Spring • Passover 5767/2007


Spring • Passover 5767/2007

Spring Passover 5767/2007




Brandon Goldberg flanked by soldiers in Hebron on MTC’s trip to Israel





From the Rebbe’s wisdom



Joanne and Jonathan Gurman Community Center Lou Adler Shul

There’s no such thing as defeat.

There’s always another chance.

To believe in defeat is to believe that there is

something, a certain point in time that did not

come from Above.

Know that G-d doesn’t have failures.

If things appear to worsen, it is only as part

of them getting better.

We only fall down in order to bounce back even higher.


Rabbi Moishe New

Rabbi Itchy Treitel

Nechama New

Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 MTC Draw 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

Pre-School & Day Camp Director

MTC’s Sponsors of the Day . . . . . . .4 MTC Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

Zeldie Treitel

Program Director

Courses Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Kids in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21B

Velvel Minkowitz


Where the Essence Dwells . . . . . . . .6 Sunday Funday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22A

Joannie Tansky

Upcoming Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Around our Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22


Rabbi Zalman Kaplan

Adult Education Director

Fraida Malka Yarmush


Rochel New & Feigie Treitel

Youth Directors

Publication Mail Agreement No. #40030976

Questions or return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:

The Montreal Torah Center, 28 Cleve Road, Hampstead PQ H3X 1A6

Tel. 739-0770 Fax 739-5925

The Mezuzah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Sympathies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Day Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Jerusalem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

I Am Woman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

MTC’s Remarkable Israel

Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

MTC Mazeltovs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

MTC Draw 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

The Real Haggadah . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

Coming Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

Email: mtc@themtc.com www.themtc.com Illustrations by Boris Yefman, www.artyefman.com Our thanks and appreciation to:

Jeff Corber and his staff of BB Color & Ponctuation Grafix

The picture on the front cover was taken

during our visit to Hebron. Thanks to Rabbi

Danny Cohen, the Chabad representative

there, we were privileged to visit an active army

base. Danny advised us to bring cookies, cigarettes

and chocolates for the soldiers, which we did.

However, I for one, could not give them to the

soldiers directly. Thankfully, the youngsters in our

group did. One feels truly humbled and awed in

their presence. These nineteen-year-olds put their

lives on the line on a daily basis. There is nothing

higher than that.

This was my first group visit to Israel, however

others amongst us had participated in missions to

Israel previously. It was gratifying to hear from

them that the MTC trip was, by far, beyond

anything they had experienced before. We

certainly had a demanding schedule. Comparing

our itinerary with other groups that we encountered,

I realized that we had crammed into ten

days that which would normally take three weeks.

Credit here is due to Rabbi Zalman who was the

chief architect of our schedule, insisting that it

could all be done. Amazingly, we still managed to

partake of the incomparable Israeli breakfasts at

our various hotels, with plenty of time to share the

experiences of the day before.

One of the great benefits of our trip was the fact

that we all got to know each other on a level

that we had not previously. It's a cliché to say we

bonded, but that's what we did. And that, in and

of itself, is priceless. We just had a great time. We

laughed a lot. We were often moved to tears.

We shared. I am thankful to all of you who came.

Those who live in Israel today deserve our admiration

and support more than ever. Sadly, a sense of

apathy hangs over the country like a shroud. The

daily revelations of corruption at the highest levels

of government, the futile policies vis-à-vis Israel's

Arab neighbors, the daily shelling of Israeli cities

are all taking its toll. There is a deep sense

of frustration. And yet,

despite all the above,

there remains a sense of

optimism, faith and joy.

We had the privilege

one night of having a

young family, Rosa

(Hascalovici) and Eitan

Seidenwar and their

two young children,

Neshoma and Mimron,

join us for dinner at the

Red Heifer restaurant in

Jerusalem. Their undisguised

love for Israel; their idealism and their

innocence was like a breath of fresh air. This young

couple, from Montreal and Philadelphia, have

chosen to make Israel their home. When you look

at a family like this, you just know that Israel will

continue to not only survive, but flourish.

We are, G-d willing, planning another trip next

year. I urge you to join us. It will be a decision

I can promise you will not regret.

As we approach Pesach, let us hope that the call

'Next Year in Jerusalem' becomes a reality as we

are all reunited in our beloved homeland in a world

perfected and redeemed.

May we all be blessed with an inspiring and

joyous Pesach.

Rabbi New


Publication Mail Agreement

No. #40030976

Questions or return undeliverable

Canadian addresses to:

The Montreal Torah Center

28 Cleve Road,

Hampstead PQ H3X 1A6

Tel. 739-0770 Fax 739-5925

Email: mtc@themtc.com





Thank you! MTC’S

September 1 Ben and Penny Cohen in honour of

their wedding anniversary

Tishrei 7 Shmuel and Chani Gniwisch in honour of

the birthday of their daughter Shaina

Tishrei 12 Shmuel and Chani Gniwisch in honour of

the birthday of their son Yosef

Tishrei 17 Stanley and Carole Satov in honour of

the yarzeit of Mr. Sam Pockrass, of blessed memory

Tishrei 26 Hershel and Ronna Zelman in honour of

the yarzeit of Mr. Zev Zelman, of blessed memory

October 13 Marcia and Michael Flinker in honour of

their wedding anniversary

October 24 Howard and Gloria Richman in honour of

Mr. Reuben Richman’s birthday

Cheshvan 23 David and Laurie Puterman in honour of

Ateret Malka’s birthday

December 17 Ben and Penny Cohen in honour of

Peter Cohen’s birthday

December 19 Henry and Gail Karp in honour of

the birthday of their daughter Ashley

Kislev 21 Steven and Leslie Sonnenstein in honour of

their wedding anniversary

Kislev 22 David and Laurie Puterman in honour of

Ovadia Shalom’s birthday

Tevet 21 Shmuel and Chani Gniwisch in honour of

the birthday of their son Moshe Yisroel

Shevat 23 The Adler family in honour of

the yarzeit of Mr. Lou Adler, of blessed memory

February 3 Lee and Vickie Karls in honour of

his wife Vickie’s birthday

February 5 Lee and Vickie Karls in honour of

the birthday of their son Austin

March 1 Robert and Shari Kahan in honour of

the birthday of their daughter Samantha

March 5 Michael and Marcia Flinker in honour of

Michael’s birthday

March 24 Andy and Ali Kastner in honour of the birthday

of their son and daughter, Ashley and Blake

Adar 7 Corey and Karen Eisenberg in honour of the yarzeit

of Mr. Stanley Ralph Eisenberg, of blessed memory

Adar 10 Marilyn Belzberg in honour of the yarzeit of

her father, Mr. Sam Belzberg, of blessed memory

Adar 15 David and Laurie Puterman in honour of

Laurie’s birthday

Adar 22 Hershey and Laurie Goldenblatt in honour of the

yarzeit of Mrs. Sarah Goldenblatt, of blessed memory

Adar II, 26 Martin Halickman in honour of the yarzeit of

Mr. Isadore Halickman, of blessed memory

April 3 Andy and Ali Kastner in honour of

the birthday of their daughter Alexa

April 28 Robert and Shari Kahan in honour of

the birthday of their son Zachary

Nisan 15 Michael and Marcia Flinker in honour of

the yarzeit of Mr. Issie Flinker, of blessed memory

Nisan 17 Philip and Edie Friedman in honour of

the yarzeit of Mrs. Lucy Friedman, of blessed memory

May 15 Robert and Shari Kahan in honour of

the birthday of their daughter Alexandra

Iyar 7 Stanley and Carole Satov in honour of

the yarzeit of Mrs. Miriam Satov, of blessed memory

Iyar 12 Stanley and Carole Satov in honour of the yarzeit

of Mrs. Dorothy Pockrass, of blessed memory

Iyar 13 Julius and Terry Suss in honour of the yarzeit of

Mr. Marcus Suss, of blessed memory

Iyar 16 Martin and Joelle Sacksner in honour of the yarzeit of

Mr. Yaakov Dovid ben Moshe Chaim, of blessed memory

Iyar 19 Julius and Terry Suss in honour of the yarzeit of

Mrs. Bella Suss, of blessed memory

Iyar 20 Hershey and Laurie Goldenblatt in honour of the yarzeit

of Mr. Lester Edward Goldenblatt, of blessed memory

Iyar 23 David and Laurie Puterman in honour Yehuda’s birthday

Sivan 1 Shaya and Tuky Treitel in honour of the yarzeit of

Menashe ben Yitzchok Mayer, of blessed memory

Sivan 17 Shmuel and Chani Gniwisch in honour of

the birthday of their daughter Chaya Mushka

Sivan 21 David and Laurie Puterman in honour of

Yisroel Yitzchak’s birthday

Sivan 22 Ronald Pearl in honour of

the yarzeit of Mrs. Goldie Pearl, of blessed memory

July 5 Lee and Vickie Karls in honour of

the birthday of their son Evan

July 24 Henry and Gail Karp in honour of

the birthday of their son Richard

July 27 Lee and Vickie Karls in honour of Lee’s birthday

Tamuz 12 Hershel and Ronna Zelman in honour of

the yarzeit of Mrs. Minnie Zelman, of blessed memory

Tamuz 18 Henri Bybelezer in honour of Peggy’s birthday

August 26 Lee and Vickie Karls in honour of

the birthday of their son Spencer

Av 24 Hershel and Ronna Zelman in honour of

the yarzeit of Mrs. Hinda Zemish, of blessed memory

Elul 10 Shaya and Tuky Treitel in honour of the yarzeit

of Tzivia bas Yekusiel Yehuda, of blessed memory

Elul 15 David and Laurie Puterman in honour of

David’s birthday

Elul 12 Stanley and Carole Satov in honour of

the yarzeit of Mr. Richard Satov, of blessed memory

All MTC activities and programs on that particular day are attributed to the day’s sponsor. Each sponsorship is recognized

on our website; in our weekly Mosaic Express and in this magazine. The sponsorship amount is $1800 per day and is billed

annually, creating a consistent form of annuity contributing to MTC’s financial stability.

To become an MTC Sponsor, please call Itchy.



Between Mincha and Maariv

Sefer Hamitzvas

A brief overview of that day’s mitzvah(s)

from the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos –

Book of Commandments.


8:15 – 9:00 am

Rashi Sichos

In-depth, textual study of the

Rebbe’s Rashi sichos.

Instructor: Rabbi New

9:40 – 10:00 am

Living Torah

Screening of a DVD magazine

on the weekly Torah portion.

10:00 - 11:00 am


Textual study. For men.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman


6:45 – 7:25 am


Textual study related to the weekly Torah portion.

Instructor: Rabbi New

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Lunch and Learn DR. JACOB TINK

A discussion on: the Torah portion

of the week, current events or holidays.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

6:00 – 7:00 pm


The primary, classic work of Chabad chassidus

- a blend of mysticism, philosophy & psychology.

For men. Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

7:30 – 8:45 pm

JLI - Jewish Learning Institute

Flashbacks in Jewish History

Spring Semester - 6 weeks beginning April 23

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

In addtion to these courses, MTC offers

one-on-one and small-group learning

opportunities. Please contact Rabbi Zalman

514.739.0770 #231 or zalman@themtc.com


6:45 – 7:25 am


Textual study related to the weekly Torah portion.

Instructor: Rabbi New

8:20 - 9:00 am

Likutei Torah

Chassidic discourses by

the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

7:30 - 8:30 pm


Heavenly wisdom down to earth

A discussion on: the weekly Torah portion, current

events or holidays in light of the Kabbalah.

Instructor: Rabbi New

8:30 - 9:30 pm


The primary, classic work of Chabad chassidus

- a blend of mysticism, philosophy & psychology.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman


8:20 - 9:00 am

Likutei Torah

Chassidic discourses by

the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

10:15 - 11:30 am

JLI - Jewish Learning Institute

Flashbacks in Jewish History

Spring Semester - 6 weeks beginning April 23

Instructor: Rabbi New

12:00 - 1:00 pm


A discussion on: the Torah portion

of the week, current events or holidays.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch and Learn

Diesel/Seymour Alper/Cissi

A discussion on: the Torah portion

of the week, current events or holidays.

Instructor: Rabbi New

8:00 – 9:15 pm

JLI - Jewish Learning Institute

Flashbacks in Jewish History

Spring Semester - 6 weeks beginning April 23

Instructor: Rabbi New

Sponsored by the Miryam and Batya Medicoff

Lecture Foundation

8:30 – 9:30 pm

Torah Class

A discussion on: the Torah portion

of the week, current events or holidays.

In private homes. For men

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman


6:00 -7:00 am


In-depth, textual study, selected from

the broad-based array of Chassidic writings.

Instructor: Rabbi New

12:15 - 1:30 pm

JLI - Jewish Learning Institute

Flashbacks in Jewish History

Spring Semester - 6 weeks beginning April 23

Instructor: Rabbi New

12:30 - 1:30 pm

Lunch & Learn LISAK GROUP

A discussion on: the Torah portion

of the week, current events or holidays.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

Understanding Davening

In the Puterman home. Please call for details.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman


6:00 -7:00 am


In-depth, textual study, selected from

the broad-based array of Chassidic writings.

Instructor: Rabbi New

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch & Learn C & C PACKING

A discussion on: the Torah portion

of the week, current events or holidays.

Instructor: Rabbi New


8:00 - 9:00 am


In-depth, textual study, selected from

the broad-based array of Chassidic writings.

Instructor: Rabbi New

One and a half hours before Mincha


Textual study. For men.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman

Forty-five minutes before Mincha

Torah Class

Text based analysis of the Torah portion of the week,

or current holidays. For women

Instructor: Rabbi New


Textual study of Jewish law. For men.

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman



Where the Essence Dwells


We were at Mount Sinai, and every dimension

of Heaven was folded upon the Earth

as fine sheets upon a mattress. It was

then that G-d declared, "I have come to my

garden, to the place I most desired from the

very beginning."

The angels were stunned.

Since the outset of existence, they

were praising their Creator in sublime

harmony. Amongst them, there is no

jealousy or unpleasantness, only love

and brotherhood. No ignorance, no

confusion, only revelation and vision.

The angels look upon our world of cruelty

between man and man, of mortal blindness to

the most obvious of truths, and they say, "This

place He desires?! This He calls a garden of

delight?! Of all possible worlds, this is the

lowest, the ultimate descent of His Holy Light!

And this He chooses for His holy dwelling?!"

So the Almighty replies, "For Me, even the most

elevated of worlds is a descent. I began with

Infinite Light that contained all things and is the

perfection of them all. Within that light I imagined

the shadows of many beings, and I withdrew that

light so that the shadows could become real. And

they are you and your worlds, sustained by a

glimmer of a reflection of a ray of the Light that

manages to squeeze its way in. Each world lower

than the next, the Light successively diminished

through endless filters and contractions."

"Do I then have a need for the descent of light?

Is there anything your worlds can provide that

I lack? I have no needs, no need for fulfillment,

therefore I need no reason for anything I do,

including the very act of existence."

"I fashioned your worlds not with a need, not

from any cause, yet with a purpose and a desire: It

was that the Infinite Light should meet with the

Absolute Darkness and in their marriage My

Essence would be found. And where is it that these

two can meet? Only in the lowest of worlds."

This is what is written in the ancient Midrash,

"The ultimate purpose of creation of all worlds,

upper and lower, is that the Holy One, blessed be

He, desired a home in the lowest of all worlds."

How to Be Spiritual

Phil Sofer is an enlightened being. He spends

his life in the wilderness far from humanity, focusing

his mind on the higher realms.

Harriet Goldberg is a schoolteacher. She spends

her life cultivating small minds, hoping to nurture

their sense of wonder for the world in which

they live.

Who is closer to G-d?

If the world came from G-d as light comes

from the sun, spontaneously, but with no real

interest, then Phil is closer.

If G-d created a world deliberately, because

that is what He desires and cares for, then Harriet

is closer.

You choose.

Heaven Above, Man Below

Heaven above and the soul of Man below are

two halves of a single form, two converse hemispheres

that fit together to make a perfect whole.

Attuned in perfect consonance, they dance a

pas de deux of exquisite form, each responding to

every subtle nuance of the other, mirroring and

magnifying the most subliminal inner thought,

until it is impossible to distinguish them as two.

Within the human being is the consciousness

of G-d looking back upon Himself from within the

world He has made.

We sit upon the vortex of Creation.

At the Essence

Do not be misled by those who claim there is

no purpose.

They may know life, but not the bowels of

its fountain.

They may know darkness, but not its meaning.

They may have wisdom, but they cannot reach

higher, to a place beyond wisdom from which all

wisdom began.

They may reach the very source from which all

rivers flow. To the place where all known things

converge, where all knowledge is one. But they

have not touched the Essence.

At the Essence there is nothing – no light, no

darkness, no knowledge, no convergence, no

wisdom – nothing but the burning purpose of this

moment now.

In the Work of Our Hands

People imagine that since G-d is not physical,

He must be in heaven.

But the heavens – and all things spiritual – are

just as much creations as the earth. Less dissonant,

more harmonious, more lucid – but finite realms


G-d is found not because of the capacity of a

place, but because of His desire to be there.

And where is the place He desires to be? In the

work of our hands, as they fix up His world.

In the heavens is G-d’s light. In our handiwork

dwells G-d Himself, the source of all light.

Underrated Earth

For thousands of years, souls wait

up in heaven, longing for their moment

upon this earth to do another soul

a favor.

Angels burn with jealousy each time a

human being turns himself around and

creates beauty in this world.

Heaven is nice, but on the best things, earth

has exclusive rights.

One World


People might tell you, "When you come to

work, leave your spirituality at home. Don’t bother

us with your peculiar lifestyle, your ethics, search

for meaning… That’s all nice, but this is business.

This is the real world."

There is only one real world, and it belongs to

one real G-d.

Adam trudged past the gates of Eden, his head low,

his feet heavy with remorse and pain.

Then he stopped, spun around and exclaimed, “Wait a minute!

You had this all planned! You put that fruit there knowing

I would eat from it! This is all a plot!

There was no reply.

Without failure, Man can never truly reach into the depths of his soul.

Only once he has failed, can he return and reach

higher and higher without end. Beyond Eden.



Upcoming Events



May 23

ice cream


Hear the

Ten Comandments



Funday !

For children ages 3-5

April 22 - May 27

Movement and dancing with a professional dancer.

$55 per session, $10 per Sunday


Kids in

action for boys and girls


grades 1-6

Thursday, April 19: ‘Hip Hop Dancing’

Learn the moves, have a blast and get in shape.

Mitzvah of the Day: Design a home accessory for a needy bride and groom.

Thursday, May 10: ‘Awesome Wood Craft’

Modge podge and decorate a plaque to take home.

Mitzvah of the Day: Wrap candy gifts to show appreciation

to the nurses at the Children’s Hospital.

Thursday, June 7: ‘Grand Finale’

Surprise Activity

Mitzvah of the Day: Let’s celebrate an accomplished year

with awards, games, crafts and much more!

Upgrade your baggage

Shabbaton with Manis Friedman

April 27-28

rsvp 514.739.0770 or www.themtc.com

Sunday, May 6

4:00 – 6:00 pm



The Mezuzah


by CAROLINE BENCHETRIT went to see the Rabbi because it was just time.

I explained that no matter, wherever…I did not

feel at home. I could not find a safe place and my

mind was in constant worry and fear. This, I should

say, resulted regardless of any professional or

personal successes I encountered. He asked me if

I had a mezuzah on the door and as I nodded no,

he immediately suggested I place one on each door

in my home.

I have to admit that the day of his arrival was

much anticipated and I was certainly curious about

what this modest article could do for me. He finally

arrived, scoped the place and began placing one

at my front door, followed by a second, third, fourth

and fifth. The moment the first nail fixed the first

mezuzah, the energy changed in my house.

I mostly noticed it when I returned inside after

his departure. I walked around and tension lifted

from my shoulders.

Suddenly, my house was a home.

I cried and laughed. Admittedly I did not

understand or fully grasp what had happened.

I only know that the mezuzahs have become my

friends. My direct connection to G-d. I feel safe

for the first time since I can recall. I occasionally

marvel at their simplicity yet profound impact on

my life.

I was soon to find out as the days followed

that my home would follow me wherever I would

go. The Rabbi confirmed I should expect this.

I was excited about my journey to come. The

mezuzah had given me back my joy, my hope, and

my freedom...


open for registration


Pre-School opens

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mommy & Me Program

begins Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Please call Nechama New, School Director to register or

for an appointment - 514.739.0770 #258


The Achsen and Landau families

The Reiter and Albert families

on the passing of Mr. Paul Landau

on the passing of Mrs. Helen Reiter

The Balinsky family on the passing

Julie Shizgal on the passing

of Mrs. Clara Balinsky

of her grandmother, Mrs. Annie Shizgal

Linda Besner on the passing

Helena Sidel on the passing

of her mother, Mrs. Betty Schneider

of her father, Mr. Lester Dick

The Bodzy family on the passing

Shmuel Spicer on the passing

of Mrs. Ruth Bodzy

of his mother, Mrs. Betty Spicer

The Dubrofsky family on the passing

The Strasser and Segal families

of Mr. Hyman Dubrofsky

on the passing of Mrs. Annie Strasser

Sandra Fine on the passing

The Tauben family on the passing

of her grandfather, Mr. Isaac Battat

of Mrs. Julie Tauben

Berel Gansbourg on the passing

Steven and Evelyn Waterman

of his father, R’Tzvi Hirsch Gansbourg

on the passing of Mr. Isaac Liebner

The Kadonoff family on the passing

The Wertheimer, Kastner and Bramson families

of Mrs. Sophie Weinstein

on the passing of Mr. Saul Wertheimer

The Lieberman family and Wayne Hodgins

on the passing of Sharon Lieberman

May they be spared further sorrow

Marcy Levine on the passing

and know only of simchas.

of her mother, Mrs. Sheila Levine

The Perzow and Fersten families on the passing

of Mrs. Freda Perzow-Golfman

Beyond Soul

There is something deeper than the soul.

There is the body, the spirit, and then there is the essence.

If the soul is light, then that essence is the source of light. If it is energy, then the

essence is the generator from which that energy comes. It is not something you have.

It is who and what you are.

Whatever we do, we dance around that essence-core, like an orbiting spacecraft

unable to land. We can meditate, inspire ourselves, but to touch our inner core,

the place from which all this comes, that takes a power from beyond.

There are seasons in life empowered from beyond. Special days and special nights,

times of crisis and times of joy. At other times you can move forward.

At those times, you can change who you are.





New this year!

4-year-old’s bunk




for boys & girls

ages 2 - 4


514.739.0770 #258

limited spaces available

Nechama New, Camp Director

Montreal Torah Center

28 Cleve Road Hampstead


Your ancient temple walls

enthrall, embrace me

in a way

I’ve never known


City of golden light,

your nights are filled

with secrets

come and gone


Majestic, brave and bold

and still you hold my

tearful prayers

within your stone


You bare your mournful soul

with untold grace, your songs

reveal a place

that is my home


Through years of pain and strife

you pulse with life,

reminding me

that I am not alone

by Peggy Bybelezer



I Am Woman


Reprinted from


But then one day, when

I could resist no longer,

I had to ask a question.

I'll never forget how I felt the day my gender

studies teacher made the claim that there are

absolutely no differences between men and

women. I looked around, shocked at the proposition,

and wondering if anyone else felt the same.

For most of the semester, we had it pounded

into our heads that all distinctions between those

of different races, geographical

locations or habitats

were really meaningless, and

that it was merely society

that tried to push that there

were actual differences.

Perhaps she was right,

we all thought. Maybe we

had really just bought into

society’s definitions and

desire to separate. Perhaps

it was racist to claim that

generally speaking black

men were taller than asian men. And sexist to feel

that men were physically stronger than women.

But then one day, when I could resist no longer,

I had to ask a question. If we were really the same,

I mean, practically the exact same, then why were

women born with a womb and the ability to carry

and bear a child, and men were not? And if the

physical differences were so clearly undeniable and

apparent, then how could it be so far-fetched to

assume that perhaps alongside these physical

differences were emotional or psychological or

spiritual differences as well?

I'm not sure that my question did much other

than infuriate my professor, who couldn’t believe

that I was still so ignorant as to attribute anything

more to physical differences than physicality, but

for me, that question was a turning point in my

life. If I had abilities and capabilities that the male

sex did not, then I found it imperative to discover

the power of those parts of me, why I was

endowed with them, and what they meant. While

my professor’s idea of a powerful woman was one

who could hardly be distinguished from a man,

I wanted to celebrate the differences inherent in

the sexes rather than diminish them. And not only

did I want to unravel the mysteries of what it

meant to be a woman, but even more importantly,

what it meant to be a Jewish woman.

And so my journey began...

What does it mean to be a Jewish woman?

What does it mean to be a woman in Judaism?

I began my search with the first woman in the

Torah. That woman’s name is Chavah in Hebrew,

translated as "Eve" in English. Chavah is referred

to as "the mother of all life." We are told that she

was created, after the creation of the first man,

Adam, on the sixth day of creation, immediately

preceding Shabbat. And woman was created, we

are taught, with the purpose of being an eizer

knegdo, which can be translated in one of two

ways – either "a helpmate to him" or "a helpmate

against him."

The commentaries explain that in a relationship,

there are times that one is most helpful by

being supportive and alongside one’s spouse, and

there are times when the help that is needed

requires going against the desires and position of

one’s spouse. The goal is knowing when each

action is appropriate.

It would appear, then, that a woman was

created for the sole purpose of helping a man. One

may ask, “Is being a Jewish woman defined solely

in terms of her relationship with another?” And

practically speaking, how would this be accomplished?

The obvious responses would be through

being married and having children.

Yet we find something fascinating. In Halachah

(Torah law), a woman is obligated to do neither.

She has no legal requirement whatsoever. But the

man does. He is required both to marry and have

children. It is pretty clear that he can’t do this

without a woman to be his wife and the mother of

his children, but she is in no way obligated to do

so. The only way he can then fulfill his responsibilities,

is if a woman would be willing to help him

and fill these roles.

According to the Torah, and specifically

through Chassidic and Kabbalistic philosophy,

human beings were created in two categories, as

men and women. Yet, when characteristics are

defined, they most commonly refer to masculine

and feminine traits, as opposed to statements

about men and women. Why is this significant?

Because both men and women have masculine

and feminine traits. Generally speaking, a man is

predominantly masculine and a woman predomi-

nantly feminine. Generally speaking. There are

always exceptions, and this is why not every

woman will naturally desire what is considered a

feminine property, nor a man a masculine property.

The differences between the masculine and

feminine are great. They are vast. And these differences

affect the way men and women think, feel,

speak, and act. The differences are psychological,

emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual. And

while we may be a combination of both those

masculine and feminine traits, at the end of the

day we are either a man or a woman. And our

differences are not meant to cause distance

between us, but to bring us closer together, to

balance one another and bond as they become

points of celebration, not separation.

The greatest difference between a man and

woman, or more appropriately, between the masculine

and the feminine, can be seen in the first

two of the intellectual qualities of a human being.

Chassidic philosophy teaches that there are three

intellectual properties alongside seven emotional

properties. The first of the properties is that of

chochmah, translated loosely as “wisdom,” which

is a male principle.

Chochmah is compared to a flash of insight.

Physically speaking, it is compared to the seed of a

man. It is the beginning of all life, the foundation.

Without it, nothing will ever be able to come into

existence. And yet, like seed, it is invisible to the

naked eye. It has no shape, no form, no meaning.

Not yet. It has potential, incredible potential, but it

cannot develop or grow or form by itself.

The next property, that of binah, is the

feminine property. Binah, loosely translated as

“understanding,” is the desire to attach to the

wisdom, and give it meaning. Binah is the formation

process, the bonding, the development. In

a physical example, binah is the pregnancy. It

literally houses the seed, and then, as the seed is

within it, causes it to grow, develop and form, until

it is ready to be born and exist on its own.

The word in Hebrew for home, bayit, is a yud

in between the letters that form the word bat,

daughter. The concept is that the yud, the smallest

of all the Hebrew letters, represents the seed

(indeed it looks like a drop of seed in its shape) and

yet it is housed within the bat, the daughter. This is

why there is an additional statement which says,

Beito zu ishto, a man’s home is his wife. It is not

that his house is his wife or that his wife represents

the house, but that his literal home is housed

within his wife, on a spiritual and emotional level.

A woman need not be in the home. A woman is

the home.

It is the binah quality that desires to receive

the potential of the seed and cultivate it into

something tangible and meaningful. While it is

not compelled to do so, it wants to do so. It is a

situation where each is dependent on the other to

create a reality. The seed cannot become anything

in and of itself. Likewise, without the seed, the

binah cannot create anything, for it has not been

given the potentials with which to work.

Spiritually, a woman also has the masculine

property of chochmah, just like a man has the

feminine property of binah. In actuality, or on the

most physical of realms, a woman cannot produce

seed and a man cannot house or give birth to a

baby. But while the physical is in many ways the

lowest and most external of all levels, it is

nonetheless the world in which we live, and the

most tangible to us. The physical creation of a baby

is the most profound and everlasting representation

of the love and the bond between a man

and a woman. This child is the culmination of

the chochmah of the man and the binah of the

woman. It is the best of both worlds and is the

representation of the future, the actuality of

the potential of its mother and its father.

Physically, the reproductive organs of a woman

are internal, whereas that of a man is external. This

ability to internalize and to develop within, is once

again understood as something much more than

merely physical. One of the clearest indications of

this is the difference between the halachic, legal,

obligations of men and women.

For the most part, a man is required to observe

all time-bound mitzvot, and his commandments

are also greatly external and physical as well. For

example, a man is required to wear tzitzit, the

fringed garments that represent the 613 commandments

through the strings and their knots.

Furthermore, while it began as a custom, a man

wears a kippah, a head covering to remind him

always that G-d is above. And another primary

example is that a man prays three times a day

A woman need not

be in the home.

A woman is the home.



I Am Woman


If one partner is required

to do the will of the

other, with no choice

involved, then that isn’t a

relationship, it is a


in a quorum of ten others. All of these are very

physical, very external commandments. In essence,

all of these mean that there are others who can

testify or be witness to whether or not a man is

fulfilling his obligations.

A woman’s commandments, however, are

private and internal. In almost every case, they

are done within the home and in some cases

no one other than she is aware as to whether

or not she is doing them. One example with

this is keeping a kosher kitchen in the home.

The woman is trusted by her husband, family

and those who eat in her home. Even if

one were to look through her products to

check if they all have a kosher symbol, no

one other than she is aware as to how she

cooks and if she is properly keeping the

standards of kashrut. Ultimately, her word

must be trusted.

Perhaps the most powerful example of

this is in regards to the laws of family purity

which involves the times that a couple is not

allowed to be physically intimate or physical in

any way. This separation begins from the moment

a woman sees the flow of uterine blood, and

verbally informs her husband of this. This is a

situation where not even her husband is aware of

this reality, and must completely depend on her

word. These laws, which are considered the

foundation of the marriage, the children and the

home, are completely placed in her trust. Her word

creates a new reality, and only she and her Creator

know if what she is saying is the truth.

