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Tetzaveh 5761

Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  With Purim being a time of joy and
gladness creating love and goodwill amongst Jews, I felt now is the
time to share with you my absolutely favorite joke:

A man walks
into a bar, chats with his friends and then goes to the bar where he
orders a bottle of Coke. Says the man to the bartender, "My friends
tell me that you are a betting man." Responds the bartender, "I've
been known to make a wager now and then."

The man smiles and says, "I'll bet you $10 that I can bite my own eye!" The bartender figures the guy's crazy and it's an easy $10 ... so he accepts the bet. The man takes out his false eye and bites it! The bartender starts to fume, but the man calms him down, "Look, don't be upset. I'll tell you what. I'll bet you double or nothing that I can bite my other eye!" The bartender figures it's an easy $20. For sure, the man does not have two false eyes! He accepts the bet.

The man takes out his false teeth and bites his other eye! Now the bartender is really starting to steam, but the man calms him down again. "Do you see this shot glass?", asks the man. "I'll bet you $100 that I can place that shot glass at the end of the bar, shake up this bottle of Coke and get every last drop in the shot glass."

"You're on!" says the bartender with glee in his voice.

The man shakes up Coke bottle, slips his thumb from the opening and proceeds to spray the Coke in a circular motion all over the bar, the mirror behind the bar, the bartender and ... not one drop falls into the shot glass! The bartender is laughing hilariously as he picks up the $100 and puts it into his pocket. Then the bartender begins to think. The man is definitely not crazy. There was no way he could win that bet. What's going on here?

As the man starts to walk back to his friends, the bartender calls him back. "Wait a minute! I don't get it. There's no way you could have won that bet. What's going on here?" The man replies, "You see my group of friends? They not only told me that you are a betting man, but that you have a bit of temper. I bet them $500 that I could spray your bar with Coke and that you wouldn't get angry ... and another $1,000 that you would be laughing and smiling while I did it!"

I love the joke because it is clever ... and that it demonstrates that we have the power to control our response to what happens to us. The next time you find yourself getting angry, stop and ask yourself, "Who might be betting on me?" And if you stop yourself from getting angry, then guess what? You won the bet!

Portion of the Week


The Torah continues this week with the command to make for use in the Mishkan, the Portable Sanctuary -- oil for the Menorah and clothes for the Cohanim, the Priests. It then gives instruction for the consecration of the Cohanim and the Outer Altar. The portion concludes with instructions for constructing the Incense Altar.


Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states, "And it (the m'eel, a robe worn by the High Priest) shall be on Aharon for officiating; and its sound (from bells along the bottom) shall be heard when he goes into the sanctuary before the Lord, and when he comes out, that he will not die" (Exodus 28:35). What lesson can we learn from the bells on the m'eel?

The m'eel was one of the eight garments of the High Priest. Whenever the High Priest would enter the Bait Hamikdosh (the Temple in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount), his presence would be announced by the jingling of the bells on his garment. Rabbi Yochanan learned from this the practice of always knocking on the door of his house before entering. Rabbi Akiva advised his son, Rabbi Yehoshua, "Don't enter your own house suddenly (that is, without knocking); all the more so, the house of your neighbor" (Talmud Bavli, Pesachim 112a).

(for more on Purim:

an excerpt from "The Face Behind the Mask" by Dina Coopersmith

Purim teaches us how to relate to God in a time when seas don't split, when bushes don't burn, when plagues don't befall our enemies. The story of Purim occurred after the destruction of the First Temple, when the era of prophecy was coming to a close. People no longer saw open miracles. It was a time of concealment.

Each event in the Megillah is natural and possible, and seems to be orchestrated entirely by human beings and their choices:

  1. A king gets drunk and decides to call for his wife to appear before the guests. That could happen.

  2. The wife, Vashti, refuses to appear before the king. The king decides to kill her. Esther is chosen queen. That's possible.

  3. Haman chooses to kill Mordechai and ask permission from king. Could be.

  4. The king has insomnia one night and remembers an old favor he needs to repay to Mordechai. Possible.

But when ALL of these incidents happen to coincide, when ALL the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle come together in one huge "coincidence," they form nothing short of a miracle. It may be hidden, but a directing force becomes obvious all the same.

Each event which Haman thought he controlled, turned out to bring about his downfall. His suggestion to kill Vashti, the queen, caused the positioning of Esther as redeemer. His suggestion to use the kings robes and horse -- born of his desire to honor himself by parading around on the king's horse -- became the perfect reward for Mordechai's deed. And the hand-built gallows he intended for Mordechai were those used for his own hanging.

Throughout the Megillah story, God directs events and takes advantage of people's free will choices to form a tapestry of purpose and destiny -- the redemption of the Jewish people. Throughout the entire story of Purim, the name of God isn't mentioned. It is an era of hiddeness of God's face. But more than ever, it is clear how God is running the show. There are simply too many "coincidences." The links fit together too well.

The Hebrew word, Olam, "world," comes from the root ne'elam, "hidden." God's name doesn't appear. But when all is said and done, His presence is recognized everywhere. He is not concealed. He only appears to be. It is up to us to find Him in every event of our lives.


Jerusalem  5:05
Guatemala 5:54  Hong Kong 6:09  Honolulu 6:20
J'Burg 6:12  London 5:36  Los Angeles 5:38
Melbourne 7:32  Miami 6:09  Montreal 5:34

Moscow 6:01  New York 5:38  Seattle 5:48
Singapore  7:02


Life is:
10% what happens to you, and
90% how you view it.

Dedicated by...

In Loving Memory of
Bruce Benson
Friend and Pillar of the
Jewish Community of
Kobe, Japan

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