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.
Your Soul Can Be in Two Places at the Same Time
Once upon a time there was a great and mighty king who had a wise and talented son. One day, the king summoned the prince to him. "My dear child," said the king, "I must send you on a difficult and dangerous mission. In the far reaches of my kingdom there is an uncivilized land inhabited by a barbaric people. The ways of wisdom are alien to them, nor do they know kindness or justice or compassion. It will be your task to teach them and educate them, to uncover the spark of humanity that lies buried deep within their coarse existence. You must excavate that spark, cultivate it and feed it, so that their lives are transformed and their land is redeemed and restored to my enlightened kingdom."
"But father," objected the prince, "if I go to that horrible place, then I, too, shall become like them. My soul will be tainted by their grossness. My light will be overwhelmed by their darkness and succumb to it."
My Son the Doctor
My son the doctor had a son: he is now a neurosurgeon. His son is a forest-ranger in Yosemite: the girl he is not married to is not Jewish. My son the lawyer had a daughter: she is a senior analyst with Morgan Stanley: she's forty-three and just met Mr. Right.
A survey of Jewish America was unveiled recently, containing little we didn’t already know anecdotally. Still, some of the numbers were shocking.
Three hundred thousand less Jews than there were only ten years ago? Forget Zero Population Growth: we’re eating away at our capital.
And for what? Because we earn $8,000 per year more than the average American family! We're not having kids so we can go out and earn an extra minimum wage. My kingdom for a horse; my birthright for $8,000 worth of lentils.
Jews vs. Pigs
Of all non-kosher animals, the pig is far and away the most reviled. Even among Jews who unfortunately do not yet adhere to all the kosher laws, many avoid pork. In fact, of all the pungent insults and curses with which the Yiddish language is so blessed, one that stands out for malignancy of expression is to be called a chazer fissel (pig’s foot).
There are two identifiers of a kosher animal: cud-chewing and split hooves. The pig, alone of all animals in G‑d’s barnyard, has split hooves while not being a ruminant. Have you ever seen a pig sleep? Splayed out in the mud with an idiotic grin plastered on its snout, it stretches out its trotters as if calling on all to witness its inherent kashrus. And you know what? Pious pretensions to the contrary, it still remains a pig.