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26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, NY 11023 (516) 487-6100                                                           Shabbat Announcements Tetzaveh 5779
         heard him attribute any of his achievements to himself. For  That is a natural response, not a heretical one. Abraham
         whatever went well, he thanked God. For whatever did not   asked, “Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?”
         go well, the question he asked was simply: what does God   Moses asked, “Why have You done harm to this people?”
         want me to learn from this? What, now that this has   Yet in the end, the wrong question to ask is, “Why has this
         happened, does He want me to do? That mindset had    happened?” We will never know. We are not God, nor
         carried him through the good years with humility. Now it   should we aspire to be. The right question is, “Given that
         carried him through the painful years with courage.   this has happened, what then shall I do?” To this, the
                                                              answer is not a thought but a deed. It is to heal what can
         Our parsha begins with the words: “Command the Israelites  be healed, medically in the case of the body,
         to bring you clear olive oil, crushed for the light, so that the  psychologically in the case of the mind, spiritually in the
         lamp may always burn” (Ex. 27:20). The sages drew a   case of the soul. Our task is to bring light to the dark
         comparison between the olive and the Jewish people.   places of our and other peoples’ lives.
         “Rabbi Joshua ben Levi asked, why is Israel compared to an
         olive? Just as an olive is first bitter, then sweet, so Israel   That is what Henry did. Renata still suffered. So did he. But
         suffers in the present but great good is stored up for them   their spirit prevailed over their body. Crushed, they
         in the time to come. And just as the olive only yields its oil   radiated light. Let no one imagine this is easy. It takes a
         by being crushed –­ as it is written, ‘clear olive oil, crushed   supreme act of faith. Yet it is precisely here that we feel
         for the light’ – so Israel fulfills [its full potential in] the   faith’s power to change lives. Just as great art can turn
         Torah only when it is pressed by suffering.” The oil was, of   pain into beauty, so great faith can turn pain into love and
         course, for the menorah, whose perpetual light – first in the  holy light.
         Sanctuary, then in the Temple, and now that we have no
         Temple, the more mystical light that shines from every holy
         place, life and deed – symbolizes the Divine light that floods
         the universe for those who see it through the eyes of faith.
         To produce this light, something has to be crushed. And
         here lies the life-changing lesson.

         Suffering is bad. Judaism makes no attempt to hide this
         fact. The Talmud gives an account of various sages who fell
         ill. When asked, “Are your sufferings precious to you?” they
         replied, “Neither they nor their reward.” When they befall
         us or someone close to us, they can lead us to despair.
         Alternatively, we can respond stoically. We can practice the
         attribute of gevurah, strength in adversity. But there is a
         third possibility. We can respond as Henry responded, with
         compassion, kindness and love. We can become like the
         olive which, when crushed, produces the pure oil that fuels
         the light of holiness. When bad things happen to good
         people, our faith is challenged.


                         Great Neck Yoetzet Halacha Lisa Septimus
                            Welcomes your questions about mikvah,
                        observance of taharat mishpacha (halacha relating
                        to married life) and women’s health, as it connects
                              to Jewish law. Reach out to her at:
                                  Phone: 516.415.1111
                           Email: greatneckyoetzet@gmail.com.
                        All conversations and emails are kept confidential.
                             Great Neck Synagogue
                     26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023
                                  516-487-6100

                         Rabbi Dale Polakoff, Rabbi
                      Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi
                    Dr. Ephraim Wolf, z”l, Rabbi Emeritus
                          Yitzy Spinner, Cantor
                    Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus
                     Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director
                  Zehava & Dr. Michael Atlas, Youth Directors
                      Mark Twersky, Executive Director
                     Dr. James Frisch, Assistant Director
                          Erran Kagan, President
                   Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board
                  Lisa Septimus, Yoetzet Halacha 516-415-1111
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