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Back in 1996, Rabbi Finman was asked to speak to the niece of one of his students. After spending many hours answering her questions, the woman gave Rabbi Finman her e-mail address. Rabbi Finman wrote the woman a note and included in it a short insight into that week's Parsha and a short Chasidic story.

Realizing that this was something no one was yet doing,, Rabbi Finman sent the missive to his mailing list of about 30 people. Requests from recipients friends came pouring in. The next week Rabbi Finman sent the e-Parsha to 100 people. Within a year more than 2000 people were receiving it. Today, more than 14,000 receive the e-Parsha weekly and the requests keep coming in.

Noach 5778
Succos 5778
Yom Kipper 5778
Ntizavim/Vayelech 5777
Ki Savo 5777

Succos 5778

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In memory of Bennie Magy - Bentziyon ben Avraham v Elke Magy, who passed away Menachem Av 22, 5749 - August 23, 1989 and Rose Magy - Rivka Rayzel Bat Chayim Yaakov v'Chaya Tertza Arbit, who passed away Tamuz 2, 5765 - July 9, 2005. May their souls experience a lichtiger Gan Eden - an illuminated Garden of Eden and may their family only experience Simchas from now on. Sponsored by their son Paul Magy - Birmingham, Michigan.

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This week's YouParsha https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTA8922URxY Succa - the unifying theme

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Succos accomplishes what Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur cannot. It is an amazing thing. Let's say you were a total stranger to Jewish custom. Someone gives you a list of all the holidays and things that are done in the synagogue on those days. There is one day that people fast and pray all day. There is another day that people dance and party all day. Which would you choose? Yom Kippur gets good marketing as the day when our sins are removed. People get really excited about sin removal. What people do not recognize is that partying during Succos accomplishes the same atonement.

Simcha poretz geder - joy breaks through all boundaries. The Arizal (father of the kaballa) writes that there is a disconnect in a person who does not cry on Yom Kippur. The essence of the soul relates directly to the essence of Hashem on Yom Kippur. At some point, the person feels a distance; either because of misdeeds in the past or a sense of wanting to come closer in the future. That distance causes tears. Everyone can get closer to Hashem. A person who does not feel the distance is disconnected.

The Arizal further writes that what a person did not cry on Yom Kippur can be made up on Simchas Torah by dancing. It is very difficult to just jump right in on Simchas Torah. There are seven days of Succos - the time of our rejoicing - in which a person can gradually prepare for the ultimate reconnect on Simchas Torah.

Time to dance

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Reb Mottle of Chernobyl moved to Israel in the late 1880's. One of his most prized possessions was the succah of his great-grandfather. With every successive generation - the succah seemed to grow in holiness. People from all over Jerusalem would come to sit in the magnificent succah.

1914 proved to be a difficult year. World War I closed the sea-lanes to Israel. Basic commodities were almost impossible to find. Food and fuel were at a premium. That year, people came to visit the Rebbe and found him sitting a plain shack. The beautiful succah was gone! No one could muster the courage to ask Reb Mottle what had happened.

A great festive meal was held the following Chanuka. One of the participants asked to be allowed to speak. "You probably are still wondering what happened to Reb Mottle's wonderful succah. My newborn grandson was seriously ill. The doctors recommended he received warm baths twice a day. The fuel shortage was so dire that bathing him twice a week would prove challenging. I went to Reb Mottle to ask his advice. Without hesitating, the Rebbe said, 'Take the Succa.' As much as I protested, the Rebbe would not hear of it. 'This is a matter of life and death. Of what importance are a few boards in comparison?' With a heavy heart, I took an ax and broke the boards into firewood. I am happy to report that my grandson was pronounced healthy today."

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