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How to print some parts of the newsletter on OS 2010.  365 is probably slightly different.
 
The Dvar Torah can be copied by selecting (holding down the left click on the mouse) and then clicking copy.  Paste the whole thing in an MS Word doc.  It will probably be quite a few pages.  

Notes can be prepared for printing by clicking on the image first.  The image should open in another screen on a black background.  There should be a down arrow in the upper right corner of the screen.  Click on it and open the download.  Right clicking should present several options.  Pick copy image or save as or any other option that has worked for you before. If you have done this before this step should be elementary for you. 

There are help buttons somewhere on the top menus if these instructions do not work for you.  

Input is welcome!
ACHREI MOT-KEDOSHIM
Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
 
I am proud of my large library of Jewish books.

My collection, which my wife half-jokingly refers to as my addiction, began on my 11th birthday with a gift from my maternal grandparents, may they rest in peace. They bought me the then recently published Shulzinger edition of the Five Books of Moses surrounded by numerous traditional commentaries. Those volumes became the cornerstone of my personal library of many hundreds of Judaic works on the Bible, the Talmud, philosophy, history, and codes of law.

These books line the walls of my private study from floor to ceiling.

Over the years, I have had many visitors who were struck by the overwhelming number of books and who reacted with awe and curiosity. Some, particularly non-Jews, would ask, "Have you read all of these?" When I confessed that I hadn't read more than very few of them, they often proceeded with yet another question:
"What are they all about? Why are so many books necessary just to explain one religion?"

They could not fathom why so much commentary was written on just a few basic biblical texts.

Often, as I responded to their inquiries, I found myself resorting to an old story of one of our greatest sages, Hillel. To most of you, this story is probably well-known, perhaps even trite. But for many of my visitors, the story was novel, instructive, and almost revelatory.

In this story, Hillel, known for his scholarship and commitment to Torah study but particularly famous for his patience, is provocatively challenged by a heathen who demands to be taught the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel accepts the challenge and says, "What is hateful to you do not do unto others. That is the entire Torah, the rest is but commentary. Now go out and study the commentary."

I would then explain to my inquisitive visitors that Hillel's remark was based upon a verse in this week's double Torah portion, Acharei Mot/Kedoshim. There, in Leviticus 19:18, we read, "...and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Now, I would continue, loving one's neighbor as oneself is no easy task. We are likely to have numerous and diverse neighbors in the course of a lifetime, and myriad circumstances arise which pose great barriers to our love for them. And so, Jewish scholars throughout the ages have recorded their advice, suggestions, and guidelines for just how to love one’s neighbor in every conceivable context and condition. That's what all these books are about, and that's why we need so many of them.

Note that Hillel himself does not choose to use the Torah's original phrase to explain the essence of Judaism to the heathen. He does not say, "Love your neighbor." Rather, he says, "Do not harm your neighbor." Perhaps this is because, as the medieval commentator Ramban suggests, loving one's neighbor as oneself is an exaggerated expectation, just too tall an order, and the most Hillel could do was to urge the heathen to do no harm.

Whether one uses the biblical formulation commanding us to love our neighbor, or chooses Hillel's version which asks us to refrain from harming him or her in a way in which we ourselves would not want to be harmed, the essence of our Torah is this ethical imperative. And the many hundreds of volumes in my personal library, and the hundreds of thousands of similar tomes written throughout the centuries, can all be understood as the constant and perpetual struggle of our sages to develop a "database" sufficient to enable us to realize this ethical imperative.

One such commentary deserves mention, particularly in our age and culture, which has been diagnosed as narcissistic, as overly self-loving.

This commentary takes the form of a story about a disciple of Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk who eavesdropped upon his master as the latter was reviewing this week’s Torah portion aloud. Rabbi Mendel read, "…and thou shalt love thy neighbor... as yourself??? Yes, as yourself!!!" First as a question, and then as a forceful declaration.

The disciple was puzzled by the manner in which his master read the passage. He asked the master's chief disciple, Reb Hershel, for an explanation. This was his answer:
"The master first asked a question. Can it be that we are asked to love our neighbor as ourselves? Are we to understand that it is permissible to love oneself? Is it not a basic teaching here in Kotzk that one dare not love oneself, lest he thereby become blind to his own faults?" In our terminology, Rabbi Mendel could not accept the slightest suggestion that narcissism was acceptable.

"Then the master realized a deeper meaning of the verse. Namely, we ought to love our neighbor to the same extent that we are critical of ourselves. The mitzvah is that we put in as much effort loving our neighbor as the effort that we should be investing in our own personal spiritual and moral perfection."
In an age of "me first", it is even more important that we direct our love outwards towards the other, and not inward toward ourselves. We must, at all costs, avoid self-adulation and self-worship.

That is just one small sample of the vast treasure of commentary that is in our Jewish library. No wonder that our sages refer to the “ocean of the Talmud”, and to our Torah as deeper than the sea.

 

Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
 

Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the Orthodox Union, following more than seven years as Executive Vice President. In that role, he combined the skills of pulpit rabbi, scholar, and clinical psychologist to provide extraordinary leadership to the organization and to Orthodox Judaism worldwide. Rabbi Weinreb received his rabbinic ordination in 1962 from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva in New York and served as spiritual leader of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Baltimore for 13 years, building the congregation from 160 to more than 400 families before coming to the OU. In addition, he has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland and served as a psychotherapist for mental health organizations for many years while also maintaining a private practice. His positions included roles as school psychologist for Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland and as Chief Psychologist of the Potomac Foundation for Mental Health. As Executive Vice President, Rabbi Weinreb built the Orthodox Union to an unparalleled degree of esteem. He traveled widely, visiting communities and congregations across North America, in addition to his frequent trips to Europe and Israel. In these travels, he frequently served as scholar-in-residence, including some of his most enjoyable assignments, guiding NCSY summer touring groups. Now, with more time to write, Rabbi Weinreb has authored The Person in the Parsha: Discovering the Human Element in the Weekly Torah Portion, based on his popular weekly Person in the Parsha Torah commentary, in which he combines his background as a trained psychologist and a rabbinical scholar to provide insights into the parsha that would be available from no other source. For more than two decades, he has presented his annual Tisha B’Av shiur, webcast around the world on ou.org and reaching an audience of thousands. Many people use the new Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, the complete Tisha B’Av service, with an exquisite new English translation of the Kinot, the elegies of the fast day, by Rabbi Weinreb. Rabbi Weinreb is also the editor-in-chief of the new Koren Talmud Bavli, and has authored a commentary to Sefer Tehilim, called The Rohr Family Edition of Tehilim; also published by Koren. Rabbi Weinreb continues to travel extensively, and to write essays and commentaries for a wide variety of resources.
WEEKLY CALENDAR
 
A LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT

On a Shabbat morning in the winter of 1981, I was reading from the Torah for my Bar Mitzvah, quite nervously, when I caught the eye of a family friend, and I could not suppress a smile; I almost laughed.  He was trying to follow but looked quite confused.

Matt and his wife, Harriet, were a little under 20 years older than my parents, but they were very close, and we usually spent Thanksgiving together at their home in Sudbury, MA, just outside of Boston.  We didn’t spend a lot of time there but I have many warm memories spending time with this family and their son, who was just a little younger than I was.
 
Although the lost look in the eyes of someone I knew to be a full genius was amusing, my smile was more because he made it there.  This had not been a foregone conclusion. . Matt had been in Egypt when Sadat was assassinated, and all flights had been cancelled.  He was a cryptographer, and had been working for the government at the time of the assassination.
 
Last Thursday, Matt was buried, having fallen to COVID-19.  He was 96 and we hadn’t spoken in years.  Yet the news hit me hard.   
 
Aharon was told not to mourn after the deaths of his two sons.  For our families, we have no such instructions.  We have a prescribed process for family members, from the moment of passing through the burial, Shiva, the month and year of mourning, and the Yahrzeit.  But for those who are not immediate family, we too are told not to mourn, not to go through the process as we would for a close family member.  There is wisdom in Torah, and it is not always obvious, but I have always felt that this distinction is proper and appropriate.  But we still mourn in our own ways, ant that’s fine. 
 
Most of us have been touched by illness and/or death from this horrible situation, and all of us are impacted by the restrictions and safeguards we are now experience are keeping us from our friends, our families, our community.  it’s hard to take, and we need to be here for each other.
 
This is the part where I should share words of wisdom to help my friends cope, but I have nothing so inspiring.  If you do, please share.
 
I do know one thing:  This too shall pass.  Soon we will come back stronger - praying and celebrating together when it is both allowed and deemed advisable.  Until then, we will be working on supporting each other in other ways.

Shabbat Shalom.

David Zuckerman
If you or someone you know in the community would like to sharpen your writing skills, Young Israel would love to see how some in the community are faring with the latest challenge in our country.  
How are you and the kids coping, for example.  Send your thoughts to office@yiphoenix.org
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