Torah E-Thought: On best behaviour

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This Week at Chabad Lubavitch Leeds
Candle Lighting Times for
Leeds, England:

Candle Lighting Friday, Dec 29 - 3:35 pm

Shabbat Ends, Dec 30 - 4.51 pm
Service Times
Shabbat
Friday Night - 3.20 pm
Shabbat Day - 10.00 am
Motzei Shabbat - 5.00 pm
Weekday Shachris
Sunday - 8:30 am
Tuesday - 7:30 am
Friday - 7:30 am
Message from the Rabbi

Dear Friend,

I hope you are having a good break. Although we don’t celebrate the secular New Year per se, it is an opportunity to look back on how our year has been and what we want to improve in the coming year.

One of the biggest challenges in life is communication. Where in the home, at work or with ones friends, it is the key around which relationships are built. The Leeds JLI is excited to be offering a new six week course on the Art of Communication, drawing from Jewish and secular sources. Registration and more details here.

Wishing you a Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds

Our forefather Jacob had been through many trials and tribulations in his life. However unlike his father Isaac whose children were both Jacob and the wicked Esau and his grandfather Abraham whose children included Ishmael as well as Isaac, Jacob merited to see all his children to grow up righteous, following in his ways.  In this week’s parshah we read how Jacob gathered his children together to admonish them for their lapses in his lifetime and to bless them before his passing.

Simeon and Levi received a harsh rebuke. Jacob cursed their rage, reminding them that; “in their wrath they killed a man…” The Midrash explains that the “man” that Simeon and Levi are said to have killed actually refers to quite a few men: the entire adult male population of the town of Shechem after its leader had abused their sister! Jacob refers to all of them as “a man,” because to defeat all of Shechem was as simple for the brothers as defeating one man.

It seems strange that while rebuking them for their actions, Jacob would pay tribute to the ease with which Simeon and Levi—endowed by G-d with extraordinary strength—decimated the population of Shechem. However the commentaries explain that evidently, this unnatural strength was actually part of the reason Jacob was so displeased with Simeon’s and Levi’s rage-driven actions.

In theory, Jacob agreed with Simeon and Levi that punishment of the people of Shechem was justified. The Seven Noahide Laws were at the time universally accepted and the abhorrent behaviour of the people of Shechem, refusing to act on their leader’s abuse, meant they were in violation of the Noahide laws too. Jacob was only critical of the deceitful method of Simeon and Levi. They promised the people of Shechem peace if the entire male population would circumcise themselves, but then they exploited their weakness and pain and attacked them in violation of their agreement. Such deceitfulness disgraced Jacob and the belief-system for which he stood.

Jacob therefore rebuked Simeon and Levi, pointing out that considering their ability to wipe out the entire city with the ease of killing one man, they had no need to resort to deception. They could have confronted the people of Shechem directly and made them suffer the consequences of their behaviour. “Cursed be their rage!” said Jacob, for it blinded them from recognizing their ability to carry out judgment without resorting to trickery.

Such nuance of behaviour isn’t just expected of our Patriarchs or the Twelve Tribes. Jacob’s rebuke is a reminder to all his descendants on the importance of honourable behaviour. As it says, the only person who loses when they get angry is the one who lost their temper.

The Parshah In A Nutshell

Parshat Vayechi

Jacob lives the final 17 years of his life in Egypt. Before his passing, he asks Joseph to take an oath that he will bury him in the Holy Land. He blesses Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, elevating them to the status of his own sons as progenitors of tribes within the nation of Israel.

The patriarch desires to reveal the end of days to his children, but is prevented from doing so.

Jacob blesses his sons, assigning to each his role as a tribe: Judah will produce leaders, legislators and kings; priests will come from Levi, scholars from Issachar, seafarers from Zebulun, schoolteachers from Simeon, soldiers from Gad, judges from Dan, olive-growers from Asher, and so on. Reuben is rebuked for “confusing his father’s marriage bed”; Simeon and Levi, for the massacre of Shechem and the plot against Joseph. Naphtali is granted the swiftness of a deer, Benjamin the ferociousness of a wolf, and Joseph is blessed with beauty and fertility.

A large funeral procession consisting of Jacob’s descendants, Pharaoh’s ministers, the leading citizens of Egypt and the Egyptian cavalry accompanies Jacob on his final journey to the Holy Land, where he is buried in the Machpelah Cave in Hebron.

Joseph, too, dies in Egypt, at the age of 110. He, too, instructs that his bones be taken out of Egypt and buried in the Holy Land, but this would come to pass only with the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt many years later. Before his passing, Joseph conveys to the Children of Israel the testament from which they will draw their hope and faith in the difficult years to come: “G‑d will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Featured Event
New JLI course - Coming to Leeds Jan 23rd #theartofcommunication
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events
Friday Morning Minyan
Dec. 29, 2017 - 7:30 am
Candle Lighting Friday Night @ 3.35pm
Dec. 29, 2017 - 12:00 pm
Shabbat Morning Service
Dec. 30, 2017 - 10:00 am
Motzei Shabbat Service
Dec. 30, 2017 - 5:00 pm
Bagels Lox & Tefillin
Dec. 31, 2017 - 8:30 am
The weekly Bagels, Lox & Tefillin minyan will commence at 8.30am on Sunday Dec 3rd followed by a bagel breakfast. Tefillin will be provided for those who need and women are also welcome. Where: Lubavitch Centre of Leeds
More information »
Tuesday Minyan
Jan. 2, 2018 - 7:15 am
Friday Morning Minyan
Jan. 5, 2018 - 7:30 am
Candle Lighting Friday Night @ 3.43pm
Jan. 5, 2018 - 12:00 pm
Lunch and Learn in the City Centre
Jan. 8, 2018 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Bagels and brain storming on the weekly Parshah and contemporary events. Weekly excluding public Holidays at Ward Hadaway Solicitors, Wellington Street.
More Info »
Tuesday Minyan
Jan. 9, 2018 - 7:15 am
Friday Morning Minyan
Jan. 12, 2018 - 7:30 am
Candle Lighting Friday Night @ 3.53pm
Jan. 12, 2018 - 12:00 pm
Lunch and Learn in the City Centre
Jan. 15, 2018 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Bagels and brain storming on the weekly Parshah and contemporary events. Weekly excluding public Holidays at Ward Hadaway Solicitors, Wellington Street.
More Info »
Tuesday Minyan
Jan. 16, 2018 - 7:15 am
Friday Morning Minyan
Jan. 19, 2018 - 7:30 am
This week @ www.JudaismLive.com
This Week @ www.JudaismLive.com
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