Mazeltov to Evan son of Janice and Brian Sparks, on the occasion of his engagement to Ally daughter of David and Melanie Jacobs    Mazeltov to Leicester and Janine Meltz, on the birth of a son and mazeltov to grandparents Robert and Sharon Lapedus.    Mazeltov to Jason son of Harry and Heidi Kaplan, on the occasion of his engagement to Gaby daughter of Warren and Andrea Goldblatt.    Mazeltov to Gary and Ricci Hackner, on the birth of a daughter and mazeltov to grandparents Sam and Karen Hackner and Selwyn and Sharon Krost.    Mazeltov to Jeff and Robyn Girnun, on the birth of a granddaughter in London.    Mazeltov to Shaun and Lisa Mondschein on the birth of a daughter and mazeltov to grandparents Denis and Minette Mondschein.
Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah uses some mighty strong language this week that really needs some understanding:

“See I am placing before you this day a blessing and a curse. The blessing, if you will listen to the commandments of the Almighty which I am commanding you this day. And the curse, if you do not listen to the Almighty’s commandments.”

On top of this, the Sforno, a renowned 15th century Italian commentator, adds “There is no middle way. If a person follows the Torah, his life will be a blessed life. If a person fails to live by the commandments, he will live a cursed life.”

This seems to be a rather extreme statement. However, if we understand that life is either purposeful or meaningful or not, then we can understand that a life of meaning is a blessed life. And a life without meaning is a life devoid of satisfaction and imbued with a sense that nothing makes a difference when life is over anyway (and what could be a greater curse than that?).

Understanding that there is a God Who created the world, sustains it and supervises it — gives life intrinsic meaning. One can always create a sense of meaning in a diversion — acquiring wealth, following baseball or even in something as noble as helping others. However, unless there is a God and there are absolute responsibilities and values, then there is no inherent meaning to life. It gnaws at one’s psyche.

A person needs to have purpose in life, to know that life is meaningful. To be aware of the Creator and to fulfill His will enables a person to experience the greatest of blessings in this world. Each day will be an exciting adventure full of the joy of doing the Almighty’s will. The choice is yours to make. Choose life!

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony