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GOOD MORNING! What impact will your life have on others? What impact would you like to have on others? More often than not we find the answer to the first question when people are sitting shiva (mourning) for us after we pass on to the next world. The only problem is that we don't really get to hear the answer ... and the answer comes a little too late for us to make any changes in our lives.
So, what can we do to take reality checks on our lives and to decide how we are doing and if any changes are needed? Go to funerals and homes of mourning ... and listen to what people say about the deceased. Then think about whether people would say that about you ... and whether you would want them to say that about you.
My friend, Rabbi Eliot Pearlson, once explained the phrase that is often attached to the name of a deceased - "May he/she be remembered for a blessing." The phrase is rather cryptic and confusing. How do you remember someone for a blessing? The answer: If the memory of the deeds of that person inspire you to do a little bit better in life, to strive to improve yourself, to help others, to do more mitzvot and with greater care and effort - then your actions bring merit and a blessing to the soul of the deceased.
Last week I attended the funeral of Karen Newman. I was particularly moved by the eulogy by her sister, Laynie Gadish. I thought that it would be worthwhile to share with you lessons learned from Karen's life.
- To love unconditionally - we are here in the world to love each other.
- Don't judge others - we have no idea what it is like to walk in their shoes.
- Forgive others and don't hold grudges.
- Give to others - especially if someone is going through hard times.
- Cherish your friends and family.
- Appreciate the elderly - they have much to teach you.
- Be patient - no good comes from rushing.
- Persevere in the face of all odds.
- Never miss an opportunity to give a smile or be compassionate.
- Inspire others to be all they can be.
- Help others whenever you can - especially those less fortunate.
In Jewish tradition, a person reviews his actions and interactions with others before going to sleep. In addition, there are 4 questions to ask:
- What am I living for?
- What did I do towards my goal today?
- What did I do contrary to my goal today?
- What is a better goal to live for?
In this way, he or she can have a set time to focus on improvement in life. Also, right before Shabbat it is a good custom to take time to review the past week and how one made use of it.
King Solomon said:
"Better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of drinking for that is the end of all mankind and the living should take it to heart." (Ecclesiates 7:2)
Life is a growth process. If you will be the same tomorrow as you are today, for what do you need tomorrow?
Torah Portion of the Week
This week's Torah portion includes the laws of: the Burnt Offering, Meal Offering, High Priest's Offering, Sin Offerings, Guilt Offerings and Peace Offerings. It concludes with the portions of the Peace Offerings which are allotted to the Priests and the installation ceremony of the Priest for serving in the Sanctuary.
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"Then (the Kohen/the priest) shall take off his garments and put on other garments and carry forth the ashes out of the camp unto a pure place." (Leviticus 6:4)
What lesson do we learn from the ceremonious taking out the ashes from the altar each morning?
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch comments that the taking out of the ashes that remained on the altar from the previous day expresses the thought that with each new day, the Torah mission must be accomplished afresh, as if nothing had yet been accomplished. Every new day calls us to our mission with new devotion and sacrifice. The thought of what has already been accomplished can be the death of that which is still to be accomplished. Woe unto him who with smug self-complacency thinks he can rest on his laurels, on what he has already achieved, and who does not meet the task of every fresh day with full devotion as if it were the first day of his life's work!
"Carry forth the ashes out of the camp." Every trace of yesterday's sacrifice is to be removed from the hearth on the Altar, so that the service of the new day can be started on completely fresh ground. Given these considerations, we can understand the law that prescribes the wearing of worn-out garments when one is occupied with the achievements of the previous day. The past is not to be forgotten. However, it is to be retired to the background, and is not to invest us with pride before the fresh task to which each new day calls us. (Rabbi Hirsch's commentary)
Rabbi Hirsch lived in the 1800's. In today's vernacular, we might say, "Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is cash. Spend it wisely!"
PIRKEI AVOT 4:17
"There are three crowns:
the crown of Torah,
the crown of priesthood,
and the crown of kingship;
but the crown of a good name surpasses all of them."
- Rabbi Shimon
|Thursday, April 7, 25th Anniversary Dinner of the Aish HaTorah branch in St. Louis. If you would like to attend ... or send special greetings to be put in their ad journal, please contact Rabbi Elazar Grunberger, firstname.lastname@example.org ... or by phone: 314-862-2474. If you know anyone who studied in the Aish St. Louis branch, please send this note on to him!|
CANDLE LIGHTING - March 25:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)
Guatemala 5:54 Hong Kong 6:17 Honolulu 6:24
J'Burg 5:55 London 6:03 Los Angeles 5:50
Melbourne 6:03 Mexico City 6:33 Miami 6:16
Moscow 6:36 New York 5:55 Singapore 6:57
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Life can only be understood backwards
but it must be lived forwards
-- Soren Kierkegaard
With Special Thanks to