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Va'eira 5779

Va'eira (Exodus 6:2-9:35 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  How do you know whether or not you should marry a person? Many people go by their "gut feelings." The problem is -- sometimes you don't know whether you have a burning heart ... or heart burn. If you can't answer "yes" to the following 3 questions, don't marry the person you're dating:



  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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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.


However, if you are already married -- Here are:



Rule #1 -- Have no expectations. Expectations are the source of virtually all misery. Almost every young couple believes that there hasn't been a person like he or she is marrying since Adam met Eve. It's hard to live up to an image on a pedestal.

Rule #2 -- Always focus on your own responsibilities and what you can do for your spouse -- not on your spouse's responsibilities and what you think your spouse should be doing for you. If you see a tissue on the floor or dirty laundry, pick it up; if you don't, then you are leaving it for your spouse.

Rule #3 -- Appreciate whatever your spouse does and express your appreciation both to your spouse and to the Almighty. Be sincere and frequent in your praise.

Rule #4 -- Be totally committed to your spouse and to the marriage. Your number 1 responsibility is to make it work. Too many people have one foot out the door or fantasize about 'maybe I should have married someone else I dated.' My father told me that he and Mom were awarded a prize on a cruise for the longest marriage amongst the passengers (soon to be 73 years!). People asked him, "How did you stay married so many years to the same woman?" My father replied, "When we got married we tied the knot with a square knot, not a slip knot.'"


Torah Portion of the week

Va'eira, Exodus 6:2 - 9:35

Here begins the story of the Ten Plagues which God put upon the Egyptians not only to effect the release of the Jewish people from bondage, but to show the world that He is the God of all creation and history. The first nine plagues are divisible into three groups: 1) the water turning to blood, frogs, lice 2) wild beasts, pestilence/epidemic, boils 3) hail, locust, and darkness.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that these were punishments measure for measure for afflicting the Jewish people with slavery: 1) The first of each group reduced Egyptians in their own land to the insecurity of strangers. 2) The second of each group robbed them of pride, possessions and a sense of superiority. 3) The third in each group imposed physical suffering.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states regarding the Plague of Blood:

"And the Lord said to Moshe, say to Aharon: Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, their rivers and their pools, and over every gathering of their water, that they may become blood; throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone" (Exodus 7:19).

Why is Aharon (Moses' brother) and not Moses commanded to initiate this plague?

Rashi, one of the greatest Biblical commentators, cites the Midrash Shemot Rabbah to answer this question. It explains that Aharon, rather than Moses, was chosen to initiate the plague of blood because the water had protected Moses when he was cast into it as an infant in a basket. It would, therefore, not be proper for Moses to smite the water which helped save him.

How can this be? Water is an inanimate object which does not have free will. When something floats in water and does not sink, it would not occur to us to give thanks to the water for its buoyancy. Nevertheless, we learn from this verse that if a person derives pleasure from an object, he should show his gratitude by being careful not to cause harm or damage to the object, even though it would not suffer pain. As the Talmud (Bava Kama 92b) states: "If you drank water from a well, do not throw stones at it". Although this advice is basically meant as a metaphor for people who have given you something, the literal meaning should not be ignored.

Since this is true concerning inanimate objects, all the more so we must show gratitude towards people who have shown us kindness. Unfortunately, there is a saying "No good deed goes unpunished". People often times not only don't show gratitude, but they return indifference or bad for good. We must make it one of our personal goals in life to always think "who has helped me and who can I thank today?". Let your attitude be gratitude. Not only will you be happier, but so will those around you -- especially your friends and family.


Candle Lighting Times

January 4
(or go to

Jerusalem 4:13
Guatemala 5:28 - Hong Kong 5:34 - Honolulu 5:45
J'Burg 6:47 - London 3:47 - Los Angeles 4:40
Melbourne 8:28 - Mexico City 5:54 - Miami 5:25
New York 4:23 - Singapore 6:53 - Toronto 4:36

Quote of the Week

A good marriage is a contest of generosity!



Happy Anniversary

Marc Singer &
Dr. Helena Igra

In Loving Memory of

Earl Pertnoy


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