Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gossip- The Two-Way Mouth

The Two-Way Mouth

One day, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov instructed several of his disciples to embark on a journey. The Baal Shem Tov did not tell them where to go, nor did they ask; they allowed divine providence to direct their wagon where it may, confident that the destination and purpose of their trip would be revealed in due time.
After traveling for several hours, they stopped at a wayside inn to eat and rest. Now the Baal Shem Tov’s disciples were pious Jews who insisted on the highest standards of kashrut; when they learned that their host planned to serve them meat in their meal, they asked to see the shochet1 of the house, interrogated him as to his knowledge and piety and examined his knife for any possible blemishes. Their discussion of the kashrut standard of the food continued throughout the meal, as they inquired after the source of every ingredient in each dish set before them.
As they spoke and ate, a voice emerged from behind the oven, where an old beggar was resting amidst his bundles. “Dear Jews,” it called out, “are you as careful with what comes out of your mouth as you are with what enters into it?”
The party of chassidim concluded their meal in silence, climbed onto their wagon and turned it back toward Mezhibuzh. They now understood the purpose for which their master had dispatched them on their journey that morning.

Simple Prayers - Baal Shem Tov

The Rebbe Rashab based this interpretation on a story he heard from the Baal Shem Tov when he visited his holy resting place at Mezhibuzh. At that time the Baal Shem Tov related that on his 16th birthday (18 Elul, 5474/1714) he had found himself in a small village. The local innkeeper was a very simple person who hardly knew how to read the prayers, let alone understand what they meant. He was, however, a very G‑d-fearing individual. On all matters and at all times he would quote the same phrase in the Holy Tongue, “Blessed be He; may He be blessed forever.” His wife too would always say in Yiddish, “Praised be His holy Name.”
That day, in accordance with the age-old custom of meditating in solitude for some time on one’s birthday, the Baal Shem Tov went off by himself to the fields. He recited chapters of Tehillim and engaged in unifying the Divine Names that emanate from its holy verses.
“As I was immersed in this,” the Baal Shem Tov related, “and unaware of my surroundings, I suddenly saw Elijah the Prophet. There was a smile on his lips. I was taken aback. For when I had been with the tzaddik R. Meir, and also when I had been in the company of the hidden tzaddikim, I had merited to see Elijah, but this was the first time that I had merited his appearance while all alone. I wondered about it. And besides, why was he smiling?
“Elijah said to me: ‘You are toiling so mightily to have the proper mystical intentions in bringing about the Supernal Unions of the Divine Names that emanate from the verses of Tehillim. And Aharon Shlomo the innkeeper and his wife Zlata Rivkah know nothing of the Unifications that result from his “Blessed be He; may He be blessed forever,” and from her “Praised be His holy Name.” Yet the Divine harmonies they create resonate in all the heavens more than all the Unifications of the Holy Name that are effected by the mystical intentions of the greatest tzaddikim.’
“Elijah described to me,” continued the Baal Shem Tov, “the great pleasure, as it were, that results in heaven from the words of praise and adoration uttered by men, women and children. Especially so, when they come from the mouths of simple folk. And most especially, when these praises are offered consistently, for then these people are constantly united with G‑d in pure faith and with an undivided heart.”
* * *
Having recounted this episode, the Rebbe Rashab added that it served as the basis for his additional interpretation of “breath untainted by sin” — that it applies not only to children but also to adults who act with pure faith and heartfelt simplicity, and who are thereby constantly united with G‑d, at all times and in all places.

Friday, October 7, 2011

JOKE - 10 dollars for the cheesecake, and 60 dollars for Israel

*A Jew walks into the bakery and orders a bagel. The man behind the counter
says: "A bagel? That's 20 dollars." "20 dollars?! Are you mad!?" "Well, its
1 dollar for the bagel, and 19 dollars for Israel." "Fine. Money for Israel?
How can I say no?"*

*  *

*The next day the same guy comes in to the bakery, and orders a challah. The
man behind the counter says: "Challah? That's 40 dollars." "Are you
insane?!" "Sir, its 5 dollars for the challah and 35 dollars for Israel."
The man shrugs his shoulders but he pays the money.*

*  *

*The third day, he comes in and orders a cheesecake. "Cheesecake? 70
dollars." "What?! This is absolutely crazy." "Sir, 10 dollars for the
cheesecake, and 60 dollars for Israel." At this point he had had enough.
"You are completely mad! This is absolutely absurd and unethical."*

*  *

*"Sorry sir, I am just following the rules." "I demand to speak to the owner
of the store!"*

*  *

*So the clerk goes to the door and calls out: "Hey Israel! Someone wants to
talk to you!"*

Thursday, October 6, 2011

There is a story told of the great Anshel Rotchild.
Everyone has heard of the famous, wealthy, banking family, the Rothschilds. The "founding father" of the Rothschild clan, which exists to this day, was Anshel Rothschild, an Orthodox Jew who lived in the middle of the nineteenth century in Austria. Anshel amassed a huge fortune and established a close relationship with the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph.

From time to time the Emperor would send visitors to the luxurious and famous palace of Anshel Rothschild. It was the most lavish,luxurious and well-appointed palace in all of Austria, and
everyone wanted to see its beauty and wealth.

During one visit Anshel took his guest, an important government official whose position was just under Emperor Franz Joseph, on a tour of the palace. He showed him room after room, and the guest was awed by the beauty of the gold, the silver, the furnishings,the chandeliers, the imported fabrics. Everything was a sight to behold. There existed nothing like it in all of Austria. When Anshel passed a certain door, he continued walking, but the guest asked to be shown the room behind the door.

 "I am sorry," said Anshel. "This is the one room in the palace that  I cannot show you."  "Why not?" asked the guest. I would love to see every nook and cranny of your remarkable palace.

 "I simply cannot," answered Anshel, and continued walking.  The tour concluded, and the official returned to his master, and  reported everything he saw. The palace was even more than one
could imagine. "However," said the official to the Emperor, "there  was one room that Anshel refused to show me."  "Why not?" asked the Emperor

 "I do not know. But I can guess. You know how wealthy those  Jews are. My theory is that in that room there is a magic moneymaking  machine. That is why he is so wealthy. Behind that door
 must be a machine that creates the wealth of Anshel Rothschild." The Emperor did not know whether to believe his official, so he  sent a second government official to see the palace of Anshel
 Rothschild. The second official came back with the same story.  And a third, and a fourth.

