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 Mystic Brother
Ten strapping shepherds and a stay-at-home scholar. These were the sons of Jacob, forebears of the tribes of Israel.
The ten brothers spent their days in the mountains and meadows of Canaan, advancing their father's successful sheep industry (the twelfth brother, Benjamin, was too young to join them). Joseph, on the other hand, spent year after year absorbed in his father's teachings; his father Jacob had amassed a wealth of knowledge studying at the ancient Academy of Shem and Ever, and was privy to the mystic secrets passed down the generation from Adam, the first man on Earth and the last man in Eden.
Well, one day, Joseph the mystic tells his hard-working brothers about a vision of their future. It included the brothers' willing acceptance of himself as their guide.
Answering the Call, Day and Night
A few weeks ago, a friend invited my family for Shabbat dinner. On the table, I noticed a highly unusual item. Alongside the delicious food and beautiful dishes was a live walkie-talkie placed close to the father.
My friend’s husband is a volunteer for Hatzalah, a Jewish volunteer ambulance service that provides emergency pre-hospital care. As a paramedic, he is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing life-saving assistance. The Torah permits (actually, commands) us to break the laws of Shabbat to save lives.
Your Soul Can Be in Two Places at the Same Time
Once upon a time there was a great and mighty king who had a wise and talented son. One day, the king summoned the prince to him. "My dear child," said the king, "I must send you on a difficult and dangerous mission. In the far reaches of my kingdom there is an uncivilized land inhabited by a barbaric people. The ways of wisdom are alien to them, nor do they know kindness or justice or compassion. It will be your task to teach them and educate them, to uncover the spark of humanity that lies buried deep within their coarse existence. You must excavate that spark, cultivate it and feed it, so that their lives are transformed and their land is redeemed and restored to my enlightened kingdom."
"But father," objected the prince, "if I go to that horrible place, then I, too, shall become like them. My soul will be tainted by their grossness. My light will be overwhelmed by their darkness and succumb to it."