In Loving Memory of 

 

Content:
  • Lessons from Megillas Rus                           Shoshana Kowalsky                                                                                      
  • The Literal Meaning of the Word                           Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried               
  • Opportunities for Women this Yom Tov             
  • How I Spent My Shavuos                                           Rabbi Avi Shafran                                                                                                                
  • Dairy Delights                                                             

Dear Friends,
  As we approach the upcoming holiday of Shavuos, let us take a moment to reflect on the "basics", an unlderlying message buried beneath the cheesecake and Yom Tov preparations. 

 As you may know the 
Megilla of Ruth is read on Shavuos. Ruth, a Moavite, was the daughter-in-law of Na'omi. Na'omi's husband Elimelech and her two sons Machlon and Kilyon died when the family was living outside of the land of Israel. 

 After the death of her husband and children, Na'omi decided to return to her homeland. Ruth insisted on going with her mother-in-law. The two returned to Israel as paupers. Ruth went out to the fields, hoping to collect the part of the harvest which by Jewish Law goes to the poor. Ruth went to the field of Boaz, who was a relative of Elimelech, Ruth's deceased father-in-law, and one of the most respected men of his generation. Boaz, upon finding out that Ruth was collecting in his field, made sure that Ruth collected all that she needed to bring home in order for her and Na'omi to live.

 When Boaz met Ruth, he explained to her why he was dealing with her in such a kindly fashion (2:11). He said "It has been told to me all that you have done for your mother-in-law...and that you left your mother and father and your birthplace and you went to a nation that you did not know." The Targum explains that Boaz was also telling Ruth through prophecy that she would merit having the kingship of Israel descend from her on account of these two deeds. The Targum states that Boaz mentioned the deeds in this specific order: First, that she supported her mother-in-law; Second, that she left her idols and parents and converted to a nation she did not know. From the words of the Targum and the order in which these deeds were listed, there seems to be an implication that the first act, the support of Na'omi, is at least equally responsible for Ruth meriting her great reward.

 A question that arises upon reading this is how Boaz could equate these two actions. One action was an incredible act of self-sacrifice. Ruth, our Sages tell us, was the daughter of the king of Moav. Ruth, after the death of her husband, did not return to the comfort of the palace life in which she was raised. Instead, she decided to convert and become part of the Jewish nation! Ruth went from being a princess in a royal court to becoming a pauper, destitute, and dependent upon charity for her very sustenance. The other action of Ruth was an ordinary kindness. It was a daughter-in-law helping her elderly mother-in-law. What was so special about this everyday act that because of it, Ruth would merit to be the mother of Jewish royalty, and even more outstanding, that the act was placed on the same plane as Ruth's extraordinary self-sacrifice in her decision to convert?

 The answer is that Boaz is teaching us that even the smallest and seemingly most mundane act, if done with the proper intentions, can be elevated to an act of great self-sacrifice. Ruth, by performing the act of kindness with a pure heart and with every fiber of her being in a desire to do the will of Hashem, raised her small act of kindness above everyone else's similar acts of kindness. Because of this act of kindness, she merited having the monarchy of Israel descend from her. When approaching Shavuos, the day we celebrate the acceptance of the Torah, many of us have lofty goals, ideals, and aspirations which we greatly desire to fulfill.

 Boaz should remind us that we need to remember the potential greatness in everyday, ordinary acts. When these acts are done properly, we can merit great reward.

Wishing us all success in connecting to the basic underlying ideas of the holiday, and the ability to connect to H-shem, to ourselves and to each other.

Sincerely, Shoshana Kowalsky

The Literal Meaning of the Word -

Torah

Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried  
 Although "Torah" does refer to the Five Books of Moses, or the Bible, and at times it refers to the combination of the written and oral laws, this is not the literal meaning of the word.
The accurate meaning of "Torah" is twofold. Firstly it comes from the word "hora'ah," which means teaching. More precisely it means "teaching with direction," i.e. the type of teaching which enables and empowers one with a direction to proceed. The same word could be used in Hebrew with such teachings both in spiritual and secular realms.
The second meaning is from the word "orah," which means light. One example of this reflected in the verse which states, "A mitzvah is a candle, and Torah is the light" (Proverbs 6:23). This can be understood on multiple levels:
One thought is that the Torah is the source of spiritual illumination in the world. Besides it being the source of Judaism, through it and its teachings we serve as a light unto the nations. As such the Torah serves as the foundation of much of Christianity and Islam.
The Torah also, more importantly, serves as the source of illumination for our own lives. Like the Clouds of Glory which guided the Jews for 40 years in the Desert, providing illumination and direction at night, the Torah lights our paths and provides the Jewish people with direction throughout our long period of exile, even through the darkest of times.
The Torah also provides direction in each Jew's personal life. In business, family life or interaction with others, the Torah offers the ethical and moral compass by which to navigate the most complicated and tempestuous, thorny issues.
So whether in regard to individual guidance or the entire Jewish people, the two meanings of Torah - teaching with direction and illumination - form the centrality of Jewish life.
In the deeper, Kabbalistic writings, we find a more profound meaning of Torah and its connection to Light. Torah is not simply compared to light, it actually is a type of light. At its source, it is like a flaming spiritual fire. Its light provides the spiritual source of the physical light of the sun and all the constellations of the entire universe. All those lights will be dwarfed by the eventual unmasking of the hidden spiritual light to be revealed in the World to Come.
This is the reason the Torah was transmitted on Mount Sinai through fire. This was not only to create an effect - it revealed the essence of the Torah as a spiritual fire, a brilliant Light. Our souls and the Torah, both dazzling lights, were created from the same Source, and reconnect and ignite each other when a Jew deeply studies the Torah. When the Jewish people light up our souls with the fire of Torah, they we truly become a "light unto the nations."

