October 31, 2011
October 31, 2011
60th Annual Dinner
December 10, 2011
Myles & Rona Mittleman
Edwin & Anida Rosman
Debbie Hollander. Jim Frisch, Jessica Smooha and Jill Swartz
Cindy Liebmann and Addie Markowitz
To help with the Dinner please contact one of the Chairs
October 31, 2011
Mazal Tov to Judith & Martin Edelstein on the upcoming marriage of their son Jonny to Jaclyn Cohen, daughter of Dr. Alan & Meryl Cohen.
Mazal Tov to Myra & Alon Mogilner on the upcoming marriage of their daughter Shoshana to Yehuda Fein. Also Mazal Tov to grandmother Nadine Eckstein.
Mazal Tov to Lauren & Gideon Yudelowitz on the birth of a son.
Mazal Tov to Elana & Rabbi Brahm Weinberg on the birth of a son.
Mazal Tov to Laura and Scott Danoff on the marriage of their daughter Katie to Nadav Geft, son of Lieba and Ivor Geft of Los Angeles.
Mazal Tov to Lisa & Oded Daskal on the Bar Mitzvah of their son Daniel.
October 31, 2011
Kiddush is sponsored by Judith & Martin Edelstein in honor of the aufruf and upcoming marriage of their son Jonny to Jaclyn Cohen.
Seudah Shlishit is sponsored by Amy & Marc Kalter in honor of the birth of their daughter
October 31, 2011
Parshas Lech L’cha, the third parsha in Sefer Bereishis, contains 126 verses, including just one commandment, the mitzvoh of circumcision, bris milah. The first paragraph reads (Bereishis 12:1-3, translation adapted from Rabbi Chaim Miller and based on Rashi (1040-1105)):
|א וַיֹּאמֶר יְקוָק אֶל-אַבְרָם, לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ.||1 HaShem said to Avrom: “Go (further) away - for your (own benefit) -from your land, your birthplace, and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.|
|ב וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וַאֲבָרֶכְךָ, וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ; וֶהְיֵה בְּרָכָה.||2 (There) I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you (with money). I will make your name great (by adding a letter to it), and you will (have the power) of blessing (other people).|
|ג וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר; וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה.||3 I will bless those who bless you. (Any person) who curses you, I will curse. All the families of the earth will bless (their children to be like) you.”|
The third verse, in particular, has often been invoked in American politics. Bill Clinton’s pastor while he was governor of Arkansas was the Rev. W. O. Vaught, who made more than forty trips to Israel during his lifetime. Clinton said that Vaught told him G-d would forgive him for mistakes he made while in office. ”But if you abandon Israel,” Vaught said, based on this verse, “G-d will never forgive you.” Recently, in the Republican debates, Representative Michelle Bachmann said, “I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis (12:3); we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.”
So, what do our Jewish sages tell us about these verses? The Midrash Bereishis Rabbah (3rd century) says that Avrom was a source of blessing to those who did business with him. Before a person even finished estimating the value of a cow that he wished to purchase from Avrom, he already would be blessed. Avrom prayed for barren women, and they became fertile. He prayed for the sick, and they were relieved. As soon as the sick person saw Avrom, he would improve. Rabbi Chanina said that even ships crossing the ocean in stormy weather, unknown to Avrom, were saved in his merit. According to Rabbi Berechya, HaShem was saying to Avrom, “Until now, I Myself needed to bless those in My world who needed blessing. Henceforth, whoever appears to you to deserve blessing, bless!” The rains and the dew, which sustain the whole world, will occur in Avrom’s merit.
Ibn Ezra (1092-1167) notices that “those who bless you” is in the plural, while “any person who curses you” is in the singular. This means that many will bless you, few will curse. The Meshech Chochmah (1843-1926) echoes this thought and adds that those who saw the blessing given to those who blessed Avrohom were quick to join in blessing him, while those who saw the curse were reluctant to join with those who cursed.
Radak (1160-1235) says that Avrohom would become the standard by which people blessed themselves. When one wished to bless a son, the blessing would be, “May HaShem make you like Avrohom.” People will realize that their prosperity is due to their friendship with Avrohom.
Da’as Zekeinim (12th and 13th centuries) understood this to be a command to Avrohom: “Become a blessing. Inspire people everywhere to recognize HaShem and to bless Him.”
Ramban (1194-1270) says that Avrohom became the source of blessing not only for all the people of his land, but also for the whole world.
Baal haTurim (1269-1343) says that “those who bless you” refers to the Kohanim who will bless your children, and “him who curses you” refers to Bilaam.
Abarbanel (1437-1508) says that “those who bless you” means those who follow Avrohom’s teachings. “Him who curses you” means the one who rejects Avrohom’s values.
Sforno (1475-1550) says that Avrohom was instructed to acquire perfection and to transmit it to the population.
Kli Yakar (1550-1619) addresses the lack of parallelism in verse three. It could have said, “I will bless those who bless you; I will curse him who curses you.” But the actual text inverts the second clause. The Gemara Kiddushin 40a tells us that HaShem regards a good thought as equal to a deed, so that HaShem blesses those who intend to bless Avrom even before they act on their intention. On the other hand, HaShem does not regard an evil thought as equal to a deed, so that HaShem does not curse one who intends to curse Avrom until after he acts.
The Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) notes that a person’s view of the world is strongly influenced by personal experience. A rich person understands blessings better than a pauper, who has a better acquaintance with adversity. HaShem therefore blessed the one who intended to bless Avrohom, so as to enrich the intended blessing. One who intended to curse Avrom was not cursed until after he acted, so that the curse would not be augmented.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev (1740-1810), quoted by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, says that Avrom was the prototype of ches’sed/kindness. Anyone who cursed him was clearly “in the dark,” unaware of Avrom’s true character. The word used here for HaShem’s reaction to that person is not related to the word “mikalelecho,” describing the person’s curse, but is the unusual word “a’or,” related to ohr/light. HaShem tells Avrom, “should there be a person who will curse you, I will enlighten him to understand who you are.”
Rabbi Hirsch (1808-1888) says that verse three refers to the era of galus/exile, in which the people of Israel are subject to and dependent on other nations, who can bless or curse Yisroel. Avrom is told: I will bless those who value your principles. You should conduct yourself in exile so that you will benefit those who befriend you.
Rabbi Ken Spiro (contemporary) of Aish.com: G-d is saying here to Abraham that he and his descendants — the Jews — will be under G-d’s protection. The nations and peoples who are good to the Jews will do well. Empires and peoples that are bad to the Jews will do poorly. And the whole world is going to be changed by the Jewish people. You can chart the rise and fall of virtually all the civilizations in the world by how they treated the Jews. That is one of the great patterns of history. You can literally chart the rise and fall of virtually all the civilizations in the western world by how they treated the Jews. A part of it is supernatural for sure, whether it’s Spain or Germany or Poland or America or Turkey. We will see this as we go through the timeline. Part of it, by the way, is not so supernatural, because if you have a group of people living within your country — an educated, driven, dedicated, loyal, creative people — and you’re nice to them and you allow them to participate and contribute in a meaningful way, your country is going to benefit. If you crush those people and expel them, you’re going to suffer, because of the economic fallout. But, of course, there’s much more going on than just that.
Rabbi Yissochar Frand (contemporary) of Ner Yisroel: HaShem invested an unparalleled power in Avrom. The blessings all belong to him! The etymology of the word bracha [blessing] is related to the word bereicha [a pool or reservoir]. “Boruch Atoh” does NOT mean: “Blessed art Thou.” It means: “You are the source, the reservoir, of blessing.” If someone in this world wants blessing, Avrom is the address to which he must now direct himself. It is as if G-d handed over the keys to the storehouse of blessing to Avrom and put him in charge of the entire inventory. It will be so self-evident that Avrom is the source of blessing in the world that the biggest blessing a person will be able to give his neighbor is “You should be like Avrom.” This is the epitome of blessing. The story is told that in Radin the Gentiles used to ask the Chofetz Chaim to walk over their fields or touch their cows. Although, to put it mildly, Gentiles in Poland generally did not think much of the Jews, they nevertheless recognized that the Chofetz Chaim was a great holy man and that his footsteps would bring prosperity to their fields. They were convinced that his touch would bring increased milk supply to their cows. We must ask, how can the Almighty have so much confidence in Avrom, to literally “turn over the keys of the warehouse of blessing” to him? How can He give such unprecedented power to Avrom? Might he not hoard it? Might he not misuse it? Might he not abuse it? There is a well-known expression, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely.” There is no greater power than being the source of all blessing in the world. It certainly had the potential to corrupt. Why was the Almighty so confident that this power would not corrupt Avrohom? The answer lies in the expression “Give emes/truth to Yaakov; ches’sed/kindness to Avrohom (Micha 7:20).” The Almighty knew that Avrohom’s ches’sed was akin to His Own. Just as He is non-corruptible and does “good” simply because He is a ‘Metiv’ [doer of good], so too it was with Avrohom. It is inconceivable to think of Him as being stingy, not wanting to give blessing. After all, He is the source of all favors. In a human form, Avrohom Avinu is the source of ches’sed. The Almighty did not have to worry that he will take it all for himself or misuse it. Avrohom was the ultimate master of kindness. He was the human representative of the Master of the World who is the ultimate Doer of Good.
There is a lesson here for all of us. G-d decides how much he is going to shower on each person — in terms of wealth, in terms of health, wisdom, power, talent and all forms of Heavenly Blessings. It stands to reason that if G-d is going to invest extraordinary blessing in a person, He will invest in that person when He has a measure of confidence in that person. G-d wants to know that the person will know how to use these blessings correctly. If we want to merit blessings, the best way is to demonstrate to G-d - up front - that we will know what to do with those blessings. We need to prove we are a “safe bet”. We need to demonstrate that we will treat the blessings properly. The best way to merit becoming a dispenser of blessing is to be the type of Ba’al Ches’sed that was characteristic of Avrohom Avinu.
