Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Powerful Message by the Oldest Known Holocaust Survivor

A powerful videoclip that shows the benefit of developing a talent and interest, shows the power of purpose, hope and a positive outlook in life. The oldest known Holocaust survivor teaches us it is possible not to hate and to be aware of the beauty of life.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 17


This weeks Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared in the merit of
Rachel Chanah bas Esther for Refuat HaNefesh and Refuat HaGuf
A complete and speedy healing on all levels.


It once happened that Three Kohanim were sitting together and conversing. Each told the others which portion of the Korban he had received that day in the Beis HaMikdash.
Why did this concern them? Because that day, the Korban was very small, and each one had only received a small part of the meat.
"I received a piece no bigger than a lima bean," said one.
"And I," added the second, "received no more than the size of a small olive."
"My portion was no bigger than a lizard's tail," the third said.
Some Sages sitting nearby overheard their conversation and were shocked by the third Kohen's choice of words. How could he compare the holy meat of a Korban to an impure creeping thing like a lizard?
"Something must be wrong with the third one," they concluded, "if he expressed himself in that manner."
They investigated his lineage and discovered that he was really not a Kohen at all!
                                                                        (Tractate Sanhedrin)

From this we see the extent to which the choice of words that we use can reveal a lot about who we are and our integrity. Is our speech in keeping with who we really are?


One method described for increasing our Trust in Hashem is by acknowledging that He prepares food and sustenance for all flesh. This can be achieved by concentrating intently when saying the verse in Tehillim 145:16 – You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living being. It is also advisable to concentrate when reciting Bircas HaMazon the Brachah after eating a meal with bread, especially where it states  "Who nourishes the entire world" and "He gives nourishment to all flesh".
In addition while contemplating on these, one should contemplate on the fact that Hashem "prepares food for all of His creatures which He created" (With All your Heart – A Practical Approach to Bitachon by Rabbi S Wacshal)

If you spend a few moments thinking about the fact that this means every ant in the whole world, is nourished when it needs by Hashem. Every other creepy crawly not just that we see but that is alive at any given moment in the whole world, receives its nourishment from Hashem. Every fish or creature in the sea, at every moment it requires it, obtains its nourishment from Hashem. Every flying creature or bird when it obtains its nourishment, does so from Hashem. Every reptile, mammal and person at every moment that it requires its nourishment, this occurs from Hashem. This thought can in fact keep one occupied for hours, considering every kind of creature that lives in the sea, rivers, on land and in the air and where its source of nourishment is. To internalize that all this happens at exactly the moment it does and exactly the moment it is needed all by Hashem, over all the world, helps us to have a glimpse as to how Great Hashem is, both in co-ordinating all of this and in knowing which of all the creatures needs fluid or food at what time and in what proportion, type etc.


Tehillim 1 vs. 5 gives us a powerful thought to contemplate.
"Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement or sinners in the congregation of the righteous"
Me' am Loez offers the following: "This verse refers to the final judgement and highlights for us that those who have spent their days concerned only with material and physical things and acquisitions, will not have a part of the treasures of the World to Come but rather will be condemned. There is a distinction made between the wicked and the sinners. The sinners being those whose motive was a desire they could not overcome."
This requires more discussion; however, the concept of being condemned for not striving for any part of the World to Come provides much food for thought and introspection. What are your motives in life? What is your focus? Do you eat in order to gain the strength to do an act of kindness, learn Torah, offer some prayers etc or do you eat just for the sake of enjoying varied sensations, textures, foods, company? The latter being purely physical.


A number of women who participated in this Tehillim group have left the group in order to start their own group. While everyone has freedom of choice, it is a pity to leave an existing group in order to begin another one as in doing so we cause splitting off rather than increasing unity. At this time, Am Yisrael needs unity. If you would like to be a part of the admin involved in managing a Tehillim group, you are welcome to send emails to friends about this group. We can look at tasks you can do for this group too. In this way we can work on increasing unity and sharing the work involved. Together lets us Hasten the Geulah.

