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Emor 5771

Emor (Leviticus 21-24 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Did you ever get into an argument with someone - and then wondered in retrospect how your discussion turned into an emotional battleground? A friend came to me for advice knowing he was going to have a conversation with his wife that could get heated. He wanted tips to ensure communication and avoid fireworks.

The thoughts below are obvious and simple - which is probably why they are so easy to forget. A person does what he/she perceives is in his/her best interest. There is no winning an argument. A marriage is a joining of two people into an entity. If one part of that entity is hurting, then both are hurting. Rabbi Aryeh Levine (A Tzadik in Our Times) once went with his wife to the doctor. When the doctor asked what the problem was, he responded, "Her foot is hurting us."

One fellow changed the way he "communicated" with his wife when a friend told him, "If you win the argument, then your wife is a loser. You don't want to be married to a loser!"



1. Listen. Oftentimes people just need to be heard and to know that you care about what they think and feel. The more you listen and the less you talk, the better the outcome.

2. Don't Interrupt. Let the other person finish his or her thought to completion. Don't take pauses as an opportunity to jump in and respond.

3. Don't raise your voice. Keep your tone soft. Raised voices just inflame. As King Solomon said, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a distressing word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). Perhaps you can agree in advance that if one person forgets and starts yelling, the recipient will place his/her hand on top of his/her own head as a soft, gentle reminder that you both agreed not to raise voices.

4. If you want to make a point, do it with a question not a statement. For example, if you want your spouse to stop yelling at you, ask "How do you feel when I yell at you?" After your spouse responds then ask, "How do you think I feel when you yell at me? Is there a way we can communicate without yelling?"

5. Don't accuse. We all protect ourselves and think that what we do is right. Accusations are uncomfortable, irritating, inflaming. You don't like them; neither does your spouse.

6. Know that the issue being discussed it not always the real underlying issue. Your spouse may be upset that you didn't put the lid back on the toothpaste, but the real issue that has been festering is that you said you would call three days ago and you forgot.

7. Restate what your spouse said to make sure you understand. "I hear you saying that ..."

8. Ask for suggestions to solve the problem. "What are your thoughts on what we can do to fix this?" We all want to be heard and taken seriously. We do not want to be lectured to or have others try to change us. We have enough problems changing ourselves, do we really think we can change others?

9. Always remember: Out of the billions of people on this earth, you chose this person to be your spouse. There is a reason. This person has wonderful qualities. Focus on them and your love and appreciation will grow.


Love is the pleasure one has in focusing on the positive. Happiness is focusing on what you have. The formula for misery, on the other hand, is equally simple - focus on the negative and what you don't have. We have free will to make choices how we behave and on what we focus. What could be a more important area to focus on than having a loving relationship with one's spouse? (Check out:

For more on "Communication" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

This week's portion sets forth the standards of purity and perfection for a Cohen; specifies the physical requirements of sacrifices and what is to be done with blemished offerings; proclaims as holidays the Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

It reminds the Jewish people to provide pure olive oil for the Menorah and designates the details of the Showbread (two stacks of 6 loaves each which were placed on the table in the portable sanctuary and later in the Temple once a week upon Shabbat).

The portion ends with the interesting story of a man who blasphemed God's name with a curse. What should be the penalty for this transgression? Curious? Leviticus. 24:14.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And you shall take on the first day a fruit of the citron tree, branches of palm trees, myrtle branches and willows of the brooks, and you shall rejoice before the Almighty seven days" (Lev. 23:40).

What lesson can we learn from this verse about joy in marriage and avoiding arguments?

Rabbi Ephraim Shlomo of Lutshitz teaches that true joy is only possible when there is peace amongst people. Quarrels cause so many difficulties and problems that joy is impossible when there is strife and conflict. This is symbolized in our verse. The four species we take in hand on Sukkot symbolize the various types of people who make up the Jewish nation. Holding them together is a sign of peace and unity. Only when there is togetherness can the latter part of the verse, joy before the Almighty, be fulfilled.

Quarrels destroy people's lives. Both on the national level and on the personal level, peace is essential for a good life. Even if a person has many positive things in his life, if he is argumentative and quarrelsome he will not be able to enjoy what he has.

Many quarrels can easily be avoided by just thinking sensibly about how irrational and counterproductive it is to waste time and energy in a quarrel that really makes no practical difference. Before becoming involved in a quarrel ask yourself, "What are the potential benefits of this quarrel? What are its potential losses? Is it really worthwhile to be involved in this quarrel?"

Joy and happiness are necessary traits for living a good life. Quarrels are destructive and cause much pain and suffering. By avoiding quarrels whenever possible, you will enable yourself to live a much more joyous life.


(or go to

Jerusalem 6:47
Guatemala 6:02 - Hong Kong 6:33 - Honolulu 6:40
J'Burg 5:16 - London 8:13 - Los Angeles 7:22
Melbourne 5:10 - Mexico City 7:42 - Miami 7:36
New York 7:39 - Singapore 6:49 - Toronto 8:07


A happy wife is a happy life.


With Deep Appreciation to

Jeremy & Lisett

Miami Beach, Fla


With Special Thanks to

Mr. Joe

Hong Kong


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