Parshat Vayigash

TORAH Artscroll, 250 Hertz, 169 HAFTORAH Artscroll, 1144 Hertz, 178 What do porcupines do in winter? Asked Schopenhauer. If they come too close to one another, they injure each other. If they stay too far apart, they freeze. Life, for porcupines, is a delicate balance between closeness and distance. It is hard to get it right and dangerous to get it wrong. And so it is for us. That is the force of the word that gives our parasha its name: Vayigash. "And he came close." Then Judah came close to him and said: "Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself." (44: 18)

December 7, 2013 4 Tevet, 5774

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Parshat Vayigash
that he did not know it was Joseph. But that one act of coming close melted all of Joseph's reserve, all his defenses, and as if unable to stop himself, he finally disclosed his identity: Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still alive” (45: 3) How can we be sure that Vayigash is the key word? Because it contrasts with another verse, many chapters, and many years, earlier. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. (37: 18) Right at the beginning of the story, when Joseph was sent by his father to see how the brothers were doing, tending the sheep, they saw him from far away, from a distance. Imagine the scene. They can't see his face. All they can see is the richly ornamented cloak, the "coat of many colors," that so upsets them because it constantly reminds them that it is he not they whom their father loves. From far away, we don't see people as human beings, and when we stop seeing people as human beings, and they become instead symbols, objects of envy or hate, people can do bad things to one another. The whole tragedy of Joseph and his brothers was distance. They were too far apart in every way. Which is why it was only when Judah came close to Joseph Vayigash - that the coldness between them thawed, and they became brothers, not strangers to one another. Too much distance and we freeze. But if we get too close we can injure one another. That was the story of Jacob and Esau. Think about it. Jacob bought Esau's


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Friday Dec. 13th Fast 10th of Tevet Shacharit: 6:20/7:45 am Fast begins 5:42 am Ends:5:06 pm Mincha

For perhaps the first time in his life, Judah came close to his brother Joseph. The 4:15 pm irony is, of course,

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Shaabbat Announcements Parshat Vayigash 5774

birthright. He stole his blessing. He wore Esau's clothes. He borrowed his identity. Even when they were born, Jacob was clutching Esau's heel. It was only when there was a distance between them the 22 years in which Jacob was away from home, with Lavan - that the relationship healed, so that when they met again, despite Jacob's fears, Esau embraced and kissed him and treated him like a brother and a friend. Too close and we hurt one another. Too distant and we freeze. How then do we make and sustain relationships if the balance is so fine and it is so easy to get it wrong? The Torah's answer - already there in the first chapter of the Torah - is, first separate, then join. The verb lehavdil, "to separate," appears five times in the first chapter of Bereishit. God separates light from darkness, the upper and lower waters, sea and dry land. Separation is at the heart of Jewish law - between holy and profane, pure and impure, permitted and forbidden. In Judaism kadosh, holy, means separation. To sanctify is to separate. Why? Because when we separate, we create order. We defeat chaos. We give everything and everyone their space. I am I and not you. You are you and not I. Once we respect our difference and distance, then we can join without doing damage to one another.

Great Neck Synagogue   presents a series of conversations with   GNS Yoetzet Halacha Dena Block  The most beautiful symbol of the problem and its   resolution is the ceremony of havdalah at the end "Everything You Wanted to Know About   of Shabbat and especially the havdalah candle. The Taharat Hamishpacha,But Were Afraid to Ask..."  wicks are separate but the flame they make is   joined. So it is between husband and wife. So it is First Conversation  between parent and child. And so it is, or should From   Bride  to Baby & Beyond:  be, between brothers. Distance damaged the Frequently   Asked   Questions  for All Ages & Stages  relationship between Judah and Joseph. Vayigash Have a question? Women are invited to pre‐submit  Judah's act of drawing close - restored it. questions or concerns by emailing   or call Dena Block at 516 320‐9818. Emails and calls are  always confidential.  Great Neck Synagogue   Shabbat Activities Program Tuesday, December 17, 2013  26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023 8 p.m.  Dale Polakoff, Rabbi at the home of   Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi Davida  Yehaskel  Dr. Ephraim Wolf ,z”l, Rabbi Emeritus 9   Willow   Lane,  Great Neck  Zeev Kron, Cantor Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus   Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director Please mark your calendar for future conversations:  Zehava & Dr. Michael Atlas, Youth Directors Tuesday, January 7 and                                                    Mark Twersky, Executive Director Rabbi Avraham Bronstein, Program Director Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 8 p.m.  Dr. Scott Danoff, President   Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board   Dena Block, Yoetzet Halacha 516-320-9818

LAST CHANCE TO RESERVE  Shabbat Dinner & Guest Speaker series  Presents 



Great Neck Synagogue is currently     solic‐ iting nominees to be considered for the  $36/adult ‐$24/teen‐$10/child‐$125/Family max   David and Ellie Werber Chesed Award. This  Reservations required  is an award presented to a child/teenager  from our community who performs chesed  Sponsorships available  See Rabbi Avraham Bronstein                            in a notable way.    for details.   Please email Mark Twersky    ( with the name of  ***  your nominee (can be a child/teenager that    you know from our   Shabbat Dinner:  community, or even your own child/ “Battling in American Courts for Israel”   teenager), and a brief description of why    you think he or she is deserving of this  award.   Following Services Shabbat Morning:      "Would You Hire Judah As Your                                    All nominees will be considered by the                   Defense Counsel?"  committee, and all submissions are     confidential. 

