כ"א טבת, תשע"ז


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Congregation Yehuda Moshe is an Orthodox synagogue located in Lincolnwood, Illinois meeting the diverse needs of our Jewish community. In addition to twice-daily Minyanim, we offer adult classes, a fully functional Mikvah, and a variety of events throughout the year. We have classes that appeal to the needs of everyone young or old, beginner or Torah scholar. Our congregation is made up of diverse individuals with wide-ranging backgrounds. Our goal is to warmly welcome and spiritually inspire our members, our guests, and the entire Jewish community. Most of the community is enclosed within an Eruv (Please contact the Shul office or click on the Eruv link along the left side of this page, for current Eruv information). Whether you're just visiting our area or considering a move to Lincolnwood or South Skokie, come spend a Shabbat with us. We're confident you'll find the experience spiritually enriching, warm, and just plain fun. New members of all levels of observance are always welcomed. We are centrally located, just 5 blocks from the Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore, and we're just 15 minutes from Downtown Chicago or 15 minutes from O'Hare Airport.


With this week’s Parsha, we pass from the Book of Breishis to the 2nd book of the Chumash – Shemos. One of the themes in the Book of Breishis is the idea of “what happens to our forefathers...


This week’s Parasha of Bechukosai begins with a series of assurances regarding the prosperity and security of Israel. They are but conditional guarantees, for G-d promises that rains shall water...


Donation Opportunities

There are several ways that one can contribute to our shul and at the same time honor a special occasion or the memory of a loved one: 

1) A day of learning the Daf Yomi: $20/day; $125/week; $500/month; $5000/year

          Torah study is the best thing one can do for another person – either in their honor or memory (e.g. for a birthday or a yahrzeit). The merit of the Torah study is credited to the donor and to the person in whose honor or memory that it is learned. 

2) A day of learning in our Shabbos classes: $20/class; $75/month; $750/year

  1. Gemara class given by the Rabbi before Mincha
  2. Parsha Class given by the Rabbi after Maariv on Friday Night (winter only)
  3. Maharal class given by Dr. Koenigsberg before Mincha

3) Seuda Shlishis: $75/standard Seuda Shlishis; $125/delox Seuda Shlishis

                           A delox Seuda Shlishis adds lox and parve cream cheese. 

4) Breakfast Club: $40/breakfast: Sunday morning after Shacharis 

5) Tree of Life: $180/leaf: commemorate a special occasion such as a birthday, Bar/Bas-Mitzva, wedding or anniversary.

6) Memorial Board: $250/plaque

Torah Class Sponsorship

Thank you to Lois Cohen for sponsoring the Shabbos afternoon classes in memory of Bernie –Ben-Tzion ben Harav Avraham Ya’akov Hakohein. May his memory serve as a blessing to all of us.

One Word at a Time

Please remember to select a ½ hour period between 6 AM and 11:00 PM to make an additional effort to abstain from Lashon Hara. The morning time slots have filled. There are some late afternoon and evening slots available. May the merit of our efforts assist Ronnie Slovin for a continued recovery.

All Occasion Cards

We have beautiful cards that can be purchased for a donation to the shul. The cards can be sent for a celebration or in honor of another person. Please see Geri Jankelovitz or call the office for more information.


With this week’s Parsha, we pass from the Book of Breishis to the 2nd book of the Chumash – Shemos. One of the themes in the Book of Breishis is the idea of “what happens to our forefathers is an indicator of future events that will happen to the Jewish people.” The Book of Shemos begins with the word “and these”. The letter “vav” is a conjunction, meaning that the Book of Shemos is a continuation from the Book of Breishis. It is not only a continuation in the story of the Jewish people, but it also appears to be a continuation to the idea of “what happens to our forefathers is an indicator of future events that will happen to the Jewish people.” 

As Moshe grew up in the Pharaoh’s palace, he went to observe the slavery of the Jews. He saw an Egyptian man beating a Jew, so he killed the Egyptian. The next day he saw two Jews fighting and said to the one Jew who was hitting the other, “Wicked one. Why are you hitting your friend?” The Jew’s response was, “Are you going to kill me as you did the Egyptian?” Moshe was afraid that a Jew had informed against him for killing the Egyptian. Sure enough, the Pharaoh sought after Moshe and attempted to execute him. How did the Pharaoh find out what happened? Rashi explains that the two Jews who fought – Dasan and Aviram – informed against Moshe to the Pharaoh. As a result, Moshe fled Egypt, ending up in Midian and marrying Tzippora the daughter of Yisro.

At the end of the Parsha, we once again find that Moshe had a run in with Dasan and Aviram. Moshe bargained with Pharaoh to try and ease the Jewish workload. However, Pharaoh made the workload heavier. As Moshe left the palace, he was confronted by Dasan and Aviram. They complained to Moshe “not only did you not save us, since you began speaking with Pharaoh, you made it worse for us.” Moshe appeared to be disheartened, However, G-d told him, “just wait and see what will happen. The Jewish people will win and be freed.”

