Baltimore, MD – June 11, 2024  -  BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Mr. and Mrs. Shragi Rabinowitz on the birth of a son. יה"ר שיזכו לגדל בנם לתורה, לחופה, ולמעשים טובים. אמן!
The midrash (Mechilta Yisro 5, Sifrei V’zos HaBerachah 343) recounts the events that preceded matan Torah. HaShem offered the Torah to the other nations before offering it to B’nei Yisrael. When He approached the descendants of Eisav, they asked, “What is written in it?” HaShem responded “Thou shall not murder.” The offer was subsequently rejected as they were unable to commit to that provision for Eisav ultimately lives by the sword. When the sons of Ammon and Mo’av were approached and were told that the Torah included a prohibition against illicit relations, they rejected the offer for the very source of Ammon and Mo’av was the incestual relationship between Lot and his daughters. The Yishmaelites were given the same off...
Baltimore, MD – June 11, 2024  - It is with regret that Baltimore Jewish Life (BJL) informs the community of the petira of  R’ Berish Meth, z’l, husband of Mrs. Shifra Meth, and father of Sarah Ney, Reuven (Debra) Meth, Chalavna (Malky) Meth and Uri (Devorah) Meth.Shiva will be observed until 5:30PM today, erev Yom Tov, at 6507 Deancroft Road, Baltimore,, MD, 21209Reuven is not in Baltimore. Mincha at 5:30PMShiva will conclude with the start of Yom Tov Bila Hamaves LaNetzach...
Hamas has given Qatari and Egyptian mediators its official response to the proposal for a hostage and ceasefire deal, Barak Ravid of Axios reported on Tuesday, citing two sources with knowledge of the issue. Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan later told Al Mayadeen that Hamas' response included several comments on the proposal, which was recently outlined by US President Joe Biden. He said Hamas is committed to what it said before, which is the demand for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. Hamas and Islamic Jihad said in a joint statement, "A joint delegation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad delivered tonight the answer of the resistance factions to the Qataris during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Qatar. The answer was also de...
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Baltimore, MD -  June 11, 2024  - On Sunday June 9th, the Yeshiva hosted its annual national Yarchei Kallah on campus.  The sugya d’kalla was Geirus. Those who attended in person or viewed the sessions via livestream enjoyed hearing from Moreinu Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Aharon Feldman, Menahel Ruchani Harav Beryl Weisbord, Menahel Harav Boruch Neuberger, Harav Dovid Rosenbaum as well as Rabbi Duvi Rubin. Talmidim returned to campus and filled the beis medrash with their kol haTorah as we prepared together for the upcoming Yom Tov of Shavuos and Kabolas HaTorah. Seeing so many fellow talmidim come back and learn in Yeshiva was truly special. Once again communities outside of Baltimore set up ”satellite” locations to participate in this year’s Yarchei Kal...
Baltimore, MD - June 11, 2024  - Rabbi Tuvia Tessler's first grade Yeshivas Toras Simcha students built shtenders for shavuos with their rebbe's help.  Each shtender has a picture of the student learning chumash.  Rabbi Tessler told each student to take home his shtender for yom tov and use it to learn Torah over Shavuos.
Baltimore, MD – June 11 2024 -  BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Kasriel Yavne & Miriam Rosenberg on their engagement. Mazel Tov to Rabbi Shlomo & Sarah Yavne and Chaim & Sora Rochel Rosenberg יה"ר שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל. אמן!
Baltimore, MD - June 11, 2024 - Click on the graphic below for a printable version
Parsha Hashavua
Shavuos 5784 - The Not-So-Innocent Question

The midrash (Mechilta Yisro 5, Sifrei V’zos HaBerachah 343) recounts the events that preceded matan Torah. HaShem offered the Torah to the other nations before offering it to B’nei Yisrael. When He approached the descendants of Eisav, they asked, “What is written in it?” HaShem responded “Thou shall not murder.” The offer was subsequently rejected as they were unable to commit to that provision for Eisav ultimately lives by the sword. When the sons of Ammon and Mo’av were approached and were told that the Torah included a prohibition against illicit relations, they rejected the offer for the very source of Ammon and Mo’av was the incestual relationship between Lot and his daughters. The Yishmaelites were given the same offer. When they asked what such a commitment would entail, they were told that it would be forbidden to steal. Thievery being the essence of the descendants of Yishmael, they were unable to commit to follow the Torah. The Midrash states that there was not one nation that was not offered the Torah but no one would accept it. When B’nei Yisrael were approached they all declared in unison “na’aseh v’nishma,” we will do and we will listen.


R’ Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, asks a very simple question on this midrash. Why was the sample law given to each nation one that contradicted their very existence and thus, certain to lead to rejection? Why were they not given a taste of the Torah that was more likely to please them? R’ Weinberg answers that HaShem’s actual response to the nations was of little relevance. The very moment that they asked what is written in the Torah, they disqualified themselves from receiving it. By making their acceptance of the Torah contingent upon their approval of its contents, the nations showed a lack of commitment which is incongruous with a Torah nation. Torah must be at the forefront while society is built around it. When the nations asked their seemingly innocent question, they showed that they were not prepared to give up their ideals for Torah. HaShem, therefore, answered them in such a way that showed them that Torah was not for them.


