> Ekev

Ekev 5772

Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Do you want to be happy? It's a silly question! It's what we all seek. However, we make mistakes going after comfort and indulgence thinking that it will lead to happiness. It is ironic that if one stops chasing happiness and instead seeks to do the right thing -- chances are that he will be happy. Happiness is a state of mind -- how one views what happens to him. I asked noted author and teacher Rabbi Zelig Pliskin for some ideas to help us bring greater happiness into our lives ... and the world! You can get his book Happiness at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.



  1. Realize that happiness is a choice. You create happiness by thinking thoughts that create happiness in your own mind.
  2. Be grateful for all that you can be grateful for. Each and every day you will have things to be grateful for.
  3. Every happy and joyful moment that you've ever experienced is stored in your brain. Your brain is always with you. So you can relive your happiest and most joyful moments at any given time you choose. Choose to do so frequently.
  4. The way you personally evaluate any given situation and occurrence is the key factor for your emotional reaction. Master the ability to view situations and occurrences in positive, growth-filled ways. Keep asking yourself, "What is good about this and how can I grow from this?"
  5. Make meaningful goals. Take action. Be patient and persistent. Rejoice every step of the way towards those goals.
  6. Grow from each challenge you face. The greater the challenge, the more you grow. Appreciate the opportunity.
  7. Celebrate your personal character victories and you will have much to celebrate. Be resilient when you make a mistake. Resilience leads to many victories.
  8. See the good in other people and treat them kindly. They will usually reciprocate. You will live a happier life whether or not they reciprocate.
  9. This moment is the only moment that exists. Be joyful this moment. Learn from the past. Prepare for the future. And live joyfully in the present.
  10. Appreciate being alive so intensely that all the trivial and minor things that don't go the way you wish are irrelevant and inconsequential. The thought that reverberates in your mind will be, "I am joyful that I am alive right now."
  11. Smile and wave to mirrors. They like it and are guaranteed to reciprocate. This habit will ensure that you will always see a smiling face whenever you choose to look in a mirror.
  12. Learn from every joyful person you see. Talk and walk the way a joyful person does and you too will be joyful.
  13. Spend time with positive people. Being around an authentically happy person will make you happier. Be so happy yourself that your happiness is contagious.
  14. See the humor in challenges and potential difficulties. Laugh even before you see the humor and the humor will come to you.
  15. If needless negative thoughts come to your mind, just let them flow by as the water in a flowing river. Choose to flow in a positive mental direction.
  16. Whenever you hear a telephone ring, say enthusiastically, "I am grateful I am alive and I am grateful I can hear."
  17. Create inner music in your mind and create positive inner self-talk.
  18. Make a personalized positive recording for you to listen to. Write a list of statements that you would like to hear over and over again. Make the recording in your own voice. Play it frequently.
  19. Take mental vacations whenever you wish. Visualize the most beautiful scenery possible. Close your eyes and see yourself being in your utopian spot. Allow yourself to release all stress and tension. Feel the happiness of knowing that this paradise is yours.
  20. Bring happiness to as many people as you can!


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Torah Portion of the Week

Moshe continues his discourse guaranteeing the Jewish people prosperity and good health if they follow the mitzvot, the commandments. He reminds us to look at our history and to know that we can and should trust in God. However, we should be careful so that we are not distracted by our material success, lest we forget and ignore God.

Moshe warns us against idolatry (the definition of idolatry is the belief that anything other than God has power) and against self-righteousness ("Do not say because of my virtue that God brought me to occupy this land ... but because of the wickedness of these nations that God is driving them out before you.") He then details our rebellions against God during the 40 years in the desert and the giving of the Second Tablets (Moshe broke the first Tablets containing the Ten Commandments during the sin of the Golden Calf.)

This week's portion dispels a common misconception. People think that "Man does not live by bread alone" means that a person needs additional foods beyond bread to survive. The quotation in its entirety is, "Man does not live by bread alone ... but by all that comes out of God's mouth" (Deut. 8:3).

The Torah then answers a question which every human being has asked of himself: What does God want of you? "Only that you remain in awe of God your Lord, so that you will follow all His paths and love Him, serving God your Lord with all your heart and with all your soul. You must keep God's commandments and decrees ... so that all good will be yours" (Deut. 10:12).

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

In this week's portion there is a warning for us not to forget the Almighty when we become prosperous and when we think "my strength and the power of my hand made me all this wealth" (verse 8:17). The Torah tells us in this section that the sufferings and afflictions which we suffered in the 40 years in Sinai desert were given "in order to test you, to do good for you in your end" (Deuteronomy 8:16). What does this mean?

The Chofetz Chaim comments that the affliction of the Israelites was in order to test them out to see if they would behave in an elevated manner even though they had difficulties. The Hebrew term nasoscho, which means "test" also means "to be elevated." Both concepts fit together. When someone acts in an elevated manner when he has difficult life-tests, he becomes elevated. This concept applies to each individual in each generation. This is especially so when you suffer while doing the Almighty's will. Our lesson: Rather than complain, look at ways to improve our character and traits when faced with adversity.


(or go to

Jerusalem 6:52
Guatemala 6:09 - Hong Kong 6:41 - Honolulu 6:47
J'Burg 5:26 - London 8:15 - Los Angeles 7:27
Melbourne 5:22 - Mexico City 7:50 - Miami 7:43
New York 7:42 - Singapore 6:57 - Toronto 8:10


Happiness is not doing what you enjoy,
but enjoying what you do


AISH FACT:  Aish HaTorah Los Angeles created SpeedDating. A group of students were bemoaning the dating situation -- the difficulty of meeting someone, the pain of being set up with someone who after 2 minutes you know that you do not want to spend the next 2 hours with the person. One student pined, "If only I could have 5 minutes with a selection of prospects, I'd know who I would want to ask out!" And the rest is history -- except that Aish never protected the legal rights to the name and concept ...


In Loving Memory of My Mother

Rae Zuckerman
Rachel bas Rav Yakov

Sol & Anna Zuckerman


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