Jan 29, 2009

Blessing of Jerusalem

Mrs. Raize Guttman

January 25, 2009

Jan 19, 2009

Blessing for the Righteous

January 18th

Mrs. Raizy Guttman

Prayer for the Righteous

If you remember in the last 2 blessings we asked G-d to bring complete justice to the world to remove all evildoers. Now we pray for the righteous people that they be raised and rewarded. It’s a prayer for now and also continues our stages of events when Moshiach will come. Lets go through all the steps of moshiach:
1. The big Shofar will be the sign that moshiach is here. 2. a great miracle, a banner of G-d will be revealed in the world. 3. The ingathering of the Exiles 4. Restoration of the true judges and leaders of the people 5. people who cause pain to the Jews will repent or be destroyed. 6. All righteous people will be raised and receive their reward.

“Upon the Tzadikim and upon the Chassidim”

What is the difference between a tzadik [righteous person] and a chosid? A Tzadik is constantly putting G-ds will in front of their own. They nullify their own will in front of G-ds. Of course they make some mistakes, “There is no righteous man in the world who only does good in the world” [Ecclesiastes]. The will of G-d is always the uppermost in his mind. When I think of a Tzadik I am reminded of a very special tzadik that I knew personally. Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurebach was agreat man who passed away 13 years ago. He had a smiling, shining face and was beloved by everyone. A righteous person always puts the will of G-d before his own. At his wife’s funeral he said “Normally at a funeral of a spouse the husband asks the wife for forgiveness. I don’t have to ask you for forgiveness and you don’t have to ask me because we lived our lives according to the Torah.” Which reminded me of another story. As soon as Rav Shlomo Zalman got married he said to his wife in the yichud room “Listen, I know that there will be times when we don’t agree on things. I want you to know that if we ever don’t agree on something: You’re right.” Couples always disagree but the question is how do we disagree. There’s a Torah way to disagree!
What is a Chossid? It doesn’t mean someone with payos and streimels. It means someone who goes beyond the call of duty. They do more than they are required. The word chossid comes from the word giving. They are overflowing with their desire to give to G-d and do whatever they can to sanctify G-ds name. Some say that a chossid is a higher level than a tzadik. A tzadik serves G-d out of fear and a chossid out of love.

The Avudraham says that a chossid is one who strayed from the right path and then returned. “In the place that b’alei tshuva stand, even the greatest righteous person cannot stand in that same place.”

There is a concept by the gentiles called “Righteous gentiles”. Like the ones during the war who went above and beyond what was expected of them. They are called “Chassidei umos haolam”. They are also going to get their reward when moshiach comes.

“V’al Zikeni amcho bais yisroel” The word Zaken is usually translated as elderly. But the word zaken really stands for “This person has acquired wisdom”. Therefore we are referring to our sages and the leaders of the people. So then why does it say “On the elders of your nation, the house of Israel?” It didn’t say anything about the house of Israel and the nations by the Chassidim. One answer is that when it comes to the leaders of the generation we should know that they are tailor made for the people. If the gedolim of today are who they are, this is exactly what our nation needs. The leaders of the Jewish people today are just for us.
Another explanation is that when we can also pray for the welfare of the righteous gentiles of the world, but when we pray for leaders of the people, we only pray for our own leaders.
Others say that zekainim also means the elderly people and those who have merited old age. A few months ago my grandmother passed away. I developed a very special bond with her when I lived in Israel for the past 19 years. My other grandmother lived in America and we developed a close relationship when I lived there as well. She always listened, loved and appreciated me. I had a special and unique relationship with her. Both of my grandmothers were true role models for me and gave me so much. Now that I don’t have grandparents anymore I truly feel that void. No one can give me today what they gave me. When we daven for our elders in this blessing I think of my own elders who built me into the person that I am.
Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky was once traveling on a plane with his son. The son was catering to his every need. Sitting next to him was a gentile elderly man. He said to him “Why does your son treat you like that? My son barely looks at me!!” Rav Yaakov said “Listen, you believe in evolution and that you came from monkeys. Your son looks at you and sees you as one step closer to the apes. We believe that we were created in G-ds image and He gave the torah to the Jews at Mt Sinai, when my son looks at me he sees me as one step closer to Moses.” Our elders are that much closer to G-dliness. We pray for all these people here.
The next category is the “Pleitas Sofrim” “Teachers of the Torah”
There are not that many Torah teachers left who teach purely for the sake of G-d! We bless those special people who have educated Jews to go in the way of Torah. Without these people we would cease to exist as a Jewish people. We Ask G-d to show favor to the remaining Torah teachers. Before we read from the Torah scrolls we ask G-d to watch over those teachers who taught it to us.
We can all close our eyes and remember the one or two special teachers who have shaped and made us into the people we are, those who have inspired us to greater levels of serving G-d. It is these people that we are praying for here.
There’s an interesting episode in the gemarah: There’s a story about R’ Chiyah decided that he will reintroduce Torah into a generation where it was nearly forgotten. He went and planted flax in the ground and from there he made nets, caught deer, used the deer hides to make parchments and upon those parchments he wrote the torah. He went from city to city and taught 5 boys each book of Moses, and when the boy knew it well he would teach it to the others. Why was this necessary to do all this work? Why not just open a school?
In order to ensure that the Torah would never be forgotten, there have to be 100% pure motives from the very beginning. Only then will it have pure and holy results. If you had 1 teacher who had pure motives in order to shape, teach and inspire you, you are very fortunate. How fortunate are the teachers, but even more so how fortunate is the student is to have a teacher who is so special. The Chiddushei haRim said that if everyone knew what kind of reward teachers of small children get, everyone would run to be a teacher.
The teacher who teaches someone the Aleph Bais is the one who will get all the reward for when that child continues on to learn.
The next category is the righteous converts; people who converted for the right reason. They didn’t convert for any ulterior motives other than to live for G-d. The commentators say that the classical case of righteous converts are the ones in the story of Yonah. All the people who were left on the ship when Yonah went overboard saw that there was a G-d and they all converted. They become inspired and become righteous converts.
Who are these converts really? What are there souls? Are they Jews? Gentiles?When G-d went around and asked all the nations if they wanted to accept the Torah all the nations as a whole said no. But there were always a few individuals who did really want the Torah. We have a special commandment in the Torah to love the convert. We acknowledge their greatness and we pray for them here.
In reference to the days of moshiach concerning the convert: [Zecharyah, 8:23] “many people and mighty nations will come to seek out G-d, master of legions. In those days it will happen that 10 men of all the different nations will take hold of the corner of a garment of a Jewish man saying ‘Let us go with you for we have heard that G-d is with you!”
When Moshiach comes, all the other nations will want to join the Jews! We will have to determine who wants to join us for pure reasons and who wants to join us because of the honor that we have attained. But by then we’ll have the true judges and they will be able to make this prophetic decision of who is a pure convert and not.
Last but not least of people for whom we pray is for ourselves!! We pray that we should merit all these blessings. Therefore we say “may Your mercy be activated”, what does this mean? We ask that His mercy be felt and experienced. Just like we don’t actually feel the air until the wind blows, we ask to be able to “feel” G-ds kindness.
And with that mercy, we ask for a good reward to those who trust in you truly. This line is sort of a summery of all the people that we’ve spoken about until now. What is the common denominator of all the people? They all trust in Hashem truly. That is the summery of what it means to be a righteous person. The middah of Bitachon – trust is the foundation of this blessing.

Emunah = Faith which is an intellectual idea
Bitachon = Taking that Faith and making it real. Trust is something we feel and experience

A beautiful way to explain the difference is that Emunah is to imagine that you’re standing in line for a roller coaster and watching all the people. They are screaming and turning upside down and screaming “help! I’m going to die!”. You’re standing there smiling because you know that they are not going to die, this amusement park has been around for 30 years and nobody has ever fallen off and died. Its scary when you’re up there, but you know that they’re fine. That’s Emunah. Bitachon means when YOU’RE on the roller coaster! Are you going to be the one to scream that you’re dying? Or do you have that same calmness and relaxed feeling of complete and total trust in G-d and belief that you as you did when your feet were on the ground. Emunah is in theory and Bitachon is in practice.
Another good analogy is that you have a sick old neighbor who is all alone and has no relatives. One day she asks you “Listen, can you do me a favor? I ran out of medication and without this medication I can’t live. Can you please do a favor for me and pick up the medication for me?” And you think “O my gosh, I have the craziest day today, when on earth will I have time to stand on line and be able to do this?” And she says “But you’re the only person I can ask! I have nobody else!” Of course you’re going to get her the medication because you’re the only one she’s trusting. When we say to G_d, You’re the only one who can help me! I know you’re busy and everything, but if You don’t help me, I don’t have anyone else to help me.” Of course G-d will help you there because you really only trust in Him, and He wont abandon you.
“May our lot be with them” May we merit to receive the great reward who are those who have that complete trust in G-d. May we merit the same reward, and also we are requesting that we too reach this level of bitachon. It’s a request to be able to totally trust in Him.
“Forever we will not be embarrassed because we trusted in You” May the level of our trust never be a source of our embarrassment! This area of trust is the contestant job of a Jew. The Aleph Bais of the Jew is “Emunah and Bitachon”. We live in a world where G-d is so hidden. We see so much pain and suffering and we think “G-d, come one, how can you be here with all this craziness going on around us?” We will still say that we know that what happens in this world is from G-d and is good.
The gemarah says “Rabbi Simlai says: there are 613 mitzvos given to moshe and these are the things Jews have to do. David came along and he said ‘you know what? Let’s narrow that down to 11 things that a Jew needs to do.’ He quotes Psalm 15 and lists 11 things that categorize what a Jew is really made up of. Michah then came along and changed it into 3 things: “Be just, Love kindness, and walk modestly with G-d”. Then Chavakuk came along and said no, let’s boil it down to just 1 thing. “A righteous person lives with belief.”
We end of this blessing with “Blessed are you G-d, the support and the source of trust for the righteous people”. We conclude this blessing with reference to those we started the blessing with. In truth, every single on of us has a potential to be that tzadik. That is why we pray for ourselves in this as well. We should really shed tears when we say these words that G-d should make our lots like these righteous people. Every one of us has a specific mission to fulfill. We have to figure out who we are and what our job is.
After 120, we are not going to be asked why weren’t you Moshe? But why weren’t you YOU? Why haven’t you reached the great potential that I have given you?
This is the same idea that we learnt in this past week’s parsha. When moses was born his mother put him in a little ark and put him in the water. The daughter of Pharoa stuck out her hand and saved the baby. She brought him to her and he was crying. She figured he must be hungry and tried to nurse him and he refused to nurse from this woman because she wasn’t a Jew. They were worried and called a Jewish woman to nurse him. There is a halacha that says that any Jewish child should not nurse from a gentile woman. R’ Yakkov Kaminetzky says that just like Moses was going to speak to G-d and the mouth that will speak to G-d cant nurse from a gentile woman, and you would think that this only applies to Moses! But we see here that every Jewish baby has the potential to become a Moshe rabbeinu. We have to aspire always to this greatness. They say if you aim for the top, you might get to the middle. But if you aim for the middle, you wont get anywhere.
We can’t do it alone and we ask Hashem to help us. Hashem is our support and lets us achieve greatness and He is the source of trust. If we do our part, then G-d will help us by doing His. If one puts his trust completely in G-d and we just TRY and realize we have nothing to fear or worry about, G-d will remove all his fears and anxieties. He is the source of trust. Isaiah [17:7] Blessed is the man who trusts in G-d, and G-d will be his source of trust. It is for this that we daven for in this blessing.
Rav Miller says that from these words “Support and source of trust”, this is the reference for the times today [support] and the times of moshiach [source of trust]. We pray for the righteous people today and those in the future. May we all merit being among the righteous people with the coming of moshiach.

You’ve got questions? She’s got answers!

Q: I have a comment for Raizy: when you where talking about the righteous teachers, that hit home that you are wonderful. We think of you whenever we’re doing the shmoneh esrei and you brought so much meaning to it. You put such thought and effort to put such meaning into this and it has made such a difference to me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Q: All Chassidim are balei tshuva?
A: That’s one explanations. He defines a chossid as a b’al tshuva. A B’al tshuva goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Q: What about all the Chassidim?
A: That doesn’t exclude the other Chassidim!!

Q: You quoted Zechariyah saying that G-d was Master of Legions, and I was wondering if you could explain all the different aspects of the names of G-d.
A: Beautiful question! Master of legions means that G-d is the Master of armies and armies of angels that He has up in Heaven and it includes also the Jewish people. That’s what all the multitudes and legions means.

Jan 16, 2009

Blessing Against Heretics

January 11th

This is the blessing of the Slanderers or the Heretics.

This begins with a Vuv and the Vuv represents a connection to something else. This blessing is closely connected to the one before. The previous blessing ended with “The King who loves kindness and justice”. But to the slanderers [this blessing] do not judge them favorably.

Who are we asking G-d to punish harshly?

This blessing was not one of the original 18. It was added later on. The Gemarah in Brachos tells us that this blessing about the heretics was instituted in Yavneh, around time of the destruction of the Second Temple.

Tzidukim=Minim=people of various offshoots of Judaism that don’t accept the basic idea that the entire Torah was given to us from G-d. They amend and change the Torah.

Tzidukim are people who believed in Jesus, Judeo Christians. They considered him to be the messiah and used the Tanach to further their beliefs. They didn’t believe in the Oral Law. This was a form of reform Judaism whose main ideas were love and kindness. As long as you were a good person the laws were unimportant.

Eventually these Tzedukim represented a real danger to the Jewish people at large. Rabbi Gamliel instituted this special blessing for the destruction of the people.

The name of Shmoneh Esrei [meaning 18] was left as 18 because they wanted to not have to say this blessing after a while even though we say 19.

The author of this blessing was Shmuel Hakatan, Samuel the Small. Rabbi Gamliel said to all of the wise men “Is there no person around that can compose a blessing about these heretics??” Shmuel Hakatan got up and composed this.

Its an interesting way to ask this question. The answer is that in order to compose a blessing about destroying other people, the composer needs to be really humble without any anger, etc. Otherwise it would be tainted with arrogance and hatred. Samuel the Small was called that because he was extremely humble.

Samuel the Small wrote something in Pirkei Avos that is indicative of how modest he was. People composed whatever they felt was close to their hearts and they wanted to impart to the Jewish People. Samuel the Small was so humble that he didn’t even compose his own words. He quoted from somewhere else. He said [Proverbs] “When you’re enemies fall, do not be glad and when he stumbles, let your heart not rejoice”. This is Samuel the Small’s reaction to his own prayer.

What happened to the Tzedukim? Judeo-Christianity turned into Christianity! The heads of Judeo Christianity went to Paul, and Paul promoted this new religion among the Gentiles, and they accepted it. Why did the gentiles grab onto this new religion? Because the intelligent people in Rome were throwing away their beliefs in their g-d and were looking for something new. They replaced their form of old idol worship with a new idol worship called the trinity.

Now they were not [seemingly] a threat to Judaism. Christian leaders teach to hate the Jews though which is the cause of untold Jewish suffering. The downfall of the Tzedukim was a great accomplishment though to see how prayer from the heart really works.

Prayer from the heart really works wonders!

The threat of Judeo Christians is gone. The gentiles threat to wipe us out physically but the Judeo Christians tried to do it spiritually.

“For the slanderers, let there be no hope”.

The text of this blessing is completely different from the original text composed by Samuel the Small. It was changed out of fear of the Christians. This is a watered down version.

Now we say “the slanderers” but the original text read “The heretics”. These people would go to the Roman authorities and slander the Jews. They would report the Jews as anti-Christian with false information. The church would confiscate and burn hand written gemarahs. The church was so scared and there was so much slanderous information that they received from these Judeo-Christians that they would burn their texts.

“All the heretics should perish in an instant”
The Ashkenaz version is all the “evil” should perish in an instant. The Vilna Gaon says this means that its an attack on evil and not the people who perpetrate that evil. But one must know that there is a halacha in the shulchan aruch [Yoreh deah 158:2] A heritic who denies the validity of Torah, transgresses Torah mitzvos out of disregard of torah authority, it’s a mitzvah to kill him or indirectly cause his death. This is not an operable today but it was a halacha in the past.
This seems a bit extreme! They’re not necessarily harming anybody. Except, Rabbi Leff says, imagine a sniper standing on top of a roof killing everybody… a SWAT team member is called in to kill this man. He is considered a hero!

“One who causes someone to sin is worse than someone who murders him physically. Spiritual murder is for eternity.”

This law doesn’t apply today for a number of reasons: before one will be able to kill this heretic, he needs to be rebuked in the proper way. But there is nobody today who can properly rebuke another person. Rebuke must come from 100% pure motive, for the sake of Heaven.

The Chofetz Chaim was someone who was able to rebuke someone well. There was someone who was violating the Shabbos in the neighborhood. The people convinced him to speak to the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim took his hands and looked him straight in the eye and said “Shabbos! Shabbos!” The tears started rolling down his eyes and said “Shabbos! Shabbos!” This man was so moved by this rebuke that clearly pained the Chofetz Chaim that he became shomer Shabbos.

If a person feels cared for then they will be able to hear the rebuke.

Nowadays killing a heretic would never bring about a love of Heaven. Any heretic nowadays we try to reach out to them with love and care.

“May all your enemies be swiftly cut down”
This refers to the non-Jewish enemies. This is different from the next phrase which refers to the Jewish enemies including self hating Jews and Jews for Jesus.
“May they certainly be uprooted, broken, cut into small pieces, humble them, quickly in our time”
Why is the wording for the Jewish enemies so much longer than the regular enemies?
These heretics, quickly they should be uprooted to prevent any future growth. No group or organization should grow any further. Then we say that they should be broken. They shouldn’t be effective. They should lose their power as a group and become individuals. And humble them to have the ability to repent.

We end this blessing with
“Blessed are you G-d who breaks the enemies and humbles the evildoers”

We ask that the non-Jewish enemies be scattered and the Jewish evildoers be subdued. Our non-Jewish enemies like Hitler, the Nazis, the Arabs etc. We pray that they should be broken and destroyed. And then we say but for the Jewish evildoers? We just ask that they be humbled. They should be subdued and come back to G-d. All we really want is that our brothers should come home.

We know that a person sins when they are too arrogant.

This blessing has 28 words which has the numerical value of strength. This signifies that our strength against our enemies lies in our power of prayer. Today more than ever we are fighting the last exile. We are in the final days.

The Arabs have a tremendous power which they are using against us which is the same power that we have. That is prayer. Yishmael got his name from the power of prayer. His name means “G-d will hear”.

If we don’t grab into this power of prayer, G-d forbid the Arabs will have the upper hand! The whole war is a war of prayer. There is no logical solution to this problem here. Nobody can sit down to come to any sort of rational solution and the only thing that we can do now is pray. We have to overtake their power. Learning about prayer at this time is so important and beautiful for the redemption which will hopefully come very soon in the merit of our prayer.

You’ve got questions? She’s got answers.

Q: You always hear the Christians say that the Jews had too many laws, and that they have it better because they have the Grace of G-d and now they don’t have to follow the laws. How do you respond to this?
A: What they mean is probably the Love of G-d. Their philosophy is that G-d loves those who love each other and that is enough. G-d will be happy with you and you don’t need to keep any laws. Just being a good person is not enough. Based on what are you a good person? Nazis also thought they were good people because they were getting rid of all the “garbage”. They were going to purify the world and doing a great service to humanity by ridding the world of the Jews! According to humanity they were doing a good thing. That’s the problem of having peace, love and brotherhood without any sort of medium. We have a Torah of truth and kindness. We cant judge based on our own decisions what is right and wrong. Christianities morals are based on peace brotherhood and love. We believe in that but it has to be based on a certain law system and not “Whatever I feel is right.”

Q: I really appreciate your words about rebuking. Is there any more reading on the fine art of rebuking?

A: We learn the laws of rebuke from Moses. Deuteronomy is called a review of the Torah. On the last day of Moses’s life he is rebuking them. The first words are “These are the words that Moses spoke to the Jewish people”. Every word in that first verse in Deuteronomy teaches us how to give rebuke. He said each sin in one word. He hinted to all of the sins. Don’t sock a rebuke to someone. Preserve their dignity. Never take away a person’s dignity. The rebuke came after the war. Give a person rebuke when they are not in a bad mood. A person needs enough self-esteem to be able to listen to the rebuke. It was on the day of his death when everyone really wanted to hear what he had to say. But in order to really fulfill every prerequisite for rebuke is almost impossible.

Q: I’m uncomfortable with supporting killing people. They seem like people who haven’t even done any physical harm, they were a threat but they no longer exist. I am struggling with this blessing that says its ok to kill people.
A: I understand you because I felt the same way. The real essence of this blessing is to do away with evil and not evil doers. But at the same time there are enemies of the Jewish people that we do want to destroy because their whole purpose is to kill us. There is a halacha that if someone gets up to kill you, you have to kill them first!

Q: With rebuking, the timing is so important.
A: Its true, you have to know the right time to rebuke. If you wait to long, they might not know what you’re talking about. But if you do it too quickly they wont be able to even hear what you’re saying. You’re right 100% you make a very good point.

Jan 7, 2009

Blessing of Restoring Justice

  • Mrs. Raizy Guttman, January 4, 2009

    We are up to the blessing of the Judges. Restoration of Justice in the world. I don’t think there is any more appropriate time than today to pray for the Restoration of Justice.

