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Please daven for HaRav Slanger, Zvi Dov ben Sheva, who is need of Rachamei Shamayim
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Hosted by Congregation Zichron Eliezer, Cincinnati, OH, it will be an evening of Zimaron commemorating the 50th yartzeit of Harav Eliezer Silver, zt"l. The program will feature a keynote drasha by Harav Yissochor Frand, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, and an overview of Rabbi Silver's impact on the Agudah and worldwide Jewry.    The program is available by phone at 212.444.1323 option 9.
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Baltimore, MD – Jan. 15, 2018 -  It is with deep sadness that (BJL) informs the community of the petirah of Mrs. Chaiya Drabkin, a’h. Levaya will take place Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 at Levinson's at 12:00 PMKevurah at Agudath Israel Cemetery - RosedaleShiva will be observed at 6302 Pimlico Road Baltimore, MD 21209Shacharis 7:30 AMMincha/Maariv: 4:50 PMVisiting Hours: After Shacharis through 12 PM....2:00 PM - 6:00 PM....8:00 PM - 10:30 PMPlease respect the family and adhere to these times for visiting Bila HaMaves LaNetzach…
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former Central Intelligence Agency officer was arrested at a U.S. airport on Monday night in connection with charges that he illegally retained highly classified information, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday. Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a U.S. citizen who now lives in Hong Kong, used to maintain a top secret clearance and began working for the CIA in 1994. The Justice Department said that in 2012, FBI agents searched his hotel rooms during trips to Virginia and Hawaii. They discovered he had two small books containing handwritten information on details such as the true names and numbers of spy recruits and covert CIA employees. He was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Offic...
Residents injured in apartment blaze in Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. United Hatzalah volunteer EMS responders treated nine people who were injured in an apartment fire on Bar Yochai Street in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. The nine, four women, four children and one man, were evacuated from the building by firefighters before receiving treatment for smoke inhalation. All other non-injured residents were evacuated as well. United Hatzalah Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit members and K-9 unit, were on the scene to treat people suffering from shock and psychological stress. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Menachem Leff said: "I, along with other United Hatzalah volunteers who live in close proximity to the area, provided first aid medical treatment to the injured people...
PARIS (AP) — Airbus said Monday it will stop making the costly A380 superjumbo if it can't strike a long-term deal with the airline Emirates for a steady supply of the planes. Abandoning the A380 would be a disappointing defeat for Airbus, which spent many years and many billions developing the double-decker behemoth, even as skeptics questioned the whether it could generate enough demand to justify its cost and the bigger runways it requires. Airbus chief salesman John Leahy told reporters Monday, when Airbus otherwise reported a record number of overall plane deliveries for 2017, that "if we can't work out a deal with Emirates, there is no choice but to shut down the program." He said the Dubai-based airline is "the only one who has the ability" to commit to a minimum ...
Baltimore, Md - Jan. 16, 2018 - Reposted upon request:Rabbinical Council of Greater Baltimore ועד הרבנים ד‘באלטימאר ב׳ אדר תשע״ז February 28, 2017 Dear Members of the Baltimore Jewish Community: The mitzvah of lending money is well known to all of us and is indeed a great act of Gemilas Chassadim. It has come to our attention that some individuals in our community have been borrowing large sums of money from members of our community but, unfortunately, in many instances, have not repaid the loans when due. We are therefore advising each member of our community to speak to his or her Rav before lending money. We also remind everyone of the halacha, that every loan be documented in a dated and signed promissory note or other clear document setting fo...
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Baltimore, MD - Jan. 16, 2018 - As the month of Shevat begins, we approach the new year for the trees. The entire month is also part of the period called Shovavim, the weeks from Parshas Shemos through Mishpatim. This is a time for teshuva and reflection, when we read about our transition from slaves in Mitzrayim to becoming free to serve Hashem. Just as the tree bears many different beautiful fruits, each one of us has unique spiritual abilities that need to be nurtured in order to blossom forth. Click here to listen
Baltimore, MD - Jan. 16, 2018 - The fifth annual Yeshiva Gedolah Ohr Hatorah Shabbos Chizuk and Weekend Retreat was held this past Shabbos, Parshas Va’eira, at Capital Camps Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pa. Located about one hour from Baltimore, in the picturesque mountains of southern Pennsylvania, this sprawling campus has become home to a much anticipated event for every talmid. Close to one hundred and twenty people; talmidim, Hanhalah, Alumni, as well as friends of the Yeshiva and their families came together to be inspired, invigorated and reenergized in midst of winter. And inspired, invigorated and reenergized they were. The stirring tefillos and zemiros, coupled with the variety of divrei Torah and drashos, moved each person in his own way. More than once, the heartfel...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas VaEira - Enough!

It is easier to take Jews out of Galus than to take the Galus out of the Jews

- Chasidic Master

Ever been accused of “being your own worst enemy”?  In a world filled with real dangers, from cheating merchants to terrorists, how could such an accusation have any real merit?  Easy.  As Sol Herzig notes in a column on, we are all confronted in our lives by the, “…sobering fact that serenity and joy are natural states for all of us…”  However, he is quick to point out that we needn’t fear the imminent loss of our treasured discontent, there are any number of methods we can – and do! – employ to ensure that we remain miserable.

I am not a man much enamored by “pop psychology” or “feel good” philosophies that dominate our modern culture.  Quite the contrary.  The superficiality of much of our times disturbs me more than I can say.  But I also know our tradition teaches that God deemed His creation to be good and that we are to enjoy creation and our existence.  Even more to the point, our failure to find joy – to get out of our own way – leaves us vulnerable to real dangers and profound misery.  A determined and internalized sense of galus diminishes us and God. It is powerfully true that we, as Jews, have been victimized too often in history but we are not victims!  We weaken ourselves by continuing to think of ourselves as such.

Even our archetypal experience of victimization – our enslavement in Egypt – needed to be shrugged off before we could realize the promise of freedom God had for us.

“…and I shall take you out from under the burdens (sivlot) of Egypt” (Ex. 6:6)

The Hebrew verb li’sbol means “to suffer”. God promises that He will remove us from the burdens, from the suffering, that was a constant of our existence in MitzrayimLi’sbol also means “to tolerate”.   With this understanding in mind, Rebbe R’ Bunim comments that despite their backbreaking labor, the Children of Israel came to “tolerate” their situation.  In their perspective, slavery was the natural state of being.  They became blind to how terribly bitter it was.  As a result, God had to free them not only from their physical slavery but from their tolerance of their slavery.

Tolerance of evil is worse than the evil itself.

How easy it is to become benumbed to our discomfort!  So much so that we’d rather continue our misery than subject ourselves to the challenge and uncertainty of change and the hope of betterment.  We know from countless studies that long-term prisoners are reluctant to leave their prison cells to face the “outside world”.   So too were the Jews reluctant to leave their “prison” in Egypt. 

As slaves, we didn’t have to “think”, we didn’t have to “risk”, we didn’t have to “feel” honest and true feelings.  All was decided for us.  No uncertainty.  Just burden, to which we became tolerant.   Imagine!  We tolerated – invited – the burden of slavery as though it was our appropriate lot in life!  If it is possible to become tolerant of sivlos Mitzrayim how much more is it to become tolerant of the everyday burdens and challenges, we all confront today!

R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk proclaimed that the first step towards freedom is the willingness to rebel against slavery.  Before being led to Sinai, B’nai Yisrael had to accept God’s great gift of freedom from their savlanut – their tolerance to their slavery.  This, the freedom from tolerance, is the ultimate foundation for geula.  There can be no redemption until galus is utterly rejected.  Indeed, it is this understanding that prompts the Chidushei HaRim to teach us that the posuk should read, “I will deliver you from being tolerant of Egypt.” 

* * *

In last week’s parasha, the Children of Israel criticize Moshe and Aaron for angering Pharaoh by calling for their freedom. They have become so inured to their slavery that they would rather continue as slaves than sacrifice for their freedom.  They had become like the beaten down and despondent worker who faces his miserable shop foreman with a shrug, “What else can I do?  This is my life.”  The necessary implication being, “This is the life I deserve.”


That is not “a life”.  That is slavery.  It is addiction.  It is the antithesis of God’s desire that we enjoy the power and grace of geula!  The slave, the addict, the downtrodden and miserable want only their daily bread, their drug, the inexorable sameness and numbness of their existence.  They do not consider a life of spirituality and meaning. 

