LA Jewish Home - 8-9-18

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The Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home

CONTENTS COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

FEATURE Breaking Barriers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12




Dear Readers, Elul in the beginning of August? They seem opposite. Elul is a serious and reflective period, and summer has a relaxed tone to it. Is there anything we can learn from a calendar like this year’s when Labor Day is more than three weeks after the first sound of the shofar? Perhaps the message is that, sure, the month of Elul is a time for reflection and introspection, but these should not be done exclusively with seriousness and dread. The mere knowledge that Hashem sets aside time on the calendar to return to Him should fill us with a sense of joy. Especially when we know that ultimately “the judge is also our father” and is rooting for us to be victorious in judgement! The element of joy also adds energy into the process. After many years of “starting anew” it’s easy to become cynical. Joy brings interest which leads to renewed vigor in trying to be a better person. May Hashem indeed listen to our tefillos and give us a year of health, joy, and success. Wishing you an inspirational and joyful Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul,


T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM



TheHappenings Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Quiet Across the World

A Project of the “Stop the Talking in Shul” Movement The “Stop the Talking in Shul” Movement has attained global acclaim for its legendary activities to spread and enhance kavod bais kakenesses. Through its efforts, tens of thousands of individuals in hundreds of shuls around the world have undertaken not to talk during davening and increase their devotion to heartfelt tefillah. Roshei yeshiva and rabbonim have praised the movement’s efforts and the success of its work. Not resting on its laurels, the movement has undertaken a new initiative—“Quiet Around the World”—a global initiative for quiet and respect in shuls. It is the hope and wish of the organization that on Shabbos Parshas Shoftim, this August 17-18, countless shuls around the globe will join the movement and initiate a strengthening of their no talking in shul commitment. That Shabbos coincides with vav Elul, the yahrtzeit of the Tosfos Yom Tov, zt”l. It is his famous mishaberach, asking Hashem to bestow blessings and mercy upon those who keep quiet in shul, that has been the catalyst for this movement. In a compelling publicity campaign leading up to the “Quiet Around the World” Shabbos, the organization’s leaders have asked people to “make the kabbalah that will change your life,” offering to send beautiful hardcover Artscroll Hebrew English siddurim to all who make the pledge to stop talking in shul. The purpose of the initiative is to help the tzibur better understand the words that they are davening and focus more on their tefillos. Requests should be emailed to Stopthetalking@ Over the past years, the movement has sponsored meaningful and momentous commemorations on the Tosfos Yom Tov yahrtzeit. These included a historic mission to the kever of the Tosfos Yom Tov in 2016, and a seudas hisorerus attended by thousands in 2017. These events made a lasting impression on the participants and

many others who were zocheh to be part of these efforts for Klal Yisrael. Another recent development was the plan to open shuls across the country— those who pledge to uphold the standards that have become the mission of the movement. The shuls will be named “Heichal Tosfos Yom Tov,” perpetuating the name and legacy of the Tosfos Yom Tov, zt”l. The first of these shuls is Khal Ben Avrohom Minsk in Boro Park, under the leadership of its esteemed rav, HaRav Yisroel Wosner, shlita, and Khal Yesod Yosef in Inwood, under the leadership of HaRav Simcha Bondi, shlita. The name Heichal Tosfos Yom Tov has been added to these shuls in recognition of their devotion to proper tefillah. A leader of the Stop the Talking in Shul movement commented, “This shul [the former, mentioned above] is the model of what is to come, and the engine that will energize the establishment of such shuls throughout the country. Khal Ben Avrohom Heichal Tosfos Yom Tov shows how regular people can raise themselves to a lofty level of proper davening and decorum in shul. Adding the Tosfos Yom Tov name has helped bring that great tzaddik’s brochos and spirit into the shul. Our hope is that every shul will emulate their great example and commit to reestablishing their shul in this manner. It is painful to see that people ‘play with fire’ by talking during davening. There are great yeshuos guaranteed for those who keep quiet. It is the hope of the Stop the Talking in Shul movement that all shuls throughout the country and throughout the world are zocheh to join this movement and live its message.” In the near future, the movement plans to expand its activities with a series of large gatherings throughout the country. These seminars will feature some of the Jewish world’s most prominent speakers, conveying hisorerus on the subject, and

Stop the Talking in Shul!

A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos







AUGUST 17-18 ‫יום היארצייט ו׳ אלול‬


‘‫שבת פ‬

‫לזכר נשמת תוספות יו״ט‬


For inspiration visit To request the ‫ מי שברך‬email ‫בזכות רפואה שלמה רינה בת חי' פעשא אסתר‬

providing a vivid explanation of the tefillos meanings and impact, and understanding Pirush Hamillos. Their thoughts will be conveyed by satellite and also promoted through a series of educational advertisements in the Jewish media. The organization sponsors a popular website, which

features countless video shiurim and informative material on this important topic. For assistance, guidance, and available speakers on this subject, please contact the Stop the Talking in Shul Movement at

Press Release On August 15, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Bais Naftoli, 221 South La Brea Avenue, the Los Angeles Jewish community will be celebrating the appointment of Chief Michel R. Moore as the Los Angeles Police Department’s 57th Chief of Police. The event is being sponsored by Congregation Bais Naftoli, Hatzolah of Los Angeles, Aleph Institute, and

