ג' כסלו, תשע"ח


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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.


In the beginning of this week’s Parsha, we read about the birth to Yitzchak and Rivka of twin sons – Ya’akov and Esau. They were different in character and behavior. Ya’akov was smooth-skinned while...


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...


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”.


In the beginning of this week’s Parsha, we read about the birth to Yitzchak and Rivka of twin sons – Ya’akov and Esau. They were different in character and behavior. Ya’akov was smooth-skinned while Esau was hairy. Ya’akov loved to study while Esau hunted. Ya’akov was straight and honest while Esau was a man of deception. Ya’akov was righteous while Esau was evil.

That raises a difficult question. How do we account for this difference between Ya’akov and Esau? They were twins . . . their parents were both righteous and spiritual people . . . they had the same upbringing.

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch presents a solution to this difficulty. The Torah states “and the boys grew up”. As long as they were little, no attention was paid to their differences in nature. This goes against a great rule that was stated by King Solomon in the book of Proverbs, “educate a child according to his way.” Not every child can receive the same education. What works for Ya’akov is not necessarily going to work for Esau. Trying to give the two of them the same education is a recipe for disaster. Ya’akov will thrive and Esau will be lost. 

Yitzchak and Rivka were righteous people – no doubt interested in what was best for their children. Yet, like happens so often to us, perhaps they misunderstood the needs of a child. Had Yitzchak and Rivka recognized the true nature of Esau while he was still young, they might have been able to channel his strengths as a compliment to Ya’akov. Both Ya’akov and Esau would have been involved in the service of G-d, just in different methods. As it turned out, according to the opinion of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, the Torah is pointing out the mistake made by Yitzchak and Rivka so that we can learn from it and not make the mistake in our own lives. 

This idea of “educate a child according to his way” – unfortunately seems to be ignored quite often. There is more than one method to teach Torah. Some like to move fast and cover a lot of territory, while others like to take their time and perhaps absorb it and analyze it a bit more. Some take to one commentator while others take to other commentators. Some have more of a liking to Gemara, others to Chumash, others to Nach, others to Halacha, while others to Jewish philosophy. Just because one way suits me, doesn’t mean that you also have to do it that way. We must try and recognize the strengths of students and others and develop those strengths – whether it is Gemara, Chumash, Navi, Halacha, Philosophy, outreach or chesed

The same is true in the professions. Just because the parents are doctors, does not mean the children must be doctors. One child might go to college, but the other child might be better suited for a trade school. One child might be suited for dedicating some years to developing his/her Torah knowledge. Another child might be better off learning how to support his/her sibling who is studying. 

“Educate a child according to his way”. The words of King Solomon are just as true today as they were when he wrote them more than 2800 years ago. Don’t throw everybody into the same pile. Look at the individual and assess his/her strengths. We need to give our children every opportunity to succeed. They are the future of the Jewish nation. Through them we will build a Jewish people committed to G-d and the Jewish people, each person in his own way, everyone according to the path of the Torah.



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.