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6. Distract yourself with other activities and increase your interest in other things. For example, go out, be with friends or family, watch non-sexual TV or movies, eat at healthful restaurants instead of home alone by yourself if this is when you masturbate, take short showers instead of long ones if this is where you masturbate.Perhaps you can find a healthy sexual relationship instead of fantasizing.

7. If needed and if helpful, get help from a counselor. Know, however, that many counselors actually condone masturbation and think it is just fine.Stay away from these counselors, as they are very wrong, in my opinion.

8. Be sure to eat enough high zinc foods. The main one for this purpose is hamburger meat, and ground chuck is the best of them.Lamb is also very good – about 8 ounces of some kind of red meat every other day for a few months, perhaps.Then you can cut back on the amount to about two to three times weekly.Totally avoid vegetarian diets, which will weaken you more.

9.Helpful condiments. A good condiment to use every day is mustard. You can buy just regular mustard at the store. Put a little mustard on everything and it will help you move along faster with your healing.

Another product that may help rebuild the body and restore lost sexual fluid is royal jelly (a bee product).

10. For men and for women, possibly, an “orchic glandular product” may be helpful for a while. Orchic glandular means freeze-dried animal testicles, and they have been used for this purpose for millennia.However, this is not a substitute for eight ounces of hamburger or other red meat daily for a while.

11. Avoid herbs that are used as aphrodisiacs and used for sexual potency. Stay away from yohimbe, ginseng, licorice, and most other “sexual herbs”.These are stimulating and not good at all in the long run.Avena sativa or common oats are fine, however, and may be helpful to rebuild vitality.

12. Increase your absorption of etheric energy from the environment. There is a real energy you can absorb from the environment by eating a slow oxidizer diet , sleeping and resting a lot, drinking a good quality spring water , keeping warm, breathing deeply every day, taking in extra oxygen , and avoid all distractions and wastes of energy.

13. Oxygen therapy. Breathing extra oxygen, or taking it in other ways, is also helpful.If possible, live in a rural area with a higher oxygen content.Try to avoid spending a lot of time in closed-in spaces with a lot of other people such as crowded theatres that are not well-ventilated.

There are certain signs which indicate that we are living through prosperous times. An example is the number of pets that people own today. Owning a pet in my generation was a luxury, but has become something standard in today’s times. Due to the fact we are living richer lives we can afford the ‘extras’ in life, such as pets. This is true for the non-Jewish world. How much more so for the Jewish and religious Jewish world. A much larger sign of prosperity has blossomed in the last few years in the kosher food industry, particularly in fresh ready-made foods. I am not referring to restaurants, but rather to the number of take-out food establishments both in Eretz Yisrael and in the larger metropolitan cities in the U.S. which house a great proportion of the Jewish people. In my day, the take home food stores had the basics; chicken, kugel, deli and coleslaw. Today, not only can you buy different soups but even the noodles that go into the soup. Twenty-five different kinds of salads are complimented by eighteen different kinds of dips. Huge wine and high-end whiskeys that only increase our appetites for the array of meats and newly-discovered roasts that we never had before. This is all topped off by sushi stations located in all kosher supermarkets, in addition to, of course, baby-sitting available while shopping. All of this, of course, can be delivered to your doorstep with a few clicks from your smart phone. I am not going to even speak about the opulent smorgasbords and lavish weddings that are just a bit over the top. This entire description isn’t to make your mouth water but rather to depict what good fortune this has turned out to be for the Jewish people.

The Torah is very clear that fortune often leads to forgetting about God. These warnings are mentioned in the Shema and later in Devarim when Hashem warns the Jewish people that if you get fat and you forget Hashem, you will be kicked out of the land. In my humble opinion, part of this phenomenon is the desire and striving for Jews to want to be like the other nations of the world. This just about summarizes the entire story of how Chanukah came to be. When many Jews wanted to become like the Assyrian-Greeks, anti-Semitism started to perk its ugly face. The Hebrew term Misyavnim, is taken from the root Yavan, meaning Greek,. The letters of Yvan are Yud, Vav, and Final Nun. Each letter is a little longer than the previous one, indicating the small deviation away from Hashem. It then continues to stretch further and further out of range from where God allows us to be.

