Parashat Hashavua

Portion Aykev in the Park Hotel

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the portion says "if It happens that you will listen.  (To my commandments)

 

So how was it that

many years ago

One Passover night - while fulfilling the SEDER commandments

 

A few naval Arabs floated in to where we are praying now

and

Killed families

And children?

 

You shouldn't know from this here now -

 let's hope for the future,

 but we need to understand....

 

Evil ... The Kabbalists call it " the Primordial Snake "

 

Cursed in the Garden of Eden to be our enemy ... for "tripping us up".

 

The Kabalists say "the snake" (or its surrogates)

 weasels into our minds that

 

We should demean some commandments ... And 

that leads to eventually dropping them all!

 

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach says,

 

We Jews fight the Snake - but how?

We do it with Simcha! Doing even LITTLE mitzvas with JOY!

 

Especially stuff that "doesn't look important" - 

do it for the Almighty with JOY!

Do it for the Shabbos - with JOY!

 

Say gutt shabbos to 10 people this week -B Simcha - with JOY!

 

Shabbat Shalom

 

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

 

 

Portion VaEtChaNan : Praying at Dawn

Portion VaEtChaNan : Praying at Dawn
 
 
For the last 2 days I have had to pray in a Texas motel and the Miami airport and
 
Make a Minyan on the plane returning to Israel.
 
Yes - just to see my new granddaughter in Texas - a lot of work
But worth it,
 
And
Yes - there are many rules about praying
 
And there are traditions 
 
BUT in The Traditions some Questions exists :
 
Especially given all modern distractions!
 
So
when is it best to pray and where?
 
We read in portion Balak a few Weeks ago that
The evil prophet
 
Bilam felt he knew when and how to pray to curse the Israelites!
(we were saved because the Almighty changed his curses to blessings).
 
Is it possible he "Knew" when to pray
BUT
Moses did not?
 
Classic Judaism has us start with Blessings right when we 
Wake up ...
 
Hassidic tradition on the other hand,
Has said 
To begin just when I'm ready...
Praying a bit to prepare for the Formal Prayers
 
And what constitutes "Prayer"
 versus tefilin and or talit or Minyans ?
 
So was Moses' prayer heard and
Answered - or delayed or denied?
 
My untraditional thoughts are Based on the Commentaries,
That Moshe Rabaynu our teacher
WAS TEACHING IN THIS PORTION
 
That a Jew Must Pray
(But Not depend on their "desired outcome"
 
Because Prayer Bring Us Closer to Hashem,
And Closer to All the Divine Attributes.
 
Blessings of the Divine to All.
 
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Devarim - Tisha B'Av - burning Jews in England - or California?

Portion Devarim - Tisha B'Av - burning Jews in England - or California?
 
 
You know black Africans s would Never burn Jews like the English 
and many others - did.
See below the "apology" (or half apology) of the Anglican Chuch
 
Tisha Bav was the date of the 
 
Spanish  inquisitiin ...which burned Jews even in south America.
 
But not in Italy!
And not in Africa!
 
I will tell you why:
 
Take the case of my cousin who was in England and met the head of the Ugandan Aviation Administration
 
 
She sent him to me where he spent a Shabbat in my home in Brooklyn.
Afterwards he told me he was amazed by the respect my little children showed him.
He said in England children were afraid of him because he was Black.
 
As it turned out - he was born into a Ugandan tribe that practices a form of Judaism!
 
My cousin was probably about 102 when she passed away yesterday (Wednesday)
 
She had many merits but most people don't know this story how she brought Black Africans closer to respecting the Jewish people!
 
Read the below blurb - also from Wednesday - on the Church of England, from Honest Reporting
 
More important - fast Sunday and ALSO celebrate (Sunday Night) -
because Tisha Bav represents the destruction of our Jerusalem Temple-
but NOT the destruction of the Jewish energy respect and dedication to 
FIXING THE WORLD!
 
(including - trying to fix the hatred,
and remind the world about how crazy regimes are worse than "climate change",
because they can lead to IMMEDIATE holocausts and nuclear war)
 
 
So why not apologize for bother stuff besides the below:
 

After 800 years, the Church of England has announced that it will formally apologize for adopting antisemitic laws that directly led to the expulsion of British Jews in 1290.

“The phrase ‘better late than never’ is truly appropriate here,” said Dave Rich, the policy director of a British antisemitism watchdog group, adding: “The historic trauma of medieval English antisemitism can never be erased and its legacy survives today — for example, through the persistence of the ‘blood libel’ allegation that was invented in this country.”

This is one of multiple steps taken by the Church of England to improve relations with British Jews in the past few years. In 2019, it emphasized the value of the Christian-Jewish relationship, recognizing that centuries of Christian antisemitism in Europe paved the way for the Holocaust.

The formal “act of repentance” is set to take place in 2022 on the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford, an array of laws that restricted Jewish rights in England and required them to wear a “badge of shame.”
 
WHO CARES?
 
WHAT ABOUT BURNING THE JEWS OF TROY IN THEIR SYNAGOGUE before "the expulsion"!
 
WHAT ABOUT NOT TAKING IN JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST (JUST 1000 JEWISH CHILDREN)
 
What about giving weapons and leaders to help Arabs conquer and murder Jews in Israel - 1929-1949?
 
May this be the last Tisha Bav we need to fast TO WAKE UP THE WORLD!
 
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
 
 

Portion - Matos Maasei: Did you ever Pass a Rainstorm in a Desert?

Portion - Matos Maasei:  Did you ever Pass a Rainstorm in a Desert?
 
 
I started to write about this week's portion yesterday - including the 42 
stops by the Israelites on their journey coming from Egypt to Israel.
 
I was thinking how it must have been boring in the Desert for 40 years.
THEN
I remembered driving from LA to Las Vegas - and being confused by a cloud -
UNTIL when my car got up close
 
I realized it was raining - and it started pouring on my car - for about 2 minutes ...
a wet - but beautiful phenomenon!
 
But this morning - I just walked 3 miles in a hurricane before dawn to come pray here (in Staten Island)
 
And I was fine until ten minutes out from the synagogue when
 there was no way to avoid the puddles and the splashing cars - so I got soaked.
 
But I remembered Florida and a previous hurricane;
The state was shut down on a Friday while my plane was flying into Miami ... but the state had some busses to get us to town.
 
I RAN to find a hotel and a grocery store,
Bought food for Shabbat
and
Invited a couple of young Israelis who I met in the grocery store.
 
The canals were rising, things were all closing, and I was in a dilemma-
Should I go to Shul Friday night or not? 
Should I be "Stubborn for G-d" or Sane for G-d's Sake?
 
I figured SOMEBODY had to pray - so I got directions to the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in South Beach
and started walking those 3 or 4 miles...
 
The water in the street literally was up above my waist
people shouted from buildings on the street
"Come Up Here or
The alligators will get you! But I (foolishly?) smiled and waived and kept going.
 
Of course the yeshiva building was locked, and the students had been evacuated.
On the walk back the waters had subsided a lot,
 
But I knew I had done something the Almighty would have wanted me to do ...
as one of the 42 steps on my journey (everyone has their journey)
 through "the wilderness"...
to the Land of Israel
 
Chazak V Ematz - be strong and courageous - we say this week at the end of the Torah Portion.
 
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Pinchas - who counts after catastrophes? The Daughters?

 
Portion Pinchas - who counts after catastrophes? The Daughters?
 
After 40 years of wandering and worrying - and after all the "elders" had passed on.
 
The Almighty has Moshe and Eliezer COUNT THE TROOPS - but NOT the WOMEN-
so who "counts"?
 
Actually not all the elder women passed on in the desert - it was the men who were always 
complaining and causing trouble ... maybe for good reasons - but in a bad way,
and the Almighty had "enough with them" after the spies complained about Israel
 
Okay - was their survival the only blessing the women received?
 
So in the portion
right between the "counting of the troops"
and the "ordering of the Holiday sacrifices - the Korbanote" at the end of the portion
 
5 women speak up AND The Almighty CHANGES JEWISH LAW FOREVER!
the daughters of Zelafchad ask for portions in the Land of Israel
and the Almighty tells Moshe - they are correct - and should inherit
 
Okay - and what's that to us today?
 
The women speaking up in the middle of Moses  teaching Laws of Inheritances
 
can show us it's never too late to turn your life around - as per a
 
Torah thought from Rebbe Nachman of Breslav
As extended by my perhaps limited understanding (AE)
 
So those entering the Land of Israel become A
Different Generation - and even if  for 40 years not everything went smoothly -
EVEN THE MEN got it right - and worked together with Joshua for 14 years
to deal with the local inhabitants -until Israel was firmly settled - 3000 years ago
 
(based on section 31 of  likutay moharan)
 
Shabat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Balak2021 – What's the Worry for the Wizzard? Anti Semitism Today

 
 
 Portion Balak2021 – What's the Worry for the Wizzard? Anti Semitism Today

In Portion Balak there is a "Talking Donkey" and it's Master – the Worrisome Wizzard (Bilam)

There is the Crazy King (Balak) who dreams he is really Grass being Eaten by an Ox – so on "advisement", he sends women –missionaries to convert the Israelites to Idolatry. Smart?

Where is the Relevance for Today? Read the Torah Portion - AND

Just read the  Israel Today Newspaper about anti-Semitism!

And see the INN article about the dead missionary buried as an Ultra-Orthodox person!

The paper quoted a British foreign minister – speaking on Anti Semitism thru the ages  

And the butcher of Teheran as - Iran's new President!                    

WHY Couldn't Balak just be like Edom and just ask the Israelites "not to enter our Land"?

Or even JUST SELL WATER TO THE JEWS as Moses asked all the nations (in today's Jordan)?

The foreign minister recapped the ancient Greek anti Semitism thru 2000 years to Germany, up to current Arab Anti-Semitism.

So who is the Talking Donkey today? Is she (yes, in the portion it is a female donkey)  Iranian or European – or in the West? Or the Missionary woman buried a few months ago in Israel because she "operated" for years dressed as an Ultra Orthodox woman!(Currently there is an outcry to move her …)

 Did he have an IRRATIONAL FEAR and HATRED fanned by EVIL ADVISORS?

Why didn't ALL the Canaanites make peace with the Israelites who left Egypt? (some 

 Did!

 

 

I just had a granddaughter born and its almost shabbat

 

 

Hooray

 

Why can't the world get it?

Who actually reads the writing on the wall"?

 
 
 
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi A

Portion Chukat - the Cow the Calf and the Tree

Portion Chukat - the Cow the Calf and the Tree
 
Anything in Common?  Approaches to Holiness?

From the Portion we see that
The Holiness of the Temple is maintained by laws restricting access from people in contact with the deceased , or dead animals considered Tamay - ritually detracting.

Yom Kippur Holiness is included Temple rituals to reinforce the above rules,
And
Year long maintenance of Ritual Purity was mostly related to rules of the Red Heiffer (from this Portion) with the implication that 

"the COW's ashes were TO expiate for sinning at the Golden CALF" -
and other missed opportunities-
 to maintain a Holy lifestyle after the Exodus from Egypt.

These thoughts are Based on the Talmud .
 
In a parable by Rebbe Bachman of Breslav
(Maybe a totally different approach to maintaining Holiness)

Many birds and animals find shelter in tree

but then they start to argue.
 
Isn't that life? Never satisfied?
Its not birds and animmals, its about us!

So THE TREE DISAPPEARS! Where did it go?

In life - who gets what place? What's left after arguments?

Soon after, then the Holy Wise Man appears, and explains 

Because
"space" (in the shelter of the tree?) 
 is down here;
 
but PEACE AND TRUTH ARE IN HEAVEN -
 
so he tells the animals (the people) 
just LOOK UP AND SEE STRAIGHT!
And you will see the tree! (The tree of Life from the Garden of Eden?)

In a simply direct HUMAN way,

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach taught (a little with my extending his deep words - sent from Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo)

"Let me ask you friends, when a person G-d forbid gets defiled by a dead body, how does he purify himself? 
Okay/ The Red Heiffer! What's that?


In a nutshell, death is when there is no one to receive what I want to give you. Imagine you pour out your heart to somebody, you want to say something so beautiful, 
and you see after the whole thing is over, they didn’t hear what you said.
 
 It’s like a feeling of death. We are defiled by contact "with death"/
 
A Yiddele doesn't have to say so much. He has to listen well. 
This is real receiving. This is life.
 
(So what of the Red Heiffer healing the Golden Calf?)
 
So friends, do you know what happened at Mount Sinai? Moshe Rabbeinu brought down the Torah from heaven. Who was the first person to receive the Torah? The Medrash says that when Moshe Rabbeinu came down from Heaven, the first person he gave the Torah over to was the high priest Ahron Hakohen.
 
And what is the High Priest all about?
The high priest is a person who has the vessels, and gives us vessels to receive the Torah.

To have vessels to receive and give them over to someone else... both together. 
 
Do you know how much purity AND LIFE this brings down to the world? 

I bless you and me that when you give over, there is always someone ready to receive it, and may it be received with such LIFE GIVING purity .

Good Shabbos!"



Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Korach - the 30 Day Wonder

Portion Korach - the 30 Day Wonder
 
 
This portion holds a direct warning -and promise - to the current Israeli politic about what can happen when politicians fight over positioning
 
Some people get burned (like those who tried to offer incencmse outside tge Temple rules.)
 
And here this week - Arabs set fires all around especially in Jerusalem forests. Direct prophetic result?
 
Etc.
 
But also and mostly unnoticed
 
Were all the traffic jams around Jerusalem!
 
We should have known something was up, 'with all those backhoes Stopping Traffic!
 
