SUNDAY, JULY 23, 2017
כ"ט תמוז, תשע"ז
PARSHAS MATOS-MASEI

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

DAF YOMI
7:00 AM
SHACHARIS
8:00 AM
MINCHA/MA'ARIV
7:55 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

In this week’s Parsha, the Jewish people go to war with Midian. G-d commanded Moshe to take vengeance against Midian because they brought the Jewish people to sins of idolatry and immorality, causing...

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 MATOS-MASEI

In this week’s Parsha, the Jewish people go to war with Midian. G-d commanded Moshe to take vengeance against Midian because they brought the Jewish people to sins of idolatry and immorality, causing a terribly destructive plague among the Jewish people.

Rashi makes note that G-d commanded Moshe to take vengeance only against Midian and not Moav, even though Moav also was involved in the sinning. Moav acted out of fear of the Jewish people. However, Midian became involved in a conflict that had nothing to do with them. They acted with hostility toward the Jews even though the Jews had no quarrel with them. Does that sound familiar?

One of those involved in the sin of immorality was a woman by the name of Kozbi. She was a princess of Midian. Her father the king sent her to be an object of sin for the Jewish people. He was willing to sacrifice his daughter’s life as long as some Jews were killed in the process. Does that not sound familiar?

When Moshe spoke to the people, he told them “to inflict G-d’s vengeance against Midian”. But, this was vengeance for the Jewish people, so why does Moshe call it G-d’s vengeance? Rashi explains that one who stands against Israel is as if he is standing against G-d.

The Jewish people fought Midian just as G-d commanded Moshe and they killed a lot of people – men, women, children, the five kings of Midian and the wicked Bilaam who had incited the entire matter. Anybody who had been involved in causing the Jewish people to sin and seeking their destruction was removed.

Imagine if this war was broadcast by CNN. They would show you the horrible pictures of Midianites slain. The United Nothings would censure Moshe and the Jewish people. The Quartet would demand from Moshe to show restraint and limit the civilian casualties. CNN would not show you the Midianites plotting to destroy the Jewish people or any of the Jewish people who were killed in the plague by Kozbi, the suicide bomber. 

For some reason, we don’t find G-d calling on the Jewish people to show restraint or limit civilian casualties. To the modern, secular mind, this parsha is reprehensible. How could the Torah demand such behavior from the Jewish people? Aren’t the Jewish people are war mongers and out to kill the innocent? 

Well, the Torah is not necessarily politically correct. The Torah tells it like it is. The Torah defines good and evil. Good stays, evil goes. Anybody involved in causing the Jewish people this terrible sin was evil. Most of Midian was evil so they were to be disposed. The modern, secular mind thinks it knows better than G-d and G-d is wrong. To the Torah, that type of mind is completely off target and many times incomprehensible. It certainly is permitted to attempt to understand this incident but one cannot come to the conclusion that G-d is wrong. G-d is correct and we don’t always understand His ways.

As we have seen numerous times, the Jewish people were forced to fight a war for which they did not ask. However, they were united in their approach in the war against Midian and met with much success. That united approach is the strength of the Jewish people that we seek, especially during these “three weeks.”

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WORDS FROM LINCOLNWOOD FOR PARSHAS MATOS-MASEI

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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