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Rabbi’s Bar Mitzvah Parsha. I don’t think he practices it. If more of our congregants read Hebrew, it would’ve been embarrassing.
The Women’s Issues class got everybody mad. They thought it would be a good discussion. Fran just wanted to complain about women’s voting rights in America. She kept on going off on how it was granted too late. She blamed the rabbi for that.
They’re always mad at the shul about the women not being required in time-bound Mitzvot. The sisterhood is never on time to shul. I don’t get it. Barbara shows up late to every meeting anyways.
Got a new booth for COVID. It’s a plastic separator. When people get up for an Aliyah, it looks like they’re making Matzah.
We had a no mask rule in our town, but some people wore it for over a year. Even after their vaccine. Right now, I believe Dan is making a statement. He’s been vaccinated and is triple masking in his house. He posts the pictures on social media. His wife never looks happy in the pictures. In one of the pictures, you can see her sneezing right on him.
Speaking about the lack of care. Wishing people a Refuah Sheleyma, ‘a full healing,’ is starting to mean nothing. The congregants like to say it. Saying ‘feel better’ makes them feel like they did their duty. The proverbial wearing of the mask once vaccinated, but staying far away.
Nobody visited Yanky, who got injured during Hagba last week. The guy lifted the Torah and opened it six columns, and whacked Yanky with the wooden stake. Everybody has been adding in an extra prayer to their postAliyah Mishebeyrach, as could be seen in shul. But nobody showed the actual care of doing. Of visiting Yanky. Nobody invited the rabbi for lunch last week, and nobody visited Yanky in the hospital. They all said ‘Amen’ that somebody else should take care of him. Mishebeyrachs were extended real long, with extra prayers for Yanky, which showed that they also didn’t care about people’s time.
The Parah Aduma seems to be about duty. Caring is pure when it is a duty.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha (Sermon)
Shabbat Shalom My Congregants
We need healing. This shul needs a healing. A repentance. A way to turn around… Refuah Sheleyma to Yanky and all of Klal Yisrael… Non-Jews as well. Yes. They can be healthy. Maybe they should be… Can somebody at least say ‘Amen’? No care in this place. Very impure… Let’s focus our prayers. Tefillah.
Too much impurity. I can barely breath… Sweat is also a form of impurity. Next Friday, please shower. You all smell so disgusting… Sprinkling the Red Heifer blood mix on you would help. But we don’t have it. So what do we do?…
Who set the air-conditioning… There’s no air-conditioning. 70 degrees is not a setting for air-conditioning. It feels like we’re burning an offering. It should be a for an atonement… That’s why everybody’s sweating. We’ve found the Teshuva… This week’s Parsha talks of atonement… Everything we do has a chance for atonement. I don’t know if Sarah can makeup for her potato kugel…
I heard there was a lice breakout last week… I told you to not use the Kippahs from the Yarmulke bin… You’re wearing masks, but Yarmulkes worn by 90 different people who haven’t bathed…
How do we deal with impurity? How do we atone? Does anybody have a red cow?... Exactly…
(Bamidbar 19:3) ‘And he slaughters (shechts) it before him.’ Elazar goes with the Parah Aduma, red heifer. Another guy goes with him and shechts it… Do Kohens do any work? We even have to wash their hands here at Shavuot Musaf…
Parshat Chukat begins with one of the most perplexing statements. (19:2) ‘This is the Chok/statute of the Torah.' The red heifer is a statute. No questions... This way, nobody's asking why we don't use Tim's green heifer.
Rashi comments, saying that you may not think about it. Meaning, that you do it without questioning it. Like everytime we try to have a decent shul breakfast and everybody's wondering why we don't have mashed potatoes, when have hash browns. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you. Even so, we are still commanded to do it as much as any Mitzvah, even if there is no apparent reason… You mess up the Mitzvot that have a reason… Visiting the sick? You don’t do it!!! When I tell you to bring out watermelon for Kiddish, you bring out a watermelon basket… Now we’re eating watermelon with toothpicks. It’s disgusting… Just do. If the Jewish people had a choice with tithes… No. They wouldn’t tithe…
Does changing the curtains and tablecloths to white make sense?... It’s not Yom Kippur all year long. You see the dirt… Does having a shul BBQ with twelve hamburgers make sense?... Saving money? You use the building fund money. Does the building fund make sense?… Why Fran wants to be required to be in shul for prayers?... If she was, she wouldn’t show… You don’t… Stop thinking!
