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Shmot(Exodus 1:1-6:1)

Shmot 5759

GOOD MORNING! A fellow was so inspired by the story two week's back of the young boy's honesty in paying his bus fare, that it helped him deal with a dilemma. He had deposited 35 cents for a newspaper; after the door slammed shut, he realized that he had grabbed two papers, not one. If he kept it, he would be taking something that he hadn't paid for. If he placed it on top of the box, somebody else would take it and he would have caused a loss to the paper. So, he reached for another 35 cents to put the paper back in (yes, he could have kept the second paper, but he didn't want it) figuring it was a cheap price to avoid transgressing the commandment not to steal.

Here is a beautiful piece that was recently sent to me by my father, Raymond V. Packouz. I don't know who wrote it, but I would like to thank him!


THE PRESENT

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them -- work, family, health, friends and spirit -- and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls -- family, health, friends and spirit -- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same.

You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. How? Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special. Don't set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you. Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life. Don't give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying. Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other. Don't be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings. Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've been, but also where you are going. Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated and to give love to one's family. Don't be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

Don't use time or words carelessly. The hurtful things you say cannot be taken back. Neither time nor words can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift: that's why we call it the present.


Torah Portion of the Week
Shmot

This week's portion tells a story often repeated through history: The Jews become prominent and numerous. There arises a new king in Egypt "who did not know Joseph" (meaning he chose not to know Joseph or recognize any debt of gratitude). He proclaims slavery for the Jewish people "lest they may increase so much, that if there is war, they will join our enemies and fight against us, driving (us) from the land." (Anti-Semitism can thrive on any excuse; it need not be logical or real -- buy Rabbi Motty Berger's tape "Anti-Semitism -- Why Does Everyone Hate the Jews?" available for $10 from the Aish Audio Center, 4 Haven CT., Monsey, NY 10952 or call toll free to 800-864-2373.)

Moses is born and immediately hidden because of the decree to kill all male Jewish babies. Moses is saved by Pharaoh's daughter, grows up in the royal household, goes out to see the plight of his fellow Jews. He kills an Egyptian who was beating a Jew, escapes to Midian when the deed becomes known, becomes a shepherd, and then is commanded by God at the Burning Bush (no relation to the ex-President) to "bring My people out of Egypt." Moses returns to Egypt, cconfronts Pharaoh who refuses to give permission for the Israelites to leave. And then God says, "Now you will begin to see what I will do to Pharaoh!

 

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states regarding Moses, "And the lad grew up. And she (Miriam) brought him to the daughter of Pharaoh and he was to her as a son. And she called his name Moshe ... because he was drawn from the water." (Exodus 2:10) Why was it necessary for Moses to grow up in Pharaoh's court?

The Ibn Ezra notes that it is possible the Almighty had Moshe raised in the palace of the king in order for him to see royal behavior and get into the habit of acting in this manner. We see how this training helped Moshe develop into a decisive and compassionate individual -- he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Jew; he rescued maidens in Midian.

One's self image is a key factor in one's behavior. Moshe's self-image was of a prince growing up in the palace of an absolute monarch. This allowed him to take any action necessary to do what was right.

The most precious gift you can bestow upon any child is a positive self-image. Constant criticism and fault-finding knocks away at one's self-esteem. A child growing up with inferiority feelings is handicapped. This will limit him in many ways. The key focus of anyone dealing with children must be, "How can I elevate this child's self-image?"

Published: January 31, 2000

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