Discovering Greatness

Shabbos March 5, 2022 Parshas Pekudei

Shabbos March 12, 2022 Parshas VaYikra

Shabbos March 19, 2022 Parshas Tzav

Shula Kotlarski

1,775 Shekolim that were not Initially Counted

Shmos Pekudei Verse 38:28

My Chance Meeting with Rabbi Chaim Stein in 1977

Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg

What a Rabbi in small town San Antonio, Texas Achieved

Pastor John Hagee

CUFI

Herb Eiseman

Helen Bloch’s Son’s Bar Mitzvah – Megill Shmuel Hameiri

Martin and Madelaine Brody-Seth’s Wedding-Remembering Aunt Flo

March 5, 2022 was a warm day with the temperatures into the 60’s.  I walked to Chabad of East Lakeview.  Rabbi Kotlarski was making a Kiddush for his new daughter, Shula.  The place was packed. Normally he gets about 50 people, this Shabbos he had over 125.  Great Kiddush.  Rabbi Kotlariski named the baby after his maternal grandmother.  His grandfather and grandmother were holy Jews.  His grandfather was a Mohel and always pursued by the Russian authorities.   

After Kiddush we had our class and I spoke out the Medresh which discusses Moshe’s accounting.  Moshe was 1,775 Sheklim short in his accounting for money taken in and how it was used.  Moshe was accused of benefiting from the donations to the Mishkan until God revealed that the missing money was used for the hooks in the Mishkan.  See the below Medrash.

It should be noted that there were mockers and scoffers who pursued this nonsense.  They could have said, this is only a small amount and we probably miscounted somewhere or forgot where it was spent.  Yet they persisted in their nonsense and wanted every monetary donation to be accounted for.   If Moshe was taking money, it would not make sense that Moshe would only take the 1,775 Silver Shekalim.  In today’s dollars the 1,775 Silver Shekolim would be worth $165,000.  One is not rich on this amount.  

Pekudei Verse 38:28

וְאֶת־הָאֶ֜לֶף וּשְׁבַ֤ע הַמֵּאוֹת֙ וַחֲמִשָּׁ֣ה וְשִׁבְעִ֔ים עָשָׂ֥ה וָוִ֖ים לָעַמּוּדִ֑ים וְצִפָּ֥ה רָאשֵׁיהֶ֖ם וְחִשַּׁ֥ק אֹתָֽם׃ 

And of the 1,775 shekels he made hooks for the posts, overlay for their tops, and bands around them.

Shemot Rabbah 51:6 on Verse 38:21:

מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת אֲשֶׁר פֻּקַּד עַל פִּי משֶׁה, כָּל מַה שֶּׁהָיוּ עוֹשִׂין, עוֹשִׂין עַל פִּי משֶׁה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אֲשֶׁר פֻּקַּד עַל פִּי משֶׁה. וְכָל מַה שֶּׁהָיָה משֶׁה עוֹשֶׂה עַל יְדֵי אֲחֵרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עֲבֹדַת הַלְוִיִם בְּיַד אִיתָמָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן, לֹא עָשָׂה אֶלָּא מִשֶּׁנִּגְמְרָה מְלֶאכֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן, אָמַר לָהֶם בּוֹאוּ וַאֲנִי עוֹשֶׂה לִפְנֵיכֶם חֶשְׁבּוֹן. אָמַר לָהֶם משֶׁה: אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן, כָּךְ וְכָךְ יָצָא עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן, עַד שֶׁהוּא יוֹשֵׁב וּמְחַשֵּׁב שָׁכַח בְּאֶלֶף וּשְׁבַע מֵאוֹת וַחֲמִשָּׁה וְשִׁבְעִים שֶׁקֶל מַה שֶּׁעָשָׂה וָוִים לָעַמּוּדִים, הִתְחִיל יוֹשֵׁב וּמַתְמִיהַּ, אָמַר עַכְשָׁו יִשְׂרָאֵל מוֹצְאִין יְדֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר משֶׁה נְטָלָן. מֶה עָשָׂה הֵאִיר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עֵינָיו וְרָאָה אוֹתָם עֲשׂוּיִם וָוִים לָעַמּוּדִים, אוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה נִתְפַּיְּסוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל מְלֶאכֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן, מִי גָרַם לוֹ עַל יְדֵי שֶׁיָּשַׁב וּפִיְּסָן, הֱוֵי: אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן. וְלָמָה עָשָׂה עִמָּהֶם חֶשְׁבּוֹן, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ מַאֲמִינוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יב, ז): לֹא כֵן עַבְדִּי משֶׁה בְּכָל בֵּיתִי נֶאֱמָן הוּא, וְלָמָּה אָמַר לָהֶם משֶׁה בּוֹאוּ וְנַעֲסֹק בַּמִּשְׁכָּן וּנְחַשֵּׁב לִפְנֵיכֶם, אֶלָּא שֶׁשָּׁמַע משֶׁה לֵיצָנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מְדַבְּרִים מֵאַחֲרָיו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לג, ט): וְהָיָה כְּבֹא משֶׁה הָאֹהֱלָה יֵרֵד עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן וְעָמַד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְדִבֶּר עִם משֶׁה, (שמות לג, ח): וְהִבִּיטוּ אַחֲרֵי משֶׁה, וּמַה הָיוּ אוֹמְרִים, רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָמַר אַשְׁרֵי יוֹלַדְתּוֹ שֶׁל זֶה, וּמַה הִיא רוֹאָה בוֹ, כָּל יָמָיו הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְדַבֵּר עִמּוֹ, כָּל יָמָיו הוּא מֻשְׁלָם לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, זֶהוּ: וְהִבִּיטוּ אַחֲרֵי משֶׁה. רַבִּי חָמָא אָמַר הָיוּ אוֹמְרִים חָמֵי קְדַל דִּבְרֵיהּ דְּעַמְרָם, וַחֲבֵרוֹ אוֹמֵר לוֹ אָדָם שֶׁשָּׁלַט עַל מְלֶאכֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן אֵין אַתָּה מְבַקֵּשׁ שֶׁיְהֵא עָשִׁיר. כְּשֶׁשָּׁמַע משֶׁה כָּךְ אָמַר לָהֶם משֶׁה, חַיֵּיכֶם, נִגְמַר הַמִּשְׁכָּן אֶתֵּן לָכֶם חֶשְׁבּוֹן. אָמַר לָהֶם בּוֹאוּ וְנַעֲשֶׂה חֶשְׁבּוֹן, הֱוֵי: וְאֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן.

Why did Moshe forget about the 1,775 Shekalim which were used for the hooks in the Mishkan?  Hooks are very small, almost insignificant, and additionally in the Mishkan’s courtyard they were covered by curtains.   Moshe forgot them.   If someone builds a $500,000 home; the hooks, door handles, and cabinet pulls maybe cost $5,000.  They are inexpensive and when you consider the cost of the house you miss these items.  When you look around your house you miss these items.  You see the overall kitchen. not the door handles.  This is what Moshe forgot and needed Hashem’s intervention to find.  The Medresh also says that most people trusted Moshe, but there are always mockers and scoffers.  This is so true.  These mockers and scoffers cause great damage.

These hooks are called  וָוִים They are critical for a house.  They are connectors.   Hooks and similar items allow a house to be used.  You are able to open doors, drawers, hang towels, pictures, etc.      

The letter Vav serves a similar purpose.  It connects verses together.  Most of the Pesukim in the Torah start with Vav.  We darshan if the word is אֵ֣לֶּה or ואלה.  

We all have small seemingly random and sometimes insignificant events that are forgotten that occur over a period of time.  These events pieced together on their own timeline connect together to be the great influencer on our life, similar to the events in the story of Purim.  Events that occurred over a ten- year period that when pieced together show the miracle of Purim.  

My job and career and my identity are linked together by a chance meeting with Rabbi Chaim Stein.  This is my Vav Hachibur.  I graduated college in 1977.  I struck out on campus job interviews and had zero job prospects.  I did not feel successful and was worried about the future.  I kind of felt I was a failure. I could not afford to give up.  I put one foot in front of another and looked for a job.   My mother told me she would call someone for a favor and I was against it.  I had to find a job myself for my esteem.  

I opened the Yellow Pages and wrote down each accounting firm’s name on a 3 x 5 index card and went knocking on doors.  I recorded on each respective card what happened.  I must have knocked on over 100 doors.  Almost all of the firms were at downtown office buildings.  At that time there were numerous accounting firms in each building.   Very tough.  After one fruitless day, I was walking to  my car which I parked on the  west side of the loop, west of the river.  The area was not developed and it was easy to find free parking.  I met Rabbi Chaim Stein who was also looking for a job.  We spoke and he asked me, why don’t I take the Civil Service exam?  I did not know it existed.  On his advice I took the exam and that led me to a job with the FDIC.  After 9 years I took a job at Peterson Bank.  Peterson Bank ultimately became Fifth Third Bank and I had a very successful 40-year career in banking.

