Thursday, September 24, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
BY: RABBI YISROEL JUNGREIS and RABBI OSHER ANSHEL JUNGREIS
Book Review by: Guest Contributor, Fern Sidman
In order to keep us afloat and exhilarated for the upcoming new year, Artscroll Publications has released an exceptionally enlightening and incredibly inspiring compendium of Torah insights, entitled "Torah For Your Table", penned by brothers, Rabbi Yisroel and Osher Anshel Jungreis. If the surname of the writers sound at all familiar, these Rabbis are the sons of the internationally renowned Torah luminary, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, and it is she who has masterfully compiled all of her sons' Torah lectures into this impressive volume for use at home, school or synagogue. The authors have most befittingly dedicated this monumental work of intellectual and spiritual gravitas to their beloved father and mentor, the esteemed Torah scholar, Rabbi Meshulum HaLevi Jungreis, ZT"L.
It is in these pages of "Torah For Your Table" that the brothers Jungreis make it abundantly clear that the key to our survival as Jews can only be found in our unbreakable bond with our G-d and our consistent devotion to His Torah. History has proven that it was the stubborn insistence on the part of the Jew to study Torah, despite the punishments inflicted upon them by their tormentors, that served as our eternal life raft in the tumultuous waters of time. The authors tell us that the legacy of the Jewish people is inextricably tied to our ultimate blessing; our acceptance of the Torah at Sinai. Thus, Hashem has bequeathed to us a precious "road map" called the Torah, in order that we may successfully navigate the often uneven terrain of everyday life and in His munificence, has provided us with the exclusive source of our cherished and unique value system.
Our sojourn through the weekly Torah portions; from Bereishis through Devarim (Genesis to Deuteronomy) is brilliantly enhanced by the profoundly personal, highly original and erudite interpretations of both authors; while their cogent concepts remain traditionally predicated upon the teachings of our commentators and sages of blessed memory. Teaching Torah as it applies to each of us as individuals is no small task, but Rabbi Yisroel and Rabbi Osher speak to our hearts and souls by prodigously paving the path to a comprehensive understanding for students from all backgrounds and all levels of observance. It is apparent that the flames of Torah burn bright in this classic tome, as the passion, warmth and love that the authors have infused here can only be termed palpable..
This refreshingly honest book does not aim to sugarcoat Torah precepts that the world at large may find "politically incorrect" but rather offers a sagacious perspective on the salient and nuanced points in each parsha and how they personally relate to our lives. Citing a plethora of Midrashic and Talmudic sources, the subject matter covered here includes the veritable gamut of Torah related concepts such as the power of prayer, performing chesed, the establishment of a Torah true home, respecting our parents and teachers, designating time for regular Torah study, sensitizing ourselves to the needs of others and the critical importance of remaining ever vigilant concerning our conduct and speech, among hundreds of other timeless concepts.
Reminding us of the infamous words of King Solomon who said, "Death and life are in the tongue", the authors teach us that through the power of speech we have within our capability to create or destroy. "There are more commandments in the Torah in regard to speech than to any other mitzvah; seventeen negative and fourteen positive mitzvos", the authors teach us, adding the admonition, "Think before you speak and ask yourself, 'Will my words generate light or darkness, love or hatred, blessing or curse?' The choice is yours to make. Use your Divine gift of speech carefully and wisely, in the service of the Almighty."
Concerning the tenet of "Gemilus Chasadim" (acts of loving kindness) we learn that our proclivities for such kindness and largesse can be found in our spiritual DNA, as we are taught about the "Ark Rehab" that Noach endured. Of Noach and his family, the authors teach, "In the Ark they had to care for all the animals that G-d had commanded them to gather; backbreaking labor consumed them day and night. Yet through that labor they learned the meaning of chesed - reaching out with gemilus chasadim - one of the pillars on which G-d built His world."
We are also treated to especially poignant anecdotes about beloved members of the Jungreis family and how their living example of Torah precepts helped shape the character of the authors. They recall with great love, "Our bobbe, Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a'h, was a true embodiment of this trait of chesed. Her life was one of constant giving, and even in her last days, as illness racked her frail body, she continued to organize chesed programs for needy Russian immigrants, explaining that if she could not offer help to others, her life had no meaning."
In our fast paced and harried existence, quality time for genuine communication with our families and friends has become severely limited. It would appear that the only time that we have to communicate is at meal time and the authors urge us to use the time we spend at our dining room tables wisely. Rather than engage in mundane chit chat, it is imperative to use our communication skills to impart Torah values to our spouses, children, extended families, friends and guests. Thus, the title of this book, "Torah For Your Table" is not intended as a stellar guide for exclusive use on Shabbos and Yom Tov but for each and every day of the week. Whether it be Monday morning breakfast, Sunday lunch or Wednesday night dinner, we must start off the new year in the proper manner. Throughout the weeks and months ahead we can savor the feeling of re-birth that fills our hearts on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur by making this invaluable Torah companion a staple item at our tables.
Moreover, this parsha book represents a most significant, historic and vital contribution to the corpus of books on Torah literature and its impact will certainly be felt in this generation and generations to come. No home, school, community center or synagogue library should be without it !! A must read for anyone seeking Torah knowledge !!
ORDER BOOK HERE: http://www.artscroll.com/Products/TYTH.html
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In the Torah reading of this day we are told about the birth of Yitzhak. We then read about his relationship with his brother Ishmael. His mother Sarah saw the bad influence this association had and she demanded of Avraham to send Ishmael away from the household. Avraham refused. Why did he disagree with his wife? Did he not see the evil influence that Ishmael had on Yitzhak?
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Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This coming Shabbat is the LAST SHABBAT of the year - just before Rosh Hashana 5770 (The Jewish New Year - aka. Judgement day) That is right, this is the last shabbat of 5769!
A good tip: try to do something this Shabbat that you may not be capable of doing consistently all year round. Make this Shabbat count!
Here are just some examples to get the ideas rolling:
- Set aside 2 minutes in the daytime to read some tehillim (psalms).
- Set aside only 1 minute and think of how you can make another Jew happy.
- Say Modeh Ani with concentration and gratitude when you wake up in the morning.
- Say Shema before you go to sleep at night.
- Say the first chapter of Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals) slowly, and with proper concentration.
- Say "Shabbat Shalom" to a random Jew on the street. With a Big Smile. (:
- Take 1 minute and appreciate the fact that G-d is giving you air to breathe.
May we all have a good Rosh Hashana and may we be zoche to a ketiva v'chatima tova!
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Sunday, September 6, 2009
Regardless of make or year, all units known as "human beings" are being recalled by the Manufacturer. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named "Adam" and "Eve" resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect is technically termed, "Serious Internal Non-morality," but more commonly known as "SIN."
Some of the symptoms of the SIN defect:
[a] Loss of direction
[b] Lack of peace and joy
[d] Foul vocal emissions
The Manufacturer is providing factory authorized repair service free of charge to correct the SIN defect.
The Repair Technician, Hashem, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. To repeat, there is no fee required.
The number to call in for repair in all areas is: PRAYER.
Once connected, please upload the burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Hashem, into the heart component of the human unit.. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Hashem will replace it with:
Please see the operating manual, TORAH, for further details on the use of these fixes. As an added upgrade, the Manufacturer has made available to all repaired units a facility enabling direct monitoring and assistance from the resident Maintenance Technician, Hashem. Repaired units need only make Him welcome and He will take up residence on the premises.
WARNING: Continuing to operate a human being unit without corrections voids the Manufacturer's warranty, exposes the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list, and will ultimately result in the human unit being incinerated.
Thank you for your immediate attention.
Please assist by notifying others of this important recall notice.
Have an uplifting Chodesh Elul!
Share with Family and Friends!