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Shavuot 5766

Shavuot (Exodus 19:1 - 20:23 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING! In traditional Torah societies one looks for a son-in-law who excels in learning Torah. The story is told of well-to-do Jewish farmer in Poland who was looking for an appropriate match for his daughter. Being a Talmud Chacham, a learned individual, he arranged to give a lecture at the local yeshiva with the proviso that whoever could solve the Talmudic problem he presented would be considered for his son-in-law.

He presented a brilliant presentation which dazzled the students. However, since none of the young men could find a solution, he got onto his wagon and started to head to the next yeshiva in a nearby town. Glancing back after he had driven for a few minutes, he saw one of the yeshiva lads running with all his might to catch the wagon. Stopping the wagon, he waited for the young man to catch up and to catch his breath.

"So," says the farmer, "You have an answer to my kasha (question)?"

"No," replies the young man, "but I have to know. What is the answer?"

"Ah," smiles the farmer, "a young man like you is someone I want to consider for a son-in-law!"

Nice story! What's the point? Two weeks ago I wrote about the impact the Shabbat Shalom Fax/Email has had on some people's lives. I mentioned one fellow who thanked me for the edition on the 3 qualities to look for in a spouse before getting married. He told me that after he read it he decided that his wife had none of them and concluded that there was no hope for saving his troubled marriage and it was time to get divorced. A few people wrote or called to ask what the 3 qualities are! Now those are people you can consider for sons- or daughters-in-law!

Therefore, I decided that in honor of their asking the question, I would share again the wisdom on the three prerequisites for finding the right spouse!


  1. Do I respect this person enough that I want to be more like him/her?

    Respect is crucial in any relationship, particularly marriage. The litmus test for respect is determining if you want to emulate this person. What qualities do you respect in this person? Would you be happy if your child turns out like him/her?

  2. If his/her personality and habits stay exactly as they are today, will I be happy 20, 30, 40 years down the road?

    Never marry potential. If you can't be happy with the person the way he or she is now, don't get married. Don't expect to change another person. You'll be frustrated and they'll be resentful. Can you accept this person exactly as they are, for the rest of your life?

  3. Do we share common life goals and priorities?

    Sure, chemistry and common interests are important. However, make sure you share the deeper level of connection that comes through sharing life goals. To avoid growing apart after marriage, figure out what you're living for while you're single and then find someone who independently came to the same conclusion as you.

    A soul mate is really a goal mate - two people who ultimately share the same understanding of life's purpose and therefore share the same priorities, values and goals.

The majority of marriages today end in divorce. Those who answer "yes" to each of these 3 questions have a good chance in succeeding to build a happy marriage. Those who cannot answer "yes" to all 3 questions are likely entering a marriage that will leave them disappointed, unhappy and single again.

For more on "Marriage" go to!

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Torah Portion of the Week
Shavuot - 1st Day Exodus 19:1-20:23

(Yizkor is said on Friday in Israel!

Shavuot begins Thursday evening, June 1. The Torah reading on Friday begins with the arrival at Mt. Sinai, the Almighty's proposal of a covenant with the Jewish people, the Jewish people's three day preparation for receiving the Torah, Moshe ascending the mountain, and the Almighty giving the 10 Commandments.

Shavuot - 2nd Day Deuteronomy 14:22 - 16:17

(Yizkor is said on Shabbat outside of Israel!

The Torah portion starts with the explanation of the Second Tithe which was to be eaten in Jerusalem, the tithe for the Levite, the remission of loans every 7th year (the Shmitah year), the commandment to be warm-hearted and open-handed to the poor, the laws of a Jewish bondsman ... and concludes with the three Pilgrimage Festivals when every Jew was commanded to ascend to Jerusalem for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot - and that they should come with offerings.

* * *

Dvar Torah
from the Midrash

The Midrash is a homiletical commentary on the Torah. It conveys history, philosophy, ethics, kabbalah in its words. Here is a selection of the Midrash on the giving of the Torah:

For twenty-six generations, since Adam's creation, the Almighty had waited to transmit to mankind the precious Torah which had preceded the creation of the universe. Finally, He found a people willing to accept it. The great moment of its Revelation was awaited anxiously by the entire universe since it would thereby realize the spiritual goal of Creation.

It was Shabbos morning, the sixth of (the Hebrew month) Sivan, (in the year) 2448 (since the creation of mankind).

The Jewish people were still asleep because the summer night had been short. They were awoken by thunder and lightning on Mt. Sinai and by Moshe calling to them, "The groom is awaiting for the bride to come to the wedding canopy." Moshe brought the people to Mt. Sinai like the usher who leads the bride to the wedding.

The Jewish people who assembled at the foot of Mt. Sinai, men and women separately, were joined by all the millions of unborn souls of their descendants and by the souls of all the converts who would accept the Torah in future generations.

When the Almighty descended upon Mt. Sinai in a burst of fire, surrounded by a host of 22,000 angels, the earth quaked, and there was thunder and lightning. The Jewish people heard the sound of a shofar becoming continually louder, growing in intensity until it reached the greatest volume which the people could possibly bear. The fire of Mt. Sinai rose up to the very heavens, and the mountain smoked like a furnace. The people trembled with fear. ...

Each of the Ten Commandments was addressed to the Jewish people in the singular form. Thus, no Jew could excuse himself, saying, "It is sufficient if everyone else fulfills the Torah." Each Jew should feel a personal obligation to keep the Almighty's Torah, since it was addressed directly to him.

(or Go to

Jerusalem 7:06
Guatemala 6:17 - Hong Kong 6:45 - Honolulu 6:52
J'Burg 5:04 - London 8:51 - Los Angeles 7:41
Melbourne 4:51 - Mexico City 6:53 - Miami 7:51

New York 8:03 - Singapore 6:51 - Toronto 8:34


Unified does not mean uniform.
-- Jacob Solomon, Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Mazal Tov on the Marriage of
Ethan & Rachel Wasserman

In Loving Memory of
Sylvan Shaul ben Avraham
by Nathan Zemel


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