JULY 5-6, 2013 28 TAMUZ 5773
"These are the journeys of the Children of Israel." (Bemidbar 33:1)
This perashah is always read during the three week period of mourning for the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. This reminds us that in the same way all forty-two encampments were part of the journey to the Land of Israel, all of our wanderings in exile are also part of our ultimate journey to the Promised Land. A Jew must never make himself too comfortable in exile, in order that he remember that he has not yet reached his home in Eress Yisrael.
Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum tells a true story related to this idea. Kalman Wissotzky owned a successful tea business in Russia, and became wealthy providing the Czar's army with all its tea. In the early 1900's he was offered an opportunity to develop a tea company in Palestine.
He hesitated, as the governing Turks were difficult to deal with. It would also be expensive to import tea to Palestine, since it could not grow there. Nonetheless, his desire to assist the struggling community in Israel drove him to send enough money to start a small tea business.
In 1917, the Communists seized all private business in Russia and Wissotzky was left penniless. His only remaining asset was the business in Palestine. The family fled to Palestine and built up the business, which continues to prosper today.
Our eyes and mind should always focus on the Land of Israel. Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Reuven Semah
When the tribes of Gad and Reuben asked for permission to inherit their portion of Israel on the Eastern bank of the Jordan River, Moshe suspected them of wanting to shirk their responsibility in conquering the land of Israel. They then told Moshe Rabenu, "We will build corrals for our sheep and cities for our children and leave them alone, and we will go fight together with our brethren." Moshe acceded to their request and commanded them to first build cities for their children and then to take care of their animals.
Rashi points out that Moshe Rabenu was chastising them in a subtle way. He was telling them, first you have to care for your children and then your livestock. Although it seems like a simple thing to us, not even worthy of mention, we should reflect on our own lives and see if we don't sometimes forget this lesson. During our busy season, do we make time for our families or is the business the overwhelming consideration? If we have to travel often on business, does our home life pay the price? When we plan our excursions and outings on our days off, do we realize that our children might be second fiddle to our ball games? Let's keep our priorities straight! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"There is a major tie-up on the BQE," blares the traffic reporter over the car radio. "Try Hamilton Avenue as an alternate route." But even if you do as he advises, the commute will not be easy and you will arrive late to your place of business.
One of the facts of life is that the "alternate route" is not the preferred route, because it is not the best way to get from point A to point B. It only comes in handy when the "best" is not going to work for one reason or another. Of course, when you are stuck you should try another route - but proceed with caution and expect delays.
Traveling is not the only area where this principle applies. So often, the way we normally do something is not possible because we lack tools or equipment, or we are short-staffed. Even so, the job must get done.
When the "best" way is not available, don't throw in the towel. Improvise. Take another route to your destination. If you expect delays and inefficiency, you will not lose your patience. On the contrary, you will probably reach your goal, though it may not be with your usual finesse and ease.
It only takes a little perseverance to make a turn that will lead you to your destination - even if the main road is blocked with traffic. (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.
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