't a care in the world as he thanked all the well-wishers who came to congratulate him. Of course Jacob attended, and at the end of the evening asked Joseph is there was anything that he needed.

"No, Dad," he responded. "This is a day I have anticipated for so long, and now I just want to enjoy it."

Thinking that the request for help would be forthcoming soon, Jacob left without revealing his secret.

As the wedding day approached, Joseph became more and more tense and anxious. His ability to cope and perform at work was hampered by the daily demands for money. If it wasn't for one thing, it was for another. In the meantime, Jacob waited patiently for Joseph to come and ask for help. Joseph's pride prevented him from seeking assistance, and the box remained locked in the bank. The key was not passed to Joseph.

Prayer is our way of asking our Father for all of our needs. The Torah (Shemot 23:28) tells us to pray: And you will worship (through prayer) Hashem, Your Hashem, and He will bless your bread and your water.

It should be noted that the very act of asking is beneficial to us. We grow in humility and strengthen our faith whenever we turn to Him for our needs.

If we do not pray, however, even rewards destined for us may not be delivered.

In giving us the ability to pray, Hashem has offered us the key to his treasure chest. When we are humble enough to acknowledge that we are not self-sufficient, we will be able to ask for - and to receive - all the blessings that have been deposited in our name. (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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