TTT: Vayishlakh 5772

December 7th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TTT

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Vayishlakh 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ

MINYAN ASSURANCE NEEDED
1. Martha Flashberg has her father’s Yahrzeit, your help to assure a minyan on Tuesday, December 6th @ 7:45 PM is requested
2. Marlene Freeman has her father’s Yahrzeit, your help to assure a minyan on Sunday, December 11th @ 7:45 PM is requested
3. Friday morning, December 16th, 7 AM, the Yahrzeit of Rosalie Millman, Joel is requesting your assurance for the minyan PLEASE, DO NOT ASSUME THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL RESPOND AND COME HELP OUT – YOUR HELP IS REALLY NEEDED

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IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW
PARASHAT VAYISHLAKH
December 10, 2011 – 14 Kislev 5772
Annual: Genesis 37:1-40:23 (Etz Hayim p. 226; Hertz p. 141)
Triennial: Genesis 38:1-38:30 (Etz Hayim p. 233; Hertz p. 145)
Haftarah: Amos 2:6 – 3:8 (Etz Hayim p. 247; Hertz p. 152)
Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser
Summary
Jacob shows marked favoritism toward his beloved son Joseph, provoking his other sons’ bitter resentment. Joseph compounds their hatred for him with his habit of reporting unfavorably on them to their father. Jacob presents Joseph with a “coat of many colors.” Joseph describes his dreams to his brothers: their sheaves of grain bowing to his; the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing to him. The brothers’ disdain for their privileged and ambitious brother is inflamed further. Jacob sends Joseph to check on his brothers, who are pasturing flocks at Shechem. As Joseph approaches they conspire to kill him, but at Reuben’s behest they modify their plan, agreeing to throw him into a pit instead. Reuben intends to return to the pit to rescue him.
Before he can help Joseph escape, however, the brothers modify the conspiracy further. They sell him to a caravan of traders, variously identified as Ishmaelites and Midianites, and the traders sell him into Egyptian slavery. To conceal their crime, the brothers dip the tunic, the symbol of Joseph’s favored status, in animal blood, and show it to Jacob as evidence of his beloved son’s death. Jacob mourns Joseph’s violent end: “A savage beast has devoured him!” In Egypt, Joseph is sold to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief steward. The Joseph narrative is interrupted by the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah’s son, Er, dies after displeasing God through an unspecified offense. Judah instructs a second son, Onan, to enter into a levirate marriage with his widowed sister-in-law, Tamar. Under this arrangement, Onan’s children by Tamar would be counted as Er’s offspring. Onan impedes conception of an heir to his brother, giving rise to the term “onanism.” Onan also dies for his sin. Judah procrastinates in arranging a union between Tamar and his youngest son, Shelah, fearing for Shelah’s life. Some time later, Judah is widowed. He travels to Timnah, where Tamar contrives to meet him. Disguised as a prostitute, and veiled to conceal her identity, Tamar arranges a liaison with her father-in-law, and Judah leaves a staff and signet with her as promise of payment. Tamar, still incognito, disappears with Judah’s collateral before being paid, and she conceives Judah’s twins. When her pregnancy becomes apparent, Judah assumes she has had an illicit affair and orders her killed. When she produces his staff and signet, he understands that he has been duped into a levirate marriage of sorts: “She is more righteous than I!” Perez and Zerah are born of their union.
The narrative returns to Egypt, where Joseph rises to high position as major domo in Potiphar’s household. Joseph repeatedly repels sexual advances by Potiphar’s wife, who claims Joseph has assaulted her, showing a garment she seized from him as evidence. (This claim is a striking parallel to the false evidence used by Joseph’s brothers to document his alleged death.) Joseph is imprisoned by a furious Potiphar. In prison, Joseph interprets dreams for the imprisoned royal cupbearer and baker. He accurately foretells their restoration to office and execution, respectively – fates meted out at a celebration of Pharaoh’s birthday – but despite Joseph’s pleas for his intervention and advocacy, the cupbearer, restored to his position, forgets Joseph’s cause.
Halachah L’Maaseh – Practical Legal Aspects
While the period of mourning for close relatives (sibling, spouse, child) normally is 30 days, we mourn for a parent for a full 12 months (Talmud Moed Katan 22B, Gesher Ha-Chayim 1:249), reciting Mourner’s Kaddish through the eleventh month (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 376:4). It is appropriate to offer formal condolences to someone bereaved of a parent throughout the year of mourning (Yoreh Deah 385:2). Rabbi Beryl Wein explains that we officially mourn for a parent longer than for a child not because grief at the death of a child is less intense – quite the contrary. At the death of a parent, we may be tempted to rationalize, to accept the loss as an expected part of life inherent in the natural order. Mourning for a full year is intended to assure that we do not minimalize or dismiss the loss. No such danger attends the tragedy of a child’s death: no parent would or could minimalize or dismiss such an event as “natural.” The longer mourning period is not required under such tragic circumstances because like Jacob the bereaved parent will fully and intensely grieve as a matter of course, as a result of her or his emotional devastation. “Parents expect to see their children grow and mature. Ultimately, parents expect to die and leave their children behind. The death of a child signifies the loss of the future, of hopes and dreams, of new strength, and of perfection” (see Arnold & Gemma, above). May we see Scripture fulfilled: “God will swallow up death forever; and the Lord will wipe away tears from every face.” (Isaiah 25:8)

