What's the Spiel?
29 Tishrei 5784 - October 14, 2023
Shabbat Mevarchim - Parshat Bereshit
-How Can We Dance?: Thoughts on Simchat Torah and the War in Israel -
On the eve of Simchat Torah, I struggled to find a way to bridge the vast emotional chasm between rejoicing in the Torah on the one hand, and grieving the loss of innocent Israeli life, fearing for the welfare of Israeli captives and praying for the recovery of Israeli injured on the other. Some people asked me earlier in the day if we would even perform the traditional hakafot, parading the Torah around the bimah accompanied by exuberant singing and dancing, due to the horrific news coming out of Israel. Honestly, I did not know what was going to happen. After all, how could we express even a modicum of joy when our brothers and sisters in Israel are under siege? However, how could we not express any measure of joy over completing the Torah? What would that joy even feel like at a time like this? I felt suspended between two cliffs, torn between two contradictory realities.
Before we began Maariv, still unsure of what would be, I recalled the following teaching: “During the seven festival days, the people of Israel rejoiced with the festival commandments; sukkah, the four species, the water-libation, and the aravah with which the altar was circled. Upon the advent of Shemini Atzeret the people of Israel say before God: Today, we have neither sukkah nor lulav, we have neither the water-libation nor the aravah – we have left only this Torah with which to rejoice. And this joy is greater than all other joys, for it is constant, and it never ceases or is diminished in the least” (Sefer HaToda’ah). What is the joy we are meant to express on Simchat Torah? It is not frivolous, carefree, excessive revelry. Rather, the true joy we are meant to express and experience on Simchat Torah is the joy of simply knowing that the Torah is our eternal inheritance, as it says, “When Moshe charged us with the Torah, as the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov” (Devarim 33:4). Unlike everything else in the world which is transient, which has its time, place and fleeting relevance, the Torah is “constant, and it never ceases or is diminished in the least.” Thus, if the Torah is eternal, so too is the nation God chose to entrust it with, as it says, “If these laws should ever be annulled by Me – declares the Lord – Only then would the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before Me for all time” (Yirmiyahu 31:36). By rejoicing in the eternality of the Torah, we rejoice in the eternality of the Jewish people. That is the real joy of Simchat Torah, and that was the thought I shared to help frame the festival before we began Maariv.
The only thing that could bring our souls the slightest relief on that strange, heavy and dissociated Simchat Torah evening was the knowledge that the Jewish people, our people, will succeed – that the Jewish people, our people, will triumph – that the Jewish people, our people, will continue to march forward towards our spiritual and national destiny with God’s help, while our adversaries will be swept to the dustbin of history. The joy of Simchat Torah is simply knowing that you are a Jew, and because God gave you His Torah, He gave you eternity. With that in mind, we did dance, we did sing, albeit in a more muted way and at a brisker pace, but feeling the joy of knowing we will triumph in the end gave me, and all of us, the strength to open laptops and phones after the Yom Tov ended, and look at the extensiveness of the horror we had only heard about over the holiday.
As a people, we are broken, we are grieving, we are frightened and we are angry. We firmly stand with our Israeli brothers and sisters, and we pray for the souls of all those innocent Israeli men, women and children who have been murdered in cold blood by those monstrous hordes who know nothing but hate, who understand nothing but death and who can do nothing but evil. We pray for the speedy and safe rescue of all those innocent Israeli citizens taken captive by those malevolent forces. We pray for the recovery of all those innocent Israeli citizens injured in the unprovoked invasion, and we pray for the welfare of all Israel’s people. The Jewish people will triumph as good must triumph over evil. Together, we will prevail, as light must prevail over darkness. Together, we will claim our eternity, because just as God gave us a “Torah of life,” “Am Yisrael Chai,” “The people of Israel live!”
Shabbat Morning Drasha: "Confront the Root and the Branch: Evil in Our Day, Hope for Our Future"
Schedule of Services at B'nai Abraham
Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat
Monday - Friday
Thank you to the following members and friends of CTI who have donated and/or pledged to this year's High Holiday Appeal. If you have not already pledged or paid, we are including the link to the High Holiday Appeal page for your convenience.
Altman, Arthur & Barb
Carroll, Reese & Sherry Fishman Carroll
Chapin, David & Rita
Clifford, Sean & Meredith
Davis, Mitch & Patti
Dollinger, Adam & Elena Tsanko
Gerstenhaber, Gary & Karin
Glassman, Sampson & Steinberg, Beth
Goldberg, Rick & Paz
Gordon, Elan & Karine
Lonsdale, Joe & Tayler
Kamen, Mark & Rhonda
Millner, Rabbi Dan & Yael
Newberg, Stuart & Suzanne
Price, Marty & Katie
Rahimi, Erik & Lindsay
Raschkovsky, Isaac & Angela
Refaeli, Jehoda & Hana
Robbins, Reuven & Rosemary Klein Robbins
Rosenberg, Joshua & Kendra
Roth, Ester Malkah
Rubin, Jay & Carol
Selig, Edward & Cathy
Shapiro, Eric & Beth
Shavit, Offer & Ilana
Sultan, Solomon & Devorah
Van Keer, Julie
Woloszko, Jean & Eveline
Thank you Louis Stone for sponsoring Kiddush in thanks to CTI for warmly welcoming him into the CTI Family.
A BIG THANK YOU to the CTI Community for stepping up to sponsor a Kiddush! It is a special way to help our Chevrah while honoring a loved one for a special event or to commemorate a Yahrtzeit. Your sponsorships have been filling up our kiddush calendar nicely, and we are booked many weeks out at this point.
If you would like to sponsor a kiddush in November or December, please take a look at our calendar and reserve your spot as the calendar continues to fill up quickly! And THANK YOU for supporting CTI and our community with your sponsorship!
- Elie Ledeen on October 15th (Birthday)
- Eyal Refaeli on October 17th (Birthday)
- Bernard Giller, Father of Carol Rubin, on Sunday 30 Tishrei
- Morris Weinberg, Father of Madeline Rosenberg, on Friday 5 Cheshvan
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life.
CTI is looking for a man or woman to serve as a backup shmira coordinator, to help manage shifts and communicate with the shomrim. Please contact Larry at 512-923-3964 or by email if you are interested or would like more information.
Take Your Tanakh Series
Tuesday Night | 7:00pm - The Book of Isaiah
Wednesday Morning | 8:15am - The Book of Job
Click Here for more information on how to join these exciting classes.
Thank you to Eric and Beth Shapiro for their donation
In Honor of Raz Ezra, Shai Kivity and all of the other
brave chayalim who are moser nefesh fighting for
the Jewish people and our Homeland.
Thank you to Jay and Carol Rubin for their donation
in appreciation of Jay's Chatan Torah honor in support
of the Simchat Torah Kiddush.
Thank you to Adam Heller, Reuven Robbins, Eddie Selig,
and Jake Wolfson for their aliyah donations.
Thank you to Reuven Robbins for his Yahrzeit donation.
Thank you to Josh Rosenberg and Kendra Fox for their One Ask donation.
Thank you to our anonymous donors.
- Allene Novy-Portnoy; Hannah Bassa bat Sarah Osnat
- Avshalom ben Hannah Bassa
- Cindy Newman
- Janet Goldberg; Shayna Masha bat Chasha Mina
- Ken Friedman
- Rebecca Millner; Rivkah bat Shoshana
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- Tzvi David ben Rivka Golda
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- Zvi Aharon ben Bayla
- Yaira bat Sarah
- Tamar bat Chaya
- Ilana bat Gheita
- HaRav Avram Meir ben Eli Yosef v'Shira Chanah.
- Rabbi Harold Liebowitz, HaRav Chaim Alter ben Necha.
- Baruch Akiva Ben Rivka
- Miriam bat Helen
- Rivka Michal bat Sarah Chana
- Lori Garza
- Yisroel Natan ben Sarah
- Masha Gitil bas Chaya Yita
- Allen Levinson; Avraham Yitzchak ben Gittel
- Moshe ben Reizel
- David Chapin
- Avigail Malkah bat Devorah
- David Moshe ben Sylvia
- Shoshana bat Yocheved
- Miriam bat Rachel v'Mordechai
- Alta Shoshana bat Shulamit
- Meir Psachia ben Tziril
- Geni Berman Abitbol
- Beilya Golda bat Leah
- Yosef Yehoshua ben Sarah
- Jonathan Malawer (Yosef ben Bracha)
- Bowie Alarcon
- Fivel ben Sarah HaLevi
- Adam ben Chanah
- Rafael ben Sheindal Leah
- Aharon Asher ben Chaya Naomi
- Esther Malka Fraida bat Serel Chaya Raiza
- Kalev Boaz Chai ben Aliza
- Esther Reva bat Malka
- Avraham ben Rut
- Sheva Eva bat Bella.
- Moshe ben Rut
- Shulkah Malka bat Tziporah
- Chandal bat Basia
- Shmuel Dovid bat Malka
- Anthony Ben Devorah
- Shayna Leah bat Yehudit
- Reuven ben Shira
- Batyah bat Sara
- Akiva ben Sara
- Rachel Tzivia bat Malka
- Chava Golda bat Leah
- David Yosef ben Aga
- Layla Tzohara bat Naomi Rivkeh
Wishing all Cholei Yisrael a Refuah Shlayma.
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If you placed a name on the Refuah Shelayma list and G-d willing the person is well,
please let us know. Also, if you have a friend or family member who needs
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