Hashem recognizes that man lives within a range, and as we stay in that range we will be able to remain close to Hashem. This is symbolized in the Halacha of the placement of the Chanukiyah. One should not place the menorah lower than three tefachim (A tefach is approximately 3-4 inches) and preferably not higher than ten tefachim. Putting the menorah higher is acceptable up until twenty amos, which is approximately forty feet high. The reason it can’t be lower than three tefachim is because it would be considered on the ground - which is a disgrace for the menorah. The height of ten tefachim creates a separate halachik domain. The Rabbis tell us that this is man’s domain, and God typically doesn’t enter that airspace. The Chernobyl Rebbe, in his sefer Meor Eynayim, writes that when it came time to save the Jews during the story of Chanukah, He – God - lowered Himself to be within the ten tefachim. Hashem wanted to be close to His people to bring them back and return. This came about through the shemen/oil which represents wisdom. It is through the light of the Torah that teaches a person how to serve Hashem with knowledge and intellect.

Every year we light the menorah and God hopes that it is through the light that a person will see the light of the Torah which is what the oil represents. As Hashem comes down within the ten tefachim, He becomes more visible; He wants to be close to us. Once Hashem is within the ten tefachim, He then reaches down to straighten the wicks, which represent the straightening out of the Jew, bringing him back to God. It is interesting to note there are a few places in the Torah which reveal that the cure of the punishment comes from itself. Meaning, what was it that lured the Jew away from Hashem? It was the prosperity or the fatness of the land. The word for ‘fat’ is Shamein which is the same root word as Shemen or oil. It is that which drives us away from Hashem and has the same strength to bring us back to Him. It is only a matter of substituting a few vowels and the light produced from the oil which will illuminate the truth for us and help us to understand that we grew fat for nothing. Prosperity by itself is not bad; this major issue is for us to understand that what we do with the wealth and how we behave with this new wealth is critical.

This message is clearly seen in Yosef’s wisdom in planning for the challenging times that lay ahead. There was tremendous blessing in Egypt for a few years which only Yosef, with great intellect, could see, guiding him to provide for the need to save for the bad years to come. He, Yosef, did not misuse and or abuse the blessing of plenty that Egypt provided. Rather, he wisely saved for the lean years. The bracha for all of us this Chanukah is to become wise through the light of the menorah and to get closer to Hashem with the light of Torah and not frivolously going further away through the very same fatness.

Dec 8

A few weeks ago, I was in the check-out line at Ralphs, kibitzing with the cashier. I happen to know most of the older cashiers, having shopped there many years. Many service people wear name tags, and at that moment the cashier at Ralphs was looking for hers. As she was looking, I thought to myself, ‘who’s to know that these are their real names; maybe they just wear fake names’. She then explained that she was looking for her spare name tag, explaining that they usually have a few of them. I then said to her, ”Why don’t you just take someone else’s name tag?” (Are the customers going to know the difference?) She then replied, “I don’t want to be anybody else; I want to be me!”

I found her response to be extraordinarily deep on many levels. In society, and particularly with regard to children, there is an emphasis through Hollywood and sports to become someone whom we are not. Children grow up idolizing others and tend to be harmed by it if they don’t grow out of it by the time they are teenagers. It is critical for parents to encourage their children to be themselves. People do better in life when things are real, not fake. Living in San Diego in a warm climate creates an environment which downplays the non-Jewish holidays. I was reminded of this recently while visiting the East Coast, seeing the outlandish displays of lights and holiday paraphernalia strewn over trees, houses, and lawns. These are for the most part intelligent, bright, successful people who year after year continue to live a life and celebrate with things they know are made up and false. To make matters worse, they continue with this façade, transmitting it to their children as if it were true. I wonder when and what the reaction of children is when they realize it is all made up? Perhaps some realize this and re-evaluate religion while others may live their entire lives knowing the truth but living a lie.

Putting religion aside, living a life that we don’t believe in could be very painful and sorrowful. More importantly, this situation also applies to the potential that a person is capable of reaching in life yet chooses not to. If one looks at great, successful, righteous people, we typically reason that they reached their potential because they had it within them to do so, while the wicked villains of history did not. The fact is that every evil leader, tyrant, or wicked ruler had the potential to use their strengths for good but chose not to. We see this with two great leaders from the Torah, specifically two men who really had the same potential: Yaakov and his twin brother Eisav.

