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Shmini 5773

Shmini (Leviticus 9-11 )

by Kalman Packouz

Rabbi Kalman Packouz' popular Jewish weekly.

GOOD MORNING! Several years ago I returned from a meeting to find a Meter Maid (does anyone still use that name?) writing a parking ticket for my car. When she looked up, I smiled and said, "This is my car. When you finish writing the ticket, you may give it to me." She looked completely puzzled ... and then asked in disbelief, "You're not going to yell at me for writing the ticket?" "No," I replied, "I thought I had enough money in the meter. I was wrong. I'm late. I deserve the ticket." She stood in disbelief ... and then she tore up the ticket saying, "All day long people yell and scream at me not to write a ticket; I can't write a ticket to the one person who treats me like a human being."

Life is like a mirror. The people you see reflect back to you the way you present yourself. If you look happy, they will respond buoyantly. If you look upset, they will be cautious or concerned. If you want a joyous life try to be happy around others. It will be easier on them and more enjoyable for you. (Remember, everyone causes happiness ... some when they come, some when they leave.)

The Torah teaches us, "Love your fellow human being as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). It is often translated as "Love your neighbor as yourself." However, Rabbi Mordechai Gifter taught that while the words "neighbor" and "fellow human being" are often used synonymously, in everyday speech the word "neighbor" is used to denote someone living or located nearby, while the obligation of this commandment includes a complete stranger who lives far away.

The general rule for this commandment is that anything you would want others to do for you, you should do for others (Rambam, Hilchos Aivel 14:1). The great Hillel once taught a convert, "That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others. That is the basis of the Torah." (Shabbos 31a). The Baal Shem Tov used to say, "Love your fellow man as yourself -- though you have many faults, nevertheless, you still love yourself. That is how you should feel toward your friend. Despite his faults, love him."

I once saw a handprinted sign written with a marker on a large piece of posterboard. It was on the wall of a 90 year old woman's apartment. I thought that you might enjoy it ... perhaps even benefit from it!



A smile costs nothing ... but gives much. It enriches those who receive it without making poorer those who give it. It takes but a moment. However, the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it. And none is so poor that he can't be made rich by it.

A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business ... and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad. It is Nature's best antidote for trouble.

A smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen. It is something of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours. None needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.


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Torah Portion of the Week

Concluding the 7 days of inauguration for the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), Aaron, the High Priest, brings sacrifices for himself and the entire nation. Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aaron, bring an incense offering on their own initiative, and are consumed by a heavenly fire (perhaps the only time when someone did something wrong and was immediately hit by "lightning").

The Cohanim are commanded not to serve while intoxicated. The inaugural service is completed. God then specifies the species which are kosher to eat: mammals (those that have cloven hoofs and chew their cud), fish (those with fins and scales), birds (certain non-predators), and certain species of locusts. The portion concludes with the laws of spiritual defilement from contact with the carcasses of certain animals.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And these you shall consider an abomination amongst the birds, they shall not be eaten; they are detestable .. and the stork" (Leviticus 11:13,19).

The Talmud (Chulin 63a) states that the Hebrew name for the white stork is chasida, because it acts with kindness, chesed, towards its friends.

The Ramban, Moshe Nachmanides, a great Torah scholar, writes that the birds enumerated in this portion are forbidden for consumption because of their cruelty. Why, then, should the stork be considered "detestable" and an "abomination"? It should be permissible since it does kindness!

The Chidushai Ha-Rim answers: The stork does favors only for its friends. Since it doesn't do chesed for strangers, it is considered not kosher. Chesed, kindness, must be done for everyone, not only one's friends!


(or go to

Jerusalem 6:26
Guatemala 5:57 - Hong Kong 6:16 - Honolulu 6:21
J'Burg 5:42 - London 7:23 - Los Angeles 6:58
Melbourne 6:49 - Mexico City 6:33 - Miami 7:22
New York 7:06 - Singapore 6:53 - Toronto 7:30


Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless


AISH FACT:  Core Values of Aish: 1) Responsibility - The world was created for me. Each of us is responsible to solve the world's problems. 2) Knowing and Living Torah - Torah is the Creator's instructions for living: the ultimate resource to fulfill one's potential and to bring about world perfection. 3) Awareness of God's Presence - God exists, loves us infinitely and is the only true power. 4) Urgency - The Jewish people are in the midst of a spiritual decline with catastrophic consequences and therefore every day counts. 5) Independence - Every Jew must think for himself and constantly strive for truth. 6) Teamwork - Our power as a people and as an organization lies in our unity. Unified, no goal is beyond our reach. 7) Potential for Greatness - Every human being is created in the image of God and has immeasurable potential.


In Loving Memory of
Our Father

Herbert Schnider
(Chaim ben Yosef)

on the anniversary of
his yahrtzeit, 25 Nissan 5674


In Honor of Our Mother

Muriel Schnider

Dr. Stuart & Elizabeth Schnider,
Robin Polansky,
Marissa & Meredith Schnider



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