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GOOD MORNING! Would you like to be great? Our sages tell us that if we want to be great, we should do a nightly cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of our deeds. Before you go to bed, sit for a few minutes in the quiet and ask yourself (and answer) four questions: (1) What am I living for? (2) What did I do towards my goal today? (3) What did I do counter to my goal today? (4) What is something that is more important to live for? Do that every night before you go to sleep and you have a guarantee of making more out of your life.

___There is an old witticism, "Remember, you are unique - just like everyone else." The fact is that while each and every human being is precious and special, there are inner aspirations which are common to all of us. One of my goals with the Shabbat Shalom Fax is to help people reach their potential - to be all they can and to get the most out of life. In line with this goal, I present to you The Universals - needs and desires common to mankind. If you recognize that these are beliefs or values that are a part of you, then focus on how you could lead your life towards greater fulfillment by living them.


  1. We All Need Meaning. Did you ever ask yourself, "What is it all about?" "What is the point of it all?" Life is more than contentment. No one aspires to emulate a cow contented to graze and lie in the sun.
  2. We Are Not Fulfilling Our Potential. No matter what we accomplish, we feel we could do more. We feel that we have a greater potential than doing just the mundane.
  3. We All Want To Be Great. Nobody wants to be mediocre. We want to be special.
  4. We Turn To God For Help. If you turn to God in a pinch, then don't wait for the pinch. Ask yourself, "How do I develop a relationship with the Almighty?" and "What does God want me to do with my life to reach my potential?"
  5. We Want To Be Good. People are willing to die to be good. If there is something you would be willing to die for, then it is worth living for it. Figure out what you should be living for.
  6. We Feel Responsible For the World. If you ask someone, "What are you doing to stop the genocide in Darfur?" he'll answer, "What can I do about it?" He won't say, "It's not my problem." Everyone knows that it's our problem. Everyone knows that we are responsible for the world and others ... we just don't know what to do or are overwhelmed by the responsibility.


    1. You dreamed at 20 what you would like to do or be. Are you living that dream?
    2. What would you want said at your eulogy?
    3. Who is your hero? Why?
    4. When do you feel most meaningful?
    5. If you could make a difference, what would you do?

___Combine the Universals and the above questions with the nightly accounting... and you will be on your way to greatness ... and a much more meaningful life!

For more on "Reaching Your Potential" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!

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Torah Portion of the Week

___In last week's Torah portion, Pinchas acted to stop a public display of immorality. He thus stemmed the plague of retribution which was killing the multitudes. He is rewarded by being made a Cohen - by Divine decree.

___The Almighty commands Moshe to attack the Midianites in retribution for the licentious plot the Midianites perpetrated upon the Israelites. A new census is taken of the Jewish people revealing that there are 601,730 men available for army duty. God directs the division of the Land of Israel amongst the tribes. The Levites are tallied. The daughters of Tzelafchad come forward to petition Moshe regarding their right of inheritance. Moshe inquires of the Almighty Who answers in their favor.

___Moshe asks the Almighty to appoint a successor and the Almighty directs Moshe to designate Yehoshua (Joshua). The Torah portion concludes with the various offerings - daily, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and holidays.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

___The Torah states:

"And the Lord spoke to Moshe saying, 'Pinchas the son of Eliezer, the son of Aharon the priest, has turned away my anger from the Children of Israel in that he was jealous for my sake amongst them, so that I did not consume the Children of Israel in my jealousy.' " (Numbers 25:10-11)

___Why does the Torah trace Pinchas's heritage to Aharon, his grandfather?

___Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, the former Rosh HaYeshiva (head of the yeshiva) Mir, answers that only someone who is a true lover of the Jewish people, such as Aharon who loved peace and pursued it, can react with such zealousness. Zimri brazenly committed an immoral act with a Midianite in public. In response, Pinchas killed them both. Pinchas's reaction might appear cruel and could have conceivably have been motivated by a tendency towards violence or by a personal hatred. If one is a true Ohaiv Yisroel, a lover of Jews (as was Pinchas), however, we can be sure that he is motivated solely by his great love for the Almighty and the Jewish people.

___Rabbi Chaim of Brisk once said about zealousness: "Both the owner of a house and a cat want to destroy mice. The sole difference lies in their attitudes. The owner really wants to be rid of them. The cat, however, wants to have mice to attack. The same applies to protests against misdeeds. One must sincerely not want the misdeeds. One should not just use the misdeed as an opportunity to engage in protesting.

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Jerusalem 7:13
Guatemala 6:16 - Hong Kong 6:53 - Honolulu 6:59
J'Burg 5:10 - London 9:00 - Los Angeles 7:50
Melbourne 4:56 - Mexico City 8:01 - Miami 7:59
New York 8:12 - Singapore 6:58 - Toronto 8:44


If you don't have a destination,
any road will take you there.

With Appreciation to
Doerte Eriskat