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.
Resisters and Affirmers
A psychologist who was researching religious attitudes in the Jewish community, some years ago, came to the conclusion that some people could be termed “resisters” while others are “affirmers.” The resisters resist being told what to do. When considering the details of some aspect of traditional Jewish life, and all its dos and don’ts, the typical resister often feels it is too much and too difficult, and has to struggle to comply.
By contrast, the affirmers feel inspired and encouraged. They love hearing what Jewish teachings tell them. If they hear that they have to go to a lot of trouble in order to ensure that some aspect of daily life is more closely in accordance with Jewish law, they cheerfully accept this. “No problem, yes, of course . . .”
The Night Belongs to Jacob
Our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob established a rite of prayer that is followed to this very day. Abraham composed the morning service ("Shacharit"), Isaac the afternoon service ("Minchah") , and Jacob the evening service ("Maariv").
In prayer we draw divine energy into our environment and ourselves. Since each day progresses through three stages -- morning, afternoon and evening -- it is necessary to pray three times every day. Each prayer is designed a little differently from the others in order to draw on the specific form of energy required at that stage. Each prayer was instituted specifically by the patriarch whose spiritual character was aligned with the particular form of energy associated with that prayer.
The first stage of the day occurs as dawn breaks. This moment is filled with promise, the excitement of potential is in the air. The divine energy that is required at this time is that of optimism. Abraham, a man of positive spirit and infinite optimism, accordingly coined the Shacharit prayer.
Life in the Garden
My friend Kayla is engaged; she’ll be married in October. She met her chatan through a matchmaker in New York. She’s been dating for six years and has met many eligible bachelors. But with each guy she met, there was some disconnect. It wasn’t her bashert -- destined match.
When she met Alex, it was different. A week after meeting him, she told me, “Rochel, I think he’s the one.” Two months later, she was engaged to him. Now that she’s found someone she feels will be her perfect life partner, she is quite grateful for the way things turned out.