Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sufficient Aggravation


Rabbi Nota of Chelm had a chassid who was very well-to-do, who said to him "I am very wealthy and I lack for nothing. But recently there is a little voice within me, that tells me that all is not well. It is as if I have a premonition that my fortunes are about to take a turn. It is one thing if a person is born into a life of poverty, and accepts poverty as a way of life. Not so with me. If I lose my fortune, the change will be disastrous, and I doubt that I will be able to adjust to it."

"What kind of changes have you made in your home recently?" Rabbi Nota asked.

Assuming that the Rabbi was inquiring about laxity of Torah observance, the chassid said "G-d forbid, Rabbi. Everything is as it was. Shabbos is totally Shabbos, my kosher standards are as rigid as ever, and I faithfully study the Torah daily."

"That's not what I am after" the Rabbi said. "What physical changes have you recently made in your household?"

The chassid thought for a moment, then said "Yes, I did make a change, but it is hardly significant. I had a set of expensive crystal glassware, but I would get upset when a crystal goblet fell or was chipped. I therefore set it aside, and bought silver goblets which are more resistant to damage."

"There you have your answer" Rabbi Nota said. "Every person is destined to experience a small amount of adversity. You were fulfilling your quota of unpleasantness when a piece of crystal was damaged. When you eliminated that source of unpleasantness, you invited adversity from other sources. Put away the silver goblets and use the crystal again. You will then have sufficient aggravation from the crystal being chipped so that you will not need any other."

And so we have an explanation for the custom in Jewish homes that when a glass or dish breaks, we exclaim "Mazel tov!" If we were destined to experience some loss, we satisfied this decree by the loss of the glass or dish, and now we could go on to be happy.

Source: Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski MD

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Checkmate


Trump's brilliant move : read it here

I'm hoping Rabbi Kessin will have a new shiur up as I'm sure he'll have plenty to say right now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Re-count


Rabbi Glazerson brings some very interesting information in this video....concerning the month of Teves 5778 - which we know was last year - however, we count the years differently depending on the matter in hand.  When we count the years for Moshiach's arrival, we count from Adam -  after all, the word Adam is an acronym for Adam/David/Moshiach.  So perhaps when we were all disappointed that Moshiach didn't arrive in 5778...... according to the ''counting from Adam'' we are still in 5778.


Everything's in the Torah



Tonight marks 11 years since my sister and her husband were killed instantly in a freak car accident on 11 Teves.  The parsha at the time was Vayechi, the same parsha we read this week.

Their names were Zev Yosef a"h and Rachel a"h.  All of those names can actually be found in parshat Vayechi.

Yosef - Vayechi 48:1

Rachel - Vayechi 48:7

Zev - Vayechi 49:27

What does it mean?  I have no idea.... but it's pretty cool.

Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Avoid an Evil Eye



"Ben Porat Yosef, Ben Porat Alei Ayin" [Vayechi 49:22].

Rashi says that this means that Yosef will multiply and be beyond the reach of Ayin Hara [the evil eye]. As a reward for not taking his master's wife, no one will be able, through jealously, to inflict any harm on what belongs to him.

The Shulchan Gavo'a brings from Rav Eliyahu Dessler that no matter how rich a person is, no one is ever jealous of a totally selfless person whose whole life is about giving. An element of jealousy stems from the intended or even unintended flaunting of oneself before others.

Yaakov gave Ephraim and Menashe a bracha "V'Yidgu LaRov" - they should multiply like fish. There are two attributes of fish that Yaakov had in mind. Fish are not seen from the dry land. Moreover the fish live a life totally separated from the inhabitants of the land. They don't compete with them in any way. That is why the Ayin Hara does not affect them.

If a person lives a life of Yosef, where he doesn't want what doesn't belong to him, and he lives and enjoys his material assets out of the public eye, he too will not suffer from any unwanted evil eyes.

Source: Rav Eliyahu Dessler

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

In Pursuit of Truth

Art Mike Worrall



"Tzedek, Tzedek shall you pursue, that you may live and inherit the earth." [Deut 16:20]

"Pursuit" in Scripture is usually in order to destroy, as in "Five of you shall pursue a hundred" [Lev. 26:8].  Why, then, are we told to pursue tzedek - truth - as if it were an evil that we wish to eradicate?

There are times when we must keep away from the truth.

G-d asked Abraham: "Why did Sarah laugh, saying "Will I really give birth, when I have become old?" [Genesis 18:13]. Actually, Sarah had said that Abraham was old [Gen 18:12].  G-d changed the report for the sake of harmony between the two.

Why did G-d mention age at all?

To teach us to use falsehood when necessary for peace.  Being overly "righteous" about it is forbidden.

There are times when truth destroys and falsehood builds.

This is demonstrated by the very word שׁקר - "falsehood". Two of its letters stand on a single base, making them unstable.  Why, though, is the first letter - - sometimes formed with a stable base?  To show that we should not always discard falsehood. On occasion it is necessary.

Returning to our verse: "Tzedek, tzedek shall you pursue, so that you may live and inherit the earth".  The first tzedek means "charity" or "kindness".  The second means "truth". (Tzedek bears both meanings in Biblical Hebrew).  Our verse hints that truth is to bring charity and kindness in its wake.  Sometimes, charity and kindness require you to "pursue" and banish truth.  When?  "So that you may live" - when life is at stake.

If a critically ill person asks you how he looks, don't reply: "You look as if your condition is deteriorating."  That might hasten his death.  Lie and say: "You look as if you are on your way to recovery."  His joy at hearing this may help him recover.

You may also have to banish truth to bring peace.

Let's say Reuven sent a messenger to pick something up from Shimon, whose response was to curse Reuven.  Afterward, Reuven asks his messenger "What did Shimon say?"  To prevent a feud, Shimon must refrain from telling him the truth.

Pursue truth "and inherit the earth" - banish truth to bring peace, which preserves the earth.

Source: Od Yosef Hai, Derushim Shoftim - Ben Ish Chai

Monday, December 3, 2018

Kabbalah of the Dreidel

The Dreidel Players: Elena Flevora
There are four letters on the dreydel. נ - Nun, ג - Gimel, ה - Hay, and שׁ - Shin - These letters stand for "Nes Gadol Haya Sham" - "A great miracle happened there".
[In Eretz Yisrael it is a פ - Peh instead of the Shin: A great miracle happened here.]

The four letters stand for:

a) the four parts of man - Nefesh [soul], Guf [body], Seichel [intellect], HaKol [all the rest].

b) the four foundations of the world - fire, water, wind and earth

c) the four nations that put us in exile - Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome.  The four letters on the dreydel have the gematria of Moshiach [358].  This is also the gematria of Hashem is King etc. Chanukah is the season when the possibility exists for the light of Mashiach to burst forth. Then, man and the world will be restored to harmonious relationship and the last and most bitter exile of Rome will draw to a to a close, and we will see the fulfillment of the verse that Hashem will be King forever. [Bnei Yissaschar]

Chanukah and Purim have much in common. They are two holidays which will enjoy an exalted status when Mashiach comes. They were celebrations which were decreed by the Rabbis to commemorate events that took place in their time. Since the faith of the Jewish people were instrumental in bringing these holidays about, the Holidays of the Torah will pale in comparison to them, like a flashlight shining on a sunny day.

Both days have their special instrument. Purim the gregger, Chanukah the dreydel. Their use is indicative of the nature of the holiday.

Purim's gregger we hold from below to symbolize that the great Teshuva on the Jews provided an initiative from below which caused the divine initiative to bring about the miracle.

On Chanukah we use a dreydel which we hold from above to symbolize that the principle initiative for the miracle came from above, and our actions brought it to fruition.

Source: Nishmas