Friday, January 20, 2017

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated by Mr. Binyomin Philipson in memory of his late mother Mrs. Ellen (Elka bas Zisel) Philipson OBM

Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

We never really know why things happen. Do we always deserve everything life throws at us, good or bad? Allow me to share a message from this week's Parshah which may shed a little light on the mysteries of life and our higher destinies.

In this week's Torah reading, we begin the second book of the Torah Shmos (Exodus1:1-6:1). This is the Parshah that describes the beginning of bondage for the Jewish people in Egypt. Moses experiences his first official Divine revelation at the Burning Bush. There he is charged with the formidable mission to confront the Pharaoh and demand that he "Let My people go." Moses is full of questions and repeatedly seeks G-d's reassurances.

It was not necessarily for what they had done in the past that G-d would redeem the Jewish people, but for what He anticipated for them in the future... In one exchange at the Bush, Moses asks, Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should take the Children of Israel out of Egypt? Rashi interprets the first part of the question as Moses doubting his own qualifications to suddenly become a player in the king's court. In his typical humble way Moses didn't see himself worthy of challenging the mighty monarch of Egypt. The second part of the verse is explained by Rashi to be questioning the worthiness of the Jewish People. What have they actually done to deserve such a miraculous redemption?

To which the Almighty answers, firstly, have no fear and have no doubts, I will be with you. And secondly, this is your sign that I have sent you: when you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G-d on this mountain.

Now it's very nice to know that this mountain was, in fact, Mount Sinai and that the Burning Bush encounter occurred on that very same mountain. But wherein lies G-d's answer to Moses' second question? He asked "who am I?" so G-d replied to the point and said don't worry "I will be with you." But to the question of by what merit did Israel deserve redemption we don't see any answer. That they "will serve G-d on this mountain" doesn't seem relevant to the discussion at all.

Here it is that we find a fascinating insight into the intriguingly infinite ways of Providence. G-d was saying that it was not necessarily for what they had done in the past that he was ready to redeem the Jewish people, but for what He anticipated for them in the future. On this very mountain they would receive His Torah; they would become His chosen messengers to be a light unto the nations; they would be the moral standard bearers for the entire world. Never mind what they did or didn't do in the past. G-d had big plans for this nation and it would all begin with the impending Exodus.

What a powerful message for all of us. Sometimes, the kindness G-d does for us is not because of what we've been but rather what it would enable us to become. It's not for what we have already done but for what we still will do.

So should any of us be the beneficiaries of a special blessing from Above, instead of patting ourselves on the back and concluding that we must have done something wonderful to be thus rewarded, let us rather ask ourselves what G-d might be expecting us to do with this particular blessing in the future. How can we use it to further His work on earth? Special blessings carry with them special responsibilities.

May each of us successfully develop all the potential G-d sees in us and use it for our own moral development and to better the world around us.

(Excerpts from Chabad.org - by Rabbi Yossy Goldman)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion, please contact Rabbi Shusterman at yshusterman@chedermonsey.org

Monsey Anash Directory

It's mid-year and people have been moving in and around the greater community.

Cheder Chabad of Monsey does not want to fall behind updating its database in anticipation of a third "Monsey Anash Directory"!

Anash who would like to send in an edit and add cell phone and email to their existing listing should contact directory@chedermonsey.org as well as new residents who can send in addresses, phone numbers etc.

Please share this communication with newcomers so they can meet everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chof Teves Farbrengen

There will be a farbrengen in honor of כ' טבת tonight, January 18th, at Tzemach Tzedek shul, after the 8:30pm Maariv.

Mazel Tov Cwibekers and Larkins!

Mazel Tov to Efraim and Sara Cwibeker on the birth of a baby boy last week. Mazel tov to the grandparents Reb Chona and Shulamis Larkin.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Davening Times for the week of Parshas Shemos for Tzemach Tzedek

Shacharis - Sunday                                                                 8:00, 9:00, 10:00am

Shacharis - Monday thru Friday                                                6:48, 7:00, 8:00am

Mincha - Sunday thru Thursday                                                                  4:40pm

Maariv - Sunday, thru Thursday                                                5:30, 8:30, 9:30pm

Friday, January 13, 2017

Mazel Tov Kleins!

