Gates Parshas Lech
Lecha October 29, 2009
Welcome to Beyond Twelve
Gates. Do you have goals? Do you keep your goals in
A teenager named
Jimmy was once hired by a farmer to help him complete fall plowing. Jimmy's
first day on the tractor was a disaster. As Jimmy watched the plow
turn the soil behind him he didn't realize that by the time he reached the end
of the field, the row was noticeably crooked. Toward the end of the day
the farmer arrived to survey Jimmy's work. The crooked rows prompted him
to give this advice: "You can't plow a row straight if you keep
looking back. You have to keep your eyes straight ahead."
So too with life. Plowing our way into the future can be powered
by clear goals. Focusing on the past, what lies behind, will prevent us
from effectively pursuing our future. Goals provide the direction for us
to focus our energies on what lies ahead.
Lecha Genesis 12:1 -- 17:27
was called by G-d to leave his homeland, his father's house,
and his position of status and prosperity to travel to the land that G-d would
show him. Upon arrival with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot in the land of Israel, they discover it to be ravaged
by a horrible famine. Traveling to descend to Egypt for a temporary stay, the
immediately capture Sarah and take her to the Egyptian king. G-d
responds by afflicting the king and his household with a debilitating plague
until he releases her. Guess what the plague was?
Back in the land of Israel,
Lot parts ways with Abraham, with Lot relocating to the fertile plains of Sodom. Abraham
subsequently rescues the kidnapped Lot by
miraculously defeating four kings and their armies. G-d promises Abraham
with a Covenant that his descendants will be as many as the stars in the
sky. Because she had no children, Sarah gives her maidservant Hagar
to Abraham as a wife, and their son Yishmael is born. At the age of 99,
Abraham circumcises himself, his son Yishmael and the other male members of his
"The increase of
wealth leads to the increase of worries" -- Pirkei Avos/Ethics
of the Fathers
Whether you're rich or
poor, it's nice to have money. Money does, however, carry with it certain
risks. NBA fans will recognize the name of Antoine Walker. Walker, a former Boston
Celtics star for 12 years, made more than $110 million playing
professional basketball. During the last several months, the once
multi-millionaire athlete has been pursued by multiple financial institutions for unpaid debts. Walker owes more than $4 million to his creditors and is
facing felony check fraud
charges in Las Vegas.
All of this at the age of 33.
home became a virtual luxury car lot
— two Bentleys, two Mercedes, a Range
Rover, a Cadillac Escalade, a bright red Hummer. Often, the vehicles were
tricked out with custom paint jobs, rims, and sound systems at considerable
added expense. He also collected top-line watches — Rolexes and diamond-encrusted
was also generous; he had custom suits made for
coaches, routinely picked up giant team dinner tabs and, when there were funds
to spare, gave to underprivileged youngsters. And he built a
a mansion in the Chicago
suburbs for his mother, complete with an indoor pool and 10 bathrooms.
Walker was basically spending money like it was going out of style. And
for him, it did. Money, like all others pleasures of olam ha'zeh (this
world) can be a wonderful blessing -- if we know how to use it properly.
Quote of the Week
Everyone is entitled to their
own opinion, but not to their own facts. -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Joke of the Week
A business trip takes
Chaim to Beijing. On
a morning walk, Chaim is shocked to see a sign written in Hebrew that says
'Beit Knesset' (synagogue). Walking inside, Chaim is astounded to see 25
Chinese men praying while wearing talisim and tefillin. Not yet having said his
Chaim quickly ran back to his hotel for his own talis and tefillin, and
returned to the shul.
one of the congregants approached Chaim.
"Welcome to our shul.
Where are you from?"
"I hope you don't mind
my asking but....are you Jewish?"
"Yes I am."
Chinese man said, "you don't look it."
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