    This is the fourth stage in the bringing of the Moshiach. The first three stages were:

    Blowing the shofar

    A great Miracle will occur

    Ingathering of the Exiles

    This is the restoration of justice and the Sanhedrin, which was the judicial law system at the time of the Holy Temple. They sat in one of the rooms of the Temple and they judged the people.
    When Moshiach comes, the Sanhedrin will be reinstated. We say “Restore our judges as in earlier times and our counselors” These words are taken from Isaiah: [1:26] “And I will return your judges as in the beginning and your advisors as at first”. These are exactly the same words that we use in our blessing. Then he continues with his prophecy. “After that, you will be called a city of rightousness and a city of loyalty [Jerusalem] Zion will be redeemed with justice and the captives will be returned with rightousness. Sinners will be broken and the betrayers of G-d will be no more.” This is the prophecy that Isaiah gives about when Moshiach will come.

    “I will return your judges” Who are these judges? David and Solomon.
    “Your advisors will be the same as at first” Who are they? Moses and Aaron
    The Vilna Gaon explains: I will return your judges as in the beginning, and advisors as the first: The judges were the first of their kind, there were other judges before them but nobody was like David and Solomon. And he says the advisors should be like the very start. There were no leaders before Moses and Aaron. They were the actual firsts.

    In this blessing we are actually begging G-d to send us back the judges to restore order to this crazy world that we live in.

    The word Shofet means Order.

    Everyone will get exactly what they deserve. There wont be a confusion like we see today where the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. Justice will eventually be restored to the world. We wont have to grit our teeth to see how innocent people are being tortured and theres nothing we can do. We will have righteous people judging us, there will be serenity and peace in the world due to the absolute justice.

    We beg G-d to send us advisors who can guide us individually and as a nation towards repentance. Rav Shimon Shwab explains that this will be a massive tshuva movement. Prophets such as Elija and Elisha will cousel and advise us individually about exactly which areas we need to do tshuva. All of this tremendous awakening will bring about the greatest joy that is imaginable. Nobody will be busy with nonsense, we’ll be sharing Hashem Loves Me stories all day.

    The next words are “Remove from us grief and sighing”. Isaiah [35;10] “They will attain joy and gladness and grief and sighing will flee”. What is grief? When a person carries frustration and pain inside of him. Moaning and sighing refers to the kvetching that we do as a result of our pain. When the final redemption will come we wont have to kvetch and sigh as a result of the true restoration of justice.

    The original text of this blessing was: “Remove from us the kingdom of Greece and Rome” Later on the words were changed to “Remove from us sighing and grief”. Its really the same. Greece and Rome were the epitome of physicality. The more we focus on ourselves the more removed we become from G-d. We talk, act and think like the non-jews. With this blessing we are asking G-d to send us the right holy people so that we can talk, act and think like true Jews. The only way we can remove sighing and grieving is by removing the non-jew in us.

    Why is there so much baseless hatred among the Jews? It’s coming from the non-Jew within the Jew. That’s what hates the other Jew. “The non-Jews hate the Jews” That’s a fact of the world. The Jew has been in exile for so long and has picked up so many ideas of the non-Jew that THAT’S what hates the fellow Jew.

    Proper judges = blessing in the world and no fighting between people

    Shalom [peace] comes from the word Shaleim [wholeness]. Working together towards one goal

    Peace is like one big baseball team. You wont be jealous of your teammate who gets a home run!

    We’re all Jews and we’re all playing on the same team to sanctify G-ds name.

    “You G-d will rule over all of us”
    By Himself, with kindness and mercy
    When we treat each other with peace and love, G-d will rule over us with kindness and mercy