Mazel tov to Shmuel and Miriam Klein on the birth of a granddaughter, born to Yanky and Shandel Strasberg.

Parshas Vayechi Schedule for Tzemach Tzedek

The following is the Tzemach Tzedek schedule for Shabbos Chazak Parshas Vayechi:

Friday - ערב ש"ק

Licht Bentchen                                                                                       4:32pm

Minchah Erev Shabbos                                                                          4:48pm

Kabbolas Shabbos                                                                                 5:20pm

No Kiddush between 6:06/6:00pm - 7:06/7:00pm

שבת קודש

Rov's Chassidus Shiur                                                                           8:45am

Sof Zman Krias Shma                                                                            9:42am

Shacharis                                                                                               9:30am

Minchah Gedolah                                                                                 12:30pm

Rov's Halochoh Shiur                                                                             3:45pm

Minchah                                                                                                  4:30pm

Motzoei Shabbos/Maariv                                                                        5:37pm  

Avos U'bonim                                                                                          6:45pm

א גוטען שבת

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated by Mr. Binyomin Philipson in memory of his late mother Mrs. Ellen (Elka bas Zisel) Philipson OBM

Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

A title usually reflects the theme of the subject matter. "Genesis" is about the beginning of the world, "Exodus" is about the Jews leaving Egypt. Whether it is a book, film or lecture series, the title should convey some idea of the content it describes.

The title of this week's Parsha (Torah reading) Vayechei (Bersishis [Genesis] 47:28 - 50:26) seems highly inappropriate. Vayechi means "And He Lived." derived from the Parshah's opening line, "And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years...”.The Parshah, however, goes on to tell us not about Jacob's life, but rather about his death: his last will and testament to his children, his passing, his funeral, and his interment in Hebron in the Holy Land.

Why would a parshah that concentrates on a person's last days on earth, his deathbed instructions and his burial be entitled "And He lived?"

The answer, say our sages, is that we are not discussing biological organisms, but Jews. And the test of true life for a Jew is whether he lived an authentic, consistent Jewish life - for life. Did he falter before the finish line, or was he faithful to his value system until the end?

How do we know that Jacob did indeed live, in the fullest sense of the word? That his was a genuine, G-dly life? When we see that he remains true to those ideals until his dying day. Only then can we say with certainty that his life was truly alive; that his was a Vayechi life. The fact that Jacob died a righteous man validated his entire life-span, establishing it as a true life, alive and real from beginning to end.

There are individuals who have their eight minutes of fame, who shine briefly and impress the world only to fade away and leave us disappointedly watching so much unfulfilled potential dissipate into thin air. Others are longer lasting, but don't quite go all the way.

Complacency is dangerous. There are no guarantees. One must constantly "live" - i.e., grow and attempt to improve oneself - lest one falter before the finish line.

It is psychologically sound to take up a hobby, learn to play golf or develop other interests outside of work. A Jew, though, should ideally start studying Torah, go to classes, read a stimulating book. Studying and sharpening the mind is good for the brain. Recent medical research confirms that it can even delay the onset of Alzheimer's. Most importantly, a person must have something to live for. Find new areas of stimulation. Discover, dream, aspire higher. Life must be lived with purpose and vigor.

That's why at the end of this week's Parsha, which also concludes the Book of Genesis, the congregation and Torah reader will proclaim Chazak, chazak v'nischazek - "Be strong, be strong, and we will all be strengthened." Because the tendency when we finish a book is to take a breather before we pick up the next one. Such is human nature. But a book of the Torah is not just any book. Torah is not just history or biography. Torah is our source of life, and we dare not ever take a breather from life.

