Lech L’cha (Genesis 12:1 – 17:27)

October 26, 2012  My apologies – I had no idea how hectic and time-consuming the process of retiring would be, and I’m still in the midst of it and so I’m taking the easy way out and giving you a (shudder) rerun (albeit with typos corrected).  Comments are from 2006, jokes from 2005 and 2006.  One added question to consider: We were told Noah was a good man, thus chosen to carry out the mission of preserving a subset of life on the ark.  We are not told in the text why Abram is chosen, nor why he obeys this command to leave without any question or argument. Why is that?

Lech L’cha is 6 chapters long, covering the life of Abram-then-Abraham, from 75, when he is called by the Lord to go…wherever, until Abram becomes Abraham, Sarai becomes Sarah, Isaac’s birth is foretold and all the males of the household are circumcised.  In between, we have a lot of travel and threads concerning conflicts between Abram and the surrounding peoples, Abram’s household and nephew Lot’s, and a promise that Abraham will be a father of multitudes (which is what “Abraham” means), and the more personal longing of Abram for children.  This last results in strife between Sarai and Hagar, the Egyptian servant Sarai has given to her husband as a concubine, especially once Hagar is pregnant with Ishmael (I guess the idea of a concubine was more tolerable to Sarai in the abstract than reality.).   The two women are reassured of their and their sons’ futures by the Lord, which is helpful since Abram copes with the Sarai/Hagar tension by ignoring it.   Abram seems rather dense with regard to Sarai at times, like when he passes her off as his sister to protect himself in Egypt.

 Shabbat shalom,



Names carry so much symbolism.  When I was engaged in grad shcool, one of my classmates chose not to change her name after marriage, one reduced her surname to a middle initial, and a friend was able to hyphenate, the names being suitable short (the Brits don’t seem to mind clunkiness, or at least they didn’t a hundred years ago – witness the suffragists surnamed “Pethick-Lawrence.”).  For formal signatures, I chose to write everything out, using my original surname, Greenwald, as the middle name.  I also go by Dr. Irene G. Plotzker, Mrs. Richard Plotzker, Ms. Irene Plotzker, Roz’s Mom, Alan’s Mom, Miriam’s sister, KS (standing for “kleinste schwester,” littlest sister, used by my  big brother, “grosse bruder” or GB), and various other names.   When I was teenager, a friend addressed an envelope to me as Irenie Greenie the Beanie and I didn’t notice anything odd.  In some circumstances, I can go incognito without batting an eye.  Great fun.



Name Change   This was reported while the 2000 presidential election recount was in progress. 

Miami, FL – A Miami resident didn’t know that a name change he made 3 years ago would have the repercussions it is having today.   Manuel Recount’s decision to change his name from Manuel LaBor was supposed to end his suffering as the butt of so many jokes.  Thanks to the Presidential deadlock, Manuel must suffer again. 

“I was tired of all the ‘manual labor’ jokes. I’m an accountant for crissakes,” said Mr. Recount.  “So I thought ‘Hey I can just change my name.’  I thought that Manuel Recount had a nice ring to it and that people couldn’t make fun of that name.  Now this whole Presidential election deadlock has made life a living hell.”

Manuel hears, “Hey, Manuel I thought you were up in West Palm Beach,” or “Who’s going to win you?” about 500 times a day.  Mr. Recount has also been denied service at a local restaurant, who’s owner opposes manual recounts in the Florida Counties.  Deli owner Jerry Elias said, “I voted for Mr. Bush and I don’t support any kind of recount whatsoever especially a Manuel Recount.  He won’t be getting any sandwiches in my store.”

There are also other problems for Manuel.  “I’ll be eating my breakfast and watching the Today show and all of a sudden I think they are talking about me.  I wonder ‘Why is Katie Couric mispronouncing my name’, then I realize she’s not even talking about me,’ said Manuel.

Manuel is considering another name change.  “This time I’m going to change my name completely to avoid any problems.  I’m thinking a normal American name like Michael Hunt or Richard Long might suit me better.”



In the middle of a perfectly normal series of instructions at the UPS site on packing for movers was this interesting little section:


You’ll need:

  •       1,000-gallon tank per hippo
  •       1,000 gallons of water
  •       Crane
  •       1-pound sedative
  •       Soothing hippo music
  •       2 Aspirin (for you)

How to pack:

1. Fill your tank with 800 gallons of water. Start yesterday. Remember, a medium-sized hippo takes up at least 200 gallons. (Just out of curiosity, why do you have a hippo, anyway?)

2. Apply sedative. Take two Aspirin.

3. Hold it, hold it – put the hippo in the tank, first. Start with soothing hippo music, followed by a large winch and crane.

4. Now go relax in a hot bath before the forklift arrives.

WAIVER: We in no way advocate moving a hippo or any animal without the express advice and consent of your local vet or zoo keeper. If you’d like advice from a veterinarian on moving with pets



Dr. Carver

Submitted by the webmaster

The old Mohel, Dr. Carver still did circumcisions. One afternoon he was called to the Goldberg house. The baby and guests were waiting anxiously.

The mohel came out of the room a minute after he’d gone in and asked Mr. Goldberg,

”Do you have a hammer?”

A puzzled Mr. Goldberg went to the garage, and returned with a hammer. Dr. Carver thanked him and went back into the bedroom. A moment later, he came out and asked,

”Do you have a chisel?”

Mr. Goldberg complied with the request.

In the next ten minutes, Dr. Carver asked for and received a pair of pliers a screwdriver and a hacksaw. The last request got to Mr. Goldberg. He asked,

”What are you doing to my son?”

”Not a thing,” replied old doc Carver. ”I can’t get my instrument bag open.”



Packing Up the Office

Lester misunderstood when they told him to pack up his cubicle for the move to the new headquarters.





She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.

On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.

On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candlelight, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of Chardonnay.

When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells dipped in caviar, into the hollow of the curtain rods.

She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days.

Then slowly, the house began to smell.

They tried everything, cleaning, mopping, and airing the place out.

Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned.

Air fresheners were hung everywhere.

Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting.

Nothing worked.

People stopped coming over to visit.

Repairmen refused to work in the house.

The maid quit.

Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.

A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house.

Word got out, and eventually, even the local realtors refused to return their calls.

Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.


The ex-wife called her ex-husband, and asked how things were going.

He told her the saga of the rotting house.

She listened politely, and said that she missed her old home terribly, and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.

Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were to sign the papers that very day.


She agreed, and within the hour his lawyers delivered the paperwork. 

A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack

everything to take to their new home, including the curtain rods.




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