Hendon United Synagogue Welcome to the the largest and most inclusive shul in Hendon. 2016-02-07T19:42:22Z http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/feed/atom/ mshindler <![CDATA[MISHPATIM]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3199 2016-02-07T19:42:22Z 2016-02-07T19:42:22Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY NICOLA EZRA

The detailed statutes of Mishpatim include a series of social and humanitarian laws … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY NICOLA EZRA

The detailed statutes of Mishpatim include a series of social and humanitarian laws which start and end with a command of profound national experiential significance – the caution regarding our behaviour toward the stranger. Repeated in numerous forms throughout the Torah, this tells us that the ‘ stranger ’ (a term itself subject to interpretation) must not be oppressed, must benefit from our welfare provisions and even that he or she must be loved ‘ for you were strangers in the land of Egypt ’ (Shemot 22:20; 23:9).

Was our personal experience as strangers in Egypt sufficient basis not to oppress the stranger? Nachmanides interprets the phrase ‘ for you were strangers in Egypt ’ as a warning against mistreating the stranger, not because we ourselves were defenceless victims but, conversely, because when we were defenceless strangers we had a Divine protector who heard our cries and crushed our oppressors. His punishment will be the same – even if this time His anger is directed at those He redeemed from estrangement – if we ourselves maltreat the stranger while believing that we are safe from retaliation.

For R ’ Joseph B Soloveitchik (d. 1993), however, it is our personal experience of Egyptian servitude that underlies the core of Jewish morality. This is characterised by one word – namely, ‘ rachmanut ’ – the exceptionally warm and tender approach of one individual to another. Our experience of slavery in Egypt and our exposure to intense affliction and humiliation engendered in us a deep sensitivity and tenderness towards our fellow man. Thus, whenever the Torah speaks of our duty to respect the feelings of others, particularly the lonely and defenceless, it introduces the motif of our servitude in Egypt – for had we not been through the bitterness of that experience we would not have internalised the Divine command against oppressing the stranger and the law of loving one’s neighbour.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[YITRO]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3192 2016-01-30T20:19:23Z 2016-01-30T20:19:23Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI Y BINSTOCK

When Moses meets his father – in – law Jethro after a … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY RABBI Y BINSTOCK

When Moses meets his father – in – law Jethro after a long absence and tells him all that has happened to the Israelites, Jethro responds with the words: ‘ Blessed is HaShem, who has delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh; who has delivered the people from under the yoke of the Egyptians. ’ (Shemot 18:10)

Many commentators question why Jethro should repeat himself. Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap (d. 1951), a disciple and colleague of Rav Kook, explains in his work Mei Marom that Jethro is expressing thanks for two distinct acts of hatzala (deliverance): one is the physical survival and deliverance of the people from the rigours of Egyptian slavery; the other is the spiritual survival of the people as a nation, despite the corrosive effects of Egyptian society and culture. Our ancestors managed to stay alive, despite the back – breaking hard labour, and they managed to retain their identity as a people, despite Pharaoh ’ s efforts to crush their morale.

These twin deliverances reverberate across Jewish history. In every generation the Jewish people finds itself at risk either physically or spiritually, or both, from hostile forces that seek to challenge, suppress or even eradicate our physical or spiritual identity, whether overtly or covertly, whether consciously or unconsciously. Our response has always been to be able to address both of these issues. The physical safety of Jews in Israel or the Diaspora has to be a top priority. At the same time, the survival of Judaism through excellent Jewish education is no less a priority.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[A NOTE FOR MEMBERS WITH A YAHRZEIT IN ADAR]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3182 2016-01-30T19:23:02Z 2016-01-24T19:26:47Z If one lost a relative during Adar in a non – leap year, the practice in our Community … Read more

]]>
If one lost a relative during Adar in a non – leap year, the practice in our Community in a leap year (such as this year) is that the main Yahrzeit observance should be in Adar 1. A candle should also be lit and Kaddish recited on the same date in Adar 2. The Shul Office will therefore send a reminder for both Adar 1 and Adar 2 to members in this situation. Priority for an aliyah or leading davening will be given to such members in Adar 1 only. Those who lost a relative in a leap year in either Adar 1 or Adar 2 observe the Yahrzeit only in the actual month in which the relative passed away.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[BESHALACH (SHABBAT SHIRA)]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3179 2016-01-24T19:25:47Z 2016-01-24T19:25:47Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY ELIOT ALDERMAN (CHOIRMASTER)

Beshalach is book – ended by two incidents in which the Israelites … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY ELIOT ALDERMAN (CHOIRMASTER)

Beshalach is book – ended by two incidents in which the Israelites are saved from a powerful and determined enemy. In both cases, the enemy represents a threat to the survival of the newly – freed Nation of Israel, and in both, the Israelites are saved by Heavenly assistance. However, these threats are quite distinct in character, and the Israelites’ reaction to their eventual victory could scarcely be more different.

