Shabbos Parshas Hazeinu

September 22, 2018

Yom Kippur is over.  Time for Succos. Chazzan Silber is long but I enjoy his Davening. Had a tough week. September 18th, Erev Yom Kippur, was my 65th Birthday and I was not in a good mood. I did not respond to any well wishers.

On Thursday I picked up my mother-in-law from the airport. On Friday I was exhausted and slept for 1.5 hours.

Shabbos morning I got up at 7:30 AM and learned two Blatt of Daf Yomi at Mishne Ugmoro. At 9:30 I walked out of Mishna Ugmoro to go to KINS for Jacob Pick’s Bar Mitzvah. A Hatzlah ambulance on its way to Swedish Covenant Hospital raced by me. I was worried that my mother was in the ambulance and walked to the Glenners to make sure my mother was home. She was, and I stayed with her for about an hour, talking to her, singing, and I gave her some water.

Afterwards walked to Jacob Pick’s Bar Mitzvah at KINS. It was nice to see Jacob performing beautifully at the Bar Mitzvah. He has turned into a nice young man. We were there at his Bris at Kins. We had the Bris meal in the KINS Sukkah. Sidney spoke that his newly born son is an answer to the Nazi’s desire to destroy the Jewish people.

Got there at Mussaf. Even then I schmoozed before I walked into Shul during Kedushah. Sidney Pick was davening Mussef. I was excited to be at KINS. I was so pumped up that I flew through Davening. I was able to finish Shachris starting by Modim of Mussaf to right after Adon Olem. Sidney gave me opening the ark for Ane’im Zemiros. Met Nosson Lederer, Micah Gruber’s son-in-law. Micah’s health is weak. I told Rabbi Lederer that I attended his father-in-law’s Daf Yomi Shiur at Brisk when it was on Peterson. He gave the Shiur on Yom Kippur at the break. We were learning Yevomas. As Rabbi Gruber was giving the Shiur, he dozed off and his head fell on the Gemara. We waited until Rabbi Gruber woke up. I told Rabbi Lederer to say hello to his boss, Rabbi Hillel Mandel. I told him to tell Rabbi Mandel the following:

This week’s Parsha starts off א הַֽאֲזִ֥ינוּ הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וַֽאֲדַבֵּ֑רָה וְתִשְׁמַ֥ע הָאָ֖רֶץ אִמְרֵי־פִֽי 1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth!

Rashi says that Moshe is calling on the heaven and earth to testify against the Jewish people when the Jewish people go astray. Very dark.

As an antidote we can understand these words differently. “Listen, O heavens, and I will speak about the greatness of the Jewish people. I will testify in the heavens and on earth of great things done by Jews towards one another and for humanity. People do little favors for others that are huge that can change a world, a life. Whether it is a smile, picking up and paying dinner for someone in need, giving a person at a bus stop a ride, being a Shomer for a friends relative, or just being there. I have seen greatness and I plan, after 120 years, to testify about what they did.

Went to the Kiddush and played Jewish geography. I was on my game Went to the meal. It was a baseball theme. Sat at the same table with the Lazovskys. The Bar Mitzvah boy spoke beautifully. Sidney and Sharon both spoke emotionally and we were moved by their speeches.

Sharon Pick’s Uncle Jack lives in Delray Beach right near Glick’s and davens in the Orthodox Shul (not the Chabad Shul) in the same strip mall as Glicks. He too noticed the price changes at Glicks. He knows my cousin Carol (and Howard). Sharon’s cousins live in Hollywood, Florida.

I had the following speech prepared that I did not give.

I first met Sidney in September 1974 at Brisk Yeshiva located in the Mishne Ugmoro building. I was stuck on the understanding of a Gemora. I walked downstairs to the basement and there was Sidney Pick learning with Louis Lazovsky. I asked them my question. I think they looked at me if I was in outer space. I still have a vivid memory of that meeting, liked it happened yesterday. That started a friendship that has endured over the years. Sidney’s father was the weekday Gabbai at Bnei Ruvain and I was very impressed. In 1981 I bought a home and needed a Sukkah. Sidney was getting rid of his wooden 4 panel Sukkah and replacing it with a new canvass Sukkah. I took his old one and incorporated his 4 panels into my Sukkah of 8 panels. The Pick Sukkah was painted green so I always knew which ones I inherited from Sidney which I cherished. The other advantage was that his Sukkah panels were 6’9”, so when I bought additional panels I cut them down to 6’9”. This way it was easier to build the Sukkah vs. the traditional 8 foot panels. Since it was lighter and not as tall, it was easier to carry and maneuver the panels into place. In 1983 my son Sholom was born the night after Yom Kippur day. Sholom’s Shalom Zacher was the first night of Succos in my Sukkah. I was much honored that Sidney’s father, Rabbi Yaakov Pick, came to honor my family and attended the Shalom Zacher. I clearly remember him sitting next to me with joy.

By the way Jacob, your grandfather was a Sox fan, not a Yankees fan.

At the meal there was a tray of baseball themed giant vanilla cookies, and little packages of Skittles and Oodles. I took two each and three baseball cookies. I have become the old man who is always taking food from Simchas. My kids are forever embarrassed, but most of what I take gets thrown away. The following is what my food re-cycling accomplished.

I walked into the Shul for Mincha. There was a little girl looking sad. With the permission of the kid’s father, I gave her a package of Skittles and Oodles. Her frown turned into a smile. Her father was Rabbi A. Rovner who is a Rebbe at the Veitzner Chedder. I never met him before and told him to hug Rabbi Hillel Mandel.

When I got home, I gave one of my two granddaughters a pack of Skittles and the second Oodles which made them happy. My son-in-law is a Skittles fan and was able to grab a handful. The baseball themed cookies were a big hit. Only Karen appreciates my hubris – hubris in a good way.








A 17 Year Phone Call – Rabbi Leibel Korf

Chabad of Los Feliz
Arvus of Love

September 7, 2018:

I received a call from Rabbi Leibel Korf of Las Feliz (a neighborhood in LA, part of the Hollywood Hills). Refer to my post of February 18, 2018 – Chabad of Los Feliz: A Celebration of a Dream Come True.  I donated a Mezuzah to their fund raising campaign and he was calling me to thank me for the donation. I think he only vaguely remembered me. I reminded Rabbi Korf of the great kindness he showed me during Thanksgiving weekend 2001.  I was able to communicate my joy that he called me and told him about that weekend I spent as a guest in his house. What a great opportunity to lighten up his Rosh Hashana.

One week earlier, Labor Day weekend I was in Florida to visit my daughter and to attend the Greenbaum triplets Bar Mitzvah.  We flew on Thursday night and arrived at Shoshana’s house at 2:30 AM Friday morning. I had to take Shoshana to work and her daughter Tiferet to school so I did not have time to daven.  When I got home my wife wanted to go shopping for Shabbos, to Glicks in Delray Beach on Atlantic Avenue. I decided that I would daven in the parking lot. However, once I was there I remembered that there is a Chabad Shul adjacent to the parking lot.  My Aunt Sarah davens there (her kids are the Benjamins in Chicago) and my cousin Carol, at times, davens at Chabad. To my pleasant surprise, the Shul was open and I davened. The Rabbi walked in and I said hello. The Rabbi is Rabbi Sholom Ber Korf, a first cousin to Rabbi Leibel Korf.  I told Rabbi Sholem Ber what his cousin did for me. While I was talking to Rabbi Leibel Korf, I texted him the picture with his cousin and me.

I was ecstatic as I was able to again to thank Rabbi Leibel Korf, 17 years later, remind him of his Chesed, and give him regards from his cousin.

On Shabbos I spoke at the Glenners:  Devorim Chapter 29, verse 11 says “to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, which the Lord your God is concluding with you this day, with its sanctions.”   I asked, what is this covenant? Rabbi Schnuer Zalmen Twerski said that the Ohr Hachaim explains that the covenant is one of “Arvus”, responsibility for one Jew to another.  This changes the Jews from individuals to a nation as it says in Verse 12 – “to the end that He may establish you this day as His people and be Your God as he promised you and as He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  

Rabbi Twerski told me that he normally does not learn the Ohr Hachaim, however on Friday morning he had to sub a class and one boy did not have a study partner.   Rabbi Twerski opened up a Chumosh and learned the Ohr Hachaim on Arvus, and was able to answer my question on Shabbos.

I added onto the Ohr Hachaim of Arvus – responsibility of one Jew to another – that the novelty of the Lubavitcher Rebbe was love.  The traditional understanding in history has always been that one Jew has to rebuke another Jew. The novelty of the Lubavitcher Rebbe was that he introduced Arvus with love, with kindness, with respecting every Jew and being there, connecting the Jewish people to one another.  

August 8 Toronto Trip

August 8 – 12, 2018
29 Elul 5778 – Yahrzeit of my Father-in Law
Reb Itamar Yaakov Janowski: 1922 – August 16, 2004
Parshas Re’eh

Wednesday- August 8, 2018:

We left for our family trip to Toronto for our dear father’s and grandfather’s 13th Yahrzeit.  We left at 7:00 PM with myself, my wife Serka, and Sholom in the car.  We picked up Eli at his apartment and then Tzvi at the corner of Michigan and Roosevelt.   We drove for over 4 hours and reached the Comfort Suites Inn in Birch Run, MI about halfway to Toronto.   We always stay at a Comfort Suites Inn for the free breakfast. 

Thursday August 9, 2018:

Woke up at 8:00 AM.  Went to the parking lot to daven.  I love the quietness of the outdoors when I am on the road.  Used the Siddur I got for the Jonah Parker Bar Mitzvah. Had a breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. At 9:00 AM drove to visit a nursing home in Saginaw, MI.  Impressed. Back on the road to Toronto at 11:00 AM. Arrived in Toronto at 5:00 PM.  Davened Mincha and Maariv at Lubavitch. My brother-in-law, Yisroel, davened maariv before the amud for the yahrtzeit.

