Rabbi's Corner

Rabbi's Corner

02/16/2017 02:30:53 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Candle Lighting 5:21pm

Mincha 5:25pm
Shabbat Mincha 5:25pm
Havdala 6:21pm

Join us this Shabbat for Tfillot and Parshat Yitro- Let's ALL Go Back to Sinai and Receive the Torah/Tablets!

From: Advertising to Baby Boomers

Quickie D'var Torah

It is written in this week's Parsha :Shmot 19: 2 : 

They (the Children of Israel)  journeyed from Rephidim, and they arrived (Hebrew: 'VaYachanu'  in plural) in the desert of Sinai, and encamped (Hebrew:  'VaYichan' in singular) in the desert, and Israel encamped there opposite the mountain (Mount Sinai).

The Rabbis asked, why did the Torah use both the plural and singular forms when describing the Israelite's camp at the foot of Mount Sinai on the eve of Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah?

Rashi in the name of the Midrash commented that we learn from that verse that  the Israelites were like "one person with one heart". Although they were many hundreds of thousands there were unified like "one".

As opposed to the many encampments in the desert where the people were disgruntled, irritated and divided, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, the  people where unified  and cohesive.

May the Jewish people understand that although we will never all  be the same,  we should always strive to  be unified  like  "one person with one heart".

Join us for a Freilich, Rav Shlomo's"  Kabbalat Shabbat 

Friday night, March 3 - Mincha at 5:40

Come and  bring in Shabbat with Ruach!

We will be singing the following melodies during our Tfillat Kabbalat Shabbat:

Y'did Nefesh- Artscroll Siddur- Pg.  590

Y'did Nefesh

Shiru Lashem, Psalm 96, Artscroll Siddur- Pg.  309

Shiru Lashem, Psalm 96

Mizmor L'David, Psalm 29,  Artscroll Siddur- Pg.  314

Mizmor L'David, Psalm 29

Mizmor Shir L'yom Hashabat- Psalm 92, Artscroll Siddur- Pg. 320

Mizmor Shir L'yom Hashabat, Psalm 92

Hashem Malach, Psalm 93, Artscroll Siddur- Pg.  320

Sung to the Carlebach melody for LeMa'an Achai

Hashem Malach, Psalm 93

Join us for Seuda Shlisheet

Please join us for a Traditional Seuda Shlisheet- "Shaleshudes"- on Shabbat, March 4.

Mincha at 5:00PM followed by Seuda Shlisheet-learning and singing, Maariv and a musical Havdala. 

PS - Think you'll find this article pretty interesting - enjoy!

Click here to view the article

Shabbat Shalom, 

Stay Warm, Drive Safe, Be Well, and join us for davening.  Shabbat Shalom, See you @ Sinai

Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

02/10/2017 09:32:44 AM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Candle Lighting 5:12pm

Mincha 5:15pm
Shabbat Mincha 5:15pm
Havdala 6:13pm

Quickie D'var Torah

Life often demands that we perform a  "Ma'ase Nachsohn"- a "Nachshonian  Act".

According to the Midrash, with the Egyptians at their tail, the Israelites stood at the bank of the Red Sea arguing, who will be the "first to go down into the sea". While Yehudah and Binyamin were engaged in their violent dispute, Nachshon ben Aminadav of the tribe of Judah sprang forward and was the first to go down into the sea. As a reward for Nachshon's act of courage and faith, the Beit HaMikdash was built in
[ the Tribe of ] Yehudah's territory.

May God give us all the strength to perform a  Nachshonian Act, out of faith and conviction when duty calls.

Intro to Tu Bishvat

From   "The Observant Jew"published  , 2012:
Pages 193-194:

 While most Jews associate the beginning of a new year with Rosh Hashana the following Misha informs us that there are actually four New Years: "There are four New Year days: The first of Nissan, the New Year for kings and the festivals; The first of Elul, the New Year for the tithing of animals; The first of Tishrei, the New Year for the counting of years, the shemittah (sabbatical year), the yovel (jubilee year), planting and vegetation; and the first of Shevat (according to Shammai) or the fifteenth of Shevat (according to Hillel, by whose ruling we abide), the New Year for trees. Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 1:1).  

The fifteenth of the month of Sh'vat (called Tu Bi-sh'vat in Hebrew) was, at least according to the view of the school of Hil­lel, the New Year  for agricultural purposes, and specifically for paying the an­nual tithes due on fruit. (The Talmud, at BT Rosh Ha-shanah 14a, explains that, as the majority of the winter season's rainfall has already fallen by this date, fruit trees that only blossom later on are considered part of the following year's crop.) Also, the law that prohibits eating the fruit of trees for the first three years they produce fruit requires a specific date after which the fruit may be eaten in the fourth year, and that too was the fifteenth of Sh'vat (Leviticus 19:23-25; cf. MT Hilkhot T'rumot 5:11 and Hilkhot Ma'aseir Sheini V'neta Reva.i 9:9-10).

 Later, when the original meaning of  Tu Bi-sh'vat  became less important to Jews in the Diaspora, it became customary to enjoy fruit from the Land of Israel on Tu Bi-sh'vat, as a way of strengthening the bond between a people scattered around the globe and the Holy Land. One of the most popular of these fruits was (and is) the fruit of the carob tree, called 'bokser'  in Yiddish and also occasionally referred to in English as St. John's bread.  In the six­teenth century, the mystics of Safed found especially profound meaning in Tu Bi-sh'vat  and created an elaborate liturgy for this day modeled on the Passover seder. With the founding of the modern State of Israel, there has been a revival of interest in Tu Bi-sh'vat. In Israel, for example, it is customary for school­children to go out on that day to plant saplings, thus transforming the day into a kind of Jewish Arbor Day. Many contemporary synagogues have revived the Tu Bi-sh'vat seder as well, as a means both of deepening the spiritual con­nection between the Jews of the Diaspora and the Land of Israel. Also, Tu Bi­sh'vat has been given an environmental spin in some circles in recent years. When viewed in this light, Tu Bi-sh'vat can serve to remind us that the world is God's sacred gift to humanity, a precious legacy entrusted to our care.

