Boca Raton – Three Shabbosim – December 2014 – January 2015 – February 2015

I have meant to blog, however, did not have the time. Since the first of the year, we were in Boca three times and I met and met great and interesting people.

1) Professor Mordechai Kedar
2) Mort Klein
3) Borough Park
 4) The four Weisses
5) Rabbi Michael Steinberg

Professor Mordechai Kedar, http://mordechaikedar.com/ and Mort Klein, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Klein

In December 2014, BRS brought in Professor Mordechai Kedar as a scholar in residence. I heard him three times; right after morning prayer services, one hour before Mincha, and after Sholosh Suddos.

Professor Mordechai Kedar is a PHD and professor at Bar Ilan University. He was with IDF intelligence for 25 years. The professor’s speech before Mincha was excellent. He spoke about nation building in the Mideast. The countries in the Mideast were arbitrarily formed in the early part of the 20th century by putting lines on a map, disregarding religion, families, clans, and villages. As a result, there are many failed countries as the ethnic, family, and religious makeups are in friction with one another. Despite great oil wealth the countries are in turmoil. Wealth does not bring stability, but rather stability brings wealth.

After the Sholsoh Suddos meal, most people were headed to the Shul for the evening services. Professor Mordechai Kedar and Mort Klein were arguing about policy. Mort Klein did not let up. I stood near them, listening to these great men talking.

Borough Park:
After Professor Mordechai Kedar’s lecture, my friend and his wife were walking by me and I said hello. My friend is from Borough Park and would never sit in a Shul next to his wife, would never go to a lecture by an Israeli Intellectual even if he is Frum, yet in Boca he does. This is the magic of Boca Raton Synagogue.

The Four Weisses:
I met four Weisses during these three times in chronological order:

1) Steven I Weiss – http://steveniweiss.com/about/
Steven I Weiss is an investigative journalist, whose work appears on NPR, JTV. He was sitting in the hallway, with his daughter in a stroller and I struck up a conversation. He was reading a book written about torture and he was to interview the author in a few weeks. We spoke about a few issues. He said that he broke the story about YU’s $100MM of investment losses.

2) Farley Weiss – http://www.youngisrael.org/board-members.html
I was privileged to meet Farley Weiss, President of Young Israel. He has moved to the Boca Raton community. His zeal to help the Jewish people is refreshing. I wish him well. I told him the Vort of Reb Moshe Soloveichik. Reb Moshe said that Young Israel saved Orthodoxy in New York. Young Israel was the transition during the first half of the 20th century and into the 1960s, when it was hard to be Orthodox and today. Although the young Jewish families did not have strong connection to Orthodoxy, they belonged to the Young Israel Shuls and stayed within Orthodoxy. Their kids became more Orthodox, and filled the yeshiva and day schools. In Chicago, where the Traditional movement was strong, these same types of Jews belonged to Traditional Shuls did not remain Orthodox. Traditional Shuls do not have , and are not within the world of Orthodoxy. Their members ended up not keeping Shabbos or Kashrus. Their kids moved further away from Orthodoxy.

3) Rabbi Avi Weiss – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avi_Weiss
The Shabbos before Purim, Rabbi Avi Weiss and his wife came to Boca Raton Synagogue for a Bar Mitzvah. Rabbi Efrem Goldberg welcomed Rabbi Avi Weiss to Boca Raton. I spoke for a few minutes to him and told Rabbi Weiss that I love Rabbis Lopatin and Rabbi Wolkenfeld. I told him that I walk 5.5 miles just to be at Anshe Sholem to listen to both Rabbis. The Jewish people owe Rabbi Avi Weiss a thank you for his activism for Russian Jewry when it was not popular.

4) Joseph Weiss
At the Shabbos before Purim, I also saw Joseph Weiss. Joseph Weiss is from Chicago and he retired to Boca Raton Synagogue a few months ago. He has a daughter who lives in Boca Raton Synagogue, and his son-in-law is the head of NCSY in Boca. He is doing an excellent job. I am sad to report that on Purim, Joseph Weiss collapsed and was Niftar. He was able to retire to Boca Raton Synagogue; a place of Torah, Shiurum, Yiddishkiet, great personalities, and his time a BRS was cut short. May your family know no more sorrow.

