Beyond Twelve Gates
Parshas Vaeira January
Welcome to Beyond Twelve
Gates. Do you approach each day with passion and enthusiasm? The
word enthusiasm comes from the Greek roots en and theos and means
'G-d within.' It is a fire, a passion within. Real enthusiasm isn't
something you "put on" and "take off" to fit the
occasion. It's a way of life.
Apparently, Teddy Roosevelt
possessed that kind of passionate lifestyle. In 1883 Roosevelt went buffalo
hunting in the Badlands of South Dakota with friend Joe Ferris. They
nearly died of thirst, and they slept on the ground, saddles their only
pillows. One night wolves caused their horses to bolt, and it took some
time for the fleeing animals to be recaptured. The men went back to
sleep; it began to rain heavily and they awoke, finding themselves lying in
four inches of water. Shivering between sodden blankets, Ferris heard
Roosevelt exclaim, "By Godfrey, but this is fun!" Now
that's enthusiasm! What can you do to live a life more full of enthusiasm
Vaeira Exodus 6:2 -- 9:35
G-d assures Moses that He
will indeed redeem the Jewish people from slavery and bring them into the land of Israel. After the Torah
presents a detailed genealogy of the tribe of Levi (Moses' family), Moses and
Aaron go before Pharaoh to request a three-day
hiatus from work so that the Jewish people can worship G-d in the desert.
Moses' staff is miraculously turned into a snake as a sign of their Divine
mission. When the Egyptian sorcerers counter by transforming their staffs
into snakes as well, Moses' staff swallows up theirs. Even so, Pharaoh
adamantly refuses to free the Jewish people, and the series of ten gruesome
The first seven plagues are
described in this week's Torah portion; Blood,
frogs, lice, a swarm of wild beasts, pestilence, boils and hail. Moses
goes down to the river to speak to the Egyptian king -- however, Pharaoh
remains in denial ('in d'Nile -- get it?') continuing to refuse to free the
Jewish people as his heart is hardened. The portion comes to a close in
the middle of these momentous events.
Officials feared thousands —
perhaps more than 100,000 — may have perished in Tuesday's devastating
earthquake in Haiti. Haitians piled bodies along the decimated streets of
their capital Wednesday after a powerful earthquake flattened the president's
palace, the cathedral, hospitals, schools, the main prison and whole
neighborhoods. Death was everywhere in Port-au-Prince.
Bodies of tiny children were piled next to schools. Corpses
of women lay on the street with stunned expressions frozen on their faces as
flies began to gather. Dare one ask: 'Why?' ?
relates that Moses asked this very question (see Exodus 33:18).
G-d answered that
Moses could see the 'back' of G-d, but not His 'face.' What did this
metaphoric response mean? G-d meant that at times we can understand
the Almighty's ways in retrospect -- namely, His 'back.' Hindsight, while
not always twenty-twenty, often reveals at least glimpses of the Divine
intent. However, when we're in the moment or close to it ('G-d's
face') the human intellect falls far short of being able to grasp
the meaning of global events. What, then, are we to do? Tragedy
requires a response of kindness, compassion and generosity. Please
contact the St. Louis Jewish Federation to contribute to the humanitarian
relief efforts now underway for Haiti.
Quote of the Week
Once and for all, I did not
use steroids or any other illegal substance -- Mark
McGwire in 2005
Joke of the Week
The President calls in the
head of the CIA and asks, "How come the Jews know everything before we
The CIA chief says, "The Jews have this expression:'Vus titzuch?'
The President says, "What does that mean?"
"Well, Mr. President", replies the CIA chief, "It's a Yiddish
expression which roughly translates to "what's happening". They just
ask each other and they know everything."
The President decides to personally go undercover to determine if this is true.
He gets dressed up as a Chassidic Orthodox Jew (black hat, beard, long black coat) and is secretly flown in an unmarked
plane to New York, picked up in an unmarked car,
and dropped off in Brooklyn's most Jewish neighborhood.
Soon a little old man comes shuffling along. The President stops him and
whispers, "Vus titzuch?"
The old guy whispers back: "The President is in Brooklyn."
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