Food Prices Flying – Dealing With it the Jewish Way

Prices are flying. Eggs – someone told me – doubled their price. Good for you vegans. But for the non-vegans – what to do? Become vegan?

It seems like one of the prophesies of the time of Machiach is revealing itself – wine will be expensive.

Save? Hoard? Go on a diet?

The wisdom of Torah is greater than other wisdoms. Other wisdoms will tell you what to do from logic and point of view of the physical world. The Torah will explain what to do taking into account the metaphysical and spiritual world.

We explained before that – there is a physical nature in the world. A spiritual nature also exists. Do good – get good back. What goes around comes around is a Torah concept. It’s called Midah Keneged Midah.

Want to get – give. Want G-d to be generous – be generous with others.

Think of it. It is 180 degrees from what one would expect. If you only think of the physical world – it makes sense to reduce your spending on others. Torah it tells you do opposite. Spend for charity. Spend for the poor. You need two things also. Faith in Hash-m. Belief in the concepts of the Torah.

Obvious you are not obligated to go overboard. 10 percent to 20 percent of one’s income is the recommended average and maximum giving for for charity. What is spent for shabbat, Torah education and yom Tov is not included. Meaning if in Heaven they declared he or she would get 100K that year. They will get it. But if he is going to spend 20K for Shabbat and 40K for Orthodox Torah Day Yeshivas – he will receive $160K.

But let’s bring it down to be able to understand this concept on the physical or material plane. I told some people – an accountant or a bookkeeper should not be a company President or CEO. Why? Because if the company loses money – their obvious advice will be to reduce spending, use cheaper materials, cut corners.

The Marketing people will say – spend more for marketing, for salesmen, for better quality products, invest in new products. Spend more. Making less? Spend more.

If a person is losing money – check out his tzedaka giving. Obviously you should know what is charity. Someone will say good – I will give 10% to animal rights. Tzedaka has a very specific definition. It is for worthy, needy  people according to Torah, for Torah causes, for hachnassat Kallah – for helping to pay for a Kosher (not just the food) wedding for a couple in need.

 

What a Single Person Needs to Know to Get and (a married person to) Stay Married

I know many singles . Some Older. Some Younger.

I am sure they went on dates.

Why didn’t it work out? I don’t know.

The Dating Purpose

Firstly, When I would date – it would be strictly to determine if the person before me would be suitable to spend my life and raise my kids with. My intention was not to have a good time, pass some enjoyable moments together and then somewhere down the line see if we could tie the knot or not.

No the date is not like a job interview. It is a date to find out about the person who is in front of you. It is a platonic date to see if you share similar attitudes, Torah values, hashkafot / outlook, mentalities and more. Obviously it is not an intellectual exercise – but a pleasant way to honestly know if you are fit for one another.

The Dating Attitude

I’ll tell you my attitude – I don’t know if it is right or wrong.

When matched with a potential mate for marriage I would take the proposition seriously. I wouldn’t brush it off. Sometimes G-d introduces you to a person not for you to get marriage – but to learn how to better yourself. Obviously G-d doesn’t want to waste your time – provided if you yourself don’t want to waste your time either by dead end relationships.

G-d wants you married – so the people who are proposed to me are probably in the ballpark of marriage material.

I did have certain criteria. The girl would have to be from a similar cultural & Jewish  background – because similar mentalities make for a better marriage in general – so I think. In my case I wanted a Moroccan, Torah Observant Jewish Girl , that came from a good family and has good character traits (Middot) that would appreciate someone who learns Torah regularly.

So this is the attitude that I am unsure about. In general, I would try to go out with the girl until she would reject me. Unless I saw that it was totally off, I would try to continue dating until it became obvious to one of us it would not work out for marriage.

Even though in the back of my mind I thought “Who would ever reject me!?” It did happen more frequently than I would have imagined. Once I was about to marry a girl. I gave her a ring. She called me that evening and said can we see each other tomorrow. I said sure. When we met – she explained nicely that she didn’t think it would work out and gave me back the ring. No. I wasn’t devastated.

My reason for the attitude was that I knew that it is Hash-m is in control and He will help me marry the right one. The rejection was not a devastation – but G-d telling me – there is someone more suitable for me.

Obviously you have to have the proper criteria in place and discuss those criteria with a competent Orthodox Rabbi to get Daat / Guidance of Torah. But once those are in place an the person is in the ballpark – so go ahead.

In Judaism we have this concept that brings the validity to the term Soul mates. There is a soul. It is split in two – a male part and a female part. They enter two separate bodies – a male and a female. Marriage is the bringing back together of these souls that are in 2 different bodies. One reason the Torah forbids intermarriage between a Jew & a Gentile is because a marriage of souls that don’t match don’t achieve their purpose in life. Another reason is that a gentile mate might turn the children away from Hash-m / G-d and the Torah. Also it causes confusion in the children.

Recently I read that the Divorce rate among Orthodox Jews is about 10% while the Divorce rate of Intermarried couples is over 40%.

But back to the subject.

Improve Yourself Get a Better Mate

I give this advice to Jewish singles. Before you get married – reinforce yourself in Torah & Mitzvot. The more your raise yourself spiritually and in terms of middot / character traits the better mate you will merit. A man may want to chose a woman that is higher level in Torah than himself. Although men can influence woman to raise their spiritual strivings – usually a woman influences a man more than vice versa. A woman can bring up or down.

There is a story about a pious man who was married to a pious woman. They had no children. They divorced. He went and married a wicked woman. She made him wicked. She went and married a wicked man and made him righteous. To teach you that a woman influences the spirituality of the spouse more than vice versa.

Staying married

If a person has a particular attitude it may lead to an unsuccessful marriage. The attitude is “You are here to serve me.” It might reveal itself in several forms. I want you to clean the house. I want you to make the money. I am the one you should please. You are here as an object for my happiness. The attitude to marital problems.

So what is the proper attitude – Let’s serve Hash-m together. Let’s bring up a healthy family following Torah & Mitzvot. Let me do all that I can to make my wife or husband happy. I want to do things that make my mate happy. I want to spend time with them. I want to connect. I want to have peace. I must be humble.

Here are some messages I heard from Rabbis:

Attraction is Not Primary

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l – has a book on Shidduchim / matchmaking. They asked him how important is attraction. He said something to the effect – that it is secondary. I would add that as long as the person is not repulsive to you – or their looks pushes you away – it is not a reason to reject someone.

Rabbi Kanievsky wrote about Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home:

ובספר “אורחות יושר” (למרן הגאון רבי חיים קניבסקי שליט”א) כתב: “…ובאמת כל המריבות בבתים ושאין שלום בית שמצוי מאד בזמנינו רובן ככולן באין ע”י גאוה ואם כל אחד היה מחזיק בענוה ולא היה איכפת לו על כבודו ועל גאותו היה רוב המחלוקות מסתדרים בשלום דוק ותשכח שהענוה אמיתית היא רפואה בדוקה ואמיתי לרוב הבעיות שיש בזמנינו והשי”ת יערה עלינו רוח טהרה ממרום שנזכה לענוה אמיתית”.

And in the book “Orchot Yosher” (by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Shlita) he wrote: “… and really all The quarrels in the houses and the lack of peace in a house that is very common in our time, most of them are due to Pride. and if everyone held humility and did not care about his dignity and pride, he would settle Most disputes with peace. and forgotten is that true humility is proven medicine to most of the problems that exist in our time and Hash-mת May He be Blessed, shine upon us a spirit of purity from on High that we will merit to achieve true humility. “

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – on torahanytime.com he mentions that most times when couples come to see him – they say the same thing. The wife complains the husband doesn’t love her. The husband thinks that love is bringing the money home. She says “My father pays my bills also.” Love is establishing a true connection together.

The basis of the Torah is to help a person establish a connection between family, friends, oneself and Hash-m. Like R. Akiva said “VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha” – You shall love your fellow like yourself is a foundation of the Torah.

Rabbi Yosef Palacchi on torahanytime.com brings the Pele Yoetz – a sefer book on great Torah advice – talks about having a strong love for one’s mate.

Here is a quote from the Yanuka – Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Be’eri in a Recent issue of Ami Magazine (ISSUE 564, AMI MAGAZINE, APRIL 13, 2022, 12 NISAN 5782)

MESSAGES FOR BNEI CHUTZ LAARETZ
Again, Reb Yanky taps me on the shoulder, so I finish by asking the Yenuka for a message for the Jews in America. Throughout our conversation, Rav Shlomo Yehudah has emphasized the importance of achdus (unity) and harmony. This is something that comes through in his learning, too: he is fluent in a wide variety of limudim (Torah learning), from the writings of the Gaon through the Tanya and even Rebbe Nachman, and often tries to harmonize their teachings. The Yenuka continues now with his message of shalom (peace) and unity, saying, “People should try to look out for each other. People should help each other in business as well as in other areas.

I stress this more for bnei chutz laaretz because they live among non-Jews. The main thing is to lift your eyes toward the heavens and connect to Hashem.” Rav Shlomo Yehudah is quiet for a moment and then adds another message.

“There is a problem with shidduchim (matchmaking) today. I don’t think the hashkafah (Jewish outlook) of a boy and a girl have to be exactly lined up. For example, I am a grandchild of the Arizal and my wife is a granddaughter of the Kedushat Levi. Of course, there are gedarim (boundaries) if he wants to live a certain lifestyle and she doesn’t, then it won’t work-but it shouldn’t matter if a girl is a little more chasidic than a bachur, (young man) or if he adheres
to teachings of the Gaon and she enjoys Tanya,” the Yenuka says with a smile.
“The important thing in shidduchim is that they get along and have free-flowing conversations. If two people don’t have an easy time conversing, there is no future. An easy and comfortable feeling and flowing conversation are the things that
count.”

The Yenuka was married at 20 years of age and today has a son and three daughters. “Bachurim should get married at 18,” he says. “Waiting around creates an unnecessary nisayon (ethical trial). Some say that a bachur should get married later, that he should first learn for several years without distractions. This is only correct in a few select cas-
es. I have read the same from Ray Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg. Most boys learn just
as well when they are married. There are those matmidim who learn yomam valay-
lah, and for them, learning for longer as a bachur is beneficial. For all others, it can
cause harm.”

A Secret to Save a Marriage on the Rocks

Many years ago, I spoke with a man who was in the process of divorce. He had some kind of argument and he mentioned the word “Divorce.” The woman didn’t take kindly to it. The woman changed her attitude from one of tolerance to one of vengeance. One word triggered her.

Is Divorce always the man’s fault? I think that a man can usually save a marriage. Is it his fault? His wife also does damage. That could also be the man’s fault because he could have did more research or soul searching before he married his wife. He could have looked into how she deals with people (and vice versa) and made a decision with his mind rather than his heart or desires.

A man recently wrote a book on the subject. The article about is is called “This is How your Marriage Ends.” He mentions some of the concepts above.

A man is usually less insulted by slights than a woman. So taking a slight to his honor – may be easier for him than a slight to woman. Also they get insulted in different ways. A woman considers a man who does not consider her needs – as a slight – even if he said nothing. If the man does nothing – it is not nothing. A man who wants to save or maintain his marriage is obligated to help around the house.

A man who answers the question on a date for marriage – will you help around the house – with a snide remark, or a hesitating yes or a not really – is starting off on the wrong foot.

A man who seeks to feel where the woman is coming from is starting on the right foot. Even though a man may consider trivial what a woman considers as important. He should understand that like a child is so upset for a candy that he or she did not get – it behooves him to take seriously her wants and needs – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Yaakov / Jacob Avinu spends much time convincing his wives that it was time to leave their father’s house and go to Israel. Until they felt it in their hearts – he kept on explaining.

Empathy and feeling for a wife’s challenges will help a man maintain a healthy marriage. This can be done by understanding her. He can repeat what she says like – if she says “I had a hard day at work.” He can say “You look like you had a hard day today.” so that she will feel that the husband understands where she is coming from. Parroting words – while including feeling her travails with your heart – will reinforce a marriage.

Let her insults slide off you. Don’t respond to her insults with yours. You are interested in calming the situation. The person who is in emotional control has the upper hand. Your goal is not to win a fight or to show your right. Your goal is to have peace at home.

We mentioned in another article that – having peace with a wife is a positive Torah commandment. A wise man will think “Is it better for me to respond to her insult? or is it better to refrain and accomplish a positive commandment from the Torah

6 Rules for Good Relations – With Spouse, Kids & Friends

I walked in to the Inauguration Reception for HaChaim VeHashalom Beit Midrash / House of [Torah] Study. I see a Rabbi that I faintly recognize. It was Rabbi Bousu – the Grandson of the Baba Sali. He was discussing the subject of “Shalom Bayit” with some men. I listen in. “It is a positive commandment from the Torah to have peace with your spouse! It’s not enough to just do some kind things to her. You should try to assure that she is happy. If she is happy you will be happy. Think of ways to make her happy. Pray to find things and Do things to make her happy. If you do so you will have success!” said Rabbi Bousu. He mentioned why a person will have success in business, materially, spiritually and learning Torah. “Because where there is peace – the Shechina [Divine Presence] dwells. Where the Shechina dwells there is success.

I asked him the source : He said it was in Sefer Chareidim. I looked it up – but was not able to find the source he said. But I tried to figure out what it was on my one. This is what I found:

סֵפֶר חֲרֵדִים – פֶּרֶק ד – מ”ו
[תְּהִלִּים פֶּרֶק-לד-טו] סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ: – ‫דְּאוֹרָיְתָא‬‫ הִיא‬ ‫דַּאֲפִלּוּ‬ ‫בִּשְׁעַת‬ ‫מִלְחָמָה‬ ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫י‬ת’‬ ‫לְהַקְדִּים ‬‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬ ‫ {דְּבָרִים כ:י} כִּי-תִּקְרַב אֶל-עִיר לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ וְקָרָאתָ אֵלֶיהָ לְשָׁלוֹם: ‫וּמִנָּאֶה‬ ‫סְמָ”ג‬ ‫בְּמִצְוַת‬ ‫עָשָׂה‬‫ וְכָל‬ מָקוֹם ‫שֶׁיֵּשׁ‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫אֵין‬ ‫הַשָּׂטָן‬ ‫יָכוֹל‬ ‫לְקַטְרֵג‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬‫ [הוֹשֵׁעַ ד:יז]  חֲבוּר עֲצַבִּים אֶפְרַיִם הַנַּח-לוֹ: ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫הקב”ה‬ ‫לִמְחוֹת ‬‫שְׁמוֹ‬ ‫הַגָּדוֹל‬ ‫שֶׁנִּכְתַּב‬ ‫בְּקָדוֹשׁ’‬ ‫עַל‬ ‫הַמַּיִם‬ ‫לָשִׂים‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬‫ בֵּין‬ ‫אִישׁ‬ ‫לְאִשְׁתּוֹ‬ ‫וְהָרוֹצֶה‬ ‫לִזְכּוֹת‬ ‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫זוֹ‬ ‫יִזְהָר ‬‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫אַחֶרֶת‬ ‫וְהוּא [אָבוֹת א:ג]‬ ‫וֶהֱוֵי דָּן אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לְכַף זְכוּת ‫תָּמִיד‪,‬‬‫מִמִּנְיָן‬ ‫תרי”ג‬ ‫‪:‬‬

Sefer Haredi – Chapter 4 – 46.
[Psalms Chapter 34:15] Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it: It is a Torah Commandment that even during the time of war Hash-m commanded to start off by offering peace as it says “When you approach to a city to battle it – call out for peace.” (Devarim/Deut 20:10) And the Smag [Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot] counts this as Positive [Torah] commandments. And any place that there is peace – the Satan cannot accuse – as it says: [Hosea 4:17] Ephraim joined to idols – let him be: [Athough they were sinning – G-d said let them be – because they maintained peaceful relations] The Holy One Blessed Be He commanded to erase His Great Name written in Holiness with water [in Sota Ritual] to place peace between a man and his wife. And one who wants to merit this mitzvah – should be careful of another Mitzvah [Pirkei Avot 1: 3] “And judge every man favorably” [lit, on a scale of merit] always – from the count of 613 Mitzvot.

Rule # 1 – Be proactive in pursuing peace – meaning be yielding – seeking peace not arguments.

Rule # 2 – Judge people favorably

I heard and interview with Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – z”l. In an interview he was asked “What is the most important thing that one should do for a healthy family?” His answer: Give them time.

The children want to connect with the parents and the spouses also want to. The greatest detriment to this is : Technology. My family wants to connect – instead I am on my cell phone, computer, watching videos. A big turn-off. They want to connect and you would rather connect with that video or whatsapp message.

