Ian Silverman, Rabbi

rabbi10

View current news articles, commentary, videos and more that have an impact on Jewish culture, politics and religion at Rabbi Silverman's Sites to See

Some thoughts on “Receiving Torah”

May 30 was our Tikun Leil Shavuot, and on June 1, we received the Torah, standing at our seats, as we read and trumpeted the moments when our ancestors accepted Torah with a triumphant “we will do and we will hear!” Tradition tells us that so powerful were the words of the Ten Commandments that each commandment blew the Israelites back 19 parsangs (historical unit of distance). Their souls were drawn from their bodies and God would not allow their souls to receive any new commandments. This sequential resuscitation was apparently very grueling, so they asked Moses to go up the mountain, into the fog, to receive the Torah for them. Rav Nachman of Bratzlav points out that God really wished all the people to climb the mountain with Moses and converge at the apex of Sinai, and if that had happened, we would have found a return to full redemption and purity (“when the Shofar sounds louder and louder…they should climb the mountain”). But the opportunity was lost and we must settle for understanding the Torah, not directly from the source, but through interpretation and insight.

Rabbi Levi Ischak asks the question, “Why, in beginning the counting of the Omer, don’t we recite the Shechehiyanu prayer?” The answer he gives is that the counting begins the journey and one must say a Shechehiyanu only at the end of a journey in the reception of Torah. But the reception of the Torah is, really, a never-ending proposition. Every Jew is called upon to have an open heart, to learn something new–something more nuanced and refined. Our Torah education is endless in each life and for all time. That is why there is no holiday called Hag Kabbalat Hatorah (holiday to welcome the Torah into our lives). Only Hag Natan Torah (holiday of being given the Torah). God gives the Torah endlessly. Our reception of it must be each and every day, with a newly opened mind and heart.

Years ago, here and in Israel, scientists and mathematicians were hard at work in cracking the secret code of the Bible. A book was released that got everyone excited, a New York Times bestseller, Bible Code, by Michael Drosnin, who is a Wall Street Journal reporter. Inspired by the work of Prof. Eliyahu Ripps, he suggested a formula to understand the present and predict the future. With the help of systematic computer analysis, all the letters of the Torah were scanned backwards and forwards, in a consistent pattern, to yield messages. Hits showed famous names like “Rabin” and “Kennedy,” and important natural disasters. Even the Persian Gulf War was foretold! This gave a new meaning to the words of our sages, “turn it and turn it, 'cause all is in it.” But that misses the point. I am reminded of the use of the High Priest’s Urim and Thummim (divine oracle on the High Priest’s breastplate), with letters lighting up. For my money, I think the words of Isaiah, the trenchant insight of Jeremiah, and the mystical imagination of Ezekiel, were far more penetrating.

 A sage commented on the words from our Torah, “Moses would speak to God, and God would answer him in thunder (Hashem Yaanenu beKol),” saying, “Moses would speak and God would answer him in his own voice!” All of us must study the words of Torah carefully and repeatedly, but true wisdom is not acquired by how much Torah you can master and retain, how much Torah or Talmud a person can get through. Rather, wisdom comes from how much the Torah and the Talmud goes through you! Our experience and our thought processes help make Torah new each day! The insights you bring to the text are the Torah coming “through your voice.”

 

And your voice isn’t just your opinion, but a close reading of the text. It’s the ideas of those who preceded us. The commentaries are abundant with detective work. The Israelites came from Refidim, many encamping at Sinai as one, a singular unity–that is detective work. When God made the first day of creation, it was called Yom Echad, Day One. But Yom Rishon, The First Day, is also when the Israelites made the tabernacle and the tribe of Judah came with their gifts. This is because until we had a sanctuary, God was Echad, alone and singular. Once we had a sanctuary, it was the first day of being together–we gave God company–that’s detective work. Why does God transcend gender? This is because it says that He created us “as a Divine reflection,” male and female he created us. Therefore, God is inclusive of all gender and not gender specific–that’s detective work. Your voice is also, however, your own insights, generated by your own life experience and thought. Don’t, for a moment, diminish this. It’s unique to you!

Receiving the Torah at Sinai is for the human mind to unravel, and I have every conviction that this occasion holds even more than the seventy facets that our sages claim it has. But it did not happen in heaven and nor beyond the sea. Nor is it in a logarithm or in a spreadsheet computer analysis. The Torah was not given for the purpose of taking every nth letter and seeing a pattern. It is decipherable and continues to be decipherable with the intellectual, emotional and experiential equipment we have, and it expands with the help of new insights as we move through time. Because all is in it, including your insights.

As the Talmud teaches, “May your eyes sparkle with the light of Torah and your ears hear the music of its words. May the space between each letter in the scrolls bring warmth and comfort to your soul…and may your study be passionate and meanings bear more meanings, until life arrays itself to you as dazzling wedding feast…”

–A feast of your own Torah insights and wisdom, and to that we say, Amen. 

Israel Committee Events

Committee Meetings
All meetings begin at 7:00 pm

 

Programs
Watch this space for an upcoming Spring program


 

Chai Institute

Israel Items of Interest

KEEP CURRENT WITH THE LATEST NEWS IN ISRAELI ADVOCACY, THE DAILY ALERT HERE.

An Israeli company has developed a means to evaluate the freshness of foods. Read about it HERE.

Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision, offers an online software that can provide a second opinion on CT scans by analyzing the information and producing a medical report within 90% accuracy. Read about it HERE.

Film recommendation: Mekonen, the story of an Ethiopian Jew who makes peace with an emotional past and embraces his future in Israel, becoming a decorated officer in the IDF while remaining true to his African roots and culture.

Did you know that the first victim of 9-11 was an Israeli Special Forces Veteran who rushed the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11 to stop the hijackers, but was murdered in his attempt to stop these al-Queda terrorists. Watch a quick video, HERE. 

Read about a small guitar workshop in Jaffa, creating the finest instruments, HERE.

A PhD student at Hebrew University has won an award for developing a test to detect Parkinson's Disease. Read about it HERE.

Three years after publishing an anti-Israel letter in the medical journal, The Lancet, the editor admits he has deep regrets and has dedicated the latest issue to highlighting health care in Israel. Read about it HERE.

Read an article by Chris Coons and Marco Rubio from the Wall Street Journal, "Every Senator Agrees the UN Must Change," HERE.

Israel's medical clowns- they cheer up sick kids, reduce anxiety, decrease pain, and alleviate depression. They are Jews, Christian Arabs, and others. Watch a YouTube video about them HERE.

Learn about the connection of Jews with Israel, the decades-long quest of Israel for peace with it's neighbors, the failure of Palestinian leadership to turn conflict into coexistence, and the contrast between the fate of Palestinian and Jewish refugees from the Arab-Israel conflict, HERE. 

Women of the IDF video

 

Rabbi Silverman's Suggested Sites to See

Membership of the UN Human Rights Council, elected to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights," includes: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iraq, Burundi, Afghanistan among others. See the list and why it's laughable, HERE.

Read Alan Dershowitz' article recounting his debate with Professor Cornel West of Harvard on the topic of the BDS movement HERE.

The US has sent only $60 million of the its $125 million to the UN relief agency for Palestinians while re-examing the way the UNRWA operates and is funded, and to urge other nations to contrigure more. Read about it HERE.

The UN provides funding to Lebanon from the US for its Palestinian population, but nearly 1/4 of the Palestinians Lebanon claims are not there. Read the story HERE.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has contacted US Attorneys and Homeland Security following a speech by Imam Ammar Shahin in California, who used his pulpit to demonize Jews and call for their destruction. Similar screeds were delivered at mosques across the US and Canada. Read about it HERE.

On January 20th Women across the country will again march in support of basic human rights for women and all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation. You are invited to march with a community of Zionists feminists, Zionists for Women's Rights, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read the words of Golda Meir, from 41 years ago, on the Palestinian issue. At the time, her arguments were belittled, but in retrospect, we see her incisive wisdom, HERE.

Read a Times of Israel blog describing how Christians across the Middle East are in danger from radical Islamists, except in Israel, HERE.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has created the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team which will investigate individuals and networks providing support Hezbollah and pursue prosecutions in any appropriate cases. Read about it HERE.

The Board of Directors of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy voted to hold their 2019 international conference in Tel-Aviv, but a petition has been circulated protesting this decision and calling upon the organization to reconsider. Please sign the petition supporting academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas HERE.

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has asked the State Department to stop referring to Israel's presence in Judea-Samaria as an "occupation," but the State Department has refused. Read why Ambassador Friedman is correct HERE.

Palestinians are destroying important sites of the Herodian era. Read the story HERE.

Are the people of Iran protesting economic and employment issues, or something deeper? HERE.

Urge your congress people to stand with the Iranian people as they oppose Iran's corruption, disregard of human rights and support for terrorism, HERE.

UNICEF is blacklisting the IDF as violators of children's rights, basing their criticism on biased information. Read HERE.

Columbia University's Center for Palestine Studies has become an "academic epicenter for anti-Israel political activism, as well as the promotion of academic boycott of Israel and its mother [BDS] movement..." Read the New York Daily News article HERE. 

Several performers have been receiving pressure to cancel their shows in Israel. It is crucial at this time that artists hear from those who support artistic freedom and the power of the arts to build bridges. Please sign the petition HERE.

Tarek Fatah writes inthe Middle East Forum that Muslims need to be more honest about Jerusalem's role in its history. Read the article HERE.

Read a Newsweek article by Rabbi Marvin Hier that explains why Abbas is telling the world that the survival of the Middle East is at stake with Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, HERE.

Imam Aymen Elkasaby, in the US (New Jersey) on an R-1 visa, is calling for all Muslims to engage in violence against Jews as a religious obligation. He should be deported. Read about it HERE.

CNN's Jake Tapper criticizes the countries that condemned the US on Jerusalem at the UN. Watch the video HERE.

Teen Vogue has shifted from its focus on fashion and become political. In an article last week, the magazine promoted Hamas and it's call for people to resist Trump's announcement about Jerusalem. Read the article from Camera  HERE. Write to voice your outrage with Teen Vogue HERE.

Linda Sarsour, the controversial Muslim activist and self-proclaimed feminist, has been accused of covering up and threatening women in her Brooklyn office who alleged sex-abuse in the office, according to the New York Post. Read about it HERE.

Learn the proper protocol to handle Palestinian activists on campuses as exemplified by Georgetown University HERE.

A video about all the wonderful aid Israel provides worldwide, that will bring a tear to your eyes HERE.

 

 

Buy Chai, Double Chai and larger multiples–– now available for gift purchase


(Click HERE to purchase)

 

Continuing Religious Education

Download our Shabbat Prayer and Song Book

Religious School Handbook, 2017-2018

The Bar Bat Mitzvah Handbook

 

SHMA Suffolk Hebrew Midrasha Academy
South Huntington Jewish Center
2600 New York Avenue
Melville, NY
Call for information- 631-643-5979
Registration Application




Contact Us

The East Northport Jewish Center
328 Elwood Road
East Northport, NY, 11731  

Phone: 631-368-6474
Fax: 631-266-2910
Religious School Office: 631-368-6474

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Religious School: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CONGREGANT PORTAL

 

        

Upcoming Events

healthcare jobs washington dc

levitra uk

atrium pharmacy

doxycycline online

harmony korine drugs

levaquin online

prescription medication for leg cramps

buy tetracycline online

pills for a bigger booty

buy azithromycin online

metanx prescription

viagra

priority health insurance

dapoxetine uk online

google android 2.2 tablet

phentermine 37.5 mg

i need a doctor song

adderall online without a prescription

water pill for high blood pressure

lorazepam online

naturopathic doctor schools

ostaa viagra