"Serve G-d in Joy, come
If you tell a man that there are 400 billion stars, he'll believe you.
If you tell him a bench has wet paint, he has to touch it.
Dead Penguins -
Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica ?
Where do they go?
Wonder no more ! ! !
It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintain a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life.
If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into, and buried.
The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:
"Freeze a jolly good fellow."
"Freeze a jolly good fellow."
You really didn't believe that I know anything about penguins, did you?
It's so easy to fool people.
An urge came over me that made me do it!!!
Oh, quit whining.... worse things in life to worry about..
Just Smile and keep going....
In a dark and hazy room, peering into a crystal ball, the Mystic delivered grave news:
"There's no easy way to tell you this, so I'll just be blunt. Prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent and horrible death this year."
Visibly shaken, Laura stared at the woman's lined face, then at the single flickering candle, then down at her hands.
She took a few deep breaths to compose herself and to stop her mind racing. She simply had to know.
She met the Fortune Teller's gaze, steadied her voice and asked, "Will I be acquitted?"
The irony of life is that,
by the time you're
old enough to know
your way around,
you're not going anywhere.
Opportunities at your fingertips.
Before I share with you a fabulous powerful metaphor for life and the afterlife, I will begin with the following.
Rabbi Yaakov taught, based on a verse in the bible, the reward for doing good deeds is for the most part given in the afterlife, where the soul continues to live forever, after it leaves the body. Our earthly existence he would say is but an ante chamber where man trains himself for life in the eternal world to come.
The final destination is the world to come and this world is but a gateway a vestibule before the world to come. One must prepare himself and build a firm basis of good deeds in this world so they can enter and enjoy the banquet hall of the palace.
The Midrash says, "The wicked are destined to plead before G-d. "Give us a chance to repent and do more good deeds", but G-d replies," you foolish men! The world you inhabited is like the days before the weekend, whereas this world is like the Sabbath itself. Unless a man prepared food the day before, what will he eat on the Sabbath? The world where you lived resembles dry land, whereas this world is like the sea. Unless one prepares food while ashore, what will he eat when at sea? The world you where in is like a lobby, and this world is like the banquet hall, if a man does not qualify in the antechamber, how shall he enter the banquet hall."
The bible says, "Which I commanded you this day, to do them." Our sages explain," this day you are able to do them. Tomorrow is set aside for receiving the reward." In the present world man can seek perfection through good deeds. A man's delight in the afterlife depends on his performance upon earth. Unless he cares to improve himself in this life he will have no remedy afterlife
as it is written, "That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered (and made important)."
Once, a very long time ago, there was a town with a very strange habit. Two burly muscular men would one day grab a traveler passing by the town in the forest, and seat him on the throne in their palace. They would tell this fellow he was now their king with servants at his discretion and as much money as he desires. The fellow seeing that this was like a dream come through and experiencing all these possibilities at his fingertips would start enjoying his newly discovered power and opportunities.
Just as this fellow was coming to terms with his position and starting to make sense of his responsibilities, as unexpected as he became king, exactly a year later two burly muscular men would snatch a hold of him and place him right back on the trail he was on a year earlier in the forest. No amount of screaming or yelling that he was king etc. would help.
One day they did the same to a new unassuming innocent candidate. This fellow as he was seated on his throne, started to inquire what this practice was all about and discovered the method to the madness.
Throughout the year he kept on secretly but regularly sending money and servants to a far off island to build for himself a beautiful palace. When the surprising but not so surprising day came and the two strongmen came to jerk him out of his dream instead of screaming and yelling he took it all calmly.
This person, went straight to the shore where his servants where waiting for him to wisk him over to what he prepared throughout his fortuitous opportunity.
Living with the Rebbe
This week's Torah portion, Chukat, spans a time period of almost 40 years. It starts off with the mitzva (commandment) of the red heifer (given to the Jews in the second year after they left Egypt), then moves on to the death of Miriam and the defeat of Sichon and Og, almost four decades later.
The Torah tells us of two separate events that took place right before the Jewish people entered the Land of Israel: The first occurred when Moses sent a delegation to spy out Yaazer, and instead of reporting back, the spies "captured the villages and drove out the Emorites." The second incident was when the tribes of Gad, Reuben and half of Menashe asked permission to settle on the eastern bank of the Jordan, which Moses eventually granted.
At first glance these incidents are reminiscent of the sin of the 12 spies. Instead of simply carrying out their mission and reporting their findings, the 12 spies had interjected their own opinion when they said, "We will not be able to go up." In truth, they had not wanted to enter the Land and preferred to remain in the desert.
It would seem that the second group of spies made the same mistake when they acted on their own and captured Yaazer without permission. Similarly, when the tribes of Gad, Reuben and half of Menashe declared that they were unwilling to cross the Jordan, they were, in effect, asking to remain outside the borders of Israel. Was this an example of history repeating itself?
The answer is - not at all. Not only were the actions of the spies at Yaazer and the request made by the tribes of Gad, Reuben and half of Menashe not a replay of the previous disaster, they were a tikun (correction) of the sin of the 12 spies.
The 12 spies had veered a way from their original mission by adding on to it in a negative way; the spies who were sent to Yaazer added on to their mission in a positive direction, confident that with G-d's help they would be victorious.
Furthermore, whereas the 12 spies hadn't wanted to enter Israel at all, the two and a half tribes who asked to settle east of the Jordan were actually expressing their desire to inherit all of the Land of Israel.
