The Book Or The Cover?

By Rabbi Yoseph Kahanov Jax. Fl

Legend has it that the late Albert Einstein, having just completed a paper and in need of a clasp, spent aconsiderable amount of timetrying to straighten-out a clip that was twisted and unusable. Whilestruggling with the dysfunctional object, his assistant discovered a new box ofperfect clips. Einstein took one of the new paper clips reshaped it and used itas an instrument to repair the old bent one.

In response to his assistant’s bewilderment, the renowned physicist declared: “I had just established a new objective; once set upon a goal I’m not easilydeflected.


Bar Mitzvah Invitation

It is with great stress, emotional and physical fatigue, and incredible financial sacrifice, beyond comprehension, that we invite you to join us as our wonderful son Sam Isaac is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah.

The Ceremony will take place on Mother's Day Weekend, Saturday, May 12th, at Temple Ahavat Chesed 17 Charlwood Ln. Westport, Connecticut. Services begin at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. (although you don't really need to be there until 10:40 a.m. to catch the real spiel).

If you make it through the three-hour service, we recommend you leave before the Kiddush as it is for the Shnorors (the junk is not worth the calories). You are welcome to Join us instead for a grandiose and ostentatious Dinner at 7 p.m. (not 8 p.m. or you'll miss out on the 2000 canapés).

The Shindig will be held at St John’s Country Club 47 Rout 23 S Westport, CT, (which we had to join just for this event and you would not believe the initiation fees). Sorry but Kosher is not on the menu (Way too pricey).

Expect to be in the presence of lots of boisterous and luxurious entertainment, designer attire galore and lots of REAL bling. Most will also be toasted to the nines.

Be a Mentch and RSVP on time, not a day before the event, (can't take the stress). And if you RSVP, please have the courtesy of showing up (It’s a Shanda and a Chutzpah if you don’t). You will be billed $95.00 a plate if you are a no-show.

The gift of choice i$ green in color, (or a routing and account number "Off the top of your head.") Gifts and gift cards are a waste of your time and ours.

Hope you can make it!
Lisa and David Miller

Dress: Black Tie (Kippot optional)
Theme: 007 James Bond

Ps BYO Kippot (don't have the strength to deal with it).


We all have the need for an objective in life. It is without question that a good cause adds spark and purpose to what might otherwise amount to mere existence – it is what makes life worthwhile. Living solely for the sake of existing seems inadequate and meaningless, at least in the eyes of the more intelligent human creatures.

But what is more important, the feeling of worth and importance that is derived from our involvement and dedication to a cause, or the integrity and authenticity of the actual cause?

Too often, we fall into the proverbial trap of mistaking the book with its cover. The actual need for a cause tends oftentimes to overshadow and outweigh the credibility and importance of the cause itself – be it with regards to politics social activism and even religion.

Veteran news reporter David Brinkley is said to have surveyed the Washington scene back in September of 1992 and discovered a very interesting phenomenon.

Washington, DC derives a great portion of revenue from traffic tickets. In fact, $50 million a year was raised at the time from tickets for moving violations, expired inspection stickers, overdue registrations and of course the inescapable plethora of expired parking meters. (Almost as bad as N.Y., don’t ya think?)

While writing a ticket for an illegally parked car, a traffic officer on a Washington curb watched as a thief had the audacity to remove the car’s license plate with a screwdriver and make off with it.

Undaunted, the officer did not even attempt to stop him. He just continued writing the ticket, even as the crook went about his business. Then, when the thief was finished, he gave the car another ticket for parking on a public street with no plates.

In our Parsha – Vayakhel, Moshe gathers the entire nation of Israel and charges them with the complex task of constructing the holy Tabernacle. Before he even gets started with the topic at hand, he fires off a warning about the need to sanctify the Shabbos: “Six days work shall be done, and the seventh day shall be holy . . .” Exodus 35:2-3. Only after this digression does Moshe continue with the directives that pertain to the completion of the Mishkan.

Is it not odd that while instructing the Israelites about this extraordinary and awesome endeavor, Moshe would digress with a warning about a seemingly unrelated and previously stated observance? The juxtaposition of the laws of Shabbos in the midst of the instruction about building the Sanctuary is by all accounts confusing.

According to Rashi, Moshe cautioned the Jewish people against violating the laws of Shabbos in pursuit of their new-fangled endeavor.

Keenly aware of human nature, Moses found himself compelled to warn against becoming overly engrossed in the novelty and euphoria of the new and exciting objective, to the point of forgetting its actual intent, and even violating its basic spirit.

In warning against the desecration of the Shabbos, Moshe was cautioning against the common human fallacy of confusing the means for the end, or better yet, forgetting that there is an end. Moshe was reminding his flock to keep focused on the real goals and not to get sidetracked by feelings.

Even when the work is as holy and exciting as building the Tabernacle – a place for G‑d to dwell – rules are rules and Shabbos is Shabbos. Even when we feel like breaking the rules for what we perceive to be a good cause, we must always focus on the greater cause and objective  

Moshe’s three thousand year old words of caution reverberate with keen relevance. Activism that is kept in check is usually a good thing. Activism that has lost its focus and gone awry is apt to become self-centered and defy its very own purpose and intention.