 This time the curiosity of Emperor Franz Joseph was greatly  aroused, so he decided to go himself and visit the palace. Anshel  took the Emperor for the same tour as he did all the other visitors from Franz Joseph's government. And when they reached the  "forbidden room," the Emperor asked to go inside and see what  was there.

 Anshel explained that that was the one place he could not show  anyone. After the Emperor insisted, Anshel gave in, and agreed to show the Emperor the secret room. He took out his keys, opened
 the door, and invited the Emperor to enter. Franz Joseph looked,  and was amazed at what he saw. There, in a small room, was a  simple pine box, and some plain white cloth on a table. That was
all there was!

 "What is this all about?" asked the Emperor.  "We Jews have strict rules about burial customs," explained Anshel. When a person dies, he must be buried in a very simple  coffin, a plain pine box. And his body must be enveloped in a  plain white shroud. This is to maintain the equality of all G-d's
creatures. No one is permitted to be buried in a fancy, expensive  coffin, or in luxurious clothing. Though some may live affluent  lives, and others may suffer dire, abject poverty, in death all are equal."

"But why is this here in this room?" asked the Emperor,  impressed but still confused.
 "At the end of each day, I come to this room, and view the coffin and the shrouds, and I am reminded that even though I have  great wealth and power and I have important influence in the
 highest echelons of the Austrian Empire, I am still one of G-d's simple creatures, and at the end of my life, this is the end I will come to like all of G-d's other children. I do this lest after a day  filled with high finance and major financial transactions, I think too highly of myself, and develop a bloated sense of myself."
Franz Joseph was amazed, and in fact, he was speechless. His respect for Anshel Rothschild grew even greater than before. He never questioned the sincerity, honesty or integrity of Anshel again.

Punch Line

My fellow congregants and friends, who wishes to die. NO ONE!
Who wishes to see there loved one’s die? NO  ONE. 
How often do we find that on or immediately after the High Holidays that someone should die, no too often. So you may say why worry, why be concerned! Rather, we know and understand that our days on earth are indeed limited and it is how we maximize this time on earth with acts of goodness and righteousness and the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos. It is these acts and good resolutions that will ensure us a sweet and prosperous year and of course follow us to the next world, and, It is also what we leave behind that we will be remembered for.

As we read the Yiskor today let us remember our loved departed parents and let us at the same time remember what it is they and all our ancestors taught us as Jews and let us find  the spark within us and reignite that spark toward the flame of Torah and mitzvoth.

Believers @ Niagara Falls

There was once a man who stretched a tightrope across Niagara Falls. A crowd
gathered as he walked across the falls on the tightrope and came back to the
same bank. He turned to the crowd and asked, "How many of you believe I can
walk back and forth on this tightrope, blindfolded?" The crowd cheered and
cried out, "We believe! We believe!". The man made the trip blindfolded. The
crowd went wild, cheering and clapping. The man then asked the crowd, " How
many of you believe I can walk this tightrope, blindfolded, pushing a wheel
barrow?" The crowd yelled even louder, "We believe! We believe!". The man
performed the feat once again and the crowd screamed and cheered ever louder
than before. This time he asked, "How many people believe I can walk this
tightrope, blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow with someone inside it?" The
crowd went absolutely wild, yelling and screaming, "We believe! We
believe!". The man yelled over the roar, turned to the loudest believer and
said "OK, I need you to volunteer!"


From Rabbi Lazer Gurkow:

My wife, may she live and be well till 120, was explaining to my daughter
why adults fast on Yom Kippur. You know, she said, how children sometimes do
things that are not good like fighting or getting angry or not sharing? Yes,
my daughter nods. Well, says the seasoned mother, adults can sometimes (only
sometimes you see :-) also be guilty of such things. Soooo on Yom Kippur we
feel really badly for what we have done and we ask Hashem for
forgiveness.The way we ask is by fasting to show how sad we are that we did
the Avera.

So far so good, my daughter understands and is still with the program, but
her little mind is churning and she has one more question. Hmmmm, how do we
kids show Hashem that we are sad? Aaah, says my wise wife, children are
forgiven without fasting. They are forgiven simply by asking Hashem to
forgive them, telling Hashem how sorry they are for what they did and
promising to Hashem that they will never ever ever do it again. Now my wife
is thinking she got out of the woods with a pretty good explanation... but
to no avail.

My daughter screws up her little face with one of her classic rants. NO

Shliach & The Shofar

 "I want you to listen to this story of this Rabbi
Laine"  He went on to say how a few years ago it was rosh hashana and he and
his family attended services the first night and day of rosh hashana. by the
second day he wasn't interested in going to shul (again) and decided to go
have fun with his fam. He mentioned to his wife "lets get in the car quickly
because I have a feeling the Rabbino and family will be passing our house on
the way back from shul" He attempted to rush his family in the car before
rabbi laine came but sure enough as hes getting in the car, he sees a black
hat approaching getting closer and closer to his car.

>From his words: " I started sweating profusely and shaking. I turned off the
engine and opened the window. The rabbi didn't utter a sound. He nodded to
us and whipped a shofar out of his pocket. He started tekiah..all the sounds
felt like forever. My wife had tears streaming down her face. He finished,
put the shofar back in his pocket, said gut yom tov and left."

This guy turned to us and said that the very next shabbos they kept their
first shabbos!  What a powerful story of the epitome of what a shliach can
do and the power he has from the meshalayach,

Rabbi Cleans Streets

On the Tel Aviv street next to the Sadigerer Shul, an elderly Yemenite Jew
worked diligently, sweeping the street. He worked quickly and methodically,
sweeping first one side of the street and then the other. When he approached
the entrance to the shul, however, he stopped sweeping and passed by the
building with his broom aloft. Then he continued sweeping the road.

My grandfather, Rabbi Chaskel Besser, who resided in Tel Aviv at the time
and frequented the shul, noticed this odd behavior and wondered about it. He
approached the street cleaner and asked him how come he had not swept in
front of the shul.

The gentleman looked at my grandfather. "The rabbi doesn't allow me to."

My grandfather's curiosity was aroused, and he approached the Sadigerer
Rebbe and asked for an explanation, but the rabbi only smiled. My
grandfather asked again, and then again, until finally, the rabbi told his

The rabbi had been visiting Vienna in 1938 when the Nazis entered Vienna.
They immediately sought out the prominent Jews and arrested them, among them
the Sadigerer Rebbe.

