Friday, 30 July 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 8



The Torah learning and compilation of this weeks "Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness" and Tehillim reminder is sponsored in the merit of
Yehuda Leib Ben Devorah
for Refuat haNefesh and Refuat haGuf

Shmiras HaLashon Thought (Guarding our Tongues)

The Chofetz Chaim enumerated thirty – one (31) Torah commandments which may be violated when a person speaks or listens to Lashon Hara. The number of infringements will vary in accordance with circumstances, but on each occasion when Lashon Hara is spoken many commandments are violated. Anyone reading this list will see that refraining from Lashon Hara is not merely a meritorious act, but an obligation of the highest magnitude. (Guard Your Tongue by Rabbi Pliskin Adapted from Chofetz Chaim)

Bitachon Thought

It is stated in the book Kad HaKemach that just as trust in Hashem helps one attain fear of G-d, so does the fear of G-d lead to trust in Him. In Mishlei / Proverbs 29: 25 we read "A man's fears become a trap for him, but he who trusts in Hashem shall be safeguarded" This point can best be illustrated in the thought on Tehillim below.

Tehillim Thought

This weeks thought on Tehillim shows the hand of G-d in our every day events and experiences. In the commentary on Psalm 34 which begins with the words "Of David: When he disguised his sanity before Abimelech who drove him out……" we learn a beautiful thought. This Psalm teaches us that everything has its place.

David HaMelech once said to G-d " 'All that You created is beautiful, and wisdom is the most beautiful of all. However, I fail to understand or to appreciate the value of madness. What satisfaction can You derive from having created a lunatic who walks about ripping his clothing, is chased by little children and is mocked by all?'

G-d replied, 'David, you will some day need this madness which you now criticize. Furthermore, you will even pray that I give this madness to you.'

A short time later, David was forced to flee for his life from King Saul. Only among the Philistines, Israel's sworn enemies, did he find safety. But even there he was recognized as Israel's greatest warrior and threatened with death. He pretended to be insane and King Abimelech – disgusted by David's lunatic behaviour – drove him out. (I Samuel 21: 11 – 16) Instead of feeling despair, David composed this beautiful and profound psalm. Its verses begin according to the letters of the Aleph – Beis, to show that we are to praise G-d with our every faculty, and to acknowledge that whatever He created  - from aleph to tav – is for the good." This commentary is found in the Artscroll siddur.

Mazal Tov to Sharon, one of the ladies in our Tehillim group on her recent engagement. May her path to Chupah be a joyous one.

This weeks list of names can be found on our website Loving Kindness

Thank you everyone for the Tehillim you recite.

Shabbat Shalom

Shoshanah

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 7



This Torah learning and compilation of this weeks "Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness" and Tehillim reminder is sponsored in the merit of

 Natan Gershon ben Natan z"l for Aliya Neshama

 whose Yartzheit was on 7th Av.



Shmiras HaLashon Thought


Klal Yisrael had the unique fortune of being chosen by the Creator of the universe to be the recipients of His Torah. This was an unequalled privilege as well as a formidable responsibility. Because Klal Yisrael sinned, the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed and they were exiled from Eretz Yisrael. The exile has lasted until today. It is pertinent to ask: which transgressions have been the prime cause of the continuation of our exile?

For a number of reasons it appears that the main sin has been Lashon Hara (evil speech). Lashon Hara is the source of much hatred, disputes and even bloodshed. The Talmud (Yoma 9b; Gittin 57b; Rashi) specifies Lashon Hara as the cause of the exile. Therefore, until we rectify the eveil, we will not be deemed worthy of redemption. (This quote comes from Guard Your Tongue by Rabbi Pliskin)


Bitachon Thought


Rabeinu Yona states that: "By putting one's trust in and fearing G-d, one becomes attuned to the fact that everything, including one's own success, is due to G-d. This will cause one to constantly rely on and turn to Him, thus perfecting one's reverence for G-d." (commentary on Mishlei 3:7)


Tehillim Thought

If you only knew - The Tzemach Tzedek said - the power of verses of Tehillim and their effect in the highest Heavens, you would recite them constantly. Know that the chapters of Tehillim shatter all barriers, they ascend higher and still higher with no interference; they prostrate themselves in supplication before the Master of all worlds, and they effect and accomplish with kindness and compassion. (from HaYom Yom 24 Shvat 5768 by the Lubavitcher Rebbe)

Favourite Tehillim shared by Chava one of the ladies in our group.

91: Hashem is always there, protecting us....loved this one since I was a child

The names for this week have been updated and can be seen on Torah Online Website

Thank you to all of you who are reciting your Tehillim. Tehillim should be said during daytime hours on Shabbos.

