Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shabbos HaGadol Drasha at Tzemach Tzedek

Rabbi Lesches will be delivering a Shabbos HaGadol Derasha for men and women this Shabbos afternoon, Parshas Tzav, at 6:15 PM. Mincha will take place at 7:00 PM. 

Yud Aleph Nissan Farbrengen

There will be a farbrengen this Monday night, March 30, at Tzemach Tzedek in honor of Yud Aleph Nissan, the Rebbe’s birthday in 1902.

Maariv will be at 8:30 PM followed by the farbrengen.

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

Over the last few weeks the Torah was detailing the different types of service performed in the Temple. Unlike a contemporary Synagogue service, which chiefly consists of private prayer interspersed with occasional tribal chanting and some stand up/sit down for exercise, the Temple rites were much more exciting. Animal sacrifice, incense burning, multicolored clothing, ritualized musical accompaniment and choral performance were all part of the daily spectacle.

After the sacrifices had been offered and burnt on the altar, this week's Torah portion (Tzav [Leviticus] 6:1-8:36) tells us how the ashes were collected. The Cohen assigned to clear the accumulated ashes and transport them to the tip was commanded; and he shall take off his clothes (which had been worn while serving in the Temple) and put on other clothes, and remove the ashes outside the camp (Leviticus 6:4).
Ever been down in the bowels of a professional kitchen? The scenes of controlled panic and chaos bear no resemblance to the decorum which rules in the restaurant. Similarly, the grubby outfits and utilitarian work-wear that the bus boys and dishwashers are garbed in is far outshone by the formal attire that the waiters don. Makes sense; after all, the waiters are engaged in formal service, face to face with the patron, while the others' role, though vital, is really just preparing plates for use on the morrow.

The Cohen did not just change clothing out of fear of dirtying his clothes. Rather, when engaged in the actual service of G-d in the Temple, he would dress up to the nines as an act of homage to the Deity in whose service he was engaged. When occupied with the more prosaic task of removing the ashes, vital though it may have been, he changed out of his formal attire and slipped into something more functional.

However, unlike the distinction between the Maitre 'd and the lowly laborer, each with his own clearly delineated role, in G-d's home the same Cohen fulfilled both functions.

In Judaism there is no disconnect between the 'upper class' and the 'honest battlers.' Not for us any petty caste systems where some dwell in the fields of academia and others labor, unseen and under-appreciated, at less appealing tasks. The same priest who offered the sacrifices would shortly thereafter embark on the far less glamorous, companion role.

This week Jews around the world are busy preparing for the upcoming beautiful holiday of Pesach. Everyone enjoys the Seder; the glamour moment of Judaism. Resplendent in our finery and reclining in freedom we all thrill to participate. Less enjoyable, though equally vital, is helping to prepare the home in the weeks leading up to Passover. It is imperative to keep in mind, while scrubbing and scouring, that the same G-d who commanded us to have a Seder is equally served by our exertions now.

When working for G-d, it is important to "change your clothes." Go out to the public and put on a happy face. Demonstrate that the Judaism you love and live is functional and comfortable. But don't stay wrapped up in your cocoon of formality.  Relax and show that every single task G-d sets us is simultaneously a privilege and a pleasure.

(Excerpts from - by Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum)

Global Yud Aleph Nissan Farbrengen This Monday Night

Beis Nissan & Hanochos Tefillin at Mesivta

This year the Hilulah of the Rebbe Rashab, founder of Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimin, on Beis Nissan was marked in its Monsey branch by special festivities.  A breakfast and farbrengen were celebrated at Mesivta Lubavitch of Monsey in honor of the Honochos Tefilin of Avrumy Leitner, sponsored by his parents and long-time Monsey Chabad residents, Refoel and Malkie Leitner.

Before the davening, Rabbi Leitner discussed the various approaches to the kesher of the tefilah shel yad for a lefty, identifying the prevailing Lubavitcher custom.  Rabbi Mendy Landa, Menahel of the Mesivta, led the morning davening with a tangible fervor reflective of the intensity of the red letter day.  After davening, the Beis HaMedrash was setup for the breakfast and farbrengen.

