Women's Partners in Torah LIVE @ Pinot's Palette

It was all about art, and friendship, and inspiration in advance of Chanukah. Over 40 women gathered at a neat boutique art studio, Pinot's Palette, in St. Louis Park. The food was great (donuts, fruit, and hot drinks), the atmosphere warm (a diverse, friendly group of women), and the masterpieces, well, masterful! A professional artist guided the attendees step-by step to producing their own "Poppy Prisms". The perfect recipe for a fun night out with that special WPIT flavor! 

Thank you to our WPIT coordinators, Mrs. Crystal and my wife! Thanks to Mila Krol of Pinot's Palette and Mila Kvasnik for making this happen! Thanks to Becca Kushner for the awesome pics! Thanks to all of you for coming!

Enjoy the pics! email agoldberger@mnkollel.org for more.

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The Business Breakfast: Season's Challenges

This past Sunday was one to remember. In the biggest Business Breakfast we've ever had, Rabbi Zev Cohen of Chicago talked about the serious issues that arise in business relationships, in his informative, eclectic, and entertaining way.

Here are some issues that were discussed:

  • Buying Thanksgiving turkeys for employees - doing business with non-Kosher food?
  • The Chasam Sofer and the "Fish from Italy to Egypt" case
  • Ordering a bottle of scotch for a non-Jew on Pesach

and many more!

To relive the event in pictures and through the audio recording, scroll down.

 

Thanksgiving Day Yarchei Kallah

A day off? Not here in the Kollel! Not when a community thirsty for Torah has some extra time on their hands. Despite other community events this morning (Mazel Tov to Rabbi & Mrs. Shea Trenk on the bris of their son, Mordechai!), the Bais Medrash was full from wall to wall. Today's topic was Ma'aser Kesafim, tithes on one's earnings. Through the prepared study material and a comprehensive shiur, Rabbi Dovid Biron addressed three primary facets. 

  • The source of the obligation: Biblical, Rabbinic, or ancient custom
  • What earnings are obligated to have ma'aser separated from them: How to calculate your revenues and expenses
  • What to do with ma'aser money once it is separated: It should be given to charity, but for which causes? Can you use ma'aser money for a raffle or Chinese auction?

To get the full scoop, listen to the audio below.

Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Eli Vinitsky for dedicating the Yarchei Kallah to the merit of their father, Mr. Harvey Vinitsky.

HaRav & Rebbetzin Hoberman Visit The Kollel & The Community

This past Shabbos, the Kollel and the community were graced with the presence of HaRav Chaim Yehoshua and Rebbetzin Sarah Hoberman. HaRav Hoberman is the Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta of Long Beach, and a Rebbi and mentor to several of the Kollel Rabbis.

HaRav Hoberman shared freely of his Torah wisdom over the entire weekend, with addresses at Yeshiva of Minneapolis, Bais Yaakov of the Twin Cities, Kenesseth Israel, Bais Yisroel, and the Kollel.

HaRav Hoberman gave a Chumash Shiur on Friday night at the home of HaRav and Rebbetzin Gibber, on the concept of "fear out of love"- how the greatest levels of love, whether in our relationship with Hashem, or in any relationship, will bring a fear and a caution of doing anything that could damage that relationship.

At Shalosh Seudos at Bais Yisroel, sponsored in honor of the visit, HaRav Hoberman spoke of the responsibility we all have to help and encourage the spiritual growth of those around us, regardless of our level of knowledge or devotion. He also expressed his pleasure in seeing the development of the community since he was here last, over 16 years ago.

 

The Most Important Thing to Look for in a Relationship

What's the most important thing to look for in a relationship?

It can be any relationship. Spouse, employee, friend...if you had to pick one aspect you would want of a person , what would it be?

Taking a lesson from Bereishis (Genesis) we see something incredible. Avraham (Abraham) sends his trusted servant Eliezer to find a wife for his beloved son Yitzchak (Isaac). He gives him one criteria- take someone from my extended family.

Eliezer, ever faithful, travels to Avraham's hometown and devises a test. The girl, who when asked for water will give my camels as well, that's the one.

Family. An act of kindness. These are important things but what about the things that we consider even more important- you know, like ideology, religion, philosophy?

R' Elya Lopian says an incredible thing.

What matters above all is character. A person with good character will very quickly adopt a good ideology or philosophy. Whereas one with negative character won't do good, even with the best of outlooks.

Our emotions and character drive us, much more so than our ideologies.

 The rise of Jihadi extremism has caused many to question the Koran as a book and Islam as a religion. Perhaps the problem isn't in the book, the religion or the ideology per se. Extremism is a character trait, not a philosophy. The descendants of the one whom the Torah describes as a "wild man" have perpetuated a legacy of recklessness, extremism, and achieving goals at any cost. In the hands of other people, the ideology would be followed in a more rational manner- as it is by many millions around the world. It's only in the hands of those who are by nature extremists that the ideology becomes extreme.

As Jews, we inherit a legacy of compassion and charity. These are character traits that began with Avraham's family and were carefully passed down from generation to generation. It's up to us to keep this going! 

The Great Big Challah Bake!!

"The idea of so many jewish women all over the world doing the same important thing on the same day... Very spiritual and well organized."

"I loved seeing all these Jewish women from all backgrounds, many of whom I didn't know, coming together to learn to perform this mitzvah of making challah."

"So well organized. Lots of energy. Friendly warm and welcoming for new friends."

"I liked everything, 400+ Jewish women in one place to learn, dance, sing, talk and enjoy 2 precious hours together. And the recipe is ABSOLUTELY delicious."

"Keep up the great work! This is what builds community and Jewish life."

These are some of the many comments received about the Great Big Challah Bake- Minneapolis on Wednesday Night. It was truly an incredible event! Thank you to Mrs. Adina Cohen and Mrs. Giti Fredman for conceiving and organizing the event, to Mrs. Judy Victor for emceeing, to Baldinger Bakery and Mall of America for sponsoring, and to all the volunteers, table captains, Challah Doctors, and attendees who made it all happen!!

For more pictures and videos from the event email me @ agoldberger@mnkollel.org

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!