Friday, 9 July 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 5

This weeks Tehillim Reminder with its Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared, compiled and sent out in the merit of
 Yoel ben Chanah Henya for a Refuat HaNefesh and Refuat HaGuf.
May it be G-d's will that he (Yoel) be granted long life, a life filled with good health, good and easy parnassa, Torah, mitzvos, a bayit ne'eman b'yisrael with his bat zivug, healthy happy children who give him, his wife (to be)  and family much Nachas always

Shmiras HaLashon Thought

Over the past few weeks, we have begun learning some of the teachings about guarding ones tongue written by Rabbi Yisrael Meir, better known as the Chofetz Chaim. Before we continue in what constitutes forbidden speech and how and when to guard our tongues, let us look at who it is that is teaching us. Of course the teachings in the book Chofetz Chaim all come from Torah, but we are looking at who the rabbi is that compiled this group of Torah laws.

It is said that upon completing the book "Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yisrael Meir approached leading Torah scholars of the time to write letters of approbation for his new book. Amongst these Torah scholars was Rav Baruch Mordechai Lifshitz the Rabbi of Nevardok. Rabbi Lifshitz read the book which impressed him greatly and then decided to carry out a test to determine the extent to which the author followed through with what he taught or did he transgress at all. In order to find the answer to this, Rabbi Lifshitz arranged for one of his disciples to engage in conversation with Rabbi Yisrael Meir. This he did for 6 full hours, attempting to entice Rabbi Yisrael Meir to speak something that fell into any of the categories of forbidden speech. What he found was that not one word that remotely resembled Lashon Hara passed from the lips of the Chofetz Chaim.

This is an important fact to keep in mind. When we learn the laws required to guarding our tongues it is both important and inspiring to know that Rabbi Yisrael Meir the author of Chofetz Chaim was a master in all the mitzvos of guarding ones tongue.

Bitachon / Ahavas Yisrael Thought

Last week we learned together a powerful story about Rabbi Akiva, a story that demonstrated trusting in G-d no matter what the situation. This week, we turn to one of the teachers of Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Nachum Ish Gamzu (He lived around 773 Hebrew count and his main work was around 803). Rav Nachum was given the name Ish Gamzu due to his practise of responding to everything "Gam zu le tova" (This is also for the good)

There was an occasion when it was necessary to send a representative of the Jewish people to the Emperor of the time to offer a gift and appease him, thus endeavouring to ease the situation for Am Yisrael. The Chachamim decided to send specifically Nachum Ish Gamzu to present the Emperor with a gift - because he was accustomed to miracles (and they realized the possible hazards that faced a person on such a trip to Rome). He set off with a treasure chest of precious jewels and along the way needed a place to spend the night. The story is told that while Rav Nachum Ish Gamzu was asleep, the owners of the inn investigated what was in the treasure chest, stole all the contents of his treasure chest and replaced it with earth from the garden. Not aware of the exchange, he arrived at the Emperor's palace with a box of earth, and not with the jewels and precious stones with which he had set out. When the Emperor found the box to contain nothing but earth, he had Rav Nachum Ish Gamzu imprisoned. Rav Nachum accepted this with his usual 'Gam Zu le'Tovah' - and a miracle occurred, in the form of a visit from Eliyahu ha'Navi, who suggested to the Emperor that this might be special earth from Avraham the father of the Jews, who, during the battle against the four kings, threw earth at them which turned into swords (and straw which turned into arrows). 
When the Emperor tried it out on an enemy whom he had up until then found invincible, and he defeated him. As a result of the incredible victory through the use of this magical earth, the Emperor set Rav Nachum Ish Gamzu free, filled the box with jewels and precious stones and sent him home with great honour. When the owners of the inn heard what had happened - they demolished their house and brought the dust to the Emperor as a gift (thinking that all the earth on their property was special 'miracle earth').  This time though, nothing happened with the earth (brought by the wicked inn keepers), and the Emperor had them killed for mocking him.

This inspiring story shows the power of believing that everything G-d does is good and for the good. It is a high level of believe in G-d to attain, but this story and others helps to give us the incentive to strive to increase our belief in G-d.

Tehillim Thought

Someone recently asked me to prove to her why reciting Tehillim helps for Refuah or Shidduchim or to release prisoners or any other Yeshuah. In starting to research for an answer that might satisfy her, I came across this story on Rebbetzin Tzippora Heller's site. "A woman was driving on the highway when she saw a serious accident that had just occurred. Horrified, she recited a chapter of Tehillim on behalf of the injured.

A few months later she received a call. “Were you driving on route [number] around [something] o’clock on [such-and-such a date], and did you pass an accident?” the caller asked.

“Yes,” the woman replied in surprise.

“I want to thank you for my life,” the caller told her. “I was in that accident. I died, and my soul left my body. As it rose, I saw a car drive by with your license plate. Letters of Tehillim were ascending heavenward from the car. They pulled me back to earth.”
Such is the power of Tehillim."

The story says a lot on its own. We may not understand the intricacies of why or how Tehillim works, but it does have an effect.

I asked some women what their favourite Tehillim was and why. Once again in the spirit of unity of Jewish women, please send in what your favourite Tehillim is and why. Bli neder I will add one or two each time until our list is completed.

The first one is: Tehillim ‎37 – Reason given:  what is there not to like about it? So appropriate for almost all situations in life.

Please keep up your Tehillim for all on our Tehillim list and for all of Am Yisrael.

The names for this week's Tehillim can be found on Torah Online Website

Tizku le Mitzvos. Thank you all for your kindness and time in reciting Tehillim.

Shabbat Shalom


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