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Thursday, 11th July 2013
Rabbi Joshua Fishman, Executive Vice President of Torah Umesorah, tells the following story: It was a Friday afternoon and the holy Mezhritzer Maggid (preacher) had just immersed himself in the hot mikveh (ritual bath) in honour of the Shabbos. As he left the bathhouse he drew toward a wonderful scent, an aroma filled with sincerity and devotion. He spotted a small hut and saw an elderly woman stirring a pot and then he realised what the wonderful scent was fried gribenes (chicken skins).
Quietly he knocked on the door of the hut and spoke to the women. My dear woman, he began. There is something special in that pot, the aroma I smell comes from the sincerity of your stirring as well as the piety of the slaughterer. The joy of Shabbos is encompassed in those gribenes. So I ask you. Is it possible, that I too can partake in the delicacy that you are preparing for the Shabbos? Please, may I, too, have some of those gribenes?"
The woman stared directly into the Rebbe's eyes. "Holy Rabbi," she countered, "I am sorry. My husband waits for this delicacy the entire week. My grandchildren have come from a distant city and are expecting to have some gribenes, and" she added "we are having our son-in-law's brother for Shabbos. I am sorry but there are not enough gribenes left for you."
The Rebbe nodded solemnly and left.
A few moments later the woman realized what had occurred. "Am I a fool?" she thought. "The Holy Mezhritzer Maggid wanted to eat from my simple pot and I turned him away. Imagine, had the Rebbe partaken from my pot, blessings would bubble from it! Oh! How foolish of me to forego such an opportunity."
With that the woman raced from her hovel and chased after the Rebbe. Sighting the back of his caftan, she thrust the pot forward and began to shout, "Mezhritzer Maggid! Mezhritzer Maggid! Take the whole entire pot Please!"
Slowly the Rebbe turned around and shrugged his shoulders. "My dear woman," he sighed. "I would love to taste your gribenes, but I have lost my appetite."
The Ralbag, a 13th Century commentator, explains, that there are times that Hashem's (G-d's) grace is open to us and opportunity is at our door. It may be in the form of spiritual opportunity or physical and emotional ones as well. We must know that there is a time and a place for everything. We must respond to opportunity when it knocks. The world does not wait for us to be ready. We have the ability to miraculously overcome great obstacles. But we must be ready to act at the moment that grace shines its light on a dark situation.
Wednesday, 3rd July 2013
The farmer looked at him and thought, “Why not? After all, this kid looks sincere enough.”
There once was a farmer who discovered that he had lost his watch in the barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had sentimental value for him. After searching high and low among the hay for a long while, he gave up and enlisted the help of a group of children playing outside the barn. He promised them that the person who found it would be rewarded.
Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up looking for his watch, a little boy went up to him and asked to be given another chance.
The farmer looked at him and thought, “Why not? After all, this kid looks sincere enough.”
So the farmer sent the little boy back in the barn. After a while the little boy came out with the watch in his hand!
The farmer was both happy and surprised and so he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had failed.
The boy replied, “I did nothing but sit on the ground and tried to listen. In the silence, I heard the ticking of the watch and just looked for it in that direction.”
A peaceful mind can think better than a worked up mind. Allow a few minutes of silence to your mind and thoughts every day, and see, how sharply it helps you to set your life the way it should be.
Wednesday, 19th June 2013
There is a small shul (synagogue) in the centre of New York City with a regular minyan (quorum) for shacharis (morning prayers).
One morning a few years ago a highly unusual thing happened. There were only nine men there. So they waited a bit for a tenth man even though they had to get to work.
After several minutes, an old Jew showed up. He insisted to lead the davening (prayers), the others agreed. However, he was taking such a long time the other nine were starting to show frustration; 'Who does he think he is? Does he not realise we have to be at work already?’
Suddenly they heard a massive explosion and an overwhelming crashing sound. They went towards the door to see what had happened. It was September 11, and the nearby World Trade Center Towers had been attacked. Some of the people at this minyan would have been inside the Twin Towers if shacharis had been on time and finished with normal speed.
