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Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 1:1 - 2:3

DECEMBER 20-21, 2013 18 TEBET 5774


The slavery in Egypt begins with the decree of Pharaoh to throw all Jewish baby boys into the Nile. The daughter of the wicked king stood at the riverbank and saw an infant in a wicker basket among the reeds. The pasuk tells us that she saw a child, and a youth was crying. She exclaimed, "This is a Jewish child."

Who was actually crying and how did she know it was a Jewish child? Most people assume that it was the infant Moshe in the wicker basket who was crying, but the Ba'al Haturim says something incredible. The child who was crying was Aharon! Now we can understand the conclusion that Batya, Pharaoh's daughter, drew. She knew it was a Jewish child because one brother was crying for the other.

This is our hallmark as Jews. We care, cry for, and are concerned about each other. In light of this let us share a remarkable story, told by Rabbi Pesah Krohn, that occurred in Israel a number of years ago.

Rabbi Simcha Wasserman zt"l, the son of the legendary Rav Elchanan Wasserman hy"d, moved to Israel in the 1970's after spending more than two decades in Los Angeles where he founded Yeshivah Ohr Elchanan. While in Jerusalem he became a close friend to Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz z"l, the noted member of Kneset representing Agudat Yisrael. They became habrutot (study partners) and learned together for years. Tragically, Rav Simcha and his wife had no children. They chose their burial place which was to be Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem. They were buried in those plots one after another within a short period of time. Rav Simcha passed away on the second of Heshvan (1993) and his wife, Faige, passed away ten days later.

Many years earlier Rabbi Lorincz had bought a burial plot in Har Hazeitim, located just east of the Old City. However, after Rabbi Wasserman passed away Rabbi Lorincz told his family that he wished to sell his plot on Har Hazeitim and buy one on Har Hamenuhot next to Rav Simcha. His reasoning was beautiful "Sadly Rav Simcha and his wife had no children," Rabbi Lorincz told his family. "Who then will go to pray at his grave, especially on the day of his yahrzeit?"

Seventeen years later he passed away on Rosh Hodesh Heshvan. Because the custom is not to visit a cemetery on Rosh Hodesh, the custom of Ashkenazic Jews is to visit on the day later. Therefore the Lorincz children always visited their father's grave on the day after his yahrzeit, the second day of Heshvan, and then honoring their father's wishes, they would recite prayers at the grave (right next to his) of his friend Rav Simcha, on the exact day of his yahrzeit, the second of Heshvan. True brothers and sisters care for each other, sometimes in extraordinary ways. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And a man went from the house of Levi" (Shemot 2:1)

Did you even wonder what merit the parents of Moshe Rabenu had, to have a son like him? Rabbi Nissim Yagen z"l once said in our synagogue the answer to this question. When Amram, the father of Moshe, saw that Pharaoh was drowning all Jewish baby boys, he divorced his wife, reasoning that it doesn't make sense to be married and have children and they should then be killed. All the people followed suit and divorced their wives, since Amram was one of the leaders of the generation. When his daughter, Miriam, who was only five years old, saw this, she told her father, "Your decree is worse than Pharaoh's, because by your separating from your wife there will be no Jewish boys and no Jewish girls, whereas Pharaoh only decreed on the boys." When Amram heard the truth in these words, although it came out of the mouth of a child, he accepted them wholeheartedly and remarried his wife, Yocheved. From that union came out Moshe Rabenu, about whom it is said, ",nt u,ruTu ,nt van- Moshe is the paragon of truth who gave us the Torah of Truth." Since Amram accepted the truth wholeheartedly and changed a decree, although it was not easy to do, he merited to have Moshe, who represented the truth.

Do we hear the truth about things we may have done incorrectly, and change them, or do we try to ignore the whole subject. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Did you ever notice how some people move quickly, as if they're always rushing to an appointment, and others - seemingly as physically fit - seem to have nowhere to go and nothing to do? And did you notice how, whenever you are in a rush, it's the slow movers who always seem to be directly ahead of you? "Why is it that they are always in front of me in traffic or at the checkout counter? You might wonder, irritably. "How can people be so inconsiderate of others?"

One time I was very nervous about getting to a meeting on time. A car was double-parked, preventing me from pulling my car out of its parking space and heading on my way. I started to honk my horn, patiently at first, but was soon pounding out violently impatient blasts.

My passenger asked, "What is the matter with you? We're stuck, so why don't you just calm down?"

This, of course, only upset me more. 'You obviously don't understand," I retorted. "I must get going!"

"And what if you don't?" replied my patient companion.

When you are anxiously suffering an unexpected delay, don't lose your cool. Think for a moment, "What if I don't..." and consider the result of the delay. It only takes one cool minute to calm down and reconsider the consequences. You might be surprised to find that it is not as bad as you thought at first. Besides, when you can't do anything about it, it certainly doesn't pay to get sick over it - whatever "it" is. (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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