Want to keep in the loop on the latest happenings at . Subscribe to our mailing list below. We'll send you information that is fresh, relevant, and important to you and our local community.
Printed from JewishMontana.com

Weekly Message

Earthly Influence!

On Tuesday, just before school pickup, I saw Chaya playing with a special needs child at the Longfellow schoolyard. When she got into the car, she said “Aba, there were three kids making fun of that girl and I told them that it’s not nice and that everyone is different. I then played with her and made her happy”. I was beaming speechlessly.  What more can a parent ask for? No only is she unaffected by having a younger sister with special needs, but Chaya wants to help others that are challenged with disabilities. Chavie and I told her how proud we were and, when she was out of site, truly marveled at her caring behavior.

In this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, we read about Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, on a mission to find Isaac a bride. Before he leaves Israel, Abraham says to him “I will adjure you by the Lord, the God of the heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose midst I dwell.” Yet, later when referring to his own journey, Abraham discusses Hashem as “God of the heaven” but not “of the earth”. Rashi explains that “Now He is the God of the heaven and the God of the earth, because Abraham made Him familiar in the mouths of the people, but when Abraham left from his father’s house, He was the God of the heavens but not the God of the earth, because mankind did not acknowledge Him, and His name was not familiar on the earth.

G-d wants to brighten earth, brighten our earthly lifestyle. Abraham started that process.   

This Thanksgiving weekend I am in New York at the annual Chabad Rabbis convention, and I am grateful. Grateful not only for family, community and friends but for my Rebbe. The Rebbe, like Abraham, wanted to transform the world to one of not only faith, but kindness and love. Like Chaya, all children, Jew and gentile, should know the importance of a good relationship with G-d and humanity. The Rebbe taught me that it isn’t enough for G-d to be King of heaven, He must penetrate earth. G-d should shine at the schoolyard, in our homes and even at the bar. From Missoula to Nairobi, Bangor to Auckland, the Rebbe’s emissaries are helping heaven and earth fall in love. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

It wasn't Highway 61!

Although it’s pure fiction, Leonard Cohen, in his song “the story of Isaac”, describes Isaac’s thoughts during his binding. Leonard’s friend Bob Dylan, on the other hand, got it almost right (he was off on the geography) when he sang “Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”, Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”, God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but the next time you see me comin’ you better run” Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?” God says, “Out on Highway 61”.

In this week’s fascinating Torah portion, Vayeira, we read of Isaac’s impending death. In the tenth and final test, G-d tells Abraham, to take his thirty seven year old son and “go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you." Abraham complies immediately. After binding Isaac on the makeshift altar, milliseconds before slaughtering the apple of his eye, an angel says to him “Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him, for now I know that you are a God fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me."

He passes the test and Isaac lives.

Abraham epitomized kindness and love. He was “Mr. Hospitality”, he demanded G-d save the wicked people of Sodom from utter destruction, he saved his immoral nephew Lot from captivity and with deep compassion cared for Ishmael’s mom, Hagar. Yet, more important than his own kind nature, was Abraham’s unique devotion to G-d, which is why G-d chose him as founder of Judaism and multiple nations.  We too, must learn from Abraham’s selflessness. G-d doesn’t demand of us what he demanded of our matriarchs and patriarchs, but a little sacrifice is healthy.  Perhaps we could sacrifice a non-Kosher lunch for a Kosher one, sacrifice Sunday football for a bit of Torah study (at least during the commercials) or perhaps choosing to attend the Tim McGraw concert on Saturday night and come to Shul on Friday night.

Sacrifice without slaughtering; attainable to all!

 

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

Jerusalem of Gold!

Our family just returned from an amazing week in Israel, celebrating my nephew Sholom’s Bar Mitzvah. We spent most of our time in Biblical Israel, praying at the Western Wall near the Temple Mount, walking the streets of Hebron, dancing in the Judean Desert near Jericho, hiking at Ein Gedi near King David’s hideout, visiting Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and enjoying the cobblestone street of Jerusalem’s Old City. We are so grateful that my older brother Yochanan, his wife Peri and of course Sholom, the Bar Mitzvah, gave us the opportunity of a lifetime.   

Nothing is by coincidence. This week‘s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, informs us of G-d's first commandment to the first Jew: “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you”. Abraham, discoverer of G-d, at the young age of seventy five, takes Sarah and all their spiritual protégés and heads to the land of Canaan, soon to be called Israel. We didn’t choose the land because Uganda wasn’t available, we didn’t choose Israel because it was economically strategic, and Israel isn’t just a safe haven to prevent future holocausts; Israel is ours because G-d chose it for us. Muslims, Christians, Baha’i’s and of course the Jewish people recognize Israel’s inherit holiness. For our family to roam the land in which Isaac was born, Solomon ruled and Rabbi Yochanan authored Talmud is awe-inspiring.

Whether you like or dislike a particular Israeli politician or policy, shouldn’t affect your love for the land. It's time for Klal Yisroel to take pride in its homeland, make a trip to Israel, and remember the eternal words in the beginning of the Torah portion "And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you”. Those who stick with the Jews, even against the pressure of the evil BDS movement, will be infinitely blessed. It's as simple as that. During our visit, I loved meeting gentiles from over thirty countries who love Israel; it’s time for Jews to do the same. In the words of King David in Psalms “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to my palate, if I do not remember you, if I do not bring up Jerusalem at the beginning of my joy”.

This land was made for you and me! 

 

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

My Zayde, my Noah!

Early Monday morning, just a few hours before departing to Israel, I had the somber honor of escorting my beloved Zayde, Rabbi Shimon Goldman, as he was sent off from Maimonides hospital in Brooklyn for burial preparation. My Zayde was my Chevrusa (study partner), my inspiration, my guide, my friend, my storyteller, and more than anything, he was my hero. 

He was my personal Noah.

In this week's Torah portion, Noach, we read about the survivors of the great flood. Noah watched a morally failing world suffer destruction. When all seemed lost, one man, Noah, rose to the occasion, built an ark haven and when the flood waters receded, created a bright future for us all. My Zayde lost his parents and six siblings during our modern day flood, the unthinkable holocaust. He was left alone in a dark world where he saw all that was wrong with humanity. Nevertheless, he remained unfazed and reaffirmed his unshakable faith in G-d every day of his ninety one years on earth. His infinite love for and his family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, was legendary. His business ethic as a butcher and his devotion to giving interest-free loans, day or night, is who he was; kind, generous and honest. 

Standing at my Zayde's side, just moments after his passing, my brother Yanky quipped "it's the first time in almost eighty years that he's reunited with his family". I know, without a shadow of doubt, that this Shabbos, Zayde will be sitting around the heavenly Shabbos table with his parents Shmuel Zanvil and Menucha Kraindel, his siblings Chana, Leah, Tzvi Hirsh, Chaim, Yaakov and Yosef, his beloved bride of sixty five years, my Bubbe Esther and his beloved daughter, my mom, Chanchy, the apple of his eye. It will be Shabbos to remember in the Garden of Eden. 

My dear Zayde, my Noah, thanks for never giving up on life and sharing it with me and your entire family! 

 

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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