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Vayeshev 5761

Vayeshev (Genesis 37-40 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  A friend of mine told me that as he grows older he experiences a personal miracle on Chanukah. He eats one potato latka -- and it burns for eight days.

Raising children is perhaps the only job where by the time one becomes experienced, he's out of a job. Even the best of intentions and the best plans sometimes end up with the wrong results. My dear friend, Marc Sheridan, once related how he gives his daughters an allowance, say $3 -- two to save and spend, one to give to tzedakah (charity). Marc figured that when it came time that they were earning money and they were obligated to give a tenth to tzedakah, that it would seem like a real bargain.

I was so impressed with the idea that I decided to try it out on my five year old. For weeks, each day I would give him three shiny pennies -- two to save or spend and one to give to put in the pushkah (tzedakah box). Everything was great until one day someone gave him $10 for his birthday and I told him that he should give $1 to tzedakah. The kid freaked out! "What do you mean? I only give a penny to tzedakah, not a dollar!" The best laid plans of mice and men...

It has been said that a parent only owes his child three things:
example, example and example.

Perhaps the following piece will give some insight
into what kids learn from us:


If a child lives with criticism ..................he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility ...................he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear ..........................he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with jealousy...................he learns to feel guilt.
If a child lives with tolerance .................he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement ......he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with praise ......................he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance .............he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval ..................he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition ..............he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty ...................he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness ...................he learns justice.
If a child lives with security ...................he learns to trust in himself and others.
If a child lives with friendliness .............he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.

What is your child living with?

Portion of the Week


This week's portion includes four stories:

  1. The selling of Yosef (Joseph) by his brothers -- which eventually positioned Yosef to be second in command in Egypt and enabled him to save the known world from famine

  2. The indiscretion of Yehuda (Judah) with Tamar (Tamar) ...

  3. The attempted seduction of Yosef by Potifar's wife, which ends with her framing Yosef and having him imprisoned

  4. Yosef interprets the dreams of his fellow prisoners, the wine steward (who was reinstated and forgot to put in a good word for Yosef) and the baker (who was hanged).


Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states, "And Yisroel ("Israel" -- the name given Jacob when he wrestled with the angel. Translation: "for you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome") loved Yosef more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colors." (Gen. 37:3) What can we learn about raising our children from this verse?

The Talmud (Tractate Shabbat 10b, see Tosfot), comments on the above verse that parents must never favor one child over another. When Yakov gave the many-colored coat only to Yosef, the brothers became jealous. The eventual outcome was that our forefathers went down to Egypt and were enslaved.

Parents must always be on the alert that their actions or words should not create jealousy. The consequences of jealousy among brothers and sisters can be tragic; we must be careful to avoid doing anything that will breed it. Statements such as, "Why don't you study with the diligence of your brother?" or "Why aren't you as well-behaved as your sister?" are bound to cause ill-feelings.

Some parents might think that their children love and respect one another to such an extent that they are incapable of feeling jealousy towards each other. However, just because a child does not overtly show envy, does not mean that envy is not present.

CANDLE LIGHTING - December 22:

Jerusalem  4:03
Guatemala 5:21  Hong Kong 5:29  Honolulu 5:36
J'Burg 6:41  London 3:35  Los Angeles 4:31
Melbourne 8:24  Miami 5:18  Moscow 3:40

New York 4:15  Singapore 6:47


Don't worry if your children don't listen to you ...
they see everything you do.

Dedicated by...

With Special Thanks to
Philip & Cynthia Wolmans
for dedicating this edition

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