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January 10, 2003 - Image 67

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-10

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Torah Portion

We're Commanded To Fulfill
All The Days Of Our Lives

son may physically be under no one's
rule or enslavement; but unless he or
she exerts ability to make decisions,
then they are no different than
slaves. To be free is to be proactive,
creative and responsible. Being free is
having the ability to control time
and make the most out of it.
f you had the opportunity to
When the great chassidic Rebbe of
select the first of the 613 com-
Ger, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Alter passed
mandments presented to the
away, it was a great tragedy. He only
Jewish people before they left
lived until the age of 58. At the shiv-
Egypt, which one would it be?
ah, home, his youngest son was cry-
Perhaps you would
ing uncontrollably.
choose, "I am the Lord your
The rebbe's brother tried
God who took you out of
to consol his nephew, and
the land of Egypt." After
as they spoke, the young
all, it is the first of the 10
man told his uncle that not
Commandments; and it
only was his father's pass-
proclaims our belief that
ing a great personal loss,
there is only one God who
but the pain was magnified
both created the world and
because of the great loss to
is actively involved in sus-
the Jewish people. His
taining it.
father had many years
Or perhaps you would
ahead of him in which he
choose, "Love your neigh-
could have done so much
bor as yourself," which
more for his Chassidim and
Special to the
guides us on how we are to
the Jewish people as a
Jewish News
relate and interact with our
fellow human beings.
In response, the uncle
Or maybe you would
told his nephew to focus on one
select the commandment to observe
thing. While it is true your father
Shabbat. Certainly the most impor-
did not merit areechat shanim, a long
tant day of the week — which allows
life, he most certainly had areechat
us to spend time with our families
yomim, long days. He made the most
and reconnect with God — would
out of the time he was allotted in
have been an appropriate choice.
this world. Each day was not wasted,
And yet, the very first command-
but rather, used to its fullest poten-
ment given to the Jewish people is
the commandment to sanctify
The commandment to proclaim
months and to set the dates for the
the new month represented to the
festivals according to the sanctifica-
Jewish people as they left Egypt and
tion. -
signals to us at the beginning of
In his classic commentary to the
every month that time is a gift and
Torah, Rabbi Ovadiah Seforno of
we have the privilege and responsi-
Rome and Bologna, Italy, explains
bility to make the most out of it.
the reason why this mitzvah was cho-
May we all merit to have long lives,
sen to be the first commandment
but at the same time, let us all be
given. Up until they were redeemed,
responsible to ensure that we have
the Jews in Egypt did not have the
long days as well. ❑
ability to control time. As slaves,
they were told when to awake, when
to work and when to eat. The
Egyptians controlled their actions
and routine. Their destiny was not in
For what purpose(s) does God
their own hands, but rather at the
bring the 10 plagues upon the
mercy of their masters.
Egyptians? Why are the last three
Now that they were redeemed and
plagues in a separate Torah por-
were free from slavery, they had the
tion than the first seven? Why
opportunity and responsibility to act
does Moshe become angry with
as "free" individuals. They could now
Pharaoh after telling him of the
make their. own decisions.
impending plague of the death
According to the Seforno, a per-
of the Egyptian first born?
Yechiel Morris is rabbi of Young Israel

Shabbat Bo:
Exodus 10:1-13:16•
Jeremiah 46•13-28.


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It is hereby ordered that all
Family, Friends, Colleagues,
Associates, Attorneys and
Other Interested Parties
are invited to attend a
Retirement Gala and Roast

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

6:00 p.m. Cocktails
7:00 p.m. Dinner


of Southfield.

Congregation Beth Shalom

COST: $65

(open bar, dinner, gift)

PLEASE make checks payable to
Judge Friedman Retirement Gala
and mail to: Susan Lichterman
Jaffe Raitt, Heuer & Weiss
One Woodward, #2400, Detroit, MI 48226


The Hon. Benjamin J. Friedman

45B District Court

(313) 961-8380 - ext 469






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