Friday, June 29, 2012

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

As I read this week’s portion of Chukas (Bamidbor [Numbers] 19:1-22:1) and the passing of Aaron, the first High Priest, (20:23-29), I think to myself - I never met you, Aaron, but I miss you. If you would only be alive I would love to be your secretary, scheduling for you meeting after meeting where you would do what you did best.

I already prepared a list for you.

You, who after your death, had thousands of children named after you because if not for your saving their parent's marriage they would have never entered this world.

I would set you up with thousands of couples who are about to untie the knot. Maybe you would save a few.

I would set you up with so many men, women and children who have lost their direction in life. Maybe you would be able to touch the hearts of those who have fallen off the beaten path, and bring our lost children home.

You, who when two people quarreled, would go and sit with one of them and say to him: "My son, have you seen what your friend is doing? He beats his chest and rends his clothes, saying: 'Woe is to me! How can I lift my eyes to see my friend? I am ashamed to show myself to him, for I have done him wrong!'" And so you would sit with him, until he removed the ill-feelings from his heart. Then you would go and sit with the other and say to him: "My son, have you seen what your friend is doing? He beats his chest and rends his clothes, saying: 'Woe is to me! How can I lift my eyes to see my friend? I am ashamed to show myself to him, for I have done him wrong!'" And so you would sit with him, until he removed the ill-feelings from his heart. When the two would meet, they would embrace and kiss each other—

I would set you up with family members (aren't we all family members?) who have disowned their flesh and blood. Maybe you know how to bring all of us back to the same table where we would make peace and unite all as one.

You, who the entire Jewish people mourned for thirty days after your death (unlike when your brother Moses passed away, when only "the sons of Israel" cried), because you touched the life of each Jew—

It's more than three millennia since your death, but not much has changed. Sandals are still in style, the Middle East is still the center of major world events and controversies, anti-Semitism is vibrant as ever by the descendants of our first tormentor Amalek, and we still fight over the same petty things such as respect, money and convenience.

You would feel right at home. And again you would serve as the paradigm of peace and harmony that we all need to emulate.

I would love to welcome you back.

(excerpts from by Rabbi Levi Avtzon )

Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

Yud Beis Tammuz Farbrengen

This Monday evening, July 2, there will be a farbrengen at Tzemach Tzedek in honor of Yud Beis Tammuz.

Mincha will be at 8:15 PM followed buy the farbrengen.

The twelfth of Tammuz is the birthday the Frierdiker Rebbe, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950). 

This is also the day on which the Frierdiker Rebbe was officially granted release from his sentence of exile to Kastroma in the interior of Russia. Twenty-seven days earlier, the Rebbe had been arrested by agents of the GPU and the Yevsektzia (Jewish Section of the Communist Party) for his activities to preserve Judaism throughout the Soviet empire and sentenced to death. 

International pressure forced the Soviets to commute the sentence to exile and, subsequently, to release him completely. The actual release took place on Tammuz 13 making the twelfth and thirteenth of Tammuz days that are celebrated as "a festival of liberation" for Lubavitcher Chassidim around the world. 

Melamud Wedding This Sunday

Mazel Tov Smiths!

Mazel tov to Rabbi Moshe and Sorah Smith on the birth of a granddaughter born to Rabbi Naftali and Faiga Smith of Los Angeles, California!

First Week at Lubavitch Day Camp

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Birthright: Just the Beginning

By Whitney Keeperman, Rockland Jewish Reporter 

For years I heard great things about Birthright Israel trips, and in 2010, my sister and I finally decided to apply. I had already finished college, but because of my ties to Rockland County (I work at our family business in Haverstraw), the luck of the draw paired us with Rabbi Dov Oliver, director of Hillel of Rockland.

When I spoke with Rabbi Dov on the phone, I knew I was in for quite an experience, as his passion for Judaism and Israel was obvious from the start. Although I was not raised religious by any means, I have always felt a deep connection to my heritage and have yearned to learn more. Never could I have imagined how enlightening my trip to Israel would be, and what long-lasting effects it would have.

Rabbi Dov and the other group leaders made my trip so memorable. The feeling I had stepping off the plane in Israel was indescribable. We were welcomed so warmly by everyone. I was overwhelmed by the sense of home in Israel and the sense of family in our group.

For some participants, the trip itself is a great adventure, but once they return to their “real life” they simply fall out of touch with their leaders and friends. My experience has been very different: my journey has continued.

Not only did I gain a lot through the trip itself, but I now have a devoted rabbi — and five dear friends in Dov, Shevy and their three daughters. I am so thankful for the Olivers and how much enthusiasm and light they have brought to my life.

Since returning home from Israel, I frequently visit them for Shabbat lunch, Hebrew lessons or just to hang out. Rabbi Dov organizes frequent Birthright alumni events throughout the year to bring our group back together and to keep Judaism and Israel close to our hearts. These events also give us an opportunity to meet people who went on other Birthright Israel trips and to broaden our social and career networks.

Since the trip I have begun to light Shabbat candles whenever I can. I have decided to date only Jewish men, because I want the future father of my children to share the culture that is so special to me. I am more conscience of the food I eat and try to follow a more kosher lifestyle. I have gained knowledge and answers to my many questions about Jewish traditions.

Perhaps the most life altering influence the trip has had on me has been in my decision to return to Israel for ten months to teach English. I am so excited about this next adventure in my life.

Seeking Ride

Seeking a ride this Friday for one male from Crown Heights to Monsey and a ride on Motzai Shabbos from Monsey to Crown Heights. Please call 845-608-3360.

Tutor Available

Rabbi Silber will be available for tutoring during the summer months for students who would like to receive tutoring in most subjects (Judaic and secular) or Bar Mitzva lessons (Maamer and/or Laining).

This may be an opportunity for a student who may need some advancement in skills before the coming school year. Rabbi Silber has a Masters in Education and five years of experience teaching students from elementary to high school age.

Reasonable rates and first-come first-served basis. Rabbi Silber can be reached at 773-805-2770.

Advance Voting for Tzemach Tzedek Meeting

The board of Tzemach Tzedek has decided to allow shul members who are unable to attend the Annual General Meeting to vote about the time for Shacharis in the summer in advance.

The meeting is taking place this Sunday night, July 1, at 8:00 PM at Tzemach Tzedek.

