Parasha Insights


In the jungle, a marriage procession of lions was moving forward, when a mouse joined them and started dancing. The lions were amazed and said to the mouse, "You are not one of us. Why have you joined us?"

The mouse replied, "I was a lion too before my marriage. This is me now…."

This week’s Torah portion, Balak, relates the fascinating story of how the prophet and sorcerer Balaam, an archenemy of the people of Israel, was summoned by King Balak of Moab to curse the Israelites. But when Balaam opened his mouth to curse, blessings came out instead. He tried three times, each with the same result. He ended with a prophecy describing the triumph of Israel in the "end of days." The verses uttere… Read More »




There was a teacher known for his constant preaching about the need to nurture children with warmth and love. One day he noticed some children playing in freshly laid concrete outside his newly renovated home, their little feet leaving lasting impressions. He became irritated and started chastising them.

A friend asked, "How can you, a person who devotes his entire life to teaching warmth to children, speak this way?"

To which the teacher replied:  "Please understand. I love children in the abstract, not the concrete."

At last, the moment had arrived. For 40 years the Jews had wandered together in a wilderness. Most of the older generation had already passed on. Even the beloved Miriam was no more… Read More »


The Talmud tells a strange story: A harp was hanging above King David's bed. At midnight, a North wind blew upon it and it played of itself. He arose immediately and studied Torah until dawn. After the break of dawn, the wise men of Israel came to 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 be filled up with its own clods of earth.[You need to bring more earth from elsewhere to fill the pit.] David said to them: Then go out in troops and attack the enemy for plunder.

This serene, almost mystical, scene is brusquely … Read More »


You know the joke about the rabbi who gave a man marriage advice: His wife should be in charge of small decisions, and he, the big ones.

After 30 years, he complained to the rabbi, "In 30 years, there have been no big decisions!"

To which his wife responded: "Of course there have—and I allowed you to decide them all!"

"Like what?" asked the husband.

"Like what? I will tell you: A big decision is what to do about global warming, the conflict in Iraq, the situation in Iran…. That you decide, my dear, and I do not mix in. Small decisions are—where we live, where our kids go to school, which synagogue we attend, and which house we buy!

Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz (1550&nda… Read More »


A 60-year-old man went for a check-up and was told, "You’re in terrific shape. You have the body of a 35-year-old. By the way, how old was your father when he died?"

The 60-year-old responded, "Who said he was dead?"

The doctor was surprised and asked, "How old is he? Is he very active?"

The 60-year-old responded, "Well, he is 82 years old and he still goes skiing three times a season and surfing three times a week during the summer."

The doctor couldn`t believe it. "Well, how old was your grandfather when he died?"

The 60-year-old responded again, "Who said he was dead?"

The doctor was astonished. He said, "You mean to tell me you are 60 years old and both your fa… Read More »

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