"Shabbat Shalom from Bangkok"

AI & birthday story

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Artificial intelligence has been chasing me this week.

At an event I attended, one of the speakers shared how she prepared for the speech. She fed the main points into Chat GPT and out came a speech.

In case you, like me until a few minutes ago, were not aware what the acronym GPT means, here it is:

Generative Pre-trained Transformer

The GPT stands for "Generative Pre-trained Transformer," which refers to how ChatGPT processes requests and formulates responses.

From a community member I received a suggestion on how to better respond to tourist enquiries. He offered to donate and implement that software that his company had developed. He showed me some samples of how this technology could respond efficiently to many of the standard enquiries. The results are incredible.

Just this week, it came even closer to home. A young man in his twenties that I was studying Torah with, suggested that I ought to be using AI for writing my articles.

To prove his point, he typed in a few words on the topic that we had been discussing about the Parsha‘the deeper spiritual significance of the splitting of the reed sea upon Exodus from Egypt, in rabbi yosef kantor style’. To my amazement a coherent and somewhat decent article appeared.

And then I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.

Do my readers think that I write my weekly article via artificial intelligence?

My mind rewinds some three decades when after hosting some of the oldtimers of the Thailand Jewish community for dinner, one of them complimented the taste of the food. But then innocently asked if the ‘cook’ had made the meal. I remember the look on my wifes face. She had worked so hard on preparing the meal, and it was assumed that a hired maid in the kitchen had been the cook?

How can I prove to you that I actually compose this article myself?

An even more existential question. What contribution and point is there to my efforts in painstakingly composing a weekly torah inspirational thought?

This question became more acute this week as my younger friend showed me firsthand the incredible power of artifical intelligence.

(There was an aspect that was even scary. He showed me a video of him speaking, marketing a service online. It was his face, his voice, his style of words, but he told me that he had not actually spoken those words or made that video. ‘Look closely at the mouth’ he told me. I saw his mouth annunciating the words. The same words that I was hearing in his voice. He told me if you look closely you will see that those teeth are not my teeth. In todays advancing world, there are now computer simulator programs that can have you ‘say’ things that you never said, in your voice and with your face. You need to be a technology whiz to figure out what is authentic and what is fabricated.

I share this, as I think it is imporant to recognize that thes days even if you ‘see’ and ‘hear’ someone say something online, you cannot be sure that it is not doctored and altered to look and sound like they have said those words. It may be a simulated and artifical statement).

After seeing what AI can do, why would I be motivated to be writing these lines?

Blessed be Hashem, for providing me the answer even before I knew that I had the question.

Last Shabbat morning, before I went to Synagogue to give my Torah class and pray, I was reading through some responsa with the Rebbe. This is one of my standard early Shabbat morning rituals. It is fascinating and inspiring to see the questions about daily life that were presented to the Rebbe, and the light and Divine Torah wisdom that the Rebbe shared in his responses.

Out of the tens of volumes of correspondence, I was in middle of reading the ones from 1984 and on Shabbat morning I arrived at the following letter:

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky of Chabad head office in NY, had written to the Rebbe that he was invited to officiate at a wedding on the 14 of Kislev and asked for a blessing for the young couple and their families.

Rabbi Kotlarksy also shared some background about the families of the couple he was going to marry. The chattan-groom was a relative of a famous rabbi in prewar Warsaw, Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson who was subsequently deported to Auschwitz and murdered by the Nazis.

The Rebbe responded to the part of the note about the family connection to Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson:

‘I think that he (Rabbi Michelson) attended my wedding, and also gave me the book that he had authored, as a gift.

(The book is in the bookshelf in my office, near the Midrash Tanchuma close to the electric)

I will lend the book to you to hold it under the chupah while you officiate at the wedding and say the blessings.

The Divine providence of this now becomes apparent - 55 years later’

The Rebbe’s wedding to his wife had taken place on the exact same Hebrew date, 14 Kislev, in 1929. Fifty-five years later exactly, on 14 Kislev 1984, the Rebbe’s representative would be officiating at the wedding of the relative of the great rabbi who had attended the Rebbe’s wedding in Warsaw.

It is a fascinating bird’s eye view of Hashem’s Divine Providence as it weaves through history, sometimes only becoming apparent after fifty-five years.

I was reading a story from 1984, or so I thought initially.

Suddenly, the story jumped out from the annals of history and became a contemporary 2024 story. The Divine Providence continued, unfolding in front of my eyes.

You see, last Shabbat morning – Shevat 10 – was my 55th birthday.

I was stunned, excited beyond words.

I had received a message about turning 55 from the Rebbe’s teachings that had Providentially reached me on the exact day of my birthday.

I am sharing this with you as one of the customs related to celebrating a birthday, is sharing with others the inspiration that the birthday celebrant is imbued with on that special day.

To me the message was so pertinent. Especially in a generation where the speed of life has become so accelerated.

Each one of us is an irreplaceable part in Hashems world. Every one of us has a role to play. Something that we are uniquely positioned to carry out.

You and I, all of humanity, are playing a role in the master plan of G-d that may span decades or even millennia.

Usually when we talk about seeing Divine Providence at work, we refer to events that ‘line up’ in a shorter time span.

But sometimes, Hashem gives us a glimpse into the multi decade mosaic of life and the way that Hashem orchestrates every single detail.

To me it was a powerful reminder that even though I am not the young man I was in my twenties, I have unique possibilities open to me specifically now as I am older. There are things that are waiting for me to do and interact with, that have been ‘cooking’ for fifty-five years. It is my privilege and duty to be the one to fulfil Hashem’s plan that has been scheduled on my individualized Divine calendar for today.

You and I are part of the greatest mission imaginable. You may be in your eighties or even nineties (I am blessed to have many in my readership who have passed the eighty and even ninety year mark thank G-d, may Hashem bless them with long healthy life) yet, you are still on active duty, ‘soldiers’ in Hashems army. Indispensable links in Hashems master plan.

There are things that are waiting for you to interact with and bring to their cosmic Divine purpose, since you were born.

Oh, I was talking about replacing my personally written article with Chat GPT?

Could I have written this article with artificial intelligence?


This required authentic Divine Intelligence. To bring everything together.

The Rebbe and Rabbi Michelson in 14th of Kislev Warsaw wedding in 1929.

Rabbi Kotlarsky of the Rebbe’s office, with the relative of Rabbi Michelson in New York at a chuppah 55 years later in 1984.

Myself in Bangkok reading this letter exactly on my 55th birthday in 2024.

Certainly, artificial intelligence can help us fulfil our Divine mission. It is a tool sent to us by Hashem, much like a sewing machine that alleviated the hard-working tailor from hand stitching clothing.

For the meantime I write my own articles 😊 .

In one of my meetings this week, when I brought up the AI concept, a woman shared with me that she had received a birthday card from her adult son. It started off with ‘Dearest mother, the sweetest thing in my life, I cannot imagine living life without you…’ and other kind of talk that her son was not wont to use in their interactions. A mother knows right away if her son wrote the note, or he used an artificial service. She called her son and told him that if he sends an artificially written note, she would rather not get the note…’

It is important to remember. In relationships, authenticity and heartfulness still counts.

In our relationship with Hashem, it is the passion and lovingness that we express to Him that he really desires.

Our deepest feeling of appreciation and yearning for G-d are expressed in our physical fulfillment of His commandments. You cannot claim to truly love G-d and refrain from fulfilling his requests of you.

Yet, it is really that ‘hitlahavut’ and fieriness in the relationship that He seeks.

Artificiality, doing things out of rote and habit, needs to be replaced with genuineness and excited devotedness.

Sometimes Hashem even chooses to hide His face from us, to allow us the gift of being thirsty for Him. It is critical not to mistake this ‘hide and seek’ as a rejection by Him, G-d forbid.

It is an invitation to long for Him, to yearn, with an insatiable and heartfelt thirst.

Let us aim at keeping our relationship with G-d passionate and heartfelt even while He is revealed and available to us, and may we generate a thirst for Him without the ‘hiding of face’ that is so painful.

Till we merit the ultimate blessing we await the coming of Mashiach which will bring peace, healing and eternal authenticity in our relationship with the Almighty.

With fervent prayers for Israel, freedom for our hostages, successful and safe homecoming to our holy soldiers, healing to our wounded and security and SHALOM for the entire region and the world.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

cost price

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

A Jewish man was in a supermarket in Thornhill, Ontario.

He saw a seemingly non-Jewish woman trying to get her young child to put down a candy bar he had picked off the shelf.

'Latrell, you put that down! It's not kosher!'

Intrigued, the young man decided to investigate.

'Excuse me, ma'am, are you Jewish? 'No.'

'So why did you say that?'

'Why? I'll tell you why.

'Cuz I see all the Jewish mothers saying that to their kids — and it works, so I decided to try it.'

