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Nitzavim Vayeilech

09/11/2020 10:51:51 AM

Sep11

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

Avoiding the “If Only” Syndrome

In Parshat Nitzavim Moshe transmits to Bnei Yisrael the accessibility of Jewish life and meaning:
“It is not in the heavens, that you should say, 'Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us,...Read more...

Parshat Ki Tavo : How to Deal with Curses

09/02/2020 05:51:12 PM

Sep2

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

How to Deal with Curses
The story is told about the members of a certain Shul who were all terrified of being called up for the Aliya of the Tochacha, the curses described in the 6th Aliyah of Parshat Ki Tavo.  They called a special Board Meeting, and decided to hire someone to take the aliyah of the Tochecha.  It wasn’t easy, but finally a willing candidate was found and hired.

Parshat Ki Tavo arrived and the Gabbai...Read more...

Parshat Ki Teitzei

08/27/2020 02:59:26 PM

Aug27

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

Strength in Vulnerability

At the end of this morning’s Parsha, Ki Teitzei, the Torah encourages us to remember a time in our national history during which we were vulnerable, and directs us in how to channel those feelings. 

In the seventh aliyah, The Torah states:
Vezacharta Ki Eved Hayita B’Mitzrayim:

Remember the suffering and vulnerability that you felt, and that you may continue to feel due to your...Read more...

Shoftim

08/20/2020 01:47:27 PM

Aug20

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

How Far Our Gratitude Should Extend

Parshat Shoftim begins with a command directed at Jewish judges 
“Do not take a bribe, for bribes will blind the eyes of the wise and pervert the words of the righteous.”

The Gemara in Ketubut (page 105b) explains that the bribes discussed here are not only monetary bribes. Even verbal bribes, such as flattering the judge, are enough for a judge to remove himself from a case....Read more...

Re'eh : Staying on the Path of Yashar

08/14/2020 10:09:06 AM

Aug14

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

As a summation to various rules that were just mentioned, Moshe says: 12:28:
“ Ki Taaseh Hatov V’hayashar b’eynei Hashem.”
“When you do what is good and right in the eyes of Hashem your G-d.”
    
Noting the dual terminology of Tov and Yashar, Rashi quotes the opinion of Rabbi Akiva in the Midrash:
“Hatov- beinay Shamayim. V’hayashar- Beinay Adam.”

In our lives we must be cognizant...Read more...

Eikev

08/05/2020 01:39:01 PM

Aug5

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

Yirat Shamayim: Just Open Our Eyes

 

      Have you ever had the experience of a friend or family member asking you to do them just one favor, and that just one favor turned into a second favor?  Pretty soon, you were doing a whole lot...Read more...

Va'etchanan

07/31/2020 11:44:31 AM

Jul31

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

Few Yet Influential: Be Proud of Your Me’at Status

The seventh aliya of Parshat Vaetchanan, the beginning of Chapter 7 in Devarim, is a reminder by Moshe of Hashem’s promise to Bnai Yisrael to dwell in Eretz Yisrael, and the responsibilities and obligations that they will have upon entry and possession of the Land. In this context Moshe reminds Bnai Yisrael of their special relationship with Hashem...Read more...

Devarim

07/24/2020 11:36:22 AM

Jul24

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Or “Out of sight, out of mind”?

We find ourselves in the midst of the Nine Days leading up to Tisha B’Av, the day that we commemorate the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. The story is told of Napoleon walking through the streets of Paris one Tisha B’Av. As he passed a synagogue he heard the sounds of mourning and crying. “What’s this all about?” Napoleon asked. An aide...Read more...

Matot-Masei: The Journey of Our Lives 

07/17/2020 11:53:22 AM

Jul17

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock


“Life is a journey, not a destination.” I heard this expression, liked it and searched to find its author. Online I saw it attributed to people as diverse as writer Ralph Waldo Emerson and Steven Tyler, lead singer for the rock band Aerosmith. So I guess no one really knows who said it. But after learning this week’s Parsha I think I know who inspired this idea. It is the lesson that Rabbi Tanchuma learns from the beginning of...Read more...

Parshat Pinchas: The Leader Inside Each of Us

07/09/2020 03:13:32 PM

Jul9

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

We read in Parashat Pinchas of Moshe’s request that Hashem appoint a successor who would lead Benei Yisrael after his death.  In response, Hashem instructs Moshe to formally assign Yehoshua as his successor in a public ceremony.  Right after this, Hashem commands regarding the temidin u-musafin – the sacrifices offered each day and the additional sacrifices offered on special occasions (Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and...Read more...

Parshiyot Chukat Balak: Balak's Legacy

07/03/2020 09:49:48 AM

Jul3

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

The Talmud in Sanhedrin teaches that before Balak took Bilam each time to curse the Jewish people, Balak would offer sacrifices to Hashem (perhaps in the hopes that it would help his cause with Hashem). The Gemara says that Balak was rewarded for offering these sacrifices: in that his descendant was Ruth, the ancestor of King David/ Solomon. The obvious question is: why should Balak be rewarded for doing something that although may...Read more...

Parshat Korach:  Lessons from the "Ketoret Standoff"

06/26/2020 10:15:34 AM

Jun26

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

The showdown between Korach and Moshe reaches its climax with the “ketoret standoff.” Moshe suggests that the disagreement be settled by everyone offering incense to Hashem. So Aharon, Korach and 250 Korach-followers offer incense on fire pans. In response, Hashem shows His displeasure with the 250 men by sending a fire to consume them (16:35). 

The next chapter opens with God commanding Moshe to tell his nephew Elazar...Read more...

Parshat Shelach: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

06/18/2020 03:03:01 PM

Jun18

Rabbi Yosef Weinstock 

As the spies embark upon their mission Moshe gives them some advice about what to look for. He says to check and see if the inhabitants are strong or weak. Rashi quotes the Midrash that Moshe gave them a trick: if the people lived in open cities this means that they are strong and can rely on their strength alone to protect themselves. If the city is heavily fortified, then you can be sure that the inhabitants are weak and they need outside...Read more...

Fri, September 18 2020 29 Elul 5780