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December 02, 1988 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TORAH PORTION

The Cultural Commission of Congregation Shaarey Zedek

takes great pride in announcing

lb

Are We 'Duly Present
To Those Needing Care?

RABBI IRWIN GRONER

Special to The Jewish News

he biblical story of
Joseph, which traces
the meteoric career of
a slave boy who ascends from
the depths of the pit to the

throne of a monarch, is one of
the most stirring successes
ever told. Yet even greater
► , than his outward achieve-
ments are Joseph's inner
growth and development.
o- One of his most noteworthy
triumphs is revealed when
Joseph is tempted to betray
his master, Potiphar, by
yielding to the advances of his

wife. Joseph resists that
temptation, even in the most
difficult of circumstances, pro-

•-•

Shabbat Vayeshev:
Genesis 32:1-40:23,
Amos 2:6-3:8

viding an enduring model of
man's ability to exercise
self-discipline.
The sages of old asked,
"Where did Joseph get his
moral strength? What gave
him the will to overcome the
most powerful of temptations,
particularly when he was vir-
tually alone in a strange
land, cut off from family, com-
b munity, country and kin-
ship?"
Basing his thought on a
rabbinic interpretation, Rashi
says that Joseph was at the
point of yielding to Potiphar's
wife when the image of his
father, Jacob, appeared and
gave him the capacity to
resist. Joseph carried,
without fully being aware of
it, the presence of Jacob

within him.
Jacob was "present" to
Joseph in a spiritual sense

even though they were
separated by hundreds of
miles and Joseph had no way
P-6 of knowing whether he would
see his father again. What
does genuine presence imply?
lb be present, in its primary
sense, means to be located at
a given point in space and
time.
But this is not the full
understanding of the term,
for two people can live in the
same place at the same mo-
ment, and yet pass each other
with no contact,.communica-
tion or awareness. On the
other hand, all of us can recall
times in our lives when we
felt intensely the vivid
presence of a dear one

Irwin Groner is senior rabbi
at Congregation Shaarey
Zedek.

thousands of miles away. That
was Joseph's experience
when, in the moment of great
temptation, he saw his
father's image.
Presence means a power to
influence, to transform the
life of the other. It also means
a willingness to be influenc-
ed and even changed by that
experience. This is the
description of what takes
place in the deepest levels of
love, friendship and human
intimacy.
Are we truly present to
those who need our care and
concern — our mates, our
children, our friends?
lb be present in marriage is
to share profoundly in the
most challenging relationship
life offers. Sometimes, it is to
be vulnerable to frustration
and sorrow, but it affords the
glorious opportunity to savor
unique and unduplicated joy.
Are we present to our
children, and are they present
to us?
Living in an age of
specialization, some parents
have come to the conclusion
that they can subcontract
their children to the school
system for child rearing and
behavior development. For
religious instruction and
Jewish loyalty, they delegate
authority to the synagogue
and the religious school; for
guidance in personal values,
they turn to their chidlren's
peer group.
The image of a father or
mother or grandparent car-
ried in the hearts of children
is far more influential in
shaping their conduct than
moral maxims or general
ethical principles.
The source of Joseph's
moral strength was the con-
sciousness of his father, the
internalization of his father's
ideals. All of us are challeng-
ed to respond with our com-
plte selfhood to those who can
be blessed by that precious
and sacred gift.

Rabbi Wine
To Speak

Rabbi Sherwin Wine of the
Birmingham Temple will pre-
sent the first of three talks on
the theme "The Germany of
Kristallnacht" at 8:30 p.m.
Monday. He will discuss "The
Power of Nazism?'
There is a charge.
Rabbi Wine will describe
the philosophy and programs
of temple and of Humanistic
Judaism at 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday.

THE ANNUAL

LAKER CONCERT

SUNDAY EVENING
DECEMBER 11th 9 1988 - 7:30 P.M.

featuring three outstanding cantors

Cantor Moshe Taube

Cantor Yaacov Motzen

of
Congregation Beth Shalom
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

of
Adath Israel Synagogue
Montreal, Canada

and

Cantor Chaim Najman

of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek
and
The Shaarey Zedek Synagogue Choir
directed by Mr. Eugene Zweig

In a gala concert of music for Chanukah, selections
from the liturgy, and from the Israeli and Yiddish
repertoire.

Admission Is Free

Refreshments Will Be Served

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

37

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