Parashat Hashavua

Portion Bo

Portion  Bo
What did G-d's message in the Portion add to what was transmitted at the Burning Bush?
Do you have to be a prophet ti know whats going on in the world today?
There's Enough enriched uranium in Iran for 3 bombs ( the UN reports.)
Or that
67 journalists were killed in the world last year -
and everyone complains ONLY that
 one might have died in a crossfire between Israeli troops and terrorists. 
That's Anti Semitism.
Are we really DIFFERENT from everyone?
The Portion Bo tells us that before the Israelites could leave Egypt, that
their families HAD to celebrate
Jewish FAMILIES are the building blocks of
It's been known for Thousands of Years
(Idea from Zev Neriya - thanks)
(By the way there is a famous ancient Egyptian wall fresco depicting
Pharoah's Wife applying salve to him-
From around the time of JOSEPH...- while most frescos show wars and slaves)
And what does the Seer of Lublin learn here - 
He who we hear could read minds and commune with the Almighty-
He Says This Portion is given to us to
So what about all the firstborn Egyptians
Who were punished for enslaving our forebears? Was the Almighty a bit too tough?
Many more Egyptians were killed by the Romans.
And even more ORIgiNAL Egyptians- by the Moslems/Arab armies!
So where does the Portion leave US
Sonething that gave hope-
American slaves gathred STRENGTH from
Love of Israel

Portion Va Aiy Rah : Dealing with the Pharoahs

Portion Va Aiy Rah : Dealing with the Pharoahs
Joseph's bones - why wasn't he buried in the Valley of the Kings?
His Niece Serah- daughter of Asher -showed Moses where the Pharoah had ordered Joseph to be thrown into the Nile!
Lots of questions here,
One answer being : Egypt felt
Joseph was a good luck charm,
And they needed luck with the Nile
But let's look a minute at history -
where it seems that Egypt was taken over by
Hyksos conquerors - but there's not a lot to prove that it was during Joseph' s time
Or maybe that was when it says 
" and a new king arose who did not know Joseph " (as the Bible writes) - arose
Be that as it may - what was the general consensus of ALL Egyptian rulers?
And maybe Vladimir Putin? huh!? What?
Last Shabbat I was at the Kiddush in memory of the father of a Yemenite Breslaver Hassid / huh?! Yes. A very colorful guy...
While the rabbi-son read a portion from Rabbi Nachman's tales
He was pretty adamant relating
Putins murders (yeah yeah yeah ...Also Ukrainian Nazis etc).  
Pharoah's murderers - who tossed babies into the river
(While some righteous gentiles saved kids)
On a lighter note my teacher friend told a meaningful joke.
Rav Yaskil said about Jewish Rulers
(based on Jacobs blessings to the children
.Be.. chadash... New....renewal
So these
Three robbers heard the sirens ... cops were coming
One hid under a Maserati
The second Under A tractor
The cops asked what they were doing there?
Fixing the motors, they answered.
No motor  tools with you? Forget it, you're Coming with us!
The third went to hide Under A donkey
When asked what he was doing there
He answered,
I was just born!!! So they let him go.
Lesson from
Rebbe Nachman:
Always Start over (Jewishly Speaking especially)
Forget your Old Ways and
You will stay out of trouble!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Shemote - Snakes and Jewish Memory

Portion Shemote - Snakes and Jewish Memory
Beraysheet - the first Portion - is where the Snake first figures into history
What removes the Snakes as they show up (like in the desert saga) in history?
So in this portion Shemote is where the Saga and Morality of Israel begins to control the snakes-
When on Mount Sinai Moses
Is confronted by the Almighty - 
And says No One Will Believe me!
Its The SNAKES versus G-d - and the Jews
At the Great Synagogue Kolel this week
 I heard a class
From the famous nephew
Whose famous Uncle inspired me 
to study for the Rabbinate
 (That uncle founded Keren B Yavneh
The first place in HISTORY where
Yeshiva students
Serve half time as paratroopers in the IDF)
So Moshe is not sure of BELIEF in this G-d
Who turns Moses' staff into a snake
And says:
Grab it by the tail  !
That will
Change it from a wiggly waggly
Danger to the world
Into the Tool of Faith that will Split the Red Sea!
The snake symbol
Belief and trust
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

PortionVa ye Chi - do Rules and or Spitituality Require Redemption?

