Friday, August 30, 2013

We're Almost There! Stay strong!

Have a great Shabbos!!
I know many of us are worried about events in the world.
I believe, however, that it will all be good for Israel, with Hashem's help.
Hashem says in the Haftora of Va'etchanan, "He turns the leaders of countries into nothingness and the judges of the world into emptiness." All the leaders of the world think they are in control and that they can effect outcomes. Hashem says that they are nothing.
Let's keep that in mind.
I believe that Hashem is in the mode of redeeming us and not hurting us.
If we take a look at the Paragraph of Teshuva in this week's Parsha, Chapter 30, verses 1-10, we see an exchange with Hashem we do a little of Teshuva and Hashem does a lot for us in return. The Malbim says it is a 10 step process to getting closer to Hashem. If you look closely you will see that we, at this time in history, are already at verse 9!!! We are almost there!!
Just a little more.
That should give us great strength and motivation to work on ourselves during this Rosh Hashana. Because we are almost there. Just a little more improvement, a bit more correction and working on our Torah and spiritual goals and we can reach it.
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova

Friday, August 9, 2013

Judge Not Until You Judge Yourself

Now for a Dvar Torah on This week's Parsha - Shoftim
The Torah tells us that we should set up a system and structure to communicate, clarify and enforce the laws.
But it uses an extra word. Instead of saying "You should assign judges and officers" it says “You should assign FOR YOU judges and officers”.
Many of the commentaries explain that this means that each and every person should do self-reflection. And you should constantly be judging yourself to see if you are doing what you should.
Rav Yeruchem Levovitz explains that it is divided into 2 things:
Judges and officers. And we should apply that to our own self-reflection and development.
Judges teach and clarify the law -
So we must make sure we do what we can to learn and know the laws
Officers enforce the law - So we too must work on ourselves to correct where we need correcting and improve where we need improving.
But the trick is (and this is what truly will make someone unique) is being real honest with ourselves about our shortcomings and what needs improvement.
This is especially our work for this time of year as Chodesh Elul has started and Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur approaches.

It's Really All Up To You

Last week’s Parsha is Re'eh. Moshe has just reviewed for the Bnei Yisroel the past 40 years of travels and before he starts to review some of the rules, he gives them words of inspiration.
He tells them that after all I have said, what you do is up to you. And "See you have before you Bracha and Klala" which is inaccurately translated as blessing and curse.
Rabbi Hirsch explains those words beautifully.
He says that Bracha comes from the word for "moving forward" or progressive development.
and Klala comes from the word "digressing".
And the message of the 2 mountains opposite each other from the same valley, one very arid and dry and one very lush and green, is extremely powerful.
The 2 mountains have influence of the same exact environment, yet one uses it to the fullest, to become lush and green. And the other doesn't take advantage and has become empty and dry.
We too have the ability to move ahead and grow from what life gives us or complain and digress.
We can take the things that Hashem gives us, and even though it may not be the best situation we still can grow from it and turn it into Bracha. Or we can choose to think it is bad and digress from it.
The choice is ours completely. As they say if life gives you lemons you can make lemonade and maybe even profit greatly from it.