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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Pekudei

Parshat Pekudei

Compiled and Edited by Torah Time

"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter Parashat Pekudei 2nd of Adar II, 5776 | March 12, 2016 Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik Rabbi Chaim Dahan Giv



"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Parashat Pekudei
2nd of Adar II, 5776 | March 12, 2016

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi Chaim Dahan
Giving Life

ואת בניו תקריב

And his sons you shall bring near… (Shemot 40:14)

As is known, the city of Chevron has not always been a safe place for Jews to live. In consideration of this, at one point it was decided to have armed soldiers patrol the streets at night. Each soldier would be given one street to keep safe and protected from any suspicion.

One night at 3am a noise was heard. One of the soldiers on a nearby street was not sure if he had heard anything substantive. Perhaps, he figured, it was just another cat who had tripped over a can of tuna fish. But then he thought again. “Maybe I should go check it out just to be safe.” And so he did. Turning the corner, he saw a fellow soldier sprawled out on the ground bleeding to death. Running over to the soldier on the floor, he realized that he must have been shot by an Arab. His eyes were still open, though, indicating that he was conscious.

“What happened?” he asked. “I don’t know,” the bleeding soldier responded. “I think you were shot,” the soldier said as he began to apply pressure to the wound. “Stay with me. What’s your name?” “Yoav,” the soldier on the ground muttered back. “Okay, Yoav, don’t lose consciousness. I’m calling for help right now.”

Arriving right away, a group of EMTs brought him to the hospital. Baruch Hashem, Yoav underwent surgery and was able to survive and return to good health. But Yoav and his parents were told, “If not for the bravery and quick response of that soldier who was there, your son may not have made it. He is only alive because of that soldier.” With feelings of tremendous gratitude to the soldier who had saved their son’s life and wishing to make a Seudat Hodaah (meal of thanks), Yoav’s parents looked to find him. But they were unsure of his name. Looking through the list of all the soldiers’ names, no one who appeared to match the soldier’s description was named. Unable to identify him, Yoav’s parents went to the army with the hope that they would be able to assist them. But they too only received a report of the incident, but were unaware of the soldier involved.

Without any other resort, Yoav’s parents decided to try something else. They owned a grocery store which had a pharmacy inside and was located in an area called Kiryat Malachi. And so, they decided to put up a sign requesting that if anyone had any information on how our son, Yoav, was saved, could they please come to the back of the pharmacy and let us know.

Three months went by and no one came in. Six months went by and still no response. A year later a woman walked up to the store. “You know,” she began thinking to herself, “I remember my son telling me a story which sounds very similar to the one described here. He told me that he had heard something even though he wasn’t sure what it was and then he went on to save a soldier’s life. I wonder whether this was the boy he saved.” And so, she took out her cell phone.

“Darom, do you remember the story you told me about saving a soldier in Chevron one night?” “Yeah, sure I do” he said. “Do you remember the soldier’s name?” “Of course. He was going in and out of consciousness and I told him, ‘Yoav, stay with me; Yoav, stay with me.’ “That’s the name of this boy mentioned on this sign!” his mother cried. “You’re the one!” Walking to the back of the pharmacy, she informed the parents, “I know who saved your son’s life.” “Who?” they asked as they eagerly looked up. “It was my son Darom.” She then proceeded to tell them the story to the exact detail. They verified the information and indeed it was Darom. Now they could make their Seudat Hodaah.

Inviting numerous people, a beautiful meal was made. The elation at reuniting the two soldiers and their families was palpable in the air. As the festivities continued, the mother of Darom went over to the mother of Yoav and said that she would like to talk privately in the corner. “I want to tell you something,” began Darom’s mother.” Sure,” replied Yoav’s mother, “anything for you.”

