Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
The Human Traffic Sign
I saw him this past spring as I was walking to the synagogue on a hot Shabbat morning in Los Angeles. He was standing at the entrance of a strip mall that I was passing, his front and back covered by identical, cumbersome cardboard signs advertising an absolutely fantabulous sale by one of the stores in the mall. He was still there a few hours later when I returned from the synagogue, several empty water bottles lying at his feet.
It got me thinking. Even if this person was being paid only minimum wage, it would almost certainly be more economical for the store owner to go to Staples and order a standard print sign. Why the need for the human advertisement?
Why the Soul Loves the Body
Body and soul are opposites. The soul wants nothing more than to escape heavenward, to leave its existence in this world and reunite with its Infinite Source. The body, on the other hand, seeks to experience an earthly life full of earthly pleasures. The body is not interested in abstract spiritual concepts. The body craves instant, tangible gratification.
How then do the body and soul unite so smoothly to become the human being? Why is the soul not at war with the body's gravitational pull? Why does the soul not escape the confines of the body?
No Free Rides
The age of 2 has notoriously been dubbed “The Terrible Twos” as toddlers begin to assert their independence. As if on cue, my sweet granddaughter has become adamant about doing things “all by herself.”
One of her most popular refrains is “Self do it!” Her solution for tasks that she’d prefer to push off, such as bed time, is simply, “Mommy, go away!”
But while one minute she is stridently trying to do things on her own, the next minute she’ll eagerly snuggle up to have a book read to her. She will declare an appreciative “tank you” when I dress her doll after her own frustrating attempt, but will stubbornly refuse to hold my hand while climbing the staircase. The look of victory in her eyes after she reaches the top is priceless.