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8 Tishrei 5784 - September 23, 2023

Shabbat Shuva - Parshat Ha'Azinu

Rabbi's Reflections

-Be Comforted, Not Comfortable-

In the haftorah reading for Yom Kippur, Isaiah tells the people, “For thus said He Who high aloft, forever dwells, Whose Name is holy. ‘I dwell on high, in holiness. Yet with the contrite and lowly in spirit I also dwell, reviving the spirits of the lowly, reviving the hearts of the contrite’” (Isaiah 57:15). This is a powerful message of comfort. We shouldn't think that if we are not pure, if we are not perfect then God will not be accessible to us. No. God is with us wherever we go, no matter our spiritual state, as it says from Torah reading for Yom Kippur, God “dwells among the people in the midst of their impurity” (Vayikra 16:16).  According to the Talmud this verse means, “Even when the people are impure, God's presence will still be with them” (Yoma 56b). However, there is a difference between being comforted and being comfortable. It's very easy to get comfortable with a bad situation. Humans are amazing at adapting. I remember I once had a bad toothache, and instead of going straight to the dentist, which I should have done, what did I do? “Oh, I'll just chew on the other side of my mouth.” We do it all the time! We get used to bad smells to the point where we can no longer smell them. We get used to unhealthy habits to the point we no longer fear or feel their deleterious effects. And the same thing is true in our spiritual lives. We get so used to doing things that don't help us grow as Jews, that after a while, we become okay with them. 

This is what happened to Yonah, the prophet whom we also learn about on Yom Kippur. According to the Midrash, when Yonah entered the belly of the fish, he thought to himself, "Well, I guess this is my life now. I guess I'll just make the best of it." And so when he didn't cry out to God, which is why God sent the fish in the first place – to compel Yonah to pray –  says the Midrash, God sent a pregnant female fish to swallow Yonah, that's why the language changes from "Dag" to "Dagah," and only then, when the pain was unbearable, when there was no room for him to move or breath, only then did he cry out in prayer. 

God is with us in our lowest moments not to give us permission to give up and settle for what is, but to encourage us to reach for the higher things of what could be. And so here, when the Prophet tells us that God dwells on high and is also with the contrite and lowly of spirit, that means, says Rashi, that as God dwells on high, “From there, from that high place, I am with the lowly of spirit.” Meaning, “I bend My presence down to meet you, but I never leave My high and exalted place,” because the point of God's descent to us is to encourage us to ascend to Him! The comfort God gives us by dwelling in the lower places is not to tell us that we can't move up, that where we are right now is all right. On the contrary, it is to give us strength and hope that we can move up, and that we must – to revive the spirits of the lowly, and revive the hearts of the contrite.

And this is what the Prophet means when he says, “Build up, build up a highway! Clear a road! Remove all obstacles from the road of My people!” (Isaiah 57:14). Here, Rashi tells us that this means we must clear away the Evil Inclinations from our paths and remove those things in our lives – maybe the things we've become too comfortable with but which we know are not good for us, spiritually and physically – we must remove those stumbling blocks from before us, because those are the very things that convince us we can't move forward, and that it's okay to just stay where we are and accept it as concrete fact.

God's presence comes down to dwell with us to encourage us to keep moving, to obliterate the barriers in our way, but only we can do that. The ultimate message of Isaiah is one of encouragement - we must be comforted, but never comfortable. We must do the hard work and heavy lifting required in order to remove those impediments from our lives, so that as we find ourselves in those spiritual trenches, we can feel God's presence with us in order to help us succeed. This Yom Kippur, I encourage you all to think about one aspect of our lives, both Jewishly and non-Jewishly, in which you feel, in which you know you’ve grown too comfortable. Think about what's keeping you locked in that place, in that situation, in that frame of mind. Feel God's loving embrace come to you, encouraging you to be strong and break through the chains of comfort and complacency. When we feel God's presence in our lives, we feel the courage to be "Ma'alin baKodesh v'Ein Yordin," to keep moving up in holiness and never down. What a powerful message of comfort and encouragment for us all as we go into Yom Kippur!

Shabbat Shalom and Gamar Chatima Tova!

-Rabbi Dan

Schedule of Services at B'nai Abraham

Friday Night

Candle Lighting


Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat


Shabbat Morning



Youth Services






Evening Selichot



Erev Yom Kippur





Candle Lighting

No later than 7:07PM

Kol Nidre followed by Ma'ariv



Yom Kippur



Youth Services

11:00AM - 12:00PM

Rabbi's Sermon

11:30AM (Approximate)


11:50AM (Approximate)

Mincha & Maftir Yona






Fast Ends


Tuesday - Thursday



We encourage everyone to daven privately when unable to attend services. 

Welcome New Members

Vivien Drabkin

Simone Ledeen

Miriam & Linus Lu

Yair Cohen Hoshen

CTI Announcements

Lulav and Etrog sets will be available for pickup at the Shul on Friday, September 29th, from immediately after morning minyan until 10:30AM. Aravot will be distributed the morning of Hoshana Rabbah, Friday October 6th in Shul, during services.

If you have any questions please email Arthur Altman [email protected]

G'Mar Chatima Tova, Arthur

Thank you to the Sukkah building team: Effi Klein, Myles Shaftel, Eric Shapiro, Sol Stavchansky,

Ben Heyen,

Gary Gerstenhaber and Mehul Rupani (not pictured)

Maftir Yonah Sponsorship for Rabbi Dan

This year, CTI is honoring Rabbi Dan with the Maftir Yonah reading at Mincha on Yom Kippur.

This Haftarah reading is considered to be one of the highest honors a Shul can bestow upon one

of its communal members.

As part of the honor being bestowed up our Rabbi, a number of congregants have graciously

agreed to co-sponsor his Aliyah and Haftarah reading with a $200 donation each to

Congregation Tiferet Israel. These generous congregants include:

  • Arthur and Barb Altman
  • Lowell and Jeanette Brickman
  • David and Rita Chapin
  • Mitch and Patti Davis
  • Adam Dollinger and Elena Tsanko
  • Gary and Karin Gerstenhaber
  • Vicky Gould (in loving memory of Jan Gould z”l)
  • Chuck and Vonne Kaufman
  • Efraim and Sigal Klein
  • Dan and Natalie Ledeen
  • Robert and Susan Millner
  • Erik and Lindsay Rahimi
  • Isaac and Angela Raschkovsky
  • Josh Rosenberg and Kendra Fox
  • Malkah Esther Roth
  • Jay and Carol Rubin
  • Myles and Marta Shaftel
  • Eric and Beth Shapiro
  • Larry and Ester Smith
  • Phil Spertus
  • Solomon and Devorah Sultan
  • Steve Swernofsky
  • Gabe and Sarah Wander
  • Scott Weingarten

If you would like to learn more information about this opportunity, or join the above sponsors

in co-sponsoring Rabbi Dan’s Aliyah and Haftarah reading, please contact Eric Shapiro at

[email protected] for more information.

Thank you to the following for their donations to the High Holiday Appeal:

  • Arthur & Barb Altman
  • Reese & Sherry Fishman-Carroll
  • Vicky Gould
  • Andres Guariguata
  • Daniel Iken
  • Stuart & Suzanne Newberg
  • Lindsay & Erik Rahimi
  • Jay & Carol Rubin
  • Eric & Beth Shapiro
  • Henna Tatham

Thank you Walter Hernandez for sponsoring Kiddush in loving memory of his grandmother Julia Hernandez

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 September or October, please take a look at our calendar and reserve your spot as the calendar has been filling up quickly! And THANK YOU for supporting CTI and our community with your sponsorship!

Sponsor A Kiddush

Mazel Tov!

  • Sandy Kress on September 26th (Birthday)
  • Patti Davis on September 27th (Birthday)
  • Gabriel Wander on September 28th (Birthday

Yahrtzeit Remembrances

  • Sarah Spertus, Mother of Philip Spertus, on Wednesday 12 Tishrei
  • Eugene Spertus, Brother of Philip Spertus, on Thursday 13 Tishrei

May their souls be bound up in the bond of life.

Volunteer Opportunity

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.

Torah Classes at CTI

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 our anonymous donors.

Thank you to Jean and Eveline Woloszko for their

donation to the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund.

Thank you to Rabbi David Shawel for his donation in

honor of members of B'nai Abraham/Tiferet Israel.

Thank you to Jay Rubin for his Yahrzeit donation.

Thank you to Gabe and Emily Yaffe for their donation

in honor of the birth of their daughter Nava and to thank

the community for their support.

Make a Donation

Contact Us!

Rabbi Dan Millner:

[email protected] 

Phone: 512-410-0336 X101

For more contact numbers and emails, visit our website.

Refuah Shelayma To:

  • 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
  • Sheina Ruchel bat Henya Leah
  • Tzvi David ben Rivka Golda
  • Yoel Simcha ben Chaya Risha 
  • Sulta bat Nedgma
  • 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. 

Dear Tiferet Friends, 

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 

prayers for healing, again please let us know at [email protected]  

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