“When I came to the store that day I informed you it was my son who saved your son, you didn’t recognize me. But I had a reason I came to your store in Kiryat Malachi. Twenty years ago my husband left me. At that time I was expecting a child. But considering I would have to bring the child up myself, I had no job and I was very young, I seriously contemplated having an abortion. I did not want to keep the child.

Some time then I came to your store to get some pills. As I approached the pharmacy, you and your husband spoke to me for two hours giving me encouragement and explaining that what is today is not tomorrow. All because I do not have any qualitative means of support today does not mean I will not tomorrow. You then continued to dissuade me from having an abortion. After an encouraging talk, I left with good feelings and was upbeat.

I then decided that I would go through with having the child. My son is older now and he is in the army and I am so proud of him. For years I have been trying to come to Kiryat Malachi and say thank you. Finally, one day, I came to your store. And then I saw the sign hanging on the window. Inching up closer, I read it. I then realized that had it not been for you convincing me to keep this child, he would never have been born to come back years later and save your own son’s life.

When we extend ourselves, the far reaching impact it can have may be life-saving. Although it may seem to be nothing more than an innocuous conversation or a simple look to see if our fellow Jew is doing well, the truth is that it is not. That little deed can give life to an unborn child and a dying soldier. All of the Jewish people are one large family unit. We are family for which we must give of our time, resources and love to. And when we do so, the results are nothing short of astonishing.

Rabbi Mashiach Kelaty
It’s All About the Effort

ויקם משה את המשכן

And Moshe erected the Mishkan… (Shemot 40:18)

As the Mishkan was finally ready to be assembled, there was one problem: it was too heavy. Requiring tremendous physical prowess to erect the massive planks, Moshe Rabbeinu was disconcerted. “How can a human being put together such an edifice?” Voicing such a concern to Hashem, Moshe was told that he would not need to do more than he was physically capable. “Just exert the effort to put up the Mishkan,” Hashem said, “and it will then miraculously stand up by itself. Do not worry about its inordinate weight.” Moshe Rabbeinu’s job was merely to do his best, and Hashem would do the rest.

Along these lines, Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein tells the story of a man who once had a stone laying in his backyard. Being told every night in a dream, “Go and push the stone,” every subsequent day he went about pushing the stone. Day after day, week after week and year after year he earnestly put in his utmost effort to push the stone. But one day that all changed.

Appearing to the man in a dream was the Satan. “Why are you wasting all your energy on this futility? Haven’t you noticed that you haven’t moved the stone even one inch in so many years?” Waking up the next morning, the man was shaken to an unsettling reality. Had he indeed been wasting all his time? Sorely convinced by the Satan’s beguiling words, he decided that from thereon in life would be different. He would no longer go about his daily attempt to push the stone. After all, wasn’t it all for naught?

The next night the man had another dream. But this time it was not the Satan who appeared to him, but Hashem Himself. “Why have you stopped pushing the stone?” “Look,” replied the man, “I have been doing so for many years and I haven’t moved it even a millimeter. I am wasting my time!” But Hashem had a little surprise for him. “Did I ever tell you to move the stone? All I told you is to push it. All you are required to do is your best; I will take care of the moving.”

A few years ago, my family spent some quality time together. While some children enjoy playing soccer or going to the park together with their fathers, my son Binyamin enjoys a particularly unique hobby. Using his well-deserved Bar Mitzvah money, he purchased a quadcopter. A helicopter with four propellers, a quadcopter looks like a large model aircraft and is flown with a remote control. Attached to the quadcopter is a camera allowing for aerial photography. Valuable and sentimental to my son, his quadcopter is his most prized possession.

As Binyamin and his brother, Yoni, wished to fly the quadcopter, we decided to go on a little outing together. Making our way to Staples Corner, one of the biggest street junctions in London where a number of roads converge, we looked forward to a wonderful day. Binyamin figured he would fly the quadcopter over streets and bridges and capture some nice photographs.

Agreeing that we would situate ourselves in one of the large car parks there, we eventually arrived and prepared the quadcopter. And then Binyamin let it sail up into the air. Controlling it from down below, everything was going alright until it began to become windy. Considering that the quadcopter is wind resistant and has a built-in GPS, usually everything turns out fine despite windy currents. Besides, there is an added failsafe measure on the remote control which immediately recalls the quadcopter to home base and stops it from continuing on. And so, as the winds began to pick up, Binyamin hit the failsafe button. But it did not work.

Pushing the failsafe button again and again, it was to no avail. The winds were too strong and the quadcopter was drifting further and further away. Desperate and now having lost sight of it, we glanced at the camera monitor we had set up with us hoping that we would be able to recognize its location.

Carefully looking at the image portrayed on the camera monitor, we struggled to make out where it was. We noticed that it was descending and landing in what looked like a car park, but we could not make out the details until the image flickered and faded.

Without hesitating, we set out driving around the area. Meanwhile, Binyamin took to studying Mishnayot and Yoni turned to heartfelt davening in hope that our lost quadcopter would turn out. However, an hour later, we remained in the same predicament as we began. No quadcopter.

As it was getting darker and darker and the last moments to daven Mincha were upon us, we pulled over to the side of one of the retail parks and decided we would daven near the street. As we concluded Mincha, we decided to give it one more look. But seeing that it was nearing dark, after a short while, we were forced to give up the chase. Heading home disappointed, we figured we would take another look tomorrow.

I then received a text message from my friend, Effie Raymond. Explaining how he saw us stop what we were doing and take out time to pray, he was touched. “You really brought me joy,” he wrote. As I read this message, I realized that even if we would never find the quadcopter, perhaps all of this was happening in order to bring inspirational joy and light into the life of a fellow Jew.

Later that evening, I was scheduled to learn with my chavruta (study partner). Studying together the last chapter of Tractate Sanhedrin (97a), the last passage we learned together that night was the following:

“There are three matters which occur immediately and when least expected: the coming of Mashiach, finding a lost item and a scorpion bite.”

It was not coincidental that this was the last piece of Gemara I learnt that night. It was portending something to come.

After finishing learning with my chavruta, my wife and I decided we would head out together to the police station and report the lost quadcopter. However, the officer was not too optimistic that we would ever find it. But nevertheless, we told ourselves that we would put in all our effort and hope for the best.

Retracing our steps, we returned to the same spot that my children and I had searched out twice earlier that day and come up with nothing. Looking all around this final time amid the dark, we didn’t find anything either. As I continually told myself over and over, “Whatever I am doing is just my effort; it is ultimately up to Hashem what will result,” we headed back home empty-handed and with empty hearts.

But then the unexpected happened. From the corner of my eye, I noticed something white laying around twenty feet away in a car park. Telling my wife to drive over there, as we inched closer, we looked at each other and burst out laughing. There was the quadcopter. Having looked everywhere, when we least expected we would ever find it, we did. I then understood why that Gemara in Sanhedrin was the last statement I was to learn that night. I was being taught a very important lesson: sometimes when you are least expecting something to happen, it will happen.

Much like Moshe Rabbeinu doing his part to erect the Mishkan, so is the case with every one of us. We must do our best and expend as much effort as we can, but after we have done so, we need no longer worry. We can remain confident that Hashem will take care of the rest. And more often than not, the rest of the story will occur when we are least expecting.

A Short Message from
Rebbetzin Aviva Feiner

My husband and I once visited a friend of ours whose home had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Living next to the bay in Back Lawrence, the Hurricane caused water to fill up until the second floor of his house. But there was something particularly interesting which he pointed out. While all the trees adjacent to his house were smashed and broken, the reeds remained standing tall and strong. “Let this be a lesson,” he said, “that it is good to be malleable in life. If you are able to bend when the tide comes your way, you will survive. However, if you believe everything has to be your way and you remain firmly stubborn as a tree, then when something hits you, you are going to crack. ”

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