Vayigash December 25,
Welcome to Beyond Twelve
Gates. What type of things do you usually pray for?
The parable is told of a
prince who was exiled by his father the king. Having no manual skills, he
became a shepherd. While the other shepherds built huts to protect them from
the sun, the prince, not being handy with tools, suffered in the intense heat.
Years later, the king visited
the distant land, and peasants threw petitions into the royal coach. The
prince, too, wrote a petition that he be given a little hut to protect him from
the sun. When the king recognized his son's handwriting, he began to
cry. "How my son has forgotten who he is! He doesn't ask to be
allowed to return to the palace. His only aspiration is for greater
comfort as a shepherd."
Many of us pray only for our
immediate personal needs, like the shepherd for his hut. It's worthwhile
to consider expanding our prayers; to pray for the needs of others, to pray for
the peace of Israel, and to pray
for a better world.
Vayigash Genesis 44:18 -- 47:27
Judah makes an impassioned plea to the powerful
Egyptian ruler (Joseph still in disguise) for Benjamin's life, claiming that
Jacob would surely die from sorrow if he lost Benjamin. Judah offers to remain in Egypt as a
slave in place of his younger brother. Joseph, unable to restrain
himself any longer, reveals his identity to his stunned brothers and forgives
them for selling him into slavery so many years before.
Joseph then sends his
brothers back to the land of Israel,
laden with gifts, to bring Jacob and their families down to Egypt where they will live in the province of Goshen.
Before Jacob leaves home, G-d appears to him in a 'vision of the night',
reassuring him that He will be with them and that they will eventually return
to the land of Israel as a great nation. After 22
years of separation, Jacob is reunited with his beloved son Joseph, and they
are brought to meet Pharaoh. The portion
concludes by describing how Joseph uses his vast power to amass nearly all of
the wealth of Egypt
for Pharaoh's treasury.
The parents who carried out
the 'Balloon Boy Hoax' were sentenced to jail this week. Richard and
Myumi Heene were also given strict probation conditions that forbid them from
earning any money from the spectacle for four years. Richard Heene was
sentenced to 90 days in jail, while his wife Myumi was sentenced to 20 days in
jail. It is also expected that the Heenes will be forced to pay the
government restitution of approximately $45,000 for its search and rescue
mission. What possessed the Heenes to do such a thing?
The Talmud (Pirkei
Avos/Ethics of the Fathers) teaches us that 'jealousy, lust and a desire for
honor and fame take a person out of this world.' Every person, be
they Jewish or non-Jewish, has certain desires that if left unchecked can cause
tremendous damage. Jealousy can be positive when used to spur us to
emulate the good character and positive achievements of others. The
desires for physical pleasures and honor can also be potentially channeled
in positive directions. Lacking an unwavering moral compass, however, can
lead to very serious mistakes. We thank G-d for the Torah -- His
guidelines and instructions for proper ethical and moral conduct.
Quote of the Week
If you don't know where you
are going, you might wind up someplace else -- Yogi Berra
Joke of the Week
The rabbi came home Kol
Nidrei night, and his wife asked him why he seemed a bit downcast.
"Schwartz, the gabbai, told me my sermon wasn't very good tonight.
He said it was boring, uninspired, way too long, and sounded as if I took it
straight from the Internet." "Schwartz? said
the rebbitzen, "Forget about him. He doesn't know anything. He
just repeats what everyone else says."
Thanks for reading 'Beyond
Twelve Gates'. Comments, questions, requests to be added to our email
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