Rule # 3 – Search for ways to make others happy.

Rule # 4. Give them time and be there for them.

Rule # 5 – Help out and Be present.

Rabbi Eliyahu Benhaim – said “Better than giving your wife a diamond ring – offer her to do the dishes.”

Rule # 6 – Be happy. Smile and make others happy.

Show a Bright face not a sad face. A face is part of the public domain – don’t “damage” people with your scour.

Learning to Give Compliments from a Rabbi

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A New Book by Artscroll Publishers, “Yedidi – Rabbi Shmuel Berkovicz, whose warmth and caring inspired people to strive for greatness by Rabbi Yechiel Spero” is about a Congregation Rabbi that lead with love.

Recently, in the Weekly Mesorah Heritage Foundation’s Torah pamphlet called “AT THE ARTSCROLL SHABBOS TABLE – WEEKLY INSPIRATION AND INSIGHT ADAPTED FROM CLASSIC ARTSCROLL TITLES” Acharei Mos / פרשת אחרי מות / כייט ניסן תשפייב / 5782 / APRIL 30, 2022 / ISSUE #88 – it talks of his all compassing love for others.

Here is a quote I found particularly Helpful in the quest to make others feel good.

It Doesn’t Cost Money
Shlomo Hamelech / King Solomon teaches (Mishlei / Proverbs 25:11), “Tapuchei zahav be’maskiyos kasef davar davur al ofnav” Like golden apples carved on silver plates, so is a word spoken in its proper place.” Rabbi Berkovicz was the master of saying the right thing, at the right time, in the right place. He understood the power of a compliment and did not hold back. No one was too smart or too simple, too old or too young, too chashuv or too insignificant for a compliment from Reb Shmuel. As he always said, “Es kost nisht kein gelt. It doesn’t cost money to make someone feel good!”

Pursue & Practice Pleasantness

It’s a challenge to always be nice and pleasant.

I feel you can say almost anything to a person in a nice way. I try – but it doesn’t always work. So how can one learn?

Emotions get in the way. One first step is getting control of one’s emotions.My rebbi used to say a person’s mind should control their heart not the other way around.

Another is practice talking nicely and weighing one’s words.

Another is learning works of mussar / Jewish ethics – like Duties of the Heart (Chovos ha-Levavos R Bachya ben Joseph ibn Paquda) and Pirkei Avot.

Duties of the Heart – talks about how a Jewish person is to act, feel, think. It is a good start.

In the introduction to the Sefer / Book we read:

Inward service, however, consists of the fulfillment of the Duties of the Heart such as: to acknowledge the Unity of G-d in our hearts, believe in Him and His torah, to undertake His service, that we revere Him and humble ourselves before Him, that we love Him, trust in Him, and give over our lives to Him, that we abstain from what He hates, devote our actions to His Name, that we reflect on the benefits He bestows, and similar things which are performed by the thoughts and sentiments of the heart but do not associate with activity of the visible limbs of the body.

Belief & Trust in G-d is also an important aspect of being pleasant. When a person believes in G-d – knowing that all that comes from Him is for the good – his or her reactions are different than one who lacks trust. A person who trusts Hash-m will understand that all that happens is for the good. Keeping that in mind at all times is a challenge. To do so one can read books like the series “Living Emuna – Living a daily life of Trust in Hashem” By Rabbi David Ashear illuminates practical stories of how simple people who trusted Hash-m were able to overcome many difficulties.

Practice smiling.

Practice connecting.

Become better every day.

The Census of the Israelites – Lift Up Your Fellow & Yourself

The Parasha / Torah reading of Ki Tisa Hash-m / G-d tells Moshe “When You count the heads of the children of Israel – you will take an atonement for their souls. And their shall not be a plague among you.” (Shemot / Exodus 30:12)

The Torah does not use the Hebrew word for “Count” it uses the Hebrew word “Tisa” which means uplift. Meaning when we encounter a person – it is up to us to uplift them. Help them reach a higher level spiritually. Say a nice word. Smile. Teach them some Torah thought.

In Pirkei Avot (1:12) it says “Be like the Disciples of Aharon HaCohen (Aaron – Brother of Moses) – Love Peace and Pursue Peace – love the creations and draw them close to the Torah.” That’s how we lift others up – by drawing them close to Torah.

