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Young Israel of Great Neck

Rabbi Ismach Visits Our Children in Israel


TV Game Show Night

Announcements

MAZEL TOV

Mazel tov to Edna and Noam Segal on the forthcoming marriage of their son Mickey to Rebecca Goldberg.

Mazel tov to Sara and Tom Major and Miriam and Allen Major on the birth of their granddaughter and daughter.

Mazel tov to Gina and Gabriel Aharonoff, Rozita and Aziz Basalely, Bella and David Basaleli and Rabbi Shlomo Oren and Batya Aharonoff on the birth of their grandson, grand nephew and son.

SHUL

THANK YOU
Many thanks to the following members of the Kol Nidre Committee for all of their valuable time and effort in the extremely important function of raising these funds specifically earmarked for the maintenance of the Shul: Jason Applebaum, Martin Ghodsi, Cory Gold, Lloyd Hoffman, David Kalish, Michael Katz, Arthur Kirsch, Ted Kravitz, Charles Libby, Stan Morris, Errol Uhr. A heartfelt thank you on behalf of the Shul, to all of those members who generously participated in the mitzvah of giving above and beyond the required dues. Yasher koach to Fred Raven who so ably coordinated the Kol Nidre campaign.

BRIDGE THE GAP THANK YOU
Our Bridge The Gap Event this past Shabbos was a huge success with over 90 participating families! Thanks to all committee members as well as hosts and guests who made the event the success that it was! The event was a true reflection of the unique sense of achdus and unity that makes Young Israel of Great Neck so special.

CHOLENT WARS 2015
#bethere#delicious#cholentiscoming
#yigncooks#lotsofcrockpots#lovethatkishka#barleyvsbeans #bringtheheat
#cholentrevenge#backbypopulardemand
Save the date...1-10-15...Cholent Wars returns! Stay tuned for more details...

COATS IN CLOSET
This is the final week to claim your coat or jacket that you may have left in the coatroom. All the abandoned coats have been left in the coat room behind the main sanctuary. Please check if you are missing any outerwear.

YOUTH

NEW GIRLS DANCE CLASS
IMove with Naz is a new dance class for all girls in grades 3-6 on Sunday mornings from 9:30-10:30AM. Class will include different types of dance and all different types of music. Please RSVP to 
YIGNKIDS@gmail.com.

COMMUNITY

LECTURE WITH RABBI YOSEF MIZRACHI
Please join us at the home of Sharon and Akiva Fishman, (35 Beverly Road) on Thursday evening, December 4th at 8 pm for an exciting lecture given by world famous Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi on the topic of "Torah and Science". Rabbi Mizrachi has over 65,000 followers on Facebook, lectures all over the world, and runs an organization focused on bringing Jews closer to Hashem through a deeper understanding of the Torah and its hidden codes. Complimentary DVDs from his famous lecture series will be available.

NORTH SHORE HEBREW ACADEMY PTA CHANUKAH BOUTIQUE SALE
The upcoming North Shore Hebrew Academy PTA Chanukah Boutique Sale will be held Sunday December 14, 2014 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at 16 Cherry Lane in Kings Point. The sale will feature a large variety of vendors including jewelry, children's clothing, toys, exercise, wear, tablecloths, housewares, monogrammed gifts, Bella's hats, faux flower arrangements, and much more!

DONATIONS

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

- Romina and Oded Weiss in memory of Rose Nimaroff
- Anita and Hal Beretz in memory of Rose Nimaroff
- Lani and David Pelcovitz in honor of the engagement of Rabbi David Eckstein   and Jenny Ringelheim;In honor of the birth of Ella Rachelle Schwechter; In honor of the birth of Isabelle Kira Lavi; In honor of the birth of Aviva Sarah Malen; In honor of the birth of Kira Zahava Tarnor;In honor of the birth of Daniel Asher Katzman; In memory of Rose Nimaroff; In memory of Rosalind Rubin

President's Message

The YIGN is a Modern Orthodox synagogue that was founded by six visionary families.  They dreamed of a participatory minyan that would be welcoming to all. After multiple small temporary locations, we moved to our present, beautiful facility at 236 Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, New York.  We are privileged to inhabit a newly constructed Beit Midrash and classroom building, as well as a full sized gym. Read more

Rabbi Lerner's Weekly Parsha Shiur

Parshat Vayera

Why was Avraham Commanded to Perform the Akeidah

22:1: And it happened after these things that God tested (Nisah)Avraham… This was an incredible test for Avraham, and according to many meforshim, it was the last. Or HaChayim: it was an incredible test for him. When it says after these things, it was a build up of all of what came earlier. This occurred after the many difficult experiences that he had gone through in life, as opposed to Rashi who relates it just to the immediate, preceding event with Avimelech. He was childless for so many years and finally, after nearly giving up, he had Yitzchak; and even after that, he was required to drive Yishmael and Hagar out of his home, as per Sarah and Hashem – that was more painful than all of the previous tests, being asked to throw out his bechor from his home. Beyond that, he was told that his future lies with Yitzchak, and now he was told to kill this child. And Yitzchak was already several years old – the previous pasuk says Avraham dwelt in the land of Pelishtim for many years – Yitzchak was born the first year they moved to this land; the midrashim say he was 37 years at the time of the Akeidah – an adult who was already an incredible person in his own right. All of this made this test of the Akeidah even more wondrous. Avraham waited so long to have a child, with all of the promises he received from God, and now Hashem ordered him to sacrifice him. And despite all of this, Avraham does not question God. It was a formidable test of Yitzchak as well, who was an adult, who knew he was the continuity of the mesorah, and he is now told he will be sacrificed – he did not try to block Avraham. It was a maximum challenge at every level.

            Why did Hashem command this test? Rashi: When it says And it happened after these things, it usually implies a cause and effect relationship; this suggests that this most intense test of Avraham may have been a result of something that happened earlier. Some say that it was a result of the words of the Satan, who is the antagonist of the Jewish people. The Satan complained to Hashem saying that with every party that Avraham hosted, he never offered a korban to God. In the story with Avimelech, it says in 21:27: So Avraham took flocks and cattle and gave them to Avimelech, and the two of them entered into a covenant. 21:28-31: Avraham set up seven lambs of the flock by themselves. And Avimelech said to Avraham, “What are these seven lambs which you have set by themselves?” And he replied, “Because you are to take these seven ewes from me, that it may serve me as a testimony that I dug this well.” Therefore, that place was called Beersheva because there the two of them took an oath. He gave Avimelech many animals as gifts; the Satan said that in every Se’udah that Avraham hosted, he never offered a cow or lamb to God – he lavished meals and respect on Avimelech, and he made no contribution to God; he showed more respect for the king of flesh and blood than the King of Kings. Hashem responded to this allegation of the Satan, saying that Avraham did this just to have peace in the land for his son, but he was so devoted to Hashem, that he would not hold back if he was ordered to sacrifice his son. Hashem did this to shut the Satan up, to prove how devoted Avraham was to God. The other possibility that it was due to problems with Yishmael, who was always in contention with Yitzchak; he bragged that while Yitzchak had his bris milah at age 8 days, as an infant with no say in the matter, Yishmael had allowed it to be done to him when he was 13 years old. Yitzchak answered “You are trying to show your superiority over me with one limb? I would willingly offer my whole body to God.” So Hashem said, let’s see. So we see from Rashi that these reasons for the Akeidah all emanate from below, from words and actions of man.

            Chizkuni: there are some who say that Avraham created a bris with Avimelech that was not commanded by God; the pact that he made was a bad thing – he did not consult with Hashem about it beforehand; the land of the Pelishtim was not given to them – it was given to Avraham and his children; as it says in Shmos, the boundary of the land was from the Yardain to the land of the Pelishtim – it belonged to us; these people were supposed to be evicted with the rest of the Canaani. Therefore, Hashem does this to Avraham as a punishment – it was supposed to be Avraham’s land, for his children; so Hashem punished him with this test of faith.