The response of B’nei Yisrael was the exact opposite. They did not flinch. They did not vacillate. They accepted the Torah with true faith and showed no concern for their own agendas. This is why their response is so vital to the process of matan Torah. With this understanding, we ourselves have the opportunity to reach the level of “na’aseh v’nishma” in our own way. By subordinating ourselves to the values of the Torah, we show, like our ancestors did, that we are ready to commit unequivocally to a life of Torah. If we set our standards in accordance with the Torah, not allowing them to be tainted by the contrary influences of society, we are, indeed, showing our true devotion to the word of HaShem, much like our forefathers did at the foot of Har Sinai when they accepted the Torah.


I recently heard an intriguing question which might perhaps spur some discussion over the Shavuos table:  Suppose the Jews had responded first inquiring what was written in it. What might the response have been?


Have a chag samei'ach!

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A jury panel of 12 Delaware residents on Tuesday found Hunter Biden guilty of three federal gun charges, marking the first criminal conviction of a sitting president’s child. President Biden’s son was convicted after roughly three hours of deliberation of three felony counts alleging he lied about his use of illicit drugs when obtaining a gun in 2018, and then unlawfully possessed the firearm for 11 days.   Hunter Biden’s trial which lasted just over a week, spotlighted his addiction to crack cocaine at the time he checked “no” on a federal gun purchase form questioning whether he unlawfully used or was addicted to narcotics or other drugs.  Several women from Hunter Biden’s past and present – including his ex-...
Baltimore, MD – June 11, 2024 – 11:06AM - Due to ongoing roadwork, Park Heights is experiencing significant disruptions today. Expect heavy traffic northbound between Clarinth and Fallstaff, and between Strathmore & Pinkney. Also, be aware that the right lane near 7 Mile Lane is blocked. Plan alternate routes and allow extra time for your erev yom travel.
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Baltimore, MD - June 10, 2024 -  What an amazing night! Over 200 educators, family members and school administrators joined Jewish Educational Services, a program of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, last week for the 2024 JES Educator Awards Celebration and Annual Meeting, to pay tribute not only to 10 amazing awardees, but to the more than 100 educators who were nominated, and to all the teachers in our community who dedicate their lives to their students and to Jewish education. The attendees represented most of the Baltimore Jewish Day, Congregational and Early Childhood schools, coming together to celebrate Jewish education as a community.  The beautifully arranged desserts, unique table centerpieces and exclusive gifts were all part of JES’ efforts to d...
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Diaspora-Sourced Torah Scroll Finds New Home at Israel's First Pre-Military Agricultural Preparatory Program Jerusalem, Israel - June 11, 2024 -In a momentous event on the eve before Shavuot, the holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah, HaShomer HaChadash Pre-Military Preparatory Program, also known as Mechina, inaugurated its first Sefer Torah, brought from the United States to Eretz Yisrael, marking a significant milestone for the organization. The Torah, restored by a couple in the US, was part of a project to rehabilitate Torah scrolls from inactive communities. This initiative honors the  father of the husband, who carried a Torah while fleeing the Holocaust. In recent years, this couple - who wished to remain anonymous - has donated three refurbished Torah scrolls to...
Anti-Israel protesters held a demonstration yesterday (Monday) outside an exhibition in New York City detailing the horrific events that occurred when the Nova music festival was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7. The demonstration, which was dubbed the 'Citywide Day of Rage for Gaza,' began at Union Square. Protesters marched to downtown Manhattan and the site of the Nova Music Festival Exhibition. Video from the protest shows a woman leading the crowd in chants justifying the massacre committed at the music festival. "When the Zionists decided to rave," the woman yelled and the crowd repeated after her, word for word, "next to a concentration camp, that's exactly what this music festival was. It's like have a rave right next to the gas chambers during the H...
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The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, visiting Jerusalem on Tuesday, said that Hamas' statement of support for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution backing a proposal for the ceasefire-hostage deal is a "hopeful sign," but definitive word was still needed from the Hamas leadership in Gaza. According to Blinken, the talks will continue on Tuesday afternoon and in the next couple of days. "It's imperative that we have these plans," he said, referring to the post-war Gaza administration. The U.S. State Secretary met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and President Isaac Herzog. Blinken's visit to Jerusalem comes after the U.S. President Joe Biden's proposal for a cea...
Dr. Itai Pessach of Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, who is in charge of medical treatment for the four Israeli hostages who were rescued on Saturday, told CNN in an interview on Monday that they were beaten while in Hamas captivity in Gaza. “It was a harsh, harsh, experience, with a lot of abuse, almost every day,” he said, adding, “Every hour, both physical, mental, and other types, and that is something that is beyond comprehension.” Pessach said the eight months spent in captivity “left a significant mark on their health” and despite appearing in good condition initially, they are all malnourished. “They had no protein, so their muscles are extremely wasted, there is damage to some other systems because of that,” he ...
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Baltimore, MD - June 11, 2024  - Baltimore City Schools continues to get more funding, but new numbers show student achievement is going in the wrong direction. Project Baltimore looked at the most recent numbers, which show less than half of last year’s ninth graders were on track to graduate in four years. Dr. Sonja Santelises, at the end of June, will complete her eighth year as Baltimore City Schools CEO. Her contract expires on June 30, and there’s still no word on whether she will sign a new one. Now, with negotiations coming down to the wire, a Project Baltimore investigation has found alarming numbers concerning student achievement. “Well, I will always be concerned until we get closer to 90 or 100%,” Dr. Santelises told Project Baltimore. Accordin...
⛰️ Shavuos Video: The Humble Mountain 🏔️ Enjoy this video, and have a beautiful Yom Tov. Feel free to pass along. https://bit.ly/3jtPuUH
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