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Vayeshev |  24th Kislev 5777  | December 24th 2016  |  Issue 679
Mazal Tov to Rabbi Refael and Orit Azugi (Rosh Kollel, Memphis) on the birth of a son
Mazal Tov to Yitzi Matanky, Executive Director of the YU Torah MiTzion Kollel in Chicago,
on the Birth of a son
Mazal Tov to Yonatan Bonfil (Perth. 2015-16)
on his engagement to Tamar Klipper, who was a Bnei Akiva shlicha from Perth

   Rabbi Baruch Winetraub

Former Sgan Rosh Beit Midrash, Toronto (2011-2014)
Currently Rabbi of Tel Mond

Drawing the line

Our parshah is the epoch to an epic which will take us from Hevron to Shechem, from Shechem to Egypt, only to be concluded in Goshen, where our Chumash ends. Many lessons can be learned throughout this journey, and the ways to interpret and draw meaning out of it seems to multiply every time it is read.

In this article, I would like to reflect upon one of the morals that emerge from this narrative. Searching for the turning point in Yosef's fate after being sold, one can definitely point to next week's parshah and his encounter with Pharaoh. Looking deeper, though, one can rather see his successful solution of the servants dream, in the end of our Parshah, as the decisive moment which began Yosef's salvation. An even closer analysis, I believe, would lead us to identify the crossroads earlier in the story, in Yosef's struggle with Potifar's wife.
The argument to single this event out as the changing point in the story is that it in it, for the first time in the story, we hear someone who is drawing a line in the sand, refusing to do what seems so natural and inevitable.

Many commentators, over the years, worked hard to explain, sometimes even to justify, the brothers' decision to throw Yosef into a pit and eventually to sell him to slavery. Be the explanation whatever it is, Reuven was not persuaded. The Torah explicitly tells us, that Reuven, as the oldest and the responsible brother, wanted to save Yosef and bring him back to his father. Alas, Reuven failed to openly and directly oppose his siblings. Instead, he convinced them to throw Yoesf to a pit, hoping that he will later be able to come by himself and pull him out.

In the next chapter we are told about Yehudah and his dealings with Tamar. While a full study of the event is much beyond our scope here, one can easily see that here, again, red lines were breached. Yehudah knew, as he will later admit, that not letting Tamar marry his young son, Shiloh, was a mistake. Moreover, from his warning to his friend Hirah to stop looking for the woman he met on the crossroad 'lest we will be mocked' one can infer that he saw this act as wrong too. Here, again, red lined were crossed.

However, the brothers were not the only one to fail their own expectations and beliefs; Yoesf, it seems, was accused by his father for the same thing. After telling Yaacov his dream about the sun, the moon and the stars coming and bowing down to him, Yosef was rebuked by his father – can it be that you wish for your parents, symbolized by the sun and the moon, to bow down to you? Isn’t that a breach of the fundamental hierarchy between child and parents?

And so, as all the actors were unable to stop, all boundaries and limits were transgressed, shattering sacred relationships between brothers, father and children, man and wife. The turning point in this tide was Yosef's brave and courageous stand against his master's wife. Resisting the temptation of physical pleasure and promised liberation, Yosef stood fast to this one red line; how can I be, he asked his mistress, unfaithful to my master, and even more importantly, to my G-d? Chazal saw this refusal of Yosef to surrender not only a victory of the spirit against desires, but also a reaffirmation by Yosef that he is still committed to the values taught by Yaacov. His father's face, we are being told, were seen by Yosef looking at him through the window.

By his insistence to remain true to his principles, Yosef was able to give meaning to the lot that befell to him. He knew now that he is a Hebrew man, following in the footsteps of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaacov. He willingness to sacrifice and to pay any price needed, had won him a distinct and strong identity as a servant of G-d. Armed with this self-assurance, Yosef will be able to stand in front of Pharaoh and tell him what are G-d's plans.
The message to be learned, thus, is of the great importance of red lines in our life. Their role is not limited to just restricting us from doing what is prohibited; rather, by their existence, they better defined who we are, and to what do we aspire.

Spotlight on 
European Shlichim Convention

This past Shabbat we help our third annual European Shlichim Convention. After being hosted in Moscow and Munich, this year we convened in Warsaw, Poland.
Our European mishlachat is growing steadily; instead of 3 communities last year, we now have shlichim in 5 cities! We have recently opened Kollels in Brussels and Berlin, who join the veteran kollelim in Moscow, Munich and Warsaw.
This year we gathered 14 shlichim and 19 children for a content-packed weekend.
During the convention we met Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, and Lashk Phishvesky, President of the Council of the Jewish Communities of Poland. We were proud to present Rabbi Schudrich a token of appreciation of our partnership over the years.
The shlichim enjoyed professional units delivered by our staff, as well as opportunities to share ideas and learn from one another. We also visited the Janusz Korczak Orphanage, and help an emotional ceremony there.

As always, the shlichim returned to their communities reinvigorated,
motivated and full of new ideas.
Good luck!

Around The World
The last Parent-Child learning night of the year in Montreal
Celebrating a Bar Mitzva in Montevideo
A special shiur in preperation for Channukah in Sydney
Wrapping up and amazing Shabbaton in Aspen Hill, Washington

     Arik Speaker                    In cooperation with: 

'Lilmod' Coordinator and Head of  European Desk in Torah MiTzion

The coral reef of Eilat is the only one of its kind in the country.
The reefs are underwater habitats, especially for corals, offering one of the most spectacular and special sights nature has to offer.

Eilat's coral reef is one of the northernmost coral reefs in the world (the large majority are in tropical regions), giving it many unique species, which originated in the ocean and adapted to the local conditions of the Red Sea.
The reef is located about seven kilometers south of Eilat, on the Taba-Eilat road.
The Gulf of Eilat has unique environmental conditions which allowed the development of a coral reef which, like we said earlier, is very rare in this climate. The elongated shape of the bay, which is surrounded by high mountains, creates winds different from that of the surrounding desert. Consequently, the climate on the shores of the Gulf is stable throughout the year. The water temperature stays high and stable compared to other places because of the high radiation and the depth of the bay which is approximately -900 m.

To maintain this unique area it was declared as a nature reserve in 1964.
Later on two other marine reserves were declared: the South Sea Nature Reserve of Eilat, in 2002, and the Coral Sea nature reserve in 2009.

Today you can go to the coral reef either for scuba diving or see its beauty without deep-diving by simply "snorkeling".

Yasher Koach to
Orit Azugi
who provided the correct answer

  Where was this photo taken?

Please send answers to -

The answer, further information about this location, as well as the first person to recognize this site 
will be published in next week's edition.     

Torah MiTzion was established in 1995 with the goal of strengthening Jewish communities around the globe and infusing them with love for Torah, the Jewish People and the State of Israel.

Over the past twenty years, Torah MiTzion's shlichim have inspired and enriched their host communities through high impactful formal and informal educational programs.

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Our friend Benjy Singer has a very useful website,, which contains accurate and fresh information of what's going on in the Religious Anglo Community in Israel.

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