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Man and the World

When Avraham was looking for a wife for his son Yitzchak, he sent Eliezer with instructions not to take one of the daughters of the Canaanites.  Avraham even went so far as to make Eliezer take an oath not to do so.  Why was this necessary?  Eliezer was greatly trusted by Avraham and had total control over his household.  And if, for some inconceivable reason, Eliezer had not kept this condition, Avraham would not have been bound to accept her.  An oath is only administered when it is truly necessary.  Why now did he question his trustworthiness?

The sages say that the righteous take oaths in order to be prevented from succumbing to the evil in inclination.  Had Avraham gone himself to find a wife for his son, he would even have taken an oath upon himself not to take a Canaanite woman.  The reason for taking an oath is to retain vigilance.

Man and Home

Candle lighting just before Shabbat differs from other forms of candle lighting.  The Rebbe m’Lubavitch said: “Candle lighting brings ‘peace and tranquility’ in the home and helps avert unexpected and adverse occurrences. (Gemara Shabbat 23)  Although all lighting prevents one from stumbling, only the Sabbath candles offer spiritual protection as well.  Other forms of light do not guarantee to further peaceful and harmonious relationships within the household.  The very opposite may result; subjecting someone to the merciless glare of objective illumination may shed uncomplimentary light upon him, leading to the very opposite of peace and harmony.  Truly peaceful and harmonious relationships will result only when others are viewed in the light of the verse that teaches that ‘a mitzvah is a candle and the Torah is illumination.’  (Mishlei 6:23).  Since the entire Torah was given in order to bring peace to the world, viewing others in ‘the light of Torah’ better leads to family unity and peace.  Although all of Torah and mitzvot lead to peace, that peace is mainly spiritual.  The illumination of Shabbos candles has the additional merit of leading to interpersonal peace.”

The spirit of peace is so crucial to the Sabbath that, traditionally, the husband customarily prepares the Sabbath candles for his wife.  Rab Chelbo (Babylonian) stated, “Let a man ever be careful to honor his wife, because God’s blessing is found in a man’s house only for the sake of his wife.”

Man and God

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk commented: “An earthenware vessel can become unclean only on the inside, never on the outside, for it has no value in itself.  Its sole worth lies in the fact that it can serve as a receptacle for an object of value.  Metal utensils, on the other hand, have value in themselves and can therefore become unclean on the outside also.  Man, being made of dust, is like an earthenware vessel.  His worth lies not in the outer shell but in the human qualities within.”

JUNE 2013

Candle Lighting Times
and Torah Portions

Saturday, June 1
Torah Portion: Shelach-Lecha
(Numbers 13:1-15:41)

Friday, June 7
Light candles at 7:41 p.m.

Saturday, June 8
Torah Portion: Korach
(Numbers 16:1-18:32)

Friday, June 14
Light candles at 7:44 p.m.

Saturday, June 15
Torah Portion: Hukkat
(Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Friday, June 21
Light candles at 7:46 p.m.

Saturday, June 22
Torah Portion: Balak
(Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Friday, June 28
Light candles at 7:47 p.m.

Saturday, June 29
Torah Portion: Pinchas
(Numbers 25:10-30:1)

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