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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Bereishis: Appreciating The Good

Friday, October 12th, 2012

And Adom said, “The woman that you placed with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” Bereishis 3:12

Adom HaRishon was given one mitzvah: not to eat from the Eitz HaDas. When he transgressed it, Hashem gave him the opportunity to do teshuvah. Not only did Adom not repent, he played the blame game – “It was that woman that You gave to me. You gave her to me as a helpmate and she turned out to be my ruination.”

Rashi quotes the Gemara that calls Adom a kofi tov, one who denies the good. The Gemara explains that this is a trait that has plagued mankind from that moment. Instead of appreciating the good, man has continued to deny the very good that is given to him over and over again.

The difficulty with this Rashi is that it doesn’t seem that Adom was guilty of denying the good. Hashem appeared to him and he felt trapped, caught red-handed. The correct action on his part would have been to admit his guilt and beg for forgiveness. That isn’t what he did. Instead, he shifted the blame. There was, however, a logic to it. “Because she was given to me as a helpmate, I relied on her and trusted her.” After all, the Creator of the heavens and the earth gave him this woman. Surely he could trust Hashem’s choice.

Adom was guilty of not owning up to his responsibility for the act. Maybe he was guilty of being dishonest. He just wasn’t courageous enough to admit that he did wrong. But his sin wasn’t one of not appreciating the good.

Appreciating Our Great Wealth

The answer to this question lies in understanding a different perspective. The Chovos Ha’Levovos gives a parable. Imagine a man who becomes blind at age 35. For the next ten years he does his best to reconstruct his life, but now without sight. Being a fighter, he struggles to create a productive life for himself. One day his doctor informs him of an experimental procedure that, if successful, would enable him to see again. He is both frightened and exuberant. If it works he regains his sight; if it fails, he might die.

He gathers together his family to talk it over. After much debate he announces, “I am going ahead with it.” The operation is scheduled. The long-awaited day arrives. Paralyzed with dread, he is wheeled toward the operating room. Given sedatives, he sleeps through the 10-hour operation.

When he wakes up, the first thought on his mind is to open his eyes. He prepares himself for the moment. He will now find out how he will spend the rest of his life. With his family gathered around, with the doctors and nurses at his side, the surgeon begins removing the gauze. The first bandage is off, now the second. The surgeon says, “Open your eyes.” He does. And he sees!

For the first time in ten years, he looks out and experiences the sights of this world – and he is struck by it all. Struck by the brilliance of colors and shapes; moved by the beauty and magnificence of all that is now in front of him. He looks out the window and sees a meadow covered with beautiful green grass. He sees flowers in full bloom. He looks up and sees a clear blue sky. He sees the faces of loved ones that had only been images in his mind – the sight of his own children whom he hasn’t seen in years. Tears well in his eyes as he speaks: “Doctor, what can I say? What can I ever do to repay you for what you have given me? This magnificent gift of sight! Thank you!”

This emotion, this extreme joy and sense of appreciation, is something we should feel regularly. The feeling of elation that man felt when he regained his sight is something we can feel on a daily basis if we go through the process of training ourselves to feel it. We have this most precious gift called sight, and it is something we are supposed to stop and think about – not once in a lifetime, not even once a year, but every day. A part of our spiritual growth is learning to appreciate the gifts we have. Every morning we thank Hashem for this most wonderful gift of sight. The blessing is meant to be said with an outpouring of emotion.

The Joy of Fulfilling A Mitzvah

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Rav Moshe Sofer (The Chasam Sofer), one of the greatest Gaonim in his generation, always preached and practiced charity and kindness towards his fellow man. His door was always open to the poor and to the needy for help and advice.

Once, on a cold wintry day, in the city of Pressburg, the Chasam Sofer was studying the Talmud with his two sons, when he heard an urgent knock on his door.

“It must be a poor man seeking alms,” he remarked as he opened the door. Imagine his surprise when he saw the leading member of his congregation standing at his door, looking like a beggar.

“Do not be surprised at my appearance, Rebbe,” he said, “I am in great trouble and I need your help. I would like to talk to you privately.”

Motioning to the man to enter, the Chasam Sofer told his children to leave the room while he made the merchant comfortable. “What happened to you? Why are you looking so sad?” he asked.

