Westwood Kehilla


Song of Mourning – Song of Hope

The Three Weeks are a time of national mourning.  Historically, the Jewish people have suffered during this period of time. From the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem to the expulsion from Spain, this span of days has been a time of sorrow.  The song below is composed, arranged and preformed by Ari Goldwag.  It stirs the heart and comforts the soul. The words come from the Lamentations that are recited on Tisha B’Av eve.  It translates as: “For how long will we cry?  For how long will we mourn Jerusalem? [G-d] have mercy on Zion and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.”

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Posted in: Inspiration, Learning Library, Rabbi's Blog

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Parshat Balak – Arise Like a Lion

My brother in law wrote a beautiful and inspiring article about the Parsha.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

Rabbi Yehuda Leib of Gur (1847-1905), a great Chassidic commentator, explains the verse as follows: A lion is an extremely resilient animal. It does not back down when attacked or hurt. To the contrary, when wounded, it fights with even more vigor.

The Jews, God was saying, would have a similar nature. They would fall – but they would rise again. Indeed, the Babylonians destroyed our first Temple but we regrouped and rebuilt our second Temple. The Romans destroyed our Second Temple and scattered us throughout the world, but shortly thereafter the great Seminaries of Nahardea and Pumbedisa produced the Babylonian Talmud, which would be the source of inspiration for the Jews for the next millennium. We were persecuted by the all-powerful Church for nearly 1000 years, but have survived to an era where that is no longer the case. We were terribly devastated by the Nazis, who wiped out a third of our people, but have outlived them and experienced the birth of Israel. Today, more Jews attend Jewish schools and engage in daily Torah study than in any time in the last 2000 years.


Posted in: Balak, Learning Library, Rabbi's Blog, Sefer Bamidbar, Weekly Parsha

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Yom Yerushalayim

Rav Chanan Morrisson has a very interesting article about The Kotel Affair.

Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook recalled the tremendous pressure placed upon his father, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, that evening in 1930 in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem.

“How intense, how grave, how dire were the warnings and intimidations at that time, with all of their menacing threats. Two nations [the Arabs and the British] were goading us with lies and murderous traps, to sign an agreement and relinquish [Jewish] ownership over the Kotel, the remaining wall of our Holy Temple…” (LeNetivot Yisrael vol. I, p. 65)

The Mufti’s Ambitions

Already in the time of the first British High Commissioner, Hajj Amin al-Husseini was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, spiritual and national leader of the Arabs. One of the many devices that the infamous mufti employed in his fight against the Jewish national return to Eretz Yisrael was to repudiate all Jewish rights to theKotel HaMa’aravi, the Western Wall.

Click here to read the rest of the article: http://ravkooktorah.org/YOM_YER65.htm

Posted in: Education, History, Learning Library, Rabbi's Blog

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Leading a Spiritual Life

Spirituality and religion are two familiar terms.  What exactly do they mean?

Religion is the way we act, the way we behave. The things we do. Rituals tradition etc.

Here in our parsha we have mention of many commandments.  Many commandments regarding the holidays. Commandments are a function of religion.  They are ritualistic in nature. However, they have the potential to be more that. For they have the potential to be spiritual as well.

Spirituality is the covert thought process. The ideas. The fantasies. The emotions. The sense of wonder.

Years ago I watched “A Stranger Among Us,” a film written by a close friend of mine’s father.  Written by an Orthodox Jew.  And I remember thinking to myself as I saw the scenes in the shteeblach in Williamsburg, that looks so strange. It bothered me. So I was thinking – what was the film lacking?  What was missing? I think that the actors got the ritual right.  The behavior is imitate-able.  But there was something missing.  There was no soul.  There was no neshamah.

To continue reading Click  on the link: Wk Drasha Emor

Posted in: Emor, Inspiration, Learning Library, Rabbi Avi Stewart, Rabbi's Blog, Sefer Vayikra, Speakers, Weekly Parsha

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