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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Va'era 5779

Friday, January 04, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Remember Bambi? I do. It was actually quite traumatic as a child to watch the scene in the Disney film where baby Bambi and his mother flee the hunters and sprint to the safety of the forest's cover. As Bambi, out of breath, reaches the forest's edge he excitedly exclaims, "We made it! We made it Mother!". However, after a deafening moment of silence, he realizes his mother is no longer behind him and tentatively edges out from his shelter to call out in the most piteous of voices, "Mother? Mother, where are you?". Heartbreaking! That heart wrenching feeling is exactly what ...

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Perasha Shemot 5779

Friday, December 28, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

We were once a family. Could you imagine that? This whole sprawling, varied, beautiful thing called "The Jewish People" was once just the Goldbergs or Cohens, or perhaps the Farhis or Tawils. There was a nameplate on the front door, and that was it. Abraham Abinu Tawil. How did we become the Jewish Nation?...

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Perashat Vayehi 5779

Friday, December 21, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

"Swear to me!" Yaakov Avinu pleads with his son Yosef to be buried in the Land of Israel, "Please...If I have found favor in your eyes...do kindness and truth with me. Do not bury me in the Land of Egypt. Let me lie with my fathers!" I am always struck by the urgency of this conversation. I imagine the pleading tone of Yaakov as he begs the son who has the power to grant him his request. As he apologetically tells his son hat it wasn't his choice to bury Rachel outside of Maarat Hamachpela and asks him not to hold it against him. Powerful stuff. ...

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Perashat Vayigash 5779

Friday, December 14, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

What do the rise of Rock and Roll, desegregation in schools, the crowning of Queen Elizabeth and the discovery of DNA and the Polio vaccine have in common? They all happened in the 1950's. ​Something else also happened which fewer people remember, the birth of Yoshitaka Sakurada. "Who is Yoshitaka Sakurada?", I am guessing you are asking yourself....

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Perashat Mikess 5779

Friday, December 07, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

The stakes are high, and the drama is intense. For all intents and purposes Yosef has thrown down the gauntlet. The brothers are at his mercy. "You are spies...If you want to live, this is what you will do. I will arrest one of you (Shimon) and the rest will return to Canaan and bring me your youngest brother!"...

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Perashat Vayesheb 5779

Friday, November 30, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Love is a powerful thing. However, a perceived lack of love might be even more powerful. Yaakob's uneven love for Rachel and Leah sets the stage for much of the drama that unfolds. The names of at least six of his children are largely influenced by that love and attention. Reuben is called by that name as if to say, "Hashem has seen my humiliation, for now my husband will truly love me". The same can be said of Shimon, who is called by that name for "Hashem has heard that I am unloved". Indeed, Levi, Gad, Yissachar and Zebulun are all variations of the same theme! Their names speak to the fact that Leah felt that Yaakob loved Rachel more and Leah's longing to be loved in the same way.

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Perashat Vayishlah 5779

Friday, November 23, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

When we think of war, we rarely think of family. Yet that is exactly the circumstance Yaakob finds himself in. Torn between the desire to protect his family and retain his moral peaceful self Yaakob is plagued by contradictory feelings. “Vayeera Yaakob Meod Vayetzer Lo”, "And Yaakob was very frightened and he was distressed..."

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Perashat Vayesse 5779

Friday, November 16, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. So I moved here from London just four months ago. Yes, we do get a decent amount of rain, but we don't get all that much snow. Any snow whatsoever shuts the whole country down. They just can't deal with it. "In New York," they said, "they REALLY know how to deal with snow. The streets are cleared. The plows are out in force, and the streets are salted more than kosher meat." (Ok fine, no one says that last part.) ...

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Perashat Toledot 5779

Friday, November 09, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Every word in the Torah is layered with meaning and purpose. When something is given a lot of coverage then it clearly demands our attention. The Torah spends a lot of time talking about our Forefathers' struggles to have children. First is the long, difficult wait for Abraham and Sarah. Then we read about Ribka and Yitzhak and the depth of their prayers for children. Then there is Rachel who says to Yaakob, "Give me children! For if you can't I will die". ...

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Perashat Haye Sarah 5779

Friday, November 02, 2018 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

To my dear congregation, Nearly a week has passed since the tragic news hit us that an evil and senseless violence destroyed a community and broke the hearts of a Nation. A darkness has descended upon us all. We watched clip after clip, news story after news story, swallowing up any and all details we could get our hands on. Perhaps we were driven by a desperate hope that if we saw enough, read enough, and discussed it enough, we might understand. ...

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