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Young Israel of Great Neck

Rabbi Asher Resnick - Ariel Yitzchak Newman Memorial Scholar in Residence  July 8-9


YIGN Playground

Late last summer, the new YIGN Playground “opened for business”, and our children and grandchildren have been enjoying it ever since, as was evidenced over this past Shavuot holiday. A bit belated, the following is a list of all of the families whose contributions helped make this project possible: thank you all very much! And a special thank you to Bob Welner for spearheading the effort and for all of his behind-the-scenes work, without which the final product would never have become a reality.

The Playground Committee

YIGN Officers and Board 2016-17

YIGN 2016 Dinner

The 2016 Annual Dinner was a great success.  Special thanks to our honorees Sarah & Etan Walls and Barrie & Eliot Peyser as well as to the entire Dinner committee.  

The following are links to two videos presented at the Dinner plus photos from the event.

2016 YIGN Dinner Photos

2016 YIGN Dinner - Rabbi Lerner

2016 YIGN Dinner - Twins


President's Message

The Young Israel of Great Neck (YIGN) was established over 40 years ago through the efforts of six visionary families.  What started out as their dream has resulted, after four decades of tremendous growth, in a large, thriving, modern orthodox congregation with over 250 family members, located at 236 Middle Neck Road in Great Neck. In addition to our beautiful main sanctuary, our state-of-the-art Justin Family Center contains a large Beit Midrash, several classrooms, as well as a full-sized gymnasium. Read more



Mazel tov to Fern and Marvin Resmovits and Mildred and Samuel Block on the forthcoming marriage of their son and grandson Craig to Gabi Katz.

Mazel tov to Sara and Mitchell Shapiro on the forthcoming marriage of their son Josh to Erica Friedman.

Mazal tov to Suri and David Kufeld upon Samantha becoming an Oleh Chadasha, and for her chattan Benzi Zimmerman being promoted to Captain in the Foreign Relations Unit of the IDF’s Planning Directorate/General Staff.

Mazal tov to Judy and Fred Lewis and Daniel Lewis on the bat mitzvah of their granddaughter and daughter, Sarah.

Mazel tov to Judy and Bart Sobel on the bat mitzvah of their daughter Eliana.

Mazel tov to Betsy Lieberman and Laura and Elie Cohen on the bat mitzvah of their granddaughter and daughter Ashley.

Mazel tov to Sandra and Michael Stern on the forthcoming marriage of their daughter Zoe to Sean Hack.


Condolences to Frieda Lewinter, Karen and Alan Mazurek, David and Linda Lewinter and Mark and Vicki Lewinter on the loss of their husband and father and founder of the Young Israel of Great Neck, Morris Lewinter z.l.

Condolences to Tina Machnikoff and family on the loss of her father, Morris Steinberg.

Condolences to Elena Berkowitz on the loss of her sister Yehudit Segev.


Just a reminder that it is shul policy that no candy bags be thrown in shul during simchas.

Please join us in welcoming Rabbi Asher Resnick, Ariel Yitzchak Newman Memorial Scholar in Residence, for a special Shabbat Program on Shabbat Parshat Korach, July 9.  See above for details on Rabbi Resnick's shiurim.


YIGN has established an account at Fidelity Investments to facilitate stock donations. You can pay your Shul dues, pledges, or any other obligation by stock, which may have tax advantages to you. For example, if you donate stock with a long term capital gain, you may be able to avoid paying taxes on the capital gain while getting a charitable tax deduction for the full current value of the stock.  Please call the Shul office for stock transfer instructions.  Of course, you should check with your accountant to understand your specific situation.

In order to enhance the observance of taharat hamishpacha in our community, we are excited about welcoming Yoetzet Halacha, Lisa Septimus, as an additional resource for answering questions. 

Like all Yoatzot Halacha, Lisa has been  certified by a panel of Orthodox rabbis to be a resource for women with questions regarding taharat hamishpachah (an area of Jewish Law that relates to marriage, sexuality and women's health). This role was devised to assist women who are more comfortable discussing very personal issues with another woman, with the option of remaining anonymous during the call. In preparing to become Yoatzot Halacha, women devote two years (over 1000 hours) to intensive study with rabbinic authorities in taharat hamishpachah and  receive training from experts in modern medicine and psychology, including gynecology, infertility, women's health, family dynamics and sexuality.

Below is Lisa's contact information, as well as for our rabbinical team, all of whom remain available to answer questions and provide guidance: 

Yoetzet Halacha Lisa Septimus - 516 415 1111

Rabbi Lerner - 516 318 0141

Abby Lerner - 516 661 1072

Rabbi Ismach - 516 250 8202

Malka Ismach - 917 373 4883


There will be an end of year ice cream party this Motzei Shabbat - June 25th with Sarah Manasseh Duani at 16 Handles at 10:30 - for all girls in 8th Grade and high school. Don't miss the fun! 


