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Newsletter

Parashat B’har 19-26 Iyar 5776

Fri May 27th – Erev Shabbos
Shacharis: 7 am
Mincha/Candles 8:37 pm
Maariv 9:36 COUNT OMER #35/

Sat May 28th - Shabbos
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:12 am/
Mincha  8:20 pm /Pirke Avos Chapter 4/Seuda Slishit 
Maariv/Havdalah 9:50 pm /COUNT OMER #36/

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis 9 am
Mon -Fri Shacharis 7 am
Sun-Thu Mincha 8:50 pm
Sun-Thu Maariv and Sefira 9:39 to 9:43pm /COUNT 37-44/

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush is sponsored this week by Dr. Vernon and Lis Neppe for four separate occasions.  Lis and Vernon's mark their secular wedding anniversary Sun. May 29th (12th Sivan).  Vernon and Lis also wish to commemorate and honor three Yahrzeits :  Lis's mother Edna Schachter ( Etta Batya bat Shmuel, 19th Iyar, 5771); their  brother-in-law Willie Tichauer  ( Ze'ev Ben Yisrael, 19th Iyar 19, 5773); and of Vernon's mother Molly Neppe (Malcah bat Yitzhak Pinchas, 23rd Iyar, 5765).  Seuda Slishit is sponsored by Shimon & Tovah Cox.

PIRKEY AVOT WITH RABBI EMLEN – TUE 7:30 pm
Pirkei Avos of the week following the Maharal's explanation. Both men and women and welcome to join. Graciously hosted by the Meyer family at the home of Shuky and Chanie 6223 43rd Ave NE

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -UP
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

CSTL / CHABAD LAG b’OMER PARTY – Thu May 26 4:30 pm
BBQ begins 4:30 pm.  Children’s Party/Rally/Marching band from 5:30.
Magnuson Park – Shelter #3.  RSVP and More info:  RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

CAMP GAN IZZY REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - REGISTER TODAY
Conveniently located right here in the heart of Seattle’s North End. The season now runs from Monday, July 4th through Friday August 5th. Camp Gan Israel Seattle has been providing the Jewish children of Greater Seattle a special summer day camp experience that integrates healthy active fun, field trips and friendships with the richness, excitement and warmth of Jewish values, tradition and culture. Fun that lasts a summer…memories that last a lifetime.  Questions? Call or text Rabbi Abe Kavka at (206.730.2775) or info@campganisraelseattle.org . Register your kids, ages 2½ to 12 atwww.campganisraelseattle.org  for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 weeks. NOW OFFERING TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MERCER ISLAND AND SEWARD PARK!!! (For transportation to/from other areas please speak with Rabbi Kavka.)

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Ivan Rothman, Gabbai Kiddush,hardcastle101@hotmail.com . Please inform Ivan by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $300, co-Sponsor $150, Contributor: $50-$149.

THANK YOU TO JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER SEATTLE
Funding for CSTL Outreach Program was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.  Please donate to JFGS at https://www.jewishinseattle.org/donate


COMMUNITY NEWS

Job Available at Congregation Shevet Achim
We're looking for a new Office Administrator and Event Coordinator.  http://www.shevetachim.com/job-vacancy.html

Mercaz Lag B'Omer Fire, Music and Torah Thu May 26th 8pm - 11pm
www.mercazseattle.org

Northwest Yeshiva High School Sunday, May 15, 12:00 - 2:00 pm, 
FREE event for all middle schoolers. Come to the UW HUB (4001 E Stevens Way NE, Sea.) Bowling, arcade, games & pizza. Sponsored by Jamie & Jeff Merriman-Cohen. RSVP: mrivkin@nyhs.org

Seattle Kollel Annual Lag B'Omer BBQ Thursday, May 26
At Genesee Street, Shelter 1. Cost: $10/Adults or $5/kids (ages 4-12). More info or to volunteer: theseattlekollel@gmail.com

Seattle Kollel SEED Learning Day Camps
Boys Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org
Girls Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org 

Derech Emunah Garden Party Tuesday, May 31, 7:00 pm
"Sweet Success", a garden party to celebrate Derech Emunah. Cost: $65/person, ADULTS ONLY, Men & Women are invited. At the home of Lynda & Ken Wegodsky, 5772 S Oaklawn PL, Sea. RSVP: events@derechemunah.com

Shiur by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat Monday, June 27, 
The Seattle community is invited to Sephardic Bikur Holim for a Shiur by Rabbi RiskinBreakfast at 9:30 am and Shiur at 10:00 am. RSVP by June 23rd to rvspsbh@gmail.com

NCSY 10th Annual Basarfest, Sunday, June 5, 5:00 pm 
at Sephardic Bikur Holim. Buy tickets at www.seattlencsy.com 

36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Aug. 7-12
Sheraton Hotel, downtown Seattle. More info: www.iajgs2016.org

Registration is now open for CAMP YAVNEH 2016! 
All divisions of BCMH camps will now be under one name Camp Yavneh with all new programs and activities to supplement the programs you already love! This will include children from pre- school all the way through our new CIT program for 6th and 7th grade and our staff in high school, college and beyond! Register your child at www.campyavnehseattle.com If you are in 8th-12 grade, college or older and would like to work at Camp this summer please contact Ari Hoffman at thehoffather@gmail.com

NEED A DRIVER – CALL GERSHON!
For all your transportation needs, call Gershon Grashin (206) 856-2754


 Halacha D’VAR FOR B’HAR
By Aryeh Citron http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/1218183/jewish/Hurtful-Words.htm © Chabad.org

The Torah says, "Do not hurt your fellow, and you shall fear G‑d."1Our Sages explain2 that this verse is referring to speaking hurtful words and giving improper (detrimental) counsel. The Torah uses the phrase "you shall fear G‑d" in this context because often one who gives bad advice for his own benefit might claim that it was an honest mistake. The verse therefore emphasizes that G‑d knows his true intentions.

Examples:

  • One who is asked for advice must counsel the person and direct him in a helpful way. If one intentionally directs someone to do something counterproductive, he transgresses this mitzvah.3
  • One may not remind a baal teshuvah (penitent) of his previous immoral lifestyle.4
  • One should not remind the child of a convert about the negative activities that his parents may have engaged in.
  • If one sees a friend going through difficult times, he may not tell him that he deserves this as atonement for his sins.5
  • If one says a remark in a derogatory manner, this is considered sinful, even if the overt content of the remark is not negative. An example of this is recorded in the Talmud6:
    After a particular Yom Kippur, a group of people was accompanying thehigh priest to his home. When the people saw the leading rabbis of the time – Shmaya and Avtalyon – they left the high priest and accompanied them instead. Shmaya and Avtalyon later went to greet the high priest. They said, "May the descendant of Aaron [i.e., the high priest] come in peace!" He responded by saying, "May the children of nations [i.e., Gentiles] come in peace!" This was a reference to the fact that Shmayaand Avtalyon were descendants of converts.7 In the context of that exchange, the remark about being a descendant of converts was used in a derogatory manner. This was considered a sin despite the fact that it is a merit to convert to Judaism, voluntarily choosing to come under the wings of the Divine Presence.8

Towards Whom?