It was this chance meeting in the vastness of the western part of the loop that I met Rabbi Chaim Stein, which led to my career.   What are the chances we would meet at that very time on that very day?  Rabbi Chaim Stein was my angel.  It was Hashgacha Pratis.  It took twenty years for me to remember what Rabbi Chaim Stein did for me.  That day as I was walking to my car, my life was closing in on me.  That meeting unbeknownst to me, stretched out my life’s narrowing path, stretched it out into a wide boulevard.  The chance meeting was the Vav Hachibor to the rest of my life.  At the time it occurred it was a seemingly small event but God made it happen.  I called Rabbi Chaim Stein to again thank him and his wife told me that he passed away two years ago.

Pesach Chase, my dear brother, told me that my Bris in 1953 was held at Pesach Stein’s restaurant on Roosevelt Road.  Pesach Stein put up a Sukkah.  Quite unique at that time. 

I tried to call Chaim Stein today and found out that he passed away two years ago.  Boruch Dayan Emes.

I took the Civil Service exam.  I found a job right after I took the test in August 1977, and did not think I would need that test; however, I lost my job right after Rosh Hashanah 1977 because one of the two partners of the firm was having an existential crisis and wanted to experience life in the great outdoors.  The firm needed someone with experience and they did not have the luxury of training me.  A week after I was let go, I received notice of a job interview and was hired by the FDIC.

My Vav Hachibor with Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg:

Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg is a person who lived the dictum that we Jews have to be a light to the nations.  Someone who lived well away from a major Jewish community, in San Antonio, Texas quietly changed the world and did great things for the Jews.   Most Rabbis would stay in a small town for a few years and move on to larger and more prestigious positions.  The Musser is that every Jew no matter where he or she is can change the world.  

2012

Rabbi Lopatin speaks from the pulpit about the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) convention he recently attended.  Rabbi Lopatin expressed the excitement of being only one of fifty Jews with 5,000+-  Christians singing Am Yisroel Chai, the Shema, and Hatikvah.  I was excited. 

2013

Rabbi Shmuel Bowman of Efrat was a scholar in residence at the Boca Raton Synagogue.  He spoke about collecting money from Christian Evangelicals.  He also mentioned the signs at Christian Evangelical conventions. Genesis 12:4 – וַאֲבָֽרְכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ֖ אָאֹ֑ר וְנִבְרְכ֣וּ בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הָאֲדָמָֽה;   Esther 4:14 – וּמִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ אִם־לְעֵ֣ת כָּזֹ֔את הִגַּ֖עַתְּ לַמַּלְכֽוּת׃.  He added, and the Christian Evangelcials believe the Bible.   

2015 

Saw Herb Eisemen wearing his CUFI lapel pin.

2016

I shared the dais with Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg in Brooklyn, New York when we were both honored by the Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Denver.

February 12, 2022 

BRS has a Stand with Israel night with Pastor Mario Bramnick of the Latino Coalition for Israel.

February 2022

Listened to Behind the Bima with Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein.  Rabbi Adlerstein is the director of Interfaith Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He holds the Sydney M. Irmas Adjunct Chair in Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School and teaches senior high school girls at Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles.  Rabbi Adlerstein mentioned that when he was first offered the job he did not know what to do.  He was a Yeshivisha guy and went to Kollel.  He said “what did I know about Interfaith Dialogue?” He asked one of the Gadolim and the Gadol responded, it is a Pikuach Nefesh for the Jewish people.   Of course, take the job.  Klal Yisroel needs friends.  He then said that the hero of Jewish Christain relationship is Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg.  I was astounded.  I stood up and said Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg!  Why didn’t I know this? I sat on the same dais and his son lives in Chicago.  When he was honored by Denver they never mentioned this aspect of Rabbi Scheinberg’s greatness. Rabbi Adlerstein said that 40 or some years ago Rabbi Scheinberg became friends with Pastor John Hagee.  He told the Pastor, we can be friends but there are red lines that you cannot cross.  Their friendship grew over the years.  In David Brog’s book “Standing with Israel” he writes on Page 3, 

Thirty-five years after the Holocaust, the Israeli air force destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, outside of Baghdad.  The Israelis had determined that Iraq was usinght the reactor to develop a nuclear bomb, a weapon this implacable enemy might one day uese agaisnt them.  Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin justified the action to the world by declaring the he would not permit “another Holocast in the history of the Jewish people.”  Israel was universally condemned for the Osirak raid, including by its ally the United State.