The gala was graced by the attendance of Rabbi Ari Jacobson, Mara D’Asra of Young Israel of Monsey and Wesley Hills which hosts the Mesvita, who inspired the assemblage by recounting the story of Tefilin Sheh-B’Rosh.  Rabbi Jacobson went on to quote the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch concerning the Chabad shita in Hesech HaDaas from which he extracted a potent lesson that this halacha implies.

Following the hochonoh niggun, Avrumy recited the first chapter of the maamar Issa B’Midrash Tilim in Yiddish, demonstrating a clear understanding of the subject matter.  After the maamar, Rabbi Landa eloquently explained the connection between Honochos Tefilin, the Nasi of the Day for Beis Nissan, and the Baal HaHilulah of Beis Nissan.  From this, he derived an instructive message for everyone present to take with them and work on.

An abundance of good food and drink served to augment the joyous spirit of the occasion.  The entire program of thought provoking ideas made a noticeable impact on the participants towards a personal change for the better.  It seems the morning’s proceedings struck a positive chord with the tomimim of the Mesivta as they witnessed the induction of a new tomim in the context of a meaningful and tasty event.

Pre Pesach Employment Opportunity

We have a pre Pesach employment opportunity less than thirty minutes from Monsey. Good pay. Flexible hours. Long term possibility. Interested? Contact or 347-956-0282.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Seeking Camp Staff

This summer, join an awesome team of people working hard to make kids happy. Apply now if you think you are a good fit to join this strong team who go the extra mile to devoting themselves to their mission in camp.

We are a half an hour drive from Monsey, with daily transportation provided.

It is the mission of FLJDC to provide the children and parents of the Jewish community a safe, fun and educational summer experience, in a non judgmental environment, through the demonstration of excellence and attention to detail in all aspects of camp and practicing a Kids First philosophy.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

Central Yud Aleph Nissan Farbrengen

New Menahel of Mesivta Lubavitch of Monsey Meets Parents

On Thursday evening כ"א אדר, parents of current and prospective talmidim had the opportunity to meet with the new Menahel of Mesivta Lubavitch of Monsey, Rabbi Sender Lustig.

The evening began with Rabbi Moshe Liberow welcoming the parents and introducing Rabbi Zalmen L. Markowitz.

Rabbi Markowitz spoke about his interactions with Rabbi and Mrs. Lustig in the past and the confidence he has in Rabbi Lustig building up the Mesivta לשם ולתפארת.

Rabbi Markowitz also spoke about the importance and benefits of keeping Mesivta age bochurim close to home and how with the current growth and status of our community, this would be an opportune time to invest in this venture.

Rabbi Markowitz then introduced Rabbi Lustig to present his vision for a successful Mesivta in Monsey.

Rabbi Lustig drew on פרשת פרה where we see that Mitzvos are generally divided in 2 categories; those that we can understand (משפטים and עדות) and those that we can't comprehend (חוקים). During the elementary years, children are more susceptible to perform even if they don't understand exactly why they are doing certain things. Once they reach the age of Yeshiva Gedola they require more of an understanding and emotional buy in. The function of a Mesivta is to assure this transition of bochurim in a healthy and productive manner, nurturing their social and emotional development, while at the same time motivating and challenging them.

Rabbi Lustig then took questions from parents and clarified the structure of the Mesivta and some details concerning the curriculum.

He hopes to not only attract the best local students, but also talmidim of high-caliber from out-of-town.

The feedback from the evening has been BH overwhelmingly positive.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Summer 5775 at Machane Bnos Monsey

Machane Bnos Monsey is proud to open registration for the 2015/5775 summer. We are looking forward to our best summer ever.

Register now and take advantage of the early bird discount valid until April 17th.

Looking forward to a great summer!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pre Pesach Camp

Color Erases, Color Paints - Growing up mixed race in Monsey, N.Y.

By Isaiah Rothstein, Tablet Magazine

I often relate to my peer group that both my maternal and paternal ancestors were slaves: As Hebrews in the desert hills of Egypt, and as Africans on the southern plantations of Alabama.

