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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 51:12-52:12

AUGUST 24-25, 2012 7 ELUL 5772

Rosh Hodesh Elul will be celebrated on Shabbat & Sunday, August 18 & 19.


"You shall be wholesome [in your faith] in Hashem." (Debarim 18:13)

What does it mean to have wholesome faith in Hashem? Rashi explains: Walk with Him with wholeheartedness, trust in what He has in store for you. Do not delve into the future, but rather whatever comes upon you accept with wholeheartedness, and then you will be with Him, and of His portion. Rashi tells us at first that we should have complete faith and trust in Hashem. But, then he finalizes his words by saying you will be with Him. What does that mean? Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrahi explains that Rashi (based on the Sieri) is telling us that there is a misvah and there is a reward. One who doesn't try to find out the future and trusts Hashem will be rewarded in a way that Hashem will be with that person and help him. Perhaps even in extraordinary ways, as the next true story relates (by Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum).

There was a pious couple who lived in a little village in Lithuania with their ten children. While pregnant with one of the younger children, the woman's doctor perceived a serious problem with the baby and recommended she terminate the pregnancy.

The woman's faith in Hashem was strong and she refused to listen to the doctors. Eventually she bore a healthy baby boy.

During the Holocaust, eight of the children perished, and only one daughter and a son survived. The son, who would carry on the family's name, was the same child the mother refused to abort.

The child grew to become Rav Elazar Shach, one of the leading Torah authorities in our generation. Rav Shach would often comment that a person must always maintain faith in Hashem and leave the results to Him. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Justice, justice shall you pursue." (Debarim 16:20)

We know that every word in the Torah is important, and teaches us a lesson. If so, why does the Torah repeat the word "sedek' - justice? Isn't is sufficient to say 'pursue justice'?"

One of the commentaries learned from here a very important lesson. We have to read the pasuk as if it says ?pursue justice with justice." That means that it's not enough to have the ultimate goal of justice. We must achieve these goals using justifiable means. The ends do not justify the means. Just like it is obvious to all that we cannot steal money and "kosher" it by giving it to charity, so too with other misvot. When we are involved in our prayers in shul, we shouldn't be disturbing others by praying too loudly or talking to our friends. We shouldn't be promoting peace with some people by hurting others in the process. In every area of serving G-d we would do well to learn the lesson: Pursue justice using means of justice. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


The tourists meandered through the winding streets of the open-air bazaar, eyeing the gaudy displays, fingering the exotic trinkets, happily searching for bargain souvenirs.

At the end of a narrow street they spied a doorway that read: "Psychic - Palms Read - Your Future Revealed."

"Come on, let's give it a try!" begged the woman, tugging at her reluctant husband's sleeve.

"Don't be silly," retorted the man, pulling away from his wife's grip. "Places like this are for fools who want to throw away their money. No one can predict the future!"

It is true that the age of prophecy has long since passed, and people can no longer predict the future with any certainty. However, we human beings have the unique ability to determine, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the consequences of our actions.

In Abot (2:9), it is mentioned that the great Sage, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai, asked his students to determine what is the best type of attitude or the best character trait, that one can have. The answer of Rabbi Shimon is interesting: One who considers the future!

Sometimes our first reaction is the best choice, and sometimes it is the worst. Sometimes a short-term gain is worth the long-term cost, and at other times it is not. Delaying instant gratification may yield great happiness in the future, while suffering short-term pain may yield pleasure and comfort later on. The crucial step is to weigh the possibilities before acting in order to "play the odds" for the best result.

We may not be able to use prophecy to foretell the future, but we can certainly use our intelligence to anticipate the results of our deeds. (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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