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Friday, Elul 22, 5780 / September 11, 2020


This is the last Shabbat of the year 5780.  Next Shabbat will be Rosh Hashana, the first Shabbat of the year 5781. This Shabbat we read two parshiot, Nitzavim & Vayeilach


According to Ashkenazic custom the first Selichot service begins this Saturday night at midnight. The Sephardic custom is to recite Selichot the entire month of Elul.


At the end of Parshat Nitzavim Moshe reminds the Jewish people, "I call upon heaven and earth to witness before you this day that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curse; therefore choose life, that you and your seed may live.”  Moshe reminds them, “To love the L-rd your G-d and to listen to His voice and to cleave unto Him, for that is your life and the length of your days."


In the Modim prayer, recited three times daily, we thank G-d, "For our lives which are committed in Your hand, and for our souls which are entrusted to You, for Your miracles which are with us daily." 


In the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life our priorities at times become distorted and we tend to concentrate more on "wealth" than on "health." At times we forget to appreciate and be thankful for the miracle called life, which G-d grants us every second of our lives.


A Chassid once came to his Rebbe complaining that he had a bad year financially. The Rebbe asked him, "How is your health and the health of your family?"  The Chassid replied that health was, thank G-d, good.  The Rebbe quoted the words of the Talmud, "He Who gives life will surely give sustenance!"


The Rebbe explained it with a parable, "A wealthy businessman was traveling home from the fair with a large sum of money.  The way home was long and for Shabbat he stopped at an inn run by a Jewish innkeeper.


"As it is not permitted to carry money on Shabbat, the businessman had no choice but to give his wallet, which contained 5,000 rubles plus 5 kopikes (pennies) to the innkeeper for safekeeping until after Shabbat.


"As he didn't know the innkeeper, the businessman was worried all Shabbat whether the innkeeper was trustworthy and will he ever see his money again.  Immediately after Shabbat he asked for his wallet which the innkeeper returned. The merchant quickly went to his room to count the money. He counted the rubles and found the 5,000 rubles intact. 


"Do you think,” asked the Rebbe of his Chassid, “that after realizing that the innkeeper returned the 5,000 rubles, would the businessman be worried whether the five pennies-kopikes were also there? Only a fool would suspect the innkeeper in stealing the five kopikes when he was trustworthy with the sum of 5,000 rubles!"


The Rebbe concluded, "G-d gave you and your family, health and life which is worth far more than anything else in the world.  Don't you think that you could also trust Him to give you your livelihood? If you believe that G-d gives you health, you will automatically have faith that He will bless you in your dealings and will provide you with your livelihood as well. For, "He Who gives life will surely give sustenance!"




Montrealcandle lighting time: 6:54 / Shabbat ends: 7:55