May 3, 2013 Behar
S.T.A.R. News & Events
Here are S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:
May 19, 2013 Six Flags Madness
Make yourself ready for the rides of your life. Six Flags just got another Flag!!!
June 18-July 9
Magen Israel Trip for Teens age 16. 3 Weeks of Exploration and fun.
Shabbat Parashat: Behar
Candle Lighting: 7:21pm
Shabbat Ends: 8:25pm
“If you walk in My lawsâ€¦” (26:3)
The purpose of this world is to be a factory to produce a product called Olam Haba – the World-to-Come.
That is our only target, and the mitzvot our only passport.
However, you can read the Torah from cover to cover and you won’t find one specific promise about the reward for keeping the mitzvot in the next world. Promises of reward in this world abound. We are promised the rains in their time. The land will give its produce and the trees will bear fruit. There will be an abundance of food that we will eat to satiety. We will dwell securely in our land. No one will walk down a dark street and be frightened. No one will worry about sending his children off on the bus in the morning. There will be abundance and peace.
Why is it that the Torah makes no open promises about the reward for keeping the mitzvot in the next world, but is replete with details of their reward in this existence?
All reward and punishment in this world is through hidden miracles. When a person eats bacon or a cheeseburger and dies prematurely, nobody knows that he died because he ate bacon or a cheeseburger. People die at his age even when they don’t eat bacon or cheeseburgers. They die younger.
A person gives tzedaka and becomes rich. You don’t see that he became rich because he gavetzedaka. There are plenty of rich people who don’t give tzedaka – they inherited it or they won the sweepstake. The hidden miracle is that this person wasn’t destined to become rich or wasn’t supposed to die young, but because he gave tzedaka or because he ate the bacon or cheeseburger, G-d changed this person’s destiny. It’s miraculous, but it’s hidden. It looks like nature, but if it were actually the work of nature, then nothing that a person did in this world could have any effect on him. For a person is born under a certain mazal, a certain "destiny", and without the intervention of an outside force – the hidden miracle – nothing that a person did, whether for good or bad, would have any repercussions in this world.
That’s why the Torah speaks at great length about the outcome of the performance or non-performance of the mitzvot in this world. For it is truly miraculous that our actions should affect anything in this world, a world that, aside from these hidden miracles, is run by a system of mazaland nature.
However, as far as the next world is concerned, it’s obvious that our actions will have repercussions there. The Torah doesn’t need to stress the reward and punishment in that existence because it’s obvious that people who engage in spiritual pursuits and serve G-d faithfully should receive spiritual rewards. But it is certainly not natural that people who are immersed in the work of the spirit, the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot should receive their reward in this world as well. Thus the Torah stresses the reward for keeping the mitzvot in this world because that is something that no one could surmise without being told of its existence.
Rabbi M. Weiss Rabbi Y. Sakhai
Em Habanim Congregation
Weekly Parashat Hashavua class with Rabbi Joshua Bittan on Wednesdays at 8:30pm for more info. visit www.emhabanim.com
Avot Ubanim Program has started for fathers and their kids of ages 4 and up every Saturday night from 7:30pm – 8:30pm, Lots of prizes and great Pizza every week!
Em Habanim Sephardic Congregation is pleased to make available its elegant venue for your celebration. Excellent location with easy access to freeways. For more info. visit emhabanim.com