Our prison can be anything that benumbs us to that life of meaning.  Drugs.  Sex.  Money.  Fine cars.  Misery.  Anything that we tolerate that keeps us from enjoying the geula that God wants for us is slavery, a prison!  Our first step towards a life of meaning is to become intolerant to enslavement; to value the dignity of liberty over physical gratification; our first step is to declare without qualification, “Enough!” 

Certainly, the generation of Yetziat Mitzrayim had to say, “Enough!” before they could cross the Red Sea and enter the wilderness and, ultimately, receive the Law at Sinai.

“Enough” is more than “ouch” to the pain of the lash.  It is a declaration that the pain of the lash is not “my due”.  It is a statement of absolute refusal.  It is not a negation of what is bad but an embrace of what is good.  It is an embrace of the possibility of geulah.

* * *

If it is difficult to cry out, “Enough!” to the lash of slavery, how much more so is it to say “Enough!” to the numbing satisfactions of an everyday life?

It is told that Rav Nachum of Chernobel once stopped at an inn owned by an old Jew.  At midnight, Rav Nachum sat on the floor to conduct his Tikun Chatzos, crying so bitterly over the Churban that many of the inn’s guests were awakened by his distress. 

Trembling, the Jewish owner rushed to the Rebbe.  “Why are you crying?  Does something hurt?” 

Rav Nachum shook his head.  “I am bemoaning the Churban and the bitter galus.” 

The innkeeper was confused.  “What Churban?  What galus?  What is all the grief about?”

“You don’t know?” Rav Nachum asked.  “Our Temple in Jerusalem was razed.  We were exiled from our Chosen Land because of our sins.”  He studied the innkeeper.  “I am beseeching God to speedily send the Moshiach, so he brings us to Eretz Yisrael.

“Are you ready to go up to the Promised Land?”

The innkeeper shook with fear and raised a hand.  “Wait, Rebbe.  I am going to ask my wife what to do.  She will know.” He hurried away only to return soon after.  “No,” he said, clearly.  “We will not go.  It would be foolish to lose all the chickens, cows, and sheep.  No, it makes no sense to follow Moshiach and leave all this behind!”

Rav Nachum persisted. “Is it really so good here?  Often, the locals rampage, kill and plunder!”

The inn owner once again raised his hand.  “Let me ask my wife.”  Once again, he came back quickly.  “She said that this is our life and it is quite satisfactory, thank you.  She said I should tell you to pray to God to chase away all the evil locals to the Promised Land.  As for us, we will stay here with the chickens, cows and sheep.”

Imagine!  To be satisfied, to be tolerant, of a simple and vulnerable existence for the sake of a few chickens, cows and sheep! 

Foolish people!  To say, “What is so terrible?  It’s a life after all…”  How sad, how familiar a feeling, to not be able to cry out, “Enough!”  How pathetic to accept tzuros rather than embrace God’s gift of geula!

It is time for us all to turn away from the acceptance, the tolerance, the embrace of our own tzuros; to turn away from that insidious and irksome phrase, “It is what it is” (as if that is    an explanation and excuse) and say, “Enough!”  It is time that we all stop thinking a pitiful few “chickens” or “cows” justify misery.  “Enough!”

Geula awaits.

