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AUGUST 5-6, 2005 1 AB 5765

Rosh Hodesh Ab will be celebrated on Shabbat, August 6.

Pop Quiz: Whose yahrtzeit date is the only one specifically mentioned in the Torah?


"These are the journeys of the Children of Israel...under the hand of Moshe and Aharon" (Bemidbar 33:1)

It's the middle of the summer. Millions of children are on vacation. No school, no homework, plenty of time on their hands. Sounds great? Our Sages teach us that being too idle, not being occupied, leads to problems. Free time leads to boredom and boredom leads to activities which in the long run would be regrettable. Therefore, we have to keep a watchful eye on the activities of our youth. Who are they with? Where are they going? How are they using their time?

Our perashah opens up with the verse, "These are the journeys of the Israelites that went out of the hands of Moshe and Aharon." The commentaries ask: Didn't we know that Moshe and Aharon led the nation? Yes, we knew it. Nevertheless, the Torah mentions it again, to tell us a message. These are the travels. When are the travels good? When they are led by a responsible leader, by a Moshe and an Aharon. Leaders who keep a watchful eye, someone older, responsible and certified. One who guards over them. If we have this, then we can assume that the travel will be "?al pi Hashem" according to the word of Hashem. An outing can be a healthful, productive and inspiring trip, and not a joy ride of mischief and trouble. May Hashem guide us to bring up our children, so they can reach their true level of glory. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah


"The cities that you shall give to the Levites: The six cities of refuge that you shall provide for murderers to flee there, and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities" (Bemidbar 35:6)

In contemporary times, where are the cities of refuge?

In the verse "Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokenu Hashem Ehad" there are six words, and in the paragraph of "Ve'ahabta - You shall love your G-d," until "Ubisharecha - and upon your gates," there are a total of forty-two words. The verse of "Shema Yisrael" accentuates "kabalat ol malchut shamayim - accepting the yoke of Heaven, and the paragraph of "Ve'ahabta" deals with absolute love of Hashem.

When a Jew, G-d forbid, commits a sin, in a sense he is killing part of his nefesh - spiritual existence. The perpetual cities of refuge of the Jew are the forty-eight words of "Shema Yisrael." Through absolute submission to the yoke of Heaven, and love of Hashem, a Jew achieves His forgiveness for his iniquities. (Vedibarta Bam)


This Week's Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2

This week's haftarah is the second of the series of three haftarot that are read during the three weeks between the fasts of Shib'ah Asar B'Tamuz and Tish'ah B'ab. These haftarot speak of Hashem's rebuke and warning of punishment for the nation's sins, a theme which is clearly pertinent during the Three Weeks. In this haftarah, the prophet Yirmiyahu rebukes the people for abandoning Hashem and the Torah, and following other gods. He warns them that if they do not correct their ways, Hashem will bring destruction and exile.

Answer to Pop Quiz: Aharon, who passed away on Rosh Hodesh Ab.

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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