Young Israel of Great Neck
YIGN Building Design Honored
The architect of our new building, Marc Stumer, was recently honored by Pratt Institute. The Young Israel of Great Neck was chosen as one of the 50 most ‘Ground Breaking’ designs by Pratt alumni. The award states that he “created an entrance and atria area that joins all areas of the structure. While incorporating contemporary styles, Stumer made use of the angled shapes formed by the property’s borders.” Congratulations to Mr. Stumer and yascher koach to our stellar building committee: David Justin, Bob Welner, Allegra Goldberg and Charlie Segal.
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
42:7-8: Yosef saw his brothers and he recognized them; but he acted towards them as a stranger and spoke with them harshly; He asked them, “From where do you come?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.” Yosef recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. There is a redundancy here – why does the Torah repeat that he recognizes them but they did not recognize him? And why does Yosef act in this seemingly cold, unfeeling manner towards them? Rashi: he made himself like a non-Jew in his harshness, speaking to them in a harsh, accusatory manner. Rashi: when he left the brothers, they all had beards; they were older than he, and now they looked basically the same after these many years; but when Yosef left he had no beard; he now had a full beard and looked very different to them. Midrash Aggadah: he recognized them with brotherly love and had compassion for them; he acted harshly out of love and brotherhood to improve their relationship, while they had never acted like brothers towards him when they tried to kill him and ended up selling him; it is tough love. Sifsei Chachamim: Even though Yissachar and Zevulun were only a little older than Yosef – they were born to Leah after the maidservants had given birth; there was only a minor age difference between them and Yosef, so they also did not have full beards; the Ramban says they did not recognize him but he recognized them because when he recognized the older brothers, he assumed who those accompanying them were the younger brothers.
Rashbam: they didn’t recognize him because of his beard and also because he was wearing the royal garments of his position; he was the most powerful ruler of the country; furthermore, his voice was not recognizable to them because he was speaking through an interpreter to them; his voice in Egyptian was unrecognizable and they didn’t understand him.
Chizkuni: they did not recognize him because he had a beard; also his name was Tzofnas Paneyach; and he spoke Egyptian.
Ramban: he immediately recognized them, as he had been expecting them to be forced to come down to Egypt to buy food at some point because of the widespread famine; he was waiting for this moment. He was wearing a large hat and tilted the brim down to cover his eyes; he changed his whole demeanor and spoke to them in a very harsh way; he accused them of sinister motives – it says in 42:9: Yosef recalled the dreams that he dreamed about them, so he said to them, “You are spies! To see the nakedness of the land have you come!” He accused them of spying out the land, trying to harm the kingdom. He spoke harshly to them, despite the fact that many people from all over the middle east are coming to Egypt in droves to buy food. As soon as he asked from where they came and they answered Canaan, he immediately knew who they were. That is why this is repeated – the first time he thought he knew them; after speaking with them he confirmed that they were his brothers. Ibn Ezra and Sforno: first he recognized them as a group, that they were his brothers; then he recognized each one as one of his Echav – each individually, he recognized which one was which brother.
He spoke to them very harshly – why? What is going on in his mind? Why is he doing this? Rashi: he recognized that now his dream was fulfilled – they came down to Egypt and bowed down to him; he knew the dream had now been fulfilled. Ramban: Rashi is completely wrong – it is just the opposite – the dreams were not fulfilled yet; when Yosef saw his brothers bowing down, he remembered both of the dreams he had and neither were fulfilled; the second dream included the moon and sun – his parents; and the first dream was supposed to have 11 bowing down – only ten brothers came down to Egypt at this time; the dream was mostly fulfilled, but not completely. When he realized Binyamin wasn’t with them, he came up with a strategy to bring Binyamin down to fulfill the first dream; then he would work on the second dream; he remembered the dreams and this was critical to his actions from then on. He felt that he must fulfill these dreams. This is why he did not immediately tell them that he was Yosef their brother; he first forced them to bring Binyamin down to Egypt to fulfill the first dream. If this was not his motivation, he would have been committing a grave sin to cause further pain to his father; he was delaying the reunion – his father was in great pain and he would be adding to his mourning; and it will be increased by his taking Shimon as a hostage and demanding the appearance of Binyamin as well to corroborate their story. He was creating tremendous pain; even if one says he is taking revenge on his brothers, he could not do this at the expense of his father. His strategy was impeccable – he had to fulfill the dreams – they were not mere dreams – they were prophecy, and to some degree in prophecy, the Navi becomes a player in its realization – a prophet not only relates the prophecy, he can be involved in helping a prophecy be realized. All of what Yosef did with his behavior was because of his wisdom in understanding the dreams. That is why he did not contact his father all of these years – particularly when he was the ruler over Egypt – he could have sent a messenger at any time and he would not have purposely made his father suffer. The journey to Chevron from Egypt was only 6 days, and he could have easily made the trip to tell his father not to worry about him. The only way to justify his behavior was because he had to be the agent to fulfill the dreams; every detail of the prophecy had to come true, and that was his plan with his behavior.
