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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 6:1-13

FEBRUARY 6-7, 2015 18 SHEBAT 5775


"And I carried you on the wings of eagles." (Shemot 19:4)

Before Hashem gave the Jewish people the Torah He spoke about the Exodus from Egypt. Hashem said that He carried us out on wings of eagles. Rashi explains: "This refers to the day that Israel came to Raamses, where the nation had gathered for the Exodus from Egypt. For Israel was scattered throughout the land of Goshen and in a very short time, when they were about to travel and depart, they were all gathered to Raamses." So in order to ease their departure Hashem Himself gathered them up quickly in Raamses.

Rabbi David Kaplan tells a heartwarming story of another carrier of people. As the Saltzmans exited the Gutnick wedding Hall in Jerusalem, a man standing a few feet away gestured towards them and simultaneously pointed to a van. "Where do you need to get to?" he asked. "It's okay. We're taking a bus," Mr. Saltzman said.

"Don't worry. I don't charge. I'm not a cab, but maybe I can give you a lift. Where are you headed?" "We're going to Ramot."

"Great. That's in my direction. Get in." The seven Saltzmans clambered in and settled in the seats, noticing another family of three already in the can. "I'm just dropping them off in Givat Shaul and then we'll head up to Ramot."

The Saltzmans figured the man lived in Ramot and were very appreciative of the way he went out of his way to find someone to give a ride to. Only when they were getting out in front of their home did they realize there was something out of the ordinary going on. As they thanked the driver, they asked him where he lived. "In Ezrat Torah," he answered.

"So why did you take us so far out of your way? We though you lived here."

The man smiled. "Each night I hang around the Gutnick Hall, because I know people are coming out of weddings late and public transportation is not great at that hour. An entire enjoyable evening can be ruined by the hassle of trying to get home. So I drive people home from the weddings and then come back looking for more. Hopefully, it'll be a merit for me and my family."

This story really gives us a lift. It's another reminder of how it's so true that hesed is one of the things about which our Sages say there is no limit. A person who truly wants to do hesed will find a way to do it. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Do not bear Hashem's name (in an oath)" (Shemot 20:7)

One of the Ten Commandments is to not swear falsely or in vain. To swear falsely is self understood, but to swear in vain means to proclaim a fact which is obvious such as swearing that a book is a book, or anything similar to that. The Gemara tells us that the earth trembled when this prohibition was uttered because using Hashem's name in vain is truly a terrible thing with dire consequences. This should make us be careful whenever we mention Hashem's name in any situation. In addition, this should make us hesitate to swear in any manner, even without using Hashem's name, but all the more so when mentioning the Holy Name. Many times people say "I swear to G-d" in order to make a point - this is not something to take lightly. We must watch our mouths and get into the habit of saying "Beli Neder" ("Without an oath") even when not mentioning "I swear".

Here is a short list of what is considered an oath:

1) By G-d, this is so-and-so.

2) G-d is my witness that I did or did not do this.

3) By my life that such and such happened or didn't happen.

4) I should be cursed if this isn't true, etc.

We see from here that even without using the word 'oath' or 'swear', we could be obligating ourselves in a very heavy way. We must also be careful from saying "I am going to do this misvah (such as giving charity, going to shul, etc.)" without saying "Beli Neder" because it's also considered binding. Also, if we do certain practices three times it may be considered as a vow, so we should say "Beli Neder." Let us attempt to be on guard and not swear in any which way or form. If one has a doubt, contact a Rabbi to see if he may need Hatarah. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


It's so hard to remain calm when you are kept waiting.

"I don't know why doctors can't keep to a schedule!"

"I can't stand the travel delays at airports!"

"My time is so valuable; waiting for others is the one thing that makes me lose my cool!"

Waiting may b the hardest exercise in self-control that a person faces in the day-to-day battle for survival. There always seems to be so much to do and not enough time to do it in. "Idleness brings sinful behavior" takes on new meaning in situations when you are not bored, but simply too busy to wait. The imposed idleness converts you from your polite, well-mannered, considerate self into a demon demanding attention and respect in a tone of voice several octaves higher - and decibels louder - than normal.

A great remedy is to fill the down time constructively. "There is so much to do" was your original complaint. Instead of remaining idle and slow-burning yourself into a tantrum, why don't you use that handy portable electronic device to answer your emails? Or better still: these days you can carry around volumes of Torah on your smartphone, pocket-size book versions of the Torah classics, the "daf yomi" in a handy size, and of course, the Tehillim which you can use to pray for those needier than yourself.

So when you just can't wait one more minute, pull out the "lifesaver" that you prepared in your briefcase, pocketbook, knapsack, or laptop, and spend the time constructively. It takes time to prepare these time-fillers, but having them will keep you cool and break your ill-fated partnership with "the devil." (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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