If any of you has some good news to share or a word of inspiration or Torah from your week, please do send it in to share with the other women of the group. It would be wonderful to see a greater focus on the good, both in the choice of words used and in comments sent in, in contrast to the type of information available in most media (newspapers, magazines etc)

I am aware that many women do not like the rule of submitting names each week. A few days ago, one of our ladies submitted a few names for this weeks list. Within a few hours she emailed again that one of the names already had to come off the list. It did not even get onto our list before coming off. This is an example of why we submit names weekly. We want to increase our Bitachon that Hashem can bring about a change in the blink of an eye, yes even before a name comes on to the list for others to see it can already merit coming off, perhaps all that was needed was the act of a caring Jew submitting the name to a Tehillim group.

This weeks list of names can be found on

Hope you have a very special and restful Shabbat.


Friday, 15 October 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 16

This weeks Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared in the merit of
Rachel Imeinu whose Yartzheit will be on 11th MarCheshvan, the day she gave birth to  
her son Binyamin and his Yartzheit too.
According to one opinion Rachel Imeinu was just 36 years old and according to another she was 45 years old; her son Binyamin lived to be 109 years.
May the merit of Rachel Imeinu and all her tears bring a complete Geulah for All Am Yisrael immediately.

Shmiras HaLashon Thought

A powerful thought is brought in the book Tales of the Tongue by Esther Ehrenreich and Chaya Kahan regarding the reward for being careful with ones speech.
Our Sages say that some people are lax regarding morality, most are lax regarding improper use of money belonging to others, but everyone sins with traces of gossip and slander. It is a rule in the physical / material world that the more rare something is the greater its value. As an example if we look at metals, copper is more rare than iron and therefore worth more, silver is more rare than copper and hence worth still more, gold is rarer than all the above and hence has the greater value.

The same rule applies regarding guarding our speech. It is rare to find people who master guarding their speech and hence these people are highly esteemed in Shamayim (Heaven) and their reward is consequently immeasurable. One who guards his tongue is given a place in Gan Eden that outshines all of the others.

An aspect of guarding ones tongue that makes it both challenging and more special is that it can be performed from wherever you are. At work, at home, on the street, while travelling, whenever you talk to another, write to another, even in the Shul – basically it is a mitzvah applicable everywhere you are all hours of the day or night. The profit from guarding your tongue can be gained even from just being silent.

We are taught that a person who refrains from doing a sin merits a mitzvah as if he performed a positive mitzvah. Hence if you are able to hold your tongue and not say just 10 words of Lashon Hara a day, that gives you 10 mitzvahs. If you do this every day for a week, you obtain 70 mitzvos, if you maintain this for a month you get 300 mitzvos and 10 words that you managed not to say of Lashon Hara every day for a whole year earn you 3 600 mitzvos a year. All of these mitzvos are gained from not saying 10 words of Lashon Hara.

A powerful thought, may we each manage to master keeping silent for 10 words each day and to keep building on this until we can guard out tongues completely, with Hashem's help.

Bitachon Thought

The Chazon Ish teaches that one should internalise that every situation is brought to us by G-d and therefore not fear a situation itself but rather G-d, the One who brought it about and pray to Him for deliverance.

Tehillim Thought

A beautiful idea is brought in Meam Loez to the verse of Tehillim "And he will be like a tree planted by streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither; and in all he does he will prosper." Tehillim 1:3

Trees are named according to the type of fruit they produce. Hence a new sapling is called an apple tree as it will produce apples even before it is actually big enough to begin producing flowers and fruit. It is the same for all other kinds of trees that bear fruit. In the same way, a Jew who meditates in Torah of the Lord night and day, even his preparations for study are called Torah study. Even his eating and drinking and everything he does is called Torah study as everything he thinks, says and does is for the sake of Heaven.

For this reason, a Tzaddik whose every thought, speech and action is completely in keeping with Torah and for the sake of Heaven is likened to a tree planted by streams of water for when he begins a good deed he does not leave it uncompleted. He is like the tree the grows and bears fruit. In contrast the wicked whose every deed is purely for his own sake and desires, without thought to the correct intention or consequences does not produce fruit.

The names for this weeks Tehillim list can be found on

For those in Eretz Yisrael, remember today we begin davening ve ten tal umatar libracha, completing our prayer for rain in Shomne Esrei.

Shabbat Shalom



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