Shabbat Shalom
 

Shoshanah

Monday, 19 July 2010

Tisha B'Av Appeal


Tisha B'Av is a time to consider the importance of increasing peace with each other. Perhaps one of the greatest relationships where peace is necessary is between husband and wife. We have a Wedding Project aimed at helping newly married and financially struggling couples to "breathe" in their marriage.

Sometimes finances bring the peace in the relationship that is necessary. Our project this Tisha B'Av is to raise enough funds to help one couple in severe debt to be able to start anew. This couple also still requires certain basics for setting up their new home - including a stove, fridge, washing machine, dining room table, linen, in short the absolute basics for any Jewish home. In addition to these basics, the Chatan was not able to purchase a new suit for his wedding or a new hat, real necessities for anyone to feel like the king a Chatan is and should be. 

Many of you have already helped a Jew in Poland to be able to breathe with an Oxygen Concentrator. Many helped with a different couple we assisted whose mother works as a security guard and father had a health problem, thus unable to work.

We now appeal to you to help this couple to breathe. To be able to build a strong Jewish home, one that they will feel confident to invite guests to, one where Torah can be learned and shared.

Donations can be sent via our website, Torah Online  On this page you can also see our letters of approbation.

Thank you for your kindness. Have an easy fast.

Shoshanah Shear

Friday, 16 July 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 6



This weeks Tehillim Reminder with its Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared, compiled and sent out in the merit of
Shmuel Yechezkel ben Shlomo z"l and Shulamit bat Ben Zion Mordechai z"l
l'iluy Neshamot
and Tikvah bas Rachel Chanah for Heavenly Assistance.


 Shmiras HaLashon Thought (Guarding Your Tongue)

The Torah gives us advice on how to guard our speech. In fact it this advice is written in the Six Remembrances that are recited at the end of morning prayers. We are taught to "Remember what the Lord, your G-d, did to Miriam on the way, when you came out of Egypt" (Devarim 24:9)

Since it is now the 9 days, we are reminded of the Sin of the Spies. If we take a moment to remember the history of the Jews, we see that the series of events beginning with our leaving Egypt, contains the events leading to Miriam talking in private to her brother Aaron. What she said to her brother regarding their brother Moshe, came out of concern. Miriam loved her brother and even saved his life, her talk was therefore not out of spite or anything negative. Yet we see that G-d was not happy with what she said and for this she was punished. The Parasha of the week that describes the death of Miriam directly precedes the Parsha regarding the Sin of the Spies. This comes to teach us that the Spies were supposed to learn from what happened to Miriam.

The Spies, after returning from checking out the land what they spoke was truth, however the way in which they presented their findings to Am Yisrael caused us to complain. Clearly they had not learned from Miriam and the result lead to the whole Jewish Nation being punished. A severe punishment that we feel every year on the anniversary of this episode. This date is Tisha B'Av.

As we prepare for Tisha B'Av, it is a powerful thought to realize that the nature of speech lead us to this day of mourning. As we see from both scenarios, the speech was based on truth, but the way in which it was presented was the problem.

In future weeks we will begin to look at the laws of Lashon Hara, beginning with the important distinction that this speech is in fact truth or from truth, as opposed to the common mis-conception that what we say is OK because it is not a lie.

Bitachon Thought

Due to the time of the year, for this thought we will share a very short story. We are told that there was an occasion when Napoleon passed a shul on tisha b'av and asked why everyone was crying. He was told "for our Temple that was destroyed 1700 years ago". To this he replied "a people that cry over a temple destroyed 1700 years ago will surely see it rebuilt".

Though more years have passed, we still are a people that cry for our Temple. May we merit to see it re-built speedily in our days.

Tehillim Thought

On the website  Aneinu A beautiful story is told.
In the Sefer “Chesed L’Avrohom” (written by the grandfather of the Chida) it is brought “that in the year 1352 c.e. there was a poor righteous man who only knew how to learn the basics. He became old and passed away at a ripe old age. Within the thirty days after his death, he appeared in a dream to an exceptionally learned man. It seemed to the learned man that the poor man was standing in front of him in shrouds and was holding a small book. The learned man asked, “Aren’t you the one we buried on such and such a day?” The man answered, “You have spoken correctly, it is I”. The learned man said, “What is that book you are holding in your hand?” He answered, “The book of Tehillim. And I have come to warn you to warn the people of my town where I lived that they should run away and save their lives. Because a tragedy will strike whoever stays in that town. While I was alive and I finished Sefer Tehillim every day for al those years, that merit allowed the people to sojourn in peace and they were saved from tragedy until now. But from now on there is no one to guard them.”

