Seeing the Good in Others -
Discover how to see past the negativity that divides us, straight through to the innate goodness that makes each of us a beloved child in Hashem’s eyes.
We see ourselves as shrewd judges of others characters - but when we zero in on their deficiencies - we miss all the good.
Very important and powerful two minute video from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation.
Rabbanit Mizrachi was at a women’s convention last week. On the stage was a group called “Playback”. They asked members of the audience to share stories which they would then act out. One young woman got up.
This is her story:
“I work as a resource room teacher with children who have learning disabilities. A few years ago a young boy began taking lessons in my resource room. I could not figure out what had brought him to seek my help. He clearly had no difficulty with his lessons and did well on all his tests. Yet, time after time he consistently came to my resource room for his lessons.
I was determined to find his area of weakness but, as hard as I tried, I could not find any type of learning disability or difficulty. Finally, out of frustration, I took him aside and told him I could not continue giving him lessons. It was a waste of his time and his parents hard earned money and he clearly did not need any sort of remedial help.
The boy turned to me and said, “I will tell you why I am here but I am asking you not to tell anyone else. I have a friend with a learning disability. Our teacher told him that he needed remedial classes in the resource room. He was so embarrassed to be singled out as having to go to your classes. I told him that it was no big deal and that I also take remedial classes. That is why I come to you- so that my friend will not be embarrassed”.
The boy who came to my class so as not to embarrass his friend was Gilad Shaar הי”ד. He was 10 years old at the time.
As we enter the difficult period of the Three Weeks, let us be inspired by Gilad and the other pure neshamos to look at those around us with an Ayin Tova [good eye]- to go out of our “comfort zone” to help others and to give that little extra of ourselves to bring joy to our fellow Jews.
With the fast just behind us we have entered the Bein HaMetzarim, the three week mourning period. During these three weeks beginning with the 17th of Tammuz, and until after Tisha B’Av we behave with minhogim of mourning for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, becoming progressively stricter on Rosh Chodesh Av (beginning the 9 days) and the week within which Tisha B’Av falls. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishna Berura 551
During the entire three week period we do not make weddings, listen to music, dance, take haircuts/shave, wear new clothing or eat a new fruit which would require a Brocho of Shehechiyanu (except on Shabbos). Shulchan Aruch w/Mishna Berura 551:1,2
Since these weeks always fall in the middle of the summer in most parts of the world once should have in mind that we are in a mourning period, even during our summer vacations. During the three weeks one should refrain from going to any dangerous places, (e.g. swimming in an ocean or river) and certainly one should be extra careful during the 9 days from Rosh Chodesh Av until after Tisha B’Av, (because one’s mazzel is weak during this period). Piskei Tshuvos 551:1,46
However, from the 17th of Tammuz until Rosh Chodesh Av one is permitted to swim (in a pool), even for one who has not gone swimming yet this Summer season. Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 2:263, Piskei Tshuvos 551:46
“In Their Merit” is a campaign established under the guidance of Rav Yitzchok Dovid Grossman, Chief Rabbi of Migdal Emek, to bring the Jewish People together by learning the Torah of Unity and Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself, in the merit of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar, may they rest in peace.
Short emails will be sent each day in which you will receive insight and inspiration about developing unity and love for our fellow Jews, in their merit.
Go to the link to sign up. Come on-who doesn’t have five minutes in their day to learn about ahavas yisroel?
Today was the yohrzeit of Rabbi Chaim Ibn Atar, the Ohr HaChaim Hakodosh. The Orach HaChaim HaKodosh was a big tzadik who was originally born in Meknes, Morocco. He later moved to Eretz Yisroel.
He is the author of the famous commentary on the Torah called ‘Ohr HaChayim’. The Ohr HaChaim was a big mekubal and knew many of the secrets of the Holy Torah. So much that the Heiliger Rizhiner said about his sefer “it is the first chassidishe sefer”. Until this day his sefer is widely popular and studied daily by the chassidim.
During the Second World War when the Nazis were about to invade Eretz Yisroel the Jewish community here held a yom tefilah (day of prayer) at the grave of the Ohr HaChaim. At this prayer gathering were reb Shlomke Zhviller, the Toldos Aharon rebbe, Gerrer Rebbe, the Husyatiner, a few other tzadikim and about 20.000 other religious Jews.
Afterwards reb Shlomo Schreiber*, a Husyatiner hasid, went over to his rebbe and told him he was still scared the Nazis y”s would invade. The Husyatiner rebbe then told him not to worry. “They will not come to Eretz Yisroel.”
"How does the Rebbe know?" the hasid wanted to know.
"Because during the tefilos I saw the Shem HaVaya [G-d’s four lettered name] in gold and perfectly lined up above the Ohr HaChaim’s tziyun. Hashem’s name represents rachamim [mercy].”
