Friday, April 30, 2010

Parshas Emor

Some motivation to help fight the Yetzer Hora:

Something to say:

You shall not desecrate my Holy Name, rather I should be sanctified (22:32)

The Chasam Sofer explains that in not desecrating the Name of God, it is considered as if we are actively sanctifying His Name. As the Gemara in Kedushin teaches, if the opportunity to sin presents itself and one refrains from the violation, he is rewarded as though he had actually performed a mitzvah.

By not doing an aviarah, not only does one prevent themselves from getting punished, but they actually get a mitzvah, and get rewarded.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

HP Tuesday #5

SN’s job involves a lot of driving. Monday Morning SN drove to New Rochelle with an empty tank, since his car was “The Little Car that Could”. Finished with his job there he went on to have lunch with a business associate, in Monsey. He parked his car in the restaurants parking lot and enjoyed a great lunch.

When he finished his lunch he got into his car and tried to start it, but it wouldn’t go. The tank was empty. Thankfully, the person he had lunch with was still there. So he got a ride with the guy to his next job location. Finished up his job there. Then got a ride to a gas station around the corner from where his car was stuck. He bought a 2 gallon can of gas, and got a ride to his car, where he filled it up. Then he was able to drive his car again.

The Hashgacha Pratis in all this was that 1- He didn’t get stuck on a highway. 2-it was around the corner from a gas station. 3- he was with a Jewish work associate, who was able to help him out. 4- the empty tank didn’t disrupt his schedule for the day at all.  

Friday, April 23, 2010

Parshas Acharei - Kedoshim

Imagine this: You are at a shiur, the audience is silent, all intent on hearing what the speaker has to say. Then you start talking to a friend. A stranger calls out to you to be quiet.

Now there are a few different reactions to this. 1- You stop talking and brush off what the person said. 2- You continue talking, thinking what you have to say is more important. 3- You answer back to the stranger, that they shouldn’t tell you what to do.

In Most cases people would have reaction number 1. With a few people having reaction number 2. And rarely people would have reaction number 3.

Now Imagine this: A wife works hard in the kitchen cooking a supper for her husband. Then it comes supper time and the husband criticizes the way she cooked supper.

There are a few different reactions to this. 1- The wife will get upset and yell at her husband and say if he doesn’t like the way she made it, then he can make his own suppers. 2- She will take note of what he said and try next time to make it differently, but yet feel hurt that she didn’t meet his expectations. 3- She will accept what he says lovingly.

In most cases people will have reaction number 1. With a few people having reaction number 2. And rarely people would have reaction number 3.

By a stranger, we don’t get affected so much when they criticize us, since we don’t hold them in as much of a high regard. With a loved one, we care about what they have to say, and therefore it affects us more when we get criticized by them.

But yet in order to have the power to criticize someone, you have to be close to them. If someone else's child is misbehaving you won’t criticize them as much as you would your own child. Having someone you are close to correct you is easier than having a stranger do so. If your tag is showing, or you by mistake didn’t button all your buttons, having this pointed out by someone you are close to is easier and less embarrassing, then having a stranger point it out.

Something to Say:

You shall not hate your neighbor in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor (19:17).

The Arizal asks: What is the correlation between the concepts of not hating another and giving him reproof? Rebuke, he answers, can be presented properly onto towards one who is respected and loved by the observer. When one is sincerely concerned about another’s conduct, as a father is for his child, any criticism is certain to be constructive in nature and acceptable to the listener. The closer two people are to one another, the more intense the relationship is, and so the rebuke is certain to be more sincere and easier to absorb.

Parents love their children and therefore they feel their children’s pain. So when a parent has to punish their child, it’s like they’re punishing themselves too. They really don’t want to punish their child, but they have to, to teach the child a lesson. So the punishing is for the purpose of helping the child. If the child doesn’t learn from the punishment, then it is not the right method. A parent should not be punishing the child out of anger.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Parshas Tazria & Metzora

I always believed that if people would have a positive attitude, and see the best in others then they will be happier people. People would be able to sleep peacefully without always worrying that others are out to get them. There are times when a person may wrong another, but that doesn’t mean the person is a evil person. We have to look at the person as a whole, that he is a good person.

Something To Say:

The Kohen shall look at the affliction… and the kohen shall look at him and declare him contaminated (13:3).

The “affliction” here refers to an affliction that resembles leprosy, but is a Divine retribution for the sin of gossip mongering and similar manifestations of callous and selfish behavior. What is the need for the verse’s apparent redundancy in stating twice that the Kohen shall look at it?

Rabbi Yehoshua of Kutno answers that when one looks at a person, he should see not only his blemishes, the places where he has been afflicted, but should view him as a whole person, with all his good points taken into account. Thus, although the Kohen must first examine the affliction, as it is his duty to do, he must afterwards look at the man as a whole person and see his strengths as well.

Sometimes it can be hard to notice the good when one’s job involves finding the bad, to correct it. A teacher and parent have to be extra careful when disciplining their children, to not only criticize them when they do something wrong, but to praise them as well for their good behavior. To see the child as a good child whom they still love even when they do something wrong.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Parshas Shemini

In the year 2009 I ended off with Parshas Tzav, now I will continue posting about the Parshas, starting with Parshas Shemini, this weeks Parsha.

We are always taught not to judge a book by it’s cover. That the outside can be deceiving and it’s the inside that counts. That beauty comes from the inside, not the superficial outside.

Something To Say:

Any earthenware utensil into whose interior one of them will fall, everything in it shall become contaminated (11:33).

An earthenware vessel can be rendered tamei, ritually contaminated, only from its inside, even from its air space, without being touched. However, even if it is touched on the outside, it cannot be rendered impure. Commentators explain that it can never become impure by being touched on the outside because it has no value in and of itself. The vessel is only valuable as a container for the objects within it; its sole worth is a receptacle for something else.

Along the same lines, the Kotzker Rebbe said, “Man is like an earthenware vessel. His worth lies not in the outer vessel, but in the human qualities developed within.”

Just like a container has no value on it’s own, only to hold things inside of it. A person has a guf to hold the Neshama in. We praise a person if they are a good person on the inside, rather than if they have a good physical attribute. A person who wins a medal in the Olympics may be looked upon by others as a great person. But then if you were to see one of them start acting in a bad way it changes the way you look at them, and you realize that the way a person acts on the inside is what makes them really great.

Another way of looking at a container is to realize that a container can only function if it is complete and whole. Once there is a hole in a container than it can no longer hold anything in it. A container can then be compared to Middos, characteristics of a person. Where a person needs good Middos to be able to do other Mitzvos.

For the first time, I have so far been counting Sefira every night. During Sefira we are working on our Middos, So that we can be ready for Shvous, where we get the Torah.