Shmira of Los Angeles. The dessert reception, free of charge to the public, will be hosted by attorney Andrew Friedman and his wife Chanie, and Rabbi Arye Eideles and his wife Judy. The event will be a meet and greet with ample opportunity to ask the Chief questions pertaining to the Jewish community. The host organizations each have a vi-

tal connection with the LAPD. Hatzolah of Los Angeles provides trained volunteers capable of responding to all emergency situations with the training, skill, and equipment necessary for competent medical and emergency care. Shmira of Los Angeles patrols crime areas, responds to suspicious activity reports, and informs the police department of such activity. Shmira’s mission is to provide safety and peace of mind for our community. Aleph Institute provides crucial financial, emotional, and spiritual assistance to the thousands of shattered families who have been affected by their loved ones in prisons or mental institutions. Aleph’s mandate also includes spiritual assistance to thousands of soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces. Con-

R to L: Councilman Paul Koretz, Chief Michel R. Moore, Commissioner Andrew Friedman, Chanie Friedman

gregation Bais Naftoli was founded by a dozen Holocaust survivors and modern American professionals. Through its political action committee, the synagogue assists our community with direct access to the police department, with emphasis on the special needs of the Orthodox community involving safety and security.

TheHappenings Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home


Children living with serious illnesses, their families, and volunteers from Chai Lifeline West Coast, a health support network which provides emotional, social, and financial support to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families, enjoyed a day at the ballpark rooting for their hometown L.A. Dodgers on July 30th. Thanks to the generosity of the Dodgers organization, 250 children, family members, volunteers, and friends filled an entire section of the stadium as they watched the Dodgers take on the Milwaukee Brewers. The evening is a highly anticipated event among Chai Lifeline families. They enjoy excellent baseball and feast on hotdogs generously sponsored by Jeff’s Gourmet Hotdogs. The Dodgers donated L.A. Dodger alarm clocks, baseball cards and stickers to all the children. Legions of volunteers showered families with fun nosh and souvenirs throughout the game. As the Dodgers and the Brewers pro-

vided excitement on the field, Chai Lifeline’s enthusiastic team of volunteers got the families “pumped up,” creating almost as much action in the stands as there was on the field. With their unlimited energy, the volunteers barely sat for more than a few minutes as they moved from family to family ensuring that they were having a good time and creating smiles abound. There was so much fun and excitement that barely anyone noticed the 20-minute delay on the field due to a power outage. The children’s enthusiasm was infectious, as was the evident love and regard

that volunteers have for Chai Lifeline families. At the end of the game, a delegation from another section approached Randi Grossman, Chai Lifeline’s West Coast regional director. “They came over to thank us for the love and happiness that emanated from our section. They were inspired by our volunteers’ engagement and assistance to families.” She added that the Dodgers and stadium personnel also went out of their way to assure that children and families were comfortable. “They take great care of our kids. We love coming every year.”

Chai Lifeline’s partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers has flourished over 18 years, growing from a small delegation of families to its current size. Dodger Night is one of two-dozen programs and services offered by Chai Lifeline West Coast that bring joy and laughter back into the lives of families whose lives have been impacted by pediatric illness. All Chai Lifeline programs and services are offered at no cost to these families. Ms. Grossman said that the event is critically important for families, particularly new clients and their parents. “Young patients and their siblings make friends with others also living with illness in their homes. Parents connect with others who understand the dynamics of raising a child with serious medical challenges. Sometimes parents need to experience an afternoon of laughter and fun to really know that it’s possible to live full lives while fighting deadly illnesses.”

Five Years Strong: St. Louis Yeshiva Partners with the Los Angeles Valley Community Communicated humble founder, Mr. Jonathan Istrin, who invests many hours into arranging the logistics. When asked why he does this, Mr.

For the fifth consecutive year, Yeshiva U’Mesivta D’Missouri (MTI)’s bais medrash bochurim came to Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley community to strengthen the Torah learning for the month of July. This year brought 25 talmidim with their rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Avroham Goldman. The summer zeman in California was an invigorating way for the bochrim to conclude their year. “It was a tremendous kiddush Hashem—the learning was so strong this summer!” Rabbi Goldman effused. The yeshiva learned Meseches Gittin this year. The program was co-hosted by Valley Torah High School and Shaarey Zedek Congregation. The boys started their day at Valley Torah with Shacharis and Mishna Berurah seder. The rest of the morning was spent learning and having shiur on various sugyos b’iyun. Afternoon seder was bekius seder, where the talmidim worked on their goal of finishing 50-60 blatt for the year. After dinner, the bochurim shuttled down the street to conclude their evening with a communal night seder in the packed bais medrash at Shaarey Zedek Congregation. As an additional program this year, Shaarey Zedek hosted a “summer kollel”

concurrent to the boys’ visit. Each week, a guest lecturer would come and give a series of classes on various Torah topics. The Valley community has hosted this wonderful program over the years with open arms, allowing MTI the opportunity to share ruchnius and vitality with its members. The bochurim were graciously hosted by different families, who shared their homes, meals, and swimming pools. The community also hosts the yeshiva for Shabbos meals. The warmth of the Valley community has made an indelible impression on MTI. In addition, the yeshiva travelled south to San Diego to spend a Shabbos with the Beth Jacob community, led by Rabbi Avram Bogopulsky. All the arrangements were taken care of by Mr. & Mrs. Dovid Love. Dovid is a proud Missouri Torah Institute alumnus and was thrilled to host his own yeshiva in his community. The boys stayed at gracious hosts throughout the community and ate all the meals at the Loves. Rabbi Goldman spoke several times over Shabbos, and the bochurim added a special dose of inspiration to the Shabbos tefillos. This unique summer program has only been possible because of the work of its

Istrin replied, “Having a bais medrash in the Valley and seeing all the learning makes it well worth my while.”

Lew Groner Photography

The Dodgers are all Home Runs with Chai Lifeline Families


TheHappenings Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Hundreds of Attendees at Shalom Bayis Lectures in Pico-Robertson and the Valley A crowd of over 250 women were treated to an outstanding lecture on the topic of intimacy on Monday, July 16th, at Congregation Adas Torah. The following night, over 200 men assembled to receive another great lecture, targeting husbands, on the same topic. This followed similar lectures by the speakers in the Valley. The events were arranged and sponsored by Dr. David Stoll, a local dermatologist. Dr. Stoll initiated the series of shalom bayis lectures three months ago to benefit the entire community. The initial pair of lectures drew hundreds of participants, propelling Dr. Stoll to put together another similar event. This time, the topic was intimacy, a subject that is often glossed over in the

Orthodox Jewish community. Dr. Stoll felt that it was time to address the topic in a modest but forceful way, both to provide guidance and to answer lingering questions. He sought out two of the top speakers on the subject—Rochel Goldbaum of Denver, Colorado, and Rabbi Moshe Kesselman, Rabbi of Congregation Shaarei Tefila of Los Angeles. Mrs. Goldbaum—who is a marriage counselor, kallah teacher and international lecturer—started off with a lecture Sunday night, July 15th in the Valley at a private home. Not only was the audience mesmerized by the talk, but the question and answer period extended for hours after the formal lecture ended. Mrs. Goldbaum followed up the next evening at Adas To-

rah to a packed auditorium with a similar response. In addition to being a synagogue rabbi, Rabbi Kesselman is a renowned chosson teacher for soon-to-be-married men. At his lectures, he enumerated seven points that a man must institute to create a solid mar-

riage as the basis for establishing an intimate relationship with his wife. Together, Mrs. Goldbaum and Rabbi Kesselman provided much needed information for the married community at large. The audience ranged from newlyweds to people married over 40 years! There was something to be learned for everyone. Dr. Stoll was encouraged by the great showing and plans to put together future events within the theme of shalom bayis. “We really saw the entire Orthodox Jewish community come together with this topic. It underscores the need for further hadrachah (guidance) on a variety of topics within the shalom bayis genre,” he stated.

Westwood Kehilla Wins the OU Women’s Initiative Challenge Grant Yehudis Litvak A local synagogue, Westwood Kehilla, won the Orthodox Union (OU) Women’s Initiative Challenge Grant for its new Inspiring Women’s Leadership program. Westwood Kehilla, a small congregation with approximately 60 members, is one of

16 recipients of the OU grant. It was selected out of 93 applications from congregations throughout North America. “The Challenge Grant is an exciting initiative that captures the positive energy of so many communities,” the found-

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ing director of the OU’s Department of Women’s Initiatives, Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman, said in a press release. “The Women’s Initiative is proudly empowering our communities to develop creative approaches to addressing spiritual and communal needs. Once these programs are piloted, they can be offered widely in other communities so that they too can benefit from the wisdom and experience of these successful initiatives.” Westwood Kehilla’s Inspiring Women’s Leadership program aims not only to provide programming that meets women’s needs, but also to involve its current female members in leadership roles within the synagogue. They are currently looking to hire a part-time Women’s Leadership Development Director, whose job will involve identifying and utilizing women’s talents and strengthening their abilities as leaders. The initiative has already begun to make an impact on the community. “People are very interested and excited,” says Andrea Smith, a board member of Westwood Kehilla. “We are engaging people who weren’t so engaged before.” The hiring committee itself consists not only of board members, but also of women who were not previously involved in leadership. “It’s been a learning experience,” says Mrs. Smith, explaining that the committee members are learning to work together and to participate in decision-making. Once the Leadership Development Director is hired, the women of Westwood Kehilla will continue to volunteer, developing and coordinating programming for women together with the director. “It will be a chance to learn indirectly what skills one needs as a leader,” says Mrs. Smith. In the next year, the Westwood Kehilla is planning to create 16 events for women,

“engaging them spiritually, intellectually, culturally, artistically, and socially, and to promote personal growth and deeper and broader engagement in synagogue and Jewish communal life,” according to the grant proposal. The events are intended for all Jewish women, including those who are not currently members of Westwood Kehilla and who may or may not be Orthodox. Rabbi Avi Stewart, the rabbi of Westwood Kehilla, has high hopes for the program. “Klal Yisrael needs leaders on many levels, beginning with being leaders of themselves,” he says. “It’s a wonderful thing when people begin to take achrayus and learn how to be leaders.” He explains that in this generation, women need to be intellectually stimulated and passionate about Judaism, and leadership is one way to develop and maintain this passionate connection. “Enabling women to be part of the congregation is a good thing for Klal Yisrael,” he says. The OU is expecting to see positive changes come from the Challenge grant recipients, including Westwood Kehilla, that can also be extended to other communities. The OU President, Moishe Bane, said in a press release, “For more than a century the Orthodox Union has addressed the religious and spiritual needs of the American Jewish community. Ever changing circumstances and challenges, however, compel the ongoing exploration of new approaches to advance our connection to God, both as individuals and collectively as a community. We therefore feel particularly privileged to be partnering with women of extraordinary vision and commitment from across the community, to pursue exciting and innovative initiatives seeking to enhance the religious and spiritual growth of the contemporary Jewish woman.”

The Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home



Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - 7:30 P.M. Congregation Bais Naftoli 221 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Hosted by: Attorney Andrew Friedman & Chanie Rabbi Aryeh Eideles & Judy

Admission: Gratis


The Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home

A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos









AUGUST 17-18 ‫יום היארצייט ו׳ אלול‬

‫שבת פ‘ שופטים‬ ‫לזכר נשמת תוספות יו״ט‬


For inspiration visit To request the ‫ מי שברך‬email

‫בזכות רפואה שלמה מרדכי דוד בן חי' שרה מינדל‬


Stop the Talking in Shul! T

9/22/16 11:47 AM



The Week U In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home



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The Spirit Continues.

MAKE THE KABBALAH THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE Upon your kabbalah, as the first step in your appreciating and understanding tefillah, we will send you a beautiful

HARDCOVER ARTSCROLL SIDDUR which will include the Tosfos Yom Tov Mishaberach. Your kabbalah will change your life forever, and this Hebrew English Siddur will enhance your understanding of tefillah. To be mekabel your Artscroll Siddur, Please email your kabbalah to Please state your choice of Sfard or Ashkenaz.

~I am 󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼󰇼 da󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏󰉏 ~ My 󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔󰈔 un󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃󰉃

ENCOURAGE YOUR SHUL TO SAY THE TOSFOS YOM TOV'S ‫מי שברך‬ on this special Shabbos, and to continue throughout the year for an ongoing shmira.

Stop the Talking in Shul!

A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos


A CITICOM! EVENT 718.692.0999

SUBMIT NAMES FOR TEFILLOS AT THE TOSFOS YOM TOV’S KEVER: Email names and bakashos to They will be read at the Tosfos Yom Tov’s kever on his yahrzeit.



Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home


Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Here we are enjoying the warmth and calm of summer. Though the solar calendar says August, for us it’s Elul, the month of spiritual revival and connection. Moshe Rabbeinu speaks to us through the pesukim of the Torah. This week he calls out to us, wherever we are, no matter where we want to be, and says to us: Take a look at the world. See everything that is there and know there is a choice before you at all times. You are free to choose between brocha and klolah, a good life or chas veshalom one that is cursed. Which way to go is up to you. It’s always up to you. Nobody can force you in going or choosing. If you made the wrong choice yesterday, today you can change course and get back on the blessed path. Even if you were off the track for an extended period of time, you can catch yourself, straighten out, and hop back on the proper path. It works the other way, as well. Just because you have been living the good life for many years doesn’t guarantee that you will continue. It takes effort. Every day you need to strive to stay on course and beat back the yeitzer hora, ever present in seeking to entice us. Life was not intended to be easy, simple or superficial. Life is a constant challenge. As the posuk (Devorim 11:26) says, “Re’ei anochi nosein lifneichem hayom.” Every day presents new struggles and challenges to overcome, and new opportunities to capitalize on and succeed. The pesukim detail how we are to deal with the weak, what our obligations are to the poor, and how we are to lead our lives on a higher, more thoughtful plane. “Re’ei” is a call for depth. Look, observe and contemplate, and you will see that blessing is arrived at by learning Torah and observing its mitzvos. Through acting honestly and faithfully, you can achieve happiness. For those who choose the opposite; a life of deceit and superficiality, caught up with chasing fleeting sensations, the day will arrive when they will look back at their years with feelings of emptiness and dejection. A life of joy is arrived at not by taking, but by giving. That is why, in the parsha of Re’ei, we find the commandment of helping the less fortunate. A life of brocha is arrived at by helping those who seem to be lacking. The posuk in this week’s parsha (14:22) says, “Aser ta’aser,” and the Gemara (Taanis 9a) promises that if you tithe and give ten percent of your income to the poor, you will become wealthy. The posuk in Malachi (3:10) states,

“Uvechonuni na bazos omar Hashem Test me with ma’aser, says Hashem. Im lo eftach lochem eis arubos hashomayim vaharikosi lochem brocha ad bli dai. If you donate ma’aser, I will open the floodgates of heaven and provide you with endless blessing.” Citing this posuk in Malachi, the Tur (Hilchos Tzedakah 247) writes that “it is tried and proven that a person will not lose by giving charity. Rather, it will cause him to be blessed with riches and honor.” The rewards noted for the observance of the mitzvah of tzedakah are an indication of what we are earning for ourselves every time we perform a mitzvah. Even when it appears as if the mitzvah depletes our finances, it actually increases our worth. Not only do we gain psychologically with the feelings that accompany being a giver, but we also gain financially. Many are the people who were able to

pockets instead of helping the poor, said the Chofetz Chaim, are like that silly farmer. Hashem promises to bless those who properly observe mitzvos. The person who keeps his pennies in his pocket rather than sharing them with a poor person cheats himself of golden coins, for he misses out on the opportunity for Divine blessing. Hashem promises that the remaining six days of the week will be productive if Shabbos is observed. A person who works on Shabbos because he is worried that he won’t have enough income if he doesn’t, loses out on the guarantee for the rest of the week. Rav Shimon Shkop explained it a bit differently. If a guard starts out watching a small sum of money and proves that he is reliable, he will be entrusted with increasingly larger amounts of money to watch over. People who show that they are capable of properly utilizing the financial gifts

The yeitzer hora is the original Ponzi rise to riches by observing this mitzvah. People seek segulos for everything, and who doesn’t want to be rich? This week’s parsha provides the best segulah for a life of happiness and brocha: Follow the mitzvos of Hashem and you will be blessed. The Chofetz Chaim explained this with a moshol. A farmer would bring his produce to a wholesaler. They would weigh the sacks of wheat and the wholesaler would make a mark on the wall for each fifty pounds. They would add up the lines the wholesaler had made, and that was how they determined how much the farmer would be paid for his wheat. One day, the farmer was suspicious that the wholesaler was erasing some of the marks on the wall, scamming him out of his hard-earned income. He decided that for every fifty pounds of wheat, the wholesaler would put a coin in a plate. When they were done, they would add up the coins and, based upon that number, the wholesaler would pay the farmer. The farmer’s greed matched his foolishness and he began sneaking coins into his pocket when the wholesaler wasn’t looking. He was thus cheating himself by taking the coins which were of lesser value than what the wholesaler would have paid. People who keep their coins in their

