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A Timely Torah Message By Shaya Gross

The Power of a word & Musings from Thanksgiving

[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.] 

{Editor’s note: I would like to share with you a thought on this week’s parsha based on a vort from Rabbi Frand.
Parshas Vayeishev recounts how Yosef is thrown into jail and despite this, manages to make his way to the top of “warden hierarchy” in the prison. One day, he meets Pharoh’s butler and baker and sees that they both look sad. Yosef asks them, “Why do your faces look so sad today?” These words uttered by Yosef changed history. It was only due to this that the Butler eventually mentioned Yosef’s name to Pharoh and Yosef became the viceroy. Mitzrayim changes as a result and Klal Yisroel is changed as a result. All because of a couple of words. You see the power of a word.

Words are so powerful; if they are used in the right way, they can be used to express affection and love for a spouse or child. Complimenting someone can change his entire day, week and possibly even his life. However, it can simultaneously be used for the negative. Inappropriately criticizing a child or student can shatter a child or student forever.

We all remember fleeting comments, both good or bad, that were made to us. So fleeting that the person who said it probably didn’t remember the next moment. But those words have stayed with us for a lifetime.

This was something that Shaya lived by. He always made sure to greet people with his trademark smile and compliment them on something. It could be the way they were dressed or something that they may have said. Shaya knew just the right words to say to raise people’s spirits. Those compliments people will remember for a lifetime!

May we all learn from Yosef to open our eyes and really see what a spouse/child/neighbor/friend is going through and be there for them. Sometimes, all they may need is a few words of encouragement and love to help them get out of their sorrow. With that, we should merit to bring the Third Temple speedily in our days!

I would like to share a thought that I was thinking about today. There are various opinions about Thanksgiving as to whether a Jew is permitted to celebrate a Thanksgiving dinner and with Turkey. Even among those who forbid a person from having a Thanksgiving celebration, I think that there still is a lesson to be learned from Thanksgiving.

Our Rabbis tell us that every experience that we experience and every thing that happens in the world is meant for us. There are many stories with the Chofetz Chaim who wanted to hear more about things that took place in other parts of the world because he said Hashem wants us to take a lesson from it.

Based on that, I was thinking to myself that even if I don’t have a Thanksgiving dinner at home, maybe there still is something that we can learn from a day that many people celebrate as a day of Thanksgiving. How careful are we to show our proper thanks to Hashem for everything we have? How many times do we really focus on Modim to thank Hashem for everything that He bestows upon us? How often do we show our thanks to our spouse/child/coworker/friend/boss/government worker for doing something for us?

As Thanksgiving ebbs away, let us use this time to reflect on ourselves and to try to improve to show more gratitude both to Hashem and to one another and with that we will make this world into a happier place. Thank you for reading this dvar torah!:)


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