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V'etchanan 5764

V'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   Last week I spoke with a person who would like to be married. I asked, "How's it going?" The person replied, "Great! I've narrowed it down to three people!"

In my mind, I immediately thought of my decision to buy a PDA (personal digital assistant): Do I buy the Palm Tungsten, the Sony Clio with the jog dial on the side or should I go for the Dell Pocket PC for the extra money, but the wi-fi connection? Somehow it seems to me that choosing a spouse should be a directed activity, but not a comparison shop.

If one wants to get married, then it is important to understand what love and marriage is (you'll definitely want to buy The Death of Cupid by Braverman and Apisdorf - available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242), to have a prioritized list of character traits and qualities important to you and then to seek that person where s/he will be found. If one wants a lover of opera, then attend the opera and join an opera society. If one wants someone Jewish interested in our heritage, then go to your local Aish branch!

Ultimately, we want to find somebody we respect and admire, whose character we can live with as it is now (as opposed to figuring that we can make the person over in our own image) and who shares the same life goals and priorities. I highly recommend the audio series "Get the Ring" for a series of CD's with great wisdom on choosing a spouse - available at

Here are some questions developed by my dear friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin,
that one should ask him/herself before deciding to marry someone. Please
feel free to copy it and give to those you care about.


  1. What are my major reasons for wanting to marry this person?

  2. Why do I think that I will have a good marriage if I marry this person?

  3. What are my major expectations about this person after marriage? Is he or she aware of these expectations?

  4. How does my potential spouse view my role in marriage?

  5. Do I know this person's: (a) goals and aspirations, (b) main strengths, (c) main weaknesses?

  6. What do I like/dislike about this person?

  7. In what ways are we similar/different? What difficulties will be caused by differences?

  8. What is my ideal picture of the person I wish to marry? Is this person similar/different?

  9. What positive traits are most important in the person I marry? Does the person have/not have these traits?

  10. What negative traits would I not want in the person I marry? Does the person have them?

  11. Which of my negative traits is the person not aware of? What will the reaction be?

  12. Does the person accept the real me?

  13. Am I hoping this person will change in important areas after marriage? On what do I base this hope? If the person doesn't change, then what?

  14. In what ways do we think alike/different?

  15. In what ways are our family backgrounds similar/different? What difficulties can arise?

  16. What faults & weaknesses in myself might be at the root of my wanting to marry this person?

  17. Do I have any inner feelings that I am likely making a mistake?

  18. Are there external pressures influencing my decision? Would I marry the person anyway?

  19. How does the person bring out my virtues and strengths/faults and weaknesses?

  20. Which reliable and unbiased people have I consulted or could I
    consult about this person?

Torah Portion of the Week

Moshe pleads with God to enter the Holy Land, but is turned down. (Remember, God always answers your prayers - sometimes with a "yes," sometimes with a "no" and sometimes with a "not yet.") Moshe commands the Children of Israel not to add or subtract from the words of the Torah and to keep all of the Commandments. He then reminds them that God has no shape or form and that we should not make or worship idols of any kind.

The cities of Bezer, Ramot and Golan are designated as Cities of Refuge east of the Jordan river. Accidental murderers can escape there to avoid revengeful relatives. They then await there until tried.

The Ten Commandments are repeated to the whole Jewish people. Moshe then expounds the Shema, affirming the unity of God, Whom all should love and transmit His commandments to the next generation. A man should wear Tefillin upon the arm and head. All Jews should put a Mezuzah (the scroll is the essential part) upon each doorpost of their home (except the bathroom).

Moshe then relays the Almighty's command not to intermarry "for
will lead your children away from Me."
(Deut. 7:3-4)


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah records that the Almighty said about the Israelites:

"Who will ensure that the heart that you have now shall continue to fear Me and to observe all of My commandments all the days, in order to do good for you and your children forever." (Deut. 5:26)

The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 5a) states that Moshe said to the Israelites, "You are ungrateful (because they didn't ask the Almighty to ensure that their hearts continue to fear Him) and the descendants of someone who is ungrateful (Adam complained that the woman the Almighty gave to him caused him to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge).

Tosfos explains that they didn't want to ask the Almighty to give them this elevated heart because they didn't want to feel grateful towards Him. This teaches us two concepts about gratitude: (1) Whenever you complain about what the Almighty has given you - it shows a lack of gratitude. (2) People will try to avoid feeling grateful. They don't want to be beholden -they think it lowers their self-esteem.

In relationships - particularly with our spouse - we must show gratitude. It not only is an elevated character trait, but it builds a closeness when one recognizes the good one has received.

SOMETHING UNIQUE - and very clever! My friend and Aish colleague, Rabbi
Shmuel Veffer, has invented a light you can turn on and off on Shabbat
according to Jewish law! Get the details at

CONGRESSMAN ALCEE HASTING - Monday, August 2, 12 PM, NACPAC Lunch, Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale Airport Hotel (Dcota), $35 members/$50 non-members, RSVP 305-358-9207, learn more at

BLUE AND WHITE FUND - a great way to support Israel by buying a mutual fund that invests in Israeli businesses! A great Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift to tie a young person to Israel! Check out or call 877-4BW-FUND - and then ask your financial adviser!

(or Go to

Jerusalem  7:02
Guatemala 6:12  Hong Kong 6:46  Honolulu 6:51
J'Burg 5:22  London 8:31  Los Angeles 7:37
Melbourne 5:10  Miami 7:48  Moscow 8:20

New York 7:54  Singapore  6:59


Opportunity is missed by most people
because it is dressed in overalls
and looks like work.
--  Thomas Edison

In Loving Memory of
by Richard & Susan Finkelstein

To My Loving and
Ever So Funny Husband
Happy 50th Anniversary
Denise Matlin

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