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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 40:27-41:16

NOVEMBER 11-12, 2016 11 HESHVAN 5777


"And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you." (Beresheet 12:3)

What was the purpose of Hashem telling Abraham to leave Haran and go to the Land of Canaan? The answer is found in the above verse: "That the families of the earth will be blessed through you." Rashi explains this to mean: "And the following is its simple meaning, a man says to his son 'Be like Abraham.'" Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch shlit"a explains that the purpose of Abraham leaving Haran was to publicize the idea that Hashem is the G-d of the world and to sanctify His Name everywhere. How is this accomplished? That by Abraham and his children traveling and people see the righteous, wholesome ways of those that walk in the ways of Hashem, they will bless themselves by saying that they should be like Abraham.

Even though the main misvah of sanctifying Hashem's Name is amongst the Jewish People, our early Sages have explained that we as Jews must also cause Hashem to have honor in the eyes of the gentile world as well. And this is the purpose of the exile, that the nations should recognize and know the greatness of Israel when they observe the Torah and its misvot.

The above verse begins with the phrase "I will bless those who bless you etc." I would like to relate to you an amazing story told to me by my student, Hymie Dana.

"Rabbi, an amazing thing just happened. I am in Dayton Ohio Airport coming home from a business trip, sitting in a private corner with my kippah on learning perush Ramban and a police officer walks up to me. He sticks out his hand and gives me a hardy handshake, telling me the following: 'May those who curse you be cursed and may those who bless you be blessedůMay G-d bless you and your people, and know you are always welcome at this airport for as long as I am here.'"

Hymie concludes, "I happened to be reading the following from the Ramban when the officer approached me. 'And when you come to the land that you were promised, I will bless those that bless you.'"

Apparently the purpose of the exile to Dayton Ohio has been fulfilled.

Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Look now toward the heaven and count the stars... so shall your children be." (Beresheet 15:5)

Hashem told Abram. "Look at the stars and count them, so shall your children be." Did Abram really count the stars - we know it's impossible to count them? Rabbi Meir Shapiro says that when Abram began to count the stars, Hashem stopped him and told him it's not possible to fully count them. However, He told him, "Just as you attempted to do something impossible because it was my will, so too your descendants will try to do the will of G-d, even when it seems impossible." This is the greatness of the Jewish people. We are not daunted when we are faced with commandments and challenges. Although they may look difficult, we know that Hashem told us to do it. He gives us the strength and ability to accomplish it. The main thing is not to give up initially just because it seems beyond us. We have seen throughout history how the greatest accomplishments have been achieved, the writing of the greatest books, the building of the finest institutions, etc. We must be like Abram and attempt what we are told; the rest is up to Hashem! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Why Not?

Once upon a time, young people would decide on a career path and pursue their goals, combating the ups and downs that inevitably confront success-oriented individuals. This was also a time when, upon reaching a certain age - a point of no return - switching fields of endeavor was not an issue that would even be considered.

There is a trend in the U.S.A today to change career paths at any age. It might be a result of the pressures of society or the idealism of a post-9/11 world, but people are more inclined today than ever before to chase their dreams.

Asking why you should pursue your passion leads to self-doubt, over-analysis, and questioning your ability to succeed. Instead, ask "Why not?" Changing the question from "Why?" to "Why not?" puts things into perspective. It encourages you to identify obstacles and plan strategies to overcome them. So ask yourself the right question and then follow your dream. Your passion can be your success! (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 (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

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