"Chazak" energizes us to carry on immediately. And so we do. The very same afternoon we open the Book of Exodus and continue the learning cycle without interruption.

Truth is consistent, from beginning to end. May our lives be blessed to be truly alive - with authenticity, faithfulness and eternal fulfillment.  Amen.

(Excerpts from Chabad.org - by Rabbi Yossy Goldman)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion, please contact Rabbi Shusterman at yshusterman@chedermonsey.org

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MBCM Annual Dinner

Dear Member of Anash, 'שי

We are proud to invite you to participate in the annual dinner of MBCM, which will take place IY"H on Sunday January 22, כ"ד טבת, at the Valley Terrace Hall.

MBCM, as you know is our community girls high school, started over 10 years ago, with the vision of providing a local quality Chabad girls high school education for the growing Monsey community and its close neighbor, Morristown.

Today, this investment has certainly been validated. The growth and expansion of the Greater Monsey community is beyond all expectations. This year's student body numbers close to 90, with projected larger numbers with future incoming classes. 

This year's dinner, on the Yom Hilula of the Alter Rebbe, will celebrate our 11th year with a farbrengen led by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg and the Yossi Cohen Acapella focusing and learning from the inspiring nigunim of the Baal Hahilula.

At the Dinner we are proud to honor Dan & Miriam Pines and Aroni & Esty Chein.

What better time to enable our further growth, and show your support for community's high school?

By participating in our dinner or ad journal you are supporting an all-round successful, growing Mosad.

This dinner, our main fundraiser of the year, is a chance to do just that.

Please join us at the dinner; Put an ad in our journal in honor of our dear honorees, a special person, time or event; or the teachers and hanhala of MBCM. Encourage others to come.

All details can be found on our website - www.monseybcm.com/dinner .

A sincere thank you for all those who have already responded.

Looking forward to your participation,

Rabbi Chaim D. Kagan, Menahel




Monday, January 9, 2017

Davening Times for the week of Parshas Vayechi for Tzemach Tzedek

Shacharis - Monday thru Friday                                                6:48, 7:00, 8:00am

Mincha - Sunday thru Thursday                                                                  4:35pm

Maariv - Sunday, thru Thursday                                                5:25, 8:30, 9:30pm

Friday, January 6, 2017

Asarah B'Teves Schedule for Tzemach Tzedek

Alos Hashachar/Dawn (Beginning of Fast)                                                 5:49am

Shacharis                                                                                 8:00, 9:00, 10:00am

Mincha                                                                                                2:00, 4:25pm

Maariv and end of fast                                                                                 5:16pm

Parshas Vayigash Schedule for Tzemach Tzedek

The following is the Tzemach Tzedek schedule for Shabbos Parshas Vayigash:


Friday - ערב ש"ק

Licht Bentchen                                                                                       4:25pm

Minchah Erev Shabbos                                                                          4:40pm

Kabbolas Shabbos                                                                                 5:15pm


No Kiddush between 6:02/6:00pm - /7:00pm

שבת קודש

Rov's Chassidus Shiur                                                                           8:45am

Sof Zman Krias Shma                                                                            9:42am

Shacharis                                                                                               9:30am

Minchah Gedolah                                                                                 12:26pm

Rov's Halochoh Shiur                                                                             3:45pm

Minchah                                                                                                  4:25pm

Motzoei Shabbos/Maariv                                                                        5:30pm  

Avos U'bonim                                                                                          6:45pm


א גוטען שבת

Reminder - Avos U'bonim

Avos U'bonim this week is at 6:45 - 7:45 pm at the Tzemach Tzedek Shul - 2 Langeries Dr, Monsey. 

Mazel Tov to Schneur Silverman whose birthday is today - Erev Shabbos - and in whose honor his parents are sponsoring this weeks Avos U'bonim ! 

Yasher Ko'ach to the Niasoff family who sponsored this past Motzoei Shabbos program in honor of their twins' birthday on Zos Chanukah. 