Honoring Charlie & Doreen Hadid and Tennis Honoree-Robin Muss Abada - Please join us on Monday July 11th once again at the beautiful Fresh Meadows Country Club for a wonderful day of great golf with an all day BBQ, ladies tennis followed by lunch and a mahjong/spa day,  men’s tennis and a sunset cocktail party followed by a lovely buffet dinner, with prizes, raffles, auctions and evening entertainment.  Event Brochure for Registration/Information will be mailed soon.  For additional information re:sponsorships and participation, please contact Glenn Zuckerman, Jonathan Muller, Andrew Feldschreiber or Ryan Ostrow or email Arnie Flatow at or call 487-8687 ext 133.    


The following donations have been made to the Young Israel of Great Neck:

Marci Zinn in honor of the marriage of Elizabeth Segal and Eric Weiss

Michal and Ronnie Malen in honor of the marriage of Elizabeth Segal and Eric Weiss

Steve Foss in honor of the bat mitzvah of Emunah Yehudit Zagdanski; In honor of the birth of Cindy and Cory Gold’s grandson; In honor of Joey Simkovic’s graduation;In honor of the birth of Jordan Weiss

Jessica and Noah Steinberg in honor of the forthcoming marriage of Craig Resmovits and Gabi Katz

Evelyn and Oscar Kranz in honor of Riva Goldberg’s bat mitzvah

Romina and Oded Weiss in memory of Heshnat Basaleli

Beverly Gottlieb and family in honor of Roselin Dicker’s birthday

Miriam and Gil Ellenberg in memory of Heshnat Basaleli

Sonia Movsas in memory of Morris Lewinter

Adele and Azriel Genachowski in memory of Morris Steinberg; In memory of Yehudit Segev

Michelle and Barry Rubin in memory of Morris Steinberg; In memory of Heshnat Basaleli

Rabbi Lerner's Weekly Parsha Shiur


Parshat Shlach

A Kabbalistic View of the Sin of the Meraglim


14:And the entire congregation raised up and issued its voice; the people wept that night.

The Gomorrah in Ta’anis says that this was the night of Tisha B’Av; Hashem said, “You are crying a needless, baseless cry now – I will give you a good reason to cry out on this night throughout history.” The Gemorrah tells us that the mission began on the 29th of Sivan – we calculate this from the pasuk 13:25 that says And they returned from spying out the land at the completion of 40 days. So the mission straddled mostly over two month – Tamuz and Av.

           Imrai Baruch: Quotes from the Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation, filled with many Kabbalistic ideas (the Sefer is often attributed to Rabbi Akiva, but some say it goes all the way back to Avraham Aveinu). There is a direct tie of the human senses to the months of the year. There is another connection between the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the months of the year. The month of Tamuz is tied to the letter ches and to sight. The month of Av is tied to Tes and the sense of hearing. One can suggest that Ches and Tes spell out chait, sin (when we ignore the silent aleph in the word Chait), which might play some role with the history of these months.

            There is a pasuk in Ki Savo 29:3 that discusses the importance of these senses: And Hashem did not give you a heart to know, or eyes to see, or ears to hear until this day. Traditionally, the heart is the seat of knowledge and feeling; but this pasuk links other senses that have similar properties: eyes help us see and understand; ears let us hear and understand.

            The Benai Yissaschar: during the entire month of Tamuz they were spying out the land – they were to see with their eyes and understand what they saw. They were to see the land flowing with milk and honey, but they only saw and focused on the bad – giants who live there, fortified cities, a difficult land to live in, a land that swallows up its inhabitants, etc… So they took the power of sight of that month and used it for bad instead of good. There is a further allusion to the month and the senses: The 12 tribes were divided into four groups that were encamped around the Mishkan and travelled together: they are parallel to the 12 months and four seasons of the year. The first group, that headed by Yehuda, is parallel to the first three months of the year – Nissan, Iyar, and Sivan. The next group is Reuven’s – this includes Tamuz, Av, and Elul. Reuven’s name is from the language of Reuh, sight (he was named by Leah, saying that Hashem saw her pain and responded to it). Shimon is parallel to Av, the month of hearing – Leah named him that way because Hashem heard her cries. In Av, the month tied to hearing, the spies came back and the people heard what they had to say and burst out in tears. When the spies returned and gave their report, the people used their ears to accept the report and not to the words of Moshe. Furthermore, Hashem had made a promise to them back in Va’eira with the word Vehaivesi – that after taking them out of Egypt He would bring them into Eretz Yisrael. The spies sinned with what they saw and then with what they reported – and the people in turn, ignored all of the miraculous events that God had performed for them, to listen to the spies’ report instead. Rav Kutiel Teitelbaum: to understand the sin of the spies in isolation would be to miss the boat, would miss the bigger picture. The sin of the spies has its roots in the sin of Adam and Chava. The pasuk 3:6 says And she saw that the tree was good for eating – after hearing the words of the Nachash, the sin actually began with sight. She then gave it to her husband, who listened to the voice of his wife instead of to what Hashem had commanded him. The driving force of man’s downfall comes from sight and hearing. Part of the miracles of the ten plagues was to reinvigorate the people into seeing the right thing – it says that the miracles were performed before the eyes of the people; furthermore, the people heard Moshe and Hashem at Har Sinai. Chazal signaled this sin from a Midrash – at Har Sinai all blind people were healed, because it says that Hashem came down and was seen by the entire nation; and 20:15 The entire nation saw the thunder and the flames. We know there were no deaf people because we pronounced Na’ashe VeNishmah. This was meant to put an end to the defectiveness of sight and hearing, to sinning with those senses – it was to strengthen the people to use these special senses appropriately. Ben Ish Chai: Shabbos also has a magical healing power – the Kedusha of Shabbos addresses our problems and has us do Tikkun with wine, Challah, and candles. The Lechem is the Tikkun with what happened with Chavah – she desperately wanted to eat forbidden fruit – on Shabbos we eat in a way that is holy, eating challah with three seudos for mitzvos. The candles are for seeing – Chavah followed what pleased her eyes – the spiritual glow of Shabbos and the candles are Tikkun for what Chavah saw and did. The wine brings us wisdom when taken in the right quantities, and can sharpen our minds and open our eyes – it also brings about the Tikkun to understanding things in the right way. Shabbos tries to restore the proper use of our senses that sinned in Gan Eden.

            Vilna Gaon: the way the Hebrew calendar works out is that the night of the Seder is always the same day of the week as the night of Tisha B’Av. There is a causal link that the Beis Halevi says, that we were in a spiritual free fall in Egypt and would have assimilated had He waited the full 400 years of the Galus to take us out, as originally promised to Avraham – He had to take us out prematurely, and we therefore had to complete suffering throughout our history. But this calendar link is also for Pesach to be a Tikkun for the sin of the Meraglim – the churban was because of our perverting sight and hearing. A blind person is exempt from the mitzvah of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim – we learn this from Bo 13:8: Vehigadetah Lebinchah Bayom Hahu… Ba’Avor Zeh Asah Hashem Li – we learn from this pasuk that we have to have Matzoh and Marror in front of us to perform this mitzvah, and we must be able to see these things – if you can’t see them, you are exempt from the mitzvah. So there is a strong connection of the Seder to sight. Furthermore, if we have to tell our children as the pasuk says, then hearing is also built into Pesach and the Seder – the Seder is a Tikkun for the sins of sight and hearing. (An additional example of a halachah dependant on sight is that of the Ben Sorer Umoreh – the wayward son – it says the word Zeh there as well – it teaches us that if a child is blind, he is exempt from this punishment.)

            Another quote from Rav Teitelbaum: the mission of the spies was originally to be the Tikkun for the sin of the Etz Hada’as. They were supposed to find the positive and not the negative of the land – had they had an Eyin Tovah – and returned with a glowing report – that would have been the Tikkun for the sin of the Etz Hada’as; we would have used our eyes for the right reasons, as opposed to what Chavah did. Unfortunately, they did the reverse, and repeated the original sin, using sight and hearing inappropriately.

            How can we repair this sin?  One way is learning Torah. How do we see that? We are Metakein with our two different Torahs – the written and the oral. The Bais HaLevi says that Hashem designed it that way, to have two separate Torahs (until it became necessary for Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi to write it down because it was being forgotten during the oppressive galus). The plan was that we would be the Torah – we would be the oral Torah – it would be in our minds and we would transmit it to each generation – this would make us holy – we would embody the Torah and have the Torah in our minds. Another Tikkun, as per the Ari, comes from learning the Torah by using our eyes to read the written Torah, while we listen to the oral Torah – we use these two powerful senses and elevate them, using them in the right way.

            Rav Epstein: another Tikkun from Chazal is that there is an obligation to strengthen ourselves during the Three Weeks by going out of our way to be nice to other people. It was Sinas Chinam that destroyed the Bais Hamikdash, and the opposite, Ahavas Chinam, would repair things. We all saw and heard God at Har Sinai, and we were to learn the Torah properly. Rav Chaim Veloshon quotes from Pirkai Avos, saying that when two Jews are sitting and not learning Torah, they are considered Letzim. It doesn’t mean that they are talking silly things. It means that they are not learning from each other, they are learning independently, scorning the Torah of the other person. By not listening to another view of the Torah, they again pervert the sense of hearing again.

            We always have Va’eschanan follow Tisha B’Av as another Tikkun for the sin caused by our sight and hearing. At the beginning of the parsha, when Moshe details his many tefillos to enter the land, the Katskah Rebbeh says that Moshe wanted to show the people how to look at the land only in the most positive way – he says in 3:25 that he wanted to see the good land. Sforno: what he was saying is that I will give my eyes to look for the good in Eretz Yisrael. At the end of his life, Moshe’s seeing only the good throughout the entirety of Eretz Yisrael from his vantage point on Har Nevo, looking down at the holy land, imbued the land with additional holiness, because he only looked at the good of the land. The Shemah that we say in Va’eschanan is also tied in with the power of hearing, as a Tikkun for the sin of hearing that the nation were guilty of when the spies returned with their report. 

Tue, 28 June 2016 22 Sivan 5776