Opportunities fo
Women

 

  • U. City Shul Exclusive Women's Kiddush

Sunday, the first day of Shavuos, May 31st~ 10:30 am

Speaker: Mrs. GayLee Freedman ~ 11:00 am

On sight babysitting available during the talk

 

  • Rabbi Greenblatt's Annual Shavuos Speech for Women
Sunday, the first day of Shavuos, May 31st

 

At the Home of Mrs. Esther Klein
8308 Amherst ~ 5:00 pm
 
How I Spent My Shavuos
Rabbi Avi Shafran

Every Jewish holiday is special in its own way, but the one we most recently celebrated, Shavuos, is particularly unusual: it has no specific "active" observances, nothing like Passover's seders and matzoh or Sukkot's sukkahs and "four species" or Rosh Hashana's shofar-blowing.

Shavuos is identified by Jewish tradition as the anniversary of the Jewish People's acceptance of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Since the act of accepting is an inherently passive one, the holiday reflects that fact by being pointedly devoid of physically active mitzvot. It is a time of receiving the Torah anew, and most appropriately expressed through Torah-study.

Which is no doubt the reason for the ancient Jewish custom to stay awake the entire night of Shavuos immersed in the texts of our tradition.

Every year brings a personal Shavuos miracle, one that I suspect is shared by many others. By the end of our family's festive meal on Shavuos night, the prospect of staying awake an hour, much less six or seven, seems an impossible one. Yet, somehow, entering the study-hall, some holy energy seems to seize me, and, even as my mind and body increasingly rebel against the deprivation of slumber, my soul jumps for joy.

This year, my soon-to-turn-12 son Dovie insisted on joining me in study in the large main sanctuary of a local synagogue, which was crowded with scores of Jewish men and boys doing much the same. The same scene, I know, was visible in thousands of places around the world, Jewish men and Jewish boys, studying the texts of the Jewish religious tradition.

The two of us, salt-and-pepper-bearded, could-stand-to-lose-a-few-pounds father and reddish-haired, dimpled and determined son, spent most of the night engrossed in Talmud. We began with a page of the tractate he is studying in school - a long passage dealing with the imperative of alleviating an animal's pain - and then focused on several pages of another tractate he and I regularly learn together - which focused on the law of mezuzah and the status of land ownership in Jerusalem.

Dovie seemed entirely awake throughout it all, and asked the perceptive questions I have come to expect from him. We paused over the course of the night only for him to attend two classes for boys his age in an adjoining room offered by an older yeshiva boy.

The experience was enthralling, as it always is, and while it was a challenge to concentrate (and at times even to keep my eyes from closing) during the prayer service that followed at 5:00 am, Dovie and I both "made it" and then, hand in hand, walked home, where we promptly crashed. Before my head touched my pillow (a millisecond or two before I entered REM sleep), I summoned the energy to thank G-d for making me a Jew.

That silent prayer came back to me like a thunderclap a few days later, when I caught up on some reading I had missed (in the word's most simple sense) over the holiday. Apparently, during the very hours Dovie and I were studying holy texts, the presses at The Washington Times were printing a story datelined Gaza City.

Dated May 17, it began with a description of a 12 year old Palestinian boy, Abu Ali, being "lovingly dresse[d] by his mother in a costume of a suicide bomber, complete with small kaffiyeh, a belt of electrical tape and fake explosives made of plywood."

"I encourage him, and he should do this," said his mother; and Abu Ali himself apparently agreed. "I hope to be a martyr," he said. "I hope when I get to 14 or 15 to explode myself."

My thoughts flashed back to Shavuos, and I thanked G-d again, from the very bottom of my heart.


 
Dairy Delights:

Easy Broccoli Quiche:
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 onion, minced
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
    • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
     
    • 4 eggs, well beaten
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    2. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.
    3. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.
    4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 50 minutes, or until center has set.

Honey Mustard Salmon :
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (680 to 900g) salmon fillets

    • 3 Tbsp honey mustard (1 1/2 Tbsp honey plus 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
    • 3 Tbsp olive oil (divided 2 T and 1 T)
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
    • Pinch of salt

    Directions:

    1 Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
    2 In a small bowl, whisk together the honey mustard, garlic, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and salt.
    3 Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Brush the salmon fillets on both sides with olive oil. Place fillets skin-side down (if your fillets have skin-on) on the foil-lined pan. Use a basting brush to coat the top side of the fillets with the honey mustard mixture.
    4 Place in oven and bake at 400°F (205°C) for 8 to 10 minutes, until just barely cooked through (please don't overcook salmon!). It's okay if the salmon is still a little rare in the center, when you remove it from the oven, the residual heat will cook it through.

     
Very Simple Cheesecake Recipe:
  • This recipe can be used with pareve (non dairy) cream cheese or dairy cream cheese.
    Ingredients:
    • 1 graham cracker crust
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 12 ounces cream cheese (one and half containers)
    • 1 tsp vanilla

    Directions:
    • preheat oven to 375
    • beat eggs
    • add sugar cream cheese and vanilla
    • pour into crust and bake for 20 min. turn off oven but keep cheese cake in for 1 hour.
    • pour can of cherries on top .(and refrigertae) you can do any topping you like
Have a Great Yom Tov!!
 

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