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Rabbi's Message, Parshat Vayechi

12/17/2021 09:15:50 AM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

Once again, this year, on Shabbat Parshat Vayechi, we join with 500 other Orthodox synagogues across the country for TEAM Shabbat, sponsored by the National Association of Chevra Kadishas (NASCK).  TEAM stands for “traditional end-of-life awareness.”  This week’s parashah closes Sefer Bereishit with the passing of Yaakov Avinu, and later Yosef, concluding the patriarchal and matriarchal narratives and setting the...Read more...

Rabbi's Message, Parshat  Vayigash

12/10/2021 12:11:04 PM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

The weight of words… Many begin their study of this week’s parashah focusing on action: “Vayigash Eilav Yehudah - And Judah approached (Gen 44:18).” Judah assumes responsibility, steps forward, and argues the brothers’ case to the viceroy of Egypt, who unbeknownst to them is none other than their long-lost sibling Joseph. Judah acts and exercises leadership.

Action is key, but I am stuck on words. Seventeen verses into...Read more...

Rabbi's Message, Parshat Miketz

12/03/2021 11:10:28 AM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

There is a curious halakhah regarding the placement of the Chanukah Menorah. The Talmud (TB Shabbat 21b; Sh”A O”C 671:6) says that it should be placed above 3 tefachim - handbreaths, but beneath 10 tefachim, from the ground (~between 12” and 36-40”). Why is the best practice to place the Chanukiah so low when the intent is to broadly publicize the miracle of Chanukah? The Talmud (TB Sukkah 5a ff.) teaches another curious theological...Read more...

Rabbi's Message, Parshat Vayeshev

11/26/2021 09:16:43 AM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

Many traditional Jewish Americans - whether descendents of early Sephardic Jewish arrivals, or 19th century immigrants from Western Europe, or the influx of Eastern European Jews in the first half of the 20th century, or the many nationalities of later Jewish immigrants - have fully embraced the American Holiday of Thanksgiving. Rabbi Solovietchik zt”l was known to end his Talmud shiur at Yeshiva University early (Torah never...Read more...

Rabbi's Message, Shabbat Vayishlach

11/19/2021 10:43:35 AM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

The story is told that once when a principal of a day school went to consult with his Rosh Yeshiva about expelling a student, the great rabbi surprised him by asking: "What is the name of the student's mother?"

The bewildered principal asked: "Why is that important?"

The Rav answered: "Are telling me that you are considering expelling a student, but you have not yet davened for him?!"

In this week’s parashah, Yaakov...

Shabbat Youth Programming Expectations

11/18/2021 05:19:26 PM


​​​​​​Dearest Families, Friends and Kahal members,

We are transitioning to a more structured, religiously interactive, and engaging ShabbRead more...

Rabbi's Message, Shabbat Vayetzei

11/12/2021 12:25:41 PM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

This week, we began our in-person, after-school, Teen Torah study with Rabbi Samuels for Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers who attend public school. It was wonderful to once again hear in a Torah class in our Shul building with tween and teen voices laughing and sharing insightful comments and opinions. Our Middle School class will study Jewish Leadership Models this Fall/Winter, beginning with Avraham Avinu. We are...Read more...

Participate in Shabbat Eat & Meet, October 26

10/21/2021 11:28:10 AM


Last Call:  Shabbat Eat & Meet Participation
Take the survey now!
Dear Chevre,

Please take this survey as soon as possible so we can match everyoRead more...

Next Monday: Literacy Program Outreach Meeting, 8:15pm

10/19/2021 08:25:10 AM


Congregation Shaarei Tefillah


Rabbi's Message, Shabbat Lech Lecha

10/18/2021 03:22:52 PM


This week, I started teaching two Talmud classes on Property Law. One might wonder, why is property law considered a sacred Torah study? In last week’s parashah, Parshat Noach, the Torah tells two stories: the Mabbul - the world-destroying flood and the Tower of Babel. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 108a, see also Rashi to Gen 11:9) asks why did God destroy the world in one instance, and scatter the population in the other? In the second story...Read more...

Shabbat Programming Survey Reminder

10/13/2021 11:34:44 AM


In a few weeks, we will lose our Tent for davening and other activities. However, davening and participating in Youth Programming with the Teen LeadsRead more...

Shabbat Programming Survey

10/06/2021 03:06:55 PM


In a few weeks, we will lose our Tent for davening and other activities. However, davening and participating in Youth Programming with the Teen LeadsRead more...
Tue, December 5 2023 22 Kislev 5784