November 6, 2009
Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. Do you ever have a feeling that you're
news item stated that the city government of Petach Tikva (a Tel Aviv
suburb) became the latest municipality to implement a
registry of dog DNA. This registry isn't to reunite Fido with its
owner; rather, it's designed to encourage owners to pick up after their pets.
Abandoned droppings will be analyzed and those dogs' owners punished.
This brings to
mind a teaching from the Talmud (Ethics of the Fathers 2:1): Reflect
on three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is above you --a
seeing eye, a hearing ear, and a book in which all your deeds are
G-d's 'seeing eye' differs from that of the
Doggie DNA Patrol; the attention He pays to us is to catch
us doing something right -- and a constant reminder that He cares
about us and loves us.
Vayeira Genesis 18:1 -- 21:24
parsha begins with Abraham's incredible display of chesed (kindness)
to three angels who appear as men. This, despite his extreme discomfort
from his recent bris milah (circumcision). The
angels declare that Sarah will give birth to her first child at the age of 90
(Abraham himself would be 100). Later, Abraham pleads to G-d on behalf of
the cities of Sodom and Gemorrah. However, the cities are soon destroyed,
but not before the angels save Abraham's nephew Lot and his family from
Sarah is abducted
by Avimelech, the king of Gerar, who did not realize she was married. G-d
responds by striking him with a plague which prevents him from touching
her. Sarah conceives and gives birth to Isaac, and Abraham makes a huge
celebration. Sarah sees Yishmael (Abraham's son from Hagar) as a menace to her own son's
spiritual well-being and asks Abraham to expel Yishmael and Hagar. The
Torah portion concludes with the akeidah, Abraham's tenth and final
test, in which he shows his willingness to comply with G-d's command to bring
his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice.
Have you read a good Torah
At 92 years of age, Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes was hospitalized. His friend, President Roosevelt, stopped in
to visit him and was surprised to see Justice Holmes reading a Greek
Primer. "What are you doing, Oliver?" asked the
president. "Reading," answered Holmes. "That much I
can see," said the president, "but why a Greek Primer?"
The lifelong learner Holmes answered, "Why, Mr. President, to improve my
Walt Disney once
said, "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on
Treasure Island...and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your
is about much more than improving your mind and enjoying life. While
there's no doubt that regularly reading and studying Torah
will improve your emotional and intellectual life, there also
exists vast spiritual benefits to one who immerses himself or herself in
the wisdom of the Torah.
Today there exists an abundance of excellent Torah books in the English
language. Biographies. Talmudic tomes. Books
on ethics and character
development. "How to" books on becoming a more
knowledgable and observant Jew. Some of my favorite Torah books have been
written by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski. Consider reading a good Torah
book -- today!
Quote of the Week
I find your lack of faith
disturbing. -- Darth Vader
Joke of the Week
On Yom Kippur,
Mr. Shapiro, one of the synagogue's wealthiest congregants prostrates himself
before G-d. "Dear G-d, You are so mighty and I am but a piece of dust in
the vast desert of your countenance. I am nothing."
another wealthy synagogue member, won't be outdone. "My Lord, you are
omnipotent and I am just a speck on the face of the sun in comparison to your
greatness. I am nothing."
Finally, Mr Fishbein, a poor but
pious man, gazes to heaven and proclaims, "Oh, G-d, I am your lowliest
servant; but a drop of mud under your feet. I am nothing."
Shapiro, gestures at Fishbein and
whispers to Weinberg, "Hah! Look who thinks he's nothing!"
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