Selected Sermon/Article
2010-03-19 Beyond Twelve Gates (BTG) by Rabbi Zeev Smason
Parshas Vayikra
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Beyond Twelve Gates -  Rabbi Ze'ev Smason <= /span>

Parshas  Vayikra  -- March 19, 2010

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Beyond Twelve Gates      Parshas Vayikra          &n= bsp;   March 19, 2010=


Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates.  You may have noticed that that often, the best keep getting better.  How= do they do it?


J= essica Tandy, Oscar winner for her role in Driving Miss Daisy, was asked if= any of her performances have left her unsatisfied.  "All of them," she instantly replied.  "I've never come off the stage at the end of a performance and said, 'tonight was perfect.'&nb= sp; There'll always be some little thing that I'll have to get right tomorrow."  Hall of Fame basketball player Larry Bird said, "Once you're labeled the best, you want to stay up there, = and you can't do it by loafing around.  If I don't keep changing, I'm history."   To the best, 'good enough' isn't good enou= gh. Should we settle for any less?


Parshas Vayikra  1:1 -- 5= :26


This Shabbos marks the beginning of our reading the third book of the Torah, Sefer Vayikra, which deals primarily with the services and responsibilities of the Kohanim.  This week's portion focuses on many of the korbanos (offerings) to be brought in the newly-constructed Mishkan.  Parshas Vayikra begins with= G-d calling Moses into the Mishkan where he will receive the many relevant mitzvos to be ultimately passed on to the Jewish people.&nbs= p; The first half of the Torah portion describes the various optional kobanos brought by individuals.  They can be classified into three general categori= es, each one comprised of several gradations in size and expense; the korban olah (elevation offering) which is completely consumed on the al= tar; the korban mincha (meal offering) which, because of its inexpensive contents, is usually brought by someone of modest means; = and the korban shelamim (peace offering) partially burned on the altar, with the remainder divided between the owners and the Kohanim.  The second half of the portion (beginning with chapter four) discusses the required chatos (sin) and asham (guilt) offerings to be brought in atonement for unintentional transgressions= .


Rabbinic Ru= minations


Have you ever heard of the saying, "there are no atheists in a foxhole"? That saying expresses the idea that alth= ough a person might profess doubts or even disbelief about the existence of G-d, when the bullets are whizzing overhead, even a confirmed atheist will look to G-d for help.


The chairman of the board of a major company in America, with branch= es in over two hundred cities, said that because of the nature of their business they give polygraph (lie detector) tests to every prospective employee.  They ask many questions, and always ask each prospective employee "Do you believe there is a G-d?" = In 100 percent of the cases, when t= he person replies "No," the polygraph needle literally jumps, indicating that person deep down does believe that there is a G-d.


Belief and trust in G-d are unifying principles of life = -- they give life meaning, definition and direction.   Belief = and trust nurture a person and provide the spiritual "glue" that holds life together and keeps a focus on goals and the future.&n= bsp;  Fortunately, there exists a foundation of belief and trust which is b= uilt into every person.  As parents we need to build on that foundati= on by taking -- not sending -- our children to synagogue.  One study shows that when mom and dad take the kids to religious services, 72 percent will follow the faith of their parents into adulthood. If dad takes the kids, 55 percent will follow the faith.  If mom alone takes the kids only 15 percent will follow the faith.  If neither parent takes the kids to religious services, only 6 percent will end = up in the faith.


Quote of the Week


It's easy to make a buck.  It's a lot tougher to ma= ke a difference -- <= span id=3D"lw_1268600070_2">Tom Brokaw=


Joke of the Week


Sarah, who belonged to a synag= ogue group devoted to visiting and helping the sick members of her congregation, was out making her rounds visiting homebound patients w= hen she ran out of gas.
As luck would have it, a gas station was just a block away. She walked to the station to borrow a gas can = and buy some gas. The attendant told her the only gas can he owned had be= en loaned out but she could wait until it was returned. Since Sarah= was on the way to see another patient, and behind schedule, she decided n= ot to wait and walked back to her car. She looked for something in her c= ar that she could fill with gas and spotted the bedpan she always had ha= ndy for needy patients. Always resourceful, she carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with gas, and carried the full bedpan back to her = car which was decorated with many Hebrew decals and bumper stickers. As she was pou= ring the gas into her tank, two men watched from across the street. One of them turned to the other and said: "If it starts, I'm converting= to Judaism."



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Comments, questions, requests to be added to our email list or better jokes ca= n be sent to or  = ; Care to know more about Nusach Hari Bnai Zion Congregation?  Check us out= at  If you enjoyed Beyond Twelve Gates, please share with a friend. Thanks to Alan Haber for his assistance in distributing BTG