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Young Israel of Great Neck

Rabbi Tzvi Flaum- Shabbat Parshat Mikeitz Dec. 11-12

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 Cheryl and Ron Silverman, Bonnie and Michael Orbach, Beth and Gary Orbach and Shira and Benjy Neren on the bar mitzvah of their son, nephew and cousin Aytan.

Mazel tov to David Schimel and Harriet Schimel and Tamar and Shirel Safra on the birth of their grandson and son.

Mazel tov to Roya and Michael Samuels and Michelle and Gregg Samuels on the bat mitzvah of their daughter and niece, Daniella.

Mazel tov to Gail and Aaron Zuckerman and Shira and Gary Strong on the bat mitzvah of their granddaughter and daughter Eliana Aidel.

Mazel tov to Rabbi Adam Feldstein upon celebrating his receiving semicha at the Yeshivas Madreigas Ha’adam dinner. Mazel tov to Adina Weinblatt Feldstein and to Barbara and Efraim Weinblatt.

Mazel tov to Sonia Movsas, Tammy and Benjamin Movsas and Shoshana and Avraham Haim Movsas on the birth of their great grandson, grandson and son.


For a young couples event on Saturday Night December 19th. Further details to follow

And it's a Chazaka.  Cholent Wars YOU have what it takes?!  Meet us in the YIGN gym Shabbat January 16th for the ultimate culinary experience - cholent, cholent, and more cholent.  Looking for some brave men and women to showcase their scrumptious, delectable, out-of-this galaxy crockpot cholents in what promises to be the most fun and fierce competition yet. May the flavor be with you.  May the best bean win.

Please contact Sandy Weiss ( or Roya Samuels ( to sign up or to help sponsor a delicious Cholent Wars kiddush to enhance the competition.  Limited crockpots available... 

A long dark olive wool coat was mistakenly taken from the coat room. A similar looking coat that had two black gloves in the pocket was taken home by the individual whose coat was taken. Please check to see if you took the wrong coat home by mistake. Please call the shul office if you have any information.

As many of you know, for the last two years, GNS has been employing a Yoetzet Halacha, a woman who is certified by a panel of Rabbis from Nishmat to be a resource for women with questions regarding Taharat Hamishpacha.   This year, they have hired a new Yoetzet, Mrs. Lisa Septimus. They have invited us to partner with them on this new initiative.  At a recent Executive Board meeting, the idea was discussed and it was decided that we will join the initiative on a trial basis until June.  Mrs. Septimus will be available to answer questions and will also give several presentations over the course of the next few months.  We look forward to collaborating with GNS on this exciting new endeavor! We would like to put together a committee of YIGN women who will join the existing GNS committee and co-plan with them.  If you would like to be part of this collaboration, please contact Abby Lerner or Malka Ismach. 


Save the date for a Teen (8th grade and up) Girls' Seudat Shlishit with Sarah (Menaseh) Duani on Shabbat December 12 - Shabbat Chanukah - at the home of Eileen and Barry Ginsberg.  Details to Follow.  

We are forming a directory of youth in our Shul who are interested in being put on a list of babysitters for our members to access. If you are currently in 8th grade or older and would like to be included in the list, please email with your full name, phone number and email address.

Coach Eric Schuman's boys basketball clinic meets Sunday mornings in the YIGN gym.

Sessions are as follows: 

2nd - 3rd graders: 9:30-10:30 AM

Kindergarten - 1st graders: 10:30-11:30 AM 

Remaining Sunday dates for this program are:

12/6, 12/13, 12/20, 1/10, 2/7, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20

Cost is pay-as-you-go $15/session for YIGN members; $20/session for non-members. Please contact Roya Samuels for further information.


Unfortunately, after many years of service to the Great Neck community, Judaica of Great Neck will be closing after Chanukah. All items in the store are 20% off, and it will be very helpful if we can help reduce the store inventory. Chanukah is around the corner. Do your shopping in Judaica of Great Neck.

North Shore Hebrew Academy invites moms to sign up for our exciting new Mommy and Me class at YIGN for toddlers ages 12-24 months, running for twelve Tuesdays, beginning in January 2016. Contact Elana Helfgott for more information:

NSHA is hosting a Kiddush for new and prospective families on January 9th, following shul, at the home of Beth and Gary Orbach, 49 Deepdale Drive. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Karen Hammerman at

Rabbi Lerner's Weekly Parsha Shiur


Parshat Vayeshev

Yaacov and his Sons

37:1-2: And Yaacov settled in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations (chronicles) of Yaacov: Yosef, at the age of seventeen years, was a shepherd with his brothers by the flock; but he was a youth with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Yosef would bring evil reports about them to their father.  Rashi: Yaacov sought to dwell in peace, to finally have some calm and serenity in his life, and when he finally thought things had settled down, the troubles of Yosef began. The worst crisis of all now arose in his own home. The Midrash says that tzadikim seek to dwell in peace, but it is enough that they will have a peaceful eternal life in Olam Habah – they cannot dwell in peace in this world as well. The Gemorrah says that there are those few people who can eat from two tables; there are some tzadikim who get to have the best of both worlds – why couldn’t Yaacov have this as well? Much of what happens to Yaacov here is of his own doing; the Torah now tells us of a dysfunctional family at several different levels that caused the family to be torn apart; it was not Hashem who forced it. Chazal are brutally honest about the condemnation of the behavior of several of the major players in the family that brought these problems upon Yaacov.

            Sifsei Chachamim: it should have said these are the generations of Yaacov, Reuven, Shimon, etc… This was the root of many of the problems – Reuven was the firstborn; why jump to the eleventh son? This pinpoints the problem – Yaacov never found peace because instead of listing all of his children, seeing good in all of them, he created the strife and infighting in his own home by showing a preference for his son Yosef; he showed this favoritism in an overt way; all the other children were in a lower class; he not only felt it in his heart, he demonstrated it with the special multi-colored coat. This created a lot of anger and jealousy amongst the brothers – it is as if they didn’t exist in his eyes. Much later near the end of the story we see when Yosef, after revealing himself, sends his brothers to return home to tell Yaacov all that had happened to Yosef in Egypt, he tells them to stop fighting during the return home. Sforno: Toldos can mean the happenings, what the days are bringing; but here these actions also foreshadow what will happen to the Jews later in history: from the time Yaacov had left his father’s home there were two stages to his life – when he fled his father’s home and spent a long time in Lavan’s home – this was like the first Jewish Galus in Bavel. When Yaacov finally comes back home and these troubles arise, this is similar to what happened to us in the second Galus which was brought upon us by Sinas Chinom – it was all our own fault.

            Ramban: if one looks back to the end of Vayishlach, it lists all of the princes of Esav. Esav never really experienced Galus – he moved voluntarily to a new land, while Yaacov remained in Eretz Yisrael, which at this time was Galus for them since they still didn’t own the land. It says that they lived in the land of his father’s sojournings. But the Ramban says Megurai Aviv means that they were still Gerim, strangers in the land. They were continuing to fulfill the prophecy told to Avraham of his descendants living in a land that was not theirs; this began with the birth of Yitzchak because the land belonged to the Canaanim. They could be living in Eretz Yisrael, but they were still Gerim there – they had not yet been given possession of the land as yet.

