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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 40: 1-26

AUGUST 3-4, 2012 16 AB 5772


"And He repays those who hate Him to his face." (Debarim 7:10)

A young man recently approached his Rabbi with the following question. During an upcoming business trip he would be staying for a day in an area without a minyan. Is he obligated to take a taxi - at a very considerable expense - and travel a long distance to pray with a minyan? Based on the specific details of the case, the Rabbi informed him that halachically he was not obligated to.

"However," the Rabbi added, "you should know that the Chatam Sofer teaches that the reward that a person receives for following a misvah correlates to how much the misvah is worth in his own eyes. Therefore, a person who shows that, when necessary, he is willing to spend a large amount of money and time in order to pray with a minyan will receive a far greater reward for all the other times he prays with a minyan as well."

This concept is found at the end of our perashah where the Torah says that Hashem pays the wicked people for their misvot in this world. The question is that we know that misvot are not paid off in this world but only in the next world. The merit of a single misvah is greater than the value of everything in this physical world. Therefore, it is impossible to reward a person in this world. However, since the wicked so greatly undervalue the misvot they perform, their reward is very limited and can be repaid in this world.

The exact opposite is true on the positive side. If a person greatly values his misvot they become more valuable. Now we understand the Rabbi's response that a lot of money and time spent on a minyan will upgrade that misvah for him always. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And you shall watch yourselves very carefully." (Debarim 4:15)

From this verse, the Rabbis teach us that it is a misvah to watch our health. Even though it may seem unnecessary to command us to protect our health, the Torah felt it important enough to emphasize that we guard our welfare. This should encourage us to watch what we eat in terms of our weight and in terms of nutrition, especially as we get older. The evil inclination doesn't mind if we indulge in the wrong food and drink and then are unable to serve Hashem the next day. This admonition should help us strengthen our resolve to stay healthy , for it provides us with a misvah every time we do something beneficial for our health. Not coincidentally, the Torah doesn't say, "Watch your bodies," rather, "watch your souls," which is learned out to mean our bodies, in order to explain that the main reason we should be healthy is in order to use our souls properly to serve Hashem. A healthy body and a healthy soul, what a combination! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


There is a major difference between physical desires and desire for honor. Physical desires have a saturation point (though sometimes only temporarily), while desire for honor can never be satisfied.

When honor seekers are missing the approval of just one person, all the honor and respect they already have seems worthless.

A classic example of such an individual is Haman. All the inhabitants of the 127 nations ruled by Ahashverosh bowed down to Haman. But when Mordechai refused to bow, all that Haman had - wealth, position, family - was as nothing in his eyes. This desire for honor eventually caused his downfall.

Many people mistakenly think that receiving honor and respect of others would automatically make them happy. Not true! Happiness depends on what goes on in your mind, not what is happening "out there."

Spend a moment today considering any one of the talents with which Hashem has blessed you. Realize that it is yours and that its value is not reduced or increased by someone else's recognition of your personal gift.

The more you look inside and the less you look outside, the more content you will be and the less dependent on others for approval and self-satisfaction. (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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