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Chukat 5776

Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  In honor of my parents' -- Ray and Dorothy Packouz -- 70th Wedding Anniversary! How do you know whether or not you should marry a person? Many people go by their "gut feelings." The problem is -- sometimes you don't know whether you have a burning heart ... or heart burn. If you can't answer "yes" to the following 3 questions, don't marry the person you're dating:


3 Questions Before You Propose

1. Do I respect this person enough that I want to be more like him/her?

          Respect is crucial in any relationship, particularly marriage. The litmus test for respect is determining if you want to emulate this person. What qualities do you respect in this person? Would you be happy if your child turns out like him/her?

2. If his/her personality and habits stay exactly as they are today, will I be happy 20, 30, 40 years down the road?

          Never marry potential. If you can't be happy with the person the way he or she is now, don't get married. Don't expect to change another person. You'll be frustrated and they'll be resentful. Can you accept this person exactly as they are, for the rest of your life?

3. Do we share common life goals and priorities?

          Sure, chemistry and common interests are important. However, make sure you share the deeper level of connection that comes through sharing life goals. To avoid growing apart after marriage, figure out what you're living for while you're single and then find someone who independently came to the same conclusion as you.

          A soul mate is really a goal mate -- two people who ultimately share the same understanding of life's purpose and therefore share the same priorities, values and goals.

          The majority of marriages today end in divorce. Those who answer "yes" to each of these 3 questions have a good chance in succeeding to build a happy marriage. Those who cannot answer "yes" to all 3 questions are likely entering a marriage that will leave them disappointed, unhappy and single again.


If you are already married -- Here are:


4 Rules for a Happy Marriage

          Rule #1 -- Have no expectations. Expectations are the source of virtually all misery. Almost every young couple believes that there hasn't been a person like he or she is marrying since Adam met Eve. It's hard to live up to an image on a pedestal.

          Rule #2 -- Always focus on your own responsibilities and what you can do for your spouse -- not on your spouse's responsibilities and what you think your spouse should be doing for you. If you see a tissue on the floor or dirty laundry, pick it up; if you don't, then you are leaving it for your spouse.

          Rule #3 -- Appreciate whatever your spouse does and express your appreciation both to your spouse and to the Almighty. Be sincere and frequent in your praise.

          Rule #4 -- Be totally committed to your spouse and to the marriage. Your number 1 responsibility is to make it work. Too many people have one foot out the door or fantasize about "maybe I should have married someone else I dated." My father told me that he and Mom were once awarded a prize on a cruise for the longest marriage amongst the passengers. People asked him, "How did you stay married so many years to the same woman?" My father replied, "When we got married we tied the knot with a square knot, not a slip knot."


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Torah Portion of the week

Chukas, Numbers 19:1 - 22:1

Another week of action, adventure and mystery as the Jewish people wander the desert in their 38th year. First, the laws of the red heifer (Parah Adumah) which was burnt with cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet thread. The ashes were then used in a purification ceremony for those who had come in contact with the dead. Strangely enough, all who were involved in the making of the ashes became ritually impure, but all who were sprinkled with them became ritually pure. It is a lesson that we must do the commandments even if we can't understand them. God decreed the commandments. They are for our benefit. We may not always know why.

Miriam, Moshe's sister and a prophetess, dies. The portable well which had accompanied the Israelites on her merit, ceased to flow. Once again the people rebelled against Moshe and Aharon because of the lack of water. The Almighty tells Moshe to speak to the rock for water. Moshe gets angry and hits the rock and water rushes forth. However, the Almighty punishes Moshe and Aharon for not sanctifying Him by forbidding their entry into the land of Israel. (It pays to follow instructions and to withhold anger!)

Aharon dies. His son, Elazar, is appointed the new High Priest. The Canaanite king of Arad attacks the Israelites and later is soundly defeated. Then there is another rebellion over the food and water which is answered by a plague of poisonous snakes. Moshe prays for the people and is instructed by God to put the image of a snake on a high pole. All who saw it would think of God, repent and live.

The Israelites then annihilate the Amorites and Bashanites who not only would not let us pass peacefully through their lands, but attacked us. There are many questions which need to be asked. Please consult the original work and a good commentary.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

When the Israelites wanted to pass through the land of the Amorites, they sought permission. The Torah states:

"And Israel sent messengers to Sichon, King of the Amorites, saying ..." (Numbers 21:21).

The Midrash says that there are many commandments that the Torah requires us to fulfill when the opportunity arises, but the Torah does not require us to actively pursue the particular situation. However, you are obligated to pursue peace as it is written, "Seek peace and pursue it" (Psalms 34). Therefore, Israel sent messengers to Sichon to seek peace (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:16). Hillel said, "Be a disciple of Aharon: love peace and pursue peace, love people and draw them near to the Torah (Pirke Avos 1:12).

All the more so in a marriage. Dr. David Lieberman writes, " 'Giving in' is not about being selfless, but about being sensible. You can be right or you can be happy. You can't always be both." A man once shared with me that he stopped trying to win every discussion with his wife when he realized that if he won that meant that his wife lost -- and he didn't want to be married to a loser!


Candle Lighting Times

July 15
(or go to

Jerusalem 7:10
Guatemala 6:17 - Hong Kong 6:53 - Honolulu 6:58
J'Burg 5:16 - London 8:53 - Los Angeles 7:47
Melbourne 5:02 - Mexico City 8:00 - Miami 7:56
New York 8:08 - Singapore 6:58 - Toronto 8:38

Quote of the Week

Three Secrets for a Happy Marriage:

1) Give    2) Give more    3) Give in

--  Rabbi Paysach Krohn



Happy 70th Anniversary
Ray & Dorothy Packouz

Love, Your Children
& Grandchildren

In Loving Memory of
Daniel Stern

Andrew Stern
& Family


In Loving Memory of
Arthur Weiss
Asher ben Leib

With deep appreciation,
Geoff Frisch

In Loving Memory of
Seymour Deutsch
Shimon ben Ya'akov

Jerry Deutsch

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