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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 40:1-26

JULY 31- AUGUST 1, 2015 16 AB 5775


“Comfort, comfort, My people, says your G-d.” (Yeshaya 40:1)

Our Haftarah contains prophecies that offered the people comfort and hope after the destruction of the First Temple. The greatest comfort for us would be the building of the Third Bet Hamikdash. However, given the current situation and the level of our people, how can this happen?

I believe that a discussion that occurred between Rabbi Shimshon Pincus zt”l and Rabbi Noah Weinberg zt”l contains the answer. Rabbi Weinberg was known for bringing back hundreds of Jews to teshubah. Jews that had almost no connection to their religion. So Rabbi Pincus asked how was this possible? For in earlier generations with tremendous effort a Rabbi could bring back two or perhaps three people. He answered with a parable. In a construction site one can witness a complete wall of reinforced concrete, which weighs ten tons, being placed on existing portions of the wall already in place. This is done by bringing a large crane that can lift this monstrous piece of solid concrete. While the concrete wall is in the air, one worker standing in the right place can move this heavy piece into place. How can one man move this huge section? Well, it’s easy. Once it is in the air, one puny man can move this entire section. The idea is, the Rabbi explained, that teshubah in our generation is different than in all the previous ones. The Rambam (Laws of Teshubah 7:5) says, “There is a promise from the Torah that at the end of the exile the Jewish people will make teshubah and right after that they will immediately be redeemed.” There is a special promise concerning our generation. In the earlier times, the Rabbi would have to “lift” the entire weight of the person to bring him back to his roots. Therefore, a tremendous effort was needed to bring him back. Nowadays, however, Hashem lifts up every Jew with a “crane” so that even a small effort, even by someone who doesn’t know too much how to do it, can bring back many people.

This is our situation today. This is our hope for a redemption and the building of the Bet Hamikdash. May this all fall into place soon in our day. 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


On the day Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, passed away, I listened to many eulogies commemorating his life. As each speaker delivered his heart-rending insights into the true greatness of this humble Sage, the Torah giant grew taller and taller in our minds. Many speakers dwelt on his special approach to Torah and life, which Rabbi Miller viewed as inseparable.

“He who possesses an understanding of the goodness of the world always rejoices. Life is full of intense pleasures that are available to all people, but many fail to appreciate them because of mistaken mental attitudes. ‘The Almighty saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good!’ The Creator Himself declares that everything is not only good, but very good!” (Rabbi Avigdor Miller, Sing, You Righteous)

Rabbi Miller saw good in everything. On a cool, drizzly day, as he was savoring the refreshing sensation of the spray hitting his face, two women passed him in the street. “What a nasty day!” he overheard one woman comment to her companion. Rabbi Miller was shocked. How could someone take a negative view of what Hashem was providing?

When you are about to complain, stop and look for the positive in the situation. Taking this brief pause may cause you to turn around and go from disgruntled to happy! (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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