TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017
כ"ז תשרי, תשע"ח
PARSHAS BREISHIS

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

DAF YOMI
6:00 AM
SHACHARIS
7:00 AM
MINCHA/MA'ARIV
5:50 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

The Book of Breishis seems to be a difficult book to understand why G-d included it in the Torah. The Torah is a book about how we are supposed to live. Yet, there are only three mitzvos in the Book...

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

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.

D'VAR TORAH FOR PARSHAS BREISHIS

The Book of Breishis seems to be a difficult book to understand why G-d included it in the Torah. The Torah is a book about how we are supposed to live. Yet, there are only three mitzvos in the Book of Breishis. It is basically stories about people – and incomplete stories at that. It only describes a few events in the lives of our heroes. So, what is the purpose of the Book of Breishis?

Rabbi Wein – quoting his teachers - explains that the main verse to understand the purpose of the Book of Breishis is at the beginning of chapter five, “This is the book of man.” The Torah does not come to define G-d, nor does it explain creation. The Torah comes to direct and guide each individual human being in that person’s journey through life. Therefore, the Torah is devoted to personal detail about people’s lives. It tells of human heroism and greatness, as well as recording the petty, violent and dark side of our nature. 

That dark side of human behavior we find in the quarrel between Cain and Abel. They each brought offerings to G-d. Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s was rejected. Out of jealousy, Cain approached Abel and killed him. That is the simple explanation of that section in the Parsha.

However, our rabbis offer a deeper insight into Cain’s nature. The Rabbis teach us that Abel was stronger than Cain. Abel defended himself against Cain and was about to kill him in self-defense. Cain looked up at his brother - who was then on top of him - and said, “Abel, how can you kill me? It is going to destroy our father. Have mercy upon me; have mercy upon him.” Able agreed and released Cain, who then killed Abel.

The Rabbi’s elaboration of the story magnifies Cain’s crime. Not only did he murder his brother.  It was an act of treachery – much worse than straight murder. That is a dark side of human behavior that unfortunately we have seen in other circumstances – turning against people who assisted you, provided for you and even gave you life.

Rabbi Wein also comments that the Book of Breishis provides us with role models - real heroes who inspire and challenge us to live up to our humanity and to the service of G-d. Each hero teaches us a unique path in life that a Torah believer should follow, how to overcome adversity, accept defeat and even tragedy, be positive in a negative society and be God-centered in a physical body. 

The Book of Breishis teaches us that evil brings destruction to civilization - no matter how enticing the momentary enjoyment of that evil appears to society. And in the opposite manner, righteousness preserves all humanity and brings eternal blessing to generations yet unborn. 

So, though Breishis may seem to be a book of what was, it is truly a narrative of what is and a story of what shall be. It is the book of man that we continue to write – as we grapple with life’s monumental tasks of sustaining the world and bringing blessing to all of mankind.

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WORDS FROM LINCOLNWOOD FOR PARSHAS BREISHIS

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.
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