Entries for December 2012

Va-Yehi: Blessing your children

Va-Yehi: Blessing your children

This week’s Torah portion, Va-yehi, contains a sequence that initially seems surprising.   Joseph, Viceroy of Egypt, brings his sons, Manesseh and Ephraim, to see their aged grandfather Jacob for the last time.  Jacob places his hands on their heads.  The text then says “And he blessed Joseph saying …. ‘May G-d … bless the lads.’”  (Gen. 48:15)  That is, Jacob blessed his son by blessing his grandchildren! ...

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Vayigash: Ask "How (not what) do you do?"!

Vayigash: Ask "How (not what) do you do?"!

After Joseph dramatically revealed his identity to his brothers, he told them: “When Pharaoh summons you and asks, “‘What is your occupation?’ You shall answer, ‘Your servants have been breeders of livestock from the start until now, both we and our fathers’ – so that you may stay in the region of Goshen. For all shepherds are abhorrent to Egyptians.”  (Genesis 46:32-34).  Joseph was concerned that Pharaoh would judge his brothers by the kind of work they did, rather than by who they were.  In this respect, little has changed in 3,500 years.  When we ...

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Dec 21

Hanukah's Message

Hanukah's Message

In recent years at this time, I have researched the story of Hanukah, dressed up as Simon Ben Mattathias to give “dramatic historical presentations” at synagogues, and even lectured about Hanukah aboard cruise ships.  This year, I’m doing something quite different … 

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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb