OCTOBER 16-17, 2009 29 TISHREI 5770
"And G-d made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars." (Beresheet 1:16)
On the fourth day of creation, Hashem made the sun and the moon and the stars. Rashi explains that the sun and moon were created in equal size, and the moon was reduced in size because it complained. The moon said, "It is impossible for two kings to use the same crown."
One might ask, what was wrong with what the moon said? It seems to be a correct statement that two kings cannot use the same crown! Rabbi Nesanel Quinn z"tl answers beautifully. The moon did have a valid claim. But, it was only the moon that had the problem, because it saw itself as a king. However, the sun, the shemesh as it is called in Hebrew, saw itself as a shamash, a servant. The shemesh saw as its job to warm and light the world. It would not be a problem to have more than one shamash to do the job. But, because the moon saw itself as a king, Hashem reduced it in size and importance.
A person should go through life seeing his role as compared to the sun, a shamash created to serve the world, rather than a king.
Hashem also created the stars. Rashi explains: Because He reduced the size of the moon, Hashem gave the moon a lot of company to conciliate it. This Midrash is a lesson for us. If we have to rebuke someone, even if he deserves the rebuke, we must try to appease and conciliate him. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"Hashem had not sent rain and there was no man to work the soil. (Beresheet 2:5)
Rashi tells us that the plants and grass were created on the third day, but stood at the surface of the ground and did not sprout until Adam was created, for when Adam saw that the world needs rain to make the vegetation grow, he prayed to Hashem for rain, and it came down and made everything grow.
We can learn from here that Hashem prepares what we need before we even see it. We don't have it, however, because we don't realize we need it, and therefore don't pray for it. It is only when we recognize our need for something and turn to G-d for that thing, that Hashem makes it happen for us. This is true both for spiritual matters and physical things. We first have to recognize what we are missing to be able to ask for it, and then Hashem will make it "sprout."
As we begin the new year, let us remember to ask Hashem for our needs, especially those involving our spiritual life. Let us ask Him for peace of mind and tranquility to be able to study and pray and bring up our children the right way. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"And Hashem saw all that He made, and behold it was very good" (Beresheet 1:31)
Rabbi Avigdor Miller comments on this verse: "When one does not know what he possesses, he is poor. Imagine that you purchased a vacant lot and erected a house on it; and you dwelt there thirty years. Then, one night, the telephone rings, and you hear a quavering old voice: 'I must inform you that I am the last survivor of a group that buried a chest of gems in the premises where your house now stands. I am about to die; therefore I wish you to know.' Now you are so joyous that you cannot sleep. You are wealthy! But actually for thirty years you were the legal possessor of the unclaimed treasure. What makes you happy today instead of thirty years earlier? The knowledge of what you possess.
"Knowledge of what you possess is the true wealth. If you are unaware of what you have, or are only faintly aware of its true nature, you actually do not possess it. Thus: "He who gives someone a gift should let him know" (Besah 16a). When giving someone a watch, do not remove the slip which states that "this watch has an unbreakable crystal, 17 jewels, is shockproof, waterproof, and antimagnetic.' Let him fully enjoy your gift. Therefore when the Creator gave this world to us, He informed us that all He created was very good.
"The Creator declares, 'My children, be sure to be happy, for I give you that which is very good.'"
This message gives a direction for your way of thinking throughout your life. The quality of your life is dependent on what your stream of consciousness is focused on. Unfortunately, many people go through life thinking mostly about what they are missing and what is wrong. But Hashem wants us to focus on what He has given us. Each and every day make an effort to spend time appreciating what you have.
The Ba'al Shem Tob showed his disciples how a person's situation can be exactly the same, but one day he will be full of complaints while on another he will be full of joy. To illustrate this point, he once called in a water-carrier and asked him how things were going. "I'm getting older and I feel so weak," the man replied. "My children constantly study and don't help me out. I have to support my sons-in-law, and find the financial obligations a real burden. My wife is so sickly, and I feel like I'm falling apart."
On another day the Ba'al Shem Tob asked him again how things were. With a big smile, the water-carrier replied, "I am so grateful to Hashem for all of His kindness. Even though I am old, I am not only able to support myself, but I am even able to support the Torah study of my sons and sons-in-law who study with such diligence. My wife is wonderful to me; with great sacrifice she cooks and cleans just to make me happy."
You constantly choose how you will view your life situation. Even though nothing external has changed, you can still view your life in very positive ways. (Growth through Torah)
Two three-year-olds accompanied their father to the store, where they spotted a bin full of rubber balls. Each started the singsong nagging which little children believe is necessary in order to get what they want. To avoid trouble later, the wise parent chose two balls and gave one to each child. Much to his surprise, within minutes each was insisting that the ball his brother was bouncing was his. The father switched the balls from one child to the other - but the squabbling broke out again! The children were never satisfied with the balls they had; each demanded the one his sibling was playing with. Silly children!
People don't easily outgrow the possessiveness of their childhood years. Jealousy and competition drive individuals to prefer that which belongs to another. Learning the truism that "Hashem gives everyone exactly what they need to perform their life mission" is easier said than done - but it is a lesson we must internalize.
Inevitably, the time will come when you see a person with something you wish could be yours. You might react with an envious stare, or you might not. It takes a healthy outlook and emotional maturity to focus on what you have and not compare it to another's acquisitions. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
Call to 646-279-8712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
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