Your thoughts as always are welcome…

REMINDERS:

A. Sunday, December 11:
1. 9 AM:
a. Religious School
b. Morning Minyan
2. 7:45 PM: evening minyan

B. Thursday, December 15th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
C. Friday, December 16th
1. 6:30 PM: Kids’ Kabbalat Shabbat Program
2. 8 PM: Shabbat Services

D. Sunday, December 18th, 7 PM: Step Up for Israel Film/Discussion #4 of 5
E. Tuesday, December 20th, 5:45 PM: Temple Hanukkiah Lighting Ceremony followed by Hasmonean Hotdog Feast
F. Morning Minyan times for Hanukkah: 6:45 AM on 12/21, 12/22, 12/23, 12/26, 12/27 & 12/28

NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR
There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. Currently exploring departure dates for the end of June, 2012
2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum
3. Having a chairman to organize
If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN MANY RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)

For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/

You can also visit my website at http://ridinrebbe.com/

TTT:Vayetzer 5772 – 11/29/11

November 29th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TTT

TTT: Vayetze 5772 – 11/29/30

TTT: Toldot 5772

November 22nd, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TTT

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Toldot 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ

MINYAN ASSURANCE NEEDED

Sunday evening, 11/27, 7:45 PM & Monday morning, 11/28, 7 AM, Miriam Gershwin has a Yahrzeit

SERMONIC OPPORTUNITIES

Friday, December 23rd, 8 PM

Saturday, December 24th, 9:30 AM

LET ME KNOW

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IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW

PARASHAT TOLDOT – MEVAREKHIM HAHODESH
November 26, 2011 – 29 Heshvan 5772

Annual: Genesis 25:19-28:9 (Etz Hayim p. 146; Hertz p. 93)
Triennial Cycle: Genesis 26:23-27:27 (Etz Hayim p. 152; Hertz p. 96)
Haftarah: I Samuel 20:18-42 (Etz Hayim p. 1216, Hertz p. 948)

Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser

“And Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his councilor and Phichol chief of his troops. Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you have been hostile to me and have driven me away from you?” And they said, “We now see plainly that the Lord has been with you, and we thought: Let there be a sworn treaty between our two parties, between you and us. Let us make a pact with you that you will not do us harm, just as we have not molested you but have always dealt kindly with you and sent you away in peace. From now on, be you blessed of the Lord!” (Genesis 26:26-29)

COMMENTARY:

According to the Philistines, Isaac’s success stemmed from his ability to exploit their land’s fertility; because they were jealous of Isaac, they exiled him. Now, with the patriarch in Beersheba, an area lacking their land’s fertility, the Philistines concluded that Isaac’s initial prosperity was the result of the tzadik’s merit rather than any exploitation. They now acknowledged that Isaac truly was blessed by God. He was not someone who took advantage of them. “Had we only realized then what we know now,” the Philistines concluded, “we would never have driven you away.” (Chatam Sofer)

“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” (Moshe Dayan)

“The blessings of peace are very capital, nothing finer – but one likes to be warned.” (Patrick O’Brian, Desolation Island)

“Peace is not made at the council table or by treaties, but in the hearts of men.” (Herbert Hoover)

“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.” (Charles de Gaulle)

DISCUSSION:

Our parashah seems to reprise a similar incident involving a peace treaty between Abimelech and Abraham, where Abimelech again was attended by Phichol (see Genesis 21:22-32). It seems historically implausible that the same two Philistines were still national leaders fully a generation later. Either an important motif simply is being reframed or, as Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz concludes, somewhat less critically, “they must have been old men in the time of Isaac.” Should we read the theology of this interchange with less suspicion than its asserted timing? That is, do the Philistines truly perceive divine blessing in Isaac’s prosperity? Or are their motives more materialistic, more mercenary (perhaps in part explaining the presence of a military leader), somehow more Philistine?

Would Moshe Dayan apply his famous axiom to this text? Is Abimelech’s somewhat saccharine and solicitous rhetoric simply typical of peace treaties between former foes accustomed to mutual mistrust?

The Patrick O’Brian quote is spoken by a military officer, British Navy Captain Jack Aubrey, for whom peace represented an impediment to career advancement, fame, and fortune! Why might civilians today – both in Israel and elsewhere – experience some ambivalence about the prospect of peace with erstwhile enemies?