Why I Almost missed the Pidyon Haben in Ramot!
 
And theres the rub, as Shakespeare would have said.
 
The portion tells us,
 
A baby - a firstborn - opening up such new vistas for a family-
So that a deal of 5 shekels must be made
With the holy Teacher Priests, just 
 
As written in this weeks Portion,
And I witnessed this tradition in Ramot
 
And I bless the family
And all of us,
And especially Baby Yishai
To keep making our traditions beautiful.
 
And the archaeology egg story this week!
 
israel news announced 
That a site in Yavneh ,
Found an ancient industrial area from the late Byzantine era.
 
And there they found 
 a 1000 year old whole chicken egg -preserved!
 
Probably not
 
 An omen for rejuvenation rebirth and renewal when the new Israeli government is sworn in on Sunday
 
But maybe a challenge to preserve Israel for the next thousand years?
 
 
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
תשובהתשובה לכולםהעברה

Portion Shelach - Send out the 12 Big Shots and - Uh Oh!

Portion Shelach - Send out the 12 Big Shots and - Uh Oh!
 
 
What's the reason Moses had to send 12 spies to see where the Israelites were headed?
 
And why the whole "12 Tribes" history, anyway - it only caused trouble for 1000 years - from Joseph until the First Temple was destroyed !
 
Too big questions to answer , one might think? Not At All! Just Look At Today!
 
The whole 12 Tribe Saga is obviously for Teaching the World Today:
 
That the Israel Story is what the World Needs Today-
 
Like Israel accepted 163 Indian "Bnei Menashe ("Jewish Wannabees" ) yesterday 
(Read the Israeli news story),
AND
Is expecting another couple of thousand Ethiopians soon
And
That the country has "ingathered the exiles" since 1948 (actually for 2000 years)-
Just  as written in the prophecies.
 
WHY? Because From the beginning of time we Israelites struggle to UNITE
 
While the rest of the world is lost in greedy battles and
Hatred -
 like yesterdays news of Arab girls cursing
And trying to drown 2 eleven year old  Jewsh girls -
 at the municipal pool in Lod!
They were saved when someone called the police.
 
Like Arab liars saying "King David was a Moslem"!
Like saying "There was no Holy Temple in Jerusalem!
And their hating followers want to believe them!
 
So Moses sent 12 different "leaders" as speis - OIY!
They could have agreed to say a few nice thing!
 
ButAnd those spies came vack
With
Lies - 
 
was it fear or jealousy or what hatred
And where did it get them?
 
40 years' punishment -wandering in the desert.
 
Reb Shlomo Carlebach said - the Almighty showed the 12 "leaders"
 
(did they have twitter followings?) 
 
the Land of the Semites - the forebears of Abraham -
 
and they had nothing good to say -
 
But I had coffee this morning just looking out on the beautiful Judean desert - and had to call a couple of friends to say
 
"I can almost see your house from here"!
 
Joy - is coffee in the morning,
with a roll from my daughter,
sharing a beautiful thought to a friend,
 
and reading about 2 Commandments in the Portion -
 
Chalah-Making for all our Wonderful Women
 
and Tzitzis shirts to remind us regular guys that we are ALL
 
connected to the Almighty!
 
So may the world remember!!!!
 
Shabbat Shalom and Health 
 
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
 

Portion Beha'alotcha - - Of Watermelon Garlic and Onion

Portion Beha'alotcha - - Of Watermelon Garlic and Onion
 
It starts eloquently,
 with directing Aron the High Priest
In lighting the Lamp of the Tabernacle in the desert ...
 and in all subsequent Great Temples
 
So let me ask ...
How is it that we often start out in life so eloquently,
 in search of
A little meaning to life and a little light,
 
And then our lìves become a search for mere
Portions of vegetables and meat?
Just
As in this week's Portion 
Where the goal of the freed people going to Canaan
 
degenerates
To a Lowest Common Denominator,
Just
Demands for food the Israelites and the converts remembered they had in Egypt!
 
But Thankfully
 in the middle of the portion
 the Almighty teaches us how to
Journey in the Desert
 
With the verses we use in prayer
As
Opening the Ark we sing
 
Vayehi Binsoa HaAron - "And when the Ark (with the 10 Commandments) journeyed...
(as we journey through life)
 
And Rabbi Shlomo   Carlebach  ...  who with song and story ...
Showed and Taught how to be
Opening our hearts to  sing -  as King David Wrote 3000 years ago
 
Real Peace for our brothers and friends - (not for the violent attackers who really have a lot to learn)!
 
Shabbat Shalom  and Health and Success  and Joy

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Writing at dawn from the beautiful Judean Mountains outside of Jerusalem