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Rabbi’s Blog - Sept. 27 - Scroll Reversal

09/27/2021 01:27:00 PM


Dear OZ family,


Moadim L’simcha!


There is a Simchas Torah custom of holding up the Sefer backwards for Hagbah, quite a difficult task, since the entire scroll is all to one side. The reason for this custom is stated in a Mishna in Perkei Avot that tells us to turn the Torah around in every possible direction to understand its numerous interpretations and manifold nuances. This is also why the very day that we finish reading the entire Torah in Sefer Devarim, we begin again in Sefer Bereshit.  The last letter of the Torah is a “Lamed”, and the first is a “Bet”. That means that when we start something again, right after completing it, we become attuned to our hearts, in order to evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it. We are literally turning over the Torah with a “Lamed” and a “Bet”, which spells “Lev”, which means heart.

The Gemara (Brachot 10A) says that the best of all the chapters of Tehillim begin and end with the word “Ashrei” meaning happiness (See Tosafot for a qualification of this). The first and last words of the Torah both have the word “Ashrei” embedded within them, with the extra letters that spell “Labat”, which means in the very midst of one’s heart (See Shemot 3:2). As we complete and commence the Torah once again, let us all merit the joy of a happy heart, and may we celebrate many beginnings in good health.


Please join me in wishing Mazel Tov to Ronnie and Andy Schonzeit on the birth of a granddaughter to their children Jeremy and Lauren, and Mazel Tov to Marci and Jerry Litwin on the birth of a granddaughter to their children, Kelsey and Andrew (the baby was born on Jerry’s birthday!). We also extend condolences to Susan Feder and Larry Krule on the passing of Larry’s mother, Sherry Krule. The Levaya is today in Illinois, and the Shiva, which begins after Yom Tov in Buffalo, will continue in Teaneck between Oct. 3-6. Details will follow. In addition please pray for two Israeli soldiers who were recently seriously wounded. Their names are Dovid ben Ilana, and Yishai Shimon ben Sigal.     


Chag Sameach!

Be well.  Be healthy.   Be excellent.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz


Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635





Mon, June 27 2022 28 Sivan 5782