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Shmini 5770

Shmini (Leviticus 9-11 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Recently, I was asked if I would share again the Mighty Atom's 12 Rules for Raising Delinquent Children. Who was the Mighty Atom? You may need to ask your parents or grandparents, but there was a time almost every Jew in the United States knew his name and his exploits. Joseph Greenstein, known as the Mighty Atom, was the quintessential strongman!

The Mighty Atom was a legend in his time. Though only 5'4" tall, he'd bite through nails, pull three fire trucks down the road, prevent an airplane from taking off with a rope tied to his hair. He was amazing! And for a generation of Jews - and probably for a generation of anti-Semites, too - he single-handedly changed the image of the nebichal (pitiful and powerless) Jew. He taught the power of the mind and the power of self-improvement.

When he was a child, Joseph overheard the doctor tell his mother that he was so sickly that she shouldn't expect him to live to be a teenager. So, he ran off and joined the circus. Saved by the circus strongman (who happened to be Jewish) from being beaten to death by a vicious anti-Semite, Joe was "adopted" by the strongman who taught him how to eat properly, exercise and most important, how to concentrate the powers of his mind. Not only did he live to his teenage years, not only did he live into his 80's, but Joseph Greenstein went on to become one of history's greatest strongmen - The Mighty Atom!

It is difficult to find a copy of his biography, The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein - The Mighty Atom, World's Strongest Man by Ed Spielman - though it is well worth the effort. Try your library. For a short article on Wikipedia, go to

The Mighty Atom was not just brawn; he was a powerful intellect and a wise man. He also had an excellent sense of humor. Many years ago when my friend Bob Grover went to meet the Mighty Atom, the grandfather of his bride to be, the Mighty Atom took a horseshoe, twisted it with his bare hands and gave it to Bob saying, "I know you'll be good to her." Below are words of wisdom on the art of child-rearing.


How To Ruin Your Children -
Guaranteed 100% Infallible

  1. Begin in infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe that the world owes him a living.
  2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he is cute. It will also encourage him to pick up cuter phrases.
  3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he's 21 and then let him decide for himself.
  4. Avoid use of the word "wrong." It may develop into a guilt complex. Later, when he is arrested, he can conclude that society is against him and that he is being persecuted.
  5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around - books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him, so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility upon others.
  6. Let him read any printed matter that he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.
  7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when their home is broken up later.
  8. Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
  9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
  10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
  11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying: "I never could do anything with him."
  12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it.

For more on "Raising Children" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

Concluding the 7 days of inauguration for the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), Aaron, the High Priest, brings sacrifices for himself and the entire nation. Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aaron, bring an incense offering on their own initiative, and are consumed by a heavenly fire (perhaps the only time when someone did something wrong and was immediately hit by "lightning").

The Cohanim are commanded not to serve while intoxicated. The inaugural service is completed. God then specifies the species which are kosher to eat: mammals (those that have cloven hoofs and chew their cud), fish (those with fins and scales), birds (certain non-predators), and certain species of locusts. The portion concludes with the laws of spiritual defilement from contact with the carcasses of certain animals.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah commands the Cohanim that: "Wine and other intoxicating beverages you shall not drink" (Lev. 10:9) before coming to do the service. The Midrash Vayikra Rabbah (a collection of homiletical stories and insights) warns against alcoholism: "If a person drinks too much wine, he will end up selling all that he owns to keep up his addiction to drinking."

The Midrash continues: The children of a drunk were worried that they would soon be penniless. They tied up their father when he was drunk and placed him in a cemetery; they hoped that when he became sober he would be shocked by the experience and become aware of the dangers of drinking to excess.

That day a caravan carrying vats of wine was attacked and sped past the cemetery to outrun the attackers. A barrel rolled off the wagon and when the man woke up from his drunken sleep, he was surprised to find the spigot of the barrel next to his face. And he continued to drink.

The Almighty leads us in the direction we desire to go. The greater your desire to do something, the more successful you will be. Therefore, choose well what you desire in life. When you wish to accomplish in spiritual matters, build up a strong desire to accomplish and the Almighty will lead you in that path!



"There are three crowns - the crown of Torah,
the crown of priesthood, and the crown of kingship;
but the crown of a good name surpasses all of them."

--  Rabbi Shimon  


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Children don't care what their parents know
unless they know that their parents care.


With Deep Appreciation to

Elan Cohen



Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Click here for Rabbi Packouz's bio
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