Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. Looking for love in all
the wrong places? Jon Heminghaus thinks he's
looking in the exact right place: the windshield of a car. Windshields
across Southern Illinois have
been papered with a flier advertising Hemminghaus, 47, who is seeking a
mate. "WANTED," the flier reads in big, bold red
letters. "A woman who can put up with this man." A
photograph of the West Frankfort,
Illinois native is on the
"wanted poster", as is the promise of a $500 reward for the person
who finds Hemminghaus his one true love -- or at least six dates with
him. The unusual approach to finding happiness came after Hemminghaus
decided he was lonely. "After six (dates), I'll know whether she can
put up with me.....and they'll get their money. I'm a man of my word .....it ain't no fun being
Jon Hemminghaus is onto something. The Torah (Genesis 2:18) tells
us, "It is not good for Man to be alone. I will create a helper that is
best for him." The union of man and woman is necessary to
fulfill each person's individual and combined
potential. But is marriage, alone, a guarantee of future
happiness? Marriages are successful when two people enter a marriage
knowing that they have to worry about the 'We', rather than the 'Me.' Selflessness,
rather than selfishness, is a key to happiness in life and avoiding the pain
Parshas Ki Seitzei
Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19
This week's Torah portion contains 74 commandments -- more than 10% of the
613 mitzvos of the Torah. Among the
-- Guidelines for treatment of captured female prisoners of war.
-- Treatment of the 'stubborn and rebellious son'
-- Prohibition of wearing shatnez -- a mixture of
wool and linen in the same garment
-- A four-cornered garment must have twisted threads (tzitzis)
on its corners
-- The case of the defamation of a married woman
-- The requirement of a get (bill of divorce) when divorce takes
-- When Israel goes to war, the camp must be governed by rules of spiritual
-- The obligation to pay workers in a timely fashion (handymen, babysitters,
-- Because of their vulnerability, converts, orphans and widows have special
rights of protection
This power-packed Torah portion concludes with the command to remember the
atrocities which the nation of Amalek (from whom
Haman and Hitler came) committed against us upon our exodus from Egypt.
What baseball team has the most loyal fans? Some suggest that an
unusual modern statistic can be used to quantify fan loyalty and passion: the
sales of custom team logo caskets, urns and burial vaults. In 2008, a
Michigan-based company called Eternal Image began selling caskets for $3500,
which come complete with mini bats for handles, and urns bearing Major League
Baseball team logos for $799. And while there may be no Cubs-Cardinals
pennant race in 2010, the two teams are neck and neck for the lead in National
League casket sales. Why do fans want to take their team allegiances
with them into the grave? "This is for the die-hard-fans - excuse
the pun," said Hal Wilkes, director of the vault company which
distributes MLB caskets and urns. "This is the ultimate final purchase
for a passionate baseball fan. People are more loyal to their sports
teams than they are to their spouses. It's a second religion - it's sports worship. It's eternal optimism."
A Cardinals or Cubs-themed casket may or may not reflect 'eternal
optimism.' However, there is no doubt that Judaism is an optimistic
religion. While our history is filled with exiles, pogroms and persecution,
it is also rich with triumph, victory and redemption. As a people, we have
exhibited extraordinary hope throughout our many exiles; we have clung to our
faith despite our suffering.
This ability to persevere, to see hope amidst despair, is reflected in the
awe-inspiring holiday of Yom Kippur. While Yom Kippur is dedicated to
intense introspection and repentance, it is also a day of great joy.
We stand before G-d -- while fearful and pleading to be in inscribed in the
Book of Life -- with the knowledge that Jewish history is neither meaningless
or random, and that our Father in heaven loves us. That is the source
of our people's eternal optimism.
Quote of the Week
If Algeria introduced a
resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had
flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions --
Joke of the Week
Let's hear it for English!
There may be those among you who support including Spanish as our national
language. I for one am 110% against this! We must preserve the
exclusivity and above all, the purity of the English language.
To all the shlemiels, shlemazels, nebbishes, nudniks, klutzes, shlubs, shmoes, and nogoodniks that are out there pushing
Spanish, I just want to say that I, for one, believe that English and only
English deserves linguistic prominence in American culture. To tell the
truth, it makes me so farklempt, I'm fit
to platz. This whole Spanish schmeer gets me broyges,
specially when I hear these erstwhile mavens and luftmenschen kvetching about needing to
learn Spanish. What chutzpah!
These shmegeges can tout their shlock about the cultural and linguistic
diversity of our country, but I, for one, am not buying their shtick.
Why do they have to hoch me a chinek about this? It's all so much mishegas, as far as I'm concerned. I
exhort you all to be mentcshenabout this
and stand up to their fardrayte arguments
and meshuggah, farshtunkene
assertions. It wouldn't be kosher to do anything
else. Remember, when all is said and done, we have English and
they've got bubkes!