It is this in week’s Parsha Vayeishev that we don’t hear about Yakov and Eisav together until the end of Sefer Bereishis. From the time they were conceived, we read about them in every Parsha and now take a break until they are re-united in death. The meeting and parting in last week’s parsha reveals a great deal about the potential personality of Eisav. In Bereishis 33:4 the Torah states: “Vayaratz Eisav Likraso Vayichabkeihu, VaYipole Al Tzavarav , VaYivku”. And Esau ran to greet Yakov and he hugged him, and he fell on his neck and he kissed him, and cried. Most commentators explain the unique dots placed over the word ‘and he kissed him’. Last week I heard Rabbi Asher Brander quoting the Netzi’v (Rav Naphtali Zvi Yehuda Berlin) in his commentary Haamek Davar. The Netzi’v explains the implication of why both Eisav Yakov cried. The fact that both Eisav and Yakov cried comes to teach us that not only did Eisav have an excitement about meeting with Yakov, but Yakov also had his feelings of love for his brother aroused as well. Not only was Eisav trying to show a love for Yakov, but Yakov cried out of love for his brother Eisav. The love which Yakov cried over was for the physical emotion that he had for his twin brother. More importantly, Yakov cried over an emotional and intellectual reason…. the potential of his brother. There is no question that Yakov and Eisav, despite being twins, had stark differences between them - Yakov sat and learned while Eisav hunted. Yakov used his mind for intellectual pursuits while Eisav chose to use his body for physical pursuits. Yakov used his intellectual capacity to do good, while Eisav used his physical capacity to do evil. Yakov cried because Eisav potentially could have used his physical ability to also do good. Perhaps Eisav himself realized and appreciated Yakov for whom and what he represented but could not live that lifestyle. Rather, he chose to be someone else, to use his strengths for evil and not for good. He too cries over his own potential, bemoaning the fact he didn’t develop properly, using his body and not his mind.

The Netzi’v continues, using this as a spring board for all future generations. When the children and offspring of Eisav have a pure, spiritual awakening to recognize the greatness of the Jewish people, then we, the Jewish people, will in turn have strong brotherly feelings toward Eisav, because he is our brother. The great Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi demonstrated this love towards Antoninus (a Roman leader descended from Eisav) as he acknowledged the greatness of Hashem and the Jewish people. Ironically, at the end of Eisav’s life, in a remarkable turn of events, he shows that it is the intellect and knowledge of Hashem and Torah which should have been the way he lived his life. Fast forward to the end of Bereishis in Parshas Vayechi - after Yakov dies he is brought to the MeAras Hamachpela for burial. Eisav shows up and claims Yakov buried Leah there and used up his spot, therefore the remaining grave should belong to him, Eisav. An argument ensues between Yakov’s children and Eisav, and need for Naphtali (who is swift) to quickly go back to Egypt and retrieve the deed and proof of purchase that Yakov would have the remaining spot. Chushim, the son of Dan, who was deaf, didn’t understand what the confusion was and concluded that Eisav was holding up the burial of his grandfather. At that, Chushim pulled out a sword and cut off Eisav’s head and it rolled into the cave, coming to rest at Yakov’s feet.

Yakov and Eisav re-united, born as twins and buried close to each other, but at the end it was only the intellectual part of Eisav, his head, that showed his regret for living a life of futility and coming to the realization a bit late, but nevertheless showing us where his head wanted to be. That is why Yakov cried over and for him. Let us recognize who we are now and not regret becoming someone else. This illustrates one of the major lessons we take from Chanukah as some Jews became Misyavnim, like the Greeks, not remaining who they were and who they could have grown to become.

Ah Gut Shabbos

Rabbi AvrahamBogopulsky

Nov 30

My grandfather, A”H, came to the United States from Russia in 1911 and soon after fought in WWI for his new country. Both my parents were born in the US. We were instilled with a sense of Hakaras Hatov / gratitude for the freedom and liberty that we enjoyed as Jews living in a guest homeland. As a young boy, I remember each morning pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. In summer camp we lined up during flag raising and lowering every day.

