This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Want It All
There's a story the Lubavitcher Rebbe liked to tell about a five-year-old child and a 99-year-old man. The child was Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneerson, born on the 20th of Cheshvan 5621 (1860), who served as the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe from 1882 until his passing in 1920. The 99-year-old man lived 36 centuries earlier; his name was Abraham and he was the first Jew.
The story goes like this:
On the occasion of his fourth or fifth birthday, Rabbi Sholom DovBer visited his grandfather, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch. Upon entering his grandfather's room, the child burst into tears. His teacher in cheder had taught them that week's Torah reading, Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24), which begins, "And G‑d revealed himself to Abraham..." Why, wept the child, doesn't G‑d reveal Himself to me?
Jew: Noun or Verb?
What is a Jew?
Here is Webster's take:
Jew \΄jü\ n 2. one whose religion is Judaism - Jew·ish adj
But what is Judaism?
Ju·da·ism \΄jü-de-i-zem, - dā-, dē-\ n 1 a religion developed among the ancient Hebrews…
Is this definition consistent with Judaism's definition of itself?
The first Jew was Abraham. Our first real encounter with Abraham is in the context of his first G‑d-given commandment.
The following is how that encounter began.
It may be a truism that no person has ever declared on their deathbed, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office," but I guarantee neither has anyone ever said, "I wish I'd had fewer children."
In the late sixties and early seventies, a cabal of quasi-scientists spouting pessimistic forecasts of approaching doom managed to sow mindless panic with their scare-tactics about population explosion and mass starvation. The theory then went something along the lines of: Mass-overpopulation is impending, whereupon the ability of the planet to sustain us all will become overstretched and if we are lucky we'll all perish and if not we'll really suffer and until then can you just stop having kids and send lots of grant money to my research foundation so I can live in luxury while researching this imminent disaster while appearing regularly on all the best talk shows to promote my latest book about the problem...