Dvar Torah

Self Fulfillment

"Wealth brings anxiety, but wisdom brings peace of mind."
--  Rabbi Ibn Gevirol"Hi. I'm a doctor, what are you?"
"I'm a lawyer, what are you?"
"I'm a chocolate chip cookie eater, what are you?"

In truth, I am anything but a lawyer or a doctor. I don't even want to be thought of as one. I am an individual. I'm me!
There is no other person in the world like you. In fact it's virtually impossible to put into words who you are. Words already make a comparison. There are no words to describe your unique type of kindness, friendship or love.If you introduce yourself to other people as a "lawyer," then you take what is unique to you and disregard it. It is dangerous to define yourself as something you do from 9-to-5 (or any other time of the day). To think of yourself in terms of any single activity is to severely hamper your self-image. Comparing yourself with all other lawyers is making a clear statement: "I am not a person, I am a career."Unfortunately, it's a problem we develop early in life. Every child is asked: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" It's a question fraught with subtle implications, extremely damaging to the developing personality of a child. Isn't the child who is asked that question going to grow up thinking: "What's wrong with being 'me?' Is 'me' so terrible that I have to 'become' something different when I grow up?"

Shoftim שופטים

(with permission of Aish.com)

Practice What You Preach

In this week's Torah portion, Moses instructs the Jews on additional commandments they need to observe. He tells them that when they appoint a king, the king:
"...shall write for himself two copies of this Torah ... it shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life." (Deuteronomy 17: 18-19)

A Life Lesson

God wants the king to have a Torah - with all its commandments - in his personal possession at all times. Why would a king, the very person in charge of telling others what to do, have to do this?

It is because all too often we'll see people who are in charge decide - whether consciously or not - to have one set of rules for themselves and a completely different set of rules for everyone else.

Why is it that people "in charge" so often believe that one set of rules should apply to them and another set to everyone else? The reason is when you're the one barking out orders, it's very easy to forget that you too have a boss to answer to - one named God.

This is precisely the reason God wants every king not only to possess two Torah scrolls, but actually to keep one with him at all times. Every place a king goes (except in unclean places) the Torah goes with him as well. Clearly, there are many perks with being a king, and a king is certainly entitled to all of them. But his underlying behavior must be to abide by God's rules, not his own.

The powerful message is very clear. There cannot be one set of rules for a leader and another for his followers. God tells the Jewish people that kings and their followers must all live by the same rules.

We see this happening in our own lives all the time. Parents instruct their children never to lie, but when the same child answers the telephone, the parent may quietly whisper, "Tell him I'm not home." This is the exact behavior that God wants us to avoid at all costs.

And in everyday situations, sound advice you readily give to others you should also start taking for yourself. Practice what you preach. Live by the same words you give to friends, family, and co-workers, and don't feel you're above any of it. This will force you to grow in ways you've never imagined, and that's exactly what God had in mind.


Raeh ראה

I want to share one of the most important lessons from Rav Noach Weinberg Zt”l.

In this week’s portion the Torah tells us how we are to act towards a missionary who tries to distance a Jew from G-d ”The Meiseit”.  We are to have no mercy or compassion on this Meisit. ( Daf Yomi Sanhedrinn 29a)

The Rambam lists 5 separate commandments on how tough we are to act with him, which is more than other transgressors such as killers and idolaters!!.

Rav Ahron Kotler writes that G-d's desire to reward is always 500 times greater than his punishments. Thus, the opposite of a Meiseit -  “mkarev” someone involved  in bringing people closer to G-d, will receive great reward. An additional rule of a meisit is that he is punished just for trying to distance even if the people don’t listen to him. The same is true when bringing people closer to G-d. One will receive the reward if they try, regardless of whether they succeed or not. We share things we love.

The chovat levavot teaches that a person’s good deeds don’t make him fitting for reward of the world to come without 2 other factors. That he teaches others and that he guides them in the service of G-d. Because as the Rambam says - to Love G-d is to spread his knowledge to the deniers and the foolish.

Reaching out to engage unaffiliated Jews with Torah  isn’t an extracurricular hobby it is a prerequisite in Loving G-d and loving our neighbor and it will bring you great reward.