Welcome to Divrei Chizuk!
Keep Shabbos
 

 

 

#13-EIKEV - HUMAN SUFFERING

courtesy Weekly Chizuk by Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff - Parshas Eikev


 


adapted from a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski.

And you shall remember the entire way on which the Lord, your God, led you these forty years in the desert, in order to afflict you to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He afflicted you and let you go hungry, and then fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your forefathers know, so that He would make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but rather by, whatever comes forth from the mouth of the Lord does man live. (Devorim 8:2-3)


These psukim elicit a very deep-seated question, that of human suffering. Hashem afflicted us and let us go hungry. Hunger is a very painful experience. To say the least, it is not pleasant. It is agony. Why does Hashem inflict pain and suffering? Is that the only way for Him to achieve whatever plan He has in store for us?


I have to admit, this question is unanswerable. There are many wonderful seforim written giving many interesting discussions, and all sorts of logical sounding answers. But I'm not satisfied with them. So ultimately the question remains unanswered.


However, we should not leave this in question form. We should not ask, why. We don't ask why because there is no answer.


During the lifetime of the Maggid of Mezeritch, the successor of the Baal Shem Tov, there were no new anti-Semitic government decrees. But after his passing, these decrees renewed. One of the talmidim thought, "The Talmud says that tzaddikim in their passing are even greater and more powerful than in their lifetimes. So if the Rebbe could avert these horrible decrees in his lifetime, why isn't he doing so now? He is so much closer to Hashem in Heaven. Then the Maggid appeared to him in a dream. "When I was alive and I saw one of these decrees approaching, and I saw how bad it would be, I prayed to Hashem to avert it. But from my vantage point up here, I can now see the ultimate good that is going to come out of this. And seeing the ultimate good that is going to come out of it, I have no right; I do not have the power to annul it. But you my dear talmid, you live in the earthly world. You see it as bad. You pray to Hashem to annul it. I cannot do it."


So there is a perspective of truth where it is so far beyond our means to understand so that even the most painful things somehow serve a purpose, a purpose that is not for us to understand.


There was a great tzaddik Rav Shimon of Yaruslov, who lived to a ripe old age into his 90's. And he told his disciples, "You know why I have lived so long? There are people that when bad things happen they ask Hashem, 'Why did You allow this to happen?' Hashem answers them, 'You want to know the answer why? Come up here and I'll tell you.'' Reb Shimon said, "I've never asked why, so they don't call me up there to tell me."


I want to share a little story with you. Like any normal human being, I have good days, and I have lousy days. One summer day I was standing in front of my home in Pittsburgh watering the lawn, and it turned out that it was a very lousy day. I was in a bad, bad mood. Then a car drove by and two men jumped out. It turned out they were former patients of mine who had graduated treatment (for alcoholism). So they jumped out of the car and ran over to me and shouted, "Hey. How yeh doin' Doc?"


I said to them, "You know, under normal circumstances one would answer such a question politely with, 'I'm fine!' But I've made it my principle that I do not lie to people on the Recovery Program. I expect them to be honest with me, so I don't lie to them. You asked me how I feel. Lousy. It's a bad day."


"Oh. Oh. Doc, you should come to an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting." I said, "No thank you."


8 PM that evening the doorbell rings and these 2 jokers are there. "We're here to take you to a meeting Doc."


I didn't want to turn them down, so I went to the meeting with them. Still feeling very depressed.


In my mazal it happened to be a Gratitude meeting. At an AA Gratitude Meeting everyone gets up and says, "I've been sober for 6 years, and my life has been so much better etc. etc. And everything is so great." So one person after another gets up to give his shpiel why he's so happy how their lives turned out. This was not what I needed to hear.


Finally the last guy gets up and he says, "I've been sober for 4 years. And I wish I could tell you that they've been good. But my company downsized and I lost my job and I couldn't find another one. I fell behind on my mortgage payments, so they foreclosed on my house. And my wife divorced me and she took the custody of the kids. And last week the finance company repossessed my car. But I can't believe that G-d brought me all this way, only to walk out on me now." And then I knew why I was at that meeting. That's why I was here.


The next Shabbos as I was reciting Nishmas I read, You redeemed us from Egypt, O Lord our G-d, and You released us from the house of bondage; during famine You fed us, and You sustained us in plenty; from the sword You rescued us, from pestilence You saved us, and from sore and lasting diseases You delivered us. Until now Your tender mercies have helped us, and Your loving kindnesses have not left us: You will never forsake us, O Lord our G-d, forever.


I had been saying that prayer for over 55 years and I never heard that before. I never had understood what I was saying. You will never forsake us, O Lord our G-d, forever. G-d brought me all this way, He will not walk out on me now.


