Friday, March 27, 2020

Shabbat Shalom - Important Announcements and a sermon for this week

Dear Friends,
As we enter the second Shabbat of our physical separation from each other and shul I would like to share several items

  1. Important announcements about how we can stay together virtually and prepare for upcoming Passover holiday
  2. A schedule of our online Torah study opportunities including the introduction of our new zoom platform
  3. A sermon – you can read now or print out to read on Shabbat
 1. A) IMPORTANT:  If anyone needs handmade Shemurah Matzah or other Passover needs or financial help with getting what you need for Passover please contact Rabbi Yaffe.

If you know of anyone who may need help of any sort please contact Rabbi Yaffe 
B) I miss seeing you all, but please do stay in touch. Everything we do is available on our Facebook page: and listed on our  blog  the blog is updated regularly and accessible from our webpage
 C) For information about Chametz sales etc. please go to this link.
We much prefer you sell Chametz online this year. If you can’t please mail in the form by April 5th.
There will be no Public Chametz Burning this year -do it on a Chametzdig BBQ etc in your own yard etc 
2. A) We are launching our interactive online classes using the zoom platform this Sunday. This platform is easy to use, and you can participate, ask questions and see the other participants. Our first class is “Mastering Talmud” Sunday 930AM. Please do join us on: Meeting ID: 727 921 137
We also plan to have a Zoom “Minyan” from time to time  
Join us on our Facebook live page Motzei Shabbat  / Saturday March 28th at 815 PM for Havdalah and a few words of Torah
3. A Sermon on Vayikra 
The book of Leviticus devotes much space to the korbanot, sacrifices, that were offered in the Tabernacle and subsequently in the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem.

Inasmuch as the Torah is continually relevant, and the third Temple has not yet—as of this writing—been built, what is the personal relevance of the korbanot to us? After all, we already have the ability to bring G‑dliness into our lives via Torah study, prayer and the mitzvot, comprising intellect, emotion and action—the full gamut of human expression. What more can korbanot contribute to our relationship with G‑d?

Let us look at the particular text in Leviticus (1:2) that introduces us to korbanot. Bear in mind that the word korban literally means to “draw near,” not “sacrifice.” So, the following is a literal translation:

“When a person shall draw near—from you—a drawing-near to G‑d, from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall draw near your drawing-near."

The word korban literally means to “draw near,” not “sacrifice. This verse is speaking of a voluntary offering, and it teaches us a fundamental idea about korbanot: if you want to come near to G‑d, it must come “from you.” Once that is accomplished, bring your personal sheep too.

If we seek to draw close to the G‑dly, to find meaning and depth in all the mundane activities of life, we need to bring ourselves close, and in particular our “animal.” The animal refers to all the aspects of life we share with every creature: getting sustenance, nesting, securing our habitat, caring for our young, recreation and so on.

What comes “from you” that is “yours”? All the categories discussed above—Torah, prayer and mitzvot—are mandatory. They are commands from G‑d. Most of the time in our lives, however, is spent at work, commuting, grocery shopping, cooking, fixing things, filing taxes, etc. Much of these activities are not encompassed by actual obligations—they are “of you.”

The key to bringing our entire life “close” is the understanding that every obligation in Judaism is assembled from the components of everyday life. Charity is fueled by economic activity, the material we use for the Shabbat is mined from the week’s efforts, and the mind we use for Torah study is fueled by glucose derived from our nourishment. Hence, we can be mindful of the ultimate power of ordinary activity and be aware as we engage in it.

For example:

Our preparation and consumption of food nourishes us and gives us strength to live as G‑d challenges us to live.

Our work provides the resources to help others and educate our children.

Seeing the potential for holiness in that which we do is in itself holiness.

Our recreation gives us calmness and respite, giving us the ability to have the patience and energy we need to use our minds, emotions and bodies as we are directed in the Torah.

By being aware of the ultimate potential of our hitherto ordinary actions—this act of personal korban—we make all parts of ourselves and lives that seem just to be a road to somewhere else, into an end in themselves. They do lead to mitzvot and all that, but it is a “scenic route.” The journey itself is uplifting.

If we are aware and mindful of all this whilst engaged in these activities, the ordinary ceases to be ordinary—it becomes part of the holy. The “animal”—e.g., the commute, the work, the dashing through an airport, the putting together of some household object—becomes a profound and meaningful end in itself. Because seeing the ultimate potential for holiness in that which we do is in itself holiness.

For that matter regarding the present situation of “lockdown”, our isolation and changed schedules give us opportunities to connect with our family and look out for each other -and study Torah don’t have in normal times
Let's hit the (conceptual) road!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Sale of Chametz Online This Year /Passover Needs/Classes Today

This year due to the COVID19 pandemic, we much prefer you sell Chametz online.

We have worked with Rabbi Willig, a Rosh Yeshivah at Yeshiva University Please use this 

or scan QR code with your phone:

All sales must be in by the end of April 5th!

If you can't do it online please go to this link:

and print the form and mail it to us ASAP

IMPORTANT:  If anyone needs hand made Shemurah Matzah or other Passover needs or financial help with getting what you need for Passover please contact Rabbi Yaffe.

If you know of anyone who may need help  please contact Rabbi Yaffe 

Today is Rosh Chodesh Nissan - remember all the special prayers Yaaleh Veyavo, Hallel, Musaf etc

Today's Classes on Bnai Torah's Facebook page 

via Facebook Live

Not Just Stories: The real Midrash - Haggadah Edition 1:00 PM

Great Themes of Jewish Thought: The Exodus as the Focus of Judaism  -  7:00 PM Please Note New Time