And so it was indeed. The Nazis did not enter Eretz Yisroel.
May the Ohr HaChaim Hakodosh’s merit protect us during the ongoing war as well.
Zechuso Yogein Oleinu.
* I personally heard this story from Reb Shlomo’s grandson.
Events currently unfolding in Eretz Yisroel demand our tefillos on behalf of all our fellow Jews who are privileged to live on holy soil. Our rabbinic leadership has asked us to convey that simple, stark but urgent message to all of our constituents and supporters, indeed to all caring Jews.
As has been the practice in many shuls over past years, in response to the call of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, the recitation of Tehillim (Psalms) 83, 130 and 142 after Shacharis, followed by the tefila of Acheinu, is recommended. Indeed, our every prayer should include entreaties on behalf of our fellow Jews in Eretz Yisroel.
May our tefillos be received in mercy by Hakodosh Boroch Hu, and help usher in days of peace and security.
This is a link to an open condemnation by Jewish bloggers of the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Usually I don’t post about politics but this barbarous act unfortunately committed by Jews is one that every decent civilized human being should condemn. It is an act against Jewish Law, against the whole essence of Judaism. It is a crime against humanity.
We are a "people of the Book" not of the sword. This is not the way of Judaism. Judaism values, celebrates and elevates life, not death. Our Sages of blessed memory teach us that "Torah scholars increase peace in the world". What happened last week is not the way of a Torah scholar; it did not promote peace, only a visual circle of death and violence.
The Torah tells us in Vayikra [Leviticus] 19:18 ”לא תיקום ולא תיטור” [do not take revenge nor bear a grudge]. This posuk [verse] appears in the Torah portion, or parsha, that is called ‘Kedoshim’ -holy ones- the same word we use to describe Jews who are killed Al Kiddush Hashem. Maybe this is to teach us that if -G’d forbid- we are being killed לא תיקום ולא תיטור we should not take revenge nor bear a grudge. The terrible act of ‘revenge’ only takes away from the memory of the kedoshim who were killed by Arab terror, just like this boy was killed by terror committed by Jews. We are a people who do not rejoice in the deaths, loss, and suffering of others. We do not dance, we do not sing, we do not celebrate, nor do we act up in violence against them. Rather, we mourn together with them in yet another loss of human dignity. That is what the Jewish way is. That is what the Torah expects of us.
The terrible act we saw with the murder of this innocent boy is the polar opposite of what Judaism teaches. It goes directly against the teachings of our holy sages. It is not Ahavas Yisroel [love for every Jew] what did this. It was a hatred for our cousins. It was a pure evil that clouded the minds of these murderers. These are the ways of extremists who step outside the footsteps of our holy forefathers who kept the Torah so scrupulously and were even killed for it. This is the way of an evil ideology, an ideology that is no less the same as Avodah Zorah [idol worship] for they care more about it than for the Master of the Universe, His Torah, and Creation.
May the perpetrators of this murder. just like those who killed the three yeshiva bucherim, be punished to the fullest extent. May we all find the strenght and courage to stand up against all injustice in all ranks; especially our own. 99+% of the Jewish community has condemned this heinous act and want the murderers to be punished just like we want the murderers of our boys to be punished as well. I am sure this feeling is a mutual one between both affected sides and am therefore also waiting for the arrest and handover of the murderers of our boys. Justice has to be met for all parties done injustice.
May we all merit to very soon welcome Moshiach Tzidkeinu [our righteous Messiah] who will usher in the Geula Sheleima; the final redemption, a time of true peace among all people.
With love, hope and blessings,
Ploni ben Nistar, aka Bennistar
Courtesy of Ynet Israel
EDIT: Starting 10:30am EST
Agudath Israel of America joins Jews and civilized people the world over in anguish and agony over the news of the vicious murders of the three boys kidnapped on June 12, Naftali Fraenkel Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, Hy”d.
This horrific act is, in the end, not a crime against Israel or Jews alone, but against humanity – in both senses of the word. It bespeaks the deepest and most revolting inhumanity imaginable, the seizing of innocent, idealistic young people and the casual snuffing out of their lives and futures.
Hamas and its allies, which now include the Palestinian Authority, are ultimately responsible for these premeditated, heinous murders. The hatred and incitement that have characterized so much of the campaign to establish a new Arab state alongside Israel are what have yielded these young lifeless bodies, and all the death and destruction born of Arab terrorism over the years.
There are those who believe that all people are, deep down, good. Hamas and its friends, along with other terrorist groups and rogue nations like Iran, give the lie to that lovely but naïve fantasy.
It is our hope that the nations of the free world and their leaders fully confront that fact and comprehend its implications.