Friday, June 29, 2018

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated in memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM

Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

The evil prophet Bilam is hired to curse the Jewish people--until G‑d miraculously transforms all his intended curses into blessings. As he tries again and again to carry out his evil plans, we are treated to some of the most elaborate language and imagery in the Torah.

We read in this week’s Torah portion Balak (Bamidbor [Numbers] 22:2-25:9) a number of flowery phrases, prophesied by this Bilam, enumerating the splendor of the Jewish nation and foretelling our future. We hear the first references to Moshiach (Messiah) found in the Torah, contrasting our eventual fate with that of our enemies. It is a fascinating Parsha, filled with emblems and allegories.

Over the course of the text, we find two seemingly contradictory ways of describing the Jews. “A star will shoot forth from Jacob” is often understood to be a reference to Moshiach, but it can also be interpreted as a description of the nation as a whole or the spark of Moshiach in every Jew. The “shooting star” is obviously emblematic of the resplendent beauty of our nation. We shine forth upon the world, illuminating all.

However, elsewhere Bilaam proclaims, “Who can count the dust of Jacob?” which doesn’t sound quite as complimentary. Who wants to be compared to dirt? Where is the grandeur and excitement of granules of crushed earth? The only positive thing you can say about dust is that there is a lot of it, but is that all we care for, quantity over quality?

On reflection, the symbolism of comparing the Jewish nation to dust is actually quite apt. Buried deep within the surface of the earth lie precious gems and valuable minerals. That which to the untrained eye looks like a barren, desolate plain is in reality a repository of incredible wealth. We extract these costly prizes at the cost of much pain and exertion, sifting through the dross to uncover the beauty and worth that lies within.

Some people shoot forth like a star, illuminating their surroundings with their brilliance and passions. Others seem far more pedestrian at first, quieter in nature and trodden on by the crowds. However, every Jew is precious and infinitely valuable. Sometimes you may have to make a greater effort to reveal the beauty and wealth that lies beneath, but doing so is always worth the effort.

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monsey Anash Directory Update

Cheder Chabad of Monsey is updating in anticipation of a new edition of its "Monsey Anash Directory" for our ever expanding (B"H) community.

New Anash as well as those who moved recently should send their updated listing by July 10th to 

Chabad-Lubavitch of Monsey Directory Entry Form

Please choose and update below what you would like displayed in a printed directory listing.
Name(s):
1.
2.

Street address:

Mailing address (if not same):

Email(s):
1.
2.

Home phone:

Cell phone(s):
1.
2. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Farbrengen לכבוד י"ב-י"ג תמוז Monday after 8:20 Micha


Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated in memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM

Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

A life sentence for jaywalking? Twenty years for chewing gum in public? Singapore notwithstanding, surely that's over the top!

Well, was it so different for Moses, who, in this week’s Torah portion, Chukas, (Bamidbor [Numbers] 19:1-22:1), is punished and denied entrance to the Promised Land for the seemingly minor infraction of hitting a rock instead of speaking to it?

The people are clamoring for water in the wilderness. G-d tells Moses to speak to a certain rock (he was meant to ask nicely) and promises that, miraculously, water will flow from the rock. Commentary enlightens us as to the behind-the-scenes reasons for Moses striking the rock instead of speaking to it, but in the end the miracle happens anyway and the people's thirst is quenched.

If your average rabbi today would make a rock produce water, even if the rock needed more than mere gentle persuasion, surely it would be hailed as the greatest miracle of the century and the rabbi would win the Nobel Prize for chemistry. But for Moses it's a sin? Even if (as the Torah points out) it would have been a greater sanctification of the Divine had he only spoken to the rock, still, for such a minor infraction, such a severe penalty?

The answer, we are told, is that responsibility is commensurate with the individual. If a child messes up, it is entirely forgivable. For an adult who should know better, we are less likely to be as forgiving. Likewise, among adults, from a person of stature we expect more than from an ordinary fellow.

A blemish on a coarse garment is not nearly as bad as it is on a piece of fine material. A stain on a pair of denims is not only acceptable, it is absolutely desirable. In fact, some people pay a premium for pre-stained jeans. Put the same stain on a silk tie and it's simply unwearable.

Moses was like the finest silk and, therefore, even the smallest, subtle hint of sin was considered a serious breach of conduct and the repercussions were severe.

In one of Rabbi Dr. A. J. Twersky's early books, there is an exposition of the well-known Yiddish expression, "es past nit" -- "it is unbecoming." He writes that when he was a child and his father would admonish him for doing the something wrong, he would say "es past nit," i.e. for you, this sort of behavior is unbecoming. Not only did such a rebuke not shatter the child's self image, it reinforced it. A wise father was telling his child, "You are special, you are important; for someone like you this sort of conduct is unbecoming." There are behavior patterns that are not necessarily criminal or sinful. Yet for someone from an esteemed family background, es past nit, it is unbecoming. This was the kind of criticism that could actually build a child's self esteem.

How beautiful those words, for even in chastisement one can find validation and praise.

Moses was the greatest prophet that ever lived. For him, the standard could be no higher. Luckily for us mere mortals, we will not be held to that exalted benchmark. But we will be held to our own standard. The standard of Jews who were called upon by G-d to be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."

(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

Shabbos חוקת schedule


Monday, June 18, 2018

Mrs. Mania Baruch is sitting Shiva until tomorrow morning

Mrs Mania Baruch is sitting Shiva until tomorrow morning at 80 Decatur Avenue, Spring Valley for the passing of her father, Avraham ben Yakov. ע"ה

 בשורות טובות

Friday, June 8, 2018

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated in memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM

Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM    

 In this week’s Torah portion (Bamidbor [Numbers] 13:1-15:41) we read how the spies sent to explore the Land of Canaanreported that “there we saw the giants . . . and we were in our own eyes as locusts, and so we were in their eyes.” (Numbers 13:33).

 Effectiveness in life is predicated on believing in oneself, and then actually getting up and out, and doing what needs to be done. And that's where the spies fell down on the job: a lack of self-confidence. “…We were in our own eyes as locusts—and thus, “so we were in their eyes.”  How another person sees us depends on how we see ourselves. Obviously, the spies own low self-esteem led the Canaanites to have equally poor estimation of the Jews' ability. When we act strong, with an expectation of success, others tend to be awed by our aura, and victory is inevitable. Conversely, when we walk small, conscious of our (perceived or real) immaturity and incompetence, then other's opinions automatically accord with our expectations. Our job is to do the right thing, irrespective of anyone else’s approval. We're on a mission from G‑d, and can't afford the time or trouble to even worry what the spectators will do or say. From this take on the story, the sin of the spies didn't begin when they refused to scale the heights, but started long before when they allowed themselves to be distracted from their mission by wondering what the natives were thinking about them. True self-belief is self-referential. An absolute certainty that I'm doing the right thing and I will continue fighting till the job is done. It might take courage to head off on a journey of conquest without even a small look back over your shoulder, but that is the only way to guarantee that you'll arrive safely in the Promised Land.  (Excerpts from Chabad.org )                                      

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

Shabbos Parshas שלח schedule


Monday, June 4, 2018

Mazel Tov Kaplans!

Mazel Tov to Binyomin & Keren Kaplan on the engagement of their daughter Oshrat to Pri Yaakov Levy of Brooklyn.  Also Mazel Tov to the grandparents Dovid & Chaya Kaplan.

The vort will be G-d willing on Sunday June 17 at 7:00PM at Congregation Tiferes Yisroel – 57 Lime Kiln Rd (corner of Roble Rd).