Kedoshim (Leviticus 19-20 )
12 rules for raising delinquent children
GOOD MORNING! Did you ever hear of the Mighty Atom? You may need to ask your parents or grandparents, but there was a time almost every Jew in the United States knew his name and his exploits. Joseph Greenstein, known as the Mighty Atom, was the quintessential strongman!
The Mighty Atom was a legend in his time. Though only 5'4" tall, he'd bite through nails, pull three fire trucks down the road, prevent an airplane from taking off with a rope tied to his hair. He was amazing! And for a generation of Jews -- and probably for a generation of anti-Semites, too -- he single-handedly changed the image of the nebichal (pitiful and powerless) Jew. He taught the power of the mind and the power of self-improvement.
When he was a child, Joseph overheard the doctor tell his mother that he was so sickly that she shouldn't expect him to live to be a teenager. So, he ran off and joined the circus. Saved by the circus strongman (who happened to be Jewish) from being beaten to death by a vicious anti-Semite, Joe was "adopted" by the strongman who taught him how to eat properly, exercise and most important, how to concentrate the powers of his mind. Not only did he live to his teenage years, not only did he live into his 80's, but Joseph Greenstein went on to become one of history's greatest strongmen -- The Mighty Atom!
It is difficult to find a copy of his biography, The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein -- The Mighty Atom, World's Strongest Man by Ed Spielman -- though it is well worth the effort. Try your library. You can read more about him on Wikipedia or see the Mighty Atom on YouTube.com !
The Mighty Atom was not just brawn; he was a powerful intellect and a wise man. He also had an excellent sense of humor. Many years ago when my friend Bob Grover went to meet the Mighty Atom, the grandfather of his bride to be, the Mighty Atom took a horseshoe, twisted it with his bare hands and gave it to Bob saying, "I know you'll be good to her." Below are his words of wisdom on the art of child-rearing.
For an excellent book on nurturing children, read To Kindle A Soul by Lawrence Kelemen.
Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1 - 20:27
This is the portion that invokes the Jewish people to be holy! It then proceeds with the spiritual directions on how to achieve holiness, closeness to the Almighty. Within it lie the secrets and the prescription for Jewish continuity. If any group of people is to survive as an entity, it must have common values and goals -- a direction and a meaning. By analyzing this portion we can learn much about our personal and national destiny. It is truly a "must read!"
Some of the mitzvot (commandments): Revere your parents, observe Shabbat, no idol worship, gifts to the poor, deal honestly, love your fellow Jew, refrain from immoral sexual relationships, honor old people, love the proselyte, don't engage in sorcery or superstition, do not pervert justice, observe kashruth and more. The portion ends, "You shall observe all My decrees and ordinances ... you shall be holy ... I have separated you from the peoples to be Mine."
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from Twerski on Chumash by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
The Torah states:
"You shall love your fellow as yourself, I am God" (Lev. 19:18).
What does this mean?
When the proselyte asked Hillel to condense the entire Torah and teach it to him in the brief time that he could stand on one foot, Hillel said, " 'You shall love your fellow as yourself,' that is the essence of Torah. All the rest is commentary." Given the centrality of this verse, it is not unusual that it has been given numerous interpretations. Let us look at some of them.
The Baal Shem Tov said that just as you love yourself in spite of your shortcomings, so you should love another person in spite of his shortcomings.
On the verse, "God is your shade at your right hand" (Psalms 121:5), the Baal Shem Tov commented that just as a person's shadow mimics his every move, so God acts toward a person the way that person acts toward others. Therefore, he said the verse can also be read as, "You shall love your fellow, because I, God, will be like you." If you will be forgiving to others, I will be forgiving to you. If you will insist on exacting unrelenting justice, I will do likewise to you.
Arvei Nachal writes if another person is in the same business as you, you may feel that he is a competitor, and that may cause you to dislike him. Therefore, the Torah emphasizes, "You shall love your fellow who is as yourself."
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Children need more role models than critics