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Weekly Announcements

Ahavat Yisrael of Wesley Hills Announcements

Vayeishev

Shabbos Mevarchim

Nov 26 – Dec 3

22 Kislev – 29 Kislev

 

Mask Rules

The use of a mask covering the mouth and nose at all times is mandatory for all children under 12 and all others who are not fully vaccinated for Covid. If a child cannot wear a mask, please do not bring them to Shul at this point.All others are encouraged to use masks but are not obligated to do so. Those who want more space should use the garage seating. When finding a seat in the Shul please do try to leave 3 feet from the next persons' seat

 

SCHEDULE At Shul & Home

 

FRIDAY (11/26)

Mincha and Candle lighting: 4:11 PM

 

SHABBAT MEVARCHIM (11/27)

Shacharis : 9:00 AM  (with R. Yishmael, say brachos at home)

Latest time for shma: 9:20 AM

Parsha Shiur 3:30 PM

Mincha: 4:00 PM

Shabbos Ends: 5:14 PM

Maariv: 5:20 PM

 

SUNDAY (11/28)

Shacharis: 8:00 AM                                                                                                                                                                 

Rabbi’s Gemara Shiur in person and zoom: 8:45 AM  https://zoom.us/j/3812539596

Mincha/Maariv:  4:15 PM

Sunday night: First night of Chanukah

 

MONDAY – THURSDAY CHANUKAH (11/29-12/2)

Maariv 9pm

Wednesday: 8:15 PM Parsha Previews on zoom https://zoom.us/j/3812539596

 

Dvar Torah & Thoughts on Vayeishev

Rabbi Asher Bush

There is a well-intentioned tendency among many to refuse to see any faults and flaws in our greats. Others seem to relish in finding every flaw real and imagined. While Chazal certainly focused on the greatness and holiness of the אבות & the אמהות, as well as their children, the שבטים, they certainly did point out failings on occasions. Most notably is their comment about Yaakov showing favoritism as a parent. The Ramban focused on a few other such matters in his comments on Lech L’cha. At the same time when it came to Shimon & Levi at Schem they made a point to explain and justify these obviously difficult actions.

The reason that so many are more than uncomfortable with the idea of finding faults and flaws is twofold. Firstly, they are our greats, so it (almost) must be that what they did was good and right. Secondly, much of this is likely a gut response to those who are trying to knock them down to size, making the greats into highly flawed and even morally challenged individuals, almost like local warlords and sheiks, perhaps comparable to wondering how Thomas Jefferson the writer of the Declaration of Independence could have been a slave holder and more. That is an approach that has little resemblance to Torah.

But the big problem with the more positive approach is that aside from it not necessarily being factually correct, is that we can miss so many of the vital lessons that the Torah and Chazal are teaching us. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the lives of Yosef and Yehuda. We can present them as if they are Shamai and Hillel passionately debating a halachic topic, or we can look at them and see just how much they grew and changed throughout their lives, achieving greatness after having stumbled in significant ways.

The Torah clearly calls Yosef a נער, which as many mefarshim point out cannot merely be about his age since many of his brothers are pretty much the same age, instead they understood this to be a statement about his maturity and an explanation of some of the more provocative actions. It also says וירד יהודה מאת אחיו, not just a geographic statement, but that Yehuda went down, and continued to do so until that dramatic moment when he said צדקה ממני, thus beginning that long climb up towards doing a full and complete T’shuva. If they are without flaw and somehow just took a wrong turn, like getting off the wrong exit on the highway, then they have nothing to teach us, and the narratives of the Torah are little more than children’s Bible stories.

That Yosef can rise from the immature provocateur who seems to instigate and aggravate those around him, to withstanding the test of Mrs. Potifar when has nothing to gain by sticking to his principles, to living a life of deep faith, integrity and kiddush shem shamayim in a foreign and often hostile land and can fully forgive his brothers in the deepest and most generous way, are lessons that we would be so much poorer if we to fail to look at and learn from. He did not start off that way, this is the man who became known as Yosef HaTzadik due to the fact that he overcame so many of life’s toughest challenges.

That Yehuda could have thought to sell his brother into slavery, regardless of badly he would suffer, regardless of how it would destroy his father, paying a dreadful price in his own family life, and could emerge as a new man, fully responsible for himself, his own family, his father’s wellbeing, and that of his brothers, this is the essence of what T’shuva is all about. It is no small coincidence that Dovid Hamelech and ultimately the Mashiach come from him; not because of his perfection, but because of his amazing T’shuva which is the essence of Dovid and the ultimate mission of Mashiach to lead in T’shuva. But if Yehuda only had a minor dispute or misunderstanding then all of these most important lessons don’t exist.

The question is not whether we view our greats as great or not, this is not an option and if we don’t, it is just not Torah. The question is whether we understand that they first had to become great. It was not an inheritance, birthright or necessarily even a natural part of them, even when they came from homes and parents who were great tzadikim. As the Gemara points out the children of Talmidei Chachamim often are not Talmidei Chachamim, it is not something that just gets past down; it is something available for all who commit themselves and do the hard work needed. This is the story of our greats, some certainly had fewer struggles and reached greater heights, some had challenges we cannot even imagine, but all were on journeys. And most importantly for us, this is also the story of each of their children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren, who also have their challenges and struggles, but if we realize just what a journey we are on and what opportunities await, making the good & right choices becomes a labor of love and gives amazing meaning & purpose to life.

 

Sat, November 27 2021 23 Kislev 5782