Many Shuls across America have flags displayed somewhere in or on the property. A few years ago, Beth Jacob purchased a few large American flags to put out on Independence, Memorial, and Veteran’s day. I have one of our workers prominently place the flags along the fence on College Avenue to display our patriotism serving as a sign to the Jews of the community and to the gentile community at large that we are proud Americans living in this country. We put the flags out over the weekend and usually leave them up for a few more days into the week. A few weeks ago, I received a forwarded text from a member from a neighbor of his. The text read as follows: “Hey, tell someone at Beth Jacob that it’s disrespectful to have US flags out on the fence without lighting at night. But I did think it was nice to have them up for the Veteran’s Day weekend.” Sure enough, I checked to see if there is some rule regarding flag display…and…. Of course! There is flag etiquette! According to the US Code, all American should be displayed from sunrise to sunset every day. Lowering the is an ultimate sign of respect for Old Glory. But, like many rules, there is an exception. You can keep your for 24-hours so long as it is properly illuminated during all hours of darkness. There is no rhyme or reason provided as to why the flag if flown at night should be illuminated.

Apparently, nighttime, a period of darkness, has some negative vibes. There are many many places in the Talmud which mention the dangers of travelling at night - particularly alone. In this week’s Parsha Vayishlach we read a very short story that mentions the reality of night time. The Torah states in Bereishis 35:8 “VaTamas Devorah Meinekes Rivka VaTikaver MiTachas L’Beit El Tachas HaAlon, Vayikra Shmo Alon Bachus”: “Rebecca’s nurse Deborah died, and she was buried in the valley of Beth El, under the oak. The place was named Weeping Oak”. Rashi brings down the Midrash Rabba 81:5 which explains that even before Yakov finished mourning for Devorah, his mother Rivka died. This is supported by the explanation a few verses later where it states that God blessed Yakov. The bracha with which Hashem blessed him was Birkas Aveilim, a blessing to comfort mourners as he, Yakov, was informed of his mother’s passing. But why would we mention Devorah’s passing and not say anything when his mother Rivka died? The word ‘Alon’ in Greek means ‘alone’, signifying ‘desolate’ or ‘solitary’. Rivka was buried in the middle of the night, so that no one should be able to curse her and say: “it was from her womb that the wicked Eisav emerged”. Therefore, the Torah did not even want to announce the passing of Rivka because it may have drawn out negative commentaries.

You may have read something earlier and asked yourself, ‘Why did Yakov mourn for Devorah, the nursemaid of Rivka?’ The Midrash informs us of the identity of Devorah and the significance of the Torah’s mentioning her death. The reason Yakov mourned her (Devorah) was because she was Rivka’s mother. Another noteworthy point on the recording of Devora can be seen in contrast with another death and burial, that of Rochel Immeinu. In Bereishis 35:19,20 the Torah states: “VaTamas Rochel, VaTikaver B’Derech Ephrata, Hee Beit Lechem. VaYatzeiv Yaakov Matzeva Al ‘Vurasa, Hee Matzeves K’Vuras Rochel Ad HaYom”.- “Rachel dies and was buried on the road to Ephrat, now known as Beis Lechem. And Jacob set up a monument over her grave. This is the marker of Rachel’s grave until today.” Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his sefer Kol Ram on Chumash, points out the variance between the deaths of Devorah and Rochel: After mentioning the death of Devorah, the Torah mentions some type of eulogy. With regard to Rochel, however, it mentions the idea of burial. There is no question that Yakov also eulogized Rochel, but the prime importance was the burial. Devorah’s final resting place was named (Alon Bachut) after the eulogy. Rav Moshe explains that there are many great people who pass away who are not well known; their loss is only felt after listening to the eulogy. It is through the Hesped/eulogy that the living are able to get a glimpse or an insight as to who and how great this person (who they didn’t know) was and to begin to appreciate the void which has been left as a result. It is the eulogy that informs us of who this person was. Perhaps that same idea applies here; we hear very little about Devora but learn about her through her eulogy. The result of the eulogy was the naming of that place ‘Bachut’ which means to cry. It was necessary to cry over her upon hearing all these things that they did not know about her. Night is a time of darkness and the unknown. It is only with daylight, morning, when things are revealed. We do not know or understand when in darkness. So too, the eulogy sheds light as to who the person was and as a result we can recognize the greatness of Devorah. She was a great woman and an integral extension of Yaakov’s house.

There is no mention of crying at the death of Rochel. Nevertheless, we are sure that people and her family cried over her death; it was not necessary for the Torah to mention it. Rochel was the Akeres HaBayis, the mainstay of the home. She was one of the four foremothers and the closest to Yakov. Since she is well-known, the Torah need not mention the people crying over her. Therefore, the verse states she was buried immediately, and the place is mentioned so that her children would have a place to go to pray.

Death, darkness, night and the flag all seem to share some commonality. Just as the eulogy of someone who was in the dark becomes illuminated through speaking of their accomplishments and values, so too the flag at night must be lit up as well. There are a few customs regarding the flag, particularly around death. I see the irony in the selection of this dvar Torah taken from Rav Moshe. Here is a small fascinating tidbit about Reb Moshe Feinstein. On the night of Taanis Esther, 5746 (1986), R’ Moshe was . The on Taanis Esther morning in New York City was like none that New York had never seen; about one hundred and fifty thousand people accompanied R’ Moshe on this step of his final journey. Even the American flag on the East Side was flown at half-mast as the non-Jews’ sign of mourning that the leader of the Jews had died.

Ah Gut Shabbos

Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky

Nov 24

The beginning of my Rabbinic career was put on hold due to the fact I could not find a pulpit that suited me and my family. There were a few opportunities but some of the places that wanted me I did not want, and a few places that I wanted did not want me! Because both my wife and I were both raised in New York in predominantly religious neighborhoods, we decided to take teaching positions in a small, out-of-town community which could benefit from what we had to offer.

We taught Judaic studies from grades three to eight. I taught third grade Chumash, specifically the book of Bereishis. Bereishis, like the other four books of the Torah, have other names, in this case the first book is also known as Sefer Ha’Avos - the Book of the Fathers. We began with Lech L’Cha and discussed the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. I taught them that our forefathers were Avraham, Yitzchok and Yakov while our foremothers were Sarah, Rivka, Rochel and Leah. One of my innocent third grade eight-year-old students piped up and asked the following question: ”Why are the patriarchs called the ‘four fathers’ when there are only three of them?” I must have repeated myself a hundred times, but this child refused to accept and understand the difference between the forefathers and the four fathers. Just as he finally gave in, we discussed the matriarchs and then again, he piped up and said, “You see, we call them the foremothers because there are four of them!” At that point I just felt defeated and gave up and said, “Fine. You can call them the threefathers.”

In reality, we don’t usually see the matriarchs referred to as the foremothers. The reason is obvious. Bilhah and Zilpah were the mothers of four of the twelve tribes. The formation of the Jewish people was not limited to the main wives of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yakov but included their maid servants who were given to Yakov by Lavan. In this week’s Parsha Vayeitzay after Rochel realized she could not conceive, the passuk states in Bereishis 30:4: “VaTiten Lo Es Bilhah Shifchasa L’Isha, Vayavo Eileha Yakov”: “She (Rochel) gave him her handmaid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob came to her.” A few verses later in 30:9 a similar situation occurs with Leah giving Zilpah, her maidservant, to Yakov as a wife, and she, too, has two children, like Bilhah. Despite the explanation that there were more than four mothers responsible for the creation of the nation, we don’t automatically consider Bilhah and Zilpah as part of the matriarch coalition as evidenced by the sons of Leah considering their children second class.

I would like to share an idea of why we don’t view the total group as the foremothers. At the end of this week’s Parsha, we witness a disparity between Rochel and Leah to their mother-in-law Rivka and great-mother-in-law, Sarah. Sorah felt the situation with Yishmael in the house was not good for her son Yitzchok. She asked her husband Avraham to send Yishmael and his mother away. Avraham is reluctant and only acquiesces to his wife’s request after God tells Avraham in 21:12: ‘Kal Asher Tomar Eilecha Sorah, Shma B’Kolah’: ‘Do everything that Sarah tells you.’ Bottom line - Arvraham, to listen to your wife! At the end of Parshas Toldos, Rivka advises and urges Yakov to flee until his brother Eisav calms down from wanting to kill him after taking the brachos. Now, it is no secret that Yitzchok loved both Eisav and Yakov. We don’t hear Yitzchok objecting to Rivka’s sending Yakov away. Apparently, Yitzchok realizes that his wife is correct in assessing the situation, even though it would lead to Yitzchok not seeing his son for twenty-two years. As painful as that reality would become, in hindsight Yitzchok listened to his wife and followed through regarding any decision she made for the family. This was in stark difference when compared to Sorah and Rivka and Rochel and Leah. As the situation between Yakov and his father-in-law, Lavan, continued to sour, Yakov decides it’s time to leave. In Bereishis 31:4-7 it states: “Vayishlach Yaakov VaYikra L’Rachel U’L’Leah. VaYomer Lahen Anochi Es Pnei Avichen Ki Einenu Kitmol Shilshome. , Ki B’Kol Kochi Avaditi Es Avichen. Bi.” - “Yakov sent word and summoned Rachel and Leah to the field where his flock was. ‘I your father’s face’, he said. ‘He is not acting the same with me as he used to. But the God of my father has been with me. “You that I served your father with all my strength. Your father and changed his mind about my pay at least ten times.”Why is it necessary for Yakov to continue a diatribe about Lavan, his father-in-law, and how poorly he was treated? The answer is that he had no choice but to go on and explain himself.

Right from the start Yakov tells his wives about how their father has changed. He explained that Yakov is now wicked and an enemy, and that surely, we should flee. His wives remained silent, and therefore Yakov said to them: ‘you know full when and he swindled me,’ but Rochel and Leah did not respond to Yakov’s pleas to leave. They maintained an indifference regarding leaving or staying. Each time Yakov described how Lavan tried to dupe him, he told them about the miracles which occurred, showing how Hashem was there to protect him.. After all these descriptions of offenses and miracles fail and still they don’t take the hint that the family needs to move, Yakov reminds them about his vow that if Hashem protects him, he will leave this land and return to Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara in Nedarim says if a man does not fulfill his vows then the wife of the man dies. Immediately, when they heard about the Neder (vow) found in 31:14 Rochel and Leah answered, basically acquiescing that would be the time to leave their father’s house and take the family back to Eretz Yisrael.

I would suggest that Rochel and Leah were still under the influence of their father Lavan and could not see what was beneficial for the family. Yakov waited and waited for his wives to act like Sorah and Rivka, taking family matters into their hands, telling to their husband to leave. But this kind of bravery was delayed and stunted while in Lavan’s house. It would only be when they finally leave that they would fill the shoes of Rivka and Sorah. Rashi points out to Yakov that in this place of Lavan’s house he could not have God’s presence; it will only happen in Eretz Yisrael. If Yakov didn’t have the Shechina, neither did Rochel and Leah. This is why they didn’t understand the need to leave.

It is not ‘father knows best’ or ‘mother knows best’, rather it’s the one who has the Shechina resting upon himself or herself who knows best!

Ah Gut Shabbos

Rabbi AvrahamBogopulsky

Nov 17

Parshas Toldos – Get things Flowing Again

What can Google and YouTube possibly have to do with my Keurig machine, toilet bowl, refrigerator water dispenser and my ear canal? What can my coffee machine, refrigerator, toilet and ear canal possibly have in common? The commonalities are the problems and the solutions. Google is notorious as some other search engines to find answers to almost any question we have. When things break or are not working properly I type in a few keys words and like magic a lot of good (and sometimes not so good) information comes up. Very often tutorials and YouTube videos are available to trouble shoot and give a detailed step by step demonstration in how to fix almost any problem.

