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GOOD MORNING! In this week's Torah portion, Noah plants a grapevine shortly after leaving the ark. At his earliest possible convenience, he makes wine and proceeds to get drunk. The Midrash tells that when one drinks one cup of wine, he becomes like a lamb, docile and peaceful. After two cups, he becomes like a lion, boastful of all the great things he believes he will accomplish. After three cups, he dances like a monkey. After four cups, he rolls in the mud like a pig.
___The story is told of a man who would drink to the point of inebriation and then sleep in the gutter of the street. The children would taunt him and throw things at him. His son, a prominent member of the community, was embarrassed by his father's drinking and arranged to keep his father at home. One day the son saw another drunk lying in the gutter with kids making fun of him. Quickly, he ran home to bring his father to witness the evils of drink. The father upon seeing the drunk in the gutter and the taunting kids, walks up to the drunk and bends down to speak with him. On the way home the son asks his father, "What did you say to the man?" The father replied, "I didn't say anything. I just asked him where he got such good liquor."
___Alcohol addiction, like any addiction, is difficult to overcome. Alcoholics Anonymous have a 12 Step Plan. It is really the basis for recovery from any addiction to a desire. We think we are in control of our lives. As long as we think we are in control of our lives, it is nearly impossible to break addictions or to change our character. The essence of Alcoholic Anonymous and similar efforts is for the person to realize that he does not have ultimate control over his life and that he needs help from a Higher Power.
THE TWELVE STEPS OF
___Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twersky, founder and medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center, an addiction recovery program, tells the story of a man who refused to be a mentor for a recovering atheist alcoholic unless he agreed to pray every day. The alcoholic professed his disbelief in God, but agreed to what he felt was a ridiculous demand. After a couple of months the recovering alcoholic told his mentor that praying made a world of difference in his recovery. Said the recovering alcoholic, "I still don't believe in God, but now I realize that I am not God!"
___One person and the Almighty is a majority. Turn your problems over to the Almighty and ask for help. You have a better chance of succeeding. They don't call Him "Almighty" for nothing. Recognizing that God has the power to help, gives you merit to receive His help. Our goal in life is to perfect ourselves, to emulate God - and only if we recognize His existence and His power are we able to do that. (You might consider buying Starting Over - Using Torah and the Twelve Steps of Recovery to Find Happiness by Sima Devorah Schloss, Judaica Press, available at your local Jewish bookstore, at http://www.judaicaenterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.)
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Torah Portion of the Week
___The story of one righteous man in an evil generation. The Almighty commands Noah to build the ark on a hill far from the water. He built it over a period of 120 years. People deride Noah and ask him, "Why are you building a boat on a hill?" Noah explains that there will be a flood if people do not correct their ways (according to the comedian Bill Cosby, Noah would ask "How well can you tread water?"). We see from this the patience of the Almighty for people to correct their ways and the genius of arousing people's curiosity so that they will ask a question and hopefully hear the answer.
___The generation does not do Teshuva, returning from their evil ways, and God brings a flood for 40 days. They leave the ark 365 days later when the earth has once again become habitable. The Almighty makes a covenant and makes the rainbow the sign of the covenant that He will never destroy all of life again by water (hence, James Baldwin's book, The Fire Next Time). When one sees a rainbow it is an omen to do Teshuva - to recognize the mistakes you are making in life, regret them, correct them/make restitution, and ask for forgiveness from anyone you have wronged as well as from the Almighty.
___Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk and then occurs the mysterious incident in the tent after which Noah curses his grandson Canaan. The Torah portion concludes with the story of the Tower of Babel and then a genealogy from Shem to Abram.
* * *
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
___Regarding the Tower of Babel, the Torah states:
|"And they said, 'Come, Let us build a city and a tower with its top in Heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered across the face of the whole earth.' " (Genesis 11:4)|
___The Midrash (Pirke D'Reb Eliezer 24) tells us that when the people of the generation of the dispersion were in the middle of their project of building the tower, the following occurred: If a human being fell off the tower and was killed, they ignored it and just continued working. However, if a brick fell and broke, they sat down and cried.
___The Midrash is a poignant lesson in how easy it is to get sidetracked from your main goals. They wished to make a tower for the benefit of mankind. However, after awhile the project itself became the goal and the lives of people were considered unimportant.
___Similarly, a person can work for Klal Yisroel, the Jewish people, and becomes so involved with the bureaucratic details of his work that he is rude to others. When you are doing things for the benefit of people, remember your goals. Do not allow your devotion to a cause be an excuse to treat people callously. Keep reminding yourself to be sensitive to every person.
CANDLE LIGHTING - October 12
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Guatemala 5:26 - Hong Kong 6:17 - Honolulu 5:50
J'Burg 5:42 - London 6:59 - Los Angeles 6:44
Melbourne 5:55 - Mexico City 6:57 - Miami 6:40
New York 6:04 - Singapore 6:36 - Toronto 6:23
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
It is easier to prevent bad habits
than to break them.
-- Benjamin Franklin
In loving memory of|
A great husband,
wonderful father and good friend .
From his cousins Arnie, Sherry,
Josh , Elissa, Daina, Adam,
Rabbi Gary, Grace and Naftali Zweig