Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates
month, South New Jersey was host to a heated
battle between two struggling teams. When the game was finally over,
Sterling High coach Jarod Claybourn
had to decide what to do with a game ball from his program's first win in two
years. In a choice that testified to Coach Claybourn's
class, he gave the ball to the other coach. Sterling High entered
having lost 17 straight games. The losing team, Gateway High,
saw its own losing streak pushed to 17 games.
Jarod Claybourn said that
there was no reason why his team deserved to win any more than its
opponent. "They just ran out of time. They deserved to win that game
as much as we did, if not more." Claybourn
indicated his decision to give up the game ball was a reflection of his own
personal experience. While struggling through week after week of losses,
it was sometimes hard to find positive signs to build on. Gaining the
respect of an opponent is one of those signs, and handing over the winning game
ball, he said, was the best way to support and encourage an
opponent. About the game ball he received, Gateway coach
Mike Carp said, "Classiest thing I've ever seen on a football field."
Goethe said, "Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his own
image." Treating others with respect and dignity reflects a belief
that all human beings are created in the image of G-d.
Genesis 41:1 -- 44:17
Pharaoh has a two-part dream about seven scrawny cows devouring seven robust
cows, followed by seven thin stalks of grain swallowing seven healthy, good
ones. When his advisers are unable to adequately interpret the dream,
Pharaoh summons Joseph, who had been in prison for a total of twelve
years. Ascribing his power of interpretation solely to G-d, Joseph
tells Pharaoh that Egypt
will first experience seven years of abundant crops, and then will be ravaged
by a devastating famine. Pharaoh appoints Joseph as viceroy of Egypt, making
him the second most powerful man in the land (this is a source within the
Torah for tennis -- we see that
Joseph served in Pharaoh's court!). Joseph's wife Asnat gives birth to two sons, Menashe
and Ephraim, and the years of plenty and famine unfold
just as Joseph had predicted.
With the famine also devastating the land
of Canaan (Israel),
Joseph's brothers descend to Egypt
to purchase food. When they don't recognize their royal brother, Joseph
sets in motion a plan to determine if the brothers have fully repented for
their sin of selling him almost twenty-two years before. Joseph
acts detached, accusing them of being spies, and holds Simeon
hostage. Joseph then allows the rest of the brothers
to go with food to their father on the condition that they return with their
youngest brother Benjamin. With great reluctance, Jacob agrees to this
condition. Mikeitz concludes with the looming
threat that Benjamin will be made a slave to the Egyptian ruler.
gelt? Though many people are accustomed to
giving presents on Chanukah, playing dreidel for
money ( gelt) is an old spin (pun
intended) on a traditional Chanukah experience. Dreidels find their way into Jewish homes of all levels of
observance both in Israel
and the world over. What connection is there between Chanukah and money?
The Hebrew word Chanukah shares the same root as
chinuch, education. The
occupying Greek forces wanted to make the Jewish population forget the Torah
and its way of life. After the defeat of the Greeks, it was necessary to
re-educate a large segment of the Jewish people -- particularly the
children. Maimonidies writes that
it is important to use incentives to educate children until they are old
enough to independently appreciate the beauty and importance of living a Jewishly committed
life. On Chanukah, the holiday which is dedicated to education, we
give our children Chanukah gelt to add to
the festive spirit of the holiday, and to encourage them in the study of Torah
and observance of the mitzvos.
Chanukah gelt can be given any time throughout
Chanukah (aside from Shabbos).
Some have the admirable custom of gelt-giving
each weeknight of Chanukah. This year, as our dreidels
spin, may we all remember the spiritual values of
Chanukah: the primacy of living a committed Jewish life, and the small
miracles that constantly surround us.
Quote of the Week
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same G-d who has endowed us with
sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use -- Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Joke of the Week
Chaim sought medical aid because he had bulging eyes
and ringing in the ears. A doctor looked him over and suggested removal
of the tonsils. The operation resulted in no improvement, so the patient
consulted another doctor who suggested removal of his teeth. The teeth
were extracted but still Chaim's eyes bulged and the
ringing in his ears continued.
A third doctor told him bluntly, "You've got six months to
live." In that event, the doomed man decided he'd treat himself
right while he could. He bought a fancy car, a chauffeur, had the best
tailor in town make him 30 suits, and decided even his shirts would be
"Okay," said the shirt maker, "let's get your measurement.
Hmm, 34 sleeve, 16 collar -- "
"Fifteen," Chaim said.
"Sixteen collar," the shirt maker repeated, measuring again.
"But I've always worn a 15 collar," said Chaim.
"Listen," the shirt maker said, "I'm warning you. You keep
wearing a 15 collar and your eyes will bulge and you'll have ringing in your
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Gates, please share with a friend. Thanks to Alan Haber for his assistance in