Hashem gives them by dispensing appropriate amounts of charity will be given more money. If a person demonstrates that he properly uses the spiritual gifts and strengths Hashem has bestowed upon him, he will be blessed with spiritual growth. If someone uses his talents in Torah to teach and guide others, he will be blessed just the same as a person who uses his money to help others. Rav Shkop cited the example of a rosh yeshiva who requires a certain amount of time to study and prepare his shiur. If he were to give ma’aser of his time to his talmidim, he will, in reward for that, be able to prepare his shiur in less time. So even when we give from our own to others, we are essentially gifting ourselves as well. Thus, Parshas Re’ei provides a window for us to examine the depth of our actions and see past the surface. In our world since man sinned, there is some bad mixed in with everything that is good. For example, when Hashem provides us daily with blessing, as the posuk states, “hineni nosein lifneichem hayom brocha - I am giving you today – or daily – blessings,” there is also some bad mixed in, “uklolah.” It is for us to choose the brocha and separate

the klolah. We are challenged daily by the choice of tov and ra, good and evil. The yeitzer hora rationalizes to us the ra and presents it as tov. Nobody sets out to conduct a Ponzi scheme. Rather, they attempt to get rich quickly and thus engage in risky and increasingly fraudulent behavior to satisfy their unrealistic expectations of wealth. They begin skimming the money entrusted to them and wasting it on themselves. Before they know it, they are taking money from new investors to pay the older ones. They reason that they will be able to repay all their investors and continue the folly and luxurious lifestyle they have become accustomed to. Of course, it catches up with them and they end up losing all the money people entrusted to them. The yeitzer hora is the original Ponzi, enticing man almost since the beginning of time to sin, to cheat, to look the other way, to choose the path of evil over that of goodness and kindness. Sometimes we are fooled and don’t recognize that we have chosen the wrong road. There are warning signs along the way, but we ignore them and rationalize them away, because the going is good, we are enjoying the trip, we are feeling great, and we are sure that it will never end. Elul is the time of year when we are charged to examine our actions so that we may reconnect with Hashem and be worthy of a positive judgment on Rosh Hashanah. One of the most terrifying things a person can experience is a court case. Facing one, forces people to honestly examine their actions so they can attempt a defense. Elul affords us that ability as we scrutinize what we have done throughout the year and examine the choices we have made. We do what we can to ensure that we are on the correct path and have not been misled along the way. As we get closer to the Yomim Noraim, we are more careful when making our daily choices. We try to make sure we are not being misled by latent urges for pleasure, money or honor. Re’ei admonishes us to see past the surface, to be intelligent and objective in our choices. Re’ei means to choose well. If we find ourselves to be lacking or incorrect, or we see indications that we have chosen incorrectly, we must be courageous enough to admit that we are mistaken and hop off the car that is headed in the wrong direction. Doing the right thing is not always easy. But it’s right. Let’s do what’s right.

Torah Musings The Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Modesty, Part Two Sarah Pachter

I recently conducted a survey with female participants from across the nation. Their ages varied from nine to 65, and I made sure to include women from a variety of religious backgrounds and observance levels. I asked only one question, and despite the wide demographic range, 75 percent gave exactly the same answer. Here was the question: Given the following choices, what is the word you associate most strongly with the noun “modesty?” 1.










You guessed it, the majority said, clothing. Of the few that responded with character, there was a caveat for many: “I know character is the right answer, but I often think of clothing, so it’s a toss up.” Bottom line: Most people associate tzniut—modesty—with clothing when in fact, clothing is just one small aspect of modesty. After gathering various Torah sources and literature describing and defining modesty, I compiled the following definition: Tzniut is a character trait that is equally obligatory for men and women which helps us reflect our G-dliness, our inner soul. If the main point of modesty has to do with character, why is there so much emphasis on clothing? Think about the following scenario: a policeman is standing at an intersection, barking out orders and moving his arms to assist in the flow of traffic. Next, imagine that same policeman is making identical gestures, but he is wearing a pirate costume. As onlookers, we will relate very differently to that man based solely on the clothing he wears.

Whether we like it or not, clothing makes a statement, and research has proven that society makes judgements based solely on how people dress. Additionally, recent research indicates that clothing doesn’t just communicate a message to others, it also communicates a message to ourselves. The clothing you wear doesn’t just change the way others see you, it changes the way you view yourself, even affecting your behavior. This concept is called “enclothed cognition.” In essence, not only do we judge the policeman and pirate differently based on their clothing options, but the policeman (or pirate-costume-wearing man) will feel differently about himself based on his clothing choice. In a recent experiment conducted at Northwestern University, two groups of people were asked to participate in a deceptively simple activity. They read cards that said the names of colors, while the words themselves were written in a different color. For example, the word YELLOW was written with red ink. The participant was asked to read yellow rather than say red. Half of the readers were wearing a white medical lab coat, while the others were wearing their normal, everyday clothing. The “coated” students tested twice as well as the ones dressed casually. The study deduced that if you wear something that makes you think you’re smart, then you tend to act a little smarter. Further studies with high school students showed that teenagers who dressed up for the SATs had a better chance of scoring higher than the students wearing everyday clothing. One of my students said to me, “I feel better when I get dressed up, like getting my hair blown out and wearing heels.” Taking care of ourselves and putting effort into our exterior brings a positive feeling on the inside. I’ve also noticed that I act friendlier towards others when I look my best. Think about when we look like “garbage” in the carpool line or the grocery store and we bump into people we know. We end that conversation real quick because we don’t feel like we look good—

