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Haftarah: Melachim II 11:17-12:17

FEBRUARY 12-13, 2010 29 SHEBAT 5770

Rosh Hodesh Adar will be celebrated on Sunday & Monday, Feb. 14 & 15.


"Will you refrain from helping him? You shall surely help along with him." (Shemot 23:5) The Torah requires that we help the owner and his suffering animal if the animal is crouching under its burden. The Sages derive from the repetition of the verb "help" that one must help time and time again, if the animal continues to collapse. If the owner is not present, or if he is unable to participate in the task, the passerby must do it himself. But, if the owner refuses to help and expects the passerby to do it himself because it is a misvah, he is excused, because the Torah qualified the commandment by saying that it must be performed with him, the animal's owner (Baba Mesia 32b).

The Keli Yakar learns a lesson from the above scenario, which we can apply in our time of rising unemployment figures. "There are some poor people from our nation that put the burden of supporting them on the community while refusing to do any work. Although they are working people and are able to work, they refuse to work at some jobs despite the fact that these jobs will bring in some income. These same people tend to complain when the community doesn't provide them with full support. However, this complaint of the poor is wrong because the Torah does not obligate the people to support him. Since it says, 'help along with him,' the poor must do what is in his hands to do. If, despite all of his efforts he still falls short, then the community must come to his aid, as the Torah repeats the word 'help,' "even a hundred times."

The Keli Yakar's message is timely. He speaks to two people. To the poor, try to do as much as you can. To the community, help him even a hundred times. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

We are not surprised to see how Hashem cares for us from how He runs the world and how He rewards us for our good deeds. But to learn this lesson from how Hashem punishes a thief, this is truly remarkable. The Torah says that if a person steals an ox or a sheep and sells it or slaughters it, he must pay five times the amount of the ox and four times the amount of the sheep, as a fine. Why the discrepancy between the ox and the sheep? The Gemara says that when a person stole an ox he had to pull it away from the owner's house, but when he took the sheep, he had to carry it on his shoulders so as to run away faster. That little embarrassment which he suffered in carrying the sheep on his shoulders reduces his fine so that he only pays four times the amount, not five. What Divine concern do we learn from here! Even though this man is a thief, he still is judged by Hashem Who is compassionate and just. How much reassurance should this give us that G-d is watching over us, taking every minute detail into consideration of His Divine Providence. We should turn to Him for everything; He is our caring Father. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"And they said, 'All that G-d has spoken we will do and we will obey.'"

In the previous perashah, it is written, "Vaya'anu chol ha'am yachdav - and the people answered together, 'All that G-d has spoken, na'aseh - we will do'" (19:8). 1) Why is the word "nishma - obey" not mentioned? 2) Why in our perashah is there no mention that they responded "yachdav - together"?

It is really impossible for every Jew on his own to fulfill all the 613 misvot. Some can only be performed by a king, others only by a Kohen, etc. Nevertheless, there are ways for every Jew to receive credit for the fulfillment of all the 613 misvot: 1) Through learning about the misvot, it is considered as though he performed them. 2) When the Jews are united, they are considered one entity. Thus, through togetherness, they fulfill all the misvot and share the rewards.

Therefore, in our perashah, since it says, "na'aseh - we will do" and also "nishma - we will obey," which means to study and learn about the misvot, each Jew on his own is doing "kol asher diber Hashem - everything which Hashem has spoken." However, in Parashat Yitro only "na'aseh - we will do" is mentioned, not "nishma," which means obeying and learning. Therefore, fulfilling everything G-d commands is only possible through "yachdav" - togetherness and unity. (Vedibarta Bam)


The world of medicine changed for the better with the introduction of anesthetics. These numbing, sleep-inducing drugs allow doctors to perform difficult, painful procedures without causing pain to patients, and they also prevent patients from reflexively interfering with their surgeon's work. Anesthetics are widely used by dentists as well. Although many people strongly dislike leaving the dentist's office with a numb mouth, how many would want to undergo drilling or tooth extraction without anesthetics? Bottom line: the benefits outweigh the side effects.

The anesthetic for one's conscience is an excuse. One who arrives late for an appointment can fault heavy traffic, and one who skips a class can blame illness. One who misses a deadline can cite a technological breakdown, and one who fails to catch the ball may point to the sun's bright glare. When all is said and done, however, those who made an excuse have missed an opportunity. The salesman missed the income, the student missed the lesson, the office worker missed getting the job done on time, and the ballplayer missed the ball. Feeling justified about it doesn't change the results.

In the case of anesthetics, the benefits outweigh the side effects; with excuses, the calming effect does not compensate for the loss. Do your best to anticipate problems so that you will produce a good result and not need the anesthetic called "excuse." (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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