There are many in this congregation that think it’s fine to question the rabbi. To the plastic seat section with them… You don’t deserve to sit in the seats we got from Finny’s Cinematics… Everybody loves the flip down seats. Except Brian who constantly rips his pants, because he doesn’t do the pocket hold slide back… Yes. It makes noise when everybody gets up for the Amidah and the chairs flip back… These are rules and they are correct. Some rules may not be questioned. Like my parking spot…
Members attacked the decision to siphon the building funds for the new rabbinical parking spot campaign. When we give, we don’t question… It’s Tzedaka. We don’t question. When the rabbi takes, it’s not something you question.
Questioning makes you impure… You make dumb decisions anyways. We are not going to question this campaign anymore… Because it’s a campaign, Bernie. You don’t question campaigns… You think I know what the $2,000,000 building fund is going for? I hope it’s going to pay for a new curtain… Shandy’s pick of an ark cover is… The money should be used for our new Refuah Sheleyma Sick Visit fund… We need a fund, because you don't do it!
There is a going to be a cover put up over the rabbi’s spot. There are reasons… The rabbi’s car not getting hit by rain. Sun doesn’t hurt the car?! We’re not going to discuss… Not white. What is important is that it’s a stature made by the rabbi. ‘The rabbi’s spot must have a cover and a weekly scrub by our dear custodian, Sam.’
Religion is based on trust. We trust the Parah Aduma… Yes. Even if we don’t know what it’s supposed do… Do you trust Fran?... Exactly. The trust of the Parah Aduma makes you holy. It purifies. It’s purified water of impurity (Bamidbar 19:12-13)… You must trust the decisions made by the rabbi. The summer day camp being in the evenings. Who didn’t love that? The rabbi’s decision, so that you don’t have to see your little ones at night… The Kashrut plan for all bakeries. Thanks to me we have the heaviest Jewish community per capita… A raise for the rabbi… No questions. I am bringing you closer to Gd. Which is why the rabbi gets a new car… To put in the spot…
We understand so little. But we don’t accept that… None of you know how Yanky feels. Do we know how kids going to sleep late during the summer affects them? The board doesn’t know how to use an air-conditioner correctly… 70 was the winter temperature. For heating… The Parah Aduma/red heifer may not make sense to us, but we still depend on it to be holy…
There are times in life where many of the Mitzvot don’t make sense. The building fund. There’s got to be a point where the building is OK. But you always have to give to the building fund… We don’t know why there’s always an issue in the building… Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to keep kosher, when you’re at a business meeting in McDonalds. I’ve been to McDonalds and they don’t sell kosher meat… If it was a bakery, I would’ve made it kosher.
It's the moments of starvation and extreme non-enjoyment that have us questioning. But we keep the Mitzvot, and that is what makes us holy… So too, we must accept all the decisions of the rabbi as correct, in order to be holy... Parking spot cover! And get a new awning for the parking lot. It’s the same material…
I am asking you to come to shul and to not think. Do stuff that makes no sense to you, so we can have a Minyin.
I am asking you to bring your own Yarmulkes… Kippa box was used… That's disgusting. Bring your own Yarmulke… And bathe... There was a lice breakout in the shul because of the nylon yarmulkes… You don’t even know the Millmers… The Goldmans? It wasn’t your Bat Mitzvah to wear a Kippah from… Why do I have to explain? You weren’t there.
The problem is we are contaminated.
If he contaminates the Tabernacle, ‘he is cut off from Israel’ (19:13). Cut off… You can’t join in the services with lice all over you… Who should we cut off?
We have to purify ourselves. You touch a dead person, you have to purify with the water of sprinkling on the third and seventh day, or you remain impure (Bamidbar 19:12)… Do you know how many dead people have worn those Kippahs?... It’s from the Goldman Bar Mitzvah of 1930…
The word used for purifying is ‘Cheyt,’ which is sin as well… You’ve got to use what you have to purify. All you have are sins… And bathe... Yes. The Golden Calf. You would’ve been part of that… You’re making up for that… There's no red heifer now. You can't purify those hair follicle stains...
