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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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Balak 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.


This week's YouParsha Balak http://youtu.be/uBQ2TNA1T0s Getting G'd on Your Side


This week's Parsha of Balak - Numbers 22:2 - 25:9 recounts the story of Bilaam and his attempt to curse the Jews. There is a posuk in Ki Teitzei - Deut 23:6, that states, "Do not come to listen to the curses of Bilaam. Hashem will turn the curse of Bilaam to blessing." Why is this verse necessary? Bilaam was killed by Moshe. Hashem never wanted Bilaam to curse the Jews - his donkey told him so.

Hashem created good and bad in equilibrium. Bilaam was the anti-Moshe. As great as Moshe's ability was to convey G'dliness, Bilaam's was equally great to convey evil. Bilaam enjoyed the same relationship with Hashem as Moshe but through the forces of evil. Moshe - the Faithful Shepherd, wanted to convey the very essence of Hashem to the Jewish people and the world. Bilaam wanted to direct that same G-dliness away from the Jews and into the forces of unholiness. At the onset, it looks as though Bilaam did a better job. The world is filled with unholiness, much of which was directed to this world through Bilaam. We might have therefore thought that Bilaam's efforts in cursing the Jews might have been successful. Moshe consoles the Jews that Bilaam's efforts only increased holiness as Moshe was able to direct the curses away from unholiness and convert them to blessing.

Just as we have a spark of Moshe inside of us that is the quintessential connection to Hashem, so too do we have a Bilaam - an essential arrogance that is drawn after unholiness. Moshe killed Bilaam and redirected his energies to holiness. We must likewise redirect our personal Bilaam to become incorporated in our Moshe.


In 1940, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn - whose birthday and liberation from Soviet prison are celebrated this week, was miraculously saved from the Nazis and arrived on the safe shores of the United States. Soon after the Rebbe's arrival, he revealed that his mission in the United States was to transform it into a place of Torah. There were those who attempted to inform the Rebbe that, "This is, after all, America; it is not like the 'old home.'" To these people, the Rebbe replied, "America is no different; with regard to Torah study and observance of its commandments, America is no exception!"

In the months after the Previous Rebbe came to the United States, he composed a "Prayer for the Welfare of the Nation." The idea of praying for the government has a Biblical source, in the book of Jeremiah: "Seek the welfare of the country where I have sent you into exile; pray to the L-rd for it, for your welfare depends on its welfare." In the Mishna, Rabbi Chanina the deputy High Priest said, "Pray for the welfare of the government, for without the fear of it, man would swallow his fellow alive." (Ethics of the Fathers 3:2) Throughout the ages, Jews have always prayed privately and communally for the welfare of the government and the leaders of the government of the countries in which we find ourselves. Today is no different. Following is the Rebbe's prayer:

"Our G-d and G-d of our fathers, great, mighty and revered. G-d, we beseech You, in Your abundant mercy restore the world unto its true basis, under the guidance of kings and rulers who shall reign with justice and righteousness, without discrimination between nation and nation, race and race. "We beseech You, O merciful and gracious G-d, guide our illustrious President whom You have chosen leader of these United States. Strengthen and encourage him and his honorable ministers and counselors of state and the honorable representatives of the citizens in both houses of Congress. Bless their efforts to save this land and the neighboring lands from war and destruction, and wherever they turn in the cause of humanity and in behalf of this land and for the benefit of Your people Israel, send the angels of blessing and success to welcome them, and cause war and its calamities to be ended and an era of peace and justice with its blessings to begin even in their and our days. Amen."


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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