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Ki Tetzei 5769

Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Rabbi Noah Weinberg was a man who lived with a constant God-consciousness. He always focused on God's love for him and strove to share that focus with others. A colleague of mine, Shmuel, once came late to the office after of a frustrating morning of computer breakdown, car trouble and traffic. When he entered the office, Reb Noah greeted him with a cheery, "You know God loves you?"

My colleague responded, "Please, Rebbie, pardon me. I've had a rough morning. Could we speak later?" Reb Noah immediately switched gears. "What's the matter?" After commiserating for several minutes until Shmuel calmed down, Reb Noah enquired, "May I ask you a question?" "Sure," said Shmuel.

"Would you rather have terminal cancer or a heart bypass?" "A heart bypass." "Would you rather have a heart bypass or a broken arm?" "A broken arm." "Would you rather a broken arm of a bad flu?" "A bad flu." "Would you rather a bad flu or a cold?" "A cold." " Would you rather a cold or a frustrating morning like today?" "A frustrating morning." "NOW, do you see that the Almighty loves you?"

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you interpret it and put it into perspective. This past week Artscroll published Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's latest book: Life is Now - Creating Moments of Joy, Courage, Kindness, and Serenity. In 82 chapters Rabbi Pliskin helps the reader get more pleasure from life. From the first chapter, "The Essence of Life: Reality is Now" until the last chapter "Joy: 'It's up to me!'" Rabbi Pliskin guides us as our life-coach to live in the moment, to see the wonders of the present, to feel gratitude for what is happening right this minute.

Right now we're writing our life stories, and we can choose how the script will read. Right now we can put behind us self-doubt, anger, frustration. Right now, we can choose happiness. Life is Now is about self-acceptance and building your self-image; about setting goals and reaching them. With his cheerful good humor and deep wisdom, his vast experience and his almost endless supply of inspiring stories, Rabbi Pliskin shows us how to live better lives, right now.

I asked Rabbi Pliskin what I should share with my beloved readers to give them an appreciation of the book. Rabbi Pliskin responded, "Chapter 16 - 'Every encounter with another person happens in the here and now.' " So, here is an excerpt from Chapter 16 of Life is Now:

"Before you speak to someone, you have that ability to say to yourself, 'Right now, what is the wisest and best way for me to interact with this person?'

"Certainly, we all have patterns of how we speak and act in general and how we speak and act with specific individuals. Perhaps a certain person is challenging and difficult to speak with. You might have found yourself frustrated or irritated or actually angry when talking to him. But now is the present, you can choose to be wiser than ever before and upgrade your interaction with him. You can select any pattern. You can be kinder right now. You can be more understanding right now. You can be more compassionate right now. You can be at your most elevated right now.

"Every time you interact with another person you are interacting in the present moment. This means that during any 'now' interaction with anyone, you are more knowledgeable and experienced than ever before.

"For example, after you read this entire book you will have more moments of joy, courage, love and serenity stored in your brain. This can help you make better and wiser choices of what to say and do. Perhaps you weren't at your best and wisest when you spoke to someone before. But now you might be able to speak and act better than last time.

"People might expect you to speak and act in ways consistent with their previous encounters with you. But if you realize you will gain from speaking and acting in better ways than ever before, you have the freewill ability to choose to speak and act in better ways. In addition, when you speak and act at your wisest and best, the other person is more likely to speak and act in ways that are better than ever."

Life is Now available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or call 877-758-3242.

For more on "Appreciating Life" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week
Ki Tetzeh

Topics in this week's portion include: Women Captives, First-Born's Share, The Rebellious Son, Hanging and Burial, Returning Lost Articles, The Fallen Animal, Transvestitism, The Bird's Nest, Guard-Rails, Mixed Agriculture, Forbidden Combinations, Bound Tassels, Defamed Wife, Penalty for Adultery, Betrothed Maiden, Rape, Unmarried Girl, Mutilated Genitals, Mamzer, Ammonites & Moabites, Edomites & Egyptians, The Army Camp, Sheltering Slaves, Prostitution, Deducted Interest, Keeping Vows, Worker in a Vineyard, Field Worker, Divorce and Remarriage, New Bridegroom, Kidnapping, Leprosy, Security for Loans, Paying Wages on Time, Testimony of Close Relatives, Widows and Orphans, Forgotten Sheaves, Leftover Fruit, Flogging, The Childless Brother-in-Law, Weights and Measures, Remembering What Amalek Did to Us.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"A woman shall not wear the garments of a man and a man shall not wear the dress of a woman, for it is an abomination to the Almighty, your God, all who do these things" (Deut. 22:5).


Targum Yonoson informs us that the garments of a man include tzitzis and tefillin. Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz commented that we see from this the principle that each person has his own mission in life. The same thing that for one person is "Holy of Holies" for another person who does a similar thing - though it is not his life's task - it is an abomination. Each person should feel joy in carrying out his or her life's mission and should not try to do things that he or she was not meant to do.

An example of the above can be seen regarding people who differ greatly in their intellectual abilities. It is very easy for someone who lacks the creative genius of another person or has a poor memory or difficulties understanding abstract concepts to feel envious of those who excel in these areas. However, if the Almighty did not endow you with these, then He did not consider them to be necessary for your unique and individual life task. Realize that anything you do need for life, the Almighty gives you. What you do not have and cannot get are not needed by you. Utilize the attributes you do have in order to fulfill your unique role in life.



A disciple of Rabbi Avraham of Sochotchov was ill and felt great suffering because he was not able to fulfill the commandment of putting on tefillin. He sent his son to consult Rav Avraham, the author of Avnai Nezer. The son told Rav Avraham that his father was crying because he could not put on tefillin due to his illness.

The Rebbe replied, "When I was in Kotzk, I once became so ill on the day before Yom Kippur that the doctors forbade me to pray and study that entire night. You might think that the thought of not praying and studying would make me sad. No. I was in a state of great joy! Since this was the will of the Almighty, I felt joy in carrying out His will. Similarly, you tell your father in my name that if it is the will of the Almighty that he should not be able to put on tefillin, he should carry out the Almighty's will with love and joy."


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The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
--  Robert Bryne


With Deep Appreciation to

Phillip W. Roth

for his friendship and support


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Click here for Rabbi Packouz's bio
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