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Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

The fast of Asarah Betebet will be on Sunday, January 8.


"Behold! Your eyes see and the eyes of my brother Benjamin." (Beresheet 45:12)

After Yosef reveals his true identity to his brothers, he proves that he is really Yosef. Rashi explains that he tells them he is circumcised like they are, and that he speaks the holy language. Yosef emphasizes that all of your eyes and the eyes of Benjamin see that I am Yosef. Why does he single out Benjamin? Rashi explains: "He considered all of them together, equal, as if to say that just as I have no hatred toward my brother, Benjamin - for he was not present at my sale - so is there no hatred in my heart towards you."

Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky asks, how can it be that he had no ill feelings? After all, he was young and he was traumatized by his brothers. Even the brothers didn't really believe him, as we see later when Ya'akob passes away, they approach him again for forgiveness. They feared that now that Ya'akob is dead, Yosef will get even. So the question is glaring: How could it be that he had no hard feelings?

The Rabbi answers that the hint is found in an earlier pasuk in last week's parashah. "Yosef called the name of his firstborn Menashe, for G-d has made me forget all my hardship, all of my father's household (41:51)." The answer to our question of how he didn't harbor any hateful thoughts, was that it was done by Hashem! Hashem made him forget that trauma, and Yosef realized that this was a miracle, so he named his son after this miracle. But why did Hashem make this miracle? The answer is that Yosef had a mission to carry out. He was the one to take good care of his family in Egypt and feed them. If he had any hatred toward them, he wouldn't be able to carry out this mission effectively to bring his family to Egypt. Therefore, when he told them that he viewed them like he viewed Benjamin, he was telling the truth. Hashem will not let trauma get in the way of his mission, his mission to serve Hashem.

The truth is that we all have our own mission to serve Hashem. We live in a time where every person thinks that he has really tough problems. Everyone says, "I'm scarred!", "I'm traumatized!" Everyone is a candidate for major therapy.

From Yosef we see that Hashem performs miracles for his people in order to enable them to carry out their mission to serve him. Hashem will remove the effects of the biggest trauma and obstacles in order to allow us to serve Him properly.' Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And Ya'akob saw the wagons that Yosef sent him." (Beresheet 45:27)

Rashi tells us that Yosef sent his father, Ya'akob, a sign that he still remembers the Torah that he was taught, and he reminded Ya'akob of the last subject they had learned together. When Ya'akob saw that, he knew that his son was truly alive in a spiritual sense, and he rejoiced! Similarly, when Ya'akob sent his son, Yehudah, to Egypt before the whole family, he instructed him to establish a Torah academy so that they could study Torah in Egypt. We see from here how important the Torah was to our forefathers. Although we only read of their deeds and their character in the perashah, the Midrash is teaching us how pivotal the study of Torah was to them. They were engaged in it constantly, and this is what kept them alive. Ya'akob mourned very deeply for his son for twenty-two years, yet the only thing that kept him strong was Torah study. Yosef was in a very difficult position for many years in Egypt, spending twelve years in jail, yet his faith and trust never wavered because he was constantly reviewing the Torah he learned.

This should be an inspiration for us to strengthen our Torah learning, especially when the going gets tough. The more we are connected to Hashem through Torah study, the more we can endure all of life's challenges. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Accept or Demand

Little Abraham was very cranky. His mother patiently tried a variety of different "bribes" to improve his mood. She gave him some toys, and then a few more when he got tired of the first batch. Next, she whipped out a coloring book and a bunch of markers. Finally, she took out a cookie and gave it to him. When he saw the supply, he asked for another. She patiently gave him a second cookie - whereupon Abraham demanded the entire box!

"No, my little friend. You have had enough for now. You had better start behaving, or, rather than a cookie, you will get a punishment," his mother warned.

The frustrated five-year-old sat on the floor, kicked his legs, and began to cry.

"You can cry if you like," said his mother, "but I can assure you you've had enough and you're getting no more."

One of the reasons happiness is so hard to achieve is that we insist on having "everything." When our attitude is "I want it all!" the lack of even a small pleasure can make us miserable. Excessive demands, said Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, zt"l, can even lead some people to consider their entire lives as worthless (Michtav meEliyahu, volume 1).

It is a very productive exercise in the business of achieving happiness to soften our demands on ourselves, our family and friends, and Hashem. Being satisfied with our lots is a trait no one is born with; we must work on it daily if we expect to be happy.

At least once today, accept rather than demand. It is probably not what you are used to, but it will give satisfaction that was previously hard to achieve. (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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