Dasan and Aviram were the first recorded informers and naysayers among the Jewish people. Unfortunately, they are an indicator of difficult times ahead. Since then, the Jewish people have frequently been set back and betrayed by fellow Jews who were often looking to advance their personal cause at the expense of their fellow Jew. 

We have seen plenty of this in our time. A while back there were “religious” Jews who went to Iran for a Holocaust bashing conference. Fortunately, they do not represent many people. Unfortunately, they make much noise and much harmful noise. For various reasons not every Jew likes the State of Israel. One is not obligated to like the State of Israel. People are permitted to have differing views about the State of Israel. However, to act in a manner that is careless and harmful to the Jewish people, just to make news and prove a point, is a Jewish act of treason. 

A year ago in October, with daily stabbings taking place in Israel, a professor from the University of Chicago and a professor from Harvard wrote an article entitled, “We are Lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel.” The title of the article itself already tells you that these are self-hating Jews. They compared Israel to the Apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa. “Can we continue to embrace a state that permanently denies rights to other people?” they wrote. “Until Israel seriously engages with a peace process that either establishes a sovereign Palestinian state or grants full democratic citizenship to Palestinians living in a single state, we cannot continue to subsidize governments whose actions threaten Israel’s long-term survival.”  

Firstly, it would be good if they had their facts and definitions correct. Secondly, it is nice of them to write from the comforts of Chicago and Boston. Let us see these self-hating Jews walk into Ramallah or Nablus without being attacked. Will their opinions stay the same? They probably can be classified as traitors. 

We should not be surprised that there are Jews or people with Jewish blood who are interested in undermining us. In today’s Parsha we see a precedent for such destructive behavior. Self-inflicted wounds are nothing new to our people, but the Jewish people are still here. This is the greatest testament to the truth of the Torah and the eternity of the Jewish people – no matter what anybody might happen to say.



This week’s Parasha of Bechukosai begins with a series of assurances regarding the prosperity and security of Israel. They are but conditional guarantees, for G-d promises that rains shall water the fields, lands will give produce, few shall chase the many and peace will finally grace the Promised Land—“if in my ways you will follow and you observe My commandments and perform them” (Leviticus 26:3). The problem, Rashi identifies, is that the objects of the if statement are redundant. If the fulfillment of the Mitzvahs is covered by the clause ‘observe my commandments and perform them,’ what then is meant by ‘Im Bechukosai Tailachu—If in my ways you will follow?’
Many of the commentators write about the matter, and I would like to augment the existing literature with a theory of my own. First, we must differentiate between the Creator and His creations. The Torah is the L-rd’s creation, and as Rashi explains, we are obliged to toil in the Torah, as it is the source of Jewish identity and continuity. However, there is also the Creator, the One on whose behalf we are commanded to toil. What is our relationship to be with Him?
In June 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War, Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller of Chicago’s Telshe Yeshiva wrote: “As we reflect on the God wrought miracle which we have been privileged to see and the human miracle of this unprecedented unity of the Jewish people, we must not fail to realize that we are approaching the time of Moshiach.” This is certainly one aspect of following in the ways of G-d: recognizing truly miraculous events for what they are. But what about toiling to appreciate the Creator when all appears natural and mundane? This Thursday morning in my father’s synagogue, at the conclusion of the Torah reading, I was assigned to wrap the Torah scroll with a belt—a task known as Gelila. As I attempted to fasten the Torah, I noticed that the Velcro on the belt had ripped, rendering the belt useless. Our trusty beadle dove into the reading table, where unbeknownst to the rest of the parishioners, an extra belt had been stored. I spent another minute with this second belt before I realized that it was sadly too small and also utterly useless for my cause. The beadle then reemerged with yet another belt, and in the fifth or sixth minute of my Gelila, I triumphantly fastened the Torah with ease—too much ease—as the belt slipped to the bottom of the scroll. From nearby, a longtime member and two-time synagogue President was heard to say, “This is the worst Gelila I have ever seen!” We of the Congregation Yehuda Moshe quorum, a cadre of worshipers gathered to speak with the L-rd, chortled with laughter at the comedic ensemble, chuckling at the manifestation of G-d’s sense of humor in a mundane Torah wrapping.
The story is told about Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, better known as the Kotzker Rebbe, who asked his students, “Where does G-d dwell?” His disciples answered, “Why, everywhere, of course!” Responded the Kotzker: “No, G-d dwells wherever we let G-d in.” Living, particularly growing up and finding one’s way in the world, is certainly no easy task. We yearn for meaning and purpose in all of our endeavors, but such stability is only possible ‘Im Bechukosai Tailachu’—when life itself becomes an element of the extraordinary.