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Bereishit 5772

Bereishit (Genesis 1:1-6:8 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! How do people see you?  Do you like the way they treat you or respond to you?

Life is like a mirror.  The people you see reflect back to you the way you present yourself.  If you look happy, they will respond buoyantly.  If you look upset, they will be cautious or concerned.  If you want a joyous life try to be happy around others.  It will make it easier on them and more enjoyable for you.  Remember, everyone causes happiness ... some when they come, some when they leave.

I saw a sign hand-printed on a poster board on the wall of a 90 year old woman's apartment.  It made me think ... and smile -- I'm sure it's one of the reasons she lived over 90!



          A smile costs nothing ... but gives much.  It enriches those who receive it without making poorer those who give it.  It takes but a moment.  However, the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.  None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it.  And none is so poor the he can't be made rich by it.

          A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business... and is the countersign of friendship.  It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad.  It is Nature's best antidote for trouble.

          A smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen.  It is something of no value to anyone until it is given away.  Some people are too tired to give you a smile.  Give them one of yours.  None needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.



Shemini Atzeret begins Wednesday evening, October 19th.  Shemini Atzeret is actually a separate festival adjacent to Sukkot.  Rashi, the great Biblical commentator, explains that atzeret is an expression of affection, as would be used by a father to children who are departing from him.  The father would say, "Your departure is difficult for me, tarry yet another day."  The Jewish people prayed and brought offerings all the days of Sukkot so that the 70 nations of the world would have rain in the coming year.  The Torah and the Almighty keeps us one more day for a special holiday to make requests just for ourselves.  That's Shemini Atzeret.

Yizkor, the memorial service for parents and relatives -- and Jews who have been killed because they were Jewish or in defending the Jewish people and Israel -- is Thursday morning, October 20th.

Thursday evening begins Simchas Torah, the celebration of completing the yearly cycle of Torah reading and beginning it again.  The evening and again the next morning are filled with dance and songs rejoicing in the Torah and thanking God for our being Jewish and that the Almighty gave us the Torah!  We read the last Torah portion in Deuteronomy, Vezot Habracha to complete the yearly cycle of reading the Torah.  Then we immediately begin reading Bereishis, starting the book of Genesis.  If you take your kids to synagogue twice a year --one time should be Simchas Torah!

Vezot Habracha begins with the blessings that Moshe gives to the Jewish people and each tribe right before he dies.  Then Moshe ascends Mt. Nebo where the Almighty shows him all of the land the Jewish people are about to inherit.  He dies, is buried in the valley in an unknown spot, the Jewish people mourn for 30 days.  The Torah then concludes with the words, "Never again has there arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Almighty had known face to face ..."


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Torah Portion of the Week
October 22, 2011:  Bereishis

The Five Books of Moses begins with the Six Days of Creation, the Shabbat, the story of the Garden of Eden -- the first transgression, consequences and expulsion; Cain & Abel, the ten generations to Noah, the Almighty sees the wickedness of man in that generation and decrees to "blot out man" (i.e. the flood).

One of the most profound verses in the whole Torah is "And God created man in His own Image."  Since God does not have a physical being, this means that we are endowed with free-will, morality, reason and the ability to emulate God Who bestows kindness.  Also, if we really appreciate that we are created in the image of God, we realize that we have intrinsic worth.  Therefore, there is no need to be depressed wondering if you have intrinsic worth!

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"Then the Almighty formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7).

What lesson for life can we learn from this verse?

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, an incredibly prolific and intellectual writer who (excuse the pun) rejuvenated the Frankfort Jewish community in the late 1800's, writes in his fabulous philosophical work on Judaism, The Nineteen Letters: "What is man?  Every fiber of your body is a creation of the hand of the Almighty.  Your spirit, the spark of the Divine, your personality, invisible as Deity itself, weave and work in this microcosm and control your intellect and your body.  Learn to deem yourself holy as a creature of the Almighty and consecrate yourself to your mission as a 'servant of the Creator'."

We live in a time when many people suffer from feelings of inferiority.  But a person who lives with the reality that he is created in the image of the Creator of the universe will feel so positive about himself that he cannot possibly have inferiority feelings.  The more you integrate this concept, the more you will show honor and respect to others, for they too are created in the Almighty's image, and the better you will feel about yourself.


(or go to

Jerusalem 4:26
Guatemala 5:21 - Hong Kong 5:36 - Honolulu 5:44
J'Burg 5:59 - London 5:37 - Los Angeles 6:03
Melbourne 7:25 - Mexico City 6:50 - Miami 6:38
New York 6:01 - Singapore 6:34 - Toronto 6:19


Happiness is not having what one wants,
but wanting what one has.


In Loving Memory of

Jerry Hahn



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