"Shabbat Shalom from Bangkok"

Happy Purim & Shabbat Shalom From Bangkok!

Dear Friend,

Do you know the secret ingredient in Coca Cola?

Is there a secret ingredient?

When I was growing up, in the ‘pre-google’ era, it was commonly assumed that there was a secret recipe.

Now in our information age, it seems that there may not be a secret ingredient. All the ingredients are known. 

Why then is it so difficult or nearly impossible to duplicate the original ‘Coke’ brand of the ubiquitous cola drink?

Ah, like any chef or baker will tell you. Because it’s not enough to know what ingredients are in the food or drink. You need to know how much of this and how much of that and exactly how to mix it and at what temperatures to treat it.

It’s the exact quantities and blending procedures that transform the ‘secret’ ingredients into the Coke we are familiar with.

It's Purim, why am I discussing Coke? I should be talking about wine. Even more importantly let's talk about MIRACLES. This is the reason we celebrate Purim. We are celebrating the MIRACLE of Purim.

We are familiar with two types of miracles. 

One type of miracles are otherworldly miracles. Those that are so supernatural that the laws of nature bend and even dissipate in their presence. 

The other types of miracle operate behind the facade of the rules of nature. 

What ingredients does it take to make miracles?

It depends what kind of miracle we are talking about.

A miracle like the Ten Plagues that befell Egypt or the splitting of the sea just after the Israelites left Egypt or nutritious Manna falling daily from heaven? That kind of miracle requires a supernatural G-dly force. To shower Egypt with plagues, to turn the sea into dry land or to rain down daily ‘bread from heaven’ miraculous otherworldly energy is needed.

Lets call it ‘Secret ingredients’. Miracle energy. Stuff that we don’t have available in our natural ‘arsenal’. It requires an procuring of pure G-dly supernatural energy.

What does it take to perform a more ‘natural’ miracle like the Purim miracle?

Lets go through the lead players in the cast of the Purim miracle and see.

An erratic king who kills his wife in a drunken egomaniac rage. Achashverosh.

A Jewish Queen. Esther.

A Jewish lobbyist who has access to the palace. Daniel.

A crazed Jew-hater who tries to instigate a pogrom. Haman.

A conversation of two insurrectionists plotting to kill the king. The chatter was overheard by the advisor on Jewish affairs to the Persian kingdom. Mordechai.

A sleepless night in Achashverosh’s bedroom when he has the chronicles read before him and Mordechai’s favor is found to be unrewarded. 

A plea by Esther to the king to save her and her Jewish people that she has now revealed she is a part of. 

Acquiescence by Achashverosh to kill the archenemy Haman and let the Jews self-defend on the appointed day of the mass pogrom against them.

A total victory by the Jewish people who arm themselves and fight for their lives.

In short. They wanted to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.

This story didn’t really require any ‘supernatural’ ingredients that we don’t recognize from daily life. All of the ingredients of the Purim story are readily available in every generation. There is nothing intrinsically miraculous about the players and intrigues of the Purim story.

But when we read the Megilah and hear the entire decade of unfolding events in a form of ‘time-lapse’, bundled together neatly in a twenty- minute documentary, we see the wondrousness. What makes it a miracle is the impeccability and immaculateness of the timing. How every detail came into being at exactly the right time and space with the right intensity.

The miracles are the fact that everything came together to overturn the pogrom just in the nick of time and allow the Jews that ability to self-defend. And that G-d blessed the Jews with success in their military efforts.

The exact proportions and timings of all these events create a miracle of EPIC PROPORTION which is why we celebrate in the most EPIC WAY POSSIBLE.

There is no other celebration during the year when we are told to party with such abandon.

We got our lives back. We were literally looking at death in the face. In a miraculous turnabout we got our lives back. And our stability.

This what we celebrate.

What kind of miracle is bigger in your opinion?

I would love to hear what you think.

Is the greater miracle the one that blow the laws of nature away and disregard laws of gravity and physics, like the splitting of the sea?

Or is the miracle that hijacks the natural events and gets all the laws of nature to coordinate immaculately, the greater one. Like the story of Purim.

Both kinds of miracles are impressive. 

We celebrate them both. Pesach and Purim are celebrations of two different kinds of miracles.

Each one expresses G-d’s Providence and presence in the world in a different way.

On Passover we celebrate the miracles that blew the laws of nature away and proved without doubt that G-d is in charge. 

This is why we are instructed to remember the going out of Egypt twice daily. It’s a reality check to remind us that G-d is the creator and director of the world.

On Purim we celebrate the natural order being obedient and compliant with G-d’s plans. The Purim miracle was a complete makeover and takeover of nature. Without quashing the usual world order. Without dissolving the dependability of the laws governing nature.

Purim is a day when we highlight the fact that G-d has the ability to camouflage His presence in garments of natural rules. When the all-natural ingredients perform seamlessly and miraculously it’s a powerful reminder that its G-d who runs everything. In the mundane and ordinary is Him with all His grandeur and might.

Purim is a day when we masquerade. 

When you pull off the mask you see the truth.

(One of my earliest childhood memories is the guest who came to my parents Purim party in our Bondi Beach apartment in Sydney Australia. He was dressed like a gorilla. To get to the dining room you had to pass the door to my bedroom. Peering out of my cot, I saw the gorilla walk down the hall and I started screaming inconsolably. It didn’t help when the guest took of his headpiece. I had seen a gorilla. The memory is still firmly entrenched). 

The Purim miracle allows us to reframe our perception of the forces of nature that seem to independently operate the world.

It shows how it is really G-d behind it all. 

He has His hands firmly on the steering wheel of this universe. 

There nothing to fear when He is in control.

I recently heard this story from the property developer himself. For a long time he had tried to sell a hotel that he owned. The bank was pressuring. He had no choice. He finally found a buyer and the price was right. He sold his hotel/resort on Friday, three days before Covid shut down Thailand on the following Monday. The transfer in the land department was done minutes before the offices closed. No one new that Covid was about to hit in full force. By Monday, Thailand had decided to shut down. Overnight, the resort was not sellable without taking a major loss. But the sale had already been made and the cashiers cheques exchanged. What a major miracle! Mind you, nothing ‘supernatural’ happened. But the G-dly directed timing was impeccable. It literally made the difference for the developer between riches and ruins. (I think the buyer belongs to a larger conglomerate and can weather the downturn till things come back).

My dear friends, I don’t know about you, but for me it has been quite a different year.

It can seem overwhelming at times. 

Purim this year is more meaningful and inspiringly relevant than ever before!

Purim reminds us, G-d is in charge. Even if he doesn’t choose to show us overt miracles that defy the laws of nature, like splitting the sea. His presence is there in every atom. He directs every microbe.

It is His guiding hand that provides the inspiration and medical research and breakthroughs to have allowed such rapid development of the vaccines. 

Please G-d there are also cures for Covid already in the pipelines.

So many miracles that take place constantly are not even known to us. Maybe they will never be known to us.

It is up to us to look beyond the masks!

The gorilla mask is scary. 

Life is scary.

Under the scariness, once you peel off the exterior, you perceive the ever-present guiding hand of G-d.

Feeling the presence of G-d is calming, reassuring and serene.


Happy Purim


Rabbi Yosef Kantor

rich/poor Y/N?

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

Are you rich?

Or poor?

Or neither rich nor poor?

If you answered yes to being rich:

Do you wish you were poor?

If you answered yes to being poor:

Do you wish you were rich?

If you answered yes to being neither rich nor poor:

Do you wish you were richer or poorer than your current state?

The question came to my mind because of two conversations I had with people who are on opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum. One is wealthy. One is poor.

The rich one was philosophizing and waxing eloquent to me about how happiness is a state of mind. One can be happy regardless of one’s economic state.

I told him that I agree fully. Happiness is in the mind. But I asked him to be a bit more mindful of the suffering of the needy. Take into account that when one has a padded bank account it is more conducive to be content. Just like when one is healthy it is easier to be upbeat than if one is G-d forbid unwell.

The person I was speaking to was not really coming around to my way of thinking. He was quite adamant that even if he went through deprivation and illness, he would maintain his inner equilibrium. He communicated a message that sounded to me like ‘I wish I was poor so I could exercise the muscle of inner contentment and rise to the challenge of being happy even under duress’. I tried to get him to ‘climb down from the tree’ and convince him to count his blessings, but he seemed to be genuinely envious of the tremendous spiritual elevation of the poor. Incredulously he was desirous of the challenge of rising above the pitfalls created by deprivation and suffering.

The other person I spoke to was someone poor. She asked the existential question. ‘Why do I have to be on the receiving end all the time. I worked all my life in an honest way, my husband is an upright hardworking man. We have fallen on hard times, and now to survive and cover our basic needs, I need to be a recipient of help from the Tzedaka fund. I know that G-d has arranged giving and receiving as foundational principles in His world, but why did He place me on the receiving end?’

Two people. One rich. One poor.

The poor one dislikes being poor and wants to be rich.

The rich one, doesn’t think wealth is all that important. He would rather be poor and prove to himself that he could still be happy.

I was left a bit bewildered at the end of the day.

You see, I could relate to the poor person wanting to not be poor.

But I was wondering how the rich person could be so ungrateful and unfeeling about his blessings of wealth.

Maybe he had never felt the taste of poverty? So he was simply unempathetic to the plight of those who live in fear about where tomorrows food will come (or where todays food will come).

Or maybe he was onto something. Perhaps it was truly admirable to be dismissive of wealth and wish you were struggling. For after all, struggling and rising higher, brings out the best in some.

As in everything, the answer is to be found in the Torah which is the blueprint for life.

The Torah speaks this week about the gifts the Jewish people should bring for constructing the Temple.

Everyone must contribute. At their level of possibility and generosity.

The list of materials starts with gold, then moves to silver, and finally copper.

The Rebbe points out that it would seemingly be more caring and inclusive if the donation list started with the more affordable metal of copper. Surely everyone could afford to give some copper for the Temple. Gold may be out of the reach of some.

The answer is simple and profound.

The Torah starts with gold, because the preferred and more blessed state is that every Jew should be able to afford to give some gold. Being financially well-off is a BLESSING. It is the blessing of REVEALED good as opposed to DISGUISED good.

Everyone’s life will have challenges.

The rich have their sets of challenges. The poor have different challenges.

One of the challenges that gold and wealth brings with it, is to do the RIGHT thing with the gold. If you have gold, you have the struggle of giving away ten (or preferably twenty) percent of it to others. Giving gold to build G-d’s abode on earth, means that you have the right perspective on life. Wealth is for usage in higher and holier and more benevolent purposes.

One of the challenges of poverty is to remain upbeat and joyous even through the indignity of being one of the have-nots of life.

When one is confused about which mission was handed to him, that is truly sad.

A quick story.

A wealthy businessman and his experienced wagon driver showed up to a town on Friday. They stopped there for Shabbat. The businessman quickly brought provisions for Shabbat and came to Synagogue a few hours early. While he was there studying, someone came running in to the Synagogue to look for help in getting his horses out of the deep winter mud. The businessman was a kindhearted man and went out to help. Not being experienced with horses he got battered up, muddy and was not much of a help.

The experienced coachman also went to buy Shabbat provisions. He was also of the kindhearted type. After the services, he decided to invite fellow itinerant travelers to his hotel room for the Shabbat dinner. As a working-class wagon driver his meal was meager and although he shared, the menu was paltry. The guests were hungry even after the meal.

Where was the wealthy man? He was sitting in his upscale room muddy, bruised and all alone. He had plenty of food, and plenty of leftovers that weren’t eaten.

When they got up to the Heavenly court, the verdict was that these two souls have gotten their missions confused.

The wealthy businessman should have hosted many guests and given them a hearty meal. The poor guests would have been satiated.

The coachman should have helped get the horse out of the mud. He would have done an effective job.

A cosmic mix-up.

The Heavenly court said, the souls would have to go back down to earth and try and get their missions right.

My message to you is, be honest with yourself and recognize your mission here on earth.

To those who are wealthy your challenge is how to use your wealth wisely.

Don’t wish you had the poor man’s challenge.

Rather step up to YOUR mission with determination.

To the poor.

You too have challenges. Why you?

Hashem is the One who chose who gets the position of giving and who gets the challenge of taking.

While changing the reality may not be possible, we can at least change the mindset by reframing how one looks at being a recipient.

Just as those who give must do so with a sense of purpose and mission.

So too those who have been instructed by G-d to be on the taking side, must do so with gracefulness and the equanimity that comes with full faith in Hashem and His decisions regarding us.

You may not be able to give money. But there are numerous things that you can contribute back to society. Through the non-monetary gifts that G-d has blessed you with. Some of them far more important than money.

Which is harder? Being poor or wealthy?

Depends how you look at it. On the one hand it is harder physically to be poor. On the other hand, wealth is harder on the spiritual side. It is easier to become spiritually insensitive with wealth. Excess money allows one to get into more indulgent and decadent activities.

What should you wish for and pray for?

