As the shepherds gather at the well, waiting for their compatriots to arrive so that they may pool their strength in rolling off the heavy rock that covers the well, Yaakov arrives. Yaakov inquires whether they are acquainted with Lavan, and they inform him they are, pointing out that his daughter, Rachel, is just arriving with her sheep. He then asks them why they are whiling their time away and not pasturing the sheep, to which they respond by explaining their need for others to come and assist them. As Rachel nears the well, Yaakov steps chivalrously forward and proceeds to, as the Torah ...
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Baltimore, MD - Nov. 27, 2022 - For more information click on the graphic below. 
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Baltimore, MD - Dec. 1, 2022 - Amudim is well known throughout Baltimore, having helped over 230 families with issues including domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse and therapy referrals since first opening its doors in 2015.  Amudim CEO Zvi Gluck spoke about the different components of abuse, addiction and mental health. He noted that while Amudim may be New York-based, it helped many families from the Baltimore community in the past eight years with an operating cost for case service management of $375,000 an amount which does not include therapy subsidies. “Unfortunately, there is no community today that is immune to these terrible problems and we are continuing to do all that we can to change lives and build futures,” said Gluck. “We want to le...
Sinai Hospital and Grace Medical Center President Daniel Blum Accepts Position with New York Healthcare Organization Baltimore, MD – Dec. 2, 2022 -  LifeBridge Health Senior Vice President and Sinai Hospital and Grace Medical Center President Daniel Blum will leave the organization later this month for a new position as chief executive officer of a New York-based healthcare organization. LifeBridge Health President & CEO Neil Meltzer said Mr. Blum has made significant contributions during his tenure. “Dan Blum has led Sinai Hospital and Grace Medical Center through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been an unprecedented challenge for healthcare. Dan truly cares deeply for our team members, our patients and our communities, and that compassion has been a hallmark of h...
 Baltimore, MD – Dec. 2, 2022 - It is with regret that Baltimore Jewish Life (BJL) informs the community of the petira of Mr. Avraham Dov Wolfish z’l, father of Chaim (Shani) Wolfish. The levayah took place yesterday Shiva in Baltimore next week - Details to follow.    Bila Hamaves Lanetzach...
Baltimore, Md - Dec. 2, -2022 - Please note that there are many peppers on the market right now that are product of Israel. Experts have advised that there is concern these may still be from Shemitta and potentially forbidden to be eaten. Consumers should check labelling carefully for country of origin. Peppers sold at Seven Mile Market and Market Maven are monitored by STAR-K and are not of concern.  
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An appeals court on Thursday ruled that the appointment of a special master after the search of former President Trump’s Florida home was improper, determining that a lower court could not limit the Justice Department investigation into the mishandling of White House records at Mar-a-Lago.  “The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so,” a three-judge panel wrote for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. “Either approach would be a reordering of our case law limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations.”   The r...
And Jacob left Be’er Sheva and he went to Haran (Bereishis 28:10) The dramatic journey had begun. Yaakov fled the familial home to escape the wrath of his older brother, Esav, under the cover of going to find a wife from amongst his mother’s family. The journey was filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, yet Yaakov heroically clung to God and the ideals of his family. Amid all the Parsha drama, the commentaries ask a simple question; why must the Torah state that Yaakov left Be’er Sheva (Va’Yetzei Yaakov M’Be’er Sheva) and that he went to Haran (Va’Yelech Charana)? Once you state the second part of the verse (that he went to Charan), it is obvious that he left Be’er Sheva. Why include a seemingly redundant phras...
Tucked away in this weeks Parsha, unbeknownst to many, is one of the chief M’koros the Gemara uses for the Mida of Tznius.   The Gemara cites Rochel Imainu as the standard bearer for Tznius, telling us that it was on account of her great Tznius that she was Zocheh to have Shaul Hamelech as a descendant.   Precisely what behavior was manifested by Rochel Imainu that caused the  Gemara  to hold her out as the pinnacle of this Mida?  Consider, in the last few weeks we have been told many classic examples of modesty by the Imahos and others, why wait for Rochel before citing an example?  The Mepharshim discuss Sarah as being “B’Ohel”, in her tent, as a testament to Sarah’s modesty (Vayera 18:9); Rivka covered her face upon ...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Vayeitzei - Go With the Flow

As the shepherds gather at the well, waiting for their compatriots to arrive so that they may pool their strength in rolling off the heavy rock that covers the well, Yaakov arrives.

Yaakov inquires whether they are acquainted with Lavan, and they inform him they are, pointing out that his daughter, Rachel, is just arriving with her sheep. He then asks them why they are whiling their time away and not pasturing the sheep, to which they respond by explaining their need for others to come and assist them.