Also, thank you to our previous weeks' sponsors - the A Lehr, D Jordan, and Rabbi Kagan families. As well, much appreciation and kudos to the N Bronstein family for sponsoring treats for many of  the Avos U'bonim programs. 

If any family wants  the Z'chus to sponsor an Avos U'bonim program in honor of a special occasion - please contact Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman at 917 282 3505


Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated by Mr. Binyomin Philipson in memory of his late mother Mrs. Ellen (Elka bas Zisel) Philipson OBM

Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

King Solomon, the wisest of men, says (in his book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 3:4), “There is a time to weep” which implies that there will be occasions when weeping is inappropriate. (King Solomon's exact words are "there is a time to weep and a time to laugh" which implies that there are times when other responses are called for. Clearly, life is not simply about crying or laughing.)

This week’s Torah portion of Vaigash (Berieshis [Genesis] 44:18-47:27 relates the story of Joseph's dramatic reunion with his brothers. Though he embraces them all, he reserves his deepest emotions for his only full brother, Benjamin. Joseph was separated from his brothers when Benjamin was a mere child of 8 years old, and therefore Benjamin was the only one who was not involved in the plot against Joseph. Their embrace was, indeed, an exceptional embrace:

"And he (Joseph) fell on his brother Benjamin's neck and cried, and Benjamin cried on his neck" (Genesis 45:14).

Rashi, quoting the Talmud, explains that for both brothers, their cries were, beyond the powerful feelings of the moment, nothing short of prophetic. Joseph wept over the two Temples of Jerusalem, destined for destruction, which were in the land apportioned to the tribe of Benjamin. And Benjamin cried over the Sanctuary at Shilo, located in the land apportioned to the tribe of Joseph, which would also be destroyed.

The question is why: are they each crying over the other's churban (destruction)? Why did they not cry over their own destructions?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that when it comes to someone else's problem, we may be able to help but we cannot solve other people's problems. Even good friends can only do so much. We can offer generous assistance, support and the best advice in the world, but the rest is up to him or her. No matter how strenuous our efforts, there can be no guarantee that they will be successful. As hard as we may try to help, the individual alone holds the key to sort out his or her own situation.

So, if we are convinced that we have done our absolute best for the other person and have still failed to bring about a satisfactory resolution, the only thing we can do is shed a tear. We can pray for them, we can be sympathetic. Beyond that, there is really nothing else we can do. When we have tried and failed, all we can do is cry.

But when it comes to our own problems and challenges, our own churban, there we dare not settle for a good cry. We cannot afford the luxury of giving up and weeping. If it is our problem, then it is our duty to confront it again and again until we make it right. For others we can cry; but for ourselves we must act.

The Jewish leaders after the Holocaust cried bitter tears for their fallen comrades, but for themselves they did not sit and weep. They set about the task of rebuilding - and succeeded in the most inspiring, miraculous way.

When we have problems (and who doesn't?), so many of us simply moan and sigh and heave a good old-fashioned yiddishe krechtz (Jewish groan). How many times have we sighed, What can I do? And what does that leave us with? - with the moaning and groaning and nothing else. In the words of the fifth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch: "One good deed is worth more than a thousand sighs."

Leave the krechtzing for others. If it's your problem, confront it, deal with it, and work at it. You'll be surprised by the results.

(Excerpts from Chabad.org - by Rabbi Yossy Goldman)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion, please contact Rabbi Shusterman at yshusterman@chedermonsey.org

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hei Teves Farbrengen

There will be a grand farbrengen in honor of ה' טבת tonight, January 3rd, at Tzemach Tzedek shul, after the 8:30pm Maariv.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Davening Times for the week of Parshas Vayigash for Tzemach Tzedek

Shacharis - Sunday                                                                 8:00, 9:00, 10:00am

Shacharis - Monday thru Friday                                                6:48, 7:00, 8:00am

Mincha - Sunday thru Thursday                                                                  4:30pm

Maariv - Sunday, thru Thursday                                                5:20, 8:30, 9:30pm

Friday, December 30, 2016

Parshas Mikeitz Schedule for Tzemach Tzedek

The following is the Tzemach Tzedek schedule for Shabbos Parshas Mikeitz:

Friday - ערב ש"ק

Minchah Erev Shabbos - Early Mincha before Chanukah Licht             3:30pm

Licht Bentchen                                                                                       4:19pm

Kabbolas Shabbos                                                                                 5:08pm

No Kiddush between 5:59/6:00pm - 6:59/7:00pm

שבת קודש

Rov's Chassidus Shiur                                                                           8:45am

Sof Zman Krias Shma                                                                            9:40am

Shacharis                                                                                               9:30am

Kiddush/Farbrengen following Davening

Minchah Gedolah                                                                                 12:22pm

Rov's Halochoh Shiur                                                                             3:45pm

Minchah                                                                                                  4:20pm

Motzoei Shabbos/Maariv                                                                        5:24pm  

Avos U'bonim                                                                                          6:45pm

א גוטען שבת

Special Chanukah Father and Son's Learning on Motzoei Shabbos

This Motzoei Shabbos - the 8th night of Chanukah - there will be a special Chanukah "Father and Son's Learning" program.

There will be special extra prizes, extra treats, and extra raffles in honor of Chanukah!

All elementary school boys are encouraged to come and join their fathers for this special program!

6:45 - 7:45 pm at the Tzemach Tzedek Shul - 2 Langeries Dr., Monsey


A Guten Shabbos and  a Freilichin Chanukah!

Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated by Mr. Binyomin Philipson in memory of his late mother Mrs. Ellen (Elka bas Zisel) Philipson OBM


Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel  OBM


This week’s Torah portion of Miketz (Bereishis [Genesis] 41:1-44:17), invariably falls out in the week of Chanukah and therefore by association, common lessons in life can be realized and learned from both.

Believers are often accused of forsaking all personal initiative in their passive acceptance of the vicissitudes of fate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Prayer, as a weapon, is available only to those who simultaneously engage themselves in overcoming all natural impediments. Only a fool sits back with folded hands while all hell breaks loose around him. A man of faith might rely on G‑d, but he also believes that G-d helps those who help themselves.

The Maccabees, at the time of the Chanukah campaign, were convinced of the capacity of G‑d to save, and entrusted their fate into His hands. Simultaneously, with prayers on their lips, they armed themselves for conflict, initiated guerilla tactics (in fact, the Maccabees were the first in recorded military history to employ guerilla tactics in warfare!) and created a military channel for G-d's miraculous deliverance.

In our Torah portion of Mikeitz this week, Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s two dreams are realized.

After seven years of abundance and plenty, famine stalked the land. The sons of Jacob had traveled in desperation to Egypt in a quest to buy food. There, their long lost brother Joseph, masquerading as an Egyptian viceroy, staged an elaborate charade, accused the brothers of spying, threatened their lives and liberty, took one brother hostage and sent the others home to Canaan to locate proofs of their bona fides.

They returned to their father's home chastened and in a much worried mood. The second most powerful man in the world had accused them falsely, treated them harshly, and imprisoned their sibling. Even worse, they had no choice but to return.

Joseph had made it very clear that any chance they had to be allowed to purchase further stocks of food was predicated on their speedy return, accompanied, this time, by their youngest brother, Benjamin.

Jacob was understandably displeased. At his advanced age who needs the tzoris? Would he be able to cope with the threatened loss of yet another son?

Like Jewish parents throughout history he prepared to respond to the threat. He huddled with his sons to discuss strategy, prepared an expensive bribe, and only then offered to pray on his sons' behalf.
Jacob too trusted in G‑d. He was prepared to pray to G-d to ensure his sons' safe homecoming but knew that his initial responsibility was to do all within his power to arrange the circumstances of G‑d's deliverance. And then he put forth prayer to the Al-Mighty. As the man of faith who might rely on G‑d, but also believes that G-d helps those who help themselves.

