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Rabbi’s Blog: Messages & Mitzrayim

12/31/2021 01:40:00 PM


Dear OZ family,


There are many messages and lessons that emerge from the entire Yetziat Mitzrayim saga, and one begins early in our Parsha regarding the 10 plagues. Paroah had demonstrated callous disregard for the slaves, and brazen disrespect of God. The story begins to unfold with spectacular acts from Moshe’s staff that will end up despoiling Egypt and ruin their land. The first of these acts was orchestrated to wipe out Egypt’s main water supply while attacking a god they worship. Just as Moshe is about to enact this amazing wonder, he pauses to teach the first message of redemption – Gratitude.


Moshe turns the glory of the moment over to his brother, Aharon. The water which had saved Moshe as an infant did not deserve to be smitten by the one who was saved. In fact the first three plagues were enacted by Aharon, the second, also concerning the Nile, and the third, the ground that protected Moshe when he smote the Egyptian. If Moshe wanted to express gratitude to these inanimate objects, which have no feelings, how much more so, should we express gratitude to those who do have feelings, like people. I want to thank Shlomo Bar Ayal and Ari Hirsch, who remained after the first minyan to assure that the second minyan would be able to say Kaddish this morning. They stayed just long enough until their replacements came, in time for Borchu. Simple kindness warms the heart and fosters phenomenally good will.


The time of year and Covid have made Minyan a bit of a challenge this past week, and I thank all those who stepped up to assure that Minyanim would continue, especially for those who are saying Kaddish. After missing a full week of Minyan, I can attest to the exhilarating feeling of being back with at least 9 others and saying Yehei Shmei Rabbah. Gratitude animates everything we do to commemorate our redemption from Egypt, especially at the Pesach Seder, and the entire story begins with that very theme. Call someone today and say “Thanks”. You’ll make someone feel great and you’ll feel better too.   


Please join me in extending Mazel Tov to Illana & George Lloyd on the birth of a grandson to their children Sari and Reuben in Rochester.


Also, I sent a message out earlier this week about saying Tehillim for Stanley Nachamie. His name is Chaim Shlomo Yehudah ben Hinda Tzivia. He is in the ICU of New York Hospital and only his parents may visit at this time. Good wishes and cards may be sent to him at his home address which is 1175 York Ave. #7D NY NY 10065. All the cards are read to him, so let’s keep sending them. May everyone who needs, have a refuah shleimah.


Stay safe.  Be well. 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