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GOOD MORNING! I am shocked and saddened at the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia. One never expects tragedy - which is why we are shocked. I am no less saddened when I read of the deaths and injuries to terrorism in Israel and elsewhere. We must learn from the tragedy to value our own lives and to make use of our time to the fullest. We never know how long we will have to live!
One idea: never leave your wife, kids or parents without telling them "I love you" - even at the end of a phone call. After September 11th, many articles were written about the phone calls from the airplanes and from the World Trade Towers. Almost every phone call ended with "I love you" or "Tell my wife/my parents/my kids that I love them." Why wait until events make you focus on what's most important in your life? Tell them now and tell them often! Enough love is just a little bit more than anyone ever gets!
Also, we must learn to be sensitive to the pain of others and do what we can to relieve it. Who needs your help? Who needs food or a friend?
I thought it might be helpful to share a piece on coping with suffering from Begin Again Now - An Encyclopedia of Strategies for Living written by my friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin.
"Your ability to cope well with suffering and to grow from it is a key element in the total quality of your life. Someone who is unable to handle suffering well will usually suffer, not only while he is in a painful situation, but even afterwards those memories can cause him pain. He may also worry about potential suffering. Since it is an inevitable life experience, mastering the ability to grow from suffering is one of the most important skills for high quality life.
"One of the major difficulties in accepting misfortunes is that a person does not expect them and is surprised when they occur. Be prepared in advance that misfortune may happen. Your degree of suffering will be greatly decreased.
"Find meaning in suffering. While this will not eliminate all the distress, it will definitely make the burden lighter. Suffering can teach you what is really important. It can get you more in touch with your highest values and motivate you to live up to them.
"Suffering can help you develop your character in a way that good fortune does not. Suffering can teach you humility and compassion.
"What are the attitudes of people who are able to cope exceptionally well with suffering?:
- They are aware of the Creator's love for them. If in His love, He feels that this is what they need most for their mission in life, for elevating them, for purifying them, and for reaching their highest spiritual potential, they accept His will.
- They experience so much joy in being alive that their joy outweighs any distress or suffering.
- They have mastered the ability to perceive each life event as an opportunity to grow spiritually.
- They view their suffering as meaningful - much as an Olympic champion will view the physical pain of exercise a meaningful price for his goal.
- They are able to master their minds and mentally enter altered states of consciousness.
- They view this world as temporary.
- They view suffering as the ultimate challenge to their inner strength and are totally motivated to grow from the challenge.
(Begin Again Now -- An Encyclopedia of Strategies for Living is available from your local Jewish book store or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242)
Torah Portion of the Week
This week's Torah reading is an architect's or interior designer's dream portion. It begins with the Almighty commanding Moses to tell the Jewish people to bring an offering of the materials necessary for the construction of the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary.
The Torah continues with the details for constructing the Ark, the Table, the Menorah, the Tabernacle (the central area of worship containing the Ark, the Menorah, the Incense Altar, and the Table), the Beams composing the walls of the Tabernacle, the Cloth partition (separating the Holy of Holies where the Ark rested from the remaining Sanctuary part of the Tabernacle), the Altar and the Enclosure for the Tabernacle (surrounding curtains forming a rectangle within which was a large area approximately 15x larger than the Tabernacle).
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"Cover (the ark) with a layer of pure gold on the inside and outside and make a gold rim all around its top." (Exodus 24:11)
Why was it necessary to cover the ark with gold on the inside?
The Talmud (Tractate Yoma 72b) comments that from here we see symbolized that a Torah scholar must be pure inside as well as outside to be considered a Talmid Chochom, a scholar. That is, just as the ark which symbolized Torah knowledge had gold on both the inside and the outside, so too a torah scholar is not someone who just speaks wisdom on the outside, but he must also internalize his wisdom and live with it.
Our lesson: Whenever you speak about lofty thoughts, ask yourself whether you actually follow the principles you speak about. If not, do not stop speaking about those ideals; rather, you should elevate your behavior.
PIRKEI AVOT 2:16
"An evil eye (jealousy), evil inclination (lust) and hatred of people, remove a person from this world."
-- Rabbi Yehoshua
CANDLE LIGHTING - February 7:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 5:45 Hong Kong 5:57 Honolulu 6:05
J'Burg 6:37 London 4:41 Los Angeles 5:10
Melbourne 8:06 Miami 5:50 Moscow 4:59
New York 5:03 Singapore 7:04
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Praise works with
only three types of people ...
men, women and children.
In Loving Memory of