Below is a Tu Bishvat Golden Oldie:

 Hash'Kediyah Porachat - T"u Bish'vat Higi'a  

Hash'kediyah porachat
veshemesh paz zorachat,
tziporim merosh kol gag
mevarshot et bo hachag.
T"u bish'vat higi'a
chag la'ilanot.
T"u bish'vat higi'a
chag la'ilanot.
Ha'aretz meshava'at
higi'ah et lata'at
kol echad yikach lo etz
be'atim nitze chotzetz.
T"u bish'vat higi'a...
Hashemesh zorachat
vecham meod hayom.
ani mekava mezeg ha'avir
sheyisha'er bahir.
Check out the video on YouTube by clicking on the link below: 
The Almond Tree Is Blooming - Tu Bishvat is here!
The almond tree is blooming
and the golden sun is shining,
birds atop each roof
brush (bless) the arrival of the festival.
Tu bishvat has arrived
(it's) the festival of trees.
Tu bishvat has arrived
(it's) the festival of trees.
The land is crying out
the time of planting has arrived
each person shall take a tree
we'll stride out with spades.
Tu bishvat has arrived...
The sun is shining
and it's very hot today
I hope the weather
stays bright.

Shabbat Shalom, 

Drive Safe, Be Well, Stay warm, and, Join us for davening!

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

02/02/2017 01:15:09 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat Parshat Bo

Candle Lighting 5:04pm

Mincha 5:05pm
Shabbat Mincha 5:05pm
Havdala 6:05pm

Quickie D'var Torah

There is a Rabbinic teaching that suggests that the verse from Proverbs 27:3- "Stone is heavy and sand a burden," could be applied to Pharaoh.

The Rabbis said that just as it is impossible to penetrate a stone with speech, Moshe and Aaron were unable to get their message through to Pharaoh.

Repeatedly stubborn Pharaoh refused to free the Israelite slaves. He behaved towards Moshe and Aaron like an impenetrable rock and every time he said to Moshe 'OK; take your people out of Egypt', his words were short lived, like writing on sand.

The 'take home' from this 'vort*' is that we should never obstinately turn our hearts into stone and whenever we commit ourselves to doing something, it shouldn't be easily erased.

*vort- a short "word" of Torah

Please join for our Havdalah in Pajamas party

Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night) at 6:30

For the Havdalah Melody please visit:

Havdalah Melody

Come join us for Shacharit this Sunday and "let's call it a wrap!"

The Shacharit World Wide [Tefillin] Wrap is on Super Bowl Sunday at 8:00 AM. 

Participate and Celebrate the Mitzvah of Tefillin with us. There'll be extra sets we will help you through the process. Afterwards, please join us for a breakfast sponsored by our Men's Club.

Here's a Tefillin song, based on "I got a feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas

Tefillin Song

The Midrash states (Vayikra Rabbah 32:5):

 "Bnei Yisrael were redeemed from Mitzrayim because .... They did not change their names or their language.."
Here's a great song about speaking (and davening) in Hebrew, by Ehud Banai:

Ehud Banai

Shabbat Shalom, 

Drive Safe, Be Well, Stay warm, and, Join us for davening!

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

01/26/2017 12:11:48 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Toda Rabba - Thank you so much

תודה רבה מקרב לב

Once again, I want to thank you all  for  your notes, good wishes and tfillot.  May we all -B'ezrat Hashem- be healthy and may all those in need of healing have a speedy and complete recovery.

Please listen to Debbie Friedman z"l's very moving  Misheberach for the sick.

Misheberach for the sick

Candle Lighting 4:55pm

Mincha 5:00pm
Shabbat Mincha 5:00pm
Havdala 5:57pm

Quickie D'var Torah

Shmot 6:6-.... וְהוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מִתַּחַת סִבְלֹת מִצְרַיִם

and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians

Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski wrote that the Rebbe from Gur pointed out that the Hebrew word סבלת (Sivlot) means not only "burden" but also "tolerance". The verse would then read, "I will deliver you from being tolerant of Egypt."

The first step in the process of liberation is to overcome the tolerance of enslavement.  Moshe was a spiritual leader who went forth to the people, arousing them to reject slavery as an acceptable way of life.

We should never accept intolerable behavior as a given. We must relentlessly fight slavery, oppression and terror.

From "Living Each Week", by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, Artscroll, 1997

Song of the week

Based on the Parshiot (weekly portions) we are currently reading

The Maccabeats - The Exodus story based on Les Misérables 

The Maccabeats - The Exodus story based on Les Miserables

Oh Freedom - Golden Gospel Singers- inspired by the Exodus narrative

Oh Freedom - Golden Gospel Singers

Shabbat Shalom, 

Drive Safe, Be Well, Stay warm, and, Join us for davening!

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

01/19/2017 12:01:34 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat - Parshat Shmot

Chaverim are invited to join me mark the "Shloshim" for my Mother z"l on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 at 6:30.

The weekly "Living Jewishly" Shiur-class will be on  Death and Mourning in the Jewish Tradition.

Candle Lighting 4:47pm

Mincha 4:50pm
Shabbat Mincha 4:50pm
Havdala 5:50pm

What is the connection between a popular hors d'oeuvres 

and this week's Parsha?

In modern Israeli Hebrew these are called "Moshe BaTeiva" - Moses in the Basket.

