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November 19, 1993 - Image 34

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-11-19

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


Your palms begin to sweat...


You're on the verge of hysteria...

ecent advances in med-
ical technology have
made possible the trans-
plantation of a human
heart from a deceased person
into another individual strick-
en with severe, advanced heart
disease. Such procedures raise
a host of complex moral and re-
ligious issues which are cur-
rently being analyzed and
Although ours is the first gen-
eration to be the beneficiaries
of cardiac transplantation, our
prophets of yesteryear often
spoke of a spiritual heart trans-
plant. Thus, the prophet
Ezekiel, in the name of God,
says: "And a new heart will I
give you and a new spirit will
I put within you, and I will take
away the stone heart out of your
flesh, and I will give you a heart
of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
Indeed, man, being what he
is, is constantly experiencing
a change of heart in the spiri-
tual sense of the term. We are
constantly changing our atti-
tudes, our values, our perspec-
tives on life. And so when the
prophet speaks of a lev hadash,

You pray that no one will hear...

Your worst nightmare come true...

You've just been asked to read...



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A Change Of Heart
Affects Maturity

ENCORE: CHANUKAH CARNIVAL (following concert)

CONCERT — $6.00 at the door (Children under 3 yrs. free)

For information, call 352-8670

Presented by the Beth Achim Youth Department, I.E.F.F. & Cultural Commission

Concert Co-Sponsors: Shirlee Bloom, Finest Jewish Cuisine, and Stage Deli


Shabbat Vayetze:
Genesis 23:10-32:3
Hosea 12:13-14:10.

a new heart, he urges man to
improve and change his ways.
Jacob's journey and his 20-
year stay in Laban's house gives
us a paradigm of a man whose
life was marked by a continu-
ous change of heart, by a
continuous reevaluation of
In the beginning of this
week's portion, we meet Jacob
on his first night away from
home. He is alone in the wilder-
ness surrounded by all kinds of
danger. He lies down to rest and
has a magnificent dream.
Through this dream, he ac-
quired a ley hadash, a new
heart, for he experiences the
most profound change of his
young life. He dreams of a lad-
der spanning heaven and earth
with angels ascending and de-
scending, and he hears the voice
of God summoning him to di-
vine service.
While Jacob is overwhelmed
by this sublime mood, when his
heart is overflowing with emo-
tion, he makes a vow, a spiri-
tual commitment. His words

Morton Yolkut is rabbi of

Congregation B'nai David.

are those of man who has had
a spiritual heart transplant: "If
God will be with me and keep
me on this way that I go and
will give me bread to eat and
clothes to wear and I come back
to my father's house in peace
. . . then the Lord shall be my
God . . . and all that You shall
give me, I shall surely give a
tenth to You" (Genesis 28:20-
Here was a man who had re-
cently deceived his father in or-
der to receive his blessing, and
had to flee to escape the wrath
of his jealous brother Esau. He
is alone, frightened and de-
pressed. Suddenly he has a spir-
itual awakening and finds God.
He asks nothing of God but the
necessities of life, food and
clothes and safety; and he is
willing to devote his future en-
ergies and resources to His
Then 20 years pass, 20 years
of dealing with the likes of the
cunning and ruthless Laban.
By the end of those 20 years, Ja-
cob has become a totally differ-
ent man. He again acquires a
lev hadash, only this time he is
no longer satisfied with the ne-
cessities of life. His values have
changed and he dreams of
speckled and striped calves —
of material success and pros-
perity. He dreams of "making a
killing," as it were. The sublime
aspirations of his youth have
given way before the crass ma-
terialism of Laban's world
where economic success is re-
garded as the ideal of life.
At this point, Jacob has a
sudden change of heart when
he is confronted in yet a third
dream by an angel who says: "I
am the God of Beth-El where
you annointed a pillar and
made a vow unto me." Don't you
remember, Jacob? All that you
asked for at that time was for
the necessities of life, for bread
to eat and clothes to wear. And
now you dream of riches and
bigger flocks. "Now arise and
get out of this land and return
to the land of your birth." Jacob,
you have become spoiled and
corrupted here under the
amoral influence of Laban. You
need a change of heart!
This final dream marked a
major turning point in Jacob's
life. It pointed the way to a new
value system for him, one that
led to spiritual maturity, one
that would rearrange his prior-
ities from the material to the
spiritual. Jacob went on to be-
come the revered patriarch of
our people and left a spiritual

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