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Toldot 5764

Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!  Do you ever get the feeling that the media is biased against Israel? For instance, if National Public Radio states that the situation in Israel is becoming worse because "70% of the Palestinians favor suicide bombings and 70% of the Israelis now approve of targeted killings." Is there something puzzling about NPR equating a population that is 70% in favor of terrorism with a population that is 70% in favor of a measure to end or reduce terrorism?

Did you ever wish that you could do something about slanted reporting? As Mark Twain once said, "If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed." Most of us would do something if we could, but throw up our hands and say, "What can I do?"

Two years ago in London students of Aish HaTorah were talking with Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt right before Kol Nidre. They were lamenting how Israel was being bashed by the press. They agreed to meet after breaking the fast to discuss what they could do. In their discussion, it was expressed that only through feedback - and lots of it - pointing out disapproval of media bias and inaccuracies and clearly demonstrating both, would the media pay attention. This small group of 25 came up with what has become When there is an article or news clip with bias or fallacies, the members receive an email with the article and/or website of the original piece, an analysis, a sample email to send, and the email addresses of the writer, editor and publisher. To date over 70,000 people have subscribed to make a difference for Israel. (You can subscribe!)

Why does the media present biased or inaccurate reporting? Certain media have an agenda against Israel and/or Jews. Other media, however, are just interested in increasing readership or viewership - and selling ads. What if you turned into a basketball game and Miami is trouncing New York 87 to 17, would you watch the game? It would be boring. The media strives to keep the game interesting by leveling the playing field - whether or not there is truth in their statements or fairness in their presentation. Why is a suicide bomber of the World Trade Center Tower a "terrorist" while a suicide bomber of a cafe in Israel a "militant" or "freedom fighter"? In an effort to appear balanced, the media distorts reality.

Have you ever wondered why so much news is focused on Israel which represents 1/6 of 1% of the surrounding Arab lands? If Israel seals off the areas to keep suicide bombers from entering Israel, the media is ready to write articles about Arab suffering that the roadblocks produce. While the suffering is indeed unfortunate, where are the articles focusing on Arab suffering at the hands of the Palestinian authority? Focusing on Israel riles people and sells papers; focusing on the Palestinian Authority corruption is passé (and might get the reporter killed. On Sept. 11, journalists' lives were threatened if they released footage of Palestinians celebrating the attacks. Did you see the film? I didn't.)

Recently, two students at Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem came up with an idea. Why not use the concept of to focus the media and politicians on real problems in the Arab world -problems of corruption, oppression, human rights violations, abuse of children. Let the press focus on genuine problems of the Arabs rather than blowing out of proportion sidebars of the Israeli-Arab situation. They created (You can subscribe!)

For instance, are you aware that: Palestinian Authority corruption is affecting lives:

  1. The Palestinian Authority has $30 billion in foreign bank accounts.

  2. According to the International Monetary Fund, Yasser Arafat has $900 million in a secret bank account and he sends a $100,000 monthly allowance to his wife in Paris.

  3. The London Daily Telegraph revealed that the P.A. has real estate holdings in London, Paris and elsewhere worth a staggering $50 billion.

Meanwhile, 70% of Palestinians are living in poverty! Palestinian officials are lining their pockets, while decrying their plight to the world!

Do you ever hear people spouting the idea that Israel is not interested in peace? Ridiculous. Two rabbis at Aish in Jerusalem investigated the facts and put together "Relentless - The Struggle for Peace in Israel" - a powerful one-hour documentary using primary source video clips to examine the history of the Mideast conflict and how the peace process unraveled in a surge of violence. Natan Sharansky called it "a must-see for anyone who cares about a better future for both the Palestinians and Israelis."

In its first months of release, 400 large event screenings drew over 50,000 attendees, who reported a 7-fold increase in support for Israel after viewing the film. Relentless presents the 4 key points of the Oslo accords - all of which Israel abided by and the Arabs violated. There is a grassroots movement to show Relentless to 1 million people - in movie theaters, private homes, on cable television and editions in Spanish and other languages. (Learn how you can show it at )

Does it seem curious that these momentous efforts to help Israel come from Aish HaTorah, a Jewish educational outreach organization? Aish HaTorah instills within our students the concept of Tikun Olam -personal responsibility for the world. If you see a problem, don't say, "I can't do something about it." Instead, ask "What can I do about it?" One person can change the world for the worse or for the better. With the Almighty's help we will succeed in strengthening Jewish identity and support for Israel.

Torah Portion of the Week

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

Yaakov impersonates Esav on the counsel of his mother in order to receive the blessing for the oldest son by his blind father, Yitzhak. Esav, angry because of his brother's deception which caused him to lose the firstborn blessings, plans to kill Yaakov, so Yaakov 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 (Ishmael).


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the servants of Yitzchak (Isaac) dug in the valley and found there a well of fresh water." (Genesis 16:19)

Why does the Torah elaborate on the wells Yitzchak found?

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, explains that this teaches us that we should not give up in frustration when we start something and run into difficulties. Do not despair. When Yitzchak dug and did not find water, he kept digging in other places until he finally found what he was seeking. When others quarreled with him and took over his wells, he still did not become discouraged. He continued his digging until he finally found a well with water that he was able to use in peace and he called the area Rechovot.

There are three rules for success in life:

  1. Initiative - you have to try.
  2. Perseverance - you have to keep trying.
  3. The Almighty smiles upon your efforts.

Don't give up too soon! Keep trying and you will, God willing, succeed.

CANDLE LIGHTING - November 28:
(or go to

Jerusalem  3:59
Guatemala 5:11  Hong Kong 5:20  Honolulu 5:29
J'Burg 6:26  London 3:39  Los Angeles 4:25
Melbourne 7:00  Miami 5:11  Moscow 3:50

New York 4:13  Singapore  6:37


Everyone has a right to his ideas
but that doesn't mean
that everyone's ideas are right.

With Special Thanks to
Lydia and Sholom Mark
for dedicating this edition

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