    “Treat us charitably with justice”. We beg G-d to act with us charitably within the strict justice of redemption
  • We have to fulfill these words in order to merit this.
  • We have to judge others favorably even when they hurt us!
  • Only G-d knows about how you fulfill this commandment because it is a commandment that is done in your heart.
  • Judge every man favorably.
  • This is the foundation of all relationships.
  • The greatness of a person is being able to look past the negative in a person and seeing the good!
  • “You should judge the whole man favorably” [Pirkei Avos]
    Why the whole man?
    When we judge a person we zero in on one aspect of a person. We don’t like one part of the person and then we end up with prejudice and biasness.
  • See all the good aspects of the person as well
  • When we say the words about judgment we should be thinking about this idea.
    It’s a blessing that refers to us as judges as well. We always make judgments. “Return our judges to as they were before” Before we saw anything negative in the person, return our judgments within ourselves.
  • Rebbitzen Neusdat said in terms of the war that’s going on, our job is to be davening as though we were out there on the front lines. We need to be judging favorably and acting with peace.
  • We end this by saying “Blessed are you G-d, King who loves charity and justice”
    Abraham was told by G-d [Genesis: 18;19] to command his children and household to do charity and justice.
    David is known as the one who does justice and charity.
  • Chofetz Chaim said: G-d loves justice and charity together. When it comes to how I act towards other people, it has to be with justice and I should be careful with someone elses feelings. When it comes to the way others act towards me that should be with kindness, love, patience.
  • Do we want to bring Moshiach and restore justice to the world? Then we have to bring that about through our charity and justice towards one another
  • Story of father in the kitchen
  • We ask G-d to send us the proper leaders. So that we can act in the just, fair and charitable way of G-d.
  • The navi Ezekiel addresses the leaders of his generation and says to the ones who are remiss in their leadership duties: “Whoa to the shepards of Israel who allow the sheep to lead the shepperds. The weak ones he didn’t strengthen, the sick ones you didn’t heal, the broken ones you didn’t bandage up and the ones outside the flock you didn’t return them home. The lost ones you didn’t seek.” Who are the weak ones? The ones who keep the commandments as much as they know but the don’t continue to learn. The sick ones; the ones who keep the commandments but are lax in cheating, stealing and immorality. The broken ones: the ones who keep commandments selectively. They pick and choose. The Jews who are outside the folds. The lost ones are the ones that don’t even know that there’s a flock.
  • All these Jews will be brought back. The ones who will be left out are the ones who purposefully left G-d out of their world.

  • You’ve got questions? She’s got answers!

    Q: Where can we find the 13 principles of faith?
    A: page 242 in the interlinear

    Q: At the time of the redemption, all the Jews will be brought back into the fold, what happens to children of conversos? What will happen to them?
    A: Everyone will be given an opportunity to choose. Right now, these children have no idea that they are even Jewish, but everyone will be given the opportunity to choose G-d.

    Q: Is that everyone?A: All the good people will get good. Everyone will get exactly what they deserve.

    Q: When do you say [based on someones actions] that you are out? How far should you go with judging someone favorably?
    A: What does judging favorably really mean? Should I really be friends with everyone? Absolutely not. The mitzvah of judging favorably that in my mind I shouldn’t feel any negative feelings towards that person. If they did a bad thing I’m going to condemn that bad thing. If someone does a bad thing, I condemn the thing that they did but not they themselves. But I should not bear a grudge against that person.

    Q: Is there no dividing line between someone who did something so wrong to you that you cannot forgive them for what they did but still figure out a way to judge them favorably? Is there a difference between forgiveness and judging favorably?
    A: The only person that we do not have to judge favorably is a wicked person. Who is a wicked person? Someone who the rabbis come out and say “This is a wicked person” But that’s the only time to not judge someone favorably. Sometimes people hurt us in very deep ways. It’s the job of a Jew to work it out in his mind to think positively about that person and try to get rid of the pain and the hurt. Were supposed to bring ourselves to some level of forgiveness?

    Q: Are we allowed time to mourn the hurt before we have to heal?A: Absolutely! Judaism has a lot to say about mourning when a person dies, All these customs are for a loss. A loss is a loss. Whether it’s the death of a relative, or the death inside of ourselves when someone causes us a lot of pain. Yes, there are definitely periods of grieving that we have to go through to bring you to acceptance and forgiveness. But we have to be on that path.

    Comment: [Mrs Hoffman] Sometimes when someone does something so terrible, you have to remember that this person is just a messenger that you needed to learn that message anyway. When you come to terms that its not that person, but Hashem sending you a strong message.

    Q: So then what about Joseph and the brothers? Why did the brothers choose to be the messengers?A: They didn’t choose to be the messangers!
    If we’re able to bring G-d into the picture, we’re able to let things slide. Nobody really has the power to make anything happen. We only have the power to make choices. G-d is the only one who makes something happen. When someone hurts us so badly, we have to realize that its not him its G-d! I can even feel sorry for the person that they were the messenger to bring me aggravation!

    Q: Is that level of forgiveness only for Jews or for everyone?

A: For everyone! Why not?