We say in Shmone Esre, òì ðñéê ùáëì éåí òîðå. We thank G-d for the miracles that He does for us every day. What miracles? I don't have Manna falling down from Heaven every day. I don't see the lakes and oceans splitting every day. I don't see the Clouds of Glory around me every day. I don't see any miracles. But that's because we don't appreciate the miracles we have. As the Talmud states, the beneficiary of a miracle does not realize that he is experiencing a miracle.


We get up in the morning and we say the brachos. We say them, but I don't know if we think them.


"We thank you Hashem for giving sight to the blind." Can anyone tell me why protoplasm should have vision? What gives us the power to see? Protoplasm can't see. Protoplasm can't speak. Protoplasm can't hear. If only I would realize the myriad of miracles that are taking place every day, which means that G d is sustaining me every moment.


And if G-d has sustained me all this time with so many miracles, He's not going to walk out on me now!


That was a very powerful lesson that I had. I get powerful lessons by going to AA meetings.


One time I was stuck in Manhattan. I don't like getting stuck in Manhattan. I think Manhattan was a mistake. But it was one of those days that things were not going well for me. I just felt terrible. Then I thought, maybe if I went to an AA meeting I'd get a little lift. So I called the central office, and I found out that this was lunch time and there were 3 meetings within 3 blocks of where I was in Manhattan scheduled for lunch time. So I walked into one of the meetings.


A young woman was speaking and I've heard that story a hundred thousand times. When she was young she started using alcohol, then she started with marijuana and other drugs, and her lifestyle deteriorated, etc. etc. And she fell into terrible ways. And then when she was 26 or 27 years old somebody brought her into the recovery program. And now she's sober and things are good and getting better.


That story didn't do anything for me, I've heard that a thousand times.


Then she said, "Before I leave, I have to tell you one more thing. I'm a football fan. And the NY Jets, that's my team. I will never miss a NY Jets football game. Well, one weekend I had to be out of town, but I didn't want to miss the game. So I asked my girlfriend to record the game on her VCR. When I came back I went to pick up the tape. As she handed me the VCR she told me, 'Oh. By the way. The Jets won.'


"OK. So I got home and I put in the tape and started watching, and OY! The Jets are getting mauled! They're playing horrible. By half time they're 20 points behind. Under other circumstances I would have been a nervous wreck. I would have been pacing the floor, I would have been hitting the fridge. This time I sat there perfectly calm. I knew they were going to win."


She said, "Ever since I came into this program, and I turned over my life to the will of G-d, I know it's going to turn out alright. Sometimes I'm 20 points behind at half time. But I know it's going to turn out alright."


This is a lesson that applies to all of us. How many times are we stuck in a situation where nothing seems to be going well. It is then that we should apply that rule. If we turn our lives over to G-d. we know that it's going to turn out alright. I'm in good hands. He's not going to walk out on me now. Somehow or other. How? I don't know. I don't understand. But somehow or other, the end is going to be good.


And so when things happen that are unpleasant, when adversity happens, the bracha that is made is to praise G-d for being a true judge. We don't agree with His judgment. But we understand that His judgment is true.


Moshe Rabbeinu davened fervently 515 consecutive prayers to be allowed to go into the Land if Yisroel. That was his one lifetime wish and Hashem refused it to him. And Moshe in his last words said äöåø úîéí ôòìå ëé ëì ãøëéå îùôè. "He is the rock, whose work is perfect, all of His ways are justice." There is no way that we can understand His justice. And this is where emunah comes in: in something that we cannot understand. And it gives us the strength to know that because G-d has kept us alive until this day, and He is responsible for our being here, then He is not going to walk out on us now. òîå àðëé áöøä He is with us in our moments of anguish. He is not going to walk out on us now.


Gut Shabbos!

12-"Don't forget who you are" 

The story of Rose Goldstein how Shabbos saved her

A young girl stood near her father on the quay of a Polish harbor, a steamer trunk at her feet. Out of her nine siblings, twelve-year-old Rose was the child chosen to be sent to the "golden land," America. Life in Poland was hard, hunger a constant visitor in her home. After much scraping and pinching, her family had saved enough for a single one-way ticket to the United States. And Rose, the youngest of the nine, was the lucky one chosen to go.

Her father hoisted the trunk on his shoulder and walked silently, his coattails flapping behind him. Rose could see the effort he was making to keep his emotions in check. The weight of living was apparent on the lines of his face, in the burning sadness of his wise eyes, and in the gray in his beard. His back, however, was ramrod straight, in seeming defiance of his tribulations.

"Don't forget who you are"

With an involuntary sigh, her father dropped the trunk on the deck and turned to his daughter. A gray head bent over an upturned innocent face, as the father gazed deep into his daughter's unclouded eyes. He felt an urge to scream, to protest the cruelty of fate. How he longed to snatch Rose back home, to hold her as he had held her when she was a mere infant. Instead, he laid a trembling hand on her cheek.

"Rose, mein kind (my child), remember: G-d is watching over you every step of the way. Remember His laws and keep them well. Never forget that more than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews. It will be hard in the new land. Don't forget who you are. Keep the Sabbath -- no matter what sacrifice you must make."

