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Parasha Insights

A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

It is one of the stranger stories in the Talmud: A harp was hanging above King David's bed. As soon as midnight arrived, a North wind came and blew upon it, and it played of itself. He arose immediately and studied the Torah till the break of dawn. After the break of dawn, the wise men of Israel came in to see 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 is filled up with its own clods of earth.  David said to them: Then go out in troops and attack the enemy for plunder.
This serene, perhaps mystical, scene is rudely intruded… Read More »

WHAT IS THE SECRET OF TRUE STABILITY?

There was once a jungle in which one lion thought himself a king. Every day he got up, went over to the chipmunk, pinned him to the ground, and asked, "Who's the toughest animal in the jungle?"
To which the chipmunk, in a meek little voice, always replied, "You are!"
Then the lion would find the bird. He would grab the bird, pin him to the ground and ask, "Who's the toughest animal in the jungle?"
"You are," the poor frightened bird would reply.
This went on each day, all morning. The lion would go to every other animal, pin them to the ground and ask his question. Finally, one day, he came up to the elephant. Grabbing him by the leg, the lion squeezed it and asked, "Who's the toughest beast… Read More »

The Priestly Blessings

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. Izzy had reported a net profit of $250.000 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 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 COMING TO THE ROYAL WEDDING?

Mr. Goldberg bought a new fridge for his house.
To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front garden and hung a sign on it saying: “Free to a good home. You want it, you take it.”
For three months, the fridge sat there without even one person looking twice at it.
He eventually decided that people were too un-trusting of this deal. It looked too good to be true, so he changed the sign to read: ‘Fridge for sale $200.’
The next day someone stole it.
The Baal Shem Tov, once said that everything you see or hear is a lesson in life.
What happened on the holiday of Shavuot, teaches us in the Talmud that day is the celebration of a royal wedding—The day of the giving of the Torah is described as… Read More »

CAN YOU VIOLATE A MITZVAH?

The Soviet census taker comes to the Goldman house.
“Does Louis Goldman live here?” he asks.
“No,” replies Goldman.
“Well, then, what is your name?”
“Louis Goldman.”
“Wait a minute–didn’t you just tell me that Goldman doesn’t live here?”
“Aha,” says Goldman. “You call this living?”
It is certainly a strange phenomenon. There is no other sage in the history of Judaism that has all the Jewish people celebrating on the day that he passed away. Not Moses, not Abraham, not Aaron, Joshua, King David, or Elijah. None of them. With one exception: Reb Shimon ben Yochai. His yartzeit, Lag Baomer, has become one of the great days of joy… Read More »

CAN YOU FORGIVE AND FORGET?

 Once, on Yom Kippur, a Rabbi spoke about forgiveness.

 

 

After the sermon, he asked how many were willing to forgive their enemies.

 

 

About half held up their hands.

 

 

Not satisfied, he lectured the congregation for another twenty minutes and repeated his question. This received a response of eighty percent.

 

 

Still unsatisfied, he lectured for fifteen more minutes and repeated his question.

 

 

All responded except one elderly lady in the rear.

 

 

"Mrs. Cohen, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?"

 

 

"I don't have any."

 

 

"That is very unusual. How old are you?"

 

 

Read More »

DO YOU BELIEVE OR DO YOU TRUST?

Last Pesach, an Orthodox friend of mine, Shmuly, was at a business meeting during the middle days of the holiday. When lunchtime came, his colleagues went out to local restaurants, but Shmuly remained at the conference table and took out his matzah and hard-boiled egg. As he unwrapped it, another colleague joined him and unwrapped his lunch too. It was ham and cheese—on matzah.
The colleague looked at Shmuly with a relieved smile and said:
“Boy, I'm glad I'm not the only one. It's hard to explain Passover, isn't it?” Well, today I want to explain the name of the holiday.
On the seventh day of Passover, we are reading in the Torah about what happened on that day thirty-three hundred years ago the splitting of the Red… Read More »

TODAY IS A GIFT

They tell this story about Winston Churchill. As Savior of the free world, he felt himself entitled to grab a little shuteye (nap) in the House of Commons. When a fellow Parliament member approached him and said, “Must you fall asleep when I am speaking?”

Churchill answered, “No, it is purely voluntary.”

The Rambam rules in his laws of Tefillah:

When Rosh Chodesh Nisan falls on Shabbat, three Torah scrolls are used. The weekly Torah portion is read from the first, the reading of Rosh Chodesh from the second, and Parshat HaChodesh from the third.

