‘The Exiting from Egypt’ or ‘The Taking Out Egypt’ – Breaking a Mentality or Mindset

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The commonly accepted translation of the Hebrew words Yetziat Mitzrayim – is ‘The Exiting from Egypt’. But let’s analyze a bit. Yetziah means ‘going out’. To make it ‘the going out of‘ we replace the letter Hei with a Tav. It thus becomes ‘The Going out of’ Mitzrayim means Egypt. The Going out of Egypt. Thus it could mean people are going out of Egypt or Egypt is going out of people.

The Jews were in Egypt for 210 years. They were subjected to slavery, torture, killing of babies, psychological torment and cruel and unusual punishment. They were about to adopt a “Slave Mentality” – to save the Jews from this Mentality – Hash-m had to take them out of Egypt within 18 minutes. They were freed and Left just in time to escape that mentality.

It took them 40 years of wandering in the desert to remove this mentality properly.

They became the servants of Hash-m / G-d – when they accepted the Torah about 50 days after leaving Egypt.

If so when were they ever free? They went from being servants to the Pharaoh to the Servants of G-d.

The Answer: By the Jews accepting the Yolk of Hash-m and to Observe the Torah – that is what gave them freedom. A person can by physically free – yet a servant to their desires, temptation, habits, mindset, mentality. Torah Observance breaks all those shackles.

A person might think themselves completely free or independent but they are still the subject of their society, their upbringing, and the media they consult.

Hash-m is the only completely independent Being. His commands are the best possible commands that a person can follow. These commands make a person free. If a person follows their desires – they are a servant of their desires.

Once a person, after the army, decided to go tour the Amazon forest. He was confident – “I don’t need a guide – I hiked many forests and was able to navigate out of them.” He entered the forest and lost his way. He was lost for about 2 weeks searching for the exit. He met an old man. He asked him the way out. The man replied “I have been here for 20 years and can’t tell you the way out – but I can tell you which ways not to go. Going this and this way will bring you to a dead end. Going this way you are stopped by a river.” – The young man was completely free to do what he wanted – yet he was a prisoner of the forest.

Having the directions of the old man helped him to be slightly more free because he had more hope of getting out.

Removing the ‘Egypt’ from us

A person can break a mentality. A person can gain confidence. A person can change – but they need directions. The directions of the Torah helps him to free himself.

Let’s say a person is overweight – he or she is being addicted to food. So going on a diet will help them. But some go too far and become anorexic – that they are psychologically convinced to remain thin. So they are also controlled by their mindset of being thin. (Obviously both should seek proper help).

The Torah mentality is to follow the middle path. The Middle path is complete. This is stated by the Rambam – Maimonides in His Mishne Torah – on Human Dispositions.

As for us, we are charged to walk in these middle-paths, which are the good and straight paths, even as it is said: “And thou shalt walk in His ways” (Deut. 28 9).

Torah is the word of Hash-m / G-d who wants the complete best for us. Following his ways does not only allow us to live a better life – but allows us to be free – like it says in Pirkei Avot 6:1:

“And the tablets were the work of G-d and the writing was the writing of G-d, engraved (charuth) upon the tablets.” Read it not “charuth,” but “cheiruth” (freedom), for no one is free but him who studies Torah. For whoever studies Torah is exalted, as it is written (Numbers 21:19): “And from Matanah (the gift [of Torah]), Nachliel (‘the inheritance of the L rd’); and from Nachliel, Bamoth (‘the high mount’).”

Trust in G-d Fear Not

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My friend Avner told me when a person trusts in the stock market – if the stock goes up he is happy. If it goes down – he is not. One who trusts in G-d – whether the market goes up or down – he is happy because he knows that Hash-m is doing all for the good.

When a person trusts the media – if they hear good things they are happy. If they hear bad – they are not. If they hear good statistics of covid they are happy. If they hear bad statistics – they are not.

Unfortunately – I heard that in Japan more people died from fear of covid than covid itself.

Trust in Hash-m – live a happy life – not a fearful one.

Those who fear Hashem, Have faith in Hashem! He is their helper and guardian. (Psalms / Tehillim 115:11.)

Why is Infinity a Number Eight on it’s Side?

Why is Infinity a Number Eight on it’s Side?

The Number 8 is the only number greater than zero whose writing can technically continue forever.

Torah says in Bereshit / Genesis of Five Books of Moses – that G-d created the world in Six Days Days and rested on the seventh day.

All of nature was created in Seven Days. Above the seven days is a the supernatural. Eight is above the natural world. Beyond the natural and limited world is infinity.

The Victory of Hannukah – Building Yourself with Light

King Antiochus was notorious for conquering countries with a strong hand. When conquering Israel – his objective was not just physical subjugation – but mental subjugation. His war  wasn’t just a war against nations – but a war against spirituality. Spirituality is basically connecting with the Creator of the Universe – Hash-m.

He outlawed Circumcision, Rosh Hodesh / the New Month, and Shabbat. The Jews fought back and after a war lasting almost 25 years – Hash-m gave victory in their hands – they won the war. The major miracle was the Jews’ victory over the superpower of that time – Greece.

We know that in the end – when the Jews come to purify the Holy Temple / Beit HaMikdash -they find one jug of oil with the seal of the Cohen Gadol / Chief. This oil, that is supposed to last one day, lasts eight days.

G-d Loves the Sincere Efforts of the Common Man

The Rambam says that if the Mizbeach / Altar is broken – one is not required to light the Menorah. The Greeks broke the altar  So why did they want to light it? There was no Mitzvah / commandment to light the Menorah. It was just a commemoration – to remember the Mitzvah. So why did G-d make a miracle if they weren’t even doing a Mitzvah? Apparently, G-d appreciates even the small, sincere efforts that a person makes to establish a connection with him.

My friend told me a story of a woman who ordered a “Kosher” Hot Dog for her son in Manhattan on Passover. On Passover we are forbidden to eat bread. She was very adamant that the vendor not put the Hot Dog on the bun. “Don’t Touch the Bread with the Hot Dog!” I am sure that Hash-m had satisfaction from that woman’s sincere effort to avoid allowing her son to eat Hametz – leavened products on Passover.

Build What Others Want to Break

I was listening to Rabbi Shaked Bouhdana. He mentioned an interesting point. Antiochus outlawed Circumcision, Rosh Hodesh / the New Month, and Shabbat. The Jews fought hard to have the freedom to do these Mitzvot and others. It turns out that Hanukah Lasts 8 days – the same amount of time a child born waits to be circumcised. Since Hanukah lasts Eight days – it is sure that at least one Shabbat will fall during Hanukkah. There is always a New Month that falls on Hanukkah. When we fought for a Mitzvah that others wanted to outlaw – we won by having a greater level of sanctification for these three Mitzvot.

If we use our forces for the positive growth spiritually we gain in a greater way than what we originally had.

Building Your Personality

Some people are fragile. Send one word out of place – and here comes the fire. Someone asked me how to deal with difficult people. I said – we shouldn’t look at people who upset us as our enemies. Ultimately – our deeds that we sent out are boomeranging back to us.

The Boomerang Principal – Midah Keneged Midah / Measure for Measure

If we got angry at a spouse – this anger will find it’s way back. So the smart thing to do is to recognize this principal and when someone lashes out at us – realize that that might be the fruit of our previous misdeed. So if we lash back at them – it is akin to a (pardon the comparison) dog biting a stick that was thrown at him. We bite at the stick – the person who lashed at us – but we forget that we were the one who initially threw the stick.

Fight fire with water – not fire. Calm the situation. Don’t fuel the fire.

 

Green Chiretta vs. Covid

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Saw this Article in Mishpacha Jr. Guard Your Soul.

Convicts Fight Covid in-Thailand

  • Sivi Sekula

Prisoners in Thailand are Producing an herbal remedy to help their fellow convicts fight COVID-19. Green chiretta. also known as “bitter herbs” is a plant that
has been grown in Asia for centuries for its medicinal properties. All parts of the plant are used to treat various ailments. The leaf of the plant is a poplar herbal remedy for fevers, coughing, and infectious diseases A substance in the plant called andrographolide helps prevent the spread of viruses. At the start of the pandemic, green chiretta was distributed in prisons as an emergency measure until a proper cure could be found. The unintended trial of green chiretta among inmates proved very successful. Out of 11,300 inmates treated With green chiretta 99.02% recovered. In July, the Thai government authorized the use of chiretta to treat mild and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. Thailands prisons are notoriously overcrowded, and social distancing is practically impossible; one-quarter of The prisoners caught COVID-19 in just six months. Now, prisoners are growing and harvesting green chiretta in fields near their prisons. The leaves are tied, ground, and packaged into capsules, which are then sent to prisons across the country. •

Say Thank G-d & Thank You

Avraham Avinu / Abraham Our Forefather defeated the 4 kings who defeated 5 kings in a war.