"Tatte! Tatte!" (Father! Father!)

Rose buried her face in the scratchiness of her father's coat, her slender arms wrapped tightly around him as if to anchor herself to all that was familiar in Poland. Tatte gave another heaving sigh. His straight shoulders bent over his daughter as his tears mingled with hers. A blast from the ship tore the two apart. Tatte bent down and hugged Rose again, squeezing the breath out of her in a hug meant to last a lifetime. Then he turned and walked down the gangplank, a stooped man, finally defeated by life's hardships. As the ship steamed away from the shtetl life of Poland, a fresh sea wind blew on the passengers preparing to start life anew.

For Rose, the journey was crammed with questions and uncertainty. Would her relatives really extend a welcome to her, or was she to be all alone in the new land? How frightening was the thought of a new life without her loved ones. As the ship made its entrance into New York harbor, the passengers stood plastered against the railing, shouting and clapping as they saw the "new land." Rose stood aside, shy and unsure. Would the new land fulfill its promise of hope, freedom, and riches? Would her relatives meet her there -- or was she now homeless?

Rose did not have long to worry. Her relatives were waiting for her, solicitous of their "greenhorn" cousin. She was soon safely ensconced in their home. With her mature appearance and demeanor, it was not long before Rose found a job as a sewing machine operator.

Life in America was new and strange. Polish mannerisms were quickly shed -- along with religion. Modesty, keeping kosher, and Torah were abandoned, together with the outmoded clothing and accent. Rose's relatives insisted religion was "old-fashioned": an unnecessary accessory in America. Rose, however, never forgot her father's parting words. She put on the new clothes her relatives gave her, cut her hair to suit the fashion, but never gave up on the Sabbath.

Every week without fail, Rose devised a new excuse for her boss to explain why she did not come to work on Saturday. One week she had a toothache, another week her stomach bothered her. After three weeks, the foreman grew wise. He called her over. "Rose," he said in a tone that indicated he only had her welfare in mind. "I like your work, and I like you. But this Sabbath business has got to stop. Either you come in this Saturday, or you can look for a new job."

Upon hearing of this development, Rose's relatives were adamant. Work on Sabbath, she must. They applied pressure; they cajoled, pleaded, and enticed. Rose felt like a leaf caught between heavy gusts of wind, pushed and pulled with no weight or life of its own. She was so young and vulnerable. She wanted to please her relatives. But her father's words kept echoing in her head. What should she do?

The week passed in a daze for Rose. Her emotions were in turmoil. On the one hand, Tatte is not here to help me be strong. I do want to please my new friends. I want friends. I want to fit into this new land, she reasoned. And then just as quickly came another thought: On the other hand, how can I forget Sabbath? How can I give up the beauty Tatte taught me?

"Rose, sweetheart, listen to us. It's for your own good." On and on went her relatives, until Rose's determination wavered.

On Friday, Rose walked to work, lunch bag in hand and head stooped in thought. She sat at her machine throughout the day, listening to the humming of the other machines as she absentmindedly went about her job of mass-producing. Would it be so awful to do this tomorrow as well? Decision time was nearing.

Whirr, bzzz whirr, bzzz. The machine kept tune to Rose's troubled thoughts. What should she do -- or was the question, what could she do? As the sun slipped over the parapets of the Lower East Side, Rose knew there was really no question. She was Jewish, and she would keep the Sabbath.

Would it be so awful to do this tomorrow as well?

Sabbath in America was not like the warm day Rose had known at home. This week was the worst yet. She lacked the courage to face her relatives and tell them of her resolve. Instead, she left the house in the morning, pretending to be headed for work. Back and forth through the streets of Manhattan she paced. Together with the city pigeons, she rested in Tompkin's Square Park. "Tatte, this song is for you," she whispered. The pigeons ruffled their feathers. "Yonah matz-ah bo manoach" ("on it [the Sabbath] the dove found rest..."). There she sat among the pigeons, singing the traditional Sabbath songs, with tears in her eyes and sobs between the verses. When three stars finally peeked out from the black sky announcing the end of Sabbath, the moon shone down on a weary girl and bathed her face in its glow. Rose had triumphed, but her victory would cost her dearly. She had no job and had alienated her family.

"Baruch HaMavdil. . ." (the blessing said upon the departure of the Sabbath). It was time to face the hardness of the world. Rose trudged homeward dreading the nasty scene to come when her relatives learned that she hadn't been to work.

As she neared home, a shout broke into her reverie. "Rose! What . . . what . . . I mean, how are you here? Where were you?"

Rose looked up at her cousin Joe, her expression woebegone.

"Joe, what will become of me? I kept Sabbath and lost my job. Now everyone will be angry and disappointed with me, and oh, Joe, what will I do?" The words tumbled out together with her tears.