In San Antonio, Texas, a pastor named John Hagee was dismayed by the loud outcry against Israel’s action.  He decided to counter the chorus of criticism with a public show of support.  With the help of a fellow pastor and two rabbis, Pastor Hagee organized a “Night to Honor Israel.”  The day after he held a press conference to announce the upcoming event, someone phoned Pastor Hagee’s church and said, “Tell that preacher he’ll be dead by Friday.”

When asked why he so staunchly supports Israel, Pastor John Hagee speaks of a “biblical mandate to bless the Jews” and a Christian debt of gratitude to the Jewish people.

February 2022 

I mention Rabbi Adlerstein’s statement to Herb Eiseman and a week later Herb brings me The Torch, the CUFI quarterly magazine.  CUFI honors Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg and they create the Rabbi Scheinberg Fellowship.  The magazine states, “Rabbi Aryen Scheinberg changed the history of the JEWISH-Christian landscape as we see it today?”

Link to the magazine articles about Rabbi Scheinberg – https://cufi.org/thetorch/2021-Fall/#page=1

I watched CUFI’s 2021 Night to Honor Israel at Cornerstone Church that was held on Sunday October 24th 2021.  Pastor John Hagee told a great story.  Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg was dying of cancer and called Pastor John Hagee for a meeting.  At their visit Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg tells Rabbi Hagee that I called to meet with you because at my funeral there will be 6 speakers; five by my five sons, and the sixth by you. You Christians wait six days and then you have the funeral. Us Jews bury the deceased immediately and then wait 6 days.  I want to be sure you have time to prepare my eulogy.

Pastor John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg were like brothers.  Rabbi Scheinberg’s favorite picture  was when they were together at the Kotel. arms around each other and praying.

Peggy and Sid and Herb attend the annual CUFI convention in Washington DC pre-Covid every year, showing their support for this vital organization.  This is Sid, Herb, and Rabbi Asher Lopatin.

Shabbos – March 12, 2022

After Shul I visited Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg, the Rov the West Rogers Park Agudah, and a son of Aryeh Scheinberg.  I showed him the CUFI magazine, The Torch, and their tribute to his father.  Moshe Scheinberg tells me that of course he has the magazine.  I spoke to his family about their father and grandfather.  As I am leaving the house Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg said that it is good for his kids to hear about his father from outsiders.

Rabbi Scheinberg’s oldest brother, Avrohom, took over the Shul in San Antonio and has continued the relationship with Pastor John Hagee and the Pastor’s son, Pastor Mike Hagee.

I found out from my brother-in-law that Rabbi Avrohom Scheinberg made a distant cousin Frum. The family lived in San Antonio. Their last name is Lifshitz.   The family made Aliyah.  The father got  a job as a Doctor in Hadassah hospital and their son is known as the Ilyu of Yerushalayim.  He has written 20 Seforim.

Shabbos – March 19, 2022  Parshas Tzav

I walked to Chabad of East Lakeview to attend Helen Block’s and Avikam Meiri’s son’s Bar Mitzvah, Megill Shmuel. Kiddush was huge and saw many friends.  I spoke to Rabbi Wolkenfeld and his wife, Sara.  I updated Sara about her friend, Amy Gross-Tarlow.  They went to Penn together.   Met some new friends.  The caterer was Shmuel Diamond who is the chef at Evita’s.  The chef is a regular by the Chabad of East Lakeview.   There were about 250 people. 

Helen Bloch spoke excellently.  She talked about her unique and gifted son, Megill Shmuel Hameiri. He is empathic, kind, and carries with him the Midos of a Jew.  Helen Bloch’s parents were Naftali Glenner’s vision coaches.   My mother always took Naftali there for his therapy and Helen remembers her well.  I took Naftali there once or twice.

We had our Dr. Leonard Kranzler Memorial Shiur at 2:30 PM.    Peggy and Sid Kaz said that they attend the CUFI conventions every year.   Peggy told me that Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg always gives the closing remarks and is always excellent.

Sunday – March 20, 2022.

