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Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2

AUGUST 5-6, 2016 2 AB 5776


"If a man will make a vow to Hashem." (Bemidbar 30:3)

Our first perashah discusses the laws of vows. One should always be very careful to fulfill all that he says he will do. In reference to the verse above, the Sages in the Midrash quote a verse from Kohelet. "For a man does not know when his time will come" (Kohelet 9:12). What is the correlation between these two verses?

The Sefer Shaar Bat Rabim (quoted by Torah Ladaat) explains that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 10) says that when a person pledges a sacrifice, he should not say Hashem's Name first by saying "La-Adon..korban," but rather say "Korban La-Adon..," saying Hashem's Name last. The reason is because we are afraid that he may die after pronouncing Hashem's Name, and he would have recited the Name of Hashem in vain.

When the verse in our perashah enumerates the laws of vows, it says "? ?

? '". The question arises: Why does it say ' and not '? The answer is: For man does not know when his time will come," as the Midrash above explained. Therefore, he should never say Hashem's Name before mentioning his vow.

In our community we have a beautiful custom when going up to the Torah when getting an aliya. We start off by saying "Adonimachem." But according to the Midrash (and the Kaf Hahayim brings it down in the halachah 139:35) one should not say Hashem's Name first. Therefore, I humbly suggest to keep this beautiful minhag of saying "Hashem imachem," but instead of actually saying Hashem's Name, say the word "Hashem imachem."

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And they traveled from Elim and they encamped by Yam Suf" (Bemidbar 33:10)

Elim hints to the word alimut, which means violence. Yam Suf hints to the word sof, the end. They traveled from the trait of violence. How? By coming to the trait of looking at the end of a person.

Violence induces both actions and words. There is the physical violence of hitting or pushing someone, and there is the verbal violence of shouting at someone or putting him down. Any form of violence not in self-defense is against the principles of the Torah. What is the main cause of violence? Frustration and anger! When you become frustrated or angry, you are likely to lash out at someone. When you remember your true purpose in this world, most things that get other people angry will not affect you very strongly. Also, the more you appreciate life and the more joyous you feel, the less angry you will become. By remembering the end of each person, you will gain a greater appreciation for life. You will value your time and utilize every opportunity for growth. This awareness will keep you far away from any form of violence. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

A Good Laugh

Most people like a good laugh. Millions are spent annually by people seeking entertainment that will bring a smile to their faces. But what, really, is a "good" laugh?

When you think about it, most of the laughing we do is brought on by external stimuli. Someone says or does something funny, and we laugh. It may last a moment or two, and when we think about it, the memory may even bring a smile back to our faces many months or even years later. It's a laugh - but is it a good one?

Sometimes we see a mishap. A friend trips or spills something and people start to laugh. The initial reaction of the victim is to laugh along with them. It's usually out of embarrassment or hurt, not happiness. It's merely a cover-up: "I might as well laugh; it's better than crying!" That is a bad laugh. The person who fell is hurt and the laughter is insincere. As for the others, they are laughing at someone else's expense and inflicting further pain. Another situation that comes to mind is when we laugh at our own foibles or at the sometimes ridiculous situations in which we so often find ourselves. This laugh may even be a private one, with no audible laughter shared with others. People who can chuckle at their own mistakes and brush off life's setbacks with a sense of humor - realizing the general insanity of the human condition - are people who have self-esteem. It is really a good exercise in confidence-building to laugh at yourself.

When you encounter the inevitable annoyance, think positively about the overall flow of your life and laugh off the negative. The world can be an awfully funny place if you view it through rose-colored glasses. A cheerful reaction will lift your spirits and give your self-esteem a boost when you have a good giggle at your own expense. Brush the event off - and go on with your life. (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)

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