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Parshat Ki Teitzei

Dear STOCS Friend:

Parshat Ki Tatzae contains seventy-four of the six hundred thirteen mitzvot found in the Torah. All of us, at one time or another, have lost an item. Sometimes we find it quickly, other times it may be days. If we are fortunate, a concerned indvidual will find the lost item, and return it based upon some identifying marks.

However, there are times when we completely give up hope of ever finding the lost item. This, in halachic parlance, is known as יאוש (ya-ush) where a person despairs ever recovering the lost object. The halachic implication is that the object is no longer owned by the person that lost it. In this case, if I find an object that person A declared יאוש (ya-ush), it is mine to keep.

Dr. Asher Meir writes: “Ownership requires some form of connection to an object, either a material connection when the object is in our control, or an emotional connection when we rely on the object. Once the object is lost, it has left our domain; once we despair of finding it, we no longer rely on it. Nothing remains to connect us to the loss! Therefore, the finder may keep it.”

The concept of despair may be found in other facets of our lives. There are those who are depressed or disheartened with the approaching High Holidays. It seems spiritually, we have hit a brick wall.

Unfortunately, no magic pill exists to solve the problems mentioned, especially when they are spiritual in nature. However, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks once said, “To be a Jew is to seek to make a difference, to change lives for the better, to heal some of the scars of our fractured world.” Yes, we live in a world that for many lacks meaning, kindness, trust empathy, etc. The list can go on.

Reb Nachman from Breslov writes: “Spiritual despair is the greatest sin of all because when we despair, we give up on the possibility of healing and redemption.” As Jews, we are called upon not to lose hope because when we do, as with the lost object, we concede ownership of ourselves to something else.

Spirituality is not found in another person, rather its energy is waiting to be tapped within each and every one of us. Grab on to it and use the High Holidays as a beacon to forge a closer and more meaningful relationship with Hashem as we approach the year 5784.

Please join us this Shabbas at STOCS as we will have an ICE CREAM Kiddush with assorted toppings from Carvel.

Shabbat Shalom


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