Parashat Noach - To be convinced to persuade

Parashat Noach - To be convinced to persuade

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Glossary

Al kiddush Hashem – for the sanctification of Hashem’s Name

Ahavat Hashem – love of Hashem

Aron Hakodesh – Ark, where the Sefer Torah is housed

Aveirah, aveirot (pl) – transgression

Avodat Hashem – service of Hashem

Avot – Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov

Avrech, avrechim (pl) – young Torah scholar

Ayin hara – evil eye

 

Ba’alei Mussar – Masters of Ethics

Ba’al teshuvah, ba’alei teshuvah (pl) – (lit. Master of Return/Repentance), one who returns to Hashem

Ba’alat chessed – woman who does many acts of kindness

Bachur – young man

Baruch Hashem – Thanks to Hashem

B’chasdei Hashem – With the help of Hashem

Bedikat chametz – searching the house for chametz on the night before Pesach

Bein Hazmanim – intercession between study semesters in yeshiva

Beit Din – rabbinical court

Beit Hakeneset, Batei Kenesiot (pl) – house of prayer, synagogue

Beit Hamidrash, Batei Midrashot (pl) – house of study

Beit Hamikdash –Holy Temple

B’ezrat Hashem – With the help of Hashem

Berachah, berachot (pl) – blessing

Bikur cholim – visiting the sick

Bikurim – first of the produce from the seven species, brought to the Beit Hamikdash

Birkat hagomel – blessing of thanksgiving after one has been rescued from danger

Birkat Hamazon – Grace after Meals

Bitachon – trust

Bitul Torah – time wasted from Torah study

Bli ayin hara – May there be no evil eye (expression)

Bnei Yisrael – The Children of Israel

Brit (milah) – circumcision

 

Chachamim – (lit. wise people), Sages, teachers

Chametz – leavened bread, which is forbidden to be eaten on Pesach

Chanukat habayit – dedication ceremony for a new home or institution

Chas v’shalom, chalilah – May G-d have mercy

Chatan – bridegroom

Chatunah – wedding

Chavruta – study partner

Chazal – our Sages, may their memory be for a blessing

Chessed – kindness

Chevrah kadisha – Jewish burial society

Chillul Hashem – desecration of Hashem’s Name

Chizuk – inspiration

Chuppah – wedding canopy

Chutz la’aretz – Diaspora

 

Daf Hayomi – program to learn one page of Gemara every day, which is completed in approximately seven and a half years

Dayan – judge

Divrei Torah – words of Torah

 

Eirev Rav – gentiles who joined the Jewish people at the Exodus

Erev – the eve of (Shabbat)

Emunah – faith

 

Gabbai, gabbaim (pl.) – caretaker of the synagogue

Galut – exile

Gematria – numerical value

Get – Jewish bill of divorce

Geulah – redemption

Gezel – robbery

Gilgul – reincarnation

 

Hachnasat orchim – hosting guests

Hachnasat Sefer Torah – dedication ceremony for a Sefer Torah

Hakadosh Baruch Hu – The Holy One, Blessed is He (referring to Hashem)

Halachah, halachot (pl) – Jewish law

Halachic – according to Jewish law

Hashgachah, hashgachot (pl.) – kashrut symbol

Hashgachah pratit – Divine intervention

Hilula – celebration of the anniversary of a death of a tzaddik

 

Im yirtzeh Hashem – If Hashem wants

 

Kabbalat kahal – receiving the public for private audiences

Kaddish – prayer said by the mourner for the merit of the deceased

Karet – punishment of being cut off from Hashem

Kashrut – laws pertaining to food

Kedushah – holiness

Kelippah, kelippot (pl) – force of impurity

Kiddush Hashem – sanctification of Hashem’s Name

Kimcha d’Pischa – funds allotted to the needy for Pesach

Kinot – Tishah B’Av lamentations

Kippah, kippot (pl) – skullcap

Kohen Gadol – high priest

Kollel, kollelim (pl) – Torah institution for married men

Korban, korbanot (pl) – offering, sacrifice

Kriyat Shema – the recital of the Shema

 

Lashon hakodesh – (lit. the holy tongue), Hebrew

Lashon hara – evil speech, slander

Leket – gleanings: one or two stalks that fall away at the time of reaping and must be left for the poor

L’havdil – to separate the holy from the mundane

L’shem Shamayim – For the sake of Heaven

Luchot – Tablets, on which the Ten Commandments were written

 