They felt the relief as they had realised their lives had been saved by this 'new chazzan - leader. As they turned around to thank him, they realised he had gone, and he has not been seen since. The point is that these people felt rather frustrated at the speed [or lack of it]of the chazzan, but they did not realise that it was HaShem’s (G-d's) means of ultimately saving their lives.
The truth is that everybody has their own individual story of Divine Providence in their own lives, and how something that they thought was destructive turned out to be constructive in the long term. It depends on one’s attitude and bitachon (trust).
Wednesday, 12th June 2013
If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.
And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family an unwise investment indeed.
Wednesday, 29th May 2013
Mother nature may be a metaphor, but when she's angry, it seems very real indeed. We forget many a time how awe inspiring, how great the power of nature on our planet is, thinking we've surpassed it. But the truth is, we're still tiny creatures living on a huge, living planet, and we should not forget it! See this beautiful video depicting the power of mother nature! Click the image below to watch this beautiful video depicting the power of mother nature!
Wednesday, 22nd May 2013
A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target.
She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence..
It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout.
We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.
We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.
I am always mesmerized by rainfall.
I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world.
Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in 'Mom let's run through the rain,' she said.
'What?' Mom asked.
'Lets run through the rain!' She repeated
'No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit,' Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated: 'Mom, let's run through the rain,'
'We'll get soaked if we do,' Mom said.
'No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning,' the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.
'This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?'
'Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'
The entire crowd stopped dead silent. You couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.
Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.
'Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD lets us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,' Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories.
So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories every day.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
Monday, 13th May 2013
The following story was recounted by Chacham HaRav Ovadiah Yoseph Shlitah. He heard it from HaRav Ezra Attiyah Zatzal, Rosh Yeshiva Poret Yosef in Yerushalayim:
Rabbi Aharon, a G-d fearing man from Halab (Aleppo) Syria, held a daily in-depth learning schedule after Shacharis (morning prayers) in Sefer (the book of) Chok L'yisrael and afterwards would learn Shulchan Aruch in depth.
After his late morning pas shacharis (breakfast) he would bench (say Grace after meals), leave home and head to his jewelry store in the city. Rabbi Aharon dealt with a wide range of gemstones and his fame spread as a very trustworthy honest businessman. His wife would point out that he was getting to the office awfully late every day and questioned him as to where his parnassah (earnings) would come from with his limited time at the office. He firmly believed that Hashem (G-d) would make earning a livelihood easy in the merit of his Torah learning.
One day, as he was opening the office, an Arab from Chevron was sitting waiting by his office for him. When R' Aharon asked him what he was looking for, the arab replied: "please open your office and we'll talk there". After R' Aharon opened, the Arab entered, took off his extensive head gear and slowly removed one stunning masterpiece of a jewel to hear R' Aharon's opinion on the piece. R' Aharon, inspected it and remarked of the piece's unique value, probably worth more than $100,000 (todays value: $800,000). R' Aharon assured the arab that he'd inquire of the merchants to see if there was an interested buyer. The Arab replied: "Ok, I'll be in such-and-such an Inn" hoping that he'd hear back from the honest R' Aharon.
The next morning, after the R' Aharon completed his daily learning schedule, finished his breakfast and was on his way to the office, he noticed a commotion outside the hotel where the arab was staying. He inquired within and was told that an Arab from Palestine stayed in the hotel for 7 days, ate, drank, lodged, but never paid his due. Yesterday evening, he suddenly got a heart attack and died. The owner of the Inn filed a bill/lien at the police station against the arab and the Police were auctioning off his belongings in order to pay off the owner of the Inn.
R' Aharon waiting to see if Hashem would make him successful and stayed for the auctioning. When they announced the sale of the arab's head gear R' Aharon got up and bid 20, another bid shouted +15, R' Aharon: +18. Luckily there was no one else interested in the head gear. "Once, twice, SOLD [to R' Aharon]".
R' Aharon paid, took the headgear to the office, opened it up and sure enough found the incredible gem. He eventually sold the gem, and made a huge sum of money from the sale .... Hashem takes care of those who trust in Him and study and keep His holy Torah.