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The unemployed people are all coming in purple, from the grape juice and wine crush. Somehow, word got out that they needed Jews to work. Otherwise, the wine won't be kosher. Pinchas was the first one out to the crush. He was bragging about the value of his Jewish hands. He was telling everybody at the Kiddish club that he is 'getting paid for these, baby!' Those were his words.
They want orthodox Jews that keep Shabbat to be watching over the grapes. All I know is their hands are disgusting.
Fish cakes somehow showed up on the kosher shelf at the supermarket. Nobody knows what they are. It is assumed they were first in the kosher freezer section. People are worried that the greater community thinks that Jews will eat anything. Since receiving the free packages this past summer, I am convinced that they will feed their kids anything they get for free. I even saw a pizza sandwich in one of those. Fish cakes and pizza sandwiches, cold.
The JCC was closed for a few days. Their sewage was backed up. The congregation put on a good 280 pounds total.
Shul talent show. We had time. Nothing happened. It was so bad, the rabbi didn't even mention it in his sermon. The rabbi doesn't like embarrassing people. The show was an embarrassment. It was people sitting around and waiting for somebody to signup. The sheet was the show.
There's no talent in our shul. One person got up and gave a speech. No poetry. I wouldn't even call it prose. It was a thought they had. They shared it on stage because nobody talks to them during Kiddish. There was one instrument. One of the kids took up the harmonica. They figured it was the next step up from human beatboxing.
The shul got yellow tape to finally put around the shul, on the edge of the step in the back. Max was complaining about it for months, after he tripped and ended up in the hospital. He chose not to sue, but to complain instead.
We didn’t go to Chevron as a community, though the rabbi suggested it.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon
Shabbat Shalom Ya’ll,
We had a Minyin this week. The JCC was closed. It’s too cold for golf. People came to shul…
It’s either physical activity or caring about Gd. Can’t do both… Then do them both… It takes the closing of the JCC… I have been telling everybody here to take care of their health. I wanted to start a weekly dodgeball game in the social hall… First dibs on the Chazin…
(Bereishit 23:1) ‘And it was, the life of Sarah…’ Sarah lived. She didn’t just mope all day like Rachel. She lived… I walk into this shul, I feel death. It's like a whiff of fresh death every time I see the back left of the shul. It's so depressing...
Let’s see how Sarah lived… Did she go to workout or did she connect with Gd?... She did both, Rachel. You can’t serve Gd and breathing like Benjamin who can’t sing anymore. How do you get too out of shape to sing?!... Cooking in the 2,000 BCEs, you have to be in shape. You had to catch the gazel first. You had to plant the dough. Singing, you also had to be in shape... You sung and mountain lions would attack you... If you hit a high-pitched harmony. Like in Tov Lehodos... You don't live to 127 by eating fish cakes...
No. She didn’t cook fish cakes. What’s with these fish cakes? What happened to fried fish? She was an excellent cook… To live, you have to eat healthy… Who eats fish for dessert? Are they serving fish danish... Gummy fish are a dessert side dish.
(Bereishit 23:2) 'And Sarah died in Kiryat Arba, which is Chevron.' Which is quite convenient… How did she pass away by Ma’arat HaMachpela, where she is buried? Convenience. As H' has shown us again and again.
Why does the Torah have to tell us all of this? Because none of you study your geography. The Torah has to spend its time telling you where Kiryat Arba is… Then visit Israel every once in a while. And where was Chevron?... In Canaan! It was not in Palestine. A little lesson in geography, from your rabbi... What's with Palestine and this congregation? Is CNN teaching Jewish History at the day school now?... Are we doing the shul trip to Chevron?!
It talks of Sarah's life. Not her death. 'Chayei Sarah.' Sarah's life. And what have you to show of your life?... She mothered a nation, Rachel. A whole people… You have two kids… Benjamin is out of shape… Couldn’t even play freeze tag with Bayla…
Stop thinking about death... I know that Simmy passed. But he lived a life more meaningful than the back left... He paid his dues, Frank...
Why did she pass away? There was no biopsy, so we are not sure. Rashi quotes Genesis Rabbah and the midrash teaches that the death of Sarah is reported right after the almost sacrifice of Yitzchak to teach us that it was the news of the sacrifice that caused the death. Have you seen the local news? It’s always murder. It scares you. It’s a shocker. News is never good… Whenever Bernie says ‘I have good news,’ I’m very skeptical… Because it’s always bad, Bernie… It’s death or Israel is moving someplace outside of Israel… Every day, I hear about different locations of Israel from this congregation.