In a chilling hint of the humiliation and degradation which they intended to
visit upon the Jews, they took these Jewish leaders and found different ways
to publicly disgrace them.

The Sadigerer Rebbe, a man of regal bearing and conduct, was given a little
brush and stood in front of the great Vienna Opera House. They placed a
small street cleaner's hat on his head, and ordered him to sweep the stairs
of the building with this ridiculously ineffective brush.

As this holy rabbi stooped on those ornate steps, tears streaming down his
cheeks, he whispered a prayer, and a vow, to God:

"Almighty, save me from these beasts. Lead me out of this country and to
your home, the land of Israel. And I promise that there I will sweep the
streets with delight and gratification."

The rabbi smiled at my grandfather. "Thus, I insist that the street cleaner
leave those precious few yards of sidewalk, the entrance to God's house, for
me to sweep."

A Tattoo in the Mikavh

 A baal Teshuvah immersing in a Mikvah on Erev Yom Kippur slipped just
before he reached the water, he slipped and lost his balance. Trying to
catch his fall, he let his hand off his arm, revealing a lewd tattoo.
Completely ashamed, he stood frozen in his spot. Everyone was at a loss for
words to comfort him until an old man said, "Look here, my boy, I also have
a tattoo." He pointed to the row of numbers etched in his skin. "This is in
case I forget what those monsters had planned for me. It seems we've both
come a long way."

It's not where we are coming from, but where we are going that matters.
Furthermore, all Jews can connect with one another, despite outward
differences. In essence, all Jews are one, and we can reveal this inner

"In G-d we trust" all other pay cash....

"In G-d we trust"  all other pay cash....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yizkor Story: Life is a play

Yizkor Story:

I was visiting  Jewish patients in S. Francis Hospital some months back,
when I walked into  the room of an elderly Jew named Irving, a holocaust
survivor, who was  obviously quite sick, surrounded by his entire family. I spent
some time with  him. We talked about the horrors of his youth, and how he
managed to continue  on living. He told me it was his mother?s words to him
on the last night  before we were separated. ?She sat me down and said to me:
Life is like a  play. (My mother loved the theater). Every one of us plays
a part. Not just  us, but our parents and grandparents, they?re parents and
grandparents, all  the way back to Abraham and Sarah. They?re all part of
this production. Each  of us plays a part, And then, when your part is over,
you go backstage. You?re  not gone, you?re still there, looking, cheering,
helping out in any way you  can from behind the scenes?

And then mama grabbed my hand, looked  me in the eye, and said: ?Yisrolik?
le, I don?t know what?s going to happen,  how long we?ll be together,
whether I?ll survive this. But one thing I ask of  you, If you survive. Don?t
give up, play your part. You might feel sad and  lonely, but I beg of you- don?
t give up. Play your role as best you can. Live  your life to the fullest.
I promise you, you won?t be alone. Tate un ich, babe  un zeide, mir velen
aleh zein mit dir oif eibig, Daddy and me, grandma and  grandpa, we will be
with you forever, we?ll be watching you from backstage.  I?m sure you won?t
let us down and you?ll play your part.? It was those words  from Mama that
got me out of bed on many a difficult morning.

By  the time the man finished the story, there wasn?t a dry eye in the

A few days later the man passed away. At the shiva, the  family kept
repeating the story about the play. It was clear they took comfort  from knowing
their father was still there, behind the scenes. Still, there was  a profound
sense of pain and loss.

They asked me to say a few  words. So I got up, turned to the family, and I
said: There is a postscript to  the story. What happens at the end of the
play? All the actors comes back out?  Right? Everyone comes out on the stage
to give a bow.  It is a basic  Jewish belief that all the neshomos, every
soul will come back and be with us  once again, right here in this world. I
assure you, I said, with G-d?s help,  you will soon be reunited with your

My dear beloved  friends, my fellow yiden, we?re about to say the Yiskor
prayer. Remembering  our loved ones whose souls join us right here in shul. Let
?s promise to make  them proud.Let?s make this the year when each of us
reaches our potential,  when each of us lives each day to the fullest, When we
realize the beauty of  every moment. when we appreciate the G-dly purpose
we have been privileged to  be a part of.

And while we?re at it, let?s ask our loved one?s  to send an email or put
in a phone call to the producer, Or maybe even pay Him  a visit. Tell Him,
please. We?re ready for Moshiach. We?ve done our job.  Enough with the
yiddishe tzoros, shoin tzeit, it?s time already. The Rebbe  told us to prepare
for Moshiach, that we?re this close to completing the task  for which we were
chosen. We?re ready for the time when ? lecho tichra kol  berech ? all
creations will bow to you, We?re ready for the final bow. We?re  ready for the
time when G-d will call this place His  home.

suffering in the world

There is a marvelous story of a man who once stood in front of G-d - his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. "Dear G-d" he cried out, "Look at all the suffering the anguish and distress in the world why don't you send help??"  G-d responded "I did send help - I sent you!!"

"I don't own this ship!!" - Joke

 A cruise ship was sailing along in heavy waters when the Captain announced that they were in trouble, in fact there was an imminent danger and the boat may capsize and sink. The Captain asked for cooperation and teamwork from all parties aboard in order to save lives and get everybody on life boats. While everybody was scurrying around the deck one passenger sat in his deck chair and did nothing. When one of his friends asked him why isn't he helping out?? He replied quickly "I don't own this ship!!"

(Perhaps you can say. Ladies and Gentleman, we are all in this ship together!!)

"Lord, hit him again!!" - JOKE

In the East side of New York there was an old beautiful Synagogue with bleachers and a dome. It was mostly supported by a handful of very wealthy but elderly members of the congregation. Those gentlemen were honored to sit on the "Mizrach Vant" (Eastern wall). Right before Yom Kippur one of these main donors passed away.  The Rabbi and the Board of Directors decided that they would honor the son of this deceased man by giving him his father's honored seat and were hoping that he would continue the tradition of his father to be a major supporter of the Synagogue. Well the son took the seat, but never donated any funds for five years. The Rabbi got fed up and decided during the next Yom Kippur appeal he will try to convince the son. The Rabbi starts delivering a "fire & brimstone" drasha leading up to the appeal and he was banging on the podium, when suddenly from the dome fell a tile and chance would have it, it fell right on top of the son of the deceased. He stands up and yells out "Rabbi, I  will donate a quarter of a million dollars to fix the roof".  The Rabbi raised his hands to the heavens and yelled out "Lord, hit him again!!"    
(Perhaps you can say -Let us not wait to be hit on the head!) 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"I eat pork on Shabbat."

