MONDAY, MAY 22, 2017
כ"ו אייר, תשע"ז
PARSHAS BEHAR-BECHUKOSAI

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

OMER DAY 41
DAF YOMI
6:00 AM
SHACHARIS
6:45 AM
MINCHA/MA'ARIV
8:00 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 Torah commands us to count the days from Pesach until Shavuos – 50 days. This is known as the mitzva of Sefiras Ha’Omer – the counting of the Omer. Logically, this period of...

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 BEHAR-BECHUKOSAI

In this week’s Parsha the Torah commands us to count the days from Pesach until Shavuos – 50 days. This is known as the mitzva of Sefiras Ha’Omer – the counting of the Omer. Logically, this period of the calendar should have been a happy time for the Jewish people as we count toward Shavuos and celebrating the anniversary of G-d giving us the Torah. However, there are laws of mourning that apply during this time period.

The Talmud teaches us that Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students and they all died during one time period – between Pesach and Shavuos. Rabbi Akiva then taught another five students – Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Yosi, Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua. Those five students disseminated the teachings of Rabbi Akiva.

The Talmud does not discuss what happened to the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva other than saying they all died. There are theories advanced by some of the great Torah scholars that they died in the Bar-Kochba revolt. However, the Talmud is not interested in how they died. Rather, the Talmud wants to know why they died? How could so many students of the greatest teacher – Rabbi Akiva – be punished and die? That’s so puzzling? The Talmud answers that they were not respectful of one another and for that they were punished. 

Now, this answer of the Talmud seems puzzling at first. In Pirkei Avos we learn that Rabbi Akiva’s famous phrase whose importance he constantly emphasized was – also from today’s Parsha - “love you neighborhood as yourself” It is most likely that Rabbi Akiva also emphasized this verse to his students. So, how could they – of all people – not show respect to each other?

Rabbi Dovid Gotlieb of Ramat Beit Shemesh and a teacher in Yeshivas Har Etzion in the Gush raised this question and provided the following answer.

When we see students return from Israel or religious programs and turned onto Judaism, many of us react, “Look how religious he/she became!” How do we define ‘religious”? In our minds she dresses differently – long sleeves and skirts - he dresses differently – wears a jacket and maybe a hat – their davening is serious – much shuckling and religious calisthenics – they constantly use terms such as Baruch Hashem, Im Yirtzeh Hashem etc. – they spend much of their spare time learning in the shul or the Bais Midrash. 

We do not picture in our mind the definition of “religious” in terms of Mitzvos between man and man. When is the last time you heard somebody say, “Oh, he is so religious! He helped that elderly person with shopping!” “Wow! What a religious boy! He cleaned up the Shabbos table and let his mother sit and relax!” “He is so religious! He let his parents sleep and figured out the problem on his own!” “Did you see him not charge interest on that loan?” We don’t think along those lines.

But that is the problem! We associate “frum” or “religious” with Shabbos observance, davening, tefillin and other mitzvos between man and G-d. We don’t think that G-d cares as much about the mitzvos between man and man.  

Rabbi Akiva’s students certainly heard the phrases, “Love your neighbor as yourself” “Don’t do to another what you don’t want done to you” over and over again from him. However, they thought that they knew better than their rebbe - Rabbi Akiva. They thought that G-d wants the emphasis to be on the mitzvos between man and G-d. Sure, mitzvos between man and man are important. However, the mitzvos between man and G-d are more important. So, the Rabbis teach us that – though they did not intentionally mock the words of their Rebbe – Rabbi Akiva – and there was no malice in their intentions or action – they made a fatal error thinking that mitzvos between man and man are not as important as mitzvos between man and G-d and suffered the consequences. 

While one of my children studied in Israel, he heard Rabbi Wein say on several occasions that a person must always strive to be a Jew first and everything else second. So I can be an American, an Israeli, a Zionist, a member of the Agudah or of Mizrachi, but these identities must compliment my Jewish identity, not the other way around. We make the mistake, many times without malicious intent, of being liberals first and Jews second, of being republicans first and Jews second, of being frum first and Jews second! I can do everything. I can master 100 blat of Gemara and donate to a 1000 worthy causes, but if I do not treat my fellow human beings with dignity, then my Jewish identity is missing. No one is perfect. We all have faults. But that does not mean I cannot try to represent the full puzzle of Torah, both the Mitzvos between man and G-d and those that govern interaction with others—because for a truly Jewish person, everything counts.

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WORDS FROM LINCOLNWOOD FOR PARSHAS BEHAR-BECHUKOSAI

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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