At the start of the Sedrah, Pharaoh and his army pursue them across the desert, catching up with them at the Reed Sea. G – d then performs the ultimate salvation, opening a pathway in the sea for the Israelites to pass through, then destroying the Egyptian armies by bringing the waves crashing on them. The Israelites joyously sing the Song of the Sea in praise for their salvation and the glorification of G – d’s name that comes from this final victory over Egypt – without bearing bitterness towards their former masters: ‘ Do not abhor the Egyptian, for you were a stranger in his land ’. (Devarim 23:8)

At the end of the Sedrah, the Israelites are attacked by Amalek; not a direct assault this time, but instead – as recalled later (Devarim 25:18) – ‘ when you were weary, they … attacked all who were lagging behind ’. Amalek is not vanquished by G – d ’ s direct hand; instead the Israelites must fight the battle themselves, only succeeding when Moses raises his hands. The legacy of this cowardly attack is not a song of inspiration to all future generations, but rather a grim, stark warning to ‘ blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget! ’ (ibid 25:19); a fitting response to Amalek ’ s baseless hatred – which lives on through the intolerance and anti – Semitism of today that can in many ways be seen as Amalek ’ s spiritual heirs and must be fought with all means at our disposal, spiritual and physica

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[Bo]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3171 2016-01-17T18:55:39Z 2016-01-17T18:55:39Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY DR ALAN SHAW (HEADTEACHER – HASMONEAN PRIMARY SCHOOL)

We read in this week ’ s … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY DR ALAN SHAW (HEADTEACHER – HASMONEAN PRIMARY SCHOOL)

We read in this week ’ s Sedrah that, when B ’ nei Yisrael left Egypt, ‘ a mixed multitude [ eirev rav ] also went up with them ’ (Shemot 12:38).

Who were these people? Rashi explains that they were a ‘ ta ’ arovet umot shel geirim ’ – a mixture of strange peoples who took this opportunity to escape from Egypt by joining on to Bnei Yisrael. Unfortunately, they were usually the first to incite trouble whenever possible. For example, in Beha ’ alotecha (Bamidbar 11:4), they are called ‘ hasafsuf ’ (‘ the rabble ’) when they grumble about the lack of meat and reminisce about how things had been so much better in Egypt. Rashi points out that Bnei Yisrael had left Egypt with flocks and herds and still had these when they entered the Promised Land 40 years later. There was, therefore, no shortage of meat had they wished for it. In three succinct words, he sums up the problem: ‘ Ela shemvakshim alilah ’ – they just looked for any pretext to complain.

Alas, there are always mischief – makers who moan, carp and criticise. Nothing is ever good enough for them. They delight in causing friction and stirring up trouble, in instigating communal strife and in creating disharmony. Unfortunately, their negativity can be infectious and lead to unnecessary upsets and problems.

A lesson (one of many) from the Sedrah is to recognise this trait in some people and to avoid letting it affect us. On the contrary, we should show ‘ hakarat hatov ’ – appreciation for all of HaShem ’ s blessings – and not be swayed by the pessimism and cynicism of some others. As Ben Zoma teaches us (Pirkei Avot 4:1), ‘ Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his lot ’; and as we say in Tehillim (100:2), ‘ Ivdu et HaShem b ’ simchah ’ – ‘ Serve G – d with joy ’ . May we all continue to appreciate HaShem ’ s blessings and serve Him with joy.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[VA ’ ERA]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3161 2016-01-09T21:16:23Z 2016-01-09T21:16:23Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JASON MOLEMAN (to mark the 1st Yahrzeit of his mother Gloria Moleman ע”ה )

Va … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JASON MOLEMAN (to mark the 1st Yahrzeit of his mother Gloria Moleman ע”ה )

Va ’ era recounts the first seven of the ten plagues, a major purpose of which was to demonstrate HaShem ’ s power (e.g. Shemot 7:5, 9:16) and the impotence or unreliability of the Egyptian ‘ gods ’: the Nile was turned to blood, animals that they worshipped were involved in several plagues, and the sun was concealed in the plague of darkness. However, Pharaoh and many Egyptians were deluded and did not recognise HaShem in the face of overwhelming evidence.

HaShem told Moses to meet Pharaoh in the morning by the river, to warn him about the plague of blood (ibid 7:15). Rashi, quoting a Midrash, explains that Pharaoh relieved himself secretly in the Nile, to maintain the illusion that he himself was a god and not needing the usual human bodily functions. Thus confronted by Moses, Pharaoh could have acknowledged how farcical this was, but instead he just resorted to going earlier in the morning, in a vain attempt to avoid Moses, whence HaShem instructed Moses to rise ‘ early ’ in the morning when warning of the plagues of wild animals (8:16) and hail (9:13).

Also, Pharaoh made one plague (frogs) more prolonged than necessary, in an attempt to prove Moses wrong. Asked when to stop the plague of frogs, Pharaoh surmised that it was about to stop naturally and Moses was aware of this, so Pharaoh asked for it to stop ‘ tomorrow ’ rather than immediately, hoping to catch Moses out (8:5 – 6).

R’ Abraham Twerski (b 1930) comments that Pharaoh exhibited addictive behaviour. He was forced to realise that he was wrong, and admitted that he and his people were wicked, after the plague of hail (9:27); but he still failed to break out of his delusional and self – destructive behaviour.

