Thursday, March 29, 2012

PARSHA - TZAV. Aish Tomid.... persevere....

This week's Torah Portion, Tzav, continues on the theme of offerings. When the temple stood, and offerings were brought, it was common to bring an offering for a special occasion, such as an offering of gratitude or an offering of atonement. However, there were also routine offerings that were brought on a daily basis and all of these offerings were placed on the very same altar, using the same fire, the ‘Aish Tamid’ - the eternal flame.

In this week’s reading, it speaks of this fire, and the verse says; "Aish tamid..... “An eternal flame shall burn upon the altar, it shall not be extinguished.” (6:6)

A double expression here - eternal flame and it shall not be extinguished - This is the teaching of consistency. A flame that is eternal—meaning that is constantly being fed—is one that will never be extinguished.

To bring an offering in a time of inspiration, when one is overwhelmed with remorse, or with gratitude, requires little effort. But to bring a routine offering, day in and day out, with that same excitement and inspiration, now, that's hard work. Yet all offerings, both unusual and routine, were offered on the same ‘eternal, constant’ flame.

The key to lasting success is perseverance - keeping at it - continuously , through the easy times and the hard. When we start something it is easy to find the passion and excitement to get started. A week later, a month later or years later, that is when we need the perseverance to keep the momentum.

We all have something in our lives which need constant attention, passion and perseverance to continue to grow - this week's torah reading infuses us with 'perseverance energy' to keep the flames alive and to continue to persevere towards success and fulfillment on a physical and spiritual level.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

R' Moshe Leib Sassover - Helps Jew....

Rabbi Moshe-Leib of Sassov once came to the marketplace in Yaroslav. He was passing among the vendors, checking the quality of the straw and hay for sale, when he met his friend, Rabbi Shimon of Yaroslav.

"Rebbe, what are you doing here?" Rabbi Shimon asked in surprise.

"Leave out my 'Rebbe' and your 'Rebbe' and come with me to carry a bale of hay to a poor widow who has no hay upon which to lay her broken body," the Sassover replied sharply.

The two holy leaders went together, hauling a bale of hay on their shoulders. Astonished bystanders stared in wonder and moved aside to make room for them to pass.

As they went, Rabbi Moshe-Leib remarked, "Were the Holy Temple standing today, we would be bringing sacrifices. Now we bring straw, and it is as though we have all the kavanot, the spiritual intentions, that come with offering the korban mincha sacrifice."

Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov was following in his father R' Yaakov's footsteps who would take a job before Pesach grinding wheat at the mill, not for himself, though he was also a poor man, but for a widow and orphan who lived in his neighborhood. And he did this despite his great love for the Torah, which he learned constantly.

R Moshe Leib Sossover, despite his greatness in Torah, did not worry about his honor when it came to performing acts of kindness for his fellow Jew.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The BNEI YISSASCHER/Father/Money/Eliyohu Hanavi

When the Bnei Yissascher was ten years old, his father spent the winter teaching children in a distant town at a Jewish-owned inn. One stormy blistering day there was a knock at the door; three half frozen Polish peasants were requesting a place to stay.

But when the innkeeper discovered that they didnt have sufficient funds to pay for even one night's stay, he sent them away. The Bnei yissascher's father, the school teacher, was shocked and offered to pay for their lodgings.

The peasants ended up staying for two weeks until the raging storm abated. They then thanked the schoolteacher and left.

With Pesach approaching, the schoolteacher, before going home to his family, went to the innkeeper to collect his salary. The innkeeper owed the teacher 40 rubles for teaching his children, but the teacher owed the innkeeper 43 rubles for the peasants stay that he had offered to pay. The innkeeper said he can bring the 3 rubles back when he returns after the Holiday.

The school teacher traveled to his village, but could not bring himself to go home empty handed. Meanwhile, his son the Bnei Yissascher heard that his father was back in town and ran with great emotion to him and begged him to come home. He wanted to show him his new shoes and clothes that his mommy bought -on credit, mind you, for the pesach holiday. This only made the father feel worse.