To sit and wait for the wheels of inertia to grind one down is laziness, not loyalty to G‑d. Conversely, only a believer can truly dedicate himself to the task at hand, convinced of the inevitability of his efforts; as part of the Divine plan.

(Excerpts from Chabad.org - by Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum)


May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos
and a joyous and illuminating holiday of Chanukah!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Davening Times for the week of Parshas Mikeitz for Tzemach Tzedek

Shacharis - Sunday                                                                 8:00, 9:00, 10:00am

Shacharis - Monday thru Thursday                                           6:48, 7:00, 8:00am

Shacharis - Friday (Rosh Chodesh)                                          6:48, 7:00, 8:00am

Mincha - Sunday thru Thursday                                                                  4:20pm

Maariv - Sunday only                                                                5:45, 8:30, 9:30pm

Maariv - Monday thru Thursday                                                 only 8:30, 9:30pm

On Friday, Erev Shabbos Chanukah, Mincha will be at 3:30pm

Friday, December 23, 2016

Parshas Vayeishev Schedule for Tzemach Tzedek

The following is the Tzemach Tzedek schedule for Shabbos Mevorchim Parshas Vayeishev:


Friday - ערב ש"ק

Licht Bentchen                                                                                       4:14pm

Minchah Erev Shabbos                                                                          4:30pm

Kabbolas Shabbos                                                                                 5:00pm

No Kiddush between 5:55/6:00pm - 6:55/7:00pm

שבת קודש

Tehillim Shabbos Mevorchim                                                                 8:30am

Sof Zman Krias Shma                                                                            9:37am

Shacharis                                                                                              10:00am

Kiddush/Farbrengen following Davening

Minchah Gedolah                                                                                 12:20pm

Rov's Halochoh Shiur                                                                             3:45pm

Minchah                                                                                                  4:15pm

Motzoei Shabbos/Maariv                                                                        5:19pm  

א גוטען שבת

No Avos U'bonim this Motzoei Shabbos

Reminder: There will not be any Avos U'bonim program this Motzoei Shabbos (Dec 24) at the Tzemach Tzedek shul due to it being "Nittel Nacht".


A Guten Shabbos and A Lichtiken un Freilichin Chanukah!

Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated by Mr. Binyomin Philipson in memory of his late mother Mrs. Ellen (Elka bas Zisel) Philipson OBM

In memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

A number of years ago, an incident happened, in Argentina, resulting with a Shochet’s (ritual slaughterer’s) life being saved because of the greeting “¿Cómo estás?” (“How are you?”) 

A group of these Shochetim (ritual slaughterers) were leaving the abattoir late one afternoon, passing the guard’s hut, when all of a sudden one of the guards called out “Isn’t one of you fellows missing?” They looked around and realized that indeed one of their group was not with them. They went back to find him, but only after an extensive exhaustive search did they locate him trapped in the huge walk-in freezer. He had entered the freezer to put away some meat packages at the end of the day only to find that the lock of the freezer door was broken and would not open from the inside. He was trapped inside, but found just in time, thank G-d. Everyone realized that he would have never survived the night in that freezer. 

The next day, the manager asked the guard: “I’m really curious. How did you know that the Rabbi was still inside the plant?”

“It’s really very simple,” the guard answered. “Every single morning without fail, I am greeted with a solitary ‘good morning.’ It’s the rabbi who greets me this way. Every evening, upon leaving, he wishes me a hearty ‘good night.’ Yesterday morning I received my usual cheery ‘good morning,’ but I still hadn’t received my usual ‘good night’. . .”

