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The new assistant rabbi in shul tryout was good. We hired him as a youth director. The rabbi decided that this way he'll be able to focus on the issues of keeping the kids out of the sermon. Kids running around during the Drashas has been very annoying. The rabbi feels that assisting in making sure kids are out for the sermon is a great way to assist him.
We were talking Michael taking off weight in the women's section on Shabbat. That's what we did for the Musaf service, and Kiddish.
Everybody always tells Michael he took off weight. How fat do they think he is? He can't always be taking off weight and still be fat. It doesn't make sense. Even so, they always say he's taking off weight. Michael has a fat reputation.
Rachel also has a fat reputation, but they don't always say 't looks like you took off weight' to her. At some point, she would take offense and ask how fat they thought she was. But she does have a fat reputation. That's how people remember her. So she also looks like she took off weight.
You can tell Michael though. He's a guy. It's fine to let him know he's got the fat reputation. It started back at his Bar Mitzvah. He was chubby, and those pictures got out.
I think it's because he got a little beard. He can't grow a good beard, but he forgot to shave. So, it looks like a beard, and that is fat camouflage. I hope he meets a girl he fancies before he shaves.
The funeral of Mrs. Fleegelman was well attended. A lot of people were happy to see her go. Again, we need to have a class on funeral and Shiva etiquette. This community shows their happiness too much. There are times to not be laughing. At the procession they were smiling and laughing. They thought it was a community event. Bill thought it was a BBQ and baseball game at the park. They see community and they talk. They think the rabbi is talking, so they talk.
Festivals are coming up. That means preparation. A lot of shul emails about giving charity. Why the poor people can't afford the holidays is simple. The price of Matzah is crazy. Shmurah Matzah is not affordable. And then the Hamentashen at the local bakery are crazy high prices.
You've got to pay for the product and a donation to be Jewish. It's Matzah plus the community being supported by your keeping the Mitzvah. You're buying Kosher for Passover food and lights for the shul. It makes it hard to afford simple Mitzvot. I started trying to keep less Mitzvot, for financial reasons.
The school bought the bakery. Now the school is running the thing and it costs a lot. Everytime I go to the bakery I feel like I am getting hounded for a fundraiser.
Purim is coming up. Kids are still dressed not proper for shul on Shabbat. The kids are wearing these fighter things. They’ve got face paint. They’re celebrating Mardi Gras. And then you got some dressed as crusaders. Is history not taught in elementary school anymore?
Since it’s a holiday this Wednesday, we have some non-Jewish people joining us for services. Groups from the college come around holiday time, and hear about how messed up our community is. The rabbi loves when these groups come. He loves it when he sees people that aren't Jewish. They listen to the sermon.
We have a planned Havdalah Ceremony. We can't just do Havdalah. Now it’s an event. What happened to people just doing Havdalah? Can’t be traditions anymore. Nothing can be done because we do it, and it's the right thing to do. Now everything has to be an event. You've got to call it an event. Jews don't keep traditions anymore. They keep events.
The rabbi is now trying to host a daily, Shacharit service event.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
Shabbat Shalom My Dear Livestock
You amazing congregation of Jewish people and a few of you awesome goyim who are joining us for services today. You make me more proud than my congregation. Bernie, please stand... That's why.
(Vayikra 3:1-17) We learn in this week's parsha about the Olah offering, also known as the burnt sacrifice, which was brought twice a day... You could do a little learning yourselves every once in a while and also look at Wikipedia. This way I wouldn't have to explain everything to you… Learn a little about your tradition and browse the internet. There are some excellent sites about the Jews of Hollywood....
In the seventh verse we see how the priests had to bring the sacrifice. They would put a fire on the altar and then lay out branches on the fire. This wasn't a BBQ. Bill wasn't the guy standing there, flipping burgers, thinking he's doing his religious duty... You come to shul Bill. Manning the grill isn't a job for a sexton.... You're not a Kohen, and they didn't make burgers back then. They ate the steak whole... I don't know if they had buns. They probably used Challah… Flipping burgers doesn’t count for atonement.
How the Kohen did this on the altar? No idea. Didn't see it when preparing the Dvar Torah. Nothing on WIkipedia... Like how chefs are able to touch fire. They got used to standing on the altar...
Rashi explains that the fire came down from heaven. Nothing to do with my message, but very neat... It wasn't an event. It was a ceremony. A daily ceremony. A tradition. They didn't need to make flyers for it.
Rashi goes on to comment on the meaning of 'The sons of Aaron' to explain that he had to perform this service as the priest, in his priestly garments and not the garments of ordinary Kohanim. It couldn’t be done by ordinary Kohanim. Why we call up these guys to the Torah is a question I ask… Just your clothes are offensive. Your garments are off. You need better garments to join in ritual at the shul. That is the new rule. And kids can't go to junior congregation, with the assistant rabbi, dressed for Mardi Gras...
The Chazin looks all disheveled... You're leading Musaf. Iron it... Purim is coming up. Maybe your costume should be to dress like a Chazin. Dress like somebody who's leading services...
The priestly garments were priestly... That means made for priests. They had a priestly thing. They were priestly. That's what made them priestly...
You don’t trust congregants to do important stuff. You don’t have Fred, the president, making decisions… You can’t dress up as a Kohen for Purim and do the service… The clothes have to be appropriate… That is true. People who wear suits get paid more and don’t have to work. Which is why I ask why nobody here is wearing a suit. You don't work… I see how you helped with the renovations... Maybe if you wore a suit, you would get an Aliyah to the Torah. We don't need people in Hawaiin Luau outfits opening the ark... Aharon's outfit looked nothing like a Luau. Yes. The service had some good roast, There were fires... No ukuleles.
How about you dress up like a decent Jew for Purim.
There’s a reason I am asking for another raise...
The Goyim are dressed more like Kohens. Bernie, see how Tyler is dressed. That’s how a Jew dresses… They didn’t wear shorts in the Temple… Skirts. That’s why they didn’t go up on the altar. You respect it.
It is the clothes that make the service acceptable. The dress is important. You play football in your soccer clothes, you dance with your dancing shoes, you come to shule in a suit... That's the shul uniform. A suit or a skirt. Not a Hawaiian floral arrangement on your chest... You don't wear shorts on Shabbat in this congregation. Hana, how do you expect H' to hear your prayers with sandals?... What were you thinking Ben, when you got that haircut? Stand up. I want everybody to see what happens when we don't follow dress codes. Turn around. Show them... That is not acceptable for anything. Such a high cut in the back. Embarrassing... It embarrasses us to have to see you.
It's the clothes and the person. It’s everything... Yes. The clothes make the person. Look at the board. Without clothes, they would be more pathetic...
The altar couldn’t be made of metal… Because you make weapons out of that stuff...
So certain costumes shouldn’t be worn to shul... Even in Purim. It’s like you’re sinning in order to repent. Can’t do that… That’s why we don’t cut the altar stone with material used for weapons… That's why I don't have the congregants over for dinner. You would make me want to sin... That's why it always looks like Michael is losing weight...
With all that we have. With all the blessing H' gave us. That means, not the back left of the shul. What did you bring?
(Vayikra 1:1-2) ‘From animals. From cattle, and from sheep you shall bring your offering.’ You don't give H' something he doesn't want. You don’t give something I don’t want. You don’t bring me a vegetable platter… I don’t like celery. Nobody wants celery in there… It’s not a good offering and it gets stuck in your teeth. You don't have a Purim Carnival with a plastic figures as prizes... They need to be elastic. You want to be able to stretch your G.I. Joe... You don't have an apple bob. It's disgusting... No. Bob. To bob for apples is disgusting. All the germs... You guys made such a big deal about COVID, and now the kids are bobbing for apples. Is there any happy medium...
(Vayikra 1:3-17) We brought the elevation offerings… When you messed up you brought an elevation offering. This shul would’ve had a set guy at the Tabernacle, on the elevation offerings. Just standing there, taking notes for how bad this membership messes up… Rachel dropped off her kids late to school to school again. Then, she forgot to pick them up. The back left section spoke Lashon Hara again. We ate too much at the BBQ. Hired the Chazin. Bad decision. The men’s section is dressed like a schlump. Michael is still living with his parents, and he hasn't lost any weight. Chanan isn’t married. Sarah hasn’t done any Mitzvahs. Shprintza can’t even use a crockpot… All day. He would be standing there, elevating for all your sins... OK. Not sins. Mistakes.
