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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 54:11-55:5

SEPTEMBER 2-3, 2016 30 AB 5776

Rosh Hodesh Elul will be celebrated on Shabbat & Sunday, September 3 & 4.


“You shall surely tithe.” (Debarim 14:22)

The Talmud (Ta’anit 9a) expounds on this passage and says that when one gives ma’aser on his income, he will be rewarded with wealth.

Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum quotes the Ben Ish Hai who compares this to a nursing mother. As long as she nurses her child, her milk supply is replenished and even increases. Once she weans her child, however, her milk dries up. Similarly, as long as one gives charity, he will be guaranteed more money, in order to do more good deeds. When one ceases to give, he is no longer deserving of Hashem’s good will.

Later in the perashah it states: “If there shall be a poor person among you…you shall surely open up your hand to him” (15:7-8). Today, many times we have a situation where many beggars come to shul during prayers to solicit funds, distracting those who are praying. Rabbi Avraham Fever says, imagine a person who on the Day of Judgment after 120 years, claims reward for praying each day. In Heaven they scoff, saying, “Do you call that prayer? You were thinking about a hundred different things during prayers!”

But in a shul where charity collectors solicit funds when people are trying to pray, thus creating a disturbance, one can respond that at least he had a good excuse for not concentrating properly. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Reuven Semah

"[If your Hebrew slave] says to you, 'I shall not go out from you' because he loves you and your house because he fares well with you" (Debarim 15:16) The Gemara teaches that the owner of a Hebrew slave must treat him and view him as an equal in every respect, and he sometimes even has to treat him as a superior! However, the Gemara also teaches that if two Jews are in dire need of water, and only one of them has a jug of water, his own life takes precedence, and he is not obligated to give the water to the other person. Why is this case different than the case of the slave who must be treated at least as an equal, if not better?

A poor man and a rich man can live in harmony with one another, even though the poor man can't satisfy his physical needs like the rich man. Still yet, he does not feel inferior in any way to his friend as a human being. The slave, on the other hand, is always reminded of his bitter status as a mere servant of another man. Therefore the Torah goes out of its way to demand special treatment for him.

There is a very important lesson to be learned from this. We must understand that different people have different sensitivities. We must recognize each person's uniqueness, and treat him in a way that we will not hurt his feelings or make him self-conscious of his station in life. Let's take it upon ourselves now, as we approach the selihot season, to treat our fellow man with the proper respect, and to make amends with those to whom we may have shown disservice to in the past. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Who You Are

Every Monday morning people trudge back to work. It is really difficult to get up and running after the two-day weekend break, but each and every one of us does eventually get back into the race. The more motivated workers come in at high speed, and the laid-back ones can’t get going until after they’ve had a second cup of coffee, but everyone does return to the “pursuit of happiness.” For most, that means accumulating the “toys” with which adults like to play. Jewels, cars, homes, and vacations head the list…and, as we all know, the ones with the most “marbles” wins.

Well, this is true for those who are primarily concerned with what they can collect in order to represent who they are. But, actually, our real job is to work on who we are rather than what we have. Learning to control our speech or anger, to be more generous and kind, to be more caring and dedicated to the values of Torah – this is the real job we all face every day and every night of our lives. In this job there are no vacations and no weekends. We must be in the heat of the battle all of the time.

When you find yourself getting caught up in the game of collecting material “toys,” switch gears and concentrate on your essence, not your possessions. (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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