Kli Yakar: what the Ramban says is difficult to understand – why does he have to fulfill the dreams? God has many agents to make these prophecies come true. Why should he create pain for his brothers and father? It is difficult to understand this Ramban. The Chassam Sofer and the Vilna Gaon also question the Ramban. Kli Yakar rejects this reasoning of the Ramban and says that Yosef had a different intent in withholding from his father that he was alive – he understood that his father was in terrible grief for all of this time as a Midah Kaneged Midah – Yaacov stayed away from his parents for 22 years, and now Yosef was missing from his parents for the same amount of time; Yaacov was caught up in the physical world in the house of Lavan, staying away many more years than he should, neglecting the mitzvah of kibud av, and was ultimately forced back by God to go back to Eretz Yisrael; he made his parents suffer all of this time, and therefore, God was punishing him; Yosef felt he could not cut the years short.
Rabbeinu Bachya: he accused them of being spies after anticipating their arrival; he had made a decree about border control – all who entered the land had to give their names, as well as the names of their parents and grandparents. Yaacov had warned his sons not to go together through one gate; they were very distinguished men and he told them to each enter a different gate to be less conspicuous. Yosef was getting all of the information of the visitors to the land, with his being notified each day of all entries to the land; one day he got the information of all of these men entering, all with the same father and grandfather. He realized who each were; he accused them of being spies. Kli Yakar: he called them spies because they entered different portals, ostensibly to spy out the weaknesses of the land – Yosef said that is why they came separately through different entrances to the land; if they were a family they would have come together through one entry point.
After being in prison for three days, 42:21: They then said to one another “Indeed we are guilty concerning our brother inasmuch as we saw his hearfelt anguish when he pleaded with us and we paid no heed; that is why this anguish has come upon us.” This was Vidui. Rabbeinu Bachya: this is the way of tzaddikim – they were not as bad as it seems; they acted righteously – they recognized and confessed their sin; God was punishing them and they admitted their sin; evil people wave away and ignore their sin. This was a major turnaround for the brothers. Yosef was driven not by a need to fulfill the prophecies – he is acting this way to get them to repent, to do Teshuvah; he was trying to bring them to realize how evil they were to him and the pain they caused their father. The turnaround begins here. It is confirmed when Binyamin is soon placed into the same situation and Yehuda comes through by being responsible for him; this is the ultimate test of Teshuvah Gemurah. They were placed into the same circumstances and did not repeat the sin; Binyamin was now the favorite son of the favorite wife; they could have been rid of him as well, but Yehuda comes through, steps forward and offers to give up his life for his brother – it was real Areivus. This is the turning point that got Yosef to reveal himself. There was no issue of Yosef feeling pressure to fulfill the dreams.
Abarbanel: disagrees with the Rambam. This whole cruel disguise with tough language is all about something else – it was all coming from God – Hashem played out this whole thing; it was part of the divine plan to get the Jewish people to come down to Egypt. It wasn’t really their doing; they were like pawns on the chessboard; that is why the brothers were not guilty – they were not deserving of punishment; God wanted to engineer their coming down to Egypt. God did not want them to get capital punishment for their actions in selling their brother; He wanted them to sell Yosef. God forced it to some extent, but they weren’t completely innocent – their intent was bad, and that is why they had to go through this painful ordeal with Yosef’s actions. It would otherwise seem that Yosef just happened to become the ruler of Egypt, that all of this happenstance. The Rambam says it was all through their own agency – they intended bad, but God wanted it to all be good, as Yosef says to them later on; according to the Rambam, they deserved terrible punishment because their actions were so contemptible. But it was really all of Hakodosh Baruch Hu’s doing; that is what Yosef tells them when he reveals himself to them at the end of the story – in 45:5 it says And now be not distressed, nor reproach yourselves for having sold me here, for it was to be a provider that God sent me ahead of you. And further in 45:7: Thus God sent me ahead of you to insure your survival in the land and to sustain you for a momentous deliverance. Yosef absolves them of any guilt; this goes against what Rabbeinu Bachya said, that the sin was so great, it could not be absolved until the Asarah Harugei Malchus many years later. The Abarbanel said it was almost like a suspension of their free will.