One should show special love towards a convert, just as G‑d does

Although the prohibition against speaking hurtful words applies to all our fellows,9 there are some people that one should be especially careful not to embarrass or hurt:

  • Convert. The Torah twice repeats the prohibition against hurting a convert.10 Since they have separated from their families and are newcomers to the community, converts are more sensitive and should be treated accordingly. In addition, since as Jews we have experienced the difficulties of being strangers in a foreign land (Egypt), we should be more sympathetic to a person who is experiencing similar difficulties. One should show special love towards a convert, just as G‑d does.11
  • Wife. Women are more sensitive than men, and speaking hurtfully to them is likely to upset them to the point of tears. Our Sages say that one should honor his wife; in this merit he will become wealthy.12
  • Orphans and Widows. As a result of the tragedies that they experienced, orphans and widows are prone to being low-spirited. One should therefore be careful to always speak softly and respectfully to them. If they call out to G‑d asking Him to avenge their hurts (G‑d forbid), He answers their prayers.13 A teacher may discipline a student who is an orphan, but he should do so with great compassion.
    A person is considered an orphan in this regard until he reaches the age that he is able to independently conduct his affairs and does not need a guardian to care for and nurture him.14
    One should be more careful with an orphan's money than with one's own. One should be extremely careful to be honest in all financial matters that affect orphans.

Shaming in Public

One should be extremely careful to never shame another in public. This sin is akin to murder; just as blood is spilled in the act of murder, so too when one is shamed the blood drains from his face. One who publicly embarrasses his fellow loses his share in the World to Come. This sin is considered more severe than a borderline adulterous act.15

One who publicly embarrasses his fellow loses his share in the World to Come

In fact, the Talmud16 derives from the story of Judah and Tamar that it is better to be thrown into a fiery furnace than to shame another publicly.17 It was in the merit of her extreme care not to shame Judah – to the point of willingness to forfeit her life – that Tamar had descendants who became kings and prophets.

A Talmudic sage named Mar Zutra hid in a fiery furnace to spare an impoverished man the embarrassment of knowing who his secret benefactor was. (Mar Zutra survived, but his feet were burned. From then on, he was referred to as "Mar Zutra with burnt feet." His wife who hid with him was miraculously not burned. She merited this miracle because she fed poor people directly, as opposed to Mar Zutra who only supplied them with financial assistance.)

Emor - Lag bOmer - Pesach Sheini | 12-19 Iyar 5776

Fri May 20th – Erev Shabbos 
Shacharis: 7 am. 
Mincha/Candles 8:29 PM 
Maariv 9:25 COUNT OMER #28 

Sat May 21st- Shabbos 
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:15 am/ 
Mincha 8:15 pm /Pirke Avos Chapter 3/Seuda Slishit 
Maariv/Havdalah 9:35 pm /COUNT OMER #29 

Weekday Services 
Sun Shacharis 9 am 
Mon -Fri Shacharis 7 am 
Sun-Thu Mincha 8:40 pm 
Sun-Thu Maariv and Sefira /Count 30-34 

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT 
Kiddush Lite no sponsor
Seuda Slishit is sponsored by Saifo Marasow

MAZEL TOV MAZEL TOV! 
MAZEL TOV to Shimon Dershowitz and Susan Hankin and the entire Dershowitz family on the engagement of Shoshi to Mayer Goldman of LA. May they merit to build a bayis ne’eman bYisroel. 

PESACH SHEINI - EAT MATZO - SUN 22 May 
No Tachanun www.chabad.org 

PIRKEY AVOT WITH RABBI EMLEN
– TUE 7:30 pm 
Pirkei Avos of the week following the Maharal's explanation. Both men and women and welcome to join. Graciously hosted by the Meyer family at the home of Shuky and Chanie 6223 43rd Ave NE 

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM 
In the library. Come say a prayer for those in need. 

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: UP 
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web sitewww.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status. 

Chabad and CSTL Lag bOmer BBQ Thu May 26 a 4:30 pm 
Shelter 2 at Magnoson Park . Featuring Children's Rally at 5:30 pm. For more info rabbiherbstman@gmail.com 

CAMP GAN IZZY REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - REGISTER TODAY 
Conveniently located right here in the heart of Seattle’s North End. The season now runs from Monday, July 4th through Friday August 5th. Camp Gan Israel Seattle has been providing the Jewish children of Greater Seattle a special summer day camp experience that integrates healthy active fun, field trips and friendships with the richness, excitement and warmth of Jewish values, tradition and culture. Fun that lasts a summer…memories that last a lifetime. Questions? Call or text Rabbi Abe Kavka at (206.730.2775) or info@campganisraelseattle.org . Register your kids, ages 2½ to 12 at www.campganisraelseattle.org for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 weeks. NOW OFFERING TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MERCER ISLAND AND SEWARD PARK!!! (For transportation to/from other areas please speak with Rabbi Kavka.) 

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE 
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Ivan Rothman, Gabbai Kiddush, hardcastle101@hotmail.com . Please inform Ivan by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly. Prices: Sponsor $300, co-Sponsor $150, Contributor: $50-$149. 

THANK YOU TO JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER SEATTLE 
Funding for CSTL Outreach Program was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Please donate to JFGS at https://www.jewishinseattle.org/donate 



COMMUNITY NEWS 

Mercaz Lag B'Omer Fire, Music and Torah Thu May 26th 8pm - 11pm 
www.mercazseattle.org 

Northwest Yeshiva High School Sunday, May 15, 12:00 - 2:00 pm, 
FREE event for all middle schoolers. Come to the UW HUB (4001 E Stevens Way NE, Sea.) Bowling, arcade, games & pizza. Sponsored by Jamie & Jeff Merriman-Cohen. RSVP: mrivkin@nyhs.org 

NYHS Torah Dedication Sunday, June 19, 9:30 - 11:30 am, 
Torah Dedication in honor of Rabbi Bernie & Shirley Fox. Ceremony starts at Cong. Shevet Achim & ends at NYHS. Click here for more info or contact Jack Deleon: deleon6123@gmail.com or Melissa Rivkin: mrivkin@nyhs.org 

Seattle Kollel Annual Lag B'Omer BBQ Thursday, May 26 
At Genesee Street, Shelter 1. Cost: $10/Adults or $5/kids (ages 4-12). More info or to volunteer: theseattlekollel@gmail.com 

Seatlle Kollel SEED Learning Day Camps 
Boys Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org 
Girls Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org 

Derech Emunah Garden Party Tuesday, May 31, 7:00 pm 
"Sweet Success", a garden party to celebrate Derech Emunah. Cost: $65/person, ADULTS ONLY, Men & Women are invited. At the home of Lynda & Ken Wegodsky, 5772 S Oaklawn PL, Sea. RSVP: events@derechemunah.com 

NCSY 10th Annual Basarfest, Sunday, June 5, 5:00 pm 
at Sephardic Bikur Holim. Buy tickets at www.seattlencsy.com 

Music of Remembrance Presents "Out of Darkness" May 22nd 4 pm - 6 pm, 
at Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, 200 University St., Seattle. Sponsored by Hillel, Jconnect $45, $30 30 and under 

36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Aug. 7-12 
Sheraton Hotel, downtown Seattle. More info: www.iajgs2016.org 

NEED A DRIVER – CALL GERSHON! 
For all your transportation needs, call Gershon Grashin (206) 856-2754 

KEDOSHIM | 5-12 Iyar 5776

Fri May 13th – Erev Shabbos
Shacharis: 7 am.
Mincha/Candles 8:20 PM 
Maariv 9:17 COUNT OMER #21/

Sat May 14th - Shabbos
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:18 am/
Mincha  8:05 pm /Pirke Avos Chapter 2/Seuda Slishit 
Maariv/Havdalah 9:30 pm /COUNT OMER #22/

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis 9 am
Mon -Fri Shacharis 7 am
Sun-Thu Mincha 8:30 pm
Sun-Thu Maariv and Sefira 9:20 to 9:26pm /COUNT 23-27/

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush is sponsored this week by Ivan Rothman, in honor and in memory of the 42nd yahrzeit of his mother, Bilah bat Yitzhak Wolf (4th Iyar).
Seuda Slishit is sponsored by Rabbi Levitin.

PIRKEY AVOT WITH RABBI EMLEN – TUE 7:30 pm
Pirkei Avos of the week following the Maharal's explanation. Both men and women and welcome to join. Graciously hosted by the Meyer family at the home of Shuky and Chani 6223 43rd Ave NE

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

CAMP GAN IZZY REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - REGISTER TODAY
Conveniently located right here in the heart of Seattle’s North End. The season now runs from Monday, July 4th through Friday August 5th. Camp Gan Israel Seattle has been providing the Jewish children of Greater Seattle a special summer day camp experience that integrates healthy active fun, field trips and friendships with the richness, excitement and warmth of Jewish values, tradition and culture. Fun that lasts a summer…memories that last a lifetime.  Questions? Call or text Rabbi Abe Kavka at (206.730.2775) or info@campganisraelseattle.org . Register your kids, ages 2½ to 12 at www.campganisraelseattle.org  for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 weeks. NOW OFFERING TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MERCER ISLAND AND SEWARD PARK!!! (For transportation to/from other areas please speak with Rabbi Kavka.)

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Ivan Rothman, Gabbai Kiddush, hardcastle101@hotmail.com . Please inform Ivan by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $300, co-Sponsor $150, Contributor: $50-$149.

THANK YOU TO JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER SEATTLE
Funding for CSTL Outreach Program was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.  Please donate to JFGS at https://www.jewishinseattle.org/donate


COMMUNITY NEWS

StandWithUs Community Reception at Town Hall May 15
Keynote speaker is visionary Arab-Israeli diplomat George Deek. Also honoring local attorneys Robert Sulkin & Avi Lipman.http://www.standwithus.com/NWEvent2016

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Thu May 19, 7:00 pm
Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik will be the keynote speaker at our Neighborhood Connections event to be held at Town Hall. More info: (206) 774-2219 or contact Rachel Marinos at rachelm@jewishinseattle.org

Mercaz Lag B'Omer Fire, Music and Torah Thu May 26th 8pm - 11pm
www.mercazseattle.org

Northwest Yeshiva High School Sunday, May 15, 12:00 - 2:00 pm, 
FREE event for all middle schoolers. Come to the UW HUB (4001 E Stevens Way NE, Sea.) Bowling, arcade, games & pizza. Sponsored by Jamie & Jeff Merriman-Cohen. RSVP: mrivkin@nyhs.org

NYHS Torah Dedication Sunday, June 19, 9:30 - 11:30 am, 
Torah Dedication in honor of Rabbi Bernie & Shirley Fox. Ceremony starts at Cong. Shevet Achim & ends at NYHS. Click here for more info or contact Jack Deleon:  deleon6123@gmail.com  or Melissa Rivkin: mrivkin@nyhs.org

Seattle Kollel Annual Lag B'Omer BBQ Thursday, May 26
At Genesee Street, Shelter 1. Cost: $10/Adults or $5/kids (ages 4-12). More info or to volunteer: theseattlekollel@gmail.com

Seatlle Kollel SEED Learning Day Camps
Boys Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org
Girls Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org 

Derech Emunah Garden Party Tuesday, May 31, 7:00 pm
"Sweet Success", a garden party to celebrate Derech Emunah. Cost: $65/person, ADULTS ONLY, Men & Women are invited. At the home of Lynda & Ken Wegodsky, 5772 S Oaklawn PL, Sea. RSVP: events@derechemunah.com

NCSY 10th Annual Basarfest, Sunday, June 5, 5:00 pm 
at Sephardic Bikur Holim. Buy tickets at www.seattlencsy.com 

Music of Remembrance Presents "Out of Darkness" May 22nd 4 pm - 6 pm, 
at Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, 200 University St., Seattle. Sponsored by Hillel, Jconnect $45, $30 30 and under

36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Aug. 7-12
Sheraton Hotel, downtown Seattle. More info: www.iajgs2016.org

NEED A DRIVER – CALL GERSHON!
For all your transportation needs, call Gershon Grashin (206) 856-2754


SICHO FOR KEDOSHIM 
Rabbi Yossi Goldman
http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/276467/jewish/Spiritual-vs-Holy.htm © Chabad.org

In a Parshah where we read the golden rule of Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself and numerous other "social" mitzvot, I find it necessary to focus on another of our Parshah's commandments--one which in our own day seems to have been forgotten, much to our own detriment, I fear.

Under the general command to "Be Holy" (Leviticus 19:1), the Torah instructs us not to engage in sorcery, superstition and other related activities which were practiced by the heathen nations of old. Elsewhere in Deuteronomy the Torah proscribes other practices such as consulting the dead. Jews are told to be "sincere and wholehearted with G‑d," to follow the Torah way of life and, when in doubt, to consult the prophet or the recognized spiritual leaders and Torah authorities of the day. Sorcery, dabbling in the occult and "crossing over" are serious infractions to be strenuously avoided.

