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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Kedoshim

Parshat Kedoshim

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Parashat Kedoshim                                                                                 Print Version
6th of Iyar, 5779 | May 11, 2019

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi Avrum Mordche Malach 
The Secret to Good Cholent

As one fellow returned from a visit to his dietician, his eyes welled up with tears. “What’s the matter?” asked his wife. “It’s the doctor,” he moaned. “He said that from now on, I can only eat quinoa, alfalfa, flaxseed, oats and plastic.” The man’s wife turned back at him with a blank stare. “Plastic! Plastic is not food!” she exclaimed. “And everything else is?” asked the husband.

When it comes to a Jew’s main Shabbos food of cholent, there are always gimmicks. Women may stick to meat, beans and potatoes, while men put in anything as interesting as dates, coffee, jellybeans, potato chips, pastrami, popcorn and sushi. Every man has his secret ingredients in cholent.

But what is the real secret to a good cholent?

It is not what you put inside the cholent. It is something else. Every Shabbos, the cholent sits on the fire hour, after hour, after hour. While the pot is covered, were you to lift it so ever slightly, you would hear a sound – pop-pop-pop-pop. That is what makes cholent the special food we know it to be. It is not so much what you put into it as much as the enclosed heat that cooks the food for hours on end.

A similar sentiment can be applied in the process of raising children. Our children, ultimately, will grow up and lead the lives they wish to and make their own choices. The ideas and values we imbue them with will certainly shape them, but what will ensure their success more than anything is a warm home environment. A warm home (like a warm cholent pot) that provides love and respect and allows a child to feel, “I like who I am becoming,” will provide the optimum framework and enable them to achieve long-term success and happiness.

Rabbi Gavriel Friedman 
Priceless Words

There was a young lady who once attended one of my classes I was teaching in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was a room full of secular Jews, though this one girl grew up in a religious home. She raised her hand and said, “I have a question. I’m having a very hard time with lashon hara. What should I do?” “I'll tell you what,” I replied.

That day, I happened to have some American money in my bag. I took out a $20 bill. “I will give you this $20 bill if you speak lashon hara right now.” “No!” she said. “Okay,” I went on, as I took out another $20. “I'll give you $40 right now.” “I am not speaking lashon hara for $40!” “$60?” I asked. I went up to $100. 
“Just say something bad about some girl!” I pleaded. “I’m not doing it!” she firmly said. (Of course, a man behind her said, “I’ll do it!”)

Why didn’t she do it? Why wouldn’t she take the money? She herself struggles with lashon hara, and always speaks it for free! 
The answer is that when you are thinking and made aware of your actions, it changes everything. When you are told, “I want you to speak lashon hara now!” your reaction is completely different. You close your mouth and walk away.

When we speak lashon hara, we are not thinking. If we’d stop to think, we’d never do it. It is often as simple as that.

Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller 
From Floundering to Flourishing

With Avi growing up as a young irreligious boy, he had little exposure to the rich Torah lifestyle many other boys his age experience. Yet, life’s challenges for Avi were only that much more compounded as he was without either of his parents. And so, as it happened, he was admitted into Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman’s yeshiva, Migdal Ohr, located in Migdal Ha’Emek, Israel. Yet that didn’t mean all his problems were over with.

For Avi, learning Gemara was an arduous task. He and his Gemara were not the best of friends. Yet he pushed himself as much as he possibly could and persevered despite his many vicissitudes and little knowledge of Torah. When he later turned eighteen, he began thinking that maybe it was time for a little change. Perhaps it was time to enroll in a different yeshiva. Looking into his options of leaving Migdal Ohr, he finally made up his mind that doing so would in fact be the best decision. Yet before he could pack up his bags, he was asked to meet with Rabbi Grossman.

“You have a few options,” said Rabbi Grossman. “You are a wonderful boy, and I would think that given your talents, personality and future, you would thrive in a vocational school where you would be able to learn a skill and still seriously remain dedicated to learning Torah.”

But Avi had something else on his mind. “What about a full-time yeshiva?” While Avi had undeniably experienced difficulty studying Gemara, he was passionate about Torah learning. But Rabbi Grossman felt that going through with his plan would not be best at his stage of development. “You should definitely remain fully committed to your learning, but I think that given your circumstances, you would best fit into a more relaxed environment where you can as well study for a profession.”

But Avi had already set his mind elsewhere. Packing his bags as he had planned, he left the yeshiva and headed not for a school where he could dually learn Torah and for a career. He instead headed to a different yeshiva which was even more intense than his previous one. But, as time would tell, the hours and seriousness of learning was not something Avi was ready for yet.

It wasn’t long before he rarely opened his Gemara and his learning began to dwindle. Spending hours outside of the yeshiva, he soon found a group of friends who received a salary to travel around and fundraise for various causes. Traveling from one location to another, he raised a considerable sum of money. With more and more money trickling in, it was not long before he and the rest of his fundraising group were caught in mishandlings and brought to the police station.

Now Avi was nineteen years old, out of yeshiva, with no job and imprisoned in the middle of the night in Tel Aviv. “Is there anyone you would like to call?” asked the police officer. There stood Avi wondering who he could call. He couldn’t call his father nor his mother nor any of his relatives. He didn’t have anyone to call. But then he realized that he had someone as close to him as a father. “Yes, there is,” Avi said. And with that, he picked up the phone and dialed Rabbi Grossman’s phone number in the middle of the night.

“Rabbi? Sorry for waking you.” Before Avi could get out another word, Rabbi Grossman spoke up. “Avi? Is that you?” After Avi relayed his current situation, Rabbi Grossman said, “Avi, don’t worry. I am coming to pick you up.”

And so, there was Rabbi Grossman driving in the middle of the night from Migdal Ha’Emek to Tel Aviv. Avi went on to return to a yeshiva suitable for him and slowly grow in his learning and love of Torah. He was helped to find a job as well as a shidduch and continue learning at a happy and reasonable pace. Aside from Avi and his Gemara reuniting and now becoming best of friends, he was rerouted on a direction in life that would lead him to true meaning and fulfillment.

What children and students need more than anything else is the gentle love and care of a parent and teacher. For Avi, at a moment when he had no one to turn to, he finally found someone. And who was that individual? His Rebbe who had genuinely taken interest in him. It doesn’t take much. Sometimes just a simple smile and warm hello is all that is needed. And from there, the future life of a Jew who would otherwise be floundering is flourishing.

Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron 
The Real Banquet

Rav Eliyahu Dessler elaborates with intriguing imagery what we can expect in the World to Come. We have good times, bad times and neutral times throughout our lives, he explains. Imagine taking all the good times, combining it into one moment, and then taking all that pleasure and putting it into a pill. How much pleasure would you experience with that one pill? A lot.

Now imagine it on a larger scale. If you would take all the pleasurable moments ever experienced by every person living in New York and combine it into a pill, how much pleasure would you experience? More than a lot.

Now consider taking all the pleasurable moments ever experienced by every person living in America. All 328 million people, all their pleasure, into one pill. That’s a lot of pleasure. But that’s not the end of it.

Imagine taking all the pleasures of every person who ever existed from the beginning of the world and turning that into a pill. What an extraordinary experience that would be.

Now let’s turn to a familiar Mishnah (Avos 4:17): “One moment of peripheral pleasure in the World to Come is greater than the sum total of all pleasure in this world.” Peripheral pleasure refers to taking a whiff of the aroma emanating from a banquet hall, yet never stepping foot inside and actually partaking of the delicious food. You merely enjoy a scent of the real experience.

Were you to add up all the pleasures of every person who ever existed, that would only equal one moment of pleasure in the World to Come. But what type of pleasure? Peripheral, a smell. And the smell is far from the real unbelievable pleasure that truly exists.

Now you can only imagine the extraordinary pleasure and reward awaiting you in the World to Come.

