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  • Yehuda Pevzner

An Auspicious Time

A young lawyer left the Supreme Court exuberant. Today, he obtained an acquittal in a complicated murder case, that made it to the news. He was also celebrating his 40th birthday, a big milestone.

Absorbed in his excitement, he did not pay much attention to his surroundings and did not see the truck that suddenly appeared and ran him over. He died instantly.

Like a good, determined lawyer, he stood in front of the Court of Truth and demanded justice! How can you kill a 40 year old man, who has just reached his professional summit?

The angel of death protested that he wasn’t, in fact, forty years old. According to their calculations, the amount of hours that he had professed to have worked during the previous case totalled up to 85 years old…

In this week’s Torah portion, Moshe relates the history of the giving of the Torah and the sin of the golden calf. After the giving of the Torah, Moshe went onto Mount Sinai for 40 days to learn the Torah. He came down with the tablets and saw the golden calf. He broke the tablets and went right back up, for another 40 days, to plead for the Jews. On the 1st of Elul, Moshe again ascended Mount Sinai for 40 days, during which time he obtained G-d whole-hearted forgiveness. Ever since, the month of Elul serves as the "month of Divine mercy and forgiveness."

The Talmud tells us that the embryo is considered to be mere water until the fortieth day. Only then is it considered its own creation. Thus, we see that the number 40 represents creating something new.

We are standing now almost 40 days before the Jewish New Year. It’s up to us to create a new reality, become better people and make the world a brighter place.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom!

Candle lighting time in NYC is at 7:30 PM


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