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Haftarah: Melachim II 7:3-20

APRIL 4-5, 2014 5 NISAN 5774


"This shall be the law of the mesora." (Vayikra 14:2)

When one speaks lashon hara about another individual, the person spoken about receives all of the speaker's merits. Rabenu Bahya writes in Hovot Halevavot (Sha'ar Hakeniah 7) that many people, after they die, will come up to Heaven and be shocked to find that the tally of misvot presented to them will not necessarily match the ones they performed. This is because when people speak badly about others they lose their merits to them. Similarly, when people speak in a derogatory manner about others, the sins of those who are spoken about are transferred to the speakers.

Rabbi Y. Spero tells of a wise man about whom others spoke badly. When he found out that someone had spoken in a derogatory manner about him, he sent him a present, and he wrote to him, "You gave me a present of your merits, so I am sending you a present as well."

Rabbi Yehudah Tzadka zt"l, Rosh Yeshivah of Porat Yosef, was present, as one of his students made a siyum (completion) on a Gemara. In the middle of the hadran (the prayer recited at the end of the siyum), when the student came to the words, "Utehi imanu le'olam haba - and the Torah should be with us in the World to Come," Rav Tzadka stopped and asked about the meaning of these words. Why would we not have the Torah we learned with us in the World to Come?

In light of the above-mentioned Hovot Halevavot, Rav Tzadka answered that it is possible for someone to learn in this world but not receive the merits of that study in the next world. Why? Because if somebody speaks gossip about someone else, then that individual will receive his merits, including those he earned for his Torah study. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And he that owns the house shall come and tell the Kohen 'It seems to me there is a leprosy in the house.'" (Vayikra 14:35)

Rashi tells us that even if the owner of the house is a Torah scholar and feels certain that what he sees is leprosy, he should still say, "It appears to me" rather than definitively, "It is!"

The lesson we learn from here is very profound and yet very practical. We tend to be very sure of our perceptions, and we therefore jump to conclusions. Many times, however, our information is incorrect, or our inferences are mistaken. Because we were so assured of our opinions, we find it difficult to admit our mistakes, and therefore exacerbate the situation. However, if we learn to speak and think using terms such as "it appears to me," "I believe so," "I'm not sure but," then even if we were mistaken, it will be easier to concede and change our views. Of course, there are times when it's appropriate and necessary to make strong statements, but in many instances, by saying, "It appears to me" we will avoid confrontation and will assess the situation correctly and properly. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"And I will place the plague ?o?f,Z?jt .rt ,h?c?C ,?grm gdb hT,bu?

of leprosy upon a house in the land of your possession" (Vayikra 14:34)

Rashi writes that a plague in the walls of a house is propitious for the Jews. The Amorites had hidden treasures of gold in their houses all the forty years the Jews were in the desert, and on account of the plague, the Jews broke down the walls of the houses and found the gold. If a plague is a punishment for sinning, why does it seem to have the character of a reward?

The Torah is teaching us a very interesting lesson. Every Jew has treasures hidden deep within. When a person sins, he is neglecting and forsaking the treasures and resources that Hashem has instilled in him. When a Jew is given a plague, it awakens him to do teshubah, to return and become closer to Hashem and Judaism. Thus, the valuable treasures hidden within him are uncovered. (Vedibarta Bam)


According to Rabbi Akiva Tatz, many of the things that we look at as intrinsically bad have a side that is really good. Even failing can be positive.

In order for human beings to grow and reach new heights, Hashem confronts them with obstacles and tests. He does not do it to find out what they are going to do in the test situation - He already knows that. The test is an opportunity for people to grow.

Even failure presents a positive side. By analyzing failure, a person may discover a positive approach for similar situations in the future.

Rabbi Tatz adds, "It is not so much what failure does to people as what people do with the events which they perceive as failures." After all, it is best to say, "I can be successful in the future regardless of what has happened in the past." As Shelomoh Hamelech said: "For seven times the righteous fall and arise (again and again)" (Mishlei 24:16).

When you experience something you perceive as failure, say to yourself, "I am certainly disappointed that I did not succeed. However, the wisdom I have gained from past experiences which I also thought were failures, but which turned out to be all right, makes me feel that perhaps even now I am misinterpreting these events. In the end it will all work out."

How you react to your failures will determine whether you grow from them or not. Take an analytical approach. Find the cause. Work on a remedy. A negative deed can have a positive result - if your reaction is the proper one. (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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