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Brooklyn’s only Door to Door Magazine Flatbush - Marine Park - Boro Park - Williamsburg

Bringing you the Buzz! on Savings & Events

Volume 5, Issue 118 December 31st 2017

You can help her budding home...

Dedicated in loving memory of Rabbi and Mrs. Zev and Chashie Weiss ‫ע”ה‬ ‫זאב זעליג בן ר' יונה זצ"ל ורעיתו חשא ע”ה בת ר’ צבי זצ”ל‬

m o s s o l B ! In 2017, Chasdei Chashie L’Kallah

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WILL BE Candle-lighting is one of the prime highpoints of the DISTRIBUTED Jewish woman in her role as the cornerstone of her home, lighting up and warming up her family. Utilize TOWARDS YOM TOV these exulted moments to multiply the power of your heartfelt prayer in the merit of Rabbi Meyer Baal Haness PREPARATIONS to bring forth yeshuos and success in every area – health, childrearing, finances, and all others.

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Strength. Hope. Solace. Comfort. Reassurance. Draw from the wellsprings of faith that has sustained bnos yisroel from generation to generation week by week. The potency of the miracle of Rabbi Meyer Baal Haness lives on in the heart of the yiddisha mama, forever.

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The Shmuz on the Parsha

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

One Nation, Indivisible Parshas Shemos And he said, “Who placed you as a judge and ruler above us. Will you say to kill us as you killed the Egyptian.” And Moshe feared, and he said, “Now the matter is known”. Shemos 2:14 When Moshe came of age, he went out to visit his brothers — to share in their suffering. What he saw caused him great anguish. The oppression, subjugation, and cruelty were present wherever he looked. The next day, Moshe again “went out to his brothers,” this time he witnessed two Jews engaged in mortal combat. One was standing over the other in an attempt to kill him. Moshe called out, “Wicked one, why are you hitting your friend?!” This put an end to the bloodshed. However, Moshe’s intervention wasn’t appreciated. Quite the opposite, their response was, “Who appointed you to be a judge over us? Are you going to kill us as you killed the Mitzri yesterday?” The Medrash tells us this was actually a threat. The day before Moshe killed a Mitzri guard, who was mercilessly whipping an innocent Jew. The two Jews who were fighting had seen this, and they now

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warned Moshe that they were going to report him to the authorities for rebelling against the king—which they did. When Pharaoh heard that the heir apparent had openly challenged the law of the land and defended a Jew against his master, he brought Moshe to trial for tyranny. In the end, Moshe had to flee Mitzraim at the risk of his life. Interestingly, when Moshe first heard their threat his response was, “Now the matter is known.” Rashi explains that for many years, Moshe had a question: “Why is it that of all the seventy nations, the Jews are singled out for oppression?” Once he saw that there were talebearers amongst the Jews, he understood why this nation was so fated.

3 questions

This Rashi is very difficult to understand for a number of reasons. 1. Moshe witnessed two people threatening to report him. Two individuals don’t define a nation. 2. Didn’t all the other nations speak Loshon Harah as well? 3. Even if it were true that entire Jewish People were gossipers, what is so egregious about this sin that an entire nation should suffer cruel, brutal subjugation? The answer to this can best be understood with a moshol.

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Making a hole in my cabin

Imagine a man boards a transatlantic ocean liner carrying an electric saw. Late at night, one of the ship’s personnel hears a distinct rattling noise coming from the man’s cabin. The crewmember knocks on the door – no answer. The noise continues. He knocks again. Still no response. Fearing danger, he kicks in the door, only to see the passenger standing poised against the ship’s hull, electric saw in hand, attempting to cut through the skin of the ship. The crewmember screams out, “Stop it! What are you doing?” The passenger calmly responds, “Sir, do you see this boarding pass in my hand? Do you see that it states that I have the right to a private cabin? Why are you disturbing me? Here I am, in the privacy of my own compartment, doing what I want. If I want to drill a hole in my room, that is my choice. I have paid for this cabin and I have the prerogative to do whatever I want here. Leave me alone.” The Chofetz Chaim compares this situation to the Jewish people. He explains that our nation is one unit – irrevocably tied together in a common fate. What happens to one affects another. The state of each individual impacts the whole. There is no such concept as one


This seems to be the answer to this Rashi. The Jewish nation is one. If such an incident of vicious slander could occur, it reflected on the state of nation. If the people had been on a higher level, this could not have transpired. It meant that the nation as a whole was lacking in a key ingredient – a sense of common destiny, a sense of brotherhood, the sense that I am one with my fellow Jew. And that is why the nation deserved to be punished.

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person doing what he wants in the privacy of his home and not affecting the Klal. But more than this, we are one body. Where the tail goes, the head can’t be far behind. When Moshe saw the levels that the tail had sunk to, he knew that the body of the nation couldn’t be that high. This single action shed light onto the madregah of the people. The Chofetz Chaim explains that the antidote to Loshon Harah is “loving my neighbor.” If I, in fact, viewed him as connected to me, I would never speak negatively about him. It would be like bad-mouthing myself.

