Hendon United Synagogue http://www.hendonsynagogue.com Welcome to the the largest and most inclusive shul in Hendon. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:17:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ellul Programme 5775 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ellul-programme-5775/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ellul-programme-5775/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:47:00 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2977 Ellul Programme 2015Read more

]]>
Ellul Programme 2015

]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ellul-programme-5775/feed/ 0
KI TETZE http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ki-tetze-4/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ki-tetze-4/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:42:39 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2974 SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI JONATHAN SHOOTER (to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of his nephew David)
The Sedrah commands … Read more
]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI JONATHAN SHOOTER (to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of his nephew David)
The Sedrah commands us, on discovering a nest, to send away the mother bird before taking its young or its eggs, ‘so that it will be good for you and will prolong your days’ (Devarim 22:7).
The Midrash says that one who has no children before performing this mitzvah is promised them afterwards as a reward. This is alluded to in the beginning of the above verse: ‘You shall … take the young for you.’ Although the basic understanding is that after sending away the mother, one can keep the young, it can also mean that one performing the mitzvah will ‘take’ for himself (i.e. be rewarded with) young.
How can the Midrash say this, when the verse explicitly talks about long life being the reward? The Ksav Sofer (d. 1871) answers that in fact there is no contradiction: the two rewards are really the same. It is inferred from the Gemara (Nedarim 64b) that one who leaves children behind him is considered as if he has not died. Through his children, his memory will last throughout the generations. This is the intent of the Midrash: if you have no children, HaShem will give them to you, and through them the verse’s promise will be fulfilled. The ‘prolonged days’ will be through descendants.
This thought is particularly appropriate for a Bar Mitzvah – the acceptance of liability for performing all the mitzvot. The Torah and mitzvot that we perform are our key to success not only in this world, but in the next. When parents impart Torah true values to their children, who in turn will transmit it to their children, they are ensuring that whilst the physicality of this world does not last forever, they will live on through the merits of their children staying true to Torah values, and will merit an eternal life.
]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ki-tetze-4/feed/ 0
RE’EH http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/reeh-3/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/reeh-3/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 20:22:43 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2964 REFLECTIONS BY JOE BLOOMBERG–Banim atem LaShem Elokeichem – ‘ You are the children of HaShem your G-d’ (Devarim … Read more]]> REFLECTIONS BY JOE BLOOMBERG–Banim atem LaShem Elokeichem – ‘ You are the children of HaShem your G-d’ (Devarim 14:1)
Personally, I find this to be one of the most emotive phrases in the whole of the Torah. It prefaces the command not to mourn excessively, particularly by mutilating oneself. The kohanim have earlier been similarly instructed (Vayikra 21:5), but now the Torah expands this to include all of B’nei Yisrael, as if to say that as HaShem’s children, we can never be truly orphaned.
Within the Gemara ( Kiddushin 36a), there is a dispute that relates to the permanence of our status as ‘Banim’. R’ Yehudah suggests that we are only called ‘Children of HaShem’ when our conduct is befitting of such an identity, whereas R’ Meir disagrees and maintains that, irrespectively, we are forever Children of HaShem. To support his contention, R’ Meir cites four different verses, all rather uncomplimentary of our sinful behaviour, but all of which nevertheless continue to refer to us as (HaShem’s) children. Interestingly, even though in disputes between R’ Yehudah and R’ Meir the halacha is normally in accordance with R’ Yehudah, the matter in this instance is concluded by following the opinion of R’ Meir.
