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Haftarah: Melachim II 7:3-20

APRIL 24-25, 2015 6 IYAR 5775


"When you enter the land of Canaan…and I will place a sara'at affliction upon the house." (Vayikra 14:34)

The Midrash remarks that this leprosy affliction on the house was actually a blessing in disguise. When the walls of the house were broken, in order to remove the afflicted spots, the Jewish owners often found treasures that the previous Canaanite owners had hidden. This brought wealth to the Jewish inhabitants.

Rabbi Ephraim Nissenbaum reveals a beautiful insight. In his last discourse before he passed away, Rav Avraham Pam observed that the poor Jew living in the house that would be afflicted in the future, could reside there for many years, perhaps barely eking out a living for his family. He would never realize how wealthy he was until the difficult circumstances resulted in his good fortune.

Similarly, the Rosh Yeshivah added, there are so many Jews with hidden treasures in their souls, abilities of which they are totally unaware. If only they could perceive them, without being forced to do so through difficult circumstances. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"The Kohen shall command; and for the person being purified there shall be taken two live, clean birds" (Vayikra 14:4)

At first glance, the need for the Kohen to "command" that the mesora (leper) purchase these birds is difficult to understand. We never find this requirement in the case of articles needed for other misvot. Instead, the Torah says that the person must do some act, and the person makes sure to have what he needs to do what is required. If he doesn't know what is needed, there are always people who can tell him. But here, it appears that he may not buy the birds unless commanded to do so by the Kohen!

The explanation is this: People often say that when it comes to matters about which they think the halachah is silent, they are wiser than Torah scholars, and they need not seek direction. This leads to their thinking that they are also expert in any misvot which are relevant to worldly things, such as priorities in charity distribution. People think that since it is their money, and their money cannot be taken without their willing agreement, this lay out the priorities for charitable giving, but in some cases it is actually forbidden for one to give. In all cases, there are laws governing how much and to whom to give, and the proper apportionment of funds. But almost nobody asks questions about this. Almost nobody asks about the proper relationship with their children or how to educate them. If people realized that halachah does regulate and provide instruction for the vast majority of "worldly" matters, they certainly would come and ask.

A mesora must repent of this shortcoming before becoming pure. Many of the sins which cause sara'at (leprosy) are those which people think are not regulated by halachah and are left up to them - such as lending utensils or money, or what we may or may not say about others. Therefore, the Torah says that for a mesora to repent, he must learn to consult Torah authorities in all matters - even the most mundane - until he knows what he needs to ask. To impress the lesson upon him, we require that he wait for the Kohen to tell him when and how to buy the birds for his purification. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


It is customary to study Pirkei Abot (Ethics of the Fathers) during the six weeks between Pesah and Shabuot, one chapter every Shabbat.

"Do not condemn your fellowman until you have stood in his place," (Pirkei Abot 2:4)

Instead of "limekomo, his place," why doesn't it say "lemasabo, his situation"?

"Mekomo, his place," does not mean your friend's place, but it means Hashem's place. According to the Midrash Rabbah (Beresheet 68:9) Hashem is referred to as "HaMakom - the Place," to emphasize that the world is contained in Him and not He in the world. He is not limited by space and therefore is everywhere.

The Mishnah is teaching that you should judge yourself and not others. The only time when you can judge your friend is when you reach Hashem's place. Then you will have before you everything of the past, present, and future, and be capable of passing judgment. Till then, however, do not judge your friend. (Vedibarta Bam)

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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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