Kehillat Shomre Hadas Antwerpen                              

Weekly Humor

Joshua worked for "Levine's Tailors" and was a successful salesman. He was always polite to his customers and as a result was nearly always able to sell a suit to anyone who walked into the shop. So it was a surprise when, after 10 successful years, he resigned to join the police force.  

His father couldn't understand why his son should give up a good job to become a policeman. So at the end of Joshua's first week, he rang Joshua to ask how he liked his new job.  

"Well dad," Joshua replied, "It's nice of you to ask. The salary is just about OK, the hours aren't as bad as I thought they would be and my colleagues are a great bunch. But what I like best is that the customer is always wrong."

Parashat Ki Tisa & Para
 Antwerpen Times
17/3  -  י"ט אדר 

Candle Lighting  


18/3  -  כ' אדר
Shabbos Ends


Community News

On behalf of the entire community I would like to wish a Mazal Tov to Eddie & Marianne Katz and Danny & Sylvie on the birth of a granddaughter. May she grow to give them all much nachas. 

On behalf of the entire community I would like to wish my condolences to the Zaidman family on the passing of their father and grandfather Mr. Rene Zaidman. We wish them long life and may the Almighty comfort them.

If I missed any Mazal Tovs or news please send them to info@shomre-hadas.be

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From the Rabbi's Desk

I hope and pray that all is well with you and your family.

It was an exciting and busy Purim in the Shomre Hadas Community! We began with Megillah reading in Shul followed by a soup and cupcake bar, and entertainment by a magician and ventriloquist! Thanks to all those that helped organise and all those that donated money to help make this happen!

Then came the awesome Purim cruise for students! 50 Jewish students joined us for a 2 hour cruise on a beautiful boat with Megillah reading, great refreshments and a rocking atmosphere! We are looking forward to our next student event!

During the day, volunteers visited members in the community with Mishloach Manot and good Purim cheer! Thanks to all those that volunteered!

Wishing you & your family a sweet & happy Shabbat! 

The Rabbi Who Taught A French Soldier German

  Rav Moshe Sofer, the Chasam Sofer (1762- 1839) was considered an ilui - a genius at a very young age.  When he was ten years old, he was already one of the outstanding students of of the great leaders of German Jewry Rav Nasan Adler.

When the Chasam Sofer was a young boy, he was sent to the city of Mainz to learn Torah. In Mainz, he lived with a family. Living in the same house was a non-Jewish soldier named Paull de Montfort. The French army had troops stationed in Mainz (twenty years earlier, an alliance was formed between Louis XV and Frederick the Great which involved 100,000 French soldiers being stationed in Germany).  These troops lived in the homes of the locals . The soldier had the Chasam Sofer teach him to speak German. The soldier liked the Chasam Sofer because of his good charachter and came to respect the Jewish people because of the Chasam Sofer. Although the Chasam Sofer liked the soldier, he always felt bad that he had to take time from his Torah learning to give him German lessons.

Fast forward 33 years to 1809.  The Napoleonic Wars have begun and in the  War of the Fifth Coalition, the French invaded Pressburg, where the Chasam Sofer was serving as the head of the Beit Din.  At that time, two Jews were involved in weapons smuggling and got into a monetary dispute.  The dispute was adjudicated by the Pressburg Beit Din, but one of the litigants didn't like the outcome so he informed the French about the weapons smuggling.  When the French learned that the Pressburg Beit Din knew about the weapons operation and didn't report it, they summoned the Chasam Sofer to a military tribunal (even though he didn't sit on that particular case).
Pressburg 1890.

When the Chasam Sofer walked into the courtroom, the French officer who headed the tribunal recognized the Chasam Sofer. The French officer who now headed the tribunal was the same one that was living in the home in Mainz that the young Moshe Sofer was lived in. The officer asked the Chasam Sofer to come into a private room where they reconnected and the officer assured the Chasam Sofer that he has nothing to worry about because he knows that he is a fine person and couldn't have been involved in weapons smuggling.

R. Shlomo Sofer, grandson of the Chasam Sofer who  recorded this story comments that the Chasam Sofer would often quote the verse in this weeks Torah portion  וראית את אחורי ופני לא יראו - "you will see my back but my face will not be seen" refers to the fact that when something happens, we don't always know why God planned it that way. We can't look at it prospectively (ופני לא יראו) and see the reason. 

However, when we look at things retrospectively (וראית את אחורי), we can sometimes find answers.  For many years, the Chasam Sofer may not have understood why he had to leave his own home, leave Frankfurt or why he became close to that French soldier.  It was only thirty years later that he had a better understanding of his short stint in Mainz.

