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Will You Take the Call?

Blog.jpgAt 8:25am on Monday morning I dialed 911 to request police assistance.

At 8:46am, with no sign of anyone, I called again and they assured me they were on their way.

At 9:52 I was still waiting, and I called to speak to a supervisor who again assured me they would be there shortly.

At 10:11am, same story.

Finally, after waiting more than two hours, I left the scene.

FIVE hours later, a police officer called my cell phone. "We're here on East 80th where you asked for us, but we don't see you. Where are you?"

"Where am I?! I waited over two hours for you; do you really think I'm still sitting here waiting five hours later?"

What happened?

On Monday morning I woke up early and went to pray, planning to get an early start at the office. I dropped my daughter off at her bus stop and while my car was parked, a truck backed up and smashed into the hood of my car, tearing it apart. For insurance purposes, I needed a police report, which is why I dialed 911 to begin with.

“When you called,” explained the police office, “the dispatcher asked you if anyone was hurt. You said no. They asked if anyone was trapped. You said no. They asked if the cars were blocking traffic and you said no. This established that there was no emergency and so we first responded to all urgent calls first. Now that we are finally free, we’re here at the scene. We have to prioritize the urgent.”

I thanked the policemen and we resolved the issue, but as I was doing so, I realized my experience contained an important lesson.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe promised that we are the last generation in exile; we will witness the coming of Moshiach in our days! In order to make that happen, he issued an urgent call to every single one of us. URGENT! Do a mitzvah today. Not in five and a half hours; stop and do it now. This will hasten the coming of Moshiach.

In fact, the same thing happens in this week’s parsha. The Jews are in Egypt, in distress, enslaved for 210 years, afflicted, tortured, and abused. 

Finally, the long-awaited call arrived. Moses conveyed G-d’s announcement that the exile was over. Time to pack and prepare to leave immediately! But, the Torah tells us, the Jews didn’t believe Moses. They were so despondent from all their years of subjugation that they did not believe redemption was even a possibility. They did not heed the emergency call.

Let’s not fall prey to the same mindset. We must pay attention and respond to the urgent call the Rebbe put out—do everything in our power to prepare for our exodus from our current exile. It is imminent!

President Trump, Remember Joseph

Blog.jpgPresident-Elect
Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave

Dear Mr. Trump,

Congratulations on your inauguration. On January 20th, at exactly noon, you will become the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. The whole world will be watching you as you take the oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.

Interestingly, in this week’s Torah portion we also read about an inauguration that took place for a nation that was then the most dominant on earth: Egypt.

The outgoing ruler, Joseph, had led the country as viceroy for 40 years and then as Pharaoh for another 40 years. Joseph successfully guided the nation through the severe starvation crisis, establishing himself as an influential and charismatic leader.

But then, “A new king arose in Egypt that did not know Joseph." The new Pharaoh took over, immediately setting plans into motion to enslave, afflict and torture the Jews, despite the fact that the Jews had saved his country. 

That verse tells us all. Pharaoh became the supreme leader commanding the most powerful person nation on earth, but he led his people to disaster and ended up losing all his power. Right here, in this verse describing his inauguration, the Torah explains to us how he destroyed himself and led his country to a downfall: ingratitude. 

Joseph was the one who saved Egypt from starvation, led the country for 80 years, molding it into the powerful empire it was, and along comes the new Pharaoh and completely dismisses his contribution. He ended up ignoring and being ungrateful to G-d as well. 

President Trump, when history is written, let it be written thus: "And a new president arose that knew Joseph." The key to a successful presidency lies in these words. Be grateful, thank G-d every day, appreciate His gift, appreciate His wisdom, acknowledge G-d in your life and you will be an extremely successful 45th president!

May G-d bless you to lead this great country with humility, to unite this country with wisdom and courage, to be a very effective president and to make America great again!

Yours truly,

image1 copy.png

 

Rabbi Uriel Vigler
Manhattan, NY

 

Hamas hacks the IDF!

youve-been-hacked.pngHacking has been in the news non-stop lately. Did Russia hack the elections? Was it all just hype? We may never know. But another hacking story broke this week, albeit with much lessfanfare.

Hamas hacked the IDF.

We know Israel’s security is top-notch, so how did Hamas manage to penetrate?

They bided their time, thinking long and hard, until they managed to identify and target a weak spot. When they found it, they struck. What did they use? A honey trap!

Hamas operatives posed as attractive, young Israeli women by assuming their identities and making contact with soldiers, mainly through Facebook. Following contact with soldiers, the Hamas operatives would attempt to engage in an intimate virtual relationship and convince soldiers to download a messaging app that would allow for video chatting.

The app was actually a Trojan horse, which gave Hamas total control over the device and allowed the terrorist organization to activate the camera and microphone, access contacts, videos and photos, and even Whatsapp conversations and emails—all without the soldier being aware.

Moreover, Hamas also managed to delete the application from the devices, while simultaneously installing more sophisticated monitoring and control applications without leaving a trace.

Fortunately, the IDF quickly caught wind of the ploy and no major military secrets were revealed.

It is the approach here that stands out: first they made themselves look like friends, then they turned around and stabbed Israel in the back!

We may not be soldiers in the IDF, but we have had similar experiences in a spiritual sense. Every single one of us was born good. We want to do the right thing. We don’t want to sin. We don’t want to fight with our neighbors and friends. We don’t want to lie or cheat or hurt anyone. We are good people.

But our evil inclination wants to hack us and harm us. In fact, the evil inclination actually has three faces: First it entices you to sin (evil inclination), then it is the prosecuting angel in Heaven (Satan), and then it is the Angle of death.

The goal of the evil inclination is to harm us, to kill us, to take our souls away—it is the angle of death. But how can it accomplish this when we are so very well protected?

So what the yetzer hara (evil inclination) does is pose as our friend. He honey traps us. He explains to us how sweet and how delicious this piece of shrimp is. Then he tells us how delicious and how sweet it is to slander somebody and he uses our tongue to speak mockingly all day long. Ahh ,how sweet it is! Then he convinces us to get into a deliciously virulent argument with somebody else because it is so pleasurable to him. And on, and on.

And then, when he’s turned us so far from our innate goodness that we hardly recognize ourselves, the yetzer hara goes on high to become our prosecuting angel, and then once that is done he kills us

It’s up to us to take precautions to ensure we won’t be hacked. Just like the IDF is now running training sessions for its soldiers, to make sure they know how to recognize and detect honey traps, we need to sign ourselves up for an extra dose of Torah study, an extra mitzvah, to build up our armor and protect ourselves from the devilish ways of the wily evil inclination.

Captured on Video - Brother Saves Brother

twin-saves-brother-lifts-dresser-video.jpgA little two-year-old boy from Utah became a national hero this week. The video of Bowdy Shoff saving his twin brother Brock when a dresser fell has been viewed millions of times.

Skeptics claim the video is a hoax because the dresser was empty, the nanny cam was pointed at the dresser rather than the bed, and the boys’ father works for the company that sells the nanny cam.

Whether the camera captured a candid moment or a manufactured one, something clearly struck a chord with those who watched it: the love between two brothers.

This is the message we need to internalize.

Surely Brock and Bowdy have fought many times in the past, but when it mattered most, it was the love that rose to the surface and directed Bowdy’s behavior.

In this week’s Torah portion, Benjamin is in trouble. He is accused of theft by the Egyptian ruler who demands he remain as a slave. His brother Yehuda steps forward, risking his life, and offers to trade places to save his brother. Ultimately, his act of brotherhood reunites the entire family. 

Brother stands for brother. Jew stands for Jew.

Like all siblings, we may disagree with one another periodically, and perhaps on very pivotal issues. But when it comes down to it, we are one nation and our love runs deep. So let’s stop the fighting, the hate and animosity and let’s get back to helping each other!

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