TTT: Ekev 5772 – 8/16/11

August 16th, 2011 by admin | Filed under TTT.

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Ekev 5771
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ

There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. When? Possible time-frames: February or March, 2012, Summer 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 SEVERAL RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)

August 20, 2011- 20 Av 5771
Annual: Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25 (Etz Hayim, p. 1037; Hertz p. 780)
Triennial: Deuteronomy 7:12 – 9:3 (Etz Hayim, p. 1037; Hertz p. 780)
Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3 (Etz Hayim, p. 1056; Hertz p. 794)
(Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser, Baldwin, New York)
“Know, then, that it is not for any virtue of yours that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess; for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Deuteronomy 9:6)
“Moses wanted to emphasize and establish that the gift of the Land of Israel was not given to the Jews by virtue of the good deeds of any particular generation. Rather it was a gift to Klal Yisrael (the Jewish people as a whole); that is, to all generations. Thus, Moses wanted to encourage those generations that lacked good deeds and inform them that they were capable of acquiring the land despite their shortcomings.” (Chiddushei Ha-Rim)
“It was that stiff necked characterization of the Jews; the persistence to maintain bad habits that lead to destruction. Yet, it is this trait of stubbornness that is also the secret to the Jews’ survival. Other nations would have waned under intimidation of Hadrian. But the Jews would not be crushed. They were determined at any cost to fight for their survival as Jews.” Larry Domnitch, The Mystery of Lag Ba-Omer and the Stiff Necked People
“Stubbornness is a powerful trait. However, like any characteristic, it is neither positive nor negative in and of itself. Rather, it is a fact of our existence as a people. The question, both for us as individuals and as part of the Jewish people, is how we will use this powerful trait and what effect it will have on our lives and the lives of the people around us.” Rabbi Label Lam
“It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.” Albert Einstein
“No one has ever found the Lord through stubborn mindedness.” Guru Gobind Singh
“Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” Martin Luther
Sparks for Discussion:
In what ways does stubbornness (“stiffnecked-ness”) manifest itself in the Jewish people today? What are the positive and negative results of this collective trait? For diaspora communities? For the citizenry of the Jewish state?
In addition to Einstein himself, what other stubborn and incorrigible nonconformists have the Jewish people produced? Who has played critical roles in the survival and advancement of the Jewish people?
In regard to what goals, principles and ideals have you demonstrated insufficient determination? Excessive stubbornness? When would you say: “Here I stand; I can do no other”?
Does the people Israel’s alleged lack of virtue weaken or strengthen the nation’s claim to the land of Israel? If the land was not a reward, what is its purpose in Jewish (and human) history? What other aspects of Jewish tradition are unrelated to any asserted virtue or inherent national quality? What moral principle does this lack of virtue or deserving offer the individual Jew? How would our individual spiritual efforts (and our national self-perception) differ if we did assert that our ancestors were entirely virtuous and deserving of God’s generosity?
How might Guru Gobind Singh respond to Jacob’s tenacity in wrestling with the angel: “I will not let you go until you bless me”?

As always, your thoughts are welcome…


A. Wednesday, August 17th, 2 – 8 PM: Blood Drive at the temple
B. Thursday, August 18th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
C. Saturday, August 20th, 9:30 AM:
1. Simhat Bat of Robyn Leigh Weiss
2. Auf Ruf of Richard Yablonsky & Janet Labendz

D. Friday, August 26:
1. 6:30 PM: Temple Pre-Shabbat BBQ – all are welcome – contact the temple office to RSVP:
2. Follow by twilight Kabbalat Shabbat services (dinner requires an RSVP, but you may still come to the services, figure around 7:45 PM)
3. Guest Speakers: Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin: NY Passes Marriage Equality – NJ, What Next?
E. Saturday, September 3, 6:45 PM: Minha l`Shabbat & the Bar Mitzvah of Jordan Tyler
F. Monday, September 5, 9 AM: Morning Minyan in the Chapel – NOTE 9 AM START TIME
G. Saturday, September 10, 9:30 AM: Shaharit l`Shabbat & the Bar Mitzvah of Tommy David
H. Sunday, September 11:
1. 9 AM: Morning Minyan
2. 9 AM: 1st Day of Religious School
3. 9:30 AM: 9/11 Commemoration
4. 9:30 AM: Men’s Club Breakfast & Program
I. Thursday, Sept 15, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap

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