November 20, 2009
Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. We all love to laugh. Humor can also be
an effective tool in minimizing conflict.
Police Officer Adelle Roberts was investigating a routine domestic disturbance
call -- a husband-and-wife fight. As she parked her patrol car in front
of the house, a television flew out of a second-story window. Loud voices
argued as she walked to the front door and knocked. An angry man screamed, "Who is it?"
Roberts knew that if she said 'Police,", it would make things worse.
Instead, she replied "TV repairman." The man started laughing
and opened the door. A favorable atmosphere had been established for
resolving the dispute.
Appropriate humor can serve as effective 'grease' to smooth
the friction that sometimes comes in dealing with others.
Parshas Toldos Genesis 25:19 -- 28:9
Isaac and Rebecca pray to G-d for a child. Rebecca finally conceives, and after
a difficult pregnancy she gives birth to twins --
Esau and Jacob. Their personality
differences soon grow apparent, as Esau turns to hunting while Jacob is pure
and wholesome, spending his time studying Torah.
Returning from a hunting expedition, Esau finds Jacob cooking a pot of
lentil soup. Jacob agrees to give his older brother a portion from the pot of
soup in exchange for the spiritual birthright.
Faced with a
horrible famine, Isaac and family settle in G'rar (the land of the Philistines which is within Israel's borders) rather
than descend to Egypt as his father Abraham had done years before. After
experiencing incredible financial success, Isaac comes into continual conflict
with King Avimelech over the wells which Isaac dug anew. This pattern of
'success and persecution' has repeated itself throughout Jewish history.
Isaac decides to
bless Esau as the firstborn. At Rebecca's insistence, Jacob disguises himself
as his older brother and receives the blessing of the firstborn (which
rightfully belonged to him). The Torah portion concludes with Jacob fleeing
from Esau's wrath for 'stealing' his blessing and escaping to Charan to stay
with his uncle, Laban, where he is to find a wife.
How honest do you
consider yourself? A school librarian in a Phoenix high school was
recently stunned by the delivery of a mysterious package. The package
contained two books -- returned by a former anonymous student -- that were 51
The package also contained
another surprise; a money order. The
overdue book fees were calculated at two cents a day for the past 51 years and
came to a total of $745. The sender included a money order
for $1,000, just in case the overdue rates had changed. The librarian
said " The funny thing is, I don't think we ever had overdue fees.
We don't have them now and haven't charged any since I've been
here." The librarian also said, "It makes you feel
happy, not because of the money, but because there are people out there that do
such nice things." The sender ended a brief letter with
these words, "Sorry these two books are so late."
matters of money is not simply admirable, but a vital litmus test
for the truly pious, observant, ethical Jew. Non-Jews can (and should)
be honest, but the 'People of the Book' should
aspire to the most exacting standards of honesty. Many people associate
religiosity with the more ritual observances within Judaism. While
of great importance, anyone considering himself or herself a 'Good Jew'
certainly must be a straight shooter when it
comes to money and business dealings.
Quote of the Week
If you find a path with no
obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere -- Frank A. Clark
Joke of the Week
One day three men were hiking and unexpectedly came
across a large raging river. They needed to get to the other side but had
no idea how to do so. The first man prayed to G-d, saying, "Please
G-d, give me the strength to cross the river." Poof! G-d gave
him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about
two hours, but only after almost drowning a couple of times.
Seeing this, the
second man prayed to G-d, saying, "Please G-d, give me the strength to
cross the river." Poof! G-d gave him a boat and he was able to row
across the river in about an hour, but only after almost capsizing a couple of
The third man
then prayed to G-d, saying, Please G-d, give me the intelligence
to cross the river." And poof! G-d turned him into a
woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream two hundred yards, then walked
across the bridge.
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