Madelaine Brody, my cousin from LA, mentioned that Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein may perform the wedding service for her son, Seth, who is getting married during Labor Day weekend 2022.  I found out that Rabbi Adlerstein learned with her husband, Martin Brody, for many years.   If he attends, I am ready. I am very excited about the wedding and I will be with the family for the Auf Ruf.  I will be wearing a Tux.  The only other time I wore one was for Karen Schwartz’s wedding.

Martin Brody is my Rabbi, made me a talmud of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and overall, a good guy. We both loved running.   I used to go into LA for the City of Angels half-marathon that started at the LA Zoo in the Hollywood Hills.   The half marathon was on the first Sunday in December of each year until the owners of the hospital were caught on Medicaid fraud.   I would fly in on Thursday and stay at his mother-in -law, Flo.   One Friday afternoon we were running late and she was driving us to Martin and Madelaine’s house.  I was frightened of being in the car with her.  Another time I was at his house years ago for the Friday night meal.  Martin fancies himself as a wine connoisseur and I have no use for wine. I put ice and diet coke in my wine. Martin says to me, you heathen.  

I loved going.  There is nothing like LA, especially on a warm Friday evening during the winter when the angels are singing in the Shabbos.  We also got in a 14 flight of stairs walk.

I was able to stay at my mother-in-law’s sister, Aunt Florence. She was special.  She was a happy person

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Email to Rabbis Efreim Goldberg, Philup Moskowitz, and Josh Brody on March 16, 2022

Rabbis:

I hope I am not overstepping my bounds by sending this to you.  

Rabbi Yitchok Adlerstein mentioned that the hero of Jewish – Christian relations is Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg who recently passed away.  I did not know this.  In 2015 I shared a dais with Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg when we were both honored by Denver Yeshiva.  His kids went to the Denver Yeshiva.  They did not mention Rabbi Scheinberg’s great work on behalf of Jewish -Christian relations at the dinner.   Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg has a son in Chicago, who is Rabbi of the Agudah Shul in West Rogers Park.  I approached Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg and asked him if he knew about his father’s activities and he said of course.  

I mentioned all this to my friend Herb Eiseman who pre-Covid regularly attended CUFI conventions.   Herb lent me the CUFI Fall 2021 magazine, The Torch.    It was dedicated to the legacy of Rabbi Ayeh Scheinberg, with the following words. “Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg changed the history of the Jewish-Christian landscape as we see it today”.  They created the Rabbi Scheinberg Fellowship.  Wow.  My head exploded.  His story is untold.  It took a one-line statement from Rabbi Adlerstein to reveal this great story to me.  Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg is a person who lived the dictum that we Jews have to be a light to the nations.  Someone who lived in an out-of-the way Jewishly, San Antonio, Texas quietly changed the world and did great things for the Jews.   There is a speech about this concept of how every Jew no matter where can change the world.

This past Shabbos I went to Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg’s house to further discuss his father with his family.   Sometimes I do get carried away.  As I left Moshe Scheinberg he told me that it is important for outside people to praise his father so his kids hear about the greatness of his father from outsiders.   Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg told me that his older brother took over the Shul in San Antonio and has continued his father’s work with Pastor John Hagee and their world.  His brother was in Israel this past  Shabbos to support Pastor John Hagee, who was receiving an award from an organization.  

My humble suggestion is that on Behind the Bima you have a show about Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg with his son, Rabbi Avrohom Scheinberg, with perhaps Rabbi Adlerstein to discuss the legacy of his father.   I envision that perhaps even Pastor John Hagee would agree to be on that show.  

I do not want you to Jump the Shark by having such a program.  Let me know what I can do to facilitate.

I believe it was the influence of Pastor John Hagee who helped push President Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

 PS:   I heard from Rabbi Shmuel Bowman about Jewish – Christian relationships about 8 years ago  when he was a scholar in residence at BRS.  Also Rabbi Asher Lopatin from his pulpit expressed his excitement right after he attended his first CUFI convention.

Mitchell A. Morgenstern

Have a happy Purim.

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I would like to come full circle.   As I mentioned before Moshe Rabbenu had to contend with mockers and scoffers.  They challenged Moshe on everything.  Despite all the efforts of these heroes, ignorant people say, Aah, Aah – the Christians only do it because they want all Jews to be in Israel for the “rapture”.  These mockers and scoffers feel that they can negate all the good work of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, Rabbi Adlerstein, and many others.  They reveal their ignorance and prejudice.  

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