There is a rabbi in Israel, Yechezkel Sofer, who taught a Talmud class for
professors at Hebrew University. One particular professor, for years,
refused to come. One day the rabbi meets the professor and says to him,

"Why don't you join the class? Your colleagues come; it's in your building
right down the hall."

The professor responds, "Oh no, I don't belong in the class. We have nothing
in common."

The rabbi says, "What do you mean we have nothing in common?"

"You don't understand", says the professor, "I eat pork on Shabbat."

The rabbi says, "Only on Shabbat, not during the weekday?"

The professor says, "Specifically, spitefully on Shabbat!"

"Ah, in that case" says the rabbi, "You should come to the class.
 We do have something in common."

The professor asks, "What do you mean?"

The rabbi says, "I celebrate Shabbat and you celebrate Shabbat. I do it in a
traditional way. Your way is not so traditional."

After the conversation the Professor began attending the Talmud class.
He had re-discovered something about his Jewish identity.

This professor had survived the Holocaust as a young boy and saw Jewish life
in Europe destroyed. When he arrived in Israel, he threw his Judaism away.
He was angry with G-d and wanted to get back at Him. So he ate pork on
Shabbat. Why specifically on Shabbat? He wanted to punish G-d in the most
hurtful way. He figured that eating pork on Tuesday is one thing, but doing
it on Shabbat was really bad -because Shabbat is a holy day.

Upon reflection, the professor realized that his rebellious act showed that
he too believed in Torah and Judaism and that Shabbat was still a holy day
for him. That is why he ate pork on Shabbat. Not because Shabbat is an
ordinary day but because it's the holy day.

tonight is the first time my father heard me pray.

There is a story told of in the shtetl, there was a chazzan who every week
he would chant the melodies of the services, and always in tow was his old
father who would come and be there to watch his son act as the chazzan of
the shteeble.
It was one Yom Kippur before Kol Ndrei and the congregation was  all ready,
awaiting their Chazan to step up to the podium, but as the clock was ticking
the chazzan has not yet arrived. Suddenly the Chazzan comes dashing in the
door all apologetic, grabs his Tallis and kittel, and prayed the Kol Nidrei
in the most harmonious and pleasant ever sounding tone, that all stood in
After the services the Rabbi approached the Chazzan to ask what transpired,
and the reason of his lateness that led to such an outstanding performance.
The Chazzan explained, you know, my father was deaf, and yesterday my father
passed away, and tonight is the first time my father heard me pray.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Forget the brakes; fix the horn!”

An Israeli driver takes his car into the shop to have the brakes repaired.
The mechanic tells him, “It’s going to cost 6,000 shekels.”
So the car owner says to the mechanic, “Forget the brakes; fix the horn!”

“Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the
purpose of showing him just how poor some people are. They spent a couple of days on the farm
of a destitute family. On their return home, the father asked, "Son, how was the trip?"
“It was great, Dad.” The son replied.
“Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.
“Oh yeah," said the son.
“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.
The son answered, "I learned that we don’t allow pets into our fancy house, but they have dogs
and cats they enjoy very much.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported Japanese lanterns in our garden and they have stars at night.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”
After hearing all this, the father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for
showing me how poor we are.”


There is a beautiful story found in the Zohar3 — the central text of Jewish mysticism — which
illustrates this idea. Rabbi Abba, says the Zohar, once sat at the gateway to the town of Lud in
Israel, which is now the location of Ben Gurion Airport.
He saw a traveler sit down on a pile of rocks at the edge of a mountain overlooking a cliff. The
man was exhausted from his journey and immediately fell asleep. Rabbi Abba watched this
scene for a bit when suddenly he saw a deadly snake slither out of the rocks, and make its way
rapidly towards the sleeping man. Before he had time to intervene, a giant lizard jumped out
from the rocks and killed the serpent, saving the sleeping man’s life.
The man awoke, shocked to see a beheaded snake lying in front of him. He quickly gathered his
possessions and rose to continue on his journey. At that very moment the pile of rocks he was
sitting on collapsed and dropped into the ravine below.
Rabbi Abba ran after the man and recounted everything he had witnessed. He asked, "My friend,
tell me, to what do you attribute all these miracles that have just occurred?"
The traveler responded:
“Well, one thing I can tell you. I never go to sleep without forgiving someone who offended me.
When someone caused me pain, I always tried, with all my heart, to resolve whatever animosity
was between us. I turned the hateful situation into an opportunity to do acts of kindness for the
person involved in the misunderstanding.

Prayer and Baseball

Someone once defined a baseball game as a place where 40,000 people who need exercise watch
18 people who don't. Well, maybe, we can define High Holiday service as a place where
hundreds of people who need to improve in prayer watch one person, the chazzan, who doesn't.

Friends, it’s tempting to be spectators at the prayer service, rather than full participants. It’s easy
to just follow the lead of the rabbi and the cantor, to let our minds wander while our mouths say
the words. This prayer reminds us that our devotion needs to involve our whole being, our whole

Linbacker Lawrence Taylor - mind over matter

Lawrence Taylor, the retired linebacker of the New York Giants, was once
asked about playing while he was injured and he responded, “It’s mind over
matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Joke - "dear G-d, never mind; I found one on my own."

A Jewish guy is driving to work one day... he starts looking for a parking space and notices he's gonna be late... there's no parking anywhere.

He looks up at the sky and says to G-d: "dear Lord I promise that if you help me find a parking space i'll start eating only kosher food, rest on Saturday and do all the mitzvas I'm supposed to..." 5 seconds later he finds a parking space... he looks up at the sky again: "dear G-d, never mind; I found one on my own."

Charled Blondinn - the most famous tight rope walkers in history

Charled Blondinn (1824-1897).

Blondin, who was born in 1824 in France, was one of the most famous tight rope walkers in history. He was also known as "The Great Blondin."

Blondin's greatest fame came in June of 1859 when he attempted to become the first person to cross a tightrope stretched over a quarter of a mile across the mighty Niagara Falls.

He walked across 160 feet, above falls, several times, each time with a different daring feat: once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and once he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet!

At one occasion, a large crowd gathered and a buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oooohed!” and “Aaaaahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across one dangerous step after another, blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow.

