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Lech Lecha 5765

Lech Lecha (Genesis 12-17 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   A pundit once said, "Marriage is grand. ... Divorce is a hundred grand!" In this week's Torah portion we have the marriage of Abraham and Sarah, one of the all time great marriages. Perhaps the following words of wisdom from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin will help someone you know have a happier marriage!


1. Keep your mind on your main goal, which is to have a happy marriage. Say and do what will enable you and your spouse to have a happy marriage. Avoid the opposite. Everything else is commentary.

2. Keep asking yourselves, "What can we do to have a happy, loving atmosphere in our home?"

3. Focus on giving, rather than taking. Say and do as many things as possible to meet your spouse's needs.

4. Keep doing and saying things that will give your spouse a sense of importance.

5. Frequently ask yourself, "What positive things can I say and do to put my (husband or wife) in a positive emotional state?"

6. Before speaking, clarify the outcome you want. The meaning of your communication is the response you actually get. If the first thing you say is not achieving your goal, change your approach. Remember that mutual respect and happiness is your real goal.

7. Show appreciation and gratitude in as many ways as possible. Say something appreciative a few times a day.

8. Be a good listener. Understand your spouse from his or her point of view.

9. Be considerate of the feelings and needs of your spouse. Think of ways that you have lacked consideration and be resolved to increase your level of consideration.

10. Instead of blaming and complaining, think of positive ways to motivate your spouse. If your first strategies aren't effective, think of creative ways.

11. Give up unrealistic expectations. Don't expect your spouse to be perfect and don't make comparisons.

12. Don't cause pain with words. If your spouse speaks to you in ways that cause you pain, choose outcome wording, "Let's speak to each other in ways that are mutually respectful."

13. Be willing to compromise. Be willing to do something you would rather not do in return for similar behavior from your spouse.

14. Write a list of ways that you have benefited from being married to your spouse. Keep adding to the list and reread it frequently.

15. Write a list of your spouse's positive patterns and qualities. Keep adding to the list and read it frequently.

16. Keep thinking about what you can do to bring out the best qualities of your spouse. Reinforce those qualities with words and action.

17. Focus on finding solutions to any problems that arise. Be solution oriented. Don't just blame and complain. Don't focus on who is more wrong. For a happy marriage, work together to find mutually acceptable solutions.

18. Remember your finest moments. What did you say and do when you felt best about each other? Increase them.

19. Look for positive activities you can do together.

20. Live in the present. What went wrong in the past is the past. You create the present and future with your thoughts, words, and actions right now.

Lastly, it takes 2 to argue. It's up to you to have an

Say nothing until your spouse is through venting and then with a soft voice (as King Solomon said, "A soft voice turns away wrath") tell your spouse, "You've made some good points. I need to think about them. Let's discuss this again later." Don't get drawn into an arguement. Walk away if need be. It's better than fighting.

If you would like more wisdom for a happier marriage, I highly recommend buying Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's book, Marriage - A wise and sensitive guide to making any marriage even better, available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.

Torah Portion of the Week
Lech Lecha

The Almighty commands Avram (later renamed Avraham) to leave Haran and go
to the land of Canaan (later renamed the Land of Israel). The Almighty
then gives Avram an eternal message to the Jewish people and to the
nations of the world:

"I will bless those who bless you and he who curses you I will curse."

Finding a famine, Avram travels to Egypt (once renamed to be part of the United Arab Republic) asking Sarai (later renamed Sarah), to say she is his sister so they won't kill him to marry her (the Egyptians were particular not to commit adultery).

Pharaoh evicts Avram from Egypt after attempting to take Sarai for a wife. They settle in Hebron (also known as Kiryat Arba) and his nephew Lot settles in Sodom. Avram rescues Lot, who was taken captive in the Battle of the Four Kings against the Five Kings.

Entering into a covenant with the Almighty (all covenants with the Almighty are eternal, never to be abrogated or replaced by new covenants), Avram is told that his descendants will be enslaved for 400 years and that his descendants (via Isaac, "... through Isaac will offspring be considered yours" Gen. 21:8) will be given the land "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." (I do not think that this part of the story made it into the Koran...)

Sarai, childless, gives her handmaid Hagar to Avram for a wife so that he will have children. Ishmael (the alter zedeh of our Arab cousins) is born.

The covenant of brit mila, religious circumcision, is made (read 17:3-8), God changes their names to Avraham and Sarah and tells them that Sarah will give birth to Yitzhak (Isaac). Avraham circumcises all the males of his household.


Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And He (Avram) relocated from there to the mountain in the east of Bait El and pitched his tent." (Genesis 12:8)

The word for tent in Hebrew is "ohel"; "his tent" is "ohelo." Why does the Torah spell "his tent" with the feminine suffix, the letter "hai"?

The Midrash comments that this teaches us that Avram first pitched his wife's tent and then his own. From here we learn that when a husband needs to do something for himself and for his wife, he should take care of his wife's need first. Avram understood that there is a higher level of pleasure in honoring and helping his wife than in having his tent pitched first!

(or go to

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(& a happy husband makes a happy wife!)

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