Looking for Rabbi Michael Steinberg:
I have been looking for Rabbi Michael Steinberg  for years. Michael Stein was my classmate at Arie Crown. The last time I saw him was in 1968 -1969, playing basketball.    He was taller and a better basketball player than myself.  Michael was shirtless and not wearing a Yarmulke. Over the years, I heard that he went to Israel, became a student of Rabbi Gustman, and became a great Torah scholar. He was in Rabbi Gustman’s Yeshiva in Rechavia, called Nezach Yisroel. During my recent trip to Israel, I walked into Netzech Israel and found out the Rabbi Gustman’s Yeshiva fell apart after his death.  Michael Steinberg is a Rosh Kollel, and has a place near the central bus station. I never did find Michael Steinberg. I was watching my grandkids in BRS’s playground and sat next to David Steinber, Michael Steinberg’s nephew. Wow. David grew up in Skokie and I remember his father. The Steinbergs were the only family in our school from Logan Square, located about 7 miles from school. The boys had to take two buses every morning to get to school. Amazingly, at BRS I was sitting next to his nephew, David. David filled my in on Michael’s life. Michael Steinberg has a large family. The only “disappointing” thing is that none of Rabbi Michael Steinberg’s kids served in the IDF. I felt that with Michael growing up in Chicago, going to the Ida Crown Jewish Academy, he could be that Rosh Kollel who bridges the Bnei Brak world, the IDF, and the Dati Leumi world. Maybe he has.

Update –  March 17,2015:

I just met another relative of Rabbi Michal Steinberg.   This relative has kids in the IDF and works for Klal Yisroel.   I would only hope that the kids go to Rabbi Michael Steinberg before entering the IDF for a blessing, Rabbi  Michael Steinberg is there to say Divrei Brachah when his nephew’s unit graduates.  I have to believe that Rabbi Michael Steinberg learns with his nephews.  Michael Stein’s kids and their IDF cousins are united “B’Lev Eichod”.  Rabbi Michael Steinberg goes to give Shiur to the boys in the army base and has his nephew with his platoon spend a Shabbos, Yom Tuv, hear a Chabura in the Kollel.   Anything less would disappointing.

 

Update – July 21, 2015

I found on Rabbi Dov Lipman’s blog a moving tribute to Max Steinberg, a lone soldier from LA, who was killed in Gaza one year ago defending Israel. I watched the Kiddush Hashem of Max Steinberg,  the clips from his funeral and that over 30,000 people attended.   I expected to see Rabbi Michael Steinberg giving a eulogy, giving a Shiur on his Yahrzeit. Perhaps Max is a relative of Rabbi Michael, however, if not related the similar name should bring closeness. Max Steinberg’s sacrifice should energize the Rabbi Michael Steinberg family, especially, a family of Torah.

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/remembering-max-steinberg/

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Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, TZL

I received this unfortunate e-mail on Friday, Eruv Yom Kippur.  The funeral is later today in Beit Semesh.  The comment sums up the loss we all feel.  It is the passing of an era.

Mitch,

I am so sorry to send you sad news. I had such joy from reading your remarks about Rav Yehuda on your blog.

Now, an era has passed. I have lost my teacher, my friend, my father. I know that, apart from his immediate family, many will feel as I do. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emes!

I wish you and yours Gmar Chasima Tova.

 

ברוך דיין האמת 

October 3, 2014

 

Boca Raton Synagogue records with sorrow the passing of our esteemed member, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, beloved husband of Mrs. Hassia Yehuda.

 

The funeral will be held in Israel on Sunday evening, October 5th at the city of Beit Shemesh Cemetery.

 

Hassia and her family will sit shiva from Sunday night through Wednesday early afternoon at Rechov HaTziporen 10b, Beit Shemesh, Israel.  They can be reached at 011-972-2-999-2936 when dialing from America or 02-999-2936 from Israel.

 

Messages of condolences can be sent to the family at 22166 Trillium Way, Boca Raton, Fl. 33433.

 

May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

 

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg          Rabbi Philip Moskowitz

 

If you would like to make a donation in

Rabbi Zvi Yehuda’s memory, please click here.

