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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 51:12-52:12

AUGUST 29-30, 2014 4 ELUL 5774


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

Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum has a great story and lesson for us. 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 little 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 name, was the same child the mother had 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

"Do not erect a masebah (pillar)" (Debarim 16:22)

The simple meaning of the word 'masebah' is 'pillar'. This pasuk is telling us that it is forbidden to erect a pillar in order to serve Hashem. Our Rabbis offer another explanation for this verse by pointing out the similarity of the word masebah to the word 'masab’ or 'situation'. When we read the pasuk this way, it is telling us "don't set up a position for yourself that is rigid and inflexible." No two situations are alike, and we must look at all the circumstances of each situation before we take a position.

There are times when a misvah in one situation could actually be a transgression if the circumstances are changed. A person who acts compulsively, basing his actions totally on his unbending ideas, will put himself in a position to make many errors. One must have a full grasp of the Torah principles which apply in each case, and apply them properly. The more Torah a person learns, the more he will be equipped to react in different predicaments.

This is not to say that one should sacrifice his Torah ideals in any situation. This only refers to a person's traits, and how he should apply them. At times, a person must be compassionate while at other times, he must act cruelly. Sometimes he should be generous; sometimes he needs to be stingy. The Torah is warning us that a person should be careful to avoid treating every situation the same way without taking all of the factors into account. Only in that way can he make an objective, Torah based decision. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


There was once a rich man who had a very poor friend. The well-intentioned benefactor decided to give his poor friend a chest full of jewels as a gift. He neglected, however, to explain to him the value of all the brightly colored stones that filled the treasure chest.

The poor man, who had never seen jewels before, was appreciative and thanked is benefactor. Upon arriving home, he gave the box of dazzling colored gems to his children. After several weeks had passed, the chest was empty – the children had carelessly misplaced all of the jewels because they, too, were unaware of their real value. The sad conclusion to our tale is that because the man did not know the value of the great wealth he had been given, it was mindlessly squandered.

Hashem, in His kindness, has endowed each of us with the precious gift of life. Life is a treasure chest full of moments of great value. They can be used to buy a beautiful eternity or they can be wasted and yield poverty.

If you feel that you have a few minutes “to kill,” remember that every minute is a jewel that can add to your eternal wealth – but only if you realize its potential. Don’t misplace the jewel of time by not being aware of its value. (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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