Selected Sermon/Article
2009-08-21 Beyond Twelve Gates (BTG) by Rabbi Zeev Smason
Parshas Shoftim

Beyond Twelve




      August 21, 2009


      Welcome to Beyond Twelve

      Gates.  When asked 'How are you?', how do you respond? If you're like

      many people you'll answer with a relatively uninspired 'I'm fine,

      thanks.'   However, the question of 'How are you?' is an

      opportunity to influence our own feelings in a positive way.  When is

      the last time you said, 'I'm fantastic today", or 'Things are getting

      better and better all the time', or 'Just terrific' when asked how you

      are?   What we say plays a significant role in creating the

      emotions we feel.   Even if you don't feel great, making

      these type of statements will help you feel better.



      Parshas Shoftim 

      Deuteronomy 16:18 - 21:9


      Moses proceeds to review the

      regulations necessary for a civilized society. Local judges and officers were

      to be appointed in every city, and justice was to be administered

      righteously and impartially.  Imagine life without a system of

      justice and without police!


      When the Jewish people request a

      king, the king was not to misuse his power to amass many horses or

      maintain a harem or accumulate great wealth. To order

      his priorities  he should write a copy of the Torah and carry it with him so


      he would be G-d fearing and Torah-observant.


      Aspects of the nation's conduct

      in war are mentioned.  The Jewish people are told not to be afraid of

      the enemy, not to destroy any fruit trees in battle, and that they should first

      give the enemy a chance to make peace.  The parsha also forbids all

      forms of superstition and 'magic' practiced by the soothsayer.  Jews

      have no need for such tricks, because of our true prophets and faith in






        Two of the most

      difficult words to say in the English language are 'I'm sorry'

      (three, if you don't use the contraction).   Is sorry, alone,



        A boy was sent by his

      mother to the grocery for a dozen eggs. On the way home he fell, causing

      the eggs to splatter on the sidewalk.  Sadly, the boy burst into

      tears.  Those who walked by felt sorry for him.  Suddenly,

      something happened to dry the boys tears.  A woman said, 'I'm sorry a

      dime.'  A man picked up on that and said, 'I'm sorry a

      quarter.'  A child chimed in with, 'I'm sorry a penny.'  Others

      joined in until the boy had enough change to return to the store for

      another dozen eggs.


         Sorry, alone, is

      rarely enough.  Sorry needs to be acted upon.  The High Holidays

      are coming;  let's make up with those we've offended over the course

      of the year, and avoid the Yom Kippur rush!





      Warm up your radio this coming

      Sunday, August 23.  Rabbi Smason will be interviewed on KMOX 1120 at

      2:40 pm on Monica Adams' 'Health and Fitness Show'.  Rabbi Smason

      will be discussing his upcoming 'Rabbi Ride-Around' 50 mile bike ride at

      Forest Park. Want to join Rabbi Smason on the trail?  Care to be a

      per-mile sponsor?  Contact us via email or through the NHBZ



      Quote of the




      There are no illegitmate

      children -- only illegitimate parents.    

      Leon Yankwich (U.S. District Judge,  1928)


      Joke of the



      The sobbing 8 year old girl at

      the customer service desk had been seperated  from her Bubba

      (grandmother) while shopping.  "What's your name, young lady?', the

      man behind the desk asked.   Through tear stained eyes,

      the girl said, 'My name is....Shaina Punim Poo Poo

      Poo.'    Baffled, the man said, ' What did you say

      your name was?'  Again the girl said, 'Shaina Punim Poo Poo

      Poo.'   Picking up a microphone, the man announced to the

      store:  "We have a young girl by the name of 'Shaina Punim Poo Poo

      Poo' at the Customer Service desk.  Will her grandmother please come

      to meet her?'


      Within 3 minutes, there were 12

      nervous Jewish grandmothers at the Customer Service


Thanks for reading 'Beyond Twelve

Gates'.  Comments, questions, requests to be added to our email

list or better jokes can be sent to or   Care to know more about Nusach Hari Bnai

Zion Congregation?  Check us out at  If you enjoyed Beyond Twelve

Gates, please share

with a friend. Thanks to Alan Haber for his assistance in

distributing BTG