V'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 )
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GOOD MORNING! When I lived in Israel I once parked my car in the Ramat Eshkol shopping center parking lot. I returned to my car to find the right side scraped from end to end. However, there under the windshield wiper was a note! Ecstatic that the driver had not just driven off, I opened it to read, "I was standing on the sidewalk when a lady in a black Mercedes, license plate # 123-456 side-swiped your car and drove off. I am willing to testify to the police or in court." It was signed and had a phone number.
___From the police I obtained the lady's name and address. I knocked on her door and when she answered I told her who I was and why I was there. She responded, "Well, it wasn't me who hit your car!" I asked her if there were any other female drivers in her household. She replied, "No." I then told her that she should know that my next stop is to file a report with the police and that at very minimum she will lose her license with the possibility of a large fine and a jail sentence.
___At this point, the lady goes berserk! "It's so unfair! It's just not fair at all! Last month someone side-swiped my car and didn't leave me a note. Why should I leave you a note?" She continued her tirade concluding that she shouldn't have to pay because it was all my fault because I parked too close to the white line!
___I filed the police report and had the car fixed. Over the next two weeks she yelled and screamed, threatened and pressured me to cancel the police report. Finally, she agreed to pay me. We met at the police station and she handed me an envelope with the cash (do you think I'd trust a "lady" like this with a check?). I counted the money and then told her, "There's a mistake."
___Like a rocket blasting off came the barrage! "I know your type. You've got me over a barrel and now you want to extort more money! Who do you think you are? I am not going to pay..." After a minute or two she finally stopped the torrent of invectives. I then softly replied, "No, you gave me 100 shekels too much" and handed her a 100 shekel note. She took it without a hint of remorse or embarrassment.
___I then asked her how it was going with the person who side-swiped her car (whom-, she had since located). She replied, "I can't believe it. He doesn't want to take responsibility for his own actions and pay for the damage. Some people can be so cheeky!"
___Everything that happens to us happens for a reason and has meaning. There is a message in it for us to grow, to perfect ourselves, to come closer to the Almighty. It was clear to me why the man left the note under the windshield wiper; two weeks before I was riding a bus when the driver side-swiped a car and drove on. I got off at the next stop and left an almost identical note under the windshield wiper.
___But why the subjugation to the onslaught of verbal abuse, the insanity of the woman, the frustration of her obstinacy? For years I have thought about it. The best I can come up with is that it was part of what I needed to prepare me to be a rabbi and to deal with people. It taught me that people, including myself, often don't see our own faults and mistakes. It taught me patience with frustrating people.
___My beloved friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, has written a book that can help us all .... Patience! It is an amazing, easy-to-read book of 216 pages in 91 mini-chapters examining patience from every angle. It presents effective formulas, interesting stories and insights to deal with the vicissitudes of life ... and all for under $10.
___Writes Rabbi Pliskin, "Why be patient? Observing the life of an impatient person provides the obvious answer. The impatient person himself suffers and he cause distress to others. An impatient person is restless or short-tempered, especially when faced with delay or opposition. Impatience creates anxiety and irritation. Others feel uncomfortable around those who are impatient. The haste of the impatient causes avoidable mistakes and errors. An impatient person will say and do many things that are counterproductive."
___"Patience is one key to a magnificent life. It is the foundation for reaching goals. With it, one can learn, accomplish, develop one's character, and interact harmoniously with other people. The more we increase our patience, the more we benefit." For inner calm and persistence, read and re-read Patience. (It is available at your local Jewish bookstore, at http://www.judaicaenterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.)
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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 they will lead your children away from Me." (Deut. 7:3-4)
* * *
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
___Moshe wanted to enter the land of Israel, but the Almighty did not allow him to enter. The Torah states that Moshe said:
|"And I prayed to the Almighty at that time saying..." (Deuteronomy 3:23)|
___One of the ways of understanding the Torah is through gematria - examining the numerical values of the words. What do we learn from the numerical value (515) of the first word of the verse, "Va'etchanan" ("and I prayed")?
___The Sages tells us that Moshe prayed to the Almighty as many prayers as the numerical value of the va'etchanan - 515 prayers. This shows us how strong Moshe's desire was to enter the Holy Land.
___Let's picture this: If someone asks another person for something and the other person refuses to meet his request, it is possible that he will ask again. However, after a few times, he will give up. There is a limit to how many times one person will ask another for something. Here we see that Moshe continued to ask five hundred and fifteen times. This is truly amazing. We learn from this the principle that the way to success is through persistence. Especially in spiritual matters one needs to adopt this attitude.
___There are three rules for success: (1) Initiative - you have to try, (2) Perseverance - you have to keep trying, and (3) the Almighty blesses your efforts. Young children are the paradigm of persistence. (Ask any parent!)
___If something is important enough to you, you must persist to succeed.
CANDLE LIGHTING - July 27
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Guatemala 6:15 - Hong Kong 6:48 - Honolulu 6:54
J'Burg 5:17 - London 8:48 - Los Angeles 7:45
Melbourne 5:20 - Mexico City 7:56 - Miami 7:53
New York 7:59 - Singapore 6:59 - Toronto 8:29
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
We could never learn to be brave and patient,
if there were only joy in the world
-- Helen Keller
In Loving Memory of
by Richard & Susan Finkelstein