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Jokes“Serve G-d in Joy, come before Him in song”
When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied “I’m not sure.”
“Look in your underwear, Grandma,” he advised.
“Mine says I’m four”
* * * * *
A man tells his psychologist, “I am under a lot of stress. I keep losing my temper with people and insulting them. You gotta help me.”
The psychologist says, “Tell me about your problem.”
The guy looks at him and yells, “I just did, YOU OVERPAID IDIOT!”
Charlie Boswell was a great athlete who became blind during World War II while rescuing his friend from a tank that was under fire. When he returned to the U.S. after the War, he decided to take up a new sport, golf. Years of Practice and determination led him to win the honor of National Blind Golf Champion13 times! One of his heroes was the great golfer Ben Hogan, so it truly was an honor for Charlie to win the Ben Hogan Award in 1958.
Upon meeting Hogan, Charlie was awestruck and told the legendary golfer that his greatest wish was to have one round of golf with the great Ben Hogan.
Hogan was duly honored, after all, he knew Charlie as the great blind player that he was, and truly admired his skills.
But suddenly Boswell blurted out an unexpected challenge. “Would you like to play for money, Mr. Hogan?”
“Charlie, you know I can’t play you for money, it wouldn’t be fair!” said Mr. Hogan. Boswell did not flinch. Instead he upped the ante. “Aw, come on, $1,000 per hole!” “I can’t. What would people think of me, taking advantage of you and your circumstance,” replied the golfer who indeed was able to see.
“Chicken, Mr. Hogan?”
“Okay,” blurted a frustrated Hogan, “I’ll play. But I warn you, I am going to play my best!”
“I wouldn’t expect anything else,” said the confident Boswell. “You’re on Charlie. I’ll tell you what. You name the time and the place!” A very self-assured Boswell responded: “Fine. 10 o’clock…tonight!”
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|Kosher Caffeine – by Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui|
Life in the womb
Rivkah from the Bible, after being barren for many years, conceived and was now expecting. The children struggled within her, and she did not yet know she was carrying twins. Rivkah went “to ask G-d” why her pregnancy was so difficult, by turning to the priest of G-d at that time, Sheim. Through Divine inspiration Sheim revealed to her she was carrying twins. Every time she would pass a house of G-d, one of the twins Jacob, was pushing to go out, and when she would pass an idol worshiping temple, the other twin Esau was pushing to go out
Already in the womb of their mother, babies have their own individual personalities. They are distinct entities.
The Talmud written over 2000 years ago writes.” R. Simlai delivered the following discourse: What does an embryo resemble when it is in the bowels of its mother? Folded writing tablets. Its hands rest on its two temples respectively, its two elbows on its two legs and its two heels against its buttocks. Its head lies between its knees, its mouth is closed and its navel is open, and it eats what its mother eats and drinks what its mother drinks, but produces no excrements because otherwise it might kill its mother. As soon, however, as it sees the light the closed organ opens and the open one closes, for if that had not happened the embryo could not live even one single hour.
A light burns above its head and it looks and sees from one end of the world to the other……And there is no time in which a man enjoys greater happiness than in those days, for it is said, …. It is also taught all the Torah from beginning to end….”
The reason why most people sleep in the fetal position, is because they subconsciously yearn for the experience which was most sublime, transcendent and enjoyable, when they were in their mothers’ stomach.
The great mystic, the Arizal, explains the process of life coming into this world, in four stages corresponding the four letters of G-ds name and the four elements of life. By the third day from conception, 18 sparks have entered into the process. In Hebrew, 18 means, alive. At the third day there is already the identity and the soul of a brand new live “person” in the mother’s womb. It has the full spectrum of human life. This is step number one.
As many of us know, we are spirit dressed in a body. Now in full swing, goes the building of this garment for the soul, the exterior tool, the body, through which the person will relate to a physical world. At forty days which by the way medical science as well records as the stage when brain waves can be detected in the fetus, the body is already formed in its entirety.
According to the Talmud, even the gender of a fetus is already determined by the fortieth day.
In Hebrew the word for mother is “EIM” the numerical value of 41, because on the forty first day, in every sense we have a mother of a completely formed child. Soul and body.
The third stage is at three months when the baby can be noticed from the outside and the body develops further detail. The fourth stage is when the baby is finally born and there is over 60,000 miles of vessels. A truly Divine and miraculous creation, starting from the very beginning.
It is a known fact that not only will the fetus be affected by the atmosphere, music etc. it is surrounded by, while in its mother’s womb, even later on in life it will show signs of that memory.
A child in its mother’s womb especially from day three, is already a fully individualized and distinct person, living its own very transcendent and very much down to earth life.
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Inspiration from the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Resistance to peace.
The relation of husband and wife is the way our world reflects the relationship of the Creator with His Creation. There is nothing more pivotal to the world’s ultimate fulfillment than this.
Therefore, as the world nears closer and closer to its fulfillment, the resistance grows stronger and stronger.
By now, absolutely everything appears to be undermining the most crucial key of peace between man and woman.
Until the Redemption, we are constantly seeking to take possession of the Land of Israel as it exists in a full state, a land of ten nations.
These ten lands refer to the refinement of our personal powers, the seven emotional powers and the three intellectual powers.
In the present time, the Jews were granted only the lands of seven nation, i.e., the seven emotional powers.
Although we also make use of our intellect, the intellect serves the emotions.
In the Era of the Redemption, the three intellectual powers will be expressed in their full potential, achieving a complete bond with G-d. For through Torah study, a person connects his mind to G-d as He is manifest in the Torah.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Parshat Lech Lecha, 5752)
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Counts the most.
And G-d said to Abraham…your reward is exceedingly great (Gen. 15:1)
According to logic, the reward for doing a mitzva should be limited to the amount of effort that the person expended on its behalf.
G-d, however, in His infinite greatness, increases our reward beyond the boundaries of time and place.
The Rebbe writes,
Abraham, G-d’s possession.
This week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, deals entirely with Abraham, the very first Jew. In the Mishna “Ethics of the Fathers,” Abraham is referred to as one of G-d’s five special “possessions”: “The Holy One, Blessed Be He, acquired five possessions in His world. These are the Torah, one possession; heaven and earth, one possession; Abraham, one possession; Israel, one possession; and the Holy Temple, one possession.”
G-d created the world, so the whole universe obviously belongs to Him. Why, then, are these five “possessions” singled out? Furthermore, if the entire people of Israel is already a possession, why is Abraham regarded separately?
The explanation lies in the exact wording of the Mishna, which states that G-d acquired these possessions “in His world,” not “in the world.” G-d “owns” all of creation, but in some creations this ownership is more apparent than in others. The five possessions listed in the Mishna were chosen because they most openly demonstrate G-d’s ownership. Let’s look at each of them individually:
The Torah, even as it is enclothed in physical terms we can relate to, is obviously G-d’s wisdom and will. The Jewish people, whose souls are “a veritable part of G-d Above,” testify to G-d’s presence in the world by revealing holiness. Similarly, the Holy Temple functioned as a dwelling place for the Divine Presence. From Jerusalem, the Temple’s light spread out to illuminate the entire world.
Heaven and earth reveal G-dliness because of their quality of everlastingness. Most creations are visibly affected by the passage of time, but the stars and planets appear immutable and unchanging. The earth, too, reminds us of G-d because of its latent powers of germination and growth.
Finally, our Patriarch Abraham is worthy of inclusion on this list because his entire life was devoted to teaching people about G-d. All Jews are G-d’s possessions by virtue of their soul, but Abraham’s sole raison d’etre was to make G-d’s Name known wherever he went.
Abraham is especially noteworthy because he lived before the giving of the Torah. Nonetheless, he succeeded in fostering belief in G-d in his fellow man, despite tremendous obstacles. Not only did Abraham remain uninfluenced by the prevailing idolatry of his era, he was able to persuade others to worship G-d and to serve Him.
Abraham is thus regarded as a “possession” in his own right, or as G-d told him, “I consider you My partner in the world’s creation.” Furthermore, as a descendant of Abraham, every Jew inherits this ability to withstand opposing forces and reveal G-dliness and holiness in his surroundings.
Adapted from Likutei Sichot, Vol. 35
To show off or not to show off??
You never know.
David Leib, the son of the famous rabbi and scholar Tzvi Aryeh, was ready to marry. The wealthy Reb Chaim of Vitebsk was happy to offer his daughter’s hand in marriage. After all, such a promising young scholar would certainly bring great honor to the family. As part of the arrangement, young David Leib was promised eight years of support during which he would be free to pursue his budding rabbinical career.
The time passed in fruitful study, but when it was drawing to a close, the parents-in-law started to worry, for their illustrious son-in-law showed no inclination whatsoever to seek out a rabbinical position. When they broached the subject, he informed them that he did not intend to make a living from his Torah knowledge; he intended to earn his bread as a cobbler!
What was wrong with him? they wondered. And what would they tell their friends and acquaintances who were all expecting great things? They couldn’t imagine a greater disgrace. When they saw that the pressure they were exerting on him made no difference, they suggested that he give their daughter a divorce; at least she would have a decent chance at a “normal” existence. But when his devoted wife heard the talk, she cried, “What about me? I don’t want a divorce!” That was the end of the discussion about divorce.
David Leib’s in-laws couldn’t have guessed that over his years of study, David Leib had developed into a serious philosophical thinker. He had delved deeply into the wells of Jewish mysticism and had decided to devote himself to the perfection of his character in the manner of hidden tzadikim (righteous people), while trying in every way to aid his fellow Jews.
His in-laws were so distraught that they enlisted the aid of David Leib’s father, Rabbi Tzvi Aryeh. Surely he would be able to talk some sense into his son! When David Leib heard of the imminent arrival of his father, he decided to meet with him in advance of his arrival in Vitebsk, to better explain his point of view away from the excitement of the city.
The father and son had not seen each other for eight long years during which time David Leib had matured considerably. They enjoyed each other’s company and scholarly discussions, and Rabbi Tzvi Aryeh gave his blessings to his son’s chosen path of Divine service. Thus, life continued on a steady, but uncomfortable course.
One day, a solution presented itself. A customer at his cobbler’s shop suggested to David Leib that he move to Hatinka where he would be welcomed, and he would be able to make a good living from his cobbling.
Soon the young family settled in Hatinka, David Leib secretly devoting himself to his studies and the welfare of his fellow Jews. He greatly desired to find other hidden mystics, many of whom used to travel through the towns and villages, exerting themselves to instill a love of Judaism in the simple Jewish workers. By turning his home into a hostel for wayfarers, David Leib was able to form a close bond with some of the hidden mystics who crisscrossed the countryside during that interesting period of early Chassidut.
One of the secret mystics was Shmerel, the local village “idler.” Known to one and all as “Shmerel the Idler” and “Shmerel the Yawner,” this Shmerel was the local character. He would spend his time telling the women and children inspiring stories of Jewish history and heroes. In his gentle way, he would tell them that they should never envy others, and they should love their fellow Jews. Since Shmerel was so very good-natured, his little “talks” were always popular with his eager listeners.
Only David Leib suspected there was something more beneath Shmerel’s mask. One day his suspicions were confirmed when he decided late one evening to follow Shmerel to his home. As his passed Shmerel’s run-down shack he heard the most divine, heavenly singing of the evening service that he had ever heard. That proved that Shmerel wasn’t the illiterate bumkin he pretended to be. David Leib desperately wanted to become an intimate of this hidden tzadik.
One day he couldn’t contain himself any longer. David Leib approached Shmerel and tearfully begged to be admitted into his confidence. From that day on David Leib became part of the elite circle of hidden tzadikim, a member of a world of which he had only dreamed.
Although David Leib’s own son noted how his father secretly cared for the sick and the needy, how he would deposit a new pair of shoes on the doorstep of a destitute family, how he would always manage to send some food to a poverty-stricken new mother, during his lifetime no one ever knew how David Leib aided his fellow Jews. David Leib and his associates were some of the unsung Jewish saints of a bygone era, a time when there were men and women who served G-d and man with only the stillness of their own souls to witness to their deeds.
Adapted from The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Memoirs
Warmest wishes for a
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui