“In the 1760s one of the founders of the Hasidic movement, Rabbi Pinhas of Korzec, deplored … assimilationist tendencies and made the following observation: ‘The Jews [in Germany] are indistinguishable from the gentiles in their dress and speech. The exile in the land of Ishmael [Turkey] is not as bitter as in Germany because Jews, at least, are distinguishable by language, though not by dress. However in Poland, where both their clothing and language are different, the exile is less bitter than anywhere else’”.*
*Jews: The Essence and Character of a People, by Arthur Hertzberg and Aron Hirt-Manheimer, p. 133 (B)
Mr. Cohen is having financial troubles and nothing seems to go his way.He prays to God: “Oh, God, Oh, God, help me to win the lottery, I need some financial help, Oh, God… A week or two passes by and, not surprisingly, Mr. Cohen did not win the lottery.Mr. Cohen prays to God again: “Oh, God, Oh, God, help me. I’ve got to solve my financial problems. Let me win at least just once in my lifetime…” Another week passes by and, again, nothing happens to Mr. Cohen.Another two or three weeks pass by, when suddenly there is thunder and the voice of God is heard: “Listen, Cohen, give me a break. Why don’t you buy a lottery ticket?”
As we embark on the story of the Exodus from Egypt, it is proper to study the weekly parshahs that speak about this with special attention in preparation for retelling the story on the Seder night on the coming festival of Pesach, now less than three months away.
After today’s Torah reading in the synagogue, we bless the coming month of Shevat, which is next Shabbat, Friday night-Saturday 15-16 January. The Molad (“birth”, junction of the sun and the moon) will be on Friday 15 January at 1:43 P.M. and 11 chalokim.
Today is the yahrzeit of Shimon son of Jacob and Leah.**
In everything one does, his only purpose should be to gratify the Creator, and not to serve himself in the least. Even the desire to experience delight in the act of Divine service is a form of serving oneself. (Tzava’as HaRivash 11)
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