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2010-04-23 Beyond Twelve Gates (BTG) by Rabbi Zeev Smason
Parshas Acharei/Kedoshim


Beyond Twelve Gates -  Rabbi Ze'ev Smason

Parshas Acharei/Kedoshim  -  April 23, 2010



Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates.  Have you ever found yourself saying, "I have time to kill?"  If so, you should meet Colin Carlson.


Even at 13, Colin Carlson believes he's running out of time.  Colin is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut, seeking a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology and another in environmental studies. But he's been knocked off course by the university's rejection of his request to take a class that includes summer field work in South Africa.  Colin and his mother say university officials told them he is too young for the overseas course (even after his mother offered to release UConn from liability and accompany her son as a chaperone at her own expense). So he's filed an age discrimination claim with the university and U.S. Department of Education, which is investigating.  "I'm losing time in my four-year plan for college," he said. "They're upsetting the framework of one of my majors."


A ship is safe in a harbor; but that's not what ships are made for.  Ships are made to sail, and so are we. Unlike those who say "time is money," the Torah perspective is that "time is life."  Don't ever allow yourself to say, "I have time to kill."



Parshas Acharei /Kedoshim         Leviticus 16:1 - 20:27


Acharei begins with a lengthy description of the special Yom Kippur service to be performed in the Mishkan by the Kohen Gadol.  The service included the lottery selection from amongst two identical goats, one of which would become a national sin offering and the other would be pushed off a cliff in the desert as the bearer of the people's sins (the 'scapegoat'). We also find described the command that Yom Kippur and its laws of fasting and refraining from work be observed eternally by the Jewish people as a day of atonementAcharei concludes with a listing of the immoral and forbidden sexual relationships, and the command that the Jewish people maintain and ensure the holiness of the land of Israel


Kedoshim begins with G-d's command to the entire nation of Israel to be holy, emulating the supreme sanctity of G-d Himself.  The Torah goes on to delineate a multitude of mitzvos through which we can achieve sanctity, covering a wide variety of subjects, both positive commandments and negative injunctions, dealing with our unique relationships to G-d and our fellow man.  Amongst the highlights; revere your parents, guard Shabbos from desecration, have honest dealings with our neighbors, refrain from tale-bearing, don't hate your brother in your heart, and the well-known commandment to love your friend as yourself.  Kedoshim concludes with the commandment that we be a holy and distinct people from amongst the nations of the world.


Rabbinic Ruminations


Imagine standing on the edge of achieving your life's dream. You make a small mistake that will cost you your dream -- but if you don't say anything, you'll probably get away with it.  Would you own up to the mistake, or would you keep quiet and hope for the best?  Brian Davis isn't the best-known name in golf -- or even the hundredth best known -- but after this past Sunday he ought to move up a few notches. Davis was in a playoff trying to notch his first-ever PGA Tour win. The difference in prize money between first and second place wasn't chopped liver, either; $1.03 million versus $615,000.


When Davis tried to hit the ball, he realized his club may have grazed a stray weed on his backswing. So what's the big deal? This: golf rules state that hitting any material around your ball during your backswing constitutes a violation of the rule against moving loose impediments, and is an immediate two-stroke penalty. And in a playoff, that means, in effect, game over.  Davis called over a rules official.  Movement of the weed was visible on a TV replay -- but only in slow motion. As soon as the replays confirmed the violation, Davis conceded the victory.


Brian Davis' honesty cost him a chance at winning his first-ever PGA tour event and quite a bit of money.  But he won much more than that by taking the honorable route. Brian Davis understood that in golf, as in life, honesty is more important than victory. The Torah states that 'the seal of the Almighty is truth.'   Our connection with emes, or honesty, is vital to enrichment of our spiritual life and for a close connection with G-d.



Quote of the Week


Lose your dreams, and you might lose your mind -- Mick Jagger


Joke of the Week


Moshe and Miriam, a young orthodox married couple, were expecting their first baby. Unfortunately, Miriam's water broke on Shabbos, and they had no choice but to call for a taxi to take them to the hospital's maternity ward.
Because Moshe wanted to try and minimize the Shabbos violation, he told the dispatcher, "Please send only a non-Jewish driver."
The taxi quickly arrived.   However, when Moshe and Miriam were getting in, they overheard the dispatcher on the two-way radioask the driver, "Have you picked up the anti-Semites yet?"




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