D'var Torah from Rabbi Leener
When Moses sent them to scout the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up there into the Negeb and on into the hill country, and see what kind of country it is. Are the people who dwell in it strong or weak, few or many? (Bamidbar 13:17-18)
How exactly can you identify whether someone is strong or weak? If they live in unwalled cities, they are strong, for they rely upon their strength. But if they dwell in fortified cities, they are weak. The Midrash (Tanchuma 6) teaches that this was the sign Moshe gave the spies by which they could determine if the people dwelling in Israel were strong or weak. Higher walls and fear are directly correlated. While Moshe was seemingly discussing physical strength and weakness — the same concept can apply on an emotional and interpersonal level. We exhibit strength by being open to others’ and the world around us. By engaging with challenging ideas and unfamiliar people, we demonstrate a high degree of confidence in ourselves and what we stand for.
As the first Jews, Avraham and Sarah modeled this value by building a tent without walls. They were seeking a relationship with the stranger, despite the potential dangers involved. They were able to fight for justice because they allowed themselves to see injustice. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, personal growth occurs in a state of expansiveness.
How do we live this Torah in both the COVID and Black Lives Matter era? We need to confront the horrific injustice to the black community but simultaneously know that staying fortified at home prevents the spread of the deadly virus. This is a nearly impossible position, which is why this moment is filled with so much anxiety and guilt. One thing is certain, wherever you position yourself physically, your heart must always remain open to suffering.
Shabbat Shalom, a peaceful Shabbat to all.
In This Week's Email:
Sharing some additional words of Torah from Rabbi Leener for your Shabbat Table: "The Spies Who Condemned Us to 40 Years in the Desert
", published in the Jewish Journal
Mincha/Ma'ariv daily, time shifts daily (please email Rabbi Leener
to sign up for updates)
Location: via Zoom
Meeting ID: 508 189 498
One tap mobile +16465588656,,508189498# US (New York)
Upcoming Events (with Rabbi Leener)
Thursday, June 18 - TONIGHT! (9 PM) Support Space - These are challenging times - share, reflect, and process in a supportive space. https://zoom.us/j/92325983088
Anytime! Sign up for a virtual coffee slot, or a masked, socially distanced walk with you in the Prospect Heights/Crown Heights neighborhoods! Please sign up here.
Annual Membership Meeting
Please save the date for our annual PHS Membership meeting, to be held June 28 at 8 pm via Zoom. If you are member in good standing, we ask that please RSVP here for the log-in information or, if you cannot join, a ballot to vote electronically. We will be voting on our 2020-2021 Board and providing updates on our budget and space.
For information about the status of your membership, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mazal tov to Kelila and Tuvia Tendler on the birth of a baby girl, Emil Sifra.
Mazal tov to Adina Weinberger and Clem Brown on their engagement! (photo below) and to the Weinberger and Brown families.
A very special mazal tov to Sophie Lowin, who became a bat mitzvah last week. We look forward to celebrating with the entire Lowin family in the not-too-distant, less socially-distant future.
Advanced Talmud for Everyone
Advanced Talmud for Everyone with Noah Greenfield
Whether you have experience with Talmud or are a novice, this class will explore seminal philosophical, religious and legal themes in the Talmud, based off of the teachings of Rabbi Dr. Joseph Soloveitchik.
When: Thursday nights, 8:30PM
Where: Click here Password: Talmud
One tap mobile +16468769923,,7109369790#
If you have suggestions for additional classes, or want to get involved, email email@example.com.
Community Volunteer Opportunity: Crown Heights JCC at 899 Montgomery Street is looking for volunteers to support the food pantry they created to meet the rising need for emergency food assistance in Crown Heights. Volunteers will sort food and package to-go pantry bags that will then be distributed to clients. They are also looking for drivers to deliver these food packages. To sign up to package food and/or to drive, follow this link. This is an ongoing opportunity. If you have any further questions, email Jeremy Nicholson.
Community Support: We are blessed with many generous community members who are eager to support the broader PHS community during this difficult time. If you are in a position to offer a good or service (e.g. an old laptop for work or school, help with groceries or medications) please fill out the following spreadsheet. If you are seeking assistance, please feel free to reach out to anyone on the list directly. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Relief Fund: Rabbi Leener is still maintaining a COVID-19 tzedakah fund, through which he has been able to discreetly provide direct financial assistance, provide hot meals for 80 people, and support funeral arrangements for those in need. If you are able, please donate here, and specify that the gift is being made for relief funds.
Thank you and tizku l'mitzvot.
To join our tefillah whatsapp group, click here
To join our women’s whatsapp group, click here
To join our tehillim whatsapp group, click here
To join our Talmud class group, click here
The PHS community relies on the Greater Crown Heights Eruv, the Brooklyn Heights Eruv, and the Park Slope Eruv. For a map of the boundaries for the eruvim please follow this link. To donate for the upkeep of the Greater Crown Heights Eruv click here.
Want to share your news with the community? Please let us know at email@example.com. Deadline for the newsletter is Tuesday at 9 pm.