My aunt, who is a psychologist once shared with me her epiphany she had while raising her young children.

‘Why is it, I asked myself, that when I tell the kids to clean their room, they whine, procrastinate, and may not even do it. While when I tell my children that they can’t eat ice cream as they had recently eaten meat, they obey without question’?

‘It became crystal clear to me that the difference was entirely in the way I, the parent, was projecting. Cleaning the room was something I preferred, but I could live without it. A clean house is not an absolute inviolable requirement for life.

Following the instructions of G-d is something that is non-negotiable. My insistence that they do not eat milk in proximity to eating meat is a part of my relationship with G-d as it’s a commandment in the Torah.

Regarding my connection to G-d, I have no room for negotiation. The kids pick up on it.’

As it turns out, children are expert negotiators from a very young age.

They sense what things they can negotiate, and at the same time they are acutely aware that there are some things that are not negotiable.

At a very early stage in life a child learns when their parents ‘no’ is not negotiable and when ‘no’ is just an invitation to whine enough till the no turns into a yes.

Have you ever thought deeply and hard about the following question?

What do you consider sacrosanct and non-negotiable?

What are your unyielding principles?

For what values and actions will you be obstinately uncompromising.

As a Jew writing to fellow Jews, I know that your connection to Hashem is absolute. Your connection to your neshama is a fact. Your commitment to your core Jewish identity, is ironclad.

When we translate that into the actual nuts and bolts of living life how does that express itself?

It can seem quite complex.

You first need to establish your bottom line. You must define your inner convictions regarding which you have no room for flexibility.

Let me give an example from one of the popular industries in Thailand, the precious stone industry. Over the years while visiting community members who deal in stones, I have learned a little bit about how it works. 

The stone dealer will be sitting with a client showing him a stone, or he will get a call from his salesman who is out in the ‘field’ trying to sell a stone. The potential buyer hears the asking price and starts to bargain, giving a lower counteroffer.  The salesman needs to call the stone owner to see if he agrees to the reduced price being offered.

Many a time I have watched what happens next. The stone dealer will pull out his records to see how much he paid for the stone, punch in some numbers to a calculator and announce a price that he says is ‘my cost’.

What he is saying is that ‘I cannot go lower than this price as that would leave me with no profit and perhaps even incurs me a loss.’

In business, if you know your cost price and you figure in your overheads, you know that if you sell below that price you will find yourself out of business. This becomes the ‘final and lowest price’. At that stage the seller projects in words and in body language that he is prepared to walk away from the sale if he doesn’t get that price.

This week’s Parsha relates the negotiation between Pharaoh and  Moshe who has been sent by Hashem to redeem the Jews.

Pharaoh called for Moses and said, "Go, serve God—only your flocks and cattle shall remain behind to ensure your return. Even your children may go with you."

Moses replied, "Not only will our flocks and cattle go with us, you will even provide us with some of your animals for sacrifices and ascent-offerings so that we may offer them up to God, our God.

Our livestock must also go along with us, not a hoof shall remain, for some of them we must take for the service of God, our God, and we will not know with what we will serve God until—i.e, how many sacrifices He will require—we arrive there. Maybe He will require more than just our own animals."

After the tenth plague Pharaoh agreed to send the Jewish People free.

Pharaoh searched all the entrances of the city and called out for Moses and Aaron in the night. When he found them, he said, "Get up and get out from among my people, you adults and the young children of Israel, too, and go and serve God as you said!

Take both your flocks and your cattle, just as you said, and go!

Moshe could not negotiate with Pharaoh and agree that the Jews would leave their animals in Egypt, as he knew ‘his cost’ may be all the animals that the Jews possessed. It may even be that Hashem will require more than they have. There is no ‘fat in the budget’ that they can ‘trim’. It is therefore impossible for Moshe to agree to Pharaoh to have the people leave Egypt minus their animals.

In business, knowing your bottom line is critical. In simple terms, if you buy merchandise for 100 and sell it for 90 you are going to bankrupt your business.

It’s hardly ever so simple though. There are so many factors involved in figuring out the real cost of an item. There is the actual purchase price, the delivery charge, the storage cost, the wastage if it’s something with an expiry date, the rent and utilities on the office or store etc etc. To really know your cost requires careful calculation and experience.

It is quite common for people to question the selling price of an item as being too expensive. Only if you know all the myriad of details and have experience in running a similar business can you really know the true cost. There are often associated costs that you would not know about and take into account.

When it comes to our life values, we also need to clarify our ‘final price’ – the red lines from which we have no room to negotiate downwards.

