TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016
כ"ד אלול, תשע"ו
PARSHAS NITZAVIM

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

DAF YOMI
5:45 AM
SHACHARIS
6:35 AM
MINCHA/MA'ARIV
6:20 PM

WELCOME TO CONGREGATION YEHUDA MOSHE

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.

WEEKLY DVAR TORAH

About eight years ago, I chaperoned a group of teenagers for the “March of the Living.” This trip visited the old Jewish communities in Europe, as well as several ghettos and death camps. Upon arriving...

WORDS FROM LINCOLNWOOD

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...

SHUL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Torah and Tea

The hosts for this week's Torah and Tea are the families in the Barclay Place and will be in the apartment of Dr. Naphtali & Judith Gutstein, beginning at 4:30 PM. Evelyn Yellin will present current events in Israel. Rabbi Michael Macks will speak about "Practical Ways to Love G-d."

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.

D'VAR TORAH FOR PARSHAS NITZAVIM

About eight years ago, I chaperoned a group of teenagers for the “March of the Living.” This trip visited the old Jewish communities in Europe, as well as several ghettos and death camps. Upon arriving in Israel, one of the first places we took the teenagers was to Masada. On Yom Ha’atzmaut evening we were in Ranana. While there, I called friends of ours. 

The husband wanted to know about our trip, so he asked me where we had visited so far. I told him that we visited the old communities in Europe, ghettos and death camps. He responded, “They killed Jews there.” Then I told him that we went to Masada. His response was, “They killed more Jews there.”  

When I thought about his responses, I came to the realization, what are we trying to sell people to convince them about Judaism? Jews were killed here . . . Jews were killed there. What do we want our students to think. “Wow! That’s great! Can you please sign me up for the next pogrom?” Why don’t we try to impress our youth with the positives of Judaism? 

That idea can be found towards the end of this week’s Parsha. Moshe tells the Jewish people that G-d gives us choices. We can choose life and good or death and evil. Moshe tells the Jewish people, “and you shall choose life in order that you and your offspring will live.” Rav Moshe Feinstein raises a question. Why must the Torah tell us the reason for choosing the good – that it leads to life. The Torah tells us that a choice of evil is death. Isn’t that sufficient reason to choose good and life? 

Rav Moshe suggests that the Torah is emphasizing to us what type of good to choose – a good that will leave a lasting impression upon our children and students so that they will also want to choose the good. 

The Torah wrote a special verse to teach us this lesson – act in a way that will leave a lasting impression - because there are people who keep the Torah, but do so in a manner that discourages others from following in their footsteps.  They do mitzvos but they give the impression that they are doing it only because it is a requirement. After all, G-d created the world so they must do what G-d commands. However, they get no pleasure from doing mitzvos and the mitzvos seem to be a burden for them. They would prefer to devote their time to other pursuits. Well, their children and students will sense that and will not follow their lifestyle of Torah and Mitzvos.

If you want to leave a lasting impression – in anything – if you want people to be excited about a particular matter – you also must show excitement about it. We want others to think the world of Judaism. See how great it is! See all of the wonderful benefits of the Torah and Judaism. See how good it is! That is how we teach others life. Let’s show others the positives of Judaism and G-d willing, may we be blessed with a year of health, happiness and positive outcomes for the Jewish people.

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WORDS FROM LINCOLNWOOD FOR PARSHAS NITZAVIM

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.
A Guten Shabbas to All and Thank You for Reading.
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