As they walked home, they saw a chariot rumbling down the street, hit a bump and a package fall out of it. The Bnei Yissascher's father picked up the package and ran after the coach but the coach turned a corner and disappeared. The father, seeing no distinguishing marks on the bag, understood that in such a situation it may be presumed that the owner would relinquish all hope of its recovery, and since there was no possible way for him to locate the owner, it was therefore his to keep. He opened it and found exactly 43 rubles.

The night of the seder, the Bnei Yissascher was given the merit to open the door for Eliyahu Hanavi. When he opened the door, he called to his father, "Ta, the coachman is here!" But there was no one there.

The Bnei Yissascher's father pulled the boy aside and told him that he must promise never to tell anyone this story until he was on his death bed.

This story was told by a student of the Bnei Yissascher, who heard it from the Bnei Yissascher on his death bed!

Change for the better TODAY

In the 16th century, an innocent Jew was thrown in prison by a feudal baron who gave him a life sentence. For some reason, this tyrannical baron decided to show the man a bit of mercy. He told him, "Look Jew, you're my prisoner for life, there's nothing that will change that. But this I will do for you: I will grant you one day of freedom a year during which you can return to your family. Do whatever you want. I don't care which day you choose. But remember, you have only one day a year."

The man was conflicted. Which day should he choose? Should he choose Rosh Hashanah, to hear the sounding of the shofar? Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year? Passover, to celebrate a seder? His wedding anniversary?

This prisoner, not being able to make up his mind, wrote a letter to one of the rabbinic leaders of that generation, the Radbaz, asking for his advice.

The Radbaz said the prisoner should choose the first available day. Whatever it is, grab it now, don't wait — be it a holiday, a Shabbat, a Monday, a Wednesday.

This was a marvelous reply. More important, it holds true for us as well. We are psychological prisoners of our bad habits. We feel it is too difficult to summon the will to do things right. "I'm not ready yet. I can't change now. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week etc." These excuses provide us with an escape from responsibility.

We are summoned to chart the path of repentance and self-renewal. Who we will become is dependent on the direction we choose now. We are only what we choose to be, and if we so choose, we can change.

And we don't have to wait for tomorrow. We can do it now.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rebbe RASHAB - Yohrtzeit - STORY

Today is the Yahrzeit of the 5th Chabad Rebbe, Reb Sholom DovBer, called the Rebbe Rashab.

Famed for his phenomenal mind and analytical treatment of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Sholom DovBer wrote and delivered some 2,000 discourses of Chassidic teaching over the 38 years of his leadership.

In 1897, he established the Tomchei Temimim yeshivah, the first institution of Jewish learning to combine the study of the "body" of Torah (Talmudic and legal studies) with its mystical "soul" (the teachings of Chassidism); it was this unique yeshivah that produced the army of learned, inspired and devoted Chassidim who, in the decades to come, would literally give their lives to keep Judaism alive under Soviet rule.

The yahrtzeit of a Tzaddik is an auspicious day. A day to increase in Torah Learning, Prayer, Charity and acts of kindness.

One of the Rebbe Rashab's followers, Reb Monye Monissohn, was a wealthy gem dealer. Once, when they were sitting together, the Rebbe spoke very highly about some simple, unlearned Jews.
"Why do you make such a fuss about them?" Reb Monye asked the Rebbe.
"Each one of them has many special and noble qualities," explained the Rebbe.
"I can't see any of these qualities," said Reb Monye.
The Rebbe remained silent. A while later, he asked Reb Monye if he had brought his package of diamonds with him. Indeed, Reb Monye had brought the diamonds. Reb Monye took the Rebbe into a different room and arranged the diamonds for him to see. Reb Monye pointed to one gem in particular, extolling its beautiful color and quality.
"I can't see anything special in it," the Rebbe said.
"That is because you have to be a "maven" to know how to look at diamonds!" explained Reb Monye.
"Every Jew, too, is something beautiful and extra-ordinary," the Rebbe said.
"But you have to be a "maven" to know how to look at him."