As we move from Rosh Chodesh Ellul, today and tomorrow, towards the Yamim Nora’im, our status as ‘Banim’ has extra resonance. In just one month’s time, on Rosh Hashanah, we will begin reciting the Avinu Malkeinu prayer, in which we first petition HaShem in His capacity of our Father. Like any parent, HaShem loves us unconditionally and wants us to succeed.
May we leave 5775 and enter 5776 worthy and privileged to be theChildren of HaShem and thereby render the dispute between R’ Yehudah and R’ Meir as academic, insofar as our own conduct is concerned.
]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/reeh-3/feed/ 0
EKEV http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ekev-4/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ekev-4/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2015 19:45:18 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2954 SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JONATHAN SINCLAIR (to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of his son Ben)
Behaya ekev tishm’un et … Read more
]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JONATHAN SINCLAIR (to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of his son Ben)
Behaya ekev tishm’un et hamishpatim ha’eleh u’shmartem va’asitem otam – ‘And it shall be [the reward] when you hearken to these laws and you observe them and perform them’. (Devarim 7:15)
The Sedrah begins by informing us of the rewards for keeping the mitzvot . The word ekev means ‘when’ or ‘because’, but it can also be translated as ‘heel’. Accordingly, the verse teaches us that rewards are promised to us for keeping all mitzvot –even those ‘minor’ ones that we may be tempted to ‘trample underfoot’ (see Rashi to this verse).
What makes one commandment more important to us than another, or one ‘bigger’ than another, is often subjective. Commonly, the amount of fuss and ado that people make over a mitzvah is our gauge of its significance or greatness. Is a certain mitzvah really more important than another, ‘smaller’, one?
The Jerusalem Talmud (Peah 1:1) teaches us that HaShem concealed from us the reward for each commandment in order that we should perform all of them with the same faith and sincerity.
Were we to know the importance of each single mitzvah, we might show preference for one over another or perform some in a perfunctory manner – or maybe not even at all. Whichever mitzvah we perform–whether it appears big or small – it should always be done with complete faith and sincerity.
On this Shabbat of Ben’s Bar Mitzvah, may HaShem give us all the strength to perform all of His commandments with the same fervour and dedication. One never knows which mitzvah it will be that will bring about a personal or even collective salvation.
]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/ekev-4/feed/ 0
SHABBAT UK (23rd / 24th OCTOBER) http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/shabbat-uk-23rd-24th-october/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/shabbat-uk-23rd-24th-october/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 20:11:41 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2949 After the success of last year’s inaugural event, we are getting ready for Shabbat UK 2015/5776! Watch this … Read more]]> After the success of last year’s inaugural event, we are getting ready for Shabbat UK 2015/5776! Watch this space for further details! ]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/shabbat-uk-23rd-24th-october/feed/ 0 HUS BOOK CLUB- 7th Sep http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/hus-book-club-7th-sep/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/hus-book-club-7th-sep/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 20:10:21 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2947 The next Shul Book Club meeting will be on Monday 7th September, 8.30 pm (venue tbc), when we … Read more]]> The next Shul Book Club meeting will be on Monday 7th September, 8.30 pm (venue tbc), when we will discuss ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Adichie. ]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/hus-book-club-7th-sep/feed/ 0 VA’ETCHANAN (SHABBAT NACHAMU) http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/vaetchanan-shabbat-nachamu-3/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/vaetchanan-shabbat-nachamu-3/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 19:57:55 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2942 SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY SHELLEY BERKE