Ma’aser – tithe

Ma’ariv – Evening Prayer

Maggid shiur – one who delivers a Torah lecture

Masechet, masechta – tractate

Mashiach – Messiah

Mashgiach, mashgichim (pl) – supervisor, assistant dean in a yeshiva

Mashgiach kashrut – kashrut supervisor

Matan Torah – The Giving of the Torah

Matmid – diligent student

Mazal – sign of the zodiac, luck, fate

Mesirut nefesh – self-sacrifice

Mezuzah – parchment containing Torah verses, commanded to be affixed to every doorpost

Middah – character trait

Midrash – homiletical teachings of the Sages

Mikveh, mikvaot (pl) – body of water for ritual immersion and purification

Minchah – the Afternoon Prayer

Minyan – quorum of ten men necessary to conduct prayers

Mishkan – the Tabernacle

Mitzrayim – Egypt

Mitzvah, mitzvot (pl) – commandment

Muktzeh – items set aside, forbidden from touching on Shabbat

Mussar – ethics

 

Nachat – joy or pleasure from another’s accomplishments

Navi – prophet

Neshamah, neshamot (pl) – soul

Neshamah yeteirah – the additional soul awarded a person on Shabbat

Niddah – woman who became impure due to her menstrual cycle; the mitzvah   concerning this

Nisayon, nisyonot (pl) – test, challenging situation

 

Parashah, parshiyot (pl) – chapter

Pasuk, pesukim (pl) – verse

Payot – side locks

Pe’ah –corner of a field which must be left for the poor

Pirkei Avot (or Avot) – The Chapters of the Fathers

 

Rabbanim – rabbis

Rachmana litzlan – May G-d’s mercy be upon them

Rasha, resha’im (pl) – evil person

Rechilut – gossip

Ribbono shel Olam – Master of the World (referring to Hashem)

Rosh Kollel – Dean of a kollel

Ruach hakodesh – Divine inspiration

 

Sandek – one who holds the baby during a circumcision

Sefer – book

Sefer Torah, Sifrei Torah (pl) – Torah Scroll

Segulah – act or talisman to gain merit

Selichot – special prayers said prior to the Yamim Nora’im

Seudah – meal

Seudat hodayah – thanksgiving meal for salvation

Seudat mitzvah – meal eaten for a mitzvah celebration

Seudah shlishit – third meal on Shabbat

Sha’atnez – mixture of wool and linen that is forbidden to be worn

Shacharit – Morning Prayer

Shaliach tzibbur – cantor, one who leads the prayers

Shalom bayit – marital harmony

Shechinah – Divine Presence

Shemoneh Esrei – prayer containing eighteen blessings, recited three times a day

Shidduch, shidduchim (pl.) – marriage proposal, marriage partner

Shikchah – bundle of stalks of grain forgotten in the field at the time of the harvest, which must be left for the poor

Shiur, shiurim (pl) – Torah lecture

Shivah – seven-day mourning period for a deceased family member

Shlita – May he live many good years, Amen

Siddur – prayer book

Simchah – joy, joyous celebration

Siyata di’Shemaya – Divine assistance

Siyum – completion of a tractate (and celebration thereof)

Sugya – topic in Gemara

 

Taharat hamishpachah – laws of family purity

Talmid chacham, talmidei chachamim (pl) – Torah scholar

Tannai’m – Sages of the Mishnah

Tefillat, tefillot (pl.) – prayer

Tefillin – phylacteries

Terumah – tithe

Teshuvah – (lit. return) repentance

Tikkun, tikkunim (pl) – rectification

Treif – nonkosher food

Tumah – defilement

Tzaddik – righteous person

Tzedakah – charity

Tzeniut – modesty

Tzitzit – four-cornered garment with fringes, worn by men and boys

 

Viduy – prayer of confession, recited on Yom Kippur

 

Yerushalayim – Jerusalem

Yeshiva – rabbinical college

Yetzer Hara – Evil Inclination

Yetzer Hatov – Good Inclination

Yichud – prohibition of being secluded with a strange woman

Yirat Shamayim – fear of Heaven

 

Zman – semester of Torah study

Zechut, zechuyot (pl.) – merit

Zemirot – songs sung in honor of Shabbat

Zikuy harabim – bringing merit to the public

Zt”l – May the tzaddik’s memory be for a blessing

Zy”a – May his merits protect us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

A Prophetic Vision
A Life in Ruins
Teshuvah Bears Fruit
Frozen into Inaction

Request for blessings

Flying Away from Problems

Flying Away from Problems

A wealthy Mexican Jew found himself in hot water. He was scheduled to face a court trial. If he was found innocent, he would retain his assets. But if he was found guilty, he would be left penniless. Numerous lawyers were involved in preparing his case. They tried every trick in the book in order to gain his acquittal. But he came to me anyway, asking for advice as to the winning argument which would set him free once and for all.

