english Vaera 2014

0 Posted by - December 26, 2013 - Shemot, Uncategorized

A LETTER FROM G-D

Read the next few lines, and then close your eyes for a minute. When your eyes are closed, try to picture a letter in an envelope, handed to you by a stranger. The stranger shows you his ID card. Eliyahu Hanavi. He tells you that in this envelope is a letter to you, personally, from G-d. You look up again to see the stranger, but he has disappeared. You are left alone holding the envelope, and in it, a letter from G-d. Now, close your eyes and try to imagine what G-d wants to tell you, a letter from G-d to you.

One day, last month, I got such a letter. It was a photocopy handed to me from a person on the street, someone I don’t know,  written in Hebrew.  I was offered this paper for giving the stranger a hand. As he handed it to me, the stranger said, “Read it once a day, and you will have a life of quality and clarity. Guaranteed.” The heading in bold said, A LETTER FROM G-D. And this is what “G-d” wrote to me. Read it out loud, and remember: this letter is written to you by G-d, Who knows your whole life story, from before you were born. Here it is:

My dear, beloved son!!! Do you remember me? Are you living with Me in your life (?), or do you just mention my Name sometimes, ( Baruch Hu Baruch Shemo, Be’ezrat Hashem, Im Yirtzeh Hashem) in somewhat a lip service? I want to remind you that I am your Father, and I love you very much.  I am always with you, every time and everywhere. I know what is the very best for you. I do everything with your best interest in mind. I am, after all, bringing you closer to your life’s destiny. You see only one piece of a gigantic puzzle, and from that one piece, you try to understand the whole, entire picture. But it is simply not in your capability to understand, so let go, relax…

 Believe Me, I am doing the best possible thing for you. I only put a person through a trial he can overcome or a test he can pass successfully. Rely on Me. Trust Me. Depend on Me. Confide in Me. Pray to Me. Speak to Me. I am right here! With you ! Always!

I am the Shadchan. I am the Doctor. I am the Boss at work. I am the Peacemaker. I grant babies to parents.  I am in charge of how successfully you raise your children. I, and only I, give you the gift called Life.

 Always remember that I am the One Who runs the World, and all your life’s pain and suffering are given to you with love and abundant mercy. I never make mistakes.

It is a pity for you to think, “If only things would be different…”, “If I would have done things differently…”, “If only I wouldn’t have said…”. All this is your Evil Inclination speaking inside.

 Stop blaming people, thinking, “It’s his fault. Or, it’s her fault…” It’s just Me, G-d.  I am the One Who Created the Universe, and I watch over you each and every second of the day.   I DO EVERYTHING THAT IS DONE IN YOUR LIFE!!! All the people in your life are My messengers !!! Always remember that this test you are going through right now in life, as well as every other test life brings you -  it is all My Will.

I hope  that you will bring Me into your life,… Love you with a passion,                                   .                                     your Father.

Each time I read this letter, I get more strength to deal with any upsetting circumstance life brings about. It is probably the only technique that works when the self help techniques of the gentiles fail. Because it is not a technique; it is reality. Most techniques are only needed because there is no Emunah.

This is the message G-d told Moshe to relay to the Jews suffering in slavery. The Jewish Nation was going through the worst holocaust of all time, the longest holocaust. The last 86 years before the Exodus were the hardest of the 210 years in Egypt. And this is the message G-d tells them. עמו אנכי בצרה  I am with him (the Jewish people) in his pain. 24/7. G-d appeared to Moshe in a burning bush, hinting to the fact that G-d, too, is to be found with us in the thorns. Not that G-d feels sorry along with us or has empathy for us, but much deeper than that. When we are in pain, He is with us, there in the pain. (At Mt. Sinai, the Jews saw that there was a sapphire brick at “G-d’s feet” . G-d was constantly mindful of the Jewish slavery, their toil with the bricks.) He does not leave us to circumstance. אהיה אשר אהיה  , Hashem tells Moshe,  ‘Go tell the Jews that I am with them in the Galut. Literally translated, I am or I will be. What does this mean, that G-d is or that G-d will be?

People tend to forget, in their personal pain, G-d’s existence. G-d is in the suffering with you, and this is the beginning of your redemption from your personal Mitzrayim. (Mitzrayim is like the word Meitzar, suffering, or straits, but in the plural form, many sufferings.) מן המיצר קראתי י-ה From my suffering, I call out to G-d. Because that’s when G-d is so close, despite His hiding so well. Sometimes, the best hiding spot is right in front of your nose. And when G-d hides Himself the most,  He, also, hides Himself much closer to you than you could imagine.

When G-d asked Moshe to go down to Egypt and redeem the Jews, Moshe said he was afraid  that they would not believe that G-d still had them in mind. G-d considered this as gossip and punished Moshe with leprosy, the plague for speaking gossip. One of the signs Moshe would display, proving that he was the redeemer, was that his hand would come out leprous after he would slide it into his cloak. This proved their ability to believe, even from the depth of their downcast condition. At the time when their condition could not possibly get any worse, at the moment of the greatest suffering and, ostensibly, the point of complete absence of faith, the innate belief of the Jewish people was revealed in full force! G-d knows that belief is a core trait of the Jewish people. They have the ability to believe in G-d, even in the darkest of times. And this ability is what gets them out the darkest of times, as well.

 

 

LESSON FROM A FROG


Anyone who gets angry is considered as one who practices idolatry. (Shabbat 105b) Why is it like that?  The last time I got angry, I did not feel that I do not believe in G-d. Such a thought did not even cross my mind. As a matter of fact, when people get angry, they do not forget that they do not like getting angry. They do not “decide” to get angry. There is just a thought that comes to mind that is an angry thought. And then they get angry. What is the core belief of all angry thoughts? And why is it like idolatry?

The Steipler would explain something interesting about anger. He pointed to “the frog” (ותעל הצפרדע) mentioned by Rashi in the parasha. There was one frog: they were hitting it, and it would spit out many streams of frogs. That was it. Just one frog. G-d brought just one frog to the Egyptians in this plague. That one frog got hit by the first Egyptian, who was not happy to see such a thing, and then it spit out more frogs. The Egyptians continued to hit it, and endless streams of frogs jumped out.  Had they stopped hitting it and just left it alone, then there would not have been a plague of such enormous proportions; there would not have been so many frogs. If so, why didn’t they stop hitting it? – Because they saw that the frog did not listen. It did not behave the way they wanted it to, so they hit it repeatedly to teach it a lesson. Even if the whole of Egypt would be filled with frogs. They believed that this frog is going to learn who is boss. (Angry people never think rationally nor do they notice the outcome of their actions when they are angry). But on an even deeper level, they believed that if there was no such frog yesterday in town, it should not be here now, either.

This is what anger is all about. I am going to teach reality a lesson. Not only does it not work, but reality teaches us a lesson. And the reason is because reality is G-d. Allow me to go beneath the surface of all thoughts.

80 percent of thoughts are past and future thoughts, thoughts that are not actionable. Thoughts that bring us stress. Man is stressed when he wants a choice that he cannot have. G-d gives us free choice only in the present. We have no choice either in the past or in the future. We cannot change anything that is not in front of us. What is in front of us is reality. What was just a minute ago was history, a memory. The future is just our imagination or dream, until whatever happens -happens. But man has a tendency to think thoughts that are not actionable.

Only G-d is in the past, present and future at the same time, not man. When G-d presented himself to Moshe, He told him to say to the Jewish People א-היה אשר א-היה שלחני אליכם “I will be what I will be” sent me to redeem you. In the midrash (Shemot Rabba 3;6) we find that G-d actually said אני שהייתי , ואני הוא עכשיו ואני הוא לעתיד לבא. I am the One who was, I am now , and I am in the future. This is the way that G-d introduced Himself. This does not mean only that G-d is immortal, for immortality is only a display of G-d’s Eternalness, not His Name. The Name of G-d, י ק ו ק  contains within it the concept of היה הווה ויהיה . Was, Is, and Will always Be. That is His Name. Why is this His Name? Because G-d is reality, whenever it is. Everything that we hear, see,  smell, taste, and feel is G-d. This is why the best question to ask people who come for advice is many times “What are your options ? ” because that question wakes us up out of the past and future and brings us face to face with reality. Once we are in reality, we have choice. Because that is where G-d gives us choice.

Now, someone who does not accept reality is not accepting G-d. Such a person believes that he should have choice. He is attached to the thought of “should”. This means that he believes that he can have choice over G-d’s choice. And that is a lethal thought.

Imagine a fellow decides, and I have witnessed this, that there should not be a stop sign or red light at this street corner. And he goes against reality. The results? BOOM! Imagine that a parent decides that his child or spouse should be something or someone else? DOUBLE BOOM! When you go against reality, reality will teach you a lesson.

As long as we think that the way things should be…, we are in denial. In denial of the Now. We are either under the impression that the past should be the present, or that our previous thoughts of the future will create the Now. But the past, present and future, are all G-d.

We feel G-d and notice Him the most in the place where we do not have free choice. And when we do not accept that this is the choice of G-d, we think that our choice can override G-d’s choice. And that is something like serving idols.

Shabbat Shalom, Yosef Farhi

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rabbiyoseffarhi@gmail.com   0527679186

IN LOVING MEMORY OF SHMUEL BEN RACHEL HAKOHEN A’’H

 

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