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Haftarah: Hoshea 11:7 - 12:12

NOVEMBER 27-28, 2009 11 KISLEV 5770


"And afterwards, she [Leah] bore a daughter and named her Dinah." (Beresheet 30:21)

Our perashah details the birth of the twelve sons of Ya'akob, later known as the twelve tribes. Each son is as important as a nation unto itself. At one point, Leah had six sons and Bilhah and Zilpah had two sons each. When Leah became pregnant with her seventh child, she made a simple calculation that ten tribes had already been born. There were only two left because everyone knew that Ya'akob was destined to have twelve. If she would have another boy, then there would only be one left, and if Rachel would have the last one, she would have less than Bilhah and Zilpah, who are considered Ya'akob's secondary wives. So for Rachel's sake, Leah prayed to have a girl. Hashem answered her prayer and she gave birth to Dinah.

Rabbi Shimshon Pincus makes an interesting point. It seems from this story that Leah gave up one tribe for her sister, Rachel. However he quotes a Midrash that says that Dinah eventually gave birth to Asnat, and Asnat married Yosef. It turned out that from this daughter of Leah, Dinah, came two tribes, Ephraim and Menasheh. So instead of losing one tribe, she actually gained two!

Rabbi Pincus says this result of two for one is part of the Torah's system. If one steals from his friend, he must pay him back double so, of course, if you give your friend something, Hashem will give you at least double, because Hashem always pays back for doing something good more than he punishes for bad.

We learn that in the long run, one never loses out when he does a kindness to his fellow man, but only gains. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Ya'akob awakened from his sleep and he said 'surely Hashem is in this place...'" (Beresheet 28:16)

When Pharaoh awakened from his sleep, the Torah relates that he went back to sleep. The Rabbis point out that this is a typical difference between Ya'akob and Pharaoh. When Ya'akob awakens, he is immediately aware of the presence of Hashem and does something about it, whereas Pharaoh turns over and goes back to sleep!

In the last few years, we have seen and continued to see monumental and awesome events; natural disasters, political upheavals, besides many mind-boggling situations on an individual level. We must truthfully ask ourselves, are we "just turning over" like the Pharaoh of old, or are we following in the footsteps of our father Ya'akob, and dedicating our lives to Hashem and the Torah? Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Some people have a green thumb. Whatever they plant grows from a seed into a healthy plant, flower or tree. Of course, it requires hard work and knowledge to produce flourishing results, but there is a certain amount of innate talent involved, also. Other people are good at building things from the ground up, and still others can compose musical or literary masterpieces. Some people are not so talented, yet they, too, succeed. Their success is a result of persistence in the face of difficulty until the job gets done. The one thing that all these doers have in common is that their pro-active approach yields results.

On the other side of the coin are people who always end up in the category that pollsters call "undecided." They may be blessed with a unique ability, or maybe they are just average in every way. But when something has to get done, they ponder rather than do. Their minds freeze, and they convince themselves that maybe if they don't confront the problem, it will atrophy and go away. How wrong they are! Ignoring a problem doesn't make it disappear - it makes it grow. What you don't solve today will only be harder to solve tomorrow. Even a decision to wait a day should be a decision, not inaction by default.

When you just can't get the brainwaves moving to tackle a problem, give yourself a mental pep talk. Get that plan going, and tackle the difficulty before it grows. This approach will help you solve many little problems before they grow into big ones. (One Minute With Yorself - 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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