            Ramban: the concept of a Nisayon, a test of faith is related to man’s free will – if we want to do it, we do it – God doesn’t force us to do it; that is why it is a test of faith. From God’s perspective it is a test that converts the potential to the actual; Hashem knew that Avraham could do this; but by actually doing it, it is transformative – he becomes someone else after having done it; he is forever after altered by the test. He reaches the potential he always had. The Rav: the difficult tests that tzadikim go through bring out latent strengths that people never know they had. This is born out in 22:12: ..Do not stretch out your hand against the lad nor do anything to him for now I know that you are a God-fearing man, since you have not withheld your son, our only one, from Me. Now I know that you are a different Avraham, having gone through the angst involved with this test – that is why it was a three day journey to get there, so that Avraham would constantly debate doing this, and it shouldn’t just be a spur of the moment decision. Avraham was completely transformed into a different individual – he was now at a totally different level. Now he would get the far better schar, the reward of action rather than that of a good heart; ma’asim tovim are much greater. In Tehillim it says that God tests the tzadik. The tests are not to make life more difficult for us, but to actualize our inner potential. The tests of life can throw us, but they are brought to bring us to a higher level. The Rav says that Moshe attained his highest madreigah when he came down from Har Sinai the second time, with his face glowing – why didn’t it happen after the first set of luchos were given? Adversity forced him to dig deep and find resources of strength that he otherwise would not have attained – he had to save the entire nation from the sin they had committed. It was because of incredible duress that people find strength that they did not think they have.

            Sforno: why is it so important to actualize the potential? That is the essence of God; He is constantly sustaining and creating the world; He is about actualizing things, and not just potential; our job is to imitate the Divine One, and that is why he had to be tested.

            Ibn Ezra quotes Rav Sadia Gaon: the nisayon contains the word nes, a sign; this was to be a Siman of showing Avraham’s righteousness to the world. He is to bring him to the mountain to show his faith.

Rabbeinu Bachya: this is the story of the Akeidah, and the zechus of the Akeidah protects us in every generation; it was that powerful. The purpose of the Akeidah was to set up people who would be the ultimate role models for us; we are to learn behavior from them. We see Avraham’s faith and love of the King. He constantly tells people of the wonders of the King. A higher level is giving one’s money to support the belief in God. The highest level of love of God is willingness to lay down one’s life for the king. This was the story of Avraham and Yitzchak here; he was willing to kill his son, his entire future. This was going against his midah of chesed, that he has been touting as the midah of God; and Avraham was willing to do it. Avraham constantly talked to others about God  – that is the meaning of Vayikrah Beshaim Hashem. He opened up his house for chesed to all wayfarers to teach about God. And he was willing to sacrifice his own life, being thrown in the furnace by Nimrod for refusing to recant his belief in God. And the Akeidah was beyond all of the others; there was never any test like this; it goes against all nature; he could not have a child until age 100 – it was all that he wanted, for continuity of his beliefs; God blessed him with a miracle, and he has the utmost love for this child; after living for all of these year created an incredible bond and love of this child; and now God asked to give him up as a korban. The point was in Avraham’s action against all reason, with a full willingness, showing a way to believe in God, in a way that would not have believed possible. It wasn’t to make Avraham look like a tzadik, but to serve as a role model for us.

Rambam: the place he was to bring him to was Har Hamoriah, at an exact point. The Pirkei De Rebbi Eliezer says this spot had a long history – it was where Adam and Hevel and Noach brought korbanos. It was a special place of spirituality, of connection to the heavens. It was to be the space where the future Mizbeach of the bais Hamikdash would be.

There are phenomenal benefits that accrued to Bnei Yisrael through this. In 22:16-17 it says …Because you did this thing, and have not withheld your you’re your only one, that I shall surely bless you and greatly increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore; and you offspring shall inherit the gate of its enemy. Ramban: because of Akeidas Yitzchak, we have korbanos; we continue to manifest this power of the Akeidah by korbanos; the power of korbanos reminds us of the Akeidah, on that very spot where Avraham offered up Yitzchak. Part of the promise here is many descendants and that they would inherit the gates of their enemies; it is the final promise that they will get Eretz Yisrael, even if we sin; we will have it forever.

Meshech Chachama – Akeidas Yitzchak not only gave us the land, but in implanted in us the concept Mesiras Nefesh that Avraham had, to always be willing to give of ourselves. The Akeida imbedded into all Jewry the ability to deal with any test; that we have the capability of any kind of mesiras nefesh. And that our just having the thought of doing something like this, of giving of ourselves, is enough to get credit and reward for it.