But Sarah lived. It was the shock of her son doing something crazy... Not doing anything with your life is crazy, Benjamin. Her son was willing to be sacrificed... No, Benjamin. I don’t know which one is crazier. Her son was willing to have himself sacrificed. You do nothing. A mother cannot bear to hear either… Back then, they lived in the house till their hundreds. It was a different time...
Palestine’s location in all of Israel is crazy… She would’ve killed herself because of this shul… Hide your hands. They're purple, Pinchas. It's an embarrassment. Your mother would kill herself if she saw... She would have a lot of nachis that you finally got a job. And she would have nachis that your hands touched everything that Jews drink. And then she would kill herself... Don't they have machines? Are you crushing by hand? They are so purple...
Her son was willing to have himself sacrificed... No, Benjamin. I don’t know which one is crazier. A mother cannot bear to hear about her son sacrificing himself. Bryan. The only decent player on the team. He sacrificed. Could've won if other Jewish kids in our town could play basketball… Even if the reasons are holy. The emotional pain is what killed her…
The sacrifices I make for this shul… When my mother heard I took the job for this shul, she was shocked. She knew I would never make good money with congregants who don’t pay their dues… No nachis...
This congregation is too out of shape to hear bad news…
Does this congregation even care? Do you care if your parents are living? They can’t live with you in the house at thirty-two, Benjamin… Yitzchak helped out around the house... He slaughtered the cattle. Your hands aren't even purple, Benjamin.
And how many of the members in this congregation don't take into account their parents? Not getting jobs out of college. Your parents spent $35,000 a year on college and now you are back at home without a job? Do you want to give your mom and dad a heart attack? The emotional pain of having to see your child again, after university is a cause of much early death... You being at home is not a sacrifice Benjamin. You have sacrificed nothing to play NBA 3K... Purple hands. At least.
Stay out of the gangs. I understand that there's good money to be made on the streets, with drugs. However, you have parents and they worry. We're all worried, asides from Mrs. Chayshenbaum who just bought her new home with the help of Locos MS18. Our local community, upper middle class gangsters. Chai! My man. I wish you much success with your new gangster raps about growing up in the private schools and gated hoods genre works out... Think about your parents. And think about your synagogue. Support your shul and use your money well. Make your parents proud. Shlomki Chayshebaum, thank you for the big donation. Locos MS18 your plaque is going up this week. We will put it on the outside of the building. This way you won't have to tag the shul anymore...
It’s about love and care. Efron says he will give Avraham the land to bury Sarah for free. Avraham insisted on paying Efron for the field. (Bereishit 23:13) ‘I’ll give the price of the field, take it from me, and I will bury my dead there.’
He buries Sarah. That is his Mitzvah. He wants to do it. He insists on paying. Does anybody here know how much Kiddish costs... You eat it... I am suggesting that you donate Kiddish. Avraham would've donated Kiddish for Sarah... He already bought the field and it's a Mitzvah... Making brachot and eating on Shabbat is a Mitzvah...
(Bereishit 23:15) Efron says, ‘400 silver shekels, between us, what is it?’ It’s a lot of money… He charges that for Avraham to bury Sarah, even though he was going to give it to him for free.
Efron is a good negotiator… I don’t know what Benjamin negotiated with his parents. He definitely has not paid dues. He’s still on the family plan… That ends at twenty-five, Benjamin... You're thirty two. At least donate a Kiddish... We'll take 400 shekels. For the shul, what is it? A lot of money...
Sarah cared. She 'lived.' When you care, you are living. Avraham cared. He buried Sarah... That's part of life.
Let us use our life, our money for good. As Abraham who used his money to bury Sarah, the truest form of kindness... Donate a Kiddish. Pay your dues. Donate lessons to our children. Basketball can work. They are clueless... Music lessons. Talent in this shul would be appreciated. Singing lessons. That would make Shacharit bearable. Show care for your rabbi. Rent an apartment for yourself and show some kindness to your parents.
400 shekels is very little nowadays. Give your parents some money. Nachis is not happening… At least exercise. Move… Join the shul walking group… I know the JCC is not open...
A mother who cared about her child. The loss hit her… She loved seeing their talents... This shul has no talent. Harmonica is not talent.
You can’t live if you don’t care about your children. You can’t live if your child is running around the shul. It’s not even the halls Rachel. She is running around the sanctuary… THe sanctuary is not a place for hide-and-go-seek... Eliezer is not a good example. He’s also messed up. The Grunfelds can’t parent… Where is Adam… I know he’s your husband... Can somebody find him.
