Parashat Hashavua

Portion Toledot Isaac and Eyes and Children

Portion Toledot Isaac and Eyes and Children
The Medrash says Isaac was blind, and couldn't see the way his children's actions.
In this portion we see Father Isaac - this son of Abraham - in various situations -
In some he shines,
But with regards his children?
Did he really not "see" - or couldn't understand? And what's that to us?
Didn't he and Rebecca communicate? The Medrash says that they, too, were from different generations!
What is it that makes inter-generation understanding so confused - is it
The times that seem to change so much or fast, or
Is it that we forget we were once children and
Needed to learn so much in order to fit in, and
Have a comfort zone, and
Succeed socially and economically?
Two things here in the Portion become obvious:
Parents are supposed to communicate with one another, and
Children need communication too.
And ancient times seem not so different from us today!
Do you communicate with children?
How about your parents - and - those that came before?
Is "Kaddish" the only connection between "Western" Jews and generations gone by?
There is a beautiful prayer in the Sephardic morning service
Portraying how Rabbi Shimon (of the  Zohar).  "Says, as speaking to the Almihgty AND
To our forefathers and foremothers:
(And is responded to by
 the shechina (spirit)
And  the Almighty)
"Arise those who are sleeping in Hebron....
You who are with the Shechina - the Holiness of the Almighty.. "
Were our ancestors so much closer to  G-d and G-dly Spirit?
Or are we to learn from this prayer 
How to call to them 
To waken in ourselves
The Shichina - and closeness to the Almighty?
Shouldn't we all in our souls call out to our Jewish Roots
And our Connection to Holiness?
Especially on Shabbat
Don't be "blind" to the competition between Jacob and Esau -Esav
What did the holy parents Isaac and Rebecca think about the life styles of the children
How could they have better kept the family - and the connection of humanity-
closer together...
and us?
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion of Vayeirah – and it appeared to Abraham (after the Bris-es in his household:

Portion of Vayeirah – and it appeared to Abraham (after the Bris-es in his household:

Back to normal after the party – right?
But NOT after minor surgery – right?
Yet here is Abraham in the desert looking to invite 3 little heathens into his home …

From Rabbi Moshe Tzv Nerya OB"M (thanks to his son Zev):

Abraham loved the world and all its inhabitants as the Almighty loves them – BECAUSE of the GOOD they are DESTINED to ACCOMPLISH – and that's how he SEES THEM –
Little angels or little heathens – ALL part of the Almighty's plan.
From the thoughts of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: "and it APPEARED to Abraham …
that there were three people walking in the desert – "

Yet when he invites them for a meal and to rest a little bit "by him" – they show to be angels, 
and bless him and Sarah with a child Isaac (who WILL bring laughter to the WORLD),

And they save Lot, and his daughters, who will EVENTUALLY bring birth to King David- (and LATER ON the Jewish Moshiach who WILL BRING ABOUT the Almighty's redemption-)

All this for just a few matzos, hamburgers, a seat in the shade …!

SO REMEMBER THIS WEEK – the anniversary of Rabbi Shlomo's passing – when we read
This week's Torah portion-
What we REALLY can leave for the world!

Shabbat Shalom from Israel
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion chayei Sarah - but Purim ain't for another 4 months- so who is "In the Clutches of ....."

Portion chayei Sarah - but Purim ain't for another 4 months- so who is "In the Clutches of ....."
This week in the portion writes about Sara bein buried in Hebron and it says
"She lived
100 years and
20 years and
7 years.
So what? The last 50 years she spent with Abraham but being taken captive by Pharoah -
and worse, by the lecherous King Avimelech!
Rashi explains that at 100 years she was beautiful like at 20
and at 20 as modest as a child of 7 -
Free from sin as a child!
But she was in the clutches of Middle Eastern tyrants - 
Until the Almihhty appeared to warn Avimelech
and finally she was no longer in danger
The opposite numerology lesson is recorded in Megilat Esther -
7 and
20 and
100 Vassal States and their rulers.
Is tbeŕ any connection in those numbers?
A friend pointed out that the modesty of \Sarah
Is the message in the Megila - the lesson for all Jewish Children of Abraham and Sarah
Esther is in the clutches of a drunken tyrant king - Ahashverosh -
But Esther's purity and wisdom TOTALLY WOW him -
and King Achashverosh offers Esther "half my kingdom"
But she doesn"bite"!
In the end Esther and Mordechai rule it all! The 127 states ...
And the Temple in Jerusalem gets re-built because of them
For over 400 years it stands ...until - well - there are other teachings for later on.
Shabat Shalom and Health
And Thank You All!!!
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz 

Porton MeeKatz The Maccabbees win it in he Ninth!

It was the world series of wars in the middle east
And to borow from Rabbi Beryl Wein
The Maccabees combined consistency with creativity
Beat he Greek warmongers and left the Egyptians far behind
Created a legacy of Holiness Despite Critics and Malingerers
Fought the Rabbis but gave them Respect and Room
To Forge the Mishna
ReDedicate the Temple
Teach the timeless Tora
And Save the Sabbafh
So lets celebrate
Make Kidush Lashem
Catch the rhyhm of Shabbat
Love and Shabos from Israel
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Vayera - From the Worst to the Best?

Portion Vayera - From the Worst to the Best?
The portion CONTRASTS the faithfulness of Abraham with the corruption and evil in Sodom,
where Abraham's nephew went to live.
Rabbi Neriya's (OB"M) book talking on this portion points out about the difference 
between "knowing G-d's Will" (to do) 
and knowing "G-d Knowledge" (on a spiritual plane). 
Here we have Abraham teaching the world not to perform human sacrifice to idols - 
And he is commanded to take his son and put him on the alter on the Temple Mount!
Maimonides was a Master of all that, - the difference between
G-d knowledge - and knowing what G-d's REAL WILL is - something Abraham had to learn.
The Torah Story teaches us that: It is something one learns ONLY by Faithfully Testing Oneself with 
the Commands of the Almighty (as written in the Torah)!
So ....  Not so many people are aware how the "Bal Haturim" (as he was called)
was also a truly great Master of all that.  
(He wrote the Arba Turim
which are the standard reference books of all rabbis and scholars to this very day).
Known as Rabbi Jacob ben Asher - he also wrote a commentary on the Torah, which shows his deep knowledge of the secrets of the Torah. 
In discussing the evilness of Sodom, he explained the use of the word "Poh" (here) "Where Lote the nephew lived"
he explained the numerical connection between POH - place of Evil, "85 gematria"
and the name BOAZ
Grandfather of King David
"Poh" from the story of anshei sedom
teaching G-d's will - is that OUR JOB - 
And bring forth redemption 
With the Boaz people of the world !
Shabat Shalom and Health to all
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion LechLecha : What was Abraham thinking?

Portion LechLecha : What was Abraham thinking?
How did Abraham and Sarah come to that conclusion?
This week Rabbi Jacobsen implied some good questions.
Is it really so difficult to recognize your life’s mission?  
Our traditions teach us that once Abraham as a kid started to connect with the Almighty
he never lost that focus. He knew his job was to teach the masses and get them away 
from corruption and idolatry.
But where did the Bris come in?
It  took time to realize this was a culmination of FIRST STAGE JUDAISM!
To paraphrase Rabbi Jacobsen:
keeping goals in sight is hard because we get distracted by
 struggleS for survival, which can easily even convince ourselves that we don’t need – or don’t have – a mission.
 The physical here and now becomes all that matters. 
Even people who are committed to discover their mission find it difficult to do so. Determination is vital; but something somehow seems to stand in the way between you and your mission.  
Something it is HARD TO FIGURE OUT how
MAYBE that's why it took a while for Abraham ... This whole Parsha
To connect to the Mitzvah. 
Today so many people say "I will circumcize - but have the doctor do it "-
but that is without making the blessing.
Get some blessing so
Give some blessing s
And have a great healthy Shabbat
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

What do you do with a Leper? Portion of Metzora

What do you do with a Leper? Portion of Metzora


What do you do with a Leper? Portion of Metzora 
Of course - you CURE them! 
And when it's time for them to return to the community - 
the Torah says "you take for them 2 birds ..." 

Later in the Portion Metzora - about other sacrifices - 
it says "They will take" - 

so the secret of the DIFFERENCE we can only learn from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (zatza"l) 

Who's more a leper to society than the people roaming the streets? 

One of the Rabbis of Manhattan once told me 
"Rabbi Shlomo took us on a tour of Riverside Park- 
at midnight last night- 
and he taught us how to do the Mitzva of Charity- 
we went around and talked with all the HOMELESS people 
sleeping in the park 

and gave them some money - 
but the most important was to talk with them" 

Because the Torah says "take for them 2 birds" 
the Kohen helps them in the process of returning to the community ... 

Let us all be a part of the redemption as we prepare for Passover 

Love and Shabbos from Israel 

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz


Portion Noah in the Times of Corona -Klal and Prot for the Whole World - What's That?

Portion Noah in the Times of Corona -Klal and Prot for the Whole World - What's That?
Klal means "in General" and Prot means "for the Individual"
Portion Noah is A Message for Today direct from the Almighty!
I just raised today's question "what's that" with one of my kids - asking
Why is the portion called Noah  -
and the First Portion - BeraySheet is NOT called "Portion Adam and Eve"?
And the next one is NOT  called Portion Abraham
And the last one is NOT called Portion Moses?
I just got an email from an intermarried couple - Jewish mother with a question
(and the father is a great guy I really like)
but I haven't heard from them in a while.
BuraySheet is to teach the Whole World - the KLAL -
and the Jews must Teach That -
that it must get
Closer to the Almighty to defeat the anti-G-d murderous virus!
By Holding and communicating with each other more closely
And Noah is to teach the world - YES EVERYONE - that
the Jews must Teach - That Each Individual (the Prot)
must get in there -And dance around the Almighty -
And follow - Torah and Mitzvos
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion BuRaySheet where Adam makes a Left Turn and Gets Everyone Lost!

Portion BuRaySheet where Adam makes a Left Turn and Gets Everyone Lost!
Greetings again from beautiful Jerusalem-
- could this  be the gateway to the
Garden of Eden of this weeks portion?
Ahhhh, we are Starting to read the Torah again from the first portion, and
While some rabbis promise blessings for the whole year from participating jn this
First Portion of the Year
Let's just Take it down a notch
And try to just learn some of life's lessons from the beautiful text
I will limit to one thought - but everyone can get a lot out of each teaching in the portion.
We read about how
"In the Creation" - like many things in Life - the
Good starts from some murky depths
BUT - it can start with one little spark - of LIGHT
We can all touch off the Light in the world
with adding little Spark of Kindness, or a Word of Light!
And the opposite?
I always wondered - Did the primordial snake come from
those very same depths (as the Spark of Light)?
Instead of giving a Word of Light to the new Residents in Eden
He makes as much murky trouble as he can 
Between Eve and Adam
Until Adam doesn't even know
what the Right Thing to Do  is! And they both get kicked out.
There are so many timely questions...
like - Where do viruses come from?
and how do some "paradise people" - like on Fiji and Samoa get "there"?
How did they know when to turn ledt or right to get to  paradise? And Us?
Take some INSPIRATION from the Torah hints-
thoughts for igniting renewal
and protecting each other - and thinking of getting back to the Garden.
Start Anew Each Day with some Light - for yourself and others
Avoid snakes
Thank the Almighty (instead of avoiding G-d)
for all those places or islands of refuge from daily difficulties
(And beware of floods in the future - like in next week's portion).
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portions of Shabbat and Simchat Torah - with Yizkor and Radzik Abdul Hader?

Portions of Shabbat and Simchat Torah - with Yizkor and Radzik Abdul Hader?
Interesting news today - brush fires because it's very hot here - and
"Remembering Dov Golan" on Israel. - who was a friend of Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir.
So - what's there to celebrate this Shabbat? Limited dancing with the Torah?
I have ALWAYS celebrated Shabbat and also Simchat Torah - from childhood.
Back in Manhattan 1975-98 or so - at the Carlebach Shul,
Simchat Torah day was prayers and dancing from morning to almost night...
Even though in Israel it is combined with "Yizkor (Remembering) Day - Shemini Atzeret".
It was also Neshana Carlrbach 's birthday - so we did
All day dancing ... and then as the sun was setting - birthday cake!
Is that all?
To keep this short and not hold anyone in suspense -
Dov Golan was none other than - Radzik Abdul Hader!
He was from the royal family of Algeria - who were taken over by the French colonialists.
He hated them, loved his brother Algerian Muslims - and the Jews!
Dov Golan in his later years always had a Mezuza on his door!
Radzik Abdul Hader worked as an Anti-French revolutionary - but in the end,
Dov Golan was a spy for Israel for many years. Bless his soul.
So does the Almightu have his ways ??? To protect the Jewish people?
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach gave out HOLY books to dance with on Simchat Torah.
First he would bless each person who would come up and promise:
to dance with the book at our celebration, AND
study from that book DURING THE YEAR!
He also blessed all the holy gentiles who helped the Jews -
but I don't know if he ever met Dov Golan!
There is so much to learn each week from the Torah reading,
and this week should not be just a sad "memorial look back".
We read the end portion in the Torah - and then start again from the FIRST PORTION -
BeRaySheet - meaning "in the beginning".
So remember to read a little Torah
dance a little jig every so often on the weekend
thank the Almighty for all those holy messengers he sends us - Jewish and other -
and - as my Doctor friend (thanks WW) I bumped into when I snuck out a little to pray this morning told me,
the famous   Chatam Sofer (1769-1832?)  
predicted this coming year would be a much better upcoming year than the last.
We never know how it happens - BUT TRUST IN THE ALMIGHTY- he has ways! 
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz