Sunday, February 18, 2018

They kept telling the Jews to go home--SO WE DID-Moses Rabinu Yarseit on Adar 7

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

The Joy of Giving to Others

Whenever you help another person in any way, take pleasure and feel joy that you are fulfilling the commandment of "Love your neighbor."

It is especially important to express feelings of joy when giving charity to a poor person. In fact, showing displeasure when giving charity erases the merit of the giving!

Love Yehuda Lave

Wise sayings from Bulletins at worship services

These sentences (read carefully) actually appeared in bulletins or were announced at services.

--------------------------The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.--------------------------

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled Proceeds will be used to cripple children.-------------------------- 

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.--------------------------

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.--------------------------

Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.--------------------------

Irving and Jessie  were married So ends a friendship that began in their school days.-------------------------

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.--------------------------

Will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.--------------------------
Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.--------------------------

The ladies have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.--------------------------

there will be a hymn singing in the park. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.--------------------------

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM .Please use the back door.--------------------------

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in  basement 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.--------------------------

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM . Please use large double door at the side entrance.

Vladimir Putin Inherits 1.5 Bedroom Apartment in Downtown Tel Aviv1.5 rooms for rent on Pinsker Street, Tel Aviv - Ask for landlord, Mr. Vladimir Putin.

Pinsker Street in downtown Tel Aviv could theoretically get a new, famous, tenant... but chances are he's not going to grace the beach-front city any time soon.

After all, Vladimir Putin is often busy in his day job as president of the Russian Federation.

In December, Mina Yuditskaya-Berliner, 96, a lone widow who made Aliya in 1973, passed away. Back in Leningrad, she taught German at High School no. 281 where one of her students during the 1967-68 school year was a polite young man named Vladimir Putin.

In the late 1990s, Mina identified her former student on TV when he stood next to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, as the head of Russia's security service.

Then in April 2005, before President Putin's visit to Israel, Mina went to the Russian consulate and asked to be allowed to see her student, and the administrator there thought it was a fabulous idea. So when he arrived, little Vlad Putin made time for his old teacher and they had tea together at the David's Citadel hotel. According to Mina, who spoke to Ynet in 2014, they had a long conversation - she remembered him as a quiet, shy, blond boy, he remembered her as a courteous, fair and kind teacher.

Among the things she shared with Russia's strongman during the conversation was the fact that she was living in a high floor rental without an elevator. Several weeks after their meeting, a Russian diplomat knocked on her door and took Mina to the new apartment President Putin had bought for her - one and a half rooms in a modern building at 17 Pinsker Street in Tel Aviv, a few blocks from the beach.

She told Ynet she cried when she found out about the generous gift, which came with a wristwatch engraved "from the president" and a signed copy of Putin's autobiography.

In her will, Mina Yuditskaya-Berliner, who died on December 17 last year, asked that her apartment

be returned to President Putin, which explains the headline to this story. Incidentally, the Russian consulate sent a representative to the funeral and shared in its costs.

So now, if you hurry, you might be able to grab a nice rental, owned by Vladimir Putin in downtown Tel Aviv - unless a million Israelis who read the story this morning have beaten you to the punch.

Finally: To whomever gets the lease on the small flat at 17 Pinsker - you better not be late with the rent.

Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways and become wise (Proverbs 6:6).

The Talmud states that had the Torah not been given, we would have been held accountable to learn proper behavior from observance of lower forms of life. As Solomon says, we could have learned diligence from the ant. The Talmud adds that we could have learned modesty, fidelity, and respect of others' possessions by observing certain animals' behaviors.

We might ask: "Without Torah to teach us, how would we have known which animal traits to emulate? Perhaps we would have learned indolence from the alligator, which basks in the sun all day, and ruthlessness from predatory animals!"

People are endowed with an inherent sense of decency and morality. We are expected to use this innate power to judge right and wrong. The Torah only clarifies and emphasizes for us what we could have achieved on our own.

The Talmud thus teaches us that corruption is not only wrong and sinful, but actually unnatural. People do not sin because they have unnatural desires, but because they fail to exercise their innate intellect. If we think before we act, weighing the pros and cons of what we do, we are less likely to go astray.

Today I shall ...
... be aware that the dignity of a human being lies in the capacity to think before acting. I will not allow myself to be less than a dignified human being.

My First Visit to the Mikvah By Yvette Miller

I blinked in the brilliant sunlight and surveyed the summer-clad swimmers and boaters all around me. Friends had invited my husband and me out on their boat for the day, and we were surrounded by people enjoying the brilliant Sunday. Thoughts of religion seemed very far away.

Yet I'd just received an important call, and

The whole idea seemed like a relic from another era now found myself discussing concepts of holiness and purity on the phone. That evening would be my first-ever visit to a mikvah (a Jewish ritual bath), and I'd arranged to speak with the mikvah attendant ahead of time. Looking at the sunbathers lounging all around me now, I imagined their shock if they knew what we were talking about.


Before I'd ever visited a mikvah, I had a lot of misconceptions about this key Jewish commandment. Growing up secular, I'd heard some supposedly horrible stories about the Torah's obligation for married women to visit the ritual bath and immerse each month. I'd heard that all mikvahs were filthy, that the women who staffed them were harsh and domineering, that visiting one was somehow a degrading experience. The whole idea seemed a relic from another era.

Yet my husband and I were enjoying expanding our religious observance: we'd recently started keeping kosher and celebrating Shabbat. I knew that if we were going to be serious about keeping Jewish rules in our home, family purity had to be a part of that. Reluctantly, I'd phoned the attendant at our local mikvah and arranged an appointment. I knew that she was a rabbi's wife and had a lot of kids, and wondered if she'd be dour and unpleasant.

"I can't wait to meet you!" a young voice trilled instead on the phone. She sounded so nice and so young. This was a mikvah attendant? Patiently, she went over all of the information, making the occasional joke, and spelled everything out so I'd know what to expect when I visited that evening. I began to feel reassured. Maybe it wouldn't be as scary or odd as I'd feared.

When I finally arrived at the mikvah that night, the attendant showed me into a private bathroom that was spacious and clean—a far cry from the horror stories I'd heard. She handed me a fluffy bathrobe, a pile of thick towels, and pointed to the shelves and cabinets, all full of toiletry items (and better stocked than my own bathroom at home). The plan was to take a bath, make sure I'd removed my jewelry, contact lenses, nail polish and anything else that could prevent me from coming into contact with the mikvah's water fully, and then finally, immerse.

Alone in the bathroom, I relished having some "me" time. When was the last time I was alone, with no obligations, and nothing to do except focus on myself? When I was ready, I called the attendant and she led me to the mikvah, a small jacuzzi-like pool. As I gazed into it, I thought of how Torah is compared to water; both are a source of life. A feeling of profound gratitude swept over me, as I thought of the daily miracle of water and life that I so often took for granted.

The attendant turned away as I climbed down the tile steps, then watched to make sure that I was completely covered by the warm water as I immersed three times. After my first immersion, I recited a timeless blessing that generations of Jewish women have uttered for thousands of years, praising G‑d who has commanded us to immerse ourselves in living waters. As I prayed these words, I thought of all the Jewish women who had kept this mitzvah before me, and it suddenly struck me that I was a link in this powerful chain going back to the very dawn of Jewish history.

"I'll let you have some time if you like," the attendant told me after I'd immersed three times. "Some women like to take a moment and talk to G‑d in the mikvah."

I spent a few minutes alone in the special living waters of the mikvah, and found that I was able to pour my heart out in prayer in a way I'd never done at home or in the synagogue. The waters of the mikvah are meant to cleanse us not physically, but spiritually; in that moment, I felt more uplifted than I ever had before.

Returning home that night, the feeling of being on a higher spiritual level made everything seem different. Judaism never tells us to withdraw from the world or deny ourselves earthly pleasures. Rather, we Jews are charged with transforming even the most mundane activities into vehicles for holiness. Visiting the mikvah turned the ordinary act of being with my husband into something that felt profoundly important, as we let Divine rules for living infuse this most intimate aspect of our lives.

Since that long-ago summer's day of my first visit, I've been to mikvahs all around the world. Built according to the same

Judaism never tells us to withdraw from the world Jewish plan, they have all seemed broadly familiar and welcoming, with a few differences. Visiting a Jerusalem mikvah one Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the new month), I was touched when the attendant offered me a bunch of sweet-smelling herbs to sniff, portending a sweet month to come. On another mikvah visit, the attendant told me she felt so privileged to help Jewish women perform this mitzvah. Once, I even visited a luxury mikvah, clad in custom marble, with impossibly thick luxurious bathrobes. I felt like I was in a high-end spa.


Jewish women have always played a unique role in appreciating the Divine in our lives, and in building Jewish families. For me, visiting the mikvah is a way to remember and appreciate this unique role we have played throughout our history, and today, in bringing holiness and the Divine into our everyday lives.

I can't believe that there was ever a time when visiting a mikvah sounded strange or scary, or somehow seemed not relevant to modern life. Today, renewing my relationship with G‑d—and strengthening my relationship with my husband—is my most important accomplishment each month, and I can't imagine life without the regular punctuation of moments given to intense spirituality in the mikvah.

Today is the Third of Adar, Thrusday will be the 7th of Adar

7 Adar

Yahrtzeit of Moses in 1273 BCE (Jewish year 2488), on the same day of his birth 120 years earlier. (Consequently, "May you live to 120" has become a common Jewish blessing.) Moses was born in Egypt at a time when Pharaoh had decreed that all Jewish baby boys be drowned in the Nile River. His mother set him afloat in a reed basket, where he was -- most ironically -- discovered by Pharaoh's daughter and brought to Pharaoh's palace to be raised. When Moses matured, his heart turned to aid the Jewish people; he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Jew, and he fled to Midian where he married and had two sons. God spoke to Moses at the Burning Bush, instructing him to return to Egypt and persuade Pharaoh to "let my people go." Moses led the Jews through the ten plagues, the Exodus, and the splitting of the Red Sea. Seven weeks later, the Jews arrived at Mount Sinai and received the Torah, the only time in human history that an entire nation experienced Divine revelation. Over the next 40 years, Moses led the Jews through wanderings in the desert, and supervised construction of the Tabernacle. Moses died before being allowed to enter the promised Land of Israel. He is regarded as the greatest prophet of all time.

7 Adar

[Just before Moses' death] God said to him, "This is the Land that I promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob" (Deuteronomy 34:4).

The Midrash says that Moses pleaded to live long enough to be able to enter the Promised Land. He surrendered his soul only after God instructed him to enter Heaven and inform the Patriarchs that the Israelites had come to their Land and that God had indeed fulfilled His promise to give the Land of Israel to their descendants. To fulfill God's will was dearer to Moses than his craving to enter the Land.

It is only natural to cling to life, and the thought of leaving this world is depressing. However, if a person develops the attitude that he lives only in order to fulfill God's will, then life and death are no longer polar opposites, because he lives to do the will of God, and when that will requires that he leave this world, he will be equally obedient.

The seventh day of Adar is the anniversary of Moses' death. He wanted to enter the Promised Land so that he could fulfill the commandments and thereby have a new opportunity to fulfill the Divine wish. He surrendered his soul willingly when he was told that there was a special commandment for him to perform, one that could only be achieved after leaving this earth.

We refer to Moses as Rabbeinu, our teacher. He not only taught us didactically, but by means of everything he did in his life - and by his death, as well.

Today I shall ...
... try to dedicate my life to fulfilling the will of God, so that even when that will contradicts my personal desires, I can accept it with serenity.

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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