Why was Avraham Commanded to Perform the Akeidah

22:1: And it happened after these things that God tested (Nisah)Avraham… This was an incredible test for Avraham, and according to many meforshim, it was the last. Or HaChayim: it was an incredible test for him. When it says after these things, it was a build up of all of what came earlier. This occurred after the many difficult experiences that he had gone through in life, as opposed to Rashi who relates it just to the immediate, preceding event with Avimelech. He was childless for so many years and finally, after nearly giving up, he had Yitzchak; and even after that, he was required to drive Yishmael and Hagar out of his home, as per Sarah and Hashem – that was more painful than all of the previous tests, being asked to throw out his bechor from his home. Beyond that, he was told that his future lies with Yitzchak, and now he was told to kill this child. And Yitzchak was already several years old – the previous pasuk says Avraham dwelt in the land of Pelishtim for many years – Yitzchak was born the first year they moved to this land; the midrashim say he was 37 years at the time of the Akeidah – an adult who was already an incredible person in his own right. All of this made this test of the Akeidah even more wondrous. Avraham waited so long to have a child, with all of the promises he received from God, and now Hashem ordered him to sacrifice him. And despite all of this, Avraham does not question God. It was a formidable test of Yitzchak as well, who was an adult, who knew he was the continuity of the mesorah, and he is now told he will be sacrificed – he did not try to block Avraham. It was a maximum challenge at every level.

Why did Hashem command this test? Rashi: When it says And it happened after these things, it usually implies a cause and effect relationship; this suggests that this most intense test of Avraham may have been a result of something that happened earlier. Some say that it was a result of the words of the Satan, who is the antagonist of the Jewish people. The Satan complained to Hashem saying that with every party that Avraham hosted, he never offered a korban to God. In the story with Avimelech, it says in 21:27: So Avraham took flocks and cattle and gave them to Avimelech, and the two of them entered into a covenant. 21:28-31: Avraham set up seven lambs of the flock by themselves. And Avimelech said to Avraham, “What are these seven lambs which you have set by themselves?” And he replied, “Because you are to take these seven ewes from me, that it may serve me as a testimony that I dug this well.” Therefore, that place was called Beersheva because there the two of them took an oath. He gave Avimelech many animals as gifts; the Satan said that in every Se’udah that Avraham hosted, he never offered a cow or lamb to God – he lavished meals and respect on Avimelech, and he made no contribution to God; he showed more respect for the king of flesh and blood than the King of Kings. Hashem responded to this allegation of the Satan, saying that Avraham did this just to have peace in the land for his son, but he was so devoted to Hashem, that he would not hold back if he was ordered to sacrifice his son. Hashem did this to shut the Satan up, to prove how devoted Avraham was to God. The other possibility that it was due to problems with Yishmael, who was always in contention with Yitzchak; he bragged that while Yitzchak had his bris milah at age 8 days, as an infant with no say in the matter, Yishmael had allowed it to be done to him when he was 13 years old. Yitzchak answered “You are trying to show your superiority over me with one limb? I would willingly offer my whole body to God.” So Hashem said, let’s see. So we see from Rashi that these reasons for the Akeidah all emanate from below, from words and actions of man.

Chizkuni: there are some who say that Avraham created a bris with Avimelech that was not commanded by God; the pact that he made was a bad thing – he did not consult with Hashem about it beforehand; the land of the Pelishtim was not given to them – it was given to Avraham and his children; as it says in Shmos, the boundary of the land was from the Yardain to the land of the Pelishtim – it belonged to us; these people were supposed to be evicted with the rest of the Canaani. Therefore, Hashem does this to Avraham as a punishment – it was supposed to be Avraham’s land, for his children; so Hashem punished him with this test of faith.

