Printed from CSTLSeattle.org

Newsletter

Shabbos Shoftim | 3 -10 Elul 5777

Fri- Aug 25th Erev Shabbos 
Shacharis 7 am 
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 7:44 pm

Sat Aug 26th Shabbos 
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:45 am
Mincha  7:44 pm /SEUDA SLISHIT/Pirkei Avot Chapter 1/
Maariv/Havdalah 8:42 pm

Weekdays
Sun Shacharis: 9 am 
Mon - Fri Shacharis  7 am
Sun-Thu Mincha/Maariv 7:40 pm

FRIDAY NIGHT BBQ
Join us this shabbat for a delicious Shabbat BBQ dinner with a 24-hour smoked brisket (by Shuky Meyer), hot dogs, teriyaki fish, craft beer, wine and more! Services begin at 6:45 pm, followed immediately by dinner in the social hall. Payment is required in advance. If you are unable to attend, please consider making a donation! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cstl-shabbat-bbq-dinner-tickets-36956862972 

KIDDUSH 
Kiddush is be co-sponsored by Andy Krasnow, in beloved memory of his father, Yitzhok ben Yehudah Ber Z”L, 4th  Elul; and also co-sponsored by Dr. Vernon and Liz Neppe, in beloved memory of the 15th Yahrzeit of Vernon's dear sister, Annette Liebmann ( Chana Feiga bas Sholem Leib Z”L).  Thank you also to Dr. and Mrs. Neppe for an additional donation to the kitchen fund.  We will also have our delicious cholent, made by Rabbi Mendy Levitin.  Seuda Slishit

BARUCH DAYAN EMETH
We are saddened to learn of the passing of Leah Alexander, the wife of Professor Edward Alexander, Saturday Aug 19th .  May the Alexander family be consoled with all the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim

CUSTOMS OF THE MONTH OF ELUL 
Shofar at Shacharis
. daily. L’Dovid haShem Ori daily at Shacharis and Mincha.  Three additional chapters of Psalms daily. Elul is also the time to have one's tefillin and mezuzahs checked by an accredited scribe to ensure that they are in good condition and fit for use. From the beginning of Elul and throughout the High Holiday season, we include the blessing "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year" (Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim) in letters and greetings to one another. 
www.chabad.org/calendar

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.

ELUL 3rd FARBRENGEN FRI AUG 18th 5:30 pm
In honor of Elul 3rd ,yahrtzeit of the first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi (in modern times) of the Religious Zionist Jewish community in the Holy Land, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (
www.chabad.org/calendar). In front of the Men’s Mikvah

SHABBOS AFTERNOON PIRKEI AVOS WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 7:30 PM
An amazing opportunity to learn Pirkei Avos with commentaries and insights.

LADIES TEHILIM – SUN 10 am
Come say Tehilim

SUNDAY SCHOOL IN NORTH SEATTLE STARTS SUN SEPT 10th 9:45 AM - 11:30 AM
Chabad of NW Seattle is excited to announce that we will be offering a Local Hebrew School on Sundays for the upcoming school year. Give your child an opportunity to explore Judaism where it's meaningful, educational, fun and innovative! Register before August 20th and save $100 on our early bird discount!!! For more info and to register please visit
www.Seattlehebrewschool.com  . yonilevitin@gmail.com

CSTL Shabbos Kids Club
Looking for volunteers to give a shuir to the older kids either once per month or a one time occasion It is for the ages 5-12.  The shuir is generally about 10-15 minutes long on any topic, parsha, holidays,Jewish history, Mitzos.  Your choice.  Please contact me   Thank you. Tova Morah@msn.com 206-383-2516

FROM THE PRESIDENT
Please keep all food in the Social Hall.  Please feel empowered to tell anyone you see leaving the Social Hall with food to please not do so.  Doing this will help us clean for the coming Holidays!

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.

Men’s Mikvah annual Dues are Due Annually on Elul 1st 
For more information, please contact Yechezkel Rapoport.


COMMUNITY NEWS

RABBI ELI MONSOUR AT SBH – MON AUG 28th 8 PM
It is a great privilege and opportunity to hear Rabbi Monsour address the community.  At Sephardic Bikur Holim. 

Sephardic Bikur Holim Sephardic Bazar. Sun Aug 27th 9 am – 3 pm
Featuring Dezayuno Sephardic Breakfast 9 am - Noon - with a bulema, boreka, ouevo hamenado, grapes, and fresh squeezed orange juice or coffee. There will be a cafe serving Turkish Coffee, Travados, Yaprakes, Bumewelos, salatho and so much more. Starting at noon, featuring famous Kosher Fatburger, a Mexican Station with Chicken Tamales and Tacos. Jeff's Sausage from LA, Smelt and French Fries, Chicken Wings, Kosher Food Truck. There will be a henna artist, a balloon artist, caricature artists, bouncy Toys. All free of charge. Schedule: 10 am Live Music - Hazzan Ike Azose, 11 am Bulema Cook Off Competition, noon Magician, 1 pm Improv.More info: (206) 723-3028 or
sbholim@gmail.com

Mishmar Chavura with Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld Thu 9pm
Parsha Learning and Discussion. Everyone welcome to join the conversation.  5240 38th Ave. NE.  Snacks served

Labor Day / Elul Bagel Brunch on at BCMH Mon Sept 4th 11 am. 
Must register & pay by Wed., Aug. 30 to 
www.bcmhseattle.org Cost: $10/Adult (ages 12 & up); $5/Child (ages 4-11); Kids 3 & under are free; $40/Family Rate. During Brunch: Program for kids "Making Your Own Shofar" with Rabbi Shimon Emlen. **Free for kids attending Brunch, $5 per child otherwise.

Stand With Us NW – Sun Aug 27th 7pm
At Herzl Ner Tamid, 3700 E Mercer Way, Mercer Island.  Featuring Mohamad Zaobi – Arab Muslim Zionist. 
Northwest@StandWithUs.com

Community Trip to Israel. April 29-May 8, 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.

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


 SICHO FOR SHABBOS SHOFTIM
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507853/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Shoftim-4th-Day-of-Elul-5750-1990.htm © SichosInEnglish.org.

1. In Likkutei Torah, the Alter Rebbe describes the spiritual atmosphere of the month of Elul with the following parable:

Before a king enters his city, the inhabitants of the city go out to greet him and receive him in the field. At that time, anyone who desires is granted permission [and can] approach him1 and greet him. He receives them all pleasantly and shows a smiling countenance to all.... To explain [the parable]: In the month of Elul, we go out to receive His blessed countenance in the field.... This refers to the reflection of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy [for as the stated previously in the maamar, “the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are revealed in Elul”] in a manner allowing them to be received, “face to face...” as it is written, “k-t is v-u-v-h and will shine for us.”

There is a problematic dimension to this parable: It is explained that the verse, “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” which characterizes the service of Elul, begins, “I am my Beloved’s,” to emphasize that it is the Jews who initiate the love relationship with G‑d.

To explain: Shir HaShirim which employs the metaphor of the marriage relationship to describe the intense love and connection shared by G‑d and the Jewish people contains two similar verses: “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” and “My Beloved is mine and I am His.” The Rabbis explain that the two verses reflect two different patterns expressing this marriage relationship.

The latter verse beginning, “My Beloved is mine,” implies that the relationship begins with Divine revelation and this is what stimulates the response and service of the Jews. Conversely, “I am my Beloved’s,” implies that it is the Jews who initiate the relationship with G‑d and motivate Him to respond and draw down influence to them.

This concept appears to conflict with the parable of “the king in the field,” which implies that the king leaves his palace (his usual place) and goes out to the field (the place where his people are found). The parable appears to imply that in Elul, G‑d begins the relationship by revealing His Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.2

Frequently, it is explained that the revelation of the king in the field, i.e., the expression of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in the month of Elul, merely generates the potential for the service that follows, but it is that service itself which is of primary importance. Thus, although the revelation from above precedes the service (and is necessary for that service to be carried out for otherwise, the “people of the field,” who are on a low level could not fulfill the service of “I am my Beloved’s”), the development of the relationship depends on man.

