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Parasha Insights

ARE YOU A HERO TO YOUR CHILDREN?

The local Hebrew School decided to observe Chanukah with a special ecumenical celebration, and invited everyone in the neighborhood, of whatever background, to participate in any way they thought appropriate, or to just come and observe, and have some home-baked cookies washed down with grape juice or heavy super-sweet wine.

There were speeches, dramatizations, and miscellaneous musical performances. At one point Mrs. Goldberg, in the third row, wiped away a tear as her little Miriam scratched out a hesitant rendition of "Havanu Sholom Aleichem" on a shiny new violin. Mrs. Goldberg noticed that a man seated next to her also had tears running down his face.

"Isn't it wonderful", she said to him, "to know that… Read More »

THE SURGEON VS. THE PILOT

 

Husband and wife had an argument. Wife called up her mom and said, "He fought with me again, I am coming to live with you."  Mom said, "No darling, he must pay for his mistake. I am coming to live with you."


The Sages derive from the biblical narrative that Noach built the ark for 120 years—that would contain his family and all animals and birds over the year of the flood.


Why does it take 120 years to build a boat?!


Noach could have fulfilled the Divine commandment with alacrity and swiftness. And then, just having the presence of this major vessel in his backyard, would arouse curiosity and Noach could explain to the people its purpose, hoping they will as a result change their ways. Why… Read More »

A LOVE OF INFINITE MAGNITUDE

 It is the first murder in history, in this week's parshat Bereshit it happens between the first siblings of history.

Following the murder, G-d tells Kain, “the voice of your brother’s blood cries out from the earth.” But who buried Abel? The Torah is silent on that.

The Midrash, as always, fills in the gaps.

Adam and Eve sat in front of their slain son, Abel, the first dead human in history, cried, and mourned, “and did not know what to do.” A raven flew near them carrying a dead raven in its beak. The raven proceeded to scrape the ground until a furrow was dug – large enough to place the dead bird in and then the raven covered and buried the dead bird. Adam saw this instinctive act of the… Read More »

WHAT WEAKENS YOU FROM YOUR STRENGTH?

Moshe always worried about everything all his life. But one day his coworkers noticed Moshe seemed like a changed man.

They remarked that he didn’t seem to be the least bit worried about anything. Moshe said he’d hired a professional worrier and no longer had any problems.

“A professional worrier?" they said. "What does that cost?”


“150 grand a year.”

"150,000 dollars a year?! How on earth are you going to pay him? You are about to declare bankruptcy!"


"Well, that’s why I hired him—let HIM worry about how I will pay him."


Why is it, that if a child cries, we ask, “What’s wrong?” But if a child laughs and plays and dances around the… Read More »

WHO IS THE GREATEST HERO?

David wakes up late for a very important business meeting. He rushes through his shower, gulps down breakfast, and jumps into his car, and of course, gets stuck in traffic. When he finally arrives, he can't find any parking. He looks and looks, but there is simply nothing available. He drives around the block once, twice, three times, and finally, completely exasperated, he turns to G-d: "G-d if you give me a parking spot, I promise, I will go to the temple every Saturday morning, I will never lie again, and I will donate half of the profits of this meeting to charity." Instantly, the car next to him pulls out. “Uh, G-d? The deal is off. I just found one by myself!"


You see, there are moments of clarity when we turn… Read More »

WHAT IS LIFE?

The main course at the big civic dinner was baked ham with glazed sweet potatoes.


Rabbi Cohen regretfully shook his head when the platter was passed to him.

"When," scolded Father Kelly playfully, "are you going to forget that silly rule of yours and eat ham like the rest of us?"

Without skipping a beat, Rabbi Cohen replied, "At your wedding reception, Father Kelly."

On Rosh Hashana in the Avinu Malkenu prayer, we define G-d’s relationship with us as our father and our King. The image of G-d as father conveys a relationship of closeness, love, and forgiveness.

The image of G-d as king conveys authority and implies justice and penalty for sinful behavior. This prayer brings together both… Read More »

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A JEW?

A couple is in the midst of a tremendous fight, as a gunman breaks into their home. Pointing his rifle at the woman of the home, he asks her for her name. The terrified woman mutters, “Elizabeth.”


“This is your lucky night,” the gunman responds. “I just can’t get myself to kill somebody who carries my mother’s name, may her soul rest in peace. My mother was a special woman. I won’t shoot you.”


He then points the riffle at her husband’s head. “What is your name?” thunders the gunman. The poor man is terror-struck. He knows that his answer will equal life or death, and pauses to think.

“If you don’t want your brains blown out, tell me your name right… Read More »

Ki Teitzei-Never Forget

 Ki Teitzei-Never Forget

NY City Candle lighting 7:28 PM     Shabbat ends 8:28 PM
For worldwide times on the web go to  www.chabadgn.com/Candles  and adjust the location.

 

Shalom and Bracha!

    May Hashem bless and protect the Jewish people in the land of Israel and throughout the world and bless you, your entire family and all those who are dear to you with a healthy, happy, successful, joyous, fulfilling and prosperous New Year and may we see the redemption through the coming of Moshiach immediately!

  The first verse in the portion begins “When you will go out to war upon your enemies and Hashem your G-d will place them in your hand. The usage of the term… Read More »

HOW IS YOUR MARRIAGE?

“How is your marriage?” Someone once asked a woman.

Her response: “Before I got married, I was incomplete. Now, that I married, I am finished.”

There is something perplexing concerning the laws of marriage, articulated in the weekly Torah portion Ki Tetzei.

Marriage is one of those issues where the Biblical law is unclear and it requires interpretation. The Torah speaks of “a man marrying a woman,” but does not specify the legal means to affect a marriage. The Talmud presents an oral tradition to fill the gap. A similar expression used when discussing marriage is found once more in the Bible when addressing Abraham’s purchase of the cave after Sarah’s death. Both in the verse on… Read More »

WHO IS THE BOSS IN YOUR LIFE?

 In a temple in Toronto there once was a president of the community who was a nice man but Jewishly, well, he was ritually challenged. On Rosh HaShanah the gabbai offered him an aliyah; panicked, he said "No no no! I can't read Hebrew, I'll embarrass myself."

The gabbai said: "you HAVE to take some honor, you're the president!"
"Isn't there anything where I don't have to talk?"
The Gabbai thought for a minute and suggested "how about glila?"
"What's glila?" said the president?

"Simple," replied the gabbai, "you just come up after the Torah is lifted, and when the cover is put on, you put on the breastplate and the crown and then sit down."

Relieved, the… Read More »

WHEN SHOULD YOU NOT LISTEN TO AN ANGEL?

A man came to a bar on a nightly basis, ordering two glasses of Crown Royal. When the bartender asked him why he never changed his order, the man explained that he had a friend with whom he drank a nightly glass of Crown Royal for many years.


"My friend was drafted and died in Korea," the man sighed, "and I decided to immortalize him by drinking two glasses of Crown Royal every night. One glass I drink for him; the other for myself."


One night, after thirty years, the man entered the bar and ordered a single glass of Crown Royal.

"What happened?" asked the bartender.


"Oh," the man responded, "I quit drinking."


It is a classic case of denial; but it also may have a deeper… Read More »

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE UNKNOWN?

A little boy was afraid of the dark. One night his mother told him to go out to the back porch and bring her the broom.


The little boy turned to his mother and said, "Mama, I don't want to go out there. It's dark."


The mother smiled reassuringly at her son. "You don't have to be afraid of the dark," she explained. "G-d is out there. He'll look after you and protect you."


The little boy looked at his mother real hard and asked, "Are you sure he's out there?"


"Yes, I'm sure. He is everywhere, and he is always ready to help you when you need him," she said.


The little boy thought about that for a minute and then went to the back door and cracked it a little. Peering out into the… Read More »

WHERE IS THE ORIGIN OF THE VACCINE?

Natan Sharansky was a chess prodigy and a mathematician, who gave up a privileged position in Russia to become a refusenik and Jewish activist in 1973.  By 1979, he was arrested and served 9 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement.  As a result of international pressure, he was finally released in 1986.  He moved to Israel, where, for a period of time, he was a politician.


 He was asked to characterize the difference between himself and other Israeli politicians. He answered, "unlike many Israeli political leaders, I went to jail before serving as a politician."

 

It is fascinating in this week’s Torah portion Vaetchanan Moses’ speaking impassioned to his people about their… Read More »

WHOEVER MOURNS SEES HER JOY

A man and his wife are sitting in the living room. He says to her: “Just so you know… I never want to live in a vegetative state dependent on some machine.  If that ever happens, just pull the plug.”


His wife gets up and unplugs the TV…


The Talmud states:

Whoever mourns for Jerusalem merits and sees her joy; whoever does not mourn for Jerusalem does not see her joy.


Those who are loyal during the low time, remain, friends when the good times come around.


Yet the grammar is strange. The Talmud should have said, “Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit and see her joy,” in the future sense. Why does the Talmud say, “Whoever mourns for Jerusalem merits and sees her joy,” in… Read More »

HOW DO YOU CONNECT YOUR DOTS?

An American Jew visits Russia and is asked about life in America. Thank G-d, he replies, life is good, and how is life in the Soviet Union?


Here, replies the Russian, it is also good, but here we don’t say thank G-d. Here we say, Thank Putin.


“What will you say when Putin dies?” the American inquires.


“Then we will say thank G-d,” replies the Russian.


This week’s Torah Portion Matot - Masaei speaks on the journeys of the children of Israel who went out of the land of Egypt...


The Midrash compares G-d’s instruction to Moses to record all the forty-two stations in the nation’s journey from Egypt through the desert till the borders of the Promised Land to the story of a king… Read More »

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