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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Noah 5780

Friday, November 01, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Noah was a righteous man, righteous beyond what any of us can imagine. He was devout, hardworking and dedicated. He tended to the needs of each and every one of the animals on the teba for the duration of the flood, feeding each one according to its schedule, staying awake around the clock to take care of them. But for all the animals he saved, he didn't manage to save ONE person other than the members of his own family. We are taught that Noah didn't pray for the people of his generation, and because of that failure, the waters of the flood are forever called by his name. "Ki mei Noah zot li... For [like] the waters of Noah shall this be to me..."(Yeshaya 54:9). How is it possible that such a refined person could sit by and do nothing as everything around him headed for destruction?...

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Perashat Beresheet 5780

Friday, October 25, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

​Mum's the word. We are all familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and of how they were given everything and asked to refrain from only one thing. Somehow even that proved to be too much. There are so many explanations as to what happened and what went wrong. I'd like to focus and draw out one idea. Adam and Hava hear Hashem approaching, and they hide. G-d: Where are you? Adam: I heard your voice and was afraid as I was unclothed, so I hid. G-d: Who told you that you were unclothed? Did you eat from the forbidden tree? Adam: The woman you put with me gave me to eat, and I ate. G-d: What have you done? Hava: I was tempted by the snake and ate. Hashem tells each of the three protagonists in the story their punishment, and that's where the conversation ends. There is no response from Adam or Hava. Pay attention to when G-d tells Adam about his punishment...

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Simhat Torah Message 5780

Friday, October 18, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

How would you like to make $18,000 Are you a female between the ages of 24-55? One last question, sprechen sie Deutsch? Assuming you have all these conditions pegged, you are in luck, that is if you are incredibly passionate about one thing. Nothing. This job in Germany literally pays you to lie in bed, all-day, every day, for two months, testing mattresses to see how the body responds to weightlessness. I know what you're thinking, No vacation days? But seriously, the job sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it? A dream job. Literally. There is a funny thing about Simhat Torah. This holiday isn't actually IN the Torah. Not at all, not a single mention. It actually is an add on holiday of sorts. Originally the holiday was Shemini Asseret, a separate holiday to Sukkot. After spending seven days on Sukkot bringing Korbanot, or sacrifices, for each of the seventy nations, Hashem says to the Jewish people, "Stay behind for one more day, just you and I". The holiday celebrates the unique bond between Hashem and His people. Asseret, therefore, means to stay back.

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Yom Kippur Message 5780

Friday, October 04, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Yom Kippur. The words alone cause an involuntary shudder to ripple through my body. After all, who likes to be reminded again and again that they've slipped up, tripped up and messed up? It seems from the prayer service that the only thing I haven't done consistently is measure up! No wonder fewer people are engaging every year in the service. If they don't speak Hebrew they don't know what's flying, and if they do, they feel even worse! Our self-esteem is low enough as it is, thank you very much! We don't like or need this extra large helping of guilt. But there is a secret about Yom Kippur of which many people simply aren't aware, a secret so powerful that if whispered in our ears would transform and elevate our whole experience. I'd like to share it with you, so listen closely....

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Perashat Nissabim 5779

Friday, September 27, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

The Shulchan Aruch teaches that our perasha must always be read on the Shabbat before Rosh HaShanah. It seems we are being told that there is a link between the two. What is it about this week's perasha that necessitates this practice? There are a few answers, but I'd like to focus on one. If you like another one of the answers, write your own article. Our perasha begins by saying that Moshe gathers all the Jews together. אַתֶּ֨ם נִצָּבִ֤ים הַיּוֹם֙ כֻּלְּכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י ה' אֱלֹקיכֶ֑ם רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ טַפְּכֶ֣ם נְשֵׁיכֶ֔ם וְגֵ֣רְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּקֶ֣רֶב מַחֲנֶ֑יךָ מֵחֹטֵ֣ב עֵצֶ֔יךָ עַ֖ד שֹׁאֵ֥ב מֵימֶֽיךָ׃ לְעָבְרְךָ֗ בִּבְרִ֛ית ה' אֱלֹקיךָ וּבְאָלָת֑וֹ You are standing this day, all of you before Hashem your G-d: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel. Your little ones, your wives, and the stranger that is in the camp, from the wood chopper to the water carrier. To put you through the covenant of Hashem your G-d. This makes you wonder. ...

