JANUARY 1-2, 2010 16 TEBET 5770
"Dan shall pronounce judgment on his people as one of the tribes of Israel." (Beresheet 49:16)
Ya'akob Abinu blessed the tribe of Dan with the midah - attribute - of truth and justice. The Gemara (Pesahim 4a) tells of a man who insisted on going to court to settle all his business dealings. He could never negotiate or compromise. The Gemara says he was from the tribe of Dan. He had in his genes this midah of justice and truth. However, we have a question. Ya'akob gave his blessings as a positive and good thing; how did it result in this man having this trait as a source of trouble for him?
Rabbi A. Henoch Leibowitz explains that the tribe of Dan was blessed with a priceless gift. However, this special attribute for justice, like any good thing, is subject to distortion. A person must always be careful to fully understand the good attributes he has, and should not use them for harm. Since this man didn't make the effort to understand when to apply this good trait, he used it in a way that he could never forgive or compromise when he should have.
For instance, a shy and reserved person may be fortunate in being able to easily avoid argument, but he must know when it is mandatory that he speak up and fight for Torah causes. The outgoing and friendly person may benefit emotionally from bringing others happiness and reaching out to his less Torah-educated brethren, but he must know when it is best to keep quiet and leave things unsaid. One who is steeped in the ideas of justice and truth must know when to give in, even though he is right.
Our good traits are like diamonds in the rough that need to be correctly cut and polished. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"May Hashem make you like Efraim and Menasheh" (Beresheet 48:20)
Ya'akob told Yosef that all the Jewish people will bless their children with these words, "May you be like Efraim and Menasheh." Among the many reasons given as to why Jews should always bless their children to be like these two sons of Yosef and not other great personalities, is that Menasheh, the older brother, did not show any jealousy when he saw his younger brother being blessed with the right hand. Usually the concept of sibling rivalry would have caused the older to resent the younger one, but when Ya'akob saw that there was no ill feeling between the two brothers, he told Yosef, this is the example we should have when blessing our own children. It may be suggested that this came about not only because of Menasheh's superb character, but also because Yosef put so much love into them that each one felt special in their father's eyes. Hence, there was no room for jealousy.
We, as parents, must try our best to show as much love and affection as possible to each child so that their self-esteem and self-confidence will be as strong as it can be. This will bring out the best character traits in them and leave no room for jealousy or resentment. A tall order? No! This is included in the blessing of Ya'akob that we will be able to bless our children and raise them in such a way to be like Efraim and Menasheh. It's up to us to try our best; the rest we pray to Hashem for success. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
People have become infatuated with keeping accurate time. A product called the atomic clock hit the market a while back, and has grown in popularity year after year. Inside the clock's casing is a tiny radio receiver that is programmed to receive signals from an atomic clock in Colorado, reputed to be the world's most accurate timepiece. Synchronization occurs several times within every twenty-four hours, keeping these watches accurate without manual adjustment. It is now possible to really be "on time."
But in spite of technological advances, some people are chronically late and others seem to always arrive with time to spare. A survey would probably indicate that most people consider punctuality to be a positive, admirable trait; deep down, even the tardiest would admit that keeping others waiting is rude.
Like most things in life, however, this is not a matter of only black and white. There are some shades of gray. Though punctuality is normally a good thing, people who become slaves to time might fall into traps that are definitely negative. Some individuals have their blood pressure reach unhealthy levels because someone they expected is not where promised at the appointed time. Others argue with a spouse over tardiness amounting to only a few minutes. Children develop negative images of themselves because a prompt parent has repeatedly admonished, "You're ALWAYS late!" People have gotten into automobile accidents when rushing to beat the clock.
Should you become aggravated by another's tardiness, don't blow your cool. Weigh the few moments of lateness against the negative effects of "losing it." Chill out a little, and, after taking a deep breath, beat the clock. Don't let the clock beat you into an unpleasant or even unhealthy situation. It only takes a moment's contemplation to become a master of time rather than a slave to it. (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 firstname.lastname@example.org (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.
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