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Parasha Insights

Parasha Insights

MY BROTHERS! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Bill 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 Bill, "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."
 
Who is the first emissary in the Torah dispatched by a human being on a mission to settle and build Jewish life in a far destination?
 
The first real “shliach,&rdquo… Read More »

ISRAEL AT WAR

What happens when a fly falls into someone's cup of coffee?

The Italian—throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.
 
The German—carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it and makes a new cup of coffee.
 
The Frenchman—takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.
 
The Chinese—eats the fly and throws away the coffee.
 
The Russian—Drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no charge.
 
The Israeli—sells the coffee to the Frenchman, sells the fly to the Chinese, sells the cup to the Italian, drinks a cup of tea, and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.
 
The Palestinian—blames the… Read More »

WHY AM I STUCK IN LIFE?

A student in a very prestigious school was asked what his major was.

He replied: “Decision making.”
 
The questioner was intrigued. “Impressive! There is a whole department in your university on the science and psychology of decision-making? Wow. And what will you do with a degree in decision-making?”
 
He replied “I haven’t decided yet.”
 
The favorite Jewish pastime, matchmaking, is recorded extensively in this week’s portion of Chayei Sarah. Isaac is 40 years old and still single. Abraham, his father, sends his faithful servant Eliezer on a search. Unlike modern day matchmaking in which people are profiled based on vital issues like political alliances, music, and… Read More »

QUALITY TIME WITH OUR CHILDREN

A young Jewish man seeking spiritual enlightenment decided to enter a monastery. He joined one particularly strict sect. The head monk told him, at his indoctrination, that they were sworn to TOTAL silence. They could not speak one word at all. However, every five years, they would be permitted to speak two words. After five years of total silence, the head monk indicated it was now time for him to speak his two words. The Jewish kid said, “Food bad!” And then he resumed his silent meditation and study. Another 5 years passed and the head monk again indicated it was time for him to speak his two words. The Jew said, “Bed Hard!” And then he resumed his silent study and meditation. Another 5 years passed and the head… Read More »

CAN YOU BECOME YOUR OWN PERSON?

The local Jewish Federation charity had never received a donation from the city’s banker, a very wealthy Jew, so the director made a phone call.

“Our records show you make $800,000 a year, yet you haven’t given a penny to charity,” the director began. “Wouldn’t you like to help the Jewish community?”
 
The banker replied, “Did your research show that my mother is ill, with extremely expensive medical bills?”
 
“Um, no,” mumbled the director.
 
“Or that my brother is blind and unemployed? Or that my sister’s husband died, leaving her broke with seven kids?”
 
“I … I … I had no idea.”
 
Read More »

WE NEED TO LIGHT A FIRE!

Rabbi Wolfson was giving his speech to the Jewish federation about the "Tragedy of Jewish assimilation."

Toward the end of his long speech the Rabbi clapped his hands... waited 10 seconds... and clapped his hands again.
 
The audience looked puzzled. The Rabbi then explained that every time he clapped his hands some Jew married a non-Jew.
 
Immediately Morris jumped up from his seat in the audience and shouted, "Nu... So Stop With Your Clapping!"
 
At the end of this week's Torah portion, Noach, we meet the first Jew of all time. There can only be one first Jew, but it is not Noach. His name is Abraham.
 
Why Abraham? Was it because he was the founder of monotheism, and the first… Read More »

THE GRAND FINALE OF MOSES LIFE

Barry announces to his wife Sylvia: “I am going to go away for the weekend to take a course to enhance our marriage.”

His wife asks, “A course on what?” Barry says, “Unconditional Love.” Sylvia is delighted: “Please please go. I can't wait for you to return!”
 
Barry goes and returns a week later. Sylvia asks, “Nu? So what did you learn?”
 
Barry says: “If you give me Unconditional Love, I'll give you
Unconditional Love!”
 
This Thursday night and Friday Oct.16th and 17th, 2014 is Simchat Torah, the celebration of dancing with the Torah . Friday, morning we complete the reading of the Torah and discover an astonishing fact. The ending seems to… Read More »

WHAT ARE THE SECRET BLESSINGS?

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 $250,000.00 for the year and he wanted to know all about it. "It’s like this," said Izzy. "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 $80,000.00 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… Read More »

WE HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE AMENDS

Moshe cannot sleep, tossing and turning from side to side. Finally his wife Sarah protests, "Moshe, what's bothering you? It is 3:00 AM, why aren't you sleeping?”

He says: "I owe Yankel, our next door neighbor, $20,000, but I have no money. What shall I do?"
 
Sarah bangs on the wall and shouts to the neighbors: "Yankel! My Moshe still owes you $20,000? Well he isn't giving them back ever!"
Moshe protests, "What are you doing, darling? Why are you telling him I will never pay him back?"
 
Turning to her husband, Sarah replies, "Why should Yankel sleep while you stay awake; let it be the other way around: You should sleep and let Yankel stay awake!"
 
The concept of… Read More »

FOR ME TO WIN, I NEED YOU TO WIN

A little girl asked her mother for two dollars to give to an old lady in the park. Her mother was touched by the child's kindness and gave her the required sum.

"There you are my dear," said the mother. "I guess, she is too old to work?"
 
"Oh no," came the reply. "She sells ice cream."
 
This week's Torah portion Ki Tavo opens with a discussion of the Mitzvah of Bikkurim, the First Fruits. Upon the ripening of the first fruits of the season (any of the seven species associated with the Land of Israel) a farmer would fill a basket with the ripened fruits and bring them to Jerusalem, to the Temple in Jerusalem, and offer them as a gift to the Kohen, to declare thanks to G-d for the… Read More »

HOW MUCH DO YOU CARE?

Dear Friend,

An angel appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean that in return for his unselfish and exemplary behavior, the Lord will reward him with his choice of infinite wealth, wisdom, or beauty.
 
Without hesitating, the dean selects infinite wisdom. "Done!" says the angel, and disappears in a cloud of smoke and a bolt of lightning.
 
Now, all heads turn toward the dean, who sits surrounded by a faint halo of light. One of his colleagues whispers, "Say something."
 
The dean sighs and says, "I should have taken the money."
 
Two great giants who were a part of pre-war Eastern European Jewry were Rabbi Chaim Ozer, chief rabbi of Vilna, a brilliant Talmudic scholar, and… Read More »

DO YOU JUDGE EVERYONE FAVORABLY?

Dear Friend,

A man, who was not the nicest husband in the world, was arrested for shop lifting. When he went before the judge he was asked, “What did you steal?” He replied, “a can of peaches.” The judge asked him why he had stolen them and he replied that he had been hungry. The judge then asked him how many peaches were in the can. He replied that there zere five. The judge then said, “I will give you 5 days in jail.”
 
Before the judge could actually pronounce the punishment, the man’s wife spoke up and asked the judge if she could say something. The judge said, “What is it?” The wife said: “He also stole a can of peas.”
 
In the first chapter of the Ethics… Read More »

AN OPEN HAND AND AN OPEN HEART

Dear Friend,

Mark Ginsberg never pays his bills, especially not during this time of recession. Recently his friend saw him bargaining with a supplier‫.
 
"Hey, Ginsberg," Goldberg asks him, why are you knocking that man's prices down ? You're never going to pay him anyway‫.
 
Listen, answers Ginsberg, he is a nice chap. I just want to keep down his losses‫!
 
The weekly portion Reeh states what has become one of the corner stones of Jewish life from the most secular to the most religious:
 
“If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land the Lord, your G-d, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you shall not close your hand… Read More »

WHO IS A TRUE LEADER?

A charity collector was soliciting from Baron Rothschild. Displeased with the amount he'd been given, the collector complained, "Your son gave me twice as much.

"Well, my son can afford to," said Baron Rothschild.  "He has a rich father."
This Shabbat is the 20th day of the Hebrew month of Av. The Talmud relates a narrative that occurred on this very day when the Jewish people returned to the Land of Israel, after seventy years of exile in Babylonia, to resettle the land and rebuild the second Holy Temple, they faced many obstacles and hardships. The community was small and poor. The Temple treasury could not even afford to pay for firewood for the altar.
 
Several families came forth… Read More »
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