Parashat Hashavua

Portion VA yee Gash : Putting it Together

Portion VA yee Gash  : Putting it Together
Blessed art Thou Almighty who has Crowned a New Government in Israel
Yes - being Sworn in to Protect All Israel-
And help the downtrodden
And try to heal the hatreds sown
By the "hate bibi hate judaism" crowd.
AS we learn from thus week's portion-
You have to take RISKS to heal
Judah risks loosing ALL just to
Protect his Youngest Brother
And that convinces Joseph-
Assistant to Pharoah-
And maybe the most
Powerful Person on the Planet
To reveal his SELF
Isnt that enough for this week-
This Shabbat
Lets learn the lesson and
Fit Fellowshipinto our LIVES
But what about Jacob the Patriarch in this portion?
And what do we continue to learn from Father Jacob?
What did Jacob feel when he heard that his son Joseph was still alive?
What do American Jews feel when the media finally lets them hear about terrorist incidents
and those who survive terror - and are
in hospitals, in rehab, and finally back with their families who worry day and night how they can possibly return to normal lives?
Jacob tells Pharoah he has had a difficult life - but the final years are spent teaching -
all his grandchildren - how to survive the exile in Egypt - and maintain their Israelite values.
Can we absorb all this in our own exiles?
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
תשובהתשובה לכולםהעברה

Shabbat Chanuka and Rosh Chodesh the New Month

Shabbat Chanuka and Rosh Chodesh the New Month
And as every year this Portion is deep into
"Brotherhood Rivalry"
We have learned previously of Judah's weaknesses and strengths - in Canaan/Israel
And Joseph's failings and powers - within the family - and then as a SLAVE in Egypt
But how did the JewishSlaveBoy know or 
Joseph (even before he became Assistant Pharoah) converted people to believe in a Unitary  G-d -
just as did  Jacob Isaac and Avraham Before Him
Is that what got him -Joseph- in trouble with Potifar, the nobleman who bought Joseph as a slave?
Did Potifar's wife come on to Joseph because of his holy teachings?
Is that why, at Pharoah's party, they brought the
2 ministers out of prison?
To make fun of the "new Jews?
Did they hang the minister that they did because he converted to Israelitish-ness?
And the  Pharoah? Were his prophetic dreams just "setting him up" for the Almighty
To introduce Joseph and Judaism to the world?
My deepest question here is how did Joseph
The Viceroy of Egypt
Have time to play tricks on his family?
Or do we learn from this portion how to
(How He Did)
Wake Up Those Who are Caught Up
In Their Own Anger
And " See the (Chanukah) light?"
Shabbat Shalom Happy Chanukah Light!
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion VY yishlach - Coping With Fear - or Coping with the Angel of Esau? Or with our own Past Pursueing us?

Portion VY yishlach - Coping With Fear - or Coping with the Angel of Esau?  Or with our own Past Pursueing us?  
We all have things we have to cope with.
Look - and learn from  Jacob our Forefather - and his Rich Smart Doting but Wise mother ... 
He was an intellectual...
and he
Never complained about the difference between him and his brother -
And yet his brother is STILL out to kill him!
And his Uncle too (see last week's Portion) too -
 except that the Almighty stopped THAT issue! D-d ISSUES WARNING TO EVERYONE - 
some evil people learn - and some go down in history as murderers or fools or both...
But what did Jacob do wrong?
And how is he going to get 
PAST HIS BROTHER's GANG to bring his children to their GRANDparents?    
 It says of Yaakov Avinu  - Jacob -“Yaakov was greatly afraid and it distressed him.” (Bereishis 32:8). 
Ramban (moved (actually kicked out) from Spain to Jerusalem about 1200 ) wrote: 
“There is a message for future generations here: (HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF! Just look at the UN - a sham of hatreds!)
Everything that happened to our forefathers -  will  occur again to us with Eisav’s descendants”.
And why do we make mistakes?SO: What do we learn from this portion?
Jacob's answers are cleary in this portion - maybe with a little help from Rashi...
So Jacob wrestles with Esau's "angel" - or Esau's RAGE - trying to FIX the fight between them.
The commentators say it probably worked for a while ...
Psychologists try to help people understand themselves.
Our great holiness teachers do as well - but PUT IT IN A JEWISH MORAL HISTORICAL CONTEXT!
There will always be conflicts - but our Torah Masters teach us  (like the Karate Kid's master?) SELF POWER - 
the Power for Jews which begins with PRAYER POWER! and
Self Wisdom for Jews which begins with Torah Wisdom - 3000 years of it!
to quote Chaya Sora Jungreis : 
Eisav appears and reappears with different names, and in different guises. Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Cossacks, Communists, Nazis, – and today’s White Nationalists. The name is always changing, but the goal remains the same.
To break us ...
Chanukah shows us 
that our oppressors through the ages are gone, but we are here, Am Yisroel endures! And how...
Abraham was a General.
Isaac was politically SAVVY.
Jacob was not weak - he was wise AND a leader - and his children were all powerful.
We beat all those who sought to destroy us - and we shall endure -
We are all human - but have the ABILITY TO RISE ABOVE PETTINESS (though eventually the Maccabbees blew it)
and to love and teach those around us - family, community, nations ALL
That the Children of Israel have a message -
for the children of Israel- and the world.

 Shabbat shalom    from  Rabbi Andy Eichenholz     back in New York

Portion VaYayTzay - the Mysterious Ladder

Portion VaYayTzay -  the Mysterious Ladder
The Portion describes Jacob's dream while on his way to his (evil ) uncle Lavan (Laban)
This famous dream of angels going up and down a ladder (to heaven)
And the deal between the Almighty and Jacob
Cries out for an explanation - (Non Freudian - this is Torah not Psychology).
Was it
Leaving his home or
Trouble with his brother Esau
That made him reach out - and upwards?
Or is it the Almighty talking to us?  Today?
Let's look at 
Mendele Vitebsker in his work Pri HaAretz, who
Gives one of many analyses.
It includes questions like:
why the ladder and not just straight prophecy?
And - if he explains the climbing angels as"Moshe and Aron,
why those 2 tzadikim - HOLY people - and isn't one not enough?
And  For What were they climbing?
The two printed editions I have seen, Clearly state that the world
Seems to have LOST the last part of theRebbe's  analysis - so
Those questions are not answered by that Rabbi ...
What the book did say (the part not lost) : the dream meant:
The Torah is in your guts - and in your soul - 
And you can't run away
Also Adam and Eve tried - and failed - BUT...
But the Almighty gave them a beautiful Mitzva - 
To light a Candle - every Erev Shabbat
However  in My mind I could finish it by saying:
You can't run away from encountering G-d
Wherever life takes you, there is a HOLINESS covenant to cling to
And whether one is on the rise, or the opposite
If you look for them - You can always find angels or righteous people
And while you may not find one of them to your style - there will ALLWAYS be one other Holy Angel around
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
in Jerusalem

Portion Toledote – Brotherly Confusion – the Nice or the Good

Portion Toledote – Brotherly Confusion – the Nice or the Good

The portion starts off with the birth of twin boys to Isaac and Rebecca. It immediately follows with their first joint business deal which goes bad later.

TWINS ain't the PROBLEM – it's the World View that the Almighty sent Abraham to fix!

Imagine having twins 3000 years before Pampers - not at all easy to deal with.
And the local ruler-madman Nimrod becomes the role-model for one (Esau), while the other brother (Jacob) is influenced by the High Priest of the Almighty (Malki-Tzedek – see in the earlier portion).


Isaac says "I am going to die, so I want to bless my children first." This causes another level of hatred between the brothers!

What's nice, and what's good. 
Esau is nice to his Dad.
Jacob listens to his Mom, Respects his Dad - and tries for years to not be led into a war with his brother.
The Hidden Torah – Kabala – gives us hints – on How to Maximize the Good in a tough world.
Early Hassidic Rebbes tried to bring to us as the Inspiration Needed to Help Judaism Fix World Hatred.


When our great, great grandmother – Isaac's holy wife Rebecca'- finds a way to calm things for some years, we hope the competitiveness is resolved – but look at the world today. Competition at the World Cup sports in Qatar is a healing? So why no kosher food is allowed for 10000 Jewish sports fans? 
Who bombed Ukraine to be without power for the winter? And
Look at all the mass shootings in the US last week!

 So this week let's learn a little bit from Rebbe Elimelech from Lizensk (very dear to me


 because this week I finished another Hebrew draft of my version of Ohel Elimelech – adapted from the Sefer Ohel Elimelech - stories of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk  

Rebbe Elimelech talks in a number of places about physical versus spiritual needs in the world – not to denigrate either approach or need – or want.

According to the Kabala interpreted by the Rebbe – there is a SPIRITUAL value or aspect in every PHYSICAL thing or action. Esau says "who needs that – who needs to carry on the traditions from Abraham and Isaac" (until later when he missed the boat, as it were). He says "I have a lot".

Jacob says "I have everything" – even the spirituality you (Esau) need to give life-energy to your physical existence". 
According to Reb Elimelech: Today: You want to win at the World Cup? How? Without spiritual energy, Russia, Ukraine, Arab countries – and also the West – will decline and disintegrate.

Imagine if the Israeli and Chabad visitors made a nice KOSHER Shabbat meal in Doha, Qatar and invited THIS SHABBAT all the world leaders to participate…

Who knows.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Andy Eichenholz


Portion ChaYay SaRah: When is LIFE and What is DEATH? (in a nutshell)

Portion ChaYay SaRah: When is LIFE and What is DEATH? (in a nutshell)

In this Portion: Life in Abraham's World after the Passing on of Sarah…

A friend of mine passed out last Friday Night at Kiddush. Scared his family. Went to the hospital. Thank G-d he is out – and it may not have been "much". But who knows?

A few hours ago (Tuesday morning in Israel) a terrorist stabbed a few Israeli people and shot a few people –leaving  3 murdered and 4 serious cases in the hospital. It was near a place where 5000 Arab workers and a few thousand Israelis work together in HARMONY. So ???

And mass killings in the good old USA?

What do you do If you are the new government of Israel? Do you listen to the American administration telling you to keep investigating one journalist killed in the middle of a firefight a few months ago – or find out who drove the LATEST terrorist to the scene of his crime?

And the CRYTO billionaire who crashed – bankrupt  after funneling millions to politicians – some of whom ignore the Taylor Force Act which is supposed t stop "pay for slay " here?

Really, now!

Abraham teaches THE WORLD what is righteous. And he looks out for ALL his children.

Isaac (who in this Portion finally gets married) - teaches love of family.

So where in the world do we get … Okay – Babelon  … NOAH … CAIN AND ABLE  … SODOM…

So in the next few Portions –

We will see that  Jacob teaches wisdom and tenacity in the face of – yes - hatred…

Rabbi Finkelstein spoke this week about praying for the individual – and the wider community!

He spoke  at the Shiva for Dina Englander –

A wonderful woman wife mother friend –

And a lady who made over 100 matches – not asking any reward or "agency fee"!

Starting holy Jewish families in Israel! Like Abraham ' s legacy.

May we all learn the skills to finally bring HARMONY TO THE WORLD.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Lech Lecha

Portion Lech Lecha - Abraham inside and outside and the Other Side
He was known as "from the other side":
  "Ivri " - to G d ,
Ivri to Us (from this parsha) ,
and the Archaeologists translated papyrii talking of the "apiru".
He stood across from all the idol worshippers of the world.
So Abraham comea to Canaan - from across the river
Who was he before - and them after he arrives?
Rav Hirshler explains the word "nah tah tee " in the portion - given - to Abraham:
That Israel is ours already from the 6 days of creation - given to us by Divine Design - and just being here changes us. And Abraham?
But what did Hashem give us exactly?
According to Rabbi moshe tzvi neriya, for Avram Abinu,
The obvious Holiness was not yet clear. 

But Rav Hirshler

 says it dependss on US seeing

The Holiness

So what did our ancestor Avram 

(Abraham in English) 


  Only the hidden holiness

And he gloried in the secret holinesd

 And built an alter to worship the Almighty

But later G-d says

"Traverse the Land"

After he travelled the Land
Its Holiness was clear - despite the challenges
so when did Abraham change - or did he
Or was Torah and G d revealed to him early on? Maybe he is our forfather because he didn't have to change.
Just open his eyes
And see the potential
For growing a Holy People
He was the First in History to do Major Kindness and Morality
Just read our Torah! Others Wage war - while Abraham teaches kindness and rescues people
He is the great Role Model of Judaism
And for humanity
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion Noah - How to Dance in Two Weddings at One Time

 Portion Noah - How to Dance in Two Weddings at One Time
Please note the below cartoon is from my friend Ernie
- and it makes a political statement with humor-
Did Noah dance before the flood or aftr - or both?
Or did he dance on Two Sides of the Ocean that his boat crossed?
What portions of the Torah
Do you believe - or want to believe?
Here is some recent finding to validate parts of bible history !
Wed, October 26, 2022 at 2:36 PM  BAGHDAD (AP) — Archaeologists in northern Iraq last week unearthed 2,700-year-old rock carvings featuring war scenes and trees from the Assyrian Empire, an archaeologist said Wednesday.

The carvings on marble slabs were discovered by a team of experts ... working to restore the site of the ancient Mashki Gate, which was bulldozed by Islamic State group militants in 2016 ..... (they were) surprised by discovering “eight murals with inscriptions, decorative drawings and writings.... in one of the largest gates of Nineveh, an ancient Assyrian city

(Remember the Jonah story as well as King Hezekiah and Isaiah stories).

 The discovered carvings show, among other things, a fighter preparing to fire an arrow while others show palm trees.

“The writings show that these murals were built or made during the reign of King Sanecherib who ruled from 705 to 681 BC (and exiled the 10 tribes of Northern Israel but could not conquer Jerusalem - despite some of his claims).

The Islamic State group overran large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and carried out a campaign of systematic destruction of invaluable archaeological sites in both countries. The extremists vandalized museums and destroyed major archaeological sites in their fervor to erase history across the country, where Sumerians, Babylonian and Assyrian (and JEWS) once lived - including ABRAHAM   AND  Mordechai and Esther and MANY EXILED JEWS

Back to Noah -
How did he dance on One wedding and Make it Look Like 2?
Or did Noah CHANGE after the flood (when he got drunk?
We need to look at ancient Medrashim, because
the medrash said he took with him on the Ark
 vines to plant grapes the minute the flood would be over,
another medrash said he planted them only when he saw the devastation and losses after the flood Which Changed Him!
A friend of mine recalled as a child seeing waves - after a hurricane -
and being frightened for people in the water.
Things like the above should add to one's BibleBeliefQuotient...
Rabbi Carlebach said the tragedy of Noah was that he
Did Not Cry enough! Or maybe his kids just didn't listen...
Leaving us with need for the below cartoon.
As the HAFtorah we read this shabbat implies - from the prophegt Isaiah
that we need to look at the flood as a GIFT - (a teaching tool?) As
another chance after a perverse world which corrupted everything
to Start to Correct Things!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz

Portion BeRay Sheet - point curve and Deflect

 Portion BeRay Sheet - point curve and Deflect
(Inspired by Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriya
And Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach)
Tell me please - 
Does this week's title sound like battle plans in the Ukraine War?
Or a fencing lesson?
So the portion starts
Everything was CHAOS
and then the Almighty said
"Let there be light".
If you were the Almighty, thinking 
millions would read "The Book - the Bible" -
how would YOU re-write the Creation Story of this Portion?
Not start with LIGHT?
Would you try to re-create this  CRAZY world of ours
(Or only Russia)?
Would you be
Thinking of whats important for the survival of the world past 2022?
Eliminate plastic bags?
Make every car "a Tesla"?
Give everyone a garden to grow their own food?
And - What did Adam worry about? (the "first thinking human")
In a Hidden Medrash Parable it says "Adam Saw 2 not 3 - and so he sinned."
He just saw himself and Eve.
So what?
One explanation was "he did not know he would have to invite guests". Invite  
NOAH had guests - all the Animals -
But Adam was limiting his view of The Creation.
But getting back to:
Imagine if everyone drove their autos with their eyes closed! CHAOS!
So the Almighty creates double yellow lines, and self driving cars. 
And the whole world is ALL straight lines.
And traffic rules.
Mercifully, so that right tutns are possible.
On a Simple mathematical-personal level,
Straight is okay.
But Rabbi Neria tries to explain 
how to look at Creation and respect the Almighty's perspective -
He created curves
Since we are ALL
Like bumper car drivers!
The Almighty created our world
Embued with curves
Those skills and armor to deflect conflict.
Shabbat Shalom - and Health and Blessings to All
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz
תשובהתשובה לכולםהעברה

Portion Haazinu forward from Newark on the way to Israel‏‏

Portion Haazinu forward from Newark on the way to Israel

When poetically describing the Jews’ rebelling against G-d, Moshe says, “And Yeshurun became fat and kicked [rebelled]…” (32:15). Why are the Jews called “Yeshurun,” and what does it mean that they became fat?

Rav S. R. Hirsch suggests that the Jews are called “Yeshurun” because its root is “Yashar,” or “straight.” This name symbolizes the idea that people think they are doing the right thing even while forsaking their responsibilities and heritage. Instead of using their G-d-given gifts to do good, they hoard them and become “fat” with resources. Taking the symbolism in the passuk one step further, we can understand why the word “kicked” is used to refer to the people’s rebelling; legs that are meant to move forward are instead used to kick away opportunities or resources to do good. The symbolism is vivid as it is poignant – when we are given gifts, rather than hoard them for ourselves, we are meant to use them to help others and spread kindness.

Shlomo Ressler