Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 )
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 JudaicaEnterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.
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).
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.
CANDLE LIGHTING - August 10
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
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
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Happiness is not doing what you enjoy,
but enjoying what you do
In Loving Memory of My Mother
Sol & Anna Zuckerman