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by Rebbetzin Malkah
Most of us have seen pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, touted as a marvelous architectural wonder for many ages. But I can't help but snicker when I see it. Yes, indeed it has interesting architectural features and form. But why give it such a heightened status when all of us can see that it is leaning. I know, the name says it all. But I know I would be far more impressed if it didn't lean. To me, it is a glaring reminder that the engineers did not survey the ground and become familiar with the territory, or seek to utilize their engineering skills to erect a structure that would represent their talents. Not only is it an accident waiting to happen, but it has been the source of a great amount of effort and money to right the structure and keep the public safe. This glorification of a botched attempt can be lethal not only in the physical realm but in the spiritual realm. If we deceive ourselves in the ways of keeping Torah, we risk building in vain and put others in jeopardy. In this week's parasha, we are given the guarantee that if we follow in the ways of our Creator, the Divine Engineer, then that which we will build will be upright and everlasting and blessings of the land and fruitfulness will be with us.
by Rebbetzin Malkah
As a child, I fondly remember flipping through the channels looking for some of my favorite shows. Occasionally, the music for one particular show would stream onto the television as the ever popular cartoon train moved across the screen - yes, I mean Soul Train. I would pause for a moment and watch the train go by and then continue my search. I can still hear the music in my head to this day. What was unique about this show is that for many, it was a window into African-American culture that for some might otherwise never have been experienced. The latest fashion and dance trends were discussed, and new or popular artists donned the set to sing the latest hits. During the 70's and 80's, it was a cultural and spiritual tutor for many.