It is critical you know what you cannot compromise on.

It’s not just about you. It is a multi-generational message. Remember your children and those influenced by you, will learn from your body language what your true inner values are.

Not so much from what you say. Much more impact will be had from how you live.

One may say, ‘to maintain my connection with Hashem I need to do the very basic things like fast on Yom Kippur, eat Matzah on Pesach and stay away from eating pork and seafood’.

And I must instill those rudimentary values into my children. As well as impress upon them the critical importance of marrying Jewish. So that they too keep their relationship with Hashem strong and vibrant and transmit it to their children.

In the business analogy, if one didn’t consider wastage and spoilage, and incorporate it into the cost price, the business may go bankrupt.

Similarly, when one builds a ‘bottom line’ of a ‘minimum’ requirement to stay connected to G-d and their Jewish identity, they ought to factor in all the challenges and social pressures pulling away from Jewish identity so that they don’t sell themselves short.

When it comes to transmitting Jewish traditions, observance and identity it is quite clear that one cannot expect the next generation to automatically adopt all of the values of their parents.

It is fanciful and unrealistic to think that one can practice the bare minimum of a commitment to Hashem and Torah and expect to convey a deep and inspiring message of Jewish steadfastness to their child.

We need to fortify our ‘bottom line’ and bring it up a few notches.

It is not too late. Even if the milk is spilled. It is never too late to take the next step in the right direction and begin to enhance our connection to Hashem.

The more connection points to Hashem we initiate, the more commitment we show, the stronger the message will resonate and be transmitted.

This response that Moshe gave to the ‘negotiation’ that Pharaoh tried to initiate speaks to me so poignantly and practically.

‘…we will not know how many sacrifices He will require until we arrive there. Maybe He will require more than just our own animals."

This is a powerful argument against procrastinating. When one pushes off an important thing he was intending to do today, for another day and ‘wastes’ the original time allocation, he is making a serious misjudgment. The alternate date may have already been scheduled by Hashem for a new mission. There is no ‘spare time’ that we can pull out of our hidden reserves to make up for what we didn’t do when we were meant to do it.

Along the lines of what Moshe was saying, we don’t know what Hashem has planned for us to accomplish in our lives and it’s possible that every single day/hour/minute is already figured in to Hashems expectation of our work output during our journey of life.

Since Hashem created our world, everything in it and time itself, there is no room to delude oneself into thinking that something is redundant.

Rather, one should think to themselves, that if I have been given another day of life, I have also been given a mission to achieve on that day. Hour by hour, minute by minute etc.

If I have been given certain wherewithal, abilities and resources, they are all precisely allocated to me for me to do what I have been privileged by Hashem to be tasked with.

To shirk todays, work and put it off for next week is not a possibility. Next week’s calendar is full with next week’s tasks.

It is unG-dly to leave opportunities on the table without utilizing them. If He gave an opportunity, He expects us and empowers us to actualize it.

Part of leaving Egypt is knowing your true inner self and actualizing it.

For a Jew, this means opening the Torah, the code of Jewish law, and living according to one’s true self.

It is not ‘all or nothing’ and one must take steps that are sustainable, the main thing is that one must not stagnate.

Liberation from Egypt is the theme of this week’s Parsha, and it reminds us to never yield to the inner Pharaoh who would like to keep us enslaved.

G-d liberated us from Egypt back then and He gives us the opportunity to be liberated from Egypt every single day.

It is up to us to take up his offer and ‘run with it’.

May Hashem bless us with the collective liberation that we all await, the true redemption, with the coming of Mashiach, who will bring peace to Israel and usher in an eternal era of abundant good, Amen.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yosef Kantor



By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friends,

He was very unassuming.

An elderly French Jew living in rural Thailand who had to come to Bangkok for medical treatment that is available only in Bangkok.

J. came to meet me to discuss Jewish burial when the time comes.

Naturally, we prayed together with Tefillin as well and had a chat about his background and family.

He mentioned something about his ‘babies’. I raised an eyebrow as it didn’t seem to me that he had babies. It turns out that he was meaning to say children, as he was talking about kids in their teens. (I have had that experience with other French speakers as well, referring to their children as babies even when they are fully adult).

J. told me about his daughter.

She was a dirty and smelly baby lying apathetically under a tree somewhere in Pattaya. J. saw the baby, felt pity and asked his maid to look into it. The mother was located not far away from baby, high on drugs. J. gave his maid money to give to the mother to take care of the baby. Several days later the baby did not look any less neglected. Obviously, the money had gone to support the mother’s habits and had not benefited the baby.

J. and his wife took the baby home. After a short while the baby was clean and had learned to eat. Initially the baby was so undernourished that she didn’t even have the energy to eat. She had also become used to not eating. Bit by bit they taught her to eat. Once the baby was brought to a stable condition, J. went to a lawyer to ask what to do with the baby.

The lawyer said, you can put her back where you found her. Near her mother in the streets of Pattaya.

J. said, ‘no way’! ‘If this abandoned child has come to my care I will continue to raise her’. He located the grandmother of the baby in a district not far from Bangkok. This is where the mother gave birth to this abandoned child.  J. went there and paid for the baby to be issued papers and legally adopted her.

She is now sixteen. She doesn’t like going to school. She hates farangs and curses her French adoptive father. Not an ounce of appreciation.

I was waiting to hear a word of complaint from J., about the ungratefulness of this girl to whom he had provided with a life, a home and a future. There was not one word of complaint.

J. said I am happy that I saved her life, raised her, educated her and hopefully she will have a happy future.

It was inspiring to meet someone so giving and selfless.

J. did an act of kindness without thinking of ‘what is in it for me’ and as of yet, there indeed has not been anything in it for him. And he knows that there may never be an angle of benefit to him.

He is happy to have done the right thing in the circumstances.

(I was secretly relieved that J. didn’t have any feelings of rejecting his ingrate daughter as I ponder how we possibly act similarly in our relationship with Hashem. He provides us with everything, and nonetheless we find ‘bones to pick’ about things we perceive as imperfections in our life.

Just as J demonstrated, a good parent continues to love and provide for their child even when they kick and scream and act inappropriately and ungratefully.

Hashem in His infinite mercy certainly tolerates us and continues to pour His benevolence on us regardless of our inadequacies.

Yet, it behooves us to make efforts to be even more mindful of the infinite gifts we receive from Him and be gratitude-filled and reflect the happiness in our dispositions).

J’s compassionate act in reaction to something he could have ignored, sets a tone of how moral human beings ought to live their lives.

This week’s Parsha, the first portion of the book of Shemot, starts with a narrative about the bondage in Egypt. Very quickly we are told about the birth and early childhood of Moshe Rabenu (Moses our teacher):

In those days,  the precocious Moses was elevated  by Pharaoh to be the overseer of his personal household... Some years later, when he was 18, he went out to his brethren and observed their suffering , for he felt for them. He saw an Egyptian  taskmaster striking one of  Moses' fellow Hebrews… Moses investigated what was happening:  He turned this way and that and saw that there was no one  observing him, so he struck down the Egyptian  by pronouncing God's Name, and hid him in the sand.

Moshe saw a grave injustice being perpetrated by the Egyptian taskmaster. He could have pretended he didn’t see, he could have ‘minded his own business’, ignored it and kept going on with his life. But he didn’t. Moshe evaluated the situation and reacted in a way that would save his fellow Israelite from certain death.

A few pages later, Moshe once again demonstrates his care, empathy and willingness to act to alleviate the suffering of others. This next verse describes Moshe as a shepherd of his father-in-law’s sheep.

…G-d examined the behavior of Moses , who was tending the sheep of his father-in-law  Jether, who would later be known as Jethro, priest of Midian , and concluded that he would be suitable. For example, a kid once ran away from the flock and reached a shady place near a pool of water where it stopped to drink. Moses ran after it and, when he caught up with it, said: "I did not know that you ran away because you were thirsty. You must be tired." So he carried the kid back to the flock. God said: "Because you showed such mercy to a mortal man's flock, you will tend My flock, Israel."

Click here for interpolated translation by Kehot

Clearly, one of the undisputed requirements to be a Jewish leader is the sensitivity to the suffering of others. And the absolute commitment of time, energy, and effort to come to the aid of those in need.

This is a lesson for all of us.

We are all leaders in our own way.

Here is another example:

In response to my end of year fundraiser (click here if you are those who like giving at beginning of the fiscal year your support at any time is impactful and appreciated by those to whom you provide) I got the following response from D. a Jew living in a rural village in South East Asia

Dear Rabbi,

I hope you will understand that I have adopted and provide all necessities for 3 orphans who live with me. I wish I was able to donate something, but my available funds are already stretched to the limit.

It sounded most inspiring to me, and I followed up with D. to hear more. As it turns out three village-children who lost their father to mental illness when they were mere children, have come to stay in D’s home to study in the local college. He is providing them with a chance to have a career beyond being a salesclerk in a convenience story.