- Mazel tov to Jessica and David Jacob and Yael and Ari Zukier on the birth of their granddaughter and daughter Lela Sarah.
- Mazel tov to Stacey and Jonathan Klein on the marriage of Stacey’s sister Lauren to Naftali Zemelman.
SAVE THE DATE
We are delighted to honor Rachel and Jason Applebaum, Gail and Burt Cohen and Monica Alonat our annual Young Israel of Great Neck Dinner which will take place Motzei Shabbat, March 1, 2014 at 8:00PM at the Great Neck Synagogue. Please mark your calendars.
“BATYA: MOSES’ SECOND MOTHER”
Project Identity presents Sandra E. Rapoport who will lecture on the topic of “Batya: Moses’ Second Mother” this coming Sunday, December 8that the Young Israel. Breakfast 9:30AM and Lecture 10:00AM
CHOLENT COOK OFF
Sign up for YIGN's first ever culinary competition: The CHOLENT WARS! The time has come to show off your unique cholent with fellow shul members judging your talent at a special kiddush on Shabbat January 11th. Entry fee of $36 will cover your order of ingredients and a limited edition 2014 YIGN CHOLENT WARS chef's hat and apron. Crockpots and cooking supplies to be provided, and all preparations to be done in advance at a festive cookout in the shul kitchen. Hurry - enter now - solo or as a team - limited crockpots available! Email email@example.com or contact Roya Samuels or Sandy Weiss for more information.
SPONSORSHIPS FOR KIDDUSH
As you may have noticed, the shul is providing a hot kiddush every Shabbos Mevorchim. In addition, we would like to have an enhanced kiddush on alternate weeks. If you are interested in helping to get this organized, please contact Elliot Ostro at 917-319-8953.
LOST AND FOUND
If anyone has removed the first volume (Breishit) of Rabbeinu Bachya's perush on chumash (Hebrew) from the bais medrash, (or any other seforim) kindly return them asap.
We are once again able to offer the purchase of beautiful shtenders for your siddurim and chumashim. A sample is in our showcase in the lobby near the beit midrash. If you are interested in purchasing a shtender at the cost of $100, please call the shul office.
Many thanks to Estee and David Shor for sponsoring snacks in honor of Charlie Shor’s 2nd birthday and Andy and Jonny Shor’s 6th birthday.
YESHIVAT ORAYTA DESSERT RECEPTION
Dessert reception and informational session with Rav Binny Freedman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Orayta, a post-high school program for boys in the Old City of Jerusalem.
When: Sunday, December 15, 2013 from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: At the home of Dodi and Jonathan Spielman (parents of Micah Spielman, Orayta '13-'14). For questions and to RSVP, please contact Susan Rotsztajn at firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, December 11.
The following donations have been made to the Young Israel of Great Neck:
- Bonnie and Michael Orbach in memory of Nanette Ellenberg
- Shaindy and Mayer Rydzinski in memory of Nanette Ellenberg
- Rina and Yossi Weisberg in memory of Nanette Ellenberg; In honor of the engagement of Rebecca Eckstein and Judah Orlinsky.
- Rabbi Meir Mitelman in honor of the birth of Ceci and Jeff Weber’s grandson; In honor of the birth of Ezra Pesach Jacob; In honor of the birth of Lela Sarah Zukier;In honor of the birth of Lani and David Pelcovitz’s granddaughter
- Daniella Jacob in honor of the birth of Lela Sarah Zukier
- Suzy and Paul Peyser in memory of Nanette Ellenberg
- Leah and Terry Rifkin in memory of Nanette Ellenberg; In honor of the birth of Lani and David Pelcovitz’s granddaughter