As Rachel nears the well, Yaakov steps chivalrously forward and proceeds to, as the Torah describes, ויגל האבן — to single-handedly lift off the rock, uncovering the well. (רש"י)

Rashi quoting the Midrash adds: as one who removes the stopper from a bottle, to let you know that he possessed great strength.

Yaakov possessed extraordinary strength that he employed in helping others achieve their mission. But why is this significant to the story? What is our takeaway from knowing this?

The great Mirrer Rosh HaYeshiva, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz famously taught that we learn from this episode that when one dedicates himself fully to a task one can discover strengths one never imagined they possessed. This, he says, explains the allusion to this episode in the Prayer for Rain we recite on Shemini Atzeres, where it recalls how Yaakov, יִחַד לב — dedicated his heart and rolled a stone off the mouth of a well of water. It was not about strength per se, as much as it is about putting oneself to the task completely, that brings results.

Wouldn’t that imply though that Yaakov exerted his most, and succeeded where others came up short? So why then does the Midrash report that he did as easily as one ‘popping the cork from a bottle’?

The Baal HaTurim makes a fascinating observation. He points out that this specific word used here to indicate Yaakov’s extraordinary strength, ויגל, is used only in one other place in the entire written Torah. King David in Psalms asserts “I have set G-d before me always; because He is at my right hand I shall not falter. For this reason, שמח לבי — rejoice does my heart, ויגל כבודי — and elated is my soul...”

Although these two words possess the same exact letters, nevertheless they are two completely different words. One means to uncover, while the other refers to rejoicing.

The verb utilized in the Prayer of Rain to emphasize the deeper reality underlying this event, יחד לב — to dedicate the heart, appears nowhere else throughout the Torah in this conjugation.

Though we do find the notion of ‘dedication’ implied within the word יחד, when the Torah describes Yisro undertaking to convert after being inspired after hearing from Moshe about all that has transpired with the Jewish nation, it says ויחד יתרו — and Yisro dedicated himself to the Jewish people. (שמות יח ט, מדרש אבכיר מובא בתו"ש שם)

There too, the word is also understood to mean that Yisro rejoiced, similar to the word חדוה, one of the many synonyms for joy. (תרגום אונקלוס שם)  

Yaakov flees from the murderous intentions of his brother. He leaves home with money and gifts to shower upon the woman of his dreams only to be ambushed by Elifaz who maneuvers all of Yaakov’s possessions leaving him impoverished, left with only his staff. With all this travail, worry and fear, Yaakov secludes himself happily for fourteen years of focused study in the Academy of Shem and Ever. He finally finds his ‘bashert’ and happily charms his bride with a chivalrous display of devotion to her. (צרור המור)

Many of us carry heavy stones of anxiety in our hearts, weighing down our drive and hopes for happiness in life.

Yaakov Avinu forged ahead never permitting himself to get down, and certainly not defeated.

Perhaps, the יחד לב, refers to the joy he sensed in life, dealing with challenges in accepting them with positivity thereby overcoming them as well. He lived without any pretension, presenting himself to any situation equipped and ready to deal head on with those challenges in the knowledge of his abiding sense of a G-d is always before him.

He approached the challenge and successful attempt to uncover the well, no different than he would view popping out a cork from a bottle.

He did not bring his fears to the test, aware that whatever he might face, success or failure, it was G-d Who was always accompanying him.

That is the key to success — a contentedness, which could never be quashed by the travail he might meet on any given journey.

In the words of the Baal HaTurim: When will we fulfill ‘and elated is my soul’, when we remove the evil inclination, who is likened to a stone, which blocks the well of achievement from giving forth its nourishing ‘waters’ — the Torah and its exciting values.

The secret to finding joy is to realize it is a quality inherent and readily accessible to anyone. All we have to do is remove the heavy stones of anxiety, lack of confidence, and fear to allow the wellsprings of joy to flow.

No wonder the word for joy, ויגל, is rooted in this notion of uncovering those artificial barriers to our inherent happiness.

May we uncover a magnificent joy that is waiting for us to discover.


צבי יהודה טייכמאן

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Baltimore, MD – Dec. 1, 2022 - It is with regret that Baltimore Jewish Life (BJL) informs the community of the petira of Sol Mogilensky, z’l, brother of Marsha (Avi) Grant and Judah (Lynne) Mogilensky. The Kevurah will take place in Eretz HaChaim cemetery in Beit Shemesh on Sunday. Shiva will be observed at 1902 Rookwood Rd., Silver Spring, MD, 20902 Details to follow Bila Hamaves Lanetzach...
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Baltimore, MD – Dec. 1, 2022 - BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Dani and Ora Zuckerbrod on the birth of a son. Mazel Tov to grandparents, Dr. Shalom and Syma Kelman and David and Sharon Zuckerbrod.  יה"ר שיזכו לגדל בנם לתורה, לחופה, ולמעשים טובים. אמן!
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