Dvar Torah – by Steven Mills

וַיִּשְׁאַל יַעֲקֹב וַיֹּאמֶר הַגִּידָה נָּא שְׁמֶךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לָמָּה זֶּה
תִּשְׁאַל לִשְׁמִי

“And Jacob asked and said, “Now tell me your name,” and he said, “Why is it that you ask for my name?” ”
Parsha – Vayishlach
Genesis 32:30

In this intriguing, esoteric passage, Jacob wrestles with an angel at night.
He asks the Angel for his name, and the Angel responds by asking Yaakov why he’s asking.

What does this mean?

Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller gives the following explanation.
Many commentators understand Jacob’s struggle to be symbolic of man’s fight with the Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination.  By asking for the angel’s name, Jacob is trying to understand the very essence of the Yetzer Hara, so he can more easily defeat it and forewarn his descendants.
The angel responds however by saying “There’s no point asking my name, that’s not going to help you to know me better. My mission is to test people, and to do this I change form in every generation. Telling you my name now will not help your descendants in the future.”

The Yetzer Hara does not remain constant. In one generation it may be tempting us to do idol worship.  In another it might be trying to persuade us to over-indulge in materialism.
We need to constantly be on our guard against an ever-changing enemy.

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Who is wise?

Our sages say (Avot, 4:1), “Who is wise? He who learns from everyone…” They didn’t say someone who knows better than anyone else or always wins arguments. A simple person can attain the title of ‘wise man’ if he loves truth and wisdom and if he is willing to obtain them from anyone.

The Power of Thanks

The Hebrew word ‘modeh’ means both ‘thank you’ and ‘I admit.’ By saying ‘thank you’ to Hashem for both the good and seemingly bad, we are admitting that everything is from Hashem and everything is for the good.

Simple right? I’ve just crashed my car, I’ve just lost my job or I’ve just had a row with my wife. How is that something that I can sincerely thank Hashem for?

Rabbi Nachman of  Breslev teaches that if a person is to look at the spiritual value of our suffering – its ability to atone for wrongdoing, its power to cleanse a soul, its intent of stimulating a person to do teshuva and its value in strengthening a person’s character – he can begin to grasp that there is nothing bad, and everything is for the good.

What is Truth and What is False

How can we properly measure what is truth and what is false? Rabbi Natan teaches the following rule of thumb: Whatever serves to bring you clsoser to Hashem is truth, and whatever serves to distance you from Hashem is false.

Rabbi Arush

Humility

‘Humility’ (Avos 6:6) Humility is the greatest of all human character
traits. It makes a person into a large, strong vessel, ready to be filled up,
rather than a small and worthless vessel so full of hot air that nothing else
can enter.

Put simply, this was Jonny.

Hesped from Darren Freedman

‘Death,Life and Purpose’

‘Gd saw all that he had created and behold, it was very good’ Bereishis 1:31

Chazal explained that the phrase ‘it was very good’ refers to death.

Rabbi S Wagschal writes;
G-d taught by this that death gives value and stability to life, for the awareness of the day of death is one of the greatest deterrents to sin. Also the knowledge that life will come to an end bring home to a person the realization that life is precious and that one should make the most of it. In this way, the day of death becomes a vehicle to bring ‘true life’ to ones life.
As we say in Ma’ariv prayer- Torah and Mitzvos are our life and the fulfillment of our days.

Johny, You would often remind me of how precious life is. I believe you Had come to that realization and you inspired so many others with your warmth, devotion and chesed…..
I miss you very much..love Darren

Updated shiva details in Israel for Jonny Chippeck

Rehov Ha’alafah 7/6, Kadima Drom (near Netanya) from 4pm onwards this Sunday 25 November 2012 until Monday. At Jonny’s sister’s house – Debra Zayin 0545 899675. Please make an effort to come. If you are coming from Jerusalem, there are enough of you to organize a car pool. Bli neder, I will be going Sunday evening from Yad Binyamin. I am happy to pick up anyone in the Central/Modiin area.

 

Shiva details in Israel for Jonny Chippeck

Jonny’s sister is organising a shiva day on her return to Israel. She is asking people to come to her house to pay their respects from 4pm onwards this Sunday 25 November 2012 until Monday. I am just waiting for confirmation of the address. I will send it as soon as I have it.

She is Debra zayin

0545 899675

Future of the Daily Lift

I am sorry that I haven’t done this earlier, but here in Israel as you know there has been a lot going on.  The consensus seems to be to keep the Daily Lifts going, in Jonny’s ‘zechut’ at least for the ‘shloshim’ (the first 30 days). Please start sending in your Dvar Torahs. Also if anyone wants to send in a Hesped (eulogy) please do so. Here are 2 that were sent in followed by an explanation of Hespeds and Shloshim.

This from David Goodwin:

Our souls are bound up with Jonnys soul for all the right reasons and I pray we continue to build ourselves and the Jewish people on his giant shoulders. We love you from this world to the next Jonnyboychick. You simply were a top yid here and are a top yid there. A true inspiration who just said it as it is and I simply dig that. Love always David Goodwin.

And this from Sasha:

I will never and have never forgotten this wonderful man.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deeah344, 1) states: “It is a great mitzvah to eulogize the dead person appropriately.”

It brings merit to the deceased by stirring the living to follow in his footsteps which in turn benefits the deceased “for having bequeathed his good deeds [to others] for all time.”

The M’kor Chayim explains that the thirty day period of aveilus was set by Chazal in relation to the thirty day period of “z’man hischadshus hayaraiach,” the  time for the renewal of the moon. Just as the moon initially appears small, peaks in mid-month and then declines, so too is the pattern of man’s life cycle — born an infant, man grows and develops to his peak in mid-life, and then begins a descent which ends in death. But just as the moon after its thirty day cycle begins a renewal, likewise a person after death also experiences rebirth through the new existence of his soul in Olam HaBah.

Baruch Dayan Emet

It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you of the loss of our good friend Jonny Chippeck, who passed away today. May his soul find the reward and sweetness it deserves in Gan Eden. I didn’t know Jonny that well but I was lucky enough that our lives touched. When I think of a word to sum up Jonny it is ‘humble.’ He was such a warm, friendly guy but more than anything he did everything in such an under-stated, down to earth way. What he said and did mattered. He didn’t waste words. There was no fluff or hot air, just straight talking from the heart. As he went through his journey to a more observant and meaningful life, he took us with him. You sensed that Jonny had found ’emet’ the real truth and he was leaving behind him a world of lies. Like many of us, he was a big football fan, but ultimately he admitted that when he followed football, it was like following a team that not only didn’t care for him but didn’t know him. When he followed Judaism, he found a team that not only knew him but cared deeply about him. It was inspiring to be around someone who could see things so clearly and express himself so succintly. We prayed for him, we gave tzedakah in his name and we learnt Torah for him and I know he was incredibly grateful for that. Ultimately we couldn’t keep him alive, but just think what he inspired us to do. Jonny, we will miss you but we will never forget you.