Parashat Hashavua

Portion Nitzavim Vayelech pre RoshHashono

 Portion Nitzavim Vayelech pre RoshHashono 
This week we have another double portion-
Helping this Shabbat in getting us to the end of the old year  ,
And the beginning of a new one.
What can we take away from the last year - different from previous years?
Nitzavim means standing and looking:
Looking Down or Back?
 Vayelech means Going-
Going Straight? Or getting lost?
How can we uses these ideas as tools? Everyone has their focus.
Is our focus on starting he Head of the Year Rosh Hashono  - with a new frame of reference?
Isnt it easier just to do same old same old? -
It's never too late to learn new ways
How do we look down or look Back - and then go on? 
Hopefully with a new perspective!
We all want to live "better ... and longer..."
Learning new concepts whenever we can - helps.
Here is one from the portion: 
We are all in this together. And it's good to help one another.
And here is 1 from the Rosh Hashono Traditions...
Which we can translate into life lessons - that we can share 
To good advantage?
Blowing shofar is a tradition - and a G-dly Commandment
The sounds penetrate Time and Space.
So should following all our traditions - and Commandments.
Extra doesn't mean better.
With the shofar we blast a few different notes-
 to cover all possible meanings from the Torah Words ordaining the Shofar Blasts
to start the year!
Call to renewing - the Traditions and commandments - in our lives.
Many blessings
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Ki Tavo - Soup to Nuts – or Knots?

Portion Ki Tavo - Soup to Nuts – or Knots?

Really ,now - What ties us into a "Rosh Hashono Mood"?"

The smells of " cooking Jewish"?

The thought of relatives to visit – or coming to visit us?

What sometimes leaves us with knots in our stomachs?

Who is thinking about waking up the world?

Sefardic Jews say Selichot prayers for 30 days before Rosh Hashono(some times at midnight but I often join in to share the tunes and the communal spirit and love at an evening service)

Ashkenazi Jews are blowing Shofars all month (not on Shabbat)  to wake up the world

So what will make the next 2 weeks meaningful for you –

Extra Spirit or Extra Family  Normalcy?

I would suggest the best and most healthy thing I know of: for the next 2 weeks -

at this stage already -why not just get up in the AM and sing a few minutes –

and maybe even dance a little happy jig - to be alive!

And One thought from this Portion – the beginning tells us to "offer first fruits" (each year)at the Holy Temple – and to be joyous.

Later in the Portion when discussing wars and destruction that can happen –

It says  - Tach at Asher lo avadta Bsimcha  -

Its what happens when we don't  worship the Almighty with JOY.


Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion: Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) - and 100 years of Daf Yomi

Portion: Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) - and 100 years of Daf Yomi
Idea of the week number 1.
100 years ago in Lublin the idea of Daf Yomi - all the world studyig the same page of Talmud each day - became accepted.
It takes a little over 7 years to review the whole Talmud (codified in Babylon 1500 years ago.). Thats called The Oral Tradition.
This Shabbat is the anniversary of starting that enterprise.
I have been following the routine over 30years. I - just wish I could remember all I have studied!
Imagine if every Jew studies  only one of the 613 Mitzvot in the Torah each day - 
they could review the whole WRITTEN Torah in less than 2 years1
Idea 2.
What does it mean in the portion by "key"? Ki?
There are a number of uses for that word.
But in the Kabbalah - 
written about this week by Rabbi Abergil (a scholar son of a great and renowned scholar/teacher )
He quotes Rabbi Ginsburg - from Tel Aviv-one of the great teachers and Kabbalists of our times -
who remarks that 22 of the 44 sections of our Portion start with the word "Key",
Hebrew letters 
which stands for 
Knesset Yisrael (Israel) - the people of Israel-
Who should Study This!
The Torah was Given for and to-
To share as our true inhèitance
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Aykev – When Did Moshe NOT Listen to the Almighty

Portion Aykev – When Did Moshe NOT Listen to the Almighty

Based on a talk by Rabbi Binyamin Miletsky on Radio Kol Chai 5 AM this morning.

What happened to all the pieces of the 2 Tablets of the Law that Moses threw down and broke?

And while this week's portion has the Almighty telling Moses – Moshe – "Write your own 2  Tablets and put them in an Ark " (out of respect),

The portion says that Moshe built the ark FIRST and afterwards chiseled the 2 New Tablets and THEN placed them the Ark he had made.Why didn't he follow orders exactly as he always did?

So the Medrash explains that Moshe felt badly after seeing all the broken pieces of the First Tablets lying on the ground, but when he was commanded to do the NEW tablets and an ARK  he understood that he needed to  build an ark for BOTH THE OLD AND THE SECOND TABLETS

And that would be the best way to fulfill ALL the words of the Almighty.

Let's Keep our Torah safe and always try to follow the will of G-d to do the best we can in this world


Shabbat  Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Devarim : How to Escape the Holy Temple' s Destruction (9 AV)

Portion Devarim : How to Escape the Holy Temple' s Destruction (9 AV)
Moses - Moshe - faced a lot of criticism in his long and rough life but
Here at the end of his days - in the next few -  portions he teaches
How to survive - how we survived - in the Holy Land for 800 years!
And then with less than 100 years' exile - living surrounded by antisemites - 
how to make it for another 400 years!
How? What can we see in what seems just a portion of historical review?
It's the Holiness at EACH STEP that Answers the Crises of the Time.
Ttowards the end of the portiòn - Moses reviews
 the Israelites'  tribulations in the desert and says -
THOSE OLD WARRIERS. PASSED ON (from the time of the Spies)
And then he writes about those waiting to enter Israel
he praises the Israelites
And finally towards the end of the portion
 he adds names of places the Israelites were conquering and hoping to live in
And Indeed the Names of most places hére in Isŕael 
are the same names given 3000 yeaŕs ago! Preserved despite all the nations who 
fought us and exiled us and moved populations into Israel
And Moshe says in the last sentence of the Portion
And to those words, I add, now a few days before Tisha B'Av
Don't be afraid TÒ CELEBRATE THE SHABBOS - that great gift
Shabbat Shalom - Shabbat of Chazon (of VISION)
Rabbì Andy Eichenholz

Double Portion Matos Masei. Double hot Weekend . doing right versus skirting the truth

Double Portion Matos Masei. Double hot Weekend . doing right versus skirting the truth

This week I was in the ER for breathing/oxygen issues.
I was pondering this Torah Portion Reading
Where our Israelite forebears stòod under
This same hot sun - preparing for battle

At least in the 1960's the Israeli tank soldiers
Had salt pills to help them survive the hèat!

ER to Me - I did my tests - no covid no pneumonia

(Also not a lot of oxygen...)

But there's more in the portion than conquering!

My old Yeshiva andCarlebach friend sent me (may he and his family be well):

Reb Shlomo Carlebach on Parshot Matos-Masai:

In this week's parsha, Matos, we read that when you make a neder (vow) and you didnt keep your vow, you can still fix it.

A person takes upon himself so many different things in a lifetime. Some I keep, and some (sadly) nebach I don't.
What happens if Chas Veshalom ( G-d forbid) I don’t keep my neder? Gevalt am I in bad spiritual shape.

So you see what the beauty of this parsha is? The Ribbono Shel Olam (Master Of The World) promises us there will always be : (real leaders) - Rashei Matos, heads of tribes, soul masters.
There will always be Rebbe’s in the world who are mamesh so desperate that you get back into (your spiritual) shape,
and you should be blessed to find them!
I see little people, water carriers, shoemakers, tailors and bakers whose children make it because of their parents, because their parents were really so desperate. They really wanted it with all their hearts

I”ll tell you what it is, What's the difference between a Rabbi and a Rebbe? .... It's like when you need directions on a journey, you drive into a gas station and they give you a map. But what happens to you if your car is broken? Does a map help?

A Rabbi is someone who fixes your car. But a Rebbe
Not only that, it's much deeper than all this. When I come into this gas station and my car is broken, a Rebbe, real true soul master says to me, “You know something, your car wasn't broken. You just didn't push the right buttons, but I'll teach you how to do it. “
If its a super soul master he says, “Obviously you don't know how to get there, I’ll go with you.”
Mamesh the highest!
Good Shabbos!

end of quote

Shlomo Ressler:_____________
Quotation of the week: "It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving."
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Did Bilam's donkey really talk? (As The Portion reports)

Did Bilam's donkey really talk? (As The Portion reports)

What's the difference between an historian and an archaeologist? Basically
Historians make up theories while
Archaeologists DIG up FACTS.

The facts often disprove the theories.

Just read the bible about: Kings and more Kings
And Wars and more wars and Wars - can you trust what it says? It seems that nothing ever changes.

BUT Historians for a long time have claimed that Israel/Judea were always backwater little countries
from the time of King David.

While the bible says King David was a conqueror!

Lately the remaining fortified walls of a few cities from David's time have been discovered and

that proves the Biblical version:
that Israel was a powerhouse-
building and expanding cities back even in the early Kingdom! This of course is fact-based - not conjecture.

So maybe the donkey could get Bilam to think! FACT?

Unfortunately historians often use theory to discredit what they don't want to believe from the Bible!

WE CANNOT PROVE that the donkey talked.

But its clear that the Israelite Nation is still great.

Proofs bear witness also to our allowing diverse ideas that Do not stop our developing nation even today.

Among our people debate always exists and even allows some fools to call to "war for democracy" -

Truth is : Such is the foolishness of a small group of
Pro Palestinian Israelis,
Hiding behind cute organization names,
Talking iñ rhetoric like Communists-
Like Putin-
Like all the anti-Jews that fund them.

It's Like biblical criticism - implying a view that we Israelites were just a bunch of wild tribes-
And still are. Both are false.

Else how did we defeat all those kings and countries?

They were not like Canaanites in small city states-
Israelite Kings defeated real kingdoms. Like-
Edom Moab Bashan Emori.

And David modernized them - and so did Hezekiah.

Now- What about the empires of Charles And of Putin?
What do they do for the world? Pomp and - WAR.

We outlasted all civilazations and have see the demise of other supposed "civilizations".

So why the talking donkey?

And what say the prophecies in this week's portion?

The nations are supposed bless the goodness of Israel.
Even the donkeys of the world.
And maybe we should also - just
All Bless the Goodness of Israel.

Shabbat Shalòm

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion What? On the way to Where? NY! "Land of Korach"

Portion What? On the way to Where? NY! "Land of Korach"
This week in NY we read the Toràh portion read LAST SHABBAT in Israel.
Ashkenazi men getting married have an Aliya to the Torah the week before their wedding 
While Sepharadi men have their Aliya the week AFTER.
Confusion? Some times it helps!
Before I left this morning I gave a gift to a young neighbor getting married next week
I would have liked to be at this "RomeoJuliet" like wedding
 but it is in Israel and I will be in Staten Island (if thè plane makes it pleáse G-d)
R-J like?
Yes the groom's parents had a few objections - but it is said that " G-d mixed up the world's nations during history
In order to protect the Jewish people",and
Maybe there are also little "issues" before weddings to
Protect Young Couples from some other unseen and more Satanic interferences!
I didnt know the groom - just the bride"s family
But my 15 year old recognized the guy's picture
As a major "influencer" for Jewish religious observance!
And  today - there are so many interferences with people who want to be close to G-dliness
Sort of Satanic interferences may I say? 
Last Shabbat I was studying things with a rabbi friend I hope to quote during the next 2 Shabbatot - especially about the joy of
Shabbat Shalom
Rabi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Shlach : Send a few (good) Men...?

Portion Shlach : Send a few (good) Men...?
Why did the Israelites in the desert
Cry so much?
And wasn't it the MEN who cried, 
Fearing the upcoming battles
With the Canaanites who had moved into Israel?
Rabeinu Bachya explained
(A thousand years ago)
That of our male forebears in the desert
After hearing the 10 (of 12) spies
Who Feared conquerring the land:
Some cried,
Some complained,
Some demanded new leaders (not Moses)
and returning to Egypt
Their punishment was that
They all died in the desert
(But their souls weŕe kept as part of the Soul of The people of Israel
Grandma was 12 in Iraq.
She was part of the Jewish Underground
Trying to save our people from
Arab pogroms
Last night her daughter asked what a 12 year old was doing in the Underground,
And she told us:
She was delivering kosher food
To the prison
Where Jewish prisoners were being tortured!
Thank G-d for brave Daughters of Israel!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion BeHa Alowt Cha - the Holy Sephardic Rabbis

Portion BeHa Alowt Cha - the Holy Sephardic Rabbis
Moses is told by the Almighty in this Portion to
Tell Aaron his brother that he is to daily light the menora in the temple
And our tradition teaches that
Through the Chashmonaim kings-his descendents
Our People Will light holy Chanuka menorahs to remember the Great Temple menora
Until the Holy Teple is rebuilt again ....
Now hear This Story  - it is from an IsraeliSephardic former army chaplain:
The island of Gerba - near Tunis -has a Jewish  community dating back to the first temple period from about
2700 years ago.
About 100 years ago 
Its rabbi visited Italy and was friendly with the Italian king - who got the Pope to give the rabbi accesss to the Vatican storerooms!
There the rabbi reported seeing all the Jewish Temple artifacts that were  stolen to Rome!
Heartbroken, the rabbi got sick
And died a week later! From
see ing all our Temple's glory stolen to the basement of the Vatican.
Another famous interpretation- teaching-
And from a very famous Iraqui chief Rabbi a hundrd years ago -
Who explained the Mishna in Talmud Shabbat 
Which says ... we are obliged before Shabbat
To say:
Hadliku et ha Ner"
Isartem - help the poor
Eravtem - bring peace to those around you
Light the light of Torah and G-dliness
Erev Shabbat - before Shabbat 
Before you leave the world.
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz