OCTOBER 24-25, 2014 1 HESHVAN 5775
"For it is you that I have seen to be righteous before Me in this generation." (Beresheet 7:1)
Mankind was given one hundred and twenty years to repent its violent ways, while watching Noah building the ark. Now on the last day of this period, Hashem tells Noah that only he and his household could enter the ark. "For it is you that I have seen to be righteous in this generation."
The Zohar Hakadosh has a criticism of Noah. When Hashem told Noah that he and his children will be saved, he didn't pray for mercy on the world, and the world was destroyed. Because of this the flood was named after Noah, as we see in the Haftarah: "For like the waters of Noah shall this be to me."
The Zohar continues in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua who asks: Why didn't Noah pray for his generation? He was afraid that if he prayed he wouldn't be saved. He reasoned that since Hashem said he was the righteous one of the generation, it must be because he was righteous in comparison to that generation. Therefore, he didn't pray for them, because he was afraid for himself. Rabbi Elazar continues and says that Noah should have prayed anyway, because it is always good in the eyes of Hashem to speak well about His people, as we find that the judge Gideon was chosen to lead the people in battle because he spoke well of the Jews (Shoftim 6:14).
Rabbi Nosson Wachtfogel zt"l, the Mashgiah of Lakewood Yeshivah asks: What's the complaint against Noah? How was he supposed to know that his prayers would have been accepted? The Rabbi answers that Noah should have understood that Hashem didn't tell him he was righteous in order to flatter him. But he told him he was righteous to hint to him that he has the power to pray for the world. As we find with Moshe that Hashem told Moshe "Leave me so I can destroy the people" (Shemot 32:10). Rashi explains that Hashem was hinting to Moshe that it was up to Moshe, for if he would pray for them, Hashem will not destroy them.
From here we learn that sometimes Hashem sends a hint, and performs a miracle to save someone, to tell him he was worthy to be saved in order to do some good. A person could be miraculously saved in an auto accident to relay a message for the future. What is the good thing Hashem wants him to do? Well, that's up to the person to figure out by searching through his deeds to see what he can do. He has to dig deep to figure it out, like when a person works hard to understand a Gemara with all the commentaries. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And from the animals that are not pure..." (Beresheet 7:2)
Noah was commanded to take from each specie seven pairs of animals which are kosher and one pair of animals which are not kosher, and bring them into the ark. The Torah calls the kosher animals ruvy (tahor) - pure - and the non-kosher ones are called ruvy tk rat (asher lo tahor) - those that are not pure. The Rabbis point out that the proper word to use when describing the unacceptable animals is tny (tameh) - unclean, and yet the Torah uses the longer phrase ruvy tk rat (asher lo tahor) - which is not pure. This is to teach us the importance of not using negative words when talking about someone or something. The Gemara tells us that once three Kohanim were describing what kind of a portion each one received and one of them used a negative word to describe his share. They checked up after him and saw that there was something wrong with his lineage.
The lesson is very simple yet extremely important. The way we speak says so much about ourselves. Not only what we say, but the kind of words we use reflect on our character and on our spirit. We should always try to use words of purity and beauty and stay away from vulgarities and the like. It is especially difficult in today's day and age, when the sharper the word, the more recognition one gets. But it is much more meaningful if we put some thought into the choice of words we use. If the Torah, in which every letter counts, saw fit to add extra words in order to speak in a positive way, shouldn't we do the same? Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
Sarah was really a bright, talented, and attractive individual. She, however, didn't think so. While others praised and complimented her, she always put herself down. If she made a list and forgot one item, Sarah would say, "Oh, I am so dumb!" If she looked special, all dressed up for a happy occasion, she might comment, "My hair is a mess!" Somehow she could always find something negative to say about herself.
Our Yeser Hara (Evil Inclination) tries to use our mistakes against us. When we slip, he tries to attack by instilling in us feelings of discouragement.
All human beings have intrinsic value, regardless of how they behave. There is no greater danger than feeling discouraged and losing self-esteem.
Rather than getting depressed when you make a mistake, strengthen yourself and elevate yourself above the misdeed. Focus on your great potential, not on your failures. Remember, no matter what you have done in the past, Hashem is waiting for you to repent and grow.
We were put on this earth as imperfect beings trying to achieve greatness. Some people are afraid to accomplish because they might make mistakes along the way.
From now on, start each day with the expectation that you will make mistakes. When a slip-up occurs, be prepared to regain your balance rather than fall into despair. Pick yourself up and change your life from one of low self-image to one of growth. (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 email@example.com (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.
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