Vayeshev 5767

June 23, 2009

< 1 min read


Vayeshev (Genesis 37-40 )

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GOOD MORNING! Who doesn't want a fabulous marriage? It takes wisdom not just to make a marriage work, but to make it filled with happiness. My friend, David LeVine, brought together some of the wisest, most experienced counselors and lecturers and created Keep The Ring - How to Make Your Marriage Sparkle Forever (available at Keep The Ring - How to Make Your Marriage Sparkle Forever(available at (David previously published Get the Ring: How to Find and Keep the Right One for Life - available at

Within it are the tools to build a deep, last relationship and to help your marriage grow. Included are:

  1. How to stop fighting ... and start arguing your way to harmony.

  2. The 13 ways to get and stay connected.

  3. How to cope with - and grow from - the bad times.

  4. How to get pleasure by giving pleasure.

  5. How a spiritual connection helps the marital connection.

  6. How your differences can bring you together.

To give you a taste of the practical wisdom that can benefit your marriage, I share with you some excerpts from Rebbitzen Tziporah Heller, internationally renowned scholar, writer and lecturer. Rebbetzin Heller shares the pages of Keep the Ring with Rabbi Aryeh Pamensky (, Rabbi Mordecai Rottman, Rabbi Dov Heller, Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen and Rabbi Shimon Green. Here is a very small portion of what Rebbetzin Heller writes on "What Makes a Great Marriage?":

"When people marry, they want it to work. Their commitment is always real. Nobody walks down the aisle saying, 'Well, if it works it works and if it doesn't, that's the way it goes.' We want it to work. Yet we see that many marriages fail. They fail bitterly and end in divorce, and the ones that don't end in divorce are not always successful.

"A good marriage and a great marriage have nothing to do with two perfect people being bonded to each other. A great marriage is one in which two people build each other.

"The easiest way to delude yourself into thinking that you're building something is by destroying it. For instance, if a woman would like her husband to be more sensitive, the easiest way to go about it, not the way that works the best, just the easiest way, is to say, 'You're so insensitive. You live for yourself. You act like there's nobody else who's here other than you.'

"Is that going to make him more sensitive? No. That's going to make him either retreat into defense or to retreat from the unpleasantness of emotional encounter. The way to build is to show your trust and belief in the other person. We all know this in ourselves, the way we felt in our early lives as somebody said to us, 'That's a great picture.'

"In order for a marriage to be great, for each one to build the other and to build themselves in the process, each partner must at least see the other person. We are often so consumed with our own needs and desires that we think the other person doesn't love us because they aren't focused on us. They're focused exclusively on their own needs. Loving means going beyond having a magnified picture of self. It means including the other person in the picture, so that when you say 'me' it includes the other person as well."

There is a story of Rabbi Aryeh Levine who accompanied his wife to the doctor. When the doctor asked, "What is the problem?" Reb Aryeh responded, "My wife's foot hurts us." If we can make our spouse's needs as real to ourselves as our own needs - and then focus on meeting those needs, there is hope for happiness. When two people devote themselves to giving to each other, it is a recipe for happiness. When two people fixate on themselves and what they can take or receive from the relationship, it is a recipe for misery. If you want happiness, you might consider getting a copy of Keep The Ring - How to Make Your Marriage Sparkle Forever.

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CHECK OUT: for insights into the holiday, Hanukah songs, the blessings over the candles; even animated directions on how to light the Hanukah candles each night!

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Torah Portion of the Week

This week's portion includes four stories: (1) The selling of Yosef (Joseph) as a slave 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).

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And one brother said to another, behold this dreamer (Joseph) is coming." (Genesis 37:19)

They were concerned that Joseph was trying to usurp the birthright from Reuven as expressed in Joseph's dreams of the family bowing down to him.

Rashi (Genesis 49:5) states that the two brothers here are Shimon and Levi.

Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin noted that Shimon and Levi were the ones who were zealous to save the birthright and future monarchy for Reuven. Reuven, himself, however, tried to save Joseph from their hands. Why?

Rabbi Shmuel Walkin commented on this that whenever a person's bias is involved, he should not trust himself. It is easy for that bias to blind a person's intellect. Therefore, Reuven, who was the firstborn son and had the most to lose from Joseph becoming the ruler, avoided doing anything to harm Joseph and even planned to save him. Our lesson: Watch out when our own bias is involved in a decision!

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Last week I left you with the following question: If enough oil was found to burn in the Temple Menorah for one day and the oil lasted for eight days, then the miracle was really only for the seven additional days of lighting. Why then do we celebrate Chanukah for eight days and not seven?

Here are a few answers mentioned in the Book of Our Heritage (available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242).

  1. The first day commemorates the military victory. The other 7 days are for the miracle of the oil.

  2. The discovery of the one remaining jar of oil marked with the Cohen Gadol's seal was a miracle. One day is celebrated for this.

  3. The discovered oil was divided into eight portions to last the eight days required for the production of new oil. Until new oil could be produced, the Menorah would be lit only briefly each night. Miraculously, the small portion of oil burned the entire day. Thus, each of the eight days was a miracle.

  4. All the oil was emptied into the Menorah, but after the lamps had burned all night, they were found the next morning still filled with oil. Therefore, each day was a miracle.

  5. The very fact that our ancestors did not despair from lighting the lamps the first day, though they knew that they would not be able to light again until new pure oil could be produced in eight days' time, was a great miracle. It is this optimism which enables the Jewish people to endure through all generations and every exile!

It is fascinating that most of what Western Culture holds dear - sports, art, music - comes from the Hellenistic influence. Hanukah was not a nationalistic battle for political independence. It was a war for values. Ever wonder what the world would have lost had the Jews not beaten the Greeks?

All of the values that we hold dear for an utopian society come from our
Torah heritage: (1) Respect for Life (2) World Peace (3) Justice and Equality
(4) Universal Education (5) Family Values (6) Social Responsibility. If you
are intrigued, then check out the free downloadable Aish Hanukah movie at .

(or go to

Jerusalem 4:02
Guatemala 5:36 - Hong Kong 5:22 - Honolulu 5:34
J'Burg 6:37 - London 3:33 - Los Angeles 4:27
Melbourne 8:14 - Mexico City 5:42 - Miami 5:18

New York 4:11 - Singapore 6:43 - Toronto 4:23


You can't hold someone down
without staying down with them
-- Booker T. Washington

With Deep Appreciation to
Daniel & Lillian Kamis


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