Friday August 9, 2018 – 29 Av 5778:

Davened at the BAYT.  Went to the “Feld” (Cemetery).  Gave Victor his scooter.We said Tehillim. Said a El Maaloh and Kaddish.  I read the headstone’s words in Hebrew and translated.  Yisroel, my brother-in-law, spoke very nicely about Elul.   Said a Kal Maalah by Uncle Marvin Lister. Passed by Baruch Javasky and told my kids about him.  Went back to my mother-in-law for a Yahrzeit meal. She always puts out a delicious spread. Was very B’Simcha that my daughter and son-in-law drove in with their two kids.  It was nice to have my kids interacting with their Toronto cousins. Later in the afternoon went onto my mother-in-law’s balcony and learned Daf Yomi. I did two Blatt.

Shabbos Parshas Re’eh – August 10 -11, 2018:

7:00 PM – went to Shul, the BAYT,  . Came right before Ma’ariv and Rabbi Daniel Korobkin was speaking on the Parsha.   He talked about Achdus and it seems that Achdus in Toronto is fraying at the seams. Not sure what he was referring to.  I believe it was about Eitz Chaim having trouble and consolidating their three campuses into two. After Davening went to pick up Mordy and Rivkie who are staying at Eli Janowski’s house, right near the BAYT.  Walked to my mother-in-law for a delicious Shabbos meal.

Shabbos Morning – August 1o, 2018:

Davened at the 7:30 AM Hashkama Minyan. On the way met and talked to Dr. Klein, a physiatrist.  Rabbi Diena spoke. He just graduated college (I think his degree is in one of the sciences) and decided to take time off and learn in Kollel.  He will learning in the Kollel Torah MiTzion Kollel. Rabbi Diena spoke out the Ba’al Haturim on Chapter 13, Verse 2. This Bible portion talks about false prophets.  Verse 3 says, “If there should arise in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream . . .”.    On the third word in the verse is בְּקִרְבְּךָ֙ .  The Ba’al Haturim says  that the gematria, numerical equivalent of בְּקִרְבְּךָ֙)   324) is the same as, Zo Haisha (324). The plain meaning of the Ba’al Haturim is as the Sifrei says that the Bible portion of a false prophet also applies to women.  There is speculation that the original language of the Ba’al Haturim was בְּקִרְבְּךָ֙ נָבִ֔יא  is the same gematria as Zo Ha’Isha U’Benah, this refers to the woman and her son – meaning Mary and Jesus, as being false prophets (both are 387) but was censored in the middle ages.

After Minyan, attended a great Minchas Chinuch Shiur by Rabbi Effie Kleinberg on the Mitzvah of Living in Israel.  Great, great Shiur. After the Shiur spoke to various people. On is a radiologist who will be in Chicago in October for a convention.   

Went upstairs to listen to the Rabbi’s Drasha.  I am embarrassed to admit, but I have zero recollection of his speech.

After the speech went to pick up Rivkie and my grandkids.  She was not ready to go. I walked outside the house and decided to say hello to the first person I met.  It was my cousin’s kid, Yummi Javasky and family. His parents are Jerry and Shelly Javasky. We stopped by his grandfather’s grave in the cemetery.  Yummi and family live in Israel and were in Toronto for a month. It was great seeing him. His parents are great people. His father managed a mutual fund for McKenzie.  His mother took in special needs kids as foster kids from birth for a few years until the parents could get back on their feet.

Rivkie was going to walk directly to my mother in law.  Mordy and I were going to visit family. We walked to Lubavitch.  On the way we met the Bidners. We played Jewish geography. Shockingly, Mordy knew of their son.  Made it to Lubavitch at 12:30 PM. Mordy met his cousins, the Schechts, his cousins who he never met before.  Their mother is his aunt and he knows here quite well. Walked with Schmuli Bernstein and kids to his house on Esther Crescent.  Schmuli’s wife is my niece. When I married into the family in 1980 she was a kid of 7 – 8 years old. She looked like a flower child.  We caught up. It was great, Mordy dominated the conversation’s. Mordy and their 22 year old son,. Label, know many people in common. Left at 1:50 PM and made it back to my mother-in-law at 2:00 PM.  We caught a little flak for coming so late. Great meal with the kids.

At 6:30 PM went to Shul for Daf Yomi being given by Rabbi Diena.  Met my wife’s nephew, Mordy Rothman, who runs Chai Lifeline in Canada.  

Sunday, August 12, 2018:

Davened at the BAYT.  There was a Bris. Went back to my mother-in-law for brunch.  At about 1:00 PM  we went to North York General to visit Aunt Ruthie Lister, Marvin’s wife.  Aunt Ruthie is 96, however, has been in the hospital for a year. She had he wits about her and it was important that my kids got a chance to see her.  Her daughter (who was my Shadchan with Esther Chase) visits her mother every day is with her the better part of every day.

Finally hit the road at 3:00 PM and arrived back in Chicago at 1:00 AM the next day.  Eli did most of the driving.