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Haftarah: Melachim II 7:3-20

APRIL 8-9, 2011 5 NISAN 5771

Rosh Hodesh Nisan will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 5.


"When you arrive in the land of Canaan…and I will place a sara'at affliction upon a house in the land of your possession." (Vayikra 14:34)

Many times the preparation time for the holiday of Passover coincides with the weekly perashah of Mesora, which deals with the laws of leprosy. As we know nothing is coincidental, is there any link between the laws of leprosy and Passover?

When the Torah tells us about leprosy on a person's home, Rashi quotes a Midrash saying: Hashem was actually conveying good news because the previous Canaanite inhabitants hid their treasures in the walls of their houses. The process of scraping the walls of a house afflicted with sara'at would actually reveal valuable items. What was worry and suffering of the Jewish homeowner now turns into great news and good fortune. Is this not a parallel to what happened in Egypt? The suffering in Egypt turned out to be a Divine plan to make the Jewish people great and the intensity of the slavery was the cause of their early exodus. Both the story of the afflicted house and the afflicted Jewish people teach us emunah in Hashem that all of His plans are for our benefit.

Pesah is the holiday of emunah. In Jewish homes around the globe, intensive preparations are underway to prepare for this glorious holiday. Hired cleaning help is baffled as seemingly shiny pots are scrubbed once again, and toothpicks are used to clean tiny crevices. The amount of physical energy expended by Jewish women - and in many cases men as well - is really incalculable. Battling aching bones and exhaustion, they forge on; after all, the clock is ticking and the calendar doesn't lie. Our emunah keeps us going. It is important, however, to know what we are accomplishing.

One Rosh Hashanah, after the blowing of the shofar, the Rabbi known as the Kedushat Levi recited a prayer that is usually said afterwards. He prayed, may the angels created by the shofar sounds go up to the heavenly throne and speak well on our behalf. But, one year he added, "Please, if the angels that I created through my shofar blowing are weak, then let the healthy angels created by the righteous women with their hard work before Pesah speak up on our behalf." The saintly Rabbi doubted the power of his own shofar blowing, but of the power of the angels created by the Jewish women before Pesah he had no doubts.

It is told that Harav Ephraim Laniado, the Chief Rabbi and Av Bet Din of Allepo (Aram Soba), who passed away only two hundred years ago, merited to see these angels during the blowing of the shofar. While we may not be on the level of actually seeing the angels created by our hard work before Pesah, there is no doubt that every chore we undertake arouses great mercy in Heaven. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"The Kohen shall command; and for the person being purified there shall be taken two live, clean birds" (Vayikra 14:4)

At first glance, the need for the Kohen to "command" that the mesora (leper) purchase these birds is difficult to understand. We never find this requirement in the case of articles needed for other misvot. Instead, the Torah says that the person must do some act, and the person makes sure to have what he needs to do what is required. If he doesn't know what is needed, there are always people who can tell him. But here, it appears that he may not buy the birds unless commanded to do so by the Kohen!

The explanation is this: People often say that when it comes to matters about which they think the halachah is silent, they are wiser than Torah scholars, and they need not seek direction. This leads to their thinking that they are also expert in any misvot which are relevant to worldly things, such as priorities in charity distribution. People think that since it is their money, and their money cannot be taken without their willing agreement, this lay out the priorities for charitable giving, but in some cases it is actually forbidden for one to give. In all cases, there are laws governing how much and to whom to give, and the proper apportionment of funds. But almost nobody asks questions about this. Almost nobody asks about the proper relationship with their children or how to educate them. If people realized that halachah does regulate and provide instruction for the vast majority of "worldly" matters, they certainly would come and ask.

A mesora must repent of this shortcoming before becoming pure. Many of the sins which cause sara'at (leprosy) are those which people think are not regulated by halachah and are left up to them - such as lending utensils or money, or what we may or may not say about others. Therefore, the Torah says that for a mesora to repent, he must learn to consult Torah authorities in all matters - even the most mundane - until he knows what he needs to ask. To impress the lesson upon him, we require that he wait for the Kohen to tell him when and how to buy the birds for his purification. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


David and Ari were very close friends. They loved to do things together. If you saw David enter a room, you could be certain that Ari was not far behind.

Although their activities were the same, their degree of success was not. David usually outperformed Ari. It wasn't a matter of physical strength, mental prowess, or financial ability that made the difference. It was a matter of attitude.

When Ari and David prepared for registration at school, both studied the various offerings in the course manual. Ari was careful to note the requirements. How many hours of class time were required? How frequently were exams given? What papers and projects would be assigned during the term? He wanted to be sure he could deliver what was expected.

David, on the other hand, was not as concerned about what he would have to do to complete a course. He evaluated course offerings based on what he could learn during the semester. He was not worried about what would be asked of him, because he always did more - over and above what was asked - to fulfill his obligations.

The success that people achieve in the school of life will be commensurate with what they do on their own. Great achievers do more than they have to. Very few, if any, super-successful individuals do just what is required. If your work is average, you will be average. If your effort is above average, you will rise to the top. (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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