Friday, December 16
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 03:50 pm – Mincha
- 03:54 pm – Candle lighting
- 08:00 pm – Oneg Shabbat at the home of Lev and Jacqueline Novikov, 226 Clifton Street #2 (knock on the first floor window to the right of the front porch).
Saturday, December 17
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 09:24 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 03:30 pm – Mincha
- 04:00 pm – Se’udah Shlishit
- 04:50 pm – Ma’ariv
- 05:03 pm – Shabbat Ends
December 18 – 23
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Chanukah)
- 06:50 am – Tuesday
- 03:55 pm – Sunday – Friday
- 04:25 pm – Sunday – Thursday
To print this schedule, click here to go directly to the post, and then press ctrl-P (Windows) or cmd-P (Mac) to print it.
Weekly Words of Torah
Serving Hashem with Joy
Insights into Parshat Vayeshev of Mr. Yaakov Abramovitz of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
“Then Yaakov tore his garments and placed sackcloth on his loins; he mourned for his son many days.” (Sefer Bereshit 37:34) “…and his father cried for him” (37:35)
Unaware of the fact that Yosef is still alive, Yaakov Avinu mourns over the loss of his precious son, refusing to be consoled. Rashi on pasuk 35 comments that “father” does not refer to Yaakov, and “him” does not refer to Yosef. Rather, Rashi writes, the pasuk is informing us that Yitzchak Avinu, who was aware that Yosef was not dead, cried because he saw the pain Yaakov was going through.
The Gur Aryeh (Maharal of Prague) explains how Rashi knew that this pasuk refers to Yitzchak crying for Yaakov, as opposed to Yaakov for Yosef. The pasuk’s words “vayev’k oto aviv – and his father cried for him” can also be read “vayev’k ito aviv – and his father cried with him”, in which case the Torah is telling us that whoever was doing the crying in this verse only did it when he was in the presence of “him”.
This must be referring to Yitzchak, who only had a reason to cry when he was with Yaakov who was suffering very much. However once Yitzchak left Yaakov’s house, he no longer had anything to cry about as he knew Yosef was alive and well.
The Chidushei Halev (R’ Henoch Leibowitz zt”l) asks: Why did Yitzchak stop crying once he left Yaakov’s house? If Yitzchak was crying because it hurt him to know that Yaakov was suffering so much, then he should have felt the same empathy for his son even when he wasn’t right next to him! He answers that Yitzchak understood the importance of serving Hashem b’simcha! There are times when a person needs to relate to the pain of others and there are times when a person should not. If a person would constantly be in a state of “feeling for others”, he would never be able to serve Hashem with energy and joy! Therefore, Yitzchak spent fixed amounts of time crying over the agony Yaakov was going through, and during these times Yitzchak completely shared in the immense feelings of anguish. However, Yitzchak also made sure to find time, when he was not in the presence of Yaakov, not to think about this terrible ordeal in order to serve Hashem with happiness.
Although it’s very important to help others when they are sad, by being with them and sharing in their pain, it’s equally important to help ourselves by making sure that we are happy, so that we can serve Hashem properly.
The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 1:3) writes “[Throughout the day,] it is proper for every G-d-fearing person to be upset over the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash”. The Mishna Berurah (sief katan 10) qualifies “However [Limud] Torah and Tefillah should be performed with simcha”.
Serving Hashem without simcha isn’t just an incomplete Avodah; it is considered an averah! In Moshe Rabbeinu’s rebuke to B’nei Yisrael, before his death, he informs them of all the terrible things that would befall them if they “did not serve Hashem, your G-d, amid gladness and goodness of heart…” (Devarim 28:47).
As with anything worthwhile, Avodat Hashem will only function on its highest level with constant care. We need to make sure that our Avodah remains fresh and exciting so that we can carry it out with jubilation! One way for a person to continually remind himself to be excited about his service to Hashem is to say Mizmor L’todah (Tehillim 100) every morning with great concentration. “Serve Hashem with simcha!” (ibid v. 2). The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 51:9) writes “In the future, all songs will be discontinued except for Mizmor L’todah”. This is no doubt due to its importance in day-to-day Avodat Hashem.
As a great Chassidic Master once said, “A dead Avodah will die!”