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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Emor 5776

Friday, May 20, 2016 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

During this year of Presidential elections, we are all the more sensitized about the leaders we choose. We scrutinize them thoroughly, or at least we think we do, and any imperfection we find, we make into a scandal and interpret it to suit our political inclination. If it concerns a candidate that we are disposed to vote for, then his or her blemish becomes insignificant. However, if it concerns the candidate that we do not support, this blemish instantly becomes the litmus test of the ethical and moral behavior of such a candidate. ...

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Perashat Kedoshim 5776

Friday, May 13, 2016 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

Ever since the dawn of civilization, man has been in search of how to live “the good life.” Great philosophers have tried to teach us the effective formula for a successful and happy life. The ancient Greeks maintained that one can attain “the good life” through the use of the human intellect; by examining life through reason, which they say is nature’s (not G-d’s!) greatest gift to humanity. Reason, they argue, lets human beings participate in life; to think, appraise and explore the world, discovering new sources of material and spiritual pleasure. The Stoics stressed will power as the chief virtue. They posited that one should only worry about the things that are under their control; those things that can be influenced by their actions - and not the things that are beyond one’s control to direct or alter. For example, one who can utilize their will power to control their appetite, is worthy of emulation and praise. The Epicureans were of the opinion that one should experience true pleasures that contribute to calmness and peace of mind. One should avoid transient pleasures, while understanding that true pleasure is disciplined and restrained. They maintained that one should avoid anxiety and pain if one wanted to enjoy the bounties of life. ...

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Perashat Ahare Mot 5776

Friday, May 06, 2016 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

Throughout our lives we always encounter situations and circumstances in which we find ourselves paralyzed to respond and react. At times, we are not prepared to react and respond, because we do not know or we may not be equipped to respond. At times, the best reaction is silence and acceptance. ...

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Perashat Messora 5776

Friday, April 15, 2016 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

The Shabbat before Pesah is known as Shabbat HaGadol, or “The Great Sabbath.” A number of reasons are given by our sages. One reason is that it commemorates a ‘great’ miracle that took place on the Sabbath prior to the Exodus from Egypt. There are two possibilities of what constituted this great miracle. One opinion says that a civil war broke out among the Egyptians when their firstborn argued with their fellow countrymen to let the Hebrews go, lest they perish in the final plague. During this conflict, Hebrew lives which could have been in jeopardy – were spared. ...

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Perashat Tazria 5776

Friday, April 08, 2016 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

A very special Shabbat is upon us. The occurrence is rare – to take out three Sifrei Torah used to read three different portions, namely Tazria, Rosh Hodesh and HaHodesh. The connection is very clear; all deal with birth. Tazria is of a baby; Rosh Hodesh is of a month; and HaHodesh is of a Nation. Perashat HaHodesh describes the first commandment given to the Children of Israel as a nation; the establishment of a calendar, thereby giving them mastery over their time. Once a nation is able to establish its own calendar and determine its own time, then that nation has achieved true independence and mastery over its own destiny. HaHodesh comes from the word “Hadash” – new, and “Hodesh” – month; alluding to the renewal and re-birth of the moon every month. As the moon waxes and wanes over a period of 29 days and as it renews itself, so too the People of Israel as a nation, wax and wane throughout history. This last reading is a call to the entire Jewish people to prepare themselves for the celebration of the Festival of Passover. It is obvious that this month of Nisan is special because the Israelites achieved their freedom from slavery. During their period of servitude, “time” did not belong to them. Rather, slaves spent their time fulfilling the will of others. A slave had no time which he could consider his own. He lacked freedom of choice due to his subservience to his master, who determined his complete schedule. In contrast, freedom grants the individual mastery over his own time, enabling him to decide the most effective way for its use. ...

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Perashat Shemini 5776

Friday, April 01, 2016 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

As we approach the Holiday of Pesah, our first thought is about the cleaning process: when and where we are going to start, and the long hours we need to put into it. We get exhausted just from thinking about it. We pay much attention to the external cleaning and ridding the house of Hamess, that we forget about the internal-personal “spiritual cleansing” that we need to do. Although Passover is not known to be a holiday of “spiritual cleansing” like Kippur or Rosh HaShana, or even Shabuot, yet, it can serve as a reminder that “spiritual cleansing” is something that we always ought to do on a daily basis. If not actually cleansing, at least preventing spiritual contamination is certainly in order, as a day-to-day activity. ...

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Perashat Sav 5776

Friday, March 25, 2016 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

There are some people, that for them to believe in G-d, they require to see an open miracle that will be so obvious in order for them to believe that G-d exists. Even better, if G-d Himself will come and talk to them openly, then they will believe that He exists. Yet others, no matter how many miracles they will personally witness and experience, they will still try to explain them in a natural and scientific way. This has been attempted many times by scientists and historians in order to explain many of the miracles and wonders that occurred in Egypt and at the heel of the liberation of our forefathers from slavery. Some of those “scientific” explanations are so far fetched, stretching the bounds of science the way we know it, that you have scientists and historians saying that certain phenomena in nature occur only every five or ten thousand years, and coincidentally, it happened to occur at the exact time that the Israelites were crossing the sea and lived in Egypt. No one can prove these “scientists” and historians right or wrong, since no one will be alive to witness whether the phenomena in question will, or will not, repeat itself and, thereby prove them wrong or right. ...

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Perashat Vayikra 5776

Friday, March 18, 2016 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

We begin this week the third Humash of the Torah, known in Rabbinic literature as “Torat Kohanim” - the Bible of the Kohanim. This name is given due to the majority of the subjects discussed in the Humash that deal with Priestly matter; namely the sacrifices, offerings, laws of tithes, and marital priestly laws. The Humash begins with Perashat Vayikra which describes the sacrifices and offerings that one would bring to the altar for all the reasons mentioned; as a voluntary contribution, as a penance, as a guilt offering, etc. ...

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Perashat Pekudei 5776

Friday, March 11, 2016 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

In this week’s perasha, Pekudei, we read about the inventory of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, taken by the first Jewish accountant, Moshe Rabbenu. Moshe was responsible for demonstrating that every single precious item that was donated by the people, was utilized in the construction of the Mishkan. In contemporary times, the late President Ronald Reagan employed a Russian slogan which translated to, “Trust but verify,” as a guide in formulating his foreign policy with the former Soviet Union. Rabbi Steven Pruzansky notes, that we can understand the nature of such a policy with regard to the Cold War between East and West, but why does the Torah invoke this policy with regard to Moshe Rabbenu, the greatest man who ever lived? ...

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Perashat Vayakhel 5776

Friday, March 04, 2016 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

As candidates run for office in a democratic society, we always hear calls for cutting taxes or increasing taxes. Their ultimate goal is the same; that is to increase the funds of the U.S. Treasury. One side thinks that by increasing taxes they can increase the funds of the Treasury directly; the other side thinks that by cutting taxes, they can increase the funds of the Treasury indirectly. No side will tell you that their goal is to stop the flow of funds because the U.S. Treasury has enough money and does not need anymore. ...

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