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Haftarah: Shemuel I 15:1-34

MARCH 9-10, 2017 13 ADAR 5777

Shabbat Zachor - This Shabbat, we will read an extra portion of Torah which commands us to remember what Amalek did to us and our obligation to wipe him out. All men are required to hear this special reading and even women should try to fulfill this obligation.

Purim will be celebrated on Saturday night and Sunday, March 10-11. Remember to bring your megillah to shul before Shabbat.


"On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine." (Megillat Esther 1:10)

In the story of Purim, Ahashverosh throws a lavish party for the people of Shushan. On the seventh day, the king is very drunk. Our Sages tell us that the seventh day of the party was Shabbat. Literally, every occurrence of the word "hamelech" (the king) is a reference to Ahashverosh. The Sages, however, say that it alludes to Hashem, the King of kings. On Shabbat, Hashem sees the contrast between the gentiles and the Jewish people. When the Jews drink wine on Shabbat, they sing the praises of Hashem, but when the gentiles drink, it leads to lewdness and violence. The Jewish people have always shown that the Shabbat day is very blessed to them.

In a story told by Rabbi Yitzhak Hisiger, we see this very idea in Rabbi Yehudah Sadka zt"l, Rosh Yeshivah of Porat Yosef. Rav Yehudah was once travelling in a taxi on Ereb Shabbat. During the ride, he heard a message crackling on the driver's radio. It was the taxi driver's boss offering him a job that evening. The driver initially refused, explaining that it would be after hours and he was scheduled to be off duty by that time. However, when he was informed that the job would pay him a whopping 600 shekels, he changed his mind and gratefully accepted the job.

Rav Sadka, overhearing the exchange, was greatly perturbed. How could he allow this man to be mehalel Shabbat that evening? He immediately reached into his pocket, withdrew 600 shekels, and handed it to the man.

"Here," said the Rosh Yeshivah. "Take this money and tell your boss that you'll pass on the job tonight."

The driver was shocked. He couldn't believe that the elderly Sage would gift him, a complete stranger, all that money just so that he wouldn't desecrate the Shabbat.

The driver informed his boss that he'd had a change of heart and would not be able to take the job that evening. Turning to Rav Sadka, he handed the Rosh Yeshivah the money he had just been given. His eyes filled with tears as he grabbed hold of Rav Sadka's hand, and began to kiss it. Kevod Harav, take back the money," he said. "I won't do the job tonight! I see how much Kedushat Shabbat means to the Rav, and I am taking it upon myself to keep Shabbat from here on, however difficult it may be."

The driver immediately formed a close relationship with Rav Sadka and became a full-fledged ba'al teshubah.

All because of how much Rav Sadka cared about another Jew's Shabbat, to the extent that he was willing to put his money where his faith was.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

When Haman's great-grandfather, Amalek, attacked the Jewish people in the wilderness, the name of the place where he was able to fight them was Refidim. This was a station where the Jews were in a weakened state of Torah study, and because of this, Amalek was able to start up with us. Indeed, whenever a tyrant or despot threatens the Jewish nation, it is invariably because of our lack of Torah study. Thus we find that right after the Purim miracle, when Haman and his people were defeated, there was a tremendous resurgence of Torah study amongst the Jews, and this eventually culminated in the compilation of the Oral Law.

The week before Purim, we read Parashat Zachor, which is to remember what Amalek did to us. It is just as important to remember the cause that led to Amalek's battle against the Jews, and that is our weakness in Torah study. Let us commit ourselves to Torah study every day so that we can merit to see Hashem's salvation.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Although it is a misvah to drink on Purim, please remember that it is forbidden to endanger one's own life and the lives of others. Please do not drive if you have been drinking.

* * * * *

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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