Quickie D'var Torah

The Book of Shmot (Exodus) begins with the verse: "And these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt; with Jacob, each man and his household came."

The medieval commentators asked why in the beginning of the Book of Shmot, did the Torah repeat the list of the Israelites which was already written in Breisheet 46?

Rashbam* commented that "because the text wants to emphasize that the Israelites were "fertile and prolific" it was necessary to repeat that, when they came to Egypt there were no more than seventy of them.   After the death of the previous generation, they were "fertile and prolific", and a "new king arose" who tried to deal shrewdly with them in order to diminish them, but it did him no good."

(see verse 1:7 But the Israelites were fertile and prolific; they multiplied and increased very greatly, so that the land was filled with them.)

(see verses  1:8-9: A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.  And he said to his people, "Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us.)

The Torah reported that something counter intuitive happened (V. 1:12) "the more they were oppressed, the more they increased and spread out, so that the [Egyptians] came to dread the Israelites."  Ibn Ezra commented that against all odds the people of Israel increased immeasurably.

Throughout the ages, our enemies have tried to oppress us and diminish our numbers. But our response has always been to create more Jewish families, raise Jewish children, establish Jewish communities; grow and strengthen our people. That's the key to our survival.

*Rashbam- Rashi's grandson (RAbbi SHmuel Ben Meir_  Rabbi Samuel ben Meir ( c. 1085 - c. 1158)

Song of the week

Songs of the week, inspired by Shmot,  this week's parsha.

Louis Armstrong-Go Down Moses

Louis Armstrong - Go Down Moses

An Israeli early childhood classic

Moshe BaTeiva   -  Moses in the Basket
lyrics by Kaddish Yehuda Leib Sillman

performed by Rinat

Moses in the Basket

Shabbat Shalom, 

Drive Safe, Be Well, Stay warm, and, Join us for davening!

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

01/12/2017 04:46:46 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Shira and I returned from Israel today and found in our mailbox and on my desk many condolence notes from our Shul chaverim. Thank you again for your kind words of consolation.

May we be together to celebrate S'machot in the future.

Parshat VaYechi

A Quickie Dvar Torah:

In this week's Parsha, grandfather Yaakov blesses his grandchildren Efraim and Menashe. Yaakov's words to his grandsons, יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה  (God make you like Efraim and Manashe) became the standard opening of the blessing to our children on Friday nights  before Kiddush.

The question often asked is, why did Yaakov single out Yosef's two sons? What special quality did they possess?  The Maayana Shel Torah (Wellspring of Torah), which is an anthology of biblical commentaries quoted the following explanation suggested by Rabbi Zvi Elimelech of Dinov (19th C. Poland) in his book
 Igra DeKallah:

"Why should the children of Israel specifically bless themselves [with Efraim and Manashe] and not with the rest of the tribes? It is an important foundation in the ethical traditions of Judaism not to exalt oneself over others and not to be jealous of them. When Yaakov saw that even though he chose the younger Efraim to serve as the "firstborn" [in status], despite this, Efraim did not exalt himself over Manashe and Manashe was not jealous of Efraim. Yaakov said [to himself]: "If only all the children of Israel could be like this, free of arrogance and envy!" . . . Therefore, [the children of] Israel is blessed specifically through them, so that like them there should not be jealousy and competition ruling them."

Why do we proclaim "Chazak Chazak Vinitchazek" ("Be strong and let us strengthen ourselves.") at the completion of one of the Five Books of the Torah? 

(Based on Rite and Reason, by Shmuel Pinchas Gelbard: ) This is in accord with the verses from Joshua 1:8,9:  'This book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall contemplate it day and night, in order to observe, all that is written in it. For then you will make your ways prosperous, and then you shall succeed.... In truth I commanded you, 'Strengthen yourself'.

Hence the custom arose to declare upon completing the reading of an entire Book of the Torah: 'Be Strong" (And don't stop!  Continue reading the next Book with the same enthusiasm.)

In addition to this, the BT Brachot 32b teaches: Four things require "Chizuk"- (reinforcement and 'strengthening'): Torah (reading and study); good deeds; prayer and Derech Eretz (behaving like a Mensch).

Song of the week


In memory of my mother, Phyllis Schlesinger z"l

Paul Robeson - Kaddisch

Good morning to You, Lord, Master of the universe,
I, Levi Yitzhak, son of Sarah of Berdichev,
I come to You with a Din Torah from Your people Israel.
What do You want of Your people Israel?
What have You demanded of Your people Israel?
For everywhere I look it says, "Say to the Children of Israel."
And every other verse says, "Speak to the Children of Israel."
And over and over, "Command the Children of Israel."
Father, sweet Father in heaven,
How many nations are there in the world?
Persians, Babylonians, Edomites.
The Russians, what do they say?
That their Czar is the only ruler.
The Prussians, what do they say?
That their Kaiser is supreme.
And the English, what do they say?
That George the Third is sovereign.
And I, Levi Yitzhak, son of Sarah of Berdichev, say,
"Yisgadal v 'yiskadash shmei raboh-
Magnified and sanctified is Thy Name."
And I, Levi Yitzhak, son of Sarah of Berdichev, say,
"From my stand I will not waver,
And from my place I shall not move
Until there be an end to all this.
Yisgadal v'yiskadash shmei rabok-
Magnified and sanctified is only Thy Name."

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day

We Shall Overcome - in Hebrew

We Shall Overcome
Performed by an IDF musical troupe in the 1960's

Shabbat Shalom, 

Drive Safe, Be Well, Stay warm, and, Join us for davening!

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

01/05/2017 12:48:17 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Parshat Vayigash

A Quickie Dvar Torah:

It is written in this week's Parsha: Breisheet 44:18: " Then Judah approached him and said,  Please, my lord, let now your servant speak something into my lord's ears, and let not your wrath be kindled against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh."