Nevertheless, this explanation is not adequate. The maamar relates that, “the inhabitants the city go out to... the field,” implying that there is a priority to the service carried out in the field. Because of that priority (which depends on the service of the Jews), the King goes out to the field, i.e., there is a revelation from above.

There is another conceptual difficulty regarding the nature of the service of Elul. Elul is the month of mercy and therefore, is characterized by an increase in prayer which relates to that quality. Similarly, it is associated with an increase in the study of Torah for the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy which shine in the month of Elul parallel the Thirteen Rules of Biblical Interpretation.3 What connection do the services of prayer and Torah study have to the presence of the King in the field?

These concepts can be understood within the context of the explanation of the metaphor of a field in our personal service. A field is a place where grain grows. Growing grain and converting it into food which grants us sustenance requires, to quote our Sages’ expression, siddurah d’pas, a series of labors which reflect the entire sphere of work on the material plane. All our work on that plane is included in the 39 labors4 which are forbidden on the Sabbath.

The designation of what is considered a labor is derived from the labors which were necessary to construct the Sanctuary in the desert. This teaches us that our involvement in mundane activities must be with one intention, to create a Sanctuary for G‑d, to make the world “a dwelling for Him,” a place where His presence rests.

The importance of these mundane activities can be seen from the fact that most of our time is spent involved with them, dealing with our material needs and earning the wherewithal required for them. To express this in the context of Biblical phraseology. It is written, “Six days shall you work, and the seventh day shall be a Shabbos unto the L‑rd, your G‑d.” Why this disportionate relationship? Since G‑d “chose us from among the nations... and elevated us,” why didn’t He create the world in a manner in which we could devote the majority of our time to holy matters, the study of Torah and the fulfillment of mitzvos. Instead, in a manner similar to (להבדיל) gentiles, we are primarily involved with material activities.

The explanation is that this reflects the purpose of creation. G‑d created the world so that He could have a “dwelling place in the lower worlds.” Therefore, our service must center — not on the spiritual as it exists for itself5 — but rather on the ordinary and mundane aspects of existence with the intent of drawing G‑d into them.

The primacy of such service is also emphasized by our Sages who state that the first question a soul will be asked in the judgment in the afterlife is: “Did you deal justly in business?” Even before being questioned about Torah study or prayer, the soul will have to give an account of its dealings within the context of material reality.

[This concept is also reflected in the observance of the Shabbos. On one hand, Shabbos is not a day of mundane activity. A Jew should enter Shabbos with an attitude of, “All your work is completed.” On the other hand, this very advice implies that the ultimate conception of Shabbos pleasure does not involve diverting one’s attention from one’s affairs entirely and concentrating solely on spiritual matters.6 Rather, one may reflect on one’s material affairs, although not in the same way as during the week, instead, contemplating them as they are in a complete and perfect state.]

Based on the above, we can appreciate the significance of the King’s presence in the field during the month of Elul. The King’s presence in the field — not only generates the potential for our service — it represents the ultimate purpose of that service. Our efforts must be directed towards bringing the revelation of G‑dliness into the field, into the mundane realities of our material world. Not only must G‑d be revealed in the realms where spirituality is revealed — metaphorically, the king’s palace — the lowest aspects of existence should be transformed into a dwelling for Him.7

The above concepts shed light on the meaning of the verse (Koheles 5:8):“There is an advantage to the work of the land in all things. A king is subjugated to the field.” On a simple level, this verse means that a king is dependent on the field because he derives his sustenance from it. On a theoretical level, it means that the work in the field, i.e., service in the context of mundane reality, provides the King with His livelihood, as it were. Since this is the service which fulfills His desire for a dwelling in the lower world, He is subjugated to the field and the people who carry out this service.

In this context, the metaphor of the king in the field takes on added significance, becoming relevant to the totality of our service of Torah and mitzvos. Hence, it is appropriate for the month of Elul, the month of stock-taking for the previous year and — primarily — the month of preparation for the year to come.

As such, we find that the name Elul serves as an acronym for verses referring to the full spectrum of our service of G‑d: “...[I] caused it to happen. I will provide for you...” — which refers to the service of Torah study,8 “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” — which refers to the service of prayer, “[Sending portions,] a man to his friend and presents to the poor,” which refers to the service of tzedakah, thus including the three pillars on which the earth stands.

It also serves as an acronym for the verse, “[You shall circumcise] your hearts and the hearts of...” which refers to the service of teshuvah which enhances the nature of the above services,9 and the verse, “And they said, ‘I will sing to G‑d...’ ” which refers to the redemption, the culmination of our service.

On a deeper level, there are two dimensions to the presence of “the King in the field:” a) the emphasis on the importance of service within the mundane realities of our world, the field; b) the fact that the King (G‑d) reveals Himself there in an essential manner.

The latter dimension represents the unique aspect of the month of Elul. Throughout the year, the emphasis is on carrying out the service in the field (with the intent that this lead to the revelation of the King). In Elul, which marks the culmination of the service — and the preparation for the service of the new year — the intent of the service, the revelation of the King’s presence is expressed.

The revelation of the King’s presence is dependent on the study of Torah. Service in the field primarily involves activity with mundane affairs, matters which are not by nature holy, but are performed “for the sake of the King,” i.e., the service of “All your deeds should be for the sake of heaven,” and “Know Him in all your ways.” Although this service is for the sake of the King, it does not bring about the revelation of the King.10 The revelation of G‑dliness — particularly, those dimensions of G‑dliness which are transcendent in nature — comes about through the Torah which is G‑d’s will and His wisdom and is one with Him.11

Nevertheless, since the intent is that G‑d be revealed “in the field,” this revelation is brought about by the Torah study of the people of the field. Although during most of the day, they are involved with mundane affairs, by establishing a fixed time12 for Torah study, their entire day becomes permeated by Torah and thus, the revelation of the King is drawn down into every aspect of their lives, even the mundane activities of “the field.”

This does not mean that the “men of field” should give up their usual activities entirely and devote themselves solely to Torah. This is not desired. Rather, to refer to the parable again, when the king passes through the field, the people in the field will temporarily stop their usual activity and approach the king — while they are wearing their ordinary clothes.

Similarly, in Elul, although the “men of the field” will continue their daily activities, because they are aware of the King’s presence, they will increase their study of Torah.13

Significantly, it is the study of Torah and not the service of prayer which brings about the revelation of the King. Prayer primarily involves the elevation of our lowly plane of existence, stepping beyond the limits of the material world to the point where the soul yearns to expire. This movement is directly opposite to the revelation of the King in the field.14

In contrast, Torah study reflects the drawing down of G‑dliness into this world. Although the Torah is also infinite, nevertheless, it has undergone a process of descent which enables it to be grasped by human intellect and to enclothe itself in worldly matters. Furthermore, through the decisions of Torah law that involve worldly matters, the world is altered according to the Torah’s standards. Thus, Torah study is the means to bring about the revelation of the King in the field.

For this reason, during the month of Elul, together with an emphasis on prayer, an emphasis is placed on Torah study15 and both are associated with the verse, “I am my Beloved’s.” Indeed, the full expression of our love for G‑d comes through:

Clinging spirit to spirit, as it is written “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,” which refers to the service of Torah study in which the actual words of G‑d are in one’s mouth.

* * *

2. Parshas Shoftim begins with the command to appoint judges and enforcement officers. This reflects the emphasis on Torah activity within the world mentioned beforehand. The judges are, to quote the Rambam, “the essence of the Oral Law, the pillars of instruction, from whom statutes and judgment emerge for all of Israel.”

The Torah relates that the judges must be positioned, “in all your gates.” A gate represents the transition between the city and the field beyond it. The judges’ presence at the gate ensure that the activity carried out in the field will be in accord with the Torah’s dictates.

Although the essential obligation to appoint judges applies in Eretz Yisraeland not in the Diaspora, nevertheless, even in the Diaspora, the mitzvah to establish a court system applies. Even when we are in exile16 where the appointment of judges is dependent on the permission of the secular authorities, when we stand firm for our Torah principles, the power of the Torah effects the conduct of the country (and the entire world at large). Thus, we find the Previous Rebbe describing how the Tzemach Tzedek“arranged affairs” in Petersburg, the capitol of Russia.

* * *

3. A connection to the importance of Torah study can also be found in the teachings of Pirkei Avos studied this week. This week, we begin the first chapter of Pirkei Avos which after describing the chain of receiving and transmitting the Torah, emphasizes the importance of Torah study, counseling, “Raise up many students.”

It also contains the teaching: “The world stands on three things — Torah, the service of G‑d (prayer), and deeds of kindness.”

On the surface, the sequence in which these services are listed is problematic. Every day, they are carried out in a different order. We are advised to first, “give a penny to a poor person and then, pray,” and only after prayer, “proceed from the synagogue to the house of study.”

Similarly, in regard to the history of the Jewish people, the order of the Patriarchs was: Avraham, who is identified with the service of deeds of kindness — receiving guests; Yitzchok, who is identified with service of G‑d (he was prepared as a sacrifice, and prayer was instituted in the place of sacrifices); and only then, Yaakov who is identified with Torah study.

It is Yaakov, however, whom our Sages refer to as, “the chosen of the Patriarchs.” Why was it necessary for them to make such a distinction? To teach us the primacy of Torah study. Similarly, in regard to Pirkei Avos, Torah study is mentioned first because it is the service of primary importance in “maintaining the world,” in establishing a dwelling for G‑d in the lower worlds, as explained above.

To conclude with a directive for deed: It is important to publicize all the aspects of service associated with the month of Elul, putting an emphasis on the service of Torah study,17 in particular, public sessions of Torah study, where, “ten sit and occupy18 themselves with Torah.”

May this lead to the return of the entire Jewish people to Eretz Yisraelwhen, led by Mashiach, we will appoint judges and enforcement officers including the judges of the Sanhedrin which will meet in the Chamber of Hewn Stone in the Beis HaMikdash. May in the immediate future, we merit the fulfillment of the prophecy when, as related in the Yalkut Shimoni,“Mashiach will stand on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and proclaim, ‘Humble ones. The time for your redemption has come.’ ”

Shabbos Re’eh – Mevarchim Elul | 25 Menachem Av – 3 Elul 5777

Fri- Aug 18th Erev Shabbos 
Shacharis 7 am 
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 7:57 pm

Sat Aug 19th Shabbos 
Tehilim for Mevarchim Elul 8 am
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:41 am
Mincha  7:57 pm /SEUDA SLISHIT/Pirkei Avot Chapter 6/
Maariv/Havdalah 8:56 pm

Weekdays
Sun Shacharis: 9 am 
Mon, Thu, Fri Shacharis  7 am
Tue, Wed Shacharis 6:50 am /ROSH CHODESH ELUL/
Sun-Thu Mincha/Maariv 8 pm

KIDDUSH 
Probably Kiddush Lite.  Seuda Slishit

CUSTOMS OF THE MONTH OF ELUL 
Shofar at Shacharis
. daily. L’Dovid haShem Ori daily at Shacharis and Mincha.  Three additional chapters of Psalms daily. Elul is also the time to have one's tefillin and mezuzahs checked by an accredited scribe to ensure that they are in good condition and fit for use. From the beginning of Elul and throughout the High Holiday season, we include the blessing "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year" (Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim) in letters and greetings to one another. 
www.chabad.org/calendar

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.

MEVARCHIM ELUL FARBRENGEN FRI AUG 18th 5 pm
In front of the Men’s Mikvah

SHABBOS AFTERNOON PIRKEI AVOS WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 7:30 PM
An amazing opportunity to learn Pirkei Avos with commentaries and insights.

LADIES TEHILIM – SUN 10 am
Come say Tehilim

TAKING CARE OF ME – WITH KAREN BURMAN - SUN AUG 20th 7:30 pm
A physical and spiritual preparation for Elul for women. At the home of Rosi Levin.  6820 39thAve NE.  Please RSVP to 
MHerbstman@gmail.com .  Even is generously subsidized by Chabad of Seattle. Cover $20.

CSTL Shabbos Kids Club
Looking for volunteers to give a shuir to the older kids either once per month or a one time occasion It is for the ages 5-12.  The shuir is generally about 10-15 minutes long on any topic, parsha, holidays,Jewish history, Mitzos.  Your choice.  Please contact me   Thank you.  Tova Morah@msn.com 206-383-2516

CSTL Friday Dinner BBQ – SUN Aug 25th 6:45 pm
Please join us for a delicious shabbos dinner. Shabbat BBQ dinner with a 24-hour smoked brisket (by Shuky Meyer), hot dogs, teriyaki fish, craft beer, wine and more!! Services begin at 6:45 pm, followed immediately by dinner in the social hall. Payment is required in advance. If you are unable to attend, please consider making a donation!
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cstl-shabbat-bbq-dinner-tickets-36956862972 
Info: 
g_lurya@outlook.com

FROM THE PRESIDENT
Please keep all food in the Social Hall.  Please feel empowered to tell anyone you see leaving the Social Hall with food to please not do so.  Doing this will help us clean for the coming Holidays!

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.

Men’s Mikvah annual Dues are Due Annually on Elul 1st 
For more information, please contact Yechezkel Rapoport.


COMMUNITY NEWS

Sephardic Bikur Holim Sephardic Bazar. Sun Aug 27th
More info: (206) 723-3028 or 
sbholim@gmail.com

OUTDOOR BISTRO NIGHT AT THE SUMMIT Aug 22nd 6pm to 9pm
Join the Summit at First Hill's very first outdoor party! Come and embrace a perfect summer evening on our 4th floor rooftop deck. For this extraordinary night Chef and his team will be serving up delights from the grill, we'll have live musicians playing, and a cocktail bar pouring beautiful creations --all surrounded by a stunning view of Lake Union and downtown.  A first of it's kind; this party might turn out to be the most exciting and lively bistro we've ever held. No table reservations.  Just email
chrise@summitatfirsthill.org  to reserve.   The price for this event is $70 which covers everything.

Mishmar Chavura with Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld Thu 9pm
Parsha Learning and Discussion. Everyone welcome to join the conversation.  5240 38th Ave. NE.  Snacks served

SEPHARDIC HAGGADOT FOR SALE
Only $7.50 each or three for $18. You can order at 
www.EzraBessaroth.Net, choose "Sephardic Haggadot" under "Campaigns."  If you would like your Haggadot mailed, please add $5 shipping to your order. 

Labor Day / Elul Bagel Brunch on at BCMH Mon Sept 4th 11 am. 
Must register & pay by Wed., Aug. 30 to 
www.bcmhseattle.org Cost: $10/Adult (ages 12 & up); $5/Child (ages 4-11); Kids 3 & under are free; $40/Family Rate. During Brunch: Program for kids "Making Your Own Shofar" with Rabbi Shimon Emlen. **Free for kids attending Brunch, $5 per child otherwise.

Stand With Us NW – Sun Aug 27th 7pm
At Herzl Ner Tamid, 3700 E Mercer Way, Mercer Island.  Featuring Mohamad Zaobi – Arab Muslim Zionist. 
Northwest@StandWithUs.com

Community Trip to Israel. April 29-May 8, 2018 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.

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


SICHO FOR SHABBOS EKEV
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507852/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Reeh-27th-Day-of-Menachem-Av-5750-1990.htm © SichosInEnglish.org.

1. This is the Shabbos on which we bless the month of Elul, the month of stocktaking and teshuvah for the previous year. In this month, we review our behavior in the previous year with the intention of correcting and improving it. Thus, Elul also servzes as the month of preparation for the new year to come. For these reasons, the ultimate intention of our service of G‑d is reflected in this month.

This is alluded to in the name, Elul, which is an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” This implies that we are intended to unite with G‑d in a deep bond of love and closeness.

