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Sermon Summary: Vayigash

Sunday, 12 December, 2021 - 11:26 am


There exists a tension in the parsha, in the message of Chanukah and in life: 

On the one hand, it is important to invest in yourself, to protect yourself from foreign influences, to keep your mind and heart pure. On the other hand, we are on a mission to get out there and change the world!

Yosef got out there to change the world while his brothers isolated themselves as shepherds in the wilderness. Chanukah lights are meant to impact the street outside your home, but the war was over foreign influences. 

Illustrations: Chassidim gathered in a recording studio to record Chabad niggunim for publication, in order to impact the world. During the session, a ballerina in a leotard entered the studio and the Chassidim disappeared from the studio. (See original story in an interview with Velvel Pasternak.)

Solution: Both. Or in chassidic terminology; live in the world, but a handbreadth higher. Be in the world but carefully monitor which influences you allow past your protective gates, including the gates of your home, as well as the gates of your consciousness, the eyes, ears and mouth. 

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and the work of rising doesn't end at bar mitzvah, it continues throughout your life. As an adult, you have the power to curate your village and determine who you will welcome (those whose influence you want in your life) and who is not welcome.

Final point:  We just celebrated Hey Teves, the victory of the books. One of the central traditions that mark this date is the purchase of additional Torah books for your home. Even if it is unlikely that you will read them all, having Torah books around you contributes to an inspired and pure environment.

A pure environment leads to a healthier life.



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