Rabbi's Corner

10/20/2017 09:11:10 AM

Oct20

Rabbi Dan's Shabbat Spark

Shabbat Shalom,

Because this week's parasha is called "Noach" and tells the story of Noah and the Ark, we often forget that there is another powerful story in this parasha.  We also read about the tower of Bavel.

The Tower of Bavel (referred to very often as "the tower of Babel") tells the story of a group of people who decide that they will build a tower to Heaven to challenge the power of God.  God creates different languages so that they cannot understand each other and cannot work together.

One of the dangers of modern society is that there are unscrupulous, evil people who are doing the same thing.  They are changing our language - by creating false and divisive narratives - so that we can no longer see ourselves as unified.  When God did it, it was to humble us because our ideas had gotten too grandiose for our own good.  When politicians and leaders do it, it is to control and manipulate the populace.  As we read the story over Shabbat, let us pray for the strength to find a common language that will unite us and reject the rhetoric of division.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Dan

This week's Introduction to Judaism class will be on Ruach Shabbat - The Spirit of Shabbat. It begins at 10 in the chapel!  ALSO, Please note that on November 8th at 7pm, there will be an informational meeting about CSS's upcoming Israel trip!  All are invited to come! 

rabbi's Corner

10/11/2017 01:20:15 PM

Oct11

Rabbi Dan's Shabbat Spark

Shabbat Shalom,

This week, we begin reading the Torah from the beginning, starting with the Biblical story of creation.  The rabbis ask, "Why were huma beings created last?"  In a beautiful Midrash, they explain.  "The human being was created last do that when a person feels negative about humanity, he will remember that the Holy One, Praised be God, saved the best for last.  However, when a person should become too hauty and too full of vanity, he will remember that even the mosquito was created before him."

A beautiful lesson in keeping a balanced vision of who we are as human beings.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Dan

This Sunday, Introduction to Judaism Class at 10am.  This week's topic: The Four Movements of Judaism: Their History and their Theology.

We will examine the history and theologies of the Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform Movements.

Rabbi's Corner

09/28/2017 01:47:16 PM

Sep28

Rabbi Dan's Shabbat Spark

Gemar Chatimah Tovah.

The above is the traditional greeting from the end of Rosh HaShannah through Yom Kippur.  It is translated as "A good final sealing" and is a wish that we should be sealed in the book of life.

But is there really a book of life?  if there is, does that mean that when we die, we die as a punishment for our mistakes and misdeeds?  What does it mean to say God judges us on the High Holy days?

There are people who will argue that it is all meant to be taken literally.  That God decides who will live and who will die during the High Holidays.

I am not one of those people.  First of all, it is common knowledge that we all die.  As the great scholar Ben Sira wrote, "Fear not death.  We are destined to die.  We share it with all whoever were and all whoever will be."  Death is a part of life and a basic fact of human existence.  What this metaphar is supposed to convey is a reminder that we all die.  And if we all die, then how we live matters.  What we do in the finite time we are on this Earth means something.  Yom Kippur is a reminder that if we have wasted time on this planet, we can change.  We can move back towards the people that God created us to be .

The fact that we have this ability reinforces one of Judaism's strongest convictions - as much as we believe in God, God believes in us.  Yom Kippur provides a beautiful opportunity to justify that faith.

Gemar Chatimah Tovah,

Rabbi Dan

Reminder: There is no Introduction to Judaism class on Sunday, October 1st.  Class returns at 10am on October 8th.  The topic will be How Jewish law (halacha) evolved and how it is decided.

Rabbi's Corner

09/07/2017 01:40:23 PM

Sep7

Rabbi Dan's Shabbat Spark

Shabbat Shalom,

In the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy), Moshe gives five discourses, the second of which begins in the middle of this week parasha, Ki Tavo.  The discourse begins with the following verse: The Lord your God commands you today to observe these laws and rules (26:16).  The key word in this verse in Hayam - today.  The old saying, "Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today" is practically  a mantra in Judaism.  Every day in Judaism - indeed, every moment - offers us a chance to fulfill another mitzvah and take a step closer to God.  The question becomes, do we have the will to take advantage of the opportunities given to us?

As we get closer to Rosh hashanah, that is the central question before us.  How are we going to become closer to our families, our community, and out God?

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Dan

Please note: My Introduction to Judaism class begins on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 10am.  Here is a list of the first few classes.

Sept 17: Who is this God guy anyway? God, Torah, Israel and Chosenness

Sept. 24: The Hebrew Bible - More than just the Torah

Oct. 1: Halacha (Jewish Law), its history and it's decided

Oct. 8: Shabbat: "More than Jews keeping Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews."

Oct. 15: Celebrating Shabbat at home

Services this week

Shacharit: Sunday, 8am ~ Monday-Friday, 7am

Mincha/Maariv: Sunday-Thursday, 7:45pm ~ Friday, Cons-Trad: 6:45pm ~ Cons-Egal: 7:45pm

Shabbat: 7pm

Rabbi's Corner

08/31/2017 01:25:07 PM

Aug31

Rabbi Dan's Shabbat Spark

Shabbat Shalom,

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tetze, opens with the following verse, "When you go out against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your power..." (Deut. 21:10)  While there is no question that the peshat (simple meaning) of the verse is about war, it is not always interpreted that way.

The Sfat Emet (1847-1905), a famous commentator on the Torah, saw the battle to which the verse refers as a reference to each individual's constant battle against his or her yetzer harah (evil inclination). The Sfat Emet teaches that the best way to defeat our evil inclination is by strengthening our relationship with God.

As we are now in an intense period of the Jewsih year, during which we are to be taking a true and honest account of our soul, let us also ask ourselves, "am I doing everything I can to form a close bond with God?  What else can I be doing?"

Now, many of you will respond, "But rabbi, I'm not even sure God exists!"  That is an argument to pursue that relationship, not to hide from it.  One will never be sure if God exists if one doesn't take the time to strengthen one's relationship with the Almighty.

Elie Wiesel once said, "A Jew may love God or a Jew may battle God but a Jew may not ignore God."  Rosh HaShannah and Yom kippur are coming.  Now is the time to face our evil inclinations and rely on the help of God to help us defeat them.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Dan

Rabbi's Corner

07/13/2017 01:37:10 PM

Jul13

A Few "really final" Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat  Parshat Pinchas

Candle Lighting: 8:10 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:15 p.m.
Havdala:  9:16 p.m. 
 

Quickie Dvar Torah Parshat  Pinchas :

In this week's Parsha it is written: (BaMidbar 27) 15. Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: 16. "Let the Lord, the God of spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, 17. "Let the Lord, the God of spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, 18.the Lord said to Moses, "Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun, a man of spirit, and you shall lay your hand upon him....20. You shall bestow some of your majesty upon him so that all the congregation of the children of Israel will take heed....22. Moses did as the Lord had commanded him, and he took Joshua and presented him before Eleazar the kohen and before the entire congregation. 23. He laid his hands upon him and commanded him, in accordance with what the Lord had spoken to Moses.

1. Many have commented that God said to Moshe "lay your hand upon" Yehoshua, however it is written Moshe "laid his hands upon" Yehoshua. Why did Moshe deviate from God's request? Moshe was overwhelmed with pride and joy that his closest disciple, Yehoshua was chosen to lead the people into the Promised Land. From this the Rabbis have taught that although a person may be jealous of his neighbor, a teacher is never jealous of the great achievements of his students. (BT Sanhedrin 105b)

2. According to the Midrash, Yehoshua was chosen to lead the people because of one specific character trait. Yehoshua was appointed because he was the type of   "leader who will tolerate each person according to his/her individual character."- [from Mid. Tanchuma  Pinchas 10]


Chaverim,

As you all know, our year at Shaare Shamayim will come to an end with the extinguishing of the Havdala candle this coming Motzash (Israeli term for Saturday night).

We are off to new challenges in Israel. We will be relocating to Herzliah where we will be serving Kehilat Torat Hayyim, the local Masorti Shul.

Visit  Kehilat Torat Hayyim

We wish you well and hope you will come visit and daven with us in Herzliah.

Kol Tuv, Bismachot,

Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

07/06/2017 11:16:04 AM

Jul6

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat  Parshat  Balak

Candle Lighting: 8:13 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:20 p.m.
Havdala:  9:21 p.m. 
 

Quickie Dvar Torah:

There is a Hebrew expression:  , משנה מקום, משנה מזל  which roughly means "relocate and better your chances".  This is what Balaam did. He looked for appropriate locations from which to curse the Children of Israel. After  two failed attempts to fulfill Balak's wishes and curse the people,  Bilaam looked for a new ,  third place to curse the Israelites. He prepared once again the required 7 altars, 7 bulls and 7 rams, but he just couldn't "pull it off".  On top of the mountain, he looked down at the camp and was overwhelmed by what he saw. The Torah said that "Bilaam lifted his eyes, and he saw Israel dwelling tribe by tribe." (BaMidbar 24:2). Rabbi Hertz commented:  Bilaam is "swept away in rapt admiration of the Israelite encampments and homes arranged harmoniously  and peacefully, a picture of idyllic happiness and prosperity." According to the Rabbis he saw thriving, active Shuls and Schools, " the secret of Israel's spiritual strength."

I only hope that we succeed in sustaining the type of Jewish world, Bilaam saw from above. May our Shuls and Schools grow and flourish and may we live amicably and harmoniously together, in Israel and in the Diaspora.


The Fast Of the 17th of Tammuz will be observed on July 11, 2017

Fast begins    4:29 AM 

Fast ends        9:06 PM

Intro to The Fast Of the 17th of Tammuz and the Three Weeks; based on Rabbi Isaac Klein's - Guide to Jewish Religious Practice.

Fasting

As an expression of piety, fasting goes back to antiquity. Abstinence from food and drink was also thought of to induce a susceptibility to visions and dreams in which one had direct access to the realities of the Spiritual world...Alternately, fasting could be a sign of sorrow; a person who felt alienated from God could not eat because he was so distressed. In some cases, moreover, abstinence from meat and drink was prescribed as a preparation for a sacred meal.

In biblical times, fasts were proclaimed when danger threatened and also served as a call to penitence and an opportunity for worship and prayer (see Esther 4:3, Jonah 3:5). Fasting was a sign of mourning when calamity occurred. It was also an ascetic practice, one of a series of purificatory rites.

Since there is no ascetic strain in Judaism, Jewish fasting was rather a manifestation of piety springing from a desire for meritorious living in line with the ethical emphasis of the Bible. Hence, the choice of Isaiah 58 as the Haftorah for Yom Kippur. According to the Talmud, (BT Ta'anit 16a) on fast days an elder would address the people, saying: My brethren, it is not sackcloth and fasts which cause forgiveness, but repentance and good deeds; for so we find with the men of Nineveh that it is not said of them that God saw their sackcloth and fasts, but God saw their work that they turned from their evil ways. [Jonah 3:10]

Judaism includes fasts of three kinds: Statutory, Public fasts, Public fasts decreed on special occasions, and Private fasts.

There are six statutory public fasts. First in importance is Yom Kippur, the most prominent, and a category by itself because it is the only fast explicitly commanded in the Torah. The other five statutory public fasts, though mentioned in the Bible, were actually ordained by the sages. [These five statutory public fasts include, the Fast of Esther; and the four fasts connected with the Destruction of the Temple and the loss of the Jewish State: the Fast of Gedalyah; the Seventeenth Day of Tammuz; the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet and Tisha B'av]

As days of national mourning, the four public fasts still serve to recall the calamities that have befallen the Jewish nation, making each generation as it were, participate in those misfortunes (Maimonides, Laws of Fasts 5:1).


The four fasts mentioned are:

The Fast of the Seventeenth Day of Tammuz = The Fast of the 4th month (counting from Nisan - the first month)

Tisha B'av = The Fast of Fifth month

The Fast of Gedalyah = The Fast on the 3rd day of the Seventh month

The Fast of the 10th of Tevet = The Fast of the tenth month

Three of the Fasts begin at sunrise and conclude after sunset that same day. (OH 550:2; 564) However,Yom Kippur and Tisha B'av are 24+ hour fasts.


The Seventeenth of Tammuz marks the beginning of the destruction of Jerusalem when the Romans breached the walls of the city. The rabbis mention other calamities believed to have occurred on that date.

In Mishna Ta'anit 4:6, we are taught: Five catastrophes befell our ancestors on the Shiv'ah 'Asar b'Tammuz ... On the 17th of Tamuz: The Tablets were broken; The Tamid offering was stopped; the city walls were breached; Apostomos burned the Torah; an idol was constructed in the Sanctuary.

The Three Weeks: The days between the seventeenth of Tammuz and the ninth of Av are considered days of great sadness for they witnessed the breaching of the walls and the final destruction of the Temple. In rabbinic literature it is known as "bein ha-metzarim"; "between the troublesome times."  It is also often called "the three weeks".  Weddings and other joyous celebrations should not take place during this period according to the Shulhan Arukh (O.H. 551:2)


Song for the beginning of the "Three Weeks", performed by Sivan Ganon, whose husband, Maor, died when a bus of Israel Prison Service cadets became trapped by the fire on the Carmel mountainside.

From Psalm 37-"By the Rivers of Babylon"

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept,

as we thought of Zion.  2 There on the poplars we hung up our lyres, 3 for our captors asked us there for songs, our tormentors, for amusement,"Sing us one of the songs of Zion." 4 How can we sing a song of the Lord on alien soil? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither; 6 let my tongue stick to my palate if I cease to think of you, if I do not keep Jerusalem in memory even at my happiest hour.

By the Rivers of Babylon

Please join us for Tfillot and strengthen our Minyan on weekdays, Friday nights and on Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom, drive safe and stay cool.

Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

06/29/2017 12:21:34 PM

Jun29

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Candle Lighting: 8:15 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:25 p.m.
Havdala:  9:23 p.m.
 

Parshat Chukat deals with the following:

The "Holy Cow"- The law of the red heifer.

The passing of Miriam and Aaron 

Moses strikes the rock for water and  is banned from entering Israel. 

Amalek battles the Israelites and is defeated. 

Edom and Moav refuse to let the Israelites pass through their land.

The Israelites battle Sichon and Og, and are victorious.

Quickie Midrashim for Parshat Chukat: Rabbinic thoughts in memory of Miriam and Aaron.  

1. From "Legends of the Jews": "The water that flowed for [the Israelites in the desert, came from a] well of water, which did not abandon them in all their forty years' wandering, but accompanied them on all their marches. God wrought this great miracle for the merits of the prophetess Miriam, wherefore also it was called "Miriam's Well." But this well dates back to the beginning of the world, for God created it on the second day of the creation, and at one time it was in the possession of Abraham. "

In this week's Parsha we read : (BaMidbar 20:1-2) "The entire congregation of the children of Israel arrived at the desert of Zin in the first month, and the people settled in Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there. The congregation had no water; so they assembled against Moses and Aaron". From these verses the Rabbis deduce  that  Miriam's well disappeared with her   passing, leaving the people no source of water.

2.  (From BT Sanhedrin 6b)  Moses used to say "let the law pierce the mountain." But Aaron loved peace, pursued peace and made peace between  people, as is said "The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and did turn many away from iniquity.


Israeli Golden Oldie

Umosheh hikah al sela - Aviva Semadar-

And Moshe Struck the Rock

Umosheh hikah al sela - Aviva Semadar - And Moshe Struck the Rock

And for the Hebrew Speakers among you- Here's the "real" story of Moshe and the Rock:

The "real" story of Moshe and the Rock


Chag Sameach to Chazzan Don and Sylvia on Canada Day!

It celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.

Please join us for Tfillot and strengthen our Minyan on weekdays, Friday nights and on Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom, drive safe and stay cool.

Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

06/22/2017 10:48:21 AM

Jun22

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat Parshat Korach

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

We will be marking Rosh Chodesh Tammuz on Shabbat and Sunday.

Candle Lighting: 8:15 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:25 p.m.
Havdala:  9:23 p.m. 

 

The month of Tammuz is the fourth month of the Jewish calender. The sign of Tammuz is Cancer, the crab.

 

Tammuz falls in the  summer, and the hot weather causes crabs to multiply in the water. Some have suggested that just as crabs pinch and hurt,  this month was basically a time in which the Jewish People were hurt.

In the Bible, the word 'Tammuz' is mentioned in Ezekiel 8:14: Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz.


 

Quickie Dvar Torah 

In "Fiddler on the Roof", Tevye sang: "if I were a rich man". In the Israeli version the verse was translated:" if only I was Rothschild." The translators could also have written, "If only I was Korach". 


 Why Korach of all people? According to Jewish tradition, Korach was very wealthy, as the modern Hebrew expression goes: "Ashir  K'Korach", עשיר כקורח, "as wealthy as Korach". The source of this expression is Midrash BaMidbar Rabbah 22.7 where it states: "There were two very rich men in the world, Haman and Korah ..."

Although Rashi calls Korach a "pikeach" - פקח - a very clever person with a great intellect, he was never content with his lot. The opposite was the case.

Korach was both jealous and greedy; two characteristics which eventually brought about his demise.

Had Korach lived by Ben Zoma's teaching in Avot 4:1-"Who is the rich one? One who is happy with his own lot"; he probably would never have been swallowed by the earth and perhaps we would have psalms attributed not only to his sons -"bnei korach", but to him as well.  (see Psalm 48)

 

Drive Safe and be well, Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

05/18/2017 11:56:25 AM

May18

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Looking forward to "Liberty Bell Shabbat"-

Parshat  Behar Bechukotai

We'll be completing the reading of the Book of VaYikra- Leviticus-Chazak Chazak Vnitchazek!

AndGet ready for Yom Yerushalayim- Jerusalem Day

Candle Lighting: 7:54 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:00 p.m.
Havdala:  9:01 p.m.
 

Quickie Dvar Torah

 The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: 2Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, (Leviticus 25)-

We have returned to the land, which God assigned  us and we established the Jewish Democratic State of Israel, with Jerusalem as our eternal capital.

In Psalm 122:3 Yerushalayim is called "Ir Shechubra Lah Yachdav"- עיר שחוברה לה יחדו  A city that is " united together".

In Midrash Tehillim it is written:

 א"ר יהושע בן לוי עיר שהיא עושה כל ישראל חברים

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that since the root of 'Shechubra' is 'Chaver', one may suggest that the Psalmist is actually  saying that  Jerusalem makes all its inhabitants  haverim -friends. It is our responsibility  to ensure that  Jerusalem remains  a  city of friends, where citizens respect and care for each other.

As Theodore Herzl said:  "Im Tirtzu ein zoh Agada"- If you will it; it is no dream. We have a lot of work to do- Kadima!


Yom Yerushalayim- Jerusalem Day

In addition to the two major Rabbinic holidays, Chanuka and Purim, 4 more holidays and days of remembrance were added to our Jewish calendar in the twentieth century: Yom HaShoahYom HaZikaron,  Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day.

On the 28th day of Iyar, 50 years ago, on the 3rd day of  the Six Day War ,Jerusalem, Israel's eternal capital was re-unified. Nineteen years of separation, east from west were over.

In 1998/5758 the Knesset ( Israeli Parliament)  legislated  the Jerusalem Day Law, which states: The Knesset hereby declares that the 28th day of the month Iyar is Jerusalem Day and will be celebrated yearly as a national holiday and will be called "Jerusalem Day".

Dvar Torah in honor of Yom Yerushalayim by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz -

Everyone who lives in Jerusalem - especially those like me who were born here - is in love with the city, really in love.  For us it is not just a place, not just a house; it is a home.  But it is even more than that -- it is an object of love.  Even visitors are in some way ensnared by Jerusalem.  So many of their hearts are captured, but in different ways, for different reasons.  Why is it so?

Jerusalem is many things to many people because it is, and always has been, a kind of enigma.  It is a place that is composed of many parts.  They may seem to clash with one another, but somehow they achieve a kind of harmony that is felt by anyone who walks her streets or breathes her air or soaks up her sunshine.

Jerusalem is simple, but not naïve.  Jerusalem is simple in a most sophisticated simplicity, because Jerusalem has passed sophistication.  It is a very old city.  It is a city that has suffered much and has known so many things that it is now very simple, like some of those great masterpieces.  The simplicity hides so many things.  You look at it, you dream about it and you think, what really is it?

Jerusalem is also, in many ways, a combination of contradictions: it is called, and its name itself implies, "City of Peace," yet so many wars took place here.  It is perhaps one of the most quarrelsome and troublesome places in the world, but it is still a city of peace.  There is a saying, especially in Jewish tradition, that it is "the house of God."  The gate to heaven is understood to refer to Jerusalem, but Jewish tradition also identifies the valley of Gehinnom (hell) near the walls of the Old City.

This is Jerusalem.  This is what the Psalmist described as a city that was joined together.  It is not just joined together because there is old and new, or because it is home to religious and non-religious, Muslims and Jews and Christians.  It is a place that combines differences and brings them, somehow, together in a kind of harmony of contradictions.  And there is another explanation which seems very beautiful to me --  that the name Jerusalem comes from yir'eh shalem, which may be translated as "a complete view," another form of harmony.

It is historically, and perhaps theologically, significant that Jerusalem is unlikely as the site of a capital.  It is not on a road, or on a river or near the sea.  It is somewhere -- in nowhere.  Even so, it is a center - the place the Bible tells us that God chose.  But why?  In life, as in geology, there is physical causality, in which things move and are understood according to physical laws and reasoning.  This physical causality, which some might call "real life", is one level of existence.

There is also another, higher and very different level of causality - a spiritual one - in which there are rewards and punishments for good and evil.  Usually, there are no connections between the physical and spiritual strata; they don't mix.  People may move from one level to the other, but they don't mix.  But there are in spirituality, as in geology, points at which the levels touch, where two strata of existence somehow come together in one point, like a corner formed by two walls.  The corner has no substance of its own, but like a lap, exists because of the relationship of two other planes.  This juncture is what Jacob called the ladder or gate to heaven, a place where influence, power and insight can move either way, between the spiritual and material worlds.

Such a point is Jerusalem.

No one knows why it should be so, but Jerusalem is a fault-line in the stratification of the world order.  Just as water may spurt forth from a geological fault, so too Jerusalem is a gushing wellspring of existence, a source of goodness and benefit.  Because this point where the physical and spiritual worlds meet is the place where they can work together, things happen in Jerusalem that do not conform to ordinary rules.  Here, more than anywhere else, the smallest events take on a cosmic meaning and enigmatic complexity that are beyond our understanding.

An event that happens in Jerusalem reverberates all over the world, yet a similar incident elsewhere passes almost unnoticed.  Only here does the causality of the material world become entangled with the entirely different causality of the spiritual world.  The energy of justice and the energy of power are pulled toward Jerusalem, as toward a lightning rod, and become entangled, sending shock waves around the globe.

Jerusalem is a place of power and resonance, waiting perhaps hoping for a voice that will be heard all over the world, a voice that will renew the message of peace and wholeness and holiness that has always issued from this holy city.


Please join us for a Yom Yerushalayim, Eve of  Jerusalem Reunification Day,  Tuesday, May 23, Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War and the Reunification of Jerusalem.

Mincha and Festive Maariv Service at 7:30 in the Chapel, followed by a  Jerusalem Kumzitz at Shira and Rav Barry's Home, 9811 Ferndale St.

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Reunification Day,Wednesday , May 24, 7:00 AM Festive T'fillat Shacharit in the Chapel.

Lunch and learn in honor of  Yom Yerushalayim at Shira and Rav Barry's home @ 1:00 PM. Please let us know if you are joining us! ravbarry@shaareshamayim.org

Tikun Leil Shavuot-

We will be learning at our home on the first night of Shavuot from 10:30 and onward.

Rabbi Dan and I are already scheduled to teach. If you'd like to teach a session, please contact me. I'd be glad to help anyone prepare a shiur.


Song of the Week in honor of Yom Yerushalayim

The Wailing Wall (HaKotel)

Performed by Ofra Haza z"l - The Wailing Wall (HaKotel)

THE Kotel

A girl stood facing the kotel (western wall)

She drew her lips and chin close to it.

She said to me, the shofar's blasts are strong

But the silence is even stronger.

She told me: Zion, the Temple Mount**

She was silent, about the reward and the right.

And what shone on her forehead at evening

Was the purple of royalty.

The kotel, moss and sadness.

The kotel, lead and blood.

There are people with a heart of stone.

There are stones with a human heart.

The paratrooper stood at the kotel.

Of his whole division - the only one.

He told me that death has no image

But it has a diameter -

Nine millimeters only.

He told me, I'm not shedding tears

And again lowered his glance.

But my grandfather, God knows,

Is buried here, on Har Hazeitim (the Mount of Olives).

The kotel......

She stood, dressed in black, at the kotel.

The mother of one of the infantry soldiers.

She told me, it's the eyes of my son that are shining

And not the candles on the wall.

She told me: I'm not writing

Any note to hide between the cracks.***

Because what I gave to the kotel only last night

Is greater than any words or writing.


Drive Safe and be well, Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

Rav Barry and Shira 

Rabbi's Corner

05/18/2017 11:56:25 AM

May18

A Few Words From Rav Barry

 A Few Erev  "Yom Yerushalayim" (Jerusalem Day) Words From Rav Barry 

Yom Yerushalayim- Jerusalem Day

In addition to the two major Rabbinic holidays, Chanuka and Purim, 4 more holidays and days of remembrance were added to our Jewish calendar in the twentieth century: Yom HaShoahYom HaZikaron,  Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day.

On the 28th day of Iyar, 50 years ago, on the 3rd day of  the Six Day War ,Jerusalem, Israel's eternal capital was re-unified. Nineteen years of separation, east from west were over.

In 1998/5758 the Knesset ( Israeli Parliament)  legislated  the Jerusalem Day Law, which states: The Knesset hereby declares that the 28th day of the month Iyar is Jerusalem Day and will be celebrated yearly as a national holiday and will be called "Jerusalem Day".


Please join us for a Yom Yerushalayim, Eve of  Jerusalem Reunification Day,  Tuesday, May 23, Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War and the Reunification of Jerusalem.

Mincha and Festive Maariv Service at 7:30 in the Chapel, followed by a  Jerusalem Kumzitz at Shira and Rav Barry's Home,.

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Reunification Day,Wednesday , May 24, 7:00 AM Festive T'fillat Shacharit in the Chapel.

Lunch and learn in honor of  Yom Yerushalayim at Shira and Rav Barry's home @ 1:00 PM. Please let us know if you are joining us! ravbarry@shaareshamayim.org


Song of the Week in honor of Yom Yerushalayim

"If I Forget you O' Jerusalem"; "im eshkachech", Lev Tahor

Drive Safely, Chag Sameach and Kol Tuv

Rav Barry and Shira   

Rabbi's Corner

05/18/2017 11:56:25 AM

May18

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Candle Lighting: 8:00 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:05 p.m.
Havdala:  9:08 p.m.
 

Quickie Dvar Torah

The Book of Numbers (BaMidbar) opens with:

"Vah'y'dah'bayr Hashem el Moshe b'midbar See'nai...lay'mohr," 

And G-d spoke to Moses in the desert (wilderness)  of Sinai...saying....

In  Bamidbar 21:18 it is written וּמִמִּדְבָּר מַתָּנָה which literally means  "and from the desert, a gift"-

The Rabbis have taught that  this alludes to the fact that God gave the Torah to the  Israelites as a gift in the desert. 

This raises the question, why was the Torah given "davka" (especially) in the desert? What quality does the desert possess that it was privileged to host 'Matan Torah'- the giving of the Torah?

One popular midrashic answer is that just as the desert is ownerless and  open to all, so too,   the Torah is "an open book", accessible and available for all to learn from.

Another answer is,  that just as the "desert is endless" so to the "Torah is without end". There is no end to learning Torah. Torah study is our lifelong project.

So, let's all learn some Torah! Join us on Tuesday night for our Tikun Leil Shavuot!


Israeli Song of the Week- inspired by the Parsha

LaMidbar- "Go, go to the desert "- Lyrics- Chaim Chefer, Melody- Sasha Argov

"Go, go to the desert"

Go, go to the desert,
The roads will lead you,
Before the night comes
Go, brother to the desert.

Once again we will return
Rocks will shout
And the sun of great light
Will shine on us

To the desert 
land with no water
Oh my land, 
we have returned to you.

A land with a salted soil 
and a wild wind
Your fighters are back, 
coming like a storm

 Hebrew Version: "Go, go to the desert"


Get ready for Shavuot @ CSS

Tuesday, May 30, Erev Shavuot

Shacharit- 7:00 AM
Candlelighting: 8:04 PM
Mincha followed by Maariv:
Traditional-8:00 PM
Egalitarian -7:45 PM

Traditional Tikun Leil Shavuot-Semi All Nighter of Torah Study-from  10:30 PM and up at Rav Barry and Shira's Home

1st Day of Shavuot, Wednesday, May 31

Shacharit:
Traditional-9:00 AM
Egalitarian-9:30 AM
Candlelighting: 9:11 PM
Mincha followed by Maariv
Traditional-8:10 PM
Egalitarian-7:45 PM
 

2nd Day of Shavuot,   Thursday, June 1

Shacharit:
Traditional-9:00 AM
Egalitarian-9:30 AM
Yizkor
Traditional-approximately 10:30 AM
Egalitarian-approximately 10:30 AM
Traditional-7:45 PM -Megilat Ruth followed by Mincha / Maariv
Havdalah- 9:12 PM
 

Drive Safe and be well, Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

Rav Barry and Shira   

Rabbi's Corner

05/18/2017 11:56:25 AM

May18

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Parshat Naso

Candle Lighting: 8:06 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:15 p.m.
Havdala:  9:14 p.m. 
 

Parshat Naso is the longest single portion in the Torah. It has one hundred seventy-six verses as does Psalm 119.

This week's parsha talks about the Mitzva of the priestly blessing which is known as "Duchaning", "Birkat Kohanim" and "Nisiat Kapayim" - which means lifting up the hands. It is written: (BaMidbar 6:23-26) Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them: "May the Lord bless you and watch over you. May the Lord cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you. May the Lord raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace."

The Birkat Kohanim ceremony inspired the late Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy z"l and Bob Dylan, he should live and be well. It was Nimoy z"l who popularized the special priestly hand gesture by turning it into the Vulcan salute and Dylan began his song "Forever Young" with the line "May God bless and keep you always."

Nimoy first experienced "duchaning" as a child, when he attended Shul with his grandfather. He was enchanted by the way the Priests stood on the Bima, with their talitot over their heads, chanting and reciting the blessing.

The Rabbis in Midrash Tanchuma taught that the children of Israel asked why God had commanded the Kohanim to bless the people. They explained that they really only needed God's blessing, as is written: (Dvarim 26:15) "[God] Look out from your holy (heavenly) abode, and bless your people Israel".

God answered: "even though I had asked the Kohanim to bless you; it is I who stand with them and bless you".

In Israel, the Kohanim "duchen" every day and twice on Shabbat and Chagim. On Chol HaMoed Pesach and Sukkot thousands of people come to the Kotel to experience "Birkat Kohanim" led by hundreds of Kohanim of all ages.

"May God bless and keep you" and "Live long and prosper"!


Song of the Week, inspired by this week's Parsha:

Forever Young, by Bob Dylan

Forever Young, by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always


May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young
 
 

Drive Safe and be well, Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

05/18/2017 11:56:25 AM

May18

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat Parshat BeHa'alotcha

Candle Lighting: 8:10 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:15 p.m.
Havdala:  9:18 p.m. 
 

Quickie Dvar Torah

In our Parsha it is written (Bamidbar - Numbers - Chapter 8:2-3) Speak to Aaron and say to him: "When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah." 3. Aaron did so; he lit the lamps toward the face of the menorah, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Rashi commented that when the Torah reported that "Aaron did so", it meant to emphasize that Aaron never deviated from what God had instructed. He did exactly what God had prescribed and lit the Menorah the same way day in, day out. The Midrash teaches us that although he may have found the routine boring, he gave it his best and daily performed the Mitzva diligently, enthusiastically, and spiritedly.

In three places in the Babylonian Talmud we find a quote attributed to Rabbi Chanina which says: גדול המצווה ועושה יותר ממי שאינו מצווה ועושה

"Greater is (the reward for) one is who is commanded and does (the mitzvah) than one who isn't commanded and does."

Rabbi Chanina thinks very highly of a person who dutifully performs a Mitzva because he/she was commanded to do so. Of course, there is nothing wrong if a person voluntarily performs a mitzvah spontaneously. However, the challenge of a commanded person is to do it with same zeal every time, "just like the very first time."


 

Mazal Tov to my dear friend and colleague 
Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham who will be receiving a Doctor of Divinity for having served in the Rabbinate for 25 years.
הרב ראובן היקר, עלה והצלח!


 
Toda Rabba - תודה רבה
 
I am very thankful for having  participated in the AJC Global Forum, which was held in Washington, DC this past week. I was one of many Rabbis from Philadelphia and the US, who was invited to take part in this important event.

AJC is a world leader in Jewish and Israel advocacy and is actively involved in promoting   Jewish values for the benefit and welfare of Jews and non-Jews around the world.

The organization is made up of Jews across the denominational spectrum.

AJC promotes pluralism and civility and teaches respectful "dissent" in the place of delegitimization.
 
On the last day of the conference we visited "the Hill " to lobby our Penn Senators, Casey and Toomey. I was part of small group from the AJC Philly office which asked the senators to support Anti BDS, 
Anti Atrocities and Human Rights legislation.
 

Drive Safe and be well, Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

 Shira and Rav Barry

Rabbi's Corner

05/18/2017 11:56:25 AM

May18

A Few Words From Rav Barry

Erev Shabbat Parshat Shlach Lecha
This Shabbat we are Benching Chodesh Tamuz
 
Candle Lighting: 8:13 p.m.
Mincha followed by Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv: 6:45 p.m.
Shabbat Mincha: 8:14 p.m.
Havdala:  9:22 p.m. 
 

Parshat Shlach Aliyah Summary

 

 

 

1st Aliya: Moshe sends the Spies "across the border" to the Land of Israel.

2nd Aliya: The Spies return carrying samples of the fruits of the land. They deliver their negative report and the nation loses its faith.

3rd Aliya: Moshe advocates on behalf of the people, and Hashem decrees that the children of Israel will spend  40 years trekking through the desert.

4th Aliya: The  nation is informed of their own punishment.

5th Aliya: The laws of the 'Mincha', meal offering.

6th Aliya: The laws of 'Hafrashat Challah', separating the  dough offering-the 'Challah',  and the communal sin offering.

7th Aliya: The individual sin offering; the story of the the man who chopped wood on Shabbat; his punishment; the Mitzvah of Tzitzit.


 

Quickie Dvar Torah: "Wear Tzitzit and feel like Royalty!"

In addition to instructing us how to behave, how to eat, how to serve God, there are Mitzvot which instruct  us how  to dress. For instance, we must make sure that our clothing is not made of  Shaatnez- a mixture of wool and linen.

[See VaYikra 19:19- and a garment which has a mixture of shaatnez shall not come upon you.

Dvarim 22:11- You shall not wear a mixture of wool and linen together.]

 In Parshat Shlach we are instructed to tie fringes or tassels to the corners of our garments. This was not unique in antiquity.  Prof. Jacob Milgrom noted  "the nature of Tzitzit (fringes) is illuminated by the literature and art of the ancient Near East, which shows that the hem was ornate in comparison with the rest of the outer robe." Tassels were connected to the hems of outer garments.  The rank of a person was recognized by the tassels on his hem.

Milgrom wrote:...Tzitzit is the epitome of the democratic thrust within Judaism which equalizes not by leveling but by elevating: all of Israel is enjoined to become a nation of priests. In antiquity, the tzitzit (and the hem) was the insignia of authority, high breeding and nobility. By adding the blue woolen cord to the tzitzit, the Torah combined nobility with priesthood: Israel is not to rule man but to serve G-d. Furthermore, tzitzit is not restricted to Israel's leaders, be they kings, rabbis or scholars. It is the uniform of all Israel... [from- Jacob Milgrom, "The Tassel and the Tallit," The Fourth Annual Rabbi Louis Fineberg Memorial Lecture (University of Cincinnati, 1981)]

Just remember- Never buy a Tallit, no strings attached!

Drive Safe and be well, Shabbat Shalom and join us for davening,

 Shira and Rav Barry

Sun, October 22 2017 2 Cheshvan 5778