YONAH’S BAR MITZVA - Jewish Outlook

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YONAH’S BAR MITZVA

This is a saying of Moshe Rabbenu, ZT”L [Moses]. “If you receive a letter, you better read it.” Those were his words. That means; if you receive a message, then read the message! You know, if G-d puts something into your head, then just do it. And again, you see what it is, G-d puts a message into my head at that moment when it’s time to do it, right. And sadly enough, we always wait and wait and wait.

 

Listen to this most unbelievable story from the Talmud. You know, Yonah the prophet had this prophesy to go to Ninveh and tell them, “Unless you change your ways, Ninveh will be destroyed in forty days.” Does anybody know how old Yonah was? He was thirteen years old, and his Bar Mitzva was on the first day of Succot. Can you imagine? And he came to the Holy Temple. On the second night of Succot, everybody knows there is the Simchas Beis Hashoeva, the rejoicing in drawing the water, and it’s the highest joy in the world. Only the highest people were dancing. Mamash. You couldn’t dance because it’s time to dance, you mamash – the spirit had to move you. Suddenly, Yonah didn’t know what happened to him, suddenly he was dancing among all the holy people. While he was dancing with utmost bliss and rejoicing, he hears this prophesy. Mamash, he hears G-d’s voice telling him, “Yonah, son of Amitai, go to Ninveh.” Unbelievable, right? This happened in Yerushalayim. There were so many great rabbis and so many old prophets there – he’s crazy, right? A little boy of thirteen is going to Ninveh? Ninveh was a world empire in those days.

 

You see what it is; we are reading this HafTorah (The Book of Yonah) only a few minutes before Yom Kippur is over. Because all day Yom Kippur we are crying over all the sins we committed, all the mistakes, but by Mincha [the afternoon prayer, when the book of Yonah is read], that is over. You know what we are repenting the last few minutes? That I didn’t deliver all those important messages I was given.

 

You know, friends, if we would go back in history, if every person in the world would really live up to their visions, we would be the highest people in the world, the highest. So you know what the problem is? We believe that G-d can do it, but we don’t really believe that we can do it. Why don’t we believe that we can do it? Because we think that we have to do it with our own strength. But we don’t believe that when G-d gives me a vision, he also gives me whatever I need.

 

You know, when someone tells me, “I have some good advice for you: Go to Israel.” He wants me to buy the ticket. And then he will say, “I gave him good advice.” You know the way G-d is operating? When G-d tells you, “Go to Israel,” He also gives you a ticket. But you have to have clear eyes to see it. Sometimes G-d is hiding it under the closet.
 


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The Ropshitzer Rebbe returned home after giving his sermon in the synagogue. His wife asked him, “How was the sermon?” He answered, “I had a fifty percent success. I taught the importance of the rich giving charity to the poor, and I was able to convince the poor to be willing to receive it.”


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