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26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, NY 11023 (516) 487-6100                                                 Shabbat Announcements Vayakhel-Pekudei 5781
         instructions from Hashem had a clear message for us. Hashem   Rabbi Yochanan said, in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai:
         was saying, “I am going to give the Jewish people two   What did David Hamelech mean when he said in Psalm 19, Ve’ani
         sanctuaries, not one. The first is the Mishkan, a sanctuary in   tefillati lecha Hashem et ratzon “Let my prayer to you God be at
         space, in place, and the second is Shabbat, a sanctuary in time.”   a time of favor”? Said Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. What exactly is
         Why do we need both? Because we have a principle in Judaism.   ‘a time of favor’? Answered Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. B’sha’a
         Before God ever brings a sickness to the world, He brings the   shehatzibbur mitpallelim, “The time when the community are
         cure.                                                davening.” In other words, even if you’re at home, even if you
                                                              are not able, like Rabbi Nachman was unable, to get to shul,
         God knew that the day would come when Jews might suffer exile   please try to daven at the same time as the community because
         and dispersion. They would be scattered to the winds, to the ends   there is a concept of community in time, as well as a community
         of the earth. They would no longer be able to come together. In a   in place. And Rav Soloveitchik z’l explains the Gemara, saying
         Mishkan or a Mikdash, in a Temple in Jerusalem, they would no   that there is virtue in an individual making the effort to pray
         longer have Jerusalem, that would no longer have a land, that   when the community is praying. Ve’afilu im mitpalel b’beito, Even
         would no longer have a home. And says, God, “Even so, however   if he’s davening at home, because if he davens at the time that
         dispersed you are, you will still have a sanctuary. But it’ll be a   the community is davening, his prayer is joined to that of the
         different sanctuary. It will exist not in space, but in time. The   community, and it is counted as if he were praying in a
         sanctuary is called Shabbat. “It will happen not because you are   community. I won’t go now into the detail of his nuance there,
         together physically in one place, but spiritually you’ll be together   but he quotes that Gemara and the view of Rabbi Shimon bar
         at the same time.” And so it happened, uniquely Jews. No other   Yochai, that the time of favor is the time when the community
         people has ever experienced anything like this, were dispersed   prays.
         around the world and yet they saw themselves and were seen by
         others as one people. They’re the world’s first global people, 2000  David Hamelech only says, et ratzon, ‘a time of favor’. He doesn’t
         years before the word ‘globalization’ had even been coined. How   talk at all about a community praying. But it seems to me that
         did it happen? After all they had none of the attributes of the   Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is basing his interpretation on the
         people. They weren’t living in the same place. They weren’t living   principle set out at the beginning of Vayakhel that there can be a
         under the same conditions. They weren’t living within the same   community in time as well as in place. And therefore, if for some
         culture. What connected Rashi in Christian France with the   terrible reason we are not able to go to Shul this Shabbat, then
         Rambam in the Muslim city of Fosta just outside Cairo? Well,   by praying at the time that the community prays, our prayer is
         connected the Jews of Spain with the Jews of Russia. I mean   joined to theirs and we become k’ish echad b’lev echad, all of us
         these are different cultures, languages, circumstances, fate. What  together, like one person with one heart. Now, heaven knows
         brought them together? What forged them as one people? The   that this is not ideal. This is bedieved, not lehatchilah, this is
         answer is they said the same prayers, at the same time, all facing  something you only do if you have no alternative. But let me
         towards the same spot, Jerusalem. They observed the same   repeat. Hikdim Hakadosh Baruch Hu lerefua lemakah, God gives
         festivals, kept the same laws, honored the same days. They were   us the cure before the disease. He gives us the consolation
         a community in time, not in space. And that was why God gave   before the crisis. And it is davkah here in the parsha of Vayakhel
         them Shabbat, the sanctuary in time, even before He gave them   that Hashem already provides the answer before we even had
         the Mishkan, the sanctuary in space.                 the question. The question that we have this year specifically:
                                                              how do we pray as a community when because of disease,
         Now this is a broad and abstract idea, but does it have halachic   because of contagion, because of risk of life, we can’t actually
         implications? The answer is, it does. And specifically for this   pray as a community? And the answer is that Vayakhel teaches
         Shabbat for all of you who are not able to go to shul this Shabbat.   us that there is such a thing as a community in time, even if we
         Here is the sugiya in Brachot, (daf 7b-8a) It goes like this. Rabbi   can’t gather it together in a place. And the way to do it is to
         Yitzchak said to Rabbi Nachman, “Why don’t you come to shul to   daven when others are praying, and our voices will combine as
         daven?” Rabbi Nachman explained, “It’s hard, I’m unwell, I can’t   they wing their way to heaven.
         do it…” Rabbi Yitzchak says to him, Do me a favour. If you can’t
         come to shul, speak to the chazzan, shaliach tzibbur, let him   I hope we will come through this whole experience realizing that
         come and tell you exactly what time the community is going to be  there are bigger things than the things that have divided us so
         davening. He was davening that if Rebbe Nachman needed to   badly in recent years, whether individually or collectively. The
         daven alone at home, he should still be davening at the same   Rambam is telling us collective grief, collective danger, banishes
         time as the community. Rebbe Nachman said to Rabbi Yitzchak,   some of the negative individual emotions that we are prone to at
         “What are you talking about? Why should it make a difference   easier and safer times.
         what time I daven?” Rabbi Yitzchak gave him the quote that
                                                              All of this is tied up in four words that define our experience on
                                                              Pesach at the Seder table. The Mishna asks itself, asks us, a very
                              Great Neck Synagogue            simple question. How do you tell the story of the going out of
                     26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023   Egypt? And it answers in four words: “Matchil beganut umesayim
                                  516-487-6100                beshevach”. You begin with the bad news, but you end with the
                                                              good news. And that is for me the clear definition of what it is to
                         Rabbi Dale Polakoff, Rabbi           tell a story the Jewish way. We don’t deny the bad news, we
                      Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi      don’t ignore it, but we say that’s only the beginning and the end
                   Rabbi Yehoshua Lefkowitz, Intern Rabbi     is going to be an ending of hope. Yes, we begin with the bread of
                    Dr. Ephraim Wolf, z”l, Rabbi Emeritus     affliction and bitter herbs of slavery. But as we go on, we drink
                           Yitzy Spinner, Cantor              the four cups of wine each, a further stage on the road to
                    Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus    redemption, and we end with a glorious song, Chad Gadya whose
                     Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director      last first verse is one of the most moving I know. All the more
                  Zehava & Dr. Michael Atlas, Youth Directors   moving because it is a young children’s song. Ve-ata Ha-Kadosh
                      Mark Twersky, Executive Director        Baruch Hu ve-shachat le-mal’ach ha-mavet “God will come and
                     Dr. James Frisch, Assistant Director     end the Angel of Death.” May that be true for us. Bimheira
                          Jordan Wolf, President              b’yameinu.
                     Dov Sassoon, Chairman of the Board
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