The Rabbi’s throughout the ages gave various angles to this.

The Rebbe taught us that in our times we ought to wish for wealth.

(Wealth is not identified by a particular monetary figure. Wealth starts from the point of having enough for your needs and then some).

Why pray, wish and bless others with wealth? Isn’t it more difficult to stay spiritually sensitive with wealth?

Because the more you have, the greater opportunity you have to help others. And there are so many causes and things that need help.

Both are challenging.

However, the challenge of wealth when overcome, yields far more help to the poor.

Imagine. A poor person sacrifices their café brewed coffee and gives the equivalent to tzedakah. It’s a great sacrifice. Practically though, the yield is a few dollars.

Now let’s imagine the wealthy magnate who ‘sacrifices’ and forgoes their private jet and flies on a commercial airline. And gives the money they saved to tzedakah. It would amount to a few tens of thousands of dollars.

For both of them it was a real sacrifice. Each of them did something that was not easy for them.

For the poor people benefiting from the results, the yield is tremendously higher in the case of the wealthy magnate.

Thus, we pray for wealth, and we pray to use that wealth in the way that G-d intended.

Most importantly, don’t waste energy on wishing you were someone else, who lived somewhere else and who was doing other things.

Recognize who you are, where you are, and what your G-dly mission is.

And don’t let your unique challenges stymie you. Recognize that they are your G-d given, tailor-made ‘hurdles’ intended not to obstruct you, but rather to cause you to jump higher and reach deeper.

With blessings for a Shabbat Shalom!!!!

And an early Happy Purim for this coming Thursday night/Friday.

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS with all this talk of helping others, please help others who are in need

Are you the happy type?


By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

Are you the type that is happy?

Or the type that is grumbly.

Or perhaps the answer to that question depends on your circumstances?

Some people think that if X, Y and Z will happen, THEN they will be happy.

‘If I only had enough money, I would be happy’ says one who has a meaningful career, but it doesn’t pay enough, and he is struggling with covering the expenses of his family.

Another fellow, who is comfortable and maybe even wealthy but doesn’t have a steady job, says ‘how can I be happy if I don’t have a career?’.

Hmm. Happiness is clearly not only hinged on outside circumstance.

Being unhappy even when things are quite good, is not something new.

The Jews got Manna from Heaven in the desert, yet they found what to complain about. The Torah lists the complaints about this miraculous G-dly nutrition from Heaven.

I suspect that many of us are not totally innocent of this kind of discontent. We learn, after our initial needs are met, how to be dissatisfied with things that are not perfect in our estimation. Even if they may be extravagances compared to essentials.

What do our sages mean when they instructed us ‘when the month of Adar enters, we should increase in our joyousness’?

Who were the Sages talking to? Someone who has a perfect life?

I mean, if I win the jackpot in this month, certainly I will be happy.

If another lockdown occurs, I will likely be quite unhappy (as we hold our breath to see what the local rules will allow us to do in celebration of Purim please G-d).

Interestingly, the follow up to this statement about increasing in joy is: ‘therefore (because the month of Adar has a ‘healthy’ and positive ‘energy’) if someone has a court case with a difficult, dishonest litigant, he should try to have it judged during the month of Adar’.

If you have ever been involved in a court case, you will know that it is hardly something joyous. Court proceedings of any kind are anxiety provoking. One could definitely be excused for being morose and downcast knowing that they will have to fight vigorously to get their money back from the dishonest litigant. That should entitle you to a bout of unhappiness.

Yet, it appears that our Sages were talking to that harried and stressed-out person as well.

Increase in your joy!

Even if you have a court date pending which may cause low-spirits.

Not on this month. This month you must be joyous!

For it was in this month of Adar that we, the Jewish people were saved from the would-be holocaust that Haman plotted against our entire nation in Persia. Haman’s plan was to kill us ALL on ONE day. This sinister plot covered the entire region. The plan, if it would have come to be, was to exterminate every single Jew, of any gender or age, in one fell swoop, on one day.

We were saved from that diabolical and heinous plan.

Imagine if you could go back in a time capsule and change the history of the late 1930’s thus averting the Holocaust? Now that we know of the horrors that did take place, we cannot even imagine the joy if it would have been cancelled.

The joy would be indescribably euphoric.

It is this joy that spreads over the entire month.

Purim was that kind of epic salvation.

Now, granted, there may be other things that still cause us anxiety here and there. We may still be struggling with money issues, or even worse with health issues, or yet worse, with the loss of loved ones.

