Shabbat Shalom Weekly: Devarim 5759
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Devarim(Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Devarim 5759

GOOD MORNING! I received the following beautiful piece from Nestor Gorfinkel. I have adapted it.

INSIGHTS FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE

The Best Day:  TODAY
Hardest Thing To Do:  TO BEGIN
Easiest Thing To Do:  TO FIND FAULT & MAKE EXCUSES
The Greatest Mistake:  TO GIVE UP
The Greatest Stumbling Block:  PRIDE / ARROGANCE
Most Useful Asset:  HUMILITY
The Greatest Plan:  DOING YOUR BEST & TRUSTING IN G-D
Worst Bankruptcy:  LOSS OF ENTHUSIASM
Most Disagreeable Person:  THE COMPLAINER
The Greatest Handicaps:  TO FEAR & NOT TRY
The Most Destructive Feelings:  JEALOUSY, HATRED & DESPAIR
The Greatest Feeling:  LOVE & HOPE
Greatest Need:  TO THINK
Best Gift:  ACTS OF KINDNESS
The Greatest Knowledge:  G-D
The Greatest Success:  FULFILLING YOUR POTENTIAL & ONENESS WITH GOD


Q & A: WHAT IS TISHA B'AV, WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT DAY AND HOW IS IT OBSERVED?

July 21, Wednesday evening starting at sunset, begins Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av. It is the saddest day in the Jewish year. On this same day throughout history many tragedies befell the Jewish people, including:

  1. The incident of the spies slandering the land of Israel with the subsequent decree to wander the desert for 40 years

  2. The destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem by Nevuchadnetzar, King of Babylon

  3. The destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE

  4. The fall of Betar and the end of the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans 62 years later, 132 CE

  5. The Jews of England were expelled in 1290

  6. The Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492

Tisha B'Av is a fast day (like Yom Kippur, from one evening until the next evening) which culminates a three week mourning period by the Jewish people. One is forbidden to eat or drink, bathe, use moisturizing creams or oils, wear leather shoes or have marital relations. The idea is to minimize pleasure and to let the body feel the distress the soul should feel over these tragedies. Like all fast days, the object is introspection, making a spiritual accounting and correcting our ways -- what in Hebrew is called, Teshuva, returning, to the path of good and righteousness.

Teshuva is a four part process:

  1. We must recognize what we have done wrong and regret it
  2. We must stop doing the transgression and correct whatever damage that we can
  3. We must accept upon ourselves not to do it again
  4. We must verbally ask the Almighty to forgive us.

On the night of Tisha B'Av we read in the synagogue Eicha, the book of Lamentations, written by the prophet Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah). We also say Kinot, special poems recounting the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people

Learning Torah is the heart, soul and lifeblood of the Jewish people. It is the secret of our survival. Learning leads to understanding and understanding leads to doing. One cannot love what he does not know. Learning Torah gives a great joy of understanding life. On Tisha B'Av we are forbidden to learn Torah except those parts dealing with the calamities which the Jewish people have suffered. We must stop, reflect, change ourselves and only then will we be able to make a better world.

You will find The Complete Tisha B'Av Service by Rabbis Avrohom Chaim Feuer and Avie Gold helpful to understand the day and the service. Available at your local Jewish bookstore or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242.


Torah Portion of the Week
Devarim

This week we begin the last of the Five Books of Moses, Deuteronomy (which is the Greek name for the book of Devarim -- as it is called in the original Hebrew). The Book is the oration of Moses (Moshe) before he died. It is the preparation of the Jewish people for entering and living in the Land of Israel. Moshe reviews the history of the 40 years of wandering the desert and gives rebuke so that the Jewish people will learn from their mistakes. It is always good to give reproof right before one dies. People are more inclined to pay attention and to take it to heart.

Moshe recalls what happened at Mt. Sinai, the appointment of judges and administrators, the story of the spies, the prohibition to attack Edom and Moav, the defeat of the Kings Sichon and Og, and how the land of Gilad was given to the tribes of Reuven, Gad and half of the tribe of Menashe.

 

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

In recalling the story of the spies, the Torah states, "And they said, 'The land which the Lord, our G-d, is giving us is good." Rashi understands these to be the words of Joshua and Caleb, the good spies; the Chasam Sofer says that these could also be the words of the other spies who were against going up into the land. The other spies could have meant that since the land is so good, the inhabitants will fight for it and not let us win.

Our lesson: When one praises you, do not assume anything negative; when you praise others, be careful that your words cannot be taken negatively. It is important to communicate clearly and unequivocally.

Published: January 24, 2000

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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) Anonymous, July 20, 2009 6:41 PM

This whole series is very inspiring for me. Thank You

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