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.
Thanksgiving: A Jewish Perspective
We, the American citizenry, are a thankful lot. Our calendar is dotted with days when we express our gratitude to various individuals and entities. On Veterans Day, we thank the members of the Armed Forces for their dedicated service. On Memorial Day, we show our gratitude to those courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our liberties and democratic lifestyle. On Labor Day, we express our appreciation to the industrious American workforce, the people who keep the wheels of our economy turning. On other selected days, we pause to thank different historic individuals who have made valuable contributions to our nation.And then there is Thanksgiving. The day when we thank G‑d for enabling all the above -- and for all else He does for us.
Helping the Fall Guy
This week's Torah reading teaches us a very practical law. The Torah tells us that if a person is building a new house, he is obligated to make sure there is a fence around the roof to eliminate the danger of someone falling off it (Deuteronomy 22:8).
This is, of course, an admirable idea -- the idea of neighborly responsibility, of not being negligent even on one's own property because another person may come to harm, and so forth.
What You Obviously Don't Know
The incident I'm going to tell you about occurred more than ten years ago, but hardly a week goes by in which I don't think about it.
I had popped into a Jerusalem synagogue for minchah (afternoon prayers). A few rows in front of me there was this man, sitting with his four kids. The fellow in front of him had his arm over the back of the bench, and the fellow behind him was also disturbing him in some way. He kept snapping at his kids. What a jerk, I thought to myself. Ok, you're nervous, you're rude, that's fine, there are lots of nervous and rude people in these stress-ridden times, but does the whole world have to know it?