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The Shmuz on the Parsha

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

The Darkness of Physicality Parshas Korach “And Korach, son of Yizhar, son of Kehas, son of Levi, and Dasan and Aviram, sons of Eliav, together with Ohn, son of Peles, sons of Reuvain.” – Bamidbar 16:1 Korach was not chosen for a position as head of his shevet. He felt entitled to it, and his jealousy drove him to rebel against Moshe and HASHEM. Recognizing that he couldn’t stand alone, he gathered two hundred and fifty leaders of the nation, and they swore their allegiance to Korach and his cause. The plan was to depose Moshe as leader of the Jewish people, and in his stead appoint Korach. In the end, their rebellion failed, and every man, woman, and child was swallowed by the ground. Of this group, only one man survived: Ohn, son of Peles. The Medrash explains that it was his wife who saved him. She said to him, “What do you gain from all of this? If Moshe wins, you are but a lackey. And if Korach wins you are still but a lackey.” Her logic penetrated his heart. “You are right,” he said, “but what can I do? I took an oath to remain loyal to the group. They will come tomorrow to get me, and I will be forced to join them.” His wife said, “Listen to my advice. I will stand outside our tent and uncover my hair. These are all holy men. When they see a woman not properly attired, they will run away.” She then gave him enough wine to

4

drink till he fell asleep drunk, and she tied him to the bed. Early the next morning, she went outside, uncovered her hair, and waited. When the first members of Korach’s party came to bring Ohn to the demonstration, they saw a woman with her hair uncovered outside his tent. They immediately walked away. She remained there throughout the day. No man dared come to the tent. Then the time came for the standoff. When Korach’s men were standing together, they were swallowed up alive, but Ohn was not amongst them. This is a fulfillment of the verse, “A wise woman builds her house…” (Dos Zakainim) How Could They Have Been So Foolish? This Dos Zakainim is very difficult to understand. Korach’s group were men of great piety. The Torah calls them “leaders of the nation, men of reputation.” And here we see an example of how careful they were in regards to mitzvah observance. Even though Ohn played a pivotal role in their cause, the mere sight of a woman with her hair uncovered made them run away. So how could these great people do something so egregious as to rebel against HASHEM and His chosen representative? The answer to this question can best be understood when we focus on the impossibility of free will. When HASHEM took the neshama

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and put it into this world, it was to give man the opportunity to make himself into what he will be for eternity. The essence of our purpose here is to choose what is right and proper and to turn away from what is wrong and evil. The problem, however, is that those options are set far apart and leave little choice. No thinking person would deliberately choose for himself a path of destruction. Every mitzvah helps us grow. Every sin damages us. HASHEM warned us to do this and not to do that because it is good for us and will benefit us for eternity. So how does man have free will? He will choose good and only good — because it’s so clearly in his best interest. To allow for free will, HASHEM put the brilliant neshama into a body that clouds its vision and darkens its sight. The desires and inclinations of the body don’t remain separate from me. They are mixed into my very essence and play out in my conscious mind. When I open my eyes in the morning, it isn’t my body that wants to just lie there unmoving – I am lazy. At lunch, it isn’t my stomach that cries out for food – I am hungry. I am both the brilliant neshama and the base animal instinct. And so, I want to live a life of meaning, and I want to live completely for the moment. I want to be good, proper and noble, and I just don’t care. I want this and I want that. Which one is the real me? The answer is both.


And I am constantly changing, constantly in flux. Because these desires come from within me, they also distort my vision. When I desire something, my vision can become so blinded that I can hotly pursue something damaging to me, and not only fail to see the danger involved, but even begin to see it as an ultimate good.

The Darkness of Physicality

The Mesillos Yesharim (Perek 4) explains this with a parable. Imagine a man walking at night on an unlit country road. Because of the darkness, he is danger of tripping. There are, however, two types of hazards he faces. The first is that he won’t see the pit in front of him, and he will fall in without even realizing the peril. The second danger, however, is more severe. The darkness can fool him so that he sees an object, but mistakes it for something else. He may look at a pillar in the distance and see it as a man. Or he might see a man and mistake him for a pillar. This menace is more severe because even if he were to alert to the risk, he would ignore the warning signs because he sees with his own eyes that there is no danger. Physicality is like the darkness of night. It blinds a person and doesn’t allow him to see the danger in front of him. There are two types of mistakes that it causes. The first is that it doesn’t allow him to see the hazard. He will continue on a path of life that is selfdestructive, and he won’t even recognize where he is headed until he is too far down the road to change course. The second mistake, however, is far more dangerous. It is when man is so fooled by the darkness of physicality that he sees the good as if it were bad and the bad as if it were good. At this point, warning a man about the

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danger is useless. He sees it, but views it as something virtuous. And so, he will clutch to evil against all warnings and against all wisdom because in his blindness, it appears as good.

Korach and His Congregation

This seems to be the answer to Korach and his people. They were Torah scholars, and they were holy Jews. And yet, they were blind. Korach was blinded by jealousy. He then presented arguments and proofs to the two hundred and fifty men that Moshe was making up his own set of rules. He was dynamic and convincing. Once the group accepted Korach’s version of reality, they held fast to it. And then even the threat of a gruesome death didn’t faze them. It wasn’t that they didn’t see the danger. They did. But they saw it as scare tactic, a way of getting them to abandon that which they knew was right. So it didn’t matter how pious they were; they were now on a new holy mission to depose the power-hungry Moshe. And sometimes the truth is even worth dying for. The problem was that they had accepted falsehood as truth. This concept is very applicable to us as we too are human, and we too must be ever aware of the danger of ideologies that justify that which is evil and self-destructive. The difficulty is that when we are caught up in them, we don’t recognize them for what they are. A person’s convictions can drive him to greatness or bring him to the abyss — the only distinction being whether or not those convictions are correct. HASHEM wants us to succeed, and in every generation He provides Torah leaders to guide us. The only way that a person can know whether his ideologies are right is by consulting with the accepted Torah leaders of his time. When a person puts away his agenda and his bias and asks guidance on the Torah approach, HASHEM directs him to the truth.

We bring you the most heimishe and geshmake Machulim for Shabbos, delivered to your door.

Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at www. theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android. Simply text the word “TheShmuz” to the number 313131 and a link will be sent to your phone to download the App.

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When My Husband Lost his Job by Heni Stein

Lessons from the dark pit of financial insecurity.

I

t was a warm sunny day in Disneyworld and we were like sponges as we soaked up every morsel of fun, paradise, and relaxation. I took hundreds of photos and numerous videos so I could relive my respite and find that peace again in the future. But as the day wore on, home loomed and storm clouds were closing in fast. My husband Russ’ job of 15 years was coming to an end. I dreaded driving away from my paradise because I knew we were headed into the dark. As we got closer to home and further away from our respite, my fear and anxiety grew. My husband had this great job and we had a familiar routine. Routines are comfortable and safe. He had a great salary with generous yearly raises, but in two months, it would all be over. Though we spent most of those 15 years living a pretty good lifestyle, we were struggling to get out of debt. Finally, we managed and actually put away some money in savings. In addition, I had a very small IRA. Foreseeing this job layoff, we started whittling our expenses to our very basic needs. You would be surprised what you can live without in this speeding age of technology and service. Cable was one of

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the first things to go and I was a tv-aholic. We also cut back on our lawn services and changed our ‘Cadillac’ phone plan to a nofrills cheaper one. When my husband did lose his job, we lived off his severance, our savings and unemployment insurance. As the money

For 365 days, I rarely slept through the night. When I did sleep, I woke at 5am then struggled to go back to sleep. My first thought each morning was hopelessness. I awoke with a sick and nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach and when I tried to shake the emptiness engulfing me To advertise, call 718-513-9885

dried up, our savings dwindled to nothing which increased my fears and visions of homelessness. It terrified me and invaded my dreams and sleep. We cashed in my small IRA. Unfortunately there were no more funds to draw from other than my small weekly paycheck. As our finances plummeted, so did my attitude and hope. I would also stop and think about my husband sitting at home, applying for numerous jobs daily and feeling useless. I am so grateful he had his scout troop. Being a volunteer gave him purpose and meaning. Despite his lack of income, he was still able to help others. Nevertheless, he would sometimes would doubt his ability and downplay his many years of experience. It was easy for us to create mental monsters although I won that contest hands down. We all have the ability to imagine the worst scenarios. It is so easy for us to picture everything going wrong but all we end up expending a lot of wasted energy that can be used toward imagining everything going right! We learned to remember to breathe and take it step by step. My husband tried valiantly to shield me from his anxiety, but it slipped out. If I was stressed, it would