In this week’s Torah reading Vayeishev (Bereishis [Genesis] 37:1-40:23), we read the dramatic story of Joseph - the multicolored coat, the sibling rivalry in Jacob’s family, and Joseph’s descent to Egypt, sold into slavery. After being framed by his master’s wife, Joseph finds himself incarcerated in an Egyptian jail. There he meets the Pharaoh’s butler and baker, and correctly interprets their respective dreams. Later, when Pharaoh himself will be perturbed by his own dreams, the butler will remember Joseph, and Joseph will be brought from the dungeon to the royal court. His dream analysis will satisfy the monarch, and the young Hebrew slave boy will be named viceroy of Egypt. And the rest is history. How did Joseph’s salvation begin?

It began with the imprisoned Joseph noticing that the butler and baker were looking depressed. “And Joseph came to them in the morning and he saw them, and behold, they were troubled. He asked Pharaoh’s officials.  ‘Why do you look so bad today?’” (Genesis 40:6–7). They tell him about their disturbing dreams, he interprets the dreams correctly, and again, the rest is history.

But why did Joseph have to ask them anything at all? Why was it so strange to see people in prison looking sad? Surely depression is quite the norm in dungeons. Wouldn’t we expect most people in jail to look miserable?

According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the answer is that Joseph was exhibiting a higher sense of care and concern for his fellow human beings. Torn away from his father and home life, imprisoned in a foreign land, he could have been forgiven for wallowing in his own miseries. Yet, upon seeing his fellow prisoners looking particularly unsettled, he was sensitive enough to take the time to inquire about their well-being. In the end, not only did he help them, but his own salvation came about through that fateful encounter. Had he thought to himself, “Hey, I’ve got my own problems, why worry about them?” he might have languished in prison indefinitely. Sometimes, says the Rebbe, a simple “How are you today?” can prove historic. In Joseph’s case, it changed Jewish history!

This forthcoming week will be the beautiful holiday of Chanukah, beginning this Shabbat eve (December 24, 2016). The Chanukah lights lend particular emphasis to this teaching. Every night of Chanukah a new light must be added, for one’s Mitzvah observance should always be in ascendancy. What may have been adequate for yesterday needs additional input and light for today! Preferably one should not observe the Mitzvah today with the same devotion as yesterday; he must increase his commitment and involvement.

Let us indeed strive to improve and enhance our interpersonal relationships. Who knows? It may not only change other’s lives, but perhaps even our own!

(Excerpts from Chabad.org)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos

and a joyous and illuminating holiday of Chanukah!

Monsey Community Gathers to Celebrate Yud Tes Kislev

This past Motzoei Shabbos, Parshas Vayishlach, the Rockland County Community once again celebrated Yud Tes Kislev with a gala Melava Malka, organized by Heichal Menachem of Monsey. The Melava Malka was attended by prominent Rabbonim and drew a diverse crowd of hundreds of people, representing the entire spectrum of Yidden, all in their yearning and appreciation in this turbulent era, for Avodas Hashem as it is illuminated via Chassidus.

The program was organized by its director, R' Dovid Oberlander, son of its founder and Rov Rabbi Gedalia Oberlander. Rabbi Aaron Dovid Gancz shared some opening remarks and chaired the rest of the evening,followed by noted Rosh Yeshiva and Mashpia Harav Hachossid Rav Leima Wilhelm, who also gives a weekly shiur in Heichal Menachem. The peak of the event, were the riveting and thought provoking Divrei Hisorerus presented by the world renowned Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Elchanan – Chabad, Los Angeles, elaborating on the importance of learning Chassidus.

As in the past, hundreds flocked to buy Chassidishe Seforim, drastically reduced in price for this unique occasion, especially those of the Maggid and the Alter Rebbe, as well as the brand new volume of Chassidus Mevueres - Tanya. "Chaim Shel Simcha," a collection of the teachings of the Frierdike Rebbe and the Rebbe, on how to serve Hashem with true Simcha. Throughout, the evening was enhanced with various Chassidishe niggunim, by the Rabin brothers, inspiring and lingering on as the evening concluded in spontaneous dance late into the night followed by a Chassidishe farbrengen.