Therefore, unlike the masculine which is the

side of our self that is external, which can be

viewed by others and is not private, the feminine is

the polar opposite – completely internal, involving

no one else and entrusted to the individual alone.

Because the masculine properties are external

and seen by others, the man is in greater need of

rectification. Unlike a woman, he is not given that

same time and opportunity for reflection, internalization

and contemplation. This is the feminine

process of binah, the bein, between, of what is in

one’s mind and what emits through one’s action.

This is the stage of pregnancy, the in-between of

conception and birth. And this is the time for

development and rectification.

For this reason, we are taught that just as the

woman needs the man for conception, so the man

needs the woman for the pregnancy, the development.

This is not merely a physical reality, but a

spiritual one as well.

This is why it is stated that a role model of a

woman is one who “oseh ratzon ba’alah” – a

Hebrew phrase that has a few different layers of

translation. The first is: “she does the will of her

husband.” But in Hebrew, the verb oseh can be

translated either as “to do” or “to make.” Thus, the

phrase can also be understood that the woman is

the one who "makes (i.e., determines) the will of

her husband." But neither of these possibilities are

terribly healthy in a relationship. If one partner is

required to do the will of the other, with no choice

involved, then that isn’t a relationship, it is a

dictatorship. Likewise, if one makes the will of

the other, it similarly implies that there is no sense

of communication or balance between the two,

since one is deciding for the other. The main

difference between these two is merely who is

the one commanding the other – is it the man to

the woman or the woman to the man, both of

which are problematic.

This brings us back full circle to the beginning

of our discussion – the meaning of eizer kenegdo.

Is a woman a helpmate for him or opposite him?

When we translate “oseh” as “to do” or “to make”

she is opposite him.

Chassidic teachings explain a very beautiful

meaning to this verse. The foremost commentator

Rashi shows the term “oseh” when used in the

Torah, has another meaning, and that is “to

rectify.” Rectification is actually the balance, the

in-between, the binah of what it means “to do”

and what it means “to make.” The true meaning of

this verse then is that when a woman is using her

potential in the proper way, she is able to connect

to her spouse and help rectify him. Through

her ability to develop, she can take his ideas, his

talents, his potential, and internalize it, becoming

impregnated with it, until it is ready to be birthed

in a public, external way. And this is how she is a

proper eizer kenegdo a helpmate to him.

And this brings us back to one of the first

points that was raised: is woman defined in terms

of her relationship with a man? And so the answer

is both yes and no. If each human being is a

composite of both masculine and feminine traits,

then within each and every one of us we must

come to understand how these two extremely

different qualities can co-exist and compliment

one another. If our masculine side has an obligation

to “marry” and “bear children” even though

our feminine side does not, we recognize that the

two must work together.

This teaches us that the true way that we

define ourselves and come to understand and

reveal our potential is through the focus on

the other. Sometimes this is an “other” within

ourselves, sometimes it is the “other” outside of

ourselves. For every woman, single or married, with

children or without children, is able to bear fruit, is

able to be an eizer kenegdo. How is this accomplished?

When we use our G-d given talents to

create, to be creative, through whatever means we

can – through our art, our writing, our poetry, our

song, our dance, our words – this is fulfilling the

commandment of “to be fruitful and multiply,” this

is creating and bringing more light into this world.

When we are in a marriage, when we are

able to physically bond with another, this is our

opportunity to fulfill this law, the first law given

in the Torah, in a physical way. But it is not only

fulfilled when we give birth to children, for unfor-





2nd Prize 1 X $3600

3rd Prize 1 X $1800

4th Prize 1 X $1000

5th Prize 3 X $500

tunately not every woman is physically able to.

But in the Zohar we are taught than whenever a

husband and wife are lovingly intimate, that souls

are created. Sometimes those souls come into a

physical body, other times they remain spiritual,

but they are created.

And every time we create, a process of giving

and receiving must take place. One part of us must

be able to let go, to release, to give to another,

and one part must be able to make oneself open,

to receive, to accept and nurture what has

been given.

When our concern is not about what we are

obligated to do, but in how we can help another

fulfill his or her obligations, this is when we shine

forth and reveal our true power. But we must begin

by looking within, by understanding ourselves, our

strengths and our weaknesses, and helping ourselves

both from within and from those around us.

And when we acknowledge that we are able

to both give and receive, and that both are very

active roles, then we can rejoice in the qualities

and attributes that are uniquely ours as women,

and start celebrating who we are while bonding

and building, rather than competing, with who we

are not.

Sometimes those souls

come into a physical

body, other times they

remain spiritual, but

they are created.

Tickets $100

Your donation entitles you to an entry in our DRAW on

Thursday May 3, 7:45 pm

Dessert & coffee

Number of tickets printed: 3600




MTC Moments

Kids in Action

20 21



Sunday Funday


Around our Table

Honey Glazed Lemon Chicken


2 6 1/2- to 7-pound roasting chickens,

rinsed, patted dry

2 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

(from about 12 large lemons)

Honey for glazing


3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 cup peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Granny Smith apple

1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped turnip

1 cup peeled and chopped butternut

squash (seeds discarded)

1 cup coarsely chopped carrot

1 cup peeled, chopped sweet potato

5 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock

1/4 cup sugar (optional)

2 tsps salt

pepper to taste


Place each chicken in heavy-duty resealable

plastic bag. Add 1 1/4 cups lemon juice to each.

Seal bags; turn chickens to coat. Refrigerate

at least 6 hours and up to 1 day, turning

bags occasionally.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Drain chickens; pat dry.

Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Place chickens

side by side, breast side down, on racks in large

roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven

temperature to 375°F. Roast 45 minutes.

Turn chickens breast side up. Brush all over with

honey. Continue to roast until cooked through

and deep brown, basting with any juices in pan

and brushing with honey occasionally, about

55 minutes longer. Transfer chickens to platter.

Tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let stand

15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour pan juices into small saucepan.

Spoon off fat. Rewarm pan juices. Season with

salt and pepper. Serve chickens with pan juices.

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Vegetable Soup


Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high

heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add

apple, turnip, squash, carrot, and sweet potato;

season with salt, then sauté 5 minutes. Add

stock, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally,

about 30 minutes or until vegetables

are tender. Add sugar, salt and pepper.

Yields 6 servings.

Carrots and Rutabagas with Lemon and Honey

Lemon juice adds refreshing flavor to earthy

root vegetables.


1 1/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into

matchstick-size strips

1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into

matchstick-size strips

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons honey or sugar


8 large egg whites

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups superfine granulated sugar

Perfect Meringue Cookies


Cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted

water 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook until

vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add lemon juice and honey or sugar. Bring to

boil. Add vegetables; cook until glazed, stirring

occasionally, about 6 minutes. Season to taste

with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Yields 6 to 8 servings.


Preheat oven to 175°F and line 2 large baking

sheets with parchment paper.

Beat whites with salt in a standing electric mixer

at high speed (or with a handheld mixer in 2

batches) until they just hold stiff peaks.

Gradually add sugar, beating at high speed until

whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.

Spoon half of meringue into pastry bag* and

pipe 1-inch-wide kisses onto 1 baking sheet,

about 1/2 inch apart. Pipe more kisses onto second

sheet in same manner. (All kisses will fit on

2 baking sheets.)

Bake meringues in upper and lower thirds of

oven until crisp but still white, about 2 hours.

Turn off oven and cool meringues in oven 1 hour,

then cool completely on sheets on a rack.

(To make a quick pastry bag, take a sheet of

parchment paper and wind it into a cone shape,

leaving a small opening at the bottom to pipe

out the meringue.)



MTC’s Remarkable Israel Experience

by JOANNIE TANSKY And “ if you look to your right”, said Danny

Cohen, “you can see the heavy iron doors

with the padlock ‘guarding’ the graves

where Avraham and Sarah are buried. The

mufti has the key and we

are allowed in there ten

days a year.” Welcome to

Hebron and the Cave of

Machpela, which Avraham

bought from Ephron the

Hitite, where he buried his

wife Sarah…

Rosh Hanikra, ‘The upcoming wave’

The Cave of Machpela

We wandered in and

out of the different small

rooms which serve as

synagogues in the Cave

of Machpela. “Pray for

your loved ones. Pray

for Israel”, said Danny,

the Chabad emissary to

Hebron. Some of the men

stayed in one room to

make a minyan for Shmuel

Spicer who was saying

kaddish for his mother.

Most of the women found

a quiet place of their own

to say a prayer.

This was not, by any

means a ‘religious’ trip

to Israel.

It was breathtaking, exhilarating, fun, bonding,

sometimes painful, and very, very exciting. We

covered Israel from the north to the south, east to

west and in between, spending, as most trips do,

quite a bit of time on our bus. Each time we made

a stop and everyone clambered back on, we would

number off to make sure we didn’t leave anyone

behind. Every person watched out for everyone

else, knew who was sitting in front, behind and

beside them and knew whose number was before

theirs and after.

In The Beginning…

We began our trip flying from Montreal to

Zurich, laying over for 4 hours and then continuing

on to Israel. Even though not too many of us

slept on the first leg of the trip, no one seemed

tired in Zurich. The men davened (prayed) in a

large waiting area, garnering almost no attention.

Seems this is a regular occurrence in Zurich. When

they were done we ate a small breakfast brought

from Montreal and proceeded to the gate - a long

walk, a very high escalator, a train, three moving

walkways and a checkpoint where yours truly was

subject to a body search - and an overflowing

plane. At this point, from sheer exhaustion, some

of us fell asleep. The landing in Israel was a tad

rough (read we landed with a huge thud) but once

we were on the ground the whole plane broke out

clapping. Shalom Aleichem! Welcome to Israel!

As the itinerary stated, we began our trip in the

north of Israel, in Tiberias, in Hebrew - Teverya. In

the weeks before we arrived, the weather in Israel

was dry - too dry - and warm, very unusual for

December. In fact, there was so little rain that the

rabbis had been praying for rain for a couple of

weeks before our arrival. Their prayers were

answered when we arrived. It poured - torrential

rains - from Jerusalem to Tiberias. Miraculously,

upon arriving in Tiberias, the rain stopped and we

were able to disembark and retrieve our luggage

from the belly of the bus with ease.

To begin to delve into every moment of our trip

would render this article into a book. So, highlights,

albeit quite detailed, will have to suffice.

(Unless you want to join us next year.)

Rosh Hanikra and Safed

Rosh Hanikra is the northernmost point on the

Mediterranean shore of Israel, where a chalk

mountain range meets the sea. The sea carved out

a chain of grottoes, or caves, in the foot of the

chalk cliffs. These beautiful grottoes are the main

attraction of Rosh Hanikra.

For a long time, the Rosh Hanikra mountain

range had been an obstacle for those who needed

to travel along the shoreline. In the 1940s, the

British army dug three tunnels through the three

cliffs of Rosh Hanikra and built railway bridges linking

the tunnels - the Haifa-Beirut railway passed

here. During the War of Independence (1948), the

bridges were blown up by Jewish partisans.

The first, southern tunnel, and half of the second,

middle tunnel, is now in the Israeli territory; the

rest is Lebanese. A small tourist "train" can take

you to the southern tunnel and the reconstructed

ailway bridge. Then you walk through a passage

hewn in the rock, which leads you down to the

natural grottoes.

On the day that we arrived, the weather had

turned very cold and windy and the sea was wild,

waves crashing onto the rocks. Nonetheless we

headed for the cable cars and our tour. (Not before

a 30 minute delay as the first cable car stalled

about 20 feet from the bottom due to the weather,

with 10 of our group inside, no less. That night,

once everyone got over the ‘excitement’ of that

experience, we were on the floor as Ilana Chernack,

one of those in that cable car and our resident

comedienne and queen of one-liners, gave over a

graphic and hysterical rendition of those twenty

minutes.) This was nature at its most beautiful.

About twenty of us stood at the end of the grotto

watching the water come crashing in, the waves

breaking about twenty feet from where we were

standing. Except for one wave. That one broke five

feet from us, completely drenching yours truly and

five other people. Drenched means absolutely

soaking, dripping wet from head to toe.

But wait, there’s more. In order to exit the

caves one had to climb a set of stone stairs outside.

Below the stairs is the sea, which usually calmly

laps against the rocks below. Today however, the

seas were in a fury and instead of lapping the

waves were crashing onto the stairs. To get to the

top one had to wait for a wave to hit and then

make a run for it up the stairs before the next one

came. I was soaked already and my shoes were

literally floating off me. Ergo, I missed the point at

which one could get up the stairs without getting

soaked and I was hit yet again. I couldn’t even cry

as there was so much salt water in my eyes it

would have hurt.

The end was twofold. Sara Eldor, Esther

Deutsch, Ellen Spicer and I, the wettest of the

bunch, were taken to Mrs. Sara Kaplan’s house

(Rabbi Zalman’s mother) in Safed (our next stop).

We removed all of our clothing, donned Mrs.

Kaplan’s and her daughter’s clothes for a while and

waited while our clothes spun around in the dryer

until we could at least put them on. Others, like

Merle Finkelstein bought shoes, scarves, mitts and

sweaters in Safed. It was at this point in our trip,

that we discovered Trudy Goldberg’s ‘magic bag’.

Anything we needed, from a pill, to a pair of

scissors, to a towel was in her bag.

At the end of this entire affair Rabbi New, who

was in the cave when the wave hit, but somehow

appeared to escape the deluge and to us looked his

usual immaculate self, turned to the women and

said, in a very serious tone, “We have a serious

crisis. I lost the crease in my pants…”

Later in the afternoon we meandered

through the artist’s quarter of

Safed, determined to put money into the

Israeli economy. At one shop we

stopped in, the young couple who

owned the store told us that during the

war in the summer they closed up their

shop and left Safed with their two small

children thinking that they would be

back in a matter days. “Well,” said the

owner, “days turned into weeks and

weeks into months.”

Even after the war they

explained, no one, not a

soul, was in the streets.

It’s only in the past couple

of months that people

have begun to return.

Needless to say, almost

everyone bought something

in that store.

That night we enjoyed

a delicious meal in Safed

where Mrs. Kaplan and

Rabbi Aron Eliezer Ceitlin

spoke to us. Imagine our

surprise when we opened the door to leave and

saw a full blown snowstorm outside. We all

blinked - are we in Israel or Canada??

Snow tires in Israel do not exist and our

bus driver, who was not only excellent, but

had patience above and beyond the call of duty,

was reluctant, to say the least, to drive down

the very steep hills of Safed to get to the main

highway. After waiting about a half-hour, he

began the agonizingly slow trip down. Really,

no one was breathing until we got to the bottom.

To break the ice, so to say, Marilyn Belzberg

asked Rabbi New to say a few ‘spiritual’ words. He

began with “Baruch Hashem,” and everyone, in

unison said – “Excellent, yasher koach - you said

it all!” It was the absolute shortest speech Rabbi

New ever gave!

Praying in the Cave of Machpela






In the Yardin Winery

Inside the Rebbe’s room, ‘770’,

Kfar Chabad

The Farbrengen

The Golan Heights, Wine Tasting, The

Palmach Museum and…Kfar Chabad

The next day we had to

alter our itinerary due to

the snowy conditions on

the roads. So, instead of

hiking in the Golan we

opted to see a moving

depiction of the Six-Day-

War, on the very spot that

the fighting had occurred.

Because we had just driven

along the exact same roads

we were watching in the

documentary, our group

was riveted to the screen.

“Totally incredible”, was everyone’s


From there we went to a winery

in Katzrin where we were treated to

a tour of Yardin’s state-of-the-art

bottling plant, culminating in a

wine-tasting extravaganza. Happy

anyone? Yes, we campers left smiling

and a little looser than when we

walked in.

We spent the next three hours on

the bus en route to Tel Aviv and the Palmach

museum. Traffic held us up and we got to the

museum just in the nick of time to see the last

show. The movie was a docu-drama describing

the years before and right after Israel became a

country via a group of young fighters called the

Palmach. The Palmach was the regular fighting

force of the Haganah (the Jewish underground

army during the British Mandate of Palestine.)

The Palmach was established in 1941. By the

war of 1948 it had grown from humble beginnings,

as depicted in the docu-drama, to three

fighting brigades and auxiliary aerial, naval and

intelligence units.

We decided it was no mere coincidence that

on the same day we saw how Israel defeated the

millions of Arabs surrounding the small country in

its beleaguered beginnings in 1948 and how they

miraculously won the Six-Day-War. The history of

this young country was not lost on anyone, from

Brandon Goldberg at eleven years old, the

youngest in our group, to Moty Farkas, over eighty.

After our meal we made a short stop at

Kfar Chabad, about five miles from Tel Aviv.

Truthfully, it had been a long day, everyone was

tired and the thought of getting on and off the

bus again was daunting. At Rabbi Zalman’s

encouragement everyone changed their attitude

and ‘came back to themselves’, finding the energy

to keep going. It turned out to be one of the

highlights of our trip.

Kfar Chabad was founded by the previous

Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1949.

The first settlers were mostly recent immigrants

from the Soviet Union, survivors of the terrors of

World War II and Stalinist oppression.

On May 5, 1957 a band of fedayeen entered

the village. They made their way to the synagogue

of the local agricultural school, where the

school's young students were in the midst of

the evening maariv prayers, and raked the room

with gunfire from their machine-guns. Five

children and one teacher were killed and another

ten children wounded; their blood soaking the

siddurim that fell from their hands and splattering

the synagogue's white-washed walls. Four days

later the village received a telegram from the

Rebbe containing a single sentence - three Hebrew

words - but these three words sufficed to save

the village from disintegration and its inhabitants

from despair. Behemshech habinyan tinacheimu,

wrote the Rebbe "By your continued building

will you be comforted." That very night the village

elders held a meeting to discuss how the Rebbe's

directive might be implemented. After a short

discussion, a decision was reached: a vocational

school will be built where children from disadvantaged

backgrounds will be taught the printing

trade. On the very spot where the blood was

spilled, the building will be raised.

Today Kfar Chabad has a population of almost

2000 men, women and children housing many

schools, a restaurant, synagogues and, an exact

replica of Lubavitch World Headquarters in New

York, affectionately referred to as ‘770’. That is

where we stopped to daven Maariv. If anyone

has ever been to 770 in New York they know it

is at the same time a humbling and exciting

experience. Rabbi New had never been to 770 in

Kfar Chabad and he was completely blown away by

the exact replication of the building in New York,

down to the minutest details. His excitement and

enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone. First the men

davened Maariv in the Rebbe’s room and then,

Rabbi New told the women to go in and pray for

whatever is in their heart. Really what happened

next cannot be put into words. For a few magical

moments we became as one Jewish woman, one

soul. Age did not matter. It was a connection that

time will not erase, that no one in that room will

ever forget.

The Farbrengen, Mea Shearim,

The Kotel

The best farbrengens are not planned. They

just happen. Such was the case on Thursday night

when we checked into our hotel in Jerusalem.

Suffice it to say that we were all tired and a

tad cranky and the hotel was not exactly a

five-star. (In the end, we grew attached to our

little hotel and many said they would like to

go back there next year.) So, after everyone

had checked into their respective rooms, slowly,

without anyone telling the other, we all found

our way to the warm and haimish lobby. We put

some tables together, gathered some food and

beverages and sat around, Rabbi Zalman leading

the farbrengen. The Chassidic saying, words

that come from the heart enter the heart came to

life that night. The farbrengen reluctantly broke up

at 5:30 a.m...

Erev Shabbos in Jerusalem is something that

should not be missed, especially in Mea Shearim.

So Friday morning, a little later than scheduled, we

climbed into a taxi and made our way to what can

only be described as a mass of people rushing from

one store to the next garnering their wares and

food for Shabbos.

Make no mistake – you get in the way, you get

pushed aside. You walk too slowly, they rush by

you like the wind. It is a hoot just to watch the

comings and goings. Of course the ten-inch high

Yerushalmi kugel must be tasted, as well as the

cholent (served six days a week) and the for-fainting

baked goods. The music store was a total

right-off. You couldn’t even get in the doorway

there were so many people. All of this amidst cars,

buses, taxis, single strollers, double strollers, fur

hats, round hats, young women, old women,

bearded men, not-bearded men and plenty of

tourists just watching the scene.

Shabbos comes in about 4:30 in the winter in

Jerusalem, so in the early afternoon we headed

back to our hotel to begin our preparations. At

the onset of Shabbos the

women lit candles in the lobby

where we all assembled to

walk together to the Kotel to

usher in Shabbos. If you have

never been witness to Friday

night at the Kotel you should

make it one of your priorities.

Watching everyone rush

toward the Kotel makes one

completely forget about any

security issues. It’s Shabbos,

it’s Jerusalem, what more

is there?

When we arrived the men and

women split up. As we were standing

on the women’s side we heard the

most incredible singing, so youthful, so

energetic, so pure. We stood up on our

chairs to look over the mechitza and saw

a group of about 40 soldiers in combat

gear, their guns slung over their shoulders,

arm in arm in a tight circle, bringing

in Shabbos. My sons, your sons, their

sons – in Israel every child belongs to

everyone. These handsome, young,

strong boys – between 18 and 25, brought

tears to every Jewish mother watching

them. They sang and danced for over an

hour with a spirit and determination I will

never know or ever forget. The men from

the MTC, who were davening close by,

closed their books and entered the circle.

Who could not want to be part of this?

Who could not want to thank these

children for putting their lives on the line

for us? Who could not want to tap into

this strength? To a person, we thanked

Hashem for allowing us to be in Israel to be able

to witness and recount to others what we had

experienced for those few precious moments.

Friday Night and Shabbos Day

After the Kotel, we virtually flew back to our

hotel (a 25 minute walk in the misty rain). Our

group of 33 had swelled to almost 60 people for

the Friday night dinner. We were joined by a group

of 11 people from Boca Raton Florida led by Rabbi

Erev Shabbos, Mea Shearim

Sunday morning at the Kotel





Moshe Denburg and his wife Rivky, all friends

of John and Merle Finkelstein (ex-Floridians).

Julius and Terry Suss had invited family to join

them, as did Peggy and Henri Bybelezer. Some

Montreal students who were in Israel, had gotten

wind that Rabbi New

was in Jerusalem. They

found him at the Kotel

amidst the hundreds and

hundreds of people and

they also joined us. What

a meal that was! Rabbi

New insisted that we

do the ‘Bangkok Shuffle’,

where we go around the

table and everyone says

a few words – how they

got there, who they are,

and if they have a story

to tell.

Although everyone was fun and interesting to

listen to, one person blew everyone away - Fred

Layers. Who is Fred Layers? Well, he is an elegant

black Guyanian who has been coming to the MTC

since 1992. He has attended years of Rabbi New’s

Tanya and Kabbalah classes and comes to shul

every single Shabbos, sitting quietly in the back

row. When he got up to tell his story you could

have heard a pin drop. No one expected him to say

what he so eloquently and succinctly did – that he

had known Rabbi New for so many years, how

attached he was to the MTC and how his lifelong

dream of coming to Israel was now fulfilled.

Shabbos Day we made use of the small synagogue

in the hotel and then, right after davening

we left for the Tzemach Tzedek shul, the oldest

standing shul in the area, (purchased about 200

years ago by the Tzemach Tzedek, the third

Lubavitch Rebbe) to hear a few words from Rabbi

Adin Steinsaltz.

Rabbi Steinsaltz is a noted scholar, philosopher,

social critic and author world-wide, whose background

also includes extensive scientific training.

In 1988, Time Magazine praised him as an "oncein-a-millennium

scholar," saying, "he will stand like

Rashi and Maimonides." He is most commonly

known for his popular translation and commentary

of both Talmuds, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Babylonian’. In

1988 he was awarded the Israel Prize, Israel’s

highest honor. As we were walking to the shul

where he davens for Shabbos we could not believe

that this incredible man was going to speak to our

group. Truthfully, it is very rare that he speaks to

any small groups coming to Israel (he was in

Montreal recently). It was through Rabbi Zalman’s

persistence in calling and finally going there early

Shabbos morning to secure Rabbi Steinsaltz that

this event actually transpired.

Rabbi Steinsaltz began by asking the question -

what is Eretz Yisrael? He proceeded to tell the

story of a man who came back from visiting the

holy land. His Rabbi asked him how his visit

was and the man replied that he was not so

impressed. The Rabbi looked deeply at the man

and responded, “The land was not impressed with

you – that’s why it sent you away.”

Rabbi Steinsaltz went on to say that there is

a verse in the Torah which says “And the land

will vomit the people out.” If a person cannot see

the greatness, the holiness and the light in

Jerusalem, it is not a problem with the land but

rather with the person. He cited the example of

when a person visits an ophthalmologist and is

told to read the letters on the wall. If he cannot

read them the problem lies obviously with the

person’s eyes, not with the poster. If someone

cannot see the light, he can and should work on

himself. The more Torah and mitzvoth a person

does, the more G-dliness, the more light he will

see. He noted, with a grin, that everything in

Jerusalem is different, even the Jerusalem thief!

In order to understand Israel, to really feel the

country, we should speak with the regular people

on the street, not the big rabbis and politicians.

We left understanding a bit more of the

holiness of where we were, more inspired and with

our eyes opened in a different way than when we

had walked in.

Yad Vashem

We had booked our time at Yad Vashem on

Sunday which was a fast day. How appropriate.

We noted that the entire complex had been

renovated since the last time we were there. It

flows more evenly, allowing the thousands of

people who pass through each day to wander at

their own pace or with a guide without holding

anyone else up.

There’s not much to say about Yad Vashem, as

there is not much to say about the Holocaust.

Everyone must go there when they visit Israel.

We must never forget. It is our generation, the

one right after the Holocaust that bears the burden

of keeping Yiddishkeit alive, for the generation

before gave their lives in that task. The one thing

that struck me personally was the film playing as

you walked in. It depicted life just before the war.

People like you and me, with our children, grandchildren,

extended family and friends, in a life that

looked like mine or yours. There, but for the grace

of G-d, go I…

Rachel’s Tomb and Hebron

When the bullet proof bus arrived to pick us up,

our level of excitement rose. Upon boarding the

bus the bullet-proof part became a physical reality

when we couldn’t really see out the windows due

to the very thick glass. Along with the bus we

hired an armed guard, Asher, a good-looking,

strapping, 23 year-old soldier. He turned out to

be an American who had made aliyah with his

family when he was very young, so English was no

problem for him. Back to Asher a bit later.

Our first stop was Rachel’s Tomb – Kaver

Rochel. Rachel died giving birth to her son

Benjamin and was buried along the road by her

husband Jacob. Jacob buried Rachel on the road

and not in the Cave of Machpela, with the other

matriarchs and patriarchs, because he knew that

one day the Jews would pass her grave as they

traveled into exile and she would weep on their

behalf and pray for them.

Today it is hard to envision what ‘along the

road’ means, as Rachel’s Tomb has become nothing

short of a fortress, with twelve foot high cement

walls and barbed wire protecting those who wish

to pray for a few moments at her grave. It is

situated on the outskirts of Bethlehem, which

today is a hot-bed of Arab terrorists.

The bus stops directly in front of a steel door

and one exits literally six feet from the entrance.

Once inside the men and women separate. When

one enters the women’s side, hanging on the wall

beside Rachel’s Tomb is the wedding dress of a

young woman, Nava Applebaum, who was killed by

a suicide bomber the night before her wedding,

along with several others, including her father,

chief of emergency in Hadassah Hospital and

mentor to many, many people. She was murdered

in the Café Hillel in Jerusalem. Her family decided

that her wedding dress should hang in Rachel’s

Tomb because Rachel weeps

for her lost children. As not

everyone on our trip was able

to read Hebrew on their own

initiative, the children of our

group, the young teens, took

books of tehillim, psalms,

from the shelves and began to

read with their mothers and

friends, in Hebrew, word by

word. It was one of the most

moving experiences I have

ever witnessed.

When we left Kaver Rochel

for the short trip to Hebron,

we asked our guard, Asher, to

tell us about himself. It turns

out that he is in an elite army

unit, going deep into Lebanon

in search of terrorist cells. He

explained that his unit would

go, in the middle of the night,

to homes where they suspected

terrorist activity. When asked

if they were frightened to go

to these homes he replied, “To

be the one to break down the

door of such a house comes

only with rank and honor.” But that meant,

we retorted, that the person breaking down the

door was the person who would get hit first if

there was resistance. “Yes,” he replied, “still we vie

for that privilege.”

We arrived in Hebron later than anticipated

and Danny Cohen, the shliach in Hebron began his

tour immediately. He wanted us to see as much as

we could before it got dark. We began at the Cave

of Machpela…

From there we boarded our bus again for the

steep ride to the top of Hebron and the Menucha

Rochel Kollel and Synagogue. Danny explained

how the Arabs had, time and again, destroyed the

buildings, and how the Jews, time and again, had

rebuilt them. For the moment they are guarded by

the Israeli Army and are safe.

The bullet proof bus with Asher our

armed guard

Inside Rachel’s Tomb.

Note Hava Applebaum’s , OBM.

wedding dress in the top right corner.





In Hebron

Danny Cohen speaking to us atop

Hebron at the Menucha Rochel Shul

One could say much about Hebron and it

would not shed the most positive light on the

government. Perhaps the following story will

illustrate. We were walking on a

narrow street behind Danny’s

house when we came upon a

trailer on wooden stilts. “This,”

said Danny with a proud smirk “is

my office.” “But why”, we asked,

“isn’t it in a building?” “Ah,”

said Danny, “good question. The

government does not allow any

building whatsoever in Hebron.

Nothing permanent. The Arabs

can and do build to their hearts

content. We are not allowed.

I needed an office and to get

around the government, put this

trailer on stilts right

here. I told them it

wasn’t permanent,

that it was a ‘mitzvah

tank’. I got a

summons anyway

and now I have to

go and fight it in

court. We’ll see

what happens.”

What does Danny

do in Hebron given

that most of the 50

Jewish families (80 on a waiting list) are observant?

He serves the few hundred soldiers based

right next to his house as well as catering to

Hebron’s many visitors. Thanks to Danny, we were

privileged to be able to visit an active army base.

The first thing one notices upon entering the

base is how much the soldiers love Danny. Yes, love

is the right word. He tends not only to their

spiritual needs, but their physical needs as well,

giving them hot soup on Shabbos, donuts on

Chanukah (over 5,000), hamentashem on Purim, a

Seder in their mess hall, and is just there for them.

His wife, Batsheva, is very close to the women

who are on a base nearby, visiting them every

Friday to help them light Shabbos candles and bring

them fresh challah. There is no shortage of what to

do. One more thing must be noted. The soldiers

identify with Danny because he was a combat

soldier in an elite brigade and still is active in the

reserves, serving on the front lines.

We were shocked at the conditions which the

soldiers lived in. It gets very, very cold in Hebron

and the heating system in the bunks and mess hall

leaves much to be desired. The soldiers sleep in

what looks like large containers, with electric

heaters to keep them warm. When we were in the

very, very basic mess hall Rabbi New noted that on

three walls there were signs in Hebrew. Obviously

Rabbi New reads Hebrew, but he could not understand

the connection of what the signs read vis-àvis

the mess hall. The signs read: Light, Moderate,

Heavy. He asked one of the soldiers to explain.

A medic explained that in the event of causalities,

the wounded are brought here and prioritized

according to the severity of their condition...

Danny told us many stories on our short visit.

Each one was poignant, some were heartbreaking,

some incredibly uplifting. Here is one of the latter:

There is a small synagogue right under where Danny

lives called the Avraham Avinu Shul. In 1928, there

was pogrom where 65 men, women and children

were murdered and most buildings, including this

shul, were looted. A few days after the massacre,

the British army came in to remove everyone who

was left. There was a boy who was living there at

the time and before leaving he went into the shul to

see if there was anything he could salvage. To his

amazement, he found a Torah, intact. He removed

it from the ark and began to leave. The soldiers

stopped him and asked what he was going to do

with it. He replied that one day, he was going to

bring it back to this shul. Mocking him, they began

to laugh, but allowed him to take it.

Two years ago, this very shul was completely

rebuilt, according to the way it had been for

centuries before. During the inauguration of the

shul, without any fanfare, a car pulled up and an

elderly man emerged holding a Sefer Torah. Yes, it

was the same man who, 70 years earlier had gently

taken that same Torah to safety and was now

bringing it back home.

Our visit ended with a delicious meal in the

Hebron guest house, prepared by an eclectic

chef and served by someone who lives in a trailer

in the outskirts of Hebron. He lives in difficult

conditions to say the least – no electricity or

running water - but will not move because he

wants to make sure that there is a Jewish presence

there at all times. True self-sacrifice. And he was

serving us…

Although it was physically cold in Hebron,

Danny, the soldiers, the history warmed our bodies

and souls. We reluctantly departed as we had a tour

of the tunnels under the Kotel booked for 9:00 pm.

Ein Gedi, Masada and Eilat

Our second to last day was physical and

exhilarating. We departed for Ein Gedi, our picnic

lunches neatly stowed in the back of the bus. The

weather had cleared, it was crisp, not too cold, and

we were heading south, so the weather was only

going to get warmer.

We arrived at Ein Gedi and upon disembarking

from the bus immediately began shedding our layers

of clothing. It wasn’t hot, but we were going to

walk up and up and up a mountain. What a time

we had! At first it didn’t seem so high or steep, but

as we kept going higher, the terrain got a bit more

gravelly and one had to watch one’s footing.

Finally, in front of us loomed the most beautiful

sight – a waterfall flowing majestically down from

a high mountain through lush greenery. It almost

looked like a painting. We spent quite a while

there just admiring nature. The walk down was

much easier and faster. We ate our boxed lunches

and then boarded the bus for Masada. We had to

hustle as we did not want to be there when it gets

dark. The cable car stops at 4:00 pm.

The history of Masada is too long to write here.

Suffice it to say that we davened mincha in what

was the synagogue and everyone understood the

deep significance of praying in such a place.

Our Last Day –

A Jeep Ride in the Desert

The jeep ride was not on the itinerary, but

we had been told about it by our guide. Not to

be missed, he said. So, we kept to our morning

schedule, visiting the breathtaking underwater

observatory in Eilat and then, at 2:00 pm, according

to our new schedule, were picked up outside

our hotel by Volf (not Wolf) and two other guides,

in open-air, but covered jeeps. Before we got in we

were already laughing.

Volf turned out to be of Polish descent, his

parents Holocaust survivors. He had fought in the

Six-Day-War in the Negev desert and never left.

He became, to put it bluntly, a

desert rat. He knows every stone,

every leaf, every small flower,

every animal in the desert. He was

married at least three times and

has a few children. He was funny,

sarcastic, sometimes going at

loggerheads with Rabbi New, but

certainly entertaining. We literally

blew through the desert on dirt

roads, dust flying everywhere,

with Volf continuously turning

around to give us a minute by

minute description of where we

were. I was having fits as he was absolutely not

looking at all where he was driving. We finally

reached our first destination, the bottom of a

mountain. When he stopped the jeep and turned

off the motor everyone could not believe the

silence. Can you imagine hearing silence?

He then informed us that we would be walking,

then hiking up some mountains. I will admit

that I hiked up the first part of the mountain but

quickly realized that I would have to be either

pushed up the second part (not too modest) or find

a crane to hoist me up (not happening), so I opted,

without the knowledge of Volf, who would have

hauled me up himself, to go back to our little base

and wait for the others to return. I was told that

the view was breathtaking and the climb worth

every moment.

When we were finished, we were

rewarded with an unusual treat. Volf’s

two other guides had built a campfire

and were preparing to bake fresh pita

on what looked like an upside-down

wok. It was served with delicious yogurt

and hot tea. Our ride back was, believe

it or not, freezing cold and pitch black

dark, although Rabbi New was fanning

the desert with the biggest flashlight

I ever saw, hoping to glimpse some

wild animals.

Our Last Meal Together in Eilat

Taking leave of one another after such an

intense, close nine days was not easy. We had

become a very close-knit group. Our last meal was

spent together in a secluded corner of the restaurant

in our hotel in Eilat. Many of us, at Rabbi

The start of our jeep ride

in the desert

Ein Gedi

Negotiating the descent in the

‘Negev Rockies.’





Our last meal together in Eilat

New’s behest, got up to say a few words, but it was

Rabbi Zalman who put everything together for us,

who solidified the trip. He told everyone to take

what they had seen, heard, learned and felt in

Israel and bring it home; that it is incredible to be

able to experience what we did in the past week or

so, but one must take all of this and use it as a

springboard for growth in our personal lives.

Next Year in Jerusalem

Going to Israel is special at any time, no matter

who you go with. But somehow there is an added

dimension when you go with your rabbis, with

your shul. Not everyone knew each other that well

when we began our trip, although the common

denominator was the MTC. But by the end we

were truly one family. Those who ventured on our

first trip, the ‘pioneers’, will never forget this

incredible experience. Those who go next year,

G-d willing, will make their own memories in Israel.

L’shana habah B’Yerushalyim!

Yasher Koach to all who participated in our

first trip. Each person added their own flavor,

making our group very special and cohesive.

Marilyn Belzberg

Henri, Peggy, Charles and Michael Bybelezer

Michael, Barbara, Ilana and Joelle Chernack

Esther Deutsch

Sara Eldor

Moti Farkas

John, Merle, Harley, Andrea and

Lindsey Finkelstein

Eddy, Trudy, Sara, Valerie and

Brandon Goldberg

Fred Layers

Isser New

Shmuel and Ellen Spicer

Julius and Terry Suss

Freddy Tansky

Next year’s dates, G-d willing, are December 24 –

January 3. The itinerary will be different but

the ambiance and camaraderie of the MTC and

the participants will be ever present.

MTC wishes a hearty Mazeltov to

Leonardo Bursztyn and Tally Nissenbaum

on their marriage

Efi Bar and Tamara Levy on their engagement

Allen and Karen Chankowsky on the birth

of their daughter, Hila (Raizel) Chankowsky

Hilly and Erica Diamond on the birth

of their son, Shimon Chaim

Maurry and Sheila Epstein on the birth of

their grandson, Dovid Leib Epstein-Atkinson

Marcia and Michael Flinker

on the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Jordan

Michael Goldenblatt and Avital Rinaldi

on their engagement

Elan Gurevitch and Kelly Anne Arfin

on their marriage

Frances and Gerald Kessner on the birth

of a grandson, Ryan Charlie (Ari Simcha)

Eddy and Rachel Kruglakov

on the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Shimon

Velvel and Baila Minkowitz

on the birth of their daughter, Tonya

The Minkowitz and Kaplan families on the

marriage of Chaya Rochel to Hershke Skoblo

Robert and Marla Oringer

on the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Cory

Ofir and Galit Moyal on the birth

of their son, Yonaton

Sholom Ber and Shoshana Polter

on the birth of their son, Moshe Yerachmiel

Mendy and Shternie Rosenfeld on the marriage

of their son, Chanoch to Shaina Itkin

Ari and Stephanie Schachter on the birth

of their son, Max (Avraham Dovid)

Eitan and Rosa Seidenwar

on the birth of their son, Mimon Mordechai

Lorne and Sharon Smart

on the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Brandon

Chaim and Bassie Treitel on the marriage

of their son, Benzion to Faigy Grossbaum

Dan and Tracy Wise

on the birth of their son, Crosby

Rabbi and Nechama New

on the birth of a granddaughter, Sarah Relka,

to Yossi and Chaya Schera Spalter

Rabbi Zalman and Frayda Kaplan

on the birth of their daughter, Mushka







n Thursday evening, August 17,

the Montreal Torah Center

held its 7th annual draw and cocktail party

attended by over 400 guests. The raffle

raised over $350,000 through ticket sales

and corporate sponsorship. Corey Eisenberg,

Leslie Greenberg and Jackie Ohayon were

the draw’s co-chairs.

A heartfelt ‘Yasher Koach’ to the entire team

of captains, canvassers and corporate

sponsors, whose combined efforts and

dedication made the MTC DRAW 2006

an outstanding success.

Joel King won the grand prize of $18,000.

Gary Walfish won 2 nd prize of $3600,

Lorne Sztern won 3 rd prize of $1800,

Andre Nault won 4 th prize of $1000.

There were three winners of $500:

Adele Vineberg, Martin Sacksner

and Lowen Rosenthal.

Ours thanks & appreciation to Omega Photography.


The Real Haggadah


Can't we move on

to more pressing

and contemporary



So it's Pesach again. Another Seder night

where we meet up with distant relatives we almost

forgot, to tell a story that we aren't allowed to

forget. Is it really necessary more than 3000 years

on to still commemorate our ancestors' freedom

from slavery in Egypt? Can't we move on to more

pressing and contemporary issues?


My friend, you are

reading the wrong

Haggada. The Seder is

not just a memorial to

events of the distant past

- it is a dynamic process

of freedom from the

challenges of the present.

We are slaves. Slaves

to our own inhibitions,

fears, habits, cynicism

and prejudices. These

self-appointed pharaohs

are layers of ego that prevent

us from expressing

our true inner self, from

reaching our spiritual potential. Our souls are incarcerated

in selfishness, laziness and indifference.

Pesach means "Passover." It is the season of

liberation, when we pass over all these obstacles to

inner freedom. On Pesach, we give our souls a

chance to be expressed.