This bond has two dimensions, the arousal of the Jew’s desire for union with G‑d through the service of Torah and mitzvos, “I am my Beloved’s,” and the expression of G‑d’s love for the Jews, “my Beloved is mine.” In particular, there are two patterns through which this inner bond is expressed as reflected in two similar verses in Shir HaShirim that describe this marriage relationship.1 One verse, “My Beloved is mine and I am His,” implies that the relationship begins with Divine revelation and this is what stimulates the response of the Jews. Conversely, “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” implies that it is the Jews who initiate the relationship with G‑d and He responds to them.2

This reflects the ultimate goal of a Jew’s service, service on one’s own initiative. Instead of responding to an arousal from above — in which case one’s service is tinged with “bread of shame” — the relationship is begun by the Jews. This causes the bond to be internalized to a greater degree than if the Jews’ service was aroused from above. Although the revelation from above comes from a higher source than it is possible for a created being to reach, it is often not internalized. In contrast, when the revelation from above is preceded by an arousal on the part of the Jews, it relates to the Jews’ inner dimensions. Furthermore, it brings about a higher arousal from above than would otherwise be revealed.

We see this pattern reflected in a wedding on the earthly plane. Before the groom consecrates the bride, the bride walks around the groom seven times. This reflects “an arousal from below” on the part of the recipient in order to arouse inner communication, “my Beloved is mine” on behalf of the mashpia.

Although the emphasis in the month of Elul is on service on our own initiative, “I am my Beloved’s,” the name of the month also includes the second half of the verse, “my Beloved is mine,” implying that Elul is also associated with the revelation from above. This revelation comes in the month of Tishrei which follows. Nevertheless, since it is through the service of Elul that the connection with G‑d’s essence which brings about this revelation is revealed, the revelation itself shares a connection with Elul. Thus, Elul represents a month of complete connection, including both the service of the Jewish people and the revelation from above by G‑d.

2. Parshas Re’eh contributes an important dimension to the above concept teaching that the service of “I am my Beloved’s,” — and similarly, all other aspects of our service of G‑d — must be openly revealed, “seen.”

Sight possesses a major advantage over hearing or the other senses. Seeing something makes a powerful and indelible impression upon a person’s thinking processes.3 (For this reason, Torah law forbids a witness to an event from serving as a judge regarding it. Because he saw the event take place, he will never be able to have the removed objectivity necessary to protect the defendant.)

In contrast, when a person hears a concept, it “can enter one end and go out the other.” Even when he pays attention to what is said and hears from a reliable source, the impression hearing makes is not as powerful and, over the course of time, as he reflects about the matter, or if he hears a different report, he may change his mind.

This is the message communicated by the opening verse of our Torah portion: “See I am giving before you today.” G‑dliness, Torah, and mitzvosmust be openly revealed, “seen.” They should not be considered merely as things which are “heard about” and believed in and thus, an added element to one’s consciousness which can be effected by changes over time. Rather, an inner bond and powerful connection must be established resembling the connection established through sight.4

This concept has a deeper dimension. Not only does sight create an essential and true connection with the person who sees, it should also reflect the essence of the object which is seen. One should be able to see beyond an object’s external dimensions and appreciate its inner truth.

This is implied by the expression, “See I...” What should a Jew see? The essence of G‑dliness and nothing else. A Jew should use the potential of sight to relate to G‑dliness, Torah, and mitzvos and not to worldly matters. The world was created by G‑d in a manner which allows nature to cover its true G‑dly life-force.5 When a person looks at the world (without thinking deeply), he sees its material dimensions. The intent is, however, that a person should know — to the point that he actually sees — that the truth is G‑dliness, that G‑d gives life to and maintains the existence of every creation. To quote the Rambam:

“The L‑rd, your G‑d, is true.” He alone is true and there is no other truth which resembles His. This is what is meant by the Torah’s statement: “There is nothing else except Him;” i.e., there is no other true existence like Him.

This direct experience of G‑d should be so powerful that one should question the nature of the material world: Does it truly exist or is it just an allusion? Only the Torah’s statement, “In the beginning, G‑d created the world,” and not the evidence of one’s eyes, should cause one to regard the world’s existence as having actual substance.

The world, in and of itself, is false,6 temporary in nature for the natural state of existence is to return to non-being and indeed, ultimately, the world will return to that level.7 Existence depends on G‑d, “the living G‑d,” and is channeled through Torah and mitzvos, “our life and the length of our days.”

Thus, when a Jew looks at the world, he should see (and thus, establish a powerful internal bond with) the G‑dly life-force which maintains the existence of the world. He should appreciate that “G‑d is the place of the world and the world is not His place,” not only does G‑dliness pervade all existence, but rather, He is the truth of all existence.

Furthermore, we are given the potential to see “I,”8 Anochi, which refers to the essence of G‑d. It is G‑d’s essence, and G‑d’s essence alone which “has the power to bring into being something from absolute nothingness.” As an example of the potential of our power of sight, our Sages relate that, at Mount Sinai, the Jews saw G‑d and His Merchavah, the hidden dimensions of G‑dliness.

Our “seeing G‑dliness” should not negate our individual existence or that of the world at large. On the contrary, “seeing G‑dliness” means seeing the true existence of every entity in the world, seeing how each element in the world is a reflection of G‑d’s ultimate existence. A person should feel that G‑d created him, (his “I) to be an entity (a “something,” not nothing), and yet, should also realize that he is totally at one with G‑d’s essence.

Similarly, within the world at large, one should see the physical existence of the world, but appreciate that existence as an expression of G‑d’s handicraft and thus, perceive how each creation exists, “for the sake of the Torah and for the sake of the Jewish people.” For example, when one sees the stars, one should appreciate how they are a metaphor for the numerousness of the Jews and when one sees the moon, one should appreciate how it is a metaphor for the potential of renewal that exists within the Jews.

In particular, each word in the verse, “See I am giving before you today,” provides us with a significant lesson. “See” emphasizes that one must approach existence in a manner of sight and “I” (Anochi) points to the essence of G‑d as explained above.

“Giving” makes us aware that G‑d has granted us potential and “whoever gives, gives generously.”

“Before you” (לפניכם) is associated with the quality of pnimiyus (inner dimension). The Pnimiyus of G‑d is drawn down to the pnimiyus of a Jew.9

“Today” teaches that the above is not merely a narrative of previous history (or even of previous history as relived from time to time), but rather, a present day event, relevant at all times. “Each day, it should be new for you.”

A similar concept applies in the personal world of our souls. The ultimate level of service is that a Jew sees openly the true nature of his G‑dly soul. This means that he should become conscious of his soul, not only his body, and furthermore, appreciate the essence of his soul, the dimension of Anochi enclothed within him, the level of yechidah. The essential G‑dliness of the soul should express itself in all the powers of the soul. Furthermore, the body itself should be seen as an expression of G‑dliness with its physical shape a reflection of the name, Y-H-V-H.10

The service of Re’eh, revealing G‑dliness, within a person’s individual soul, prepares him for the service of Re’eh in the world at large, revealing how, “Everything which the Holy One, blessed be He, created in His world, He created solely for His glory.”

This, in turn, leads to Parshas Shoftim which describes the practical application of Torah law through the appointment of judges and enforcement agents11 who establish a system of justice12 and morality which expresses the above concepts in actual deed.13

3. The above should also influence our service in the month of Elul which is associated with an increase14 in Torah study.15 The unity with G‑d alluded to in the verse, “I am my Beloved’s” and in particular, its open revelation, Re’eh, is accomplished through Torah study. Torah is “one with the Holy One, blessed be He” and reveals how “Israel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are one.”

To explain: A Jew must use his own intellectual potential to study Torah. Nevertheless, before he does so, he must approach the Torah with self-nullification (which is accomplished through reciting the blessings before Torah study). He must strive to ascend from his frame of reference to the Torah (and not, ח"ו, bring the Torah down to his level).

In this manner, he establishes “a perfect union” with the Torah, and thus, with G‑d. By comprehending the Torah which is G‑d’s will and wisdom, one unites with Him, for “He and His wisdom are one.”

Elul is also associated with an increase in deeds of kindness and tzedakah16 in the spirit of “Love your fellowman as yourself.”

The fulfillment of the latter command is also dependent on the service of Re’eh. The only way a person can truly love another person as himself is when he sees openly his own G‑dly nature and appreciates that same G‑dliness in other Jews, realizing that “we share one father and... all Jews are called brothers because of the source of their soul in the One G‑d.”17

Unless a person openly perceives these qualities, it is impossible for him to have true ahavas Yisrael. We are motivated primarily by our own self-interest. Even the Torah teaches us, “Your own life takes precedence.” Only when one appreciates that one’s true self and that of another Jew are the same, is there a possibility for complete love. This, in turn, leads to an increase in the activities that reflect this love including an increase in tzedakah.18

The lesson from Parshas Re’eh also teaches us an important concept relevant within the context of the stocktaking and personal evaluation which characterizes the service of the month of Elul. A Jew should appreciate Torah and mitzvos, not as an obligation which he must fulfill, but as an expression of a love relationship with G‑d. Furthermore, he should not wait for an arousal from above to begin this service, but must begin on his own initiative. He has the potential to carry out the service of “I am my Beloved’s,” which, in turn, leads to the revelation of “My Beloved is mine” in the month of Tishrei.

Furthermore, this service can be carried out in a manner of Re’eh, which implies that G‑dliness can be seen openly to the extent that it is one’s first and primary appreciation of reality and all worldly matters are secondary or on a deeper level, to see the G‑dly truth of each creation.

In addition to each person carrying out this service himself, he should endeavor to explain it to his family,19 the people to whom he is in contact, and other Jews whom he meets.20 This should lead to an increase in Torah study, particularly, public sessions of Torah study, and increase in ahavas Yisrael and its expression in deeds of kindness and tzedakah.

May this lead to the time when we see the Third Beis HaMikdash21 openly revealed on this earthly plane. This is particularly relevant at present when we see the omens portending the Messianic redemption mentioned by our Sages. In particular, it is significant to cite a passage from the Yalkut Shimoni which has been publicized in recent weeks:

Rabbi Yitzchok declared: In the year when the Messianic king will come, all the gentile nations will challenge one another. The King of Persia will challenge an Arab king and the Arab king will go to Aram for advice. The King of Persia will then destroy the entire world. All the nations of the world will panic and become frightened, falling on their faces, suffering contractions like labor pains. The Jews will also panic and become frightened, asking, “Where will we go? Where will we go?” [G‑d will then reveal Himself, and] tell them: “My children, you need not fear. Everything which I did, I did for your sake. Why are you frightened?... The time for your redemption has come.” “This ultimate redemption will not resemble the first redemption which was followed by aggravation and subjugation to other powers. After the ultimate redemption, there will be no aggravation and subjugation to other powers.” Our Sages taught: When the Messianic king will come, he will stand on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and call out to the Jews, “Humble ones, the time for your redemption has come.” (Yalkut Shimoni, Yeshayahu 499)

Everyone should realize that there is no reason to become frightened and we have the promise: “The time for your redemption has come.” May we see Mashiach standing on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and may he announce: “Mashiach is here.”

Shabbos Ekev | 18-25 Menachem Av 5777

Fri- Aug 11th Erev Shabbos 
Shacharis 7 am 
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 8:09 pm

Sat Aug 12th Shabbos 
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:37 am
Mincha  8:09 pm /SEUDA SLISHIT/Pirkei Avot Chapter 5/
Maariv/Havdalah 9:10 pm

Weekdays
Sun Shacharis: 9 am 
Mon –Fri Shacharis  7 am
Sun-Thu Mincha/Maariv 8:15 pm

KIDDUSH 
Kiddush for this Shabbos, Eikev, is sponsored by the Greenberg Family, in honor of Akiva returning to Israel and going into the IDF.  May we all pray for his safe return. Amen!  Also, CGI Camp in honor of the wonderful counselors! Kiddush will be a gala affair, including meat!  Seuda Slishit

MAZEL TOV MAZEL TOV
Mazel Tov to Gavriel and Chana Plotke on the birth of their new granddaughter to Michael and Rebecca Plotke.  May they merit to raise her to Torah Chupa and Maasim Tovim!

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.

SHABBOS AFTERNOON PIRKEI AVOS WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 7:30 PM
An amazing opportunity to learn Pirkei Avos with commentaries and insights.

LADIES TEHILIM – SUN 10 am
Come say Tehilim

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm /NOT THIS WEEK/
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.

Men’s Mikvah annual Dues are Due Annually on Elul 1st 
$440/daily, $220/weekly, $100/holiday only. Paying for one visit is not an option if you live in this community. Visitors pay $2.50 for single use. You can go to http://www.CSTLSeattle.org to make your payment online with your credit card. 


COMMUNITY NEWS

Sephardic Bikur Holim Sephardic Bazar. Sun Aug 27th
More info: (206) 723-3028 or 
sbholim@gmail.com

OUTDOOR BISTRO NIGHT AT THE SUMMIT Aug 22nd 6pm to 9pm
Join the Summit at First Hill's very first outdoor party! Come and embrace a perfect summer evening on our 4th floor rooftop deck. For this extraordinary night Chef and his team will be serving up delights from the grill, we'll have live musicians playing, and a cocktail bar pouring beautiful creations --all surrounded by a stunning view of Lake Union and downtown.  A first of it's kind; this party might turn out to be the most exciting and lively bistro we've ever held. No table reservations.  Just email
chrise@summitatfirsthill.org  to reserve.   The price for this event is $70 which covers everything.

Mishmar Chavura with Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld Thu 9pm
Parsha Learning and Discussion. Everyone welcome to join the conversation.  5240 38th Ave. NE.  Snacks served

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


SICHO FOR SHABBOS EKEV
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507850/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Eikev-Chof-Av-5750-1990.htm © SichosInEnglish.org.

Each year, a yahrzeit involves an ascent to a higher spiritual level. This year, the 46th anniversary of Rav Levi Yitzchak’s yahrzeit, is unique for 46 is numerically equivalent toלוי, Rav Levi Yitzchak’s first and primary name. Significantly, this week’s Torah portion also mentions the uniqueness of the tribe of Levi.

The service of Levi is alluded to in the verse which the Matriarch Leah used to explain the rationale for the name Levi, “This time, my man will become attached to me.” This refers to the ultimate marriage bond, with “my man” referring to G‑d and “me” to the Jewish people. This attachment to G‑d is reflected in the Levites’ service: “to stand before G‑d, to serve Him... G‑d is their portion.” Nevertheless, these qualities are not exclusive to the tribe of Levi alone as the Rambam writes:

Not only the tribe of Levi... but each and every person... whose generous spirit and intellectual understanding motivate him to separate himself and stand before G‑d and serve Him... becomes sanctified as holy of holies.

This implies that every individual has the potential to reach the level of the Levites. Furthermore, the expression, “holy of holies,” is an allusion to the High Priest, the most distinguished individual of the tribe of Levi. Even his spiritual level can be reached by others.

In particular, the service of the Levites is characterized by two qualities: On one hand, the Levites are separated from the people at large, as our Torah portion relates, “At this time, G‑d separated the tribe of Levi.”1 Conversely, the Levites were charged with:

Instructing the masses in His just ways and righteous judgments as it is written, “They shall instruct Yaakov in Your judgments and Yisrael in Your Torah.”

Thus, it was their task to reach out to the entire Jewish people and lift them up to a higher level. This applies even when the Jews are on a low spiritual rung as implied by the fact that the selection of the Levites came — as our parshah relates — after the sin of the Golden Calf. Although the Jews had sunken to such a level, the Levites were able to lift them higher and motivate them to teshuvah.

These two extremes are also seen in the Beis HaMikdash, the place of the Levites’ service. On one hand, the Beis HaMikdash — and in particular, the Holy of Holies — is the holiest place in the world. Conversely, the Beis HaMikdash’s windows were structured so that “light would go out from there to the entire world.” Similarly, the concept of a dwelling for G‑d’s Presence, the function of the Holy of Holies, is intended to be extended throughout the entire world until the world at large becomes, “a dwelling for G‑d,” a place where His essence is revealed.

These two extremes are also reflected in the primary service of the Beis HaMikdash, the offering of the sacrifices. The Sefer HaBahir states: “The secret of the sacrifices ascends to the secret of the Ain Sof.” From that level, influence is drawn down into this world, elevating all the animal, vegetable, and, mineral elements of existence.2

This fusion of opposites was revealed within Rav Levi Yitzchak’s life. On one hand, he was an elevated individual, uplifted by his immense Torah knowledge which included both the revealed realm of Torah law and the hidden secrets of Pnimiyus HaTorah. Nevertheless, he also served as a Rav of a large city and was responsible for spreading Torah and strengthening Jewish practice throughout the region.