PortionVa ye Chi - do Rules and or Spitituality Require Redemption?
Wednesday night I prayed the night prayer Maariv twice - at two places which were just one short of a Minyan.
At the second place I checked on the Avnei Nezer book:
Which Rules on Jewish Laws:
One law said you can sleep on Shabbat in a house without a Mezuza. Why?
Because on Sha bat you can't put up a mezuza! Even though you generally need one.
Also that you Can wear 4 a four cornered garment with out tzizit on Shabbat
Because you can't tie the Tzizit on Shabbat!
Etc. There were a lot of interesting and lenient rulings.
And about the Torah Reading:
There is Spirituality and Prophecy here:
So I ask:
In this Portion , what did Jacob -
one of Our forefathers -
 what Mitzvot did he teach the families ?
 Or did he only instruct about the prophecy about the Kaytz - the end of days?
And Did that reqire them and Us to succeed at tikun olam? To fix the world?
To bring a Peace at the End of Days?
So I saw a thought by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
That when the Portion writes Jacob's eyes were "heavy " - the real translation is
Jacob's Eyes "Kavdu meZoken" - 
Kavod Meaning - he taught the families
To Truly Honor with their Eyes
To fix the World with Eyes and Looks
Love is only by eyes
Honoring is clear in loving eyes
My interpretation is:
Jacob Taught for All Generations to
Give Honor to one another not by talk but by seeing things together -
With honor and Respect
and that honor fixes the world!
So where do the rules of Shabbat
The Prophecy of our Forefathers
Guide US?
Food for Thought
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion VA yee Gash : Putting it Together

Portion VA yee Gash  : Putting it Together
Blessed art Thou Almighty who has Crowned a New Government in Israel
Yes - being Sworn in to Protect All Israel-
And help the downtrodden
And try to heal the hatreds sown
By the "hate bibi hate judaism" crowd.
AS we learn from thus week's portion-
You have to take RISKS to heal
Judah risks loosing ALL just to
Protect his Youngest Brother
And that convinces Joseph-
Assistant to Pharoah-
And maybe the most
Powerful Person on the Planet
To reveal his SELF
Isnt that enough for this week-
This Shabbat
Lets learn the lesson and
Fit Fellowshipinto our LIVES
But what about Jacob the Patriarch in this portion?
And what do we continue to learn from Father Jacob?
What did Jacob feel when he heard that his son Joseph was still alive?
What do American Jews feel when the media finally lets them hear about terrorist incidents
and those who survive terror - and are
in hospitals, in rehab, and finally back with their families who worry day and night how they can possibly return to normal lives?
Jacob tells Pharoah he has had a difficult life - but the final years are spent teaching -
all his grandchildren - how to survive the exile in Egypt - and maintain their Israelite values.
Can we absorb all this in our own exiles?
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
תשובהתשובה לכולםהעברה

Shabbat Chanuka and Rosh Chodesh the New Month

Shabbat Chanuka and Rosh Chodesh the New Month
And as every year this Portion is deep into
"Brotherhood Rivalry"
We have learned previously of Judah's weaknesses and strengths - in Canaan/Israel
And Joseph's failings and powers - within the family - and then as a SLAVE in Egypt
But how did the JewishSlaveBoy know or 
Joseph (even before he became Assistant Pharoah) converted people to believe in a Unitary  G-d -
just as did  Jacob Isaac and Avraham Before Him
Is that what got him -Joseph- in trouble with Potifar, the nobleman who bought Joseph as a slave?
Did Potifar's wife come on to Joseph because of his holy teachings?
Is that why, at Pharoah's party, they brought the
2 ministers out of prison?
To make fun of the "new Jews?
Did they hang the minister that they did because he converted to Israelitish-ness?
And the  Pharoah? Were his prophetic dreams just "setting him up" for the Almighty
To introduce Joseph and Judaism to the world?
My deepest question here is how did Joseph
The Viceroy of Egypt
Have time to play tricks on his family?
Or do we learn from this portion how to
(How He Did)
Wake Up Those Who are Caught Up
In Their Own Anger
And " See the (Chanukah) light?"
Shabbat Shalom Happy Chanukah Light!
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion VY yishlach - Coping With Fear - or Coping with the Angel of Esau? Or with our own Past Pursueing us?

