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Knowing What’s Very Good: Seer of Lublin, Spies, and a Clumsy Husband

Through humility, we can find things that we didn’t know about. Our self-centeredness get in the way of good “vision” Rabbi Yonah Bookstein Based on a Dvar Torah of Rabbi Eliezer Kwass in the Darche Noam Daf Kesher email We read in Parsha Shelach that when Joshua and Caleb returned from spying out the Land […]

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Why Doesn’t God Pay for Lunch?

God could fund everything, but we wouldn’t value it

As we learn from the Torah when the Jewish people jointly funded the building and running of the Mishkan/Tabernacle, keeping Jewish organizations, programs and institutions running is in our hands.God created that world this way.

Yes, it would be easier if all we had to do was tell God that we are starting a school, Yeshiva, Synagogue, or summer camp, and then we just wait for God to fill the bank account with the money that we need. But that is just not how God created the world.

Rather God entrusted all of us with the sacred task of supporting, funding, and building the centers of Jewish life and learning throughout the ages.

One of the main reasons, teach the sages, is that when we contribute to the creation of something, we value it more. When we are given something for free, we don’t value it as much. Another reason is that when the Jewish people collectively work together for the creation of something, it creates achdut-unity. Lastly, it gives each person the opportunity to become a giver, a donor.

What is so great about becoming a giver? More than you can imagine. For example: You feel good about yourself for helping others; you are recognized for generosity, not wealth; you are more protected from financial harm; and it creates an everlasting legacy in this world and the World to Come.

As we have printed our our donor cards at Pico Shul and quote from the poem by M. Josephson:

How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.

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How to Use Summer for Spiritual Growth

There is spiritual growth that can only be accomplished in the summertime

From the moment that Passover started, the Omer clock started, the countdown started to Shavuot. That period of self-reflection and character improvement has now passed. The full moon of Sivan is already here. Are we supposed to be doing anything “special” in spiritual matters now, or do we just chill out?

There is nothing to chill about.

Like a farmer ensuring that their crops are nourished, weeded, and protected, summer is the perfect time to nourish and protect our spiritual lives.

  • Take a trip into nature to deepen your Yirat Shamayim, our awe/fear of God, by studying the wonders of God’s incredible creation.
  • Grow your own food to develop gratitude and patience.
  • Exercise to fulfill the obligation of guarding our health and create joyful endorphins.
  • Longer days means we can dedicate more time for Torah study.
  • And longer days means no conflict between your work obligations and Shabbat starting.

And I am sure you can come up with some more ways — I would love to hear them!