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More is expected from the Chosen Nation

If the people involved were the French, the Germans, or the ancient Greeks, this wouldn’t have been an issue. They are a people by circumstance, born of common lineage and brought up in a common land, but there ends the connection. The Jewish people are different. As children of Avrohom, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, we share a common heritage and destiny. We are bound together for eternity. We are one. For that reason, when Moshe witnessed this act of cruel gossip mongering, he took it as a sign of the health of the nation. If the bottom has sunk this low, the head can’t be that much higher. He then understood why it is that the Jews deserved such treatment. If any other nation degrades one another, there isn’t much fault found with them. If a member of the chosen people speaks badly about another, that bodes serious consequences. We are held to a higher standard.

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This concept is a powerful lesson to us about the unity of the Jewish people, our common destiny, and the power of each individual to impact the whole.

All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at www. theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.

Att: Past issues may have inadvertently Sheimos, Please disgard this Magazine accordingly in geniza Thank You.

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Winter’s

Gifts by Riva Pomerantz

I hated winter -- until my son’s question forced me to put Hashem into the frigid equation.

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up short. Why did Hashem bring winter each year? The punishing view of winter suddenly seemed ridiculous. Surely, our kind, loving Hashem did not intend to punish us each year, from roughly December through April. Perhaps He was giving us a gift instead, wrapped in white, tied with a below-zero ribbon. So with that viewpoint in mind, here are some thoughts on the gifts of winter.

Stop and Smell the Snowflakes

Beauty abounds during winter. It’s a different beauty than the lush spread of summer, but its beauty is indisputable. The illuminated sky on a winter night reflects the spotless snow for miles on end, producing an almost ethereal glow. Close examination of the humble snowflake reveals its incomprehensible intricacy -it is a pattern within a pattern, created by omnipotent Genius for our viewing pleasure. And face it -- snow could have been black, grey, or brown, with utterly different results. The pure white is definitely uplifting.

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Be a Kid Again

Remember when you were a kid and made snow angels? Winter offers a chance for people of all ages to have fun and live life a little, in a myriad of ways. In the privacy of your backyard, you have the opportunity to recapture a small taste of reckless, childhood fun. Snow is free, it’s abundant, and you don’t have to worry about using it up -- it’s a renewable resource! Family activities involving snow abound, and there’s nothing quite like the memory of a high energy snowmanbuilding project, followed by some hot cocoa.

Exercise

Perhaps it’s because of the slowing down most of us do when winter arrives, that Hashem, in His wisdom, gave us rich opportunities for exercise and physical fitness -- and they’re not necessarily optional. Shoveling is a great way to get a workout, and even walking through the resistant snow affords a fitness opportunity. Hashem knows us better than we know ourselves, and evidently He

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM AISH.COM

I

f you’re lolling in the sunshine at this very moment, this article isn’t for you. This piece is about winter. It’s about snow and ice and slush and sleet. The kind that adds precious minutes to your morning routine, that splatters your new skirt, that makes you want to be a complete hermit until Springtime. Last winter, I told my kids I wanted to be like a bear and hibernate. I hated winter. I raged against the grey-toned skies, the mounds of snow, the unbearable cold. But this year, I have resolved to change my winter-woe ways. Why? Because one of my children asked a very important question: “Why did Hashem make winter?” he asked, as we drove to school. Hmmmmm… Funny, I’d never thought about Hashem being part of the frigid equation. In the blissful summertime, I thanked Hashem joyously at each golden minute for sending us that enchanted season. But as winter moved in, my attitude sure changed. Of course, Hashem was responsible for bringing winter, but I always viewed it as a sort of punishment. My son’s question, though, brought me


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knows how those hot chocolate calories add up. So instead of pressuring us into buying a gym membership, He gives us free exercise nearly every day!

Slow Down

There’s no question that winter weather slows us down. If not physically, it detains us with extra minutes bundling up the kids, brushing off the car, or crawling down an unplowed street at 10 mph. In our on-the-go lifestyles, this kind of slowing down is a nuisance, a hassle, a downright menace. Yet, is it really so bad? If the kids get to school a couple minutes late, or you have 15 fewer minutes to shop, is that really such a tragedy? The expression “chilled out” comes to mind, and there’s no better time to be “chilled” than when the thermometer drops.

A Reality Check

It’s not so bad to have to acquiesce to a power greater than ourselves for a

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few months a year. Sure, it’s easier not to deal with snow, but there’s an important life-lesson that we can internalize when Hashem ups the ante on our every day routines. We are not invincible, we are not all-powerful. Despite the huge advances we have made in technology, in medicine, and all across the board, we still are immobilized when five inches of snow is dumped down from the heavens. Nothing wrong with pondering our frail humanity for a little while, especially when we follow it through to its logical conclusion: Hashem, bearer of the winter weather and every other aspect of our lives, is All Powerful, and it’s about time we submit ourselves to His will!

