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Parashat Bereshit

Parasha Thoughts

Akhamzadeh

By Rabbi Shemuel Akhamzadeh

עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזָב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃

Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh.

We live in a society where marriage is seen as a tool to gain the most pleasure, whether physical, emotional or any other type of pleasure. If these expectations are not met, separation is the obvious alternative even with the children’s lives on the line. Seeing marriage in this light is comparable to viewing the purpose of food solely as a means to satisfy our taste-buds and disregarding all the essential nutrients in food that enable our bodies to perform their necessary functions. To eat food only for its taste will jeopardize our health.

Judaism sees a higher purpose in marriage that is more essential than pleasure. Marriage is a way for two souls to join and serve each other with the best of their abilities regardless of how much pleasure they receive. Just as diamonds have rough spots, every person has his or her flaws. The only way to remove the rough spots on a diamond is by polishing it with another diamond to smoothen it and bring out its true beauty. The same goes for every person; marriage is essential to remove each person’s rough spots and bad traits. Every relationship naturally has its frictions; this is where the polishing happens and the possibility of bringing out one’s true shine.

Rabbenu Chaim Vital, the main disciple of Ari Za’l, writes that “the ultimate purpose of man’s creation is to break his bad traits and humble himself.” Marriage is the primary tool to reach our ultimate purpose in life, as long as we understand how to use it in the correct manner.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sukkot

Parasha Thoughts

Shlomo Zargari

By Rabbi Shlomo Zargari

Hag Sameyah to all. We are in the midst of the lovely holiday of Sukkot. We started building the Sukkah right after Yom Kippur, so we go from one misva to another; what a joy. In the Zohar Hakadosh the Sukkah is called “the Shade of Hashem,” meaning whoever dwells in it is under the shade of the Creator himself. Obviously we are not talking about the flimsy branches on top of the Sukkah! What kind of protection are we expecting from them? But if we are talking about the Hashgaha (watching) of the Almighty and having His Shechina reside with us, then there is really nothing else in the world we need.

This is the biggest protection we could ask for, better than the deepest bunkers with all the latest technology. The verse in Tehilim (127,1) says ” If Hashem won’t build the house then for nought did the builders toil, if Hashem won’t guard the city for nought did the guardsman try.” But when Hashem is watching over you, what else do you need? We can see this daily with what goes on around the globe. The rockets, stabbings, terror attacks and bombs which were stopped before they became a reality were the “Sukkah” of Hashem, the miracle of His protection. We have, unfortunately, seen the results when this protection isn’t in place. We can see the enormous difference and we should be very thankful for being in the “Sukkah” of Hashem.

Rabbi Yechezkel Abramski recounts a story from World War II. At that time he was the head of the Rabbinic Court in London. One day during the war, in walks a lady who was an “Aguna” (a woman whose husband’s whereabouts are unknown); she had escaped and made it to England. Rabbi Abramski said, “She brought with her witnesses who testified that her husband was killed in the war, and she wanted permission to remarry. I suspected her and her witnesses and did not believe them. I cross-examined them, warned them and they still stuck to their story. I said to them, “if the judges won’t be able to get to the truth, you must know that the Shechina is with them and he won’t let the wrong verdict come out of the Bet Din”; that too had no effect.

Instantly there was an explosion inside the Bet Din. A rocket had fallen that shook everything and the room became filled with smoke and dust. We were all in a state of shock until the dust settled at which time our shock was even greater. We were sitting at our table and everything forward of that was gone, the woman and the witnesses too…”

Rabbi Abramski continued the story and recounted how he reached for his Sisit strings and held them saying, “when I put on my Sisit in the morning and say “the children of men find assurance (protection) in the shadow of your wings “(Tehilim 36,8) I’m talking about this.” He was always in the “Sukkah” under the wings of Hashem.

Hag Sameyah!