Message from Rabbi Dovid Moskovitz

Rosh HaShanah   5773 – 2012-2013

In Memorial - HaRav Shlomo Margolis Ztz”l, by Rav Dovid Moskovitz

It is most difficult to assess the loss of a person of such status as my beloved father-in-law, HaRav Shlomo Margolis Ztz”l. His very being embodied the tenets and beliefs of Mussar and mentchlichkeit. He was a model of what past generations produced, and yet he was a role model for our generation as well. He was soft spoken and had a very enjoyable sense of humor that made everyone feel at ease. His gaze indicated approval or disapproval of one's actions or statements. He rarely wasted time with idle talk and always was thinking in a very positive way. His insights in Torah and mundane affairs shed great light on difficult situations. He taught us how to talk, but most of all, when not to talk. He had the skill of listening; his answers were all thought out and never hurried. His love for his fellow man was genuine - you felt it and reciprocated in kind. Every word of Torah was precious. He would sit and think at length about any given passage. If a difficult question was posed to him, it could set off a thought process that could last hours until he responded with an answer that was breathtaking in its precision and clarity. He enjoyed people - especially young people with fresh ideas. When he reflected on his life history, you were transported back in time. You were taken to Vilna, Pinsk, Siberia, Lodz, and of course to Boston and Bnei Brak. His love for Eretz Yisrael was not based on politics or government, but was the essence of a dream to come and walk the same land tread upon by our forefathers. In fact, he was a minister without portfolio - constantly encouraging others to make Aliya. He gave respect to others, regardless of their age. In Bnei Brak, he would not move without the direction given by the illustrious Rav, Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita.Looking back, Rebbetzin Chava Margolis a”h, was half his life. The mutual admiration was something unique to our struggling generation. It was because of this mutual respect that they were able to build and maintain and accomplish all they did.
We here in Boston were privileged to have him with us for a large part of his life. Our vibrant shul is the result of his life's work. The Mesivta of Greater Boston is named for him and his Rebbetzin, because the donor, Mr. Yitzchak Selib a”h, was befriended and educated by him. Mr. Selib also was a major donor to the Kollel, enabling them to stand on firm financial ground. For years, Rav Margolis nurtured donors for New England Hebrew Academy. He was a strong advocate for the Bais Yaakov for many years. He and his children were instrumental in the founding of Torah Academy. He founded the N'shei Agudas Yisrael which functioned successfully for many years. Agudas Yisrael of Boston, under his leadership, was the address for many great leaders of Klal Yisrael. A fruitful and productive time in Boston was followed by his move to Eretz Yisrael. It was an act of Divine Providence that he found himself in the presence of one of the great personalities of the Jewish world - Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein Shlita, son-in-law of Rav Elyashiv Ztz”l, and one of the foremost Poskim in the world. Although much younger than Rav Margolis, their mutual respect was something to behold. He referred to Rav Margolis as “Pe’er HaShchuna” the crown of the neighborhood. Rav Margolis began to give lectures in Mussar. The Sefer of the Alter of Navordok – Madreigas HaOdom - became well known in Ramat Elchonon. He acquired many friends and students - most of them many years younger than him.
Towards the end of his life he suffered a few strokes, but always displayed signs of mussar and yiras shamayim.
On the 14 of Shevat, the light of this magnificent neshama was darkened, and we are left with the memories. He was a bridge to the past, and left us with a path to the future.
To you all, I wish a happy and healthy year.

כתיבה וחתימה טובה

Rosh HaShanah   5772 – 2011-2012
Our Chazal teach us that the only container which is able to hold all blessing is 'shalom'- peace. Without peace the receptacle has a hole and the ברכה does not last. The brochos of שמע contain a yearning for peace. The שמונה עשרה ends with the word שלום, as does the ברכת המזון. When we wage war with any nation in the worlds including עמלק, we rust first offer שלום. We greet each other with the words שלום עליכם, and respond with שלום. Even the celestial beings in Hashem's court require a blessing of עשה שלום במרומיו - שלום, and so we end Kaddish with שלום. Perhaps we can better understand and define the mechanism of שלום with three statements in פרקי אבות. "הוי דן את כל אדם לכף זכות" - Give to another person the benefit of the doubt.

"אל תדין את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו" - Don't be judgmental without realizing the other person's situation.

"אל תהי בז לכל אדם ואל תהי מפליג דבר שאין לך אדם שאין לו שעה ואין לך דבר שאין לו מקום" - Don't be condescending because every person and idea has a place and time.

To adopt these fundamental characteristics takes much self-control and much soul searching. Not everything is so black and white and to carry a grudge is certainly a waste of everybody's time and intelligence. On the other hand there is an artificial way to perhaps develop these principles. This is also recorded in פרקי אבות:

"הוי מקבל את כל האדם בסבר פנים יפות" - Put on a smile for everybody (Don't advertise your problems)

"הוי מקבל את כל אדם בשמחה" - Receive all men with joy.

"אוהב שלום ורודף שלום" - Love peace and pursue it.

Why is Israel a war-torn state? Simple. When there is a lack of peaces within, there can never be שלום from without the state. If we are too busy with our personal 'enemies', Hashem cannot help us with the real enemies. We long for eternal peace and yet in our interpersonal relationships we are continuously 'at war'. Do I have to list all the religious factions at odds with each other, or is it sufficient to say "love all Jews, even the religious ones"? Every domestic argument has three sides to it: her side, his side, and the side that both are probably missing.

The Mishna in Rosh Hashanah proclaims: "בראש השנה כל באי העולם עוברים לפיו כבני מרון" - all mankind passes before Him as a flock of sheep or as in the army of דוד המלך.

It does not emphasize who comes first or second. We are judged on ראש השנה as a flock of sheep. If we don't unite as one, perhaps we are not judged favorably.

Let us gain mutual respect, let us cast away petty grievances, and most of all, let us go together to greet משיח.

Rav Dovid and Rebbetzin Devorah Moskovitz wish all our friends, neighbors, students, members and all those who don't feel part of this list, a happy and healthy new year which will enhance our love to Hashem and His people.

כתיבה וחתימה טובה

Rosh HaShanah   5771 – 2010-2011
"ראה אנכי נתן לפניכם היום ברכה וקללה את הברכה אשר תשמעון"

R’ Moshe זצ"ל explains the above possuk in the most simple terms.  You see yourself that the brochos, all the blessings of this world, are attained by listening to the Mitzvos of Hashem. How much more so is this lesson apropos for today. The lifestyle of a religious Jew is filled with joy and purpose. Of course there are trials and tribulations amongst all people, but the difference lies in the attitude. R’ Moshe says that those who view everything as their own accomplishments will never be satisfied. They will always desire more and be jealous of others accomplishments. They will lack time and patience for others because they see themselves in control. Not so those who perceive the hand of Hashem in all their endeavors. They are confident that their Father has their best interests in His heart.

We begin our day with the words "אשר בחר בנו מכל העמים ונתן לנו את תורתו" – He chose us to be His nation, the guardian of His Torah. How sad that so many of our people shun their responsibility and fail to see their sacred mission as guardians of the Torah. How upset we become when we see a paid worker shirking his responsibilities by holding a private call during his hours of employment. Yet we do the same.

Chazal tells us that the evil King Achav was willing to part with all his wealth but not with his personal Sefer Torah. When the enemy requested מחמד עיניך – that which is precious in your eyes – the Torah, Achav refused.  Even he was a guardian.

The first words we teach small children are מורשה קהילת יעקב - the Torah is a precious heirloom. The Torah has survived thousands of generations and remained intact. I don’t know if the founding fathers of the United States would recognize the Constitution and the way it has been interpreted and misconstrued over the years. Perhaps it is due to lack of interest that we do not see the value of the Torah in our society today. The Sefer Madreigas Ha’Odom sheds light on the famous piece of Gemorah illustrating this point.

"בראתי יצר הרע, בראתי תורה תבלין"  - I created the evil inclination, and I created its antidote, the Torah. Hashem, the Manufacturer, created the Yetzer Hara with a limited warranty. Keep the Torah and you will be protected from the Yetzer Hara. Do not keep the Torah, and you will be harmed. The Torah is the only way to combat the evil inclination.

The result of all this is that we should constantly sing the praises of Hashem through the performance of His mitzvos. We should be proud to be in His legion and part of His special guard. He does not need our praise, but He established the world in this way. To further underscore this point, I heard and interesting point from the Yerushalmi.

Geichazi, the former servant of Elisha Hanavi who was banished by Elisha because of a wrongdoing, was relating the many miracles of Elisha to the king.  He told of the revival of the child that was wrought by Elisha. At that moment, the mother of that child entered, and the king received her verification of the story. The Yerushalmi explains that the woman was from quite a distance, yet Hashem caused her to be there at that time. Why? Hashem does not want to hear His praises from someone who is disloyal to His Torah such as Geichazi. Therefore, He orchestrated for the mother of the child, who was His loyal servant, to be there at that time to confirm His praise.

We enjoy this privilege of praising our creator and we should take advantage of it. A higher level of praise is the Mishna – כשם שמברכים על הטוב כך מברכים על הרע . The Bartenura explains that one should praise Hashem for the seemingly bad things with the same joy and devotion that he praises Hashem for the good in his life.

The Yamim Noraim are times not only of introspection, but also a time to proclaim the מלכות of Hashem. It is a time to praise Hashem for all that we owe Him. Let us not miss this opportunity.

Thank you to all the people who have assisted the shul during the year.  Hashem should send you and all of Klal Yisroel much brocha, simcha and nachas.

כתיבה וחתימה טובה

Rosh HaShanah   5770 – 2009-2010
Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur are the times of the year designated for teshuva. The Amighty created a perfect world but mankind has chosen to corrupt it in many ways. Since man is drawn toward the misdoings of the world, the concept of tshuva was presented to him as a vehicle to return and repair these failings. Now, we think of man as a Ba’al b’chira a being that possesses free will. The many psukim in the Torah attest to this. “I place before you good and evil, life and death – choose good, choose life.” R’ Zalman Soroztkin zt’’l asks a very academic question. The idea of “free” will implies that one is confronted with equal opportunity to follow this path or another path and therefore is called upon to make a choice – freedom of choice. However in the case of a human being he possesses a body which is drawn to a materialistic life style and a “neshama” a soul which is attracted to the “finer” things in life. The problem is that the choice is not equal. Since the world around us, that is to say the environment created by society is certainly not conducive to a spiritual existence; the odds are not in favor of us choosing the “good life. How can we refer to this as freedom of choice?

He answers this with a beautiful explanation. The Torah was given to us to enable us, in a sense, to create an environment of “Shechina” in the world. Through a proper and aggressive schedule of Torah, T’fila and Chessed one can offset the tremendous influence of a materialistic world and level out the possibility of success. He truly becomes a person with free will. This then is the meaning of the words בפיך ובלבבך לעשותו place His name in your mouths and hearts and you will be on a path to a good life.
At this point one could question. Is this not also dependent on free will? How do I get to point “a”? The answer can be found in a simple meaning of a possuk we recite on many occasions. השיבנו ה' אליך ונשובה.

Literally this means “return us to You and we will return,” etc. How can this be, if He returns us and then we return? The answer is, Hashem requests of us just the will and commitment to repair our lives and then He will assist us. The initial step must be our. We must recognize our failings, (and everyone has faults that need to be corrected,) and then we will be carried on כנפי נשרים on wings of eagles to our destination, full repentence.

Another year has been completed and we look forward with great expectation to the new year. Personally, I think the best way to perfection is recognizing the accomplishments of others. In no specific order I would like to thank the following:
Moshe Sanieoff for our beautiful shul; Shmuel Chajes for so many things and Ellen; Moshe Coriat for the weekly bulletin and other acts of kindness; Shlomo Hoffman for always helping; Dr. Rosansky for all the help and his love for Chai Odom; Aaron Greenberg and Jeff Forman for all their help and tender loving care; Dr. Soll for being the captain of Daf Hayomi; Dovid Mintzes for uplifting the learning in Chai Odom; Dovid Rosengard for the fantastic Beis Medrash program; Reb Beryl Chafetz for being such a good role model; Reb Shimon Miara for all his assistance and friendship; Avrohom Itzkowitz for never missing; Nesanel Berman for all his help in the renovations; R’ Baruch Goldman for the Gemach and many things; R’ Yaakov Klerman for his financial and spiritual help; R’ Ela Dovek for his help and his loyalty; Yitzchak Sadetzky for all his help in many ways; The Weinreb Family, Judy Fine, Shalom Fine. Please forgive me I did not run out of names but I ran out of space.

Most of all my wife 'שתח, and my children. We are a team together.
'אחרון אחרון חביב: הרב ר' שלמה מרגלת שיחי
To you all, I wish a happy and healthy year.

...כתיבה וחתימה טובה

Rosh HaShanah   5769 – 2008-2009
The theme of the Yomim Noraim is certainly the idea of tshuva, the gift of mankind’s ability to dedicate itself to the proper path in life. This, of course, is quite difficult for one does not want to believe he is not properly committed to the truth. In fact, notice how we are, many times, when we lose our direction we don’t admit it until we have traveled substantially on the wrong path.
Now, another primary theme of these days is Tifila, prayer. Concentration on the words enables our prayers to ascend heavenwards. The Anshei Knesses Hagdola composed the standard text for us in Shmona Esrei and all we have to do is add our hearts and minds to the words of our lips.
This brings us to the topic of honesty in prayer. Do we really believe in the words that we recite? From the Gemora in Yuma 69B we see that the Anshei Knesses Hagdola reinstated the words describing the greatness of G-d in spite of the fact that the enemy had overrun our land. They felt that still there is an awareness of His might. We see from this that we cannot recite empty words. If His power was not visible to us, we would not be able to praise Him with those words.
We say in “Modim” – we thank You for all the miracles You perform constantly on our behalf. Do we see and recognize these miracles or are we reciting “empty words”?
The reality is that these miracles can be divided into three distinct categories.

First are the natural miracles. Each blade of grass has a “malach” which instructs it to grow. A person has a job or loses it because of Hashgocha from above. But because we perceive a cause and effect we refuse to label these as supernatural circumstances.

The second category is when something extraordinary happens to us. Although one would easily label this a miracle, many times the word “mazel”, luck, is used instead.
The last category contains those happenings in our lifetimes that we realize are miracles. We don’t even try to explain them, for it defies interpretation. Here the problem is that we are quick to forget these “life miracles”.
Our lives are filled with miracles – large, medium and small – we just have to see them, and believe in the power of prayer.
At this time I would like to thank all the Mispallelim of our Shul for the beautiful spirit and ruach they have given our Shul. The tfillos are meaningful. Even the Kiddush on Shabbos has a very beautiful ruach to it. Thanks to all those who work and help the Shul. Although we heard of many tragedies through the year, the Simchos were plenty.
May we all enjoy a new year of health and happiness to grow in Yiddishkeit, we and our children. May our esteemed Rav Margolis Shlita continue to enjoy health and happiness.

...כתיבה וחתימה טובה

Rosh HaShanah   5768 – 2007-2008

Our custom during the month of Elul is to recite the Thillim 27. The theme of this chapter is בטחון, faith in the Ribbono Shel Olam. The concept of Tshuva and the concept of ודוי and כפרה are only valid if one has faith in Hashem. That is to say, if one feels the hand of Hashem and realizes one’s whole existence depends on Him then there is a feeling of regret for one’s actions contrary to His will. Also if one experiences the nurturing of His hand in all the successes and accomplishments in life, then the books that are open on Rosh Hashana have meaning to that person. Perhaps Dovid Hamelech characterized this thought in one Possuk: כי יצפנני בסכה ביום רעה, The translation reads “He will hide me in His shelter on the day of evil” but take note of the fact that the word Sukkah is used for this shelter. One living in a fortress or tower or huge mansion can be gripped with fear, tension and depression. On the other hand the one living in a simple hut with faith in the Almighty feels protection and shelter. There is a popular saying, not to look back but rather look forward. In reality the opposite should be true. Look back at all the near tragedies and even the real tragedies and see how we were able to overcome and continue our existence. Let this be a sign for the future. Don’t panic, don’t lose control, don’t experience a loss of focus or frustration. Just as Hashem helped in the past, so He will continue in the future. Store keepers used to display on the wall the first dollar they ever earned in the business. It was a way of saying look at me then and look at me now. We end off the Thillim with a double expression. Place your hope in Hashem and again place your hope in Hashem. Perhaps this means just as you placed your hope once and were successful, do it again.

At this time I would like to thank all the Mispallelim of our Shul for the beautiful spirit and ruach they have given our Shul. The tfillos are meaningful. Even the Kiddush on Shabbos has a very beautiful ruach to it. Thanks to all those who work and help the Shul. Although we heard of many tragedies throughout the year, the Simchos were plenty.

May we all enjoy a new year of health and happiness to grow in Yiddishkeit, we and our children.

כתיבה וחתימה טובה...

Rosh HaShanah   5767 – 2006-2007
And Mordechai wrote all these words and sent letters of correspondence to all the Jews. This is one possuk in Megillas Esther. A few lines later it says” And Esther the Queen and Mordechai wrote of the story and the miracles etc.” In the famous commentary Megillas Storim he explains: Mordechai only commanded about celebrating the great miracles and proclaiming Purim as a holiday of feast and joy. Esther added the actual recording of the exact events that lead to the victory and all of the miracles that accompanied it.

The great master of Mussar R’ Benzion Brook tz’’l expands the depths of this comment. So many times we celebrate, and after time we begin to forget the source of our celebration. We even begin to doubt there ever was a miracle. We tend to attribute it to our strength and power. Esther realized this possibility and was intent on preventing this from happening. She said we must record all the events.

In fact, this is what really happened over time to the miracle of Chanukah. It was transformed into a spectacle of show of human power and endurance. This is, instead of the revelation of Hashem’s divine intervention. He adds that perhaps this is why it is called by her name Megillas Esther.

This past summer we lived through a war of miracles. True we suffered much anguish and grief. True, we brought many Korbonos on the altar of war. However, to think of the catastrophic consequences that could have resulted, we lived through a miracle. Again, this is being overshadowed by our embarrassment of not winning the war with our physical power. This again is a mistake. Wars are won by cunning and strategy, by power and might – but- a war of the Jewish nation is acted out by G-d alone. We are forever, indebted to our valiant soldiers but to paraphrase the Gemara in Bava Kama. The wine belongs to the host and all the thanks go to the waiter.

Now why did G-d intervene to put a stop to what seemed like an uncontrollable enemy? The answer is the united front that the Jewish people formed around the world in Torah – Tehillim and T’fila

In chapter 60 of Tehillim upon winning a war in the North Dovid Hamelech exclaims “Give us help and salvation from the enemy for the salvation of man is in vain.”

But again future generations will begin to distort the facts. The political left will construe a whole different version of the war. At least, we who lived through it should be cognizant of the great miracles that were performed.

Let not this Rosh Hashana be just another time of introspection. Rather, let it be a time of accounting to make sure we deserved and will deserve all the kindness of Hashem. And let us not forget that the danger still lurks in the shadow. Let us not forget the steps of Moshiach that we see and hear. Let us not forget that our destiny is in our hands.

At this time I would offer a prayer for the welfare of all our brothers and sisters here and abroad. May we enjoy a year of peace and prosperity. May the Name of the Almighty be sanctified by our deeds and may we have health and happiness.

Thank you all for your participation in our Mikdash Miat. Especially to our revered Rav, my father-in-law Rabbi Shloma Margolis without whom the level of Kedusha in Chai Odom and Boston would not be the same.

Rosh HaShanah   5766 – 2005-2006
As we approach Rosh Hashanah and a new year, we must adjust our outlook on life’s happenings in light of all that has occurred in the past years. What is the real and true understanding of a religious Jew of all the catastrophes that our generation has witnessed? Let us leave for a moment the personal tragedies of our people. Let us focus on the world at large. Twin towers and thousands perish. Tsunami waves and even greater numbers are lost. And then the hurricane and thousands are left homeless and as many are dead. A Gemora in Yevomos and a Rashi in Shmos 7:3 explain these incidents as having a special impact on our people. This is aside from their immediate impact on those people involved with them.
א"ר אלעזר אין פורענות באה לעולם אלא בשביל ישראל.....                                              
Natural and man made catastrophes befall the entire world only to be a wake up call to the Jewish people. That is to say, that although we mourn along with the other inhabitants of this planet, we are also obligated to “get the hint”.

The Rambam clearly defines the calamities that befall our nation, and our communities as a reminder to do t’shuva (תענית פ"א). He goes so far as to say that one who shrugs off the incident as mere coincidence is being vicious and without feeling. Certainly, in light of the Chazal we mentioned, we could say the same with all of the above world catastrophes.

So now the finger pointing begins. To blame the non religious sector would not be fair. One cannot be held responsible for that which one doesn’t know and never learned. No, the finger turns back at us. But, wait, don’t we daven, keep Shabbos, keep Kashrus and educate our children in Torah. What could it be? The answer is written and recorded for posterity. The Bais Hamikdash was destroyed in a similar atmosphere of Torah and chesed. Yes, they helped each other. However, criticism, cynicism, grudges and even hatred have again become a life style. But, we have reached a new low when even speaking about this is considered not politically correct.

Help turn the tide. Let us work together on this project this Rosh Hashanah. Make friends with at least one person you are not friendly with. Forget the past and begin a fresh start. Don’t blame anybody, just proceed forward. Replace שנאת חנם with אהבת חנם. Don’t wait for the other person to make the overture, you be first.

In fact, when we talk about the scapegoat on Yom Kippur, it was an animal, not a human being; don’t create your own scapegoat.

I know it is a lonely feeling to stretch out a hand and there is no hand to receive it. But, one day someone will grab it and say עליכם שלום. Have a happy and healthy new year and promote אהבת ישראל.

In my name, and the name of my family, I wish you all a כתיבה וחתימה טובה.

Rosh HaShanah   5765 – 2004-2005
The Gemora in Erchin daf yud enumerates the times during the year that we recite the whole Hallel. The criteria to say it is a day which is a “moed”, a holiday, and it possesses kedusha similar to Shabbos. The gemora asks the obvious question “why isn’t Rosh Hashana included in the list?” The answer is quite famous. The malachim, the angels above, posed the question to the Almighty. He answered them “if the books of life and death are open, is it proper to sing Hallel?” Tosefos points out that the implication is that the malachim themselves continue to sing even on Rosh Hashana. Therefore, we should not delete from the machzor the phrases which refer to the malachim singing. והחיות ישוררו וכרובים יפארו...

Here, however, we touch upon a fascinating combination of emotions. In the famous piece we recite on Rosh Hashana and on Yom Kippur – Unesana Tokef – there is a reference to “even the angels tremble at the thought of the day of judgment”. That is to say, although they are trembling and gripped with fear at the prospect of judgment of the universe, they still are able to recognize their obligation to sing songs of praise to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. In fact, probably for this reason, they thought that mankind should also do the same. They were answered that it was improper to do so.

We Jewish people embody these two magnificent emotions. We posses the ahava, the love of HaShem, to prompt us to levels of joy, simcha in performance of mitzvos. Likewise, we are people who realize the importance of our role as servants of HaShem and judgment based on our merits. We tremble in awe of His greatness. This unique blend is the cause for our declaration each day that we are able to praise Him in the same way the malachim praise Him.

A year has come and gone and we hope and pray that the peace that has eluded us for so many thousands of years will finally become a reality. We hope and pray for the health and wellbeing of all of our brothers and sisters across the globe.

To all the members and friends of our beloved Congregation Chai Odom we wish you all a כתיבה וחתימה טובה...

May HaShem grant us all the special gift of long and happy lives and may we continue to help our families and community grow in the true path of yiddishkeit.

Rosh HaShanah   5764 – 2003-2004
“Mi sh’asah nisim…”

When we bentch Rosh Chodesh before the beginning of each new month we pronounce the following brocha.

“The One who performed all the miracles to our fathers and redeemed them to freedom, He certainly will redeem us and gather us from the four corners of the world.” However, there seems to be a condition attached to this.

“Chaverim kol Yisroel venomar amen…”

Only when all of Yisroel are friends, then we can say confidently Amain. We live in times when the yetzer hara is trying to unglue the unity of our people. Love a fellow Jew does not just mean kiruv - bring him back to Yiddishkeit. Many times this is done for our own satisfaction. Avrohom Avinu is credited with “making souls”, so we also want to make them. Love a fellow Jew means to love the one just like you and the one who is a little different, and the one who is a lot different, and the one who is in competition with you. Whenever the Brisker Rav z’l was asked if the Moshiach was ready to come he would respond, “are we ready to receive him?”

“Af al pi sheyismamea…”

Although the Moshiach is delayed, I wait for him. But what is the meaning of this expression? It means that we realize that he should come, but we cause the delay. We have to be part of every simcha in our little community just as we are unfortunately part of each tragedy. In short, we have to learn to “put ourselves out”, to suffer some discomfort in order to help another Jew in times of joy and other times.

The Gemara in Rosh HaShana 18a lauds the power of a community whose prayers are able to rescind even a final decree. Tosfos on 16a indicates that a prayer on behalf of Klal Yisroel has the same impact.

Although the saying is “strength in numbers”, our strength is when we are all one, a simple indivisible number one. If you want to be strict as Shamai, then you also must adopt his other principle “v’he’vei mekabel es kol ha’odom b’sever panim yafos”

Receive all men with a smile (and with love). Rashi comments in Sefer Devorim that a person attributes to others his own personal feelings. We say those people hate us because we bear ill feelings toward them. Let us remember our own words on Yomim Noraim “ve’chol ma’aminim sh’hu….”

“All believe all of the following” – that is to say “All Jews join in our basic emuna, our basic belief. We need each other. Why be defeated by the enemy within.

We try to mimic the ways of HaShem. If so, then “ahava raba ahavtani…” “HaShem loves with boundless love”. So too must we love each other with boundless love.

To all of you from all of us – A happy and healthy New Year of love for each other and the coming of Moshiach.

Pesach   5763 – 2003
The holiday of Pesach, of redemption, of spiritual freedom has once again come. The question could be asked. Why is this Pesach different from all that we have already experienced in our lives? The answer is quite simple and can be expressed in two numbers – 9/11. The power supply of the mitzvah of Pesach is our ability to function in our present lives but still being able to imagine what our fathers felt long ago in those times. This would, of course, enable us to enjoy and appreciate the Exodus and its ramifications. We are told that in every generation our lives hang in the balance, in every generation there are forces trying to destroy our people. The Haggada is informing us that we don’t have to use our imagination as much as we would think we do. It is telling us that this facet of our existence is real and tangible.

However until 9/11 we really could not relate to this declaration. We were secure and our jobs were secure. We were in control of our lives, our children, and our people. Now times have changed. We know that homeland security has not brought security to our homeland, Eretz Yisroel. Although, thank G-d, we don’t live in fear, we also don’t live in peace and calm. Now, the reality. Who is the Redeemer? Is it our armed forces? Is it our political clout? Is it our hi-tech alarm systems? Herein lies the key to our success as a nation. We have only one address – the Almighty – as the answer to all our problems. Sforim tell us that the leaven dough represents the expansion and rise of our material wealth, our life’s portfolio. The Matza represents our willingness to be satisfied with minimal pleasures. How unique that the message of Pesach and the message of Sukkos is one in the same. The answer to all our life’s problems is within ourselves. Rely not on oneself but rather on the Creator of all men.

If all this is so, then the one weapon we all possess is the power of prayer, Tfila, especially with a minyan in Shul. It is brought in the Sefer Maamar Mordechai that the Chazon Ish would learn with his older brother R’ Meir z’’l and if they were entangled in a difficult piece of Gemara, they would close the Seforim and daven – for the power of prayer is necessary in everything we do. In fact, the Sefer quotes R’ Yaakov z’’l that the Alter of Slobodka was once davening and a bomb exploded nearby. After he completed Shmone Esrei he asked "What happened here"? So great was the concentration level of davening.

Let us all, men, women, and children begin to perfect our T’fila, let it be more deliberate, more encompassing and definitely more sincere.

My family wishes your family a Chag Kosher VeSameach and we should see the Binyian Beit HaMikdash Bemehera.

Rosh HaShanah    5763 – 2002-2003
How great is my personal thanks and praise to the Almighty for all He has bestowed upon my family and me. Amidst all the tragedies that have befallen our people we see the shining light which indicates Hashems’s love for us.  Yiddishkeit flourishes around the world and here in Boston. Our Shul is an oasis in which Torah and Tefilla are practiced in the proper and time proven method. Our בעלי בתים are sincere and warm-hearted people struggling with everyday circumstances and yet growing constantly in their adherence to Torah and mitzvos. I constantly receive phone calls from all over, former Chai Odom members keeping me updated on their lives, always expressing their love for our little shul. More than once a desire has been expressed for a shul like Chai Odom in their new neighborhoods. I am overwhelmed by the help I constantly receive from the people of our shul on any given project.

The Torah commands us to take inventory twice in seven years to assure we have distributed all the maaser, other gifts and taxes that are required of us. In the declaration we recite, we add the phrase “I did not forget.”  Rashi adds, “I did not forget to make the brocha upon giving these monetary obligations.” Now doesn’t it seem odd that I should give away a percentage of my wealth, sometimes 25% or more, and still show my appreciation to Hashem? The answer is simple. All that we have in our lives is a gift from above and we have been given the blueprint as to its management. In recognition of this closeness to Hashem, we thank Him for the opportunity to serve Him.  All of us involved in community work know how difficult the trials and tribulations are. Still we thank Hashem for this chance to serve Him and to help others serve him as well.

Renovation on the shul will probably, with Hashems help, begin after the holidays. We are excited at the prospect of beautifying our Mikdash m’at. We invite the assistance of all interested parties to oversee the success of this project.

In the merit of our efforts to enhance this small Bais Hamikdash, may we merit to see the building of the Bais Hamikdash in Yerushalayim in peace.

כתיבה וחתימה טובה

May we merit a good and healthy year!

Pesach  5762 – 2002
When one begins a new project or opens a new business, one never knows the extent of success or failure. The imagination runs wild with thoughts of accomplishments and praise. The source of all success is the Ribono Shel Olam who decides, not only life and death, but who will be rich this year and who will be poor. It is not in our hands. If so, then one hundred years later, if an institution is still functioning according to its original charter, it is the hand of G-d that has guided it. Hashem gave a Torah to the world and realized that all organizations change their goals and their philosophies over the years until it is not always visible to us their initial intentions. So it was that He gave the Torah to one family, the Jewish people, because a family-run business retains the true character of the founder of the company. We are the Chosen people, chosen to guard the sanctity, the principles, the beauty of our Torah.

The family of Chai Odom has been trusted guardians of this concept. The davening, the learning, the chessed of years gone by, continue to exist in the setting of a new century. Of this we are proud. In Chumash when Yisro entered into a new phase of his life he made a party, which Moshe and Aaron attended. In Navi when Elisha was told of his new position he also made a party. Certainly for the Kavod of Torah, a century of Torah and Tefilla deserves a party. I sincerely request of all our friends and neighbors, both from Chai Odom and also from other Shuls to attend our centennial Banquet to pay tribute to Rabbi Margolis and all those who perpetuated this spirit of a true Bais Hak’nesses here in Boston. May you all merit a happy and healthy Pesach season and may we see Sholom in Eretz Yisroel.

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