Joe looked at her strangely. "Rose, didn't you hear?" he asked gently.

"Hear what?"

"There was an awful fire in the factory. Only forty people survived. There was no way out of the building. People even jumped to their deaths." Joe's voice was hushed, and he was crying openly. "Rosie, don't you see? Because you kept Sabbath, you are alive. Because of your Sabbath, you survived."

Out of 190 workers, Rose Goldstein was among the minority of those who survived. The infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on Saturday, March 25, 1911, claimed the lives of 146 immigrant workers present. Because it had been Sabbath, Rose Goldstein was not there. As her father had said, more than the Jews keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath keeps the Jews.

11-Delighting Shabbos

How Shabbos Can Make Your Dreams Come True"Kol HaMi'aneg Es HaShabbos Nosnim Lo Mishalos Libo", whoever delights the Shabbos will be granted the wishes in his heart (Shabbos 118b).  This is quite a reward as it is chosen by the person himself rather than fixed.  Why is this so and how does this work?

The Ben Ish Chai in the Ben Yehoada says that delighting Shabbos does not mean with actions or words.  What we do and how we speak is not called delighting Shabbos, it is required by halacha.  Delight is like the whipped cream, it is over and above what you are required to do.  Chazal tell us that on Shabbos we may not speak about Devarim Shel Chol, however Hirhurim Mutarim, thinking is not forbidden.  Therefore says the Ben Yehoada, delighting the Shabbos means that even your thoughts are about Shabbos and your weekday thoughts of business and the like are banished from your mind.  That is Oneg, that is delight!

Hashem rewards us Midah K'Neged Midah.  For resting the heart and mind from weekday activity, we are rewarded with being granted the wishes of the heart and mind.  He says there is a remez for this in the hours of Shabbos.  Shabbos itself is 24 hours.  Add the seven hours on Erev Shabbos starting with the fifth hour of the day when the light of Shabbos begins to set in on the world plus the one hour after Shabbos that we cut into, to be Mosif Kodesh Al HaChol, give us 32 the gematria of the word "Lev".

So if you have big plans for Motzaei Shabbos or upcoming business or vacation the next week, or if you bought a lottery ticket, don't even think about it on Shabbos.   Then your dreams will come true!


10-Baron Rothschild Earns 800,000 Pound Sterling From Kiddush To Havdala

Baron Anshel Rothschild although the leading European banker was a proud Jew and his emuna was legendary.  Despite all his multitude of business dealings, on Shabbos everything came grinding to a halt as if nothing else existed and he was simple Jew attached to his Shabbos.

One time a large financial institution in England was on the verge of collapse.  It needed to be rescued by a person or group with great means.  The directors decided that Baron Rothschild would be perfect candidate.  They drafted a proposal offering him the company for 2.5 million pound sterling. This price was considerably lower than the true value of the company but still not a steal.  

The telegram was sent Friday night and Baron Rothschild completely ignored it. Anxiously awaiting a reply, when no reply was forthcoming the directors took that as a lack of interest and the next morning sent a new proposal for 2.2 million. Of course Reb Anshel did not pay attention to this telegram either and later in the day out of desperation the directors sent an offer of 1.7 million. This one arrived on Motza'ei Shabbos and Reb Anshel opened it together with the other two, and sent back a positive response to the third offer.  

As soon as he sent off his reply he gathered his people together to update them on the transaction, and more importantly to teach them a lesson on the Koach of Shabbos.  Shabbos is not only profitable in the next world, but in this one as well for those who watch over it.

Hashem rewards those who keep Shabbos.


#9-Ben Yehoada:
How Shabbos Can Make Your Dreams Come True"Kol HaMi'aneg Es HaShabbos Nosnim Lo Mishalos Libo", whoever delights the Shabbos will be granted the wishes in his heart (Shabbos 118b).  This is quite a reward as it is chosen by the person himself rather than fixed.  Why is this so and how does this work?

The Ben Ish Chai in the Ben Yehoada says that delighting Shabbos does not mean with actions or words.  What we do and how we speak is not called delighting Shabbos, it is required by halacha.  Delight is like the whipped cream, it is over and above what you are required to do.  Chazal tell us that on Shabbos we may not speak about Devarim Shel Chol, however Hirhurim Mutarim, thinking is not forbidden.  Therefore says the Ben Yehoada, delighting the Shabbos means that even your thoughts are about Shabbos and your weekday thoughts of business and the like are banished from your mind.  That is Oneg, that is delight!

Hashem rewards us Midah K'Neged Midah.  For resting the heart and mind from weekday activity, we are rewarded with being granted the wishes of the heart and mind.  He says there is a remez for this in the hours of Shabbos.  Shabbos itself is 24 hours.  Add the seven hours on Erev Shabbos starting with the fifth hour of the day when the light of Shabbos begins to set in on the world plus the one hour after Shabbos that we cut into, to be Mosif Kodesh Al HaChol, give us 32 the gematria of the word "Lev".

