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Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 1:1-2:3

JULY 22-23, 2011 21 TAMUZ 5771


"Then you will be free of any obligation before Hashem and Israel." (Bemidbar 32:22)

A wealthy childless woman approached the Rabbi of the city of Budapest. In her hand was a large sum of money - 400 zehuvim - and she asked the Rabbi to accept it on condition that he would pray for her to bear a child.

"I will give you some advice," responded the Rabbi. "Send the money to Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the Rabbi of Jerusalem. He is a great saddik, and Hashem will surely listen to his prayers and grant you a child." The woman accepted his advice and sent the money to the Rabbi of Jerusalem.

Several weeks later, the husband of the woman approached the Rabbi of Budapest. "Why did you send the money without my knowledge?" he asked angrily. "I demand that you send a letter to the Rabbi of Jerusalem requesting that my money be returned at once." The Rabbi was upset by the husband's demand and said, "I will give you the entire sum of money from my own pocket, just so long as I do not have to ask Rabbi Sonnenfeld to return the money!"

As they continued to discuss the matter, the postman arrived with an envelope for the Rabbi. The Rabbi opened the envelope and was astounded to see that it contained a letter from Rabbi Sonnenfeld and 400 zehuvim! The letter read as follows: "I received your letter along with 400 zehuvim. But since you write that a woman gave you the money, I fear that she may have done so without the consent of her husband. I am therefore sending the money to you, and I request that you return it to the woman as quickly as possible. This, of course, did not prevent me from fulfilling her request, and I have prayed on the woman's behalf. May it be His will that the prayers will be accepted by our Father in Heaven."

A wonderful sotory told by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein that teaches us to always be free of any misunderstandings between us. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"When a person makes a vow to Hashem." (Bemidbar 30:3)

When do people most frequently make a vow or an oath? When they become angry. Out of anger, they swear that they will or will not do something, or that something should be forbidden to them. But anger is not the proper motivation for a vow or an oath. Rather, the vow should be "to Hashem." That is, if a person sees that his negative impulses might lead him to transgress, then out of a calculated, willful decision, it is permitted to make a vow or oath that will motivate him to refrain from transgressing. In general, however, one should abstain from making any vows or oaths. Indeed, even when one gives charity, one should get accustomed to say, "Beli neder - without a vow."

The same actions can be done with various motivations. Depending on your motivation, the act will either be a manifestation of a loss of control or an elevated act of self discipline. When you impulsively do or say things out of anger you are the servant of your temper. On the other hand, when you decide that doing something can be spiritually harmful for you, and therefore you are willing to set up self-restraints, you are becoming the master over your impulses. Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


The commuter train pulled into the station. Passengers waiting on the platform inched closer to the yellow safety line, maneuvering for position. Each strove to be the first onto the train to ensure the best seat selection.

Jonathan barely lifted his eyes from the newspaper as people around him scrambled into the available seats.

"Good morning, Jonathan," said a familiar voice. "Long time no see."

"Hi, Ralph, what's doing? How are the wife and kids?"

After an exchange of niceties, the conversation turned to more serious matters. "How's business?" inquired Ralph.

I guess it's okay," replied Jonathan.

"Did you hit your targets for sales and profits?" Ralph persisted.

"I guess so," was the lackadaisical reply. "Hey, do you think the Yankees will be able to come back and win this year?"

Jonathan changed the subject because he could not answer Ralph's question. He had no real way to measure his company's performance, because he had set no goals to meet or beat.

Some people are so afraid of failure that they intentionally avoid making specific plans. They don't realize that a sales or profit goal is a target they can aim at, and even if they miss, at least they are in the right vicinity. Without a target, they can't aim in the correct direction. They might end up miles away from there they want to be - and in the wrong direction, too!

In business, neglecting to formulate specific plans is a recipe for failure. In the area of self-improvement, it is dangerous. In achieving spiritual growth, it is a fast track towards disaster.

Set a high standard and pursue it. The winds of confusion and distraction will always interfere with a smooth course to the finish line, but with an eye on a specific target, you can reach your goal. (One Minute With Yourself 0 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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