Welcome to Beyond Twelve
Gates. Have you ever wondered what G-d will ask?
G-d won't ask what kind of
car you drove, but He WILL ask how many people you drove who didn't
have transportation. G-d won't ask the square footage of your house,
but He WILL ask how many people you welcomed into your home. G-d
won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, but He WILL ask how
many you helped to clothe. G-d won't ask what your highest salary was, but
He WILL ask if you compromised your character to obtain it. G-d
won't ask what your job title was, but He WILL ask if you performed your
job to the best of your ability. G-d won't ask how many friends you
had, but He WILL ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
G-d won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, but He WILL ask how you
treated your neighbors. G-d won't ask about the color of your skin, but
He WILL ask about the content of your character.
Beshalach Exodus 13:17 -- 17:16
As the Jewish people leave
the land of Egypt, Pharaoh's heart is once
again hardened. The Egyptian army pursues
the former slaves, trapping them on the shores of the Red Sea.
Moses raises his hand over the sea, miraculously parting the waters and
allowing the Jewish people to pass through safely. Pursued by the Egyptians into the sea, Moses once again raises his
hand and the waters come crashing down upon Pharaoh's army. Awed by
this indisputable miracle, Moses leads the Jewish people in the Shir shel
Yam, a song of praise to G-d acknowledging their debt of gratitude for
their remarkable salvation.
After traveling from the Red Sea, and following the miraculous sweetening of
the bitter waters at Marah, the Jewish people complain to Moses and
Aaron that they have no food to eat. G-d responds by providing a great
test of faith; a daily ration of manna fell from the sky for forty
years every morning, except for Shabbos.
Some suggest that the manna was the greatest
miracle the Jewish people ever experienced. A
constant water source is also given when G-d
commands Moses to strike a rock, miraculously causing water to flow from
it. The portion concludes with the nation of Amalek's
unprovoked sneak attack and the Jewish people's victory.
You've heard of having ants
in your pants'? A German man named
Hans had significantly greater problems, according to a recent
news report. Hans Kurt Kubus, 58, stuffed 44 small
lizards into his underwear before trying to board a flight back to his native
Germany. Kubus was recently sentenced to 14 weeks in prison
in New Zealand for plundering the country's
protected species, and must pay a $3,500 fine before being deported as soon
as he is released. Kubus was caught by wildlife officials
at Christchurch International Airport in
December, about to board an overseas flight with 44 geckos and skinks in a
hand-sewn package concealed in his underwear. Hans, you 'Skinker', you!
Honesty, however, is no
laughing matter. A recent USA today poll found that only 56% of
Americans teach honesty to their children. In addition, a Louis Harris
poll turned up the regrettable fact that 65% of high school students would
cheat on an important exam. King David
said (Psalm 111:10) "The beginning of wisdom is the reverence of G-d,
good understanding to all their practitioners...." Could it be
that we are becoming a nation content with taking the ignorant path?
There is substantial reason for us to revitalize the importance of honesty.
Neither we nor most people
we know would consider robbing a bank (or, for that matter, smuggling a
gecko). However, there are multiple opportunities presented on a
frequent basis to exercise the attribute of emes, or honesty.
Downloading or copying a CD or DVD is inexpensive -- but may be stealing
according to both Jewish and secular law. Taking 'souvenirs' such as
towels and washcloths from a hotel is similarly prohibited. Utilizing the
computer on company time for social networking, fantasy football and the like
also raises the question of cheating one's employer. To paraphrase the
words of Albert Schweitzer, "Honesty has no special time of its
own. Its hour is now -- always."
Quote of the Week
Nearly all men can stand
adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power -- Abraham Lincoln
Joke of the Week