So if you have big plans for Motzaei Shabbos or upcoming business or vacation the next week, or if you bought a lottery ticket, don't even think about it on Shabbos.   Then your dreams will come true!
 

Lichvod /Dear Klal Yisrael,

Let's all add the whip cream this Shabbos.

ONLY THINK SHABBOS

 


#8 When we Honor Shabbos
I thank the person who emailed this in. It should be a big zechus for him and his mishpacha.

 

It is written that in the years that Rosh HaShanah falls out on Shabbos, it will be a year of great Hatzlacha for Klal Yisrael. It was in this type of year that the Mishkan was built. It is also written that in the years that Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos, it will be a year of great sorrow for Klal Yisrael. It was in this type of year that we had the Gezeiros of Tach V'Tat.

How is it that when Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos we have years of such extremes?

The answer can be found in a Mashal. There was once a king with many attendants. One day one of the attendants committed a crime, and the king sentenced him to death. All of his friends came to plead for him before the king, but he refused to show mercy.

On the day of the execution, his wife said that she would go and plead for him. So, she came to the king and said, "Please your majesty, spare my husband's life, for if he dies, I die as well." And the king accepted her words and allowed her husband to live.

Some months later, another attendant committed the same crime and was also sentenced to death.. Again, the many friends came before the king and pleaded for him, but to no avail.

As a last resort he went to his wife and asked her to try pleading. And she did. However, in this case the king refused to accept her words, and the death sentence was carried out.

The many people in the court turned to the king with confusion. Why is it, they asked, was one life spared and the other taken?

The king answered as follows: when the first wife came, the love between husband and wife was obvious. It was clear to see that this man truly cared for his spouse and took very good care of her. The king realized that he would truly be killing her as well if he executed him.

However, when the second wife came it was clear she was abused and battered, and that by sparing him he would in essence be killing her. So, he carried out the sentence.

What is the Nimshal? We blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah as a reminder of our merits - the sounds of the Shofar testify for us. However, when Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos, we don't blow the Shofar - so Shabbos herself becomes our defense lawyer.

So, when we have honored Shabbos in both the letter and the spirit of the law, and Shabbos comes before the court glorious - dressed with our mitzvot - then we will be blessed with a year of great things. However, when Shabbos comes battered and abused, then our year will not be blessed.

In September of 2000 - when the intifada began - Rosh Hashana came out on Shabbos. And we all can bear witness to what life has been like since.

This year, we have the opportunity to change everything - for once again Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos. Let us take the opportunity over the next few weeks to make an extra effort. And then we will be zocheh to a year of greatness - a year of Geulah and celebration.

Dear all,

Wishing you a year filled with good health brocha hatzlocha & much simcha.

Kesivo V'chasimo Tova h!

GOOD SHABBOS,

#7. No Worries on Shabbos as seen from Nefesh Shimshon
(A wonderful sefer to get-you will be so happy you did
Nefesh Shimshon on Shabbos Kodesh-Rav Pinkus-
If you would like to order this amazing sefer click here and save
10%(on entire order) enter code DC10 at check out)
It is important to know that Shabbos is not just anothr day of the week. On the contrary-all our success in this world on any day of the week depends on our closeness to Hashem. And this depends on Shabbos, as we shall explain. The Rambam write, ''The power of thought that Hashem granted us is what connects us to Him(Moreh Nevuchim 3:56).'' When we think about Hashem, we are actually with Him. And when we think about something else, we simply disconnect from Hashem. In other words, if a person has bitachon in Hashem, he's connected to Him and lacks nothing. As it says,''Even a wicked person who repents and trusts in Hashem will be surrounded by chsed.'' (Vayikrah Rabah 15:3) Shabbos is a flowing fountain of bitachon. If we utilize this fountain and draw from it a generous supply of bitachon for the coming week, then the whole week will be like Shabbos, and we'll lack nothing. To illustrate this point, let us imagine a very poor man. He has only a few dollars to his name, prehaps enough to buy bread and milk for his children. What does he do? He goes out and buys a lottery ticket. To his great surprise, he wins first prize: ten million dollars. He doesn't even have money for bus fare to get to the city where his prize is waiting. So he borrows ten dollars from a friend. Now he is sitting hunched in a corner on the bus, in his tattered clothing, tired and hungry, arousing the pity of all who see him. But is he truly patiable? Not at all. He's a very wealthy man! In his pocket he's still poor, but in his mind he's rich. Nearly everyone worries about financial problems of some sort. But imagine someone whose father comes to him with a bank statement from his account that shows an enormous credit, with seven zeros. His father saya to him, '' whenever you need, you should know there is plenty here. Just take!'' This person now feels quite different. If his father placed ten million dollars at his disposal, he no longer has financial problems. This is what Shabbos Kodesh is. It's a day when the phone is disconnected, the banks are closed, and it's forbidden to think about problems. ''All your work is done.'' Hashem tells us, so to speak, ''You should know the whole world belongs to Me.'' Suddenly the truth is revealed before our eyes, and we realize that our Heavenly Father has a tremendous fortune- the world and all it contains-and it's all designated for us! 

6. NO WEEKDAY TALK ON SHABBOS

There was once a very righteous Jew who owned a vineyard.  His vineyard was protected on all sides by a fence.  One Shabbos afternoon, when the man was taking a little walk, he noticed that the fence was broken in one spot.  He became very worried.  “If wild animals would get into the vineyard and eat up my grapes,” he thought, “I will no longer earn money from selling grapes.  I will have to fix the fence immediately after Shabbos.”  But in order to save time, he decided, “I will go on Shabbos to someone who knows about fence building to find out exactly how to fix the fence.  The sooner my fence will be repaired, the safer my grapes will be.  If I know exactly how to do it, I will be able to start as soon as Shabbos is over.”

 

When he came home after talking to the fence expert, he was calm at first, but soon he began feeling sorry for his actions.

 

“What have I done,” he exclaimed excitedly.  “I made a terrible mistake.  I’m afraid I was mechallel Shabbos.  During Shabbos, we are not allowed to even talk about forbidden work that we plan to do after Shabbos.  Hashem wants us to imagine that all work is done.  We should not worry about future work at all.”  He was so sorry that he had discussed the fence repair on Shabbos, that he decided “I must do teshuvah.”  But how?

 

The righteous man thought “I want to show Hashem I am really sorry that I talked about the repair on Shabbos.  Therefore, I won’t fix my fence even after Shabbos is over. I will always leave it broken just as it is now.”

 

He was, in fact, allowed to repair the fence after Shabbos, but since he was such a tzaddik, he didn’t want to benefit from words that were forbidden on Shabbos.

 

Hashem rewarded the man by perfoming a miracle for him.  A huge tree began to grow on the exact spot where the fence was broken and it completely blocked the hole in the fence.  This tree was a special kind called a Tzlaf Tree.  It grows a delicious kind of fruit with a thick peel that is edible and on the leaves which can also be eaten grows little fruits similar to dates.  There was always plenty of fruit on the tree because the fruit of the Tzlaf Tree grow and regrow very quickly. 

 

This amazing tree also provided the righteous man with a good income.  He was able to sell its fruits which kept growing all the time.  From then on, he could learn Torah without worrying about money.  This was his reward for treating Shabbos with holiness and doing sincere teshuvah.

5.SHARING SHABBAT


Once there was a brother and a sister named Yossi & Lea, they lived in a quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn, Every day they would set off to school and wonder about the old man that lived two houses down. One Friday morning they decided to have enough nerve to go ring his bell.

Ding Dong, Ding Dong, no one came to the door they were almost about to leave when they heard the shrieking sound of the door opening. What do you want said the old man, We are here to see how you are doing are yoou feeling well. Go away no one asked you to come, I want to be by myself. The two children ran home to tell their mother what happened. Mother we went to visit the old man down the road and he wouldn't even speak to us. Do not worry children, Mr Finkel is a nice person but he went through some hard time in his life, he lost all of his family in the holocaust, I guess it hurts him too much to be with other people. But mom that means that he always spends the shabbath by himself, we must convince him to come over tonight for the shabbat.

The children went back to Mr. Finkel's house and when he opened the door they didn't give him the chance to talk they just walked into the house and told him. Mr. Finkel we know that you went through a tough time but all your loved ones would not be happy to see you here all by yourself, please come and spent the shabbath with us, we would love to have you. Mr. Finkel had tears in his eyes without a word he took their hands and walked back home with them, when mom opened the door she could not beleive her eyes she welcomed Mr. Finkel and gave a big hug to Yossi & Lea. You have done a great Mitzva she told them, the mitzva of welcoming guests. They all had a wonderful shabbat together and since then Mr. Finkel comes to their home every shabbath and guess what he is not angry anymore he always has a smile on his face.


 Written by David, Hannah, Sarah, Naomie, Brandon, Romy, Rachel& Jenna (Ganenu school)

4. A Tzaddik's Tear



Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan (1838-1933), the ''Chafetz Chaim''
Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan (1838-1933), the "Chafetz Chaim"

About 30 years ago, an American rabbi visiting Miami, Florida gave a lecture on the life and accomplishments of the famed "Chafetz Chaim" (Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen Kagan, 1838-1933). He described the life of the great sage who lived a humble life as a shopkeeper in in the village of Radin, in Poland, yet was recognized throughout the Jewish world as a great scholar, tzaddik (righteous person) and leader.

There was another story the rabbi wanted to tell, but he hesitated, for he only knew part of it. As he stood at the lectern, he thought for a moment and then decided that he would tell it anyway. He rationalized that even an unfinished story about the Chafetz Chaim would have a meaningful message.

He began to relate an incident about a teenage boy in the Chafetz Chaim's yeshiva who was found smoking a cigarette on Shabbat -- the sacred day of rest. The faculty and student body were shocked, and some of the faculty felt that the boy should be expelled. However, when the Chafetz Chaim heard the story, he asked that the boy be brought to his home.

At this point, the rabbi interrupted the narrative and said, "I don't know what the Chafetz Chaim said to the boy. I only know that they were together for a few minutes. I would give anything to know what he said to this student, for I am told that the boy never desecrated the Shabbat again. How wonderful it would be if we could relay that message -- whatever it was -- to others, in order to encourage them in their observance of Shabbat." The rabbi then continued with his lecture.

After his talk, the hall emptied of everyone except for one elderly man, who remained in his seat, alone with his thoughts. From the distance, it seemed he was trembling, as if he was either crying or suffering from chills. The rabbi walked over to the elderly man and asked him, "Is anything wrong?"

The man responded, "Where did you hear that story of the cigarette on Shabbat?" He did not look up and was still shaken. "I really don't know," answered the rabbi. "I heard it a while ago and I don't even remember who told it to me." The man looked up at the rabbi and said softly, "I was that boy." He then asked the rabbi to go outside, and as the two walked together, he told the rabbi the following story:

"This incident occurred in the 1920's when the Chafetz Chaim was in his eighties. I was terrified to have to go into his house and face him. But when I did go into his home, I looked around with disbelief at the poverty in which he lived. It was unimaginable to me that a man of his stature would be satisfied to live in such surroundings.

"Suddenly he was in the room where I was waiting. He was remarkably short. At that time I was a teenager and he only came up to my shoulders. He took my hand and clasped it tenderly in both of his. He brought my hand in his own clasped hands up to his face, and when I looked into his soft face, his eyes were closed for a moment.

"When he opened them, they were filled with tears. He then said to me in a hushed voice full of pain and astonishment, 'Shabbat!' And he started to cry. He was still holding both my hands in his, and while he was crying he repeated with astonishment, 'Shabbat, the holy Shabbat!'

"My heart started pounding and I became more frightened than I had been before. Tears streamed down his face and one of them rolled onto my hand. I thought it would bore a hole right through my skin. When I think of that tear today, I can still feel its heat. I can't describe how awful it felt to know that I had made the great tzaddik weep. But in his rebuke -- which consisted only of those few words -- I felt that he was not angry, but rather sad and fearful. He seemed frightened at the consequences of my actions."

The elderly man then caressed the hand that bore the invisible scar of a precious tear. It had become his permanent reminder to observe the "holy Shabbat" for the rest of his life.

The Machlis Family:

3. Ki Eshmerah Shabbat-If I safeguard Shabbos, Hashem will safeguard me

Rabbi Mordechai and Henny Machlis' house in Israel.
Hidden within Jerusalem's Maalot Dafna neighborhood, Building 137/26, there is a family who has made it their mission to truly care for their brethren. This is the Machlis family. It doesn't matter whether you are a homeless person dressed in tattered rags or a yeshiva student who needs a place to stay; no matter who you are, you are more than welcome.

You enter their home to see bookcases lining the room from floor to ceiling. They are utterly filled with sefarim; in Reuven's words, perhaps more sefarim than the YU Gottesman Library. There are about five tables set up in the living room, and people pour into the house. There are Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Christians and those of other faiths, people of all skin colors and types of dress. Rabbi Machlis is a very trusting person who likes to believe the best of everyone. In one instance, he mentioned that he and his wife used to have these very elaborate silver candelabras. "Someone borrowed them," he said simply, "and never returned them." He did not wish to believe that anyone would have stolen them.

There are two rules for Shabbat participance at the Machlis house. Anyone is allowed to speak about any topic with the exception of:

1) Denigrating any religion or faith
2) Politics

The way that it works is that you stand up, speak your piece, and then sit down again.

Now, it once happened that a group of Teimanim (Yemenite Jews) came to R' Machlis' house for Shabbat. They all sat together; they did not speak a word of English, nor did they understand the language, and all they wanted to do was sing. At every single lull, pause, and whenever any individual stopped speaking, they broke out in song, slamming their hands against the table emphatically, closing their eyes and swaying at times.

A different man, one who clearly had something on his mind, arose and began to speak. In the course of his speech, he made the statement, "And Rabbis are low, like prostitutes!"

Pause.

The entire room was silent, in utter shock. The speaker sat down, emphatically declaring that he had made his point.

"Ki eshmerah Shabbat el yishmereini," boomed the Teimanim, completely oblivious to the insult and the distinctly frosty reception of the speaker's remarks. The chill that spread throughout the room failed to affect them.

Men were getting up, overturning their chairs, angrily threatening the man who had dared to insult the rabbis, but the Teimanim sang on, blissfully oblivious.

R' Machlis kept his cool. "Perhaps," he suggested, "you understand prostitutes differently than I do? The way I understand prostitutes, and I could be wrong, is as something negative."

The speaker rose up once more. "Of course I mean that it's a bad thing!" he reiterated. "R' Moshe Feinstein was worse than Hitler!"

Again, a shocked silence filled the room. The Teimanim took this opportunity to continue the zemer.

"Bo emtzah tamid nofesh l'nafshi," they happily sang, their voices mingling to create a beautiful melody honoring the Shabbat.

People were shouting, antagonized by the speaker's remarks. A mixture of affronted remarks filled the air, made both in English and Hebrew. Reuven was laughing so hard (due to the response of the Teimanim) that he fell out his chair. Meanwhile, a different man took his chair and held it over his head, ready to throw it at the speaker who had made the offensive remarks about R' Feinstein. Reuven thought that there was no way the speaker could get out of there without being punched in the face.

But R' Machlis interrupted.

"You are upsetting my guests," he gently remarked to the speaker. "Perhaps after the meal you can stay and you and I can discuss your points?"

The speaker sat down, his dignity intact, and the guests begrudgingly decided not to punch him out. After the meal, R' Machlis sat with the man, listened to his grievances and answered his questions. At the conclusion of their conversation, a smile playing on his face, he began to sing "Ki eshmerah Shabbat" and the Teimanim, dazzling smiles lighting their faces, gladly joined in.

Only in Israel.

#2. The Cow That Kept Shabbat

 1-There was once a Jew who owned a cow with which he plowed his field. Then it came to pass that this Jew became impoverished and was forced to sell his cow to a non-Jew.

The new owner plowed with the cow throughout the week, but when her took her out to the field on Shabbat, she kneeled under the yoke and refused to do any work. He hit her with his whip, but she would not budge from her place.

So he came back to the Jew and said to him, "Take back your cow! All week I worked with her, but today I took her out to the field and she refuses to do anything... "

The Jew said to the cow's purchaser: "Come with me, and I will get her to plow." When they arrived to the field the cow lay, the Jew spoke into her ear. "Oh Cow, Cow! When you were in my domain, you rested on Shabbat. But now that my sins have caused me to sell you to this gentile, please, stand up and do the will of your master!"

Immediately the cow stood, prepared to work. Said the gentile to the Jew: "I'm not letting you go until you tell me what you did and what you said to her. Have you bewitched her?" The Jew told him what he said to the cow.

When this man heard this, he was shaken and amazed. He said to himself: "If this creature, which has neither language or intelligence, recognizes her Creator, should not I, whom G‑d created in His image and likeness and imbued me with intelligence and understanding?"

So he went and converted to Judaism and merited to study Torah. He became known as Yochanan ben Torta ("Yochanan son of the Cow")

3.The Miracle of the Shabbat Candles
Based on Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Ta'anit 25a

 

One small candlelamp stood in the house of Rabbi Channinah ben Dosa, a Shabbat lamp.   Every Friday afternoon it would be filled with pure oil, thin wicks would be placed in the oil, and they would be lit with the blessing, ".  .  .  Who has commanded us to kindle the Sabbath light." 
 

The Shabbat candlelights would burn with a clear pure light and would illuminate the house of Rabbi Channinah. 
One Friday evening, just before Shabbat, R. Channinah's daughter lit the Sabbath candles, made the blessing, and accepted the Shabbat upon herself with joy, as prescribed by the Torah. 
Shortly afterwards, the time to go to synagogue arrived, and R. Channinah made ready to go.  He took leave of his family with a shining countenance and was about to leave, when he saw his daughter sitting with a sad face. 
 Rabbi Channinah asked her, What's wrong, my daughter?  Why are you sad?  Hasn't Shabbat already arrived and we should be happy?"  His daughter replied sadly, 
"Oi, Abba, something upsetting has happened.  I wanted to fill the lamp with oil, but I was in a hurry because Shabbat was nearly in, and instead of oil, I took the bottle of vinegar!  Instead of adding oil, I added vinegar to the lamp and lit the Shabbat candles.  Surely in a little while, the lights will go out, when there won't be any more oil in the lamp, and we won't have light for Shabbat any longer!  So how can I not be sad?" 
Her father comforted her and said, 
"My daughter, what difference does it make to you?  The One who told the oil to kindle - let Him tell the vinegar to kindle! 

Both of them the Holy-One-Blessed-Be-He created, and both of them do His will." 
 And indeed, the lamp burned beautifully all evening and all through the night, and even during the following day, the Sabbath candles did not go out, because God did the will of the righteious man, the Tzaddik.  Saturday night, after Shabbat had gone out, the candles were still burning, and they continued to burn until flame for the Havdalah candle had been taken from them, and then they went out
One has to know that there is no power but Hashem  
There is no such a thing as mother nature there is only mother Hashem Father Hashem
ONLY Hashem runs the world!!!