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Parasha Insights

DO YOU HAVE A LONG TERM VISION?

The local news station was interviewing a 90-year-old lady because she had just gotten married for the fourth time.

The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 90, and then about her new husband's occupation. "He's a funeral director," she answered.

"Interesting," the newsman thought. He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.

She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's… Read More »

WHAT IS THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS?

A rabbi and his two friends, a priest and a minister played poker for small stakes, once a week. The only problem was that they lived in a very conservative blue-law town. The sheriff raided their game and took all three before the local judge.

After listening to the sheriff's story, the judge sternly inquired of the priest: "Were you gambling, Father?" The priest looked toward heaven, whispered, "Oh, Lord, forgive me!" and then said aloud: "No, your honor, I was not gambling." "Were you gambling, Reverend?" the judge asked the minister. The minister repeated the priest's actions and said, "No, your honor, I was not."

Turning to the third clergyman, the judge asked: "Were you… Read More »

HOW TO BE A PROUD JEW IN 2020?

Mr. Goldberg is a Jewish “yente” reporter who goes off to interview the director of a home for the mentally challenged.

How do you know if someone belongs in here?

Well, we fill up a bathtub with water and we give the person a bucket, a teacup, and a spoon and we ask them to empty the bathtub.

I see says the reporter, the smart ones will use a bucket.

No, says the director the smart ones will pull out the plug, so the water can run out. Now, do you want a south-facing or north-facing room?

In this week's portion Vayigash, After orchestrating his family’s descent to Egypt, Joseph brings his father before the Egyptian king. It is, we expect, a rare historic moment, an encounter between the most powerful man in the… Read More »

DO YOU TAKE A STAND?

In 1970 Chaim immigrated to Jerusalem. He applied for a phone in his apartment, but weeks went by without one. Exasperated, he visited the phone company headquarters in the main Post Office in Jerusalem and asked the clerk when his phone would finally be installed.

"Sir," responded to the clerk, "Israel has a major shortage of phone lines. There are Government Ministers, Army Generals, and Hospitals ahead of you who are also waiting for phones to become available."

“So you are telling me that I have no hope of getting a phone?" "Heaven forbid!” said the clerk. As a Jew, I am forbidden to tell you that there is no hope.

“There is always hope.” Excited, Chaim repeated, "There is… Read More »

DO YOU KNOW THE SONG OF ETERNITY?

 

Once upon a time, a scorpion was standing at the Gaza port, yearning to get out of Gaza and cross the sea. But alas, scorpions don’t swim. Suddenly, the scorpion saw a swan. It asked the swan if it can ride on its back and cross the sea.

The swan refused. “That would be suicidal,” said the swan. “You will give me one bite and I will die,” cried the swan. “Obviously you are dumb,” said the scorpion. “If I bite you, I will drown myself, because I do not swim. If you go down, I go down. So for my own selfish sake, I will never bite you.”

That logic made sense to the swine. It agreed. The swan took the scorpion on its back, they left the Gaza port, and off they went on their… Read More »

SHAKE IT OFF AND TAKE A STEP UP

A climber fell off a cliff, and as he tumbled down, he caught hold of a small branch.

"HELP! IS THERE ANYBODY UP THERE?" he shouted.

A majestic voice boomed through the gorge:

"I will help you, my son, but first you must have faith in me."

"Yes, yes, I trust you!" cried the man.

"Let go of the branch," boomed the voice.

There was a long pause, and the man shouted up again,

"IS THERE ANYONE ELSE UP THERE I COULD TALK TO?"

Until 31, J.K Rowling was a single mom on welfare. Currently, a British novelist best known as the author of Harry Potter – the best-selling book series in history, which eventually became the best-selling movie series in history.

When she was shopping it… Read More »

IS YOUR LIFE STABLE?

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 Vayeitzei, 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 want to focus today on one very interesting name… Read More »

ARE YOU A SHEEP OR A GOAT?

Sidney Cohen was thinking about how good his wife had been to him, and how fortunate he was to have her.

He asked God, "Why did you make her so kind-hearted?"

The Lord responded, "So you could love her, my son." "Why did you make her so good looking?"

"So you could love her, my son."

"Why did you make her such a good cook?"

"So you could love her, my son."

Sidney thought about this. Then he said, "I don't mean to seem ungrateful or anything, but why did you make her so stupid?"

"So she could love you, my son."

It is one of those bizarre and absurd Talmudic tales, at least at first glance. The king and queen they were from the Hasmonaean… Read More »

HOW TO RESOLVE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Mother asks little Johnny, as they wait for the bus, to tell the driver he is 4 years old when asked because he will ride for free. As they get into the bus the driver asks Johnny how old he was. "I am 4 years old."

"And when will you be six years old?" asks the driver. “When I get off the bus," answers Johnny.

The biblical debut of the favorite Jewish pastime, matchmaking, is recorded extensively in this week’s portion Chayei Sarah. Isaac is 40 years old, he needs to get married and so Abraham 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 wine, Abraham gives… Read More »

THE FIRST RETREAT AND SPA

You know the story. On an Israeli airplane, the stewardess approached a passenger. “Are you ready for dinner, sir?”

“What are the choices?” the Jew asks.

“Yes or no,” she responds.

The story of Abraham via his unique Bed and Breakfast (or maybe Hilton or Ritz Carlton) spiritually transformed a generation. It is the bread and butter of Jewish education.

The Torah states in the portion of Vayeira: And Abraham planted an Eishel in Beer- Sheba.

The Midrash tells the famous story about how Abraham would feed his guests and then ask them to thank G-d for the meal. If a guest obeyed Abraham and expressed thanks to G-d for the lavish feast, he would eat, drink and leave. If he refused to thank… Read More »

ARE YOU A HERO TO YOUR CHILDREN?

In a Jewish school in Charkov, Ukraine, there was a history teacher who was an ardent Communist.  Her gods were Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. She had no soft spot for Judaism, but because she was a terrific teacher and knew her stuff, they hired her in the Chabad school, on condition that she sticks to her subject and stays off the topic of religion. 

One day she quizzed her students on the period from the end of the 18th century to the end of the 19th century.  The teacher asked: Who knows what was the most important historical event of the year 1799?

One child raised his hand and said that was the year Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad, author of the Tanya, was released from… Read More »

DO WE HAVE THREE LIVES?

A woman says:

“I just got a photo from a speeding camera through the mail. I sent it right back – way too expensive and really bad quality.”

A guy says: 8 p.m. I get an SMS from my girlfriend: Me or football?!

11 p.m. I SMS my girlfriend: You of course.

There is a fascinating and insightful Midrash on the opening of this week’s portion Noah. The Torah begins:

These are the generations of Noach, Noach was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations; Noach walked with God.

The Midrash, always sensitive to nuance, wonders why the single verse mentions Noach not once, not twice, but three times?  The Midrash offers the following extraordinary insight.

The Torah is intimating that there was not one… Read More »

DOES LIGHT CONQUER DARKNESS?

A small child walked daily to and from school. Though the weather one morning was questionable and clouds were forming, the child made the daily trek to the elementary school.

As the day progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning.

The mother was worried that her child would be frightened walking back home from school and she herself feared the electrical storm might harm her child.

Following the roar of the thunder, lightning would cut through the sky like a flaming sword.  Being concerned, the mother got into her car and drove along the route to her child's school.  Soon she saw her small child walking along, but at each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up at the sky and… Read More »

ARE YOU A JUGGLER IN REAL LIFE?

 A Texas State trooper pulled a car over on I-35 about 2 miles south of Waco, Texas.

When the trooper asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver said he was a Magician and Juggler and was on his way to Austin, Texas to do a show for the Shrine Circus. He didn’t want to be late.

The trooper told the driver he was fascinated by juggling and said if the driver would do a little juggling for him then he wouldn’t give him a ticket. He told the trooper he had sent his equipment ahead and didn’t have anything to juggle. The trooper said he had some torches in the trunk and asked if he could juggle them. The juggler said he could, so the trooper got 5 torches, lit them and handed them to him.

While the man was… Read More »

DO YOU HAVE A BRIGHT SPOT IN YOUR LIFE?

A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through his backyard, wearing his baseball cap, toting a ball and bat. “I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced. Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed.

“Strike one!” he yelled. He picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” He tossed the ball into the air. He swung and missed. “Strike two!” he cried.

The boy then paused to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spits on his hands and rubbed them together, straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” He tossed the ball up and swung. He missed.… Read More »

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