(Bamidbar 19:9) ‘A man who is clean shall gather the ashes of the cow and place them outside the camp in a clean place, to be kept for water of sprinkling for Israel… It is for cleansing.’ Still. We must be cleansed. We still make up for it…. Sin… All your good deeds and purification is to make up for your sins… Red Cow, Golden Cow, what’s the difference?... You purify for it. The Golden Calf was our first…
‘A safekeeping.’ A safekeeping links us to our past. The Parah Aduma ashes are to be guarded. It reminds us to do. Tradition. To repent. To follow your rabbi.
It is there to make holy. We are talking about making holy. We need our shul to be holy. How do we do that? By following. Not thinking. But following the rabbi.
(Bamidbar 19:4) ‘And Elazar the Kohen shall take of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle it…’ Elazar did do work, as you rabbi does… I am going to sprinkle on the front row…
(19:3) The person who went with Elazar to shecht was another Kohen. (19:5) Somebody else seems to have burned it in front of him. You can’t ask people to do too much… We sometimes need to focus what we do… Do something. Be part of the shul and do something... The less, the better. As we see with the curtain and the air-conditioning.
Visit the sick. We are all part of that Mitzvah… Even women.
We all have to take part. We have to see the holiness of the congregation and safeguard it…
What are we safeguarding? I can’t answer that. It’s the Chukim. It’s a statue…
It’s not annoying. It’s visiting the sick. It’s women not being commanded in time-bound Mitzvot… I don’t know why. They’re just not commanded… Do it. Nobody is saying not to do. Just not required. Don’t ask questions and Daven three times a day.
Rivka’s Notes on Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
Nobody liked the rabbi dumping water on them in the front row. The sprinkle was more of a throw. When he threw it, he hit the fifth row as well, and the lady’s section.
The rabbi’s message was very strong. We all know what a Chok is now. The rabbi didn’t have to answer questions for two months following that speech. He just said, ‘It’s a Chok.’ Once people started asking for Lulavim and Etrogim, around Sukkot, the rabbi had to give an answer when they asked how much it costs.
The rabbi got his parking spot covered. The board had a meeting about the car. The rabbi didn’t like that.
The women were happy to hear that they were part of the Mitzvah of visiting the sick. That made up for voting. The women were not happy that they were required to visit Yanky. Fran complained that it killed her day and she had no time to run errands for the family.
The ‘Red Cow, Golden Cow, what’s the difference’ line got a lot of people mad. They thought it was anti-Semitic to blame Jews for the Golden Calf. It was too similar to the Goldberg, Iceberg joke.
Campaigns in the community started using the Chok idea. They just said that we’re going to be using the money. The IRS wanted to know what it was for, so the rabbi called the IRS a bunch of heretics.
The rabbi had many people excited about going to McDonalds. He spoke about it like it was heavenly. I believe their eating out was his sin. Though, he did make every bakery and ice cream shop in town kosher. I don’t know how he did it, but Belinda’s Blondie Shop is kosher too. He really likes desserts.
They decided to clean the kippahs in the Kippah bin. They also decided to clean the doilies. Cleaning them with blood-stained water did not do the job. I think that was against the law itself. They had to put it in the wash, after everything was tie dyed red.
People were using the doilies for challah too. The wicker baskets were full of them.
Hygiene is now a thing. They think that’s why people got sick. The elbow handshake is turning into a thing too. People used to sneeze into their hands and shake. Right hand. That’s the shaking hand.
Yanky got a lot of visitors. Not because people wanted to go. But because it was a statute of the rabbi. He lost a lot of sleep and felt sicker. It was a 24 hour loop of visitors. The shul had to refigure what the Mitzvah of visiting the sick should be. Yanky presented at that meeting, saying, ‘I was in the middle of a good series and everybody interrupted me.’
They decided to not work the air-conditioning for a while, as it was blowing too much heat. Then they brought down the temperature and it worked.
I just hope the rabbi works on the layning (Torah reading) for next year. That added another twenty minutes to services. Not including his forty-five minute sermon.
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My kids take after me. Due to Kibud Av vEim, they always let me take first.
You get it? ‘Take after me' means to be like their dad. Instead, they let their dad fill his plate first, as per the Mitzvah to honor parents. Very good kids. If we can have a positive influence on the next generation with our puns, that is the blessing.
Giving Tzedakah, I like to know where the charity is going. That charity box in the front is for kids who need help with their artwork.