- קטגוריה: Parashat Hashavua
- פורסם ברביעי, 02 דצמבר 2020 17:35
- נכתב על ידי Super User
- כניסות: 409
who I used to pray with in that synagogue..
as the people of G-d.
It's been a few months that the world is buckling under the fear and the effects of Covid 19 virus.
Israel had it beat for a while – until the "new coalition" took over and now there are twice as many ministers getting half the decisions made, and with a quarter of the success in the results!
Is America reeling from the demonstrations just as statues topple?
Let us "all"
Everywhere someone was watching to see what the Jews of Moscow were going to do that holiday. And yet here a chubby Rabbi had gotten away from them! How could they have missed him? So they went after him – just like in my dream.
Every few blocks, though, as they walked quietly, a couple more students and Jewish Refuseniks snuck into the purposeful group. The word was out: the Dancing Rabbi (Rebbe Hameraked, as he was called in Israel) was here to be with them! These young Jews were afraid to enter a synagogue. So why were they not afraid to "grab" the Rabbi away from the Communists, and accompany Reb Shlomo on his walk to Shul?
Everyone wanted a word with the Rabbi who braved the Cold War to visit them! Each one tried to get his attention with a few words of broken English – or Hebrew! In the West we heard that the young people would sometimes congregate outside the main Moscow synagogue. They might even dance a little – but they would never go in.
Some of the young people with Rabbi C. that night looked around and also looked up from the street - every couple of minutes. Uh Oh!
Who were those people watching from the rooftops? Were they checking to see who might dare enter the Moscow synagogue where the group was headed? Were they taking pictures of "dissidents"? Or was it worse? Who knows what goes on in Russia or China or North Korea. Even in Argentina I am told "people sometimes disappear".
At one point Reb Shlomo looked up too. He saw soldiers on the rooftops. There were weapons pointing at the little group. The soldiers were watching THEM.
"Everyone knows, Everyone Knows" Reb Shlomo used to say sometimes. "Everyone knows, Everyone Knows:" that crowds were not allowed under communism unless "approved"- that is - approved "by the (Communist) party".
This little walk to shul was an unauthorized procession and a dangerous gathering – and a provocation! There were all sorts of reasons for the Soviet authorities to detain people. That's the main reason most Russian Jews would never dare to set foot in a synagogue or even talk about being Jewish in public. Why get accused, arrested, abused or - sent away? That night was different, Rabbi Carlebach told us. Maybe it was the spirit of Simchat Torah? Maybe it was Love of Israel?
Young Jews were already outside the synagogue. They believed their fate was with the Land and People of Israel. Some times they’d gather outside local synagogues, to meet and to support one another, and maybe to learn a little Hebrew?
This small group walking with Rabbi C. down below the spying roofs risked the soldiers' scrutiny or maybe worse, just to hear a few words from a great man like Reb Shlomo. No one knew what might happen if they stayed with him after spotting the soldiers. Still, nobody left the group. And then something happened.
Reb Shlomo stopped in his tracks – and everyone stopped with him. He looked up at the angry faces of the soldiers. "Why are they angry?" he thought to himself.
Everyone with him looked up too, but in trepidation. Then, still looking up, Reb Shlomo broke into a big smile! He turned his head from side to side – smiling up! He smiled at them from one side of the street to the other side's rooftops. AND WHAT A SMILE HE ALWAYS HAD. His smile was ALWAYS a beam of LIGHT!
The soldiers looked back down from the rooftops in amazement. Then Reb Shlomo waved to the soldiers! Smiling and waving were not in their script, or their orders.
The soldiers' frowns melted in a minute! They smiled back to him, and waved back!
Still unsure of themselves, the students with Reb Shlomo also started to wave and smile to the young Russian soldiers up on the rooftops.
Then the soldiers smiled and waved back to them too! And after a minute the soldiers put their guns down and they just kept waving and smiling! After all – they were the same age as the group on the street. They all had the same backgrounds in Mother Russia, so why point guns?
Weren't they all ONE?
Aren't we all "One" – the unity of all with G-d? Isn't that the reason we are all here – and the greatest challenge to us and all mankind – to be together with each other?
After some moments the group went on walking to meet others who were already outside the Great Moscow Synagogue. And they danced and sang outside that synagogue for hours.
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz (in Israel) - 17th of Tamuz - fast of the Breaking down the Walls of Jerusalem
One of my Staten Island friends recently became a bit upset. He met a convert to Judaism who claimed that the Torah is not an important part of Judaism.
So what did that person mean? I had met the same person. They had "converted" to marry a Jew, but really knew almost nothing at all about our "3300" or so years of our people's connection to the Almighty, or even our Jewish history or heritage.
One Orthodox Rabbi in his yeshiva class said years ago "that to learn (and to teach) how to do the Many Mitzvas Today you sometimes have to learn "where to cut corners". But with ANY LIVING THING you can't cut out the heart! Thousands of years of Torah Learning is what kept our people and keeps our people united (even if there have been many arguments in our history).
Matza balls and bagels in Jewish culture is not Judaism and don't make for survival (Sephardic Jews don't usually even eat those). Jewish "culture" can be ALL the fun or traditional folkways that Ashkenazi and Sephardi people adapted wherever they lived – but "man (and woman) does not survive (for long) on bagels alone". Even this week's Portion Chukat as well as the previous weeks, mention Israelites in the desert complaining - EVEN about the "MANNA from Heaven"(better tasting than most bagels) that they subsisted on (without having to work for it) for 40 years.
Most sages have interpreted that as "rules too mystical to understand". But in his own amazing way, the Maharal of Prague – that great mystical commentator on the Torah says a most UN-mystical thing:
The portion can be looked at as "Din" or "Choke" – even with its strange practice of the Red Heifer Ashes and the Practice of Purity surrounding the Holy Tabernacle in the desert – and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem – and THE WHOLE WORLD. WHY?.
According to the Maharal in Judaism WE LIVE AND LEARN (and are supposed to TEACH) "Din=Justice" – through – and along with the centrality of the Tabernacle/Temple rituals..
The Red Heifer rules in the portion are followed by the Israelite Rituals Related to Death – "Adam key yamut ...kol nogay ba etzem"
. Death and Temple must be separated – because each has a different sanctity. THAT IS OUR TORAH TEACHING from the first Aliyah in this week's portion (in Israel).Holiness practice is our Objective Heritage even today.
However today in the US people burn cultural symbols – and then attack synagogues that have never had anything to do with racial discrimination! As The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported, just about a week ago a fountain dedicated to the memory of holocaust victims was destroyed in a local memorial park.
That is not an attack on bagels – that is an attack on Sanctity and Humanity – of the Torah and of all people of good faith.
Don't forget those medical front liners – but WE JEWS ARE ALL SPIRITUAL FRONT LINERS! Heal the Hatred!
A kind word AND SOME TORAH - pack a powerful spiritual TORAH healing greater than bagels and matza balls!
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
Portion SheLach Anashim (great people) in Israel – A little Kabala for great people
Shakespeare wrote " All the world's a stage - and all the men and women merely players...
The Torah implies (and it rhymes with the above)
It was a commandment for them to spy - Moses sent them.
They missed it - the point - and messed up.
The Kabbala implies that we can defeat false ideas by making all our actions and words focused on the positive methods above.
Reb Shlomo Carlebach taught that:
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz (in Israel)
Not to sound too Kabbalistic BUT – this Shabbat should SPIRITUALLY “blow everyone’s mind”! Why?
In Israel we read the portion with its name meaning “Raising you UP” (Baha Alote cha);
In Diasspora (everywhere else) – we read Naso – from the root meaning “pick up - the BURDEN”.
Wherever you are, you need to try to connect to the Torah, to be insulated from worldly problems. It works!
In the Israel portion there is so much to learn from! And it takes you “on a journey” away from all the talk about corona corona corona – statistics and statistics – issues and issues.
I bring here just a little idea about RELATIVE CONTEXT.
(NO – NOT ABOUT THE in-laws ) – but about WHERE are YOU? Are you – raising up – or feeling the burden?
In this week’s portion it says 3 times in the fourth Aliyah (of seven): That the Israelites in the desert “camped by word of the L-rd” and “journeyed onward” by word of the L-rd”.
An idea from one of the teachers where I pray was expressed thusly:
Imagine a tiny child being held by it’s mother, what will be the answer if you ask “where are you”?
The answer will be “I’m with Mommy”. If you are in a store, in a playground, going on a bus, the answer from a child held by the mother has got to be, “I’m with Mommy”.
Wherever the Israelites traveled those 40 years in the desert – they were around the Tabernacle, and protected by the Almighty.
So too, this week's Israel portion teaches us to feel the protection – not the burden – of being near the Tabernacle and near the Almighty. And to raise up the spirits of others – even if sometimes we think it is a burden.
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz