Loving Kindness Day 145 Everyone’s Mitzvah

 

Loving Kindness – SEFER AHAVAS CHESED – 29th Av, 5769

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Loving Kindness

27 Av, 5769 / August 17, 2009

Day 145 – Everyone’s Mitzvah

SEFER AHAVAS CHESED — Part III Chapter III/III footnotes

      There is no one too great, nor anyone too ordinary, to perform the mitzvah of visiting the sick. Everyone is eligible to earn the merit of this deed, and everyone is obligated to perform it when the opportunity arises. Even the most revered Torah scholar has a responsibility to visit his neighbor or acquaintance who is lying sick in bed. He has no right to think, “I have nothing in common with him. I’ll leave it to his circle of friends and family to take care of him.” On the other hand, an ordinary individual should not excuse himself from visiting the great man, thinking, “Why would he want to see someone like me?”

      The effect of another person’s concern and attention is immeasurable, as is illustrated by an incident from the life of Rabbi Avraham Pam. In the back of the synagogue where Rabbi Pam regularly prayed, there was an old man who could be found day after day in his customary seat. One day, he was missing, and Rabbi Pam’s inquiries elicited the news that the man was sick in the hospital. Although Rabbi Pam wished to visit the man, he could not, because the rabbi was a Kohen. (A Kohen is someone descended from the Priests of the Jewish people. Kohanim are in some circumstances forbidden to enter a hospital.) Instead, Rabbi Pam wrote the man a letter saying that his presence in synagogue was missed, that he prayed for his recovery every day, and that he would love to visit but was unable to because he was a Kohen.

      The old man was ecstatic with his mail. The great Rabbi Pam, the head of the famous Yeshivah Torah Vodaath, had written to him. He prayed for him. He would even have come to visit him if only he could. The man showed the letter to everyone who entered the room. His elated spirits soon boosted his physical strength as well, and a full recovery ensued. When Rabbi Pam heard of the impact his letter had made, he cried: “What did it take to write that letter? Nothing. A pen and a piece of paper. I jotted a couple of lines and sent it over.”

      With that quick gesture, he restored a person to life. That is the power of a moment of thoughtfulness — a ten-minute phone call, a half-hour visit, a get-well card, a small gift. What, then, is the cost of the many such opportunities missed? If extending oneself a little bit has the potential to renew someone’s spirit, what justification can one have when, in the World to Come, all the lost opportunities are laid out before one’s eyes?

      Obviously, not every act of bikur cholim will result in totally restored good health, but even if one can make that day — or just that hour— more bearable, one has accomplished a deed of heroic proportions. The Chofetz Chaim adds a note of caution to this discussion; a person should be attentive to the patient’s needs, visiting as much — but no more than — is appreciated and beneficial.

Step by Step

I will try to extend myself to those in my community who are sick, even if they are not within my immediate circle.

Taken from “Chofetz Chaim: Loving Kindness – Daily Lessons in the Power of Giving,” a project of Mesorah Publications and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

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Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

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Daily Wisdom Portion of Kabbalah 29th Av 5769

 

Daily Wisdom Portion of Kabbalah – 29th Av, 5769

The Wisdom of Kabbalah

Quotes of prominent Kabbalists

Revealing love

“Our whole work is to reveal the love within us, every single day.”

Baal HaSulam, Pri Hacham (Fruit of the Wise), letters, p. 35

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Shmiras Haloshon Yomi Day 87 Who’s to Blame?

 

Shmiras Haloshon Yomi – Learning the Laws of Proper Speech – 29th Av, 5769

Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

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Shmiras Haloshon Yomi

22 Av, 5769 / August 12, 2009

Day 87 – Who’s to Blame?

SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM – Laws of Loshon Hora 10:17

        In this segment, the Chofetz Chaim examines a case in which you are wrongly accused of something, and it is obvious that the real wrongdoer had to be either you or someone else within your circle.

        Obviously, it would be forbidden to inform on the real culprit. The Chofetz Chaim tells us that the halachah does allow you to say, “I didn’t do it.” However, in cases where there are only two possible culprits and saying “I didn’t do it” automatically places the blame on the other person, other factors need to be considered in deciding the halachah (see Be’er Mayim Chaim §43).

        Even where you are allowed to say, “I didn’t do it,” this response would be considered acting according to the strict letter of the law. However, it is considered praiseworthy to go beyond the letter of the law and actually accept the blame to protect the guilty party.

        Obviously, the Chofetz Chaim is recommending this only for someone with the emotional strength to absorb the consequences. He is certainly not recommending that one do something which would cause him great distress or involve him in a feud. On the other hand, there are situations in which there is much to be gained by accepting the blame for someone else.

        For example, suppose someone feels slighted because he was not invited to an important shul (synagogue) function which you helped organize. If you have an established, close relationship with the person, he is more likely to be forgiving of your wrongdoing than he would be toward someone else. If you accept the blame for this oversight, your friend will understand that no harm was intended, and the tension will be defused.

A daily lesson from the Chofetz Chaim: A Daily Companion/Mesorah Publications.
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Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

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Today 29th Av 5769 Little Mitzvos

 

Today 29th Av, 5769 – “Little Mitzvos

Little Mitzvos Org

You may think, how does one little Mitzvo help . . .

Our times are calling out to us to do Teshuva, but it’s too hard for us to change our lives. Even when we try, we end up reverting back to nothing, everything as was. We MUST show HaShem that we are seeing the signs and that it means something to us.

In this way, when HaShem asks what did we did, we can reply “I took this on…”

You must not consider this “Little Mitzvos” as a replacement for the Shulchan Oruch – you must continue learning Halochos via mainstream Seforim and with Shiurim.

Bein Adam LeChavero

Family

See husband/kids to door when they leave the house.

Source: Little Mitzvos Org

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Avodah Innocent Observations 29th Av 5769

 

Avodah – Innocent Observations – 29th Av, 5769

RevachL'Neshama

Innocent Observations

Sorry Copernicus, Anyone With A Siddur Knows You Are Wrong

I don’t care much for science because most of it is in the hands of scientists. The old saying of statistics don’t lie but liars use statistics can be said replacing statistics with science. There are some very logical reasons for the amount of fudgery in scientific research. Firstly we know far less about things than we don’t know, leaving the bulk of many “discoveries” to guesswork and estimation. The bigger problem is that to “win” in science you need to catch the big fish. In science you cannot be hailed a genius if most of your work ends in Tzarich Iyun, like Rebbi Akiva Eiger. It’s no coincidence that so many breakthrough theories are proven wrong over time, as soon as new discoveries and better instruments reveal some of the guesswork to be wrong.

Despite my apathy, last week I was davening and suddenly I thought of Nicholas Copernicus out of all people. He was the one if you remember who turned the world on its head, especially the religious world, by declaring that the universe revolves around the sun and not the earth like Ptolemy had “proven” fourteen centuries before. So it was out with Ptolemy (and Chazal) and in with Copernicus. Then came along Einstein and theory of relativity and new life was breathed into the Ptolemaic diehards. After all motion is relative so who is to say which body is moving and which body is standing still. As long as you have a mathematical equation explaining your theory, which Ptolemy does, it becomes a philosophical question and not scientific.

Here is another huge problem with choosing one theory over the other. Science once thought they knew more or less the scope of the universe but they now know that they have no idea even with a scientific calculator. How can you possibly decide that you know where the center is before figuring out where the beginning and end are. It would be like asking an ant that crawls around Shul where the center of the planet earth is. Is it the Gabbai’s seat or is it the Rov’s?

So why does a science neophyte like me think of these things in middle of davening? Being unemployed with a hyperactive mind makes the scheming section of the brain work twice as fast as normal. So there I was in middle of Shmoneh Esrei standing in front of the King of All Kings who determines your daily bread, dreaming of how I, the “master of my fate”, was going to make some money. Then I had a Copernican moment of light. I realized that davening was a test from Hashem. I will never be successful in my venture if it is concocted in middle of Shmoneh Esrei instead of pleading for sustenance during my audience with the Minister of the Universal Treasury.

I decided that from then on, I must stop my business planning during davening, and only then would I finally come up with a brainstorm that will actually work. Later on that day I said to myself, “Fool! It is Ptolemy that agrees with Chazal, not Copernicus.” The sun gives light and warmth that sustains mankind on earth. Life does not revolve its source of income. The sun, the source of income is an accessory to the great planet of earth, where life is lived.

Similarly, davening is not meant as a test that if we pass we can be successful and earn a living. Quite the contrary. The gemara in Brachos (6b) chooses its words carefully, when calling Tefila, “Devarim HaOmdim B’Rumo Shel Olam” a matter that stands at the pinnacle of the world. Tefila is the center while our sustenance revolves around it.

After showing His strong arm in taking Bnei Yisroel, Hashem traps them at the Yam Suf with no avenue of escape from the pursuing Mitzri army. Why? “Hashmi’ini Es Koleich Ki Koleich Areiv”, let Me hear your voice in tefila because your voice is sweet. Our tefilos are not meant to solve our problems, our problems are meant to get some real heartfelt tefila going.

Our existence is eternal, not just the seventy years that we spend on earth. What we see is the tip of the iceberg with the huge mountain below sea level an out of plain view. We can’t possibly with our eyes see worlds and galaxies beyond our view, but we know they are there. From our vantage point the sun is huge and parnassa is key. But we know the truth, parnassa is but a blip on the screen compared to your return on investment from a single tefila that stands at the pinnacle of our eternal world. That’s why we are given the opportunity thrice daily.

Say what you want about intergalactic movement, but even without Emunas Chachomim it looks like Ptolemy was right, hands down.

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Halacha Tshuvos 29th Av 5769

 

Halacha – Tshuvos – 29th Av, 5769

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Rav Moshe Shternbuch: Does A Baal Tshuva Need To Pay Back-Maaser?

A seventy year old man became a Baal Tshuva and had never given Maaser. He calculated that he owed approximately 200,000 and he only had 30,000 in his bank account. If the Halacha calls for him to pay the Maaser he was willing to use all of his savings! Rav Moshe Shternbuch (ShuT Tshuvos VHanhagos 2:483) paskened that he need not pay past Maaser and that he should only give 10% of his 30,000 to tzedoka for the following reasons.

1.  Maaser on monetary earnings is only a Minhag. Even according to those that it is Min HaTorah it is only when the earnings are before you and not when it has already been spent.
2.  The Mitzva of Maaser is a wise investment. It is a way of bringing Hashem into your business as a partner. With a partner like Hashem the investment is bound to bare fruits. Once the money is already spent this is not relevant.
3.  The Halacha is that those who charge Ribis (interest) when they repent and want to return the money, the borrower should not accept because this will make it easier for sinners to do tshuva. In this case there isn’t even any specific person to return it to.

Rav Shternbuch praises the questioner and says fortunate is the nation that serves their Master and fortunate is the King who has children like this.

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Daily Reminder 29th Av 5769

 

Daily Reminder – 29th Av, 5769

RevachL'Neshama

Zechiras Miriam

Stop Loshon Hora
Stop Loshon Hora

Parshas Shoftim: Your Own Private Bodyguards

“Shoftim V’Shotrim Titen Licha B’Chol Shi’arecha”, appoint judges and police in all your gates. The Baalei Mussar tell us that this refers to the gates of a person that are exposed to aveira. You need a judge and policeman sitting right near your mouth to help determine what goes in and what goes out. You need it also by your eyes to let you know what you can look at and what sites should make you avert your gaze. The policemen are your eyelids and your lips. Know when to close them and know when to open them.

“Zachor Eis Asher Asa Hashem L’Miriam BaDerech B’Tzaischem MiMitzrayim”

The Ramban and other Rishonim count, among the Mitzvos Aseh Min HaTorah, the mitzva of remembering and saying with your mouth each day what Hashem did to Miriam when she spoke about her brother Moshe. The Chofetz Chaim in Shaar Tvunah Perek 12 says that being Mikayem this mitzva can save you from the aveira of Lashon Hara. More than just saying the pasuk, says the Chofetz Chaim, one must think about the incident in order for it to have its intended effect.

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