Parshah Columnists - Vayeshev

Guest Columnists
Joseph the Happy Lamplighter
Life Lessons From the Parshah - Vayeshev
Judah, Tamar, and the Indomitable Flame of Chanukah
No matter how bleak reality may seem, darkness cannot exist alongside light – even just the tiniest of flames
The Soul’s Wrestling Match: Can It Be a Peaceful Battle?
The G‑dy soul has a secret weapon.
The Butler, the Baker ... the Dynamite Maker
You can take the lead of your own life and start writing better scripts. It’s not easy, but it’s doable.
Perhaps Peace and Quiet Are Overrated
Life’s challenges are not a punishment, but a means to help us reach our full potential.
Me and the Guy in a Pink Tu Tu With a Camera on His Head
Attaining a state of coherence gives us more than a happy brain. It is fundamental to our well-being and ability to cope with the stressors and challenges of life.
A Cruel Uncovering
Parshat Vayeishev
Joseph’s famous multi-colored tunic is the unmistakable marker of his identity. It was the symbol of his prestige.
Don’t Tell Me to Cheer Up
If I am going through a hard time, I don’t want someone to tell me to be cheerful—I want someone to understand why I am miserable.
The Royal Bar-Tender
The royal bar-tender, who brings the liquid that wets a parched throat, represents the linkage of spiritual "water" (the source of mind) and "fire" (the source of emotions)
I'm Watching You
We have the power to make our kids aware that G-d is watching them with love.
In the Age of the Breach
Is privacy going extinct in the digital age? It seems none of our personal data can be considered safe anymore.
Are Rabbis Too Judgmental?
Even the greatest judge can make a gross misjudgement if humility is lacking. (“Parsha Perks” with Dr Michael Chighel | Vayeshev)
When You Want to Just Give It a Break
An Essay on Vayeishev
The Talmud states, “For the wicked, sleep is good for them and good for the world, but for the righteous, it is bad for them and bad for the world.” There is no rest for the righteous. When a tzaddik wants to rest, God does not let him, as if to say that the lack of tranquility is an essential part of being a tzaddik.
Do You Feel Like a Hypocrite?
The Dichotomy of Life Is Impossible. It’s Also Real
In a surprising twist, we are told that the world we live in comes from that circular, dreamy world. Of course, an average day sure looks ramrod straight, but the true source of energy from which we feed is that magical, circular swirl.
If You’re Stuck in a Rut, It’s Time for a Reset
Sometimes, the best option is to blow things up and start over
What’s true in finances is true in religious life, and well, life in general: Sometimes, you have to blow things up and do something radically different from what you’ve been doing until now.
The Power of Words and the Toxicity of Jealousy
Very often, what we perceive in another’s words is really a reflection of our own mood or perspective.
Torah Insights
Double Dream, Single Reality
What was the secret to Joseph's success? How did he remain focused, optimistic and upbeat despite all the difficulties that he had to endure?
Binding Bundles
Our job is to demonstrate that there need not be a dichotomy between body and soul. That life does not have to be a collection of meaningless fragmented moments.
Tamar's Twins
Whenever the Torah describes the birth of twins, it goes into minute detail, as if we are the grandparents who are anxious to hear about every step of the labor and delivery. Why?
Parshah Insights
When Your Passion Dies
Judah, Tamar, and the inner meaning of levirate marriage
Judah, Tamar, and the inner meaning of levirate marriage.
The Lonely Moment
He was utterly alone in the world. He would remain alone after the event, just as he was alone before it. No one would know it had occured. What makes a man in such a situation believe that what he does or doesn’t do makes any difference?
Weekly Sermonette
What's Wrong With Retirement?
We all dream of enjoying a peaceful and serene life. But can too much serenity lead to senility?
The Child in the Pit
I remember the Rebbe thundering: “The whole Egyptian exile can be traced to Reuben’s ill-timed teshuvah! When a Jewish child is languishing in the pit, this is not the time to be worrying about your own spiritual state . . .”
Image and Influence
Determined as he was, on this occasion Joseph was beginning to falter. What saved him? The classical image of the sage with the long white beard . . .
“How Are You Today?”