Malki Tzedek – who was Shem – the son of Noach – came to greet him from his battle return with bread & wine.

He said Blessed is Avraham and Blessed is Hash-m / G-d. (Genesis 14:19)

Since he acknowledged and gave thanks to Avraham before acknowledging Hash-m, the priesthood was removed from MalkiTzedek and given to Avraham.

Someone did good to you?

Say Thank G-d & Thank You

 

Of Angels and Animals – How to Rule Over Animals.

Last week we read the first Parasha / Torah Reading of Bereshit / Genesis. Speaking of the creation of Man it says “You will rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and all living creatures.” (Bereshit / Genesis 1:28)

When G-d made man the Torah says “Let us Make man… and He created man.” It should say let ME make man. Why does it say “Let US make man.” One explanation is that he was talking with the Earth. Man is composed of a physical Body made from earth and Spiritual soul that Hash-m supplies. Thus He said to the earth let us make man.

Another Explanation why it says “Let US make man” is that G-d has 10 attributes / Sephirot (Crown, Understanding, Wisdom, Strength, Kindness, Beauty, Splendor, Victory, Foundation & Kingship). He wanted to include them all in Man.

G-d wanted to teach the world a lesson – one should consult other people – even if they may not be as great as yourself. G-d consulted with the angels before creating man – Thus he said – “Let US create man.” When Hash-m actually created man – The Torah says “And Hash-m created {singular verb form} man.”

Another explanation is that G-d created man with all kinds of “animals” in him – at times he is bold like a leopard, or quick like the eagle, (see Pirkei Avot 5:20) or lazy like a sloth. It is up to man to overcome those animal instincts inside him. Thus it says – “You shall master over … the living creatures” – the creatures – inside a person.

When we do mitzvot, learn Torah and rule over our negative inclinations – we dominate our animals and become the way that man intended us to become. We become more like an angel. But really man is greater than an angel – if he uses his time for growing spiritually through Torah. If he follows his passions he becomes more like an animal.

Animals are naturally afraid of man. But when a man follows his animal inclinations – the animal sees the man as another animal and attacks him.

Once the Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh / Rabbi Haim Ben Attar – from Morocco – who wrote a commentary on the Torah – was sent into a lion’s cage by the sultan. The sultan was upset that he – a Jeweler by trade – did not make the Sultan’s Jewelry by the deadline. He took his Talit & Tephillin and Torah Sepharim / Books and sat there learning in the cage. The hungry lions were afraid to approach him.

The sultan saw this, realized that he was a Holy man and released the Ohr HaHaim – and apologized for doing so.

One of the ministers – sneered – perhaps the lions are not hungry. The sultan threw the minister in instead and the lions devoured him.

We can rule over the animals – if we rule over ourselves first.

Who is Watching Over You

I was pouring sugar into a spoon to put into my Coffee. The container suddenly let out a spurt of sugar over my spoon. Apparently – it was equal or less to the amount of sugar I usually put into my coffee. I thought – “why did that happen?”

Nothing is chance. I figured either G-d wanted to give me the amount of sugar I needed without me having to make the effort of measuring it out – or He wanted me to limit my sugar intake by allowing less than I usually take to fall into the coffee – yet, an amount that I would be satisfied with. I figured it was something that a parent would do.

Where is G-d

As a child prodigy, Rabbi Yonathan Eibeshutz was asked – I’ll give you a Ruble if you tell me where G-d is. He replied “I’ll give you a Ruble if you tell me where He is not.”

G-d is Everywhere

Hash-m is everywhere. In Hebrew G-d is called “HaMakom” – “the Place” because He is every place. It is not that G-d is in the world – the world is in G-d. G-d is infinite – the universe is finite.

Hash-m Helps based upon Belief

Hash-m helps all people. Yet he helps people based upon how much one believes in Him. One who has strong belief in Hash-m He will help more than one who doesn’t believe as much.

Winning the Lotto

My aunt – once needed to go to visit her parents. She has much emuna. She needed to pay for the plane ticket and travel expenses. She bought a lottery ticket and prayed very sincerely to Hash-m to help her make the money she needed.

She won over $2000 dollars that week – enough money to buy tickets and to pay for traveling expenses.