Prayer

Is it just me, or do we all do more praying in the winter, on a daily basis, than in any other season? While I’ve heard people pray that a summer day’s temperature not exceed 78 degrees, my

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prayers during wintertime are much more heartfelt. As in: “Please Hashem, protect my car from skidding.” “Please don’t let me fall on this ice!” “Please put an extra dosage of compassion in the carpool supervisor when I come ten minutes late because of weather delays!” All this prayer can’t be bad, right? It is interesting to note that while winter is essentially a “dead” season, it sets the stage for the vitality and bounty of spring and summer. Where do all these whispered winter prayers go? Surely, to a good place, with numerous, miraculous results. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t see past the bleak, frigid, unapproachable face of winter until I opened my mind to its hidden blessings. I hope that this year, winter will be a more positive experience for me and my family. A time to reflect, a time to bond, a time to nourish the latent spiritual potential that begs to be ignited -- and what better inspiration than a good snowball fight?


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E TO U D TED N I EST R U P Q E RE RS R E D A RE

Like Clockwork: The Incredible Lengths One High-Tech Company went to Keep Shabbos by Shlomo Horwitz

With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, the parent company demanded that they work on this one Shabbat.

“Rafi, we have a problem.” Rafi could tell in Eli’s voice that something important had happened. It was Friday morning; a sizzling August day in Israel. Eli was the CEO of an Israeli hi-tech company that had been purchased several years earlier by a large American parent

18

company. Rafi was the company’s VP of Technology and was highly valued and trusted by Eli. Both were observant Jews. “What’s up?” asked Rafi. “I just got a call from our parent company. They’re nervous about the upcoming rollout of our new products. They want us to be available next Friday night for emergency last-minute changes to the software, and they’re saying we have to attend a mandatory conference call...on Saturday morning!” Rafi froze. The American company was located in the east coast of the United States. Friday night and Saturday morning fell smack in the middle of Shabbat.

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“But Eli, they know all about Shabbat! They’ve always been able to live with our workarounds, like working late on other days. But never on Friday and Saturday. What’s going on?” “Chad, the VP at our parent company, told me there’s a lot riding on the successful rollout. He said, ‘Sorry about your Sabbath, but this is a one-time exception. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake!’ Rafi, you’ve got to come up with a plan!” “Plan? What kind of plan? We can’t work on Shabbat!” “I know, but if we flatly refuse it will cause massive damage between us and


THIS BOY’S LEARNING IMPROVED OVERNIGHT.

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“It just doesn’t make any sense!” Rabbi Cohen* could feel his blood pressure rise. Yakov’s latest Chumash test faced him accusingly, crumpled and covered in red marks. Yakov, of course, was nowhere to be found, having escaped to his room the second he heard his father walk through the front door. It was just another horrifying mark from a boy who was bright, quick - and until this year - brought home only Alephs. What was going on? Rabbi Cohen was shocked and at a complete loss. Was his kid skipping homework? Being bullied? “Going through a phase”? Lucky for Rabbi Cohen, he expressed his frustration to his friend in Shul the next morning. And that friend suggested he stop by The Optical Lab. The rest, as they say, is history.

had no idea why their visions were getting blurry. They innocently assumed it was time for new prescriptions, and so they booked quick check-ups. Chasdei Hashem! Dr. Sadeghi caught the underlying problem immediately. Not only that, he scheduled them for easy, simple cataract surgery – right there on the spot. He then performed the painless procedure right here in our Boro Park office. Within a few days, these patients were seeing better than new! Dr. Sadeghi is no newbie. He’s conducted over 15,000 eye procedures in his lifetime – over 20 this week alone. From quick checkups to comprehensive care, you can take advantage of his expertise - call us in the morning, and you’ll see him that very afternoon. No wait times, no hassles, no stress. We accept all insurances, and Dr. Sadeghi sees patients of all ages, from 3 to 103.

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This story is true, and it’s just one of many we hear daily. It’s why Rabbi Cohen’s friend recommended The Optical Lab. Because, first and foremost, we’re a LAB. We know our stuff. We’re not staffed by salesman and technicians trying to push pricey frames. We’re staffed entirely by licensed eye care professionals. Everyone you meet, from the person answering the phones, to the guy behind the counter is - at minimum - a NY State Licensed Optician. Not only that, but we have our very own Ophthalmologist, the renowned Dr. Mehyar Sadeghi, seeing patients in our office. Dr. Sadeghi is NOT an optometrist Nu, what’s the difference? Well, our ophthalmologist not only writes prescriptions, he catches and cures larger issues. In fact, just this past month, Dr. Sadeghi has already caught cataracts in two of our patients’ eyes. These men