we don’t want to be seen. How we dress affects our behavior. If I don’t feel good then I’m not going to be as friendly. But here’s the catch. A subsequent study was then done at Northwestern in which both groups of readers wore lab coats. One group wore the coats believing they were medical lab coats, while the other group wore the coats believing they were artist’s smocks. Participants wearing the “Doctor Coats” tested much higher than the students wearing “smocks,” even though there was no physical difference between the coats. Our external clothing matters, but only when we have an internal feeling about what we are wearing. In other words, there are two ways that clothing affects us: 1. The clothes affect our external appearance to others and ourselves. 2. The clothing is symbolic to us and holds an inward meaning. Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller describes these concepts as “from the outside in” or “from the inside out.” We can merely change our garb and hope it affects us, or we can work on our character and hope that it alters the external parts of us as well. She further explains that one can put on a skirt and dress more conservatively, but it won’t do much unless that person is doing the internal work simultaneously. Rebbetzin Heller actually advises women to work internally first in order for her inner worth to spread to other areas of her life. I went to a Clinique store recently, and the woman working behind the counter

was in her late sixties. She looked amazing for her age, and she was certainly flattered by my complimenting her beauty. Her face was au natural, having had no age-altering surgeries. I asked her what her secrets were. She candidly replied, “Look, I could tell you it’s this product or that cream, and maybe they help, but if you want to know what keeps your skin really looking youthful…” I was waiting on pins and needles. “It’s none of these products. You can put all the creams you want on your skin to hydrate it, but truth be told, you have to hydrate from the inside out. Water. Lots of it. Plain and simple.” Working from the inside out has other applications, including redecorating one’s home. When you replace a simple item in a room, albeit a small change, you might notice suddenly that the rug now clashes. You change the rug and realize the curtains don’t go now, either. Before you know it, you’ve redecorated an entire room because you changed one small item. When you develop one middah, your whole essence changes. As you work on yourself from the inside out and truly change your character, then suddenly your external appearance might begin to clash with your positive development. This would create a positive domino effect that truly lasts. Clothing can be changed easily, but if one’s internal character has not been maintained and strengthened, it will just as easily be shed.




29, 2015 | The Jewish Home Feature The OCTOBER Week In News

AUGUST 9, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Breaking Barriers A Peek into the Druze Community, with a Different Kind of Zionism

Members of the Druze community demonstrating against Israel’s new nation-state law

By Rafi Sackville


hree years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, newly elected Prime Minister Netanyahu made the decision to open the Western Wall Tunnel. This decision led to what were known as the Western Wall Riots. During a particularly deadly siege around Joseph’s Tomb, the commander of the Southern Brigade, Brigadier Colonel Assaf Shavit, was seriously injured. Then the situation in Gaza rapidly deteriorated. Despite being on vacation, the commander of the Northern Brigade in Gaza, Colonel Nabi Mari, drove from the north of the country, where he lived, to take command. Well-liked and respected, Nabi made his way to Point 22 on the Philadelphia corridor, the strip that runs between the border with Egypt. The plan was to calm the rioting crowd that had gathered there. Just before reaching the outpost, Nabi and the men under his command began to take on heavy fire. Taking position in the southern observation post, Nabi went to the south window and began firing. He said that he had identified a sniper. He fired a short burst, walked back a little, and then, when he began shooting again, he was shot by a sniper’s bullet. The bullet entered his right upper chest. Within moments, he lost the coloring in his face. His life petered out of him not long after. Nabi Marie was the highest ranking Druze soldier to lose his life in battle. His funeral and mourning period was led by a parade of hundreds of Israeli army elite, politicians from the prime minister down,

and thousands of visitors to the Maries’ hometown of Hurfeish, only ten minutes away from Ma’alot, where we live. One would think that Nabi Marie’s many accomplishments ended on that day in September twenty-two years ago. In fact, the opposite is true. Today his name is synonymous with advancements not only in the town where he was born, but in the military as well. For this reason we thought it worthwhile dwelling on the Druze presence here in the north of the country. It’s a contradiction that, to the untrained observer, including many Israelis, makes understanding the Druze demographic at once both compelling and unfathomable.


ruze villages lay scattered throughout the Golan, the Carmel Mountains, and here in the Galil with familiar regularity. With over 120,000 residents, the Druze represent a large minority in Israel. Many Israelis cannot differentiate between the Druze, Christian and Muslims. Some hear the Druze speak their native Arabic and come to unjustified conclusions. It is no secret that the Druze dislike being compared to Muslims. Historically, they have preferred to rely on themselves to the exclusion of other Islamic sects. They see their religion, which broke off from Islam in the 10th century, as an interpretation of the three large monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Their faith is a based on a mosaic

of beliefs. Most of their teachings remain secret to outsiders. The more modern among them wear western style clothes. The elders and more observant have a unique dress code: women wear a traditional long black dress with a light, white head covering; men, many of whom grow long, handlebar moustaches, wear the shirwal, which are large baggy, black pants. Their presence in shopping malls, classrooms, and the workplace are a reminder that we live with them in peaceful co-existence. The first major step the Druze took to cooperating with Israel can be dated back to the 1940s when the Arab League tried to coerce them into taking sides against us. They chose to side with us. Today they are represented in government and in high ranking positions in the army and yet they still do not enjoy equality in Israeli society. This split reality was neatly summed up in a song written by Yehonatan Geffen. His lyrics make it clear that in an army uniform they are heroes, but once they get back into civilian clothes they are “simply Druzim.” This quandary is addressed at length by Mordechai Nissim, in his article in The Middle East Journal in 2010, titled “The Druze in Israel: Questions of Identity, Citizenship, and Patriotism.” He wrote, “A picture emerges of Druze solidarity with the Zionist ethos, as they simultaneously distance themselves from the Arab and Islamic themes resonant among the Israeli-Arab sector of society. The paradoxes of Druze life, simultaneously loyal to state and community, present an intricate picture of perseverance,

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Nabi Marie, who broke tens of barriers

Nabi Marie with Yitzchak Rabin

Mufid, Nabi’s brother, following in his footsteps

patriotism, and patience in Israel.” Last April, the Maariv newspaper ran a profile on Chason Chason, the former security chief for President Shimon Peres. His life as a professional soldier reads like a thriller. I read the article with interest and a feeling of apologetic ignorance. After all, there are three Druze villages within walking distance of our home. Shouldn’t I know more? Moreover, it became increasingly clear through conversations that Chason Chason’s rise through the armed services would never have happened had it not been for Nabi Marie. I had been aware for some time of a heritage house dedicated to Nabi Marie’s life. I called the Hurfeish city council and was put through to Mufid Marie, the head of the Hurfeish council and youngyer brother of Nabi. He was only too happy to meet with us.

lection of fountain pens. I wandered around looking at the photos and army insignia on the walls. Portraits showed a man with a face both hardened by life but infused with compassion. Nabi’s brother Mufid has just turned 60. He, too, has a face seasoned by life’s experience, an honest countenance that oftentimes breaks into a ready

captivating. I wanted to ask Mufid how it feels having lived most of his life in the shadow of his older brother. Yet it soon became clear that living in such a shadow has only been a boon for him. Mufid’s pride and respect for his brother’s achievements have had an obvious effect on his life. In life and death Nabi has spurred Mufid forward on a path that he would never had taken if not for his late brother. I asked him about his brother’s formative years. Nabi, whose name means “a wise and noble soul,” was born in April 1954. The family was poor farmers. Mufid explained his father’s occupation thusly: “We weren’t regular famers. Regular farmers had a tractor. We had a donkey. We would get up at 2 a.m., walk to the family’s fields, where we would pick tobacco leaves before walking to school. We were very poor. We sold the tobacco leaves to Dubek, the Israeli cigarette company. “Nabi was 5 years older than me. I was born in 1958. I always looked up to him.” Nabi and his siblings went to the local school until 7th grade. Hurfeish had no middle or high schools in the 1960s. The choices were to travel to places like Nahariya or Ma’alot. Through his work with kibbutzim and moshavim Nabi’s father, Machmud, learned to recognize the value of Israeli life and culture. He wanted the best education for his children. In particular, he wanted them to develop a love of the land. He sent Nabi to the agricultural high school in Iron, near Hadera. He was the first Druze to be sent to such a school. In 1948 the army established a minority unit, which later came to be known as Unit 300. It consisted of Druze and Circassians. In that same year Druze soldiers first fought with the IDF when they aided in liberating the Upper Galilee. By 1956, Druze military service had become compulsory. Upon turning 18 in 1972 Nabi was expected to


urfeish lays on either side of Highway 89, the road that links to Meron and Safed beyond. It is only a few miles south of the Lebanese border. It sits atop of the same rolling and verdant hills as Ma’alot that make semi-rural life with its pollution-free air and simple living in the Galil so alluring to those looking to escape city life. Over the years the residents of Hurfeish, which now number over 7,000, have expanded outwards from the main road into a suburbia dotted with large, charming villas. The Marie family has lived in the town for over 500 years. The Nabi Marie heritage house lies in their large family compound off the main road. The center is modest in size with a viewing room where one can watch a short film on his life. Large cabinets with glass doors display an array of collectables. Arranged neatly inside are a variety of things small and large – from army paraphernalia to the personal belongings that Nabi cared about, like his large col-

“Regular farmers had a tractor. We had a donkey. We would get up at 2 a.m., walk to the family’s fields, where we would pick tobacco leaves before walking to school.”

smile. He talks of his brother as if he’s still alive, is in the next room, and is about to walk in. Mufid was conscripted into the army in 1975, and worked his way up the ranks until he became a colonel. During his service he served in the two Lebanese wars during which he reached the road that runs from Beirut to Damascus. One of his last positions was to serve as controller of the army, assessing Israel’s readiness for war. The likeness between the brothers is striking. They may have been cut from the same cloth, but it is not hard to recognize the uniqueness that Nabi carried. His charisma and charm must have been




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The rolling hills of Hurfeish

Druze community leaders in northern Israel

take the typical path for young Druze men and be conscripted to the army to Unit 300, the Harav Battlion, specifically formed for minorities. Before his conscription, however, he wrote a letter to Moshe Dayan, the then-Minister of Defense, in which he complained that Unit 300 effectively closed off any avenues to those Druze who wished to serve elsewhere. Nabi wanted to be a paratrooper, a position not available to soldiers in Unit 300. After assessing the matter, the IDF conceded to Nabi’s request. Along with another three Druze and one Circassian, Nabi joined the paratroopers in November 1972. The young man who had dared had won a major battle even before pulling on his army fatigues. At the time he wrote a letter expressing his thoughts on the matter. “I feel like an Israeli in every way,” he wrote, “so I am willing to dedicate and contribute to the best of my abilities. Care and respect are the principles of my family, and honor exists only on the basis of a quiet and peaceful life, and a quiet life is a direct result of security. That is why I feel the obligation to be in the Israel Defense Forces, and even to belong to a combat unit in order to demonstrate my contribution to the state.” One of the Israeli officers in Battalion 202 described Nabi’s integration as seamless. No discounts were given to anyone. Nabi had an endless motivation and will to prove himself. “At first I didn’t know how I would deal with the Druzim,” the officer recalled, “but slowly I came to see that they were just like me. Nabi never once hid the fact that he was Druze. On family day it was common for us to bring our parents to meet our officers. By Nabi it was different. He asked me to accompany him to meet his father, and not the other way around. It was clear to me that honor and tradition stood before all else.” This was a year before the Yom Kippur War, in which Nabi fought alongside his platoon in the Sinai.

His trajectory up the ranks of the army brass over the course of twenty four years was impressive; officers’ course, instructor officers’ school, battalion comrmander, deputy commander of the Givati Brigade, commander of the Arava Brigade, member of the National Security College, and finally commander of the northern brigade in Gaza. Each successive post that he held he did so as the first Druze. He conveyed a simple message to

“I feel like an Israeli in every way so I am willing to dedicate and contribute to the best of my abilities.”

the troops under his command. Upon addressing his troops at officers’ school he implored them to set an exemplary example as officers. “In order to be a good officer you have to continue to study even when you are with ranks on you,” he told them. “Not only learn but also act as an officer even when you are out of uniform.” While being a soldier was a profession, being a decent citizen was a major priority in his life. His positive attitude never wavered. For example, in 1986, Nabi became a platoon commander. It was a position that had never before been filled by someone other than an Israeli. Reflecting on his time with Nabi, one of his fellow officers remembers him saying that as a Druze he had to work twice as hard in order to prove himself. Israelis who were conscripted at the

same time as him had reached higher ranks. Nabi’s appraisal of his situation was honest, “One needs patience,” he acknowledged. “This is a war for my very existence, and I’m fighting hard. Although we’re not equal in everything in the army, I believe that this will improve over time.” There was another element to his personal mission. Nabi saw himself as a true Zionist. When he examined the values of his officership and his love of the country, he felt this sentiment and qualified it as a different kind of Zionism. Today, thousands of Israeli Druze belong to Druze Zionist movements. After Nabi trained at the National Security College he took control of the Northern Command in the Gaza Strip, where he fought his last battle. The man who had stood as a lighthouse for the village and his entire community became as legendary in death as he was in life. Nabi’s uniqueness and his leadership of others is aptly reflected by the former (late) chief of staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak in a letter that he wrote to the Marie family: “Nabi was always setting a precedent throughout his military service. Nabi was always where they sent him and he was always sent to places where they needed him. And there were few people who could be in those places.”


ufid showed me the flak jacket Nabi wore the day he died for his country. It hangs behind a glass cabinet on the far wall. It is difficult to look at the hole where the bullet entered and not think of every life we have lost in battles; over 20,000 lives taken, all in the name of protecting Israel. We stood there in a silence that was broken by Mufid. “Such irony,” he remarked. “I was in Lebanon at the time. The chances of my being hurt or killed were far greater than his.” I looked across at my wife, thinking our interview

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

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about this brave soldier and the town of his birth was over. But we were wrong, because the fruits of the barriers that Nabi knocked down have blossomed and continue to bear fruit even in 2018. Mufid told us he recently returned from a trip to New Jersey with a delegation of Hurfeish residents. He told us about the fruitful cooperation between Metrowest and Hurfeish. After the Second Lebanon War, Hurfeish requested the same type of support American communities were providing for Jewish cities and town in the north of the country. As chairman for the World Jewish Congress, Shai Hermesh, a former member of the Knesset and a man who had worked with Nabi in the army, assisted Hurfeish in making the right connections. An emergency dispatch center was built. It is like a war room that is connected to the government and the army. It helps keep the town on a ready footing in time of need. The town has also received funding for a project called Opening the Future through which the Federation has helped fund a group of women who work with truant kids. They develop personal programs for each child and his/her family, in the hope that they can get kids at risk back into schools.


Druze in the IDF

The delegation to New Jersey focused on a group of elderly women who gave workshops in designing head coverings and Druze cooking. Because Druze women do not travel alone, their husbands accompanied them. The trip was successful. This coming October, hundreds of youngsters from New Jersey will pay a visit to Hurfeish. I spoke to Amir Shacham, the Federation Associate Executive Vice President of Global Connections. He told me that the Federation has joint projects with

seven cities and towns in Israel. From Arad in the South to Rishon LeZion, Hurfeish is the only point on the map that is Israeli but not Jewish. He was quick to stress how the cooperation with Hurfeish is truly one of quality and how the Federation is very honored to work closely with them. None of this would have happened without Nabi Marie, who never got to see the fruits of his persistence. It is an irony not lost on his brother. For example, Unit 300, the army’s minority unit, was shut down a few years ago. It might have still been up and running were it not for the perseverance of a headstrong 18-year-old who in 1972 was committed to taking many roads never before taken by his community. Today Hurfeish has more combat and regular soldiers relative to its size than any other Druze town in the country.


s Mufid dedicated a book on Nabi’s life to my wife and me, I wandered back to the display case that houses all those wonderful fountain pens, once treasured by a fallen hero. They lie there side by side as silent as the quiet afternoon awaiting us on the other side of the door. A Mont Blanc lies next to a Parker 1951. I wondered what other barriers Nabi might have written into the history of Israel had his life not been taken at the age of 42.





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