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Vayakhel 5776

Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  In honor of the occasion of the 70th birthday of my friend, noted author, life coach and speaker Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, I present to you his ...



5 times a day for 1000 days
  1. I think appreciatively and gratefully -- "What am I grateful for now?"
  2. I speak and act joyfully and kindly -- "What can I say kindly now?"
  3. I assume there is a benefit -- "What's good about this?"
  4. I strive for meaningful goals -- "What's my goal for now?"
  5. I see myself being the way I wish to be -- "How do I want to be?"
  6. I focus on solutions -- "What outcome am I looking for?"
  7. I let challenges develop my character -- "This too will develop my character."
  8. I consistently access positive states. My awesome brain stores my best states -- "What state for now?"
  9. I smile and wave to mirrors. They always smile and wave back to me.



How to ruin your life.
To master happiness: Do the opposite!
  1. Think unappreciatively. Don't be grateful. Gratitude creates happiness.
  2. Speak and act meanly and unhappily, not kindly and joyfully. Blame and complain. Be an expert kvetcher (complainer); they are unhappy.
  3. View everybody and everything with a negative mental lens, never a positive one. Positive perspectives prevent unhappiness.
  4. Don't set meaningful goals. Give excuses. Waste time. Striving for goals isn't conducive for unhappiness.
  5. See yourself being the way you don't want to be, not how you do want to be. Mental pictures create your reality.
  6. Focus on problems, not solutions. Don't seek help.
  7. Let challenges stress you out. Give up and quit. Don't persevere. Don't let challenges upgrade your traits.
  8. Constantly access negative states, not positive ones. Don't focus on positive memories.
  9. Don't smile at people and mirrors. If you habitually do, you won't be able to maintain unhappiness.


Great thoughts, words and actions create a great life; lousy ones do the opposite. To upgrade your self-talk read Conversations With Yourself: A practical guide for greater happiness, self-development and self -empowerment" (Artscroll Publishers).

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin was one of my first teachers when I started to learn at Aish HaTorah. In the past 40 years he has written over 25 books including Guard Your Tongue, Gateway to Happiness, Gateway to Self-Knowledge, Love Your Neighbor, Growth Through Torah, The Power of Words, Consulting the Wise, Begin Again Now. Additionally, he has written a whole series for Artscroll publishers including Patience, Self-Confidence, Marriage, Enthusiasm, Courage, Kindness, Life is Now, Happiness, My Father, My King, and... Thank you!

Happy Birthday, Rabbi Pliskin! Thank you for teaching so much to so many -- especially to me!


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Torah Portion of the week

Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1 - 38:20

Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) on the Shabbat, to contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components of the Mishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional contributions!

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Betzalel was appointed to construct the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary. The Torah states:

"And he put in his heart to teach." (Exodus 35:34)

What lesson do we learn from this?

The Ohr Hachayim, a 17th/18th century commentator answers: There are people who have special knowledge and skills, but do not want to teach them to others. Therefore, the Torah praises Betzalel because he was willing to share his knowledge with others.

A person who desires knowledge only for his own honor will be reluctant to share what he knows with others. The more people who have the same knowledge the less special he will be. If a person realizes that his knowledge and skills are gifts from the Almighty, he will readily pass them on to others. He wants to accomplish the most that is possible, and if more people have that special knowledge, more will be accomplished. Your willingness to share what you know with others is a sign of your true inner attitudes towards your wisdom.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states with regard to Betzalel, the artisan in charge of creating the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), that the Almighty filled him with wisdom, insight and knowledge:

"...and to think thoughts to make with gold and with silver and with brass" (Exodus 35:32).

What can this verse teach us about our own lives?

There are two types of skillful artisans. The first type of craftsman is one who is able to picture new designs in his mind. His fertile imagination enables him to create original works of art. This, wrote Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, is what the present verse is expressing. "And to think thoughts," that is, Betzalel had the ability to visualize entirely new artistic creations.

The second type is an expert in making fancy vessels with intricate designs though he may not be creative or original. After he sees what someone else has done, he learns to make similar things -- perhaps even better than the original designer.

Our lesson: One does not need to be a Betzalel to serve the Almighty. Whatever abilities the Almighty has blessed you with can be utilized for the honor of the Almighty. Whatever your talents, use them to help and teach others. You will live an honored life!


Candle Lighting Times

March 4
(or go to

Jerusalem 5:04
Guatemala 5:53 - Hong Kong 6:10 - Honolulu 6:19
J'Burg 6:17 - London 5:29 - Los Angeles 5:35
Melbourne 7:37 - Mexico City 6:25 - Miami 6:06
New York 5:33 - Singapore 7:01 - Toronto 5:53

Quote of the Week

Most folks are as happy as
they make up their minds to be
--  Abraham Lincoln



With Deep Appreciation to

James & Patricia Cayne

With Special Thanks to

Gila Rosenhaus


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