“And Joseph came to them in the morning and he saw them, and behold, they were troubled. He asked Pharaoh’s officials . . . ‘Why do you look so bad today?’” But why would Joseph see anything unusual in that? Wouldn’t we expect most people in jail to look miserable?
Life's Passages
Answering the Call, Day and Night
On the table, I noticed a highly unusual item. Alongside the delicious food and beautiful dishes was a live walkie-talkie.
When G-d Needs You
How should we respond to that cynical voice within?
Covenant & Conversation
Refusing Comfort, Keeping Hope
There are laws in Judaism about the limits of grief – shiva, sheloshim, a year. There is no such thing as a bereavement for which grief is endless. And yet Jacob refuses to be comforted.
Improbable Endings and the Defeat of Despair
We live life looking forward but we understand it only by looking back.
How to Change the World
Each of us knows that there is only one of us, and that there are seven billion others in the world today. What conceivable difference can we make?
What is the theme of the stories of Genesis?
Sexuality matters to Judaism, not because it is puritanical but because it represents the love that brings new life into the world.
For Friday Night
Serenity or Struggle?
Spiritually, one never retires and one never grows old
The Multidimensional Plan
On the face of it, the story of his life seems simply a succession of unhappy events; yet somehow it all works out in the end! What Joseph's experience can teach us about our own life history, as individuals and as a people
Responsibility To Others
Many times we get caught up in our own world of self perfection and refinement. A lesson that we learn from what Reuben did not do in this week’s Parsha.
Close to G-d
The story of Joseph in Egypt tells us about someone who was very much a part of the daily world... yet remained close to G-d
Staying on the Swing
It is one of the ironies of life that in order to swing to the greatest height, it is necessary to plunge to the lowest point. Often there’s a “descent” in order to “rise”—a negative situation before the positive.
A Thought for the Week
Up The Mountain
Why does the verse in these weeks Torah portion say "coming up to Timna," it seems superfluous? A timeless lesson in our daily struggle to be good.
What the Rebbe Taught Me
The “Good Morning” That Changed the World
At this point, Joseph could have withdrawn into himself, as many prisoners do, allowing thoughts of anger and victimization to consume him. He had every right to be a bitter man . . .
Inner Stream
Travel Begins and Ends At Home
The story is told of a fellow who dreamt that there was a treasure to be found under a bridge in a distant city...
Our Children
There is no glory in flirting with danger.
Where Are Jews Truly At Home?
Europe was our home, but we were never at home there.
Living through the Parshah
How Joseph Maintained His Serenity
Joseph was in tune with another person’s pain, and was therefore capable of doing that one small act of goodness and kindness. Little did he know that it would change the world.
Parshah Musings
True Courage
The Freeman Files
Prison Juice
Imprisonment is a fate worse than death, out of which the truly righteous squeeze an elixir more potent than life
The Quest for Peace
“Is it not enough for the righteous what is prepared for them in the World to Come,” the Midrash declares, “that they also ask for a tranquil life in this world?” But why not? Does G‑d have a limited quantity of tranquility to mete out?
Righteous Individual vs. Righteous Leader
Reuben and Judah
Why was the leadership of Israel taken from Reuben and given to Judah? What does this teach us about the leaders we should choose to follow and the leadership we should display?
Parshah Recovery
Positive Thinking
The alcoholic or addict in recovery knows all too well the troubles of an overactive mind. Our mental mills are fast and frenetic. We, therefore, endeavor to maintain constant vigilance over our thoughts...
Beyond Speech
Joseph's Dream
The Joseph Approach
How is Joseph able to stay positive? How can we be like Joseph and stay positive?
It’s All About G‑d
What does Joseph have to do with Chanukah? What lesson can we take from Joseph and Chanukah to help us deal with difficult times?
On the Haftarah: The Lion’s Roar
For the haftarah of Vayeishev, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
Amos delivers G‑d’s words of rebuke to the 10 northern tribes, the Kingdom of Israel. He chastises them for their corruption of those in power over the common folk . . .
Scandal or Sacred
Working on yourself is not only a personal endeavor, but it also has its effect on your surroundings and acquaintances.
The Freeman Files
Prison Juice
The Invisible Prison
Let frustration juice the best out of you.
Joseph's Bookkeeping
Greater than beyond, is beyond and within.
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