GOOD MORNING! There are two ways to gain wisdom about life -- study revealed wisdom (the Torah) or look at life and distill the wisdom (philosophy, history, science). In Jewish law, one is obligated to stand for a scholar and for an elderly person -- even if the elderly person is not well-versed in Torah. Why? If a person is advanced in years he has lived life and has therefore gained wisdom about life.
We can even learn lessons from the animals. The Talmud (Eruvin 100b) teaches: "If the Torah had not been given, we would learn modesty from a cat, honesty from an ant, faithfulness from a dove ..." The cat eliminates in covert places and covers its excrement. The ant does not enter another ant's hole to steal; if another ant carried a piece of wheat, it will smell the scent of the other ant and not take his piece of grain. A dove mates for life only with its partner.
However, it is important to learn the right lessons from animals. If a person was so inclined he might choose to learn modesty, honesty and faithfulness from a dog -- which eliminates wherever it chooses, takes for itself whatever it can get its teeth into and mates with any other dog. That's why we need the Torah to tell us which are the correct lessons for us to learn!
Meanwhile, there are many valuable lessons that we can learn from geese that was sent to me. It can help each of us aspire to be better people, help others and make the world a better place.
For more on "Life Wisdom" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
Matos includes the laws of making and annulling vows, the surprise attack on Midian (the '67 War wasn't the Jewish people's first surprise attack!) in retribution for the devastation the Midianites wreaked upon the Jewish people, the purification after the war of people and vessels, dedicating a portion of the spoils to the communal good (perhaps the first Federation campaign), the request of the tribes of Reuben and Gad for their portion of land to be east of the Jordan river (yes, Trans-Jordan/Jordan is also part of the Biblical land of Israel). Moshe objects to the request because he thinks the tribes will not take part in the conquering of the land of Israel; the tribes clarify that they will be the advance troops in the attack and thus receive permission.
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"If her husband will remain silent for a complete day, then she must fulfill all of her vows or all of the bans which are upon her. He has established them because he remained silent on the day that he heard them" (Numbers 30:15).
Why is her husband's silence considered to be agreement to her vow?
Comments the Sforno (Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno, 1475-1550): When a person has the ability to protest and remains silent, his silence is similar to verbal consent. When you do not say something to disagree, it is as if you agree with what was said or done.
This concept has many practical applications. Very often, someone might say something in your presence that is improper and you feel that you cannot really influence the person to change his mind or to stop what he is saying. Should you speak up or remain silent?
Whenever your silence can be understood by others as agreement with what was said, you have an obligation to speak the truth. This way no one will mistakenly think that you agree with what was said.
Moreover, you can never tell; perhaps you will be successful in influencing others to make positive changes. A person who is not very assertive might find this difficult. However, learn from the person who says things that should not be said. If he is able to say something that he shouldn't, you certainly have a right to say those things that should be said. He is not afraid to say something improper, you should have the courage to speak up out of idealism!
CANDLE LIGHTING - July 22
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 6:16 - Hong Kong 6:50 - Honolulu 6:56
J'Burg 5:17 - London 8:46 - Los Angeles 7:44
Melbourne 5:07 - Mexico City 7:58 - Miami 7:54
New York 8:04 - Singapore 6:59 - Toronto 8:34
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
In the end, we will
remember not the words of our enemies,
but the silence of our friends.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
With Deep Appreciation to
Sam Pearson III