Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates.
Is there a cheating gene? The propensity to cheat or have one-night
stands might be partly hardwired, a new study reveals in science journal PLoS ONE. Researchers surveyed 181 individuals
and then took DNA samples. People with a variant of the DRD4 gene were
about twice as likely to commit an act of infidelity as those without the
variant. It was shown that people with the DRD4 variant react more
strongly to dopamine (a pleasure chemical released during risk taking) than
those who don't have the gene. How can we reconcile this scientific
discovery to the moral demands of the Torah?
Life is an ongoing procession of challenges and opportunities. At
times, we face the challenge of balancing deep-seated emotions and desires with
our core principles. Though times may change, values never
change. What was true in the realm of values and morals 3,300 years ago
remains true today. When a conflict arises between our desires and
our values, let our guide be the light of the eternal values of the Torah.
Exodus 27:20 -- 30:10
This week's portion is a haberdasher's dream.
Following on the heels of the elaborate details of the construction of the Mishkan, G-d describes to Moses the special garments which
are to be worn by the Kohanim during their
service. The ordinary Kohanim would wear four
special garments, while four additional vestments were to be worn exclusively
by the Kohen Gadol (High
Priest). All of these garments were woven and crafted from materials
donated by the people.
The Torah portion then shifts its attention to G-d's commandments regarding the
inauguration ritual for the newly constructed Mishkan,
to be performed exclusively by Moses for seven days. The
inauguration included Moses' adorning and anointing the Kohanim,
and his bringing offerings. On the eighth day, Aaron and his sons would
assume their offices as the Kohanim. After then
describing the daily offering, the offering to be brought in the Mishkan every day of the year in the morning and afternoon,
the portion concludes with the command to build the last of the Mishkan's structures, the golden altar upon which the
incense would be offered every morning and afternoon.
It's an exclusive club that will never grow
bigger. But after 45 years, the "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club"
has three remaining members. Perhaps you saw the Visa commercial that
featured men who have attended every Super Bowl since the first one in
1967. We all know about some of the most famous sports streaks like Joe
DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive Tour de
France titles and the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team's 89 consecutive
victories. Consistency is an important key to success in sports, and in
We can learn the value of consistency from a fascinating Torah teaching.
One sage declared that the most significant verse in the Torah is that which
commands us to bring the daily lamb offering every morning and every
night. This seemingly uninspired verse nevertheless represents attributes
that are vital to each of us as we face the challenges of daily life -- those
of consistency and persistence. .
In Judaism and in life, winning isn’t everything;
trying your best and putting your best foot forward is. What
brings G-d His greatest pleasure is watching us grow to become consistent in
becoming better people and better Jews, so that even if we fail, He knows that
we did our best. As John Wooden said: “Perform
at your best when your best is required. Your best is
required each day.” Be great consistently and you will be consistently
Quote of the Week
Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version
of somebody else
-- Judy Garland
Joke of the Week
Joe had 50-yard line tickets for the Super Bowl. As he sat down,
George came along and asked if anyone was sitting in the seat next to
him. "No," Joe said, "the seat is empty."
"That's incredible," said George. "Who in their right mind
would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in
the world, and not use it? These seats cost thousands of dollars."
Somberly, Joe said, "Well... the seat actually belongs to me. I was
supposed to come here with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first
Super Bowl we have not been to together since we got married in 1967."
"Oh I'm sorry to hear that, that's terrible. But couldn't you find someone
else - a friend or relative or even a neighbor to take the seat?"
Joe shook his head, "No, they're all at the funeral." (joke heard from Dr. William Krieger)
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Gates, please share with a friend. Thanks to Alan Haber for his assistance in