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Toldot 5778

Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  When I lived in Israel I once parked my car in the Ramat Eshkol shopping center parking lot. I returned to my car to find the right side scraped from end to end. However, under the windshield wiper there was a note neatly folded! Ecstatic that the driver had not just driven off, I opened it to read, "I was standing on the sidewalk when a lady in a black Mercedes, license plate # 123-456 side-swiped your car and drove off. I am willing to testify to the police or in court." It was signed and had a phone number.

From the police I obtained the lady's name and address. I knocked on her door and when she answered I told her who I was and why I was there. She responded, "Well, it wasn't me who hit your car!" I asked her if there were any other female drivers in her household. She replied, "No." I then told her that she should know that my next stop is to file a report with the police and that at very minimum she will lose her license with the possibility of a large fine and a jail sentence.

At this point, the "lady" goes berserk! "It's so unfair! It's just not fair at all! Last month someone side-swiped my car and didn't leave me a note! Why should I leave you a note?" She continued her tirade concluding that she shouldn't have to pay because it was all my fault because I parked too close to the white line!

I filed the police report and had the car fixed. Over the next two weeks she yelled and screamed, threatened and had her friends call to pressure me to cancel the police report. Finally, she agreed to pay me. We met at the police station and she handed me an envelope with the cash. I counted the money and then told her, "There's a mistake."

Like a rocket blasting off from Cape Canaveral came the barrage! "I know your type. You've got me over a barrel and now you want to extort more money! Who do you think you are? I am not going to pay..." After a long minute the propellant petered out and the torrent of invectives stopped. I then softly replied, "No, you gave me 100 shekels too much" and handed her a 100 shekel note. She took it without a hint of remorse or embarrassment.

I then asked her how it was going with the person who side-swiped her car (whom, she had since located). She replied, "I can't believe it. He doesn't want to take responsibility for his own actions and pay for the damage. Some people can be so cheeky!"

Everything that happens to us happens for a reason and has meaning. There is a message in it for us to grow, to perfect ourselves, to come closer to the Almighty. It was clear to me why the man left the note under the windshield wiper; two weeks before I was riding a bus when the driver side-swiped a car and drove on. I got off at the next stop and left an almost identical note under the windshield wiper.

But why the subjugation to the onslaught of verbal abuse, the insanity of the woman, the frustration of her obstinacy? For years I have thought about it. The best I can come up with is that it was part of what I needed to prepare me to be a rabbi and to deal with people. It taught me that people -- including me -- often don't see their own faults and mistakes. It reinforced what the Torah teaches -- not to respond until the angry person has finished speaking (Pirke Avos 4:23) and then to reply in a soft voice (which turns away wrath) (Proverbs 15:1).

My beloved friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, has written a book that can help us all .... Patience! It is an amazing, easy-to-read book of 216 pages in 91 mini-chapters examining patience from every angle. It presents effective formulas, interesting stories and insights to deal with the vicissitudes of life ... and all for under $10.

Writes Rabbi Pliskin, "Why be patient? Observing the life of an impatient person provides the obvious answer. The impatient person himself suffers and he cause distress to others. An impatient person is restless or short-tempered, especially when faced with delay or opposition. Impatience creates anxiety and irritation. Others feel uncomfortable around those who are impatient. The haste of the impatient causes avoidable mistakes and errors. An impatient person will say and do many things that are counterproductive."

"Patience is one key to a magnificent life. It is the foundation for reaching goals. With it, one can learn, accomplish, develop one's character, and interact harmoniously with other people. The more we increase our patience, the more we benefit." For inner calm and persistence, read and re-read Patience.


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Torah Portion of the week

Toldot, Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

Rivka (Rebecca) gives birth to Esav (Esau) and Ya'akov (Jacob). Esav sells the birthright to Ya'akov for a bowl of lentil soup. Yitzchak (Isaac) sojourns in Gerar with Avimelech (Avimelech), king of the Philistines. Esav marries two Hittite women bringing great pain to his parents (because they weren't of the fold).

Ya'akov impersonates Esav on the counsel of his mother in order to receive the blessing for the oldest son from his blind father, Yitzchak. Esav, angry because of his brother's deception which caused him to lose the firstborn blessings, plans to kill Ya'akov, so Ya'akov flees to his uncle Lavan (Laban) in Padan Aram -- on the advice of his parents. They also advise him to marry Lavan's daughter.

Esav understands that his Canaanite wives are displeasing to his parents, so he marries a third wife, Machlath, the daughter of Ishmael.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And Yitzhak called Ya'akov, and blessed him, and commanded him saying, 'You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan' " (Genesis 28:1). .

What is the connection between Yitzhak blessing his son and then admonishing him?

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, a great rabbi of the last generation, commented that we learn from here the most effective manner in which to reproach someone. Show that you truly care about his welfare; he will more readily listen to your reprimand.

Often people who mean well give reproof in a harsh manner or by yelling -- particularly if the recipient is one's own child. Every person wants to do the right thing. If we can focus on our love for the other person, our desire to genuinely help and our knowledge that the other person wants to be good, then we can speak softly and give admonition which will be heard.


Candle Lighting Times

November 17
(or go to

Jerusalem 4:03
Guatemala 5:12 - Hong Kong 5:21 - Honolulu 5:31
J'Burg 6:18 - London 3:50 - Los Angeles 4:30
Melbourne 7:54 - Mexico City 5:39 - Miami 5:13
New York 4:18 - Singapore 6:33 - Toronto 4:32

Quote of the Week

Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
Criticize me, and I may not like you.
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me, and I may not forget you.

--  William Arthur



With Deep Appreciation to
Jay & Caroline
With Special Thanks to
Helen Bowers


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