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Parshas Vaera

Mevorchim Shevat

Jan. 20 - 21, 2023

28 Tevet, 5783

Shalom and hello everyone! I hope you are doing well. 

Join me this shabbos mevorchim for beautiful, uplifting davening with guest Chazan Jake Brzowsky,  inspirational learning, and a tremendous kiddush as well!

This Shabbos is Mevorchim ShevatRosh Chodesh Shevat is Monday, January 23, 2023. Join us this week for special tefilos and niggunim in honor of this auspicious day. 

Thank you to all who are joining us for this Shabbos Mevorchim Friday Night Dinner. 


We are SOLD OUT! 


As a first at Ohav Sholom, we have booked a new caterer! The famous Breadberry will provide its renowned culinary delights for all reserved guests. 


Our monthly program boasts interesting guests and great speakers. 


This month we welcome my good friend and colleague, Rabbi Naftoli Citron, and members of the Carlebach Shul. 


Our next scheduled Friday Night Dinner is February 17, 2023, Mevorchim Adar


Don’t be left out of this exciting upcoming dinner! 

Enjoy coffee (and cake) before davening and a light seudas shlishis during our Daf Yomi shiur, between mincha and maariv. 

Please join us for our daily mincha/maariv minyan (tonight 4:35 PM - next week 4:45 PM.) 

The next few weeks are “winter/yeshiva break” and many of our regular daily (and shacharis) minyan attendees are away. Please come and help ensure all minyanim are well attended and robust. Tiskel l’mitzvos! 

I am forming a new “Power Shiur” chaburah style, to be held on Thursday nights. 


This intensive and exclusive Torah class will be compact yet deep and contain original insights and practical tips for instant life application. 


Sorry. Shiur attendance is by “invitation only.” 


The subject matter to be studied is the classic Mesilas Yesharim, Path of the Just, by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, and a quick but in-depth review of select laws of Hilchos Shabbos, based on the Mishna Berura and later poskim


Please contact me directly if interested. Shiur begins on February 2, 2023!

Have a wonderful shabbos, 


I’ll see you in shul!

Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman

Erev shabbos kodesh vaera 5783


 A Torah Thought From the Chumash Shiur of

Rav Dovid Feinstein zt"l.

(As heard and adapted by Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman)

'אֲנִ֥י ה

G-d spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Hashem!”

However, the parsha begins with the words, “G-d (Elokim) spoke….” 

The posuk then suddenly pivots to a different name of G-d, Hashem

What is the difference in meaning and why do both appear in the same posuk? 

Answer: whereas the first references middas ha’din, G-d’s attribute of punishment and the rule of law, the latter designation illustrates middas rachamim, compassion, and the merciful dimension of His character. 

How can we reconcile two seemingly contradictory elements appearing in the same verse?

We can explain as follows. 

Midas din is what we deserve. Reward and punishment are based on absolute meritocracy

The term Elokim and din suggests we are in subordination to a set of well-defined and established rules. 

As we are subject to the Laws of the Torah, and if we live our lives counter to this moral code, we must bear full responsibility for our actions, al pi din, according to the letter of the Law

Consequently, in a case of a legal infraction, a minimum sentence is mandatory and must be meted out to the guilty party. This is emmes, the absolute truth of judgment. 

But in our own minds, at times, the truth is subjective! 

We approach middas din with personal cheshbonos, personal biases layered with rationalizations and justifications - and these calculations alter our understanding of authentic din

Indeed, we don’t begin to fathom or understand eichus hadin, the depth, and profundity of G-d’s judgment. 

We fail to appreciate the true egregiousness of our actions and then proceed to ignorantly question Hashem’s “harsh” response. 

Moshe Rabbeinu had “complaints” against G-d - why did the Jewish People have to gather their own straw and produce bricks? 

Even though the task was still feasible and doable, the added hardship caused Moshe to stop and question the injustice of it all. 

Too much din! The scales of justice, argued Moshe, have swung inequitably in disfavor of the Jewish People. 

G-d then responds to Moshe’s legal claim: you are greatly mistaken! 

“I am Hashem!” Never forget, I am comprised of midas rachamim. Indeed, everything I do is a manifestation of midas rachamim


Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu the following narrative:

It says in Avos (2:4,) “Do not judge your fellow man until you have reached his place.” 

Moshe, you think this is a harsh sentence, but in truth, it is an illustration of midas rachanmim of the highest order. 

The Jewish People were to work for four hundred years, but in reality, the enslavement period lasted one hundred and sixteen years! 

My calculations included the total Egyptian exile - heavily discounting hundreds of years of hard labor. The years prior to the last one hundred and sixteen were difficult but not excessive. 

“I am Elokim and Hashem!” I judge accurately and efficiently and have determined that there is still more affliction necessary to make the Jewish People complete again. 

But unlike your interpretation of events, this last sentence (with the straw) is of the lightest variety possible - and embodies the gentlest touch.” 

We can compare this to a sick person who is in need of an urgent life-saving surgical procedure. 

The painful operation promises to restore his vitality and reestablish his original robust healthful state. 

But it is the skilled and compassionate surgeon who will perform minimally invasive surgery - with the least pain and associated disability. 

Similarly, we must recognize that in our own lives, Hashem exercises the rule of law - but always through the prism of midas rachamin, with an abundance of compassion and unlimited love! 

eShabbos Timetable

Friday, Erev Shabbos Kodesh

Daf Yomi: 6:45 AM

Shacharis: 7:25 AM

Candle Lighting: 4:40 PM

Guest Chazan: Jake Brzowsky

Mincha/KS: 4:50 PM

Gala Dinner: 6:00PM


Shacharis: 9:00 AM

Guest Chazan: Jake Brzowsky

Kiddush: 11:15 AM

Mincha: 4:40 PM

Daf Yomi

Maariv/Shabbos Ends: 5:44 PM

Congregation Ohav Sholom (212) 877-5850