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months to understand that these angels were holding us up, slowing my descension into the pit and even pulling me up from time to time. There is no shame in taking and lessons to be learned about receiving graciously. When you think that no help is forthcoming from the Creator but you believe He has a plan, maybe you are missing all the ‘signs’ that He is actually there with you. Although I don’t have what I want at the moment, maybe He is giving me something else that is sustaining me and giving me hope. The incredible support we received from our friends – including invitations to stay with them if God forbid we were to lose our home – gave us much needed comfort that made it easier to have trust and faith that everything will be okay. I slowly began to realize there was a safety net in that pit. As the challenges continued, along with my fear of homelessness, my friends’ support did not let up. I witnessed how our community and friends refused to allow us to fall. No matter what happened, no matter how bad it got, we were not alone in this fight. That’s when my faith started to grow. God does care about us. He has not been silent. He put us here, in this place for a reason. I got into the bad habit of seeing myself as weak and alone when really I was drawing on my strengths and the Almighty was right there alongside us, holding my hand and teaching me invaluable lessons about the importance of volunteer work, sharing the pain in our marriages, friendship, community, giving and taking, faith and trust and the power of hope. Thank God, my husband found a job three months ago, about the same time I lost mine! But this time around, I have a new attitude. I am currently seeking the next job opportunity that God has planned for me. We are working on rebuilding our savings and when we go grocery shopping, we donate to the food bank. Although I am now unemployed, I know that God has a plan and I trust Him. I do my part and relax and know that He is doing His.

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upset him and if he was stressed, my stress level would go up. In hindsight I realize that at times like this, it is imperative to lift each other up and fight the battle together and draw on each other’s strength, but for whatever reason, I withdrew and sought solace in isolation. When I saw my husband’s pain, I just crumbled. This was not the most helpful response! In retrospect (always so easy) we should have drawn on each other’s strength and tried harder to help each other. For 365 days, I rarely slept through the night. When I did sleep, I woke at 5am then struggled to go back to sleep. My first thought each morning was hopelessness. I awoke with a sick and nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach and when I tried to shake the emptiness engulfing me and I wearily stepped into the shower, I leaned my head down against the wall and bawled like a baby, hoping my husband would not hear my crying or know my anguish through my almost endless tsunami of tears. If my friend had not been texting me a bible verse every morning at 6:30 am; I am not sure how I would’ve gotten through my day. Although it wasn’t as simple as it sounds, I allowed myself to lean on my friends. They were my support and helped keep me afloat. They listened and helped me see things in a more positive light. They reminded me how valuable I am to the world and reaffirmed my goodness. I laughed and cried got a hug or two when needed. (If your friend offers to treat you for coffee, accept, and when you can, you can treat them.) Weekly, our friends asked us what we needed for food and supplies and we often mysteriously found grocery gift cards in our mailbox and groceries on our doorstep (we never discovered their identities). What an incredible act of charity to give while knowing you won’t receive any credit! When mystery angels left bags of fresh fruits and vegetables on our porch, I sobbed from the intense joy of receiving all this delicious and healthy food. But intermixed was the uncomfortable feeling of receiving and being in the position of needing. It took me


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An Unusual Journey: Eating Kosher on Russian Airline by Rabbi Shlomo Shulman

A small reminder of the miraculous nature of existence of the Jewish people.

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ur oldest son is flying from Israel to the U.S. for Passover on Aeroflot, the Russian airline, so I called them to order him kosher meals. The Russian-accented agent was very polite and told me it was completely taken care of – our son would have kosher meals from Tel Aviv to Moscow and from Moscow to New York. She even thanked me for calling. After I hung up, the magnitude of what I just experienced struck me. I grew up in Cleveland during the Cold War, with yellow and black labelled fallout shelters in schools. The biggest and longest running American news story, for decades straight, was the threat of war with Russia. While Jewish Americans were merely threatened from afar, millions of our Jewish brethren trapped in the Soviet Union were suffering directly, outlawed from keeping kosher or performing any other

18

mitzvot. And now here I am, not many years later, being promised kosher food by the official Russian airline (which also sells the best priced tickets to Israel). I shared a similar thought with my father-in-law once. He is a child Holocaust survivor from Hungary who was inspired to become a professor of psychology in

After I hung up, the magnitude of what I just experienced struck me. the U.S., studying the phenomenon of obedience to evil authorities (pioneered To advertise, call 718-513-9885

by Stanley Milgram). About ten years ago, my fatherin-law was invited by the Russian government to speak on this subject at an academic conference in Moscow. Since the conference had a Jewish focus, the Russians provided him with two armed agents for security during his visit. When he returned, I said to him, “After the Holocaust, you and your remaining family had to escape a newly communist Hungary by foot, sneaking across the border to the DP camps in Austria. Your main threat was being discovered by armed Russian agents who would have shown you no mercy. Now, 60 years later, you are being protected by armed Russian agents, and if anyone were to even hint at threatening you, these agents would defend you and show your antagonist no mercy.” The Haggadah tells us: “Not only one nation rose up to destroy us, but in every


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Gino Bartali: The Superstar who Defied the Fascists by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller

One of the greatest cyclists of all time risked his life to save thousands of Jews.

Gino Bartali was one of the greatest cyclists of all time. Coming to prominence while Fascism was spreading throughout Italy, Bartali faced a choice: go along with right-wing populism and anti-Semitism, or resist. Bartali chose to resist. In recent years,

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the extent of his resistance, as well as his secret work to save Jews, has finally come to light. Born in a poor Italian village in 1914, Bartali saved up money to buy his first bicycle when we was 11 years old so he could ride to school in the city of Florence. After years of riding on hilly roads, Bartali became a competitive racer at the age of 17. He became a professional racer in 1935 and won the Giro d’Italia, Italy’s top bicycle race and one of the three Grand Tour bike races in 1936. And he won it again in 1937. His training regimen in the hilly Italian countryside earned Bartali the nickname “Giant of the Mountains”. Delighted that an Italian was such a wonderful physical specimen, the Italian Cycling Federation hoped to use Bartali to prove the superiority of the “Italian race”. To advertise, call 718-513-9885

They forced him to enter the 1938 Tour de France, and when Bartali won that race too, pressured him to dedicate his victory to Fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Bartali’s son Andrea Bartali later recalled, “It was a matter of national pride and fascist prestige that my father won the 1938 Tour, so he was under real pressure” to honor Mussolini. But Bartali refused, and a disgusted Mussolini denied him any honor or publicity when he returned to Italy.

Italy and the Rise of AntiSemitism That same year, Italy began instituting a series of anti-Jewish laws, modeled on Germany’s infamous Nuremberg Laws. Jews were excluded from schools and universities, banned from government


To advertise, call 718-513-9885

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As Italy’s Jews were targeted, Gino Bartali did what he could to help. By then, Bartali owned an apartment in Florence, and at great risk to both himself and his family, he lent it to a Jewish family to hide in. jobs and professions, stripped of their assets, restricted in their travel, and in finally targeted for deportation and imprisonment. While some Italians embraced their country’s new official anti-Semitism, many did not. In 1942, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels complained about Italians’ “lax” enforcement of antiSemitic decrees. Germany invaded Italy in 1943 and stepped up efforts to deport and murder Italian Jews. Even then, many Italians showed incredibly bravery and a willingness to help Jews; about 80% of Italy’s approximately 45,000 Jews survived the war, often with help from friends and neighbors. As Italy’s Jews were targeted, Gino Bartali did what he could to help. By then, Bartali owned an apartment in Florence, and at great risk to both himself and his family, he lent it to a Jewish family to hide in. Throughout the war, Bartali helped support them. Shlomo Goldenberg-Paz, one of the Jews Bartali hid, was nine years old when he met the great cyclist in 1941. Shlomo was present at a meeting with his father, Giacomo Goldberg, Bartali,

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and one of Bartali’s friends, Armando Sizzi. Shlomo was too little at the time to know what they discussed but he does recall that Bartali gave him a bicycle and a signed photo which he’s kept his entire life.

Hiding Jews

Two years later, as Germany intensified the round-ups of Italian Jews, Shlomo Goldenberg went into hiding with the rest of his family in the apartment that Bartali owned. Bartali’s

friend Armando Sizzi also lived in it during that time. In addition to the Goldenberg family, one of their cousins, Aurelio Klein, also fled to Florence and stayed in Bartali’s apartment for a time. During those years, the Jewish family was terrified; Shlomo’s mother was the only member of the Goldenberg family to set foot outside the apartment. She left its confines only to do the family’s food shopping, then hurried back home to safety. “He hid us in spite of knowing that the Germans were killing everybody who was hiding Jews,” Giorgio Goldenberg, who was a child during the war, explained.

Secret Courier

Bartali was asked to take an even greater risk to save Italy’s Jews. During World War II Florence became a major hub of the Italian resistance due to the heroism of two local religious leaders: Rabbi Nathan Cassuto and Cardinal Elia Angelo Dalla Costa, Archbishop of

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Florence. Together, the two recruited and coordinated rescue efforts involving hundreds of Italians and saved the lives of thousands of local Jews, as well as Jewish refugees living in and around Florence. Cardinal Dalla Costa helped recruit rescuers, wrote to the heads of monasteries and convents in his territory, begging them to shelter Jews, and even hid Jews himself in his cardinal palace. After many of the Jews active in this network were found and arrested, Cardinal Dalla Costa continued the vital rescue work, encouraging church officials to risk arrest

and even torture to help Jews. Rabbi Cassuto was murdered in Auschwitz in 1945. Cardinal Dalla Costa survived the war and was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2012. Cardinal Dalla Costa had married Bartali’s parents and knew the young cycling star. Sometime in 1943 he approached Bartali with a top-secret request: would Bartali work for the Italian Resistance network, using his bicycle riding as a cover? Bartali agreed and was soon working as a courier, ferrying forged documents around the Italian countryside hidden in secret compartments in his bicycle’s frame and handlebars. Few people questioned Bartali’s explanation for these long rides that he was training. In time, Bartali ferried documents not only for the Florence-based underground rescue ring, but also for the Assisi network, another rescue organization based in that town.


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your own gain.’” His son recalls that Bartali didn’t see his actions as particularly heroic. “When people were telling him, ‘Gino, you’re a hero’, he would reply: ‘No, no - I want to be remembered for my sporting achievements. Real heroes are others, those who have suffered in their soul, in their heart, in their spirit, in their mind, for their loved ones. Those are the real heroes. I’m just a cyclist.’” Bartali refused to be publicly interviewed about his wartime exploits. The one non-family member he seems to have spoken to is Shoshana Evron, the daughter of Rabbi Nathan Cassuto, who’d helped organize the underground He delivered forged documents such as life-saving visas, forged identity papers and passports to Jews as far afield as Florence, Lucca, Genoa, Assisi and Rome, and travelled thousands of miles by bike through mountain roads and all weather. Several times Bartali was stopped and searched by German authorities. He deflected suspicion by talking about cycling and asked them not to touch his bicycle since it was specially calibrated for maximum speed. Impressed by Bartali’s fame, officials complied with his request and the secret compartment was never discovered. After 1944, cycling races were cancelled and it became harder for Bartali to pretend his long rides were serious athletic training for races. In July 1944, he was arrested by the Fascist secret service in Florence and brought to the Villa Triste, the “House of Sorrow”, where the police often tortured their suspects. Fortunately for Bartali, one of his inquisitors had been Bartali’s commander in the army. He convinced the other police officers that Bartali was not hiding anything. For a time, as he faced mounting suspicion, Bartali hid in the town of Citta Di Castello in Umbria, living under an assumed name.

I’m No Hero

Thanks to Bartali’s efforts, many of the Jews he brought documents to survived the war. Giulia Baquis explained that during Germany’s occupation of Italy she and her family hid in the home of two sisters in the Tuscan town of Lido di Camaiore. Bartali visited the family bringing precious forged documents.

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Another survivor, Renzo Ventura, recalls the day that he, his sisters and parents received false papers brought by Gino Bartali, enabling them to survive. After the war, Bartali resumed his bicycle racing, winning another Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, and cementing his reputation as one of the all-time great cyclists. He almost never spoke about his wartime heroism. Gino’s son Andrea recalls that his father did sometimes mention his courier activities, but only to close family members. “When I asked my father why I couldn’t tell anyone,” Andrea explains, “he said ‘You must do good, but you must not talk about it. If you talk about it you’re taking advantage of others’ misfortunes for To advertise, call 718-513-9885

rescue committee Bartali worked for. When she got in touch with him on behalf of the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea, a Jewish historical organization in Milan, Bartali became very emotional to hear from a member of the Cassuto family and agreed to tell her about his work, but emphatically said he did not want to be recorded. In their ensuing meeting, Bartali explained to Ms. Evron everything about the forged life-saving documents he distributed throughout the Italian countryside. The true extent of Bartali’s heroism only emerged after his death in 2000. In 2013, Yad Vashem recognized Gino Bartali as Righteous Among the Nations.


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Attention All Neck, Shoulder & Rotator Cuff Pain Sufferers …

DID YOU KNOW THAT OVER 92% OF THE PAIN YOU FEEL IS NOT CAUSED BY BONE OR MUSCLE? By: Dr. Ofir Isaac PT, MS, DPT

D

id you know you can eliminate your Shoulder, Neck or Rotator Cuff pain right now without another cortisone injection, or waiting for hours at your doctor’s office for another referral to a specialist or test? WAIT! This is a huge shortcut during the holiday weeks because you are too busy to wait for relief. End your pain right now so you can enjoy the holidays without feeling frustrated, tired and grumpy. Even if the MRI says your rotator cuff is partially torn you can avoid surgery and return to full function…

It’s 100% Free for a Limited Time This June Only! This NEW TECHNOLOGY can help you even if your MRI says your rotator cuff is partially torn—and it’s safe to use and non invasive! Helping you to return to full function… It’s called DEEP MUSCLE STIMULATION FIRST. Stop and take the next 30 seconds to know if this can help just by answering 7 quick questions. “JUST A QUICK CHECKSHEET IN YOUR MIND” while you test your shoulder movement. By the time you finish reading the questions you will immediately see if this amazing technology can help you… Do You Have Shoulder Pain When You: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Reach up high? Lift something heavy? Reach behind your back? Sleep at night? Reach into the back seat?

6. Do work around the house or yard? 7. Get dressed? If you answered YES to 4 out of 7 questions this is for you! If you’re looking for natural, non-invasive treatment, Call 917-960-3613 your FREE APPOINTMENT at 1213 Ave P, Brooklyn. (MIDWOOD). During the month of June, we will be offering FREE trials of our Deep Muscle Stimulation Therapy to our friends and neighbors.

and this will be going out in our Newsletter and other publications. If you want to get a spot, be sure to call now!

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Here at ALLCARE PAIN ELIMINATION FOR LIFE, we are excited and proud to offer you the latest technological advance for pain relief—Deep Muscle Stimulation, pain-free fast-acting treatment that works. This safe, effective, fast-acting, noninvasive treatment effectively treats pain and muscle trigger points associated with a wide variety of both chronic and acute conditions targeting your neck, shoulder and rotator cuff pain. Deep Muscle Stimulation uses percussion and mechanical vibrations to reach deep into the muscle tissue to stimulate the muscle and turn off the nerve pain signals that are causing your muscle pain. Deep Muscle Stimulation is clinically proven to: 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

Reduce Pain and Muscle Tension Increase Circulation Break up Scar Tissue Reduces Lactic Acid Build Up Reduces Muscle Spasms Increase Lymph Flow Loosen Contracted Muscles

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Dr. Ofir Isaac PT, MS, DPT

Chronic Pain Diagnostic Specialist Owner & Clinical Director Hi my name is Dr. Ofir Isaac a Shoulder Specialist and Pain and Injury Consultant, and I guarantee that this procedure will work for you on the spot. www.AllCarePT.com. Where? Allcare Pain Elimination For Life, at 1213 Ave P right here In Midwood, Brooklyn. It’s my passion to empower patients like you to eliminate their chronic pain through our unique “Active” Neuroscience Based Approach To Pain.


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To advertise, call 718-513-9885

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No Stress, No Mess by Penina Jacobs

Shabbat recipes with five ingredients or less.

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To advertise, call 718-513-9885


I

have a confession to make. I am a lazy chef. My mother in law is a former instructor at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She also happened to graduate from that very institution as the valedictorian of her class. She currently freelances for Fine Cooking magazine and has served as executive chef for several of Manhattan’s trendiest restaurants. She will travel for hours in search of that perfect Tahitian vanilla bean to insert in a sugar bowl “just because.” She will of course always put that vanilla bean to use upon request when making individual pots de cremes or creme brulee just for me since “it takes just a minute.” That being said, I feel a little bit of pressure to perform at least decently in the kitchen despite the fact that I do not possess anything remotely resembling the aforementioned culinary qualifications. I do appreciate good food though, as well as the time to do other things before and after its preparation. When my husband and I came from Israel to work for Aish HaTorah in New York we brought some trepidation (at

least on my end) about how to feed and entertain large crowds of people for Shabbat. I used to spend the entire week preparing these meals (this is no exaggeration). It is a mitzvah to remember the Sabbath day throughout the week, but this can be done without cooking for seven days straight. Ever since he watched an animal rights activist’s film in college my husband has been a vegetarian. As a result, I am always searching for interesting yet simple vegetarian recipes. Although our home is not strictly vegetarian, I have found that there are a lot of gourmet ideas to be gleaned from vegetarian cookbooks. One morning I headed for the local Barnes and Noble to check out their selection. I came across one called, The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas. Inside were 250 vegetarian recipes, each comprised of no more than five ingredients. Perpetually daunted by gourmet kosher cookbooks with fabulous, albeit lengthy ingredient lists, I became inspired by this idea. I decided to apply the concept of using five ingredients or less per recipe for a

five course Shabbat menu. I found that I was easily able to create a repertoire of very simple and delicious recipes. And I still have time to do other things during my week. Except where noted, these recipes are my own and therefore reflect the casual attitude I have with respect to cooking. I generally do not use measuring spoons or cups and usually go with my feelings as I am preparing a dish. If it seems dry, I add more liquid. I go lightly on the seasoning, adjusting if required. Cooking times are approximate and I test textures with a fork as I go along. I’m not a baker, so I manage to get away with this style of casual cooking. It’s fun and I rarely strike out. In fact I have only had three culinary disasters to date, two of which were results of recipes followed to the letter! Jalapeno Barley Casserole anyone? I thought not. So read on and I hope you enjoy my recipes! Please note: While limiting the ingredients for each recipe to five or less, the only things I have decided not to “count” are water and spices.

“Everyone Will Think Your Bubby Made It” Chicken Soup (8-10 servings) Ingredients 1. Two packages of noodle soup mix (I use Noodleman’s). If you do not wish to use prepared soup mix you can just cook the chicken, vegetables and seasoning for a long time and add cooked noodles separately. 2. One bag of peeled baby carrots 3. One package of celery hearts (washed and sliced) 4. Washed chicken pieces of choice (I use boneless, skinless breasts because I am finicky about bones and the like but any kind or chicken will work).

5. Two peeled and sliced onions 6. Seasonings to taste (I use frozen cubes of garlic and dill made by Sabra. They are available in many kosher stores and are fabulous. Otherwise crushed garlic and fresh dill is great. If you can’t find any of the above just use the dried stuff generously with lots of salt and pepper). Directions 1. Cook soup mix (with noodles) as per package. 2. Add everything else with water to cover and bring to boil. 3. Add seasonings and simmer for as long as you wish, adding water as necessary (longer tastes better).

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Chilled Salmon Filet I am not a fan of gefilte fish. If you are, then you don’t need my advice. Below are options for salmon filet. They are elegant and fast and can also be served hot as an entree for the vegetarian at your table. Ingredients 1. One fresh boneless, skinless salmon filet for every three appetizer portions (you will cut each into thirds just prior to serving). If you are using fish for a main course, allow one whole filet per serving. 2. Olive oil 3. Bottled lemon juice 4. Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt (my formerly secret culinary weapon). Directions

up). For those who prefer not to use aluminum, Pyrex works well. 2. Pour olive oil and lemon juice over the fish. Be very generous with the lemon juice. The filets should literally be “swimming” in it. This is what keeps it moist and flavorful. 3. Season liberally (this is crucial) and bake (covered) until it flakes with a fork and/or smells done. If you have used lots of lemon juice you really can’t overcook it. If you are serving it hot as an entree Friday night the liquid will keep it from drying out on a hot plate, too. If you are serving it chilled, the liquid forms a nice marinade. Keep in mind that you can always just pour any prepared sauce over the fish and bake it as well. Teriyaki or duck sauce is fine and you can dress these up by adding a little crushed pineapple, orange juice and sesame seeds. Always good to use a little olive oil first because it keeps the fish moist.

1. Lay filets in pan (I use disposable pans so there’s no clean

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To advertise, call 718-513-9885


Baked Chicken

(With Four Simple Sauce Selections) Ingredients 1. One boneless, skinless chicken filet per person (If you prefer other pieces, use them. You can slice each breast in half before serving if they are very large.) Directions 1. Lay chicken pieces in pan and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 2. Add olive oil (if needed), dry seasoning and then liquid sauce of your choice from options listed below. 3. Bake until tender (you may broil at the end if you want the chicken browned).

Option One

Lemon Herb Chicken 1. Olive oil 2. Bottled lemon juice 3. Dried rosemary, thyme and garlic (plus salt and pepper)

Option Two

Honey Mustard Chicken with Apples

1. Prepared store bought honey mustard 2. Green apples (one for every two chicken pieces; peeled and sliced) 3. Garlic powder

Option Three

Cranberry Onion Chicken (from Classic Kosher Cooking by Sara Finkel) 1. One package onion soup mix (combined with) 2. One can whole berry cranberry sauce

Option Four

Chicken with Duck Sauce and Peaches 1. Prepared duck sauce 2. One can sliced peaches in juice 3. Garlic powder

If you want to get fancy you can add a can of drained crushed pineapple or apricots as well. To advertise, call 718-513-9885

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Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Ingredients

Directions

1. One pint Tofutti Chocolate Cookie Crunch non-dairy ice cream 2. One pint chocolate peanut butter Soy Delicious nondairy ice cream 3. One prepared chocolate piecrust 4. Non-dairy chocolate syrup 5. Chopped nuts, non-dairy chocolate chips or lightly crushed graham cracker pieces

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1. Scoop softened Tofutti into piecrust and smooth until relatively flat. 2. Scoop softened Soy Delicious onto the Tofutti layer and smooth in a swirling motion. 3. Top with nuts, chips or graham cracker pieces and drizzle artistically with chocolate syrup. 4. Freeze until firm. 5. To serve, thaw slightly; slice into individual serving pieces and drizzle with additional syrup, if desired.

To advertise, call 718-513-9885


To advertise, call 718-513-9885

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The Healthy Herbal Tea Guide

I

f you are like most people, reaching for that hot cup to sip in the morning is a top priority to getting the day started. While most drinks like coffee and black teas are popular for the morning jumpstart, switching out the caffeinated beverages with an herbal tea can be soothing and comforting, while also providing your body with antioxidants and other medicinal properties that promote health. The simple aroma from a freshly brewed cup of herbal tea invokes in us a calm and warmth, and helps provide a feeling of peace and relaxation. Aside from the pleasure herbal teas provide, they also offer healing properties, and because they are naturally caffeine-free, they are suitable for drinking any time of the day. One of the easiest and most nutritious ways to drink herbal teas is by infusing the herbs in hot water for at least 10 minutes, and up to 8 hours maximum. Studies have shown that it takes at least four hours for a significant amount of minerals to extract into the water, releasing the medicinal constituents. These long herbal infusions draw out the most significant amounts of vitamins, enzymes and essential oils. Depending on how much time and preparation needed, at least 10 minutes of steeping is necessary to extract any medicinal properties, and allowing the herb to steep at least 4 hours will extract the most nutrients. Longer than that is unnecessary, as it

BY Gitta Bixenspaner There are many beneficial herbs that provide medicinal properties for different ailments and different herbs are better suited for steeping for longer periods of time.If you are looking for a quick and easy herbal tea, the following herbs are simple and effective with at least 10 minutes of steeping time: Peppermint: improves digestion, prevents nausea and vomiting, boosts immunity Ginger: supports digestions, eases pain, increases weight loss, enhances immunity Echinacea: boosts the immune system, reduces redness and swelling, promotes cell

Health Rooibos: lowers blood pressure, improves bone & heart health, balances blood sugar Chamomile: induces sleep, antispasmodic & anti-inflammatory, relieves stress & anxiety When you start steeping the herbs for four hours or longer, the medicinal constituents (phytochemicals) become primarily nutritive rather than stimulating/sedating. This also gives these nourishing long infusions their characteristic tastes: bland, sweet or earthy. These types of herbal infusions

can be used on a regular basis. The following herbs are popular to use for long herbal infusions: Oatstraw: relieves insomnia, anxiety and ADHD; helps combat obesity, varicose veins and irritations to the digestive tract Nettle: treats arthritis and joint pain, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory qualities, used to treat bladder infections Comfrey: strengthens and heals bones, reduces pain, anti-inflammatory, boosts immune system Red Clover: eases anxiety, relieves muscle and joint pain, prevents osteoporosis and strokes These are just a few of the more popular herbs that are used to make herbal teas and infusions and by experimenting and trying new ones, you are sure to find a few favorites that you enjoy. Tea drinking has been around for thousands of years and is not only used for its medicinal properties, but is valued for everyday pleasure and refreshment. Incorporating a time in your day to savor a cup of herbal tea is a great way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. This daily ritual will help you feel rooted in mindfulness, respect and living in the moment while also reducing stress.


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THREE LOCATIONS. ONE TRUSTED NAME.

BORO PARK: 5902 18th Ave 718.621.1000 BORO PARK: 1530 43rd St, 718.851.3000 WILLIAMSBURG: 667 Myrtle Ave 718.871.1111

Boro Park Buzz #134 june 10 2018  

Bringing You The Buzz on Jewish Savings & Events

Boro Park Buzz #134 june 10 2018  

Bringing You The Buzz on Jewish Savings & Events

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