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.
The Defining Haircut
The Talmud tells us that before Jacob agreed to travel to Egypt, he sent ahead his son Judah to establish a yeshivah, a Torah academy, in Goshen, the Egyptian territory where Jacob and his sons would settle. Knowing that his descendants would face challenging times in Egypt, Jacob realized that only a proper Jewish education would give them a strong Jewish identity, enable them to withstand all difficulties and persecutions, and insulate them against the threat of assimilation.
From the Jewish standpoint, education is not so much the imparting of data and information as much as instilling within our youth integrity, kindness, and Jewish values. Information alone -- even the holy teachings of the Torah -- would not have preserved the Jews throughout the difficult years of Egyptian slavery. It was the code of conduct and ethics that were taught in the yeshivah that truly distinguished them from their immoral and cruel taskmasters.
The Mystic Brother
Ten strapping shepherds and a stay-at-home scholar. These were the sons of Jacob, forebears of the tribes of Israel.
The ten brothers spent their days in the mountains and meadows of Canaan, advancing their father's successful sheep industry (the twelfth brother, Benjamin, was too young to join them). Joseph, on the other hand, spent year after year absorbed in his father's teachings; his father Jacob had amassed a wealth of knowledge studying at the ancient Academy of Shem and Ever, and was privy to the mystic secrets passed down the generation from Adam, the first man on Earth and the last man in Eden.
Well, one day, Joseph the mystic tells his hard-working brothers about a vision of their future. It included the brothers' willing acceptance of himself as their guide.
Answering the Call, Day and Night
A few weeks ago, a friend invited my family for Shabbat dinner. On the table, I noticed a highly unusual item. Alongside the delicious food and beautiful dishes was a live walkie-talkie placed close to the father.
My friend’s husband is a volunteer for Hatzalah, a Jewish volunteer ambulance service that provides emergency pre-hospital care. As a paramedic, he is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing life-saving assistance. The Torah permits (actually, commands) us to break the laws of Shabbat to save lives.