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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.

Vaexchanon 5779
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Matos-Massai 5779
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Matos-Massai 5779

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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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOgpUrcEamM. The Midian War

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The Haftora of Parshas Matos/Masai, Numbers 30:2 - end, describes the Prophet Yirmya's vision of doom and gloom. One thing mentioned in his oration is his vision of an almond branch. Almonds grow very quickly. Fruition to fully ripened occurs in 21 days - similar to the 21 days between Tamuz 17 and Tisha B'Av. He specifically saw shkadim which are bitter at first and sweet when fully mature (There is a type of almond called luzim which are sweet when young and bitter as they mature); similar to these days, when Jews remember the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem with bitterness and mourning, to be converted to days of great celebration and sweetness with the arrival of Moshiach.

Even though the primary focus of Yirmya's vision was the almonds, he describes seeing a branch. In Hebrew, the word for tribe and stick is either Mata or shevet. A mata is dried and lifeless. A shevet still contains moisture and can be replanted and grow. Yirmya saw a shevet, specifically, to inform us that even if the Jewish people may seem as though they are cut off from their life source - the essence of Hashem, we still have some vitality left. All that is left to do is return the "stick" to a source of nurture - back to Hashem.

(Based on Likutei Sichos vol 33)

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I heard this story from Rabbi Sholom Gordon, son of Yochanan Gordon and Reb Yekusiel Yaffe, a"h of Oak Park, Michigan.

The chief shochet - ritual slaughterer - in the city of Docscyce (Dokshitz), Poland was Rabbi Yochanon Gordon (Reb Yochanon moved to New York in the mid-1930's and was the gabai and Torah reader for the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe). His assistant was Reb Yekusiel Yaffe who was a survivor of the War. Rabbi Gordon would spend Shavuos in Lubavitch. The trip would last three to five weeks. One time, he left Reb Yekusiel in charge with the instructions if a question arose to ask the local shoemaker, tailor or third individual whose profession escapes me.

A wedding party asked Reb Yekusiel to slaughter a large ox for the festivities. A question of the animal's kosher status arose. Reb Yekusiel ruled he animal to be kosher but another shochet ruled it not. Reb Yekusiel went to the tailor and explained the problem. The tailor leaned his hand on his chin for a moment in thought and said, "There is no question of its kosher status according to the Babylonian Talmud." He then thought for another moment and said, "It is also no question in the Jerusalem Talmud."

Reb Yekusiel posed the question to the other two, with the same results. Here were people who took on simple trades for livelihood, yet they knew the entire Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud by heart and could search each one in an instant.

In a similar vein, I knew a mailman who worked six days a week. Each week he reviewed the six orders of Mishna by heart. One order each day.

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Tune into the JEWISH HOUR - Detroit's only Jewish radio program, with your host, Herschel Finman. Sundays 11:00 - Noon on WLQV 92.7 FM/1500 AM - Detroit. Now available at the iTunes store (free of course) and on your smartphone - download the free stitcher app.

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