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Friday, July 02, 2010

Korban Credits

This week Rabbi Schwartz wrote a beautiful article about Eretz Yisroel. It wasn’t the new and beautiful concepts he mentioned that made it special, it was the fact that he is actually moving to Eretz Yisrael next week.
Similarly, when the Benos Tzlafchad’s had their conversation with Moshe they were nowhere close to land of Israel. They weren’t satisfied that their husbands and uncles and cousins would eventually have land t share with them. The Benos Tzelafchad wanted their own personal stake in Eretz yisroel. Hashem agreed.
The Gemara tells the story of Elazar Ze’ira who was walking through the streets with black straps on his sandals. He was arrested by the Jewish police and thrown into jail as a fraud. “Chashiv At L’isabulai al Yerushalyim?” – “Do you think that you are distinguished enough to be mourning for Jerusalem”? Reb Eliezer reluctantly revealed his Torah wisdom and was allowed to go free.
We have trouble mourning for Jerusalem because we don’t really have a concept of what we are missing. It has been a very long time and our collective memory is short. Our lack of appreciation for Jerusalem prevents us from yearning for it’s rebuilding and it is the attitude that led us to lose Jerusalem to begin with.
There were two Daily sacrifices in the Beis Hamikdosh. The Afternoon Tamid would atone for all sins done during the day and the Morning Tamid would atone for all sins that occurred overnight. One would thing that we were immune to punishment. How then could the Jewish people ever aggregate enough sins to deserve the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh and exile? The Leshem explains that we were exiled for only one sin: our reliance on the Tamid. Rather than use the Beis Hamikdosh as a tool for coming closer to G-d, we relied on our Korban Credits and continued to follow a path that led away from G-d.
A beggar in Jerusalem once asked me about the shuls in America. He wanted to know when we open our doors, what kind of seats we have, whether we have a mikva, and whether we serve coffee. Basically, he wanted to come to America and live in a shul. Shuls are a great place to sleep, chap a shmooze, and get kosher food, but when we think of shul we should be focusing on our relationship with Hashem. The shul is just a miniature Beis Hamikdosh.
We need to learn more about Yerushalayim and more about the Beis Hamikdosh so that, like Reb Eliezer, we can be Chashuv enough to mourn.

Posted on 07/02 at 08:33 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Sender Haber

Rabbi Sender Haber is the Rabbi of the B'nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk, VA. He is well known throughout Hampton Roads, having arrived over twelve years ago as one of the original four members of the Norfolk Area Community Kollel. In that capacity, Rabbi Haber was involved in community wide programming, teaching, and outreach. He has inspired many Jews to expand their Jewish identity and increase their love of Torah and commitment to its observance. Everyone who knows Rabbi Haber is touched by his breadth of Torah knowledge and his ability to convey the wisdom of the ages in such a way as to make those esoteric writings accessible to persons of all levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Haber has served in a number of capacities during his years in Norfolk. Since 2003 Rabbi Haber has been a teacher of Jewish Studies at Toras Chaim Day School in Portsmouth, teaching boys and girls of all ages, with a focus on Gemara, Halacha, and Chumash. He has also taught at Yeshivas Aish Kodesh and Bina High School in Norfolk, and served as Assistant Rabbi of B’nai Israel for 6 years. He also serves as the Rabbi of the “Lost Tribe,” Tidewater’s Jewish Motorcycle group! While handling all of these responsibilities, he has continued to participate in numerous Chavrusos (one-on-one learning partnerships) covering a wide range of topics and writings.

Rabbi Haber and his wife Chamie have been married for thirteen years. They have four children, Minna (9), Moshe (6), Ely (4), and Akiva Meir, born in August of 2012. They both come from rabbinic families steeped in Torah, Kiruv and Chesed. Rabbi Haber received his Rabbinic Ordination (Yoreh Yoreh) from Rabbi Sender Rosenbloom and Rabbi Mordechai Freidlander of the Jerusalem Beth Din. He was awarded a Teaching Certificate by Torah Umesorah Association for Jewish Day Schools in 2004 and again in 2009. In addition, Rabbi Haber has spent over a decade studying Talmud, Jewish Law, and ethics in some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos including Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ and Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted through the Synagogue office at 757-627-7358, or through e-mail at