Upon awaking in the morning, the man shook with terror and he sent a special messenger to that town with a letter warning the inhabitants. There were some people who listened to the words of the Chosid and ran for their lives and there were some who were not afraid of the punishment and they stayed in that town, until the hand of Hashem touched them (and they lost their lives.)

From that day forward, he (the learned man) completed Sefer Tehillim every week. Therefore say Tehillim constantly because the constant repetition of Sefer Tehillim will prevent many disasters and tragedies from coming upon us and members of our household, our families and all of our generations.

This weeks Tehillim list can be found on our website, Torah Online Please do click on the link to read the names prior to Shabbat. In the event you are delayed and unable to read the full list, please just keep in mind that your Tehillim is for this group, in the merit of the names on our website, in the merit of a speedy and peaceful release of Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs listed on our webstie and for all of Am Yisrael.


Tizku le mitzvos


Shoshanah

The Six Rememberances

At the end of the morning prayers, it is customary to read or recite the Six Rememberances:

So that you remember the day you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life

But beware and guard your soul scrupulously, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they be removed from your heart all the days of your life; make known to your children and to your children's children (what you saw) on the day when you stood before the Lord you G-d at Chorev (Sinai)

Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of the Egypt: how he met you on the way, and cut down all the weak who straggled behind you, when you were weary and exhasted; and he did not fear G-d. Therefore, when the Lord your G-d will relieve you of all your enemies around you, in the Land which the Lord your G-d gives you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!

Remember, do not forget, how you provoked the Lord your G-d to wrath in the desert.

Remember what the Lord your G-d did to Miriam on the way, as you came out of Egypt.

Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Join Us On a Walk For Life


At certain times of the year, Jews unite on a walk of life. Their walk of life is visiting those places where Jews were tortured and killed in various death camps.

Today we invite you to visit one of the countries severely affected by WW2. Our walk will not be to one of the camps, but to the after effects and to witness and learn the beautiful ways of G-d that brings salvation and light in the face of deep darkness.

The country we will be visiting is Poland. During WW2, the Jews of Poland were affected along with Jews of Europe, Russia, White Russia. A certain Jew, who we will call Zeidie, survived the war. He has dog tags to show, but we do not wish to press him for his story. Zeidie married and began a family. Amongst his family is a daughter who also married and had two sons. Zeidie's beloved wife passed on from this world as did his son-in-law, but for various reasons, Zeidie continued to live in the apartment he had lived in for years. Now at over 90 years old, Zeidie can not face the thought of moving. Yes Israel would be a good place for his children, but Zeidie is old now and in need of much assistance. Zeidie's daughter lovingly fulfils the mitzvah of Kibud Av joined by her two sons.

This family of four is the only Jewish family in its town. The closest Jewish community that has a rabbi is 100 miles away or more. One of the grandsons had been studying in Yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael and due to the needs of Zeidie and his mother returned to Poland to help all he could. But things were difficult and more recent months have met with the news of severe health problems

In previous posts you can see our efforts to get an oxygen concentrator to "Chaim" the grandson. Here we wish to highlight a very beautiful point.

For various unforeseen reasons, once the money was raised and the machine finally paid for, to a company in Poland, we hit another snag. The company is situated 700 miles away from our Jewish family, meaning that if the delivery were processed at the soonest time, it would arrive on Shabbat day. What would we do?

We made a call to a Posek to ascertain what Hallachah dictated. How could the Jew fulfil the laws of Shabbos. Having obtained certain crucial medical information, we began our call. Introducing myself and explaining that we needed an urgent sheilah answered that concerned both medical considerations and observing Shabbat, I waited to hear if the Rabbi was able to take such a call at that time.

What transpired next was Pirkei Avos in action. Rabbi F agreed to hear the story and he really did hear. He listened so attentively that although he did not say anything one could literally feel him listening. Within moments he grasped the full picture of the situation and gave the following psak, (ruling). The oxygen concentrator was to be delivered ASAP. The options given for keeping Shabbat were best case scenario, a non-Jew receives the machine, signs for it, unpacks the box, plugs it in. Next option, a Jew could do the same but with their non-dominant hand as a form of Shinoy.

We handed over the information, the order was made and we were left to daven for the best.

Motsei Shabbat we sent a message to hear how things had transpired and received the following message.
"The concentrator arrived in the morning safely. The relief is great as compared to what was before. …. I already see significant change in quality of life after all day use. I truly do not know how to thank you, your husband and all the good people who chose to help me.