I was born on Shabbat Nachamu, and every year at this time I … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY SHELLEY BERKE

I was born on Shabbat Nachamu, and every year at this time I think how great it would have been to have Va’etchanan as my Bar Mitzvah reading, had I been a boy! It is replete with important passages, such as the first paragraph of the Shema and the Ten Commandments.

Another such section is the verse said just before the first aliyah to the Torah: ‘And you who cleave to HaShem are all alive today’ (Devarim 4:4; Siddur p 410). How exactly can we ‘cleave’ to G-d? ‘Cleave’ means ‘join together’, ‘be one’. How can this apply to the relationship of a tiny human being and the infinite G-d?
The Baal Shem Tov (d. 1760) and other Chassidic leaders taught us that, though we may be tiny, we have a Divine spark within us. This inner flame yearns to join with G-d. It can do this through Torah, prayer and mitzvot.
G-d himself is within the Torah : when we study Torah, we are joining with him. The Jewish people have a special love for its teachings, and thousands of books have been written so that we can better understand its meaning.
The simple meaning of prayer is that we are speaking to G-d, from the depths of our heart. The Baal Shem Tov also taught that Divine radiance is present in the Hebrew words of our tefillot. When we pray with kavana (devotion), our souls join that radiance. This makes prayer potentially a deeply inspiring experience.
‘Mitzvah’ can be translated as ‘connection’ (from the Aramaic ‘tzavta’). Carrying out a mitzvah means that we are connected to G-d because it is His will that we are expressing. At the moment we perform a mitzvah, we are joined with G-d.
In summary, through cleaving to HaShem by means of Torah, prayer and mitzvot, we can truly live!
]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/vaetchanan-shabbat-nachamu-3/feed/ 0
DEVARIM http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/devarim/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/devarim/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:55:51 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2935 SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI YISROEL BINSTOCK
The book of Devarim recounts the final speech that Moses gave to … Read more
]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI YISROEL BINSTOCK
The book of Devarim recounts the final speech that Moses gave to the Children of Israel. Some 40 years had passed since the Exodus, the miraculous sojourn in the desert was coming to an end, and the people were about to enter the Land of Israel. They were gathered together, and the verse tells us (Devarim 1:5): ‘Moses began explaining this Torah’.
Rashi (quoting the Midrash Tanchuma) tells us that the ‘explaining’ taking place here was in fact a translation: Moses translated the Torah into 70 languages.
The Chiddushei HaRim (d. 1866) wonders why it would have been necessary to teach the Torah in all these languages: surely the gathered masses understood the original Hebrew?
He suggests that this translation was necessary because G-d knew that despite the fact that the Jewish People were about to enter the Land of Israel, they would not always remain there. There would come a time when they would be scattered around the world, living among many nations, and they would study the Torah in many languages other than Hebrew.
When Moses taught the Torah in these languages, it created an opportunity for a spark of Torah to be ignited in each language, enabling us to study Torah in these languages in the future.
As we approach Tisha b’Av and commemorate the destruction of our Temple and the expulsion from our land, we can take solace from the fact that the very same Torah that Moses taught our ancestors continues to be studied in many languages and locations across the world.
]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/devarim/feed/ 0
MATTOT – MASEI http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/mattot-masei/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/mattot-masei/#comments Sun, 19 Jul 2015 18:38:38 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2920 SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY SHELDON STONE
In Mattot, Moses faces the final challenge to his leadership. In sight of … Read more
]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY SHELDON STONE
In Mattot, Moses faces the final challenge to his leadership. In sight of their final destination – Eretz Yisrael–Reuven, Gad and half the tribe of Menashe wish to remain behind in the Midianites’ land that B’nei Yisrael had just conquered, as it was good for their cattle. Although this was a serious threat to the entire Divine ‘national project’, the reactions of both HaShem and Moses differ from their previous responses to such challenges.
While HaShem is silent, Moses rebukes the tribes, but he listens and arrives at a negotiated compromise: they can settle in these territories, but only after fighting alongside the rest of the people to settle Eretz Yisrael.
The tribes also behaved differently. Instead of confronting and complaining as others had done in previous challenges and rebellions, they negotiated, as hinted by the word Vayigshu (Bamidbar 32:16). This verb is used to describe Judah’s approach to Pharaoh to free his brother Benjamin, and Abraham’s approach to HaShem to save Sodom and Gomorrah’s righteous. It implies conciliation (Rashi to Bereishit 18:23).
Despite this pragmatic solution facilitating settlement of Eretz Yisrael, the Sages criticise the tribes for prioritising material wealth over full participation in their brethren’s physical and spiritual mission (Midrash Rabbah), recalling that the first tribes to be exiled and disappear in Assyria (I Chronicles 5:26) were … Reuven, Gad and half of Menashe. A Divine middah kneged middah (‘measure for measure’)?
]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/mattot-masei/feed/ 0
PINCHAS http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/pinchas-3/ http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/pinchas-3/#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2015 18:34:01 +0000 http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2908 SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY BENJY MURGRAFF (on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah)

The Maharal (d. 1609) quotes a … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY BENJY MURGRAFF (on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah)

The Maharal (d. 1609) quotes a midrash in which three Rabbis are discussing whether the whole Torah can be summarised in one verse and, if so, which verse.

Ben Zoma said: ‘Shema Yisrael …’, which acknowledges that HaShem is one and that He is the power in the whole world. We say this every morning, every evening and in Kedusha on Shabbat.

Ben Nannas said: ‘Ve’ahavta lere’acha kamocha’ (‘Love your neighbour as yourself’). Everything we do, every mitzvah, must be out of love to people and to HaShem.

Shimon ben Pazi said that it was the verse on the korban tamid (continual offering) in Pinchas (Bamidbar 28:4), instructing us to take one sheep in the morning and another in the afternoon.

A fourth Rabbi ruled that Shimon ben Pazi’s opinion was the correct one.

How can that be? It is not telling us about HaShem or how to behave with other people. Also, we can no longer bring the korban tamid as we do not have the Temple.

The answer is that we are not just talking about this offering. The verse symbolises the idea that we are HaShem’s servants and should always serve Him. Just as the korban which was brought to HaShem each morning and evening, so should we serve HaShem constantly –day and night, ‘24/7’ –not just when it suits us. The rest of the Torah is just a commentary on this verse.

On becoming Bar Mitzvah, I hope to emulate my parents and my grandparents in recognising the importance of being a servant of HaShem, and to bring nachat to them and to the entire Jewish people.

]]>
http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/pinchas-3/feed/ 0