Acharei Mot-Kedoshim (Leviticus 16-20 )
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GOOD MORNING! Since we have just finished celebrating Pesach and our exodus from Egypt over 3,300 years ago, I thought it might be interesting to look at our impact on the world through the eyes of those who we have impacted! Here are some thoughts for your consideration:
"Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful
man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the
most formidable and the most remarkable race which has
appeared in the world." -- Winston Churchill
"The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven
the everlasting fire, and has illumined with it the entire
world. He is the religious source, spring, and
fountain out of which all the rest of the
peoples have drawn their beliefs and
their religions." -- Leo Tolstoy
"The Jew gave us the Outside and the Inside - our outlook and our
inner life. We can hardly get up in the morning or cross the
street without being Jewish. We dream Jewish dreams
and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in
fact - new, adventure surprise, unique, individual,
person, vocation, time, history, future,
freedom, progress, spirit, faith hope,
justice - are the gifts of the Jews."
-- Thomas Cahill, The Gifts
of the Jews
"It is certain that in certain parts of the world we can see a peculiar
people, separated from the other peoples of the world and this
is called the Jewish people... This people is not only of re-
markable antiquity but has also lasted for a singular long
time... For where as the people of Greece and Italy, of
Sparta, Athens and Rome and others who came so
much later have perished so long ago,these still
exist, despite the efforts of so many powerful
kings who have tried a hundred times to
wipe them out, as their historians tes-
tify, and as can easily be judged by
the natural order of things over such
a long spell of years. They have
always been preserved, how-
ever, and their preservation
was foretold... My encoun-
ter with this people
-- Blaise Pascal
"The Jewish vision became the prototype for many similar grand
designs for humanity, both divine and man made. The Jews,
therefore, stand at the center of the perennial attempt
to give human life the dignity of a purpose."
-- Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews
"As long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in
righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration as to the
people who had the sense for righteousness most
glowing and strongest." -- Matthew Arnold,
Literature and Dogma
For more on the Jewish impact on the world, go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com
Torah Portion of the Week
This is the portion that invokes the Jewish people to be holy! It then proceeds with the spiritual directions on how to achieve holiness, closeness to the Almighty. Within it lie the secrets and the prescription for Jewish continuity. If any group of people is to survive as an entity, it must have common values and goals - a direction and a meaning. By analyzing this portion we can learn much about our personal and national destiny. It is truly a "must read!"
Some of the mitzvot: Revere your parents, observe Shabbat, no idol worship, gifts to the poor, deal honestly, love your fellow Jew, refrain from immoral sexual relationships, honor old people, love the proselyte, don't engage in sorcery or superstition, do not pervert justice, observe kashruth and more. The portion ends:
"You shall observe all My decrees and ordinances ... you shall be holy ... I have separated you from the peoples to be Mine."
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"You shall rebuke your fellow man and you shall not bear sin because of him." (Leviticus 19:17)
Wouldn't giving rebuke cause embarrassment and guilt to the person one rebukes?
The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, frequently told public speakers to focus on the great value and beauty of following the Torah way of life. Most people suffer enough already and it is improper to add to their suffering by arousing guilt feelings. What needs to be stressed is the great blessing one will find in following the Torah and the elevation and enrichment of performing good deeds and improving one's character traits.
It is a mistake to think that the way to correct others is by embarrassing and humiliating them. In the Tractate Erchin 16b, it is clearly forbidden even when trying to correct someone. In trying to motivate someone to do something, there are two possible patterns:
- You can try to show the person how he will benefit by doing it and therefore he will want to do it for positive gain.
- You can threaten a person with dire warnings of the harm in not doing it.
The Chofetz Chaim, who was imbued with great love for the Almighty and love for people, stressed focusing on the positive. Let this be your guide!
Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler would never censure any of his students in a personal way. Rather, he would give general talks on the benefits of having positive traits and on the harm and loss of negative traits. Someone once complained to the Chazon Ish, a great rabbi who lived in Bnei Brak, Israel - that Rabbi Dessler was not showing toughness towards his students. The Chazon Ish agreed with Rabbi Dessler's approach, that it is preferable to influence someone to want to have positive qualities rather than trying to force him to act properly.
CANDLE LIGHTING - May 6:
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Chicago 7:34 Guatemala 6:01 Hong Kong 6:33
Honolulu 6:39 J'Burg 5:16 London 8:12
Los Angeles 7:23 Melbourne 5:07 Mexico City 6:46
Miami 7:35 Moscow 7:59 New York 7:38
Singapore 6:49 Toronto 7:06
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Good judgment comes from experience,
and experience comes from bad judgment.
-- Will Rogers
With Special Thanks to