Rabbi Motti Miller 
The Chip to Success

Some time ago, a high-priced speaker was asked to speak to the executives of Intel Corporation. Intel, having arguably made the largest number of microchips for computers for many decades, includes some of the biggest executives in the world. The speaker was to address them about a variety of important topics pertinent to the growth and success of their corporation.

While the presentation given by the speaker went well, at the conclusion of the address, the speaker was taken aback by one detail which stood out. Opening the question to the executives, he said, “I have to ask you all something. Throughout my entire presentation, none of you once looked at your phones to text, email or anything of the like. Your entire focus was on me from start to finish. How can that be? Every chip in every phone around the world is made by you. More than anyone, I would assume that all of you would be glued to your phones and inseparable from them. They are so much a part of your lives. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

As silence overtook the room, one executive got up. “Sir, let me explain something to you. When we are trained in Intel, we concentrate on certain areas of strength. There are many different aspects that go into attaining success and producing the highest quality and top cutting-edge product. But, as we are taught, the strength of this company is focus. Whatever task we put our minds to, we focus one hundred percent. That is the attitude and mentality we are taught to work with, and the reason we meet so much success. Our ethic is focus, focus, focus.

“You’ve probably never experienced this before. Most of the time you speak, you likely see people distracted by their phones. But, if that would be our work ethic, our company would not be where it is today. So now, sir, I hope you understand.”

Rebbetzin Shira Smiles 
The Neshama in the Supermarket

Considering the fact that most supermarkets in Israel tend to have very narrow, packed aisles, it is quite a relief to walk into a spacious store where there is easy accessibility to all of one’s needs. It makes shopping all the more pleasant when you don’t have to anxiously maneuver your way around worrying that someone or something will be knocked over.

I was therefore extremely excited when a friend of mine one day told me, “There is a great store in the Beit Shemesh area with wide aisles. It is in fact so spacious that you can pass by someone else walking in the opposite direction with a cart.” 
Very excited to hear about this, I headed to the store with my daughter. Grabbing a cart, we started making our way around.

However, I was soon to discover a small detail that my friend was remiss in telling me about. The store carried just about every item you could imagine. Food, clothes, household items and more. It was overwhelming to the point that I could not handle it. All I wanted were a few items, and here I was surrounded by an innumerable amount of other amenities I had no interest in.

Turning to my daughter, I said, “I’m not doing too well. There is just too much to choose from. I think we should leave.” And indeed, we left.

As we were walking out of the store, my daughter said to me, “You know Ima, this is a very good experience for you.” “Oh, really now?” I said. “Yes. Now you know how your neshama feels every day when it enters your body. All it yearns to do is the will of Hashem and learn Torah and perform mitzvot. However, not before long, it becomes distracted from fulfilling its true calling and mission. Ensconced in a world with so many pulls in so many directions, it becomes overwhelmed and faces the risk of floundering. The uneasiness you were feeling in this store is exactly the same way your neshama feels when it comes into this world and must overcome the many challenges life presents it with. Now you know how your neshama feels.”

We would be wise to closely listen to this ever-important lesson. Living in an age where distractions are rampant and the demands of life present many daily challenges, we must always remember that we have a higher calling. Our beautiful neshama only desires to carry out its intended mission in this world and nourish itself with spirituality. And while the challenges we face may be intimidating and overwhelming, we all possess the inner conviction to stand up strongly during those trying moments and carry out that which our neshama truly yearns to do.

A Short Message From 
Rabbi Akiva Tatz

As I was once walking to Shul with my little six-year-old son, there fell a moment of silence. It was just a couple minutes later, though, that he looked up at me and said, “You know, Abba, I am not sure if I am going to marry Debbie or Frieda.” “Okay,” I softly yet hesitantly muttered. “But you know, Abba, it’s bothering me that whichever one I marry, the other one is going to be so upset.” A few minutes later, we reached the top step near the Shul, whereupon my son said, “Abba, you know what I just realized? Whichever one I marry, all the other girls are going to be so upset!” Confident young man, right? For the first time in my son’s little life, he realized that you cannot have everything you would like. Educating our children of this very important life principle will serve them well not only as young children, but most certainly as bright maturing adults.

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