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Masay 5765

Masay (Numbers 33-36 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   Everyone wants happiness. It's what we all seek and all we can seek. However, many go after comfort and indulgence thinking it will lead to happiness. If one stops chasing happiness and instead seeks to do the right thing, likely he will be happy. Meanwhile, knowing that happiness is a state of mind, I have asked my friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, for some ideas to help bring greater happiness in the world. You can get his book Happiness at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.


  1. Realize that happiness is a choice. You create happiness by thinking thoughts that create happiness in your own mind.

  2. Be grateful for all that you can be grateful for. Each and every day you will have things to be grateful for.

  3. Every happy and joyful moment that you've ever experienced is stored in your brain. Your brain is always with you. So you can relive your happiest and most joyful moments at any given time you choose. Choose to do so frequently.

  4. The way you personally evaluate any given situation and occurrence is the key factor for your emotional reaction. Master the ability to view situations and occurrences in positive, growth-filled ways. Keep asking yourself, "What is good about this and how can I grow from this?"

  5. Make meaningful goals. Take action. Be patient and persistent. Rejoice every step of the way towards those goals.

  6. Grow from each challenge you face. The greater the challenge, the more you grow. Appreciate the opportunity.

  7. Celebrate your personal character victories and you will have much to celebrate. Be resilient when you make a mistake. Resilience leads to many victories.

  8. See the good in other people and treat them kindly. They will usually reciprocate. You will live a happier life whether or not they reciprocate.

  9. This moment is the only moment that exists. Be joyful this moment. Learn from the past. Prepare for the future. And live joyfully in the present.

  10. Appreciate being alive so intensely that all the trivial and minor things that don't go the way you wish are irrelevant and inconsequential. The thought that reverberates in your mind will be, "I am joyful that I am alive right now."

  11. Smile and wave to mirrors. They like it and are guaranteed to reciprocate. This habit will ensure that you will always see a smiling face whenever you choose to look in a mirror.

  12. Learn from every joyful person you see. Talk and walk the way a joyful person does and you too will be joyful.

  13. Spend time with positive people. Being around an authentically happy person will make you happier. Be so happy yourself that your happiness is contagious.

  14. See the humor in challenges and potential difficulties. Laugh even before you see the humor and the humor will come to you.

  15. If needless negative thoughts come to your mind, just let them flow by as the water in a flowing river. Choose to flow in a positive mental direction.

  16. Whenever you hear a telephone ring, say enthusiastically, "I am grateful I am alive and I am grateful I can hear."

  17. Create inner music in your mind and create positive inner self-talk.

  18. Make a personalized positive recording for you to listen to. Write a list of statements that you would like to hear over and over again. Make the recording in your own voice. Play it frequently.

  19. Take mental vacations whenever you wish. Visualize the most beautiful scenery possible. Close your eyes and see yourself being in your utopian spot. Allow yourself to release all stress and tension. Feel the happiness of knowing that this paradise is yours.

  20. Bring happiness to as many people as you can.

© 2005 Rabbi Zelig Pliskin (based on "Happiness" – Artscroll)

For more on "Happiness" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

Masay includes the complete list of journeys in the desert (the name of each stop hints at a deeper meaning, a lesson learned there). God commands to drive out the land's inhabitants, to destroy their idols and to divide the land by a lottery system. God establishes the borders of the Land of Israel. New leadership is appointed, cities of the Levites and Cities of Refuge (where an accidental murderer may seek asylum) are designated. Lastly, the laws are set forth regarding accidental and willful murder as well as inheritance laws only for that generation regarding property of a couple where each came from a different tribe. And thus ends the book of Numbers!


Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

After emphatically conveying the law that a murderer may not ransom himself from receiving the death penalty (for intentional murder) or exile to a City of Refuge (for an unintentional murder), the Torah states: ""You shall not pollute the land wherein you are ..." without justice being done.

The word "pollute" in Hebrew is "tachanifu," the same word that means "flattery." The Sifre, the halachic Midrash, tells us that this verse forbids us to flatter - insincerely praise - a wrongdoer. Flattering a wrongdoer is termed chanifut and is a very serious offense.

Rabainu Yonah, author of Shaarey Tshuvah, The Gates of Repentance, gives
the following insights into flattery:

  1. The worst form of flattery is telling a person, "You have not done anything wrong" though the speaker knows the person transgressed. This will cause the transgressor to repeat his misdeeds.

  2. It is considered flattery to say that an evil person is a good man. Even if you don't say his crimes were proper things to do, it is wrong to praise him.

  3. Failure to censure someone when you are in a position to do so is considered flattery. Our sages tell us in the Talmud, Tractate Shabbos 44b): "Whoever is able to protest against the wrongdoings of his household and fails to do so, is held accountable for their behavior. If a person is able to protest against the wrongdoings of the inhabitants of his city and fails to do so, he is held accountable for their behavior. If a person is able to protest against the wrongdoings of the inhabitants of the entire world and fails to do so, he is held accountable for their behavior.

Orchos Tzadikim (The Ways of the Righteous) is a Torah book for character development. Chapter 24 teaches that it is forbidden to flatter someone in order to take advantage of him. Although insincere flattery is wrong, it is important that we praise others for their benefit. The late Telzer Rosh Hayeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz, used to say that appreciative words help a person realize his own inherent worth and will encourage him to utilize his attributes to the best of his ability. The Talmud (Eruvin 18b) states that we should say only a part of a person's praise in his presence. Rashi explains that excessive praise gives the appearance of being insincere flattery. However, a sincere compliment, is a great kindness!

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There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will.
--  Epictetus (55-135)

In Loving Memory of
Philip T. Warren
Irwin & Laura Tauber


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