Reread the Haggada. Every time it says "Egypt"

read "limitations." Replace the word "Pharaoh"

with "Ego." And read it in the present tense:

"We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt"

"We are slaves to our egos, stuck in our


How do we free ourselves? By eating Matza.

After eating Matza, the Israelites were able to run

out of Egypt and follow

G-d into the desert.

Because Matza represents

the suspension of ego.

Unlike bread, which has

body and taste, Matza is

flat and tasteless - the

bread of surrender.

Usually, we are scared

to suspend our egos,

because we think that we

will lose ourselves. On

Pesach we eat the Matza,

we suspend our egos

and find ourselves - our

true selves.

This night is different

from all other nights,

because on this night we

let ourselves go, we liberate our souls to follow

G-d unashamed. We say, "I may not understand

what this means, but I have a Jewish soul, and

somehow that is the deepest layer of my identity."

That soul is the innocent child within us is

waiting to be free. This Pesach, let's allow that child

to sing:

Ma Nishtana Halayla Hazeh...

Most of the Jewish people are so scattered

and removed from each other that they

hardly ever find a common language, or

even any language that makes sense to them as

Jews. This is what is called assimilation, which is

basically the loss of their common heritage. We

therefore have to try to reach some deeper levels

of the soul, many of them bordering on the unconscious,

to help us get back to talking together, to

having some kind of a common language.

Jews can hardly be categorized as a nation

(even though there is now an emerging Israeli

nation); we cannot be considered a religion in the

ordinary sense of a religion with a message which

we think should become general, which we want

to sell to others. Altogether, we are a very different

sort of entity.

To clarify what we are, we may start by saying

that we are a family. Just a family – a large one,

not entirely a biological one, but basically a family.

Now a family tie, sociologically speaking, is a far

more basic tie than either that of a nation or a

religion. To be sure, the family tie is a very primitive

way of binding people, but it is probably the

most stable one, and the most resistant to outside

change and influence.

The concept of the Jews as a family defines us,

not only sociologically, but also, in a manner of

speaking, theologically. In fact, we do not only

behave like a family – feeling like a family, and

incidentally fighting and hating each other within

the family – its even dangerous for a stranger to

intervene. Because any outside pressure only

reinforces the unity and the feeling of the family.

We can be separated and estranged from each

other, but at a certain level, we come together

again as a family; that is, we feel the unity in

just the way we conduct ourselves, in the way

that even when we do deceive ourselves about

the meaning of it, we continue to behave in a

certain manner.

Although at times we may think that we have

nothing in common, as happens in every normal

family, we still have all kinds of ties and links that

are enormously hard for us to explain. What is

more, we somehow find ourselves at ease with

each other, comfortable within our own family.

Understandably, too, we feel a certain amount of

safety in being together and we find it easier to

make connections within the family. But of

course, brothers and sisters tend to grow

estranged. They move to different countries,

adopt different accents, ways of life, ways of

behavior. Nevertheless there is this united element,

very primitive, very hard to define, but undeniably

very much in existence.

One can go so far as to say that Judaism, as a

religion, is in many ways simply the ways of our

particular family. It is the way we do certain things.

We walk and talk with G-d and man, like everyone

else. But we have our own way of doing it. And,

as in any other family, we try sometimes, when

we are young, to run away, to fight our parents.

Later on, we find ourselves resembling them more

and more.

This particular way, which is called Judaism,

is in many respects, the way that we as a family

move together, pray, dress, eat, do a variety of

things. We have our own approach to all sorts of

matters. For example, in our family we don’t eat

certain things. This doesn’t mean that we have

a special claim of any kind, saying we are the

best family there is. But as in any group of

people, we may have this feeling, and nobody

can blame us. Telling myself that my father is

different, my brother is different, is still a very

human preference.

At a much deeper level, the notion that

our people are really our family, brothers, sisters,

connected by kin as well as lifestyle, is called

in the Bible, The House of Jacob, or The House of

Israel. It has the flavor of a family or tribe, very

Coming Home


And, as in any other

family, we try sometimes,

when we are young,

to run away, to fight

our parents.



Coming Home


But in fact, our

real legacy isn’t a

biological one at all.

much enlarged, but still a tribe, with

common goals, and somehow united

even if the unity is obscured by a

great variety of individual expression.

The connections are so deep

that we are usually unconscious of

them, but they are there, and

sometimes it is as though we feel

that the clan is calling and then to

our surprise, we join.

This family

feeling is possibly

one of the

main reasons

why Judaism

as a religion

was never

very active

in proselytizing

– just

as a family

would never

go out into the

streets to grab

people to join the

family. It doesnt

mean that Jews feel

superior or inferior. Its

simply that from the very beginning,

it had its own pattern and way

of living. Even when members of

such a family are out of the family

house, when they are wandering far

away, they follow the life style, theologically,

sociologically, behaviorally. Of course,

members of the family can be severely chastised

and rifts can occur between individuals and

groups, but there is really no way of leaving the

family. You can even hate it, but you cannot be

separated from it. After some time, people,

younger or older, come to the conclusion that in

fact, they cant get away from it. And therefore, it

is far better that they try to find the ways in which

they are connected. Because the connection is

beyond choice. It is a matter of being born with it.

And it is far better to get to know where you came

from and who you are.

For some of our people its almost like the story

of the duckling who was hatched by a hen. Often

enough, our ducklings grow up in a different

atmosphere. They are taught to think and act in

ways which are entirely alien. Jews have adopted

a lot of other cultures, national identities and

sometimes religions. Sometimes there is a very

wonderful recognition and return. Frequently, it

comes as a very unpleasant discovery that I am

somehow different, that my medium is a different

medium. When I do indeed find water, I will swim

in it, even though those that raised me taught me

not to. Altogether, finding somehow ones family is

a familiar theme in literature, and in life.

Knowingly or unknowingly, each person begins to

discover it. If the discovery comes soon enough,

the person is not only able to acknowledge the fact

that he belongs somewhere, but also to make

his life, in a way, more sensible. Paradoxically,

freedom comes with the acceptance of a definite

framework from which one cannot move away.

To be sure, a family is usually a biological unit;

the Jewish family is and isn’t a biological unit.

We speak about ourselves as being the children of

Abraham, or the children of Jacob. But in fact, our

real legacy isn’t a biological one at all. Our tribe is

a very different kind of tribe. To quote an old

source, when we speak about the father of our

family, the mother of our family, we say that the

father of our family is G-d, that the mother of our

family is that which is called the communal spirit

of Israel. This is not just a mystical-theological

statement. This is the way our family is constructed,

it determines how the family behaves and feels.

When we speak about G-d our father, it is not

just an image, it is a feeling of integral belonging

to the source of the family. This makes for a

stronger family of course, but nevertheless, we

continue to behave like an ordinary family. Like all

children, we pass through periods of admiring

father and periods of fighting with father, even

hating father. We can never come to the point at

which we deny the existence of a father, our father.

Of course, some children may express this denial

as a mark of revolt and various members of the

family may react in different ways. Sometimes,

members of the family are very angry at such

blasphemy. Sometimes, they just wait for the

young blood to boil down a little. But always,

whether one hates or loves, whether one is an

ardent believer or a convinced heretic, one remains

his fathers child.

This basic connection is what is called the

Jewish religion; being a member of that family. We

have our own history, but that is not the most

important part of it. Most central is our relationship

to the father and mother of the tribal entity to

which all of us belong in one away or another. This

is what makes sense to those who have remained.

There are widely dissimilar parts, a great variety

of members in our rather large, distressed and

sometimes not so glorious family. How much are

we aware of each others existence? We often try,

and some of us keep trying very hard, to ignore,

to deny, and even to throw out of ourselves

any kind of belonging to this family. On the other

hand, there are many of our people who are

consciously reentering into the family fold. And

not necessarily is it a seeking for G-d. It is often

a result of long wandering and far reaching

explorations, and the feeling that we cannot

always describe, of coming home.

One can point to more beautiful mansions and

more exciting sites. But they cannot very much

duplicate the home. For like any personal roaming

and wandering of individuals separated from their

family, the desperate attempt to be independent

only leads to a discovery that somewhere one must

try to come back and find the truth of being home.

The real point of a Jewish person, then, is the

recognition of, I do belong whether I want to or

not. It is the deepest and most important part of

my being, and one that I can’t cover over with

opinions about language, culture, nation or

religion. Ultimately, I do belong to the family.

The deeper I go within myself, the more important

the past becomes. I can reject this past and I can

even cut it off from myself entirely, playing roles

and trying to imitate others, but that does not

change what I am. And then, if I ever want to find

out more about it, I follow the long way home. It is

not an easy way, but it has its compensations and

its own truth.

When animals brought up in a zoo are

released, they sometimes do not even know

whether they are wolves or deer. They have

to find out who they are,

what they are. Its a

great discovery to

learn, I am that,

and to explore

the right way of

behavior of ones

own kind. Such

is the destiny of

a Jewish person

who has been

estranged. He

may find helpers

or he may not.

He may almost

instinctively move

into his natural habitat

or he may have all

kinds of strange resistances

that will interfere forever with his normal

behavior, so that it can possibly be only

corrected in a later generation. Whatever

happens, he is at least coming to grips with

the problem.

Basically, it is the situation of the person

who wakes up and finds out that even though

he grew up somewhere in young Midwest

America, he really belongs to this very old family,

with these strange parents, these sometimes

lovely, sometimes ugly, brothers and sisters. He has

to get accustomed to this idea, and then find out

what to do about it.


SPRING – 6 week course

Keep an eye on your rear-view mirror with


As we struggle to co-exist in a multicultural society,

grappling with the rise of anti-Semitism and the

threat of Jihad, remember that as Jews we have faced

these difficult challenges before. Join us at the

crossroads of history as we look back to ancient

Greece, Islamic Spain, and Christian Europe, in an

attempt to understand where we are headed today.

Mondays April 23 – May 28 7:30 – 8:45 pm

Instructor: Rabbi Zalman Kaplan

Wednesdays April 25 – May 30 10:15 – 11:30 am

Instructor:Rabbi Moishe New

Wednesdays * April 25 – May 30 8:00 – 9:15 pm

Instructor:Rabbi Moishe New

Thursdays April 26 – May 31 12:15 – 1:30 pm

Instructor:Rabbi Moishe New

Fee: $100 per course, includes text books. To enroll

call 514.739.0770 or visit myjli.com.

* Sponsored by the Miryam and Batya Medicoff

Lecture Foundation


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