One day my Keurig coffee machine stopped working and only learned later that the calcium buildup can stop up the tube and flow of water. Last week the water dispenser from my refrigerator went dry. I heard the clicking noise as if it engaged but no water came out. My job in the house is to unclog stuffed toilets with a plunger, but what happens when I’m not home? Finally, you may have heard about my ear wax and how my ear canals were also blocked. Three out of the four items mentioned were fixed and cleared through information I got off a google search. To clear the Keurig machine flow, you must put vinegar in the water container and keep on running cycles through until the calcium breaks down. Apparently, the water line in the fridge froze due to the ice flapper not working properly by not closing and sealing. That resulted in an ice buildup that had the ice laying right on top of the water line causing it to freeze. The diagnosis and remedy were to remove the ice, take a blow dryer and warm the area where the ice buildup was and warm the outside of the water line. Within five minutes the ice started to melt, water started dripping and eventually the water flow was restored. The other day I mentioned the water issue I had to a friend, and they told me how they learned to unclog a stuffed toilet. If you find yourself plunger less squirt generous amounts of dish soap or shampoo into the clogged toilet. ...then add a gallon of very hot (but not boiling) water to the bowl. Wait a few minutes and watch — the water should break up the toilet paper, and the soap should help it slide down the pipe. There are several ways to unplug your ears. I chose the simple method of flushing it out with warm water. As the water softens the wax t breaks up and b tilting your head it eventually falls out.

There are many different things in life that need to remain free of debris and things that prevent the proper flow of water and air. Situations do occur when the closing or stopping up a pipe is necessary. The city tries its best to repair and fill in all the potholes and repair broken lines. An effective method of ridding a beehive is to fill it with cement and seal it off. Besides nature filling an opening or a hole, another reason something may get clogged or stopped up is due to human negligence and laziness. Such as in the case with the wells that were dug by Avraham’s servants and filled by the Plishtim. This is not just a story but rather a deep insight and meaning into the flow within each and every one of us.

In this week’s Parshas Toldos the Torah states in Bereishis 26:15 “V’Chal HaB’Eiros Asher Chafru Avdei Aviv Bimei Avraham Aviv, Sitmum PlishtimVaY’Malum Aufar”. “They plugged up all the wells that his father’s servants had dug while Avraham was still alive, and they filled them with earth”. Then in 26:18 the verse states “Vayashav Yitzchok Vayachpor Es B’Eiros HaMayim Asher Chafru Bimei Avraham Aviv Vayisatmum Plishtim …” “Yitzchok re-dug the wells that had been dug in the days f his father Avraham, which had been plugged up by the Philistines after Avraham’s death”. The great Chasidic master Reb Avraham from Sachotchov writes in his sefer Shem Mishmuel about the significance of these wells. He quotes the words of the Chovos Halevavos (Duties of the Heart). The verse in Mishlei 20:5 states: “Mayim Amukim Eitzah B’Lev Ish, V’Ish Tevuna Yidlena”. “Counsel is like deep water in the heart of man; and the man of understanding will draw them forth”. The Shem Mishmuel explains the verse as follows: The ‘deep waters’ are there but are covered over and buried in the belly of the ground. ‘The man of understanding’ is the one who comes and removes the cover off the waters and ‘will draw them out’. So too the ‘counsel in the heart of man’ is there, in the heart and brain of every man. The only things necessary to reach the heart and counsel is just remove the material that is covering and blocking man’s ability to go forth and thrive.

Yitzchok is trying to convey this concept to his children Am Yisrael. When Yitzchok told his shepherds and workers to dig up the wells that were covered over by Avimelech’s servants he was sending a clear message. This was the influence and task of Yitzchok for the rest of his life. Yitzchok became the symbol and hint to Klal Yisrael that unnecessary material must be removed to allow a healthy body. Spiritually speaking, the thickness and heaviness of our daily lives should not cover over the good understanding of life. The influences of life and the secular world around us should not weigh in over the understanding of God and His ways of the Torah.

Yitzchok then sent his workers to dig in a valley close by. Lo and behold they discovered a well of fresh living water. A second hint from our forefather Yitzchok is if we get bogged down with something covering over our heart which is the ability to breath the air of Torah, go and find another source to give you strength. The B’er Mayim Chaim was a living well representing the life of the Torah. The Torah is a living document that must be dusted off and cleared from the debris and garbage that the world tries to cover over.

Yitzchok’s battle with Avimelech over the wells is our struggle today. The well springs of Torah are constantly being plugged up by either the outside world or even from within the Jewish world who is influenced b the society we live in. Our battle is the constant uncovering and removing of the trash and dirt that is stopping up the flow of spirituality. With proper maintenance and we can attain a free flowing uninhibited stream of spirituality which in turn will draw forth inspiration to all around.

Ah Gut Shabbos

Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky

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