“And he (Moses) called his (son’s) name Gershom, because he was a stranger in a strange land.” (Exodus 2:22)

I grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community of Monsey, N.Y. With my peyot until I was 10 years old and my father’s unwavering affiliation with the Chabad Lubavitch movement, I think it would be safe to say I was raised in what one would call the Haredi community. But our Thanksgiving family reunions revealed a whole other aspect of my family tree, and from a young age I was forced to consider what my own identity would be and what I would make my legacy.

Once Tanya Maria Robertson, my mother split her own sea and converted to Judaism as an adult, becoming Shulamit Geulah Rothstein. As when her mother, who is of German, Scotch, and Dutch ancestry, married her father, who is black, two worlds came together, creating another dimension of civil rights and Jewish unity: the Rothstein family. But with such realities came great complexity.

With a mother who converted to Judaism after being raised Methodist and a Chabad father living in Monsey, I had a lot to think about while growing up.

When my parents joined their histories together, it rendered a chasm in creation, and redeemed a fragment of an erased story. This same chasm whispers to me and you alike, “While the world has tried to erase your heritages for thousands of years, I’ll let your glory shine through.” Together, as Jews of Color, we shall create a masterpiece that will survive and thrive, that will sing and laugh, that will cry and yearn; that will stand for Jewish values, Judaism, and justice for all.

I have come to know that people who are color-blind deny that there is a difference in how a person of color is treated. There is a difference, but there shouldn’t be. I have also learned that my family has been given an opportunity to paint a grand canvas and rectify many chapters of our American and Jewish history.

Color erases and color paints. But when colors mix together they can repaint the grayness with a blue sky.

Color erases. Color erases because just four generations ago, Charles and Rachel Mcgruder, my grandfather’s grandparents, were born enslaved in Alabama.

Color erases, because my cousin, Carole Robertson, was murdered along with three other girls in the Birmingham Church bombing of 1963.

Color erases because I have a history that can never be told. Not because it was lost, but because, like so many, it was erased by corrupt spirits.

Color erases because no matter the laws that are passed, or the marches that are held, racism still exists. And the heart of our people’s humanity still breaks.

But indeed, color also paints. Color paints privilege—when it is the right color, that is. Color paints the meadows of West Virginia, a horse for each child, and a sense of security that can build the voice within.

Color paints the Methodist minister, my great-grandfather, who preached God’s word to hundreds, uniting communities with tradition.

Color paints British royalty who conquered the Americas with power and were later fought for independence—as my mother and grandmother are Daughters of the American Revolution.

Color paints because my grandmother can sing her grandchildren lullabies that have been sung by her family for centuries, and we know them all.

Both sides of my family have been victimized because of the color of their skin and what they believe in, and so, both sides have made it their life’s purpose to stand for the other, and to advocate for civil liberties and justice for all. Beyond the threading of colors and convergence of different faiths, both sides of my family know all too well that there is still a Pharaoh lurking in unfriendly places with every evil intention to harm, cast away, and degrade others based on their color or religion (Exodus 5:4). Indeed, you only know racism exists if you experience it.

As an advocate for cultural competence and acceptance in the Jewish community, as a rabbi and social worker, my story has led me toward the hope that we can unite to defend that divine command to protect the stranger, not only because we were once strangers in a foreign place, but because by doing so, we elevate our generation along with our ancestors.

“Mankind must be scattered, must distribute itself among all the different regions of earth in order that the most divergent and contrary faculties of the human mind may find in nature the needed opportunities of development, in order that experience become full and complete…”

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, The Nineteen Letters.”

Though my family story is a unique one, its message of overcoming adversity to develop identity and moral conviction is really a story for the masses—now more than ever.

Isaiah Rothstein is a JOC raised in a Lubavitch family in Monsey, N.Y. He is expecting to finish his rabbinical studies at Yeshiva University in the coming school year and works full-time as the Madrich Ruchani (Spiritual and Experiential Educator) at Carmel Academy of Greenwich in Greenwich, CT.