Also, when you feel like you could’ve done a Mitzvah… You need somebody telling you to feel guilty. Bernie thinks it’s Purim all year. Dressed like that. When was the last time you did Mitzvahs?... Another reason for elevation offerings. Bernie's being here.
You guys mess up all the time. When do you not mess up? We would need a Gabai at the altar all year.... You even mess up the choolante.
Rules. You don't follow them. You bring an elevation offering... No. It goes up. You can't eat it... You've already messed up. Now you want to mess up your Olah, elevation, too?... We can't bring offerings nowadays. We can just feel guilty. This congregation has to feel guiltier.
Rules. There are recipes. You bring the cow a certain way. The sheep a certain way. The turtledove… It’s a type of dove. It’s not a flying turtle. You take apart the innards of the cow and the sheep… The Torah tells us that…. Of course you put it on the altar. You don’t cook it in an oven… Then where does it go. You roast.
The point is that you cook things correctly. You do it according to the recipe and it coes out good.
(Vayikra 1:14-17) Birds were allowed. Yes. But only for the poor people… The cheap ones too. This shul would've brought birds... I saw the anual campaign.
Birds are different. There is no blood sprinkling… They didn’t sprinkle it like a modern art abstract. It was clean. Rules. You don't want to ruin decent clothing if you don't have to.
No heart. These were rituals. Not events… People only show up for events in our shul. That's the new thing. You show up for what is important. You don't need a flyer to tell you to show up...
(Vayikra 1:4) ‘He shall lean his hand on the head of the elevation offering, and it shall be acceptable for him to atone.’
It has to be acceptable. The Kohen has to look decent. The animal has to be right. You have to be part of this offering, not like last week's Bat Mitzvah, where nobody wanted to be there... Agreed. It was not a smorgasbord. It got everybody in a bad mood, when we didn't see the pigs in a blanket...
‘Wanted’ is the word. ונרצה. Nobody wanted potato puffs. Everybody wanted pigs in a blanket... ‘Allowed.’ H’ doesn’t want just the animal. First we have to commit. It has to be wanted, like Rachel. Michael was an accident.
We have to know we sinned. Acknowledge it. That's why we lean our hands on the elevation offering. (Rambam- Maaseh Karbanot 3:13-15) ‘While doing so, he confesses the sin or shortcoming that prompted him to bring the offering.’ You have shortcomings… Yes. I’m quoting Artscroll. Finally, somebody follows along. Reads for themselves… You can’t deny the sin and shortcomings and not bring the offering… That’s why you’re sinners. You can’t even see… From now on, I am going to offer a service. You come to me and I tell you how you’re a sinner. It’s a pre-Teshuva service… Yom Kippur is not enough for this flock...
Put your hands on it, then you can have it work for atonement for you… You lean on it and you’ll fall asleep, Sid. I’ve seen you falling asleep leaning on the pole over in the back… They didn't fall asleep on the sheep.
It can’t atone for you if you don’t feel it. If you don’t acknowledge what you did wrong. You don’t just send it and say, ‘Here you go Kohen. Make it good.’… I know. That’s how you daven. You pray with no soul… I heard your Adon Olam. It’s with no heart. You can't just show up and say 'So. I messed up like the president of the board. Don't we all... No. I don't feel bad, but there is a ritual. It's an event.'
There’s a reason everybody puts their arms in and says ‘Go team’… Other teams do it… Yes. They do. They win. They say ‘Go team.’ They feel like a team. Then they win. They’re committed… They put their hands together
(Menachot 93a) He leans both hands. Sports teams only do one… There isn’t room for the two hands. The circle doesn't allow for more than one. If it did, they would do two hands... If it's a team of more than three people, it doesn't work. You've got to sideways in, the outside hand doesn't fit.
Once you’re committed, Gd gets involved. The fire may come down from heaven and aide you... Yes. It aides you. But you have to first lean. You have to do the first move there... You offer no aide to the shul. That's why we ask for donations. You have to first aide the shul, then it aides you. Like the sheep. You lean on it first... Do something already. If you gave money, I wouldn't have to do an appeal every weak. Pinny. The cards. Please go around with the flip downers...
The fire came down. Unlike Paroh. Unlike Haman. Unlike Amalek. Unlike Bernie, who do not put in their effort for atonement. You can atone. I think... Not sure...
You dress like Amalek Bernie.
Let’s get some heart into what we do. The heart aides. It aides in you not being hyou… A little sing along. It’s fine. You can cry, Bernie.
You dress right. You act right. You cry at the funeral. Feel the loss. It's not conversation time. It's not Kiddish with the buddies... The coffin was right there, Shlomo.
Just like Amalek. No heart. I hate Amalek. Hate them. Oh!!!! I hate Amalek!!!! I hate them so much... Haman. Booooh.
We all have Amalek in our lives… Just like El Guapo. They are in our lives. For some it’s school work… You can learn a lot from The Three Amigos.
Elevation happens when we humble ourselves. We put in the effort to prepare. We bring an animal. We look decent. It’s the person, the object and the dress.
You don’t wear a Hawaiian shirt to a funeral… She was Jewish. She was living in New York. New Yorkers don't wear Hawaiian shirts... That's after they moved down to Florida. When they're old. And they do Teshuva down there. They lean a lot. On everything.
On Purim. You dress up in proper ways of other cultures… After Purim. You atone with an elevation offering... Because you even messed up Purim. You even messed up dressing not like yourself. You can't even be a decent not you...
The problem is you’re not humble. Moshe starts Vayikra with a small Alef, as he is being humble. Alef, meaning to teach, is how we should learn Torah… Humility. See the Artscroll. Couldn’t even read the first page of the Parsha... Humble means not coming up with crazy dress ideas that are not Shabbisdik... That means meant for Shabbat. Such a not Frum congregation. After Shabbis, we're doing ancestry checks... And certificates of conversion.
For those who want to atone, we're starting an Artscroll Parsha Daf Yomi... This week, we start with The Parsha of the week... We'll also start an Artscroll Gemara Daf Yomi. We'll start with Mesechta Megilah... So you'll be prepared for next Purim. You think ahead. That's being humble...
I'll put out a flyer for people to learn, be humble and dress right, and to sacrifice according to rules. This way, it will be an event, and people will do it...
Rivka’s Notes on Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon
Daf Yomi is learning a page of the Talmud everyday. It takes seven years to finish all the Gemara like that. Artscroll splits up those pages into around 10 pages. So, it would take seventy years to finish the Artscroll Daf Yomi, focusing on the English. The rabbi knows how to keep a job.
Great technique, telling the congregants how good they are, before going off on them being unhelpful, and bad Jews, dressed all disgusting. The non-Jewish people who joined definitely feel better now that they know how bad Jews can be.
How the rabbi mixed Bernie in with Amalek was very powerful. It was his shirt. He just went to an AC/DC concert last week. He was very excited and felt the high watts of AC/DC. It made for an interesting Shacharit that Bernie led, when he high-pitched and kind of rock-screeched the repetition of the Amidah.
Bernie said something about Purim. The rabbi didn't care. First the AC/DC shirt, then covered it with a Hawaiian shirt.
Now we know why there is so much guilt in our community. We can't bring the guilt offerings anymore. So, we are left with guilt. Truth is, my community doesn't have any guilt. They've been able to overlook the Jewish guilt, and sin with comfort.
Haven’t seen Bill very much. Last time we saw Bill was at the summer cookout. He identifies with Judaism through grills. I think he feels that manning the grill is a religious service. The rabbi was trying to tell him that a baseball game and a BBQ is not a religious service. A Chazin doesn’t need to man a grill for us to do it right, as the rabbi explained. Truth is, if we knew how to Daven, pray correctly as a Jew, we wouldn't need the Chazin. Very confusing, as the rabbi says the Chazin doesn't know how to lead either.
