Parshas Ki Savo 5768
September 20, 2008
A SPECIAL SECTION FOR THOSE WHO PREPARE FOR SHABBOS
AN OLD HEBREW EXPRESSION STATES:
THOSE WHO PREPARE FOR SHABBOS EAT ON SHABBOS
VOICES FROM THE EZRAS NASHIMThe section below was written for last week, but did not get posted because the factors indicated consumed so much of the erev Shabbos time. Rosh Hashanah will soon be upon us and we at Daven With Dov are preparing for the first High Holy Services to be conducted in our sanctuary. Dov has always told me that if something is going to need doing it will be on an erev Shabbos or Yom Tov. Well, here we are less than three weeks before the High Holy Days and the storm windows we ordered months ago are in the process of being installed. The installation was delayed by tropical storm Fay and almost by hurricane Ike. I looked at our windowless sanctuary this afternoon and was grateful that the lack of windows was due to installation of new ones rather than because the old ones were lost to a hurricane. At the same time that I am grateful to the Abishter for steering the hurricane away from us, I am devastated by the loss of life and destruction of homes and food supplies in places already overwhelmed by poverty and disease. Soon the current hurricane is expected to strengthen and make landfall in Texas before looping up and wreaking havoc on states severely damaged by prior storms. There is much suffering here and abroad. There is much that we as bystanders must do to meet the tests set for us by the Abishter. It is time that we acknowledge and act on the information that we are truly our brother’s keeper. As I left the house to begin the shopping for Shabbos I wondered where to begin. Only a small step is required, but where and how? I thought about beginning a canned goods and clothing drive. Time and resources for such a project are limited. Then, as I was leaving a local kosher market I spotted a small display almost completely buried by heimish newspapers and charity fliers. The display contained small strips asking for a dollar or two or five to assist families with Shabbos and Yom Tov needs. When I asked the proprietor about it he informed me that the display was dropped off earlier in the day. No one else had noticed it yet. My donation was a small thing and I am sure that it did not put a dent in the larger job we all have to help those who suffer natural disasters, illness, or lack or work and opportunity. It is, however, a step.
This week a friend sent me an email containing a video about the Chicken Lady. Because I have such an old computer I am unable to view videos and will have to wait until Dov can download the video and view it with me. Nonetheless, I know of the Chicken Lady. Clara Hammer is now well into her nineties. She has amazing energy and the kind of heart that does not allow her to sit idly while others suffer.
Clara’s story has been told by storytellers more skilled than I so this will be a brief summary. On an erev Shabbos Clara walked into her local kosher butcher’s in Jerusalem. As she waited on line she noticed a young girl standing nearby. When it came time for the young lady to be served Clara saw the butcher go into the back of the store and return with a bag of chicken skin and necks. He handed the bag to the girl who thanked him and left. When it was Clara’s turn to be waited on she commented to the butcher that it was really nice of him to give the girl a bag of scraps to feed her animals. The butcher told Clara that the girl had come for Shabbos food for her family. There was no money and so the butcher saved the unwanted skin and scraps of chicken to give to the family. He did this on a weekly basis.
Clara was stunned. How could a family live on scraps? How could this be all they would have for Shabbos? Clara went home and began to plan. She set money aside and the following week went to the butcher before the young girl arrived. Clara gave the money to the butcher with instructions to provide the family with proper Shabbos food. He was instructed not to tell them where the food came from. Gradually Clara learned of other families. At first she stretched her own budget to provide, but as her work became known others contributed to the cause. In one of the news articles I read about Clara she was referred to as one of the lamed vavniks (the thirty six righteous souls for whom the world is maintained).
One of the most amazing things to me about Clara is that until recently she hand wrote thank-you notes to each contributor. The notes were personal and long. In addition to the thanks there were blessings and tales of the need she saw in her community. As the number of contributors grew and age made it difficult for her to write Clara’s daughters photocopied a hand written thank-you note. Clara still writes personal messages around the edges.
May HaShem bless Clara with the bountiful blessings she bestows on others and with full merit for the good she does and the good she inspires others to do.
Elk’s Menu for Parshas Ki Tavo
Friday, September 19, 2008—19 Elul 5768
Whole Wheat Challah* (baked in the merit of a child for a childless couple)
Seasonal Fruit Cup
Parve Chicken Soup
Salmon en Croute with Mushrooms
Orzo Stuffed Peppers
Sauteed Noodles and Cabbage
Turkish Green Beans
Chickpea and Mushroom Salad
Lettuce Salad with Fine Herbs and Homemade Dressing
Triple Ginger Pound Cake
Saturday, September 20, 2008—20 Elul 5768
Smoked Fish Platter