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Rabbi's Weekly Message

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Perashat Vayigash 5776

Friday, December 18, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

Much of the Jewish historical experience has been in the Diaspora. The Israelites, as sovereign people, lived and inhabited the Land of Israel for a total of almost 1,350 years, not counting the years that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob inhabited the land. They were in the Land for 450 years prior to the First Temple, then the First Temple lasted 410 years and the Second Temple lasted 420 years, and from 1948 until now; 68 years as a sovereign State of Israel. The Diaspora has spanned 210 years in Egypt, 70 years in Babylon, between the First and Second Temples, and 1,947 years - since the year 68 of the Common Era, when the destruction of the Second Temple occurred. All for a total of 2,227 years. Perashat Vayigash marks the beginning of the first Exile from the Land of Israel, that our forefathers experienced. It began with much fanfare, honors and a dignified welcome as members and friends of the Royal family. That did not last long, though. Within 80 years, slavery began and the last 80 years was harsh slavery. ...

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Perashat Mikess 5776

Friday, December 11, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

In our long history in Exile, we have gotten used to escape or be exiled, find refuge and be welcomed to a new country; prosper, rise to the height of power then become reviled, enslaved and expelled or persecuted and killed. This cycle unfortunately has repeated itself many times in our long history. Perashat Mikess begins this cycle for the first time and sets the paradigm for the future of the Jewish people. Yoseph, exiled by his brothers, finds refuge in Egypt. Eventually he prospers, and rises to the pinnacle of power as second in command to the most powerful king of that time, in the most important nation on Earth. ...

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Perashat Vayesheb 5776

Friday, December 04, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

Perashat Vayesheb opens with the story of Yosef and his brothers; an episode which extends over the next few perashiot and culminates with the journey of Ya’akob and his family to, and their settlement in, Egypt. Towards the end of the perasha, we read about Yosef’s incarceration in the royal Egyptian prison, during which time he rose to prominence as the warden’s assistant. Eventually, he came into contact with two of Pharaoh’s top ministers who were imprisoned for various offenses, and whose disturbing dreams were brought to the attention of Yosef. Yosef offered them plausible interpretations, which were meant to provide them some measure of comfort and relief. As we are familiar from the narrative, Yosef’s interpretations were dead-on; the chief cupbearer was restored to his post and the chief baker was executed. Immediately before their sentences were handed down, Yosef enlisted the chief cupbearer to appeal to Pharaoh on his behalf and help secure his freedom. ...

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Perashat Vayishlah 5776

Friday, November 27, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

As anti-Semitic acts are on the rise all over the world, people ask what is the origin of anti-Semitism? How old is anti-Semitism? What fuels it and who is responsible? Many of the so-called experts weigh in and of course each one has his or her opinion as to what is the root cause of anti-Semitism. They range from one extreme of blaming the victims – Jews - for being responsible through their behavior in creating and fueling anti-Semitism, to full responsibility of the enemies of the Jews for inciting and increasing anti-Semitism. ...

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Perashat Vayesse 5776

Friday, November 20, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

It is always important for us to remember that the narrative of Sefer Beresheet is not just a collection of stories, but rather, it comes to teach us concrete lessons based on the behavior of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. The commentators on Beresheet point to a number of episodes that come to educate us in the area of Ben Adam LeHavero - of how to interact with our fellow man, and this week’s perasha, Vayesse, offers several examples. ...

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Perashat Toledot 5776

Friday, November 13, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

It is said that different people see different things. Two people may be looking at a painting from the same vantage point, and yet each one may see something else. A message from a story has to do more with the reader than with the writer. As Henry David Thoreau said, “It is not what you look at that matters, its what you see.” When reading Perashat Toledot, most people will see the apparent deceptive practices of members of a family and will focus on their interaction. Eventually, there will be many opinions as to who was right and who was wrong, or attempts at finding justifications for each one’s actions. ...

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Perashat Haey Sarah 5776

Friday, November 06, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

It is said that a true and loyal assistant, deputy, or emissary is the one who fulfills exactly what his supervisor has requested from him or the mission that he has given him to fulfill. The Torah gives the title of Loyal Servant – Eved Ne’eman, to Moshe Rabbenu, since he fulfilled exactly all what the Almighty had requested of him. In Perashat Haye Sarah, the unnamed servant of Abraham Abinu, is yet another person, whom the Torah refers to as a “loyal servant”. He merited this title because he was indeed a true servant. He was in charge of all that belonged to Abraham. According to our sages this was none other than Eliezer, who accompanied Abraham throughout all the stages of his life; when he left his homeland, when he went to become circumcised, and when he went to bind Yishak - and now he is the one who is entrusted to find a bride for Yishak. ...

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Perashat Vayera 5776

Friday, October 30, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

We read in Perashat Vayera about the demise of Sedom and A’morah. These two cities have become throughout history the paradigm of inequity and injustice; a place where acts of loving-kindness were condemned and penalized. The end of Sedom and A’morah was punctuated with fire and brimstone, salt and sulfur. No one living in their vicinity and who knew about them cared much about Sedom and A’morah’s destruction. No one, that is, except Abraham. ...

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Perashat Lekh Lekha 5776

Friday, October 23, 2015 Author: Rabbi Elie Abadie

A historic Perasha like Perashat Lekh Lekha acquires a greater significance and meaning when it is read in the land that it describes. It is not the same reading the Perasha and being six thousand miles away from those places that Abraham walked and passed by. I have the privilege to be presently in Israel, in the land that G-d promised to Abraham to give to him and his descendants. Being here and experiencing the land, brings to life the words of the Perasha and indeed of the entire Bible - Tanakh! ...

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Perashat Noah 5776

Friday, October 16, 2015 Author: Rabbi Daniel Greenwald

​In today's popular culture, reference is made to a fictitious comic-book character named Captain Obvious, whose main super-power is the ability to state self-evident facts. Often, someone may remark, "Thank you, Captain Obvious!" in order to sarcastically thank someone who just stated something evident. ...

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