Ramban: the concept of a Nisayon, a test of faith is related to man’s free will – if we want to do it, we do it – God doesn’t force us to do it; that is why it is a test of faith. From God’s perspective it is a test that converts the potential to the actual; Hashem knew that Avraham could do this; but by actually doing it, it is transformative – he becomes someone else after having done it; he is forever after altered by the test. He reaches the potential he always had. The Rav: the difficult tests that tzadikim go through bring out latent strengths that people never know they had. This is born out in 22:12: ..Do not stretch out your hand against the lad nor do anything to him for now I know that you are a God-fearing man, since you have not withheld your son, our only one, from Me. Now I know that you are a different Avraham, having gone through the angst involved with this test – that is why it was a three day journey to get there, so that Avraham would constantly debate doing this, and it shouldn’t just be a spur of the moment decision. Avraham was completely transformed into a different individual – he was now at a totally different level. Now he would get the far better schar, the reward of action rather than that of a good heart; ma’asim tovim are much greater. In Tehillim it says that God tests the tzadik. The tests are not to make life more difficult for us, but to actualize our inner potential. The tests of life can throw us, but they are brought to bring us to a higher level. The Rav says that Moshe attained his highest madreigah when he came down from Har Sinai the second time, with his face glowing – why didn’t it happen after the first set of luchos were given? Adversity forced him to dig deep and find resources of strength that he otherwise would not have attained – he had to save the entire nation from the sin they had committed. It was because of incredible duress that people find strength that they did not think they have.

Sforno: why is it so important to actualize the potential? That is the essence of God; He is constantly sustaining and creating the world; He is about actualizing things, and not just potential; our job is to imitate the Divine One, and that is why he had to be tested.

Ibn Ezra quotes Rav Sadia Gaon: the nisayon contains the word nes, a sign; this was to be a Siman of showing Avraham’s righteousness to the world. He is to bring him to the mountain to show his faith.

Rabbeinu Bachya: this is the story of the Akeidah, and the zechus of the Akeidah protects us in every generation; it was that powerful. The purpose of the Akeidah was to set up people who would be the ultimate role models for us; we are to learn behavior from them. We see Avraham’s faith and love of the King. He constantly tells people of the wonders of the King. A higher level is giving one’s money to support the belief in God. The highest level of love of God is willingness to lay down one’s life for the king. This was the story of Avraham and Yitzchak here; he was willing to kill his son, his entire future. This was going against his midah of chesed, that he has been touting as the midah of God; and Avraham was willing to do it. Avraham constantly talked to others about God  – that is the meaning of Vayikrah Beshaim Hashem. He opened up his house for chesed to all wayfarers to teach about God. And he was willing to sacrifice his own life, being thrown in the furnace by Nimrod for refusing to recant his belief in God. And the Akeidah was beyond all of the others; there was never any test like this; it goes against all nature; he could not have a child until age 100 – it was all that he wanted, for continuity of his beliefs; God blessed him with a miracle, and he has the utmost love for this child; after living for all of these year created an incredible bond and love of this child; and now God asked to give him up as a korban. The point was in Avraham’s action against all reason, with a full willingness, showing a way to believe in God, in a way that would not have believed possible. It wasn’t to make Avraham look like a tzadik, but to serve as a role model for us.

Rambam: the place he was to bring him to was Har Hamoriah, at an exact point. The Pirkei De Rebbi Eliezer says this spot had a long history – it was where Adam and Hevel and Noach brought korbanos. It was a special place of spirituality, of connection to the heavens. It was to be the space where the future Mizbeach of the bais Hamikdash would be.

There are phenomenal benefits that accrued to Bnei Yisrael through this. In 22:16-17 it says …Because you did this thing, and have not withheld your you’re your only one, that I shall surely bless you and greatly increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore; and you offspring shall inherit the gate of its enemy. Ramban: because of Akeidas Yitzchak, we have korbanos; we continue to manifest this power of the Akeidah by korbanos; the power of korbanos reminds us of the Akeidah, on that very spot where Avraham offered up Yitzchak. Part of the promise here is many descendants and that they would inherit the gates of their enemies; it is the final promise that they will get Eretz Yisrael, even if we sin; we will have it forever.

Meshech Chachama – Akeidas Yitzchak not only gave us the land, but in implanted in us the concept Mesiras Nefesh that Avraham had, to always be willing to give of ourselves. The Akeida imbedded into all Jewry the ability to deal with any test; that we have the capability of any kind of mesiras nefesh. And that our just having the thought of doing something like this, of giving of ourselves, is enough to get credit and reward for it.

Mon, 24 November 2014 2 Kislev 5775