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Parasha Insights


A man and woman were recently celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

While cutting the cake, the wife was moved after seeing her husband’s eyes fill with tears. She took his arm and looked at him affectionately.

“I never knew you were so sentimental,” she whispered.

“No... No...” he said, choking back his tears. “That’s not it at all. Remember when your father found us in the barn and told me to either marry you or spend the next 50 years in jail?”

“Yes,” the wife replied. “I remember it like yesterday.”

“Well,” said the husband, “Today I would have been a free man.”

This week's double Parsha is the concluding portion of the Book… Read More »


A woman told her husband, “You really brought religion into my life.”

“How so?” he asked. “I am an atheist!”

“Until I married you I didn’t believe in hell.”

This week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, relays how Moses confronts his own mortality and asks G-d to appoint a successor. His words are moving:

“May the Lord, God of the spirits of all flesh, choose a man over the congregation… they should not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

G-d tells Moses to appoint Joshua as his successor; he will be the nation’s next leader.

Then there is a strange juxtaposition. Moses is pleading for a new leader; he fears his flock will be left without a shepherd. G-d… Read More »


In the jungle, a marriage procession of lions was moving forward, when a mouse joined them and started dancing. The lions were amazed and said to the mouse, "You are not one of us. Why have you joined us?"

The mouse replied, "I was a lion too before my marriage. This is me now…."

This week’s Torah portion, Balak, relates the fascinating story of how the prophet and sorcerer Balaam, an archenemy of the people of Israel, was summoned by King Balak of Moab to curse the Israelites. But when Balaam opened his mouth to curse, blessings came out instead. He tried three times, each with the same result. He ended with a prophecy describing the triumph of Israel in the "end of days." The verses… Read More »




There was a teacher known for his constant preaching about the need to nurture children with warmth and love. One day he noticed some children playing in freshly laid concrete outside his newly renovated home, their little feet leaving lasting impressions. He became irritated and started chastising them.

A friend asked, "How can you, a person who devotes his entire life to teaching warmth to children, speak this way?"

To which the teacher replied:  "Please understand. I love children in the abstract, not the concrete."

At last, the moment had arrived. For 40 years the Jews had wandered together in a wilderness. Most of the older generation had already passed on. Even the beloved Miriam was no… Read More »


The Talmud tells a strange story: A harp was hanging above King David's bed. At midnight, a North wind blew upon it and it played of itself. He arose immediately and studied Torah until dawn. After the break of dawn, the wise men of Israel came to King David and said to him: Our master, the King, Israel your people require sustenance! They need to live! He said to them: Let them go out and make a living one from the other.

They said to him: A handful cannot satisfy a lion, nor can a pit when un-dug be filled up with its own clods of earth.[You need to bring more earth from elsewhere to fill the pit.] David said to them: Then go out in troops and attack the enemy for plunder.

This serene, almost mystical, scene is brusquely… Read More »


You know the joke about the rabbi who gave a man marriage advice: His wife should be in charge of small decisions, and he, the big ones.

After 30 years, he complained to the rabbi, "In 30 years, there have been no big decisions!"

To which his wife responded: "Of course there have—and I allowed you to decide them all!"

"Like what?" asked the husband.

"Like what? I will tell you: A big decision is what to do about global warming, the conflict in Iraq, the situation in Iran…. That you decide, my dear, and I do not mix in. Small decisions are—where we live, where our kids go to school, which synagogue we attend, and which house we buy!

Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz… Read More »


A 60-year-old man went for a check-up and was told, "You’re in terrific shape. You have the body of a 35-year-old. By the way, how old was your father when he died?"

The 60-year-old responded, "Who said he was dead?"

The doctor was surprised and asked, "How old is he? Is he very active?"

The 60-year-old responded, "Well, he is 82 years old and he still goes skiing three times a season and surfing three times a week during the summer."

The doctor couldn`t believe it. "Well, how old was your grandfather when he died?"

The 60-year-old responded again, "Who said he was dead?"

The doctor was astonished. He said, "You mean to tell me you are 60 years old and both your… Read More »

The Four-Minute Mile

Izzy owned a small deli in Stamford Hill, in London. One day, a tax inspector knocked on his door and questioned him about his recent tax return. Issy had reported a net profit of $250.000 for the year and he wanted to know all about it. "It’s like this," said Issy. "I work like a maniac all year round and all of my family helps me out whenever they can. My deli is closed only five days a year. That’s how I made $250,000."

"It's not your income that bothers us," said the taxman. "It's the business travel deductions of $80,000 that worries us. You entered on the tax return that you and your wife made 28 business trips to Israel, Italy, Switzerland, France, the US, Hawaii, and the Caribbean… Read More »


A man takes a seat at a bar, and orders five shots. The bartender gives him an odd look since he’s alone, but he serves him and lines up the shots on the bar.

The man downs them all quickly. He finishes the last one and calls out, "Four shots, please!" The bartender serves four shots and lines them up on the bar. The man downs them all. Then he belches loudly, sways slightly on the stool, and orders three. And one after the other, he knocks them back. "Two shots!" he calls, and the bartender places two shots in front of him. Down they go. As the man slams the last one down on the bar, he says, "One shot, bartender."

So the bartender fills the glass. The man sits there, staring at it for a moment… Read More »


An Amish boy and his father visited a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again. The boy asked his father, "What is this, Father?" The father responded, "Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don't know what it is."

While the boy and his father watched wide-eyed, an old woman in a wheelchair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction. The walls… Read More »


TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.
MARIA: Here it is.
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
CLASS: Maria.

TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have 10 years ago.

TEACHER: Glenn, why do you always get so dirty?
GLENN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand.

TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mum is a good cook.

TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps… Read More »


Izzy owned a small deli in Stamford Hill, London. One day, a tax inspector knocked on his door and questioned him about his recent tax return. Izzy had reported a net profit of $250,000 for the year and he wanted more information. Izzy explained, "I work like a maniac all year round, and my family helps whenever they can. My deli is closed only five days a year. That’s how I made $250,000."

"It's not your income that bothers us," said the taxman. "It's the business travel deductions of $80,000 that worries us. You entered on the tax return that you and your wife made 28 business trips to Israel, Italy, Switzerland, France, the USA, Hawaii, and the Caribbean Islands. Why all those trips?"

Read More »


A man walking in the city was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking derelict who asked him for a couple of dollars for dinner.

The man took out his wallet, extracted $2, and asked, "If I give you this money, will you take it and buy whiskey?"

"No, I stopped drinking years ago," the man said.

"Will you use it to gamble?"

"I don't gamble. I need everything I can get just to stay alive."

"Will you spend the money on greens fees at a golf course?"

"Are you NUTS! I haven't played golf in 20 years!"

“Will you use the money to buy cigarettes?”

“No way. $2 can’t get me a pack of cigarettes. I had to quit smoking years ago when the price of… Read More »


Rabbi Lau once shared his memories when the Americans have arrived and Buchenwald was liberated.

 "I remember the looks of horror on the faces of the American soldiers when they came in and stared around them. 

I was afraid when I saw them. I crept behind a pile of dead bodies and hid there, watching them warily.

"Rabbi Herschel Schachter was the Jewish chaplain of the division. I saw him get out of a jeep and stand there, staring at the corpses.

 He has often told this story, how he thought he saw a pair of living eyes looking out from among the dead. It made his hair stand on end, 

but slowly and cautiously he made his way around the pile, and then, he clearly remembers coming face-to-face with me, an… Read More »


I recently read this piece entitled “A Grandparents Answering Machine.”

This is how it works.

Good morning . . . At present we are not at home but, please leave your message after you hear the beep. Beeeppp...

1. If you are one of our children, dial 1 and then select the option from 1 to 5 in order of "arrival" so we know who it is.

2. If you need us to stay with the children, press 2.

3. If you want to borrow the car, press 3.

4. If you want us to wash your clothes and do the ironing, press 4.

5. If you want the grandchildren to sleep here tonight, press 5.

6. If you want us to pick up the kids at school, press 6.

7. If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to your home, press… Read More »

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