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You know how important Shabbat is to the leadership of the company. the parent company. I’m counting on you to figure out a solution that allows us to stick to our principles, yet not violate the Sabbath.” Rafi was shocked. What kind of solution could I possibly come up with? “Eli, I’ll do what I can.” Rafi hung up the phone and closed his office door. “I’ve got to think!” he said to himself. Rafi was in the high-tech world for a long time. During his career, he found himself in various countries around the world. Once he had to be in Auckland, New Zealand, for a project. His first Friday night there, he was asked to lead the services in the synagogue. After the service was over, the rabbi said, “I want you to know that you have a special merit.” “Why is that?” asked Rafi. “Because you led the service for the first minyan on the planet to celebrate Shabbat today!” “Are you serious?” “Yes!” said the rabbi. “We’re are the closest Jewish community to the International Dateline. We’re the first community to usher in the Shabbat! Any Jewish community to the east of us is still experiencing Thursday.” While in New Zealand, Rafi became sensitive to the various time zones and their ramifications, having family back home in Israel as well as the States, and needing to interface with other cities which working in Auckland. As he now contemplated the present situation, he suddenly realized that the solution may lie in utilizing various time zones. That Sunday morning, Rafi called together all the directors of the company, who reported to him.

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“Guys, we have a situation.” He explained the sudden requirements of the parent company and what was at stake. “Who’s the best technical expert to work on the software issues Friday night?” “Anat,” was the unanimous response. “Great,” said Rafi. “And who is our best project manager for handling the Saturday conference call?” The directors looked at one another. “Nir,” they said. Nobody disagreed. “Please have the two of them report to my office in 15 minutes”. The directors left. Rafi sat at his desk, plotting the next step. Now that the people were selected, where would he send them? The parent company’s headquarters was on the east coast of the United States. He’d need to send Anat far to the west. Rafi realized that Anchorage, Alaska, would be a perfect choice. He booked a reservation for Anat at the hotel in Anchorage. She’d be charged with making the final software bug fixes on Friday during the day, while the Shabbat would have already started on the east coast. So far, so good. Now for setting up the Saturday morning conference call. It was called for 8:00am Saturday, Daylight Savings Time. Rafi needed a city for Nir to jump on the call at that time while Shabbat will already have already ended for him. But where? Hong Kong had the fastest and most reliable internet service in the Far East, and its time zone was exactly 12 hours later than the US east coast. Rafi jumped online. What time was Shabbat over in Hong Kong? 7:39pm. Which equated to 7:39am Shabbat morning in the east coast. That would give Nir 21 minutes after Shabbat to jump onto the call. There was a knock on the door. Anat To advertise, call 718-513-9885

and Nir stepped inside. “You called for us?” “Please sit down,” said Rafi. He proceeded to explain the challenge and what he had worked out. “You know how important Shabbat is to the leadership of the company. The only way to pull this off is for you guys to pack your bags. Anat, you’ll be going to Anchorage. Nir, you’re off to Hong Kong.” Anat was Sabbath observant and understood. She was happy to help the company in a way that would strictly adhere to the rules of Shabbat. But Nir was another story. “Rafi, this is nonsense. You know I don’t keep Shabbat. Why are you knocking yourself out to make all these arrangements in Hong Kong? I am perfectly happy to be on the call from my home in Tel Aviv!” Rafi smiled. “Nir, what you do on your own time is none of my business. But you are doing this for the company. Shabbat is more important than our business. I would never ask any of our employees to do any type of work on Shabbat. What you do in Hong Kong all day Saturday is not my business. My only concern is that I not require you to do work on Shabbat.” Nir was stunned. He had never realized just how important Shabbat was to these industrious and hardworking leaders of his company. It made him proud. He agreed to make the lengthy trip, and Rafi thanked him and Anat profusely. Rafi told Eli the solution and he was elated. “Run it by Corporate,” Eli said. “Will do.” Rafi called the parent company. “Chad here,” said the voice on the other line. “Hi, Chad, it’s Rafi.” Chad cleared his throat. He was a non-


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the solution. He gave the green light for the two trips. Anat and Nir went to the airport that Tuesday morning to ensure they’d have plenty of time to arrive and set up their laptops and other equipment. Everyone was anxious as Friday began. Rafi and Eli said a prayer and then logged off

their laptops and phones, soaking in the spirituality of Shabbat, and trusting in Hashem to bless their Herculean efforts to make this work. As feared, there were multiple issues with the software. Not a problem; Anat was ready. She was already online from Anchorage and got to the heart of the problem. By the time Shabbat was ready to start in Alaska, Anat had resolved over a hundred issues and enabled the products to get to market. Now it was her turn to log off and enjoy the heady atmosphere of Shabbat. She had brought wine and challah for the occasion, accompanied by a small but delicious meal. Saturday morning, 8am Eastern Daylight Time on the US east coast, the conference call began. “Alright, you guys. I need a status update on the software fixes,” said Chad nervously. “Certainly,” said Nir from Hong Kong, at 8:01pm local time. He launched into a detailed explanation of everything that Anat had resolved the night before and discussed next steps for rolling out the products. Chad and the other execs from Corporate were absolutely thrilled with the outcome and praised the Israeli subsidiary for how efficiently everything was handled. When Shabbat ended in Israel, Eli and Rafi dove for their phones, checking texts and emails. They were relieved to discover that the delicate operation was a smashing success! The parent company was delighted with the results. Everyone felt that because they took a stand regarding the importance of Shabbat, Hashem made everything run. Like clockwork.

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observant Protestant and always had tried to be sensitive to the religious needs of his employees. But this was different. “Uh, Rafi. How are you? Listen, I’m really sorry about the last minute requirement for this weekend. I know you guys like to celebrate the Sabbath when you can.” “Chad, it’s not a problem. We were able to service the company’s needs. We’ll have our best people on it.” Chad let out a sigh. “Rafi, please convey to Eli that Corporate is very grateful. We will not forget that you guys are foregoing your Sabbath for our company goals.” “Chad, we were able to work things out in a way that will take care of the company’s goals, without compromising our Sabbath even one iota.” Chad was nonplussed. “Are you kidding me? This I’ve gotta hear.” “I’m sending our top programmer to Anchorage for the Friday night bug fixes. She can get everything ready even when Sabbath hits the east coast, since for her it will still be daylight, pre-Sabbath. My top project manager is going to Hong Kong. He’ll be on your Saturday morning call, but for him, Sabbath will have been over for 21 minutes in Hong Kong.” Chad was still confused. “Aren’t you guys bending the rules here? I mean, Sabbath is Sabbath. Don’t get me wrong - I’m happy you’re getting the work done. But it sounds like you’re pulling a fast one,” Chad said with a chuckle. “Actually, we are being totally compliant with the Sabbath rules, since Sabbath begins and ends at different times, depending on the person’s local time zone,” Rafi explained. He went into greater detail and Chad was dazzled by

As feared, there were multiple issues with the software. Not a problem; Anat was ready. She was already online from Anchorage and got to the heart of the problem.


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Winter Comfort Foods by gourmetkoshercooking.com After a long day at the office or a school, what better way to enjoy your evening then by cozying up with a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes? In the US it’s snowing, down in Australia it’s flooding and here in Israel it’s finally raining. However, wherever you are in the world, and whatever weather you may be enjoying (or loathing) at the moment, it is always the perfect time for comfort food:

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Barbeque Meatloaf Ingredients 1 ½ pounds ground beef 1 cup fresh bread crumbs 1 onion, diced 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 ½ teaspoon pepper 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce 3 tablespoons vinegar 3 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons Dijon mustards 2 tablespoons Worcestershire (fish-free) sauce ½ cup water, to thin sauce if necessary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and ½ cup of tomato sauce. Form this mixture into a loaf and place it in a shallow pan. Stir together the remaining tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, mustard, Worcestershire, and the water (if too thick). Pour this sauce over the meatloaf. Bake 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with the pan juices. Cook’s Note: Try serving as a sandwich with mayonnaise.

Directions

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Veal Meatloaf Ingredients

Directions

1 tablespoon oil 1 onion, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 yellow pepper, chopped ½ pound mushrooms, sliced 2 pounds ground veal 2 cups bread crumbs, panko or regular ½ cup non-dairy creamer 2 eggs 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons ketchup ¼ teaspoon pepper

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet and sauté onions, peppers and mushrooms until soft. Drain off oil and other liquid. Mix with remaining ingredients and shape into a large loaf. Place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking or roasting pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes to one hour, until center is no longer pink.

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Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions It wouldn’t be total comfort food without mashed potatoes Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 onions, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks 2/3 cup non-dairy creamer 2 tablespoons margarine 1-2 teaspoons salt Directions

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In a large skillet, heat oil over a medium heat. Add onions and slowly sauté, being careful not to brown. Lower heat if necessary. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until onions are soft and becoming golden. Add sugar and salt and cook, still on low heat for 10 minutes more. In the meantime, place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. Drain completely and mash, adding non-dairy creamer, margarine and salt as you go. Pour into a 9x 13-inch pan and top with caramelized onions. Warm briefly before serving.

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Finding Uzi by Shlomo Horwitz

35 years ago they changed each other’s life and drifted apart. Then Facebook brought them together again.

T

They warned me: Never set foot in Sh’chunat Hatikva. The so-called “Neighborhood of Hope” was

anything but. It was notorious as the most dangerous neighborhood in Tel Aviv and the home of the leading crime bosses in Israel. But as a 20-year old, I figured I knew better. I was part of a group of volunteers who had arrived in July, 1982, at the height of the First Lebanon War, and we were determined to give underprivileged kids a wonderful summer experience by running day camps and taking them on trips unlike any they had ever taken. A secondary part of our job was to teach the kids English. Many of the kids came from difficult homes and needed all the support and help they could get. Uzi Mishan was a well-adjusted 10-year-old from neighboring Yad Eliyahu, and his grandparents lived in Sh’chunat Hatikva, across the street from me. They were Holocaust survivors from Greece and, like many in the neighborhood, were not particularly fond of Jewish tradition. They were great people and became close friends of mine, always going out of their way to buy snacks with the best kosher certification so that I would feel a part of their home. Uzi and I became close -

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he was in my bunk in the summer camp and was very mature for his age. He was a born leader and athlete, and the other children naturally gravitated to him. If Uzi approved of a trip or activity, so did everyone else. He was a great sport and never lost his cool on the soccer field. But things looked bleak when it came to English. The first time I tried teaching Uzi we were in his grandparents’ living room on a blistering hot day. The ceiling fan was lazily moving hot air around the room, making it even hotter. “Uzi, please read me the top line,” I said to him in Hebrew. Uzi writhed in his chair and read me the ABCs. His heart wasn’t in it. Neither was mine. “Are you bored?” I asked him. “Yes.” No surprise there. “Uzi, tell me the truth. What would you rather be learning with me?” To my great surprise, Uzi replied, “Torah!” He and his family were completely irreligious. “What contact do you have with Torah?” I asked. “Every night when my parents tuck me in, I sneak my father’s army Tanach (Bible) under the covers, turn on a flashlight, and read the stories. You can test me.” “Wow. Okay, who were the 12 tribes?” He nailed it. To advertise, call 718-513-9885

“Who was Avner ben Ner?” “King Saul’s top general”. Boom. “Yoav ben Tzeruyah?” “King David’s top general”. Bam. “Uzi! I can’t believe what you know! It’s a deal! We’ll learn Torah from now on.” He was thrilled and so was I. I resigned from my capacity as an English teacher and began teaching Uzi stories from the Talmud. Leader that he was, he quickly gathered other neighborhood kids to hear my tales and by the end of the summer, I regularly had 15-20 children listening to me around a tree. Based on those experiences I decided I’d be a teacher of Torah for the rest of my life. We parted ways after the summer, and other than a couple of calls and two short visits when he was 14 and 16, we pretty much lost touch for the next 35 years. But I never forgot what an inspirational person Uzi was, even at this young age. In fact, I mentioned him this past Yom Kippur when I was running a beginner’s workshop at the Etz Chaim Center in Baltimore. We were discussing the purity of a Jewish soul and how it naturally gravitates to Hashem. I thought of Uzi as a paradigm and told my audience about him. “Whatever happened to him?” someone asked.


“I really don’t know,” I replied. “Really?” I was a little embarrassed. How did I let someone so special slip away from my life? “Well, I did try once to look up his phone number online, but there were too many Mishans in the phone book, and I didn’t want to go through all of them,” I said weakly. It seemed so inadequate when I said it. And then it dawned on me: Why not try and find him on Facebook? Right after I broke my fast, I went to Facebook and typed in Uzi Mishan in Hebrew. Several names came up. I looked at the pictures and one guy seemed like he could be the one. But I couldn’t tell. The 10 year old I once knew was now 45! Could this be Uzi? I quickly private-messaged him. “Are you the Uzi Mishan who was in the Hatikva Neighborhood in ‘82?” I wrote in Hebrew, and signed it as Shlomo Horwitz from Baltimore. And then I went to sleep. Or tried to. I was so excited I found myself waking up repeatedly. I waited until 7 AM to check my phone in the kitchen and found the following message: “Shlomo! Zeh ani!! It’s me!!” Heartfelt Reunion Three months ago my wife and I went to Israel to our family, and part of that family was Uzi, his wife Celli, and his kids Rom, Ravid and Raz, who live happily in Be’er Yaakov in Central Israel. Reuniting with him was one of the happiest days of my life. As part of our massive catchingup, I learned that Uzi had become a professional wrestler in Israel after his army service. He was intensively physically fit and now runs a successful business as a party planner. Uzi now knows that I’ve been involved in Jewish education ever since I met him, because of him. He told me that he has never stopped attending Torah classes since I studied with him back in 1982, and has studied with a host of rabbis in the Tel Aviv and Be’er Yaakov area. Uzi also shared something deeply personal with me and urged me to share it with you.

When he was 29, he was diagnosed with a genetic neurological disease called CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth), which is incurable. Although some people have mild symptoms, Uzi’s case was so severe that he had trouble walking and moving around. His legs and shoulders were in pain and he had issues with the soles of his feet and his knees. His muscles began to atrophy and get smaller to the point where he had difficulty picking things up. His hands would shake from the strain of even holding a cup of coffee. His doctor told him to start winding down since he’d shortly be disabled and unable to work at his present job. He was heartbroken and went to his rabbi in Tel Aviv, Rav Yechiel. Rav Yechiel immediately took Uzi to see the great Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, for his blessings. The venerable rabbi placed his hand on Uzi’s head and said a few words of prayer in a low voice. Uzi broke down and cried. He felt a strange sensation running through his body. He left the rabbi and over a short amount of time all of his symptoms disappeared. He returned to the doctor who was thunderstruck that this was the same person whom he had just informed that he’d be disabled. The doctor ran additional electromyogram (EMG) exams to detect abnormal neuromuscular conditions, and determined that the underlying disease was still present but all the accompanying symptoms were gone. Uzi has since gone back to his extreme fitness and can bench press 375 lbs, something unheard of for a patient with CMT. One year ago he had another EMG which still showed that the disease was present. But he is still marvelously strong and fit, and symptom-free. He and his family are grateful to Hashem for this miracle. So am I. With great joy, Uzi and I have started to learn Torah together once again.

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The Mandate to Heal by Daniel Eisenberg, M.D.

What is the role of a physician in Jewish law?

W

e take for granted that Judaism allows us to go to the doctor when we are ill. We pride ourselves on being a “rational” religion whose dictates usually mesh with common sense. When someone is seriously ill, we are zealous to desecrate the Sabbath to save their life because the Torah clearly states “and you shall live by them (the mitzvot)” which the sages of the Talmud explain to mean, “to live by them, and not die by them.” In fact, medical issues occupy a great deal of space in the Talmud and throughout Jewish literature dating back to the Torah. The long tradition of great physicians throughout Jewish history, (who incidentally were also great rabbis -- the most famous being Moses Maimonides), would appear to firmly establish the Torah’s positive attitude towards medicine and physicians.

IS THERE A MANDATE TO HEAL? There actually is a great deal of controversy in Jewish halachic literature

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as to where we derive the mandate to heal. While most authorities derive a very broad mandate, there are a few very famous minority opinions that severely limit the scope of the authorization to provide medical care. The most obvious source to look for the authority to heal would be from the case of two men fighting in Exodus 21:1819. If one man strikes another and the victim does not die (which might make it a capital crime), “[the aggressor] shall pay for his [lost] time [from work] and he shall cause [the victim] to be thoroughly healed.” Rashi, the great Biblical commentator, learns that this passage instructs us that “he shall pay the fee of the physician.” Clearly, if the aggressor is commanded to pay the doctor’s bills, then seeking medical treatment and providing medical treatment must be not only permissible, but also obligatory. Not so, writes the Ibn Ezra, another great Biblical commentator. The command to heal “is a sign that permission has been granted to physicians to heal blows and wounds that are externally visible. But, all internal illnesses are in Hashem’s hand to heal.”

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WHY QUESTION THE MANDATE TO HEAL? Why does the Ibn Ezra take a limited view of the mandate to heal? Are we indeed in agreement with the Christian scientists who teach that all healing comes from Hashem, to the exclusion of human medical intervention? The Ibn Ezra’s case is not a hard one to make. The Torah itself instructs that if we listen carefully to the mitzvot of the Torah “then any of the diseases that I placed upon Egypt, I will not bring upon you, for “I am Hashem, your Healer” Exodus 15:26. This verse implies that Hashem does not need man to cure the afflictions that He creates. The Ibn Ezra argues that the meaning of this Torah passage is that because Hashem acts as the (sole) healer of all illness, we will not need physicians. If this is the case, is it not a lack of faith that would lead us to seek medical care? If the Ibn Ezra is correct, by what virtue does man attempt to “short circuit” Hashem’s will and attempt his own meager cures? Does man have any right to heal at all, and if he does, are there any limitations on how it may be


accomplished? Is every action done in the name of therapy justified, solely because a physician performs it?

WHY DO WE GO TO DOCTORS? Because Judaism recognizes the enormity of these questions, it requires direct permission from Hashem to permit the practice of medicine and carefully circumscribes the limits of medical practice. The duty to save one’s fellow man is well grounded in the Torah and the restrictions are discussed at length in our codes of Jewish law. The complexity of the previously mentioned philosophical tension between Hashem’s control of health and the role of the human healer is encapsulated by the enigmatic opening words of the Code of Jewish Law’s discussion of the laws applying to physicians : “The Torah gives permission to the physician to heal; moreover, this is a mitzvah (religious obligation) and it is included in the mitzvah of saving a life; and, if he withholds his services, he is considered a shedder of blood.” This sentence is rather puzzling. We do not find the Code of Jewish Law informing us that the Torah gives permission to keep kosher, the Sabbath, or any of the other mitzvot enumerated in the Torah. Why is permission specifically granted here? Because only here we may have thought that the action should be forbidden. Left to our own logic, we would have no choice but to assume that Hashem makes people sick and Hashem alone heals. So, are the Christian scientists correct? No, they are not. Once the Torah clearly stated that healing is permitted, it immediately becomes a mitzvah -a religious obligation -- like all other mitzvot. Therefore, the Code of Jewish Law quite appropriately states that “The Torah gives permission to the physician to heal; moreover, this is a mitzvah.”

THE JEWISH VIEW OF THE PHYSICIAN What is the Jewish approach to the physician? There is a fascinating insight

Medicine is an art and therefore one must pray that he finds the right doctor who can cure him.

the right physician capable of healing him. This is why the Code of Jewish Law states: “if he withholds his services, he is considered a shedder of blood. And even if there is someone else (available) capable of healing, not every physician is able to heal every patient.” Medicine is an art and therefore one must pray that he finds the right doctor who can cure him. Similarly, no physician may excuse himself from a case merely because there is another physician present, for he may be the one destined to cure this patient (i.e. he may be the one who will make the right diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatment when all others are baffled or incorrect). This approach must obviously exist within the reality of the physical limitations of each physician. The Jewish approach to illness and medicine requires us to recognize the preeminent role of Hashem in healing, while seeking appropriate medical care. Asa’s sin was seeking out the doctors only, without the recognition of Hashem as the ultimate healer.

THE PHYSICIAN’S RESPONSIBILITY

about Asa [King of Israel] when he became ill. The Bible records that: when he became sick, “he did not seek out Hashem, but only doctors” Chronicles II 16:12. If healing and guarding health are mitzvot, what did King Asa do wrong? His error was that he only sought out the doctors. Healing is a partnership between Hashem and a man. While Hashem is the ultimate healer, He delegates part of His role to mankind and asks the physician to practice medicine for the good of man. This relationship can be conceived of as follows: Hashem makes a person ill until he finds the right doctor to heal him. That is, part of the “punishment” of illness is the fear that one will not find To advertise, call 718-513-9885

The Talmud states: “tov sh’brofim l’gehenim” which is colloquially translated as “the best of the doctors are bound for hell.” Such a statement appears antithetical to the positive view Judaism promulgates regarding physicians. One traditional explanation is that the physician must recognize the awesome responsibility that he holds in treating illness, with even a small error possibly leading to death. Constant vigilance is required to avoid making a preventable error that would be considered bordering on criminal negligence. A second understanding of this mysterious passage sheds light on one of the great risks of medical practice -- arrogance. The statement can be understood to mean that it the specifically those doctors who consider themselves to be the best that are bound for gehenim. The humble physician will realize his limitations and consult with colleagues, bringing the best care to his patients. The “best” doctor will see no need to consult with those less qualified than himself,

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The Jewish approach to illness and medicine requires us to recognize the preeminent role of Hashem in healing,

eventually causing unnecessary harm to a patient for which he will be culpable. Like the patient, the physician must have the same recognition of his role as an intermediary in healing, not its source. When the physician begins seeing himself as the source of healing, he is destined for gehenim.

LIMITS TO MEDICAL PRACTICE With this understanding it is quite logical that, despite the normative Jewish attitude that considers healing to be a mitzvah, even in the most expansive Jewish approach to medicine, there are limits to the authorization to heal. With the sacred privilege of healing come inherent limitations. For example, the thought of a physician assisting a patient to commit suicide is anathema to a Jewish view of medicine. Physicians (and for that matter, anyone else with medical knowledge such as nurses, emergency

medical technicians, or lifeguards) are granted a mandate to heal. However, it is unequivocally clear from halacha that permission is granted to a physician to treat a patient only when he can offer that patient therapy that can be reasonably expected to be efficacious. This, at times, may include even experimental treatments that could be helpful. When a physician cannot offer effective therapy, cannot alleviate pain, and cannot cure the patient, he or she ceases to function as a physician. In such a case, he or she has no more of a license than anyone else to cause harm to another person. Physician-assisted suicide is wrong because it undermines the mandate that the Torah grants to physicians to be Hashem’s partners in the treatment of the sick. We can now appreciate that Judaism believes that both a great opportunity and an awesome responsibility have been granted to physicians. The mandate to heal is a command to rise to the challenge.

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‫גילי כהן‬

13 – 23 Nissan

29.3 - 8.4/18

10 Days

Valamar Isabella Porec - Croatia

on the

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‫בהשגחת‬

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‫שר‬

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‫כש ר למהדר‬

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Harav Mordechai Noigershal

Avrumi Halperin Shloime Gertner

Winter vacation 2018 culinary experience

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with LEV-TRAVEL & the levkovich family at the famous ski resort LIVIGNO ITALY ‫בהשגחת הרב‬ ‫וינה‬-‫נחמיה רוטנברג‬

HOTEL INTERMONTI

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Office:

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Flatbush Buzz #118 Dec 31 2017  

Bringing You The Buzz on Jewish Savings & Events

Flatbush Buzz #118 Dec 31 2017  

Bringing You The Buzz on Jewish Savings & Events

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