Friday, 16 September 2011

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - Tehillim Reminder 50


This weeks Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared in the merit of the
Secular / English Birthday of Yehudah Leib ben Devorah and
the Hebrew Wedding Aniversary of Eliyahu ben Devorah Gitta and Shoshanah bas Rachel Chanah
May it be a year of revealed blessing.

This Shabbat is Chai Elul, the Yartzheit of the Maharal of Prague and the Birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi. It is no co-incidence that the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe are born on the Maharal of Prague's Yartzheit, let us share a little about this connection to understand the wonders of the timing of Birthdays, Yartzheits etc.



In a town in Germany called Worms, lived a Rabbi with his wife and 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter. Rabbi Chaim was able to send two of his sons to Yeshivah in Poland and not knowing which of them would have the greatest potential in Torah he sent his sons Yaakov and Helman, his younger son, Betzalel remained behind to involve himself in the special Mitzvah of caring for and assisting his parents.



On a visit home from Yeshivah, the family gathered together, all except for the daughter who had married and just given birth to her first son. Rabbi Chaim began to discuss a certain Tosafos with Yaakov and Helman, his wife and son, Betzalel looking on. Now Betzalel had a sharp mind, sharper than his brothers and began to enter the Torah discussion. He held his own but lacked the abilities that come from learning how to learn. In his frustration, Betzalel asked his father why he was not sent to Yeshiva as he so much loved Torah and had a sharp mind. He knew he had to concentrate now on getting married and would not be able to dedicate himself to Torah and now stood to lose out on being the Torah Giant he could have been.



Rav Chaim responded that he could only send two sons to Yeshiva and Betzalel had fulfilled the great Mitzvah of assisting his parents, sacrificing his opportunity to learn in Yeshiva. Rav Chaim who was a Holy man and whose blessings were answered put his Holy hands on his son's head and blessed him to have 4 lights come from him, sons who would provide the Torah he was not able to learn.


After the passing of his parents, Betzalel married and in deed fathered 4 sons. Each one was great in Torah. The second son, named after his great grandfather Yehudah Loew, is better known as the Maharal of Prague, who later became Chief Rabbi of Prague (1525- 17 September 1609 / Chai Elul in Hebrew Calendar)
 

Rabbi Yehudah Loew was a giant in all areas of Torah. He was particular about Shmiras HaLashon, had a special way of learning Mishnayos and influencial in the manner of education of our children. Rabbi Yehudah Loew was a prolific writer and many of his works have been published. 


Rabbi Yehudah Loew's Torah and approach had a very great impact. Amongst his direct students was Eliyahu Loanz of Worms (1564 – 1636) the leader of the Hidden Tzaddikim and forerunner to Chassidus. 


Rabbi Yehudah Loew's Torah had an impact on the thinking and Torah of The Gaon of Vilna and on great Chassidic giants including Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe, a direct descendent of the Maharal of Prague who in turn was a direct descendent of David HaMelech, both connected to David HaMelech through their father's side.


Before we mention an example of the Torah of the Alter Rebbe, here is something special from one of the grandsons of the Maharal of Prague. Rabbi Yehudah Loew had a special connection with his grandson Shmuel and made him a promise that Shmuel would one day be buried next to his grandfather, the Maharal. When Shmuel became ill and was nearing the end of his life, he called the Chevra Kadisha and notified them of the promise the Maharal had made to him. The Chevra Kadisha apologized that this was no longer possible as since the burial of the Maharal of Prague, there had been other burials and there was no longer enough space next to him for Rav Shmuel. 


Upon hearing this, Rav Shmuel ordered the Chevra Kadisha to go and begin digging his grave and to request of his grandfather, the Maharal to move over to make space for Rav Shmuel to be buried next to him as he had promised.


The Chevra Kadisha did so and after starting to dig the grave for Rav Shmuel, made the request of the Maharal to please move up to make space for his grandson. After making this request, there was a shuddering and the gravestone of the Maharal of Prague moved, leaving just enough space for Rav Shmuel to be buried next to him.


To give a glimpse as to the power of the Torah of the Maharal of Prague, let us take a look at this weeks Parsha. In this weeks Torah reading, we customarily read the Tochachah, or curses, ie if we the Jewish people don’t do x then y will result. 


One year, when the Mitler Rebbe, was 12 years old, his father, the Alter Rebbe was not in the city and unable to read the Torah in Shul as he usually did. When the Baal Korei came to the section of the Tochachah and began reading, the Mitler Rebbe (not yet Rebbe) fainted. When they were finally able to revive him, the Mitler Rebbe became very ill, so much so that they were nervous as to whether he would manage to fast on Yom Kippur, some weeks ahead.


The Alter Rebbe asked his son, "son, is this the first time you have heard this section of the Torah being read? Why did you react so this time?" To which the Mitler Rebbe answered that when Tatti, (ie the Alter Rebbe) reads this section of Torah, all one hears is Brachos. But now when the alter Rebbe was unable to read and another read the same Torah portion, now, for the first time the Mitler Rebbe heard the curses and the information was so shocking to his sensitive ears that he fell in a faint. 


The teaching of the Alter Rebbe is that when we study Torah, we must know that everything in the Torah is beautiful and when we come to something that seems bad or appears like a curse, it means we have mis-understood and we need to learn the Torah correctly. 


As the Torah teaches, if one is meritorious, the Torah becomes an Elixir of Life, if one is not meritorious, then the Torah becomes the opposite. 


Shabbat Shalom and Ketiva VeChatima Tova, Shanah Tova UMetukah

Shoshanah Shear
 Chessed VeEmet

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Remember the Orphans for Yom Tov

 Yom Tov Card Handmade by Shoshanah each one is unique and individually made

We are rapidly approaching Chai Elul, just over two weeks to Rosh HaShanah. While Yidden around the world prepare for the High Holy days, recite extra Tehillim, prepare gifts or cards to send to friends and loved ones, prepare their menu for the meals, go out to shop for special new garments; there are Yidden in Israel for whom the Chagim is a difficult time. Our heart goes out especially to widows and orphans for whom this time of year is a painful reminder of what they lack. The difficulty in scraping together enough for the meals. The hard decision as to which sibling might merit a new garment this Chag if any of them can.

Elul is a time to increase in Chessed and Tzeddakah along with our additional Tefillah, Torah learning and soul searching. 

Do you know there are even households where the children are predominantly being cared for by the eldest sibling who may even not yet be of marriagable age yet?

We appeal to you to assist in putting a yummy meal on the table of families who are no longer complete families. Please help too that they can have a new garment for the Chagim, something special to remind them that the King really is in the field and remembers the widows and the orphans.

If you can assist with a monetary donation, please email us

Donations have been placed in Shekels although you are welcome to donate from any country, any amount will be gratefully received.

Thank you for your kindness.


If you know of any Jewish orphans in Israel getting married who have no-one to help them to set up their new home, please put them in touch with us.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - Tehillim Reminder 49


This weeks Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared both for
 a complete and speedy recovery for Rachel Chanah bas Esther and
as a thank you to the international Tehillim group.

It has been a quiet few weeks with little feedback or interaction from the Tehillim group. On my side it has been a busy time and I found myself wondering whether to prepare a full Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness this week or to say, sorry, this week has been too busy.

Just when I was about to opt for a short few lines, I happened to look at my email and was gratified to read that a mother who placed her daughter on our list 3 weeks ago, prior to serious surgery felt that the outcome of Tehillim was better than they anticipated. Thank you for your Tehillim ladies. Keep up your efforts and do stay in touch.

To the person who sent that message in, it makes a big difference in my life to know that something I am involved in had a positive difference in the life of a fellow Jew. Thank you.

As thank you to all of you here are a few Torah thoughts.

Shmiras HaLashon Thought

In today's Torah reading we find the verse "Remember what Hashem your G-d, did to Miriam on the way, when you were leaving Egypt". (Devarim 24:9) This verse reminds us that when on our journey in the Midbar (desert), there was an occasion that Miriam criticized her brother Moshe Rabeinu to her brother Aharon HaCohen. The result was immediate punishment from Hashem in the form of Tzara'as over her whole body, indicating the extent to which Hashem dislikes evil speech.

I was thinking of this verse today, and would like to share another thought; a thought that a few ladies of the group have requested to be shared. Typically when we discuss the verse above, we think about and remember the content of what Miriam had said and the result. However, the verse includes another fact that this occurred while on a journey. In today's times we have a major challenge, that of cell phones.

It is not so long ago, that telephones were only an instrument in ones own home that could only be used from one specific place. Many homes would have a quiet corner where the telephone stood on a table with a chair next to it, enabling the person talking to have a little bit of privacy.

With all the benefits of cell phones and mobile phones, most of us forget a crucial warning in the above verse, that of when we were leaving Egypt. We were on a journey. Actually, Miriam did talk to her brother Aharon in private, however the verse itself, provides insight into a habit that is beneficial to work on altering.

The way of the Jew is to be modest, private and to talk softly. We are not supposed to be having conversations in public, in transit whether walking down the road, on the bus, around ones garden, in the supermarket at the tops of our voices or even on two phones and two conversations simultaneously. Let us remember the words of the Torah itself and remember what happened to Miriam when she spoke incorrectly when we were on a journey. Let us master guarding our tongues in terms of content and further, guarding our tongues and manner of speaking even in terms of place, that our conversations take place quietly, in private, in a modest manner.

The Vilna Gaon gives a sobering thought "The main object of man's life is, to break undesirable traits (middos) – and if not? Why is he alive?"

The names for this week are found on our Tehillim page 

Shabbat Shalom to everyone. Shanah Tova UMetuka, may you all be inscribed for a year of everything good, a good that is revealed, manifest and visible

Shoshanah

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Help to Build a Bayit Chadash this Elul


Chessed Ve'Emet is helping an Elul couple. The Kallah is an orphan and is struggling to complete her home. This special couple are in need of some assistance to set up their Bayit Chadash. Our Target for them is 2500 Israeli Shekkels to be reached by Chai Elul. However, surprise us, we would love to give them more than this.

Some items they need include:
  •  Items to enhance their Shabbos e.g. an urn or hot pot or flask, a hot plate
  • Judaica such as a Kiddush Cup and Havdalla Set
  • A basic tool set (every home should have one)
  • A book case for their Seforim.
  • Some Kitchen utensils
  • A Yom Tov / Shabbos Tallit for the Chatan
 
For those wanting to donate items, we accept any NEW items needed to set up a new home. If you have something not listed, please be in touch. It might be the couple does need it or it can go to the next couple we assist.

If you can assist with a monetary donation, please email us


Thank you for your kindness.


If you know of any Jewish orphans in Israel getting married who have no-one to help them to set up their new home, please put them in touch with us.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - Tehillim Reminder 48



This weeks Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared
in the merit of
Zelig Pinchas ben Itta Leah for a complete and speedy Refuah (healing),
Refuat HaNefesh, Refuat HaGuf
(Healing of body and soul).

Shmiras HaLashon Thought

When we were children we learned a rhyme: "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me". The Torah teaches a different lesson. Words are very powerful. When used in the positive they have the power to heal, to bring blessing, to comfort, to teach, to inspire and more. When used in the negative they do the very opposite. For this reason we have laws of guarding our tongues which includes not hurting another with ones words either emotionally, spiritually or damaging their reputation, their name or their very Parnassa.

The Torah teaches further that we are to be very careful with our actions that we do not place a stumbling block before another or do anything that could in anyway cause harm, damage or pain to another Jew and in deed to any part of Hashem's Creation.

Although we are supposed to learn from everything, we should also be selective as to what we teach our children and how powerful and often completely incorrect and distorted the rhymes, songs, poems etc are that we expose our children to.

Bitachon Thought

The Gomorrah of Berachos 33b teaches us that everything is in the Hand of Heaven, except for Fear of Heaven. That means how much money we earn, who we come into contact with, whether our plans succeed or not, whether we have health or not, family or not, friends etc. EVERYTHING is in the Hand of Heaven.

Knowing this, can help to give us comfort and the strength to stop worrying, after all, if everything is being taken care of by Hashem, it is a waste of energy to worry about it. This knowledge can also help us to grasp where to focus our attention and work / effort. Since the one thing that is in our control is Yirat Shamayim or Fear of Heaven, this seems to be where we might focus on strengthening and asking Hashem to grant us strong Yirat Shamayim (Fear of Heaven)

Tehillim Thought

In keeping with this, Tehillim 3:7 reads "I do not fear the tens of thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about." Even though the majority was following Absalom who was going against David HeMelech, still David HaMelech did not fear them. He was aware that as much as they tried to harm the physical they could not harm his soul. (Meam Loez)

If we link this with the Bitachon Thought above, David HaMelech through his Tehillim teaches us very clearly the above teaching that everything is in the Hands of Heaven, therefore he did not fear the people, but rather only Hashem.
                                       
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Updates on our blog:

-          What would YOURDream Headline Be?

If anyone misses or misplaces a "Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness" Tehillim reminder email, they are mostly uploaded onto my blog http://leivesther.blogspot.com
There is a search option, to find previous posts. If you still don’t manage, then get back to me.

The Tehillim list for this week is updated and found on our website.

Shabbat Shalom to everyone

Shoshanah

New Support Group for Jewish Women Needing the Brachah of Children

Shalom

We have an exciting development happening in our international Tehillim group. We do still need more Jewish women to join our main Tehillim group, so if you have a few minutes to recite Tehillim during daylight hours on Shabbos, please contact us to join the group.

Our new exciting sub-group is specifically for Jewish married women who do not yet have the brachah of Children.

Join us for a special support group. Gain Chizuk, Tefillah, Brachos, Unity and more and together may we all receive the brachah of healthy chldren to add to Hashem's army.

This support group will be facilitated by Shoshanah Shear, experienced Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator, Certified Infant Massasge Instructor and Certified Kallah Teacher.

If you are a Jewish woman who is married to a Jew from a Hallachically accepted Chuppah and not yet blessed with children, or you know of Jewish women who fit this category, please email Shoshanah or visit my website 

Please note, women joining this group must either be already fulfilling the Laws of Family Purity or interested in doing so.

Please note the Tehillm part of this group happens in the comfort of your own home, wherever you are. The support group will be meeting in person for those in Yerushalayim and surrounding area. For those wanting to meet virtually, please be in touch so that we can plan for this too.

Looking forward to hearing from you

Shoshanah Shear

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