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GOOD MORNING! The Jewish people, the Almighty, the Torah and Eretz Yisroel (The Land of Israel). For more than 3,300 years we've been bound together. Did you ever wonder what the Sages taught us about how special is the Land of Israel? Here is a compilation from The Mitzvah to Live in Eretz Israel:
"There is no love like the love for the Land of Israel" -- Bamidbar Rabba 23:7.
"There is no Torah like the Torah of the Land of Israel" -- Bereshit Rabba 16,7.
"The air of the Land of Israel makes one wise" -- Talmud, Bava Batra 158b.
"There are 10 portions of Torah in the world: 9 in the Land of Israel and 1 in the rest of the world" -- Esther Rabba 1.
"If you desire to see the Shechina (Divine Presence) in this world, study Torah in the Land of Israel" -- Midrash Tehillim 105.
"It is preferable to dwell in the deserts of the Land of Israel than the palaces outside of Israel" -- Bereshit Rabba 39:8.
"Why did Moshe Rabbenu (Moses, our teacher) yearn to enter the Land of Israel? Did he need to eat its fruits, or to satisfy himself from its bounty? Rather, Moshe said: The people of Israel have been given many commandments, and they cannot be fulfilled except in the Land of Israel" -- Talmud Sota 14.
"Fortunate is he who merits in his life to make his residence in the Holy Land"-- Zohar HaKadosh III 72b.
"Living in the Land of Israel is the equivalent to all the mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah" -- Sifrei, Parshat Re'eh, Tosefta Avoda Zara 5).
"There is no happiness until the Jewish people are settled in the Holy Land" -- Zohar HaKadosh, Bamidbar.
The Ramban, Nachmanides, writes that "We are commanded to take possession of the Land God gave to our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). We must not leave it to others or in desolation, as God told them, 'And you will take possession of the land, for I gave the Land to you to possess and you will settle the Land which I promised to your fathers' (Deut. 17:14, 26:1)."
The Sefer Chareidim teaches that "Those outside the Land, be they far or near, should urgently desire and long for this Land, for just as He chose them, so too did He choose this Land, and they will never be called 'one nation,' except inside it, as the Zohar explains the verse 'Who is like your people Israel -- one nation in the Land.' "
Lastly, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov wrote and frequently prayed this prayer: "Please Almighty, be good to me according to Your will, and give with compassion and kindness and as a free gift, that I will soon merit to come to the Land of Israel, the Holy Land, the Land our forefathers inherited, the Land which all the tzadikim (righteous ones), with all their soul wished and desired to be there ... in the center of holiness of all the world. Almighty, purify me in Your great compassion that I will have and all of the Jewish people will have desire and longing and real intentions to come to the Land of Israel, easily and soon, for You know my necessity, how much I need to be in the Land of Israel."
Israel is far more than just a country or a refuge for the Jewish people -- it is an integral part of our spiritual destiny!
Bo,Exodus 10:1 -13:16
This week we conclude the ten plagues with the plagues of locusts, darkness and the death of the first-born. The laws of Passover are presented, followed by the commandment to wear tefillin, consecrate the first-born animal and redeem one's first born son. The Torah tells us that at some time in the future your son will ask you about these commandments and you will answer: "With a show of power, God brought us out of Egypt, the place of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us leave, God killed all the first-born in Egypt, man and beast alike. I, therefore, offer to God all male first-born (animals) and redeem all the first-born of sons. And it shall be a sign upon your arm, and an ornament between your eyes (Tefillin), for with a strong hand the Almighty removed us from Egypt." (Ex. 13:15)
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And the locusts came up on the entire land of Egypt and they rested within the entire boundary of Egypt -- it was very severe; before this there were never as many locusts and afterwards there will never again be as much" (Exodus 10:14).
Rashi brings to light a challenging question: How does one rectify this verse in light of the verse in the book of the prophet Yoel that there was such a strong plague of locusts in his day that there were never as many locusts (Joel 2:2)?
The Chasam Sofer answers: It is true that in the days of Yoel there were more locusts than there were in Egypt. However, that is only in actual numbers of locusts. In Egypt, the relative damage done by the locusts after the devastation by other plagues (like the hail) that destroyed much of the vegetation was greater than any other time.
The underlying idea expressed by the Chasam Sofer gives us some insight into understanding the difficulties that others are suffering. Better yet, it shows us how we can never completely understand the suffering of another person. When someone suffers because of some event, the actual pain is subjective rather than objective. This means that the pain suffered because of anything that happens is proportionate to what the situation means to the person who is suffering.
When someone reacts to a situation with more suffering than you think is justified, there is always the possibility that this situation represents for that person "the straw that breaks the camel's back" -- because of previous experiences. When someone reacts very strongly to some matter, ask the person, "What does this mean to you?" This empathetic question will help you understand that person better and possibly enable you to help him.
A story to illustrate: Once when Rabbi Dovid of Lelov was walking in the street, a woman mistook him for her husband who had abandoned her, and started to beat him. As soon as she calmed down, she realized her mistake and apologized profusely.
"I made a mistake out of my deep sorrow and suffering," she cried out. "How will I ever be forgiven for having been violent to a righteous person?"
"Please calm yourself," the Rabbi replied. "You didn't really hit me, but rather your husband and that is understandable under the unfortunate circumstances."
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Guatemala 5:34 - Hong Kong 5:42 - Honolulu 5:52
J'Burg 6:46 - London 4:03 - Los Angeles 4:49
Melbourne 8:26 - Mexico City 6:01 - Miami 5:33
New York 4:34 - Singapore 6:57 - Toronto 4:48
Failures are divided into two categories --
those who thought and never did ...
and those who did and never thought