 

A Tale of Two Tailors

The King’s Banquet

Once upon a Time two Jewish tailors were having a hard time making a living in their town. Their solution : to go from town to town searching for tailoring jobs. They were traveling for several years. They arrived at a town and saw the governor of the town was troubled. They asked what is bothering you. He replied – he needed to prepare clothing for royal family for the king’s banquet and he could not find qualified tailors.

Family in Jail

“We could do the job!” they assured him. He tested them – finding that they were qualified. After about a year the king had his banquet and was very satisfied with the clothing. The king thanked the tailors and gave them a large sum of money. The queen whispered to the king – “should we tell them about the Jewish family is in prison because they did not pay their taxes?” The king mentioned it to them. They asked how much money do they owe. He said “300 Gold Rubles.”

Redeeming Captives / Pidyon Shevuim

One tailor said to the other – let’s do the mitzvah / commandment of redeeming captives. The other tailor replied “I have to bring money back to my family.” The tailor who suggested helping the family counted his money he earned and found he had just enough to redeem the family.

The family was so thankful. The praised him and blessed him.

The Rich gets Richer – the Poor Remains Poor

The tailors returned to their town. One with much money –  the other poor. The poor person came home and told his wife of the story. The man was forced to go from door to door to ask for money to support his family. The other tailor became wealthy.

Discovering a Concealed Blessing

Once a person wanted to give him a valuable coin. He asked him what will you give me in return? The poor man said I’ll give you a blessing. The man needed a blessing because he had an important meeting with wealthy people that evening for a business deal. That evening he noticed that the deal went unusually smoothly.

He thereafter – searched for this poor man before doing a business deal to receive a blessing.

The Power of Blessing

People found out his power of blessing. They started lining up to receive a blessing. The Baal Shem Tov – a great Rabbi – asked his students to ask the man to come to him to talk. At the meeting – he inquired what special deed he did that gave him this power of blessing. He said I don’t know. Finally the Baal Shem Tov told him – the fact that he redeemed the Jewish family – Hash-m gave him the power to bless others and have the prayers readily answered.

I heard this story from Moshe – with whom I learn Torah. He told me he heard it in French from Rabbi Avi Assouline.

We think that blessings are only those that give us material benefit – really there are many blessings for which we can be thankful – good health, children, healing, wisdom, the ability to give blessings, etc.

At times we receive blessings – but we take them for granted. Or someone does something good for us and thank the other profusely – but do not take into account that it was Hash-m who ordained that we should recieve the blessing. The person who helped us get a job or gave us that business deal – was an agent of Hash-m. So really we should first thank Hash-m then thank the person who was the agent.

Malki Tzedek / Shem made that mistake. We can learn from him to give the thanks in the proper order. First thank G-d – then thank the agent.

I think that thanking G-d is appropriate at a personal event – like a Brit / Bris / Circumcision, a Bar Mitzvah or a Wedding. I thought it might be proper for a person to take upon themselves a new mitzvah – as a thanks for G-d that he allowed us to have a new child, to marry off a child, etc.

G-d Said? Do it Because of Gratitude.

You lost lotto. The Jackpot. $500 Million. Ok – maybe next time.

But you find out your friend won. He says “I Love you – my friend. Take my winning ticket.”

Is He For Real?

You don’t believe it. You think “it is a joke. Either the numbers are wrong. The ticket is fake. it’s an old ticket”

You check the date. Seems Right. You look at ticket. It has the markings of a real ticket. You check the numbers. Numbers are correct. You bring it in to the Lottery office. “Congratulations. You won the jackpot!” After asking for some papers – they make you fill out some forms asking whether you want to be paid one lump sum after taxes or every year a certain amount.

You don’t believe it. When you receive the first check for tens of millions of dollars, you faint. You pinch yourself. You wake up. You still have the check in your hand. You go to the bank and deposit it. The manager calls you and starts treating you with much respect. He asks you to start a Private Banking account. You check the account and the money is there.

A Small Favor

Now your friend – who gave you the ticket – asks you “can you take a drive with me once a week in the new Rolls Royce you bought with the money you won?” What do you answer?

Doing it For Gratitude

Anyone with a bit of gratitude will say “surely.”

G-d / Hash-m gave us life, children, money, parents, friends, food – worth much than half-a- billion dollars. He asks a small thing to Jews “Observe the Shabbat. Keep Kosher. Observe Family purity.” Put aside the obligation thing. Out of pure gratitude – we should be motivated to listen. He asks a small thing to non-Jews “Observe the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah.” Put aside the obligation thing. Out of pure gratitude – we should be motivated to listen.

How grateful are we really?