August 28, 2009
Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. The Ashanti
tribe in Ghana
names its children after the day of the week on which they are born.
Those born on Wednesday are Kwaku, which means violent or mean.
over 50% of all the crimes committed are committed by those born on
Wednesday. Is there something genetically unique about Ghanans born on a
Sociologists' only explanation is that apparently an expectancy is set up in
the minds of parents and society. Ghanan children born on Wednesday are
expected to fail -- and to a stunning degree, they do. What expectations
-- emotionally, academically, spiritually and Jewishly -- do we
have for our children, for our students, and for ourselves?
These days before the High Holidays are a time to raise our expectations.
Seitzei Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19
This week's Torah portion
contains 74 mitzvos (commandments) -- more than 10% of the 613 mitzvos of the
Torah. Among the highlights:
for treatment of captured female
prisoners of war.
-- Treatment of the 'stubborn
and rebellious son' (shades of Eddie
-- Prohibition of wearing shatnez
-- a mixture of wool and linen in the same garment
-- The case of the defamation
of a married woman
-- The requirement of a get
(bill of divorce) when divorce takes place
-- The obligation to pay
workers in a timely fashion (handymen, babysitters, etc)
-- Special consideration
must be given to a widow and orphan
This power-packed Torah
portion concludes with the command to remember the atrocities which the nation
of Amalek (from whom Haman and Hitler came) committed against us upon
our exodus from Egypt.
This past week
saw the government of Scotland
release the Libyan agent convicted in the 1988 terrorist bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, was
released only 8 years into a 27 year sentence. The bombing attack on Pan
Am Flight 103 for which Megrahi was convicted took the lives of all 259
people on board and 11 people on the ground. Yet, Megrahi was allowed to
return to his native Libya
on 'humanitarian grounds.' What is the Torah perspective on this
compassion ('rachmanus', in Hebrew) is a pillar of Judaism and a
necessary component of our personality. However, those who are
compassionate to the cruel, act with great cruelty to the compassionate.
Terrorists and violent criminals who are released on the grounds of
'compassion' often inflict additional mayhem and violence on new innocent
victims. Additionally, the anguish the victims and their survivors
experience in the wake of the 'compassionate release' of the murderer of their
dear relative tears open the threads of an emotional wound that has never
mercy is an injustice, and a form of cruelty. .
Quote of the Week
Anti-Semitism is a noxious
weed that should be cut out. It has no place in America --
William Howard Taft (speech, 1920)
Joke of the Week
Chaim and Yankel were
enjoying a long-awaited safari
in Africa, when a lion leaped
out from cover 200 yards away and began charging in their direction.
Quickly, Chaim slipped off his safari hiking shoes, reached into his
backpack, and began to put on his much -lighter running shoes
"Chaim!', Yankel said. "What in the world are you doing?
You'll never be able to outrun a lion!" Chaim looked up at
Yankel as he tied the laces on his shoes, "Yankel, you're absolutely
correct. But I don't need to be able to outrun a lion. I only need
to be able to .....outrun you!"
Thanks for reading 'Beyond
Twelve Gates'. Comments, questions, requests to be added to our email
list or better jokes can be sent to Pepshort613@sbcglobal.net or firstname.lastname@example.org Care
to know more about Nusach Hari Bnai Zion Congregation? Check us out at www.nhbz.org
If you enjoyed Beyond Twelve Gates, please share with a friend. Thanks to Alan
Haber for his assistance in distributing BTG