These activities were particularly significant because, at that time, the persecution of the Soviet Government had forced many Rabbis to reduce their public activities and remain content with observing Torah and mitzvostogether with a small core of followers, and, at times, only by themselves. Some Rabbis were even coerced into signing statements for the Government which ran contrary to their own convictions or to the teachings of the Torah.

In this environment, Rav Levi Yitzchok continued to carry on his Rabbinic functions openly and proudly. Indeed, due to the vacuum of Rabbinic leadership, he spread his activities throughout Russia. Not only did he refuse to concede to the Russians’ demands, he traveled to Moscow and interceded on behalf of the Jews and Torah and mitzvos with high government officials, including the President of the Country. Furthermore, he was successful in securing the observance of certain mitzvos,3 for example, shemurah matzah.4

His activities were carried out at a risk to his life. As a result of this activity, he was exiled, a punishment which, from a certain perspective, is more severe than death and ultimately, he passed away in exile.

Even while in exile, he continued his activities to spread Yiddishkeit in whatever degree possible. Furthermore, it was there in which he composed his Torah writings, despite the difficulty in obtaining ink and paper, with the intention that eventually, these be published.5

Rav Levi Yitzchak’s activities extended to the lowest aspects of existence. Thus, as Rabbi and afterwards, while in exile, he also worked to spread justice and righteousness among gentiles. In this manner, he reflected the service of Levi, extending the highest levels of spirituality throughout the world at large.

These qualities receive greater emphasis today, his yahrzeit. Although a yahrzeit commemorates the departure of a soul from the body and an ascent from this world, the Zohar teaches that the presence of a Tzaddik in all the worlds (even this physical world) is felt more powerfully after his death than in his lifetime.6

It is possible to receive influence from a Tzaddik by studying his teachings as implied by the Rebbe Rashab (Rav Levi Yitzchak’s Rebbe) who told Chassidim at the time of his passing, “I am going to heaven, but I am leaving my writings for you.” This implies that through studying his writings, it is possible to establish a connection with him as he is “in heaven.”

This concept can be explained as follows: The word Anochi (the first word of the Ten Commandments) is an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “I wrote down and gave over Myself,” i.e., by giving the Torah, G‑d gave Himself over to the Jews. Since, “the righteous resemble their Creator,” they also invest themselves in the texts they compose.

Similarly, in the world at large, after his passing a tzaddik effects even the lowest levels of existence:

All [a tzaddik’s] deeds, teachings, and service which he carried out throughout his lifetime are revealed and shine... from above downward at the time of his passing,... bringing about salvation in the world, atoning for the sins of the generation.

On the day of a tzaddik’s yahrzeit, he ascends to an even higher level.7Nevertheless, these high peaks are also drawn down into this world — to those who follows the tzaddik’s teaching and to the world at large — as obvious from the text of the Kaddish: “May His great name be exalted and hallowed... May His great name be blessed forever and ever.” The Hebrew word for “blessed” also has the connotation, “be extended” and the Hebrew for “forever,” can also mean, “to the world.” Thus, the above verse can mean: “May G‑d’s great Name be extended into the world.”

To explain this concept from a deeper perspective: Before the soul descends into this world, it is described “as standing,” i.e., confined to a particular level beyond which it cannot advance. Through the descent into a physical body and the service of Torah and mitzvos within the context of our material world, the soul is given the potential to proceed. Thus, all the ascents of the soul in the spiritual worlds are dependent on the soul’s service in this realm.

Because the soul’s service on this plane is the source for its potential to ascend, all the peaks to which it ascends have an effect in this world, influencing the students who are connected to that soul. This, in turn, gives the soul the potential for further and higher ascents. Also, it hastens the coming of the ultimate fulfillment for the soul when it will again encloth itself in this world in the Era of Resurrection.8

2. The date of Rav Levi Yitzchak’s yahrzeit, the 20th of Av, also provides us with a lesson. The Hebrew word for 20 (עשרים) is numerically equivalent to the Hebrew word Kesser, meaning “crown.” There are ten Sefiros, each of which has a dimension which rises upward and a dimension which descends below, thus equaling 20. Kesser which is above all these levels, permeates and pervades them.

This concept is also reflected in our service: Kesser is connected with royalty for a crown is the symbol of kingship. When describing the effect of the Jews’ declaration of Na’aseh V’Nishmah, the Midrash relates the following parable which sheds light on the relationship between a king and the crown: The subjects made three crowns for the king. One, he put on his own head, and two, he placed on the head of his subjects.

This implies that the three crowns are on the same level and thus, the crowns given to the subjects are connected to the crown worn by the king. Furthermore, even the crown worn by the king was given to him by the subjects — metaphorically, is dependent on the service of the Jews in this world. This concept is reflected in the verse, “A king is subjugated to the field.” Although the people in the field are on a lower level than those living in the king’s capitol, their service in the field crowns the king — metaphorically, fulfills G‑d’s intent and desire for a dwelling in the lower worlds.

The service of refining the lower levels shares an intrinsic connection to the 20th of Av: The month of Av is connected with the transformation of the lowest levels to holiness as the Midrash states:

A lion (Nebuchadnezzar) arose in the month whose sign is a lion (Av) and destroyed the “lion of G‑d” (the Beis HaMikdash) in order that a lion (G‑d) should come in the month whose sign is a lion and build the “lion of G‑d.”

Thus, the revelation of the lion of holiness (which is a reference to the level of Kesser) comes about through the transformation of the forces which destroyed the Beis HaMikdash. This begins on Shabbos Nachamu and receives more intensity from Shabbos to Shabbos with G‑d promising9 the Jews, “I, yes I, will console you.”

There is also a connection between the above and the coming new year.

ארי-ה, Hebrew for lion, can be interpreted as an acronym for the Hebrew words: Elul, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Hoshana Rabbah. From the 15th of Av, when it is customary to wish a colleague to be inscribed for a good and sweet year, and more particularly, from the 20th of Av10 onward, we begin the preparations for the month of Elul, the month of teshuvah and mercy, when the King goes out into the field and the people in the field greet Him. He receives them all pleasantly, showing a shining countenance to all and fulfilling their requests.

The above concepts can be connected with the end of this week’s Torah portion (11:24) which declares:

Every place on which your feet will tread will become yours. Your boundaries will extend from the desert [to] Lebanon, from the river, the Euphrates river, until the Final Sea.

By referring to the Mediterranean as “the Final Sea” (instead of “the Great Sea” as in Parshas Maasei 34:6), the Torah alludes to the concept that, ultimately, in the Messianic age, Eretz Yisrael will expand throughout the entire world, reaching, “the Final Sea.”11

The Euphrates river mentioned is also significant, as we see that the Torah (Devarim 1:7) refers to the Euphrates as “the Great River.” In his commentary on that verse, Rashi notes that the Euphrates is actually not a large river and is referred to as “great,” because it is next to Eretz Yisrael.12Rashi concludes, quoting a parable offered by our Sages, “If you come close to a person anointed with oil (Eretz Yisrael, the chosen land), oil will become attached to you (importance is also attached to the Euphrates).”

The significance of the latter statement can be understood in terms of our Sages statement:

All the mitzvos the Patriarchs performed before You were vaporous in nature (i.e., they did not effect the material substance of the world), but in regard to us, “Your name is like oiled poured forth.” [“Like one who pours from one vessel to another;” i.e., the mitzvos we perform have actual substance.]

Oil is connected with the essence and, yet, is drawn down into the lowest levels. Similarly, after the giving of the Torah, holiness can be drawn down into the material substance with which the mitzvos are fulfilled.

This concept is also related to the Euphrates River which Bereishisdescribes as the fourth of the rivers emanating from Eden. This implies an association with the lowest levels. Thus, our Sages associate this river with the fourth exile which we are presently enduring. Through oil, the revelation of the essence which permeates through all things, even this low level can be elevated.

* * *

3. The first Mishnah of the fifth chapter of Pirkei Avos states, “The world was created with ten utterances.” Our Sages note that the expression, “And G‑d said, ‘Let there be...’ ” is repeated only nine times in the Torah. However, “Bereishis (the verse, “In the beginning,...”) is also considered one of the utterances.”

In Chassidus, it is explained that the utterance Bereishis is general in nature,13 including all the other nine statements which brought about the creation of all the particular elements of the world. Nevertheless, it is also “an utterance,” i.e., its spiritual level shares a commonalty with the other utterances and reflects only the aspect of G‑dliness which is associated with the creation of the worlds.

There is, however, a positive interpretation of the word maamar, “utterance.” In Parshas Ki Savo, it has the meaning of “importance” or “praise.” This implies that it is possible to draw down into the world a level of G‑dliness that transcends the limits of the world. Torah, which is one with G‑d, can be drawn into the world making it more “praiseworthy” and enhancing its “importance.”

* * *

4. This Shabbos follows the fifteenth of Av14 which as mentioned previously,15 is connected with an increase in Torah study. Preferably, this increase should be expressed in communal study, in groups of three, and if possible in groups of ten or more. G‑d promises to bless those who increase their study with extended life. Every Jew, men, women, and children, should make such an increase.

In this context, it is worthy to mention the importance of the education of young children16 and the presence at this farbrengen of the children from Camp Gan Yisrael,17 a camp “in the field.”

May this increase in Torah study lead to the time when, “A new Torah will emerge from Me.” Then, we will merit true extended life, the era of the resurrection when, “Those who lie in the dust will arise and sing,” with Rav Levi Yitzchok at their head (for today, the spiritual source of his soul shines powerfully).18 May this take place immediately, inתש"נ, “a year of miracles,” which will lead to תשנ"א, a year when, “I will show you wonders.”


Shabbos Vaeschanan – Nachamu | 11-18 Menachem Av 5777

Fri- Aug 4th Erev Shabbos 
Shacharis 7 am 
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 8:20 pm

Sat Aug 5th Shabbos 
Shacharis: 9:30 am /Latest Shema 9:32 am
Mincha  8:20 pm /SEUDA SLISHIT/Pirkei Avot Chapter 4/
Maariv/Havdalah 9:22 pm

Weekdays
Sun Shacharis: 9 am 
Mon –Fri Shacharis  7 am
Sun-Thu Mincha/Maariv 8:15 pm

KIDDUSH 
Kiddush contributors and a big thank you for this Shabbat Va'etchanan/Nachamu, are Dr. Vernon and Liz Neppe; Dr. Shimon Dershowitz and Dr. Susan Hankin; Rabbi Simcha and Valerie Brandeis; Rabbi Shmuel and Rosie Tennenhaus: and Dr. Martin and Dr. Liz Frasch.  Also many thanks to Rabbi Mendy Levitin, for giving his time, talent, and his skill in making the (MEAT) cholent!!  Nachamu, Nachamu, ami!  Seuda Slishit

BARUCH DAYAN EMETH
We regret to inform you of the passing of Mrs Shirley Guterson and Mrs Frieda Tonkon.  May the families be comforted with all the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.

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.

FARBRENGEN ALERT – EREV SHABBOS NACHAMU 6 – 7 PM 
Torah and Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah. Nachamu Nachamu Ami!  
Followed by early Mincha/Maariv minyan

MENS MIKVA ALERT – FRI AUG 3rd CLOSED 6 am – 9 am, THEN REGULAR HOURS
More info:  Contact Rabbi Kavka.

SHABBAT NACHAMU
The Shabbat after the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Nachamu ("Shabbat of Consolation") after the opening words of the day's reading from the prophets ("haftara"). This is the first of the series of readings known as "The Seven of Consolation" read in the seven weeks from the Ninth of Av to Rosh Hashanah.  
www.chabad.org

SHABBOS AFTERNOON PIRKEI AVOS WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 7:30 PM
An amazing opportunity to learn Pirkei Avos with commentaries and insights.

LADIES TEHILIM – SUN 10 am
Come say Tehilim

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm /NOT THIS WEEK/
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.

Men’s Mikvah annual Dues are Due Annually on Elul 1st 
$440/daily, $220/weekly, $100/holiday only. Paying for one visit is not an option if you live in this community. Visitors pay $2.50 for single use. You can go to http://www.CSTLSeattle.org to make your payment online with your credit card. 


COMMUNITY NEWS

Mishmar Chavura with Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld Thu 9pm
Parsha Learning and Discussion. Everyone welcome to join the conversation.  5240 38th Ave. NE.  Snacks served

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


SICHO FOR SHABBOS NACHAMU
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507849/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Vaeschanan-Shabbos-Nachamu-13th-Day-of-Menachem-Av-5750-1990.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

1. The Haftorah of Shabbos Nachamu, the first of “the Seven Shabbasos of Consolation,” begins, “Take comfort, Take comfort, My people.” Our Sages explain the repetition of this phrase as follows: The sins of the Jews, the retribution they receive, and the consolation they receive afterwards, are interrelated. The Jews sinned in a twofold manner. They were punished in a twofold manner and they will be consoled in a twofold manner.

This statement is slightly problematic: Even when a sin is twofold in nature, a person should receive one just measure of retribution and after repenting, one equivalent measure of consolation.

In resolution, it can be explained that the repetition of the phrase, “Take comfort, take comfort,” implies, not that we will be given two different consolations,1 but that there will be a single consolation that is twofold in nature, relating to both our spiritual and physical dimensions. This is reflected in the fact that the consolation is granted for the Beis HaMikdashwhich is also twofold, having both physical and spiritual dimensions. It was a physical building and yet, simultaneously, it was also a Sanctuary for G‑d,2 the place where the Divine Presence was openly revealed. Revealed spirituality permeated every aspect of the Beis HaMikdash. Thus, the actual building was both physical and spiritual.3

Indeed, this was evident from the manner in which the Beis HaMikdash and its vessels were constructed. At the outset, the materials that were used had to be consecrated as it states, “And You shall take an offering for Me;” i.e., “for My sake.” Similarly, the command to build the Sanctuary states, “And you shall build Me a Sanctuary,” i.e., “for My sake.” Similarly, the service in the Beis HaMikdash, the offering of the sacrifices, was twofold in nature, including a physical deed which was permeated by a spiritual intention.

Therefore, the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash is twofold in nature. The intent is not that there were two levels or two stages of destruction, but rather, the destruction of an entity that was simultaneously physical and spiritual in nature. Accordingly, the consolation must be twofold, involving both the spiritual and the physical. This will be revealed in the Third Beis HaMikdash, the “Sanctuary of the L‑rd established by Your hands.” It will reveal the ultimate of spirituality within a physical building, fusing the spiritual and the physical together.

This fusion of physicality and spirituality must also be reflected in our service which involves drawing G‑d’s presence into the world, transforming the world into a dwelling for Him. To explain: The world was created in a manner which allows its material substance to conceal G‑dliness4 and thus, G‑dliness appears to be an added dimension to our existence. Our service of Torah and mitzvos involves the material substance of the world and is intended to invest G‑dliness (i.e., spiritual power and energy) in that material substance.

This transforms the world into a twofold dwelling for G‑d, i.e., a dwelling where spirituality and physicality are fused together. G‑dliness will be openly revealed within the physical dimensions of the world.

More precisely, the twofold nature of the service of Torah and mitzvos is reflected by fusing together the performance of the mitzvah (a physical deed, carried out with material entities) and the intent of the mitzvah (the spiritual service which is reflected in our thoughts and feelings).

Our Sages explain that each person is a microcosm of the world at large. Thus, in the world at large, our service involves working to reveal its spiritual life-force within its material substance. Similarly, each person’s individual world is two dimensional, including both body and soul. Our service is to reveal how the two are a single indivisible entity, by employing our body and our physical power as intermediaries for the revelation of the soul through the service of Torah and mitzvos.

This makes the individual into a unified being, whose life is two dimensional, combining spirituality and physicality — body and soul — in a single activity, the service of G‑d. Not only must a Jew serve G‑d with both body and soul,5but rather his service must combine body and soul together. In this manner, he will reveal the soul of the world, its spiritual life-force.6

There are two dimensions to this service: Those mitzvos which are primarily spiritual (i.e., dependent on the intellect or the emotions) must be carried in a manner that one’s body and soul join together in a unified activity. For example, the mitzvah of prayer which is primarily a spiritual activity, as our Sages declared: “What is service of the heart? Prayer” and similarly, the mitzvos of loving G‑d and fearing Him, involve the arousal of spiritual feelings which do not necessarily affect our physical hearts. However, the ultimate expression of these mitzvos is for them to affect the heart causing it to yearn with a burning love for G‑d and to beat faster in fear of Him. The spiritual and spiritual dimensions become fused together in a single expression of emotion.7

A similar principle applies in regard to Torah study, an intellectual service which is on an even higher plane than the emotions mentioned previously. There is a natural connection between our feelings and our physical state. When a person feels an emotion in his heart, there are times when his pulse will be affected. In contrast, intellectual activity is “cold,” and the comprehension of a concept does not bring about any physical activity.

The ultimate effect of Torah study, however, is that a person’s intellectual activity affects his physical brain. Intensive study causes furrows in the brain which actually increase the brain’s capacity for further intellectual activity. (Because this concept applies in regard to Torah study, it also applies in regard to other intellectual activities and studies.)

Furthermore, Torah study must involve “all one’s 248 limbs.” Only, then, will it be preserved. Thus we see that it is Jewish practice to shake back and forth when one studies — and similarly, when one prays. Thus, the person is totally involved, physically as well as spiritually; “My entire being shall declare...”8

On the surface, shaking in this manner is not desirable, for any physical activity disturbs one’s concentration. Furthermore, it is common to shake back and forth when hearing one’s teacher relate words of Torah. This could even be considered as disrespectful. Nevertheless, this is common practice since a Jew’s physical and spiritual activities complement each other.

Conversely, as explained above, most mitzvos involve physical acts whose fulfillment must be infused with a spiritual dimension, the intention which motivates the fulfillment of the mitzvah. For example, in regard to the mitzvah of tzedakah, the essential element of the mitzvah is providing the recipient with his needs. This can be accomplished without any intellectual or emotional input on the part of the donor. On the contrary, our Sages teach that if a person loses money and a poor person finds it, he is considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah of tzedakah.9 Nevertheless, the proper manner for tzedakah to be given is for his mind and his heart to be involved, for him to give graciously, out of feelings of generosity.

Based on the above, we can understand the passage from our Sages referred to originally. The Jews’ sin was twofold: i.e., effecting their state and that of the world in both a spiritual and physical way. Accordingly, the punishment they received, the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and the subsequent exile, was also twofold, spiritual and physical, in nature.10Similarly, it is through a twofold service that one brings about the conclusion of the exile and the twofold consolation, the ultimate fusion of physicality and spirituality, that will be revealed in the Third Beis HaMikdash.

On a deeper level, the consolation which is connected with our physical dimension [and is brought about by our fulfillment of the physical dimensions of the mitzvos (which is not connected with intellect or reason)] has a higher source than the aspect of the consolation which relates to our spiritual dimension [and which is brought about by the spiritual dimensions of the mitzvos].

The physical deed which — in and of itself — has no connection to reason and intellect and, at times, is not motivated by intellect, relates to and expresses a level which transcends intellect entirely. Nevertheless, the ultimate intent is to involve all aspects of our beings. Hence, there is also a need for a spiritual service which involves our intellect and emotion.

This is the inner explanation of our Sages’ statement regarding the fulfillment of the mitzvah of tzedakah cited above. Intellectually, the person did not think of giving tzedakah; he lost the money and did not know that it would reach the hands of a poor man. Nevertheless, the source for his act is rooted in a service above all intellectual grasp.

To internalize this quality, it is proper that tzedakah be given in a manner in which one does not know who the recipient is. Nevertheless, the tzedakahshould be given with a full heart. This is reflected in our Sages’ advice to hang Tzedakah over one’s shoulder and allow the poor to take. In this manner, one combines knowledge (the willful intent to give) with not-knowing (above knowledge, the inability to identify the recipients).

A similar fusion of intent should be present in regard to all the mitzvos. One should combine kabbalas ol (an acceptance of the yoke, a commitment which transcends intellect) with a commitment based on knowledge of the mitzvah and its intent (intellect).

In this context, the twofold nature of our service does not mean only the fusion of the spiritual and the physical, but also the fusion of the levels above reason with reason. This is possible because every fusion of opposites has its source in G‑d’s essence which is above all limits and qualities, includes them all, and thus, can fuse them all together.

On this foundation, the consolation of the Jewish people which will come in the Messianic age can be conceived of as a single essential point, the level of Yechidah, which represents the ultimate of all qualities. Accordingly, Mashiach — who is connected with the level of Yechidah — “will come at a time of distraction,” (i.e., the level above intellect) — and yet will be a teacher (reflecting intellect).11

We see a similar fusion of the supra-intellectual and the intellectual in regard to G‑d, Himself. G‑d declares, “I discovered Dovid, My servant.” Something which is discovered was not known about previously, i.e., it relates to a level above knowledge.12 Nevertheless, although the choice of Dovid transcended intellect, it was expressed through a careful series of events: There were two sisters, Ruth and Orpah.13 Ruth clung to Naomi, but Orpah did not. Ultimately, this sequence led to the birth of Yishai and then, of Dovid. After Dovid was born, G‑d tested his leadership qualities through his care for sheep and caused him to undergo several trials until he became king of Israel. Thus, the two-fold consolation mentioned above is also connected with Mashiach and the quality of Yechidah which he will reveal.

The above also shares a connection to Parshas Va’eschanan which describes Moshe’s prayer to enter Eretz Yisrael. Were that prayer to have been accepted, Moshe would have led the Jews into Eretz Yisrael and built an eternal Beis HaMikdash which could never have been destroyed.

Moshe’s prayer includes the totality of existence for ואתחנן is numerically equivalent to 515. Our Sages relate that there are seven heavens and seven spaces in-between these heavens. The size of the earth and each of these heavens and spaces is the distance that a person can walk in five hundred years. Thus, 15 times 500 represents the entire scope of existence.

From Va’eschanan, we proceed to Parshas Eikev, “And it shall come to pass after you listen.” Chassidus interprets “listening” as stemming from kabbalas ol, a commitment which transcends all limits and yet, also passes through and becomes internalized by the powers of intellect. This brings about, “And the L‑rd, your G‑d, will preserve for you the covenant and the kindness which He swore to your ancestors,” a covenant resulting from a commitment that is not limited by intellect.14

* * *

2. The Talmud explains that from the fifteenth of Av onward, the power of the sun decreases and “whoever increases will receive an increase.” Rashiexplains: Whoever increases his Torah study at night will have his life increased. Therefore, the Shulchan Aruch mentions the importance of increasing Torah study at night15 from the fifteenth of Av onward.16 Since the Torah is “our life and the length of our days,” an increase in Torah study17will lead to an increase in our lifespans.

It is proper to publicize the importance of increasing Torah study from the fifteenth of Av onward so that it will effect each individual, his family, and the entire Jewish people. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, as explained in the Previous Rebbe’s maamar, Asarah SheYoshvim, it is preferable that this study be communal in nature. Therefore, we should strengthen existing Torah shiurim and establish new shiurim wherever possible. Since “Study is great because it leads to deed,” this increase in Torah study will surely bring about an increase in the performance of mitzvos.

This will also lead to an increase in life. In simple terms, those who increase their Torah study will have their lifespans increased. Furthermore, a Jew’s commitment to Torah study will lift him above all worries. Thus, our Sages declared, “The Torah was given only to the eaters of manna;” i.e., a Jew who studies Torah should be able to devote himself to that study entirely without any concern for worldly affairs. He can rely on G‑d to provide for all his needs and for the needs of his family. Even if a person has financial worries, making a commitment to Torah study will lift him above them entirely for as our Sages relate, every Jew deserves affluence equal to that of King Solomon.

In this manner, we will merit a long, prosperous, and healthy life which will be dedicated to the study of Torah. This will lead to the time when, together with the entire Jewish people, we proceed with Mashiach to Eretz Yisrael and to the ultimate consolation, the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash.

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.