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Wednesday, 29 June, 2011 - 1:15 pm

 Can you relate to the following?

·  Passing one of those wishing wells, taking a few coins out and saying “let the rest of the day go better” while dropping the coins in or

·  Walking down the street and avoiding going under a ladder or

·  Noticing that there is no row number 13 on many airplanes or no 13th floor in various office buildings?

Not all of these incidents seem to have a logical explanation:

·  Putting money in a wishing well can be beneficial.  If the money from the wishing well goes to a worthy cause, you have given charity and, as it says “charity saves from death”, giving charity helps in any situation

·   According to the Torah if 2 people cause someone to be killed, one intentionally (who legally receives the death penalty) but without witnesses (so he can’t be prosecuted), and the other by mistake (who legally receives a punishment of “exile/jail time”) but again without witnesses (so he can’t be prosecuted) - Divine intervention may arrange for these two killers to arrive at the same public location. The one who killed deliberately ends up sitting under a ladder and the inadvertent killer climbs up the ladder and subsequently falls on top of the killer beneath him with fatal consequences. Conveniently, on this occasion there were witnesses, thus enabling the correct consequence to happen: the “intentional killer” dies and the “unintentional killer “goes to exile”. We avoid going under ladders to evade possible punishment.

·  I can’t explain the issue with the number 13 (I heard it has a Christian sources). However in Torah 13 is a good number. God has 13 characteristics by which he is compelled to express his merciful side. As well, 13 is the age when men become Bar Mitzvah. (Women become Bat Mitzvah at 12 due to their earlier maturation)

There are some things we do just because; many a time, with some more background information we can understand the why behind the what. However, there are plenty of things we cannot explain why we do or do not do them (e.g. the number 13).

This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Chukat, talks about those mitzvot that we were commanded to keep despite not understanding the reason why they were given to us.  These mitzvoth are called Chukim. Yet, we still do them because it is the right thing as it is a G-d given commandment.

Have a great Shabbos and feel free to join us for services this Friday Night at 6pm and Saturday at 10am whether you know why you are coming or not ;). Can’t make it this week? Click here for future dates.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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