Vayigash 5776

December 14, 2015

8 min read


Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27 )

GOOD MORNING!  A friend was talking with a U.N. worker, who told him, "There will be no peace until Israel gives back the land it stole from Palestinians." My friend pointed out that no "Palestinian" sovereign entity has ever held the land, and for that matter no "Palestinian state" has ever existed in history. To these facts, the U.N. worker replied, "Like I said, there will be no peace until Israel returns the land it stole from Palestinians!"

Winston Churchill once said, "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

The Almighty commanded us in the Shema: "Do not stray after your heart's desire or after your eyes." Why is "heart's desire" stated before "after your eyes"? Doesn't a person first see something and then desire it? Humans are capable of denying reality in the face of facts. First a person desires, then he filters what his eyes see ... until he comes across that desire.

In this spirit, we present the 2015 edition of Shabbat Shalom's:

8 Myths & Facts About Israel

Myth #1: "Israel stole Palestinian land." FACT: As mentioned, no "Palestinian state" has ever existed in history. The Turks ruled the land from 1518-1918, and lost it in World War One to the British. The British ruled until the United Nations partitioned the land in 1947 -- the original "two-state solution" -- whereupon six Arab armies tried to annihilate Israel. When the fighting stopped, Jordan held most of the biblical Jewish heartland -- Judea & Samaria, AKA West Bank, AKA the territories. In 1967 (before there was even one "Jewish settlement"), Arab armies again tried to destroy Israel. In self-defense, those lands came into Israel's possession.

Myth #2: "Palestinian statehood is the Arab's goal." FACT: Arabs rejected a state in 1948, and from 1948-1967 Palestinians never sought or fought for a state. The territories only became an "object of desire" when Israel gained control. The rejectionism continues: At Camp David in 2000, Israel offered to meet 97% of Yasser Arafat's demands, but Arafat refused to negotiate. In 2008, an even more generous offer was rebuffed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Myth #3: "International funds help Palestinian refugees." FACT: More accurately, international funds "enable" Palestinian corruption and insolvency. Since the Oslo Accords, the U.S. has given Palestinians $5 billion which has not made its way to helping the refugees, but has enriched the leaders. Furthermore, the U.N. has never dissolved the refugee camps or tried to settle refugees in Arab lands where they dwell.

Myth #4: "Settlements are illegal and are the problem." FACT: Israel acquired the land in a defensive war and has the legal rights. Furthermore, factories and businesses in the "settlements" are the number one employer of Palestinians. And finally, settlements can be removed with a peace agreement. (Israel withdrew totally from Gaza in 2005; it is now run by Hamas terrorists.)

Myth #5: "Israel is an apartheid state." FACT: Arabs have full citizenship rights in the State of Israel -- freedom of speech, religion, political. Arabs serve as Israeli Supreme Court justices, IDF officers, Israeli diplomatic ambassadors, Israeli soccer stars and cultural icons. Ten percent of Israeli parliament (Knesset) is Arab. One-third of the staff at Israel's prestigious Hadassah Hospital is Arab. At Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 30 percent of students are Arab. "Apartheid"?!

Myth #6: "The Palestinian people want peace." FACT: The Palestinian public has been radicalized over decades and are religiously motivated to destroy Israel. Though Abraham established the Temple Mount as a holy site 2500 years prior to the birth of Mohammed, Palestinian textbooks deny any Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel or to Jerusalem. Furthermore, Palestinian society continues to glorify and support terror, naming streets and events after terrorists. A 2009 poll found ( that the majority of Palestinian adults continue to support suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

Myth #7: "Israel has a peace partner." FACT: Palestinian leaders have never acknowledged the acceptance of a Jewish state in the Middle East. Until this happens, there is no peace partner. And any Jewish concessions would be dangerous and unwise.

Myth #8: "Palestinians attack civilians because they have no other option." FACT: "100 Years of Excuses" is a timeline of Arab violence against Jews by David Collier, published November 25, 2015. He debunks the "reasons" used to "justify" Islamic terror in Israel, and demonstrates these falsehoods by showing Arab violence against Jews before the excuse existed. As San Bernardino is making clear, Americans would never accept any of these "justifications" for terror in America.

For a far more in depth and complete understanding, please read
The Case for Israel by by Alan Dershowitz.


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Torah Portion of the week

Vayigash, Genesis 44:18 - 47:27

We left off last week with Joseph's pronouncement that he was keeping Benjamin as a slave for stealing his wine cup. Judah steps forward to challenge the decision and offers himself as a slave instead of Benjamin. Joseph is overcome with emotion, clears the room of all Egyptians and then reveals his identity to his unsuspecting brothers.

The brothers are shocked! They suspect Joseph's intentions, but accept his offer to bring the extended family to Egypt. Jacob is initially numb and disbelieving of the news, but becomes very excited to see his son.

The Torah recounts the 70 members of Jacob's family which went down to Egypt. Jacob reunites with Joseph, meets Pharaoh and settles with the family in the Goshen district. During the famine, Joseph buys up all of the property and people in Egypt for Pharaoh with the grain stored during the seven good years.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

When Judah decides to argue with the Egyptian viceroy (who was really his brother Joseph) not to take Benjamin as a slave, the Torah states:

"And Yehuda (Judah) approached (Joseph) and he said, 'Please my master, allow your servant to speak in the ears of my master and do not become angry at your servant for you are like Pharaoh' " (Genesis 44:18).

Judah was under the impression that this Egyptian leader (who was really Joseph) did not understand Hebrew since he used an interpreter. Why then did Judah ask to speak in his ears?

The late Rosh HaYeshiva of Brisk in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soleveichik, explained this in two ways. The first explanation: even though Judah thought Joseph did not understand the language he was speaking, he wanted him to hear the depth of feeling behind his words. Even if one does not speak the language, sincerity will come through. "Words that come from a person's heart enter the heart of the listener."

This happened to the Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, while speaking to a high government official in Russia to remove a harmful decree against the Jewish people. Even before the interpreter translated the Chofetz Chaim's words from Yiddish, the listener said that no translation was necessary. He understood the language of feeling that permeated each word that came from a pure heart.

Rabbi Soloveichik's second insight: when you try to influence someone, it is imperative that he be open to what you have to say. If a person is close-minded and has made up his mind not to pay attention to you, nothing you say will influence him. You can give all kinds of rational arguments for your position, but the person will be as if deaf. Therefore, Judah asked Joseph to at least give him a fair hearing. "Keep your ears open to the possibility that what I will say has merit."

These two ideas are important to keep in mind when trying to impact someone. Speak with sincerity. When you speak from the bottom of your heart, your words have tremendous force and power. Secondly, make certain that the other person is open to hearing what you have to say. For instance, you might start by saying, "If what I say makes sense, are you willing to change your mind?"


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December 18
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Quote of the Week

With real eyes ... realize ... real lies




With Deep Appreciation to

Sandy Ray


With Special Thanks to

Rodney & Chana Cox


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