GOOD MORNING! Four elderly ladies were sitting in silence around a card table at the Jewish retirement home. One lady sighs, "Oy". The second lady laments, "Oy vey". The third lady groans, "Oy, vey iz mir" ("Oh, woe is me") ... and the fourth lady brusquely responds, "I thought we agreed not to talk about the kids!"
Raising good kids is not easy, there are no college courses ... and by the time you're experienced, you're out of a job. I asked noted family counselor and author, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, to share some thoughts for success.
Torah Portion of the Week
Here begins the story of the Ten Plagues which God put upon the Egyptians not only to effect the release of the Jewish people from bondage, but to show the world that He is the God of all creation and history. The first nine plagues are divisible into three groups: 1) the water turning to blood, frogs, lice 2) wild beasts, pestilence/epidemic, boils 3) hail, locust, and darkness.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that these were punishments measure for measure for afflicting the Jewish people with slavery: 1) The first of each group reduced Egyptians in their own land to the insecurity of strangers. 2) The second of each group robbed them of pride, possessions and a sense of superiority. 3) The third in each group imposed physical suffering.
* * *
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states regarding the Plague of Blood:
"And the Lord said to Moshe, say to Aharon: Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, their rivers and their pools, and over every gathering of their water, that they may become blood; throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone" (Exodus 7:19).
Why is Aharon (Moses' brother) and not Moses commanded to initiate this plague?
Rashi, one of the greatest Biblical commentators, cites the Midrash Shemot Rabbah to answer this question. It explains that Aharon, rather than Moses, was chosen to initiate the plague of blood because the water had protected Moses when he was cast into it as an infant in a basket. It would, therefore, not be proper for Moses to smite the water which helped save him.
How can this be? Water is an inanimate object which does not have free will. When something floats in water and does not sink, it would not occur to us to give thanks to the water for its buoyancy. Nevertheless, we learn from this verse that if a person derives pleasure from an object, he should show his gratitude by being careful not to cause harm or damage to the object, even though it would not suffer pain. As the Talmud (Bava Kama 92b) states: "If you drank water from a well, do not throw stones at it". Although this advice is basically meant as a metaphor for people who have given you something, the literal meaning should not be ignored.
Since this is true concerning inanimate objects, all the more so we must show gratitude towards people who have shown us kindness. Unfortunately, there is a saying "No good deed goes unpunished". People often times not only don't show gratitude, but they return indifference or bad for good. We must make it one of our personal goals in life to always think "who has helped me and who can I thank today." Let your attitude be gratitude. Not only will you be happier, but so will those around you.
CANDLE LIGHTING - January 21
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Guatemala 5:37 - Hong Kong 5:45 - Honolulu 5:56
J'Burg 6:46 - London 4:10 - Los Angeles 4:53
Melbourne 8:24 - Mexico City 6:03 - Miami 5:38
New York 4:40 - Singapore 6:59 - Toronto 4:54
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Children will often fail to listen to their parents.
However, they rarely fail to follow their example...
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