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.
In the 1950s, when the Western world was paranoid about the threat posed by Soviet expansionism, and politicians of all other shades were warning about the reds hiding under our beds, there was much fear-mongering about the dangers posed by subliminal advertising.
The theory was that the Commies would subvert television executives into allowing them to broadcast coded messages, flashing onto our screens too quickly for conscious perception to integrate, which would register on the viewers at a subconscious, decision-making level.
I Found a Leader
You don’t have to have a politically wired brain to interpret the signals when a politician is up for election. Ideals and principles invariably get scrapped in favor of more important goals: popularity and electability. “Um, after thinking about it, I have changed my mind regarding this issue . . .”
Tell me about it.
What Makes G-d Laugh
There is an old saying that what makes G‑d laugh is seeing our plans for the future. However, if Tanakh is our guide, what makes G‑d laugh is human delusions of grandeur. From the vantage point of heaven, the ultimate absurdity is when humans start thinking of themselves as G‑dlike.
There are several pointed examples in the Torah. One whose full import has only recently become clear occurs in the story of the Tower of Babel. Men gather together in the plain of Shinar and decide to build a city and a tower “that will reach to heaven.” As it happens, we have archeological confirmation of this fact. Several Mesopotamian ziggurats, including the temple of Marduk in Babylon, have been found with inscriptions saying that they reach heaven.