Selected Sermon/Article
2009-07-10 Beyond Twelve Gates (BTG) by Rabbi Zeev Smason
Parchat Pinchat
Beyond Twelve Gates Parshas Pinchas July 10, 2009

Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. Do you have a sense of humor? If you do, it can help you at work. In a poll done by Hodge-Cronin & Associates of 1,000 bosses all over the world, 98% of the chief executives preferred hiring an applicant with a good sense of humor as opposed to one who did not have a sense of humor. 84% believed that people with a sense of humor would do a better job. A person without a sense of humor is like a car without shock absorbers -- jolted by every bump in the road.

This Week's Torah Portion: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10 - 30:1)

Moses is informed that Pinchas will receive G-d's 'covenant of peace' as reward for his bold action -- executing the Jewish leader named Zimri, and the Midianite princess Kozbi. I suppose it could be said that Pinchas made sure that Zimri and Kozbi ... understood his 'point.'

Five righteous daughters of Tzelofchad file a claim with Moses: in the absence of a brother, they request their deceased father's share in the Land of Israel. Moses asks G-d for a ruling, Who responds that their claim of these five women who so dearly love the Land of Israel is, indeed, just.

Moses is told that he will ascend a mountain to view the Land that the Jewish people will soon enter, although he will not be allowed to enter. Moses asked G-d to appoint a succesor. Do you know who was chosen? Joshua, Moses' dedicated assistant and student.

Rabbinic Ruminations

An estimated 1 billion viewers worldwide tuned into the Michael Jackson memorial service this past week. That dwarfs major political events like the inauguration of the first African-American president which captured 37 million viewers, or Ronald Reagan's funeral which was watched by 35 million. Whether you consider Michael Jackson a good man or otherwise, the unabated posthumous attention given him is at least in part due to the world's obsession with celebrity.

Singers, dancers, actors, politicians and athletes aren't deserving of praise (and certainly not adulation) beyond the actual scope of their true accomplishments. Unsung heroes -- those working on cures for diseases, volunteering to help the elderly, nursing and tending to the infirm, those who teach our children, and our parents who raised and cared for us -- are those truly deserving of praise.

Quote of the Week

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless -- Sinclair Lewis

Joke of the Week

The 4 Goldberg brothers, Lowell, Norman, Hiram, and Max developed the first automobile air-conditioner. They offered to sell their new invention to Henry Ford -- on the condition that on the dashboard of each car that it was installed it would say 'The Goldberg Air-Conditioner'.

Unfortunately, Henry Ford was more than just a little bit Anti-Semitic, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldbergs name on 2 million Ford cars. Ford and the Goldberg brothers negotiated back and forth for about 2 hours and finally agreed on 4 million dollars and that just their first names would be shown.

And so, even today, all Ford air-conditioners show on the controls, the names " Lo, Norm, Hi, & Max".

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