A man once said to the Chafetz Chaim, (one of the great sages from the early 1900's) "Rabbi, I have just bought a lottery ticket. Could you please give me a blessing that I will win, since the money I acquire will enable me to study Bible with peace of mind."
The Chafetz Chaim gently blessed him, "May the Almighty help you study Bible with peace of mind."
The man was disappointed that the Chafetz Chaim did not give him a blessing to win the lottery. It occurred to him that perhaps the Chafetz Chaim did not hear him exactly, so he repeated - this time in a louder voice - that he would like a blessing to win the lottery.
Very calmly the Chafetz Chaim reiterated the same blessing, word for word as before.
Today, ask yourself: Are my material possessions in any way distracting me from the real goals of life?
Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)
By Rabbi Kalman Packouz
GOOD MORNING!My friend, Sunny Goldstein, of blessed memory, was named after his grandfather. While that is not unusual, the rest of the story is. One hundred and twenty-three years ago, Sunny's grandfather left his wife, three year old daughter and six month old son to head to California for a better climate and better living conditions for the family. The plan was to find a way to support the family and then send for the family to join him. Only one problem. He was never heard from again.
As Sunny grew up there was a split family opinion. All of the women maintained that his grandfather had abandoned the family, remarried and had a new family. His father maintained that something must have happened to him and always was looking to prove that he hadn't abandoned his family. When Sunny started to work and his travels took him to California, his father always asked, "Please, see if you can find your grandfather." But the task was too daunting ... there are a lot of cemeteries in California.
When Sunny was nearing his 80th birthday a fourth cousin asked to interview him for a family genealogy. When she asked about his grandfather, Sunny told her the story and apologized that he didn't have more information. His cousin told him, "Look, if you can think of anything else, let me know. I love solving these mysteries!" When they hung up, Sunny put forth a little prayer that he often prayed -- "Please God, help me fulfill my father's request and find out what happened to my grandfather. Thank you."
That night Sunny had a dream. He woke up in the morning and called his cousin. "I have no idea what it means, but one word kept coming to me over and over all night long. 'Oddfellows'. I have no idea what it means." The cousin thanked him and hung up.
One month later the cousin calls all excited! "I found your grandfather's death certificate. He died of pneumonia shortly after arriving in California. He's in the Oddfellows cemetery ... 15 minutes from your home in San Diego!" Sunny got the address and immediately drove to the cemetery and sought out the section, row and plot. And there, engraved in stone, was the proof his father was seeking all of those years.
There, engraved on the tombstone below the name of Samuel Goldstein, were the words: "Devoted Husband. Loving Father." The mystery was solved. He had not abandoned the family!
Since his grandfather was a member of the Oddfellows (a fraternal club started in the 1800's by two men who gave generously of their riches to the poor and were thus considered by their acquaintances as "oddfellows"), they visited him in the hospital, buried him in their cemetery and erected his tombstone according to his deathbed instructions.
Sunny could not find out more information because the Oddfellows records were destroyed in the Los Angeles earthquake a few years ago. Why didn't his grandfather or the Oddfellows contact his wife? Maybe they tried. Perhaps they wrote and the letter was lost. Perhaps the address had changed. In 1891 communication was not easy or as assured as today.
While I intended to use the story as a "springboard" to discuss how one gets his prayers answered, it seems my "springboard" reaches almost to the end of the "pool". Here are 5 Steps to Genuine Prayer: 1) Feel God's presence. You are talking to a loving, all-powerful Being Who wants to give you everything that's good. All over the world God is answering prayers because He loves His children. 2) Expect results. God has a track record. If you don't really believe God can and will help you, you're not really praying. 3) Pay attention to what God is teaching you. Everything that happens is for your good. If you are in need, realize God is teaching you something. If you trust Him, you will hear what He is telling you. 4) Get in touch with what you're really after. Know your bottom line. You're talking to the awesome Creator, so don't ask for nonsense. He wants you to grow up. 5) Being serious about what you're praying for means that you're doing everything you can to make it happen. God will lend a hand only when you put in the effort. He'll never take away your independence because that's His ultimate gift to you.
Disney Dreidel Video--funny
On our trip for the Brit, we take a little detour to the Big Apple's capital