Did Isaac sincerely welcome the peace offer from Abimelech? Compare to Abraham’s reaction in Genesis 21. Is peace and alliance always a desirable goal, regardless of the moral shortcomings of our prospective treaty partners? What council might Hoover or De Gaulle have offered Isaac?

Your thoughts as always are welcome…

REMINDERS:

A. Sunday, November 27:

1. 9 AM:

a. NO Religious School

b. Morning Minyan

2. 10 AM – 5 PM: Jewish Fair & Expo Green Lane Y

3. 7:45 PM: evening minyan

B. Monday, November 21st , 7:30 PM: Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Service – hosted by Temple Shaa`rey Shalom

C. Thursday, November 24th – MORNING MINYAN TIME = 9 AM

D. Thursday, December 1, 8 PM: Coffee & Clergy Corner – Springfield Barnes & Noble: Rabbi Mallach & Reverend David Knecht, Holy Cross Lutheran Church – will lead a topical discussion on issues that we all face – OPEN TO ALL

E. Friday, December 2nd, 6:30 PM: SHABBATis4U

a. Services led by Kitah Zayin & Vav

b. NO LATE SERVICE

c. December birthday blessings

d. Yahrzeit list is read

e. Shabbat dinner to follow the services – an RSVP is needed – contact the office: office@templebethahmyisrael.com

F. Saturday, December 3rd, 9:30 AM: Anniversary of the B`nai Mitzvah of Ari & Ben Scherzer

NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR

There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:

1. Currently exploring departure dates for the end of June, 2012

2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum

3. Having a chairman to organize

If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN MANY RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)

For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/

You can also visit my website at http://ridinrebbe.com/

TTT: Haye Sara 5772

November 17th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TTT

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Haye Sara 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ
MINYAN ASSURANCE NEEDED
Sunday evening, 11/27, 7:45 PM & Monday morning, 11/28, 7 AM, Miriam Gershwin has a Yahrzeit

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IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW

PARASHAT Haye Sara
November 19, 2011 – 22 Heshvan 5772
Annual: Genesis 23:1 – 25:188 (Etz Hayim p. 127; Hertz p. 80)
Triennial: Genesis 24:10 – 24:52 (Etz Hayim p. 132; Hertz p. 83)
Haftarah: I Kings 1:1 – 31 (Etz Hayim p. 143; Hertz p. 90)
Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser

“Then Laban and Bethuel answered, ‘The matter was decreed by the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be a wife to your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.” (Genesis 24:50)
COMMENTARY:
“A Roman matron asked Rabbi Yose bar Chalafta: ‘In how many days did God create His world?’ “‘In six days,’ he replied. “‘And what has He been doing ever since?’ she asked. “‘God sits and arranges marital matches,’ Rabbi Yose told her. ‘It is as difficult as parting the Red Sea.’” (Midrash Bereishit Rabbah 68:3-4)
“When Resh Lakish began to expound, he spoke thus: ‘They only pair a woman with a man according to his deeds. Rabbi Judah has said in the name of Rav: ‘Forty days before the creation of a child, a Divine Voice issues forth and proclaims: The daughter of So-andso is for So-and-so.’” (Talmud Sotah 2A)
“Beshert is what you get after using your time to be loving and caring, after creating a true marital unit out of two individuals. It is true that everything is in the Almighty’s hands, but not necessarily in the way we initially think. If we do the real job necessary to make a marriage work, then the Almighty performs a miracle for us – we see that although we didn’t recognize it at first, we have married our beshert after all.” (Emuna Braverman)
“Providence is wiser than you, and you may be confident it has suited all things better to your eternal good than you could do had you been left to your own option.” (John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence)
“In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” (Maya Angelou)

DISCUSSION:
Laban is, understandably, viewed as less than a positive character. Even his name, meaning “white” – that is, without distinguishing features or characteristics – implies a lack of principle. Was his endorsement of God’s plan sincere and faithful? What ulterior motives might have impelled him to make this statement? Was he demonstrating trust in God, or was he duplicitously exploiting the religious fervor of Abraham’s servant?
If we are agents of God’s Providence – that is, if it is our job to carry out God’s master plan – when is it proper to say, “We cannot speak to you bad or good,” simply accepting events as a function of Divine will? How do we know when to act, when to intervene when events take a turn we judge to be unseemly, undesirable, or un-Godly? How are we to make such judgments, and when are we to bow to Providence?
Why is romantic love – and, more specifically, the successful marital bond – viewed as God’s handiwork? Is this a statement about the sanctity of marriage? A reflection on the mystery of what attracts any two people together as marital partners? The infinite influences, coincidences, choices, and other inexplicable factors that conspire to bring two people together?
Consider the debate between Resh Lakish and Rav. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of each sage’s position? Are there not examples of unfortunate people of good character with profoundly unworthy spouses? Does this unpleasant reality undermine Rav or Resh Lakish? Resh Lakish was a penitent former gladiator, who returned to Jewish piety and was married to the beautiful sister of Rabbi Yochanan; how does his theology of marriage reflect his view of himself?! How might Emuna Braverman resolve (or, at least, respond to) this rabbinic dispute?
Your thoughts as always are welcome…

