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VAYECHI 5784

12/29/2023 12:34:38 PM

Dec29

Dear mitpallelim,

Let’s begin with some good news from Jerusalem.  Some of you probably remember my grandson Shmuel who came to Montreal for several weeks to help with my recuperation after my knee surgery back in ‘16. A couple of years ago, he made aliya, and a few days ago became engaged to a lovely young lady, Sarah Kusnitz, originally from North Carolina, who had made aliya 4 years ago. Mazal Tov

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The Miller family observes for their mother Bessie, Basia bat Tsvi Hirsch, on Shabbat, 18 Tevet.

Stanley Goldstein and Mariam Mintz observe for their grandfather Shalom ben Yerachmiel HaKohen Wittenberg, on Friday 24 Tevet. May their memories be for a blessing.

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Traditionally, when concluding a book of the Torah, we recite “hazaq hazaq ve-nithazeq,” “be strong be strong, let us be resolute:” a most appropriate wish for our brethren in the land of Israel today.

If we look at the source for the above wish, we see how very relevant it is. In the Book of II Samuel (Shmuel bet,) chapter 10, the king of Ammon (a country east of Israel, think of the city Amman in Jordan) sent his soldiers to attack Israel under David’s leadership. Ammon was joined by soldiers from several other countries. Yoav, David’s general, saw that he was surrounded by enemy soldiers on 2 fronts. He devised a strategy and said, “let us be strong and resolute for our nation and for the cities of our God, and HaShem will do what is good in His eyes.” (Verse 12 of chapter 10.)  The chapter continues that Yoav had a great victory and saw that the enemy had no option but to make peace with Israel.

Likewise, we pray for victory and peace in the Land of Israel. And this wish for peace and strength fits in well with Rashi’s famous comment at the beginning of Bereishis, that the purpose of the Book of Bereishis is to teach that the time will come when the nations of the world [and the Presidents of Harvard, MIT, and UPenn: depends on context!!] will deny our right to the Land, and will say that we are robbers, we shall know that HaShem gave the Land of Israel to us.

Shalom `al Yisrael,

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Menahem White

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784