Portion VY yishlach - Coping With Fear - or Coping with the Angel of Esau?  Or with our own Past Pursueing us?  
We all have things we have to cope with.
Look - and learn from  Jacob our Forefather - and his Rich Smart Doting but Wise mother ... 
He was an intellectual...
and he
Never complained about the difference between him and his brother -
And yet his brother is STILL out to kill him!
And his Uncle too (see last week's Portion) too -
 except that the Almighty stopped THAT issue! D-d ISSUES WARNING TO EVERYONE - 
some evil people learn - and some go down in history as murderers or fools or both...
But what did Jacob do wrong?
And how is he going to get 
PAST HIS BROTHER's GANG to bring his children to their GRANDparents?    
 It says of Yaakov Avinu  - Jacob -“Yaakov was greatly afraid and it distressed him.” (Bereishis 32:8). 
Ramban (moved (actually kicked out) from Spain to Jerusalem about 1200 ) wrote: 
“There is a message for future generations here: (HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF! Just look at the UN - a sham of hatreds!)
Everything that happened to our forefathers -  will  occur again to us with Eisav’s descendants”.
And why do we make mistakes?SO: What do we learn from this portion?
Jacob's answers are cleary in this portion - maybe with a little help from Rashi...
So Jacob wrestles with Esau's "angel" - or Esau's RAGE - trying to FIX the fight between them.
The commentators say it probably worked for a while ...
Psychologists try to help people understand themselves.
Our great holiness teachers do as well - but PUT IT IN A JEWISH MORAL HISTORICAL CONTEXT!
There will always be conflicts - but our Torah Masters teach us  (like the Karate Kid's master?) SELF POWER - 
the Power for Jews which begins with PRAYER POWER! and
Self Wisdom for Jews which begins with Torah Wisdom - 3000 years of it!
to quote Chaya Sora Jungreis : 
Eisav appears and reappears with different names, and in different guises. Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Cossacks, Communists, Nazis, – and today’s White Nationalists. The name is always changing, but the goal remains the same.
To break us ...
Chanukah shows us 
that our oppressors through the ages are gone, but we are here, Am Yisroel endures! And how...
Abraham was a General.
Isaac was politically SAVVY.
Jacob was not weak - he was wise AND a leader - and his children were all powerful.
We beat all those who sought to destroy us - and we shall endure -
We are all human - but have the ABILITY TO RISE ABOVE PETTINESS (though eventually the Maccabbees blew it)
and to love and teach those around us - family, community, nations ALL
That the Children of Israel have a message -
for the children of Israel- and the world.

 Shabbat shalom    from  Rabbi Andy Eichenholz     back in New York

Portion VaYayTzay - the Mysterious Ladder

Portion VaYayTzay -  the Mysterious Ladder
The Portion describes Jacob's dream while on his way to his (evil ) uncle Lavan (Laban)
This famous dream of angels going up and down a ladder (to heaven)
And the deal between the Almighty and Jacob
Cries out for an explanation - (Non Freudian - this is Torah not Psychology).
Was it
Leaving his home or
Trouble with his brother Esau
That made him reach out - and upwards?
Or is it the Almighty talking to us?  Today?
Let's look at 
Mendele Vitebsker in his work Pri HaAretz, who
Gives one of many analyses.
It includes questions like:
why the ladder and not just straight prophecy?
And - if he explains the climbing angels as"Moshe and Aron,
why those 2 tzadikim - HOLY people - and isn't one not enough?
And  For What were they climbing?
The two printed editions I have seen, Clearly state that the world
Seems to have LOST the last part of theRebbe's  analysis - so
Those questions are not answered by that Rabbi ...
What the book did say (the part not lost) : the dream meant:
The Torah is in your guts - and in your soul - 
And you can't run away
Also Adam and Eve tried - and failed - BUT...
But the Almighty gave them a beautiful Mitzva - 
To light a Candle - every Erev Shabbat
However  in My mind I could finish it by saying:
You can't run away from encountering G-d
Wherever life takes you, there is a HOLINESS covenant to cling to
And whether one is on the rise, or the opposite
If you look for them - You can always find angels or righteous people
And while you may not find one of them to your style - there will ALLWAYS be one other Holy Angel around
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
in Jerusalem

Portion Toledote – Brotherly Confusion – the Nice or the Good

Portion Toledote – Brotherly Confusion – the Nice or the Good

The portion starts off with the birth of twin boys to Isaac and Rebecca. It immediately follows with their first joint business deal which goes bad later.