The question to be determined is whether to change the starting time for Shabbos Shacharis between Pesach and Rosh Hashanah from 9:30 AM to 10:00 AM.

All full members in good financial standing are entitled to vote.

If you will not be able to attend the A.G.M., you can either submit your vote in writing or email Avraham Hayman and Tzadok Leib Messing

A discount is being offered to become a member of Congregation Tzemach Tzedek.  Pay 25% of the fees up front and get 15 months of membership for the price of twelve!  This means if you join now you will be able to vote in the upcoming elections and summer Shabbos Shacharis starting time.

To become a member, please either contact Avraham Hayman at or speak to one of the trustees of the Shul board.

Jewish Women's Symposium in Kingston

On Sunday, July 15, 25 Tammuz, Rabbi Yitzchok Schochet of England will be the keynote speaker at the first ever Jewish Woman Symposium in Kingston, New York, together with other scholars and great Jewish thinkers of our time including Dr. Chanah Silberstein, Mrs. Malka Touger, HaRav Berel Bell and Rabbi Ari Raskin.

Cheder 8th Grade Boys Graduate

This past Wednesday night, Cheder Chabad of Monsey held its third 8th grade graduation for the boys divison!

Cheder principal, Rabbi Wolowik welcomed everyone and introduced Menachem Mendel Litzman and Avi Altman, student of the 8th grade to act as MC. The MC called upon fellow talmidim: Moshe Holtzberg to recite the Rebbe’s kapitel Tehillim; Dovid Amsel to recite the Rebetzin’s kapitel Tehillim; and Menachem Mendel Rubashkin to recite to recite his father’s kapitel.

The dean and founder of the Cheder, Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman was then called upon to read a letter of the Rebbe. He then translated the letter and shared a few personal words expressing the emotions he felt observing the third graduating class of Cheder that started in Nursery and matured into talmidim hamesaymin in Kitah Ches. He stressed the importance for talmidim to always interact with their peers with ahavasYisroel. Before introducing the Moroh D’asrah of Kehilas Chabad in Monsey, Rabbi Boruch Lesches, the MC thanked him for all the time he spends with the bochurim farhering them and answering all their questions.

Rabbi Lesches shared with the graduates some very warm and personal words on what is expected from the talmidim as they grow up, highlighting the importance of the talmidim being devoted to their learning and being neiros lehoir. Fellow talmid Shaul Rimler shared a beautiful d’var Torah stressing the importance for the talmidim to take a lesson for Korach’s mistake of doing what you are told and not doing too little or adding items that Hashem does not want. Since the graduation was a few days before Gimmel Tammuz, Menachem Mendel Hirsh then spoke about how the Rebbe cared for every single Yid and the importance of each talmid strengthening their hiskashrus to the Rebbe. This was followed by Meir Kolt representing the class in performing a siyum on Meseches Mackos followed by a hadran based on a sicha of the Rebbe.

Moshe Eli Stuart represented the class in talking about what the Cheder experience meant to him, highlighting the influence of his melamdim and teachers starting in Kitah Aleph and how they developed within him a love for learning Torah and Yiddishkeit. Dovid Jacobs expressed gratitude to Cheder personnel on behalf of his class, especially their beloved 8th grade rebbi, Rabbi Yossi Soble, for all the personal time that he invested in each talmid individually and for all the exciting activities and trips he planned for the class. The evening was concluded by words of encouragement from the General Studies Principal, Mr. David Kandel.

The Cheder Principal, Rabbi Avrohom Wolowik and Mr. Kandel then distributed to all students the diplomas and a specially inscribed Tanya. As the children received their diplomas, Rabbi Wolowik shared a personal message with each individual talmid highlighting their accomplishments and wishing them hatzlacha in Mesivta and beyond. A beautiful yearbook was also distributed to the talmidim. They raised funds for ads in the book and used the profit for a fun and enriching graduation trip.

It was a truly inspirational and happy event. We wish the graduates much hatzlacha in all their endeavors!

R' Yossi Paltiel Farbrenging for Gimmel Tammuz at Tzemach Tzedek

Photos: R' Avraham Hayman

Message From the Haymans

We would like to thank the 45 families who generously participated in the Cheder Chabad of Monsey triple match appeal!

Pledges for more than $30,000 were made.

These are new pledges after the already impressive Cheder dinner donations. This will result in a total of about $90,000 going to the Cheder and new girl's school building.

The new school building is progressing on schedule, with lots of thanks to Nadler Mobile and Zalman Goldstein, our volunteer project manager. We do need more donations to finish the project, so if anyone would like to donate directly for the new school building, please contact Zalman Goldstein at

Avraham and Devorah Hayman

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

R' Avraham Crane Sitting Shiva

Boruch Dayan HaEmes - We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of Dr. Michael Crane OBM, father of Reb Avraham Crane.

Avraham is sitting shiva at 1 Garfield Avenue, West Orange, New Jersey until Monday morning.

The davening times are as follows:
Mincha/Maariv: 8:20 PM
Shacharis - Wednesday 6:50 AM, Thursday 6:35 AM, Friday 6:50 AM Sunday 8:00 AM, Mon 6:35 AM

 .המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tonight - Gimmel Tammuz Farbrengen

The community achdus farbrengen for men and women with Rabbi Yossi Paltiel in honor of Gimmel Tammuz is taking place tonight, Sunday, at 8:00 PM in the main shul of K'hal Tzemach Tzedek.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Seeking Ride to Ohel for Shabbos

Looking for a ride for one bochur from Monsey to the Ohel for this Shabbos. Please call or text 845-445-8155 if you have room.

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

Moshe (Moses) was exceedingly distressed, and he said to the L-rd, "Do not accept the offering [of Korach and his cohorts]. I have not taken a donkey from a single one of them, and I have not harmed a single one of them." – Bamidbor [Numbers ]16:15

Humility was one of  Moshe ' most outstanding qualities. In fact, the Torah affirms that " Moshe  was exceedingly humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth." Yet, in this week’s Torah portion, Korach  (Bamidbor [Numbers] 16:1- 18:32) when his leadership was contested by his scholarly and prodigious cousin Korach,  Moshe  responds with seemingly uncharacteristic righteous indignation. One would have expected  Moshe  to turn to G‑d and say, "A-lmighty, perhaps You should consider allowing Korach to assume my position—he is far more qualified than me! I am more than happy to abdicate my position to the worthier candidate!"