At first, I tried to evade his question. I was concerned about expressing my opinion on such a fateful decision. But the man would not leave me alone. He wanted to know what I thought was his best course of action.

This discourse took place on a Friday afternoon, shortly before the onset of Shabbat. Knowing that this man did not keep Torah and mitzvot, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Listen to me and observe the coming Shabbat. Do not answer the phone or do any other forbidden act. Go to the synagogue and completely remove all thoughts of your upcoming trial. I am certain that with Hashem’s help, you will yet see salvation.”

“Honored Rav, I cannot do it,” he cried.

But I was stubborn. “All of your assets depend on observing this coming Shabbat. If you keep Shabbat, you will merit tremendous blessing and see amazing deliverance. But if not, you are liable to lose the case, and with it, all of your earthly possessions.”

When the man saw how adamant I was, he finally capitulated and agreed to keep Shabbat according to halachah. On Motza’ei Shabbat, he called me up. He related that even though it had been terribly difficult for him, he had made every effort to keep Shabbat to the best of his ability. Now he asked for my advice regarding the court order.

“My advice is that on the day of the trial, you take your private jet and cross the border. Say that you are not feeling well. The trial will continue in your absence. I am certain that the merit of sacrificing your comfort for the sake of Shabbat will stand by you. Hashem will take care of everything.”

The man did as I advised. He did not make an appearance on the day of the trial. B’chasdei Hashem, the judges accepted the lawyers’ defense, and the man was acquitted.

 

Flying Away from Problems

A Gift of Value
Serving Hashem – A Full-time Job
A Chassidic Tale
In High Spirits

A Fine Time for Prayer

The account of the following incident made its way to our office in France and caused tremendous chizuk among all who read it:

My name is Jonathan A. I am thirty years old and live in Drancy, Paris. I work for a huge firm called Generali, which is divided up into various departments. Altogether, this firm employs approximately five thousand workers.

Every Shabbat, I pray at the synagogue in Blanc-Mesnil, near Paris. For years, I would pray by rote, never feeling especial emotion or concentration in my prayers. Slowly but surely, I veered from the path of Torah.

But Hashem did not give up on me. He sent His messenger to bring me back to the path of righteousness. A young woman in our congregation became engaged to a very pious young man by the name of Jeremy, from the Nineteenth Quarter in Paris. Whoever observed Jeremy’s prayers could not but sense his pure intentions. His special way of praying instilled in me the desire to pray like him, as well as commit myself to Torah study. On Shabbat, I had the merit of learning Torah together with him. We even conducted a competition between us to see who could come up with original Torah insights. This paved my path to teshuvah.

One evening, Jeremy called me up and invited me to join him for a Torah shiur on the Rue du Plateau. I agreed on the spot. I had often tried to participate in Torah classes of various rabbanim, but I could never find one that was suited to my needs.

Rabbi Yoel, shlita, was the speaker that evening, and he talked about the topic of teshuvah. To my chagrin, after only three sessions, I stopped going. My Yetzer Hara had talked me into believing that my teshuvah was airtight, and there was no need for further support. Of course, once I stopped going, my spiritual level plummeted. Only after I realized this, did I take the reins in hand and continue coming to the shiurim, but this time with humility and subservience.

  1. The Rav’s son, Yoel Shlomo Yichyeh, shlita, with youth who thirst for the word of Hashem

During the first session that I attended after returning, Hashgachah pratit arranged that Rabbi Yoel should speak about a subject that really spoke to me. He said that when a person believes his teshuvah is stalwart, it is a definite sign that it is weak and crumbling. I felt he was the mouthpiece of Heaven, speaking directly to me. I determined not to forego one shiur of this wonderful man. I made good on my vow, never missing a shiur. But I felt that something was missing.

Then Heaven arranged that Rabbi Yoel should deliver the shiur that changed my life forever. He spoke about the power of prayer and explained how a person should pray. When I was a little tyke in preschool, I learned the words of tefillah, but Rabbi Yoel showed us how to put our hearts into the words.

After the lecture, everyone stood up to begin the Ma’ariv prayer. With extreme concentration, I asked Hashem, “Why did I fall so low in my spirituality? Why do I not feel anything when I pray? I so long to do teshuvah!”

Hashem answered my prayers immediately. A physically handicapped young man, who had been present at the shiur, slowly walked over to me. Watching him make his painstaking way over, I felt that Hashem was responding to my question. It was my impetuousness and impatience which barred my path from reaching Hashem. Then and there, I undertook to act according to the advice of Rabbi Yoel: To walk slowly but securely, one rung at a time. Only when I felt stable with my spiritual level would I endeavor to climb to the next one.

I like my job and am satisfied with the conditions. My department employs only ten workers. The work is interesting, and the atmosphere is pleasant. But there is one woman, in her fifties, with the initials J.V. She is not an agreeable person to deal with, to say the least. She comes to work with her dog and is a real racist.

When I am at work, I feel it is my duty to change her mindset, or at least to minimize her anti Semitic leanings. I often purchase a cup of coffee for her at the coffee machine and do other small acts of benevolence, which I hope will alter her outlook on Jews as a whole. I believe my actions create a kiddush Hashem in the workplace.

One Thursday in November, I awoke in an especially good mood. I decided to begin tithing my money for charity, apart from the other mitzvot I generally do. I put forth a prayer that Hashem should give me more so that I could give more to His children. That evening, as was my custom, I attended Rabbi Yoel’s evening shiur. He told us that whatever Hashem does is for our best, even if we do not realize it immediately. We are obligated to thank Him for everything, no matter what.

I drove home with my friend, Jeremy. Near Rue Petit, in the Nineteenth Quarter, we noticed an elderly man who was having trouble walking.

We looked at each other in wonder. Jeremy spoke first. “Jonathan, I am sure that I saw this man here last week, after the shiur. When I offered to walk him home, he flatly refused.”

I began to tremble. I, too, had seen this man last week in this very same spot. But it was half an hour after Jeremy had seen him. How could this be? Jeremy spoke up. “Maybe today he does want us to take him somewhere. Open the window and offer him a lift.”

I did as he said. To our surprise, the old man accepted my offer. We took him to his destination. Jeremy said that at this man’s pace, it would have taken him two hours to get there. The old man blessed us over and over. We felt good to have done this mitzvah.

I let Jeremy off at his house on Rue Petit. I was filled with a sense of satisfaction. I had merited performing the mitzvot of charity, praying with concentration, and doing a kindness with this elderly man.

After about another ten minute drive, I finally arrived home. There is a stop sign a couple of meters from my house. As I reached it, I looked in all directions. The streets were clear, so I continued on without stopping. Not a moment passed before I heard the wailing of police sirens. They had caught me red-handed. They stopped me and ordered me to pull over. I politely listened. I have learned that the price of anger and impulsiveness is very steep.

“You did not stop by a stop sign. Hand over your license and registration, please.”

“I don’t have either of them with me,” I said. “I left everything in my other coat. I live across the street on the third floor. I’ll leave my car keys with you if you want, while I go up to get the papers.”

But the officer was adamant. “You’re supposed to have your documents with you, not at home!” he bellowed.

I had nothing to answer the cop after his valid accusation. I pulled out a form that was lying in my car, which had my full name on it. Maybe this would help matters.

The policeman contacted the central police station and confirmed that indeed, I had a license. He stepped aside and began filling out tickets: A fine for driving through a stop sign, a fine for not having my driver’s license with me, a fine for not having the car’s registration papers with me, a fine for not having the insurance forms with me …

As the minutes went by, my mind began wandering back to Rabbi Yoel’s shiur that evening. He said that one can speak to Hashem at any given time, for any reason at all. One should never be afraid to speak to Hashem in his own language, and aloud, asking for whatever it is he needs.

I entered my car and began to yell at the top of my lungs, “Hashem, today I did everything for You. And now this happens. But I don’t have any grievances toward You. I even thank You. Everything is for my best. Thank You! Thank You!”

The second cop noticed that I was talking. He motioned with his stick that I should come out. “Who were you talking to just now?” he demanded.

“I was talking on my cell phone,” I replied.

“You’re making me into a fool,” he stated. “Who were you talking to? All of the fines you got are not enough?” he threatened me.

I decided I would speak the truth. “You know what, Mr. Officer? I’ll tell you the truth. I spoke just now with G-d and thanked Him for everything that happened. I am paying up for my sins in this world so that I can arrive at the World to Come with a clean slate.”

The policeman did not buy my story. He threw me against the car and began a thorough search of my clothes. He was looking for drugs or drink, but he found neither. He decided to run an alcotest, which reveals if a driver drank an alcoholic beverage before hitting the road. This too, came out clear. The only thing he came up with was my work card, which said Generali, with my name and picture.

In the meantime, the first cop finished with his battery of fines. He now said, “We have to take you and the car to the police station in order to check out your identity. We have no proof that you’re Jonathan A.”

Upon hearing these words, I said, “I live here. Come, walk me home and there you’ll find all the documentation you need. That will make things easier for me as well as you.”

But the officer declined. That was just not the way things were done.

Then the second cop intervened. “He’s called Jonathan A. I found his work card at Generali, with his name and picture.”

Finally, a hint of a smile appeared on the first policeman’s face. “Do you really work for Generali?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered in all innocence.

“Do you know the woman by the initials J.V.?” the policeman asked suspiciously.

“Of course,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”

The cop then took out his cell phone. He pressed a few buttons and waited a moment. “Hello,” he said when someone picked up. “Do you know anyone by the name Jonathan A.?”

“Of course, and I owe him a debt of gratitude. You’d better not make him any trouble now!” his wife shouted from the other end of the line.

The man finally said good-bye to my co-worker. Then he tore all of my fines to fine shreds. He allowed me to go home without further delay.

This incident taught me a few lessons. First and foremost, Torah and mitzvot always protect a person from harm. Additionally, everything that happens is for the best. Hashem is omnipotent and can do things that contradict nature. He can make a policeman write out a series of tickets and then rip them to pieces.

Moreover, I learned about the power of prayer. Had I not entered my car to put forth a petition to Hashem, the cop would never have frisked me and found my work card. I would not have been witness to this amazing turn of events. But since I offered a prayer from the depths of my heart, Hashem came to my aid in a most dramatic way and saved me from my predicament.

 

A Fine Time for Prayer

At the Threshold of Perfect Prayer
Renewed Faith
A Gem of a Lesson
A Silent Prayer

Glossary

Al kiddush Hashem – for the sanctification of Hashem’s Name

Ahavat Hashem – love of Hashem

Aron Hakodesh – Ark, where the Sefer Torah is housed

Aveirah, aveirot (pl) – transgression

Avodat Hashem – service of Hashem

Avot – Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov

Avrech, avrechim (pl) – young Torah scholar

Ayin hara – evil eye

 

Ba’alei Mussar – Masters of Ethics

Ba’al teshuvah, ba’alei teshuvah (pl) – (lit. Master of Return/Repentance), one who returns to Hashem

Ba’alat chessed – woman who does many acts of kindness

Bachur – young man

Baruch Hashem – Thanks to Hashem

B’chasdei Hashem – With the help of Hashem

Bedikat chametz – searching the house for chametz on the night before Pesach

Bein Hazmanim – intercession between study semesters in yeshiva

Beit Din – rabbinical court

Beit Hakeneset, Batei Kenesiot (pl) – house of prayer, synagogue

Beit Hamidrash, Batei Midrashot (pl) – house of study

Beit Hamikdash –Holy Temple

B’ezrat Hashem – With the help of Hashem

Berachah, berachot (pl) – blessing

Bikur cholim – visiting the sick

Bikurim – first of the produce from the seven species, brought to the Beit Hamikdash

Birkat hagomel – blessing of thanksgiving after one has been rescued from danger

Birkat Hamazon – Grace after Meals

Bitachon – trust

Bitul Torah – time wasted from Torah study

Bli ayin hara – May there be no evil eye (expression)

Bnei Yisrael – The Children of Israel

Brit (milah) – circumcision

 

Chachamim – (lit. wise people), Sages, teachers

Chametz – leavened bread, which is forbidden to be eaten on Pesach

Chanukat habayit – dedication ceremony for a new home or institution

Chas v’shalom, chalilah – May G-d have mercy

Chatan – bridegroom

Chatunah – wedding

Chavruta – study partner

Chazal – our Sages, may their memory be for a blessing

Chessed – kindness

Chevrah kadisha – Jewish burial society

Chillul Hashem – desecration of Hashem’s Name

Chizuk – inspiration

Chuppah – wedding canopy

Chutz la’aretz – Diaspora

 

