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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 40: 1-26

AUGUST 8-9, 2014 13 AB 5774

The Fast of Tish'ah B'Ab will begin on Monday night, August 4 and end on Tuesday night, August 5.


"Who safeguards the covenant and the kindness for those who love Him." (Debarim 7:9)

Hashem is the faithful G-d, Who will always remember the kindness done by those who serve Him with love. Rabbi Yitzchak Silberstein has a great story of a sadik who serves Hashem with love and how Hashem paid him back.

The story is about Rabbi Aharon Fafyofer z"l, the Rabbi of Johannesburg. One day a young woman came to his yeshivah saying she needed to speak to him for a few minutes. As soon as she began telling her story, she broke out in tears. She was supposed to get engaged to be married the next night. As is traditional, she was supposed to give him a gold watch, but she didn't have a penny and couldn't buy him a gold watch. The Rabbi's response was amazing. He was wearing an almost new gold watch. He took it off and gave it to her, telling her to give it to her fianc?. If the story ended here it would be enough, because it shows the greatness of our leaders. But it doesn't stop there.

The Rabbi realized that he must replace the watch. His wife recently bought him this new watch, and he knew that she would notice that it was missing. He knew he would have difficulty explaining that he gave it away, so he had to buy one that looked like the one he gave away. He went to a large jewelry store in the middle of town, and asked the salesman to show him some gold watches. He was shown a nice selection and he picked out one that was very similar to his own watch. He approached the salesman and started counting out the money to pay for the watch. Suddenly the salesman said, "Please wait a moment. I will return shortly." The salesman went into the office and shortly thereafter a well-dressed man approached and introduced himself as the store manager. He offered the Rabbi a warm handshake and gave him a big mazal tov. "For what?" wondered the Rabbi. "You don't have to pay for the watch. You are our one millionth customer. I'm sure you heard about the big giveaway. You keep the purchase you wanted for free!"

Here you have Hashem watching over His servants, rewarding them for their wonderful deeds. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And you shall love Hashem..." (Debarim 6:5)

In this modern age of ours, the word love has been used and abused to encompass all kinds of things, including those which are an abomination. When we are told to love Hashem, is it the same kind of love that we are familiar with, just directed to G-d, rather than other subjects? If we stop and think, we will see how this is not so.

When a person says he loves fish, does he really love the fish? If so, why would he kill it, cook it and then eat it? The obvious answer is that when one says he loves fish or other things, he really loves himself and how the fish or other items give him pleasure. That is a selfish love. When we love Hashem, we do so not because of the benefit we will derive, but because He is so great and so kind and so merciful and because He loves us more that anything in the world. We are therefore commanded to love Hashem with all our hearts and souls and might. That way, we become attached to G-d and that brings down more Divine blessing from Heaven. May we merit to truly love Hashem and become blessed with His Heavenly love, Amen. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


It was always hectic around the house before Grandpa came to dinner. Mom was even busier than usual, and the kids were squirming with anticipation.

Finally the doorbell rang! The children rushed to the door and hugged their beloved guest.

"Grandpa, do you know what I did in school today?" shouted Bina.

"Grandpa, would you like to see my report? I got an A!" yelled Jackie, while little Aviva tried to push her latest arts-and-crafts project into her grandfather's face.

Grandpa acknowledged the little ones individually with a personal greeting and a kiss. After taking off his coat, he turned to his daughter-in-law and asked, "Where is Esther?"

"She is sitting on the floor behind the sofa, sulking," the young mother replied. "We had a little run-in with her a few minutes ago over some candy she wanted to eat before dinner."

Grandpa approached Esther's hiding place and joined her on the floor behind the couch. No one heard what transpired, but it was not long before Grandpa and Esther emerged from the corner holding hands and giggling over their little secret.

Esther had scored a psychological victory - without even realizing it. She really didn't want candy. What she did want was a little attention during the hullabaloo surrounding the preparations for Grandpa's visit. When Mom did not deliver, Esther did what always worked for her in times of need. First she cried, then she got mad, and then she pouted and sulked in a corner until someone came along to give her the much-needed attention that she sought. Bingo!

As children grow into adults, they learn to get what they need and want in more mature ways. They learn that shouting and nagging don't always work when it comes to achieving their desires.

In some people, however, this emotional growth does not occur. They continue to employ outmoded and childish techniques, not realizing that although their fury and nagging may produce short-term victories, in the long run they win the battle but lose the war. People just don't like to be around others who have short tempers or who consistently act out in negative or aggressive ways.

Mad, bad, and sad may work for kids, but as an adult you should approach others in a way that will make them glad to see you. (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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