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Message from the President: Mishpatim

This week’s Parsha, Mishpatim, seems out of place. Last week we finished retelling the events at Mount Sinai and the giving of the Ten Commandments … and now we are given laws about Jewish servants, caring for widows, how to treat thieves and other assorted everyday interactions. At the end of the Parsha, we get back to Sinai and the acceptance by the Jewish people of the Torah, naasseh v’nishma – we will do as we will hear. 
 
Why the juxtaposition? Rabbi Frand, in one of his divrei torah on ethics, explains that the Torah can only exist with Derech Eretz, and likewise Derech Eretz requires Torah. He goes on to contrast the Jewish people with other nations. Is there another so concerned with lashon harah? With helping your enemy before your friend? He posits that we cannot properly accept the Torah until we become good people. Derech Eretz precedes Torah and stems from it as well. 
 
• • • 

This week, the Board continued to work on the many goals that were discussed at the last meeting. I have made a list of people for the different committees and will try to contact all before Shabbat so they can get started. The Board met with the Treasurer this week to hear about the financial situation of the Shul and to start planning for the coming year. Different ideas were raised and there was spirited debate but no decisions were made. These will be discussed and voted on in the next few weeks. We will also need to start planning for the annual dinner, which will ideally take place in the Spring.

A more pressing issue arose this week: no heat. There was a problem with pipes in the kiddush room going to the boiler. These have now been fixed, and the heat is back on, but repair work remains in the kiddush room walls. I’ll try to give an update on that next week. I want to personally thank Shternie for all of her efforts in getting the work done and arranging everything. This just points out again how much work she and the Rabbi do in the Shul, and why we really need to expedite getting people hired to assist them. 

As always, please send any comments, advice or criticisms to me at president.bnaiavraham@gmail.com or whattsapp me and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. I will, BH, be in Israel for the next two Shabbatot (writing this in Madrid waiting for my connecting flight) but I will try to send my weekly update while I’m away.

Wishing you all a safe and peaceful Shabbat Shalom,

Steve Inker

Mon, May 23 2022 22 Iyyar 5782