A proper understanding of how the Torah views humility will explain how Moses' reaction to Korach's uprising wasn't inconsistent with his exceptional humbleness.

True humility is not a result of an undervaluation of one's talents and accomplishments. Such is a false humility, for it is built on a false foundation. Rather, the truly humble individual is keenly aware of all his strengths and qualities—but simultaneously recognizes that all these talents are G‑d-given, and therefore do not constitute a reason to feel superior to another whom G‑d has not bequeathed such talents. "Perhaps," the humble person thinks, "if that person had been blessed with the same gifts, he would have accomplished the same as me—or perhaps even more!"

Moshe recognized that G‑d had endowed him with tremendous leadership qualities, and he therefore absolutely rejected the notion of relinquishing his position to anyone. This cognizance, however, did not interfere with his genuine humility and respect for every Jew.

On a deeper level, the person who is entirely devoted to fulfilling the will of his Creator is naturally egoless, because he has no personal ambition—his goal is only to further G‑d's "agenda" on this world. While arrogance is a sense of self-importance, dedication to G‑d means realizing that life isn't about the individual or what he wants, it's about serving a higher purpose. Moses, despite all his greatness, of which he was keenly aware, was a dedicated servant of G‑d. And when Korach sought to impede his fulfillment of his divinely ordained mission in life – shepherding the Jewish Nation – Moses responded by firing on all cylinders.

Many confuse humility with meekness. In truth, the humble person is very driven and will not stomach any opposition. But he is not driven by his own ego; he is driven by a desire to implement the Divine plan.

(excerpts from by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg)

If anyone would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective please contact Rabbi Shusterman

Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

General Studies Teaching Positions Available

Cheder Chabad of Monsey's Boys and Girls divisions have general studies teaching positions available for the upcoming 5773 - 2012/13 school year.

Salaries based on qualifications and experience.

 Please send resume and references to or fax to 845-290-9616.

Seeking Ride to Crown Heights

Looking for ride for one person from Monsey to Crown Heights for Shabbos. Please call Rivka at 845-608-4204.

Shabbos Gimmel Tammuz Farbrengen & Sheva Brachos

Rabbi Lesches will farbreng this Shabbos Gimmel Tammuz following davening at Tzemach Tzedek. 

The farbrengen will be sponsored by the Meshchaninov family in honor of the wedding of Elisheva to Berel Shwartz and will include Sheva Brachos.

Mazel Tov Bronsteins - L'chaim Tonight!

Mazel tov to Rabbi Nachman and Chavie Bronstein on the engagement of their daughter Fraidy to Moshe Chaim Raices of Postville, Iowa!

The l'chaim will take place tonight, Thursday, at 8:30 PM at Yeshiva Chovovei Torah, 885 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.

Gimmel Tammuz Farbrengen This Sunday Night

There will be a community achdus farbrengen for men and women with Rabbi Yossi Paltiel in honor of Gimmel Tammuz this Sunday night, June 24, at 8:00 PM in the main shul of K'hal Tzemach Tzedek.

Rabbi Paltiel is a popular teacher and mentor with a gift for communicating his passion for Torah and Judaism. His classes weave together classic commentaries, Jewish Law, history and philosophy, personal stories, and a deep knowledge of Chassidus and Kabbala into a whole that's both intellectually challenging and heartwarming.

Rabbi Paltiel currently teaches at Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim Chovevei Torah (United Lubavitcher Yeshiva), Machon Chana Women's Institute and at the Beis Midrash L'Nashim in Crown Heights. He is also the co-founder of Inside Chassidus, an online resource for the study of Chassidus.

Cheder Registration Opens for Upcoming School Year

Registration for the upcoming 5773 (2012-2013) school year for Cheder Chabad of Monsey opened today.

If you are new to Cheder Chabad, please submit the new family form to begin the registration process -

You will receive a user ID and password to login to the online registration system at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Girls Building Progresses...

Photos: Zalman Goldstein

New Playgroup

Announcing a new playgroup with a safe, nurturing and warm environment for children ages 18 months to 2 years run by experienced teacher and parenting coach Chani Goodfriend.

Hours are 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM on Mondays through Thursdays and 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Fridays.

Earlier drop off options. Starting this fall.

For more information, please contact 864-201-3645 or

Dedicate the Weekly "Parsha Perspective"

If you would like to dedicate a weekly edition of the Parsha Perspective from Rabbi Shusterman, please contact him at 917-282-3505.

Seeking Baal Koreh

Chabad of Suffern is looking for a baal koreh for this Shabbos for pay. We can host a couple for Shabbos or if someone would prefer to walk.

Please call Shmuel Gancz if you are interested at 845-746-1927.

A Glimpse Into Cheder Fourth Grade Boys

Triple Match Opportunity Extended

In honor of Gimmel Tammuz, the Hayman family has decided to extend the time to make pledges to
qualify for the triple match announced at the recent Cheder dinner.

This allows your Tzedakah to go further and adds essential funds to both Cheder Chabad of Monsey, and the new Cheder girl's building.

The terms are the same as before, i.e. for anyone who was at the Cheder dinner or placed an ad in the dinner Journal, any amount from $100 to $1,800 pledged to the Cheder will be tripled with equal funds donated to both the Cheder and the Girl's building project.

For those who didn't attend the dinner, your donation will result in a dollar for dollar total match to our mosdos.

The last day to make your pledge is June 24th and you have until Rosh Chodesh Ellul, 5772 to make your payment.

Even if you have made a pledge and/or donation, we encourage you to increase your donation up to the $1,800 limit in honor of our Rebbe.

Pledges should be sent to or

Seeking Ride to Wedding Today

If you are going to the Meshchaninov Chupa today and have room for one, please call Rivka at 845-608-4204.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MBCM Production Available on DVD

The Monsey Beis Chaya Mushka 2012 production, "Out of the Depths" is now available for sale on DVD! 

The price is $20.00 per disc.

They can be purchased by emailing and payment can be made online by credit card.

Thank you and enjoy the show!

R' Zalman Gopin to Farbreng for Gimmel Tammuz

Seeking Sponsor for "The Scroll"

Seeking a sponsor in honor of Gimmel Tammuz for the new weekly Mivtzoim publication "The Scroll" which is distributed to students and staff at RCC and to a number of area shuls.

