Shabbos Parshas Acharei Mos-Kedoshim
10 Iyar 5773 - April 20, 2013



Voices From the Ezras Nashim

It has been almost three years since fingers hit the keyboard to address a parsha. Why now? Hard to say—actually I have no idea—except that last night Dov asked me something about the website and I pulled up my last mumblings. I do wish that in the intervening time things in the world had changed so that I could be writing about our redemption, but here we are unredeemed in a world at least as filled with chaos as it was three years ago. Instead of a flotilla trying to run the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza with Israel being named the aggressor by the world we are faced with a bombing in Boston at what should have been a social event. To some extent I truly expected today's headlines to shout that it was actually an Israeli warhead.

So some differences:

1. Our young engaged couple of three years ago is now married,
    living in Australia and the proud parents of a baby boy.

2. Daven With Dov continues and with help from HaShem
    will conduct its sixth learning program this summer.

3. We are all older and hopefully wiser, but it is worth noting that
    my Mother reached her 101st birthday on March 11.

4. At our Purim seudah Dovid Barman played his tuba and my
    Mother could hear him enough to sing along.

The Parsha:

Kedoshim commands us to be holy and tells us that HaKodesh Barachu selected us to be holy. That is a mighty tall order. We did agree to the charge, but living up to it has presented us with many challenges. What actually does it mean to be holy? What does it mean to have free will? What does it mean that HaKodesh Barachu has separated us from the other nations to be His?

Holiness really is not in the eye of the beholder. The path to holiness is clearly laid out in the 613 mitzvot as well as the remainder of the Torah. It would seem that we could be holy if we followed the Torah and all its commandments. As a matter of fact I am sure that if we did that we would indeed be holy. The problem is that HaKodesh Barachu also endowed us with free will and sometimes free will and commandments seem to meet head on. Having said that, I am not entirely sure that it is a true statement.

What is free will? We are told by our commentators that HaKodesh Barachu knew at the beginning of the beginning how everything would turn out. They also note that he gave us free will. For ages there has been dialogue as to how it is possible to have free will when HaKodesh Barachu already knows the outcome. I would posit the following suggestion: Free will is the attitude with which we carry out the acts that HaKodesh Barachu commanded us. It is hard sometimes to act with love, patience and the kindness HaKodesh Barachu expects of us. We may prepare for Shabbos, care for a parent or educate a child because that is what HaKodesh Barachu commanded us to do. To do it lovingly because of the command is the act of free will. Shabbos will come at sundown on Friday, the parent will be fed, clothed and cared for and the child educated, but what was left to us was the choice as to how we would approach the task and whether our completion of it would be an act of holiness. By fulfilling HaKodesh Barachu's commandments with love we separate ourselves from the remainder of the nations and become holy to Him.

In order to be completely His we must lovingly complete the commandments. ALL the commandments, but probably none more so than to live in the land He has given us and to cherish it for the wondrous gift that it is.

May we all merit redemption speedily and may our feet touch the soil of Eretz Yisrael soon and permanently.

Elk's Menu
Parshas Acharei Mos-Kedoshim
10 Iyar 5773 - April 20, 2013

Whole Wheat Challah
Baked in the merit of a child for a childless couple or for a refuah sheleima
Call Yehudis Halberstam at 718-972-4793 for this week’s names
Also please add
Yaakov Leib ben Shosha Hudis
Miriam Liebe bas Chana Tova

Mango, Papaya and Pineapple Fruit Cup
Split Pea Soup

Salmon with Sauteed Peppers and Onions
Pasta with Chickpeas and Broccoli
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Turkish Green Beans
Orzo Salad
Lettuce Salad with Homemade Dressing
Homegrown Banana Cake with Orange Frosting


Egg Salad
Tuna Salad
Baked Gefilte Fish
Stuffed Grape Leaves