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There is a fascinating detail in the passage about the king in this week's parsha. The text says that "When he tAakes the throne of his kingdom, he must write for himself a copy of this Torah on a scroll before the levitical priests" (Deut. 17:18). He must "read it all the days of his life" so that he will be G-d-fearing and never break Torah law. But there is another reason also: so that he will "not begin to feel superior to his brethren" (Kaplan translation), "so that his heart be not haughty over his brothers" (Robert Alter). The king had to have humility. The highest in the land should not feel himself to be the highest in the land. This is hugely significant in terms of the Jewish understanding of political leadership. There are other commands directed to the king. He must not accumulate horses so
August 10, 2013 4 Elul, 5773
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Parshat Shoftim
as not to establish trading links with Egypt. He should not have too many wives for "they will lead his heart astray." He should not accumulate wealth. These were all standing temptations to a king. As we know and as the sages pointed out, it was these three prohibitions that Solomon, wisest of men, broke, marking the beginning of the long slow slide into corruption that marked much of the history of the monarchy in ancient Israel. It led, after his death, to the division of the kingdom. But these were symptoms, not the cause. The cause was the feeling on the part of the king that, since he is above the people he is above the law. As the rabbis said (Sanhedrin 21b), Solomon justified his breach of these prohibitions by saying: the only reason that a king may not accumulate wives is that they will lead his heart astray, so I will marry many wives and not let my heart be led astray. And since the only reason not to have many horses is not to establish links with Egypt, I will have many horses but not do business with Egypt. In both cases he fell into the trap of which the Torah had warned. Solomon's wives did lead his heart astray (1 Kings 11:3), and his horses were imported from Egypt (1 Kings 10:28-29). The arrogance of power is its downfall. Hubris leads to nemesis. Hence the Torah's insistence on humility, not as a mere nicety, a good thing to have, but as essential to the role. The king was to be treated with the highest honor. In Jewish law, only a king may not renounce the honor due to his role. A parent may do so, so may a rav, so may even a nasi, but not a king (Kiddushin 32ab). Yet there is to be a complete contrast between the external trappings of the king and his inward emotions. Maimonides is eloquent on the subject: "Just as the Torah grants him [the king] great honor and obliges everyone to revere him, so it commands him to be lowly and empty at heart, as it says: 'My heart is empty within me' (Ps. 109:22). Nor should he treat Israel with overbearing
Candle Lighting Friday Mincha Hashkama Youth Minyan Main Minyan Beit Midrash Gemorah Shiur Mincha Shabbat Ends Sun., August 11 Mon., Thurs. Tues., Wed., Fri. Mincha
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Shabbat Announcements Parshat Shoftim 5773
haughtiness, for it says, 'so that his heart be not haughty over his brothers' (Deut. 17:20). "He should be gracious and merciful to the small and the great, involving himself in their good and welfare. He should protect the honor of even the humblest of men. When he speaks to the people as a community, he should speak gently, as it says, 'Listen my brothers and my people....' (1 Chronicles 28:2), and similarly, 'If today you will be a servant to these people...' (1 Kings 12:7). "He should always conduct himself with great humility. There was none greater than Moses, our teacher. Yet he said: 'What are we? Your complaints are not against us' (Ex. 16:8). He should bear the nation's difficulties, burdens, complaints and anger as a nurse carries an infant." (Maimonides, Laws of Kings 2:6)
telling. It happened in St James Palace on 27 January 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Punctuality, said Louis XVIII of France, is the politeness of kings. Royalty arrives on time and leaves on time. So it is with the Queen, but not on this occasion. When the time came for her to leave, she stayed. And stayed. One of her attendants said he had never known her to linger so long after her scheduled departure time. She was meeting a group of Holocaust survivors. She gave each survivor- it was a large group her focused, unhurried attention. She stood with each until they had finished telling their personal story. One after another, the survivors were coming to me in a kind of trance, saying, "Sixty years ago I did not know whether I would be alive tomorrow, and here I am today talking to the Queen." It brought a kind of blessed closure into deeply lacerated lives. Sixty years earlier they had been treated, in Germany, Austria, PoThe model is Moses, described in the Torah as "very land, in fact in most of Europe, as subhuman, yet now the humble, more so than any person on the face of the Queen was treating them as if each were a visiting Head earth" (Num. 12:3). "Humble" here does not mean of State. That was humility: not holding yourself low but diffident, meek, self-abasing, timid, bashful, demure holding others high. And where you find humility, there or lacking in self-confidence. Moses was none of you find greatness. It is a lesson for each of us. R. Shlomo these. It means honoring others and regarding them of Karlin said, Der grester yetser hora is az mir fargest az as important, no less important than you are. It does mi is ein ben Melekh, "The greatest source of sin is to fornot mean holding yourself low; it means holding get we are children of the King." We say Avinu Malkenu, other people high. It means roughly what Ben Zoma "Our Father, our King." It follows that we are all members meant when he said (Avot 4:1), "Who is honored? of a royal family and must act as if we are. And the mark One who honors others." This led to one of the great of royalty is humility. The real honor is not the honor we rabbinic teachings, contained in the siddur and said receive but the honor we give. on Motsei Shabbat: "Rabbi Jochanan said, Wherever you find the greatness of the Holy One, blessed be He, there you find His humility. This is written in the Sally & Seymour Olshin Adult Education Program Torah, repeated in the Prophets, and stated a third time in the Writings. It is written in the Torah: 'For the Lord your G-d is G-d of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty and awe inspiring G-d, who shows no favoritism and accepts no bribe.' Immediately afterwards it is written, 'He upholds the cause of the Great Neck Synagogue 2013 orphan and widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing'..." (Megillah 31a) Summer Learning Program G-d cares for all regardless of rank, and so must we, even a king, especially a king. Greatness is humility.In the context of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth the Second, there is a story worth
Tuesday, August 6 Dinner— 7:30pm/Mincha— 8:00pm
Maariv following lecture RABBI DOVID HIRSCH
Great Neck Synagogue Shabbat Activities Program
Dale Polakoff, Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Wolf ,z”l, Rabbi Emeritus Ze’ev Kron, Cantor Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director Zehava & Michael Atlas, Youth Directors Mark Twersky, Executive Director Rabbi Avraham Bronstein, Program Director Dr. Scott Danoff, President Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board Dena Block, Yoetzet Halacha
Eva, Morris and Jack K. Rubin Memorial Chair in Rabbinics, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
“Accountability & Responsibility: Lifnei ‘Iver and ‘Ein Shaliach l’Dvar Aveirah”
GNS 6TH ANNUAL ROSH HASHANA PASS IT FORWARD HUNGER INITIATIVE MONDAY SEPTEMBER 2, 2013 BRING THE SWEETNESS OF ROSH HASHANA TO THOSE IN NEED! Now in its 6th year, the PASS IT FORWARD program of the GNS Hunger Initiative provides food to families for Yom Tov. Last year, volunteers packed and delivered over 1000 meals to needy individuals, families, kosher food pantries and North Shore Hospital Bikur Cholim. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP! Donate Food: If you have a kosher kitchen (separate meat and dairy utensils and kosher certification on all processed foods), make extra food (soup, main, side or dessert) and pack it in containers serving 4-8 (no bags please!) Deliver it to GNS COAT ROOM LOBBY on MONDAY SEPTEMBER 2ND between 11 and 1 pm. Donate $$: Purchase a special meal for a $18 contribution from Mazurs, Great Neck Glatt or Everfresh, which will be delivered on your behalf. Or make a donation directly to the GNS Hunger Initiative. Donate Time: We need packers (from 10:30 am to 3 pm) and drivers for about 25 different routes, starting from 2:00 pm TO 5:00 PM on MONDAY SEPTEMBER 2ND starting at GNS Coat Lobby. Donate Creativity: Have your child create a special handmade Rosh HaShana card to be enclosed in the food delivery. Drop them by Synagogue Office. ALL VOLUNTEERS PLEASE EMAIL: MICHELLE BERMAN: email@example.com CINDY HODKIN: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do A Mitzvah... Make Life Meaningful…. Rosh HaShana is coming….
GREAT NECK SYNAGOGUE MEN’S CLUB
SUNDAY, AUGUST 25 at 1:10 pm JEWISH HERITAGE DAY AT CITIFIELD Also: Tom Seaver All-Star bobblehead Day
Mets vs Tigers Discounted Price of $30 - Seats are Field Level For Tickets Please Contact Jack Lipsky (516) 829-6187 email@example.com or Hilly Milun (516) 448-4890 firstname.lastname@example.org Yes! We will be joining you at the Ball Game! Name ______________________________________________ Phone # __________________
Number of tickets __________ at $30 each $ _____________________ Please make checks to GNS Mens Club and send to Synagogue office
GNS UPCOMING EVENTS
HASHKAMA MINYAN Kiddush is sponsored in honor of Peter Shrock’s 80th Birthday by his family. SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAM The next learning programs will take place on August 6 and August 20. Sponsors are welcome. To sponsor or dedicate a day of learning at $180 please contact Rabbi Lichter at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. General sponsorships are available at $100 per family. MEN’S CLUB UPCOMING EVENTS SUN., AUG 25, 1:00PM: Join us for "Jewish Heritage Day" at CitiField, where the NY Mets will be playing the Detroit Tigers. Tickets (behind 1st base) are $30 each. Please e-mail Jack Lipsky at email@example.com or call Hilly Milun at 504-0320. SUN., OCT 13: Semi-Annual Blood Drive. SUN., OCT 27, 10:00 am: The diplomatic correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, Herb Keinon, will be talking on the political and diplomatic situation in Israel, and present his view on the current Peace talks. SUN., NOV 10, 10:00am: We are thrilled that Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, an elected member of the South African parliament and a staunch supporter of Israel will be speaking at our breakfast that morning. SUN., NOV 17, 2:00PM : A trip to NYC, together with Dos Yiddish Vort , to the Yiddish Theater to see " Lies My Father Told Me ", a musical in English with Yiddish. Cost is $65 per person, which includes the bus, theater tickets and a light dinner. Please contact Ros Wagner 487-9795. SPONSORSHIPS To sponsor a Kiddush, Seudah Shlishit, Sunday Breakfast, Youth Event, Bima Flowers or a leaf on the Tree of Life in honor or in memory of a loved one, please call Mark Twersky in the Synagogue office 487-6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. HUNGER INITIATIVE Rosh Hashana is coming! Help make it a SWEET YOM TOV FOR THOSE IN NEED. Be part of GNS Hunger Initiative PASS IT FORWARD. Prepare (or buy) food for others while you cook. On Monday, Sept 2nd. We need drivers, packers, bakers, cooks and donors. Full instructions on page three. This year, we especially need drivers on Labor Day, Monday Sept 2nd, to deliver food to those in need. Contact Michelle Berman: email@example.com BAKE BROWNIES FOR PASS IT FORWARD Once again, we have Brownie mix for you to bake for Pass It Forward! It’s a great activity to do with your children or grandchildren; and a wonderful way to participate in this mitzvah. Bake them, place them in the freezer, well wrapped, and then drop them off on September 2, between 11 – 1, at the Great Neck Synagogue. Mixes and pans can be picked up from the front porch of 11 Margaret Court. Call Michelle Berman (516)697-0522 with any questions. HIGH HOLIDAYS With the High Holidays taking place right after Labor Day, we are asking that all members take care of their outstanding financial obligations in a timely manner to insure that seats for the holidays will be able to be sent out. Those in arrears will not be able to obtain their seats unless arrangements for payment have been made. If you have any questions, please speak to Mark Twersky or Elie Cohen our Treasurer.
WITHIN OUR FAMILY
Mazal Tov to Solomon Barry, husband of Ilana Polakoff Barry, upon receiving his Doctorate in Psychology. Mazal Tov to Zehava & Michael Atlas on the birth of a daughter. Mazal Tov to grandmother Tina Machnikoff. Mazal Tov to Estee & Rabbi Adam Acobas, Associate Principal of NSHA, on the birth of their son. Mazal Tov to Sharon & Robert Herman on the birth of a granddaughter born to their children Aura and Michael Herman. Mazal Tov to Susan & Charles Mandelbaum on the marriage of his brother Neal to Gail Silverman.
Bonnie Diamond and family wish to thank Rabbi Polakoff, Rabbi Lichter and the community for their outpouring of support following the loss of her mother Beatrice Brandeis.
Y A H R Z E I T
Saturday, 4 Elul Anita Beretz for Erna Levi Reichenberg Elana Flax for Morris Matzkin Gisele Katz for Fay Gastwirth Cheryl Sneag for Morris Matzkin Sunday, 5 Elul Harriet Cooper for Jacob Rothstein Sandra B. Gold for Nita Barak Monday, 6 Elul Grace Oster for Michael Horowitz Marlene Rutkin for Morris Fishman Chava Shalmon for Esther Grinszpan Tuesday, 7 Elul Vera Bernstein for Jacob Lefkowitz Al Leiderman for Robert Leiderman Wednesday, 8 Elul Harriet Cooper for Celeste Weber Rita Gordonson for Dora Gershkowitz Alan Kestenbaum for Rebecca Zahler Stanley N. Lupkin for David Lupkin Jack Wachstock for Judith Wachstock Thursday, 9 Elul Phyllis Kirsch for Tessie Zuckerman Phyllis Weinberg for Jack Herschkowitz Friday, 10 Elul Gilbert Aronowitz for Joseph Aronowitz Anita Beretz for Joseph Levi Sharyn Falkenstein for Philip Steinberg Evelyn Henis for Marshall Henis Avraham Markowitz for Bernard Markowitz Alan Steinberg for Philip Steinberg Myra Sutin for Gerald Sutin
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