GOOD MORNING!  What is a friend? If your best friend called you in the middle of the night that he got out of control and killed someone ... would you stand by him? What are the limits of your commitment to a friend? What would you do if instead of murder, it was rape or embezzlement?

If the purpose of friendship is to have someone to play tennis with, then it's time to get a new partner. If friendship is something more, then you need to be careful who you choose to become your friends.

The Hebrew word for friend is "chaver" -- from the word "chibbur" which means attached, joined. A true friend is someone whose love is unconditional, who will be there for you always. The very foundation of friendship is loyalty.

A fair-weather friend is only there when his companion makes wise and proper decisions. We cannot condone a friend's act of murder. It's wrong, plain and simple. However, a true friend is there to support, to reprove, to help get his life back on track.

One would not choose a surgeon because he seems to be a nice guy. Choosing a friend is serious business; friends influence your life -- and come with responsibilities! Know what traits you want in a friend before seeking friendship. Be careful of committing to a friendship haphazardly. Make sure you choose the right friends!

(adapted from the Aish HaTorah Shmooze Kit Book, available for $10. Send to: 3150 Sheridan Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140)

The following items on friendship were found floating on the internet and sent to me by Gerson Farberas, the translator of the Shabbat Shalom into Portuguese:


A Friend....

(A)ccepts you as you are
(B)elieves in "you"
(C)alls you just to say "HI"
(D)oesn't give up on you
(E)nvisions the whole of you
(F)orgives your mistakes
(G)ives unconditionally
(H)elps you
(I)nvites you over
(J)ust "be" with you
(K)eeps you close at heart
(L)oves you for who you are
(M)akes a difference in your life
(N)ever Judges
(O)ffers support
(P)icks you up
(Q)uiets your fears
(R)aises your spirits
(S)ays nice things about you
(T)ells you the truth when you need to hear it
(U)nderstands you
(V)alues you
(W)alks beside you
(X)-plains things you don't understand
(Y)ells when you won't listen and
(Z)aps you back to reality



A friend is someone we turn to
When our spirits need a lift,
A friend is someone we treasure
For our friendship is a gift,
A friend is someone who fills our lives
With beauty, joy, and grace
And makes the world we live in
A better and happier place.

Torah Portion of the Week
Ki Tetzei

Topics in this week's portion include: Women Captives, First-Born's Share, The Rebellious Son, Hanging and Burial, Returning Lost Articles, The Fallen Animal, Transvestitism, The Bird's Nest, Guard-Rails, Mixed Agriculture, Forbidden Combinations, Bound Tassels, Defamed Wife, Penalty for Adultery, Betrothed Maiden, Rape, Unmarried Girl, Mutilated Genitals, Mamzer, Ammonites & Moabites, Edomites & Egyptians, The Army Camp, Sheltering Slaves, Prostitution, Deducted Interest, Keeping Vows, Worker in a Vineyard, Field Worker, Divorce and Remarriage, New Bridegroom, Kidnapping, Leprosy, Security for Loans, Paying Wages on Time, Testimony of Close Relatives, Widows and Orphans, Forgotten Sheaves, Leftover Fruit, Flogging, The Childless Brother-in-Law, Weights and Measures, Remembering What Amalek Did to Us.


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah teaches an important lesson about choosing friends and lifemates in this week's portion. Regarding a woman captured during war, the Torah places all sorts of restrictions in the way of marriage over a period of thirty days -- so that the passion of the soldier will cool. The Torah states regarding the soldier's ultimate decision, "And it will be if you did not want her" (Deut. 21:14). Why does the Torah speak in the past tense ("did not want her") when referring to the decision the soldier makes at the end of thirty days? The Torah "should" have spoken in the future tense --"and ... if you will not want her."

The answer is that there is a difference between the term chaishek which means passion and lust, and the term chofaitz which means wanting because of a rational decision that something is good for you. The Torah is telling us that a person who wants to marry someone only because of infatuation and a passion that is based on good looks never really wanted the person from the very beginning (therefore the past tense is used). It was just desire, not an honest love for the other person.

Rabbi Noah Weinberg, spiritual leader of Aish HaTorah defines love as "the pleasure of seeing virtue. It is based on the reality of knowing the good qualities in another person. Infatuation, however, is blind. It is when your emotions prevent you from seeing the entire picture and you mistakenly believe that the object of your infatuation is totally perfect and without any faults." Love is not blind, it is wide-eyed; infatuation is blind. If you think the other person is perfect -- watch out!

(or go to

Jerusalem  6:29
Guatemala 5:57  Hong Kong 6:23  Honolulu 6:30
J'Burg 5:35  London 7:31  Los Angeles 7:02
Melbourne 5:39  Miami 7:23  Moscow 7:08
New York 7:12  Singapore  6:51


A friend doubles the joy
and halves the grief.

Mazal Tov on the Upshurin of
(1st Haircut at 3 years old)
Maimon Chaim Abraham Behar
with love,
Moshe, Luisa;
Mazalit & Miriam Simcha