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Parasha Insights


Life is full of loneliness, misery, and suffering, and it's all over much too soon. —Woody Allen

In one of the most dramatic and mysterious biblical tales, the Torah in this week’s portion Vayishlach presents an unforgettable moment when: "Jacob remained alone and a man/angel wrestled with him until the break of dawn.”

"When he perceived that he could not defeat him," "he struck the socket of his [Jacob's] hip." Jacob, however, prevailed, and as a result of his victory, all of Jacobs's descendants were given the new name of Israel. Israel means to struggle or contend with, "For you have struggled with the divine and with man and you have triumphed.”

Our imagination is captured… Read More »

How Do You Know What does G-d want?

An older man had serious hearing problems for many years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the man to hear 100%.

The old man went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”

The man replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I’ve changed my Will six times!”

In this week’s portion, the twelve tribes of Israel are born. After birth, each of the children is given a name by his mother, coupled with the meaning of the name.

I will focus today on one very interesting name given… Read More »


Mark Twain quipped: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.


The opening words of this week’s portion, Toldot, are strangely enigmatic:


And these are the chronicles of Isaac the son of Abraham; Abraham fathered Isaac.


Many dwell on the repetitious phrasing of this verse: if “the son of Abraham,” what is added by informing us that “Abraham fathered Isaac”?


The question becomes more striking, when we compare this verse to the Torah’s description, just a few verses earlier, of Abraham and his other son… Read More »


A little girl was punished for some act of disobedience. Her mom and dad decide that her punishment will be for her to eat dinner alone in the corner of the dining table, while the rest of them would sit on the other side of the table.

As they sat down to eat that night the family paid no attention to her until they heard her pray. She was actually paraphrasing the famous Psalm chapter 23:

“I thank You, Lord, for preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

In this week’s portion, Chayei Sara tells the story of how Abraham has sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac.

He goes to the city of Charan. Arriving at the town's well, he proposes a test: the woman who comes to draw water… Read More »


An older man had serious hearing problems for many years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the man to hear 100%.

The old man went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”

The man replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!”

In this week’s portion, Vayera, Abraham’s remarkable story continues. And—at last—at the age of 100, he is blessed with a son, Isaac. As his wife, Sarah declares: “Whoever hears this story, will… Read More »


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 »



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 »


 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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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?” 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 »


 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 »

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