Why do we take 3 steps forward at the beginning of the Amida?

Rabbi Moshe Iserles (Poland, 16th Century) in his commentary on Jewish Law, "Darchei Moshe" wrote: We found the word "approach" mentioned 3 times in the Torah in connection with requests:

1. "And Abraham approached" - Breisheet 18:23 - And Abraham approached and said, Will You even destroy the righteous with the wicked?

2. "And Elijah approached";1 Kings 18:36 - And it was when the evening sacrifice was offered that Elijah the prophet approached and said, Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant, and at Your word have I done all these things...

3. In our Parsha it says "And Judah approached..... "

From these three sources we learn that when we are about to approach God and pray (the Amida, which includes 13 requests in the form of Brachot) we should approach by taking 3 steps forward.

The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet

The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet (Asarah B'Tevet) will take place this coming Sunday, January 8. The fast begins at dawn (5:56 a.m.) and ends at 5:26 p.m.

The Tenth of Tevet is mentioned in II Kings (25:1-4):

(1) And in the ninth year of his reign (**Rashi: in the ninth year of his reign: [i.e., the reign] of Zedekiah), the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar moved against Jerusalem with his whole army. He besieged it; and they built towers against it all around.  

(2) The city continued in a state of siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.  

(3) By the ninth day [of the fourth month] the famine had become acute in the city; there was no food left for the common people.

(4) Then [the wall of] the city was breached. All the soldiers [left the city] by night through the gate between the double walls, which is near the king's garden - the Chaldeans were all around the city; and [the king] set out for the Arabah.

Three years later, on the 17th of Tammuz, Nebuchadnezzar broke through the city walls. The siege ended with the destruction of the Temple on Tisha B'av, the 9th of Av.

The first mention of the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet appears in Zechariah 8:

(19) So said the Lord of Hosts: The fast of the fourth [month], the fast of the fifth [month], the fast of the seventh [month], and the fast of the tenth [month] shall be for the house of Judah for joy and happiness and for happy holidays-but love truth and peace. where it is called the "fast of the tenth month..."

** According to Rashi:

the fast of the fourth [month] is the fast of Tammuz, which is the fourth of the months.
the fast of the fifth [month] is in the month of Av.
the fast of the seventh [month] is on the third of Tishri, when Gedaliah was assassinated.
the fast of the tenth [month] is in the month of Tevet.

For more information about fast days, please refer to A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice, by Rabbi Isaac Klein, pages 242-244.

Drive Safe, Be Well,

Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

12/29/2016 01:53:23 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat Chanukah - Parshat Miketz

A Quickie Dvar Torah:  "Yosef phone home" 

Let's review some info about Yosef:

1. At 17 Yosef tended the sheep of his brothers...[ that same year he was sold into slavery.] (Breisheet 37:2)

2. Joseph went down to Egypt and worked in Potifar's house for one year. (Midrash Pirqei deRebi Eliezer 39)

3. [After the incident with Mrs. Potifar] Yosef was imprisoned for ten years -The midrash taught that " you find that Joseph deserved being placed in prison for ten years, since he delivered an evil report of his ten brothers, (he sat one year for each brother) (Midrash Shemot Rabbah 7:1)

4. Yosef said to the Butler: "But remember me when things go well with you. Please deal kindly with me, and mention me to Pharaoh, and take me out of this house". (Bereishit 40:14)

"But the butler did not remember Joseph, and he forgot him."(Breisheet 40: 23).  It came to pass at the end of two full years, .... (Breisheet 41:1)

Midrash Tanchuma (Vayaishev 9) taught that instead of trusting in God, Yosef put his trust in the Butler, by asking him to speak on his behalf to Pharaoh. As a result of this, he was punished and spent two additional years in the Egyptian prison..

Many commentators have asked, why was Yosef punished; aren't we supposed to do everything in our power to help ourselves? Doesn't God "help those, who help themselves"?

I would like to suggest that Yosef wasn't incarcerated because he didn't put his trust in God. Yosef sat in jail 10 years for speaking ill of his brothers, and God kept him in jail another 2 years for not being sensitive to his grieving father whom he never contacted.  Yosef should have phoned home (to inform his father that he was alive and well) during his good year in Potifar's house; as it is written , "The Lord was with Yosef, and he was a successful man, and he stayed in the house of his Egyptian master." (Bereishit 39:2)

Candle lighting Erev Shabbat Chanukah:

Shabbat Candle lighting 4:26 p.m.

Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat/Arvit 4:30 p.m.

On Friday night December 30, 2016 the Chanukah candles are lit before the Sabbath candles (See the Shulchan Aruch - O.H. 678:1)

Chanukah Candle lighting time is at 4:20 p.m. Shabbat candle lighting time is at 4:26 p.m. 

It is customary to use large candles in order to assure that they burn for 1.5 hours.

On Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night) Chanukah Candles are lit in Shul before Havdalah (5:30 PM) and in the home after Havdalah (see Hayyei Adam 153:37; Qitsur Shulhan 'Arukh 139:18).