Daf Hayomi – program to learn one page of Gemara every day, which is completed in approximately seven and a half years

Dayan – judge

Divrei Torah – words of Torah

 

Eirev Rav – gentiles who joined the Jewish people at the Exodus

Erev – the eve of (Shabbat)

Emunah – faith

 

Gabbai, gabbaim (pl.) – caretaker of the synagogue

Galut – exile

Gematria – numerical value

Get – Jewish bill of divorce

Geulah – redemption

Gezel – robbery

Gilgul – reincarnation

 

Hachnasat orchim – hosting guests

Hachnasat Sefer Torah – dedication ceremony for a Sefer Torah

Hakadosh Baruch Hu – The Holy One, Blessed is He (referring to Hashem)

Halachah, halachot (pl) – Jewish law

Halachic – according to Jewish law

Hashgachah, hashgachot (pl.) – kashrut symbol

Hashgachah pratit – Divine intervention

Hilula – celebration of the anniversary of a death of a tzaddik

 

Im yirtzeh Hashem – If Hashem wants

 

Kabbalat kahal – receiving the public for private audiences

Kaddish – prayer said by the mourner for the merit of the deceased

Karet – punishment of being cut off from Hashem

Kashrut – laws pertaining to food

Kedushah – holiness

Kelippah, kelippot (pl) – force of impurity

Kiddush Hashem – sanctification of Hashem’s Name

Kimcha d’Pischa – funds allotted to the needy for Pesach

Kinot – Tishah B’Av lamentations

Kippah, kippot (pl) – skullcap

Kohen Gadol – high priest

Kollel, kollelim (pl) – Torah institution for married men

Korban, korbanot (pl) – offering, sacrifice

Kriyat Shema – the recital of the Shema

 

Lashon hakodesh – (lit. the holy tongue), Hebrew

Lashon hara – evil speech, slander

Leket – gleanings: one or two stalks that fall away at the time of reaping and must be left for the poor

L’havdil – to separate the holy from the mundane

L’shem Shamayim – For the sake of Heaven

Luchot – Tablets, on which the Ten Commandments were written

 

Ma’aser – tithe

Ma’ariv – Evening Prayer

Maggid shiur – one who delivers a Torah lecture

Masechet, masechta – tractate

Mashiach – Messiah

Mashgiach, mashgichim (pl) – supervisor, assistant dean in a yeshiva

Mashgiach kashrut – kashrut supervisor

Matan Torah – The Giving of the Torah

Matmid – diligent student

Mazal – sign of the zodiac, luck, fate

Mesirut nefesh – self-sacrifice

Mezuzah – parchment containing Torah verses, commanded to be affixed to every doorpost

Middah – character trait

Midrash – homiletical teachings of the Sages

Mikveh, mikvaot (pl) – body of water for ritual immersion and purification

Minchah – the Afternoon Prayer

Minyan – quorum of ten men necessary to conduct prayers

Mishkan – the Tabernacle

Mitzrayim – Egypt

Mitzvah, mitzvot (pl) – commandment

Muktzeh – items set aside, forbidden from touching on Shabbat

Mussar – ethics

 

Nachat – joy or pleasure from another’s accomplishments

Navi – prophet

Neshamah, neshamot (pl) – soul

Neshamah yeteirah – the additional soul awarded a person on Shabbat

Niddah – woman who became impure due to her menstrual cycle; the mitzvah   concerning this

Nisayon, nisyonot (pl) – test, challenging situation

 

Parashah, parshiyot (pl) – chapter

Pasuk, pesukim (pl) – verse

Payot – side locks

Pe’ah –corner of a field which must be left for the poor

Pirkei Avot (or Avot) – The Chapters of the Fathers

 

Rabbanim – rabbis

Rachmana litzlan – May G-d’s mercy be upon them

Rasha, resha’im (pl) – evil person

Rechilut – gossip

Ribbono shel Olam – Master of the World (referring to Hashem)

Rosh Kollel – Dean of a kollel

Ruach hakodesh – Divine inspiration

 