 

Hahn Judaic Campus7900 Montoya Circle N

Boca Raton, Florida 33433
Phone: 561-394-0394

 

 

Check out our new websitewww.brsonline.org

 

 

RABBI TZVI YEHUDA

I was in Boca Raton two weeks ago and Boruch Hashem I went to visit Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda who is recovering in a nursing home. He is no longer able to give his Shabbos morning class.  Unfortunately, his class has been taken off the Boca Raton Shabbos pamphlet. The last time I was at the Boca Raton Synagogue, I felt a sense of loss not being able to hear his Shiur. On Wednesday August 27th,  2014 I visited him at the Regents of Boca Raton located on Verde Trail.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda needs a Refuah Shelama. He cannot speak. Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda’s wife assured me that her husband understands everything. I only had 15 minutes with Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda as he had to go for a test outside the nursing home. I told Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda that the last piece of Torah I heard from him, was part of my speech when I spoke in Shul to the family of Rabbi Yisroel Gettinger, read my post on Parshas Naso.   Rabbi Gettinger’s wife is a 3th or 4th cousin to Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda.  I also told Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda some of the Torah I heard from him over the last two years.  Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda looked at me with his blue, unflinching eyes that spoke of great knowledge. I almost melted from the glare of my Rebbe.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda eyes saw the Chazon Ish, Reb Aryeh Levin, the establishment of the State of Israel and many, many great people and events.   Through my association with Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, I was able to connect to his world;  the world of Israel before and after Statehood, to great leaders I only read about, to a great and wondrous world.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda taught me how to understand the Chazzon Ish.  The Chazzon Ish’s legacy is one of Ahavas Yisroel and not of dividing Klal Yisroel.  His legacy is misunderstood  by many people.  His legacy is one that connects to the YU, Dati Leumi, and Lubavitch worlds.

 

When I heard of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda’s infirmary and could not give Shiur, I could not explain my sense of profound loss.

May Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda have a complete recovery and may he continue to teach Torah.

Update:  On Shabbos 9/20/2014, I was learning and used a Kehti to understand a Mishna in Chagiga.  Dr. Landa told me that Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda was the main writer of the  Kehti Mishnayous.   I was consoled that when I was learning the Kehti on Chagiga, I was learning from my Rebbe, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, and was able to picture him saying the Mishna and explaining it.

The Torah of Boca Raton Synagogue is refreshing and truly Toras Hashem

I was in Boca Raton helping take care of my grandkids for the last week and a half. It was very nice. I was there for Parshas Noah and Parshas Lech Lacha. I had a bad cold for Noah so my Shabbos was muted. Lech Lecha I was back on my game and Boca Raton Synagogue had some great speakers.

The following is Torah I learned at BRS.

Friday Night, October 10, 2013:

Arrived in Shul for Mincha and Kabalas Shabbos.  I picked up the BRS weekly and loved what I saw.  Rabbi Rabinovici is in Boca to teach Torah and there is a scholar in residence.

Boca Raton Synagogue Weekly

Went home for a delicious Shabbos meal with the kids.  

Shiur 1:

9:15 PM – Went to Rabbi Moscowitz’s house for a Shiur by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovici. It was a Shiur on adding the prayer for rain in the Shmoei Esra – V-Sain Tal U’matur Levracha -which in Israel begins on the 7th of Marchesvan and in the Diaspora begins on December 4th, which is supposed to be 60 days after the fall equinox. However, we add 10 days due to the adjustment of the Gregorian colander in the late 1500’s. I am not sure why it is the night of December 4th, which is 73 days after the fall equinox. Rabbi Rabinovici mentioned the Rosh who asks, the 60 days after the fall equinox was for Babylonia, and why in other parts of the world isn’t it at different time based on when rain is needed, such as south of the equator. The Rosh said that although the date for the start of praying for rain should be different for different parts of the world, the custom is to do it for all of the diaspora on December 4th. The Shiur was excellent.

Shabbos morning, October 11, 2013:

Shiur 2:

Made it to the 7:25 AM Haskama Minyan at 7:55 AM, during the end of Chazaros Hashatz. Typical for me as I am always late. Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Rabbi of BRS, spoke beautifully. He quoted Newton’s first law of motion – “ . . .an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.[2][3]

Chapter 11, Verse 31 states:

And Terach took Abram, his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter in law, the wife of Abram his son and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan, and they came as far as Charan and settled there.

Chapter 12, verse 5 states that Abram left to go to the land of Canaan, and he came to the land of Canaan. 

It is interesting that Terach also left his land to go to Canaan, just like Abram. The difference is that Terach stopped in Charan and settled there. Terach also wanted to go to Canaan, a land of a higher spiritual level. However, Terach got distracted and settled in Charan. He was enticed by the bright lights of Charan. Abram on the other hand was not distracted from his mission and made it to the land of Canaan. Rabbi Goldberg continued, we all have the power and ability to achieve spirituality and/or greatness. Many of us get distracted from our mission. We have to be like Abram and actually make it to the promised land, achieve higher spirituality, and fully achieve our mission in life.

Listened to the Torah reading

Shiur 3:

During the Torah reading, I noticed a Targum Onkalys who seems to disagree with Rashi. Chapter 16, verse 12 is the conversation between the angel and Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant.

יב.      וְהוּא יִהְיֶה פֶּרֶא אָדָם יָדוֹ בַכֹּל וְיַד כֹּל בּוֹ וְעַל פְּנֵי כָל אֶחָיו יִשְׁכֹּן

12. And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone’s hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.”

Rashi translates the Verse as follows:

And he shall be an “outdoorsman who loves hunt”, his hand shall be against every man, “a robber”, and every man’s hand against him, “everyone will hate him and contend with him”; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren. This is very harsh.

Onkalys translates it is follows:

And he shall be a rebellious person, he will need everyone and everyone will need him, and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.

I was puzzled on how to fully understand Onkalys, and asked Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda and Rabbi Rabinovici for their opinion.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda said that Onkalys was more of an open person and explained Onkayls that while the nature of Yismael is to be rebellious, he is an integral part of the world. (This is how I understood Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda)

Rabbi Rabinovici said differently. Yismael will be rebellious and you will want to avoid him, just as we avoid difficult people. However the Torah tells us, you will not be able to avoid him because he will need everyone and everyone will need him

Shuir 4:

I listened to the reading of the Torah and while the Haskama Minyan davened Mussaf, I davened Shachris, and caught Tefilah B’zibbur. Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik confirmed that according to Rabbi Chaim Brisker, I fulfilled Tefilah B’zibbur.   Rabbi Moshe Solevichik’s grandfather, who has the same name and was Rosh HaYeshiva of YU, as a student once was in Shul, and while the congregation was at Mussef, he was at the Shachris prayer.  Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, TZL, davened the Mussaf prayer with the congregation and afterwards said the Shacharis prayer.   Reb Moshe, TZL, asked his father, Reb Chaim Brisker,  if it was proper to first say the Mussaf prayer and then the Shachris prayer.  Reb Chaim Brisker answered his son that had his son said the Shachris prayer while the congregation was saying the Mussaf prayer, then it would have been Tefilah B’Tzibbur and proper.

After davening took a small bowl of Cholent to the Board room to attend Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda’s Shiur.  Reb Theo was there to provide the Diet Coke.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda said two amazing Torah insights:

1) In the first test and the tenth test,  the Torah uses the same type of descriptive terminology.   The Torah is telling  us that there is a commonality between the two.

First test was for Abram to leave his home and go to Canaan:

Chapter 12, Verse 1:

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל אַבְרָם לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָוּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ

:1. And the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.

The tenth test of Abraham was the Akeidah – Chapter 22, Verse 2

The Torah uses to the same type of expression: :

ב.וַיֹּאמֶר קַח נָא אֶתבִּנְךָ אֶת יְחִידְךָ אֲשֶׁר אָהַבְתָּ אֶת יִצְחָק וְלֶךְ לְךָ אֶל אֶרֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּה וְהַעֲלֵהוּ שָׁם לְעֹלָה עַל אַחַד הֶהָרִים אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ:

2. And He said, “Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, 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.”

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda said beautifully.   In both places the Torah increases the intensity of the moment, emphasizing that what is asked of Abram is difficult, something of great importance, and meaning.   By asking Abram to leave  his home, God was asking Abram  to give up his past;  and at the Akediah, God was asking Abraham to give up his future.

2)  Rabbi Tzvi  introduced his next piece of Torah by reading this Rashi on Chapter 22, Versa 12.  I can still  hear in my mind how beautifully Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda read the below Rashi in his scholarly voice:

כי עתה ידעתי: אמר רבי אבא אמר לו אברהם אפרש לפניך את שיחתי, אתמול אמרת לי (לעיל כא יב) כי ביצחק יקרא לך זרע, וחזרת ואמרת (שם כב ב) קח נא את בנך, עכשיו אתה אומר לי אל תשלח ידך אל הנער. אמר לו הקב”ה (תהלים פט לה) לא אחלל בריתי ומוצא שפתי לא אשנה, כשאמרתי לך קח מוצא שפתי לא אשנה, לא אמרתי לך שחטהו אלא העלהו, אסקתיה אחתיה

12. for now I know: Said Rabbi Abba: Abraham said to Him,“ I will explain my complaint before You. Yesterday, You said to me (above 21:12): ‘for in Isaac will be called your seed,’ and You retracted and said (above verse 2): ‘ Take now your son.’ Now You say to me, ‘ Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad.’” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him (Ps. 89:35): “I shall not profane My covenant, neither shall I alter the utterance of My lips.” When I said to you,“ Take,” I was not altering the utterance of My lips. I did not say to you,“ Slaughter him,” but,“ Bring him up.” You have brought him up; [now] take him down. — [from Gen. Rabbah 56:8]

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda also said that when it comes to an animal,  וְהַעֲלֵהוּ , uplifting spiritually always means a Sacrifice to God. However, when it comes to people הַעֲלֵהו always means that when we uplift someone to God, we uplift them by teaching them knowledge, and educating them.