If you want the zchus of sponsoring this, please contact Dov Oliver at

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Rebbe Benches Monsey

The following are short clips of Rabbi Simcha Werner and others getting brachos from the Rebbe where the Rebbe mentions Monsey.
  Videos: R' Asher Werner

Tutor Available

I am available to tutor your child in English and Hebrew subjects over the summer and during the upcoming school year.

I am a certified and experienced teacher and have my Masters Degree in Education.

I can be reached at or 845-664-4906.

Shiur on Visiting Kivrei Tzadikim

Samach Vov Shiur Canceled This Wednesday

Due to the Meshchaninov wedding, there will be no Samach Vov shiur this Wednesday night at Tzemach Tzedek.

Chof Ches Sivan Farbrengen Tonight

There will be a farbengen tonight at Tzemach Tzedek in honor of Chaf Ches Sivan, the day the Rebbe arrived in the United States, following the 9:30 PM Maariv minyan.

After escaping Nazi-occupied Paris, and many perilous months in Vichy France, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushkah (1901-1988), boarded the SS Serpa Pinto in Lisbon, Portugal.

On Monday, June 23-Sivan 28 on the Jewish calendar-at 10:30 A.M., they arrived in New York.
Shortly after his arrival, the Rebbe's father-in-law, the then Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneersohn (who had been rescued from Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1940), appointed him to head the social and educational outreach programs of Chabad-Lubavitch.

Thus the Rebbe began his decades-long revolutionary work to revitalize Jewish life in the Western Hemisphere, which spread, by means of the Shluchim he dispatched from his New York headquarters, to every part of the world.

N'shei Chabad Bookstore Update

As We Approach Gimmel Tammuz...

Let's Prepare Our Children:
  • I Go to the Ohel - Hachai Publishing  - ages 3-5
  • A Door that's never Locked - Sichos in English - ages 6-12
  • Der Rebbe Ret Tzu Kinder - Yiddish
  • The Rebbe Speaks to Children - English
  • Please Tell Me What the Rebbe Says - ages 6-12
  • New Illustrated Family Tehillim with Chassidic Insights and Stories - all ages 
Let's Prepare Ourselves:
  •   Miracles and Amazing Stories - Post Gimmel Tammuz Stories
  •   Wonders and Miracles
  •   Rosh B'nai Yisroel
  •   Igros Kodesh
  •   A Tzadik and his Students
  •   Guidance from the Rebbe
  •   The Rebbe, Inspiring a Generation
  •   Living in the Age of Moshiach
CD's and DVD's; Gift Certificates; Tallesim, Tzitzis and more.

The N'shei Chabad Bookstore is a service available to meet the needs of our local Anash. We are open almost all the time, but please call 845-558-8249 before coming.

Membership Incentive for Tzemach Tzedek

Become a member of Tzemach Tzedek now, pay 25% of the fees up front and get 15 months of membership for the price of twelve!

This means if you join now you will be able to vote in the upcoming elections and summer Shabbos Shacharis starting time.

To become a member, please either contact Avraham Hayman at or speak to one of the trustees of the Shul board.

Change Tzemach Tzedek Shabbos Shacharis to 10 AM?

On the agenda for the upcoming Tzemach Tzedek Annual General meeting (see below) will be an item to vote to determine whether or not to change the Shabbos Shacharis starting time from 9:30 AM to 10:00 AM between Pesach and Rosh Hashanah.

Tzemach Tzedek Annual General Meeting

Please mark your calendar.

The Annual General Meeting and Elections for the Board of Trustees of Congregation Tzemach Tzedek will take place on Sunday, July 1, 2012, at 8:00 PM sharp (two weeks from today) in the shul.

The following positions will be elected: President; Vice President; Recording Secretary; Corresponding Secretary; Treasurer; Corresponding Treasurer; Gabbai Rishon; Gabbai Sheni; and four Trustees.

To run for a position, you must notify Avraham Hayman at or 845-371-0380 no later than Monday, June 25, 2012.

As decided at a prior general membership meeting, to be eligible to run for any position, you must indicate in writing that you are willing to serve on a Shul committee and donate an average of 8 hours per month to the Shul.

Only full members in good financial standing may vote at the elections. If you have any questions concerning this, please contact our treasurer, Tzadok Leib Messing at

Seeking Ride to Abramowitz Wedding


 Seeking a ride with a female or couple to the Abramowitz - Horowitz wedding at Razag on June 25th leaving after 5:00 PM from Monsey.

Will help with gas & tolls.

Please call 845-866-1177.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cheder Fifth Graders Complete Meseches Shabbos

The fifth grade boys class of Cheder Chabad of Monsey recently completed the entire Meseches Shabbos under the tutelage of Rabbi Zelig Silber. The Talmidim have been reviewing the Mishnayos on a special Chazara system throughout the school year which helped keep even the Mishnayos of the beginning of the year fresh in their minds.

HaRav Boruch Lesches, the Mora D'asra of the Chabad Monsey community came to test the boys on the entire 24 Perakim of the Meseches this past Friday, Chof Hey Sivan. Rabbi Lesches remarked that he was very pleased with the test and how impressed he was regarding the Talmidim's knowledge and constant review of the Meseches. He stated how knowing the inyonim of the Meseches is so important for helping the way the Talmidim will keep Shabbos.

After the test, the Talmidim each received a special certificate signed by Rabbi Lesches, Rabbi Wolowik, Principal of the Cheder, and Rabbi Silber celebrating the Talmidim's Siyum of the Meseches.

Cheder Fourth Graders Sing Pirkei Avos at Father-Son Program Today

Girls Building Getting Closer to Completion

Photo: Zalman Goldstein

Friday, June 15, 2012

Heichal Menachem Library Summer Hours

Tehillim & Mesibas Shabbos Programs for Boys

Lets get ready!

This week is Shabbos mevorchim Tammuz and just before Gimmel Tammuz.

There will be a special Tehillim program for boys in grades 1 through 8 this Shabbos morning at 9:00 AM at Tzemech Tzedek.

There will also be a grand Mesibas Shabbos for boys in grades 1 through 4 this Shabbos afternoon from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM at Tzemach Tzedek featuring an exciting story by Rabbi Zalman Goldstein as well as nigunim, Pirkei Avos, Tehillim and lots of fun!

