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Be'halot'cha 5778

Be'halot'cha (Numbers 8-12 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  Whenever I would visit New York I would get together with my old friend, Walter. We would go Le Marais restaurant for the perfect steak. A few years ago my travels brought me to New York. Walter picked me up ... and took me to a salad bar! "Walter" I asked, "what are we doing here? Salad is not food ... salad is what real food (our steak) eats! Salad is just a promissory note that food is coming!"

My friend gently smiled and told me how he had changed his diet to a primarily raw food organic vegan diet -- and lost 50 pounds, no longer needed to take insulin, was filled with energy, vim and vigor and had a better outlook in life.

What prompted my friend to such a drastic change? He heard about a Holistic Health Spa in San Diego called the Optimum Health Institute and decided to check out its 3 week body, mind and spirit program. He shared with me how many people attended the program to strengthen their immune system and to seek -- you guessed it -- optimum health!

While it is not my intent to promote or advertise, there are two mitzvot of the Torah that compel me to share with you information that may prove helpful, if not life-saving for you or a loved one.

There is only one mitzvah of the 613 mitzvot that the Torah uses the language "Very much". One is commanded by the Almighty "to guard one's life very much" (Deut. 4:15). This includes living a healthy life style, eating healthy food, exercising, removing stress from your life all the way to brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing! (Interestingly, the AARP Bulletin reports that "The only diet proven by medical studies to correlate to a longer life with less risk of heart or brain disease is one that's high in unprocessed plant-based foods.")

C.S. Lewis put it well, "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." The body is the vessel that allows us to fulfill the commandments of the Torah. It is a gift. We are obligated to take care of it to the best of our abilities. A fascinating book, To Your Health by Yechezkel Ishayek sets forth the Torah way to a healthy life.

The second mitzvah is "Do not stand idly by while your neighbor's blood is shed" (Lev. 19:16). The date of March 13, 1964 is seared upon my soul. That was the day that Kitty Genovese was murdered in New York City. The initial story related that 38 neighbors watched and did nothing as the murderer returned twice to kill her. (Later investigations revealed that the police were summoned twice, but didn't respond.) The nation was horrified. I was horrified. I resolved never to rely on someone else to take action when someone needs help.

As a rabbi, people consult me for comfort, direction and advice. It is not unusual that people ignore advice -- especially if it goes against their desires and predilections. (Fortunately, my grandfather prepared me for this; he always reminded me, "Free advice is worth what you pay for it.")

When people tell me that they have cancer, I suggest that they read Radical Remission -- Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Dr. Kelly A.Turner. Dr. Turner was fascinated by people who went into complete remission after being told by their doctors that there was nothing to be done for them -- not radiation, chemo or surgery -- and they should put their affairs in order. She studied 1,000 cases and found 9 factors in common to the radical remissions. If you know anyone who has cancer and whose doctor has taken away their hope, you might suggest this book.

I also suggest OHI -- Optimum Health Institute, (In Israel there is Alummot, ). In the times I have been at OHI I have met many people who were told by their doctors that there is no possible treatment and that their death is imminent -- and they are alive, healthy, energetic and ... cancer-free 5, 10 and 20 years later. Rather than sit back and wait to die, they chose to be pro-active. The body naturally wants to heal. When one cuts his finger the body naturally heals it. OHI gives people the food and the tools to strengthen their immune system to regain their health. Many people go to OHI to learn how to live a healthy life-style and avoid those problems people think are inevitable with old age.

May you and yours be blessed with long life and good health!


Torah Portion of the week

Beha'alosecha, Numbers 8:1 - 12:16

Aharon is commanded in the lighting of the Menorah, the Levites purify themselves for service in the Tabernacle (they trained from age 25-30 and served from age 30-50). The first Pesach is celebrated since leaving Egypt. The Almighty instructs the Jewish people to journey into the desert whenever the ever-present cloud lifts from above the Tabernacle and to camp where it rests. Moshe is instructed to make two silver trumpets to be sounded before battle or to proclaim a Yom Tov (a holiday).

The people journey to the wilderness of Paran during which time they rebelled twice against the Almighty's leadership. The second time they complain about the boring taste of the maneh and the lack of meat in the desert. The Almighty sends a massive quantity of quail and those who rebelled died.

Moshe asks his father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro) to travel with them in the desert, but Yitro returns to Midian.

Miriam, Moshe's sister, speaks lashon hora (defaming words) about Moshe. She is struck with Tzora'as (the mystical skin disease which indicated that a person spoke improperly about another person) and is exiled from the camp for one week.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the people were complaining in a bad way in the ears of the Almighty" (Numbers 11:1).

Why were the people complaining?

Rashi comments that when the people were complaining, they had no real cause to complain; they were just looking for an excuse to separate themselves from the Almighty. By finding what would sound like a complaint, they felt justified in keeping a distance from the Creator.

When someone realizes all that the Almighty does for him, he will not have a complaining attitude. There are times when a person has unfulfilled needs and times when he is suffering. That is a time for action and prayer.

Complaining, however, is wrong. The underlying theme behind a complainer is not necessarily that he wants the situation to improve, but that he wants to have the benefits of complaining -- to feel free from the obligations for all the good that the other person (or the Almighty) has done. Ultimately, a person who goes through life complaining does not appreciate the good in his life.

When one focuses only on what he is missing, he blinds himself to what he does have. No matter how much you do have, there will always be something to complain about if you look hard enough. This attitude is not merely a means by which a person causes himself a miserable existence. It is a direct contradiction to our obligation to be grateful to the Almighty. Anyone having this negative attitude must make a concerted effort to build up the habit of appreciating what he has and what happens to him. This is crucial for both spiritual reasons and for happiness in life. This especially applies to one's relationship with his or her spouse!


Candle Lighting Times

June 1
(or go to

Jerusalem 7:05
Guatemala 6:10 - Hong Kong 6:46 - Honolulu 6:52
J'Burg 5:06 - London 8:50 - Los Angeles 7:42
Melbourne 4:51 - Mexico City 7:53 - Miami 7:50
New York 8:03 - Singapore 6:50 - Toronto 8:34

Quote of the Week

When you eat right -- you eat your food.
When you eat wrong -- your food eats you.
--  Vilna Gaon



In Loving Memory of

Minny Kapilivsky

Beloved Wife
Mother & Grandmother
--  Mark & Sara Vogel

In Loving Memory of

Shmuel ben
Berel Leib

The Manger Family



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