The Most Simple Thought There Is

A simple thought struck me tonight. Perhaps the most simple thought there is.

About 20 minutes ago we concluded our annual "Uniting Through Torah" event at the Kollel. (pics below).

The refreshments were simple- candy, coffee & cake. 

The promotion was simple- texts, emails & signs.

The program was simple- Jews, Torah & unity.

Sometimes we overthink. We have schemes, plans, ideas, and agendas. Simple thoughts may sometimes serve us better. As Shlomo Hamelech said in Koheles, "Hashem made man straight, and they sought many schemes."

Tonight I experienced this. In anticipation of Rosh Hashanah, scores of Jews gathered in the Kollel to just learn and prepare for Yom Tov. The plans were simple and straightforward, yet the impact was real.

Perhaps this is something we can take into Rosh Hashanah on a personal level as well. If we really think about it almost all the stress, frustration, and conflict we experience is self-inflicted. Our career goals, our pastimes, our morals, our personal goals don't always align. It's true, life's complex and multi-faceted, but often we make it too much so.

As Rosh Hashanah approaches let's consider stopping and setting aside our plans, agendas, and special interests that pull us in many directions- for just a week or so- and just experience unity. Unity with ourselves, unity with Hashem, and unity with the Jewish people. 

Labor Day Yarchei Kallah- The City Eruv

The Kollel Bais Medrash was a sight to see (and hear) this morning, packed with people enjoying their day off. What better way than to plunge into a complex Torah topic? Today's Yarchei Kallah centered on the laws of Eruvin, and specifically the laws particularly relevant to the modern community eruv. After we delved into the prepared source material, Rabbi Uriel Gross gave a masterful shiur, clearly explaining and illuminating the topic, and applying the relevant outcomes to our local eruv here in St. Louis Park. Missed the shiur, or want to hear it again? Listen below.

One Nation Under Harvey

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I couldn't help but notice.

Last week, the millions of thousands of people who converged across the country’s midsection witnessed the brilliance of an awesome celestial vision.

This week, the millions of people who lived on the country’s southern coast beheld the fury of an awe-inducing climactic nightmare.

Unique to these events, is that the infighting, bickering, and cultural confusion that seems to be getting worse and worse, disappeared.

In towns such as Blairsville and Prairie City, people of different parties paraded and traded tinted glasses, while in places like Beaumont and Port Arthur, humans of all different hues hugged and lugged essential supplies.

What was it that allowed us to be civil again?

Here are my two cents.

Behind all the complaints, tirades, crusades, and campaigns that assault us daily lies an underlying fear. It’s an anxiety born of chaos and lack of certainty about anything in the world. Technology, politics, and too much information are making the world seem more and more out of control and tensions rise accordingly.

The eclipse made us pause for a moment and realize the Supreme Order that exists in the world on a scale way bigger than anything human. Harvey made us stop to ponder the sheer helplessness that we have as humans, even if we wanted to try to run this world.

Let’s not let this escape us.

If we could all just realize that we are truly powerless in this world, but that G-d is in total control, everything that divides and separates humans would instantly dissolve into pettiness, creating what would truly be one nation under G-d, with liberty and justice for all!

Zecher L'Churban: Yarchei Kallah at Kenesseth Israel

On Sunday, July 23rd, the Kollel joined together with Kenesseth Israel for another successful Yarchei Kallah learning program. The topic was the laws and customs enacted as a Zecher L'Churban, a reminder of the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

The event began with a delicious breakfast, along with spiritual nourishment from Rabbi Tzvi Lichtman. Rabbi Lichtman enjoined the participants to be conscious of just how much we do for others in the course of our everyday lives. When we are aware that we are doing chessed, we can be positively affected by our actions, and work towards reversing the cause of the destruction, baseless hatred amongst our people.

Following breakfast, participants broke into groups, led by the Kollel scholars, to study the source material. Rabbi Yakov Skolnick then expounded and illuminated the underlying concept of how our joy is not complete without a Bais Hamikdash, and provided practical examples of the various customs. To listen and download the entire shiur, see below.

Thank you to Rabbi Skolnick and Rabbi Mordechai Kalatsky for arranging yet another wonderful Yarchei Kallah!

Independence Day Yarchei Kallah

Over 50 people celebrated their freedom by attending the Kollel Yarchei Kallah this morning. After some donuts, coffee, and a chavrusa learning period, Rabbi Sender Breiner gave a shiur on the halachos of honoring one's older siblings.

Some questions covered:

  • Does one have to honor older sisters as well?
  • Does this obligation apply to all older siblings or just the oldest?
  • To what length does one have to go when honoring siblings?
  • Why don't we typically find people standing for their parents when they walk in the room?

If you couldn't attend or want to hear it again, here's the audio.

Business Breakfast: Shabbos & Managing Your Business

Over 30 people took time out of their schedule to learn more about how to run a business in a Shabbos-compliant way, and to enjoy a great breakfast!

Rabbi Shmuel Shapiro, of the Chicago Choshen Mishpat Institute, discussed the potential halachic issues that arise any time there is a business that operates 7 days a week, as in the hospitality or healthcare industries. He presented several solutions that are used by halachic authorities when working with business owners, and discussed the pros and cons of each. To hear the full recording, click on the player below.

The purpose of the Business Breakfast Series is to create awareness of the range of halachic issues that a Jew must know as he navigates today's business world. We hope that the topics discussed at the Business Breakfast serve as a springboard for you to investigate further into the Business Halacha issues that you may be facing in your life. If you have anything you would like to discuss further with the experts at the Chicago Choshen Mishpat Institute, click on the button below.

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