Thursday, September 15, 2011


It is invisible, but always with us. It can be our greatest enemy, but also our best friend. It’s always moving, yet unwavering. It can work for us or against us. It is never neutral, and it never stops.

What is it? It is Time.

The human race has conquered space. We have cleared out wildernesses and turned them into cities. Travel and telecommunications have allowed us to transcend great distances.

But time: Have we conquered time? Most people would answer that we can manage time, but never conquer it, because the clock continues to tick whether we like it or not. We cannot stop the clock nor can we turn it back.

Jewish thought however always made it a goal to conquer time. It wasn’t enough to manage time, but actually conquer it. We sanctify time – Shabbat and holidays.

Time is energy, the Zohar explains. Each moment is potent, filled with enormous power. Each moment is an opportunity, never neutral. When we utilize and actualize the energy of the moment, time becomes our ally, launching us into another dimension. If we do not use the moment, the moment “dies,” and like dead weight it contributes to the erosion of our beings, as the clock of our lives ticks down.

By filling time with meaning and spirit, we have the power to eternalize each moment in our lives.

How many moments of our day are just fleeting specks lost in the shuffle of life? But then comes that one moment – that can turn an experience that lives on forever.

Imagine if you were able to turn all your moments into eternity. This is the power and the mystery of the Jewish calendar: Each day, week and month is defined by its unique energy. Time becomes our greatest asset; a silent but powerful partner in life’s journey.

We are now about to enter a most powerful time of the year: The Hebrew month of Elul.

The days of Elul are called ‘ days of ‘compassion,’ because in this period Moshe was successful in his appeal for forgiveness from G-d, for the Golden Calf. So this month serves as the month of Divine mercy and forgiveness.

We must tap into the energy of this time and release its enormous power. Every moment is an opportunity – packed with powerful energy.

Parshat - R'ei. FREE CHOICE

This week's Torah portion, Re'ei opens with a fundamental principle of Judaism - free choice. G-d says to the Jewish people, "Look, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: the blessing, that you will hearken to G-d's commandments...; and the curse, if you will not hearken to G-d's commandments..." (Deut. 11:26-28).

Why did G-d create the world so as to necessitate blessings and curses? Why did G-d make it difficult for us to do what is appropriate and right?

Evil exist to allow for free choice. If there was only good in this world - we couldn't freely choose to do good; we would just do good by default. And there would be no room for reward and punishment.

Wrong exists only to allow a person to choose right. Evil is nothing but a means of improving our Divine service, to push us toward the correct path. Evil is not a curse, but a merit that enables us to succeed and prevail. Knowing this, gives us the ability and strength not to be intimidated or overwhelmed by the negative.

Parshat Re'ei is read on the Shabbat when the month of Elul is blessed. In Elul, G-d's Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are manifested with particular intensity. At such a time, a person might think that his own efforts or initiative is unnecessary. Thus, the Torah reminds us, "Look, I give you today a blessing and a curse." Yes, G- d helps us but at the end of the day we still have to make that choice. So in Elul, when G-d's mercy is manifest, a Jew must intensify his efforts to vanquish evil.

It should be a time of emphasizing the positive and increasing our love for our fellow Jew. In the merit of our good deeds (especially charity), G-d will inscribe each and every one of us for good.


People have been divided into rich and poor. And it is the obligation of the rich to share with the poor.
If G-d wants the poor to be provided for, why did he create a society that was unequal to begin with? Why not provide the poor person with his needs directly, and not require him to undergo the indignity of begging from the rich?

Our sages answer that G-d created the world in a manner that allowed people to perfect it. Not that G-d 'needs' any assistance from us, He could have created the world in any form He desired, including one that would not have needed any human intervention. But he wanted to leave room for our input, for our effort. When a Jew carries out his Divinely mission in this world, He becomes a partner with G-d and receives an abundance of blessing, not as a gift but as a reward.
All the blessings that G-d grants to us - health, children, livelihood - become a deserved grant rather than a donation.

G-d wants to allow us the opportunity to learn kindness, compassion and benevolence, to emulate His ways. And so we observe a lack in someone else and we try to fill it.

The affluent one must constantly recognize that it was not his power, creativity or intelligence that brought him wealth, but G-d's blessing alone. And when we share what we have with others, we call G-d's blessing upon ourselves and are then able to give even more to charity.

When Moshiach comes, please G-d very soon, we will see how our many acts of charity and loving-kindness throughout the generations, has transformed this world into a more perfect one and our mission, of becoming partners with G-d in creation, will be complete

Believing in Moshiach

We pray and we believe that G‑d listens to our prayers; we believe that everything that happens is orchestrated by a benevolent Creator; we believe that through studying Torah and observing the commandments we are connecting to the A-mighty. But as strong as we may believe all the above, these aren't self-evident truths in a world which amazingly has the ability to deny the existence of its own Creator and life-force.

The belief in the coming of Moshiach\ is one of the thirteen core-principles of our faith. It would certainly be nice to see an end to global suffering, but that is a universal ideal. Why is that a principle of the Jewish faith?

Yes, we await the Messianic Era because we look forward to finally having peace and reaping the fruits of our long exile toil, but the Messianic Era isn't all about us—it's primarily about a world which will be a reflection of its Creator, a world where the rights and wrongs of the Torah are self-evident truths. In the Messianic Era, the truths of the Torah will be as self-evident as the laws of gravity and mathematics.

On a deeper level, our belief in Moshiach is our belief in the supreme truth of the Torah. Our belief that the world was created by G‑d and the world must conform to the Torah and not vice versa. And our belief must express itself in a commitment to maintain this attitude even when it takes a large measure of faith and conviction to live in such a manner.

May we merit to see the realization of our most fervent wish, the coming of Moshiach who will reveal the truths - which always were.

Are you ready for Moshiach?

Once, a king informed all of the people in his palace that they were invited to a feast. However, he did not tell anyone at what time the party was scheduled.
Some of the servants said, "We have so much work to do. We cannot just cease working while we wait until the king tells us that it is time for the feast. When the king does decide that it is time, we will notice the preparations being made. Only then will we prepare ourselves and put on our fine clothes for the party."
Other servants were wiser. They said. "The king is capable of preparing a banquet at a moment's notice. We had better wash up and get dressed now, so we won't be caught off guard." They dressed in their finest clothing, eagerly awaiting any mention of the upcoming party.
After some time passed, the king suddenly made an announcement: "All residents of the palace are to come to the banquet hall immediately." The clever servants were all dressed appropriately for a royal feast, and they proceeded to the banquet hall. The ones who had not prepared them-selves properly had to come in their soiled work clothes.

The king was very pleased with the wise servants and served them a lavish feast. To the other servants he turned and said, "Fools! Why did you not get ready immediately? Did I not tell you that I was preparing a banquet? How dare you arrive in shabby work clothes!

Moshiach can come at any given moment. Let us be like the clever servants. Let us be prepared, dressed in our finery. The Torah and mitzvot that we learned and kept, and the good deeds we performed that will be our finest clothing.
Moshiach is coming - are we ready?