Hendon United Synagogue Welcome to the the largest and most inclusive shul in Hendon. 2015-07-29T17:30:10Z http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/feed/atom/ mshindler <![CDATA[DEVARIM]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2935 2015-07-27T11:55:51Z 2015-07-27T11:55:51Z 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.
]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[MATTOT – MASEI]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2920 2015-07-19T18:38:38Z 2015-07-19T18:38:38Z 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’)?
]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[PINCHAS]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2908 2015-07-12T18:34:01Z 2015-07-12T18:34:01Z 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.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[BALAK]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2891 2015-07-05T08:37:40Z 2015-07-05T08:37:40Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY STUART ROSENBERG

The conversation between Bilaam and his donkey occurs after the donkey sees an … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY STUART ROSENBERG

The conversation between Bilaam and his donkey occurs after the donkey sees an angel that Bilaam cannot (Bamidbar 22:21 ff). Angry at his donkey for stopping, Bilaam strikes it. HaShem then grants the donkey the ability to speak, and it immediately criticises Bilaam for striking it three times.

The Torah uses the phrase shalosh regalim rather than shalosh peamim, which would seem more accurate. Rashi explains that there was a hidden message to Bilaam in the donkey’s words: how can you attempt to curse a nation that will celebrate the shalosh regalim and visit the Beit Hamikdash three times a year?

Bilaam is described throughout the Sedrah as one who has the ability ‘to see’. He boasts of his vision of prophecy and prides himself in his ability to see what others cannot. One who sees the Glory of HaShem must live up to being scrutinised by Him as well. Although Bilaam reached a high level of prophecy, his conduct in his personal life was less than satisfactory. He was arrogant and constantly sought honour. Our Sages teach that Bilaam did not perceive his lifestyle to be contradictory to his unique status as a prophet.

The Jewish people were chosen to have a unique relationship with HaShem. This closeness peaked three times a year when each Jew visited the Beit Hamikdash on the shalosh regalim. Upon coming to the Beit Hamikdash and witnessing the Divine Presence, a person’s life must be transformed. Bilaam had the ability to see what others could not yet he refused to live a life worthy of being seen by HaShem. We should always strive for standards so that we are worthy of being seen by HaShem.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[HENDON SYNAGOGUE MAGAZINE (Rosh Hashanah 5776 issue)]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2883 2015-06-21T11:34:12Z 2015-06-21T11:34:12Z We are now looking for contributions, articles, photos etc. for the Shul Magazine for Rosh Hashanah. Please send … Read more]]> We are now looking for contributions, articles, photos etc. for the Shul Magazine for Rosh Hashanah. Please send all articles and photos to the Shul Office as soon as possible, and before 17th July; all articles should be Word documents and all photos in JPEG format. No PDFs! ]]> 0 mshindler <![CDATA[HENDON MDA- 20th Aug]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2878 2015-06-21T11:29:37Z 2015-06-21T11:29:37Z You are invited to see the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s … Read more]]> You are invited to see the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park on Thursday 20th August (matinee).
Tickets £40 (including travel by coach).
Contact David or Norma via the shul office.
]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[KORACH]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2872 2015-06-21T11:21:17Z 2015-06-21T11:21:17Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JOSH SILVERBLATT (YOUTH LEADER):

Truly Humble (in honour of School Leavers Shabbat) ‘Why do you … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JOSH SILVERBLATT (YOUTH LEADER):

Truly Humble (in honour of School Leavers Shabbat) ‘Why do you raise yourself above everyone else?’ (Bamidbar 16:3)  This was Korach’s accusation against Moses. It seems strange that of all the smear campaigns to run against Moses, Korach should claim that this man–described just two Sidrot ago as ‘the humblest of all men on the face of the earth’ (ibid 12:3) –arrogantly raised himself above everyone else.

The Sfat Emet (d. 1905) explains that there are two types of humility:

A person realises that he/she truly excels in a certain area, but does not want to appear arrogant. So this person puts on a ‘humility show’, looking almost embarrassed about his/her success.

Someone else, with the same awareness, realises that just as an ant who is head and shoulders above its fellow ants is nothing when compared to a human, so too, compared to HaShem, his/her greatness is not worth shouting about. So this person sees no needs to put on a show.

Moses was the second type. He felt no need to put on a whole ‘humility show’. He walked around like everyone else and spoke to everyone as if he was one of them.

Korach was the first type. He recognised his strengths and therefore felt he had to put on a show. He really thought Moses was arrogant, as Moses did not put on a similar show.

I consider this perspective on humility to be particularly important for our school leavers. They should know their strengths and be proud of them rather than embarrassed. But they should not view themselves as superior. Rather, as they go out in to the ‘big wide world’, they should think: ‘These are the strengths HaShem has given me: how can I best use them to help the world?

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[SHELACH LECHA]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2867 2015-06-14T20:52:15Z 2015-06-14T20:52:15Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY BEN KING (to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of his nephew David Regal)

It appears that … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY BEN KING (to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of his nephew David Regal)

It appears that in their journey in the wilderness, B’nei Yisrael underwent several processes of maturation. They developed a judicial system, a census and an army; and built the Mishkan (Tabernacle). So it seems reasonable that they should reconnoitre the land of Israel before entry. Furthermore, the plan is ratified by HaShem.

The Torah uses several verbs to describe the instructions and actions of the spies. In today’s Sedrah (Bamidbar 13:2), we read veyaturu (‘and they will tour/search’). When recounting the incident later (Devarim 1:22), Moses uses the word veyachperu (‘and they exposed’). So, was the reconnaissance too intensive? Not necessarily so. R’ SR Hirsch (d. 1888) comments that the spies may have been too focused on the military aspects; the Malbim (d. 1879) suggests that this is the job of a different type of ‘spy’. R’ Hirsch adds that the desired outcome of their mission was an overall assessment of the land and society of Israel. After all, conquest was a Divine certainty.

Nonetheless, most of the twelve spies reflected the mood in the desert – the attitude of complaint about the lack of luxuries such as cucumbers and watermelons after being freed from slavery. As Rashi states, they embarked on their mission with a negative outlook. Only two of them – Joshua and Caleb – could see the bigger picture, as the Netziv (d. 1893) remarks on Caleb’s bringing fruit from Nachal Eshkol.

Rav Kook (d. 1935) viewed this event as a collective failing of Am Yisrael that could be collectively repaired by Am Yisrael, by building and promoting the status of our Holy Land in all her aspects (geographic, agricultural, urban, cultural, social and military) – a goal that we are privileged to seek to achieve in many ways in our present-day situation.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[BEHA’ALOTECHA]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2857 2015-06-08T17:38:00Z 2015-06-07T19:43:39Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI MS GINSBURY

‘When you go to wage war in your land against an enemy … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI MS GINSBURY

‘When you go to wage war in your land against an enemy who oppresses you, you shall sound short blasts of the trumpets and you shall be remembered before HaShem your G-d and you shall be saved from your foes’ (Bamidbar 10:9). R’ Zalman Sorotzkin (d. 1966), in his commentary Oznaim LaTorah, wonders why this verse opens with reference to a threat from an enemy (tzar hatzorrer) and ends by saying that through the trumpet blasts (and consequential repentance) the Jewish people will be saved from their foes (o’yeveichem)?

He suggests that an enemy is a person or force currently engaged in hostile and aggressive actions which beget the panicked alarm call of the trumpet blasts and the desperate seeking of salvation. A foe, on the other hand, is one who, whilst internally harbouring great enmity towards another party, does not – at least as yet – have the will or means to mount a physical attack on that other party. This verse promises the Jewish people the remarkable outcome that true return to G-d will not only save us from the open and revealed aggression of our enemies but will even serve to neutralise the negative thoughts and intentions of our foes.

The same idea can be used to answer an apparently unnecessary inconsistency between this verse and the next one, which speaks – more happily – of sounding a tekiah (long single-blast) on our days of ‘gladness, festivals and new moons’. Why in the first instance do we sound short blasts and in the second a longer, uninterrupted, single blast? In the first, the intention is multi-layered, aiming to defuse both active and passive hostility, as indicated by the separate staccato trumpet blasts. However, on festive days we need a consistency of faith and celebration which ascribes all happiness to the singular source of our wellbeing – HaShem our G-d!

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[YIZKOR BOOKS]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=2848 2015-06-21T11:33:02Z 2015-05-31T07:29:22Z The 2015-6/5776 Yizkor Book is currently being put together. Completed forms must be returned to the Shul Office … Read more]]> The 2015-6/5776 Yizkor Book is currently being put together. Completed forms must be returned to the Shul Office by 17th July. Copies of the 2014 – 5/5775 edition are now available from the Shul Office. ]]> 0