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Vayetzei(Genesis 28:10-32:3)

Vayetzei 5764

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GOOD MORNING! What would you do if as a child you overheard the doctor tell your mother that you were so sickly that he didn't expect you to live to be a teenager? Joseph Greenstein had the answer - he ran off to join the circus. Saved by the circus strong man (who happened to be Jewish) from being beaten to death by a vicious anti-Semite, Joe was "adopted" by the strongman who taught him how to eat properly, exercise and most important, how to concentrate the powers of his mind. Not only did Joseph Greenstein live to his teenage years, not only did he live into his 80's, but Joseph Greenstein went on to become one of history's greatest strongmen - The Mighty Atom!

People reading this might think that the good Rabbi is pulling their leg. The Mighty Atom? So, just ask your parents or grandparents! The Mighty Atom was a legend in his time. Though only 5'4" tall, he could bend horseshoes with his bare hands, bite through nails, pull three firetrucks down the road, prevent an airplane from taking off with a rope tied to his hair. He was amazing! And for a generation of Jews - and probably for a generation of anti-Semites, too - he single-handedly changed the image of the nebical Jew. He taught the power of the mind and the power of self-improvement. He was a true example of the "Power of One Person to Change the World"!

Recently, his biography, The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein - The Mighty Atom, World's Strongest Man (by Ed Spielman) has come back into print! You can check your local bookstore or send $13.70 (includes postage!) to Mike Greenstein, 1 Beach 105th Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

The Mighty Atom was not just brawn, he was a powerful intellect and a wise man. Below are words of wisdom on the art of childrearing.


THE MIGHTY ATOM'S TWELVE RULES FOR RAISING DELINQUENT CHILDREN
How To Ruin Your Children - Guaranteed 100% Infallible

  1. Begin in infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe that the world owes him a living.

  2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he is cute. It will also encourage him to pick up cuter phrases.

  3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he's 21 and then let him decide for himself.

  4. Avoid use of the word "wrong." It may develop into a guilt complex. Later, when he is arrested, he can conclude that society is against him and that he is being persecuted.

  5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around, books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him, so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility upon others.

  6. Let him read any printed matter that he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.

  7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when their home is broken up later.

  8. Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?

  9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.

  10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

  11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying: "I never could do anything with him."

  12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it.

© Peter Wales 1987 (dean@murray.anglican.org)


Torah Portion of the Week
Vayetzei

This week we have the trials and tribulations of Jacob living with and working for his father-in-law, Laban. Jacob agreed to work as a shepherd 7 years for Rachel only to have Laban switch daughters on him at the marriage ceremony. (This is why we have the bedekin, the lifting of the veil, at traditional weddings - to ensure one is marrying the right bride.)

As Jacob tries to build his equity, Laban changes their agreement time after time. After 20 years, the Almighty tells Jacob the time has come to return to the land of Canaan. Jacob and his household secretly leave, only to be pursued by Laban who has claims to put forth. The story ends with peace and blessings between Jacob and Laban.

 

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Bilha, Rachel's handmaiden, gives birth. The Torah states:

"And Rachel said, 'With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed' and she called his name Naftali." (Genesis 30:8)

What does the name "Naftali" mean and what lessons do we learn from the name?

Rashi explains that the name Naftali comes from the word meaning "being stubborn." Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz said that from here we learn two things:

  1. In spiritual matters it is proper for a person to be stubborn and even obstinate. Rachel saw that the Almighty didn't want to give her children. She did not accept this, but fought with all her strength to achieve her wishes.

  2. In spiritual matters when a person tries to elevate himself and is determined to accomplish this with all his will, he will eventually be successful.

When you try to study Torah or engage in other Torah projects, you will usually find obstacles in your path. Do not allow them to stop you! Rather, use the difficulties as a cue to try even harder. When you keep on trying, you will eventually be successful.

In interpersonal relationships, flexibility is crucial, but in spiritual matters tenacity and persistence are necessary. Our weakness is that we are not persistent enough. Know that if you want to grow at all, you need to be stubborn in your efforts.



CANDLE LIGHTING - December 5:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)

Jerusalem  4:00
Guatemala 5:13  Hong Kong 5:21  Honolulu 5:29
J'Burg 6:31  London 3:35  Los Angeles 4:24
Melbourne 7:07  Miami 5:11  Moscow 3:44
New York 4:11  Singapore  6:40



QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Children don't care what their parents know
unless they know that their parents care.



Published: November 30, 2003

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