Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates.
A mole is born to dig. It has widened front paws, with long claws and
appendages joined together to form a shovel-like digging tool. Its body
is extremely flexible, enabling it to maneuver easily through the scores of
tunnels it digs. Its head is designed for its life of digging as well: It
is flattened, its nose is protected with a horn-like material, and its eyes are
covered with thick hide. Despite the covering, it can detect light and
Although Bruce Springsteen claimed he was 'Born to Run' (in the song,
anyway), humankind's unique feature is a Tzelem Elokim, a soul created in the image of G-d. What is
this 'Image of G-d' to be used for? Like G-d, we have inherent holiness
and dignity. A mole's mission statement is to burrow. Our mission
statement is to live in such a way that reflects our Creator by acting with the
inherent holiness and dignity with which we were created. Can you dig it?
Parshas Beshalach Exodus 13:17 --
As the Jewish people leave the land of Egypt, Pharaoh's heart is once again
hardened. The Egyptian army pursues the former slaves, trapping them on
the shores of the Red Sea. Moses raises his hand over the sea,
miraculously parting the waters and allowing the Jewish people to pass through
safely. Pursued by the Egyptians into the sea, Moses once again raises
his hand and the waters come crashing down upon Pharaoh's army. Awed by
this indisputable miracle, Moses leads the Jewish people in the Shir Shel Yam, a song of praise
to G-d acknowledging a debt of gratitude for their remarkable salvation.
After traveling from the Red Sea, and following the miraculous sweetening of
the bitter waters at Marah, the Jewish people
complain to Moses and Aaron that they have no food to eat. G-d responds
by providing a great test of faith; a daily
ration of manna fell from the sky for forty years every morning, except for
Shabbos. Some suggest that the manna was the greatest miracle the Jewish
people ever experienced. A constant water source is also given when
G-d commands Moses to strike a rock, miraculously causing water to flow from
it. The portion concludes with the nation of Amalek's
unprovoked sneak attack and the Jewish people's victory.
Do women cry more than men? Dr. William Frey, a biochemist and
director of the Dry Eye and Tear Research Center in Minneapolis says
"yes." Dr. Frey worked with 331 volunteers, aged 18 to
75, asking them to keep a "tear diary" for 30 days. Women
reported crying four to five times more than men during this
period. It is of interest that studies show no difference in crying
patterns between boys and girls until the age of puberty. But by the time they
are eighteen women cry on average about 5.3 times a month compared to a man's
1.4 times per month.
When women chop onions, their crying may be unavoidable. However, the
Talmud says that one should always be heedful of wronging his wife, because she
is easily hurt and her tears are frequent. A wife is the source of
blessing for her husband; she is the vessel for the husband’s blessings and in
her the blessings are found. Rabbi Chaim
Vital, one of the great kabbalists, said, "A
man's soul is judged in the next world according to how he treated his
It's been said that to get a woman's heart, a man must first use his
own. Men - be careful to not cause women to cry.
Quote of the Week
Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the
certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out -- Vaclav
Havel, Czech playwright and President of Czechoslovakia (1989-92)
Joke of the Week
The Israelis and Arabs decided to settle their dispute with one dog fight.
They would have five years to breed the best fighting dog in the world and which ever side’s dog won would be granted their own terms
of victory. After five years the Arabs bred the meanest dog the
world had ever seen. Its cage needed steel bars that were five inches
thick and nobody could get near it.
When the day came for the dog fight, the Israelis showed up with a strange
animal. It was a nine foot long Dachshund. When the cages
were opened up, the Dachshund came out of its cage and slowly waddled over
towards the Arab dog. The Arab dog snarled and leaped out of its cage and
charged the Israeli Dachshund. But, when it got close the Dachshund opened its
mouth and swallowed the Arab dog in one bite.
The Arabs came up to the Israelis shaking their heads in disbelief. “We don’t
understand how this could have happened. We spent five years breeding the
meanest dog in the world."
“That’s nothing”, the Israelis replied. “We had our best plastic surgeons
working for five years to make an alligator look like a Dachshund.”
We are a community at Nusach Hari B'nai Zion, dedicated to outreach and to the
inclusion of all Jews. As such we strongly encourage you to be a part of our
social media presence. Along with email, Facebook and Twitter are the new
"word of mouth." If you are already a member of either one, please
join us there. In addition, it's essential that you encourage your family and
friends to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. The more people who join us as a
part of our social media conversation, the more people we have an opportunity
To join us on Facebook go to http://bit.ly/dtIoA4 and click the
To follow us on Twitter go to http://twitter.com/NHBZ and click
To follow Rabbi Smason go to
http://twitter.com/pepshortand click "Follow."
Everything Jewish in St. Louis - including Rabbi Smason's
column, community events, news, commentary and features for Jews of all ages -
can be found on our community website, www.JewishinStLouis.org This website is
a service of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and features columns from St.
Louis Rabbis and community members.
Comments, questions, requests to be added to our email list or better jokes can
be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Care to know more
about Nusach Hari Bnai Zion Congregation? Check us
out at www.nhbz.org If you enjoyed Beyond Twelve
Gates, please share with a friend. Thanks to Alan Haber for his assistance in