Friday, May 27
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 07:00 pm – Mincha
- 07:52 pm – Candle Lighting
Saturday, May 28
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 08:56 am – Latest Time for Kriat Shema
- 10:15 am – Junior Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 04:45 pm – Ladies’ Class in Brachot (at the Rabinowitz home, 265 Fellsway East)
- 06:30 pm – Men’s Class in Derech Hashem
- 07:25 pm – Mincha
- 07:55 pm – Se’udah Shlishit
- 08:45 pm – Ma’ariv
- 09:01 pm – Shabbat Ends
Week of May 29 – June 3
- 08:00 am – Sunday and Monday (Memorial Day)
- 06:40 am – Thursday
- 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
- 07:55 pm – Monday – Friday
- 08:25 pm – Monday – Thursday
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Weekly Words of Torah
Insights into Parshat Bamidbar by Mr. Eitan Westrich of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
Sefer Bamidbar starts off with Hashem telling Moshe to count Bnei Yisrael. In the second Perek of the Parsha the Torah describes the camps of Bnei Yisrael. Each tribe had a different are around to camp surrounding the Mishkan (Tabernacle). In addition, each tribe had its own flag on which the Torah says had “otot l’beit avotam” (a sign for its household). Why does the Torah use so many pesukim to describe where each tribe camped? Furthermore what is the significance of each tribe having its own flag?
Rashi explains the “signs” of these flags as being a different color for each flag. This way each tribe could recognize their different flags. Rashi adds that the color of each tribe’s flag was the same as the color of its gemstone which was placed on the choshen, the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol. The Ramban however elaborates much more on how these flags appeared. He writes that each tribe had a symbol on its flag of something relevant to the identity of that tribe.
We see in the explanation of the camps of each tribe and specifically the flag of each tribe that Hashem gave the tribes their own identity and individuality. Not only was it significant for the entire nation to be counted and traveling together but to also have the subdivisions of an area to camp for each tribe as well as a unified flag for each tribe. By Hashem going and giving a flag to each tribe He allowed for the people to cling to a smaller group within the nation, and those separate tribes are traveled as one Klal Yisrael.
We see this idea in Rashi’s connecting the color of each flag to the twelve colors of the choshen. Similar to the camps being separate parts of the camping of the nation, so too the choshen was made up of twelve separate stones. Each tribe had one stone to identify with and feel personally connected with. Here we are shown a message of the Torah’s focus not just on the nation but for the individual having something to identify with. The whole idea of a flag, especially a flag depicting a theme of that tribe as the Ramban writes, gives the tribe unit a unified identity. The flag serves to join together each tribe which will allow for the tribes to unify as a stronger Bnei Yisrael.
From here we can learn the significance of communities within the nation at large. Unfortunately, today we are not a people all living side by side, surrounding a house of Hashem. The need of strong communities is especially applicable to our generation as our nation is dispersed amongst the entire world. If we only see significance in connecting to the nation as a whole we may find ourselves as separate individuals. Instead we must strengthen ourselves by those Jews around us, in our communities, connecting and identifying with the Jews in our neighborhoods. Supporting and helping the entire nation is a daunting task on individuals. However if each community is a unified group of members and everyone can reach out to help each other when in need and take chizuk (strengthening) from each other. If our communities are strong and join with other communities, as the twelve individual tribes joined together to serve Hashem, then we too will be zocheh (merit) to dwell surrounding a home of Hashem’s divine spirit bimhaira biyamainu (speedily, in our time).