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Parasha Insights

CAN YOU GO FORWARD?

Sarah was always late to work no matter how much she tried to be on time, or how many times her boss scolded her. She just could not wake up on time. Her boss said she would fire her if it did not stop. Sarah decided to seek the advice of her doctor. He prescribed her some medication and told her to take one pill before going to sleep. She did and she woke up before the alarm clock sounded and headed into work feeling well rested. Sarah told her boss about the doctor’s prescription and how well it worked.

Her boss said, “That is great, Sarah, but where were you yesterday?”

The Midrash tells us in this portion Beshalach that the Jewish people were divided into four camps.

“Speak to the children of Israel,&rdquo… Read More »

NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND

There's big controversy on the Jewish view of when life begins. In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until after it graduates from medical school..

For us, education is almost everything. My child must become a doctor. If he is slow, I will settle for a lawyer. If he is retarded, okay, an accountant. If he is completely mentally decapitated, then we settle for a Rabbi!...

This week portion of Bo tells the story of the Exodus. Three times in the course of twochapters, Moses tells the Israelites about their duties to their children. Even before they have left Egypt, he instructs them to hand on the future generations the story of the events though which they were living. Hence, we became a people obsessed… Read More »

WE SAY THANK YOU!

The patient tells the doctor after he took care of him from a potentially serious situation: Since we have become such close friends, I will not pay you. I don’t want to insult you by offering payment. But I want you to know, that as a sign of deep gratitude, I did put you in my will for after my death.

“That is so kind of you,” said the doctor. “But give me that prescription I just gave you; I’d like to make a little change in it.”

In our portion Vaeira the first plague, of the 10 plagues that befell Egypt the waters of Egypt turned into blood. In order to generate the miraculous event Moses’ staff struck the waters. Moses, however, did not strike the water. He was instructed by G-d that his… Read More »

WHEN YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A VICTIM YOU BECOME A VICTIM

There was a time in the forties when Molotov was Soviet foreign minister. He was a shrewd man and worked for Joseph Stalin, who was The Boss. He was once overheard talking to Stalin by Trans-Atlantic telephone during the course of some very intricate negotiations with the West. He said, "Yes, Comrade Stalin," in quiet tones, then again, "Yes, Comrade Stalin, and then, after a considerable wait, "Certainly, Comrade Stalin. Suddenly he was galvanized into emotion. "No, Comrade Stalin," he barked, "No. That's, no. Definitely, no. A thousand times, no!"

After a while, he quieted and it was "Yes, Comrade Stalin," again. The reporter who overheard this was probably never so excited in his life.… Read More »

President Carter and Prime Minister Begin

Jerusalem—which we will commemorate tomorrow with the fast of the 10th of Tevet.

Fast starting 5:00 am ends after Shabbat begins 5:30 pm.

In 1978, the Camp David accords initiated by President Carter, brought together the late Menachem Begin, then Prime Minister of Israel, and the late Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, who was later assassinated. The pressure that President Carter exerted upon Begin was great, and Begin ended up giving Egypt all of the Sinai for a so called peace treaty (one which does not prevent the construction of hundreds of tunnels smuggling weapons to Gaza to be used against Israel.)

At some point in the negotiation, Jimmy Carter turned to Menachem Begin and wanted to put Jerusalem on the bargaining table… Read More »

A True Friendship

At the time of the Roman Empire, two Jewish boys had grown up together in Israel and become very close friends. After a while, they moved far apart ― one living under Roman control, and the other living under Syrian control. Yet they remained very close friends.

One time, when the fellow from Rome was visiting in Syria, someone falsely accused him of being a spy. So they brought him to the Syrian Emperor, and he was sentenced to death.

As he was being led out to be executed, they asked if he had any last requests. "Please, let me go back to Rome to settle my affairs and say goodbye to my family. Then I'll come back and you can execute me."

The Emperor laughed.  What guarantee do I have that you'll come back?"

Read More »

Why did the Maccabees revolt?

A few weeks ago, one of my friends was on his way to Israel. When he got to JFK airport, he went through the EL AL security. The guard asked him the regular questions. Who are you? Where are you from? Why are you going to Israel? And then he asked him “Are you Jewish?” He replied yes.

"Are you affiliated with any congregation?” Yes. “Which one?” Chabad. "Which Chabad?" Chabad Center of the Upper West Side. "Well," the guard said, "which Jewish holiday did we just celebrate?" My friend answers "Gee, I don’t know." So the guard says "Well, which Jewish holiday are we going to celebrate soon?" So my friend… Read More »

DISCOVER THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS

“I never knew what real happiness was until I got married; and then it was too late." – Mr. Goldberg.

“Researches say I am not happier for being richer; but do you know how much researches make?”—A wealthy man.

At the tender age of 17, Joseph, the beloved child of our Patriarch Jacob, is snatched by his own brothers, who cast him into a pit. Then they lift him from the pit and sell him as a slave. Under the natural course of things, he would remain a slave for the remainder of his life. In his new masters home in Egypt he is accused of  attempted rape. He his cast into a dungeon where he spends the next 12 years of his life, from age 18 till 30. There he becomes a servant to two ministers of… Read More »

A NEW SOURCE OF STRENGTH

No English dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. However, in a recent linguistic conference held in London, England, and attended by some of the best linguists in the world, Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese, was the clear winner. The final question put to him was this: Some say there is no difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED.

Please explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand. Here was his astute answer: "When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. But, when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!" His answer was received with a… Read More »

THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

Robert  received a bill from the hospital for his recent surgery, and was astonished to see a $900 charge for the anesthesiologist. He called his office to demand an explanation. "Is this some kind of mistake?" he asked when he got the doctor on the phone.

"No, not at all," the doctor said calmly. "Well," said Robert, "That's awfully costly for just knocking someone out!" "Not at all," replied the doctor. I knock you out for free. The $900 is for bringing you back around.

In our portion Vayetze Rachel has been married for thirteen years and remained childless. The Torah relates that she told Jacob: "Give me children, and if not, I am dead." Finally, she becomes pregnant and… Read More »

DID REBECCA DECEIVE HER HUSBAND ISAAC?

Even if you encounter an Esau-like Jew, remember that he or she is really a Jacob, only dressed like Esau.

Martin Lewis converts and becomes a priest.

He gives his first Mass in front of a number of high ranking priests who came for the occasion. At the end of the new priest's sermon, a cardinal goes up to congratulate him.

"Pastor Lewis," he said, "That was very well done, you were just perfect. But next time, please don't start your sermon with, "My Fellow Goyim..."

Isaac grows old and his eyes become dim. He expresses his desire to bless his beloved son Esau before he dies. While Esau goes off to hunt for his father's favorite food, Rebecca – the mother -- dresses Jacob in Esau's clothes, covers his… Read More »

Three components of Marriage

A few years prior to the Gulf War, Barbara Walters filed a report on gender roles in Kuwait. In the report, Barbara noted that, in traditional Islamic fashion, women customarily walked approximately ten feet behind their husbands.

Barbara returned to Kuwait recently and observed that the men now walked several yards behind their wives.

Curious about this change in tradition, Barbara approached one of the Kuwati women and asked for an explanation.

"This is marvelous," Barbara said. "What has enabled women here to achieve this reversal of roles?"

"Land mines!" replied the Kuwati woman.

The first Jewish marriage recorded in the Torah is the one between Isaac and Rebecca in this parsha of Chaye Sarah. It is… Read More »

Seeing G-d in every human

Issy 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 »

Are you a “middle lane” personality?

A recently divorced woman is walking along the beach contemplating how badly treated she got over the divorce settlement, when she spies a magic lamp washing up onshore. She rubs the lamp, and out pops a magical genie!

The genie notices her anger and lets her vent her troubles to him. As a consolation, the genie informs her that he will give her three wishes. But, he cautions her that because he does not believe in divorce, he will give her ex-husband ten times the amount of whatever she wishes.

The woman is steaming mad, thinking that this is hardly fair, but she makes her first wish. The first wish was for a billion dollars. The genie grants her wish and she finds herself sitting in pile of one billion one-dollar bills. The genie then… Read More »

HOW TO BECOME A NOAH?

And the Lord spoke to Noah and said, "In one year, I am going to make it rain and cover the whole earth with water until all flesh is destroyed.

“But I want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living thing on the earth. Therefore, I am commanding you to build an Ark."
 
In a flash of lightening, G-d delivered the specifications for an Ark. In fear and trembling, Noah took the plans and agreed to build the Ark.
 
"Remember" said the Lord, "You must complete the Ark and bring everything aboard in one year.”
 
Exactly one year later, fierce storm cloud covered the earth and all the seas of the earth went into a tumult. The Lord saw Noah was sitting in his front… Read More »

WHY WE DANCE WITH THE CHILDREN ON SIMCHAT TORAH?

Henryk was very young in 1945, when the World War II ended and solitary survivors tried frantically to trace their relatives. He had spent what seemed to be most of his life with his nanny, who had hidden him away from the Nazis at his father's request. There was great personal risk involved, but the woman had readily taken it, as she loved the boy.

All the Jews were being killed, and Henryk's nanny did not think for a moment that the father, Joseph Foxman, would survive the infamous destruction of the Vilna Ghetto. He would surely have been transferred to Auschwitz — and everyone knew that nobody ever came back from Auschwitz. She therefore had no scruples about adopting the boy, having him baptized into the Catholic Church and… Read More »
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