Making others feel better makes you happy as well. It works both ways – we should be happy – and that will overflow to others. But also when we rejoice others it makes us happy. Why? Because doing a mitzvah (of making others happy) gives joy to the soul.

The Jews would count by means of each person giving half a Shekel coin. They would then count the coins. Thus the eye would not be focused on the people but on the coins. Something that is counted limits it and limits the blessing. When the blessing is limited the “Evil Eye” can affect it. Thus by counting coins instead of people – it prevents a plague from happening to the people.

 

 

 

The Separate Wedding – Do Good for Yourself & the Dead

A Kosher phone. Kosher food. Kosher thoughts.

In Torah we – are careful what we ingest. Vegans & Vegetarians are careful because they don’t want to hurt animals. We eat Kosher – that is careful not to hurt animals – in the sense that animals are slaughtered without feeling pain. But in Kosher food – we also refrain from hurting our souls.

We do not eat non-kosher not because it is not healthy. Non kosher food may be very healthy. We do not eat it because we are concerned with our souls. Non-kosher food is detrimental to our souls. The Torah wants us to be refined. Eating an unrefined animal may cause us to acquire some of the unrefined characteristics of that animal.

When we have a wedding we make sure the food is Kosher for the guests. But more than that we are careful to not to cause things detrimental to the soul of others. In Torah-observant weddings there is music, dancing, food and holiness.

The bride and groom are entering into holy matrimony. One of the ways we keep this wedding holy is to separate the men and the women. We hold dancing separately as to not cause promiscuity and incite improper thoughts among the guests.

The sages say that having a separate-dancing wedding helps the couple. It brings holiness to the couple’s relationship. It prevents them from having problems later in life.

If you think of it it makes sense having separate dancing at a wedding & Bar Mitzvah. For the bar mitzvah – we celebrate the boy becoming a man – being responsible to observe the Mitzvot of Hash-m. Yes dance. But to dance mixed is to turn a meaningful event into a disco. That’s inappropriate. The same applies to the wedding. Why turn a holy event into a cheap discotheque?

Torah says that the departed relatives of the bride and the groom attend a kosher wedding. Let them enjoy the wedding.

The Prince’s Gift

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There was once a king. Getting older, he realized that one day he had to give over his kingdom to his successor, his son. After educating him in history, science, music, math and aspects of being a king he called in his son. ” My dear son , one day you will be king. As a king one must understand the needs of his people. Till now we gave you the best formal education. Now we want to send you out into the world to learn how to deal with all kinds of people. For one year you will travel from place to place with an assistant to go about your learning of how to deal with people. I just ask from you that you bring me a souvenir which – could be an object or a piece of information – as a momento of your voyage.”

The next day The Prince and his assistant set out to travel throughout the country. They met many people & discovered many places. Near the end of their voyage they realized soon they had to return the to the Palace and had still not found a souvenir to bring back to the king.

The prince said to his assistant “Let’s go to this County Fair and see if we can find something worthwhile to buy for the king.” They went to the fair and saw a merchant selling jewelry. The jewelry caught the prince’s eye. He said this is a great gift for the king. They asked Jeweler how much it cost. The Jeweler replied 18000 rubles. He was very interested and told his assistant quietly we have 20 thousand rubles. Let’s buy this jewelry for the king. His assistance replied “We can’t just buy jewelry without determining if it is authentic.” They asked around if there was an independent jeweler in the town.

They found that there was no Jeweler but someone mentioned that there was a very wise rabbi that’s could possibly help them. They asked where could they find him. People directed them to his house. They asked where they could find the rabbi – they had an important question for him. She said “the governor of this town does not like the Jews – so he finds false accusations to keep the rabbi in jail. The rabbi is now in jail on a false accusation.”

The prince and his assistant go to the jail hand speak with the Warden – ” we need to talk with this rabbi” they show that they are from the palace and the warden lets the rabbi out. They bring the rabbi to the jeweler. They ask him “Do you know anything about jewelry?” the Rabbi says a little bit. “Can you tell us if this jewelry is real?”

The rabbi took the jewelry and threw it on the floor. The jewels that appeared to be diamonds shattered into pieces. The rabbi said obviously these are not real diamonds otherwise they would not have broken.

The assistant said “Thank you so much. You saved us thousands of rubles.” The prince said “very good. send him back to jail.”

They were back to square one. They had to find a gift for the king. They found at the fair a beautiful White Arabian horse for sale. They asked the merchant the price of the horse. He replied 15000 rubles. The prince was excited to buy the horse. His assistant reason him and said we have to see if this is a worthwhile purchase. They did not find an expert in horses in the town. They decided to bring back the rabbi to validate the sale.

They brought back the rabbi. They asked “Does the rabbi know how to evaluate a horse?” He said “Not particularly, but it would make sense for someone to ride the horse before purchasing it.”

The prince told the merchant get on the horse and to ride it before him. The merchant hesitated but the prince was adamant. When he got up on the horse it was running wild, bucking up and down and standing up. He threw the merchant onto the fence. The merchant was badly bruised. The assistant was shaken that this could have happened to the king had they given the horse to the king.

The assistant thanked the rabbi very much. The prince said “okay. send him back to the prison.”

The prince was worried because he did not have a gift to take back to the king. He remembered that he could bring the king an astounding piece of information. He told this to the assistant. The assistant said “Let’s ask the rabbi. He is very wise. He can tell us astounding information.”

They went to the rabbi, asking him for information to bring back to the king. The rabbi responded – “I have astounding information but I can only tell it to the prince alone.” The assistant was reluctant, but the prince assured him that he could trust the old rabbi to stay alone with him.

Alone, the rabbi approached the prince and whispered in his ear. “Do not be shocked. The astounding information I have to tell you is that ‘you are not the actual son of the king.'” The prince was shaken. I didn’t know how to take this information.

The assistant asked him what did the rabbi tell you? The prince could not reveal it to him. He was in a rush to get back to the Palace. At the palace they made a grand reception for the return of the prince. After the festivities – the king had a private conversation with the prince. He asked him what is the souvenir you brought me? The prince was still shaking. He said “I met a rabbi and he told me that I I’m not your real son.”

The King was astounded. The prince demanded that the king tell him the truth. The King admitted that he was not his real son but an adopted son. the king didn’t know how this information leaked out. No one knew is this Secret.

They called the Rabbi and the King asked – “How is it that you knew that my son was not my real son?” The Rabbi replied “When your son called me for help to select a gift for you – the first time I saved him thousands of Rubles – afterwards he threw me back in prison. The second time I saved him from possibly causing the King to be thrown off a wild horse – afterwards he threw me back in prison. A person who has Royal blood has feelings of Gratitude towards others. He should have freed me from prison out of gratitude. The fact he did not,  I determined he was not your real son.”

Gratitude is a sign of nobility. Gratitude to family. Gratitude to others. Gratitude to G-d.

– A Story from the Riznitzer Rebbe

The 95 Million Dollar Mistake

Someone I know woke up one morning. His private bank called him. “Did you happen to make a transfer of $95 Million to your account?”

“No.” He replied. “It appears someone mistakenly sent $95 Million Dollars to your account. We don’t know the sender because it was an anonymous account.”

Four Months pass and interest in those days was high – about 15%. He accrued the interest. Lawyers for the sender of the money finally contact the bank. They say we are requesting the money back. You don’t have to return the interest. You just have to sign some papers.

The receiver man refused. He said I want to meet the sender in person. The person took a plane to Europe and they met face to face. He was an American. The receiver told him I wanted to assure myself that this was not a scam or a laundering operation. He told his lawyers to check the papers and he signed – giving the $95 Million dollars back and the interest as well.

The American thought it was foolish not to at least keep the interest. The receiver replied “It’s yours – you keep it.”

I heard it first Hand. In Torah it says “Dover Emet Bilvavo” – Speak truth in your heart.

Once Rabbi Safra was reciting the Shema Yisrael. Someone offered him to price to buy a diamond – while he was saying it. Since the rabbi didn’t / couldn’t answer the offer – the man offered a higher price. He kept on offering a higher price. When Rav Safra completed his Shema – he said – I’ll give it to you for the initial price you offered. I accepted the offer in my heart and it would be dishonest to accepat a higher price.

Torah Honesty says “Speak truth in your Heart.”