Chanukah Song of the week 

The Maccabeats - Hasmonean - A Hamilton Hanukkah

Music video for "Hasmonean," a parody of "Hamilton," originally by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Video by Uri Westrich

The Maccabeats - Hasmonean - A Hamilton Hanukkah

Drive Safe, Be Well,

Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

12/22/2016 04:12:03 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat -Erev Chanuka - Parshat  VaYeishev

A Quickie Dvar Torah:
This week's Parsha begins with the verse: "Yaakov settled down (vayeshev) in the land in which his father had sojourned in the land of Canaan." (37:1)
Rashi focused on the word 'vayeshev' which means 'settled down'. He commented that Yaakov simply wanted to settle down and sit back in his easy chair quietly and calmly. However, difficult family matters arose and to Yaakov's dismay, these brought him great aggravation and distress.
Perhaps it describes how we feel at the end of a difficult week. People everywhere want to "settle down"; sit back, relax and enjoy the holiday spirit in the company of family and friends. However, the victims of the act of terror in Germany and the citizens of war torn Syria have been denied these simple pleasures.   It is all very disheartening knowing that mourning candles will burn together with the Chanukah candles.
However, we should never forget that while mourning candles burn out, our Chanukah candles continue to  illuminate brightly, generation after generation and symbolize our aspirations for better, peaceful and tranquil days, as Peter Yarrow wrote:
Light one candle for the Maccabee Children
with thanks that their light didn't die.
Light one candle for the pain they endured
when their right to exist was denied.
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
justice and freedom demand.
Light one candle for the wisdom to know
when the peace maker's time is at hand.

A Quickie Dvar Torah for Chanukah:
Although there are those who display huge Chanukiot in the public domain, the essential Mitzva of Chanukah is "Ner Ish B'veito", as is says in the Braita: (BT Shabbat 21b) "Our Rabbis taught: The precept of Hanukkah [demands] a light for a person  and his/her household."  The Talmud is teaching us that the Mitzvah should be first and foremost performed  in one's  home, in the company of one's family.  The root of the word "Chanukah" is "Chinuch" -education. The Candle lighting ceremony provides  quality time and an   educational opportunity for families to talk about the Maccabees; religious oppression; miracles; religious tolerance; gratitude and more.
To help in the teaching process the nightly  candle lighting ceremony  is accompanied by instructive liturgy:
"Hanerot Halalu"-teaches us why we light candles and how to properly perform the Mitzva of lighting Candle: 
1. "Why?:-"These Chanukah lights we kindle In honor of the miracles, the wonders And salvation wrought and wars You fought, for our fathers, In days of yore and in present time;  By the hands of Your holy priests."

2."How do we observe the Mitzva?" : "And throughout Chanukah's eight days These lights, shall be sacred: We have NO right to make use of them, only to look at them ...."
Maoz Tzur-I strongly recommend singing the entire Piyut (liturgical poem). The six verses of Maoz Tzur offer the family a Jewish history lesson which includes our thanks to God for delivering the us  from Egypt; from the Babylonian exile; from Haman's plan to annihilate the Jews in Persia and from Antiochus' religious oppression in the Land of Israel. We conclude Maoz Tzur  with a prayer of hope for Israel's salvation.
Summary of the Halachot  (Laws)                
It is customary to place the Chanukah Candles, SAFELY, on a window sill, or at the  front door(which is made of glass or has glass panels), for all to see  in  order to publicize the miracle of Chanukah, called "mishum pirsumei  nisa".
If placed at the front door, the Chanukia should be put on the right side of the door (facing out) so that the entrance to the house is surrounded by Mitzvot - the Mezuza and the Chanukia.
The first candle is placed on the right side of the Chanukia. The second candle (on the second night) is placed directly to the left of the place occupied by the first candle, and so on, always moving leftward. The kindling starts on the left  and moves toward to the right. Thus, the first candle to be lit each day is the candle added  for that day. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 676:5)
The Chanukah candles may be lit from sundown until "there are no people on the streets of the city". (BT Shabbat 21b - Its observance is from sunset until there is no wayfarer in  the street.)

Song of the week 
Light One candle- by Peter Yarrow, performed by
Benny Friedman

Chanukah Trivia
How do you spell Maccabee/Makabi in Hebrew-           מכבי with a כ or מקבי with a ק?

Judah the Macabbee was actually the first "Hebrew Hammer" (the name of a movie from 2003). Many etymologists claim that Maccabee should be written 
with a ק and not a כ as the word comes from the Hebrew word מקבת which means hammer.

Drive Safe, Be Well,
Shabbat Shalom
and join us for davening,
Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

12/15/2016 01:21:11 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry


A Quickie Dvar Torah:  
It is written in this week's Parsha: (Breisheet 32:5)
And he commanded them, saying, "So shall you say to my master to Esau, 'Thus said your servant Jacob, "I have sojourned (Hebrew:  "Garti" גַּרְתִּי ) with Laban, and I have tarried until now.
It is interesting to note that the we find a number of commentaries on the word    ג ר ת י  :
1.The root of the word is   ג ר   (ger) which also means stranger. This suggests that during the entire 20 year period that Yaakov was in Lavan's home, he felt like a stranger, who was never really  comfortable in his father in law's home.
2.  ג ר ת י = ת ר י ג  Rashi ( Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki , France, 1040 - 1105) commented that the word גַּרְתִּי (Garti; Literally- I have sojourned) shares the same letters as Taryag (Tav, Reish, Yud , Gimel ) which has  numerical value of the number of Mitzvot- 613.
3. According to Midrashic tradition, throughout the years he spent as a "stranger" in Lavan's idolatrous home, Yaakov followed the tradition of his father Yitzchak and his grandfather Avraham and observed the  613- "Taryag"  Mitzvot.
The message of this anachronistic Rabbinic teaching is that although we have been a minority of strangers in foreign lands and often the victims of hatred and oppression, the Jewish tradition has been our source of strength and the force behind our perseverance.

Song of the week inspired by the Parsha:
Jacob and the Angel, by Suzanne Vega
The angel came to Jacob
The room began to glow
Jacob asked the angel
Are you friend or are you foe?
The angel never answered
But smote him on the thigh
They wrestled through the darkness
Till morning filled the sky
This thing between us, has wings, it has teeth
It has got horns and feathers, and sinews beneath
Angel or demon, to the truth I am bound, and so
This thing between us must be wrestled down.
Jacob held on to the angel,
Who turned to fly, and to flee
He said I must have your blessing
Before I let you leave me
The angel never answered
But smote him on the thigh
They wrestled through the darkness
Till morning filled the sky
And in the light
He knew another name
As he struggled and surrendered
To the next part of the game
This thing between us, has wings......
Get into the spirit of Chanuka:  
The Maccabeats
The Maccabeats - Miracle - by Matisyahu 

Drive Safe, Be Well,

Shabbat Shalom
and join us for davening,
Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

12/08/2016 11:10:42 AM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat Parshat VaYetze
Join us for davening!
A Quickie Dvar Torah:  
On his arduous journey, fleeing from his brother, Yaakov stopped and camped out for the night under the stars. He fell asleep and dreamt an awesome dream about a "stairway to heaven" and all the angels. When he awoke, he exclaimed: "Surely God is present in this place, and I did not know it!"  Why would Yaakov, one of our Patriarchs, the grandson of Avraham say such a thing? Was he so scared that he simply lost his faith and thought he was literally in a Godforsaken place. It seems that sometimes when things get so bad, one feels that God is nowhere to be found.
Several years ago, my friend's daughter was visiting Thailand when the devastating 2004 Tsunami wreaked havoc on Southeast Asia. There were no communications between Thailand and the rest of the world for nearly two weeks. My friend who hadn't heard from his daughter, stayed home with his family, glued to the telephone, waiting to hear a word from his daughter. Friends and well-wishers expressed their concern and provided the family with food, friendship, and prayer.
After he finally heard from his daughter that she was safe and was preparing to return to Israel, he got up in Shul to thank all those good people who helped him cope during those trying days. He said that throughout those many days of anguish, he learned that "even in hell, one could find Godliness."
We can't be God, but we can be Godly. Godliness, chessed and good deeds can be found everywhere and anywhere; even in the least expected places.
We must always believe and know that "Surely God is present in this place"- and make sure Godliness is there too.


Song of the week inspired by the Parsha:
Written by Bruce Hornsby and John Hornsby; recorded by Huey Lewis and the News.
"Step by step, one by one, higher and higher
Step by step, rung by rung, climbing Jacob's ladder......"
Get into the Chanukah Spirit:
The Maccabeats sing "Candlelight", based on Mike Tompkin's version of "Dynamite"
Shabbat Shalom,
Drive Safe, Be Well, Stay warm, and,Join us for davening!
Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

12/02/2016 09:01:55 AM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

The Jerusalem Post has reported: "Jewish organizations here and abroad rallied speedily to assist Israel in the wake of fires - many caused by arsonists - that raged throughout the country over the past week."
Stand with Israel and contribute to the organization of your choice!


A Quickie Dvar Torah:  
From where do we learn that, God helps those who helps themselves?
In Yitzchak's blessing to his son Yaakov it says: (Breisheet 27: 2) 
ויתן לך אלקים  "And, God will give you of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth, Abundance of new grain and wine."
The Kli  Yakar  (Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz,17th C) asked why did Yitzchak's "bracha" begin with the word "V'yiten"- "and,  God  will give".  The verse should've read "Yiten"- "God will give!" The "Vav" (and) seems unnecessary. 
Rabbi Luntschitz explained that the "Vav" is indeed very important. It means that God will assist you only if you take the lead "and" make the first attempt at improving your situation or solving a problem.  According to the Kli Yakar, the verse is really saying "Take the lead and God will provide..."
Yitzchak who by nature isn't afraid of hard work and will persevere until succeeding in his task (See Breisheet 26), is encouraging his child to work hard, because "God helps those who help themselves". One should never sit back and "rely on a miracle", to get something done.


Kislev in Jewish History
On Thursday  we marked Rosh Chodesh Kislev. Kislev is the 9th month when counting from Nissan. Kislev's sign is the Bow (Keshet). According to tradition the first rainbow was seen at the beginning of Kislev after the Flood. 
1 Kislev - November 16, 1917: The British occupied Tel Aviv.
2 Kislev - November 11, 1942: 5,000 Jews were murdered in the ghetto of Slutsk, Byelorussia. The Jewish community was established there in the 13th century.
4 Kislev - November 24, 1941: The Nazis moved out all 3,700 inhabitants of Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia to create a "model" Jewish ghetto where it shipped Jews from all over Czechoslovakia. In all, 140,937 Jews were sent to Theresienstadt, of whom 33,529 died in the ghetto and 88,196 were deported to death camps. There were 17,247 persons left in the ghetto when it was liberated.
5 Kislev - December 7, 1948: the road connecting besieged Jerusalem with the rest of the country was opened.
6 Kislev - November 10, 1975: the UN General Assembly approves the awful resolution equating Zionism with racism.
7 Kislev - December 2, 1992: The 42 victims who perished when the Egoz boat capsized off the Moroccan coast while trying to immigrate to Israel in 1962 (5722), were brought to burial in Israel, 31 years later.
8 Kislev - December 8, 1978:
Golda Meir (1898-1978), prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974, died in Jerusalem.  
9 Kislev - December 9, 1940:
A boatload of 1,600 Jewish immigrants fleeing Nazi Germany was denied entry by the British into the port of Haifa; deporting them to the island of Mauritius. This was part of the British enforcement of the White Paper that effectively ended Jewish immigration to Israel.   
10 Kislev - November 20, 1977: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat addressed the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem. Sadat was the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, after receiving an invitation from Israeli PM Menachem Begin.
11 Kislev - December 6, 1677: Death of Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who was excommunicated in Amsterdam for his philosophy.
14 Kislev - December 16, 1948: First plane of "Operation Magic Carpet" brings Yemenite Jews to Israel.
15 Kislev - November 20, 1964: The Second Vatican Council, under Pope Paul VI, condemns anti-Semitism, declaring after 1800 years that the Jewish people as a whole are not to be blamed for Deicide.
16 Kislev -November 29, 1947:
The United Nations, by a vote of 33-13 with 10 abstentions voted in favor of the partition of Palestine. This vote enabled the establishment of the State of Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish People.   
18 Kislev-December 1, 1909: The first Kibbutz Degania Aleph was founded in Palestine (pre-state Israel) by Aaron David Gordon (1856-1922), who was considered the visionary of the militantly secular kibbutz movement. In 2005, breaking with its lengthy secular tradition, Degania opened its first synagogue.
19 Kislev - December 1, 1939: Reichfuhrer Heinrich Himmler ordered deportation of Polish Jews.
20 Kislev - 1095: First Crusade proclaimed by the Council of Clermont.
21Kislev - December 6, 1917: Finland became independent of Moscow and finally granted Jews civil rights. The original law though passed in 1909 had its implementation delayed by the Russian government.
22 Kislev - December 10, 1952: The people of Israel elected their second President - Yitzchak Ben-Zvi.
23 Kislev - December 12, 1778: The "Jewish Free School" was established by Isaac Daniel Itzig and his brother in law, David Friedlander in Germany, a milestone in the spread of Haskalah - Jewish Enlightenment.
24 Kislev - December 24, 1940: The sinking of the Patria in Haifa. The Patria was a French ship which carried 1,771 illegal immigrants. The Hagana tried to prevent the British from deporting those aboard to Mauritius, but the explosive charge destroyed the ship and it sank, drowning 257 people.
25 Kislev: the first day of Chanuka:  December 17, 1862: General Ulysses S. Grant, in issuing his infamous Order 11, ordered all "Jews as a class" expelled from Tennessee during the Civil War. In New York City, 7000 Jews marched in protest against his decision. President Lincoln rescinded his order.
26 Kislev - December 2, 1763: The cornerstone for the 'Touro Synagogue', Congregation Yeshuat Yisrael -- in Newport, Rhode Island, was laid on this day. The synagogue is the oldest American synagogue still standing in its original structure. It was founded by Spanish Portuguese families who came from Curacao, in the West Indies.
27 Kislev - December 10, 1966: 
Israeli writer, Shmuel Yosef (Shay) Agnon (1888-1970), was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
29 Kislev - December 17, 1914: Jews of Tel Aviv were expelled by the Turkish authorities and sent to Egypt. Just three years later, the Turks would order the remaining 9,000 Jews out of Jaffa, in advance of the British military offensive. The Jews fled north, where they suffered from disease and starvation. They were allowed to return with the British ousting of the Turks in 1917.
30 Kislev -1971: A group of Soviet prisoners of Zion- "refuseniks (one was a former military pilot) tried to escape to the West, in order to avoid harsh Soviet discrimination against Jews. Even though the attempt was unsuccessful, and was followed immediately by crackdown on Jewish and dissident movement throughout the USSR, it drew international attention to human rights violations in the USSR and resulted in a temporary loosening of emigration restrictions. The accused were charged with high treason, punishable by the death sentence. Included in this group was Yosef Mendelevitch, who in 1981 was released and joined his family in Israel, where he became an inspiring figure in the movement for traditional Jewish values.


Jewish song of the week
Get into the Kislev spirit!
Al Hanisim (melody- Rav Prof. Dov Frimer/performed by
 Shivat Zion, 1975)"
Shabbat Shalom,
Drive Safe, Be Well, Stay warm, and,Join us for davening!
Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

11/23/2016 11:01:40 AM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat - Parshat Chayei Sarah
Quickie Dvar Torah
aEsther Rabba- Parsha 1:  Rabbi Akiba taught a class and he noticed that his students began falling asleep. In order to awaken them,  he  asked "why did Esther deserve to rule over 127 provinces? God said:  Let the descendant of Sarah , who lived to the age of 127, rule over 127 provinces."
(Now,  take a look and see the page number of this Parsha in the (red) Etz Chaim Chumash!)
b. When we learn the Parsha we often rely on Rashi to explain the text. When learning Rashi's commentary, we should ask ourselves what question was Rashi answering when he wrote his 11th Century commentary; or what was bothering Rashi?
In this week's parsha it is written:
23:2-And Sarah died in Kiryat Arba, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and to bewail her.
23: 7- And Abraham arose and prostrated himself to the people of the land, to the sons of Heth. 8 And he spoke with them, saying, "If it is your will that I bury my dead from before me, listen to me and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar.9- That he may give me the Machpelah (double) Cave, which belongs to him, which is at the end of his field; for a full price let him give it to me in your midst for burial property."
What's bothering Rashi?  
"Kiryat Arba"- the "City of the Four": who were " the four"?
The "Machpelah (double) Cave"- What is meant by "double"?
Rashi explains:
" in Kiriat-Arba": lit. the city of the four. So named because ...of the four couples that were buried there: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.
 double: .... [It was called so] because it was doubled with couples (Er. 53a). 

