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Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

DECEMBER 30-31, 2016 2 TEBET 5777


"Yet the chamberlain of the cupbearers did not remember Yosef and he forgot him." (Beresheet 40:23)

Our parashah tells about Yosef's spectacular rise to power, to rule over Egypt. However, initially the wine-master forgot about Yosef, and only remembered later to mention him to the king. There is a true story about another Yosef who was forgotten, Rabbi Obadiah Yosef zt"l.

There was a shul in Yerushalayim called Bet Knesset Tziofiof. This shul had a great Hebrew library that contained many rare sefarim. Rabbi Obadiah Yosef, as a young boy, decided to study Torah there every Friday, due to the great wealth that was in that library.

It seems that the person in charge of the library was yet unfamiliar with the greatness of this young man, and so he was hesitant to allow him complete access to these valuable books. One never knows, perhaps this student might walk off with some rare sefer. So the librarian agreed that young Obadiah could study there every Friday on condition that the librarian would lock him in, and would then let him out at the end of the day when Obadiah would finish learning.

One Friday, Obadiah was locked in and the librarian forgot about him ("And he forgot him") and didn't unlock the door. Young Obadiah was so engrossed in his studies that he didn't realize that Shabbat had begun and he was locked in! He had no choice but to yell out to people passing by to let him out.

Eventually he was heard and he was let out.

When the great Rabbi, Rabbi Yehudah Sadkah zt"l heard about this, he convinced the librarian to give Obadiah a permanent key.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

Though we Jews are only a small minority of the world's population, we have been assigned the formidable, seemingly impossible task of enlightening the entire world. The sages have given us a hint as to how this is possible. The halachah states that if a person lit the hanukah lights and the lights subsequently went out, he is not obligated to relight it (although it is preferable if possible). The reason is that ??????????????? - the kindling is the essence of the misvah. This symbolizes that we are charged with the responsibility to start the task of enlightening the world; G-d will see to its successful conclusion.

The lesson is that although we must do our share to promote and preserve Torah observance, and to be an example to the world, we need not be concerned if it seems that the task is not being accomplished. If we do our part, Hashem will intervene and He will see to it that the job is completed. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukah. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"Joe's on a roll - he's really built up some serious momentum!" reported the sales manager to the vice-president in charge of sales.

"She is unstoppable. Everyone she calls agrees to contribute. She's got the momentum to bring us over the top," said the fundraiser to the CFO.

Momentum. What is it?

The dictionary defines momentum as a strength or force gained by motion or through the development of events. Our Sages put it a little differently. They said, "Misvah goreret misvah" - a misvah brings on another misvah. They also taught the converse: that a negative action leads to another bad deed.

If you have done something, how do you build it into positive momentum?

One suggestion is a simple matter of perspective. If you feel that life is a succession of days in which you have the opportunity to grow and improve, examine your reaction to yesterday's achievements. If what you did yesterday seems great, you probably haven't yet done anything worthwhile today. As you grow, you realize that what was great in the past is not even good for today. You will find it could have been better. This thought should stimulate the energy to improve today and will, if used daily, invoke a constant drive towards positive growth.

Build up momentum. (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)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

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