“A terrible misfortune has happened to me,” the man responded. “I was a very wealthy man and as you know I became a banker. But through a series of misfortunes, I lost all my money and now I am penniless. I have practically become a beggar.”

“Do not lose faith in G-d,” answered the Chasam Sofer, while pity welled up in his heart. “You still have your good name, people will remember all the charity you have given and they will surely give you a helping hand. G-d may have taken your money only temporarily to test you.

“It isn’t my money which I am worried about,” cried the banker, but about the money of others, the widows and orphans, who trusted me. It is also gone. I will have to sit in the debtor’s prison.”

“No! No!” cried the Chasam Sofer, “It will never happen that the most charitable man in the community, its leader and banker, will sit in prison.”

The Chasam Sofer began to think of ways and means to help this unfortunate man. Suddenly, his face brightened. He approached his closet, and removed a small bag of coins, which he had been saving for a dowry for his daughter.

“In this bag is a hundred gold coins,” he said. “I am giving this to you as a loan. Now, go immediately to the city of Leipzig, and the first piece of merchandise that you will see, purchase it with these gold coins. And may Hashem be with you and make you prosper.”

The banker was reluctant to accept the money. He knew that the Chasam Sofer was not a rich man and it must have taken him a long time to accumulate this money. “Rebbe,” he said, “I cannot take this money for I cannot promise to return it to you and if I lose this money too, then I will also cause you grief.”

“The help of G-d comes momentarily,” replied the Chasam Sofer, “Do you think I would give you this money if I was not certain that G-d will see to it that you make good and you will return it to me very soon. You must never lose faith and trust in G-d. Remember, go to Leipzig and the first merchandise you see be sure to purchase.”

Meets An Old Friend

The following morning the merchant banker traveled to Leipzig and entered the trading market. He wandered around until he suddenly heard a voice call him. It was a merchant friend whom he had not seen for many years.

“It must be a stroke of luck that made me meet you here,” the friend said. “Only today a boatload of coffee arrived and I haven’t the time to make arrangements to sell it. Will you take care of it for me? You can pay me in three months. Only give me a hundred coins as a binder. I know you for many years and I trust you. I’ll sell it to you for the amount it cost me as long as I don’t lose anything on the transaction.”

The banker remembered the admonition of the Chasam Sofer to enter into the first business deal he sees, so he agreed. He signed the necessary papers and have him the deposit.

Focus on Israeli humanitarianism: Eye from Zion

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Eye from Zion, established in 2007 by Israeli businessman Nati Marcus, is a humanitarian organization dedicated to giving the gift of sight to poor people in developing countries.

Israeli volunteers travel anywhere they are needed to treat patients, sending experienced ophthalmologists, advanced equipment, and operating room nurses to cities in Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Myanmar and dozens of other countries around the world.

Eye from Zion doctors also instruct the local health professionals in developing countries they visit in modern medical techniques – while also donating medicine and equipment – enabling the local medical teams to eventually function independently.

Nati Marcus explained to me, via email, his motivation for starting Eye from Zion:

Each person to whom we restore sight, especially the children, is a world unto itself.

Along with my usual work, we built an organisation that has restored the sight of thousands of blind people across the globe by performing eye operations by instructing medical groups in developing countries. I succeeded.

I am a businessman, but four years ago I decided to something more serious with my life that could change the life of people across the world.

Video about Eye From Zion’s work:

Hagiang, Vietnam

Ethiopia

Careroon

Monks in Myanmar after surgery

Girl in Myanmar after surgery

Eye from Zion founder Nati Marcus

Visit CifWatch.com.

Deep Mourning for Hesder Yeshiva Soldier Killed in Clash with Terrorists

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

The religious town of Nof Ayalon became steeped in mourning on Friday, following the announcement of the tragic death of Cpl. Natanel Yahalomi, an Artillery Corp soldier killed in a fire exchange with terrorists at the Egyptian border.

Yahalomi, 20, who was recruited as a student of the Hesder yeshiva in Ma’alot last March, was buried Saturday night in the military cemetery in Modi’in.

His sister, Avital Yahalomi, told Channel 10 News that Natanel was scheduled to come home for the Sukkot holiday next week. “We’ve waited so much for this holiday. It was also our dad’s birthday. It hurts so much that the Creator of the world took him during the holiday season, of all times.”

She added that her brother was assigned to the artillery corps, but was fighting to be taken into a combat unit. He wanted to go into the infantry, to contribute as much as possible.”

Avital shared that “We knew Natanel was serving at a difficult area, but he wouldn’t tell us where exactly. He maintained secrecy, he was an exemplary soldier. We’re still in great shock.”

His father said over Natanel’s grave: “More than 20 years ago we had a baby. We picked the name Netanel (Hebrew: God-given) because we felt that God gave us a gift. We received a wonderful gift which we now return to the Creator of the world. We pray and beg that you will be the last of the fallen in the nation of Israel.”

The IDF Spokesman’s Office reported on Friday that Cpl. Natanel Yahalomi was killed and another soldier was moderately injured, as IDF forces prevented a large-scale terror attack on the Israeli-Egyptian border.

The terrorists opened fire on IDF soldiers as the soldiers performed routine activity to secure the construction of the fence along the Israel-Egypt border. At least one of the terrorists was armed with an explosive belt. The IDF force returned fire, and an additional IDF force patrolling nearby identified the three terrorists and also opened fire, killing all three.

IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai stated that initial findings show that the IDF force successfully prevented a large-scale attack on Israeli civilians. No terrorists managed to infiltrate into Israel.

The incident took place near the border fence in the Har Harif area. This is an area in which the construction of the fence has not been completed.

Egypt and China Signing Deals and Building Ties

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

In the wake of Egyptian President Morsi’s recent visit to China, Morsi returns to Egypt with 8 partnership deals and a 71 million dollars gift to his government. The deals are in the fields of agriculture, environment, communications, tourism, as well as to import Chinese cars for the Egyptian police force.

One of the deals is for the purchase of security cameras. The cameras will be placed around Cairo, and specifically in Tahrir Square.

The camera deal replaces a deal that Egypt previously had with the US, signed with former Egpytian president Mubarak.

An Egyptian source said that it is believed that the American cameras allowed the US to spy on Egypt and see everything that was being filmed, while the new deal with China has a section in it explicitly prohibiting China from spying on them with these cameras.

Maybe the US cameras were connected to the Mossad sharks?

Box Of Chocolates

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The other night, after having a truly bad day where nothing seemed to go right, I jokingly changed my Facebook status to “I have had one of those awful, miserable, terrible days! And there is NO chocolate in the house!”

I immediately received more than 10 responses, offering me sympathy and virtual chocolate. Despite the late hour, my next-door neighbor offered to let me come over to get whatever candy bars she had in her house. I love my online girl friends, but declined the candy bars. However, I enjoyed the sympathy – and ate that all up. But over the next few days, my craving for some real chocolate kept nagging at me.

Thursday rolled around and I was having another stressful day while doing my usual shopping in the local Trader Joe’s grocery store. I had a specific list with a specific cash budget. After loading my cart with the items on my list I made the horrible mistake (or perhaps a part of me intended to do this all along) of going past the store’s amazing chocolate candy section. At least six different containers of fancy chocolate-covered candies called to me, begging to be purchased, and somehow I was able to resist the urge. Though I lingered and salivated, I eventually forced myself to keep to my list and budget and move to the checkout lane. While waiting there, the invisible bubble above my head was working overtime.

I started thinking: “Maybe I should just run out of line and grab the chocolate caramels. After all, $3.99 won’t break the budget. I should have enough money … maybe if I put something else back. Or I can get the chocolate-covered pretzels; they’re less money … Oh, the chocolate-covered cashews sound so delish…” And so it went until, before I knew it, I was completely checked out and it was time to pay. I had spent so much time thinking that my window of opportunity to get any chocolate treat for myself was gone. So I came back to reality and paid the bill. And just as I was about to push my cart away, the cashier handed me a gift-wrapped box.

“These are for you,” she said cheerfully.

“What’s this?” I asked, confused.

“We’re giving out boxes of chocolates today. Enjoy.”

I almost got lightheaded from the shock of what she’d just said, considering what I’d just obsessed over just seconds ago.

“Wait,” I asked, “Why are you giving free chocolate to people?”

