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Vayakhel 5763

Vayakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35-40 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!  One of the major questions in life is, "Do we control our emotions or do our emotions control us?" Our Torah teaches that we have the ability to control our emotions. It is not easy, but it can be done.

A friend of mine once pointed to a great rabbi and said, "You know, you can be just like him ... if you work on yourself for 70 years." Hopefully, it doesn't take 70 years to learn how to control emotions. One of the most disruptive and devastating emotions is anger. Hopefully, this piece will be of use ... if for nothing else than passing it on to someone you care about.


The Sages tell us (Talmud, Shabbat 115) regarding a person who gets angry that it is as if he worshipped idols. What idol is he worshipping? Himself. We get angry because we have expectations that everything must be exactly like we want it. No wonder the author of Orchot Tzadikim (The Path of the Just -available from your local Jewish book store or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242) says that a person controlled by anger denies himself happiness in life. An angry person is out of control and at the whim of outside forces!

Let's analyze when we get angry: We trip on something, someone bumps into us; a colleague, spouse or child doesn't listen to us. In the first two cases, something happens that we aren't expecting. In the latter case, it is the frustration of having our will thwarted!

Anger comes from having a fragile ego. We interpret what happens as a direct personal attack instead of happenstance, sloth, incompetence or inconsideration. Internally, we are telling ourselves: "How can this be happening to me - I am too important for this to happen to me!"

There is a place for anger - the most appropriate place being in the dictionary. Also, if you are physically attacked, anger focuses our response. An angry person may be listened to (if he has the power), but he appears like a meshugenah (a crazy person); will be feared, not loved; endangers his health (through high blood pressure) and is not being maximally effective or enjoying life. If he is trying to rebuke his child or student, they may hear his point, but they will come away with an awful role model on how to handle stress or displeasure. (A parent owes his child three things: example, example, example.) It has been said that raising children by yelling at them is like driving a car by honking the horn. One should appear angry when punishing a child, but never punish a child out of anger.

Anger can be controlled. Imagine that someone bumps into you very hard; you start to get angry and then you turn around to see that it is a blind man - or that special person you've always wanted to meet - or a 6'6" bully. Your perspective immediately changes and you might find that asking, "Did you hurt yourself?" is a more appropriate or judicious response.

Other tips on controlling anger:

  1. Realize that anger is counter-productive and commit to not getting angry.

  2. Appreciate how insane you look when you do get angry (perhaps carry a pocket mirror and refuse to get angry until you take it out to watch yourself!)

  3. Set up a fine system and pay someone (preferably someone you don't like) a large fine if you get angry.

  4. Imagine that you just won the Lottery - would you still get angry over this trifle? (If you don't get angry, you have just won the Lottery in the battle to control your behavior!)

  5. Delay getting angry - yes, count to 10 - or leave the room before exploding.

  6. If you do get angry, cut it short and be sure to apologize and set yourself to do better in the future.

Torah Portion of the Week

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 Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"Do not kindle a fire on the Sabbath." (Exodus 35:3)

In addition to its literal meaning, what lesson for life can we learn from this verse?

The Sheloh (an acronym for the title of his commentary SHnei Luchos Habris - Two Tables of the Covenant) writes that this verse alludes to the fire of anger and disputes. Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian writes that "ideally a person should never feel angry; someone who nonetheless feels angry, should at least not speak out of anger. On Friday, in the rush to finish the Shabbat preparations on time, a person is apt to become short-tempered. On Shabbat when the entire family sits at the table together, parents might become angry with young children for not behaving properly. herefore, special care should be taken on the Shabbat to control one's anger."


Hundreds of families in Israel are unable to afford groceries for Yom Tov (the holiday). This group gives them coupons redeemable only for food. They arrange with the supermarket to get an extra 10% on every dollar you give them. I know they are legitimate and I give them money! Send your tax-deductible contribution to:

Keren Y&Y
805-A Roosevelt Court
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

Fulfill the special Mitzvah of Maos Chitim, helping the poor for Pesach!

CANDLE LIGHTING - February 28:
(or go to

Jerusalem  4:58
Guatemala 5:51  Hong Kong 6:08  Honolulu 6:16
J'Burg 6:22  London 5:19  Los Angeles 5:29
Melbourne 7:40  Miami 6:03  Moscow 5:44

New York 5:27  Singapore  7:03


Anger ...
is one letter away from danger.

In honor of my children
Robin Ware, Jeffrey, Gary and Scott Becher
With Love,
Sheldon Becher

1 2 3 2,901

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