Parshas Shelach
June 5, 2010 - 23 Sivan 5770



Voices From the Ezras Nashim

Three Amazing Shabbosim, a Fabulous Shavuot and a Political Comment (or two)

Parshas Shabbos Bamidbar found us blessed with a minyan (exactly a minyan) and concerns for the upcoming Shavuot holiday for which a minyan was seemingly impossible. Then Friday evening May 14 (2 Sivan) as the davening was just beginning a couple with the broadest and most charming smiles came up the front steps of Daven With Dov. Michael went in to daven with the men and Sharon entered the Ezras Nashim to daven. I sat pursuing my usual erev Shabbos routine of catching up on the news from Arutz Sheva and the political commentary of Paul Eidelberg. After a bit I noticed that Sharon had taken a book from the bookshelf and was reading. I went in to join her and within a few moments one of the men had discretely closed the door separating the davening men from the Ezras Nashim. By the time the men finished davening I felt as though I had found a long lost sister.

Although Sharon and Michael had made arrangements for their Shabbos meals they did join us for Kiddush and Shalosh Seudas (and a few games of Scrabble with our ben bayit, Yeshua). It was a fabulous experience with much laughter singing and serious conversation. (Since I have indicated above that I would add my political comments at the end, I will do that, but would note here that I doubt that either Sharon or Michael would find what I have to say inappropriate).

As Shavuot approached we had no minyan, no baal tefillah, and no baal korei. The young men from the local Yeshiva and high school who fill these roles for us had requirements at their various schools and would not be available. Our friend, Michele and her son Roni would be joining us as would Micheal Ballew, a friend from the past who has recently reentered our lives. With our locals and Dov that made 5 (or not 5 depending upon how you count). On the Sunday before Shavuot our friend Heshel put us in touch with a Rabbi in North Miami Beach who recommended a young man to be the baal korei and baal tefillah. The young man (Binyomin) had become engaged the evening before. Binyomin and his kallah, Rachel, agreed to join us. Binyomin stayed in our dorm and Rachel stayed in a motel up the street. Our friend Gerry Hoffman agreed to come if we had a minyan. Asher Katz agreed to join us under the same condition. We were at eight and counting. The evening before Shavuot our friends Andy and Chami Gross agreed to join us. Andy and his son, Noam completed the minyan. Everyone was informed and we were prepared for the holiday. Then on the morning of erev Shavuot we received a call from Adam Ogen, who had heard about us from the kallah. Adam joined us for the holiday. The davening was amazing and the company excellent. Much singing and lots of cheesecake.

Shabbos Naso's minyan fell into place with somewhat more ease. We had four young men from the Bais Medrash of Toras Chaim Yeshiva. Three high schoolers from Hebrew Academy. Our three locals, Dov, Gerry Hoffman and three couples in addition to Dov and me. The table was overloaded with people, food, drashas, merriment and song. It was joyous. Motzei Shabbos our friends Dovid Barman and Andy Gross provided us with a tuba concert that included a bikur cholim visit by telephone to play Happy Birthday on the tubas accompanied by our somewhat off-key singing.

Shabbos Behalotecha was the day before the engagement party for Binyomin and Rachel. Binyomin had asked if we would be willing to have his parents stay nearby and join us for Shabbos. I felt somewhat like Brer Rabbit when I said yes faster than I could even think it. And so this past Shabbos we hosted the chosson and kallah and their parents. Two young men from the Yeshiva, Gerry Hoffman, who it turned out knew the chosson's parents for many years, Alan Melnick a friend from NMB and our three locals. Our chosson's parents are Lubavitchers who eat only cholov Yisrael and use only equipment that is cholov Yisrael. We kashered our ovens and utensils, planned a parve menu and had amazing and wonderful conversations at the table. Motzei Shabbos our two Yeshiva bochers stayed for an abbreviated melave malka and conversation. Gavriel Rubin will be learning in New York next year. We will miss his davening, leining and fabulous midos. May he have hatzlacha, bracha and mazal in his studies and in all his future endeavors.

While it is exceedingly selfish, we ask the Abishter to continue to bless us with the company of good friends and guests both expected and unexpected.

Political Comment 1

This morning I woke up rather late. I also woke up with a deep sense of foreboding. It felt to me as though the world had moved a step closer to war. Then when I opened AOL this morning I was greeted by headlines that Israel had “attacked” the ships attempting to break the Gaza blockade and the world was reacting with condemnation. My first reaction was to thank the Abishter for finally giving Israel the strength to stand up for its own protection and to ask that He give us the strength to continue to do so in the face of a condemning world. My second reaction was to recognize that as so many times in the past we stand on the brink of redemption and are as unworthy now as we have been in the past.

We all pray for those wounded and killed in this defense of Israel's borders as we pray for those who had the strength to order and carry out this mission. At the same time we must recognize that all Jews are not united in the defense of the land given to them by the Abishter. On board one of the ships attempting to run the blockade is an 85 year old survivor of the holocaust who has found her life's working for the past number of years in speaking against Israel and its right to exist. In each generation we have had our Korachs and Dathans and Rahm Emanuels.

May the Abishter direct our hearts, minds and service back to Him so that we may, this time, be worthy of the redemption that has so long evaded us.

Political Comment 2

In a post yesterday Professor Eidelberg noted that Americans have one chance to save this country from the direction in which it is headed. That chance lies in a change of political forces in the November 2010 election. If America does not standup for the rights established by the founders of this country then it is unlikely to be given a second chance because the course will have been set. Bravo!!! The time is now, but it is interesting how HaShem sets the stage.

     1. Israel builds peaceful, usually religious settlements on     land given to it by HaShem and recaptured by it in a war begun by its oppressors. Israel is condemned.

     2. Rahm Emanuel, a Jew, plots against Israel, but holds his son's  Bar Mitzvah in Israel. The site chosen for the Bar Mitzvah is land Emanuel does not recognize as being part of Israel.

     3. Israel stops ships from deliberately violating its (and the Egyptians) blockade of Gaza only after offering to take the ships into the port of Ashdod and transporting the “humanitarian” aid along the land route for bringing supplies into Gaza. Israel is condemned.

Our wishy-washy fellow American Jews who see assimilation and approval by the non-Jewish world as necessary are likely to be out in force to show that they do not support “Jewish” aggression. How soon they forget the events of world history.

How fitting that all this unfolds as we prepare for the reading of Parshas Shelach. May we not forget that we are still paying for the action of the spies.

What does it take to make Jews stand up for HaShem and the land he gave us? What does it take for us to end this Golus and take up the banner of HaShem?

Help us HaShem to open our hearts and our minds to your ways. May the rest of the world soon learn that your ways are the ways of peace and that Yerushalaim is truly the capital of the holy land that you gave to your Jewish people.

If your time permits, please look at Parshas Shelach in the archives. It is almost prophetic.

Elk's Menu
Parshas Shelach
June 5, 2010—23 Sivan 5770

Whole Wheat Challah
Baked in the merit of a child for a childless couple
Call Yehudis Halberstam at 718-972-4793 for this week’s names
Cantaloupe, Pineapple and Blueberry Fruit Cup
Vegetable Soup
Salmon en Croute with Ratatouille Topping
Vegetarian Chili (((recipe)))
Roasted Corn
Steamed Asparagus
Challah Stuffing
Orzo Salad
Lettuce Salad with Fine Herbs and Homemade Dressing Chocolate Babka Triffle


Egg Salad
Tuna Salad
Gefilte Fish
Chickpea Salad
Edamame Salad
Israeli Salad
Crackers Cookies

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