Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17 )
GOOD MORNING! I once went to a tailor in Singapore to make a suit. He asked me, "What would you like?" I told him, "a double-breasted suit." He advised, "you'd look better in a single-breasted suit." I then told him that I didn't need back pockets in the pants or a buttonhole in the lapel. He responded, "You never know when you'll need back pockets; you should have them anyway. The same for the buttonhole in the lapel; you never know when you'll want to wear a flower or a pin." Then I directed him that I didn't want cuffs on the pants. He countered, "No, cuffs are more formal; it'll look a lot better with cuffs!" At this point I was feeling a bit frustrated, so I asked him, "What do you think is the biggest advantage of getting a suit tailor-made in Singapore? And he joyously responded -without batting an eyelash - "You can get whatever you want!" True story!
In life one doesn't always get what he wants (I did get everything I wanted with the suit - though I agreed the single-breasted would be a better style for me). I love watching kids. They generally are happy and smiling. They run from place to place; they don't walk. When do we lose that enthusiasm for life, the joy of life? Is it the responsibilities of life? The difficulties? The expectations and disappointments? Yet, there are adults who have that enthusiasm, the joy, the energy for life. What can we do to strengthen ourselves in this area - or get back the joy, energy and enthusiasm for life?
The key is being able to control one's emotional states. A key element in the quality of one's life is the mental and emotional states that he experiences.
My beloved friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, wrote the book Enthusiasm -Formulas, Stories and Insights. It's an amazing little book to help people understand their own mindset and which demonstrates as well as teaches how one can change his "internal script" to react to situations in a positive, upbeat manner. It teaches you how to tap your inner resources and develop the genuine qualities that will keep you smiling! Enthusiasm is the sixth book in his personal success coaching series. It stands alongside Happiness, Kindness, Courage, Patience and Serenity (available for $9.99 from your local Jewish book store, www.JudaicaEnterprises.com or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242).
Rabbi Pliskin also has available a recording of his successful seminar "Creating the States You Want - More Joy, Less Distress." This is a 20 session seminar on 7 audio CDs where Rabbi Pliskin shares with us ancient wisdom together with state of the art tools and techniques for making and reaching goals, refining our character, mastering our emotional states, and upgrading our self-image. It is a terrific gift for people you care about. For ordering and more details contact: (USA) 516-903-7096.
Here's a small excerpt from Enthusiasm, chapter 10, "Waking Up With Enthusiasm": Every morning when you wake up, you are given another day of life. This gift of life is precious. To say that it is precious is really a colossal understatement. Being alive is more valuable than anything else that one can own or possess. The greater your appreciation for being alive, the more enthusiastic you will be when you awake each morning.
Everyone is enthusiastic when they wake up to the day ahead being extra special for them. Young children who are going on a long-awaited trip will wake up earlier than usual and their excitement will be noticeable in the way they speak and act. People are excited when they wake up on the day they are getting married. Someone who found out the night before that his lottery ticket won the grand prize and today is the day that he will pick up a huge check will have great excitement when he wakes up in the morning and realizes that he was not dreaming.
The first moment you wake up express your appreciation for being given the gift of life. It is easy to do this by rote. Yes, you say the words that you are grateful, but it can become habitual. Make a conscious effort to do this with enthusiasm. "I am enthusiastically grateful to be alive! What are some of the great and wonderful things I can do today?"
Your Creator gives you life for a reason. Your life is purposeful. Just imagine the enthusiasm you are going to experience when you realize that the Creator and Sustainer of the universe is saying to you, "I am giving you life this very moment! Appreciate it!"
For more on "Enthusiasm" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
Pharaoh dreams of cows and sheaves and demands for someone to interpret his dreams. The wine butler remembers Joseph's ability to interpret dreams. They bring Joseph from the jail. Pharaoh acknowledges the truth of Joseph's interpretation (that there would be seven good years followed by seven years of famine) and raises Joseph to second-in-command of the whole country with the mandate to prepare for the famine.
Ten of Joseph's brothers come to Egypt to buy food, Joseph recognizes them, but they don't recognize him. Joseph accuses them of being spies and puts them through a series of machinations in order to get them to bring his brother Benjamin to Egypt. Then Joseph frames Benjamin for stealing his special wine goblet.
Next week ... the denouement!
* * *
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Pharaoh dreamt two disturbing dreams and all his wise men failed to interpret them to his satisfaction. Pharaoh's chief butler had previously been in the same jail as Joseph, where Joseph successfully interpreted his dreams. The butler now suggests that Pharaoh seek the advice of Joseph. Note how the butler recommends Joseph's talents to Pharaoh:
"And there was with us there (in jail) a Hebrew lad (na'ar), a slave to the Captain of the Guard and we told him (our dreams), and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he interpreted" (Genesis 41:12).
What lesson for life can we learn from analyzing the butler's words?
Rashi comments on the butler's statement to Pharaoh: "Cursed be the wicked, for even their goodness is not complete. The butler praises Joseph's ability, but in contemptuous terms:
a) na'ar (a lad) - a fool, and not fit for greatness,
b) Hebrew - he doesn't even know our language,
c) a slave - it is written in the statutes of Egypt that a slave cannot rule nor don royal garments.
Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz comments that the butler actually meant to speak well of Joseph, for Joseph had been kind to him. Nevertheless, a completely favorable statement will never emerge from the lips of a wicked person. Even when praising someone, he will off-handedly add a derogatory comment.
Every person should check his own behavior with regard to this pitfall. When you speak favorably of someone, do you habitually add something unfavorable? For example: "She is very charitable, and always makes sure that people know it," or "He's very kindhearted now, but you should have seen him five years ago."
CANDLE LIGHTING - December 3
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 5:13 - Hong Kong 5:21 - Honolulu 5:30
J'Burg 6:29 - London 3:36 - Los Angeles 4:26
Melbourne 8:10 - Mexico City 5:39 - Miami 5:11
New York 4:11 - Singapore 6:36 - Toronto 4:24
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Nobody grows old merely by
living a number of years.
We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin,
but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
-- Samuel Ullman
With Special Thanks to
Hanoj & Myrna Perez