When asked how the machine was received, we were told that a caring neighbour who is a non-Jew followed the instructions of Rabbi F.

There were very many factors involved in both raising the funds in as short a time as possible, sourcing the machine, making the payment, placing the order. However, when we were faced with the potential of whether we had to delay until Monday, Hashem provided a way that the machine could indeed be received.

Post WW2, we hear stories of righteous gentiles who risked their lives to hide a Jew, during wartime. We don’t often hear of those who are prepared to help a Jew uphold the laws of Shabbat.
So often in today's time when we turn to a Jew or organization or someone in a higher position than we are, we hear a string of questions. We have our precious time extended by the person on the other end taking all manner of other calls, finding reasons to deal with everything else but the call at hand. Rabbi F demonstrated the teachings of Pirkei Avos, listening without interrupting. Hearing the real questions and knowing both the medical ramifications and the laws of Shabbat well enough to tell us how to do both.

The end result was an open lesson of the wonders and beauty of Torah in action. This truly was a walk of life and the walk is not yet over. There are still very real expenses involved in making sure the oxygen concentrator runs smoothly.

Please join us in seeing this mitzvah to completion by making your donation today.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Dream Machine

The oxygen concentrator in action
(Sorry for the small size, this is how it was sent to us by the recipient)

THE DREAM MACHINE
Imagine being Jewish – practically alone – living in Poland, surrounded by non-Jews. There's no shul nearby, no Jewish community and almost no practical way of observing Yiddishkeit. But you still continue to – because life circumstances have brought you there, and you are unable to leave. Your only real resource to the outer Jewish world – is your computer. You even use it to learn Torah online. You also use it to keep in touch with others through Facebook and the like.

Now, imagine that this is you – and you become severely sick. Imagine suddenly being struck with the "C" disease (G-d forbid,) and still stranded! But that's not all. Your breathing becomes worse and worse each day, as you almost have to gasp for breath with each breath you take. You have no money, and don't even know where to turn for real medical assistance. Imagine looking online and seeing the variety of oxygen machines available at a "nominal" cost, but having no way to purchase this machine. It sits in a box achieving nothing – while you continue to gasp for air.

Imagine asking for help from others, and being questioned, "What would a Jew be doing in Poland?", or even better, "There's no need for us to help… ask the organizations in Poland for help." Imagine being poked and prodded at with a variety of questions that do nothing more than make you more ill?!

The story is real. When Chaim turned to us, we skipped the formalities. We understood his situation and pushed forward within moments to raise the sum of money needed to purchase the oxygen concentrator – the machine that had up until then – only been in his dreams. This machine would allow him to breath and live normally again.

Without delay, we set up a page on our web page, exclusively devoted to raising the necessary funds to purchase the machine in Poland itself. We advertised on Facebook and a variety of Internet newsgroups for people to contribute – and the donations came in generously! Within two days, the entire amount was raised! Calls were placed between ourselves and the store in Poland to arrange for purchase. Technical issues threatened to delay the funds coming through until some 10 days later. Time was too short to waste on a week of waiting.

Fortunately a friend came through for us,the issue was resolved and we could proceed.

Due to a slight delay (the delivery person had left work 10 minutes early!) the order would only be processed on Friday – meaning that the machine could only arrive (from 700 kilometres away) on Shabbat day! Immediately we asked a Shaila from a well qualified rabbi who instructed us in the correct approach to take in this literal life saving operation – and how to accept and get the machine working on Shabbat in a way that the Halacha would allow for.

Indeed not only was everything followed to the letter, but it was due to the kindness of non-Jewish neighbours that the machine was accepted and set up, giving Chaim the ability to breath again!

Chaim's redemption is not yet complete. He is still in need of regular assistance. For more information and to make your donation, see: Torah Online Website 

Chaim's situation is frightening – because it can happen to anyone. What would we be feeling if we found ourselves in such a suffocating situation?! Would we appreciate the poking and prodding of others and the countless questions as to why we hadn't lived our lives correctly in the right places around the right people?! Would we want some sympathy and kindness to help us out and free us?!

Chessed Ve'Emet is an organisation devoted to helping people in great genuine need. Join us in acts of goodness and kindness – together!




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

Shoshanah

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Save a Jewish LIfe

The world stands on 3 things - one of them is acts of loving kindness.


A young Bocher who was learning in Yeshiva here, was diagnosed with Yena Machela (The C disease, affecting his lungs) when visiting his family in Poland. He is in urgent need of an oxgygen concentrator to assist with his breathing. He is on the waiting list for one locally, but the organization in Poland is currently out of stock.

We have made extensive investigations and thus far our only option is to purchase a second hand one from Yad Sarah and mail it to him. The Israeli Postal service is prepared to mail it, but we need funds to purchase this piece of medical equipment, package it, take it to the post office, mail it with EMS and cover the taxes on the other side.

This mitzvah is literally Pikuach Nefesh. The Jew concerned could not even talk on Skype with us this evening due to shortness of breath.

If you are able to make a donation, it is urgent. We need the donations in order to purchase this item and get it to him as soon as possible.

NOTE:
This article was posted in 2010. Reviewing the post a few years later, we are grateful to state that our goal was met and the oxygen concentrator reached it's destination on time.

Thank you for your kindness and to all those amazing people who took part in saving the life of a Jew they did not know.

May we hear only good news for Am Yisrael.

Shoshanah Shear

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 4


This weeks Tehillim Reminder with its Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared, compiled and sent out in the merit of
Shabtai Ephraim HaLevi ben Beila and Esther Naomi bas Devora
for Refuat haNefesh and Refuat HaGuf

          ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shmiras HaLashon Thought (Guarding Our Tongues)

The King's Guard:

If someone were appointed by a king to guard his royal treasures, he would guard those valuables with complete concentration. If robbers had already plundered a portion of the king's wealth, the guard will intensify his watchfulness to prevent further loss. We are in the same situation. All too often we have spoken Lashon Hara in the past; we must dedicate ourselves to the prevention of recurrences. (Guard Your Tonuge – Adapted from the Chofetz Chaim by Rabbi Pliskin)


Bitachon Thought

In the previous two emails we began to talk about trusting in G-d even and especially in times of trouble. The Talmud provides us with a story that illustrates this level of trust in action. Once Rabbi Akiva went on a journey, along his travels he came to a town and began to seek accommodation for the evening. Each place he went to, Rabbi Akiva was refused entrance. Trusting in G-d completely, each closed door that Rabbi Akiva encountered his response was: "Everything G-d does is for the best"

Finally, having exhausted all inns or teverns to spend the night, Rabbi Akiva turned to a nearby forest and settled down for the night. With him, Rabbi Akiva had a lamp, a rooster to wake him and a donkey to travel on his way. As night fell, suddenly a wind came up and blew out his lamp. A cat came and ate his rooster. Then a lion came and ate his donkey. To each apparent disaster Rabbi Akiva responded as above "Everything G-d does is for the best"

When morning came, Rabbi Akiva found that in the middle of the night, a band of violent robbers came and sacked the town and took all the inhabitants captive. When Rabbi Akiva heard this, he responded "Now I see that everything G-d does is for the best. Had the wind not come to blow out my lamp, the robbers would have seen me. Had the cat not come to eat my rooster, or the lion to eat my donkey, the animals might have made a noise in fright and alerted the robbers to where I was. This way, no-one knew that another person was there, lying down for the night in the forest."

Too often in life, we get caught up with being angry when the first person closes the door and turns us away, rather than having the patience and faith to see the event through to its conclusion. Rabbi Akiva teaches us a powerful lesson.

Tehillim Thought

"Many of the psalms were composed to be sung by the Levites in the Temple, with musical accompaniment, and such psalms generally begin by naming the instrument upon which they would be played. Many of the psalms are attributed to authors other than David, but according to one view in the Talmud, he was the author of them all, presumably drawing upon ideas or tests and weaving them into his own compositions.

Whatever the authorship of the psalms, one thing is certain: Since the day it was composed, the Books of Psalms has become interwoven with the souls of countless Jews. The psalms are part of the daily prayers. They are recited at moments of illness and crisis. They are chanted joyously in times of good fortune and when heartfelt prayers have been answered. The last verse of the Book proclaims: 'Let all souls praise G-d, Halleluka' The sages expound homiletically that the verse also means to teach: 'Praise G-d for every breath that you are privileged to take.' This degree of gratitude that sees everything – even as automatic an act as drawing a breath – as a Divine gift is one of the countless teachings of David. It is the soul that permeates the entire Book of Psalms." (From the last two paragraphs of the introduction to the book of psalms in the Artscroll Edition of Tanach – The Torah, Prophets and Writings)

May we all be zocher to master complete trust and faith in G-d, to guard our tongues and to find comfort and salvation through the reciting of Tehillim.

This week's list of names can be found on our website Torah Online 

May we be zocher this year to enjoy the three weeks being transformed into a time of the greatest celebration, even before we reach Tisha B'Av

We look forward to hearing very good news.

Shabbat Shalom

Shoshanah


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