Saturday, November 26, 2011

Belated Parsha Thought - Toldos

A Gutte Voch and a Gutten Chodesh
Even though it's after Shabbos here I still want to write something about the Parsha. Time got away from me Erev Shabbos and besides it's still Shabbos in Chicago and west.
In these Parshios the challenge isn't so much what to say as what not.
In this Parsha there is so much to discuss, perhaps we should have a class.
But I'd like to highlight the story of the wells. Yitzchok was in the land of the Pilishtim and was digging up his father's old wells that the Pilishtim stopped up. The age-old battle for water rights.
The first 2 he dug they argued with him about and he abandoned them. The third one he dug up unchallenged.
The commentaries ask that of all the stories of Yitzchok's life what insight to his character is so important here to mention this story instead of others?
The Ramban therefore says that this story is hinting to us about the Jewish temples (Beit Hamikdosh) in the future. The first 2 were "challenged" and destroyed but the 3rd will go unchallenged when Moshiach comes.
I think, though, that this does show the very essence of his character. Everyone of our forefathers had a specific character trait.
Avrohom - Chesed, kindness
Yaakov - Emes, truth and Yitzchok was Gvurah, strength.
To walk away from a fight is not weakness but the ultimate in strength, self - control.
All too often we are ready to fight and battle for our rights, honor, etc. when we should rather continue and find another way which is unchallenged.
Yitzchok had the rights to that water, it was stolen from his father. But he kept on going until he found the way to get his water without argument.
We too should rather find the way to our goals or what is rightfully ours, without fighting if possible.
That's a very important lesson for our lives.
Yonatan in the Haftora shows that same strength of character in his loyal friendship with Dovid, his rival (and brother-in-law).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beautiful Thank you note from Pie in the Sky Bakery in PV, Mexico

We just kashered a Bakery in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, called "Pie in the Sky". Our Mashgiach, Yossi, had just spent quite a few hours kashering everything. After which the owner, Susan, sent us this moving thank you note:

I want to thank you for helping us here at the bakery become Kosher. It was hard work, Yossi was great, and I felt like I had accomplished something very important to me and my family and my family who is no longer with me. Oddly enough, I felt something spiritual, something I couldn't put my finger on, maybe a rebirth of the memory of my childhood, joy and happiness, Sunday School, Hebrew School, the Synagogue and all that goes with my being Jewish. It feels good!

Thank You and Yossi
Susan Drexler

Friday, November 18, 2011

Parsha Thought - Chayai Sara - פרשת חיי שרה

I wanted to write a thought about the Parsha and I welcome comments and questions.
This week's story is about Eliezer going to find a wife for his master's son Yitzchok.
BUT, I believe, there is so much misinformation and misuse of this story.
Yitzchok doesn't choose his own wife and doesn't even have a chance to get to known her well before they are wed. The Possuk (verse) tells us that after he married her he loved her.
So many use this as proof that "there is no such thing as love before marriage" and that it is the best when the Parents choose the spouse for their child (arranged marriage)...
HOWEVER, they conveniently forget that in just a couple more Parshiot is the VERY romantic story of Yaakov falling in LOVE with Rochel, Yaakov is told by his parents to find himself a wife and he falls in love with Rochel. Also Moshe chooses his own wife, Tziporah. And many other in Tanaach choose their own.
So at best both ways are valid. BUT there is NO proof from Yitzchok at all because there was no choice for him to choose his own wife since he couldn't leave Canaan and he was forbidden to marry a Canaanite woman.
Unfortunately, many of our Jewish youth are told, "there is no love before marriage".
How sad. That's like saying, "there is no taste and smell to food".