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Vayigash 5767

Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING! The poem last week mistakenly attributed to A. Nonymous is actually written by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan. My apologies for lack of proper attribution!

There is an old Jewish saying, "If someone calls you a donkey, ignore him. If two people call you a donkey ... buy a saddle." For better or worse, we are often highly influenced by what others think of us and what they tell us about what they think of us. How can we bolster our self-image so that we can lead a happy, productive life?

My beloved friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin has written an amazing new book -Building Your Self-Image and the Self-Image of Others (available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242).

We all go around with a little tape playing in our mind. It might be repeating over and over again, "I'm no good. My parents don't approve of me. I'll never amount to anything. And I am ugly!" We have the power to change that tape to play, "I am a valuable, capable human being. I am able to accomplish what I set out to do."

Self-image is not something that one needs years to build up or repair. It can be gained with a moment's insight. Think about it: If God created the world and mankind, then what better imprimatur for your existence? In the 60's there was a poster which had a picture of a child and a caption, "God doesn't make junk."

Self-image is not only important for how you treat yourself, it is important for how you treat others. When the Torah writes, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" it would be fair to say, "If you don't love yourself, then please, don't love me!"

For decades, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin has been motivating people to believe in themselves and to realize their potential. As a counselor, he has transformed the lives of hundreds; through his books and lectures, he has motivated and inspired many thousands. Rabbi Pliskin explains the emotional dynamics of success. He shares insights and stories. Most importantly, he gives us practical tips on how to believe in ourselves — and how we can get others to believe in themselves.

From recognizing our abilities and appreciating our talents to coping with setbacks and dealing with failures, this book presents a well thought out program of strengthening one's sense of self. It can help you and those around have more pleasure in life and a greater sense of self-fulfillment.

I asked Rabbi Pliskin for his favorite section to share with you. The excerpt below is from chapter 1, "Your Best Moments are Your Best Teachers."

"We each have moments that are special in our lives, moments when we go beyond what we are usually able to do. Moments when we are especially spiritual and elevated, self-confident and courageous, happy and joyful, kind and compassionate, calm and serene, persuasive and influential, insightful and intuitive, forgiving and understanding, and creative and innovative.

"During our best moments, we go beyond our own selves in almost unbelievable ways. Each best moment in our life sheds light on what we can possibly do and who we can possibly be. Our best moments raise our self-image to a degree that our ordinary moments can't and don't. There are many stories of how in emergencies some people exhibit qualities that are usually hidden even from themselves. Mothers lifted cars to save their children. Individuals were quick-witted to save themselves or others from potential harm or danger.

"Be aware of some best moments that you have already experienced. Because that best moment was out of the ordinary for you, you might not yet have added the significance of that moment to your ongoing self-image. Make your best moments part of your identity. Look back at your life history: Which best moments can you now add to your self-image? 'I am a person who once...' This will help you realize that you will be able to do even more special things in the future.

"Think about some great things you can do now or the near future to make a breakthrough about your self-image. Even if you do this just once, you now have this accomplishment as part of who you are. 'I am a person who did this difficult feat.' "

This is a book that we can all benefit from. I think it might especially be an excellent book to have lying on a table where a teenager might see it and pick it up ...

For more on "Improving Your Self-Image" go to!

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Torah Portion of the Week

We left off last week with Joseph's pronouncement that he was keeping Benjamin as a slave for stealing his wine cup. Judah steps forward to challenge the decision and offers himself as a slave instead of Benjamin. Joseph is overcome with emotion, clears the room of all Egyptians and then reveals his identity to his unsuspecting brothers.

The brothers are shocked! They suspect Joseph's intentions, but accept his offer to bring the extended family to Egypt. Jacob is initially numb and disbelieving of the news, but becomes very excited to see his son.

During the famine, Joseph buys up all of the property and people in Egypt for Pharaoh with the grain stored during the seven good years. The Torah recounts the 70 souls of the Jewish people which went down to Egypt. Jacob reunites with Joseph, meets Pharaoh and settles with the family in the Goshen district.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?' And his brothers could not answer him because they trembled before him." (Genesis 45:3)

How many words does it take to penetrate someone's heart to change? How long must it take for someone to change?

These words of Joseph were rebuke to his brothers. They had thought evil of Joseph and now they realized that his prophetic dreams of rulership and power were true. They instantaneously realized that they were previously wrong in their judgment of him. A mistake they had lived with for many years was cleared up with just two Hebrew words "Ani Yosef" - I am Joseph. The brothers changed their minds in just one moment.

There is no minimum to touching another person's heart. When what you say - or write - is powerful enough, you can give people great awareness very quickly.


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The only real nobility is in
being superior to your former self.
-- Whitney Young, civil rights leader

In Memory on 22nd Yahrzeit
Marilyn K. Smith
with love, David, Jill and family


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