Selected Sermon/Article
2010-11-26 Beyond Twelve Gates (BTG) by Rabbi Zeev Smason
Parshas Vayeishev
Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates

Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. 

With Chanukah beginning next Wednesday night, here's an '8 Day Survival Kit' to help you make it through the holiday with a smile on your face.
1) Toothpick -- to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others.  2) Rubber Band -- to remind you to be flexible, since things don't always go the way you want.  3) Band-Aid - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's.  4) Eraser -- to remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and to forgive them.  5) Chewing gum -- to remind you that if you stick with it, you can accomplish anything.  6) Hershey Kisses -- when you need a hug.   7)  Candle -- for when you're up late with someone who needs you.  8) Lifesaver candy (kosher, of course) -- to remind you that you're a lifesaver to so many people.
Enjoy a joyous Chanukah -- and remember not to eat too many latkes!


Parshas Vayeishev    Genesis 37:1-- 40:23
Jacob's favoritism toward Joseph incites the other brother's hatred.  Their jealousy increases when Joseph tells them about two dreams which indicate that they will one day be subservient to him.  Jacob sends Joseph to check up on his brothers, and upon seeing him approaching they plot to kill him.  Reuben convinces the brothers not to kill Joseph, but is unable to totally save him as the brothers sell Joseph into slavery in Egypt. After dipping Joseph's coat in blood, they return to their father who assumes that his beloved son was torn apart by a savage beast.
The Torah then digresses to relate the story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar.  The narrative then returns to Joseph in Egypt, where he becomes an extremely successful slave and is placed in charge of his master's household.  His master's wife repeatedly tries to seduce Joseph, and when he refuses he is thrown into prison.  Ten years later, Pharaoh’s chief butler and baker are placed into the same prison.   One night they each have a perplexing dream that Joseph accurately interprets, setting the stage for his release from prison.


Rabbinical Ruminations

'Nice guys finish last,' the popular American saying goes.  It may be that nice guys finish last -- in the standings.  But we see in this week's Torah portion that 'nice guys finish second' -- second in command to Pharaoh.  We're familiar with the story of Joseph's arrest and imprisonment.  Shortly thereafter, two members of Pharaoh’s Court were also thrown into jail.  Joseph saw that they were depressed, and asked them, " madua peneichem ra'im hayom?" What's bothering you?  The butler and baker then tell Joseph their dreams.  Joseph interprets the dreams.  The butler sees Joseph has special powers.  Improbably, a chain-effect of events results in Joseph becoming second in command to Pharaoh.
Why?  Because of four words:  " Madua peneichem ra'im hayom?"  Even a simple act of kindness can have a stunning effect and completely change the course of a person's day, if not their life.  Here are four examples of how a few well placed words can make all the difference. Try them this Thanksgiving and Shabbos

 1)  Can I help?  Even if the answer is 'no', the thought will be appreciated.

 2)  How are you?  Ask sincerely, with intent to know how someone is really doing.

 3)  You are right.  Everyone is right at least some of the time.

 4)  Great job, Sidney!  Everyone loves to be acknowledged for their good work and effort.


Quote of the Week

Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possession  -- Frank Lloyd Wright


Joke of the Week

 A Native American comes back to the Reservation to visit with his parents after spending some time in New York. He says to his father that he's fallen in love with a Jewish girl.  His father is mortified and says, "You're betraying your heritage and you'll break your mother's heart that you're not marrying a Native American girl.  You know how Jews are, they'll feel the same way and you'll be ostracized by both groups."

 The son reassures his father, "Don't worry. They must have already accepted the situation because they've already given their daughter a Native American name."  "Really?" says the father. "What name?"

 The son answers, "I don't know what it means, but they're calling her 'Sitting Shiva'."


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