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Haftarah: Yishayahu 66:1-24

OCTOBER 12-13, 2007 1 HESHVAN 5768

Rosh Hodesh Heshvan will be celebrated on Friday & Shabbat, Oct. 12 & 13.

Pop Quiz: Who were Abraham's brothers?


"And as for you, take yourself of every food that is eaten" (Beresheet 6:21)

Noah is given an enormous task. Build an ark that will save him, his family and all of life that exists on earth, from a tremendous flood that will destroy the world. He is to accept a representative from every animal, bird and insect into the ark. He must gather food into the ark in order to survive. Noah is faced with a dilemma. He must gather enough food for this ordeal to feed everyone. How was he supposed to buy all of this food? Is Noah permitted to take food without paying? After all, in a very short time, today or tomorrow, all of mankind will perish and all of their belongings will be destroyed! They will never miss it! The Kli Yakar says that Hashem's words to Noah were clear. "??????? - Take yours, take only food that you own. Hashem wanted that Noah should bring the food he had on hand, which was very little, as Noah was not very wealthy. Hashem wanted to heighten the miracle, that the small amount of food that would normally be enough just for Noah would be enough for everyone.

Hidden in this explanation of the Kli Yakar is an additional novel idea. If Hashem wanted to make a miracle, that a small amount would be enough, Noah could have taken a small amount from anywhere. But no, Hashem said, "Take yours. You may not take from someone else. That is stealing!" Hashem is teaching Noah, and us, that stealing has two negative effects. It hurts the victim and it hurts the thief. In Noah's case, the victim is not hurt, since all will perish. Here stealing hurts the thief. Hashem didn't want Noah to do an act of stealing, which would hurt his own integrity. That generation was plagued with thievery; Noah needed to be pure from this evil trait.

At times a person rationalizes that stealing could be a victimless crime, such as cheating large mega-corporations, banks, governments, etc. From Noah we learn that the thief is the real victim. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

When Noah left the Ark after the flood and saw the devastation to the world, he began to cry to Hashem and asked, "How can a G-d so compassionate cause such destruction?" To which Hashem answered, "Now you think of this? Why didn't you cry when I first told you about the decree? I waited many years for your prayers on behalf of the rest of the world and only now you realize to pray for them?"

We see from here an important lesson. Noah was a righteous man and therefore deserved to be saved together with his family. But he did not express enough concern for others until it was too late. Had he prayed or cried out for the world before the flood, there may not have been a flood! Often we see difficult situations unfolding before us and we don't think it's our place to get involved. When the tragedy is a reality, we exclaim, "What a shame! I wish I could do something!" Had we exclaimed so a little earlier, we may have found a way to help prevent this tragedy. At the very least, we could always pray to Hashem that it should be prevented. A little more prayer and a little more concern could spell the difference between tragedy and salvation. Let us look around us and see what we could do, and let us pray for others! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Answer to Pop Quiz: Nahor and Haran.

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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