Upon reaching the other side, the crowd's applause was louder than the roar of the falls! Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?" The crowd enthusiastically shouted, "Yes, yes, yes. You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. You can do anything!"

"Okay," said Blondin, "Someone get in the wheelbarrow....."

No one did!

Only months later, in August of 1859, did his manager, Harry Colcord, ride on Blondin's back across the Niagara Falls.

The story of Charles Blondin paints a real life picture of the challenge of faith. The crowd had watched his daring feats. They said they believed, but they would not act on the faith.
“And G-d heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of G-d called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her "What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for G-d has heard the voice of the lad where he is," “baasher hoo sham.” (Genesis 21:17).

What is the meaning of those last three words “where he is?” 

There is a deep message conveyed here. G-d listens to people “where they are.” Often, when a person finds himself in a situation with many distractions and difficulties, he is likely to say: "When my situation improves, then I will be able to do what I really aspire to do, to seek holiness, to study Torah and do mitzvoth, to connect to G-d, but not right now. Now all I can think about are these problems, holiness will have to wait until other things calm down."

But that is not the Jewish approach. Let us recall the words of G-d to Moses at the burning bush, when he tried to approach the burning bush: “Ki hamakom asher atah omed alav admas kodesh hu.” The place upon which you are standing, that is the exact situation in which you find yourself, is a holy place. In whatever distracting and difficult situation you find yourself, there are opportunities for holiness. A relationship with G-d does not depend on you being completely pure and refined. Wherever we are in our life, we can touch the Divine. Wherever you are in life, you can reach out to G-d. You don’t need to move away from your space and be something which you are not. G-d does not want masks; he wants the real you. He wants your truth, your passion, your heart, your struggles, your reality. “Baasher Hoo Sham.” He wants to see what you really look like. Wherever you are and whoever you are, G-d will listen to you.

G-d called to Samuel, and Samuel responded, "Here I am."

And he ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you have called me." And Eli said, "I did not call. Go back to sleep." 

In essence, we are given here a blueprint for one of the great challenges and callings in the field of education. Our children hear voices, but we often send them back to sleep, making them believe that the voices were mere imaginary.

Joke - the Boy who didnt speak

There was a boy who hadn't said a word for fifteen years and his parents thought him incapable of speech until one night at dinner when he threw his spoon down in disgust and declared, "Ach! The soup is terrible!" His mother jumped with joy and exclaimed, "Sam, you spoke!!

But, how come you didn't say anything till now?"

To which he blithely answers, "Till now the soup was good!"

What Rabbi Mottel (Mordechai) of Chernobyl saw in Heaven

The great Tzadik, Rabbi Mottel (Mordechai) of Chernobyl (1770-1837) was renowned for his erudition and holiness. He had thousands of followers, many of whom he 'inherited' after the passing of his saintly father Rebbe Nachum. Once, it so happened that this Rabbi Mottel fell sick. He became so critically ill that he went into a coma for four days and was literally hovering between life and death. His Chassidim and followers were in distress. They gathered together, prayed and said Tehillim (Psalms) non-stop for the entire time. G-d heard their prayers and their Rebbe regained consciousness. Several weeks later held a great thanksgiving meal for the kindness G-d showed him. The meal was unusually joyous; replete with song and dance until one of the older Chassidim, who had taken a few L'chaims, mustered up his courage approached the Rebbe and asked him if he would please grace the crowd with a description of what he’d seen in the four days he was “out.”

After a few minutes of pregnant silence, the Rebbe cleared his throat, closed his eyes and began to speak.

"I left my body and felt my soul rising, rising to heaven. I was sure that my time on earth had terminated. But I resisted. I didn't want to die. I cried and asked for mercy but it didn't help. "I was brought before the heavenly court and they were about to decide my fate. So in desperation I screamed that I wanted to see my holy, departed father, Rabbi Nachum. I knew that if he could intercede for me I might have a chance.

"My request was granted! My father was lowered from the high level of heaven where he was, but when we were finally face to face and I was bursting from joy to see him again after all these years … he didn't recognize me! I pleaded and tried to make him remember… but to no avail. He admitted that he had a son but he didn't believe that I was him! He simply didn't recognize me at all. Finally he asked if perhaps I had done some sin after he left this world and that is the reason he didn't know me. And he disappeared.

So for three days, I tried to remember if possibly I had done something wrong but with no success. I again began weeping and praying and, behold, my father re-appeared. He told me that he also had been searching but he came up with nothing. All he could conclude was perhaps it was something I had done very recently; say in the last day or two before my illness that was inaccessible to him. He asked me if I remembered anything unusual.

"Suddenly something came to my mind, but it certainly wasn't a sin. I told him that I remembered that just before my illness a wealthy Jew who had recently become a pauper, came to ask me for a loan of several hundred rubles to get back on his feet. But I had to turn him down because I simply didn't have that type of money. Still, I gave him what I could and tried to comfort him as best as possible.

"'Comfort him?' My father asked, 'What did you say?'

"I said a proverb from the wisest of men, King Solomon. I said:

כִּי אֶת אֲשֶׁר יֶאֱהַב ה', יוֹכִיחַ...

For the one who G-loves, He chastises… (Proverbs 3:12).        

“‘And what did you mean by that?' My father asked as though he was on to something. ‘What did I mean?’ I replied, not really understanding what he was getting at. "Why, I meant the simple meaning. That he shouldn't worry because sometimes G-d makes people suffer because He loves them. For instance, suffering can sometimes make people more kind, more sensitive, more compassionate, more deep. Sometimes it can clean people of their sins.

"'Aha!' My father replied. 'Now I know why I didn’t recognize you! I never would have said such a thing! And, indeed, here in Heaven we learn that sentence completely differently. Up here we learn it like this:

כִּי אֶת אֲשֶׁר יֶאֱהַב, ה' יוֹכִיחַ...

“Whoever you love (and we are supposed to love every creature), and you see that he or she is suffering, then you shall chastise G-d.’"

This is what Moses did when he challenged G-d saying, “Why do you make Your people suffer?” (Exodus 5:22). And G-d listened.

“’My son,' my father concluded, 'when it comes to the suffering of others we have to protest! We must try to “reprove” G-d and not justify Him.'”

“And I came back to life.”

Joke -Your Tuchus is apt to become more clever than your head

A Ukrainian merchant and a Jew happen to travel in the same compartment of a train.

And, as always in cases like this, the Ukrainian anti-Semite is only happy to show his spite to everything Jewish, so this is how their discussion goes:

Merchant: "You know, sir, I have a habit of using three sorts of newspapers when traveling: one Ukrainian which I read, the other Russian which I use to wrap my breakfast in, and the Jewish one which I use to wipe myself when I use a toilet."

Jew: "Aren't you afraid, with all due respect, that this way, your behind is apt to become more clever than your head?"

Jewish Pride: Shimon Ringel in Death Camp

Of the hundreds of heroic stories told by the Bluzhever Rebbe, Rabbi Yisroel Spiro, about his harrowing experiences in the Janowska labor camp during World War II, one episode is not well known at all. It is the story of Dr. Shimon Ringel. It is the courageous tale of a valiant man and his fight to preserve the honor, the kavod, of his people.

Arriving at the labor camp on August 26, 1942, Shimon, a young man in his 30s, carried with him a spirit of defiance and an inner strength. He was shocked at how the Jews all followed the orders of their German superiors; he desperately tried to convince the other inmates that eventually all of them would be killed, every last one. So why follow the Germans' orders and work for their cause? Why not spread the word to the thousands of other inmates? But a number of factors prevented him from doing this.

First of all, it was difficult to ever speak to a large number of people. The Nazis watched their every move carefully, ensuring that no one spoke to anyone else unless it was for a purpose. After work it was nearly impossible to find someone who had either the physical strength or the will to converse. They were shattered both in body and spirit. The only thing they wanted was to rest their bruised and weary bodies. Who had time or interest to speak about hope and pride? They were by and large walking skeletons, living out their days until the time came to die. And when it would, they would gladly leave this nightmarish existence.

So the voices of the Shimon Ringels had no chance of being heard. But Shimon would speak to the Bluzhever Rebbe. In him he found someone who would listen and at least try to share in his hope.

The labor camp was a scene of subhuman conditions ― appalling sanitation, little food, and constant harassment and beatings. Daily, they were forced to endure lineups where the SS guards would degrade and humiliate them.

"Which nation are the biggest liars and cheaters?" the SS guards would call out in glee, almost suppressing a snide smirk as they waited anxiously for the answer. "We the Jews are!" would be the cry of the degraded prisoners. Anyone daring not to scream out this answer would suffer by being chosen to stand in the middle of the courtyard and be beaten ― beaten until he died ― while his fellow Jews watched.

But Shimon could not bear to watch this horrible sight. He could no longer tolerate these barbarians mocking God and His holy nation. It is one thing to beat someone physically, but to humiliate the soul of a Jew, that was just too much. The humiliation and shame hurt so badly that Shimon decided to do something about it.

One of the daily rituals in the camp was the trip the inmates would take to the bathhouses. Although they was given the opportunity to bathe themselves, it was on a strict schedule. They had, to undress, bathe and redress all within a period of 5 minutes. Anyone not keeping to the schedule would be killed instantly. And tragically, often more blood would flow from those bathhouses, than water.

Afterward, again, the humiliating ceremony would begin. "Who's the filthiest nation on earth?" the Nazi guard would call out. "It is we the Jews who are infested with lice and filth."

"And why are you no longer dirty?"

"Because the kind and benevolent commandant has allowed us to cleanse ourselves."

The scene was sickening and shameful. But woe to the individual who dared to defy the sadistic guard. And for the longest time no one dared to do so. Until Shimon Ringel.

Shimon armed himself with a small dose of cyanide and one middle-sized rock. As the routine was about to begin, he turned to the Bluzhever Rebbe with tears in his eyes and he begged, "Please forgive me, Rebbe. I know that after what I am going to do, you will suffer together with the rest of the inmates. But I can no longer tolerate the shame they are causing to God and the Jewish people. I don't know if you will survive but promise me that if you do, you will tell this story to let people know that someone did not allow them to shame God's people."

The Rebbe tried to convince Shimon not to do it. But it was too late. The routine began. "Who is the filthiest nation on earth?"

Shimon refused to answer, while the rest of them struggled to proclaim that they were the filthiest nation, when they knew that the exact opposite was true. It did not take long for the Nazi guards to notice that Shimon was not responding to the questions in the same manner as everyone else.

"Why are you not answering, Jew?"

This time it was the Commandant Kolinko who spoke with a mixture of anger and confusion. "How dare you not answer the way you have been taught?" The commandant was visibly shaken and surprised that this Jew was so defiant!

"Because it is not true. The Jewish people are not filthy and we are not a lowly nation. It is you who should be ashamed of yourselves, you dirty dog. You kill innocent women and children. It is you who should be embarrassed for who you are."

And as soon as Shimon finished his diatribe, the commandant, shocked by his impudence, approached him and stepped right up to his face. Suddenly Shimon spit at him and smashed the rock he had hidden against the commandant's head.

Immediately chaos ensued. The SS guards pounced on Shimon and beat him mercilessly as the commandant bled profusely. But Shimon did not feel it at all. He was now in a place where no one could hurt him.

Astonishingly, somehow, someway, the matter was swept aside. One of those who survived was the Bluzhever Rebbe, Rabbi Yisroel Spira, who retold this story.

No Shame

Now, here was a Jew who knew he would not survive, yet he would not tolerate the spectacle of Jews calling themselves “filthy.”

We, thank G-d, are given the freedom to speak up against all the voices which never cease to defame and spread lies about the Jewish people and their homeland, the Land of Israel.

You know the story of the anti-Semite who knocks down the Jew in the street. The Jew gives him a coin and says that today is a holiday, a Yom Tov, where we give money to people who hit us and directs him to the wealthy Jew, who will give him big money. The anti-Semite goes to the man’s house and when the Jew comes to the door, the anti-Semite gives him a solid Zetz. The wealthy Jew calls his servants who beat the living daylights out of this anti-Semite. He goes away bruised and muttering, “These Jews, they don't even keep their own holidays.”

We ought never to be ashamed. We must speak up, with confidence, with dignity, with unwavering passion and strength. We cannot afford in times of freedom to suffer from an inferiority complex.

Don’t Stop Praying

Don’t Stop

In the portion of Vaeschanan, Moses prays to enter into the Land. The word Vaeschanan is the numerology of 515, indicating that Moses prayed 515 prayers to nullify the Divine decree against his entry into the Holy Land. Finally, G-d told him: Enough! Do not pray any more. Why did G-d not want him to pray any longer?

