Parashat Hashavua

Portion Tzav – Chametz and Weight Loss

Portion Tzav – Chametz and Weight Loss
Why not
Lose your worries for 8 days - and even lose some weight?
Even Billionaires and Politicians have worries - and sometimes need to lose weight!

Here's news: of the big LOSS of the week – Izzy Englander settled his divorce case with his ex-wife for a Billion Dollars

Here's news: of the big GAIN of the week -  the Anarchists and Leftists temporarily halted judicial reforms which would have returned the court system to how it was balanced  until 20 years ago
(when the Chief Justice Barak decided judges could decide social issues and not just laws
 (taking power away from the Knesset).

 And the GREATEST news of TODAY, less than a week before Passover?

 My wonderful neighbor Devorah just had a baby a few minutes ago – starting her new family!
 A BIG GAIN for the WORLD!
So what do we gain from the Portion, and this Shabbat called "the Great Shabbos"?
All our family used to come to our house in the Bronx for Passover Seder.
We had a whole closet for special Passover dishes, and I would give up my bed so Grandpa could sleep there (I slept in the hall for the days that he came). Big Mitzva Gain for me!
And we all gain HISTORY and CULTURE from this portion Tzav:
In the hundreds of years when the Great Temple stood in Jerusalem,all-year-round
There was No Chametz allowed with the Temple Flour Offerings (they were mostly like matza-brei )
Erev Pesach (the day before the Seder) – it was
 "prepare the Bar-B-Cue" time in Jerusalem – and time to invite family and friends.

So what are we left with? Only a little matza? NO!

The Basic Idea Is:

Get ready to read the REAL STORY OF EXODUS from slavery to Israelite freedom

Isolate the pasta and cookies and get some Matza recipes, etc to EXIT OUT LIMITATIONS–

 Close or tape off that cabinet with the Chometz and contract with Rabbi A as agent to sell it

And practice "going out of your confined places to the freedom of the desert (not dessert) –
Exercise (physically) for 8 days:

 and exercise restraint for 8 days – and exercise your mind and your imagination for 8 days

From 11 AM erev passover  until 730 pm after passover ends

Blessings for a Happy and Healthy and Wonderful Passover 

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion VaYikRa - Calling to Moses in an Israeli Taxi ?

 Portion VaYikRa - Calling to Moses in an Israeli Taxi ?
In advice to students, theMishna
(From 1900 years ago)  in Pirkei Avot says ...
"sleep on the floor, eat your bread with salt and
"V chayei tzaar tichye"
Translated by most to mean 
"Learn to live with suffering" BUT
MY TEACHER Rabbi Carlebach (obm)
Translated it:
Those living with pain
So, 3400 years ago,
Did Moses sleep on the floor?
Did he just eat Matza with salt?
Why does The Almighty in this portion - call out
from the Tabernacle -
Calling out to Moses - about
Sacrificing to achieve Pennace!
But what sacrifices do we make today,
With no Holy Temple or High Priest?
Yesterday I helped deliver some Torah pamphlets
(I covered for a friend who is visiting his sick sister)
The Sephardic taxi driver - who has been prevented at times from working -
Said he is worried that the current demonstrations
are simply ruining normal lives - just
in order to overthrow the government
which 60% of the country elected!
So get this:
The last words one former (American) COA member 
said to me were:
I hate Netanyahu. 
Why? I know all the dirt too - but it's just politics!
Then he got sick in a couple of months - and then he died.
Still hating Netanyahu?
The taxi driver is a supporter of Netanyahu.
He asked me - why can't everyone just
Live and let live?
So the Almighty in this portion,
tells Moses - Moshe our Teacher -
Teach people self - sacrifice
Teach people to try for pennace - and peaceful co existance
Especially the leaders!
The Zohar in the portion says - Ego of (ALL) Leaders 
But we can ALL try to make this a little better world in every way we can.
And it's so so easy!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Vayakhel-Pekudei

This week we do a double Portion and add the reading for the "Month ...haChodesh" - but to keep on with a weekly themed idea:
In the Portion we review building of 
The Mishkan - a Temple in the Desert
Are building plans a holy theme?
Remember it's also built 
With all the wealth redeemed... when
Israel Left the Slavery of Egypt.
Did the Israelites ignore Amalekite threats or
Pharo's revenge desires and
7 Canaanite confederations - and Others-'
Hoping to destroy the people?
Was the Almighty trying to build something
OR to keep the nation's mind away from rebellion and
Towards a new way of religious spiritual ity?
Maybe the G-dly and Moses way- to protect the nation is
The Israelite Answer to a threatening world - that
Especially for the SOUL
and the portion teaches us also that
we ALL need to 
Contribute and Participate in that!
Maybe such building plans ARE holy.
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Teruma- Building the Temple and G-d's Chariot - Before Purim

