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President's Message: Ha'azinu

Dear friends,

We are all familiar with the Song At The Sea that was sung after the exodus, but there is a second song in the Torah in this week's Parsha, Haazinu. This song is more somber, foretelling the trials and tribulations the Jewish people will go through and their deviations from the path of the Torah, but then their ultimate redemption. 

In his commentary on the Parsha, Rabbi Berel Wein speaks about the title of the Parsha, Haazinu (“to listen"). He relates there is an echo from the giving of the Torah at Sinai that reverberates, and it is our job to listen for it. It is easy to ignore. It is that voice that tells us right from wrong,  always there but often not paid attention to. 

He also says the importance of listening goes further than hearing our own inner voices. It encompasses listening to what others say about us. Not only listening to criticism but internalizing constructive criticism to improve ourselves. This listening is much harder; it tells us the truths we don't want to hear. 

Especially at this time of the year, it is important to work on ourselves by both listening to our internal conscience and by incorporating failings that others may point out to us. These failings are not absolutes, but genuine opportunities to improve ourselves.  

As I’ve said here and in shul before, I welcome any comments, positive or negative, that I can learn from to hopefully improve myself. I have no doubt I'm not alone in this. I have to believe that the more open we are with each other, ultimately the closer we will become. (Full text from Rabbi Wein here.) ​​​​​​​

• • • 

While I did miss davening in the tent for Yom Kippur, it was nostalgic to be back inside. (There will surely be discussions next year about the pros and cons of indoor vs. outdoor davening.) During the last-minute decision to move the minyanim indoors and setting up for services, we tried to keep the announcements and appeals to a minimum. 

But I ask you now to please donate as you would have for Kol Nidre, for the upkeep of B'nai Avraham. The only true need for a Shul is a place to daven with a minyan, but we need your help to keep that place safe and dry and warm and comfortable.  We need your contributions to do all of the things that accompany the davening and allow us to grow as Jews in brownstone Brooklyn: to learn Torah, to build a Jewish home and to experience the warmth of the Modern Orthodox and Chabad community that we have built here and makes us special. Click here to donate.

We now look forward to Sukkot, with our community dinner and the Sukkah Hop. Right after Sukkot, our monthly Israel lecture series kicks off on Sunday, Oct 23. Let’s all promote the positives and positions of Israel to the Brooklyn Heights community at large.

Wishing you all a peaceful and meaningful Shabbat Shalom, Shana Tova and Chag Sameach,
Steven Inker

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783