Says the Munkatcher Rebbe (in his commentary Chaim Vesholom), because   G-d knew, that with one more prayer, Moses would have broken the decree! So G-d told him, stop praying.

And the Munkathcer concludes: Sometimes Jews get tired of praying for Moshiach and redemption. They should learn from this that it is a mistaken approach. The power and potency of prayer is unbelievable.

Story: The Grandmother who called at her own Shiva

Heard from Rabbi Shmuel Hendel in Kfar Chabad, told to him by Rabbi EliyahuSegal of Rishon L'Tzion.

An elderly lady living in a nursing home in New York passed away. Her children, who always visited her and took care of her, did their duty and did a proper Jewish Tahara and burial.

On the 5th day of sitting shiva, the phone rang and the daughter sitting shiva answered the phone. On the other end of the phone was her mother, whom she just buried. The daughter, in shock, immediately fainted.

The phone rang again and it was her mother again, complaining that no one came to visit her that week. The family then rushed to the nursing home and it turned out there was a mix-up at the nursing home and it was her roommate that passed away and not their mother. This means that the wrong family buried the person… imagine hoe everybody felt about this crazy mistake. So now the nursing home had the grim job of informing the children of the other lady that their mother died 5 days ago. The nursing home called and was trying to break it to these children slowly, but before they could even tell the children what happened, the children callously answered, “If this call has anything to do with our mother, we are not interested.”

The children said, “All day long our mother wastes her time and just prays and prays and says Psalms.” The children then added, “And the one thing she prays for is that when she dies she should have a proper Jewish burial. But,” the children cruelly said, “We will outsmart her and when she dies we will spite her and make sure she will not have a proper Jewish burial! We don’t believe in all these religious myths. Cremation is far cheaper and more appropriate.”

The nursing home then explained to them it was too late as she already received her proper Jewish burial!

Look at the power of prayer and to the extent G-d will turn the world around to answer a prayer. Here this pious lady only prayed for one thing, a proper burial. Knowing it was almost impossible, due to her children’s apathy and selfishness, yet she didn’t give up. So G-d orchestrated this whole mix-up to respond to the prayers of this woman.

A man in a hot air balloon & a Rabbi

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a man below.

He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am." The man below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be a rabbi," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the man, "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but completely irrelevant…”

Two Donkeys - Salt & Sponges

The following allegory was shared by the Ben Eish Chai, Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Bagdad (died 1900).

There were once two donkeys. One was carrying a load of salt. The salt was very heavy and the donkey struggled mightily to bear his burden. The other donkey was carrying sponges. He didn’t even feel his load and walked gleefully on the trail as if there was nothing on his back, whatsoever.

Eventually they came to a stream. When the donkey, who was carrying the salt, entered the water, the salt began to melt. After a few minutes the salt totally dissolved. By the time he emerged from the stream, he was carrying empty sacks on his back. Relieved from his burden, he began to walk with happiness and ease.

Whereas, when the second donkey entered the stream, water rushed into the packs and flooded the sponges, creating a very heavy load for the donkey. Indeed, the weight was more than he could bear and the donkey’s life was endangered as he struggled to keep his head above the water.

Thus, the heavy load of salt served to benefit the first donkey because after he entered the water, his load was lifted, and he found ease and tranquility. Whereas when the second donkey entered the water the light sponge turned into an unbearable burden that nearly cost him his life.

Fearing G-d

And so Lord our G-d, instill fear of You upon all that You have made, and dread of You upon all that You have created; all your creatures should fear you, and all creations should prostrate themselves to You… —High Holiday Amidah.

A strange prayer, would you not say? We are told all day that fear is our greatest enemy. One of the great mantras of Eleanor Roosevelt was, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” People spend tens of thousands of dollars to go to therapy and rid themselves of their fears.we all come to shul on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Mature, intelligent and successful people. And what do we pray for? “And so instill fear of You upon all that You have made, and dread of You upon all that You have created.” Just yesterday we paid the therapist $245 to get rid of fear, and today we are asking G-d to instill fear in us? Is this normal? Are we trying to impose neurosis on ourselves?

The answer is both simple and profound. Generally, fear could be very destructive. Fear often paralyzes people; it keeps them stuck in a quagmire. But there is one form of fear that is both necessary and very positive: fear of G-d.

A human being is capable of falling very low. And we must know that G-d is concerned with our behavior each moment and craves us to behave morally and kindly. G-d loves us and empowers us to live great and extraordinary lives, and He anticipates that we make the right choices every moment of our lives. Every person needs to ask himself or herself one question before they do anything: What does G-d think about this? Does He approve? If the answer is yes, go right ahead. If the answer is not, you need to reconsider. This is the right way to live.

And if you truly fear G-d, you are more likely to be fearless in other areas of life. The less you fear G-d, the more you will fear other things in your life. You will fear people, you will fear public opinion, you will fear peer pressure, you will fear yourself, you will fear your mother in law, you will fear the mouse in the house, you will fear what this one says or that one thinks.

The more you fear G-d, the less you will fear everything else. Because if you are truly G-d-conscious, you answer only to one authority. You are not for sale. The sole barometer of your decisions in life is what G-d thinks of them.

So when the Baal Shem Tov was a boy of five he lost both of his parents. He was orphaned from both his father and mother. The last words spoken to him by his father before his passing were: "Yisrolik, fear nothing but G-d alone."

Fear of G-d is one fear modern psychology would do well not throwing out the window.

Story/Joke Quaterback - Sid Luckman & His Shtetel Minded Father

You know the story about Sid Luckman. Sid was one of the best Football Quarter Back players ever. Born in Brooklyn, he became a 6-time All-Pro Football QB. He led the Chicago Bears to 4 NFL titles and is shrined in the Football Hall of Fame.

His parents were immigrants, and they knew nothing about football. They came from the Shtetl.

And so, when he was about to play in his first professional game, he thought that it would be only appropriate to invite his parents to watch him play football and get a little bit of “nachas.”

He didn’t want them to be placed up in the stands somewhere, where they would be completely lost. So he had them sit on the bench with the players. In the middle of the game, Luckman drops back, and a line backer comes through the line, and starts to chase him.

Sid is fast. He scrambles with that ball; he’s running down the sideline with all his energy and might, and a couple of huge 6-foot tall, muscular, powerful fellows are running after him...

