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We asked several experienced mechanchim for their insights on how to shepherd children from their first “Modeh Ani” to the understanding that Hashem alone holds the key to every aspect of their existence. Here are the key principles they shared.
You will not have much time this week for your gathering - the haftorah is very short, only ten pesukim. (Let me be clear. I most certainly do not support Kiddush Clubs for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the what should be obvious lowliness of leaving a shul minyan to go and have a whiskey party, and not being able to wait until after davening. Despite efforts to combat these gatherings, I know they still exist and figured I would warn “the guys” about the brevity of this week’s haftorah.)
Sixteen years ago, when I married my husband, I did not give much thought to whether he was Askenazi or Sefardi. Having grown up in what was then a small close-knit Jewish community, it held little importance; my concerns were focused around whether or not my bashert (intended) was Jewish according to halacha, someone who was upstanding in both ideals and actions, and a man solidly committed to a Torah lifestyle.
I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”
Recently, my wife Clary and I traveled to Lithuania to experience what remains of one of Judaism’s most magnificent centers of learning. My journey, organized by Zvi Lapian of Israel and led by the eminent historian and distinguished scholar Dr. Shnayer Leiman, took me to what was once the world’s center of Torah learning.
I can probably read your thoughts: “Elul? I’m still in the Catskills! We haven’t even gone shopping at the Back-to-School sales yet!” That is true, but on the other hand, this week is Shabbos Mevorchim Elul, when we announce Rosh Chodesh Elul. Before you know it, we will be deep into Elul! Let us see how we can utilize this Shabbos to start getting ready.
On the sad day that Eliezer Lipman, Reb Elimelch and Reb Zusha’s father, passed from this world, his children gathered for the week of mourning. At the conclusion of the shivah the sons divided their father’s inheritance in the following way: Avraham received the cash and the house was given to Nosson. The jewelry and housewares went to Elimelech and the outstanding debts were to be collected by Zusha.
In this week’s parshah the Torah gives us the mitzvah of tefillah – davening to Hashem – for as the pasuk says, “oso sa’avod – you shall serve Him.” The Torah repeats this mitzvah several times, with another mention further in this week’s parshah: “uleavdo bechal levavchem – serve Him with all of your heart.” The Sifri explains that one serves with his heart by means of tefillah.
I was going crazy. I couldn’t stand it another minute. Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I had been blessed, b’li ayin hara, with children very close in age. Surely having one child after the other was a blessing to be grateful for. I knew there were many people who would give a million dollars to have such a “problem.” But still, it was very stressful. But that wasn’t the hardest part, and it wasn’t the main reason for my feelings of despair.
We doubt anyone attending last week’s massive Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium will forget anytime soon the breathtaking sight of more than ninety thousand people breaking out into dance and song in celebration of the Torah following the delivery of the siyum by Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Malkiel Kotler. Or the chills they experienced as Cantor Yitzchok Meir Helfgott recited the Kel Moleh Rachamim prayer in honor of the victims of the Holocaust who died Al Kiddush Hashem. Or the inspiration they felt as tens of thousands of Jews prayed together as one. All were testimony to the centrality of Torah to Jewish identity, fealty to the Ribbono Shel Olam and submission to His Will.
Let me assure you that the purpose of this article is not to weigh in on the recent Internet Asifa (gathering) that was held at Citifield in New York. Suffice it to say, that irrespective of one’s views regarding the execution and specifics of this unprecedented event, it should be crystal clear to every sane adult that Gedolei Yisroel have brought to the forefront the perils that accompany the recent monumental advances in modern technology. It is incumbent on each and every individual to devise and implement a personal plan of action that will protect his/her family from one of the greatest dangers of the 21st century.
I am in shock. A friend of mine was visiting the United States and his ride to the airport for his return flight to Israel fell through. At the last minute he needed to find a ride to a terminal that was 50 minutes away in order to catch a bus to New York City where he would then take a shuttle to the airport.
I’d like to believe that I at least have average intelligence. And when in need of inspiration or to learn something to facilitate my personal growth, I gain much from adult tapes and books. I’m greatly inspired by the words of the plethora of writers and speakers who target their words to adult audiences; their sentence structure and vocabulary meant only for us grownups. Their valuable lessons are often arrived at through a series of logical steps any adult with reasonable intelligence should be able to follow. And follow I do.
In this week’s parshah Balak hires Bilam to curse the Jews. The Gemaras in Berachos 7a and Avodah Zarah 4a say that there is a very brief moment during each day when Hashem allows himself to get angry. The Gemara says that no one was ever able to exact that moment except for Bilam the rasha, as it says: “veyode’a das elyon – and he knew Hashem’s knowledge.”
I am on a bus as I write this article and the ride will be at least 11 hours. For me, one of the big draws of traveling in a manner most would feel is quite tedious, is that several long distance bus companies offer free WIFI service. This allows me the opportunity to possibly enrich myself financially (by watching the ebb and flow of the stock market); educate myself (by reading various online newspapers, including The Jewish Press); entertain myself (downloading the many humorous, sometimes witty, satirical articles/photos/cartoons available to brighten a person’s day) or write a column, (and for a change not have the pressure of stressfully productive hours before my deadline) – all time consuming activities that should make time pass quickly.
The Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy is a religious Zionist school. It has been in existence for over 64 years and had never had an official school-sponsored trip to Israel. Until this year.
Here we are again – Shavuos, the yom tov commemorating the giving of the Torah, God’s greatest gift to mankind. If someone were to say to me, “It’s unbelievable that Hashem gave us His amazing Torah,” I would respond, “That’s the wrong way to put it. ‘Unbelievable’ means ‘not to be believed.’ The correct expression is, ‘It’s beyond belief’ – meaning more than belief. Hashem loves His charming nation beyond words.”
The Lakewood roshei hayeshiva, Rav Malkiel Kotler and Rav Yisroel Neuman spent Shabbos Parshiyos Tazria-Metzora (April 28) with the two largest Jewish communities of Los Angeles – Rav Kotler in Los Angeles-Hancock Park, and Rav Neuman in Pico-Robertson/Beverly Hills.