SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2017
כ"ז ניסן, תשע"ז
PARSHAS SHMINI

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

PARSHAS SHMINI: SHABBOS MEVARCHIM IYAR: OMER DAY 11
DAF YOMI
8:00 AM
SHACHARIS
9:00 AM
MINCHA/MA'ARIV
7:15 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 we read about the tragic deaths of Nadav and Avihu - two of the sons of Aharon. The Torah states, “and the sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, each took their pan and they placed...

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 SHMINI

In this week’s Parsha we read about the tragic deaths of Nadav and Avihu - two of the sons of Aharon. The Torah states, “and the sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, each took their pan and they placed a fire in them . . . and they brought before G-d a strange fire that He didn’t command them. A fire came from before G-d and consumed them - and they died.” The Yalkut Shimoni relates that this sin occurred because they did not consult with Moshe or with each other. 

Now, not consulting with Moshe is understandably a serious error. Moshe was the spiritual leader who had learned Torah directly from G-d. So, not consulting with Moshe can have serious consequences. But, did what Nadav and Avihu do wrong by not having a brain-storming session? After all, they each arrived at the same conclusion anyways! 

Rabbi Hanoch Teller quotes a solution that was offered by Rabbi Henoch Leibowitz, the late Rosh yeshiva of the Chafetz Chaim yeshiva in Forest Hills, NY. Rabbi Leibowitz explained that the Torah is teaching us the value of seeking advice and consulting with others. Even though Nadav and Avihu both opted for the same course of action, had they discussed it with each other, they might have challenged each other and avoided the mistake. Discussion resolves issues. What might seem obvious becomes subject to scrutiny, thus diminishing the likelihood of error. 

This idea is one of the most common practices in the Torah world - studying with a chevrusa - a study partner. Having a partner for the study of Torah - no matter what section of Torah study - is a key in the development of Torah knowledge. With a chevrusa, one can weed out ideas that might not fit the text being studied. It helps develop one’s mind and, most importantly, helps develop the Torah. Both sides grow from the interaction. Having a chevrusa keeps erroneous thoughts and practices away from our Jewish lifestyle.

The Gemara relates a powerful story about Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish. Raish Lakish was originally a robber. One day he came to rob Rabbi Yochanan. Rabbi Yochanan saw that Raish Lakish had a certain charisma and potential to be a leading Torah scholar. So, he made Raish Lakish an offer - leave the life of crime, devote himself to the study of Torah and he could marry Rabbi Yochanan’s sister.  Raish Lakish agreed and became Rabbi Yochanan’s chevrusa. Rabbi Yochanan and Raish Lakish developed into one of the great pairs of rabbis in the Gemara - through discussion and weeding out foreign ideas.  After Raish Lakish died, Rabbi Yochanan tried other chevrusas unsuccessfully. They could not challenge him as Raish Lakish had.

Rabbi Yochonan complained of his new chavrusas, “When I say something, you bring 12 proofs that I am right. Reish Lakish would bring 12 proofs why I was wrong!” The back and forth interplay forced Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish to greater heights than neither could have reached solo. 

There are two kinds of Mitzvos: Bein Adam Limakom - Those that are between man and G-d...and Bein Adam Lachaveiro - those that are between man to his friend. Judaism does not advocate solitude. We are not meant to be hermits. Human beings have a responsibility to interact and grow from one another. Questions . . . answers . . . discussion . . .  a good Chevrusa . . .  a good friend . . .  a good spouse . . . they steer us in the proper path. 

It is to help us with the challenges of life, how do we make the right decisions? All we can do is try, and we hope and pray that our interactions guide us in the proper path, a path that does not consume us in burning fire but which shines the world with light and understanding. 

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WORDS FROM LINCOLNWOOD FOR PARSHAS SHMINI

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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