            37:3-4: And Yisrael loved Yosef more than all his sons since he was a child of his old age, and he made him a fine woolen tunic. And the brothers saw that it was he whom their father moved most of all his brothers so they hated him; and they could not speak to him peaceably.  Meshech Chachmah: until this point, the brothers acknowledged that there was a special affinity that Yaacov had for the sons of Rachel because she was his first love; he therefore loved Rachel’s children more than his others; they could understand and deal with that. But when the brothers saw the coat of many colors, it was clear that Yaacov loved him more than all of the others, including Binyamin; they realized it was just Yosef that he loved; it wasn’t just a love of Rachel and her children; even Binyamin was shunted to the side. They also felt that he loved Yosef more because he brought back bad reports against all of the other brothers, including Binyamin; they felt he was setting up all of the other brothers to be rejected. They were angry at Yosef and hurt by the actions of Yaacov. The Gemorrah says that for the amount of money Yaacov spent in buying the fabric to make his coat, he tore apart his entire house.

            What about the behavior of Yosef? Rashi: what were the evil reports Yosef brought back against his brothers? All bad character traits or behavior he saw amongst the children of Leah, he reported to his father. These included eating the limb of a live animal; they were mocking the children of the handmaidens, calling them slaves; and they were involved with sexual immorality with the Canaani women. And for all three of these incorrect reports, he was punished Midah Kaneged Midah – they chose a goat to get blood to dip his coat to fool Yaacov, but the Torah tells us they slaughtered it appropriately – it was not the limb of a live animal; he would ultimately be sold as a slave, just as he accused them of treating some of the brothers; and as far as immorality, God tested Yosef just as well with the wife of Potifar and he almost gave in to the temptation. All of the things he accused them of were false and he was punished accordingly. The Mosef Rashi quotes a Rashi from Mishlei that adds that Yosef told his father that his brothers were looking around at all of the Canaani women, and Hashem ultimately incites “the bear” – the wife of Potifar to go after him; it was clearly a Midah Kaneged Midah. Ramban: Rashi says it was Yosef against the six brothers from Leah; but if that were the case, then Yosef wouldn’t be completely abandoned or outnumbered, because if the other four brothers from the handmaidens were also being persecuted by the brothers, and Reuven was also on Yosef’s side, as we see later – then they would have had a majority of six vs five brothers and Yosef would not have been sold. But in fact Yosef was saying Lashan Harah against all of his brothers, and that is why he had no allies. His behavior was very poor, although the reactions of his brothers were far overboard, in their getting rid of him for good. The entire family was very dysfunctional.

            Oznayim LaTorah: When we look back at what happened to Esav, it introduces the perek by saying these are the generations of Esav, he is Edom. He gathered all of his family and belongings and possessions from Canaan and left voluntarily to go to another land because of Yaacov. Rashi says it was because he knew of the prophecy of Avraham’s descendants being slaves and subjugated for 400 years; there would be great suffering to obtain this land; Esav wanted no part of this painful price tag, nor the land. He was happy taking possession of another good land; he relinquished all ownership in the land of Canaan. When Esav came to Edom, he had 8 descendant kings that ruled in their land before there was even a single king of Israel; they had incredible power; the Torah lists all the details of the dynasty of kings, all the descendants of Esav. Why does the Torah give us all of this information, and why leading up to the story of Yaacov’s family? After the Torah tells us of the kings of Edom who reigned before any Jewish kings, we should not find it surprising that they had such a good life – they had peace, they created a kingdom with many kings while we would be suffering. Why could we not set up a kingdom at the same time? It was because of these stories of the sons of Yaacov, because in Yaacov’s eyes he had only one son, Yosef. Every powerful person should be able to set up a kingdom, but a king can only arise when there is unity amongst the people; a king would instruct his followers when to go out to battle and what to do. Esav also had many wives and children, but they did not break off into different warring sects; they did not descend into jealousy and rivalry; they lived in peace and harmony and chose a single king to rule; and this was followed by seven generations of kings, coming from different families and mothers. Because of the different wives of Yaacov and the children who hated each other, they could not live together; Yosef himself created much of the problem. This is the problem of the Jewish people, and it was highlighted by comparing the family of Esav to that of Yaacov, which descended into Galus, and into all of Jewish history. Esav’s family figured it out; we still cannot figure out how to live together with our brethren. 

Tue, 1 December 2015 19 Kislev 5776