REMINDERS:

A. Sunday, November 20:
1. 9 AM:
a. Religious School
b. Morning Minyan
2. 10 AM – 5 PM: Jewish Fair & Expo Green Lane Y
3. 7 – 8 PM: Step Up For Israel – 2nd in the series of films and discussion on advocacy for Israel
4. 7:45 PM: evening minyan

B. Thursday, November 17th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
C. Friday, November 18th:

1. 6:30 PM: Kids Kabbalat Shabbat program
2. 8 PM: late service

D. Saturday, November 19th, Bat Mitzvah of Elana Neher

E. Monday, November 21st , 7:30 PM: Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Service – hosted by Temple Shaa`rey Shalom

F. Thursday, November 24th – MORNING MINYAN TIME = 9 AM
G. Thursday, December 1, 8 PM: Coffee & Clergy Corner – Springfield Barnes & Noble: Rabbi Mallach & Reverend David Knecht, Holy Cross Lutheran Church – will lead a topical discussion on issues that we all face – OPEN TO ALL
H. Friday, December 2nd, 6:30 PM: SHABBATis4U
a. Services led by Kitah Zayin & Vav
b. NO LATE SERVICE
c. December birthday blessings
d. Yahrzeit list is read
e. Shabbat dinner to follow the services – an RSVP is needed – contact the office: office@templebethahmyisrael.com

I. Saturday, December 3rd, 9:30 AM: Anniversary of the B`nai Mitzvah of Ari & Ben Scherzer

NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR
There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. Currently exploring departure dates for the end of June, 2012
2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum
3. Having a chairman to organize
If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN MANY RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)

For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/

You can also visit my website at http://ridinrebbe.com/

TTT: Vayera 5772

November 8th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TTT

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Vayera 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ

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IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW

PARASHAT Vayera
November 12, 2011 – 15 Heshvan 5772
Annual: Genesis 18:1 – 22:24
Triennial Cycle: Genesis 19:1 – 20:18
Haftarah: II Kings 4:1 – 37

“I thought,” said Abraham, “surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.” (Gen. 20:11)

COMMENTARY:
Rashi: When a stranger arrives in a city, do people ask him about what he would like to eat or drink, or do they ask him about his wife?
a. What question is Rashi answering here?
b. How can we compare this to our own cities?

Answers:
a. How did Abraham know that there was no fear of God in the place?
b. People often get a first impression of a city determined by whoever they first have to deal with.
So, what would a 1st time visitor to NYC think if their 1st encounter is at OWS?
Your thoughts as always are welcome…

REMINDERS:

A. Sunday, November 13:
1. 9 AM:
a. Religious School
b. Morning Minyan
2. 7:45 PM: evening minyan

B. November 11 & 12, 2011:
1. Scholar in Residence Shabbat – Galeet Dardashti
a. 6:30 PM: Shabbat Dinner – RSVP needed
b. 8 PM: Services begin
2. Friday night services, November 11th will include:
a. Special Blessing/Recognition of our Veterans:
1) Veterans, please attend and where attire that signifies that you are veteran (if you have such)
2) Presentation of Colors by JWV
b. Dedication of the Rabbi Rueben Levine Memorial Sculpture
3. Saturday, November 12th:
a. 9:30 AM: Shabbat morning services – Dvar Torah by Galeet Dardashti
b. Kiddush Luncheon
1) Galeet Dardashti will present a program on Jewish Liturgical music – from the Siddur to Pop
2) Luncheon is open to all
C. Thursday, November 17th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
D. Friday, November 18th:

1. 6:30 PM: Kids Kabbalat Shabbat program
2. 8 PM: late service

E. Saturday, November 19th, Bat Mitzvah of Elana Neher

F. Sunday, November 20th, 7 – 8 PM: Step Up For Israel – 2nd in the series of films and discussion on advocacy for Israel

G. Monday, November 21st , 7:30 PM: Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Service – hosted by Temple Shaa`rey Shalom

H. Thursday, December 1, 8 PM: Coffee & Clergy Corner – Springfield Barnes & Noble: Rabbi Mallach & Reverend David Knecht, Holy Cross Lutheran Church – will lead a topical discussion on issues that we all face – OPEN TO ALL

NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR
There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. Currently exploring departure dates for the end of June, 2012
2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum
3. Having a chairman to organize
If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN MANY RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)

For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/

You can also visit my website at http://ridinrebbe.com/