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Perashat Ki Tabo 5779

Friday, September 20, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Imagine working in a world where there was no air-conditioned office. A world where there was no subway to get to work or a set contract which gave you a sense of security. All there was was you. And a shovel. And if you were lucky, a bull to pull your plow. Could you imagine then, after the blood, sweat, and tears, the digging, plowing, planting, fertilizing, watering and harvesting, how good it must have felt to bite into that first delicious ripe fruit? The sweet feeling of success, of accomplishment and perseverance that must have accompanied that first bite, is hard to fully comprehend in our world. Imagine. I made this. Me! From beginning to end. And then the Torah asks me to give that very fruit, the FIRST one, to Hashem. It's interesting to note the wording of the pasuk as this man hands over his hard-earned goods. The pasuk says, וְעָנִיתָ וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה' אלוקך , literally translated as, "and you will answer and you will say before Hashem your G-d." He then goes on to recount the history of the Jewish people almost from its inception, the trickery and malice of Lavan, the descent into Egypt and our subsequent slavery. But then G-d took us out with great miracles and fanfare and brought us to Israel and gave us the land of Israel which is flowing with milk and honey. ​ It seems as if each and every Jew is obligated to say this account, ostensibly to explain why he is giving away his very first fruits. But there is a tremendous lesson we are being taught here in the subtle subtext of the pasuk.

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Perashat Ki Tesse 5779

Friday, September 13, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

I love the New York Giants! Right now that might make me seem like a glutton for punishment. Our team was the worst in the league last year, and we don't seem to have far better prospects this season, even if, as a fan, I am obligated by some unwritten code to remain illogically and wistfully hopeful.

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Perashat Shofetim 5779

Friday, September 06, 2019 Author: Rabbo Shlomo Farhi

Losers usually cry. Marcin Dzienski is a 26-year-old athlete. His recent stunning victory left many astonished. His opponent had no tears to shed in the humiliating loss, because his opponent in this thrilling race was an ELEVATOR. The Polish climbing champion raced the elevator six flights and won in 12.12 seconds! Marcin, a 2016 world champion climber, began his journey "to the top" many years ago as a child when he would climb the apple trees in his grandfather's orchard. That childhood pastime has become his ticket to fame and fortune. I haven't asked, but I'll bet Marcin has a favorite missvah in this week's perasha. Care to guess which?

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Perashat Beha'alotekha 5779

Friday, June 21, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Whiners. There's one in every family. If you can't find the one in your family, it might just be you! וַיְהִ֤י הָעָם֙ כְּמִתְאֹ֣נְנִ֔ים רַ֖ע בְּאָזְנֵ֣י ה וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע ה וַיִּ֣חַר אַפּ֔וֹ And the people were like complainers, speaking evil in the ears of Hashem. And Hashem heard and was angered. The commentators point out that of the many times the Jews complained in the desert this verse is unique. ...

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Perashat Nasso 5779

Friday, June 14, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

It is a week of the underdogs. The Stanley Cup went to a team that had never won in its 52-year history, as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins. Game six of the NBA Finals was a nail biter down to the last fractions of a second, but in the end, the Toronto Raptors, who had never been to the finals, defeated the Golden State Warriors, the franchise of the decade, for the championship. I want to shine a light on one weird little fact about the Raptors' victory. Of all six games it took to declare Toronto king, all but the first game was won by teams AWAY from home! The Warriors ONLY won in Toronto while the Raptors won three of their four defeats in Oakland! Home court advantage over a period of ten years has shown itself to be nearly 80%! What happened?...

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