Bernstein Bris

Yoel and Rivka Bernstein will be making the Bris for their newborn son this Sunday morning, 27 Sivan, June 17, following the 8:00 AM Shacharis minyan at Tzemach Tzedek.

Tanya To Be Printed In Chestnut Ridge

Pursuant to the Rebbe’s instruction that an edition of Tanya be published in every Jewish community, Chabad Jewish Enrichment Center in Chestnut Ridge will be printing a special edition of Tanya at the Chabad House in Chestnut Ridge in honor of Gimmel Tammuz.

You can participate in the zchus of this mivtza by sponsoring a part of the publication cost. Sponsorships are available for $500, $180, $100 and $18.

For more information, please contact Rabbi Chaim Zvi Ehrenreich at or 845-356-6686.

No Sunday Morning Shiur

There will be no Sunday morning halacha shiur this Sunday morning due to the Bersntein Bris that will be taking place at Tzemach Tzedek.

Bernstein Shalom Zachor

Yoel and Rivka Bernstein will be making a Shalom Zachor for their newborn son tonight at their home, 10B Edison Court (in Victoria Gardens).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Abramov Bris

Rabbi Yosef and Rivky Abramov will be I"YH be making the Bris for their newborn son this Monday morning, 28 Sivan, June 18, following the 7:00 AM Shacharis minyan at Tzemach Tzedek.

Open Your Heart

Due to some family issues, there are two sisters who cannot remain in their parents house and have to go to a school in a different state in order to preserve and further their Yiddishkeit.

The need is great. The expense is huge.

Please give your generous tax deductible donation to our gabbai tzedaka Reb Mordechai Litzman or mail it to him at 58 West Maple Avenue, Monsey, NY 10952.

Checks can be made out to Congregation Tzemach Tzedek.

Rockland Chabad Houses Pay Tribute To Jewish Women

The women’s groups of the three local Chabad centers in Rockland County united this week for a beautiful end-of-year Women’s event entitled “A Tribute to the Jewish Woman”.

The event, which was organized by Shluchos Mrs. Chani Kotlarsky, Mrs. Chaya Ehrenreich and Mrs. Devorah Gancz, attracted over 100 women at the lavish Minisceongo Golf Club in Pomona.

The program included a beautiful cocktail hour, a talent exhibit by local women, a girls choir led by Mrs. Libby Oster, brief remarks by the local Shluchos and a video presentation depicting Chabad women’s activities in the county.

The guest speaker, Mrs. Molly Resnick, a former NBC producer, deeply inspired the crowd with her humorous story of her journey to Yiddishkeit while the women enjoyed dinner. The women from across the county, left inspired and moved to take on another step in their Judaism.

Thank you to Mrs. Michal Rimler for donating her time and photographical talent. Thank you to Mrs. Ariella Larkin for all her work for the success of this program.

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

Dedicated this week by Yitzi and Adine Lipszyc in fond memory of Dr. Raphoel Levi (Rodney) Unterslak OBM, of Johannesburg, South Africa - ר' ישעי' דוד ע"ה רפאל לוי בן 'הרופא ר 

Some conclusions are more obvious than others. Sometimes the most obvious conclusion isn't necessarily correct. Drawing our own conclusions can often be a risky business.

Take the case in this week's Torah portion (Bamidbor [Numbers] 13-15). The spies sent by Moses return from their reconnaissance mission of the Promised Land with a frightening report about the fierce, warrior nations of Canaan. The Jewish People are dejected, frightened, and even weep at the thought of their impending invasion, convinced it can only be a suicidal mission impossible. The Almighty is angered, the people are punished for their lack of faith in His promise and the spies go down in history as the villains in the story.

But why? What, in fact, was their sin? Moses asked for a report of the land. They came back and reported exactly what they had seen. They told no lies. The land was formidable. The inhabitants were huge and powerful. The fruits were extraordinarily large. They even brought back samples to prove it. So if it was all true why were they punished?

The answer lies not in the report but in their conclusion. The facts as the spies presented them were entirely accurate. The sin was their conclusion, "We will not be able to go up to that people, for it is too strong for us." Moses had sent them on a fact finding mission. Their job was to bring back information. Nobody asked them for their personal opinions. The whole point of their mission was to gather the data necessary for the Israelites to find the best way of conquering the land. That they would do so was a given. G-d had promised them the land, told them of its natural beauty and assured them of success.

The same G-d who just miraculously delivered you from Egypt, the mightiest superpower on earth, split the sea for you and revealed Himself in all His glory to you at Sinai has now said that the Promised Land is there waiting for you. And after all He has done for you; you turn around and publicly doubt His power to help you succeed? This is not only a mistake in judgment. This is shameful, sinful and faithless. The spies' report was correct but their conclusion was disastrous.

A high school teacher decided to demonstrate to his class the dangers of alcohol abuse. So he conducted an experiment. He took one glass of water and one glass of whisky. He then took a little worm and dropped it in the glass of water. The worm had a nice swim and then the teacher removed the worm unharmed. He then dropped the worm into the glass of whisky. In no time at all, the worm was dead. He then turned to the class and asked them what the experiment proved. Whereupon one wise guy at the back piped up and said, "Sir, it proves conclusively that if you drink enough whisky you will never suffer from worms!"

The facts are there for all of us to see. The question is how to interpret them. If we have a preconceived position and then manipulate the data to draw conclusions that suit us, we may come off clever at first but in the end we may well go the way of the spies. Without faith, even the most accurate information can lead to the wrong conclusion.

(excerpts from by Rabbi Yossy Goldman)

Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

R' Yossi Paltiel to Farbreng for Gimmel Tammuz

Mark your calendar - There will be a community achdus farbrengen for men and women with Rabbi Yossi Paltiel in honor of Gimmel Tammuz on Sunday night, June 24, at 8:00 PM in the main shul of K'hal Tzemach Tzedek.

Rabbi Paltiel is a popular teacher and mentor with a gift for communicating his passion for Torah and Judaism. His classes weave together classic commentaries, Jewish Law, history and philosophy, personal stories, and a deep knowledge of Chassidus and Kabbala into a whole that's both intellectually challenging and heartwarming.

Rabbi Paltiel currently teaches at Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim Chovevei Torah (United Lubavitcher Yeshiva), Machon Chana Women's Institute and at the Beis Midrash L'Nashim in Crown Heights. He is also the co-founder of Inside Chassidus, an online resource for the study of Chassidus.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cheder Chabad of Monsey Celebrates 13 Years & New Building with Banquet

Music and singing, good food and wine, some laughs and many heartfelt moments were shared by all in attendance this past Sunday night as Cheder Chabad of Monsey celebrated its thirteenth anniversary banquet at the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel in Mahwah, New Jersey.

The evening began with hors d’oeuvres and a wine tasting, with wines donated by Royal Wine Corp., in the glass atrium of the Sheraton as the waterfalls and the Chabad Centennial Symphony were heard in the background.

At registration, along with the night’s program and dinner journal, each couple received a complimentary CD of the symphony, donated by Zalman Goldsten of

The program began as the Master of Ceremonies, Rabbi Chaim Zvi Ehrenreich, introduced the Cheder Boy’s principal, Rabbi Avrohom Wolowik, who led the gathering with the Rebbe’s kapital.

The first speaker of the evening was Rabbi Boruch Lesches, the Rav of the greater Monsey Chabad community, who motivated the packed ballroom with his inspirational words. This was followed the talented Cheder Chabad Boys Choir, who have become an anticipated mainstay at Cheder dinners.  The choir, as usual, was orchestrated by Bentzi Ptalis and accompanied by Rabbi Zalman Goldstein on keyboards.

Next, Cheder Board Member, Yosef Levine, presented the Parent of the Year Honorees, Rabbi Eli and Chani Cohen, with an ornate glass challah tray.  Two of the Cohen’s sons, who were members of the choir, performed a touching duet for their parents and Rabbi Cohen gave his honest reflections on parenting to the attentive crowd.  A bouquet of flowers was presented to Mrs. Cohen and after Mr. Levine thanked the teachers and staff of the Cheder, another bouquet of flowers was given to Mrs. Simon, the Girls 3rd grade secular studies teacher, who is leaving the Cheder after this year to start a Chabad preschool in her community in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Immediately after, Chaim Bloch premiered a video he created that showcased the building and installation of the new Cheder Girls and Preschool building in South Monsey, which is expected to open this coming school year.

As the main course was served, a local Monsey favorite, the Pester Rebbe, got up on stage and entertained the crowd, leaving pretty much everyone in the room with a smile on their face.

As the night continued, the Cheder’s founding Menahel, Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, continued the awards with a reminiscent recounting of the Cheder’s beginnings and the contributions of the Cheder’s major benefactors and honorees, Avraham and Devorah Hayman, who received the Amudei Hachesed Award and were presented with a framed lithograph of Michoel Muchnik’s “Abraham’s Tent” and a bouquet of flowers to Mrs. Hayman.  Mr. Hayman reflected on his own Jewish education and the influence of his late wife, Leah Miriam, and current wife, Devorah, on his own spiritual growth and the decision to provide the financial backing for the new Cheder building in Leah Miriam’s name.

Rabbi Shusterman and Mr. Hayman then made a surprise presentation of an exquisite silver bowl to Yisroel Schulman, Esq. the founding Chairman of the Board of the Cheder, who retired from his post last year and who was instrumental in the new building project.  Mrs. Rivka Schulman also received a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

As dessert was served, Rabbi Zalman Leib Markowitz shared with everyone his insights into the evening and with regard to the growth of the community and the Cheder.   The evening was topped off with benching and Sheva Brachos for the Shusterman family followed by Ma’ariv.

As the attendees strolled through the Sheraton lobby and outside into the night, they carried with them the memories of a beautiful evening commemorating the incredible growth of the Lubavitch community in Monsey and its Cheder.

Thanks to Nechemiah Kaplan for the photos. 

Tenembaum Bris

Faigie and Elchanan Tenembaum and Moshe and Yehudis Chana Meshchaninov will be making a Bris for their son and grandson this Friday, 25 Sivan, June 15, at Tzemach Tzedek.

Shachris is at 7:00 AM followed by the Bris at 8:00 AM.

Seeking Camp Staff

Day camp just 30 minutes from Monsey is looking for girls to be staff members.

Great job, great pay and great accommodations.

Please contact Rivkie at 845-664-5141 or

New Division at Lubavitch Day Camp

Lubavitch Day camp is happy to announce the opening of its pioneer division called the “LDC Lampchernicks – Lamplighters”.

Campers entering 7th grade will enjoy an exciting program designed to maximize their day camp experience. Enhanced learning program, extra late nights and a unique opportunity to volunteer their talents are some of the additional plans for this special division of camp.

Please complete your registration packets ASAP as bunks are filling up!

With camp around the corner some bunks have reached maximum capacity and others have a few spots left. 

To secure a spot please complete registration by this Friday, June 15th, and receive your complimentary LDC yarmulkah!

Please email for the registration forms.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Message From Cheder Chabad of Monsey

Thank you, thank you to all who participated in the 13th Annual Banquet of Cheder Chabad of Monsey last night!

Every participant who attended the banquet or put an ad in the Banquet Journal created the success that the dinner was.

On behalf of all of the administration, board members, teachers, and most importantly the students at Cheder, thank you for supporting our Cheder.

Stay tuned for full write-up, pictures and videos to be posted soon.

Triple Your Tzedakah to Cheder Chabad!

Last night, at the13th Aniversary Cheder Chabad of Monsey banquet,  Reb Avraham Hayman announced an opportunity to triple your Tzedakah, helping both Cheder Chabad of Monsey and the new Cheder Chabad of Monsey Girl’s building.

Your donation will help ensure that the new girls’ building will be completed by September, 2012.

The Deal
Any family who pledges from $100 to $1,800 to the Cheder until next Sunday, June 17, will have equal matching funds donated to both Cheder Chabad of Monsey and the new Cheder Chabad of Monsey Girls School building.

For example:  If you donate $1,800, an additonal $3,600 will be donated, for a total donation of $5,400.
The donation needs to be paid by Rosh Chodesh Ellul, 5772.

The Dinner Bonus
This offer is valid for all families attending tonight’s dinner, or for those who placed a journal ad. This is in special appreciation for those families supporting our Cheder at this year’s annual dinner.