A Jewish grandmother once took her grandson to a séance. After making her magic, the crystal ball lady claimed she had made contact with the woman's deceased husband, Chaim. Indeed, they heard a male voice saying how everything was well with him on the other side and he answered all their questions. Then, little Harry the grandson piped up and asked, "Zayde, may I ask you one more question please. When did you learn to speak English so well?"

Whether you believe that those who practice spiritualism are indeed making contact or not, makes little difference from the Jewish perspective. Imaginary or real, the Torah forbids it. Even if it is real that doesn’t mean it isright. Not everything that can be done ought to be done.

Most people seem to be confused by this. They become convinced that if it really is able to happen then this legitimizes it. Often, it is those who have been bereaved, especially under tragic circumstances, who are anxiously seeking answers and grasping for comfort through these unholy sources.

Unholy, you ask? Yes. You see, there is a fundamental difference between spiritual and holy. Not everything spiritual is necessary holy, and not everything holy need be spiritual.

Balaam was a heathen prophet (Numbers 22-24). He was able to communicate with G‑d. But he was very unholy. He tried to put a curse on the Jewish people which would allow their enemies to destroy them completely. They had done him no harm. He was a greedy, lustful anti-Semite--far from a holy man. But he was very, very spiritual. Clearly, not everything spiritual is holy.

Money is very, very physical. But if you use it for holy purposes like charity, it becomes holy. Clearly, not everything holy need be spiritual.

It may be possible to "cross over." But, in the process, we may be getting ourselves involved with unholy forces. There are forces of darkness out there too. And if we are not dealing with Jewish prophets of old or bona fide holy mystics, we may, G‑d forbid, get burned. And, who knows if our connections are not seen as interference. We may well be guilty of disturbing the dead, in which case we might actually be doing more harm than good.

My brother-in-law, Rabbi Shabsi Alpern, is the Chabad shliach in Brazil. Many such practices occur in his community. He once asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe what to tell people about this. The Rebbeanswered to tell them that every Jew has a direct connection to G‑d and we do not require a medium to connect. In fact, why take the circuitous route if you can go direct?

If we want to help the deceased, Judaism has many worthwhile suggestions. Kaddishtzedakah, and any mitzvah in memory are all good deeds which have positive effects on the soul. Torah study, particularly Mishnah, is highly recommended.

By all means should we all deepen our spirituality. Study the esoteric side of Torah with reliable, trustworthy teachers to gain an appreciation into Jewish Mysticism. But be wholesome with G‑d. Don’t dabble in forbidden fields. Be holy--in the way our holy Torah tells us to be.

ACHAREI MOS – MEVARCHIM IYAR 29 Nisan – 5 Iyar 5776

Fri May 6th – Erev Shabbos
Shacharis: 7  a.m.
Mincha/Candles 8:11 PM 
Maariv 9:06 COUNT OMER #14/

Sat May 7th - Shabbos
Tehilim for Mevarchim Iyar – 8 am
Shacharis: 9:30 a.m /Latest Shema 9:23 am/

Mincha  8:00 pm /Pirkey Avos Chapter 1/Seuda Slishit 
Maariv/Havdalah 9:19 pm /COUNT OMER #15/

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis 9 am /ROSH CHODESH IYAR/
Mon Shacharis 6:50 am /ROSH CHODESH IYAR/
Tue-Fri Shacharis 7 am
Sun-Thu Mincha 8:20 pm
Sun-Thu Maariv and Sefira 9:10 to 9:15pm /COUNT 16-20/

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush returns to CSTL this Shabbat after our Pesach hiatus, and will include a meat cholent, rolls, and sushi!   Kiddush is sponsored this week by Dr. Norman Share (Natan ben Ya’acov HaCohen) in honor and in memory of the 35th yahrzeit of his wife, Barbara Ruth Bat Avraham z”l (20th Nissan).  Kiddush is also sponsored by this week by The Kiddush Fund, in honor of Shabbat Mevorchim Iyar.  Seuda Slishit is sponsored by Shimon Dershowitz in honor of Israel Independence Day (Wed/Thu) Yom ha’Atzmaut!

PIRKEY AVOT WITH RABBI EMLEN – TUE 7:30 pm
As announced previously there will be a new class based on the Pirkei Avos of the week following the Maharal's explanation. Both men and women and welcome to join. Our first class will be graciously hosted by the Meyer family at the home ofShuky and Chanie 6223 43rd Ave NE

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

CSTL Fund Raising through Amazon
Amazon has a program of giving 0.5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice. Congregation Shaarei Tefilah Lubavitch is one of the charities. This is a great way to raise funds for the shul without incurring extra charges or financial burdens.  Go to Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com  to register

CAMP GAN IZZY REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - REGISTER TODAY
Conveniently located right here in the heart of Seattle’s North End. The season now runs from Monday, July 4th through Friday August 5th. Camp Gan Israel Seattle has been providing the Jewish children of Greater Seattle a special summer day camp experience that integrates healthy active fun, field trips and friendships with the richness, excitement and warmth of Jewish values, tradition and culture. Fun that lasts a summer…memories that last a lifetime.  Questions? Call or text Rabbi Abe Kavka at (206.730.2775) or info@campganisraelseattle.org . Register your kids, ages 2½ to 12 atwww.campganisraelseattle.org  for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 weeks. NOW OFFERING TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MERCER ISLAND AND SEWARD PARK!!! (For transportation to/from other areas please speak with Rabbi Kavka.)

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Ivan Rothman, Gabbai Kiddush, hardcastle101@hotmail.com . Please inform Ivan by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $300, co-Sponsor $150, Contributor: $50-$149.

YOM haZIKORON – Tue Eve May 10th /Wed May 11th
Memorial Day for Israel Soldiers and Victims of Terror.  For more information, visit https://www.ou.org/holidays/yom-hazikaron/

YOM haATZMAUT – Wed Eve May 11th /Thu May 12th
Israel Independence Day!  For more information, visit https://www.ou.org/holidays/yom-haatzmaut/

THANK YOU TO JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER SEATTLE
Funding for CSTL Outreach Program was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Please donate to JFGS at https://www.jewishinseattle.org/donate


COMMUNITY NEWS

Israeli Chefs Cook with Hadassah Sun May 8, 6:00-8:00 pm,
Location: Shevet Achim, 8685 SE 47th Street, MI, WA 98040.As part of the Jewish Federation Israel Week celebrations, Hadassah is sponsoring this family-friendly event where local Israeli chefs will be demonstrating & sharing their favorite recipes. There will be social networking with a no-host bar & demo cooking stations hosted by guest chefs. Each attendee will receive a gift spoon with menu cards. Cost: $10/Adults & children 11 & under are welcome at N/C.

StandWithUs Community Reception at Town Hall May 15
Keynote speaker is visionary Arab-Israeli diplomat George Deek. Also honoring local attorneys Robert Sulkin & Avi Lipman.
http://www.standwithus.com/NWEvent2016

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Thu May 19, 7:00 pm
Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik will be the keynote speaker at our Neighborhood Connections event to be held at Town Hall. More info: (206) 774-2219 or contact Rachel Marinos at rachelm@jewishinseattle.org

Mercaz Lag B'Omer Fire, Music and Torah Thu May 26th 8pm - 11pm
www.mercazseattle.org

Yom Ha'zikaron Commemoration/Yom Ha'atzmaut Celebration May 11 7:45 pm, 
Memorial for fallen soldiers and terror victims. Tefillah Chagigit, a Festive Ma'ariv at Minyan Ohr Chadash, 51st Avenue S and South Brighton Street, Seattle. Sponsored by Minyan Ohr Chadash, Sephardic Bikur Holim, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth

PJ Library Israel Adventure at Seattle Hebrew Academy May 10th 10 am
Celebrate Israel with PJ Library storytime, music, delicious snacks and a craft activity. At Seattle Hebrew Academy, 1617 Interlaken Drive E, Seattle. Sponsored by Seattle Hebrew Academy, PJ Library Seattle, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

Northwest Yeshiva High School Sunday, May 15, 12:00 - 2:00 pm, 
FREE event for all middle schoolers. Come to the UW HUB (4001 E Stevens Way NE, Sea.) Bowling, arcade, games & pizza. Sponsored by Jamie & Jeff Merriman-Cohen. RSVP: mrivkin@nyhs.org

NYHS Torah Dedication Sunday, June 19, 9:30 - 11:30 am, 
Torah Dedication in honor of Rabbi Bernie & Shirley Fox. Ceremony starts at Cong. Shevet Achim & ends at NYHS. Click here for more info or contact Jack Deleon:  deleon6123@gmail.com  or Melissa Rivkin: mrivkin@nyhs.org

StandWithUs Northwest Reception May 15
More info: http://www.standwithus.com 

Seattle Kollel Annual Lag B'Omer BBQ Thursday, May 26
At Genesee Street, Shelter 1. Cost: $10/Adults or $5/kids (ages 4-12). More info or to volunteer: theseattlekollel@gmail.com

Seatlle Kollel SEED Learning Day Camps
Boys Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org
Girls Tentative: June 27-August 25. More info: www.seattlekollel.org 

Derech Emunah Garden Party Tuesday, May 31, 7:00 pm
"Sweet Success", a garden party to celebrate Derech Emunah. Cost: $65/person, ADULTS ONLY, Men & Women are invited. At the home of Lynda & Ken Wegodsky, 5772 S Oaklawn PL, Sea. RSVP: events@derechemunah.com

NCSY 10th Annual Basarfest, Sunday, June 5, 5:00 pm 
at Sephardic Bikur Holim. Buy tickets at www.seattlencsy.com 

Music of Remembrance Presents "Out of Darkness" May 22nd 4 pm - 6 pm, 
at Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, 200 University St., Seattle. Sponsored by Hillel, Jconnect $45, $30 30 and under

Torah High 2015-2016. 
More info: www.torahhighseattle.com

36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Aug. 7-12
Sheraton Hotel, downtown Seattle. More info: www.iajgs2016.org

NEED A DRIVER – CALL GERSHON!
For all your transportation needs, call Gershon Grashin (206) 856-2754


 SICHO FOR MEVARCHIM IYAR 
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2605243/jewish/Motzaei-Shabbos-Parshas-Acharei-Shabbos-Mevarchim-Iyar-5738-1978.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

1. When a variety of Jews, each one representing a different sector of the total Jewish community, meet together, their intent should be to rise above their own personal existences. As the Torah states in Devarim, “You are all standing before G‑d:1 “your Heads, your leaders...(mentioning ten different categories including even).your wood-choppers and water carriers.” (1)

The intent of that verse is to define the collectiveness of the Jewish people as one singular entity. Even so, the ten different categories are mentioned (and the verb ‘Nitzavim’ (standing) and the pronoun ‘Kulchem’ (you) are in the plural) to accentuate the awareness that the unity of the Jewish people does not stand in opposition to plurality. Rather, it recognizes the particular perspective of each individual and that it is applicable to him within the context of his own experience.

The potential for the existence of such a unity among the Jewish people is derived from the Absolute Unity of G‑d Himself. Though G‑d’s unity is the Absolute of Oneness, nevertheless, in creation of the world, He chose not to reveal that oneness as it is for itself, but to bring into being a multitude of creations, each one with an individual identity and importance — each one as a particular expression of G‑d’s greatness. When contemplating the vast multitude of different creations, one is moved to feelings of awe at G‑d’s infinity. These feelings are communicated in the verse recited every day in the morning service “How great are Your deeds, O G‑d.” (2)

These two concepts, viz., G‑d’s Absolute Unity and the seemingly infinite amount of created beings, while on the surface contradictory, are, in fact, inter-dependent. As the Mitteler Rebbe explains in ‘Toras Chaim’, only an Absolute Unity can produce an unlimited amount of creations.’ (3)

Therefore, though on the surface, the world appears to be of a limited nature and every creation limited to a specific and defined existence, in truth, however, when you consider the vast multitude of creations, and perceive how (to the degree possible under the limitations of space) their number approaches infinity (particularly, if you take into account their potential for reproduction), then you become aware of the G‑dly power invested in creation, and perceive how the world reflects G‑d’s infinity.

This concept of a fusion between unity and infinite difference is reflected in the general composition of the human race. Though a basic similarity is common to all men, insomuch that they share the same physical features, body structure, etc., nevertheless, no two men are exactly alike. Marked differences exist in their appearances, attitudes, dispositions, etc.

Both of these factors, viz., the basic similarity, and the unending variety are expressions of oneness. Both directly (through similarity) and indirectly (through infinite difference, as explained above) one can perceive G‑d’s Absolute Unity. By simultaneously combining two opposites in one place, the divine attribute of Ultimate Transcendency is revealed.2

2. The Temple in Jerusalem revealed this attribute of Ultimate Transcendency in the world par excellence. The different sections of the Temple varied in their holiness, and correspondingly, they varied in the degree to which they revealed G‑d’s Ultimate Transcendency. In the Holy of Holies, the most complete expression of Ultimate Transcendency was manifest. The room’s very construction (as explained below) testified to G‑d’s power.

