The Time Machine (Vayigash, 5775)

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Going back to source, we discover a level of aliveness that transports us forward into the most progressive and modern places we can get without adulterating the essence of who we are and what we stand for. Vayigash 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:11 ____________________________ Context Pharoh instructs Yoseif and his brothers to go back to Canaan and bring their father and his household to Egypt where, thanks to Yoseif’s strategies, there is no famine. He instructs them to take government carriages and use them to transport their father and his..

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Hishtadlut: Invest or Gamble? (Miketz, 5775)

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Hishtadlut: Invest or Gamble? You increase your odds by buying two lottery tickets, you do not increase your odds nor reduce your risk if you double your investment in the same instrument. אשרי הגבר אשר שם ה' מבטחו (תהילים מ׳) Fortunate is a man who sees Hashem as his security (Psalms 40). Mikeitz 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:10  _____________________ Context You are a renowned consultant and financial manager. A threatened boss has you arrested, tried and imprisoned on a serious trumped-up charge. Your legal remedies are exhauste..

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Inspire a Universe (Vayeishev 5775)

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Often we feel critical of people who seek recognition for the kindness they do. But the Torah’s view of the subject is counter-intuitive and surprising. עולם חסד יבנה (תהילים פ"ט) A universe can be constructed from acts of kindness (Psalms 89)  Vayeishev 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:9 ____________________________ Context Yoseif’s brothers decide that his repetitive attempts to alienate them from their father and displace them as spiritual heirs to their father’s legacy, was a capital offense. Just before they execute him, Reuvein, th..

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"The Wisdom of Seduction" - To provide the naive with slyness (Vayishlach 5775)

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לתת לפתאים ערמה (משלי א׳ ד׳)   To provide the naive with slyness Vayishlach 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:8 ____________________________ Context On his journey home, Yaacov gets news that his twin brother Eisav has set out to meet him with a large and aggressive army. Yaacov fears that despite G-d’s promise of protection in the previous parsha, he might not have lived up to G-d’s expectations while he was living with Lavan, and the promise may therefore not be valid any more. In addition to praying for his and his large family’s safety, ..

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Nutrition vs. Nourishment - For life is nourished by more than bread alone (Vayeitzei 5775)

by in Midrash Series 5775, Vayetze .

כי לא על הלחם לבדו יחיה האדם For life is nourished by more than bread alone Vayeitzei 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:7 Context About to cross the border of the Holy Land on his way to Haran in flight from his raging brother, Ya’acov takes a nap on the spot which, unbeknown to him at the time, was to become the Temple Mount. The dazzling beauty of the ladder dream tends to eclipse the deep experiences of Yaacov when he awoke. Shocked that he had slept in so holy a place he marks the spot and makes an oath: If he, Yaacov, is able to retain his ..

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Coming of Age - Accepting that which cannot be changed and turning it to advantage is the most important key to happiness and success. (Toldot 5775)

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© Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:6 Something strange has been happening to me. It’s been going on for a few years but I only identified it now: More and more people seem to be ready to accept the things I say with a quality of acquiescence that is new to me. I prepare heavily before I present a workshop to a client, a speech to an audience, a shiur to students, or even suggest a potentially unpopular idea to a grandchild. I prepare to make sure that the other will understand my thoughts, accept them and integrate them. I think of intellectual proofs and co..

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Art in Service (Chayei-Sarah, 5775)

by in Midrash Series 5775, Chayei Sarah .

Service requires that one is singularly dedicated to the people one serves and that even ones own self-interests are subordinated to theirs. © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:5 Avraham instructs Eliezer, his chief-of-staff and foremost disciple, to go to Harran and find among Avraham’s family there, a prospective wife for Yitzchak (Bereishit 24). Eliezer asks his master what he should do in the event the girl he finds does not wish to emigrate from her homeland, in this case would he allow Yitzchak to go and live with her family in Harran? Avraham answers i..

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Courage in Hardship: Meaninglessness makes suffering harder. There is courage to be gained from finding meaning in hardship (Vayeira, 5775)

by in Midrash Series 5775, Vayeira .

© Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:4   Bad things happen to good people We’ll never fully understand why things that seem so bad happen to people who seem so good. Still, there is courage to be gained from understanding the meaning of suffering and finding purpose in hardship. To help in the quest for meaning, the Midrash offers a framework using three metaphors to explain the verse in Tehillim 11:5 “Hashem tests tazaddikkim whereas His soul despises those who are wicked and who love corruption.” “1) Rabbi Yonattan explains: a potter checking his po..

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