Gates - Rabbi Ze'ev
Parshas Vayera October 22, 2010
Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates
A boy was sitting by the river fishing. Along came a
wealthy man who watched with amazement as every few minutes the boy would reel
in a large fish. The wealthy man ran over and said, "My son, you
have quite a talent there. I have an idea for you. Take some of
those fish you've caught, invest in another fishing rod, and you can catch
twice as many fish."
would I do with all those fish, Sir?"
"You could take your profits, buy more fishing rods, and line the bank of
this river catching fish!"
"What would I then do with all those fish, Sir?"
"You could then take your profits, buy a boat, and hire other people to
fish while you supervise the operation, make more money, and purchase multiple
boats, and catch even more fish."
"What would I do with all those fish, Sir?"
"Well," replied the wealthy man, "you could then hire someone to
manage your business, retire, and do what you really want in life."
Sir," the boy said, "I'm doing that already."
times we get so caught up in the details of life and making a living, that we
don't stop to ask ourselves what life is about, and to savor the blessings
we've been given. "Who is truly wealthy? The one
who is happy with his lot." (Ethics of the Fathers) We
can't do much about the length of our life, but we can certainly affect its
length and depth. Live life to the fullest, and enjoy each day
we've been given.
Genesis 18:1 -- 21:24
parsha begins with Abraham's incredible display of chesed
(kindness) to three angels who appear as men. This, despite his extreme
discomfort from his recent bris milah Akeidah,
Abraham's tenth and final test, in which he shows his willingness to comply
with G-d's command to bring his beloved son Isaac as
a sacrifice. (circumcision). The angels declare
that Sarah will give birth to her first child at the age of 90 (Abraham himself
would be 100). Later, Abraham pleads to G-d on behalf of the cities of Sodom and Gemorrah. However, the cities are soon destroyed, but
not before the angels save Abraham's nephew Lot
and his family from destruction. Sarah is abducted by Avimelech,
the king of Gerar, who did not realize she was
married. G-d responds by striking him with a plague which prevents him
from touching her. Sarah conceives and gives birth to Isaac, and Abraham
makes a huge celebration. Sarah sees Ishmael (Abraham's son from Hagar)
as a menace to her own son's spiritual well-being and asks Abraham to expel
Ishmael and Hagar. The Torah portion concludes with the
You've heard of "kissin' cousins."
How about "dissin' cousins"?
Rush Limbaugh calls President Barack Obama "imam," even though he
knows the President isn't a Muslim. Sarah Palin
has openly doubted the President's "cojones."
It turns out that these two conservative firebrands and relentless critics of
the President have been dissin' their own cousin.
genealogy service Ancestry.com recently reported that Obama and Palin are 10th cousins, and Obama and Limbaugh are 10th
cousins once removed. In both cases, the ties date to the 1600s.
Obama's distant family ties to former President George W. Bush and former Vice
President Dick Cheney surfaced during his presidential campaign. Obama
also is a distant cousin of billionaire investor Warren Buffet and actor Brad
Pitt, according to Ancestry.com.
we go back far enough, of course -- to Adam and Eve -- everyone alive
is related. The Talmud raises a fascinating question; why did G-d
create us in such a fashion that all humanity descended from one person,
rather than from multiple individuals? Perhaps you've had the experience
of discovering and meeting a previously unknown relative. There exists a
natural feeling of warmth and fondness toward those who we
recognize as 'family.' The Torah, by teaching in the account of
Creation that all humanity descends from a common ancestor,
provides us with the opportunity to identify, feel and act toward others in
a way that reflects a recognition of the
universal brotherhood of mankind.
how the world would be different if everyone was aware of this important Torah
concept. Maybe Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin
should think about having Barack Obama over for Thanksgiving dinner!
Quote of the Week
Life has a way of making the foreseeable that which never happens, and the
unforeseeable that which your life becomes. --
From the film "Appaloosa" (a great Western)
Joke of the Week
Yankel and Solly
are passing a Catholic church and see a sign that reads "Convert to
Catholicism, $250 Cash." Yankel turns to
his friend Solly and says,
"Hey, I'm going to try it."
He enters the church and returns a few minutes later.
"So, did you convert? What was it like?" Solly
"It was nothing", says Yankel, "I
walked in, a priest sprinkled holy water on me, and said "you're a
"Wow," says Solly
"and did you get the $250?"
"You Jews," sneers Yankel, "all you
people think about is money!"
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