Rabbi Lesches Available to Sell Chometz

Rabbi Lesches will be available to arrange the sale of your chometz following all weekday tefilos at Tzemach Tzedek starting with Maariv tonight.  The Rav can also be reached at 845-659-1060.

Beis Nissan Farbrengen Tonight

There will be a farbrengen in honor of Beis Nissan tonight, Sunday, March 22, following the 8:30 PM Maariv minyan at Tzemach Tzedek.

Beis Nissan is the day on which the Rebbe Rashab, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn passed away in Rostov in 1920. His last words were: "I'm going to heaven; I leave you the writings."

The Rebbe Rashab was born in the White Russian town of Lubavitch in 1860. After the passing of his father, Rabbi Shmuel (in 1882), he assumed the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch.

Famed for his phenomenal mind and analytical treatment of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Sholom DovBer wrote and delivered some 2,000 maamarim (discourses of Chassidic teaching) over the 38 years of his leadership. In 1897, he established the Tomchei Temimim yeshivah, the first institution of Jewish learning to combine the study of the "body" of Torah (Talmudic and legal studies) with its mystical "soul" (the teachings of Chassidism); it was this unique yeshivah that produced the army of learned, inspired and devoted Chassidim who, in the decades to come, would literally give their lives to keep Judaism alive under Soviet rule.

In 1915, Rabbi Sholom DovBer was forced to flee Lubavitch from the advancing WWI front and relocated to the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. 

In his final years, he began the heroic battle against the new Communist regime's efforts to destroy the Jewish faith throughout the Soviet Union.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Seeking Ride

Looking for a ride to Crown Heights for two adults and a baby on Motzai Shabbos or Sunday morning.

Please call Leah Poltorak at 914-584-6902

Seeking House Rental for Reunion

Looking to rent a house for a family reunion (around 20 people) during a week in the summer. Please contact

Help MBCM as You Clean & Shop for Pesach

As you prepare for Pesach, be sure to clean out your MBCM pushka and have the money picked up by contacting Rabbi Yossi Touger at, 845-430-8342 or

Please also help Monsey Beis Chaya Mushka by using our Chessed dollars when shopping for Pesach by:

1) Using MBCM dollars. Order by calling or emailing Rabbi Kagan at 845 538-7484.  MBCM dollars can be used at Rockland Kosher, Evergreen, All Fresh and Newday. \

2) Use the school account # 845-634 7400 when shopping at All Fresh or Rockland Kosher. Please mention 634-7400 to the cashier when paying as the phone number on the account so that Monsey Beis Chaya Mushka gets a percentage. You then pay using the method that you normally would. There is no need for MBCM Dollars (MBCM gets the store credit).   If you are having your order delivered, please make sure to note your home address for delivery so that it is not delivered to MBCM
Thank you!

Seeking Ride

Seeking a ride this Sunday for one female from Monsey to Crown Heights. Please call 845-709-7876.

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

The first chapters this week's Torah portion, which begins the third Book of the Torah, Vayikra (Leviticus - 1:1-5:26); describe the offerings that Jews brought to the Sanctuary. It sums it all up with the statement: “Offer the best of everything to G‑d.” This phrase serves as the basis for a beautiful concept in Jewish teaching.
A building that serves as a synagogue or as a center of Jewish learning should be more beautiful than the personal homes of the community members. The furniture donated to a synagogue should be more comfortable and more luxurious than those in its members’ personal homes.

When we offer food to a starving poor person, the food should be of better quality than the food that we eat ourselves. The clothing donated to the poor should be nicer than those we wear ourselves.

A similar thought is expressed in a verse that the Jews sang when they crossed the Red Sea: “This is my G‑d, and I will do beautiful things for Him.” TheTalmud interprets this to mean that one should strive to acquire the most beautiful etrog and lulav, a beautiful sukkah, tallit and tefillin, a neatly writtenTorah scroll, and so on.

These verses convey a teaching that is contrary to contemporary practice. People tend to donate things only when they no longer need them. Old, rickety furniture and used clothing are the typical stuff for donations. The Torah, however, teaches us to do a mitzvah with heart and soul, utilizing our best energies and materials.

If we treat the poor with empathy, we would not give them things of lesser quality than we want for ourselves. But the Torah goes beyond that, and says that we should give the poor even better than what we ourselves have. This is because we put all our energy and resources into the things that we truly love. Tzedakah(charity) is a mitzvah, and when a person loves doing mitzvot, he will invest more in the mitzvah than in his ordinary needs.

A person who thinks of his religious obligations as a burden and nuisance will do the bare minimum that is required by Jewish law. Once he is “off the hook,” he will no longer exert any effort in doing more. But the Jew who appreciates how Judaism enriches his life with depth and meaning does mitzvot with love. And when a mitzvah is done out of love, it is done with care and beauty.

The extent of how much effort a person puts into mitzvot is a pretty good barometer to measure his attitude towards Judaism.

When given an opportunity to earn more dollars, few people will say, “Why bother? I can manage with the bare necessities.” Why would the spiritual quality of life be any less important? A Jew with a healthy attitude towards Judaism will “go the extra mile” and strive to do mitzvot in the very best way possible.

The mitzvah itself is only half its value. The same mitzvah that is done with a good attitude has double the value.

(Excerpts from – Rabbi  Avrohom Altein)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pesach Sale at The Sofer Center

R Yosef Y Jacobson to Speak & Farbreng at Beis Menachem This Shabbos

Bais Menachem is pleased to announce that Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson will speak and farbreng this Shabbos Parshas Vaykira, Rosh Chodesh Nisan, at the farbrengen following davening.

The topic will be "How To Truly Set Yourself Free" in preparation for Pesach.

Men and women are invited.

Rabbi Jacobson will speak at approximately 12:15 PM.

A children's program will run during that time upstairs for the benefit of all parents and to ensure a conducive environment for the farbrengen.

Davening at Beis Menachem begins at 9:30 AM at 360 Route 306.

 All are warmly invited and encouraged to join!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Yeshiva Bein Hazmanim at Heichal Menachem

Pesach Wine Sale Benefiting Cheder Chabad

The Cheder is pleased to announce that we partnered with Mr. Yehoshua Werth of the Grapevine to offer you a selection of over 300 wines to enhance your Seder table. 

And why should you place your order through the Cheder?
·  Your entire order will be tax free. Please note you cannot receive a tax receipt for this.
·  Select wines will be offered at discounted prices
·  Your purchase will help support the Cheder.

Here are instructions of how to order:
1.       Click here to download the wine list in excel format. 
2.       Fill out your name, phone number, and credit card information.
3.       Fill out the quantity in the rows associated with the wine(s) of your choice.
4.       Save the excel file and email it to
5.       You will receive a confirmation email that we proccessed your credit card.
6.       You will receive a phone call from Mr. Werth informing you when your order will be available for pickup at the Grapevine. The Grapevine is located at 455 Route 306, Monsey, NY 10952.

All orders must be in by Sunday, March 22nd.

If you any questions regarding wines and prices please contact Mr. Werth at: (845) 364-9463.

If you have any questions regarding billing please contact Mrs. Breier at: (845) 356-1213 ext. 204

Thank you in advance for your support.

Beis Nissan Farbrengen at Heichal Menachem

Important Letter from Tzemach Tzedek President

Dear Member of the Monsey Community,

I am writing to you about a pressing communal concern. I have just been informed that at the beginning of this week, Congregation Tzemach Tzedek only had ONE week left of funds in our bank accounts to pay all Shul related expenses.  We are now in an emergency situation where we are unable to pay for our mortgage, salary to our Rav, cleaning costs, mikveh expenses, utilities etc.

To help remedy this urgent situation, I am launching two campaigns in an effort to help our Shul and community.

First, accompanying this letter is your statement from the Shul with transactions through 01/31/2015. I have just paid my outstanding balance to the Shul, and I am asking you to pay as much of your outstanding balance as possible so that our Shul will be able to continue and thrive. Please click here to pay online. (A statement will not be generated if there is no activity as of 1/1/2014.)

