Monday, January 9, 2017

At Touro Synagogue, January 7, 2017

At Touro Synagogue, January 7, 2017

A Good Investment

by Rabbi Marc Mandel, guest blogger and rabbi at Touro Synagogue
To begin my guest blogging entry, I would like to give an overdue thank you, to Aaron Ginsburg, for creating this blog, and for sharing his creativity and talents with all of us. He has opened up a window to Touro Synagogue and the Newport Jewish community, and each entry is done in a very creative and skillful fashion. 

This past Shabbat, Aaron was not present at Touro Synagogue, so, I will write a few words in his place. 

By the time Shabbat was over, Newport was receiving 14 inches of snow! The good news was, we were able to finish our Minyan before the heavy snow started. During Services, the sermon focused on the story of Joseph and his brothers.

Joseph Recognized by His Brothers
(1863 painting by Léon Pierre Urbain Bourgeois)
Joseph had a stormy relationship with his family. Yet, we see from the Torah, that, after many years, when Joseph was reunited with his family, he became very emotional, and he had to excuse himself several times, so that he could cry in private. No individual in the Torah cries more than Joseph. Before the book of Genesis is over, Joseph will cry 8 times. Why does Joseph cry so much? Could it be because he was away from his family for so long? Did he feel guilty because of the way he acted, boasting to his family about his dreams of them bowing to him? Did he feel guilty about not contacting his father, all those years? Was it guilt, or was he just overcome with emotion when he was reunited with them?

Families are complicated. That's one of the lessons we learn from Genesis. Yet, recent sociological studies show, that it is the family unit, more so than our friends, that can help us live a longer life. Family members may be stressful and burdensome at times, but, if you need help, they are usually there for us, and, it is not conditional on the emotional content of the relationship, as it could be with friends. 

Joseph, the successful economist, is teaching us to invest in our futures, by investing in our families. That could be his most important investment advice of them all. 

Read an article about the family friends conundrum.
Note: the Parsha was Vayigash, Genesis 44:18 - 47:27.

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