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PARASHAT YITRO
Haftarah: Yeshayahu 6:1-13

JANUARY 29-30, 2016 20 SHEBAT 5776

RABBIS' MESSAGES

"And Yitro heard." (Shemot 18:1)

This is the perashah which tells us about the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, perhaps the greatest event that ever took place in the world. Wouldn't it be proper to have the entire perashah devoted to that special occurrence, rather than begin with Yitro joining the Jewish? What was so important about Yitro that this had to precede Matan Torah?

The answer is the first word - gnJHu - and he heard! The Torah is teaching us that if we don't hear, we will not be able to receive the Torah. Hearing means being able to concentrate and focus on someone else and not only on ourselves. It means to accept that we're not perfect and we can hear advice and criticism. The whole world was aware that the Jews came out of Egypt with great miracles but did nothing about it. Yitro, however, heard and came. Because he was willing to truly hear and understand, he changed his own life and ultimately gave some very useful advice to Moshe. That is why the giving of the Torah must be preceded by the story of Yitro, to teach us what hearing can bring.

We often ask others how they are, but do we really hear their answers? Our kids are constantly talking to us, but are we truly listening? Even if we do allow the words of others to enter our ears, do we hear "between the lines"? Let us learn from Yitro to truly hear and listen to what's around us and this will make our lives a little bit better.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

LINES OF COMMUNICATION

There are billions of people on this earth, most of whom you will never get to meet. There are others whose paths will cross yours once, very briefly. Still others are relatives who will spend hours and hours influencing your development and attitudes. And then there is one more group from whom you may benefit: your neighbors.

Hashem, in His Divine wisdom, puts people in close proximity to each other. Those of us whose eyes and minds are open to growth may take advantage of the people that Hashem places in the next apartment, the neighboring office, the school dormitory, or the same camp bunk. They are there every day for us to learn from. They

see situations differently than we do. Their overall perspective on how to handle life's challenges may be a far cry from our own. The problem is that many people live in close proximity to others without ever communicating with them. A kind gesture, a smile and a good morning, the sharing of good news or a happy occasion - any of these might be enough to open the floodgates of friendship.

When you make that inevitable contact with your neighbors, do something to communicate with them. Give them the opportunity to reciprocate. You may convert a cool or nonexistent relationship into a warm and beneficial lifelong friendship. (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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