As an incentive, for any outstanding amounts you pay up to Yud-Alef Nissan, I will contribute an additional 20 per cent reducing your personal Shul balance. For example, if you pay $200 towards your $500 Shul balance, I will pay an additional $40 towards your Shul balance, etc. I am not placing any dollar limit on this so feel free to pay 80 per cent of your outstanding Shul balance and I will pay the rest.

Second, to raise new funds for the Shul, I will double any new pledges which are paid prior to Yud-Alef Nissan in honor of the Rebbe’s birthday. So, if you donate $1,000 to the Shul, I will also donate $1,000, bringing the total donation to $2,000. 

Our Tzemach Tzedek Shul is the cornerstone of Chabad in Monsey. In addition to weekday and Shabbos services, the Shul operates the Men's Mikveh, offers daily and weekly shirum, Fabrengens for all chassidishe yomim tovim, and provides the services of our Rav, Rabbi Lesches. Maintaining the Shul is the responsibility of all of us, so please be as a generous as you possibly can.

If you have any questions about these campaigns or about the Shul, or if you would like to make a pledge, please contact me. 

Thank you. 

Avraham Hayman
President, Congregation Tzemach Tzedek


Monday, March 16, 2015

Seeking Used Car

I am actively seeking a used automobile  in good to excellent condition at a  reasonable price.   

I prefer a compact  to mid-size sedan.  I am looking for a sale price of between $5,000 and $10,000, preferably closer to $5,000. The price should be commensurate with blue book values for sale from a private individual to a private individual .   

The car must be in reliable mechanical condition and must be available for inspection by my mechanic, located in Spring Valley, New York.

Please e-mail me  at or call at 845 352 1645  if you have a vehicle  or know of a vehicle for sale meeting the above conditions.

Save the Date - Child Safety Workshop

Mark your calendar - A parenting workshop concerning child safety is being organized by Cheder Chabad and will take place on Sunday, April 26, Iyar 7 at 7:45 PM.

Additional details will follow.

Help JEM Raise One Million Dollars



With the help of a group of generous donors, JEM is embarking on a far-reaching and ambitious goal to raise 1 million dollars in 24 hours.

Your gift will help us continue providing videos of the Rebbe that you've come to rely on for inspiration and connection, extend their reach to the larger world, and increase the amount of content we produce and release.

Please participate today at WWW.JEMLEAP.COM.

Jacobson Bris

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok and Esti Jacobson will be making the Bris for their newborn son this Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM in the tent of the Ohr Chaim Shul, 18 Forshay Road. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Avos U'Banim Grand Prize Winner

Mazel tov to Shaul Zelig Bronstein who won the grand raffle for all boys who attended the majority of Avos U'Banim sessions at the closing session of Avos U'Banim for the 5775 season this past Motzei Shabbos.

Thanks to Amazing Savings for sponsoring the amazing prizes and to Shloimie Litzman and family who sponsored the evening's pizza!

Help JEM Leap on Monday at 12 PM

What’s your favorite JEM project? Is it the Living Torah video that you see in Shul, the weekly Here’s My Story, or a full-length Farbrengen? Did you find a photo of yourself on the Living Archive website, or come across a great video on YouTube?

Demand for high-quality content of the Rebbe has been growing dramatically – and with it, the pace of our output. In order for us to meet the strong demand we’ve needed to stretch ourselves way beyond capacity. A group of generous partners has decided to help us take a giant leap by laying down a $1,000,000. G-d wiling, if we raise $1 million within 24-hours, we get the full amount toward our work. But here’s the catch: If we don’t, we get nothing.

Help us take this giant leap! 

As someone who has been inspired by these videos, you know the far-reaching effect they have on you, your children, and your friends. Please help us share this precious gift with an even larger audience, and with a world which needs it now more than ever.

Tomorrow, 25 Adar - 16 March, at 12:00 noon EDT, every dollar you give will be multiplied 4x by these generous donors! Please take advantage of this unique opportunity to grow your contribution and join us in reaching the entire world.

