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Nixon’s Accusations of Jewish Insecurity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 7
Lone Soldier

 

The Paradoxes of Oil as a Guide for Living
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Rock Promoter and the Genesis of the Public Chanukah Menorah
Ruvi New

 

Why the Tea Party Resonates with Human Dignity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 6
Lone Soldier

 

The Lone Soldier Week 5
Lone Soldier

 

Jewish Ingratitude to Christians
Shmuley Boteach

 

No Gelt, No Glory
Simcha Weinstein

 

The Lone Soldier Week 4
Lone Soldier

 

A Time to Hate
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 3
Lone Soldier

 

“My Heart Swells with Joy”
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Lone Soldier Week 2
Lone Soldier

 

How Obama Lost his Magic
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rise of the Religious Charlatans
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rupert Murdoch: The 'Soft War' Against Israel
Rupert Murdoch

 

Do We Still Possess the Power to Choose?
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 1
Lone Soldier

 

A Spiritual Night in Hebron
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Religious-Industrial Complex
Shmuley Boteach

 

Ahmedenijad, Media Rock Star
Shmuley Boteach

 

As the Economy Crumbles, Obama Makes Middle East Peace.
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Pastors who Burn Bibles Become Celebrities
Shmuley Boteach

 

If an American President Were Muslim, Would we Care?
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Purpose in Debating Christopher Hitchens on the Afterlife
Shmuley Boteach

 

Suicide Bombers in Heaven? Imam Rauf Won’t Say No
Shmuley Boteach

 

Extravagant Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs Humiliate the Jewish Community
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Psycho Flight Attendants Become Heroes
Shmuley Boteach

 

Iran’s Descent Into Barbarity
Shmuley Boteach

 

Let the Families of 9/11 Decide the Fate of the Ground Zero Mosque
Shmuley Boteach

 

Time Magazine’s Bizarre Assault on Large Families
Shmuley Boteach

 

Tom Friedman’s Soft Spot for Terrorist Fadlallah
Shmuley Boteach

 

Kaddafi’s Ship to Gaza, and His Ark in New Jersey.
Shmuley Boteach

 

What We Lose When We Win
Shmuley Boteach

 

Al Gore’s Moral Confusion
Shmuley Boteach

 

Peace and Zealotry
Simon Jacobson

 

Theater review - 'The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer'
Yudi Lewis

 

What McChrystal’s Firing Says about American Values
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Rebbe and Viktor Frankl
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Michael Jackson’s Life Could have Been Saved
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Psychiatrist and The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

BP, Kaddafi, and Britain’s Oil Comeuppance
Shmuley Boteach

 

Helen Thomas and the Open Season on the Jews
Shmuley Boteach

 

Did the Lubavitcher Rebbe Con the World?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Fergie’s Fall
Simcha Weinstein

 

Sderot Report
Noam Bedein

 

Why All The Stress?
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama’s Jewish Charm Offensive
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Jewish Woman’s 10 Commandments
Mimi Hecht

 

Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?
Shmuley Boteach

 

South Park: Seriously Funny
Simcha Weinstein

 

Mother’s Day for the Childless
Mimi Hecht

 

Open Letter to J-Street after their Attack on Elie Wiesel
Shmuley Boteach

 

Life and Death
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Religion’s Summer of Discontent
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is Israel Being Stubborn?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When a Pope Needs Friends
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Five Cents
Mimi Hecht

 

Condemn His Report, But Welcome Goldstone
Shmuley Boteach

 

What The President Does Not Understand
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Lesson from Zaidy and Nona
Mimi Hecht

 

Does a Kosher Butcher’s Fraud Mandate a Life Sentence?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Don’t Kill the Love
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Fallible Pope, and Imperfect Church
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama and the Deafening Silence of American Jewry
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama's Hospitality: A Question of Character
Shmuley Boteach

 

From Globalism to Parochialism
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Matzah Moms
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama's Bullying of Israel
Shmuley Boteach

 

A Fashionable Promise
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America Has No Chief Rabbi
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Malady of a Maid
Mimi Hecht

 

The Human Miracle
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When Court Jews Defend Moral Cowards
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is it Okay to be Fat?
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America is the Most Depressed Nation on Earth
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Blackberry Baby
Mimi Hecht

 

Never Again !
Shmully Hecht

 

Heads over Heels
Mimi Hecht

 

The Death of Conviction
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Deal with Destructive Emotions
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When You Are Not in the Mood of Your Spouse
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Discovering Your Depth
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Consciousness of Freedom
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Ten Ways to Destroy Your Life
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Enemy Within
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Are You a Hypocrite?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

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The Battle of the Stones
By Yosef Y. Jacobson
 

 

The Yeshiva decided to field a rowing team. Unfortunately, they lost race after race. They practiced for hours every day but never managed to come in any better than dead last.
 

The Rosh Yeshiva (the Yeshiva head) finally decided to send Yankel to spy on the Harvard team. So Yankel schlepped off to Cambridge and hid in the bulrushes of the Charles River, from where he  carefully watched the Harvard team as they practiced.
 

Yankel returned to Yeshiva, and announced: "I have figured out their secret."

"What? Tell us," they all wanted to know.
 

"We should have eight guys rowing and only one guy shouting."

The quarrel

The rabbis in the Talmud focus on an apparent grammatical inconsistency in this week’s Torah portion (Vayeitzei).

When Jacob journeys from Beer Sheba to Haran, stopping on the way to rest for the night, the Bible tells us, “He took from the stones of the place, arranged them around his head, and lay down to rest.”

But in the morning when he awakes, we read a slightly different story: “Jacob arose early in the morning, and took the stone he placed around his head and set it up as a pillar.” First we read of “stones,” in the plural; then we read of “the stone,” in the singular. Which one was it? Did Jacob use a single stone or did he employ many stones?

A lovely Talmudic tradition, laden with symbolism, answers the question thus:  Jacob indeed took several stones. The stones began quarreling, each one saying, “Upon me shall this righteous person rest his head.” So G-d combined them all into one stone, and the quarreling ceased. Hence, when Jacob awoke, we read, he “took the stone” in the singular, since all the stones became one.

What is the symbolism behind this imagery? What is the meaning of stones quarreling with each other and then reaching a state of peace?

And one more question: How did the merging of diverse stones into a single entity satisfy their complaint, “Upon me shall this righteous person rest his head?” Even after the stones congealed into a single large stone, the head of Jacob still lie only on one part of the stone. (A simple illustration: Your mattress is made of one peace, yet your head can only lie on one particular space on your mattress). So why didn’t the other parts of the stone (Jacob’s “mattress”) still lament that Jacob’s head is not lying on them?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe once put it thus:

When you feel one with the other, you mind not if the head of the righteous one rests upon him. When the stones are separated from each other, the question becomes, “Who gets the head”? “Why should you get the head, not me”? But when they become one, they do not care who gets the head, because they are one.

Two interpretations of reality

The episode with the stones, then, reflects a profound spiritual truth about human relationships. We can view each other in two distinct ways: as “diverse stones” and as a “single stone.” Both are valid perspectives, fair interpretations of reality. The first is superficial; the second demands profounder scrutiny. Superficially, we are indeed diverse and separate. You are you; I am I. We are strangers. I want the head; you want the head. So we quarrel.

On a deeper level, though, we are one. The universe, humanity, the Jewish people - constitute a single organism. On this level, we are truly part of one essence. Then, I do not mind if you get the head, because you and I are one.

In life it is hard for many of us to truly create room for another, and let them shine brightly. We are scared that they might “get the head” and we will be left out. Some of us spend years to ensure that nobody besides ourselves gets the head.

What is needed is a broadening of consciousness; a cleansing of perception, a gaze into the mystical interrelatedness of all of us. Then I will not only allow, but will celebrate, your emergence in full splendor. Your success will not hinder mine, because we are one. Different “stones” may need to have different positions, yet here is no room for abuse, manipulation, back-stabbing, mistreatment and exploitation, because we are one. One.

Jacob, the father of all Israel, who encompassed within himself the souls of all of Israel, inspired this unity within the “stones” around him. Initially, the stones operated on a superficial level of consciousness, thus quarreling who will get to lie under Jacob’s head. But Jacob inspired in them a deeper consciousness, allowing them for that night to see themselves as a single stone, even while they were diverse.

In our night of nights, we need Jacob’s who know how to inspire the stones around them with this state of consciousness.

E-mailt he author at: YYJ@algemeiner.org 

~~~~~~

Posted on December 9, 2005
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