The same idea applies to each and every one of us G-d is always directing our step each and every second of the day sometimes we are granted the privilege to retroactively see how much he helped us!

A story that inspires 

Once a Jewish peasant came to ask for a blessing from Rabbi Chaim of Chernowitz. The rabbi was about to give his blessing, but paused and asked the man, "Tell me, do you keep Shabbat?"

The farmer averted his eyes and did not reply, but the rabbi continued speaking. "Perhaps you don't understand the true sanctity of Shabbat. Let me explain: All week you toil with farm animals and till the earth. You work until you're so exhausted that you fall into your bed. What connection do you have with the spiritual? On the Shabbat, every Jew receives an additional soul, one which is completely pure and refined. He rests his weary body, forgets his struggle of the preceding week and devotes his thoughts to G-d. A person who lives without the Shabbat has a life of work which never ends."
The peasant listened to the rabbi's words and they struck a deep chord within his heart. He burst into tears at the thought of all he was missing in life.

"Rabbi, I see now how right you are. But perhaps I haven't explained the whole reason why I don't observe Shabbat completely as I should. You see, I rent my farm from a poretz (landlord) who requires me to produce enough food for his family as well as my own. Now that you have explained the importance of Shabbat, I will try my best to keep it completely. Just during the harvest I won't be able to."

Rabbi Chaim gently asked the farmer why he was so certain that he would not be able to keep Shabbat during the harvest.

"Rabbi, during the harvest I don't have even one minute to spare, and I can't take such a long break."

Rabbi Chaim smiled and said, "Let me tell you a story: A long time ago, a local landowner invited his friends to a celebration. When they were all seated around the table, and had all drunk much too much, they began to brag about their Jewish employees. 'My Jewish tenant is unique. He's as loyal as a good hunting dog,' said one. Another countered, 'He can't be as loyal as my Jewish tenant. He's absolutely the best!'

"Then the host spoke up. 'You may all have very remarkable tenants, but my Jew is unquestionably the most loyal. Why, he would do anything I asked without hesitation. You know, if I asked him to just convert to our religion, he would do it in a minute.'

"The others began to speak at once. 'That would never happen. A Jew, no matter how loyal, would never convert because he was asked to do so by his employer!' they all contended.

"'I see you don't believe me. I will prove it to you! Send for Moshke!' the poretz (landowner) barked to his servant.

"The Jewish tenant was soon standing in front of his landlord and all the drunken guests. 'Moshke,' began the poretz, 'would you do anything I requested of you?'
"The frightened Jew didn't know what was about to happen. He just hoped to avoid trouble, and so he nodded his head and replied, 'Yes, sir, I certainly would obey you.'

"'Moshke, I want you to become a Christian right now!'

"The Jew was shocked at the request, but he was too frightened to refuse. He needed a livelihood and his family needed a roof over their heads. As soon as he nodded his head a servant was dispatched to bring the priest. Before he could think about what he was doing, the Jew was baptized.

"When the poretz came out of his drunken haze, he remembered what he had done to his Jewish tenant and he regretted it very much. He apologized, 'Moshke, I was drunk and I didn't mean to offend you. Of course, you may become a Jew once again! '
Gravesite of Rabbi Chaim of Chernowitz in Tzfas.

"The poretz was shocked at Moshke's reaction to his words. He didn't express his relief or gratitude. In fact, he was none too anxious to resume his former religion.
"'Thank you for your offer, but soon the Jewish holiday of Passover will be celebrated. It is a very costly holiday. So, I was wondering, would you mind if I put off changing back until after the holiday?' "

Rabbi Chaim looked penetratingly at the farmer and asked, "Do you know that the Torah states, 'Six days shall you work and on the seventh you shall rest. At the time of plowing and harvesting you shall rest.' Doesn't it seem strange that the Torah adds the words 'at plowing and harvesting' when it says that Shabbat must be observed on a weekly basis? Why is it necessary to mention plowing and harvesting in particular?

"The reason is to teach us that even at the most demanding times of the year, when it seems impossible to keep Shabbat, even then, we are commanded to observe the holy Shabbat."

Rabbi Chaim continued. "Our Sages explain that the laws of Shabbat were taught when the Jews camped near the waters of Mara. Mara means bitter. From this we learn that even when life appears to be especially hard-bitter - and keeping Shabbat seems to be impossible, a Jew must have faith and must keep it despite the hardship. When he expends all the energy he needs to observe Shabbat, G-d will come to his aid, and he will surely succeed."

(From the lechaim weekly published by LYO Brooklyn NY)

Wishing you and your family a happy & successful week
Best Regards,

Rav Ephraim Carlebach
Shomre Hadas