The shul cares. They got yellow tape... For safety. Safety is key for living. That's why we don't play hide-and-go-seek in the shul. We have yellow tape... And the nation lives on through Ma’arat HaMachpelah...
Rivka’s Notes on Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
I believe 15 people became religious upon hearing that it's a Mitzvah to eat on Shabbat. They all said, 'We can do that for Gd.'
Benjamin is still living with his parents, and I think the rabbi gave pride to the gang members.
The Grunfelds just moved to our town a month ago. The rabbi immediately included them as important members of the congregation. Them, along with the new Gabai, the rabbi is ripping on all of them.
How the rabbi took Akeydat Yitzchak and turned Sarah’s death into an appeal for him to get a raise, is brilliance that can only be seen from Rabbi Mendelchem. He can do anything with a Dvar Torah. It’s an art.
Middle of his sermon, the rabbi threw a paper towel at the Chazin. Said, ‘Got you.’ The rabbi turned back around and everybody ducked. It turns out he was demonstrating dodgeball. Nobody was excited about having used paper towels thrown at their face, let alone a ball.
The talent show was a hit. Had a concert series in the shul, to follow. Some of the guys were talking during the show. That got a lot of nasty head turns.
Turned out that the one who shushed them talks in shul all the time. But this was a concert. You don’t talk during a concert. Everybody knows that. It’s disrespectful. Talking in shul is a different story.
Speaking about the shul, the bright yellow tape is a real hit. People like it much more than the quilt. We later had a dedication ceremony for Max. There was a plaque put on the tape, ‘Dedicated in honor of Max.’ Now he wants handrails on the sides, to help people take the step. The shul already spent $5 on him, and now he wants more. He thinks the shul is made of money. He eats all the Kiddish food, at least $5 a Shabbat, and now he wants more.
Others are now complaining about other steps in the shul. Many trip at the back door. Now they want bright yellow tape everywhere. I’ve tried encouraging people to look when they walk.
The rabbi went off on how being healthy is important. So, he started a walking group to shul every day. Then the JCC opened a week later and that stopped. Yet, they did walk that whole week. The people of Topeka were confused. They thought the Jews were keeping Shabbis all week.
With all the out of shape congregants, the rabbi insisted that everybody go into the halls and play freeze tag with the little kids, during the Chazin’s repetition of the Amidah. Hide-and-go-seek is too dangerous. Congregants have hid behind furnaces. One guy was lost till after Shabbat. They locked him in the shul Saturday night. On Sunday, he came out for food. Eliezer insisted on going back to shul to catch him.
Since the JCC reopened, the members haven't gone back. They just didn't want to exercise. With all the out of shape members, there were less at services for the next few weeks. Once they stopped keeping Shabbat again, and started driving their cars, the shul picked up the numbers bigtime. They stopped keeping Shabbat, because they realized they could keep the Mitzvah of eating on Shabbat, and gaining weight, better by driving.
The rabbi seems to think that Topeka is in the South. We’re more like the Midwest.
I don't think the rabbi has ever cooked or baked. He definitely doesn't know how dough is made.
The rabbi is still very angry about the changing of the name on the package from fish patties to fish cakes. He believes it comes from kids not being able to share; the same root as the cupcake pandemic. He believes that the rabbi who gave the hashgacha should have his semicha revoked. People think the fish cake is dessert. The Maras Ayin fiasco is another community issue.
The community is still arguing about fish cakes. Willie, a new member is trying to figure out what fish cakes are. As he said, ‘I have never had fish cake. I’ve had chocolate cake, but not fish cake. Are they making carp pie? Is there a salmon Danish? Lobster pudding?’ We’re still trying to get Willie to keep kosher. It’s a big move for him. Even so, he fits right in with the new members that show up for Kiddish.
Our members show up for Kiddish and Kadish.
After seeing Pinchas and the other Jews getting paid for having Jewish hands, the rabbi started making Kiddish on whiskey. He said that the alcohol content kills Jewish hands. Nobody drank Tedem grape juice or Nanshewitz wine till Pesach. Their hands were disgusting.
And nobody paid a Shiva call, even after the reading of Chayei Sarah. Some members sent checks for 400 shekels. They figured the passing of Simmy was best treated like a Simcha.
Leter, we'll get involved in the new Shiva registry business that Simone started. I have mixed thoughts.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.