DECEMBER 18-19, 2015 7 TEBET 5776
"And he brought offerings to the G-d of his father Yitzhak." (Beresheet 46:1)
After Ya'akob received the good news that his son Yosef was still alive, he brought offerings of gratitude. Nowadays, we don't have offerings; we have prayers instead, prayers of gratitude.
Rabbi Dovid Kaplan tells a beautiful story with a great lesson. The well-known head of Ezer Metzion, Rav Chananya Cholek, was once at the Kotel with a wealthy man. While standing there, the two noticed a Jew standing by the Wall and crying his eyes out in prayer.
"There can only be one of two things that would make a person cry like that," Rav Cholek said to the rich man. "Either he has a medical problem, or he has some sort of financial problem. Let's make a deal. If it's medical, I'll help him. If it's financial, then you'll help him."
The philanthropist was intrigued by the challenge and immediately agreed to it. Rav Cholek approached the man. "Hello, my name is Cholek, and if you or anyone in your family has any sort of medical problem I will be glad to try and help you out."
The man smiled through his tears. "Thank you very much, but everyone in my family is well, Baruch Hashem."
Rav Cholek went back to the rich man. "Okay, it's your turn," he said. "It's not a medical issue."
"Just tell me how much you need and I'll write out a check right here and now," the rich man said to the man.
"Thank you so much, but the truth is, while we don't have much, we really don't need much. We're doing okay."
"So then why were you crying like that?" the two of them asked.
"Last night we married off our twelfth and last child," the man answered. "Each time I had to marry off one of my kids, I'd come here and ask Hashem for help, and He has never yet turned us down. Today I just came to thank Him for all of His kindness. That's why I was crying. Doesn't everyone do that?"
Never mind the answer. Let it suffice to say that we should. We should cry in gratitude to Hashem for all that He gives us, and now let's do it.
Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And Ya'akob saw the wagons that Yosef sent him." (Beresheet 45:27)
Rashi tells us that Yosef sent his father, Ya'akob, a sign that he still remembers the Torah that he was taught, and he reminded Ya'akob of the last subject they had learned together. When Ya'akob saw that, he knew that his son was truly alive in a spiritual sense, and he rejoiced! Similarly, when Ya'akob sent his son, Yehudah, to Egypt before the whole family, he instructed him to establish a Torah academy so that they could study Torah in Egypt. We see from here how important the Torah was to our forefathers. Although we only read of their deeds and their character in the perashah, the Midrash is teaching us how pivotal the study of Torah was to them. They were engaged in it constantly, and this is what kept them alive. Ya'akob mourned very deeply for his son for twenty-two years, yet the only thing that kept him strong was Torah study. Yosef was in a very difficult position for many years in Egypt, spending twelve years in jail, yet his faith and trust never wavered because he was constantly reviewing the Torah he learned.
This should be an inspiration for us to strengthen our Torah learning, especially when the going gets tough. The more we are connected to Hashem through Torah study, the more we can endure all of life's challenges. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
It is not healthy to allow your ego to grow wildly out of control. Our Sages teach that not only is this despicable in the eyes of our Creator, but it also creates dissension between people.
Yet, for individuals to suppress their egos to the point where they lack self-confidence is an unacceptable alternative.
You - and all others - were created with a specific job to complete in your lifetime. Therefore, you must gather your power to overcome obstacles that inevitably block the road to success. Self-confidence and drive are required to get the job done.
Often, people are driven down the road to failure by a negative self-image. "I don't have any special talent. I am no genius," they may say, or, "What can I do? I am only one small person without a lot of resources. Whom can I influence?"
Mordechai said to Esther (Book of Esther 4:14): "And who knows, if perhaps for this very moment, you became the queen." His message: She had a mission to complete, and should not take it lightly.
The world is full of organizations that fill the needs of great masses of people. Each began with the idea of a single individual who could not tolerate the suffering of others, or realized that a specific situation needed to be remedied. One group might be the brainchild of a person who wanted to alleviate the loneliness and pain of extended hospital stays, while another might be the project of someone whose concern was to provide poor young brides with the basic necessities for setting up a new home. There were individuals who were worried enough about feeding the hungry or clothing the poor, about helping others find a job or a mate, to go out and say: "I will do something about this!" There are long lists of free services that cover every imaginable need of our complex society, and each was started by one person with an idea.
You may not feel you are "the one," but you are. Who knows - maybe that special accomplishment or project is the reason that you are here! (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 firstname.lastname@example.org (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.
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