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Haftarah: Melachim I 7:13-26

February 25-26, 2011 22 Adar I 5771


"You shall not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Shabbat day." (Shemot 35:3)

As we know we have a beautiful misvah to light Shabbat candles every Friday night. This seems to contradict the above quoted verse that says you cannot burn any fires in your house on Shabbat. There was a sect called the Kara'im that only believed in the literal meaning of the written Torah. They would not light Shabbat candles in order to observe the law that forbids fires on Shabbat. However, the hachamim disputed this literal translation and learned the pasuk that you cannot ignite the fire on Shabbat. Therefore, a fire that was ignited before sunset, as we do every Friday, is permitted. As a result of this disagreement, the homes of the Kara'im were dark on Friday night, but the homes of the hachamim were lit with beautiful candles.

A true story was told by Rabbi Zilberstein that illustrates a novel use of the Shabbat candles. There was a family where the wife returned to be a Shabbat observer but her husband refused to stop smoking on Shabbat. The smoking destroyed the religious (as well as the physical) atmosphere of the house. She went to Rabbi Zilberstein and he advised her to tell her husband to stop smoking at least as long as the candles burned. The husband agreed, and he stopped smoking during that time. Then the Rabbi advised her to use thicker candles that burned longer, and the husband stopped smoking longer. A few weeks later she increased the thickness again until eventually she bought yahrtzeit candles that burn twenty-four hours. The husband kept his word and didn't smoke the whole time the candle was lit. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"See how Hashem has chosen Besal'el, son of Uri, son of Hur" (Shemot 35:30)

Moshe told the Jewish people, "See how Hashem has chosen Besal'el, son of Uri, son of Hur to oversee the Mishkan." The Rabbis tell us that some people complained to Moshe, "Everyone who has a high position is related to you." Besal'el was a great-nephew of Moshe and the people wanted to know why he was privileged to be in charge of the Mishkan.

Hashem answered the people by describing the lineage of Besal'el. His grandfather was Hur, who was killed trying to stop the people from doing the golden calf. We could have imagined that what Hur did was a great act personally, but what could it benefit his family in the future? The answer is that when someone has self-sacrifice, it is never forgotten. Rather, it will end up helping his family in the future. The sacrifice of Hur trying to stop the golden calf resulted in the appointment of his grandson to build the Mishkan. And we know that the main goal of the Mishkan was to atone for the golden calf. No good deed is ever overlooked, especially one that involves sacrifice. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

For how many years did the two Batei Hamikdash stand?

The first Bet Hamikdash stood for 410 years, and the second, for 420 years.


Climbing the ladder to success is oftentimes more taxing than struggling to the top of Mount Everest. Daily problems necessitate constant improvement of the systems and procedures needed to remain on the cutting edge. It is really amazing how much you can improve and change as you grow your business - or personality.

You may feel that you can eventually reach the horizon, the furthest spot you can see, the point past which you can go no further. However, just when you think you can grow no more, someone new comes along with a simple suggestion - a slight change - that yields fantastic results.

We must always be open to suggestions and constructive criticism. We must constantly question the status quo. Improvement has no upper limit.

Even an "old dog" can learn "new tricks." These, in turn, can open new vistas of opportunity and doorways to success. In order to succeed, you don't have to find something new - just new ways to do old things better. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

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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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