Others may also participate in this match, but your Tzedakah will be doubled, not tripled. For example, $1,800 will be matched with a $900 donation to the Cheder Chabad of Monsey, and a $900 donation to the new Cheder girls’ school building, for a total donation of $3,600.

Please contact Cheder Chabad at 845-356-1213 or to make your pledge.

Thanking you in advance for your generosity and support!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mazel Tov Bernsteins!

Mazel tov to Yoel and Rivka Bernstein on the birth of a baby boy!

Cheder Dinner Ballroom Change

The Cheder Chabad Banquet that is taking place tonight will take place in the ballroom on the main floor of the Sheraton since the 12th floor was flooded by an accidental fire alarm.

Welcome Bialestocks!

Welcome to Levi and Yehudice Bialestock on their move to our community (Route 306, Wesley Hills)!

Monsey Lubavitcher in a Hairy Situation

By Jonathan Lemire and Joe Kemp / New York Daily News

A top Manhattan politician slammed the NYPD’s decision to boot a Hasidic recruit from the Police Academy because he would not trim his beard.

Fishel Litzman, who was just a month away from joining the force, refused to cut his scraggly fuzz because it would violate his religions beliefs — and was then drummed out of the NYPD.

Saying he was “deeply troubled” by the decision, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer declared Saturday that the NYPD had unfairly canned a deserving candidate.

“While the NYPD can exercise control over the personal appearance of its force in order to ensure that all officers are capable of performing their duties,” said Stringer, “they are also required to make a reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs.”

Stringer, a 2013 mayoral candidate, called on Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to reconsider the ruling — but the city’s top cop would not touch the issue Saturday.

“I am not going to comment on it because it’s obviously going to involve litigation,” said Kelly. “I would simply say that (communication on the issue) has been ongoing for quite a while — since actually before this gentleman came into the Police Department.

“So there’s been a lot of notice, a lot of interaction, and I’m not going to say anything more about it because it will involve litigation,” Kelly said.

Litzman, a 38-year-old Lubavitch Hasid, claims he was never given an official reason for his dismissal.

He was cited the first time for his beard on Jan. 27 and was written up again a week later.

Litzman, a father of five, sent a memo in March to the NYPD explaining that he was forbidden to cut or trim his beard in any way.

He scored well on tests and was considered a promising recruit — but his beard was deemed a safety hazard, according to a police source.

The masks recruits wear during counterterrorism training don’t fit over the beard, the source insisted.

The firing was in the works for months and Kelly signed off on the dismissal Thursday, sources said.

The NYPD has two dozen Orthodox Jewish officers on the force. The men, who are permitted to observe the Sabbath and wear yarmulkes under their police caps, are required to keep their beards trimmed.

Cheder Banquet Tonight

Cheder Chabad of Monsey's 13th Anniversary Banquet honoring Avraham and Devorah Hayman and Eli and Chani Cohen is taking place tonight, Sunday, 20 Sivan, June 10.

The Banquet is taking place at the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel, 1 International Boulevard, Mahwah, New Jersey, 07495, in the Skylite Ballroom on the 12th floor.

Hors D'Oeuvres are at 6:00 PM followed by the dinner at 7:00 PM. Maariv will be at 9:30 PM.

We look forward to seeing you!

Friday, June 8, 2012

And the Building Goes On...

Photos: Zalman Goldstein

Mazel Tov Ganczs!

Mazel tov to Rabbi Aaron Dovid and Baila Gancz on the birth of a grandson born to Mechy and Roizy Gancz of Crown Heights!

Mazel Tov Meshchaninovs & Tenenbaums!

Mazel tov to Reb Moshe and Yehudis Chana Meshchaninov and Dr. Gabriel and Sarah Tenembaum on the birth of a grandson born to Elchonon and Faigie Tenembaum!

The Sholom Zocher will take place tonight at the Tenembaum home, 33 Mariner Way.

Wine Tasting at Cheder Dinner

Say l'chaim on some fine wine at the exclusive wine tasting table at the cocktail reception at the Cheder Chabad banquet this Sunday evening!

You can still make your reservation and be a part of this exciting evening!
The Banquet is taking place this Sunday evening, 20 Sivan, June 10, at the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel, 1 International Boulevard, Mahwah, New Jersey, 07495, in the Skylite Ballroom on the 12th floor.

Hors D'Oeuvres are at 6:00 PM followed by the dinner at 7:00 PM. Maariv will be at 9:30 PM.

We hope to see you there!

Mesibas Shabbos This Shabbos

Join us for a grand Mesibas Shabbos this week at Tzemach Tzedek for boys in grades 1 through 4 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.

There will be a special story by Rabbi Zalman Goldstein, renowned for his entertaining and captivating sippurim, in addition to nigunim, Pirkei Avos, Tehillim and lots of fun!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Abramowitz Aufruf

The Aufruf of Ari Abramowitz will take place this Shabbos, Parshas B'haaloscha, at K'hal Nusach Ari, 485 Viola Road. Shachris is at 9:30 AM. Kiddush following davening.

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

Have you ever met someone truly great? A giant? Have you felt the awe in their presence that is only enhanced when they extend themselves to you, when they draw you in? If you haven't yet, you have something to look forward to.

Some thirty-five years ago, a promising philosophy student at Cambridge set out to meet the great Jewish thinkers (and doers) of the times. He met the Rebbe, he asked questions and the Rebbe answered. Towards what he believed was the end of the interview, the Rebbe said that he too would like to ask a question, namely: "What are you doing for Jewish life in Cambridge?"

The student, Jonathan Sacks, is now chief rabbi of The British Commonwealth (and regardless of imposing titles, he truly, actually is great). When he assumed the chief rabbinate BBC interviewed him. They asked what made him become a rabbi. He responded that the Rebbe's question -- what are you doing for Jewish life in Cambridge -- started him on that road.

Sacks speaks of the great personalities he met, how he sensed their greatness. In the Rebbe's room he sensed something else: he sensed his own greatness.

He maintains there is a common misconception about the Rebbe; that the Rebbe created followers. Sacks insists that he did not; he maintains that the Rebbe created leaders.

This week’s Torah portion Beha’alotcha (Bamidbor (Numbers)8:1 -12:16) opens with the words "And when you shall raise the (flames of) the candles..."

Kindle those flames, encourages the Talmud, until they burn steady and strong, until they neither flicker nor waver. Then and only then are they ready for you to remove the fire with which you kindled them and you can move on to your next candle.

Many of my students are now Rabbis and Rebbetzins. I pray that, like Jonathan Sacks, they sense their own greatness and what they can accomplish.

(excerpts from by Rabbi Shimon Posner)

Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

New Zal To Open in Monsey

A new Zal, Yeshiva Gedolah Lubavitch of Monsey, is planning to open this Elul in Monsey.

The Yeshiva will be under the leadership of Rabbi Pinchas Dovid Weber.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Landa, formerly of Yeshivas Menachem Mendel Lubavitch of Monsey, will serve as the Mashpia.

For more information, please contact Rabbi Weber at 845-659-4007.

Apartment For Rent

A two bedroom apartment is available for rent in the New Hempstead area close to a Chabad shul. For more information, please contact 347-992-0035.

Bedroom Furniture For Sale

Boy's bedroom furniture including a double dresser with a hutch, a headboard for a twin bed and a crib is available for sale.

Asking $500 or best offer.

Please contact


Pester Rebbe to Perform at Cheder Dinner

It has been confirmed that in addition to a new beautiful venue, a new gourmet caterer and entertainment provided by the Cheder Chabad Boys Choir, Yoely Lebovits, otherwise known as "The Pester Rebbe", will be performing at Cheder Chabad of Monsey's 13th Anniversary Banquet that is taking place at the Sheraton Crossroads this Sunday evening!

The Pester Rebbe is a Chasidic entertainer, comedian, badchan, singer and actor. He has been performing since 1997 and became known as the "Pester Rebbe" because of his talent imitating the Hungarian language.

In 1999 Lebowits debuted his first comedy album "Purim Y2K". This was followed by "Purim Station" in 2004 and others. Lebowits has performed with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Lipa Schmeltzer, Mordechai Ben David and Avraham Fried among others.

Lebovits has been featured on the cover of popular Jewish magazines including Yediot Achronot, Hamodia, Ami, Jewish Lifestyle, Di Shtern, Der Blick and more.

You can still make your reservation and be a part of this monumental evening!
The Banquet is taking place this Sunday evening, 20 Sivan, June 10, at the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel, 1 International Boulevard, Mahwah, New Jersey, 07495, in the Skylite Ballroom on the 12th floor.

Hors D'Oeuvres are at 6:00 PM followed by the dinner at 7:00 PM. Maariv will be at 9:30 PM.

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What Do 250 of Your Friends Have in Common?

They will be at the Sheraton Crossroads this Sunday evening to pay tribute to the Hayman and Cohen families and to thank Hashem for our Cheder’s phenomenal growth!

You can still make your reservation and be a part of this monumental evening!
The Banquet is taking place at the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel, 1 International Boulevard, Mahwah, New Jersey, 07495, in the Skylite Ballroom on the 12th floor.

Hors D'Oeuvres are at 6:00 PM followed by the dinner at 7:00 PM. Maariv will be at 9:30 PM.

Looking forward to greeting you personally,

Rabbi Chaim Zvi Ehrenreich,
Journal Chairperson

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

R' Polter Launches Online Tutorial Program

Rabbi Mendel Polter, the former Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Menachem Mendel Lubavitch of Monsey, has launched an online interactive Gemara tutorial program.

The program, at, aims to teach pre-Mesivta aged bochurim how to learn so that they are thoroughly prepared to enter Mesivta and thrive.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mazel Tov Spaeths & O'Briens!

Mazel tov to R' Eliezer and Sofia Spaeth and Tom and Devorah O’Brien on the birth of a grandson born to Chaya Rivka and Yehuda Leib Sheninsky of Silver Spring, Maryland!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Abramov Shalom Zachor Not in Monsey

Due to a change of plan, the Abramov Shalom Zachor will NOT take place in Monsey tonight.

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

In the holy city of Safed, next to the old cemetery, sits a humble structure, known as the “Arizal’s Mikvah.” The small building houses a ritual bath which, according to tradition, was used by the master kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534–1572, known as the “Arizal”), who would immerse himself in its waters before praying and studying.

This particular mikvah (ritual pool) is actually an underground stream; its waters are ice cold. But considering the mikvah’s illustrious history, many consider it a special privilege to brave the cold. In fact, tradition has it that anyone who dips in its waters will certainly repent before passing on.

So, the story is told of a father who takes his son before his bar mitzvah to dip in the frigid waters. The son enters the water and screams, “Oy! This is cold!”

He quickly immerses and jumps out, straight into the warm towel his father is holding in his extended hands. “Aaaah!” said the boy, “this feels good!”

Said the father to his about-to-become-a-man son: “May this be a lesson for the rest of your life. Whenever you do something, and the ‘oy’ comes before the ‘ah,’ you know that it is a good thing that you’ve done. When the ‘ah,’ however, comes before the ‘oy,’ then you know that you have done something wrong . . .”

This story comes  to mind when reading this week‘s Torah Portion of Nasso (Bamidbor (Numbers) 4:21-7:89) that discusses the woman suspected of having been unfaithful to her husband—the sotah. The word the Torah chooses (Bamidbor (Numbers) 5:12) to describe her alleged disloyalty is tisteh, [a woman who has] “gone astray.”

Tisteh can also translate as “becomes foolish.” Hence the Talmudic axiom: “A person does not sin unless overcome by a spirit of folly.”

Sin is foolish. We all know it. No one ever feels good after a sin and no one feels bad after doing a Mitzvah.
But we slip and falter nonetheless. Then we feel guilty, then we do it again, then we go to the synagogue on Yom Kippur and promise to better ourselves. Then we slip up again.

But we have the ability to get out of this rut and break the cycle.

Until Moshiach comes, when evil will be eradicated from the world for good, we will continue to be tempted by sin. Just another reason to ask G‑d to send Moshiach.

But maybe, just maybe, if we take the story of the mikvah to heart, and next time we are about to say “ah” before the  “oy,” we think ahead - we might refrain from sin that one time; which might make it a bit easier the next time we nearly succumb to doing something “foolish” .

And that is a very big deal.

Or, as our sages succinctly put it: “Who is a wise one? One who foresees the outcome [of his actions].”

Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

(excerpts from by Rabbi Levi Avtzon)