Unlike Pharaoh, may we always appreciate what is true, and act constructively in the light of that understanding.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[HENDON CO – ORDINATED CHARITIES ANNUAL SPORTS QUIZ DINNER- 8th Feb]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3156 2016-01-03T21:15:29Z 2016-01-03T21:15:29Z On Monday 8th February in the Sol Cohen Hall. Doors open: 7.00 pm; dinner: 7.15 pm; quiz kick … Read more

]]>
On Monday 8th February in the Sol Cohen Hall. Doors open: 7.00 pm; dinner: 7.15 pm; quiz kick – off: 8.00 pm; final whistle: 11.00 pm (approx.) Entry: ONLY £35 !

All proceeds go to help the needy and less fortunate of our local Kehilla.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[NEW CHOIRMASTER]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3145 2016-01-03T21:06:52Z 2016-01-03T21:06:52Z The Executive is delighted to announce the appointment of Eliot Alderman as the new Choirmaster. The first Service … Read more

]]>
The Executive is delighted to announce the appointment of Eliot Alderman as the new Choirmaster. The first Service under his direction will take place next Shabbat, 9th January (Shabbat Mevarachim Shevat). Eliot is a highly accomplished and experienced Chazan and Choirmaster. The Executive expresses its gratitude and appreciation to Alan Freedman for kindly stepping in as Choirmaster throughout 2015, and Alan will continue to lead the choir for this year’s Yamim Noraim.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[SHEMOT]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3143 2016-01-03T21:05:49Z 2016-01-03T21:05:49Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JONATHAN ELF (to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of his daughter Tziyona)

What ’ s in … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY JONATHAN ELF (to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of his daughter Tziyona)

What ’ s in a name? Contrary to the opinion of Shakespeare (‘ A rose by any other name would smell as sweet ’), this week ’ s Sedrah and the book that it begins – Shemot (‘ Names ’) – vividly illustrate the importance of names in the Jewish tradition.

Shemot starts by listing the sons of Jacob by name, goes on to give the names of the two midwives Shifra and Puah, states the reason for the naming of Moses ’ son Gershom, and has Moses ask G – d His name.

It also describes the naming of Moses himself. The Torah explains ‘ Moshe ’ as meaning ‘ drawn from the water ’ – and water provides a connection with some of the major events in his life: not just the River Nile, from which he was drawn by Pharaoh ’ s daughter (so that he could grow up in Pharaoh ’ s house to become a leader rather than be a slave); but also the well in Midian where he met Tzipporah and her sisters (leading to his meeting with their father Jethro); the first plague (water turning to blood); the parting of the Red (or Reed) Sea; and finally his act of hitting the rock to get water, as a result of which he was not allowed to enter the Land of Israel.

So, what about the name ‘ Tziyona ’? It means ‘ towards Zion ’ – like so many of the Jewish people ’ s hopes and prayers over the centuries, it points positively in the direction of our Holy Land and City. In this week of our dear daughter Tziyona ’ s Bat Mitzvah, Elaine and I pray that she will always embody a love of Israel and live proudly up to her name.

]]>
0
mshindler <![CDATA[VAYIGASH]]> http://www.hendonsynagogue.com/?p=3133 2015-12-19T20:59:27Z 2015-12-19T20:59:27Z SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY PERRY BURNS

One of the benefits of travelling to the US is the opportunity to … Read more

]]>
SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY PERRY BURNS

One of the benefits of travelling to the US is the opportunity to review the Essay by R ’ Saul Berman (b. 1939) at the front of The Rabbinical Council of America Artscroll Siddur, a summary of which follows.

When we pray, we take three steps forward as if entering the Divine presence. R ’ Elezar ben Judah (12th century), author of the Sefer Rokeach, suggests that these symbolise the three instances in Tenach of the word ‘ Vayigash ’ .

The first occurs when Abraham, hearing of the plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, approached ( Vayigash ) G – d, saying: ‘ Will You sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice? ’ (Bereishit 18:23 – 25)

The second is at the very start of today ’ s Sedrah. Judah heartbreakingly pleads for his brother Benjamin: ‘ Then Judah drew close [ Vayigash ] to him [Joseph] and said: “ Please, my lord, let your servant speak a word to my lord ”’ (ibid 44: 18).

Finally, we encounter the word when Elijah confronts the 450 false prophets of Ba ’ al. After they have spent all day appealing for Divine action, Elijah steps forward [ Vayigash ] and prays: ‘ O Lord … let it be known today that you are G – d in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. ’ Fire descends and the people fall to the ground, crying out, as we do at the end of Ne ’ ilah: ‘ The L – rd, He is G – d! ’ (I Kings 18).

Three approaches but all very different. Abraham, who regards himself as mere dust, prays for strangers; Judah pleads as a servant for his brother ’ s life; and Elijah, in his role of prophet, appeals for Divine revelation.

These represent the range of emotions that we bring to prayer, while the three steps remind us of the prayers of three of our greatest role mod

]]>
0