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Haftarah: Yehoshua 2:1-24

JULY 1-2, 2016 26 SIVAN 5776

Rosh Hodesh Tamuz will be celebrated on Wednesday & Thursday, July 6 & 7.


"And how is the land…are there trees in it or not?" (Bemidbar 13:20)

Moshe Rabenu allows the people to send spies to the land. In his explanation of the mission, he tells them to look for trees. Rashi explains: "see if there is among them a decent man who can protect them through his merit."

The Satmar Rebbe zt"l (as quoted in Ha-Meir) asks, if the trees mentioned refer to a righteous man, what is the explanation of the rest of the words "and take from the fruit of the land," since we are not talking about real trees? Furthermore, it is difficult to understand Moshe's instructions. A true sadik is difficult to find, since it is a very private matter. Many times his inside is not like his outside. How is one to know whether the man has the power to protect the people?

But, Moshe gave them a sign that will signal to them the true nature of the man. The essence of the man can be determined by looking at the behavior of his "fruits", his children and his students. If they walk a straight path in life, it's a sign that the man is a sadik. If they don't follow the path of Hashem, it's an indication that his interior is not like his exterior, he only appears like a sadik. Now we can understand the pasuk when it says "and take from the fruit of the land," it means go and see the behavior of his children and students and thus you will know that the man is a sadik. Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Reuven Semah

"You shall not explore after your heart and after your eyes." (Bemidbar 15:39)

In the third chapter of the Shema, which is found at the end of this perashah, we read the commandment, "You shall not follow your heart and eyes." Indeed, this is one of the 613 misvot, and this commands us not to look at people who are exposed indecently, or pictures thereof. The interesting thing to note is that first it says not to follow our heart, and then our eyes, when in reality we would assume that we first see with our eyes, and then our hearts act upon it.

The Rabbis teach us that from here we see an amazing thing: the eye only sees what the heart wants it to see. If a person doesn't care what he looks at, meaning his heart has given him carte blanche to see whatever it desires, then his eyes will find many forbidden things to look at. If, however, his heart dictates that he shouldn't see immodesty, he will be able to watch his eyes from straying after those very things. He will be on guard not to let images which are suggestive of immorality come his way. So truth be told, his heart must come first, and then his eyes will follow the proper guidelines.

This is extremely important in this kind of weather, when the streets are full of people who are not dressed properly. If we put in our heart that we only want to see the proper things, our eyes will not stray where they should not, and Hashem will protect us in this very area. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

So Tired

Ehud loved his nightly Torah class and worked his schedule around it. Every morning he animatedly spoke to his friend Elazar about what he had learned the night before, hoping to eventually convince his buddy to join him. Elazar, however, consistently begged off. "I'm just too tired," he said.

"I don't understand," Ehud replied. "Whenever we are involved in social activities or shopping, you can stay awake as late as necessary. Not just that, but you remain lively and alert."

"You are right," Elazar admitted. "But whenever I attend a class, I simply can't keep my eyes open and end up falling asleep almost immediately."

Do you also suffer from Elazar's selective inability to stay awake?

When Esav returned from the fields, the Torah points out, he was tired (Beresheet 25:29). The Torah comes to teach that the feeling of tiredness that sometimes overtakes a person doesn't necessarily result from hard work or physical exhaustion. Rather, energy level is connected to desire. The greater the desire to do something, the more energy is available to do it. A person may rise bright and early in the morning to catch a plane or go on vacation, and be bubbling over with enthusiasm and excitement even before dawn. However, the same person, when needed to wake up and go to synagogue, might find it difficult to jump out of bed and get dressed. The difference is not based on levels of exhaustion, but on degrees of eagerness to do the upcoming activity.

We must train ourselves to learn the real value of all our activities and place them in order of priority. If we do so, the limited time we have down here on earth will be spent productively in the service of our Maker.

The immeasurable reward available for such activity should be enough to excite you to perform. If that doesn't work, perhaps you may do so out of love for the One who provides all of your needs and all of your pleasures. (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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