October 31, 2011
A discussion why the Dor Haflaga was dispersed instead of being destroyed. Sponsored by Chazan Ze’ev Kron in memory of his mother, Hinda bas R’ Shlomo
October 28, 2011
October 28, 2011
October 27, 2011
Parashat Noah - The ultimate Parasha. By Jeroen Reuven Bours.
The historical speed with which we read Parshiot Bereshiet and Noah are mind boggling. In Noah we are ten generations and 1656 years further. The average age of each generation comes to 912 years, with Methusaleh taking the first price for living to a ripe old age of 969 years. If you fast-forward your DVD player while watching a movie, you still wouldn’t be able to catch up with the speed with which we are reading the beginnings of the Torah. Bereshiet teaches us history in light speed: We go from nothing to Gan Eden, from Adam to Cain. Alas most importantly, in Bereshiet we end on a very bad note. The writing’s on the wall: mankind can be bad. We can divide the totality of sins in four stages: 1- Adam’s sin, 2- Cain’s sin, 3- Lemech’s sin and 4- The Collective Sins -(see Rosh Hoshana Liturgy). The decline of mankind is in fact so bad and so bloody and murderous, that HaShem sees no other way than to completely start over. This is the grim reality and the reason why Noah is selected and being called upon for help. While today we can buy Fisher Price toys with Noah, the Ark and multiple animals for children to play with; and while we can observe newborns sleeping under a Noah Mobile turning gently around and around playing a lullaby, not many parents realize the dark side of the story. So dark and so desperate, that HaShem is willing to destroy what He has built and literally re-start Ha-Olam. Noah, is chosen and he’s the first man in the Torah to receive titles of distinction. “Noah was a man, righteous (Tzadik) and whole-hearted in his generations.” Avraham received the same title of whole-hearted: “Walk before Me and be thou whole-hearted.” Clearly being whole-hearted - tamim, is a character trait more important than anything else. It’s what Avraham and Noah have in common. Meanwhile many of our Sages have discussed the phrase “For thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.” Rashi carefully admits that some Rabbis think that had Noah lived in a righteous generation, he’d be even more righteous, while had he lived during Avraham’s time, he’d be worthless. Pretty tough and harsh terms. In Levush Haora, Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe comments that both of Rashi’s observations pretty much mean the same: Noah was a mediocre man. Still, if we look at the circumstances and at the times in which Noah lived, then he must have been quite a righteous and good man. All and everything around him was against everything he stood for. We are talking about a society so much in decline and so bad, that only Noah and his direct family were chosen to survive what is to come next. Noah will become the next Adam. Noah will become the new and with that the first generation from which everyone else will arise. That makes this Parasha arguably the most complete and ultimate of all Parshiot. Think about it, we have the new (read second) beginning of Olam, the lesson of bad versus good, a new leader, a new generation to start mankind with and seven brand new Noahhide laws to adhere to. That makes this Parasha the most complete lesson of all Parshiot. And most importantly, in time to come, we are now allowed to develop and refine the lean pastrami sandwich. We are no longer vegetarians. The most often quoted reason for that is the literal realization that all vegetation on earth had to grow back after the flood and that there was not enough food otherwise. Rav Kook, in Tallelei Orot, beautifully puts the meaning of suddenly being allowed to be carnivorous, in a different way. He believed that since mankind had let go of its moral instincts before, he was now allowed to kill an animal rather than his own kind. It was for this reason that mankind had been granted the permission to slaughter animals for food. But he called it a transitional tax, something temporary until the brighter era would be reached. From Isaiah -”Nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn the arts of war anymore.” In this message, Rav Kook believed to hear that man’s compassion would extend to the animal Kingdom as well. It is interesting to notice that the seven Noahide laws or shevah mitzvot bnei Noah, almost all are shaped to prevent what was before the flood. The seven laws listed by the Tosefta and the Talmud are: 1- Prohibition of Idolatry, 2- Prohibition of Murder, 3- Prohibition of Theft, 4- Prohibition of Sexual immorality, 5- Prohibition of Blasphemy, 6- Prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive, 7- Establishment of courts of law. By this time HaShem realizes that man with his own free will, can easily engage himself in bad ways - of which the foolishness of Babel is the prime example. With the sin of Babel this Parasha comes finally to an end. In the next Parasha thankfully a better generation emerges. Thank God for Avraham.
October 27, 2011
This year for Thanksgiving
You can really give thanks and be giving!
Buy a Thanksgiving Dinner for a
resident at Arrandale Senior Housing
and make your parents proud of you.
$18 can sponsor a dinner
in honor of/in memory of your parents
Phone #_________________________________________ Email:__________________________________________
Meals purchased in memory/ in honor of:______________
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
We are also looking for a limited number of volunteers (ALL AGES) to help serve the dinner, clean up, play music, sing & talk to the residents
I would like to volunteer on Thursday, Nov 24th, 11:30-2 pm
Food Server:_______________ Other Talent:____________________
Volunteer Names & Kids’ Ages: _________________________________
Co-Sponsored by: GNS Hunger Initiative, Sisterhood & Women’s Tefila
For more info: call Nechama at 516-773-3572 or email email@example.com
Please return to: GNS 26 Old Mill Road Great Neck, NY 11023