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26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, NY 11023 (516) 487-6100                                                                Shabbat Announcements Metzorah 5779
         He stunned me with his familiarity with the early chapters   benedictions of thanksgiving when they have escaped the
         of the book of Leviticus. “Those chapters are all about   perils of a long journey, an unjust imprisonment, or a
         animal sacrifices,” he objected. “What on earth do those   protracted illness. “I myself,” I reported to him, “have just
         pagan practices have to do with the quintessentially   returned from a trip to Israel, and I uttered this very
         spiritual sentiments of gratitude?” I politely, but very firmly,  benediction in the synagogue this morning.”
         objected to his description of biblical sacrifices as pagan
         practices. I told him that it would take many train rides for   He expressed how deeply impressed he was by the fact
         me to even begin to explain the deeper significance of the   that somehow the sacrifices of old persisted, albeit in a
         Temple sacrifices to the Jewish religion and the implication   verbal form, to this very day. But he asked my permission
         of those sacrifices for the truly spiritual human. “But,” I said   to pose one more question. I granted him his request, and
         in my best rabbinical voice, “let me just tell you a bit about   was glad that he asked: “Why so many breads, four
         one of those sacrifices, the korban todah, the Thanksgiving   different types, and ten of each type?” I was so glad that
         offering.”                                           he asked this, because I again had an answer at the ready.
                                                              I told him about the great 15th century sage and finance
         To my surprise, he expressed his readiness to hear what I   minister to the king and queen of Spain, Don Isaac
         had to say. I happened to have a Chumash with the    Abarbanel, who raised this question over 500 years ago
         translation and commentary of Rabbi Joseph Hertz in my   and wrote: “The time limit within which the meat of the
         briefcase, so I was able to quote the following verses   sacrifice and the many loaves of bread were to be
         verbatim: “If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall   consumed was restricted to barely one day and one
         offer with the sacrifice unleavened cake mingled with oil   evening. How could a grateful person bringing the sacrifice
         and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes mingled   possibly consume all of that in so short a time? Obviously,
         with oil, of fine flour soaked. Together with additional cakes  he had to bring with him his brethren, friends, and
         of unleavened bread he shall present his offering…”   acquaintances to eat and rejoice with him and to inquire of
                                                              one another about the reason for this man’s gratitude, so
         I pointed out to him that four different types of bread were   that the man would respond and tell of the wondrous
         listed here and, of each type, ten loaves were to be brought   favors which the Lord Almighty had done for him, and so
         to the Temple. I asked his permission to read to him Rabbi   the name of God would be exalted among a throng of
         Hertz’ comment on that passage, which succinctly     people and praised in the presence of all the elders…”
         recapitulates the teachings of our Sages on this verse: “The
         rabbis declare that… In the messianic era, all sacrifices will   Paul shook his head and said, “I learned something special
         have completed their educational mission – all save the one  today about the spirituality of gratitude. I had always
         inculcating the duty of gratitude. That sacrifice continues   thought of gratitude as something for individuals to
         forever. The prophets rank ingratitude as a sin that reduces  express privately, in solitude, and now you’re telling me
         man below the level of a dumb animal…” At this point, my   that you expressed your gratitude this morning before all
         new friend again astonished me with his erudition. “I   those assembled in the synagogue, and that even in the
         know,” he said, “he is referring to the famous passage in   ancient Temple, one could not express gratitude to the
         the third or fourth verse of the first chapter of the book of   Divine without sharing his gratitude, and his bread, with
         Isaiah: ‘An ox knows its owner…Israel does not       other human beings.” I told him that I too had learned this
         know…’ (Isaiah 1:3)” I confessed my astonishment and told  lesson anew. I made a commitment to myself: I would no
         him how accurate his biblical memory was. I went on to tell  longer protect my time alone on the commuter train so
         him that to this very day, in lieu of sacrifices, Jews recite    zealously. I would be open to anyone who sat down next to
                                                              me and hopefully share more conversations as meaningful
                         Great Neck Yoetzet Halacha Lisa Septimus   as this one had been.
                           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
                              Great Neck Synagogue                           RABBI POLAKOFF’S
                     26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023
                                  516-487-6100                         SHABBAT HAGADOL DRASHA

                         Rabbi Dale Polakoff, Rabbi
                      Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi                      ZACHIN L’ADAM:
                    Dr. Ephraim Wolf, z”l, Rabbi Emeritus
                           Yitzy Spinner, Cantor                THE THINGS WE DO BEHIND YOUR BACK
                    Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus
                     Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director
                  Zehava & Dr. Michael Atlas, Youth Directors                 MINCHA 6:50 PM
                      Mark Twersky, Executive Director
                     Dr. James Frisch, Assistant Director                     DRASHA 7:10 PM
                          Erran Kagan, President
                   Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board
                  Lisa Septimus, Yoetzet Halacha 516-415-1111
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