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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 43:21-44:23

MARCH 27-28, 2009 3 NISAN 5769

Pop Quiz: What type of korban is brought for swearing falsely denying a loan?


"He called to Moshe." (Vayikra 1:1)

The first word of this week's perashah, Vayikra, is written with a small alef at the end. The Rabbis tell us that this was a compromise between Hashem and Moshe. When Hashem called out to Moshe, which signifies a very special honor, Moshe, who was extremely humble, didn't want to write it that way. He asked Hashem whether he could skip the alef and write rehu, which means "He chanced" upon Moshe. Hashem said, "No, but you may write it with a small letter."

With this, we can understand a very amazing Midrash. We know that Moshe had rays of light shining from his face. The Midrash says that this came about when Moshe took the leftover ink from his quill and put it on his face. It gave him a special light. What ink was leftover, and how could ink produce light? In a homiletic approach we can understand it based on the previous thought. Moshe was a self-effacing, extremely humble person. He wanted to make sure that no attention is called to his greatness. Therefore, he wanted to write rehu, and finally wrote trehu with a small alef. When a person makes himself smaller, he eventually becomes greater, because people who are humble are those we appreciate and acknowledge. This was the light on Moshe's face. Those that toot their own horns, however, are usually known as precisely that: people who make a lot of noise.

We know many people who suffer from "I" trouble, always punctuating their sentences with "I" this and "I" that. We also know those who are quiet, self-effacing, looking to stay out of the limelight. We know whom we'd rather be with. That's also who we should try to be. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"If a man among you brings an offering to Hashem" (Vayikra 1:2)

The Midrash says: This is what is meant by the pasuk "Our days are like a passing shadow." (Tehillim 144:4)

What is the connection between these two verses? The Torah Lada'at answers that some commentators interpret the meaning of the Midrash according to the Gemara (Nedarim 10). It says there that when a person pledges to bring a sacrifice, he should not say, "LaHashem olah, LaHashem minhah, LaHashem todah" with Hashem's name preceding the Korban. Instead he should state "Korban laHashem." The reason for this is because we are afraid that he may die after saying Hashem's name before saying olah, minhah or todah, and will have recited the name of Hashem in vain.

This is the meaning of the Midrash. Why does it say in our pasuk, "Korban laHashem" and not "LaHashem Korban?" The answer is that "our days are like a passing shadow" and nobody knows when he will die. Therefore, to avoid any possibility of saying Hashem's name in vain, one must state the name of the sacrifice first.

According to our custom when we go up to the Sefer Torah for an aliya, we say "Hashem Imachem!" According to the Gemara (and this is mentioned in the halachah), we should not actually say Hashem's name. We should say "Hashem Imachem,' because our days are like a passing shadow. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

Job Satisfaction

We are instructed to treat our friends as we would want to be treated, but that is more easily said than done. Everyone is affected by at least a hint of selfishness or jealousy. Even the most giving people want a little more for themselves than they do for others.

But we can train ourselves to want for others what we want for ourselves.

Imagine that you are a contractor hired to construct a tall office tower. As the boss, you would make certain that each craftsman had the tools necessary for his job. The plumbers would not be envious of the electricians' wires, and the carpenters would have no need for the plumbers' pipes. In fact, each man would be happy that his co-workers on the project had what they needed to help the team get the job done.

Hashem is the Contractor and we are all his craftsmen, each with a special task to complete. He provides each of us with all the tools needed to get our job done. We should all be happy to work together for Him!

Should jealousy strike, remember: you don't need someone else's tools to get your task done. Recognize that the Boss has provided your team members with all that they need to get their share of the work completed properly. Focusing on your own job, not on those of your friends, will yield "job satisfaction" to eternity! (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

Answer to Pop Quiz: An asham.

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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