Thursday, July 28, 2011

You're No Angel

Question of the Week:

 

My religious observance has started to become neurotic. I am forever worried if I am doing things 100% right. Did I say the correct blessing? Did I wash my hands correctly before the meal? Did I accidently break Shabbos? I am scared I am becoming compulsive. On the other hand, I do want to take Jewish law seriously. Can I be fully observant and not go mad?


Answer:


Being careful about mitzvos is a very good thing. When it comes to fulfilling the divine will, every detail matters. But there is a limit. I learnt this when I was studying to be a rabbi. I had a powerful experience that forever changed my view of G-d and His laws.


I was studying in Israel in a rabbinical school with several hundred other students. One morning, just after prayers, one of my friends came over to me with a concerned look on his face. "I think your Tefillin may not be kosher," he told me. (Tefillin are phylacteries. I don't know what phylacteries are.) I asked him what he meant, and he pointed out to me that my head Tefillin didn't look perfectly square. It seemed that one of the corners was not an exact right angle.


This was serious. The hand-made leather boxes of the Tefillin are supposed to be square. If they are not square, then they are not Tefillin. They aren't even phylacteries. If my friend was right, if my Tefillin were slightly off, then I hadn't been wearing kosher Tefillin for years. I had been putting on unsquare unkosher Tefillin every day, which is as good as not putting Tefillin on at all.

 

I knew what I needed to do. I needed my head Tefillin examined. I rushed straight away to an expert in Jewish law. He was a senior rabbi who was famous for his decisive and clear judgments in Jewish law.  I brought him my Tefillin and asked if he could advise me. I showed him the black leather box, pointing out the imperfect corner, and fearfully awaited his verdict.


The rabbi inspected the Tefillin, looked at me with his kind and wise eyes and smiled. He responded with one line, a quote from the Talmud: "The Torah wasn't given to angels."


I immediately understood what he meant. My Tefillin were just fine. When the Torah says to make your Tefillin square, it means you should make them as square as human hands are capable of doing. We are not angels who can make perfect angles. We are humans who can only do our best. And that is exactly what G-d requires from us.


If G-d wanted perfection, He would not have created us fallible humans. So obviously that's not what He wants. He wants us humans, with all our imperfections, to make every effort within our means to fulfil our divine purpose.

 
That means our squares won't be absolutely perfect squares, and our angles won't be exactly right. It means we all make mistakes and get it wrong sometimes. But that's alright. We are not angels. We are not expected to be. To do our utmost, and yet remain imperfect, that is perfectly human.


Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss 

 

 

To subscribe email rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au

NEW CLASSES

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Meaningful Motherhood - A discussion group for mothers and babies with Nechama Dina Moss & Shternie Dadon Mondays 10:00 - 11:00am at Nefesh

S.T.E.P. Module 7 The Jewish Calendar with Rabbi Chaiton Mondays 8:15 - 9:15pm 25 July - 19 September At 45 Bellevue Road

ABC's of Love - An advanced search for soulmates with Rabbi Moss Tuesday 8:15 - 9:30pm 16 August at Nefesh    

Hebrew Reading Hour - Learn to read Hebrew in 7 weeks with Uncle Velvel *Bookings Essential office@bina.com.au Wednesdays 7:45 - 8:45pm 27 July - 14 September at 17 Anglesea Street      

Hebrew Reading Fluency - Improve your confidence, fluency and understanding with Rabbi Spielman *Bookings Essential office@bina.com.au 7:30 - 8:15pm Wednesdays 27 July - 14 September at 45 Bellevue Road     

Kabbalah of the Talmud - Life changing lessons from mystical interpretations of Talmudic Allegories with Rabbi Chaiton Wednesdays 8:15 - 9:15pm 10 Aug -7 September at 45 Bellevue Road     

Health Brain Healthy Heart - Making your intellect and emotion work for you and your relationships with Rabbi Gourarie Wednesdays 8:15 - 9:15pm 17 August - 31 August at the Jewish House 

The Makings of a Mensch - Lessons in good living from the wise with Rabbi Moss Thursdays 1:00 - 2:00pm, lunch included, ABL, Level 24, Chifley Towers, Sydney CBD

 and much more at www.bina.com.au

NEFESH SERVICES - 54 Roscoe St Bondi Beach 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

Friday

Candlelighting 4:54pm

 

5:05pm Mincha followed by shiur 

 

6:30pm - 7:15pm Shabbos Service followed by Kiddush

 

Shabbos day

9am Class on Weekly Parsha

10am -12:15pm Morning Service with kids' program followed by Kiddush sponsored by Reverend & Mrs Amzalak in honour of the complete and remarkable recovery of their grandson Mendy.

Mincha 4:50pm followed by Seudah Shlishis and Maariv

Shabbos ends 5:53pm 

 

Sunday

8am Shachris followed by breakfast 

 

Monday

Rosh Chodesh Av

7am Shachris followed by Chassidus

 

Thursday

7am Shachris followed by Chassidus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
This email was sent to shmuly77d@gmail.com by rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au |  
nefesh | 54 roscoe st | bondi beach | NSW | 2026 | Australia

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are You More Than a Fashion Statement?

Question of the Week:

 

Hoping you can help with a translation. I recently bought a new suit, and my aunt said to me something like, "Tetchadesh!" I asked her what it means and she said it is Hebrew and you say it when someone gets new clothing. So I asked her again what it means and she sort of said something like, "wear in good health," but she really didn't know exactly what it means. So what does it mean?

 

Answer:

You may be surprised at the true meaning of this blessing for new clothes. It actually translates: "May you wear it out and need a new one."

This is not a Yiddish curse disguised as a blessing (like the one that goes, "May you make a lot of money and be the only one in your family with it.") This is a real blessing. You should outlive your clothing. You should use your material possessions well and be able to replace them. Your suit will be worn out, but you will keep on trucking, and buy a new one.

There could be a deeper blessing here too. As exciting as a new suit is, it won't last forever. The clothes we wear are no more than an external fa├žade, and the way you look today will not be the way you look in a few years from now. Fashions come and go. Make sure you don't go out with the latest fashion.

Don't define yourself by your appearance. There is something beyond your exterior look, there is your true self. When your clothes wear out, will there be anything left? Do you have anything more to say with your life than a fashion statement? Your aunt blessed you that the real you should remain true to itself. Tetchadesh!

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss
 

 

To subscribe email rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au

NEW CLASSES

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Meaningful Motherhood - A discussion group for mothers and babies with Nechama Dina Moss & Shternie Dadon Mondays 10:00 - 11:00am at Nefesh

S.T.E.P. Module 7 The Jewish Calendar with Rabbi Chaiton Mondays 8:15 - 9:15pm 25 July - 19 September At 45 Bellevue Road

ABC's of Love - An advanced search for soulmates with Rabbi Moss Tuesday 8:15 - 9:30pm 16 August at Nefesh    

Hebrew Reading Hour - Learn to read Hebrew in 7 weeks with Uncle Velvel *Bookings Essential office@bina.com.au Wednesdays 7:45 - 8:45pm 27 July - 14 September at 17 Anglesea Street      

Hebrew Reading Fluency - Improve your confidence, fluency and understanding with Rabbi Spielman *Bookings Essential office@bina.com.au 7:30 - 8:15pm Wednesdays 27 July - 14 September at 45 Bellevue Road     

Kabbalah of the Talmud - Life changing lessons from mystical interpretations of Talmudic Allegories with Rabbi Chaiton Wednesdays 8:15 - 9:15pm 10 Aug -7 September at 45 Bellevue Road     

Health Brain Healthy Heart - Making your intellect and emotion work for you and your relationships with Rabbi Gourarie Wednesdays 8:15 - 9:15pm 17 August - 31 August at the Jewish House 

The Makings of a Mensch - Lessons in good living from the wise with Rabbi Moss Thursdays 1:00 - 2:00pm, lunch included, ABL, Level 24, Chifley Towers, Sydney CBD

 and much more at www.bina.com.au

NEFESH SERVICES - 54 Roscoe St Bondi Beach 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

Friday

Candlelighting 4:50pm

 

5:00pm Mincha followed by shiur 

 

6:30pm - 7:15pm Shabbos Service followed by Kiddush sponsored by Assia Kichkin in honour of Gabi's birthday - mazel tov!

 

Shabbos day

9am Class on Weekly Parsha

10am -12:15pm Morning Service with kid's programfollowed by Kiddush sponsored in honour of Paul 'Pauly' Schaffer's Bar Mitzvah Anniversary by his Nefesh friends - mazel tov! 
 

Mincha 4:45pm followed by Seudah Shlishis and Maariv

 

Shabbos ends 5:48pm 

 

Sunday

8am Shachris followed by breakfast in honour of the end of the Shiva of Sassoon Hai ben Mazal z"l

 

Monday and Thursday

7am Shachris followed by Chassidus

 

 

 

 

 
 
This email was sent to shmuly77d@gmail.com by rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au |  
nefesh | 54 roscoe st | bondi beach | NSW | 2026 | Australia

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Conflict Resolution Over Challah

Question of the Week:

 

I noticed on Friday night at the meal that before you blessed the Challah, you made a small cut in one of the loaves. What is the meaning of this custom?
 
Answer:

 

There are two reasons for making a cut in the Challah before the blessing. One reason is technical, the other mystical.
 
The technical reason is that we are supposed to minimise the time gap between making a blessing on food and eating it. So really when eating bread, we should start cutting the slice before we make the blessing. But on Shabbos we can't do that, because on Shabbos the bread we bless must be whole, not cut. Shabbos is the day that brought wholeness and completion to creation, and so we honour it by blessing on complete loaves.
 
So we have a conflict. On the one hand we are supposed to cut the bread before the blessing so as not to delay between blessing and eating, but on the other hand we can't cut the bread before the blessing, because then it won't be whole. So we compromise. We don't actually slice the bread, but we make a small mark so as to quicken the slicing but still leave the loaf whole. This is the ideal way to deal with two conflicting forces. Come up with a third option that satisfies both.
 
That's the technical reason. Here's the mystical one. By making a small cut on the bread, we are actually placing G-d's name onto the Challah and inviting the divine presence to join our meal.
 
There are many names of G-d in Hebrew. The holiest of divine names is spelt Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh. It is this name that we form on the Challah. The little cut is in the shape of a Yud, a small line. The five fingers on each of our two hands that hold the Challah are the two Hehs, which is the fifth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. And the Challah itself is in the shape of a Vav, a straight line between the two Hehs. So as we grasp the Challah and make the blessing, we literally invoke G-d's name onto our bread.
 
These two explanations for slivering the Challah - compromising between two conflicting demands, and stamping G-d's name on our food - represent the two most important elements to a Jewish home, harmony and holiness. Harmony means creating balance in our relationships with our fellow, holiness means enhancing our relationship with G-d. The Shabbos meal is the perfect scene to work on both - finding harmony among conflicting viewpoints around the table, and creating holiness by bringing more G-dliness into the conversation.

 

This is the symbolism behind the slicing of the Challah. That little slice is in fact pretty big. 
 
Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss
 

 

To subscribe email rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au

Marriage Preparation Course at Nefesh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Getting married in the near future? Come join us for a fun and pracitical look at love and marriage:

 

- Jewish wisdom on relationships

- The meaning behind the wedding ceremony

- The Power of the Mikvah

- Spiritual guide to marriage

- A deeper look at men and women

 

Three Wednesday nights, August 3, 10 and 17, 8:00 - 9:30pm at 128 Wellington St Bondi.

 

Course cost: $150 per couple (free for Nefesh members), includes separate Mikvah classes for brides and private meeting with the rabbi, total five classes.

 

To register please CLICK HERE or email the office with any queries: office@nefesh.com.au

Guest lecture at Nefesh, this Wednesday July 20 8pm

NEFESH SERVICES - 54 Roscoe St Bondi Beach 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

Friday

Candlelighting 4:46pm

4:55pm Mincha followed by shiur 

6:30pm - 7:15pm Shabbos Service followed by Kiddush

 

Shabbos day

9am Class on Weekly Parsha
10am -12:15pm Morning Service with kid's program followed by Kiddush sponsored by Allen Rosenberg in honour of the shloshim of his late wife Anita Rosenberg Z'L, daughter of Fay Bernstein.

Mincha 4:35pm followed by Seudah Shlishis

 

Shabbos ends 5:44pm 

 

Sunday

8am Shachris followed by breakfast and beginners Talmud 

 

Monday and Thursday

7am Shachris followed by Chassidus

 

 

 

 
This email was sent to shmuly77d@gmail.com by rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au |  
nefesh | 54 roscoe st | bondi beach | NSW | 2026 | Australia

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Honey, I Don't Want Your Money

Question of the Week:

 

I recently attended a Chassidic wedding. It was a very different experience. One thing I had never seen before is that the bride wears a veil at the Chuppah that is so thick she can't see anything at all, and no one can see her face at all. What is the reason behind this?
 
Answer:

 

There's an old stereotype when it comes to marriage. Men marry women for their looks. Women marry men for their money. As cynical as this view may be, there is some truth to it.

 

Men fall for beauty. The fact that there are plenty of pretty girls with rotten character does nothing to stop the male quest for a beauty queen. And so, many wonderful girls are overlooked simply because they do not fit into today's narrow and superficial definition of beauty.

 

Meanwhile, women say they want a man who is financially stable, which is often just a euphemism for a rich guy. Somehow she thinks that if he has a seven digit bank balance he will know how to look after her. As if buying expensive jewellery and luxurious holidays is the only way to show her he really cares. And the really nice guys who are not such high flyers are often left behind.

 

Of course we need to be attracted to our spouse. And of course we all need money to survive. But these are not the most essential ingredients for a happy marriage. Too often people fall for the outer version of what they truly seek. Rather than physical beauty, what we are really looking for is inner beauty and a sweet heart. It is not wealth we seek, what we really want is a steadfast and dependable source of moral support. Looks and money are poor substitutes for good character and emotional supportiveness. It is only when we see beyond these external features and meet a real person that we have a chance of finding and keeping our soulmate.

This is the message behind the thick veil. When the groom veils his bride, he is telling her, "I am not marrying you for your pretty face. I am marring you for the beautiful person you are. So I can marry you with your face covered. Your beauty shines from within." And the bride being veiled is telling him, "This veil will prevent me from seeing what type of wedding ring you place on my finger. I don't care. I will accept whatever ring you give, because along with it I get you. It is you I want to marry, not your money or the jewellery you buy me."

 

A rich guy can lose his money, a pretty girl her looks. But inner beauty and spiritual wealth are ours forever. A marriage based on such eternal values will conquer just about anything. The bride's face may be veiled, but her vision is clearer than ever.

 

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss

 

To subscribe email rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au

 

Marriage Preparation Course at Nefesh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Getting married in the near future? Come join us for a fun and pracitical look at love and marriage:

 

- Jewish wisdom on relationships

- The meaning behind the wedding ceremony

- The Power of the Mikvah

- Spiritual guide to marriage

- A deeper look at men and women

 

Three Wednesday nights, August 3, 10 and 17, 8:00 - 9:30pm at 128 Wellington St Bondi.

 

Course cost: $150 per couple (free for Nefesh members), includes separate Mikvah classes for brides and private meeting with the rabbi, total five classes.

 

To register please CLICK HERE or email the office with any queries: office@nefesh.com.au

NEFESH SERVICES - 54 Roscoe St Bondi Beach 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

Friday

Candlelighting 4:42pm

4:50pm Mincha followed by shiur 

6:30pm - 7:15pm Shabbos Service followed by Kiddush in honour of Nechama Dina Moss's birthday - Mazel Tov!   

 

Shabbos day

9am Class on Weekly Parsha
10am -12:15pm Morning Service with kid's program followed by Kiddush co-sponsored by Roi & Yifat Amar on the occasion of the birth of their daughter,  and Tom Moss who is together with Ron Moss & Kathy Penn commemorating Yorzheit of their mother Miriam Bluma bas Benyomin Zev Z'L- long life.

Mincha 4:35pm followed by Seudah Shlishis in honour of the birth of a baby girl to Danny and Romy Lessem - mazel tov!

 

Shabbos ends 5:41pm 

 

Sunday

8am Shachris (no Talmud class this week)  

 

Monday and Thursday

7am Shachris 

 

 

This email was sent to shmuly77d@gmail.com by rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au |  
nefesh | 54 roscoe st | bondi beach | NSW | 2026 | Australia