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Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 1:1-2:3

JULY 6-7, 2007 21 TAMUZ 5767

Pop Quiz: Which tribe shrank in size the most due to the plague that Pinhas stopped?


"Hashem said to Moshe, 'Go up to the mountain of Abarim and see the landů" (Bemidbar 27:12)

At the end of his life, Hashem tells Moshe Rabenu to go up to the mountain and he would see the entire land of Israel. He was located on the western side of the Jordan, not far from the city Jericho. However there is no mountain there that is so high to enable Moshe to see north and south and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. We must conclude that this was a miracle that Hashem performed to show Moshe all of this, which is similar to a prophesy. Rashi states (Debarim 34:2) that Hashem gave Moshe a prophesy to see all the future generations until the final redemption. Similarly Hashem showed Moshe a prophesy to see the entire land.

One may ask, if it was a prophesy, why was it necessary to make him climb a mountain? Hashem could have shown Moshe all of this from a valley! The answer is fundamental and a constant lesson to all of us. Hashem is ready to shower down upon us from Heaven all of the most sublime knowledge, on one condition; that we first go to the highest peak that we are naturally able to go to attain it. After doing that, Hashem gives us the greatest understandings. This is true even if we are only able to open the smallest opening of the door. Hashem will open for us an opening as great as a banquet hall.

This lesson is true for all of our spiritual attainments. Torah learning can be a great success if one tries hard. The observance of the most difficult misvot is attainable. Lashon hara can end if one tries. Protecting one's eyes can be accomplished when one tries. There is no peak too high for one to climb. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"The daughters of Selofhad drew near." (Bemidbar 27:1)

Before the Jews entered the land of Israel, Moshe had the task of dividing up the land amongst the tribes and families of B'nei Yisrael. The daughters of Selofhad, who were not yet married, were not given a portion of land, since Selofhad had died without any sons. The daughters sought out Moshe to present their case and found him teaching Torah. They waited until he began teaching the topic of inheritance, and then they made their claim to Moshe. Their claim was upheld and they were granted the land.

The daughters of Selofhad were praiseworthy for many reasons. They demonstrated a clear grasp of Jewish law, and they had a sincere love for the land of Israel. The Midrash, however, highlights one virtue in particular - their timing. They waited for the most opportune time to approach Moshe and only then did they present their case. What is so special about this trait that the Midrash treats it as their greatest virtue?

The Midrash is teaching us that the crowning virtue of a great person is common sense. Without this, a person can be intellectually brilliant, be packed with knowledge and have beautiful intentions, yet fail in his endeavors. The daughters of Selofhad knew that they must approach Moshe at the right time, and they understood enough to know the best time for their presentation.

It has been noted that common sense is very uncommon. A man can master the complexities of a supercomputer, yet not be able to interface with his fellow man. Through the study of Torah, with the analysis and honest introspection of musar, we can deepen our understanding of human nature and increase our common sense. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Answer to Pop Quiz: Shimon.

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.

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