Shiur 5:

Went into the main Shul to Daven Mussaf.  After services the scholar-in-residence, Rabbi Shmuel Bowman spoke. He spoke emotionally about what he does. He is the Executive Director of Operation Lifeshield,  a not-for-profit organization that provides above ground air raid shelters. He said that he went to Israel as an educator and found his calling running this important organization. He said that in 2006 Israel decided that they could not build underground shelters. Israel cannot be a country living underground and that it was too much a reminder of the Holocaust. He spoke about what it means to Israeli’s who are in harm’s way from rockets to have these shelters.

Nachum Caplan:

I took my granddaughter, Tiferet, to visit Nachum Caplan by his in-laws house in Captiva. His mother-in-law is from South Africa and I met some of the BRS South African contingent at her house. His cousin was there. His cousin’s wife is a granddaughter of Rabbi Walkin, who was a Dayan in Pinsk. My Bubby was from Pinsk and I spent a Shabbos in 2005 in Pinsk.

Shiur 6:

Shabbos afternoon – Rabbi Shmuel Bowman spoke before Mincha.

Rabbi Shmuel Bowman talked about his disagreement with the book, The Giving Tree.  I never read this kid’s book, however, my niece, Chanie, read the book as a kid in Texas.   In the book, a kid over his lifetime tells the tree that he is unhappy and would like various things.    The tree constantly gives and gives the kid part of herself to try to make the kid happy.   The tree is cut down piece by piece,  until years later, the tree is only a stump.  Even after all these years of the kid getting what he wants, and now he is an older man, he is not happy, and the tree even as a stump offers the kid her stump for him to rest.  

Rabbi Bowman’s disagreement with The Giving Tree is self evident.

Rabbi Bowman then talked about a Gemorah is Shabbos in which a Tanna walks into the study hall and  silences the learning.  The Tanna tells the entire study hall, I have just heard a beautiful saying from a child.  Imagine walking into the Bais Medresh and stopping learning for a kids poem.  

The Tanna said he heard a child say that the entire Hebrew alphabet teaches  life and moral lessons.  

Aleph – Beis.   Aleph Bina – The primary thing to knowledge.

גּ  –  ד stands for Gomel Dalim – translated as being generous to people in need.  The Tanna is amazed that even the form of the Hebrew letters have great insight.  We can see this lesson in the form of the letters גּ  –  ד .   The Daled – person in need – cannot see the Gimel – the  person who gives.  The top of the Gimal arches over as he is giving to the Daled.  The top right of the Daled has a little piece that extends back towards the Gimal. This symbolizes that the person in need puts his hand behind him to receive the largess from the Gomel.

Shiur 7:

At the third Sabbath meal, Rabbi Bowman spoke about Christian Evangelicals and their support for Israel. He has asked them why they support Israel.  He was told that Christian Evangelicals believe in the Torah; and what is said in Chapter 12, Verse 3, is to be taken  literally.

Chapter 12, Verse 3 states:

וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה

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.”

Rabbi Bowman spoke of being at the Christian United for Israel (CUFI) convention.  Two years ago, Rabbi Lopatin spoke from the pulpit about being at the same CUFI convention. 

Rabbi Bowman also mentioned that the Christian Evangelicals have a new slogan, popping up at conventions.  It is Esther 4:14. 

 Esther 4:14 states:

14. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and rescue will arise for the Jews from elsewhere, and you and your father’s household will perish; and who knows whether you attained the kingdom at this time just to save the Jews.”

When Rabbi Shmuel Bowman takes Christian Evangelical ministers to show them the need for shelters, he tells them Esther 4:14.  He tells them that God will provide us with money for shelters, even without your money, however, “who knows whether you attained the kingdom at this time just to save the Jews.”

Shiur 8:

Sunday morning Daf Yomi with Rabbi Ben Sugerman.

Operation Lifeshield