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Congregation Brothers of Israel

L'dor Vador - From Generation to Generation since 1883 לדור ודור

 

Inspirational message from AISH. Be sure to read to the end.
Shmot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) 
The Gift of Life 
by Rabbi Eli Scheller 
He said to his people, "Behold! The people, the children of Israel, are more numerous and stronger than
we... (Ex. 1:9).

The Egyptians were frightened by the growth of the Jewish population. They were afraid that if a war broke out the Jews would join their enemies and force them out of their own land. Pharaoh summoned his three chief advisors: Bilam, Job and Yisro, to ask their advice on how to deal with this situation. Bilam advised killing the Jews, and he himself was later killed. Job kept quiet and was punished with a life of suffering. Yisro ran away and was rewarded with descendants who became the heads of the Sanhedrin.(1) It is clear that Bilam deserved a far greater punishment than Job, since Job didn't commit an active crime - he merely remained silent. However, it seems that Job's punishment was actually greater than that of Bilam. While Bilam suffered a quick death, Job had to endure suffering the likes of which no other man has ever experienced. How can this be understood?

To be alive is, in itself, the greatest gift possible. Life is full of opportunities, and despite the presence of any pain or suffering no matter how bad, life is still infinitely greater than death. Consequently, Bilam's punishment was far more severe than Job's. While Job still had the gift of life, Bilam lost it forever.(2)

To determine whether a fish is alive one must see if it can swim upstream. Being alive means that you're accomplishing and growing. Every moment in life is a priceless opportunity to grow and create a connection with God.

Late one night, R' Yisrael Salanter noticed a shoe maker at work fixing shoes. He asked him, "Why are you working so late?" The man replied, "As long as the candle is still burning, I can still fix the shoes." As long as we are still in this world we can grow and do good deeds, but once the candle goes out our time is up. Whatever we have we have, but we can't fix any more.

NOTES

1. Sotah 11a.

2. R' Chaim Shmuelevitz (Sichos Mussar, Parshas Shemos, Ma'amar 29).

 

On-Line Learning

 

Rabbi Gaber will be leading several Adult Education programs using ZOOM Web conferencing technology.  "You don’t have to leave the warmth and comfort of your home to have a discussion on confronting Antisemitism and Hate or the Human Genome or to discuss how to bring Judaism into the 21st century.  Approximately twice a month, I will be leading an online class.  You will not  only be able to hear me and see me, you will also see your friends in the same virtual classroom.  There an interesting line up of  webinars throughout the rest of the winter. Our CBOI Online learning program has a dedicated link: https://zoom.us/j/7686776767.     All you need do is enter this link into your favorite browser and follow the instructions.  If you get stuck, please let me know and I will help you get on line."

Observant Life

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Chaired by Dr. Ellier Russ with the assistance of the Rabbi, this committee coordinates programs and classes to engage members in lifelong learning. Events include our yearly Scholar in Residence program, Talmud Study, Mah Nishtanah: What’s Different About Today’s Judaism, The Observant Life Book Series and more. Guest speakers, online webinars and Shabbat morning discussions additionally provide congregants with opportunities to expand their knowledge of Judaism and living a Jewish life.

TALMUD

 In fulfilling the following commandments one enjoys the yield in this world while the principal remains for a eternity, honoring father and mother, performing deeds of loving kindness, punctually attending the house of study morning and evening, showing hospitality to strangers, visiting the sick, helping the needy bride, attending the dead, praying .with devotion, and making peace between individuals. And the merit of Torah study is equal to all of these

Talmud, Shabbat 127

                                                                 

Va'eira (Exodus 6:2-9:35) 
Say No to Anger 
by Rabbi Eli Scheller 
And the frog-infestation ascended and covered the land of Egypt. (8:2)

As soon as Aharon stretched out his hand, a hideous super-sized frog hopped out of the river and began to march down the main road towards Pharaoh’s palace. The Egyptians brought weapons and sticks with which to kill the monstrous frog. Instead of falling dead, it opened its mouth wide and spit out legions of baby frogs. They hit it again, but every time they struck it, more frogs came out. Why didn’t they just stop hitting it, if the more they hit it the more damage was caused?

When one is insulted he feels a need to retaliate, thinking, “Who is he to speak to me like that?!” The aggressor then returns the insult, which in turn leads to further escalation. A vicious cycle of fruitless quarrelling erupts, leaving both of them with significant damage. Similarly, when the Egyptians were faced with this threatening frog, their instinctive reaction was to strike it. When more frogs swarmed out they grew angry and lost themselves, striking it again and again, despite the damage they were causing.1

There was once a man who greatly honored his father. His father said to him, “You honored me in my lifetime, honor me after my death as well. Any time you are about to get angry, hold it in for one night and don’t take action.” After his father passed away he went on a business trip for many years, leaving his wife behind without knowing that she was expecting a child. After many years of absence, the husband returned home unannounced, hoping to surprise his wife. But as he approached he saw his wife embracing a handsome young man, a stranger. He took out a knife and planned to stab them both, when he remembered his father’s command: “Any time you are about to get angry, hold it in for one night and don’t take action.” Reluctantly he held himself back. The next day he heard his wife saying to the young man, “It’s already many years that your father is away on business, if he only knew that he had a son he would have been back already.” When he heard this he ran out and said, “Thank God that I held in my anger, and blessed is my father who commanded me to hold in my anger for one night, for it saved me from killing out my family!!2

 

A person who becomes angry is punishing himself for the stupidity of others. The only one anger destroys is the angry person himself. It eats away happiness and causes health problems. In a moment of anger, if one would step back for a minute and not take action, the whole thing would just fade away.

The Alter of Kelm would not get angry until he first put on a special garment that he reserved for such occasions. He explained, “For when one has to stop to put on a special garment before he allows himself to become completely enraged – by the time he has donned the garment, his anger will have subsided, and his calm will have returned.”

1.Birkas Peretz (Steipler)
2.Sefer Chassidim 655

Thu, January 17 2019 11 Shevat 5779