In the Temple in general, and in the Holy of Holies in particular, precise measure was of extreme importance. If an object did not carefully adhere to the measure specified for it, it did not qualify for Temple use. The measure of the Eastern Wall of the Holy of Holies was as follows: 10 cubits from the northern wall to the ark, 2 1/4 cubits the length of the ark, and ten cubits from the ark to the southern wall. Yet the entire span from the northern wall to the southern wall measured only 20 cubits. The ark stood as an open and revealed manifestation of G‑d’s Ultimate Transcendency.

As the Talmud explains “from the Temple emanated light to the entire world,” (4) i.e., through the revelation of G‑dliness in the Temple, we can become aware of and learn to appreciate the true nature of the world’s existence.

In fact, the world is a “Dirah Batachtonim,” G‑d’s dwelling place. The very same qualities of Ultimate Transcendency revealed in the Temple are present throughout the whole of creation. However, in the world, these elements are hidden, (due to specific divine intention) in order that a Jew demonstrate how Torah has shaped his mind. Despite the lack of revelation, the Jew realizes the world’s true nature and does what is dependent on him (through his service of Torah and Mitzvos) to bring about the revelation of those qualities in the world.

Each act of Torah and Mitzvos brings about the revelation of G‑d’ Absolute Unity in the world. Though, presently, that revelation is not apparent, yet, man’s lack of perception does not diminish the effects of a Jew’s service. The Messianic redemption will demonstrate how a Jew’s Torah activity caused an open expression of G‑d’s Absolute Unity.

3. This concept of transcendency is reflected in man himself. Each man possesses 613 organs (365 sinews, 248 limbs). Each organ has a specific function, an individual identity, and a unique importance. However, each individuals’ personal identity dominates the functioning of his body. The separate organs all combine and join together in unified activity.

Similarly, the Talmud Yerushalmi (5) compares the totality of the Jewish people to the human body. Though composed of different and individual entities, the entire nation is joined together by a common identity. This common denominator and the unity between Jews it produces, comes to the fore when many and different Jews meet together (as here tonight).

For this reason, the Ari Hakodesh, Rav Isaac Luria, writes that before prayer you should fully accept upon yourself the commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (6) Before beginning your daily activities,3 you should re-affirm you commitment to unite yourself with the entire Jewish people.

Prayer is not meant to be self-contained. Its effects should be evident in the behavior during the ensuing day. When observing a Jew conducting his daily affairs, you should be able to recognize that he has davenned (and davenned in a manner that a Jew should daven).

Therefore, the acceptance of the Mitzvah of ‘Ahavas Yisrael’ made before prayer should also influence one’s daily activities. In fact, then the stress on Ahavas Yisrael should be greater. In davenning, the concept is still abstract. In life, business, interpersonal communication, and eating, etc., you come into contact with other people and the expression of Ahavas Yisrael has to be concrete.

With this concept, particularly emphasizing the Yerushalmi’s comparison of the totality of the Jewish people to the human body, the Jew carries out his daily activities. Through expressing Ahavas Yisrael in even his mundane and routine affairs, in his everyday practicalities, he reveals in the world and to the world, G‑d’s Absolute Unity.

4. Since this service of Ahavas Yisrael and the other Torah and Mitzvos activities affect the world and reveal within the world G‑d’s Absolute Oneness, it follows that as that work proceeds, its effects cause the world itself to demand that it serve as vessel to reveal G‑d’s oneness.

The business world provides a suitable example. The history of business illustrates how the world has progressed from individuality towards unity. Previously, private companies had dominated the business world. Success was a product of man’s individual efforts.

Modern business reversed this trend, opting for corporate entities, combining the efforts of many. This pattern has allowed for increased coordination of the various stages of production, cut expenses, and added to the available markets. Though the Yetzer Hara argued such cooperation (and the decrease in fraud, theft, etc. which accompanies it) would lower profits, experience shows it maximizes them, demonstrating how unity has become part of the world’s internal system.

The evolutionary pattern undergone by the business world was paralleled in the sphere of science.4 A similar process of growth, emphasizing how G‑d’s Absolute Oneness has influenced the world, can be noticed (and to a greater degree, because science deals with the world abstractly).

Accordingly, the modern approach in science has been to seek theories of greater range, to search for a common denominator applicable in various, different situations. Likewise, an attempt has been made to cross disciplinary lines, to relate concepts from one field to a totally foreign area (e.g., physics to biology). Parallelisms and associations have been made between seemingly separate bodies of knowledge which has allowed for growth and advancement.

The closer we are drawn to the coming of the Mashiach, the more science has been able to demonstrate how an innate oneness (explained by Torah to be the oneness of G‑d) permeates every aspect of the universe.5

(This radically different approach in science was foreseen in the Zohar’s prophecy “In the 600th year (of the sixth millennium) the well-springs of knowledge will open.” (7) At that time, there was an explosion of knowledge in the realm of Torah study which produced in turn, an explosion of knowledge in the sciences — allowing for the perception of oneness described above.)

5. The awareness of how plurality does not contradict (on the contrary helps express) unity (as explained above) should help a Jew appreciate the unity present when a number of Jews meet together.6 Even though they appear different, these differences are only superficial. In reality, all Jews, irrespective of their social or religious strata, are unified standing before G‑d:

At that point, as the verse say, we “join into a covenant with the L‑rd, your G‑d.” (8) A covenant is made by one taking an animal, dividing it into two separate halves, and then passing between them. The action expresses the concept that the two principals of the covenant become one entity. They may become divided, but only superficially, as the essential connection remains. Similarly, by entering into a covenant with G‑d the Jew becomes one with the Divine, in the prophet’s words “a part of G‑d from above.”

6. This discussion concerning the unification of seemingly separate entities is uniquely appropriate to the present time. This present occasion is itself a composite of different and even contradictory elements (each one with a powerful and significant individual lesson).

First of all, it is Motzaei Shabbos, itself a combination of seemingly opposite facets. It is still related to Shabbos. It is the time of Melaveh Malkah, accompanying and enjoying the last moment of connection to the Shabbos queen.7 Simultaneously, it is no longer Shabbos as the Melaveh Malkah begins after Havdalah. The Shabbos mood has .already given way to the hustle-bustle atmosphere of the working week.

Then, it is Rosh Chodesh — which follows a pattern different and even contradictory to the Shabbos-weekday cycle. That cycle is dependent on the Sun, while, according to the Jewish calendar the months are set according to the phases of the moon. Therein lies the contradiction the sun is the generator of energy, the moon its receiver.

Moreover, though today is called Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the month ofIyar, its calendar date is the thirtieth of Nissan. The joining together of the two months Nissan and Iyar is also a combination of two opposites. There is a specific quality of service to G‑d for each month. And the qualities designated for Nissan and Iyar differ greatly.

Nissan is called the month of redemption. That name, however, itself indicates a connection to Galus (the very fact that there is a need to specify redemption implies a connection to Galus). In spiritual terms, this refers to the service of “Iscafia” — bending one’s nature, i.e., there is still evil in existence, but you control and dominate that evil.

Iyar, on the other hand, describes a state of freedom in which Galus never enters consideration. The first redemption, the Exodus from Egypt, serves as an example. On the seventh day of Passover, the Egyptians (representing the source of all Galus) drowned in the Red Sea. In the following month of Iyar a new service, “Is-hap-cha,” began, the transformation into G‑dliness of all one’s behavioral traits.

Finally, this Shabbos marks the completion of the Pesach Holiday. Just as in a physical sense the achievements of the week are enjoyed on Shabbos, similarly, in a spiritual sense, the Shabbos completes and perfects the Jew’s service of the preceding week. Even the Shabbos before,8 in this case, the last day of Passover, is affected and elevated by the ensuing Shabbos.

As explained above, though all these elements are different, one line runs through all of them. In every case, they express the greatness of Torah and the greatness of a Jew, which both parallel the greatness of G‑d. Therefore, they possess the powers of UltimateTranscendency necessary to combine many seemingly opposite forces by revealing their common denominator, i.e., the divine energy which permeates the<entire creation.

7. A practical lesson should result from every concept. We are leaving the month of Nissan, the first month of the year,9 the month of freedom (the source for the freedom-; being G‑d’s Ultimate Transcendency) and entering the remainder of the year. We should try to bring that freedom into contact with the world to connect that Ultimate Transcendency with practical, daily affairs and mundane matters.

The first step in such a course of behavior is Ahavas Yisrael. Through revealing the unity among Jews we reveal the unity in the world. Proceeding to Chinuch, which means educating a person according to Torah which leads to Tefillin, andMezuzah (performing theseMitzvos is considered by the Talmud to be equivalent to performing the entire Torah). (9) Such action will cause G‑d to lend heavenly assistance which is channeled into the world through Tzedakah, so that the entire world becomes a dwelling place for G‑d, and becomes Melah Seforim filled with divine light.

This light is in turn expressed by Neiros Shabbos Kodesh, whose purpose is to illuminate the home which is purified, refined, and made holy through followingKashrus and Taharas Hamishpachah.

When this service is completed in each individual house, the revelation will spread throughout the entire world, G‑d’s house and dwelling place — “Dirah Bitachtonim,” and bring about the coming of Mashiach, speedily in our days.

8. It is proper to begin with that which is most important. In the Talmud our sages clearly stated, “Deed is the most essential.” (10) Even though thought and speech are more refined means of self-expression, our sages put their stress on Deed.

Now, the present circumstances clearly point to the deeds most necessary. In America and other countries, the summer, and with it, school vacation, are soon approaching. Already parents have begun making preparations to enroll their child in a day camp, sleeping camp, etc.

It is understandable that it is difficult to convince a parent to make a change once a decision has been made. The opposite is also true. Before a parent has decided, they are open-minded and can be convinced to send their child to a Torah-oriented school or camp.

The stress on camp is even greater than on school, because in many ways more can be accomplished in the brief time a child is at camp than during an entire year at school. There are two reasons for this paradoxical phenomenon. Firstly, in school, a significant part of the day is devoted to secular subjects, while in camp the child can be involved 24 hours a day with Jewish study, play, and rest. He can be involved in a Jewish atmosphere without being disturbed by anything, even permitted things, which is outside the realm of Torah.

Secondly, a school is only a few hours a day, and camp can be, if possible, a complete and total experience, embracing 24 hours a day. Once a child is submerged totally in an environment, it will change his entire thinking process. He can become a totally different personality. Torah can become alive for him. (As it says in Parshas Acharei (the portion which we read this Shabbos, “VeChay Bohem” — “You shall live in them.” (11)10

Therefore, there should be a stress on Jewish education, particularly camps. Especially since we have drawn one year closer to the coming of Mashiach, it is proper to make every effort to ensure that not one Jewish child suffer the “Galus” of a non-Torah-oriented educational system. Even if that system does not oppose Torah, still, if that system is not Torah oriented, it is not fit for a Jewish child.

9. The last statement can be best understood when viewed in the light of theBaal Shem Tov’s description of the Jew’s relationship to G‑d as that of an only son born to a King in his old age. Just as in physical things, the King’s son is treated with utmost care, and given only the best, so, too, and even to a greater degree, in spiritual matter (for these nourish both the body and the soul) must extreme care be taken to ensure what is most appropriate, and in this case, a Torah-oriented education must be received by each and every Jewish child.

The above is particularly true in the early childhood years when, as is well known, an individual’s behavioral pattern is fixed. The physical example of a seed expresses this concept clearly. When a seed is first planted, the slightest things done to improve its condition result in major changes in the tree, its fruit, and the trees which will grow from its fruit in later years.

A parallel phenomenon can be seen in the growth of a child. Anything which can be done to improve his early years, even when it is only for a brief period (the three weeks the child is in camp or even less (or even if the child already goes to a good camp, but there is the possibility of sending him to a better one ) ), will result in greater changes at a later date. In Midrash, it says, do not weigh theMitzvos, (12) considering which one is more important, which one less, but fulfill them all equally, with the same sense of commitment. Similarly, regardless of the unapparent immediate effect on the child (particularly when just like in the example of the seed, the positive efforts are not seen immediately), each small step to improve his Jewish education is of extreme importance.

10. The stress on taking major strides in Jewish education is particularly appropriate after the Pesach Holiday. The literal translation of Pesach — is G‑d “jumped.” Since a Jew follows in a pattern of “Imatio Deo” — as it saysTzaddikim (which applies to every Jew) are similar to their creator, (13) it follows that every Jew has the power to “jump” from his previously established habits to a new pattern. He has the potential to make unlimited progress, to leave Egypt — his boundaries and limitations — and proceed to redemption “B’yodRomah” — with proudly up-raised hands.

Since G‑d gives the potential for such progress, the Jew has the obligation to use it. Wasting the power which G‑d granted is a sign of disrespect. Therefore, since a Jew, according to Halachah, is sure to do what is correct (particularly after Pesach, when as a nation, and as individuals the Jew is reborn and is considered a new child, unaffected by his past), we can be sure of unlimited progress, proceeding on a path of unlimited growth.

This will lead to the child’s enjoyment of a healthy summer, and a successful summer (all because it is a ‘Jewish’ summer.)

Similarly we can see how Torah produces success from the Mishnayos of Pirkei Avos (which is customarily studied between Passover and Shavuos). At the outset, it proclaims that each Jew has a share in the world to come. Directly after this proclamation, we are instructed how to actualize that share, through the three pillars upon which the world stands: Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chassadim, (14) which describe the totality of a Jew’s service in Torah and Mitzvos.

After the entire chapter develops these concepts, it concludes with the statement that G‑d gave the Jews the Torah as a Zechus (a merit, a privilege) not as a burden, or a difficulty, and He gave them therefore a multitude of Mitzvos.

11. With this attitude, we can proceed to receive the Torah on Shavuos, particularly after the preparatory (preparation to serve G‑d is also service) period of Sefiras HaOmer.

And then “you shall for yourselves count seven perfect weeks,” (15) each person can make his weeks perfect and they shall be “for yourselves,” (16) you will feel these spiritual achievements as your own and hence work for them with more zeal.

Receiving the Torah is a daily phenomenon, and is not restricted to Shavuos alone. Each day we declare that G‑d is “Nosain HaTorah” (the Giver of the Torah) and use the present tense. This concept is expressed by the statement of our Sages that whenever a Jew learns Torah HaKodesh Baruch Hu, the Divine presence, learns with him, i.e., Divine energy is generated just as if the Torah was being given for the first time. (17)

This understanding of what Torah is will lead to a behavioral pattern of “you shall walk in my laws” (18) — which commentaries explain to mean as you shall labor at Torah study. G‑d in turn will reward such behavior with manifold blessings, as mentioned there in the Torah portion, including and concluding with the greatest blessing of all, the blessing of peace, (as our Sages write, “that peace is balanced against everything”), (19)as the verse continues “you shall dwell in your land and not fear” (20) (which applies wherever a Jew is to be found, particularly in Israel). The blessings continue and include the prophecy of the final redemption, “I will lead you upright to your land” (21) which will be brought about by the Jews’ behavior in the time of Galus. Through his standing upright, meaning, not being affected by the pressures of the outside world or the threats and boasts of the goyim, (which as described in Tehillim, are empty and idle) and developing his connection to G‑d, he is then rewarded with G‑d’s covenant, as expressed in the verse, “I will be your G‑d and you shall be my nation,” (22) and then “Your enemies will flee before you” (23) and “no sword will pass through your land” (24) (even swords of peace). There will be settlement of the entire land of Israel, as was intended, and it will be restored as an eternal inheritance of the Jewish people.

This will occur in the last days of Galus and will be accomplished by the Jew’s dedicated service of laboring in Torah study and in fulfillment of Mitzvos.

This will bring about the Messianic redemption in which “I will bring you upright to your land.” The same concept was echoed in the redemption from Egypt when, even while in Egypt, the Jews felt proud that they were leaving with uplifted hands. So should it be for us, revealed here in this world, in an obviously good manner.

12. This morning we read the portion of “Acharei.” In everything a Jew sees or hears, and how much more so in every Torah concept he comes in contact with, there is a practical lesson in one’s service to G‑d. Hence we can assuredly find a useful lesson with the portion ofAcharei.

Since the intent is to find a lesson which is taught by the portion as a whole, not a particular lesson from one of its elements, it is proper to look into the name of the portion, Acharei. The Hebrew name of any object, particularly a portion of the Torah, describes the life force and character of that object. (This concept was explained by the Baal Shem Tov and elaborated on in Tanya. (25)) Therefore, the name Acharei can itself provide us with a valuable lesson.

Yet, Acharei — meaning afterwards, or behind — seems a very secondary point compared to the various different and important spiritual services of Pesach and Nissan, the month of redemption. However, this is precisely indicative of the lesson to be learnt: regardless of the spiritual height that one achieves in his service of G‑d, he has to consider Acharei — what will come afterwards.

The story described in Acharei — the death of the sons of Aharon provides a paradigm. They had reached elevated spiritual levels as the Torah describes; they came close to G‑d, and experienced the oneness of the Holy of Holies. The commentators on the Torah all describe the greatness of Aharon’s sons.Rashi states that they were holier than Moses and Aharon. (26) The Orach Chaim HaKodeshexplains their yearning and passion to cling to G‑d and how it was rewarded with Love, Friendship, and Faithful Trust. However, they did not pay attention to Acharei, the aftermath, and the inevitable consequences of their type of service. In this case, the tragic end is clearly understood by. their deaths and the labeling of the entire episode “The sin of Aharon’s sons.”

13. The same point is brought out in the Yom Kippur service described in the portion. The portion talks about the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur. The most elevated point in the three aspects of Time, Place, and Soul. In Time, it was Yom Kippur. In Place — the Holy of Holies. In Soul — the High Priest, the most refined of the Jewish people.

Yet, immediately afterwards, the portion speaks about immorality, and the punishment received for various different forbidden relationships.

This paradox is reflected in the ritual of Yom Kippur itself. After the Jew has performed most of the Yom Kippur services — he is fasting, wearing his Kittel, preparing for Minchah, and directly afterwards Neilah, “the ultimate” level of holiness — which Torah portion is read at this time? It is the second half of Acharei, which deals with immorality and forbidden relationships. While a Jew is preparing for the highest spiritual services he is warned, “Do not follow the customs of Egypt and Canaan!”)

This is the point, however, expressed by Acharei. Unless you consider the aftermath, and unless from the onset you plan what will come next, the highest spiritual levels can be followed by the immorality of Egypt and Canaan. By placing the word Acharei as a preface to the entire Sedra, the Torah communicates the necessity of considering the results of one’s actions.

(In communicating the concept in this manner, the Torah reveals its own greatness and infinitude. The ability to relate a profound concept in one word gives us some idea of Torah’s true boundless nature.

This concept has practical application as well. A Jew may look at his Torah behavior, his gifts to Tzedakah, his donning of Tefillin and become disenchanted. He may consider these actions, limited and insignificant, chas v’shalom. Even after he learns their true significance, he may still see them as restrictive and bounded compared to G‑d’s infinity.

However, when he considers that Torah is infinite, and when he understands the blessing he says before putting on the Tefillin — that G‑d has sanctified him with his Mitzvos — and when he realizes that by putting on Tefillin he enters into a boundless relationship with G‑d Himself — his feelings will change.)

Acharei teaches us that regardless of a Jew’s heights in Torah and Mitzvos — be he the High Priest on Yom Kippur, he still has to think ‘Acharei’ — what will come next. Furthermore, since a Jew should be constantly in a state of progress, “You should proceed from strength to strength,” (27) it follows that with each step forward, his acharei, consideration of the consequences, also changes.11

This is not an abstract concept, but a practical one. And though, perhaps, seemingly difficult, still every command in the Torah is within man’s potential — (as G‑d would not give a command which could not be carried out). Through this course of behavior, we will enjoy a happy summer and healthy summer, experience true freedom (which comes about through true service of Torah) and will bring about speedily in our days, the coming of Mashiach, May he come and redeem us.

 

 

 

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