Years before, G-d had promised Abraham that he would inherit the land of the "ten nations"; 40 years after the Exodus, the Jews were poised to conquer only seven of them. (The lands of the Keni, Kenizi and Kadmoni will become part of Israel only in the Messianic era.) The tribes of Gad and Reuben were so eager for the Redemption that they wanted to settle there immediately.
Thus we see that these two incidents were really positive developments, for not only did they "fix" the damage caused by the spies, they paved the way for the future conquest of all of Israel that will take place with Moshiach, speedily in our days.
Adapted from Hitva'aduyot 5750, Vol. III
It Once happened
There was a time when the Jewish people lived together with the Muslims.
Ibrahim the Muslim and Refael the Jew had been business partners for many years. Ibrahim, who lived in the Tunisian city of Kairoan, where the soil was excellent and the price of produce low, was Refael's wholesale supplier of wheat and barley. Refael would then resell the grain in his city of Tunis.
Although Ibrahim was outwardly pleasant and polite toward Refael, in his heart he was bitterly jealous of his success.
One day Ibrahim came up with a plan. "I'm getting too old for this business," he told Refael. "Why don't you come to Kairoan and buy the grain yourself? I'll tell you where to go and introduce you to all the right people."
Refael looked at his partner in surprise. "But you know that it is forbidden for a Jew to set foot in Kairoan..."
"Nonsense!" Ibrahim reassured him with a wave of the hand. "You speak Arabic fluently. If you dress like one of us, no one will ever know that you are Jewish."
Back in the not so distant past, Kairoan had been a bustling center of Jewish life. With its fertile soil and well-developed commercial infrastructure, the city had been an important stop along the North African trade route. In fact, there had been so many Jewish merchants in Kairoan that they had formed the backbone of the city's economy. The Arabs had even coined a clever phrase: "A marketplace without Jews is like a judge without witnesses..."
Gradually, however, the Muslims had begun to make life difficult for their Jewish neighbors. Many Jews simply abandoned their homes and businesses and settled elsewhere. But even this was not enough; they declared Kairoan a "holy" city and off-limits to anyone Jewish. The law had stood for several generations.
Despite some misgivings, Refael agreed to the plan. He dressed up as an Arab and nonchalantly walked through the gates of Kairoan. Ibrahim quickly led the Jew into a narrow alleyway.
"Stay here, I'll be right back," Ibrahim told him. A few minutes later he returned with two policemen. "There he is, the despicable Jew who dared set foot in our holy city!" he cried, pointing at Refael.
By the time Refael figured out that his partner had betrayed him, his hands and feet were in chains. The policemen then threw him into a dark cell.
For three days and nights Refael languished in his cell without anyone even checking to see if he was alive. Lucky for him, he still had his knapsack, so he was able to eat some food he had brought along.
Refael's fourth night in jail was Shabbat. After making Kiddush on the last of his bread Refael began to sing zemirot, the traditional Shabbat songs. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he thought of happier times and circumstances. When he had finished singing, he began to recite the Psalms he knew by heart.
Suddenly, there was a rustling sound from the doorway. Refael held his breath, too frightened to breathe. A minute later he could discern a thin strip of light at the edge of the room. When he went over to investigate he found that the door was open a crack. With a slight push the door was completely open.
His heart pounding, Refael crept outside and began to run as fast as his feet could take him through the darkened streets. When he reminded himself that he was dressed as an Arab, he slowed down to avoid arousing suspicion. By the next morning he was already home in Tunis.
Refael knew that his life was still in danger; the police would surely come after him when they realized that he had escaped. He decided to seek the advice of the saintly Rabbi Yeshua Bassis of Tunis. "Go to your house and wait there," the Rabbi reassured him. "Everything will be all right."
Now, at that time the ruler of Tunisia was Chamuda Pasha, a wise and temperate leader who paid no attention to the Muslims' incitement against the Jews. On the contrary, he was grateful for the Jews' contributions to society, and considered Rabbi Yeshua Bassis his personal friend. When Rabbi Yeshua told the Pasha what had happened to Refael, he immediately issued an order for "the rebellious Jew who dared to enter Kairoan" to be brought before him.
A few days later the police were forced to admit defeat. Embarrassed by their incompetence, they stood before the Pasha empty-handed.
At that very moment the Pasha sent for Refael, who was waiting in the next room. The Pasha declared to his shocked audience, "G-d made a miracle and released him from prison. No doubt, it is also a sign that He wants the Jews to return to Kairoan..."
The decree against the Jews was rescinded, and the Jews of Tunisia were not restricted as to where they could live.
Candle Lighting time in
North Palm Beach Florida
June 14, 2013
Shabbat is over
Inspiration from the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Small & Infinite.
Make yourself small and you will be great.
Know you are nothing and you will be infinite.
At the very least, don't make such a big deal of yourself
and you will be all that much closer to the truth.
There is a profound link between the precept of the "red heifer" and the principle of Messianic redemption:
Commandments signify life.
When one follows the commandments one attaches himself to the Al-mighty and draws spiritual vitality from the Source of All Life.
Sin signifies death.
Violating G-d's will disrupts attachment to the Creator, thus bringing about the "impurity of death."
Both the red cow and the Messianic redemption effect purification.
just as the ashes of the red cow are used for removing a legal state of impurity, the Final Redemption with Moshiach will purify the entire Jewish people from any trace of deficiency in their bond with G-d.
Counts the most.
And [Moses] said to them, "Hear now, you rebels, must we bring you forth water out of this rock?" (Num. 20:10)
Calling the Jewish people "rebels" was considered a very grave sin for a person on Moses' spiritual level.
For when Jews are in trouble, the proper thing to do is help rather than chastise them.
(Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev)
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