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SPEAKING IN HARMONY by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"Our son is rebellious; he does not heed our voice." (Debarim 21:20)

Although the conditions necessary to punish a wayward and rebellious son with the appropriate punishment are difficult to come by, and indeed some say it never happened, we can learn some important lessons from this perashah. The Torah says that the parents say, "This is our son and he doesn't listen to our voice," emphasizing that the parents are united in their upbringing of their child and in the ultimate punishment. Then, they are entitled to bring him to bet din, since they have done the best they could, the fault being the son's.

This teaches us how important it is for both parents to be together in raising a child. If he hears two voices, rather than "our voice," he will get mixed messages and will quickly learn to manipulate one against the other to get his own way. Many times, parents might not agree on a certain point regarding their child, be it about permissiveness or about punishment, etc. They should discuss it between themselves first and come out with one voice to the child. Then, even if the child knows it's really the wish of one parent and not the other, he sees a unified front and won't be able to "divide and conquer." This is a well known rule which we may be very aware of, but if we take the time and energy to implement it on a regular basis, we will see more success in raising fine children.
Shabbat Shalom.

AND ONE FOR GOOD LUCK by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"A perfect measure you shall have and one justly used, so that your days may be prolonged on this earth." (Debarim 25:15)

The Torah demands of us to use a perfect measure in business and use it justly in all of our transactions with our fellow man. The Gemara in Baba Batra (88b) makes it a duty for the seller to measure and weigh fully and add a trifle more of his own so that the buyer in any case gets what is due to him. I fondly remember my early married years in Jerusalem when I used to see the Jewish merchants in the fruit and vegetable markets. They would use a balance-type scale. On one side they would place the kilogram weight, and the fruits or vegetables on the other side. The merchant would first make a perfect balance and then throw in one more potato to bring it down in your favor, at the same time saying "berachah" (blessing). How great are our simple people.

The book Olat Hodesh asks a simple question. Why does Hashem promise us long life in payment for using a perfect measure. The answer is a profound one, especially now as we approach the High Holidays. Each person receives a measure of years when he comes to this world. Hashem's system is middah keneged middah - measure for measure. A person who deceives his fellow man and uses a defective measure, giving less than promised, will also receive less than a full measure from Hashem. If he gives a full amount, he will receive a full amount, which is usually many long years.

As we are in the month of Elul, it's important to review all of our business practices to insure that we receive a full measure of good and prosperous years. Shabbat Shalom.

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