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Be'halot'cha 5764

Be'halot'cha (Numbers 8-12 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   I once offered a young man the opportunity to meet my good friend and renowned author and speaker, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin. The young man was a bit nervous,"But, what should I say to him?" I asked the young man, "Do you have any questions about life that you would like answered?" When he replied "No," I then suggested, "Well, then why not ask Rabbi Pliskin, 'What is the secret of life?' " The young man became very excited (perhaps at the thought that he might play "Stump the Rabbi") and anxiously walked with me to meet Rabbi Pliskin to ask his question.

Why did I suggest this question? Well, recently I saw a Ziggy cartoon with a young man climbing a steep mountain to ask the guru, "What is the secret of life?" And the guru answered, "Before I tell you, have you heard about Amway?" I knew that Rabbi Pliskin was not into Amway or selling "Kabbalah water" so not only was it safe to ask him this question, but with his sharp mind and keen sense of humor, his answer would be worth hearing. I wasn't disappointed!

"Breathing," replied Rabbi Pliskin. "Breathe in and breathe out. As long as you keep breathing you will be alive." Then Rabbi Pliskin continued, "The other secret to life is attitude. Life is how you decide to view it. I once read about a person going through a toll booth and the attendant had his radio blasting music and was dancing. He asked him, 'What's the occassion?' and the attendant answered, 'I'm having a party!' A few weeks later the driver went through the same toll booth and the same attendant had his radio blasting music and was dancing. The driver asked him, 'Why are you having another party?' He smiled and said, "Mister, every day is a party. Life is a party. You have to celebrate!"

King Solomon in his great wisdom tells us the secret of a high quality life:

"Every day in the life of a poor person is bad. And for a person with a good heart, life is constant parties." (Proverbs 15:15)

A "poor person" refers to one who has a poor attitude. He keeps thinking about what is wrong and what is missing. So for him every day is distress and misery. The person with a "good heart" refers to someone who is constantly grateful and appreciative for all the good in his life. When you master this attitude your life will be full of moments of joy and celebration.

When you master joy for the good in your life, you will be able to be appreciative of each and every breath. So breathing will not only keep you alive, it will also give you what to celebrate. And since every moment of life is a moment of breathing, you will radiate joy!

If you are breathing while you are reading this, celebrate your ability to breathe and celebrate life!

Torah Portion of the Week

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 rebel twice against the Almighty's leadership. The second time they complain about the boring taste of the manna and the lack of meat in the desert. The Almighty sends a massive quantity of quail and those who had rebelled die.

Moshe asks his father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro) to travel with them in the desert, but Yitro returns to Midian. (It has been said that the difference between in-laws and outlaws, is that at least outlaws are wanted ... Of course, in this case the father-in-law was wanted.)

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 is missing things and times when he is suffering. That is a time for action and prayer.

Complaining 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.

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There are those who view
the cup half full and there are those
who view it half empty ...
and there are those whose point of view
depends whether they are
pouring or drinking!

To Share the Joy
of our Marriage
Ellen Goldman & Sam Savage
May you and yours be blessed

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