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Haftarah: Melachim II 7:3-20

APRIL 28-29, 2017 3 IYAR 5777


"If a person will have on the skin of his flesh…" (Vayikra 13:2)

The laws of sara'at begin with the statement, "If an Adam will have a blemish." The Zohar says that the description of a man in terms of an Adam is a term used for a very important and righteous person. This is very perplexing because the Sages teach is that sara'at comes as a result of lashon hara and other sins! So how can we describe this person as an Adam?

Rabbi Nisan Alpert zt"l explains that the true measure of greatness of a person is not if he has a plague of sara'at or not, or if he learns musar or not. The real barometer is if the person uses tactics to purify himself from his faults. A man is an Adam if he finds that he has a blemish and he brings himself to the Kohen to seek the cure to his problem. He might have to force himself to come and not to be in denial.

It might be that he didn't realize how severe the sin of evil talk is until he sees the effect it had, that it caused a blemish of sara'at. The mere fact that Hashem has communicated to him about this problem that he has, is a true sign of greatness. He is truly an Adam. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

) "And he that owns the house shall come and tell the Kohen 'It seems to me there is a leprosy in the house.'" (Vayikra 14:35)

Rashi tells us that even if the owner of the house is a Torah scholar and feels certain that what he sees is leprosy, he should still say, "It appears to me" rather than definitively, "It is!"

The lesson we learn from here is very profound and yet very practical. We tend to be very sure of our perceptions, and we therefore jump to conclusions. Many times, however, our information is incorrect, or our inferences are mistaken. Because we were so assured of our opinions, we find it difficult to admit our mistakes, and therefore exacerbate the situation. However, if we learn to speak and think using terms such as "it appears to me," "I believe so," "I'm not sure but," then even if we were mistaken, it will be easier to concede and change our views. Of course, there are times when it's appropriate and necessary to make strong statements, but in many instances, by saying, "It appears to me" we will avoid confrontation and will assess the situation correctly and properly. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Put It in Writing

You are only human, and sometimes you just can't take it. Your blood starts to boil. Good sense gets pushed to the back of the cranium, and anger takes over. At that point, it is possible to do something stupid and act in a manner you will soon regret.

But what can be done when you just can't bear it anymore?

Temper control is a lifelong task. Maimonides says that in all character traits we should strive to develop a middle course - except for the trait of conceit and the trait of anger. Those two traits are so bad that we should work on eliminating them completely

from our personalities.

But what is a person to do? After all, we are only human.

A surprisingly effective approach is to write down your grievances. Your feelings will be vented and your businesslike approach to frustration will help put things into perspective. Write a private "letter to the complaint department" outlining what, exactly, is making you so unhappy, and watch the temper index drop.

Whenever you are about to "lose it," take out a pad and pencil and start writing. It only takes a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and feelings, but it will save you hours - or even years - of regret. (One Minute with Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

Ethics of the Fathers

It is customary to study Pirkei Abot (Ethics of the Fathers) during the six weeks between Pesah and Shabuot, one chapter every Shabbat

"All Torah study not combined with work will in the end cease." (Abot 2:2)

Why will Torah without employment cease?

When a person accepts employment in a company, he is bound to certain conditions. He must arrive at work promptly and not leave early. On the job, he must work diligently and not attend to personal matters, etc.

Rabban Gamliel in this Mishnah is giving us valuable advice for success in Torah studies. One should approach Torah study as though it were one's employment, following the learning schedule punctually and not interrupting to attend to personal matters. One who lacks this total commitment to his "vocation" of Torah study greatly risks failure, but with total dedication and the above-mentioned approach, he will merit Divine blessings for success. (Vedibarta Bam)

* * * * *

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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