Sandek – one who holds the baby during a circumcision

Sefer – book

Sefer Torah, Sifrei Torah (pl) – Torah Scroll

Segulah – act or talisman to gain merit

Selichot – special prayers said prior to the Yamim Nora’im

Seudah – meal

Seudat hodayah – thanksgiving meal for salvation

Seudat mitzvah – meal eaten for a mitzvah celebration

Seudah shlishit – third meal on Shabbat

Sha’atnez – mixture of wool and linen that is forbidden to be worn

Shacharit – Morning Prayer

Shaliach tzibbur – cantor, one who leads the prayers

Shalom bayit – marital harmony

Shechinah – Divine Presence

Shemoneh Esrei – prayer containing eighteen blessings, recited three times a day

Shidduch, shidduchim (pl.) – marriage proposal, marriage partner

Shikchah – bundle of stalks of grain forgotten in the field at the time of the harvest, which must be left for the poor

Shiur, shiurim (pl) – Torah lecture

Shivah – seven-day mourning period for a deceased family member

Shlita – May he live many good years, Amen

Siddur – prayer book

Simchah – joy, joyous celebration

Siyata di’Shemaya – Divine assistance

Siyum – completion of a tractate (and celebration thereof)

Sugya – topic in Gemara

 

Taharat hamishpachah – laws of family purity

Talmid chacham, talmidei chachamim (pl) – Torah scholar

Tannai’m – Sages of the Mishnah

Tefillat, tefillot (pl.) – prayer

Tefillin – phylacteries

Terumah – tithe

Teshuvah – (lit. return) repentance

Tikkun, tikkunim (pl) – rectification

Treif – nonkosher food

Tumah – defilement

Tzaddik – righteous person

Tzedakah – charity

Tzeniut – modesty

Tzitzit – four-cornered garment with fringes, worn by men and boys

 

Viduy – prayer of confession, recited on Yom Kippur

 

Yerushalayim – Jerusalem

Yeshiva – rabbinical college

Yetzer Hara – Evil Inclination

Yetzer Hatov – Good Inclination

Yichud – prohibition of being secluded with a strange woman

Yirat Shamayim – fear of Heaven

 

Zman – semester of Torah study

Zechut, zechuyot (pl.) – merit

Zemirot – songs sung in honor of Shabbat

Zikuy harabim – bringing merit to the public

Zt”l – May the tzaddik’s memory be for a blessing

Zy”a – May his merits protect us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Those Who Plant with Tears Will Reap with Joy
A Complete Recovery
The Tree of Life
The Paradoxical Life of the Defector

The Most Effective Remedy

The Most Effective Remedy

A woman approached me and stated that her doctors had diagnosed her with a terminal illness. She had only a number of months left to live. She asked that I advise her how to prepare for death.

This was the first time I was ever asked such a question, and I honestly replied that I did not have an answer. It is true that our Sages say (Avot 2:10), “Repent one day before you die.” Everyone is adjured to do teshuvah one day before his death, whether he is in full health or deathly ill.

“Did you ever immerse in a kosher mikveh?” I asked.

She replied in the negative. I advised her to do so now, so that when she would meet her Maker, she would be in a state of holiness and purity. In addition, I gave her a sefer which delineates the halachot of purity for women. This would help her do the mitzvah in the best way possible.

A few months later, the woman returned and reminded me of her story. According to the doctors’ predictions, by now this woman should have been in a better world. She wished to fill me in on all the details since she saw me last.

“After arriving home with your sefer in my hand, I burst into sobs, and told Hashem, ‘Ribbono shel Olam! I don’t want to learn these halachot in order to die in purity, but in order to live in purity!’ I cried for a long time and resolved to study the halachot as a merit for my recovery. I was determined to uphold the details of each law as if my life depended on it, which it did.

“After some time, I found myself in the hospital once again, undergoing various tests. The doctors were astounded at the results, which came back perfectly clear!

“Afraid that some mistake must have been made, they ordered a repeat of the tests. But Hashem makes no mistakes. The next tests, too, indicated clearly that I was perfectly healthy.

“Additionally, I merited remarrying and conceiving. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Rav for his wise counsel in advising me to learn the halachot of taharat hamishpachah, which gave me new life.”

I was very moved by the woman’s miraculous tale. I told her that her life was returned to her on account of her strength of spirit and her resolve to learn the halachot in order to live by them. In the merit of her simple, pure faith, she was granted supernatural treatment.

 

The Most Effective Remedy

Completely Immersed in a Mitzvah
Forewarned Is Forearmed
On the Wings of Repentance
Disgraceful Dancing
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