Please look out for our emails tomorrow, donate generously, and spread the word amongst your friends and family!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jacobson Shalom Zachor

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok and Esti Jacobson will be making a Shalom Zachor for their newborn son tonight at their home, 7 Fieldcrest Drive.

Cheder Chabad Pesach Wine Sale

A list of wines for this year's Cheder Chabad pesach wine sale is being mailed this week and will be available at the Wine Tasting on March 22 at Tzemach Tzedek.

Please make all checks payable to "Cheder Chabad of Monsey".

Pick-up will be at The Grapevine Wines & Spirits 1.5 weeks before Pesach.

10% of all sales go to the Cheder.

For all questions, please call Yehoshua Werth, Manager The Grapevine Wines & Spirits, at 845-364-9463.

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

The 27th of the Hebrew month of Adar marks an unhappy anniversary (this year March 18, 2015). On this day in 1992, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Lubavitch,  “The Rebbe,” suffered a severe stroke, which robbed him of his power of speech and led to the illness from which he never recovered. This is the date when the voice which educated, inspired and encouraged millions of Jews and gentiles was stilled.

As the Rebbe always taught us, we look to the Torah portion of the week to gain insight and perspective. Incredibly, this week’s portion offers a resoundingly clear message regarding this anniversary, as well as Chabad’s seeming state of “leaderlessness.”

This week we have a compound Torah reading—the combined portions of Vayakhel and Pekudei (Shmos [Exodus] 35:1 - 40:38). The Rebbe pointed out on many occasions that these two names convey an important message.

Vayakhel means to “gather” and “congregate.” Moses gathered the nation into a kahal, a congregation. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts; the congregation is a new entity which, like a marriage, is greater than the sum of its members. Each and every one of us is a part of this greater body, the Jewish people, unified, mixed and blended with each other.

Having said this, we proceed to Pekudei, “numbers”: the numbering and counting of each individual vessel in the Sanctuary. Yes, the total is greater than the sum of its parts, but Moses counts the individual vessels, because each individual component is independently significant. The same holds true with the Jewish nation: each Jew is endowed by the Creator with a uniquely precious personality, and is individually significant—not just as part of the total. Every Jew serves G‑d in a unique and inimitable fashion. Both vayakhel, the congregation, and pekudei, the individual, are absolutely essential components in the construction of a Tabernacle where G‑d’s presence will be manifest.

In 1950, the Rebbe was crowned as the seventh leader of the venerable Chabad-Lubavitch movement. At that point, Chabad possessed a prestigious history—but not much of a present, and it certainly did not seem to have a bright future. This glorious movement, which had once laid claim to hundreds of thousands of adherents throughout Eastern Europe, was almost completely decimated by the Nazi Gestapo and the Soviet KGB. The “grand” Lubavitch synagogue in Brooklyn, where the Rebbe presided, couldn’t comfortably fit more than 150 people!
Over the next decades, the Rebbe cultivated Chabad, building it into one of the largest Jewish movements of modern times. He did this through vayakhel—uniting all Jews; by talking to the collective Jewish soul. The Rebbe spoke the language of the soul, and souls the world over heard the call and flocked by the thousands to the doors of the Rebbe’s ever-expanding synagogue. The Rebbe then removed layers of tarnish and rust, revealing stunningly beautiful Jewish souls.

As beautiful and uplifting as all this was, in order for the divine presence to be revealed, we must now turn to pekudei mode. The next step for us is to take the Rebbe’s soulful message, and instead of using it to transcend our beings to become part of a collective whole, to allow this message to penetrate and transform our G‑d-given unique strengths and capabilities. The Rebbe’s passion and fire must now be the light which causes the millions of unique colors of our nation’s kaleidoscope to sparkle and dance.

Unbelievably, the Rebbe’s very last address was given on the Shabbat of Vayakhel. The next week, on the Shabbat of Pekudei, the Rebbe’s voice was silent. Perhaps it can be said that now he can be heard through the voices of each and every one of his countless followers and admirers who live his message, and anxiously await the moment when they will be reunited with him with the coming of Moshiach.

 (Excerpts from - by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg)