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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 40:27-41:16

OCTOBER 19-20, 2007 8 HESHVAN 5768

Pop Quiz: Who notified Abram that Lot had been captured in battle?


"This is My covenant which you shall keep between Me and you and your offspring" (Beresheet 17:10)

Some years ago there was a great immigration of Jewish people from the then Soviet Union to Israel. If one would have visited the hospitals during that time one would have witnessed a tremendous kiddush Hashem, sanctification of G-d's Name. In the operating rooms of these hospitals, thousands of Jews underwent the misvah of berit milah. While under the cruel dictatorship of the Communists, berit milah was outlawed. When they arrived in Israel, men at the age of forty, fifty and even sixty and seventy, underwent berit milah.

Rabbi Y. Zilberstein (in Tubcha Yabiu) explains this amazing phenomenon, based on a Midrash. Yishmael, the older son of Abraham, came before Hashem claiming that he was more righteous than his younger brother, Yitzhak. He, Yishmael, underwent milah when Abraham was first commanded to perform milah. At that time, Yishmael was thirteen years old and the milah caused him great pain and suffering. This was a great test for him. However, Yitzhak, who was born later, was circumcised at the age of eight days, which is a much easier procedure. Therefore, nowadays, as we approach the coming of the Mashiah, Hashem wants to take away the claim of Yishmael, the father of the Arab people. Hashem wants to show that his children, the Jewish people, out of love for Hashem, perform milah. Not only at thirteen, but even at old age. People who have been forcibly separated from Hashem and the Torah, showing a true yearning and love of Hashem, can cause the Mashiah to come sooner, Amen. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And Abraham went on his sojourns" (Beresheet 13:3)

After Abraham went down to Egypt because of the famine, he came back to the land of Canaan. Rashi says that he stopped off at all the old lodging places in order to pay up his debts. While the simple meaning may be that Abraham had to borrow during the famine and now he could clear up those loans, there is a deeper meaning.

When people saw Abraham leaving Canaan because of the famine, they questioned him, "What happened to Hashem's promise to take care of you during your journey?" The faith in Hashem was weakened due to Abraham's struggling during these years. After Abraham was made wealthy in Pharaoh's palace, Abraham went back to the same people to show them, "Here is the fulfillment of Hashem's promise!" It sometimes takes time to see the Hand of G-d, and Abraham showed people that Hashem will not neglect anyone. That is the "repayment of the debts" that is meant in this chapter. We should all take note of when things are not going the way they should, so that when they are straightened out, we should realize how Hashem works it out for us. Don't forget to "pay up those debts!" Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Answer to Pop Quiz: Og.

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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