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Ki Tetzei 5776

Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  With Rosh HaShanah soon coming upon us, last week we began how to get your prayers answered from Rabbi Noah Weinberg in Wisdom for Living by Rabbis Nechemia and Yitzchak Coopersmith.

We covered 1) Get Clear on Your Bottom Line: Is What You Want Good for You? and 2) Be Responsible, Make an Effort. We now continue with ...

Five Aspects to Being Real with Prayer

3) Expect the Good

Being real about prayer means we realize we are praying to our Father in Heaven Who wants only our good and has the power to do anything. Therefore, we should anticipate that God wants to help us. Anything we ask for is infinitesimally less than what the Almighty has already given to us.

If we do not expect that God will answer our prayer, God will not invade our space and shock us with success. He wants us to earn the realization that He is our Father in Heaven and that we can always count on Him. By turning our prayer down, God is telling us that we have a problem that needs addressing; we need to realign.

If you don't anticipate God's help, then you have lost sight of God as your Father. So God breaks the flow in order to realign your focus.

Focus on the fact that the Almighty wants everything to be good for you. When you do that, He'll move mountains to answer a prayer that is good for you.

4) Be Shocked if You Don't Get It

Nothing God does is an accident. If things do not go smoothly for you, your first reaction should be one of shock. "What's going on? Why is God doing this? What message does He want me to get?"

The Almighty knows how to get our attention. When we forget that He loves us, He sends us a message to refocus us.

God is not hurt when we ignore Him. We are. God has no needs and doesn't need a relationship with us. It is we who need a relationship with Him. Our greatest pleasure is being in touch with God. That's why He arranges small mishaps to get our attention. It is all for our own benefit.

5) Listen to God's Lessons

If you are serious about a relationship with God, then you understand that God is always teaching you, even when He does not answer your prayer in the affirmative.

When life is suddenly full of inconveniences, stop and ask: Why is He trying to get my attention? In some ways this is the most demanding aspect, because it requires us to hold onto the perception that God is our Father in Heaven and that everything He does is for our good, even when we are feeling pain. Saying with clarity and conviction, "Gam zu l'tovah, this too is for the good," with no resentment and bitterness, demonstrates the deepest realization that God is our loving Father.

If we are unable to say "Gam zu l'tovah" (this also is for the good) with a full heart, then it is almost impossible for us to properly hear what God is saying to us. God is very articulate, but if we lose sight of the fact that He is our Father in Heaven, then our relationship is off kilter and any lesson we derive will necessarily be distorted. With the awareness that the Almighty loves us, we can take stock of this area of our life and try to understand what the Almighty is telling us.

In summary, the mitzvah to pray is referred to by our Sages as "avodah shebelev" - service of the heart. (See Rambam, Hilchos Tefillah 1:1.) Prayer is an avodah (literally: work); it takes real effort. It requires getting into your bones that the Almighty is your Father in Heaven Who loves you.

Know what you want and why you want it, and ensure that what you are seeking is in fact good for you. Take responsibility and put in your effort. Expect the good and be shocked if things do not go smoothly. Ask yourself, why is the Almighty trying to get my attention? And lastly, strive to understand the lesson the Almighty is sending you. Ask yourself: What is He teaching me?

Applying these tools to the daily prayers will transform your relationship with the Almighty.


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Torah Portion of the week

Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10 -- 25:19

Topics in this week's portion include: Women Captives, First-Born's Share, The Rebellious Son, Hanging and Burial, Returning Lost Articles, The Fallen Animal, Transvestitism, The Bird's Nest, Guard-Rails, Mixed Agriculture, Forbidden Combinations, Bound Tassels, Defamed Wife, Penalty for Adultery, Betrothed Maiden, Rape, Unmarried Girl, Mutilated Genitals, Mamzer, Ammonites & Moabites, Edomites & Egyptians, The Army Camp, Sheltering Slaves, Prostitution, Deducted Interest, Keeping Vows, Worker in a Vineyard, Field Worker, Divorce and Remarriage, New Bridegroom, Kidnapping, Leprosy, Security for Loans, Paying Wages on Time, Testimony of Close Relatives, Widows and Orphans, Forgotten Sheaves, Leftover Fruit, Flogging, The Childless Brother-in-Law, Weights and Measures, Remembering What Amalek Did to Us.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"You shall surely send away the mother bird, and the fledglings take for yourself, in order that it shall be good for you and you shall live a long life" (Deut. 22:7).

Why does the Torah promise a good and long life for fulfilling this mitzvah (commandment)?

The Ramban (Moshe Nachmanides) explains that this mitzvah will implant in a person the attribute of empathy and compassion. Acting in a compassionate manner will enable you to feel empathy.

The Ksav Sofer (Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Sofer) notes that the Sages in the Talmud (Pesachim 113b) teach that three kinds of people are not considered as really living: 1) those with a strong degree of compassion 2) those who constantly become angry 3) those who are finicky.

Rabbi Sofer elucidates: When someone empathizes strongly with the pain and suffering of others, he will suffer himself whenever he hears about the suffering of others, especially when he is unable to do anything to alleviate the other person's suffering, as is frequently the case. Therefore, after the Almighty commands us to have compassion on birds in order that we should grow in this trait, He guarantees that through this we will still live a good and long life. For many years you will be able to help a larger number of people and this will increase your days instead of shortening them. The more you feel for others, the more elevated you become.


HELP ISRAELI SOLDIERS --  Friends of Israeli Defense Forces are raising funds for the support and care of Israeli soldiers with a Bikeathon in Israel. Aish rabbi, Alon Tolwin, is flying from Detroit to Israel to ride over 400 miles to help raise funds to give his support. Show your support for Israel and the soldiers by clicking here.

Candle Lighting Times

September 16
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Quote of the Week

Triumph is just "umph" added to try



In Loving Memory of
David L. Egozi, MD
In Memory of
Andrea Goldstein

with great love,
Dr. Harold Goldstein

1 2 3 2,897

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