Nathan Lewin, Esq. 

Friday evening December 6, 2013 

Seudah Shlishit:  

“Battling in American Courts for Jewish                   Religious Rights”    
GNS ANNUAL DINNER RAFFLES FOR SALE GNS ANNUAL DINNER An iMac computer Our 62nd Annual Dinner will take place on - An “Apple Combo” package of an iPad Saturday evening, Dec.14, 2013. and Apple TV Our Guests of Honor will be: - The newly-released Playstation 4 - VIP tickets to WhiskyFest 2014 Dina & Natan Hamerman - A stunning Topaz and Diamond necklace Judith & Jerrald Weinstein -A huge flat screen TV and Boneh Habayit: Zachary Mittleman It's easy to buy tickets and you can enter

DEADLINE FOR ADS was Monday,                    There will be a supplement. Reservations still available.

even if you can't come to the December 14 dinner. To buy, just click on the link below:

GNS ANNUAL DINNER Our 62nd Annual Dinner will take place on Saturday evening, Dec.14, 2013. Our Guests of Honor will be: Dina & Natan Hamerman Judith & Jerrald Weinstein and Boneh Habayit: Zachary Mittleman DEADLINE FOR ADS was Monday, There will be a supplement GNS ANNUAL DINNER RAFFLES FOR SALE Raffle tickets are on sale on our website Within Our Family

Mazal Tov to Roslyn and Zachary Dicker on the occasion of the Bar Mitzvah of their grandson Yehuda Dicker son of Adam Dicker and Carolyn Hochstadter Dicker, of Marion Station, Pa.
DOS YIDDISH VORT Takes up DIE EBBIGE MILCHUMAH-MENNER UN FROYEN at its meeting on Wednesday, December 11 at 1:30 in the Chalfin Room. Come and join in the discussion. For info: Roz Wagner 487-9795. WINTER CLOTHING Chairperson needed for the December Chesed Collection of winter clothing. EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS At the beginning of each week the information contained in the weekly Shabbat Announcements is emailed to our membership. Attached to that email is the pdf copy of the Shabbat Announcements, as well as any relevant flyers for that week. Additionally, each day a Daily Email Digest is sent out from our shul highlighting important events and announcements. We do not want to bombard you with emails from GNS, so we only send out one per day unless there are extraordinary circumstances. If you want to know what’s going on at GNS and in our community, these daily emails are a good source of information. If you have not been getting these emails, it could be because we don’t have a correct email address for you, so please email Mark at and he will make sure that you are added to the list. Thanks.

HASHKAMA MINYAN Kiddush is sponsored by Netta & Gabriel Jansenson in honor of their new daughter Shira.

SISTERHOOD UPCOMING EVENTS Next Wednesday, Dec 11th, at 8 PM, the Sisterhood presents Pam Bilfeld, CEO Cutting Edge Nutrition and Health, who will give us a talk about how to get and maintain fantastic energy throughout the day. We're all busy and tired, so I'm sure this event will be useful to all of us! See you there!

MEN'S CLUB UPCOMING EVENTS TUES. Jan 21, 8pm: The next event in our Medical Forum series features a PLASTIC SURGEON, Dr Arnold Breitbart. He will educate and inform you on many aspects of Plastic Surgery, from Tummy-tucks and Breast reconstructions to Facelifts and Rhinoplasty. Details to follow.

In The Community

DEAR GNS HUNGER INITIATIVE Thank you for affording me the privilege of being a volunteer at today's beautiful Thanksgiving-Chanukah celebration at Arrandale Senior Citizens Residence. I was deeply touched by the spirit of giving and sharing of so many volunteers from Great Neck Synagogue. It re-enforced for me the meaning of the word "mitzvah". I am grateful for having been a small part of this beautiful day with so many wonderful elderly people of all races, religions and color It was the combination of Americanism and Yiddishkeit which touched my heart. God bless all the volunteers for their dedication, devotion, love, warmth and caring. Please God, next year I will be 82 and hope to be privileged to volunteer once again. Many heartfelt thanks. Rabbi Esor Ben-Sorek

SNOW BIRDS Please let us know when you are going south.


MASTER CHEF COMPETITION Our 1st ever Adult Master Chef Competition will be Saturday night, Feb. 1st. We are looking for interested parties to captain teams of 6 each. Please contact Rabbi Lichter at if you are interested.

Saturday, 4 Tevet Paul Brody for Miriam Weiner Chaya Gilad for Naftali Freeman Baruch Toledano for Jamila Toledano Paul Weinberg for Louis Tabachnick Sunday, 5 Tevet Deena Heisler for Samuel Jacob Wachsberg Albert Miller for Molly Miller Monday, 6 Tevet Susan Goldman for Ilana Pachinsky Stewart Kaplan for David Kaplan Randi Luxenberg for Evelyn Beeber Elaine Wolf for Rebecca Miller Tuesday, 7 Tevet Nadine Eckstein for William Engel Ronald Malen for Gladys Noveck Elana Roshan for Yousef ben Asher Wednesday, 8 Tevet Barbara Shaw for Gussie Schwartz Ellen Siegel for Blanche Givner Thursday 9 Tevet Mervin Verbit for Meyer Leo Verbit Friday, 10 Tevet Nathan Rosenblatt for Seymour Rosenblatt Rafael Yehoshua for Tikvah Yehoshua

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