GOOD MORNING! We intuitively believe in free will. That is why we hold others responsible for their actions -- and why we hold ourselves responsible for own actions. Desire and the ability to rationalize our decisions may not be the enemy of free will, but they certainly challenge us to use our free will! An FBI agent once said, "I never saw a serial killer who was so compelled to kill someone that he killed while a policeman was standing next to him."
The Almighty commands us to use our free will: "See, I have put before you, life and good, death and evil ... choose life so that you may live..." (Deuteronomy 30:19). Why choose life so that you may live rather than choose good? To choose life is to choose to live in reality and to accept the pain of living in reality rather than seeking comfort, indulgence, escape. Free will is about moral choices of right and wrong -- not about which flavor of ice cream you wish to eat.
For more on "Free Will" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
Masei includes the complete list of journeys in the desert (the name of each stop hints at a deeper meaning, a lesson learned there). God commands to drive out the land's inhabitants, to destroy their idols and to divide the land by a lottery system. God establishes the borders of the Land of Israel. New leadership is appointed, cities of the Levites and Cities of Refuge (where an accidental murderer may seek asylum) are designated. Lastly, the laws are set forth regarding accidental and willful murder as well as inheritance laws only for that generation regarding property of a couple where each came from a different tribe. And thus ends the book of Numbers!
* * *
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And they traveled from Ailim and they encamped by fYam Suf" (Numbers 33:10).
What insights can we learn from the names of the places they camped?
Ailim hints to the word alimus which means "violence." Yam Suf hints to the word sof which means "the end." The hint being that they traveled from the trait of violence by coming to the trait of looking at the end of a person -- that we all die.
Violence includes both actions and words. There is the physical violence of hitting or pushing someone; there is the verbal violence of shouting at someone or putting him down. Any form of violence not in self-defense is against the principles of Torah.
What is the main cause of violence? Frustration and anger! When one becomes frustrated and angry, he is likely to lash out at someone. When one remembers his true purpose in this world -- to perfect himself, perfect the world and to be like God -- most things will not get him angry. When he remembers his own end and that he will have to give a judgment and accounting for his life, he will be less inclined to become angry. The more one appreciates life and feels joyous, the less angry he will become.
By remembering the end of each person, you will gain a greater appreciation for life. You will value your time and utilize every opportunity for growth. This awareness will keep you far away from any form of violence.
CANDLE LIGHTING - July 29
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Guatemala 6:14 - Hong Kong 6:47 - Honolulu 6:53
J'Burg 5:20 - London 8:35 - Los Angeles 7:39
Melbourne 5:12 - Mexico City 7:55 - Miami 7:51
New York 7:57 - Singapore 6:59 - Toronto 8:27
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
If you are not happy with what you have,
you will not be happy with what you get.
-- Rabbi Noah Weinberg
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Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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