“We just are. It’s a goodwill promotion, so enjoy them. They’re really good.”

On the back of the gift-wrapped box was the information sticker with ingredients – and right there was a reliable kosher symbol. I could have cried with joy. Despite the fact that the cashier from Trader Joe’s just handed me the box, I knew from my very soul that God had just handed me this box of chocolate.

“Wow, this is so nice. I am really going to enjoy these [chocolates]. Thank you so much,” I gushed to the cashier. But my sentiments were intended more toward the Almighty!

Then I noticed that the cashier was looking at me in a strange way, and it dawned on me that I might be acting slightly goofy while fussing too long over the candy and lingering in her line, refusing to move on. So I took my spiritual box of chocolate and put it in my cart, and left thinking about how special this experience was. I drove home with a huge smile on my face, knowing that not only did I get a free box of candy but I also got a divine gift that let me know that ultimately I don’t have to post my true feelings on Facebook. I also knew that God is always listening to my heart and knows what’s going on with me. He is with me every step of the way, lending me sympathy and support – even when there is no chocolate in my house!

Don’t Wait Until You’re 100 to Give Away Your Assets

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Recently, an eighty-year-old client shared some important news with me. He had just received an inheritance from his mother, who had passed away at the ripe old age of 100. His mother had been fabulously rich, but towards the end of her life she had slowed down, and therefore had little use for her money.

“As for me,” her son sighed, “I’m no spring chicken myself, and I don’t see myself needing so much of it either. But I sure could have used it when I was younger ….”

My client’s story is not that unusual. Many times, people may work hard to build up savings, but their loved ones only reap the benefits after the older generation has left this world. This doesn’t only apply to family members, either. How many times do you see on the sides of a large building a sign saying, “Built in the memory of …,” or read about the “John and Jane Doe Memorial Fund?” Do you ever wonder if the aforementioned John and Jane Doe look down from the Other World to see what is being done with their legacy? Or, how about a trust that isn’t being distributed exactly according to its founders’ wishes? Maybe they could have been involved in some of the projects, making even better use of their assets. Perhaps they would also have gotten greater joy out of it if they had lived to see these achievements for themselves.

At the same time, the amount of money that you can give away is always relative. Obviously, the more that you have, the more you can give, but you need to make sure that your own financial situation is secure so you don’t suffer as the result of over-generosity to your family or to various charitable causes.

How do you know how much to give?

First, consult with your financial adviser and determine your net worth. Together, consider how much money you need to be able to live a fairly comfortable life. Make sure to account for the unpredictable nature of life and the markets, and then consider gifting some of the excess.

Philanthropist Lewis Cullman said, “It’s better to give money away when you’re alive than to give it away in your will because what do you care what people say? When you’re dead, you won’t be around to hear it.” When I interviewed Mr. Cullman on the Goldstein on Gelt show, he told me that he once asked Warren Buffett why he didn’t give away even more money to charity (This followed an initiative when Warren Buffett and Bill Gates signed the Gates-Buffett Pledge promising to donate at least half of their wealth over time to charity, and invited other wealthy figures to join them). When I asked Mr. Cullman why fifty percent of Warren Buffett’s wealth wouldn’t be a good deal, he replied, “It’s a very good deal. But if you have $30 billion and you give half of it away, you’ve still got $15 billion and that’s a lot of money!”

If you want to watch your grandchildren or your favorite causes benefiting from your assets, consider meeting with your financial advisor and creating a financial plan to determine exactly how much you can gift. Get a free ebook to gain more inspiration to gift your funds by reading the thought-provoking interview with Lewis Cullman.

Crowning Miss Holocaust Survivor

Friday, July 6th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by his wife and co-host Malkah to talk about a beauty pageant for survivors of the Holocaust that recently took place in Haifa. They specifically discuss the reaction that the event created throughout the media. At 11:16, they begin to discuss the recently-passed regarding the banning of ritual circumcision in Germany and how it compares to a new Israeli law encouraging new mothers to breast feed. The segment wraps up with Yishai and Malkah talking about their experience with the Israeli post office and amazing gift that the Fleishers received.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/jewish-press-radio-with-yishai-fleisher-crowning-miss-holocaust-survivor/2012/07/06/

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