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Healthy Boundaries


A Jewish immigrant from Poland arrives in the USA wearing a significantly oversized Kipa.

“But why?” his family and friends ask.

“I heard there’s a lot of peer pressure in the land of opportunity, and I’m sure I’ll eventually cave into it. With this Kipa, when I get to compromising, at least I’ll only downgrade to a smaller head covering, and not nothing at all.”

What a wise fellow! Indeed, it is human nature to be swayed into change, and by creating fences, we better ensure the upholding of our morals and beliefs.

In this vein, a great Rabbi once said, “A student is measured by his behavior outside of his yeshiva because only then can you see who he truly is.”

If we seek to live out the truth – no matter where we are – then we must create healthy boundaries.

We tend to think that living truthfully means unbridled and uninhibited, but if we want to live true to ourselves, healthy boundaries are the best way to do so!

The Talmud teaches that one should not be sure of himself until the day he dies. It illustrates this idea with the story of Yochanan Kohen Gadol, who after serving in the Temple for eighty years as the high priest, the most prestigious and holy of positions, ended his life as a Sadducee and heretic.

Living in ancient Egypt, Joseph also recognized this human weakness and therefore established clear personal and moral boundaries as he battled the perversion of a land that threatened to tear him down.

As we read in this week’s Torah portion about the Giving of the Torah, let’s unearth that strength of will we all possess. Let’s resolve to be our better selves and exercise our freedom of choice. Let’s unleash the Joseph within us!

Wishing you and your family a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Mendy