Lech Lecha(Genesis 12-17)
Lech Lecha 5770
GOOD MORNING! Last week I wrote about the value of an act of kindness and how Henry Percal's kindness in protecting a young Cuban boy at a Military Academy ultimately saved his family. This week I would like to share some ideas to help people actually act kinder. The outward act brings the inner appreciation!
Avraham our forefather is the paradigm of kindness. Not all people are intrinsically kind, but we can all work on being kinder - with varying results. The story is told of a drill sergeant in World War II who was ordered by his lieutenant to inform Private Feebish that his mother passed away. The sergeant, not the epitome of tact and kindness, called his squad to attention and announced, "Feebish, your mother died. Troops dismissed!" When the lieutenant heard what had happened, he was so horrified that he sent the sergeant to Tact School. Six weeks later the sergeant returns just in time, unfortunately, to inform the private that his father had passed on.
The sergeant called his squad to attention and announced, "Everyone whose father is still alive, take three steps forward. Feebish ... not too fast."
All of us can aspire to be kinder and to do more acts of kindness. Hopefully, the following 20 ideas developed by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin will help someone you know be kinder and to help make this a better world.
If you would like more wisdom for being kinder, I highly recommend buying Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's Kindness: Changing People's Lives for the Better, available at your local Jewish bookstore, at judaicaenterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.
For more on "Kindness" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
The Almighty commands Avram (later renamed Avraham) to leave Haran and go to the "place that I will show you" (which turned out to be the land of Canaan - later renamed the Land of Israel). The Almighty then gives Avram an eternal message to the Jewish people and to the nations of the world, "I will bless those who bless you, and he who curses you I will curse." Finding a famine, Avram travels to Egypt (once renamed to be part of the United Arab Republic) asking Sarai (later renamed Sarah), to say she is his sister so they won't kill him to marry her (the Egyptians were particular not to commit adultery ... so they would kill the husband instead).
Pharaoh evicts Avram from Egypt after attempting to take Sarai for a wife. They settle in Hebron (also known as Kiryat Arba) and his nephew, Lot, settles in Sodom. Avram rescues Lot - who was taken captive - in the Battle of the Four Kings against the Five Kings.
Entering into a covenant with the Almighty (all covenants with the Almighty are eternal, never to be abrogated or replaced by new covenants), Avram is told that his descendants will be enslaved for 400 years and that his descendants (via Isaac, "... through Isaac will offspring be considered yours" Gen. 21:8) will be given the land "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates."
Sarai, childless, gives her handmaid Hagar to Avram for a wife so that he will have children. Ishmael (the alter zedeh - the grandfather -of our Arab cousins) is born. The covenant of brit mila, religious circumcision, is made (read 17:3-8), God changes their names to Avraham and Sarah and tells them that Sarah will give birth to Yitzhak (Isaac). Avraham circumcises all the males of his household.
* * *
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And He (Avram) relocated from there to the mountain in the east of Bait El and pitched his tent" (Genesis 12:8).
The word for tent in Hebrew is "ohel"; "his tent" is "ohalo." Why does the Torah spell "his tent" with the feminine suffix, the letter "hei"?
The Midrash comments that this teaches us that Avram first pitched his wife's tent and then his own. From here we learn that when a husband needs to do something for himself and for his wife, he should take care of his wife's need first. Avram understood that there is a higher level of pleasure in honoring and helping his wife than in having his tent pitched first!
CANDLE LIGHTING - October 30
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Better an insincere smile than a sincere slap.
Avraham & Esther Packouz
Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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