Teen Rabbi - Bio
Ask The Rabbi
This week's question: Rabbi, why do we pray?
We pray for two reasons. The first is to form a direct relationship with Hashem through talking to Him. God listens and is concerned with our prayers. When we pray we form a direct connection with Him.
Second, when we pray, we are stating our desires and wishes. If we put thought into what we are praying for, we are making ourselves better people just by asking for more important things. Our priorities reflect who we are.
To ask a question email firstname.lastname@example.org
Boca Raton Pro-Israel Teens
The BRS Pro-Israel Teens are a group of Boca Raton teenagers who aim to enable teens to advocate for Israel, and specifically to effectuate change by capitalizing on the historical American-Israel relationship.
In partnering with AIPAC, the BRS Pro-Israel Teens hopes to create relationships with members of Congress, hear from expert speakers and attend AIPAC events and conferences
News You Can Use
Led by gabaim Michael Krasna and Andrew Wald,the teen minyan is packed with 6th through 12th graders. The mass amount of teens who show up fit perfectly with Gabbaim Michael and Andrew's goal of bringing greater participation to teen minyan this year.
A point of pride for teen minyan was the amount of teens who join teen minyan for the first time. With our veteran and new teens attending each week we look forward to a great year of teen minyan.
Need a Dvar Torah?
149 years ago today, The Battle of Antietam took place during the American Civil War. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing. While this battle was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history it was strategically inconclusive. Both the North and the South walked away losers.
In this Dvar Torah I'd like to focus on everyday inconclusive battles where both sides are losers. Like Generals McClellan and Lee in Antietam, we frequently find ourselves fighting with no clear purpose. The fighting seems almost an end in itself, but in reality is merely a reflection of our own anger. Instead of dealing with our feelings in a healthy manner, we direct our fury towards other people. To illustrate these points I'll bring a posuk from this week's sedra about slander, a classic example of dispute with no purpose. I hope the reader leaves this essay with a greater disdain for argument and a strong appreciation for peace.
By nature we argue. People have different goals and aspirations and many of them require the assistance of others. At times our goals don't match the objectives of the people we need assistance from. When two people can't find common ground and both need the other to come around and change, friction is created and frequently arguments begin. Specifically at the time when the two people need to come together, they find themselves separating instead. Not only is there no purpose to their arguments, but their fighting keeps them from their goal.
Arguments only begin when one side - or both - feels wronged. The Torah addresses the healthy way of approaching this situation, in the words of Maimonides, "When one person wrongs another, the latter should not remain silent and despise him." Maimonides continues and explains the healthy way one should react, "Rather, he is commanded to make the matter known and ask him: 'Why did you do this to me?', 'Why did you wrong me regarding that matter?' as is written in the Torah, 'You shall surely admonish your colleague.'"
When approached by another with words of admonishment over the hurt we've caused we might deny it or defend ourselves. This too is an unhealthy approach and instead we should apologize and ask for forgiveness. The offended party should willingly forgive as Maimonides continues, "If, afterwards, the person who committed the wrong asks his colleague to forgive him, he must do so."
Unhealthy interpersonal relationships are addressed in this week's sedra, "Cursed is whoever strikes his fellow in secret." Rashi explains this refers to one who slanders another. Slander is the example of fighting that hurts both the offended and the offender. The victim is clearly hurt by the damage done to his reputation, while the slanderer is hurt by the type of person he has become. In the prism of slander hurting both sides, I'd like to suggest that the curse laid on the slanderer isn't Divine in nature but rather it's the act itself that has cursed the slanderer to become the degenerate that he is.
Generals Lee and McClellan both fought pointless battles that left both permanently bruised with no gain. We must avoid that same fate. We must aspire to chase peace and avoid arguments at all costs.