Thus, this Shabbat is one of those extremely rare occasions when we take out three Torah Scrolls, since we read three distinct portions—Tazria, Pinchas and Bo.

We… Read More »

HOW DO YOU MAKE A TRANSITION?

 

 

A car mechanic is called in after every other mechanic failed. He listens to the engine for a few minutes, then hauls off and gives it a big swift kick in a certain strategic spot. Lo and behold, the engine starts humming like a kitten. The mechanic turns around, gives the car owner his bill for $900. The owner of the vehicle is flabbergasted and demands an itemized breakdown AND EXPLANATION.

 

 

The bill says...

 

 

“$10 for my time, and $890 for my expertise where to kick.”

 

 

It is an interesting Talmudic story.

 

 

Salome Alexandra, also known as Shlomtzion, was the queen of Judea, 150 years before the destruction of Judea and the Temple by the Romans.… Read More »

WHY SHUSHAN PURIM?

A Jewish woman wants to take her dog to Israel, so she goes to the travel agent to find out how. He says, "It's easy. You go to the airline, they give you a kennel, you put your dog in it when you get off at Tel Aviv go to the luggage rack, and there's your dog.

So, she does, gets off at Tel Aviv, goes to the luggage rack, no dog. She goes to the lost and found, says, "Where's my dog?" They look all over the airport for it and find the dog in another terminal. Only the dog is dead.

"Oh, my gosh, they say, we killed this woman's dog. What are we going to do?"

Then one says, "Wait a minute, it's a cocker spaniel. They're common dogs.

There's a pet shop across the street from the airport. We'll get the same… Read More »

WHAT IS YOUR SPARK IN LIFE?

A young lawyer, starting up his private practice, was very anxious to impress potential clients. When he saw the first visitor to his office come through the door, he immediately picked up his phone and spoke into it, making believe he was talking to someone.

 "I'm sorry, but my caseload is so tremendous that I'm not going to be able to look into your problem for at least a month. I'll have to get back to you then." He then turned to the man who had just walked in, and said, "Now, what can I do for you? Make sure to do this fast, as I am in a mad rush, as you can see from the endless telephone calls of clients."

"Nothing," replied the man. "I'm here to hook up your phone.”

In this… Read More »

DO YOU KEEP A BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE?

A boy asks his father to explain the differences between irritation, aggravation, and misery.


Dad picks up the phone and dials a number at random. When the phone is answered he asks, "Can I speak to Ralph, please?"

"No! There's no one called Ralph here." The person hangs up.

"That's irritation," says Dad.

He picks up the phone again, dials the same number, and asks for Ralph a second time.

"No--there's no one here called Ralph. Go away. If you call again I shall telephone the police." End of conversation.

"That's aggravation."

"Then what's ‘misery’?" asks his son.

The father picks up the phone and dials a third time:

"Hello, this is Ralph. Have I… Read More »

NUCLEAR LOVE

In the 1970s, a Russian school inspector is questioning the children. He points to one of the boys and says, "Who is your father?"

The boy replies, "The Soviet Union."

He then asks, "Who is your mother?"

"The communist party," came the reply.

"And what do you want to be when you grow up?"

"I want to be a dedicated worker for the glory of the state and the communist party."

The inspector then points to one of the girls and asks, "Who is your father?"

The girl answers, "The Soviet Union."

"Who is your mother?" -- "The communist party."

"And what do you want to be when you grow up?"

"A heroine of the Soviet Union… Read More »

THE POWER OF NOW

Sam was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.


When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father will die, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.  

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted a woman whose natural beauty grabbed his attention.

"I may look like just a plain, ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a short while, my father will die, and I'll inherit 30 million dollars."

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card.

Three days later… she became his stepmother.


The holiest article in the Tabernacle that the Jewish people constructed in the desert was the Ark, which housed the Tablets… Read More »

HOW SHALL HE SLEEP IN THE COLD WINTER?

You know the story of the man who came to the therapist for a very serious problem.

“How can I help you?” asks the therapist.

Yes, says the patient. Please tell me what time is it?

That’s why you came to me? Asks the therapist. Are you nuts? It’s three o'clock!

Patient: Oh, no! G-d help me.

Therapist: What's the matter?

Patient: I've been asking the time all day. And everybody gives me a different answer!...


It is a beautiful law, recorded in this weeks Torah portion Mishpatim:

When you lend money to My people, to the poor man among you, do not press him for repayment. [Also] do not take interest from him.


If you take your neighbor's [night] garment as security [for a loan], you must return it to him… Read More »

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