A whole discussion took place after Davening (prayers) at Kiddish, where the rabbi had to explain how it’s forbidden to sacrifice animals in the parking lot of a baseball stadium, to ask Gd for your team to win.
The rabbi hates the Chazin’s gown. Anytime he has a chance to mock it, he does.
The rabbi had a hard time explaining 'priestly.' I know he had a hard time, because he repeated 'priestly' seven times. Truth is that nothing in our shul is priestly. Clothes are off. Rules are a question. Most of the members definitely don't keep Mitzvot. We need to come up with rules, just to have rules that we can enforce. We can't ask people to keep Mitzvot. That would be offensive. But to follow rules, we can do that. A certain recipe for the kugel, I think we might be able pull. Just not with Jessica. She's going to do her own thing.
Now everything in shul has to be advertised. That's what events need. Advertising. Now we have flyers for Shabbat. Minyin has a flyer. Pesach has a flyer. The calendar isn't enough. It needs a flyer. Kiddish has its own flyer, so that people know when to show up to miss Shacharit.
Funding has been off because we never sent out calendars this year. You need to send out calendars.
Flip downers are great. The problem is the shul has to collect that money. It's amazing how quickly the people who donate forget. Is it even a donation if they don't donate the money? Is flipping a tab considered a donation?
Point: If you don't send out calendars, you don't have donations.
Bernie got emotional with the concept of being allowed to cry. The rabbi said, 'You can cry,' when talking about shul uniforms and a shul crest on the blazers. It reminded Bernie of his Scottish friends. He always wanted to be from Northern Britain.
Some more stuff that Happened this Week:
Michael didn’t take off weight. He grew his beard longer. Fat camouflage.
Timed Shivas has been instituted and put out to the shul membership. No more than three hours visits. This way you can get Hymie and Fran out. We also want people to not become hungry while at the Shiva. The community was donating the food, and eating it. The Kleinwitzes sent a chicken pot pie and ate it while at the Shiva, as they got hungry.
The rabbi's class on funerals without Kiddishes, was well accepted by the mourners, who didn't have food to eat. The question of why a hard boiled egg can't be a reason to socialize came up at the class. It was decided that you can only enjoy a Kiddish if the hard boiled egg is in egg salad form. Thus, making it a Kiddish. And thus, egg salad was banned at Shivas.
Shul potluck dinner. Couldn't eat anything. Nobody trusts anybody else's Kosher standards. That was an issue again.
The Mitzvah board finally has Mitzvahs on it. Shmuel got up for Yedidiya to sit down. Shmuel wanted to leave shul. He didn't come back in for Minyin, but he got Mitzvah points.
The assistant rabbi came full-time a few months later and the rabbi had him on the youth. He also had him running to pick up his lunch at the grocery last week. He had him running around a lot for him. He even had him do a car-wash and set up an appointment with his accountant. I believe the rabbi has a messed up idea of what an assistant rabbi does.
The rabbi didn't let the assistant rabbi give sermons, but he did allow him to bring him copies of his sermons.
The rabbi really hates Amalek.
Nobody showed for the reading of erasing Amalek. Idea of snow keeps people from a Torah command to hear wiping out Amalek. They said there would be a storm. There wasn’t. So, people didn’t come. Many of the congregants have expressed that we should kill Amalek with love, because that's how you fight in the modern day. You fight with love. Wiping out has thus been translated to cleaning Amalek, by Devorah. Making sure Amalek showers.
The rabbi ended up giving a class on how to dress for Purim. It turned into a class on proper dress for shul.
Purim prep turned into a fight. We should've just had a fight, and called that the carnival. The carnival itself was excellent, though there were a lot of line fights. You don't mess with a fifth grader when they are tossing beanbags at a Tic-Tac-Toe board.
The Puirm carnival had the apple bob. They didn't listen to the rabbi. Everybody got sick. Nobody caught COVID. There was just a lot of puking from the disgustingness of the apple bob.
Bill insisted on a Purim BBQ. It was decided against, due to it causing another fight at the carnival prep meeting. It’s also hard to get smell out of costumes.
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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.