THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2017
כ"ו כסלו, תשע"ח
PARSHAS VAYEISHEV

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

CHANUKA DAY 2
DAF YOMI
6:00 AM
SHACHARIS
6:45 AM
MINCHA/MA'ARIV
4:05 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

A question is raised as to why Parshas Vayeishev is always the week leading into Chanuka or the Shabbos of Chanuka. However, the reasons given seem to miss a point. The order of the Parshios was instituted...

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.

Shabbos Mevarchim Learning

Also on Shabbos Mevarchim during the Kiddush, we will be having a brief Torah session in memory of those whose yahrzeits are during the coming month. G-d willing, the next session will be on Shabbos, November 18 – Shabbos Mevarchim Kislev. If there is somebody whom you would like to remember through the Torah study or sponsor the study in that person’s name, please send an e-mail before the 18th.

Shabbos Mevarchim Women's Class

We have a monthly Shabbos Mevarchim class for women in the shul from 11:50 AM-12:20 PM. The monthly class will be led by Faith Neuman and her topic is “The Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Faith”.

D'VAR TORAH FOR PARSHAS VAYEISHEV

A question is raised as to why Parshas Vayeishev is always the week leading into Chanuka or the Shabbos of Chanuka. However, the reasons given seem to miss a point. The order of the Parshios was instituted by Ezra – who lived long before the miracle of Chanuka took place. So, it is difficult to say that Parshas Vayeishev was arranged to coincide with Chanuka. Rather, the miracle of Chanuka coincided with Parshas Vayeishev.

However, it is very possible to say and probable that Ezra arranged the Parshios through the Holy Spirit – a form of prophecy. So, that idea gives substance to the question. What is the connection between Parshas Vayeishev and Chanuka?

In this week’s Parsha, we read that Ya’akov loved Yosef more than the other brothers and made him a special coat of many colors. The brothers hated Yosef. Then Yosef had a couple of dreams that foretold the brothers bowing to him. Finally, they decided to kill him. However, Reuven convinced them otherwise – just throw him into the pit. After Reuven went back home to care for Ya’akov, Yehuda suggested selling Yosef. Yosef was sold several times before finally ending up in Egypt.

The Torah informs us later – in Parshas Acharei Mos – that Egypt symbolized immorality and idolatry. Yosef was brought into that society as a teenager without any family support. Yet, he fought the prevailing culture of immorality and idolatry – not giving into it one iota. Eventually, he won and came out on top. 

Chanuka presents to us that same idea. Greek culture – Hellenism – was popular amongst the masses with all of its idolatry and immorality. The Chashmonaim were a minority. Yet, Matisyahu and his sons also fought the prevailing culture that had poisoned the Land of Israel and the Jewish people – not giving into it one iota. Eventually, they also won and came out on top. That is one way to connect Parshas Vayeishev to Chanuka.

Perhaps there is also another connection between the Parsha and Chanuka. Regular everyday events in our lives are miracles. But, because they are common, we don’t view them as miracles. However, the story of Yosef - beginning in this week’s Parsha - and the story of Chanuka teach us to view everything as miraculous.

How did Yosef survive? The New York Times would remove G-d from the story and write that Yosef was wise, lucky, in the right place at the right time, brilliant and talented. But, the Times is wrong. We know that Yosef’s survival – from the pit with scorpions and snakes through Potifar’s house through the dungeon to the Pharaoh’s palace - even though Yosef was talented and brilliant – it was all miraculous.

Why do we have eight days of Chanuka? Because there was enough oil to burn one day and it burned for eight days. But, if we do the math, that is only seven days of miracle since it would have burned for one day anyway! So, why do have eight days?

We must understand that the fact that the oil burned at all is also a miracle. Why does oil burn? Only because G-d says it should. Why did the oil burn for eight days? Only because G-d said it should. Everything is miraculous – it only happens by a decree of G-d. We walk . . . we talk . . . we breathe . . . our bodies function . . . all miracles of G-d.

The Talmud relates a story about Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa – one of the great holy men of the Talmud. He and his wife were extremely poor. One time they had no oil in their house. All they had was vinegar. His wife worried how were they going to have light or heat in their house? Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa responded, “The One who said that oil should burn can also say that vinegar will burn.” And so it was. 

Chanuka teaches us to appreciate all that G-d gives us. It is all miraculous – whether it is the Six Day War, the rescue from Entebbe or walking down the street. We must see the miracle in every event and we must be thankful to G-d for them all. Some events look miraculous, while others look mundane. However, each event is a miracle. As we say in each and every Shmone Esrai, “And for Your miracles that are with us every day.”

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WORDS FROM LINCOLNWOOD FOR PARSHAS VAYEISHEV

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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