Portion Teruma- Building the Temple and G-d's Chariot - Before Purim
Does the Almighty have a Throne?
On Yom Kipur we call it Kisei HaKavod
The Seat of Honor.
Does   the Almighty    have  a Chariot?
Something used to carry on
The Fight for the Good of All?
Portion Naso - means to Raise Up, and the
Commentators wrote that it means 
G-d wants to
Here's a Story told by a Toldos Aharon Hassid- Explained by Rabbi Ginsburg עמו"ש - a Lubavitcher Hassid.
A Gerrer Hassid told him that
 "The Imrei Emes (A Gerrer Hassid) 
said to me-when I asked him-
"Buy that car - but every  day you must
Use it to perform a Mitzva.
And now it's 12 years later,
and this car is sold as of tomorrow,
And every day I did at least one mitzva with
It and it never broke down!"
Quoted from Rabbi Ginsburg  .. with my slight variation.
And so we are all the Chariots of the Almighty! And also our VEHICLES.
we TRY to treat all with KAVOD HONOR
Blessings for
A New Month and a New Beginning to All!
SO  when 2 terrorists were asked to surrender on murder charges Wednesday,
Nearly 100 started shooting at Israeli troops. Is it a wonder that 11 terrorists were killed?
There never was a Palestine. And why?
Because the Hamas who rule Gaza
Steal construction materials meant for homes, and buildrockets to shoot at Jews.
While we all try to do Mitzvas
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Mishpatim : Why I Yelled at those Kids last night

Portion Mishpatim : Why I Yelled at those Kids last night

In this , the portion of Laws after sinai , we have
The only  revelation of a new religious life
in history where a whole people saw the revelation!
Undisputed for 3000 years.
So how does the portion start off? Proclaiming Greatness?
No. The First law  is 
to protect poor wrongdoers by having a family adoption
Most societies banish wrongdoers - especially poor ones.
Jewish law teaches rehabilitation.
So how is there hatred in Jewish society? Too too many groups and individuals hate!
Particularly because of Israeli political divides?
Or in general?
So last night while waiting for a bus,
About 20 kids aged 10 or 11 or so - 
Ultra Orthodox Kids - were attacking two policemen!
I told them to stop - actually yelled at them!
The policemen picked up one kid for harassing and threatening to throw stuff at them.
20 others started cursing.
I said they are protecting you!
Stop being idiots ... You started this now leave!
After a minute or two they all left
And the police let the kid go.
The Torah Teaches Us that
We Must Re Learn to make peace - not just look for
Someone to pick on.
At all levels.
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Beshalach : Between Chanuka (Goats) and Passover (Lambs)

Portion Beshalach : Between Chanuka (Goats) and Passover (Lambs)

So what is there "between" the two? PURIM (which is creeping up on us)

From the teachings on the Talmud by Yosef Chaim (the famous Iraqi chief rabbi) ... ...
In his book: Ben Yehoyada discussinge Talmud Pesachim ( page 57) :

the Royals argued ... Years after the Maccabees took over
(Chashmonai means "descended from the Maccabees")

The Maccabee King and Queen involved the Kohen Gadol - High Priest -
into their debate - On what is the best mèat - Goat or lamb!!!

(See in a minute why this is relevant to the portion this week)


The King felt - we need to be tough like goats
The Queen said- we need to be mercifully soft like Sheep

The High Priest just said: "Of course sheep are tastier-
Because The Almighty wants us to be merciful-
If Possible - like passive Passover sheep.

The King said its a good idea ...
But not possible if we fight against the OUTSIDE trying to subdue us.

But what happened?

That king punished the High Priest! Who should have known better to
Make the Kingdom Work Better.

Portion Beshalach - Reminding us of Passover - where the Almighty

Freed us to be a light unto the world.

The Maccabees - 60 or 70 years after throwing out the Greeks

Started Internal Fights over EVERYTHING
Just like the Greeks did.. and so
then the Romans came in - And Destroyed the Holy Temple

In our portion, We Left Egypt -To start A New World.

But many world rulers since then have missed the points -

That G-d and Freedom are not mutually exclusive!

And so today ....? What can WE all do? To return to "Exodus Judaism" ???

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

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