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This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the 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 website.

An Arresting Question PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lazar Gurgow   
Monday, 24 February 2014 15:44

The previous four Parshahs dealt with the specifications for building the Tabernacle and its holy vestments. In this Parshah a very important detail is contributed -- a calculation of the total sum of donations received for the cause.

In this regard the Torah acts as a competent accountant. An itemized report is provided of the gold, silver and copper that was donated, concluding with the grand total.

This aspect of our Parshah can be very instructive in our every day lives.

Following the sin of the forbidden fruit, G-d turned to Adam and asked "Ayekah? Where are you?" Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that this is question each of must ask ourselves: Where are you? What stage are you at in life? What have you accomplished your thirty or forty years of living? This question gives us pause. Indeed what have I accomplished in my lifetime? Am I proud of those accomplishments? Could I have done more? Am I living my life to its fullest potential?

The answers to these questions cannot be known unless we stop to take an accounting, to put together a life-long register of failures and successes. This is the only way to view life from a comprehensive perspective, this allows us to make the adjustments that will alter (or steady) our course, ensuring that we are headed in the direction we want to go.

I conclude with an unsolicited piece of advice:

Ask yourself tonight before you go to bed "what have I accomplished today?"

Don't go to sleep until you give yourself an answer you are proud of.

Team Building PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks   
Monday, 17 February 2014 00:00

How do you remotivate a demoralized people? How do you put the pieces of a broken nation back together again? That was the challenge faced by Moses in this week’s Parshah.

The key word here is vayakhel, “[Moses] gathered.” Kehillah means community. A kehillah or kahal is a group of people assembled for a given purpose. That purpose can be positive or negative, constructive or destructive. The same word that appears at the beginning of this week’s Parshah as the beginning of the solution, appeared in last week’s Parshah as the start of the problem: “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered [vayikahel] around Aaron and said, ‘Make us a god to lead us. As for this man Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’”

Grandma's Worries PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shimon Posner   
Monday, 10 February 2014 00:00

Kenahora... Pu-Pu-Pu!

Why did Bubby, grandma, always say that? And does it really have to do with the evil eye? Is this evil eye a cousin of walking under ladders with black cats on a Friday the thirteenth? The answers, in order, are: Because she loved you. Yes, but with an explanation. No.

Kenahora, although everyone thinks is a Yiddish word is actually three words slurred together in Yinglish -- the vibrant language of Native Americans of the Lower East Side: kein, the Yiddish word for no or negating, ayin Hebrew for eye, and hara, Hebrew for Evil.

Now think back to when she used it: "Such a sheine punim, kenahora." "You've grown, kenahora." "He's making money hand over fist, kenahora." (you should only be so lucky)

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