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SHABBAT VAYIKRA
Haftarah: Yeshayahu 43:21-44:23

MARCH 15-16, 2013 5 NISAN 5773

RABBIS' MESSAGES

"When a ruler sins and commits one from among all the commandments of Hashem." (Vayikra 4:22)

The all-important laws of korbanot begin in this week's perashah. One korban is a hatat. This is a korban that is brought by someone who sins by mistake. There are different offerings for different types of people. One very interesting one is if a king (nasi) sins, he also must bring a korban. The above-quoted pasuk says, "When a ruler sins." The word "when" in Hebrew is asher (rJt). Rashi cites a Midrash that associates the word "asher" with the word "ashrei," praiseworthy, for "praiseworthy is the generation whose leader pays attention and seeks atonement for his iniquities."

We are dealing with a person who is at the height of power. And yet, with all of his power, this king is ready to humiliate himself and come to the Bet Hamikdash and admit to a regular kohen who happens to be working there that day, that he has sinned. That is a very hard thing to do. If a nasi can rise above all societal and political pressure and not hide his mistakes, the generation he leads is indeed lucky.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein asks the following question. If it is so hard for a king (nasi) to be G-d-fearing and repentant on his sins, why do we need to have a king? You must conclude, he says, that Jewish society without a king is worse than having a king, who wants to rule truthfully but sometimes stumbles and doesn't want to admit it because of his ego. Even though a bad situation can arise as a result, but for most of the people they will benefit from having a king. From this we learn that when one has a choice of two paths in how to act, whether for the nation or for private individuals, and both paths have shortcomings, one should choose the path of lesser evil if no perfect path is available. This lesson we can learn from the holy Torah.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"When a man among you brings an offering" (Vayikra 1:2)

When the Jews were instructed on the laws of sacrifices, they were told that even a non-Jew could bring a korban, sacrifice. The only difference between his korban and ours is that we are allowed to bring burnt offerings and peace offerings, shelamim and olah, whereas the gentile may only bring a burnt offering, olah. Indeed, even if he says he's sacrificing a peace offering, it can only be brought as an olah, burnt offering.

The lesson in this is that the non-Jewish view of religion differs from ours drastically. They understand religion to be only to G-d, only in a holy endeavor, not in the normal course of everyday life. They feel if one wants to be close to G-d, he cannot engage in the everyday pursuits such as eating or having children. Therefore, their sacrifice is a burnt offering, only for the altar. We, however, believe that one must sanctify his everyday living in line with Hashem. We eat and we make a berachah. We get reward because it's a misvah. In business we perform many commandments. Our duty is to take the mundane and make it spiritual. Therefore we can bring a shelamim, peace offering, where part goes on the altar and part is eaten by man. Our mission is to live life the fullest in the ways of Hashem. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

SETBACKS

"How are you?" asked the caring neighbor.

"I had a bad day," replied the distraught businessman.

It happens to everyone. Sometimes you just have a day when everything seems to be working against your success. Your reaction to such a day is crucial to your overall performance.

Did you ever watch athletes? The best of them are a rare breed. In the heat of the game they remain focused on their goal. It may be called the goal line, home plate, or the net - but no matter what it is called, they know where they are aiming. Next time you watch a sporting event, focus on a player who has just suffered a setback. Maybe he was tackled; maybe he struck out; maybe he was tripped. What does he do? Cry? Quit? No! He picks himself up, dusts himself off, and runs to get back into the game. The next moment he is standing confidently, ready to fight for victory.

It is the same in life. In Michah (7:8) it is written: "My enemies do not rejoice. If I fall, I stand up; if I am in the dark, Hashem provides me with light."

It is inevitable that you will sometimes fail to accomplish what you set out to do. Don't let it get you down. Don't focus on the temporary failure - focus on your ultimate goal. Look ahead for a window of opportunity rather than back at a door that slammed shut in your face. Such a change in direction will get you to the goal line of victory in the game of life. (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 kol18@attglobal.net (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.


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