I remarked to D that the Heavenly reward for taking care of needy orphans is already being awarded to him here in this world.

You see, D is a North American retiree in this particular SE Asian town and would be living all on his own if not for those boarders whom he supports.

D’s mitzvah of helping provide a better future to orphaned children is an ongoing series of acts of kindness and giving. The feeling of wholesomeness and deep satisfaction that giving causes, translates into better health, mental and physical. It saves one from being self-centered and dispirited with nothing to think about besides himself.

Giving is a gift that benefits the giver even more than the recipient.

Taking care of others is a remedy to the disconsolate and empty spirit that creates an unhappy void in the lives of those who have no one to care for.

How sad it is when society sees having children as a burden and sacrifice that is not worth the effort.

The greatest path to maturity, selflessness, and happiness, is the commitment of taking care of others that comes with parenthood.

Yes, parents ‘kvetch’ about how hard it is to raise kids. And it can be challenging. But don’t buy in to this shallow conversational piece that parents love engaging in.

Being a parent is the most rewarding and meaningful thing a person can do in life.  If G-d bestows upon one the circumstances and blessing of being able to have children, one gets the immeasurable privilege to partner with G-d in bringing the next generation into the world.

It’s hard to change oneself. At the beginning of the new calendar year many people are making good resolutions about self-betterment. The problem is, that a few days into the year the resolutions often slide away. The best way to solidify a good resolution is by cementing it into your schedule without needing to constantly rethink and recommit.

Dare I say that the best way to transform oneself into a giving person, is by ‘burdening’ oneself with the commitment of raising children. Not more than a few hours (or minutes for infants) can go by without your needing to give your child something. Food, drink, a diaper change or a smile and hug. And once the children get older, a whole new and more sophisticated series of obligations, negotiations and opportunities come your way.

I would like to digress here.

Our generation asks many more existential questions than the generations of decades and centuries ago.

Questions like ‘why should I get married’, ‘why should I have children’, ‘why should I live’ are more prevalent these days than ever before.

Not to mention the big ‘are you happy’ discussion.

It seems clear to me that these questions are a sign of our privileged lifestyle. In the days where survival required all of our energy, there was no brain space left to ponder these questions. Because the basics of life require less energy (think washing machine vs handwashing laundry near the river) we have available time to contemplate the meaning of life and our own happiness and satisfaction.

It is not by chance that the deep Chassidic philosophy taught by Rabbi Shneur Zalman (whose day of passing is today) has proliferated among the general Jewish community over the past two centuries.

Click here for insight into his pivotal work the ‘Tanya’

More than ever before we need to be engaging our minds in the deep Torah teachings that speak to our intellect and heart in creating a meaningful Jewish experience by contemplation and comprehension.

So much of our life centers around our minds and moods. We need to invest into framing life from the perspective that G-d has provided in the Torah.

Rare is it for a person these days to always be so tied up in work and chores that they go unthinkingly through life. It may be that during busy periods you have no time to think, but usually there are occasional quieter periods.

It is a burden to live in a time that we are able to think so freely.

Our society grapples with it.

The Torah gives us the best recipe for life by giving us instructions and mitzvahs that we are to perform regardless of whether we feel like doing them or not.

Those deeds lead us to proper and positive thinking.

I want to focus on the incredible positivity latent in our modern lifestyle.

The Torah tells us that being exhausted by hard labor quashes the spirit and doesn’t even allow one to dream of a better future.

Moses related  God's message to the Israelites, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their anguish of spirit  evinced by their shortness of breath, which had made them despair of being redeemed, and  because of the harsh labor , which had made them skeptical of Moses' promises.

We now have the gift of time to think and with it comes the ability to dream and set the scene for a transformed future, the coming of Mashiach who will usher the world into a place of peace and Shalom.

Let us try to take the message of this Parsha and remind ourselves to ‘do something’ if you ‘see something’.

Have you noticed someone in need? Did a charity that helps others in need reach out to you for help? Is there a person who is down in the dumps that needs a pick-me-up?

Don’t just walk by, or ‘scroll down’ stop for a moment and think whether there is something that you can do to help.

Hashem wants us to do our bit in making this world a more G-dly space by doing mitzvahs between us and G-d and increasing in our acts of kindness to others.

The good deed that you do, will bring you blessing in your personal life, will tip the scales of the world for the good and will bring salvation and saving to the whole of mankind.


Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

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