Jewish Custom of the Week
The Badekn is a ceremony conducted prior to the chuppa; the groom places a veil over the bride's face. דעקן -"dekn" is Yiddish means 'to cover'
Rabbi Maurice Lamm* and others,noted that the source of the veiling is in this  week's parsha, Chayei Sarah, where Rebecca veils herself as she is told that Isaac is approaching. "And she said to the servant, 'What man is this who walks in the field to meet us?' And the servant said, 'It is my master.' And she took her veil and covered herself" (Bereisheet 24:64).      
Rabbi Lamm explained that a veil is a symbol of the bride's new status as a married woman, as well as a symbol of her modesty.
*The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage

Jewish Song of the Week for Thanksgiving

Words by Uzi Chitman z"l; Melody by George Dalaras
"Toda" - THANK YOU, sung in Hebrew by Chaim Moshe
Thanks for all that You've created, 
Thanks for what You've given me. 
For our eyesight,
A friend or two, 
For what I have in the world. 
For the song which flows, 
And a forgiving heart - 
Because of all this - I exist. 
Thanks for all that You've created, 
Thanks for what You've given me. 
For a child's laughter, 
And the blue sky, 
For the earth - and a warm home. 
A corner to sit in, 
A loving woman, 
Because of all this - I exist. 
Thanks for all that You've created, 
Thanks for what You've given me. 
For a day of happiness, 
Innocence and honesty, 
For the sad day - which passed and disappeared. 
Two thousand cheers, 
and hands clapping. 
Because of all this - I exist.
חבר או שניים 
על מה שיש לי בעולם 
על שיר קולח 
ולב סולח 
שבזכותם אני קיים 

תודה על כל מה שבראת 
תודה על מה שלי נתת 
על צחוק של ילד 
ושמי התכלת 
על אדמה ובית חם 
פינה לשבת 
אישה אוהבת 
שבזכותם אני קיים 

תודה על כל מה שבראת 
תודה על מה שלי נתת 
על יום של אושר 
תמימות ויושר 
על יום עצוב שנעלם 
תשואות אלפיים 
שבזכותם אני קיים

Learning with Rav Barry
Please note "Livingly Jewishly" is cancelled this Monday, November 28

. It will resume next Monday, December 5 at 6:45pm.


Happy Thanksgiving
Chag Sameach
Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

11/16/2016 04:33:10 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat Parshat  Vayera
On the occasion, of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach z"l's Yahrtzeit, Shira and I invite you to a Kumzitz,  Melave Malka, Sing A-long this coming Motzaei Shabbat (Nov.19) at 7:30 in our home. 
Please join us!


Quickie Dvar Torah/ Poem by Yehuda Amichai for  Parshat Vayera (trans. Chana Bloch & Stephen Mitchell) :
"The Real Hero"
The real hero of the Isaac story was the ram, 
who didn't know about the conspiracy between the others.
As if he had volunteered to die instead of Isaac.
I want to sing a song in his memory-
about his curly wool and his human eyes,
about the horns that were silent on his living head,
and how they made those horns into shofars when he was slaughtered to sound their battle cries
or to blare out their obscene joy.


I want to remember the last frame
like a photo in an elegant fashion magazine:
the young man tanned and manicured in his jazzy suit
and beside him the angel, dressed for a party
in a long silk gown,
both of them empty-eyed, looking
at two empty places,

and behind them, like a colored backdrop, the ram, 
caught in the thicket before the slaughter.
The thicket was his last friend.

The angel went home.
Isaac went home.
Abraham and God had gone long before.

But the real hero of the Isaac story 
was the ram.


Shabbat's Divrei Torah:
Friday Night- Rembrandt's "Midrash" on the Akeida
Shabbat Morning- Why was Abraham chosen?
Shabbat Afternoon - Giving a voice to Sarah and Isaac...


Songs of the week in memory of Leonard Cohen z"l
Leonard Cohen z"l , died on  Monday, November 7 in Los Angeles. He was buried three days later in Montreal's  Shaar Hashomayim cemetery on the slopes of Mount Royal, beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
Story of Isaac, inspired by this week's Parsha
You Want It Darker, with Montreal's 
Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir


Shabbat Shalom
Be well and drive safe,
Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

11/09/2016 04:18:26 PM


A Few Words From Rav Barry

A Few Words from Rav Barry -Erev Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha
Veteran's Shabbat will be observed this coming Shabbat:
Friday night, Nov. 11 and Shabbat morning Nov. 12.
On Veteran's Shabbat we will honor our veterans and remember
those soldiers lost in the line of duty.
All veterans are encouraged to attend.


Quickie Dvar Torah for Parshat Lech Lecha:
This week's parsha talks about a war between a coalition of four kings and a coalition of five kings.
Amraphel of Shinar, Arioch of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer of Elam, and Tidal of Goiim fought King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboyim, and the King of Bela, which is Zoar. For twelve years the five kings paid tribute to the four kings, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 
During the war Avraham heard that "his brother [Lot] has been taken captive."  Many Rabbis have commented that despite Avraham and Lot's differences, and even after Lot's decision to move to Sodom (of all places) the Patriarch never forgot his obligation to his family and he went to great lengths to free Lot from captivity.
This is a sort of "tikun" and an answer to Cain's question: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
We are expected to live by the ethic "kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh"- all Jews are responsible for each other.

The Jewish People will be marking our Matriarch Rachel's Yahrtzeit, the 11th of Mar Cheshvan, Shabbat Nov. 12.
Shalom Chaver: The Yahrtzeit  for the Late PM of Israel Yitzchak Rabin z"l  will be observed on the 12th of Marcheshvan- Sunday  Nov. 13.
Melave Malka-Kumzitz- Sing A Long
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's Yahrtzeit will be observed on the 16th of Marcheshvan, Thursday, Nov. 17.
Shira and I invite you to a Melave Malka-Kumzitz- Sing A Long marking Reb Shlomo Carlebach's Yahrtzeit on Motzaei Shabbat, Nov. 19, 2016 at 7:30 in our home.

Jewish Song of the Week:
In this week's Parsha, God instructs Abraham (Breisheet 13:17) "Up, walk about the land, through its length and its breadth, for I give it to you," and later on (Breisheet 28:14) God tells Jacob "Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants."
For Listening pleasure: Ufaratzta (you shall spread out­...) , Yigal Bashan


Shabbat Shalom
Be well and drive safe,
Shira and Rav Barry
Sun, 19 February 2017 23 Shevat 5777