Friday, September 23, 2016

Ki Tavo - Appreciating Your Blessings And Making Hashem Your Partner - The Amazing Story Of Lord And Taylor


A huuuuge mazel tov to [my soon to be cousin] Mordechai Yagelnik and [my present cousin] Esti Ehrman on their engagement!! May Mordechai and Esther have a home filled with their sweet light, lots of Purim-dike simcha all year round and [like the couple of yesteryear] save the Jewish people!!! A special mazel tov to the parents R' Yisrael [who some people for some reason refer to as "Eric"] Rebbetzin Ahava and families [I guess that would include me...]. May we all merit to see this develop into a binyan adei ad!

A huuuuugeee mazel tov to Zalman and Talia Baron on the birth of their son!! May he merit to grow up to be a holy tzadik and give his wonderful parents and family much nachas!!

This dvar Torah should be a zchus for my belovd friend Moshe Yehuda ben Pesha Dina that all of the wishes of his heart should be fulfilled li-tova. 

Also - a speedy zivug for Ester Baila bas Rus Devora.

And especially to all of the tzadikim who made possible all of the Torah I learned this year - they know who they are....

This weeks parsha talks about the Bikkurim, the first fruits. It's like a Machane Yehuda EXTRAVAGANZA! We all come to the Beis Hamikdash with our fruits and declare our thanks to Hashem for all of his blessings. Gratitude is a basic pillar and foundation of happiness. Taking things for granted leads to bitterness and dissatisfaction. So here this Shabbos we have a GREAT opportunity to reflect on all we have and inject ourselves with a shot of whiskey happiness. The previous parsha concluded with Amalek whose middah was ingratitude [Mechilta Beshalach]. Some explain that our way of combating the terrible middah of Amalek is to bring the Bikkurim and appreciate our gifts. 

There was a tailor named Mendel and he was worried about his business. Mendel was down to his last $50 and was torn between buying a sign and getting food for his family. Mendel decided to daven.

“Dear G-d,” he said, “I don’t know what to do. If I buy
a sign it may bring in business, but I need to buy groceries for my family…and if the sign doesn’t bring in sales, we will starve."

G-D replied, “Mendel buy the sign. Don’t worry, your family won’t starve.”

So, Mendel bought the sign and business took off. The tailor fed his family and all was well. However, as time passed it became evident that Mendel couldn’t keep up with orders all by himself. He contemplated hiring on a helper, but wondered if he could afford it. So, he asked G-D if getting help would be a prudent move.

“Go ahead,” G-D tells Mendel, “hire some help, you’ll do okay.”

And so Mendel did. And business took off beyond his wildest dreams. After a time, the tailor decided to move to a larger site that would accommodate the growing demands of his business. As he surveyed certain locations, he found a perfect storefront, but the rental price was really steep. [Midtown Manhattan - expensive real estate!!].

“G-D” Mendel again prayed, “I found the perfect place to relocate my business. But the cost of the lease worries me. I don’t want to get in over my head.”

“Go ahead and a get a lease on the store, Mendel,” said G-D. “Trust me, you’ll be okay–I haven’t steered you wrong yet, have I?”

So Mendel signed a lease on the 5th Avenue store and profits from his business went through the roof. Out of heartfelt gratitude, Mendel proposed to the Almighty that he dedicate the store to Him.

“How do you like the name “Hashem and Mendel,” the tailor asked.

“Nah,” G-D said. “Let’s go with ‘Lord and Taylor.'”

On Rosh Hashana, Hashem decides how our parnassa will be in the coming year. One way to increase one's parnassa [besides getting a job...] is to appreciate all of the blessings Hashem gave you. The Sefer Hachinuch guarantees parnassa to anyone who bentches with kavana. Bentching is our way of appreciating and showing gratitude for the source of all of our blessings. This brings in turn more and more blessings. [I know a very very wealthy philanthropist who told Hashem many years ago that for every two dollars - one dollar for you and one dollar for me. They both did very well:-)].

The purpose of creation is to recognize Hashem which is what we do on Rosh Hashana which is why that is the time Hashem decides our financial success. The more we appreciate Him, the more we make Him a partner, the more likely we are to see success.  

The sefarim talk about two types of blessing. One is when one doesn't connect the blessing to the source. That might "fill one up" but it lacks real nutrition. It is like eating white flour or sugar which is just empty calories [even though it might be sweet or tasty]. The type of blessing we seek is one that IS connected to it's source. That is like eating a good solid, healthy salad which is both filling and nutritious. [I use a food metaphor because I am Jewish and... hungry. Fortunately Shabbos beigns in a few minutes and that problem will come to a satisfying solution IMY"H!]. 

SWEETEST FRIENDS!!! As a very wealthy man [in the sense of being happy with his lot - I hope] I want to bless all of us that we should all prosper in the coming year and have the wisdom to realize where all of the bracha came from. In that merit we will always do the right things with our blessings and see them increase exponentially!!!

Bi-ahava rabba and wishes for a sweet Shabbos and sweet new year,