TWINS ain't the PROBLEM – it's the World View that the Almighty sent Abraham to fix!

Imagine having twins 3000 years before Pampers - not at all easy to deal with.
And the local ruler-madman Nimrod becomes the role-model for one (Esau), while the other brother (Jacob) is influenced by the High Priest of the Almighty (Malki-Tzedek – see in the earlier portion).


Isaac says "I am going to die, so I want to bless my children first." This causes another level of hatred between the brothers!

What's nice, and what's good. 
Esau is nice to his Dad.
Jacob listens to his Mom, Respects his Dad - and tries for years to not be led into a war with his brother.
The Hidden Torah – Kabala – gives us hints – on How to Maximize the Good in a tough world.
Early Hassidic Rebbes tried to bring to us as the Inspiration Needed to Help Judaism Fix World Hatred.


When our great, great grandmother – Isaac's holy wife Rebecca'- finds a way to calm things for some years, we hope the competitiveness is resolved – but look at the world today. Competition at the World Cup sports in Qatar is a healing? So why no kosher food is allowed for 10000 Jewish sports fans? 
Who bombed Ukraine to be without power for the winter? And
Look at all the mass shootings in the US last week!

 So this week let's learn a little bit from Rebbe Elimelech from Lizensk (very dear to me


 because this week I finished another Hebrew draft of my version of Ohel Elimelech – adapted from the Sefer Ohel Elimelech - stories of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk  

Rebbe Elimelech talks in a number of places about physical versus spiritual needs in the world – not to denigrate either approach or need – or want.

According to the Kabala interpreted by the Rebbe – there is a SPIRITUAL value or aspect in every PHYSICAL thing or action. Esau says "who needs that – who needs to carry on the traditions from Abraham and Isaac" (until later when he missed the boat, as it were). He says "I have a lot".

Jacob says "I have everything" – even the spirituality you (Esau) need to give life-energy to your physical existence". 
According to Reb Elimelech: Today: You want to win at the World Cup? How? Without spiritual energy, Russia, Ukraine, Arab countries – and also the West – will decline and disintegrate.

Imagine if the Israeli and Chabad visitors made a nice KOSHER Shabbat meal in Doha, Qatar and invited THIS SHABBAT all the world leaders to participate…

Who knows.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Andy Eichenholz


Portion ChaYay SaRah: When is LIFE and What is DEATH? (in a nutshell)

Portion ChaYay SaRah: When is LIFE and What is DEATH? (in a nutshell)

In this Portion: Life in Abraham's World after the Passing on of Sarah…

A friend of mine passed out last Friday Night at Kiddush. Scared his family. Went to the hospital. Thank G-d he is out – and it may not have been "much". But who knows?

A few hours ago (Tuesday morning in Israel) a terrorist stabbed a few Israeli people and shot a few people –leaving  3 murdered and 4 serious cases in the hospital. It was near a place where 5000 Arab workers and a few thousand Israelis work together in HARMONY. So ???

And mass killings in the good old USA?

What do you do If you are the new government of Israel? Do you listen to the American administration telling you to keep investigating one journalist killed in the middle of a firefight a few months ago – or find out who drove the LATEST terrorist to the scene of his crime?

And the CRYTO billionaire who crashed – bankrupt  after funneling millions to politicians – some of whom ignore the Taylor Force Act which is supposed t stop "pay for slay " here?

Really, now!

Abraham teaches THE WORLD what is righteous. And he looks out for ALL his children.

Isaac (who in this Portion finally gets married) - teaches love of family.

So where in the world do we get … Okay – Babelon  … NOAH … CAIN AND ABLE  … SODOM…

So in the next few Portions –

We will see that  Jacob teaches wisdom and tenacity in the face of – yes - hatred…

Rabbi Finkelstein spoke this week about praying for the individual – and the wider community!

He spoke  at the Shiva for Dina Englander –

A wonderful woman wife mother friend –

And a lady who made over 100 matches – not asking any reward or "agency fee"!

Starting holy Jewish families in Israel! Like Abraham ' s legacy.

May we all learn the skills to finally bring HARMONY TO THE WORLD.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz