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"Behind Every Good Man Is...!"

06/06/2018 01:21:27 PM


Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham

Shalom Aleychem!

       I was given the opportunity to conduct the Discharge/Installation Service for the CSS Sisterhood this week.  I am very appreciative of the role the CSS Sisterhood plays in the life of the Synagogue, and this role is directly related to this week's Torah portion "Korach."  The portion begins as follows: "Korach, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi, took Datan and Aviram, the sons of Eiav, and Ohn, the son of Pelet, the son of Re'uven.  They confronted Moshe together with 250 men from the Children of Israel - leaders of the congregation, representatives of the assembly, men of repute.  They ganged up on Moshe and Aharon...."   We know by way of the Torah what happens to Korach, Datan, and Aviram.  They all eventually perish because of their opposition to Moshe and, subsequently, to HaShem.  But what happened to Ohn, the son of Pelet?

           Believe it or not, our Tradition teaches us that he is saved by his wife.  Even though she is not mentioned in the Torah text, we find mention of her in Masekhet Sanhedrin of the Talmud Bavli.  It seems as though Ohn came home and told his wife that he was joining in the rebellion against Moshe and Aharon led by Korach.  His wife asked him:  "What benefit are you going to get out of joining this rebellion?'  He answered her: "What can I do as I have already sworn allegiance to Korach?"  His wife replied: "Leave it to me."  That night she gave him wine which made him fall asleep.  She then sat by the opening of their tent and combed her hair in an immodest fashion.  When Korach and his followers came to pick up Ohn, they became embarrassed and would not walk into the tent as his wife was sitting at the opening grooming herself.  So, Ohn overslept, missed the rebellion and its result, and was saved from death.

            What this story shows us is that even in the ancient history of our people, wives have had a tremendous influence over their husbands.  And although very few women were often direct actors in the leadership of society (e.g. - Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah), they played important roles behind-the-scenes often changing the course of Jewish lives and Jewish history.  Today we see how important a role they play in the life of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim.  I truly believe that this Synagogue could not exist without them.

             So to both the outgoing and incoming leaders of the CSS Sisterhood I say:"Kol HaKavod!"  I thank those of you who have served this previous year, and I encourage those of you who have "taken up the mantle" of Sisterhood leadership for the coming year to be even more successful in your  efforts to ensure that the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will continue to play an active role in the life of the Jewish Community of Greater Northeast Philadelphia.

Tue, July 27 2021 18 Av 5781