Yet, the joy that wells up in our heart when remembering out great salvation, from total decimation, brings us joy and jubilance. On Purim. And during this entire month.

By the way, even back there in Persia, the Purim miracle didn’t mean the end of all their troubles. They still remained in their exile without self-governance. I am sure they still had plenty of ‘headaches’ in their lives. But they rejoiced with abandon and so do we, till today, because of the great miracle and salvation that took place.

The point being, we should upgrade our rejoicing for the good things, even when not everything is perfect.

Another daily example of this.

Every time we eat bread, we say the ‘Birkat Hamazon’ (Grace after Meals). It is comprised of four individual blessings/sections.

The first of the four blessings was composed by Moshe in thanks for the satiation provided by the Manna in the desert.

(The second is for the gift of our connection to G-d through the covenant and the Torah. The third is a blessing for the success and rebuilding of the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem).

The fourth blessing was composed after the Roman conquest of Israel. It was a prayer of thanksgiving for the Romans finally allowing the myriads of Jewish corpses to be brought to burial more than a decade after they were brutally murdered.

Yes, even in the aftermath of such a horrible tragedy, when there are rays of kindness and light, we ought to give thanksgiving for them.

One can complain even in Paradise. On can find things to be positive about even in the throes of the Roman exile.

Quite a sobering thought?

In the month of Adar I didn’t come to make you sober 😊

On the contrary, I am pointing out that the GIFT and OPPORTUNITY given to us by our Jewish heritage. Let me not call it the obligation to be joyous.

Let me refer to it as the opportunity and permission we have been given to be joyous during this month. This month we have the ‘entitlement’ to be happy even when things are not perfect.

And they are far from perfect…. Unfortunately…

A case in point.

I chose to use the picture of a funeral this week as my weekly picture. I didn’t get confused about the date. Even on this joyous day of the head of the month of Adar, the JOYOUS month this is the picture I chose.

I call it ‘The Hummus Funeral’.

Did you ever know that Hummus could be powerful and holy?

It is now the two-year anniversary since we opened the JCafe and Kosher Shoppe.

A while back, a bris was celebrated to a boy born of a Jewish mother whose only outward sign of connection to her heritage was a weekly visit to JCafe to eat Hummus. Thanks to the friends made at the JCafe, when her son was born, he had a bris and entered the covenant with G-d like all other Jewish males, since Abraham our Patriarch.

Two weeks ago Otto didn’t show up for his Wednesday Hummus at JCafe.

One week passed, and then Otto didn’t show up again on the following Wednesday.

This caused an alarm to ring in Yossi Goldberg’s mind  and he called him. The phone rang for a long time unanswered. When his telephone was finally answered, it was by his caretaker who said that Otto has passed away ten days before. He was lying unclaimed in the morgue of the hospital after suffering a heart attack.

Our dedicated team of ‘Chevra  Kadisha’ swung into action.

Thank G-d, last Sundasy we were able to bring Otto, (Oded) to a proper Jewish burial.

Oded was born in Czechoslovakia a few years after the Holocaust. His father had fought the Nazis as a partisan in Slovakia. His mother had jumped off the train to Auschwitz. After the war Otto (Oded) was born. He had lived in Israel and then in Switzerland and finally in Thailand.

In some ironic twist, it was his weekly Hummus ritual that he enjoyed in the ambiance and Jewish atmosphere of the JCafe that brought him to his final Jewish rest.

It’s sad when someone passes away. He was only 72.

Yet, even when someone passes, which is generally sad, there are rays of light.

For a Jew, the greatest final statement that can be made, is that G-d created the world and all that is in it. This is the statement made loud and clear when a Jew gets buried. It’s a pronouncement that G-d gave me my body to use for 120 years, and now, after benefiting from this gift, I return it to G-d in the way He requested. By laying it gently into the earth as instructed in the Torah.

Let me get to the action.

Increasing in joy is the ‘order of the day’ for every Jew on this day.

I hope that you have every single reason in the world to be happy.

Health. Steady income. Meaningfulness. Nachas from children and loved ones. And peace of mind and heart.

That is the best way to be happy. when you have many happy things to be happy about.

If, however you have a whole list of things that are making you unhappy. You will have a more challenging time.

But don’t give up. Take up the challenge.

Our Sages say that this is the month we increase in joy.

This means that we have the power to increase in joy as when G-d gives us an instruction he also gives us the ability to fulfill it.

Even if G-d forbid things are far from perfect, try your hardest and best and ‘pop up the volume’ of JOY and SIMCHA!!!!

Chodesh Tov,

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS when your grumpy acquaintance takes you to task for being too cheery, tell them that you have a 'permission slip' from the Torah that 'entitles' you to be HAPPY. Hey, happiness is contagious, this is where contagion can be used in a positive way!!!! so by you being happy, the others around you will have not much choice... they too will be happy.....

Shabbat Shalom From Norfolk/Bangkok!

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

I was not prepared for it.

Bumping into someone who grew up in Norfolk, Virginia.

Norfolk? Why would that excite me?

My colleague Rabbi Nechemya was meeting M. for lunch at JCafe.

M is a Jew who lived here for a while but hadn’t yet made contact with the Jewish community. By Divine Providence (as he was helping someone who needed urgent humanitarian help), Rabbi Wilhelm was introduced to M and scheduled to meet him over lunch.

And I just happened to walk through JCafe as they were lunching. Of course, I was introduced and started immediately with the “Jewish geography’. I didn’t anticipate the result.

In making small talk, M told me that he grew up in Norfolk.

I mentioned that Norfolk is the city that I took my first steps in life.

He looked at me quizzically. And I explained that my parents had lived in Norfolk for a year or so as my father had been the headmaster of the Tidewater Hebrew Academy. It was there that I actually learned to walk.

‘I attended the Tidewater Hebrew Academy’ my new friend said. ‘And my mother taught there for a while’. We both realized that M being a few years older than me, was a student at the Jewish day school that my father was heading when I was taking my first toddler steps in that same not so central locale.

What a tiny world!!!

My uncle took over the Tidewater position after we left for Australia and my new friend M remembered my uncle even more clearly.

M couldn’t have been older than ten at the time, but he remembers very clearly one of the lines of a Chanukah play that had been written by my uncle.

In describing the celebration of Chanukah as being the time when we light candles, the line of the play went as follows:

‘We don’t celebrate the military victory, rather the spiritual victory of the rededication of the Temple’

Phenomenal. A ten-year-old kid. A Chanukah play. Not even a formal scholastic lesson. The words and concept remain so clearly and indelibly ingrained within him for nearly five decades.

For me it was such a warm and reassuring ‘regards’ from G-d through His web of what seem to be ‘random’ events that all tie seamlessly together as a singular albeit multi-part jigsaw puzzle.

We all ‘know’ that Hashem is in ‘charge’.

When Hashem gives you a window into Divine Providence it becomes all that more vivid and palpable. It felt to me like getting a ‘Heavenly Hug’.

Two kids in Norfolk. Both Jewish. One a toddler, one a primary school kid. Too big an age gap to have any interaction. Each traveling on their own journey and engaged in very different vocations. One a PHD in social sciences, the other a rabbi.  Five decades later, more than fourteen thousand kilometers away, they meet up again. To me, this is so providential. It uplifted me. Reminded me clearly about our footsteps being guided by the Hand of G-d.

Couldn’t resist sharing it.

The lesson?

The power of our messaging. Formal. And even more powerfully, our informal messaging.

If you are a teacher or a parent, realize that your children will carry your messages for the rest of their lives. Not only the ‘formal’ ones. It may be those things you do or say when you think you are doing something ‘extracurricular’ that will make the deepest impression.

Make sure to share, teach and live with meaning and inspiration, so that you will spread messages of eternal value via your students and offspring.

In this week’s Torah portion, we are told about the transmission of Torah at the Mountain of Sinai.

As Jews we declared ‘we will do and will understand’.

Do the right thing.

Then understand how important it was.

Don’t wait till you understand the importance.

You may never get to the doing part.

Put tzedakah in the tzedakah pushka (box) every day and even more than once. Your kids and friends will mimic you eventually.

Speak nicely to others. It will go a long way to healing the hurt of the out of control way people have started speaking to each other in our fractured society.

Say a prayer of thanks to Hashem every morning for the gift of life. It will be catchy. An atmosphere of thankfulness will spread in concentric circles outwards to generate a more gratitude filled society.

When the Torah was given, it brought healing to the world. Everyone was healed by the G-dly energy that accompanied the Torah’s being given.

May those energies be manifest in our world today. May the world be blessed by G-d with HEALTH & PEACE and MASHIACH NOW.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

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