He runs right in front of his parents. It looks like he is running for his life. At which point, his father yells out in great fear:

“Sid, give them the ball, I’ll buy you another one...“



When G-d first revealed Himself to Moses from the Burning Bush, He said to him, “Remove your shoes from your feet.” With this command, G-d impressed an important point on Moses.

That point was that when you walk down the road in shoes, you stroll easily. The shoes that you wear protect you from feeling the little stones and the sharp pebbles on the road.

However, when you walk down the road barefoot, you feel every little stone and every sharp pebble that you step on.

As Moses was being appointed to lead Israel, he was commanded to remove his shoes. This hinted to the fact that he had to walk through life “barefoot”, so that he could feel and understand every little pain and every little sorrow which was the lot of his people.

The true Jewish leader cannot isolate himself from the plight of his people. He cannot put on the figurative shoes of indifference, caring for himself, at the cost of feeling the distress of his flock.

Similarly, each of us should take off the shoes of apathy, and be sensitive to the even the smallest opportunities for kindness. We never know which minor gestures on our part could make a difference in people’s lives.

Parable - Throwing 17,000 shekels off the roof

. Lesson from the Economic Crisis

“From a narrow place I call out to you, oh G-d; answer me from an expansive place.” – The first of seven verses resided before the blowing of the shofar.

We are experiencing an economic crisis. Some of us have endured difficult times. We all hope and pray that this year brings all of us much success and abundant prosperity. Yet we ought not to allow the financial challenges of these past years to slip away without teaching us one important lesson about life.

I will illustrate it with a story:

About ten years ago a rich Israeli businessman who we will call Jerry was on the top of the world. He was a multi-millionaire, toured the globe enjoying the best hotels, restaurants, cars and anything that money could buy. He was a self-made-man who loved his creator (i.e. himself). He was arrogant, cold, tough, and boatful. But a number of years ago, like many others, he made some big investment mistakes, and began to lose his fortune. In just months every penny he had saved and slaved for was gone and he was a pauper. And after he liquidated all his assets and even sold his house to pay his debts he still owed 17,000 shekels to the Israeli Revenue Service.

He asked an old friend for a loan. He went up to his friend’s office at the 49th floor of the Azrieli center in Tel Aviv.  His friend gave him 17,000 shekel and the man left the office.

With nothing better to do he decided to walk around and have a look. After a few minutes of strolling he noticed a set of stairs leading up to a large metal door, which he ascended and opened the door. A cold autumn wind blew into his face. It was the door leading to the roof, 'why not', he thought to himself as he went out.

Ah it was beautiful! From here he could see far into the distance; the Judean hills in one direction, the wide, vast Mediterranean sea on the other. He just stood there, thinking and trying to enjoy the weather when suddenly a loud thud behind him broke his thoughts; a quick glance revealed that the wind slammed the door shut. He decided it was time to go back.

He went to the door and tried to open it but it seemed to be locked. He tried peering from all sorts of angles to figure out the latch but he couldn't. So he began to pound on the door and when that didn't work, to kick at it. For sure someone would hear.

But no one did. The wind was getting stronger and colder now and he wasn't really dressed for this. He looked around for some object to hit the door with, to attract attention and get out but there was none. He still had a good hour before dark; people were probably still in their offices so he pounded, kicked and yelled but there was no response.

When he took out his black berry he discovered that the battery was dead. Totally dead! Of all times for this to happen!

But he didn't lose his composure. He had to work fast. He went to the edge of the building, peered over the small protective fence and began waiving his arms and yelling to the people far below which, after just five minutes, he realized was totally futile. There was no way that anyone would notice him from 49 floors below. But he had to remain calm. It was his only chance. Soon it would be dark and really cold. And there was nowhere to get protection from the wind, which was getting colder by the minute.

Suddenly he had an idea. The money! He had 17,000 shekels in his pocket. For sure if he threw a 200 shekel note down people would look up to see where it was coming from… and see him.

He pulled out a stack of bills, removed one, looked over the fence and threw it. He watched as it floated crazily in the wind and finally, after several minutes, landed on the other side of the street, someone stopped, bent down, picked it up and continued walking.

This time he took out five bills, 1,000 altogether and let them drop… but it was the same thing. No one noticed them until they hit the ground, then they picked them up, looked around for more and kept going.

He knew what he had to do! It was his only chance! He took all the money from his pocket, tore the band that held it neatly in a pack and with a yell, threw it below as hard as he could. With his last optimism he gazed as it scattered far below him. He removed his shirt and began waving it frantically for someone to notice. But he couldn't believe his eyes; not only did no one look up or hear his cries for help; they were all arguing down there about who saw which bill first!

He looked around on the roof, the sun was setting, it was still light enough to see, but he saw nothing……. only the sky.

His eyes filled with tears, suddenly he felt small, he needed help; he was sure that G-d would help him. The sky said so. A second ago he didn't even believe there was such a thing but now it was obvious… he wasn't alone. He yelled out, "HaShem! HaShem! (G-d)…. help! Help me!"

Suddenly his eye caught a medium sized sack of small pebbles. Why didn't he see it before? But there it was! He dragged it to the fence, took a handful, said a prayer, threw it over the side and began waving his arms and looking down again.

Sure enough, this time it worked! People began cursing; looking up pointing and screaming at him. Probably all of them called the police because in just moments the door burst open, police with guns drawn stormed through, put handcuffs on him and took him to the station. He was saved!

It took some serious explaining. He was lucky that no one was really hurt from his pebbles and, of course, he lost the 17,000 shekel and still owed the taxes. But after a few days they accepted his story and let him out.

At that moment he discovered a deep lesson: the people on the street, were just like him. All the time money was raining down the people never looked up… they looked only down, for more money. But as soon as they started feeling the pebbles hurting them they looked up to see where they were coming from.

How true of life. When we have everything we need, we sometimes take it for granted and we never look up. We can become insensitive to the plight of others; we feel we don’t need anybody. We are on top of the world. Only when we feel the “pebbles” falling on us, does it make us look up… look up beyond ourselves… see that there is something that transcends our egos, there is a higher source, to whom we are responsible.

This is the meaning of the above verse: We tend to call out to G-d “min hamatzar,” from a narrow place. Yet we ask of Him to answer us with expansiveness, with prosperity. Once we have learnt the lesson, let us all be blessed with tremendous wealth, so we can utilize the Divine gift to help people.