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s something funny about the money making its way around town, but it’s no laughing matter. Police say phony bills are finding their way into wallets and cash registers across the city. Inside Iggy’s on the Upper East Side, the word ‘FAKE’ is clearly written across a counterfeit 20 dollar bill, but the bar manager wishes it was always that easy to spot one. “The main thing we’re all finding is 20s,” Ryan O’Neill told CBS2’s John Dias. “It’s not large, but it adds up.” O’Neill says over the last two weeks, more counterfeit bills have been surfacing in the area. Customers have been using them at his bar, and many other businesses are complaining about the same scam. ...
For the first time, young people with disabilities will be qualified to serve in the Army working with dogs. At the end of their lengthy training, 20 young people with special needs concluded their training course with a presentation of the trained skills of the dogs up to performing a full independent exercise. The training is part of “Special in Uniform” (SIU), a signature program of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which integrates Israeli youths with disabilities—mental and / or physical—into the IDF to serve alongside their fellow countrymen and women. A proud partner of the Jewish National Fund, “Special in Uniform” is working toward its goal to “ensure that the army is a place for everyone.” A distinctive aspect of SIU is t...
Kiddush Levana Jan 19 7:04 pm - Jan 31 1:26 pm
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Cuomo Blasts Opioid Manufacturers for Drug Epidemic; Announces $26M Funding Increase for Alcohol/Substance Abuse Treatment Unveiling his state budget for the 2019 fiscal year Tuesday afternoon in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo took a strong stand against substance abuse, blaming drug manufacturers for the opioid epidemic and allocating millions in funding to the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Hoping to help ease New Yorkers’ financial burdens, Cuomo pledged to find ways to create additional opportunities to fund much needed state programs including those that address the ever-growing use of opioids. “Opioid manufacturers have created an epidemic,” said Cuomo as he announced an opioid surcharge of two cents per milligram to be ...
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Temperatures predicted to fall into the low 20s with wind chill temperatures as low as 10 degrees BALTIMORE, MD (January 16, 2018) — Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen issued a Code Blue declaration for Baltimore City, beginning Wednesday evening, January 17, through the morning of Thursday, January 18. This is the second Code Blue Alert issued this week and the 18th Code Blue day this season. “As we continue to battle dangerously low temperatures, it is important for us to remember that hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be just as dangerous as extreme heat, and every year, there are Baltimoreans who die due to hypothermia,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “I encourage residents to stay indoors in heated areas during t...
Baltimore, MD – Jan. 15, 2018 – It is with sadness that (BJL) informs the community of the petirah of Mrs. Sara Rae Goldfeder, a'h, wife of Gerald Goldfeder, mother of Avi Goldfeder, Aviva Rosenberg, Chaim Goldfeder and Yael Taub. The levaya and kevurah will be held Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at Har HaMenuchos at 12:00 PMThe entire family will sit Shiva at 6224 Turney Way, Dallas TX  75230Bila HaMaves LaNetzach…
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President Trump possesses an almost unprecedented ability to get inside the heads of both fans and foes alike. Trump Derangement Syndrome will surely enter into the next diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Consider, for instance, last week's column, "Why I'm Still a Never Trumper," by Bret Stephens, a worthy Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist and a personal friend. Stephens begins by honestly listing all the things he is happy about in the first year of Trump's presidency: Dramatic cuts in the regulatory burden, lower tax rates, superb picks for the federal judiciary, yes to Keystone, no to Paris, spokes in the wheel Title IX kangaroo courts on university campuses. And on the foreign policy front, the area of Stephens's greatest expertise, it'...
Baltimore, MD - Jan. 16, 2018 - Catching a red-eye flight back to JFK after a business meeting in L.A.? Landing in Newark at 5:50 a.m., after a 12-1/2 hour flight from visiting the grandkids in Israel? Leaving for LaGuardia too early to eat breakfast before going on that long-awaited Saint Martin Island vacation? Have no fear, Fresko Green Label is here! Now the estimated 1.5 million kosher travelers who fly domestically and internationally from JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports, annually, can avail themselves of a large variety of kosher prepared food options packaged under the Fresko and Yummy Sandwich labels, under STAR-K Kosher supervision. No longer do you have to subsist on pretzels and candy that, thankfully, are marked with a reliable kosher symbol! The STAR-K certified Fresko/Y...
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ALBANY — The nation's top court will not hear former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's corruption case, clearing the way for him to be retried on the charges. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Silver’s appeal for a review, which he filed over the summer after a mid-level federal court ordered a retrial. Silver was convicted on corruption charges in 2015 related to his job as one of the state’s most powerful elected officials. Prior to that Silver had resigned as speaker and had faded back into the Assembly’s rank and file. In July, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Silver’s conviction and sent the case back to a lower court for retrial. Appellate judges ruled that under a retooled definition of bribery, the jury i...
Baltimore, MD - Jan. 15, 2018 - Tuesday is Erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat. Traditionally this is known as Yom Kippur Katan, where traditionally pious people fast and add special tefillos. This particular Tuesday, Jan. 16, we plan to hold a special Yom Kippur Katan Mincha minyan in our shul, in the auxiliary Bais HaMedrash, at 4:30 pm. We are doing this because our morning Gemara shiur is beginning Maseches Moed Katan, and there is a tradition to fast before studying that volume, as the last part of it deals with the Halachos of Aveilus (mourning), an area we approach with trepidation. Many of the participants in the morning shiur will be fasting and joining the minyan. We welcome one and all - shiur participants and others - to join us. ### Other Yom Kippr Katan Minyanim are held at the Ag...
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