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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Yitro

Friday, February 06, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

Much has been written, spoken and argued about the Ten Commandments throughout history. Even Hollywood had its share of films dealing with the Ten Commandments. The latest one “Exodus: Gods and Kings” can’t quite live up to its classic source material. As one critic said “If you re going to make a movie about a religious story then you cannot avoid the religion pat of it. If you don’t believe the story, perhaps you shouldn’t make the movie” There have been several landmark decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of having the Ten Commandments displayed on public or governmental property. Our Sages in the Talmud and later on in history have argued over the number of the Ten Commandments; were they really 10, 11 or 12 commandments in the Scriptures? Were they all commandments, or can we say that the first two were just statements of faith? ...

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Perashat Beshalah

Friday, January 30, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

In this week’s Perasha we are witness to one of the greatest miracles of all time, the parting of the Red Sea, and the demise of the Egyptian army. The event was so inspiring that it led to the famous song known as Shirat HaYam – The Song at the Sea. Moshe, as he was composing the Song, utilized the word –אז’Az’ at the beginning, which means “then”. He figured that when he complained to G-d when he went to Pharaoh and Pharaoh didn’t let go of the Israelites, Moshe said :UmeAz – ומאז, “and from then” referring that from the moment when he went to Pharaoh it became worse for Bene Israel than better. Moshe wanted to praise the A-mighty with the same word that he complained, therefore correcting his mistake in complaining. The Az became the beginning of one of the most beautiful songs of praise to G-d. ...

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Perashat Bo

Friday, January 23, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

After a devastating series of seven plagues that concluded last week’s Perasha, three more are to come in this week’s Perashat Bo. The last three plagues that came upon Egypt were even of greater import and devastation that overwhelmed Pharaoh to the point of expelling the Israelites from Egypt as G-d had originally assured Moshe. Where these last three plagues necessary? Weren’t the last seven distressing enough that brought Pharaoh to say “I have sinned now?” – In a sense he acknowledged his transgressions. That should have been enough for Pharaoh to let the Israelite leave! ...

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Perashat Va'Era

Friday, January 16, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

How often do we find ourselves not admitting to a mistake unless we are shown definitive evidence? It is human nature to believe one is “in the right”, as long as there is nothing or no one to show us we are acting to the contrary. And even then, human stubbornness can sometimes be strong enough to reject any proof brought to us. This is especially true when the proof is of a Divine Providence. When we disagree on a word, we look in the dictionary. When we disagree on a fact, we look in an encyclopedia. But what happens when we disagree on a behavior? Do we look in a book of etiquette? Or what about if we disagree on a belief, or issues of faith? Do we look in the Torah, or in a book of the Sages, or even ask a Rabbi? And even if we do ask a Rabbi, we are often challenged that he is not the Rabbi that the other person respects or trusts! Would a sign from Heaven suffice? Or, do we need G-d Himself to come and tell us? ...

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Perashat Shemot

Friday, January 09, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890) was a French critic, journalist, and novelist who coined the phrase “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"—"the more it changes, the more it's the same thing", usually translated as "the more things change, the more they stay the same," it was published for the first time in Les Guêpes, January 1849. This week we witnessed a heinous terrorist attack in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo French Magazine. Even as I am writing this newsletter I am informed that a terrorist hostage crisis is unfolding in Paris. In a Kosher supermarket, 11 people mostly women and children are being held hostage, not that holding male hostages is any less grave. What started as an attack on the magazine’s offices, ended up stirring anti semitic sentiments and resulted in an attack on a Jewish target. It is only because the environment is ripe with attacks on Israel, de-legitimization and the demonization of the Jews in Europe and in the media with impunity, that more attacks are perpetuated against Jewish targets. ...

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Perashat Vayehi

Friday, January 02, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

​Blessings occupy a prominent place in the Torah and specifically in the book of Bereshit. From the moment of creation when G-d blessed all the creatures to be fruitful and multiply, to our own times when we go to seek the blessings of a righteous individual, the concept of blessing played and plays an increasingly important role in our lives. Perashat Vayehi, tells the story of Yaakob conferring his blessing to Yosef and to his children Ephraim and Menashe; and later on to his own children, the 12 tribes. ...

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Perashat Vayigash

Friday, December 26, 2014 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

We all have heard and used the idiom “Step up to the plate”. Its literal meaning is for a batter in baseball to move near home plate in preparation for striking the ball when it is pitched. Other meanings however, have been assigned to this idiom. It could mean to move into a position where one is ready to do a task, or to take responsibility for doing something. Perashat Vayigash begins with relating how Yehuda ‘stepped up to the plate’ and took responsibility of defending his youngest brother Binyamin when he realized that he was in danger of being taken prisoner by Yosef. Yehuda used all his presence and power to right what he saw was wrong and maintain the family intact. Despite the differences and previous acrimony between the brothers, Yehuda understood that after all, they are children of one father and have one destiny. ...

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Perashat Mikess

Friday, December 19, 2014 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

Our society places a great deal of importance on the concept of Freedom. Revolutions and wars have been fought in pursuit of freedom. The entire Western Civilization rests on the concept of individual freedoms and liberties. It is the raison d’être of modern society. Perashat Mikess recounts the moment in which Yosef, after being imprisoned for 12 years was released and found his freedom and liberty. Yosef was rushed out of the dungeon, given a shave and a change of clothes and placed in front of Pharaoh. Our Sages comment on the words “rushed him” and ask why is it that Yosef had to be rushed out of prison? Could he have taken his time to shower, shave and change his clothes in a relaxed manner? Why did he have to be rushed? ...

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Perashat Vayesheb

Friday, December 12, 2014 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

It is said “you fool me once, shame on you; you fool me twice shame on me”. What kind of people would allow themselves to be fooled twice? Is it that they are not aware of it or are they “gluttons for punishment”? Perashat Vayesheb, this week begins by telling us about the sibling rivalries between Joseph and his brothers. This discord began with childish rivalry and went on to jealousy and reached the level of hatred. After that paragraph, the brothers went to pasture the flock in Shekhem. Jacob asks his favorite son Joseph to “go and look into the welfare of his brothers and the flock and bring back word to him”. The rest of the story, we know very well; Joseph is received with great animosity and the result was that they sold him into slavery to a caravan of Ishmaelites going to Egypt. ...

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Perashat Vayishlah

Friday, December 05, 2014 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

In this week's perasha, we read about the encounter between Yaakob and Esav. After more than a generation of separation, Yaakob, who had fled the wrath of Esav, is returning home with a large family and much wealth. Yaakob is told that Esav is fast approaching with four hundred fighting men. The drama ensues; will it be an all-out war or will they make peace? Yaakob prepares for all eventualities and also sends a message to his hostile brother: "Im Lavan garti," Yaakob declares, "I have lived with Laban [for all these years]." ...

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