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Nothing went wrong in the shul, nobody did anything wrong, and the rabbi still found a way to give Musar. Our rabbi is brilliant. He always finds a way to rebuke the congregants. Even when they did nothing, he rebuked them. Greatest orator I have ever seen. As the rabbi said, ‘You people do nothing.’
There has been too much joking from the congregants, since Frank was a called a funny guy. Now everybody thinks they’re funny, because they can also do puns. It all started when the rabbi let Frank come up and do the announcements. The board thought it would be good for a member to make the announcements.
The rabbi can’t stand it anymore. He even put up on his office door, ‘No puns. I will not listen to them anymore. They don’t pay me for this. I can’t pretend like you guys are funny. It makes me sick to listen to you. I get paid to deal with family crisis issues and lifecycle events. The lifecycle events have issues too. Nobody told me I would have to deal with the issues of congregants thinking that plays on words are funny. That was not in my contract. Frank is banned from the shul until this is fixed.’
Just seeing our congregants working on their homes on Sunday is embarrassing. The bad Shiptuzim, renovations, is embarrassing. Shmuel and his son were cleaning his roof with a Swiffer. I had to let Shmuel know that you can’t use a Swiffer for everything.
Chanukah preparation has begun. A lot of chocolate coins. Simcha is not happy that he can’t pay his dues with them.
The local butcher has made a lot of enemies with too much juice in his premade stuff. His food is amazing, but he is putting in too much juice. He’s charging $22.99 for juice.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon
Shabbat Shalom My Dear Congregants,
Do I have to laugh at the congregants’ jokes? Is that my job? To listen to not funny stuff. Everybody wastes my time… ‘The rabbi is here, let’s waste his time. Got a question? Got a joke?’… If you don’t have a question, why are you coming to see me with a joke? Are there spiritual issues with your humor?... Yes. There are, Bernie… Dirty jokes would be less offensive than your humor. It offends my senses... From now on, I am making the announcements...
Ever since Pinny left town, this shul has been mourning bad humor...
I am going to go. VaYeitzei… That means to leave. I am going to leave if you guys tell me more bad jokes… You will feel the loss when the sisterhood and board start making all the decisions…
Please stop talking in the back of the shul… Even during davening. When we are praying, you shouldn’t be talking either.
The week's Torah portion begins with travel. Yaakov goes to Charan… If I knew where Charan was, I would be there. I would go… You haven’t done anything wrong. That’s the problem. You don’t do anything. You just tell me bad jokes… Do something. Do something right... Yes. I complain when you do wrong stuff...
(28:10) 'And Yaakov left from Be'er Sheva.' Why does it say he left Be'er Sheva? Excellent question, which is why Rashi asks it.
'And Yaakov left’? Nobody has ever shared that piece of information. They say 'she used to live in St. Louis'... Who says 'she left'? Tell us, Bernie. It's that she moved from. Nobody says 'left this place'... Only when speaking about Topeka, because people want to leave this shul... We don't say it. They say it. They tell people they left.
Does anybody remember the Goldblums? No. They left. They stopped paying dues. Nobody cares… It's not part of their life's description. Nobody showed up to Hymie Goldblum’s funeral saying he left Topeka. Nobody cared. So, he is gone. Good. Better for the community. Nobody could stand his family… We kept on sending the bulletin and calendar because we thought they would give something… They didn’t even give a donation. Somebody should’ve mentioned that at his funeral. ‘And Hymie never gave a donation, like the Feldblums’…
Even more so, it's Be'er Sheva. I moved from America to Jerusalem. 'Didn't you live in Be'er Sheva in between?' I am trying to forget that. You see, they leave it out of the news.... Nobody cares about Be'er Sheva. Even when bombs were landing there, nobody in all of Israel cared. Once they came to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, that is when the news started caring about the rockets…
Nobody cares about Be'er Sheva. Even when bombs were landing there, nobody in all of Israel cared. Once they came to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, that is when the news started caring about the rockets… Because nobody cares about Be’ar Sheva. Yaakov left. They are the Topeka of Israel. If I left Topeka… Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are important cities... Nobody cares about Be'er Sheva, and nobody cares about people leaving Be'er Sheva, since Yaakov... If you already lost Yaakov, it's not a big deal to lose Avigail... We’ve got to start caring about people leaving our shul. Be’er Sheva is still mourning Yaakov’s departure… It's hard to care when the Goldblums leave. I understand.
The only question is how will the community survive. We need new members. We have to stop people from moving to Israel. Who is going to pay the dues…
Rashi teaches why we start this week's portion with stating that Yaakov left Be'er Sheva. Because when a Tzadik leaves a city, it is felt. We miss the presence of a righteous individual. We care. Nobody cared when Yankel left… It leaves a mark on the town. When a Tzadik is in a city, 'He is the beauty,' he is the good of the city… If I left Topeka… Is there truly anything else beautiful here?
Nobody felt a thing when Mr. Horwitz left. To be honest we were all happy. He is not a tzaddik, nor are his children. Is there anybody in this community we would care about? If Mrs. Tabkook left, I believe we would be relieved. Maybe the person that took her seat would pay dues... We would care if Sadie left. She makes a good choolante. That would be felt… We don't care about the Goldblums...
Because people get involved and ruin it. If Sadie left, Michelle would start making choolante. It would be messed up... Pinny was a Tzadik... His humor was better than Franks... OK. Not a Tzadik. Just somebody who didn't ruin the personality of the shul...
May we all merit to do at least some good for this congregation and may we have a reason to care about Be'er Sheva again...
What happened on his journey?
(Bereishit 28:11-14) He takes rocks and places them around his head and he dreams about a ladder going up to heaven and ‘angels of Gd are going up and down it’… Pillows weren’t fluffy back then. They didn’t have My Pillow… People probably slept on ladders. You sleep right in the middle of davening, Yossi… Pews are not more comfortable than ladders. They make pews uncomfortable so that people don’t sleep during services. The 95 degree angle, hard unpolished wood...
H’ stands over Yaakov and tells him that the land he is lying on is going to be for his seed. Yaakov is fleeing and H' is talking about his offspring... The focus isn't on himself. It's on his future. Does anybody care about the future of this shul?... You wouldn't be raising Michael and Tizi like that if you cared... They run around. Little Pinny is crazy...
H' continues to tell him He is going to have offspring like the dust of the earth… You make people not want to birth... People work for their next generation. They want it good for their kids. You won't even hire a youth director... We need somebody directing these kids away from the shul... So, that we can daven, Rachel.
(Bereishit 28:15) H’ continues to tell him that he will be with him. He continues, 'I will guard you wherever you go… I will not forsake you until I have done what I promised you’… H’ sticks around, unlike the Michaelson family who left to Florida last week, for the winter... I’ve been forsaken but the congregation… Every winter, half of the congregants forsake us for heat... Charan wasn't warmer than Be'er Sheva...
Then he wakes up from his dream… That’s enough of a dream. Ever have one of those dreams where Gd is telling you that your offspring is going to be running the land... Not building a house. The ladder was for the angels.
What do we do on our journey? Do we dream or do we do. Nobody remembers the dream. The dream is what gets us there. Yaakov didn't just dream.
We remember Yaakov because of what he did in Be’er Sheva. The people missed him... After the dream, he does. He doesn't just write it in his journal... They didn't have psychologists back then... People weren't crazy talking to Gd, because they didn't have people analyzing... Dr. Froidman is a heretic. The dream about leaving Congregation Beis Emes uSefilah was reality. If you leave, this shul the kids will want to...
(Bereishit 28:16-22) He takes the stone from his head and makes a monument. He says that if he returns in peace, as H’ promised, this will be a place of worship, of H’… Yaakov does stuff. He made that vow and he did it... You haven't built anything. Your paper mache is messed up too....
He doesn’t say, ‘If I come back, I will make a calendar’… No more shul calendars. The times never change… Every organization thinks they’ll make money off a calendar…
Yakov was aware, as he says, (Bereishit 28:16) ‘H’ is in this place and I didn’t know it.’
How many times are we not aware of our surroundings?... Then you realize you're in shul and you still talk the whole time... The whole of Shacharit you're talking. Aware!...
It’s about doing something when you have that chance. When you realize. Yakov realized he didn’t notice something. Once he noticed, he did something… Nobody has fixed the leak in the ceiling. Nobody has fixed the quilt… Nobody cares that it was put together by the community. We need something nice... A nice quilt would be nice. Nobody gave the rabbi a raise… You know you haven’t given him one…
Yaakov was speaking of the future spot of the Beit Hamikdash, when he made his monument. And we build a small shul here. We need a mega shul… Yes. The Beit Hamikash was a Mega Shul… No microphones, but great acoustics. It’s amazing what you can do with acoustics… Things happen when there is Hakarat Hatov. Recognizing the good. Yaakov’s good was recognized by the people of Be’er Sheva. Yaakov recognized H’s good. Nobody recognizes what I do for this shul...
When you care, your presence is felt… When you sit in the back, like Frank, and go to Kiddish club, nobody cares about you...
Stealing is wrong... Lavan steal from Yaakov. The butcher charging 22.99 for juice is theft... The Goldblums should give a donation to the shul.
Rivka Thoughts on Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
Everybody went back to buying raw meat.
The rabbi considered the people to be the personality of the shul. I thought he meant the personalities. But he meant the personality, in singular. I thought the personality was the quilt by the ark. He realized that one person with a bad sense of humor can kill the whole shul.
He never ends his sermons with a pleasantry, kind of like he’s writing a letter. He always starts relaxed and then gets angry at the end. Always ends very abruptly.
They were talking the whole davening. You could hear them. The whole shul. They didn’t even try to whisper. It was a loud talk. Not a scream, but a loud talk. More than room level. That’s how Bryan talks. Very loud. The whole shul could hear it. Bryan thinks he's talking to Bernie or Max all the time. He thinks it's tradition to talk loud in shul. Yes. There are old people. You reserve loud for them. You scream at old people. Max once asked me what he did wrong. I had to yell at him, 'It's not your fault. You're old.'
He was talking to Dave. Dave's fifty. He hasn't even reached his sixties yet. There's no reason to yell at him.
After the Bryan screaming fiasco, the rabbi decided it was good to let them all go out to the Kiddish club. This way he wouldn’t have to see them in the shul.
It was between talking in shul or talking at the Kiddish club. I checked out the Kiddish club. Bryan doesn't talk when he's drinking.
The board brought up the idea of a bar in shul. Kim figured it will help reduce the noise level if they're drinking. She didn't realize that after they're drinking they start talking again; if you're not drinking, that is louder.
The rabbi went off on the calendars. I asked other members of the shul. It turns out that each of them got fifteen to twenty calendars this year from organizations. The rabbis right. You only need three.
The rabbi did start speaking about his beauty, which made everybody uncomfortable. Later on, he said he was talking of his spiritual beauty, but it was still uncomfortable. He sounded like a wrestler from the 1980s. Most similar to ‘The Macho Man’ Randy Savage.
When he stopped talking about his beauty, a breath of fresh air was felt. The rabbi said that breath of fresh air was his beauty. His spiritual beauty.
Come to think of it, nobody really did care about the Godlblums leaving.
The rabbi said how unimportant every person is in the shul was. He went through all of the names. He mainly focused on the back left.
We have to take more pride in our rabbi. Other shuls are pushing their rabbis on all their flyers. Their websites are full of their rabbis. I think our rabbi was mentioning his beauty to get on a flyer. He's hurt that he hasn't been pushed.
A couple weeks down the road, the shul put the rabbi on the flyer and he stopped threatening to leave.
We tried building a mega shul, but we didn’t have the membership. The 110 family membership didn’t call for a stadium.
Before My Pillow, I couldn’t find a decent pillow. Now, I go to Walmart and pick up some Mainstays. Love it. Great brand. I am sticking with Mainstays. I think that My Pillow commercial got me thinking to buy a new pillow.
When the rabbi brought up Hymie Goldblum, many were saddened. They started thinking about their demise, and they went out and spent their money. There was a shul trip to the casino, at The Passings. Nobody donated money to the shul. After seeing the age of the people hanging out at The Passings, Francine called it The Passings Away. That got the rabbi mad again.
Francine started going at least twice a week. She believes it is preparing her for her afterlife.
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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.