The Jerusalem Kollel

The Jerusalem Kollel Newsletter
December 28, 2005

Feature - Chanukah:
(Based on the shiur of Rabbi Berkovits)

When we think of the Chashmonayim, the Maccabes, we imagine Mesirsas Nefesh- the ultimate dedication to an ideal for which one will give up his very life. They put themselves and their families at risk for the sake of Torah and Mitzvos. During Chanukah, our thoughts may turn to ourselves: what, if anything, would we be willing to put at such great risk?

Before any leader of Israel is designated, Hashem tests him to bring out any prerequisite traits. When Moshe had reached a point of his life where he was fitting for prophesy, after honing all aspects of his personality to be deserving of Divine Speech, Hashem had one more test…. a lamb runs away from the flock. Moshe chases after it and realizes it must be thirsty to have run away. He gives it water and carries it back in his own arms. Only then does Hashem appear to him and bid him to redeem the children of Israel. After all his growth, this simple act was the final test.

When a potential convert approaches Judaism, we instruct him or her of both the “serious” laws and the “light” laws. The candidate is informed of the cardinal sins and the daily rituals to which we give little thought. What we must convey is that only through a complete dedication to even the “minor” daily aspects of Judaism can one fulfill his task.

We as a people have ingrained in us an absolute dedication to our faith and there is certainly no shortage of martyr stories. The true test of ones sincerity is the little things.

It is much easier to make great commitments to our religion then to harness our anger in a moment of frustration. Why can we get so grumpy when our spouse asks for a favor? Most people have high aspirations of who they would like to be. Do we feel that we are stuck doing menial tasks instead of reaching our big and holy goals? When we look at our role models, how do we envision them when it comes to the “little things”? What makes a person great? We can be ever so preoccupied with our grandiose goals but not notice that half the day goes by in gossip. If we don’t pass the little tests that come our way every day, what light does that shine on the rest of our actions?

What any homemaker does is the battleground for greatness. The home is a constant test ground to overcome our flaws and grow. Life presents unending opportunities for growth, but most of these opportunities are trampled and overlooked.

Let us take this away from Chanukah. Let us seize every small challenge as a chance to grow. Let our dedication manifest itself in the little things.

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Field Update:
Until not very long ago, a small congregation in South West Texas had organized prayers but once a week on Shabbos. Real or informative classes were rare. Then a much-needed Rabbi came to town.

Rabbi Gideon Moskovitz left The Jerusalem Kollel this summer to lead the Meyerland Minyan in Houston. Since his coming, membership is up from 30 to 70 families in just four short months. A Sunday morning minyan has sprouted which then led to a beginners Talmud class after prayers.

R’ Moskovitz leads the “Beginners Prayer Experience” to familiarize those new to the siddur every other week. His 7 part series titled Judaism 101 draws 20-30 attendees per class. Finally, to increase community awareness he offered a Kashrus Made Easy series.

The new Rabbi has already been called upon to make several kitchens kosher.

The shul currently meets in the local JCC and hopes to move to a fixed location in the very near future. Hopes are high that many newcomers will be attracted.

R’ Gideon’s debut in Texas is just starting and his presence is more than felt. Back in Jerusalem at the Kollel, his absence is surely noticed, having been a leading participant who authored a comprehensive review guide that is widely drawn upon by new students.

Mrs. Moskovitz has taken involvement with a budding Torah school, which in years to come is expected to be at the forefront of Jewish education in Houston.

Most impressive is how his new congregants describe him. They love his wonderful personality and his talent to do to the community what no previous Rabbi has. They consider him a highly organized leader that delivers classes of high impact while reaching out to all levels of observance. “A real diamond”. They find him most approachable and open to criticism, a tribute to his amicable humility.

It was reported that to herald each class he personally phones scores of people to invite them - despite having many most willing volunteers to alleviate this task.

Congratulations to the Moskovits family on the birth of a new son, a Texan of course. The Jerusalem Kollel wishes the Moskovitz family much luck in their most valiant efforts to build the Jewish nation.

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The Jerusalem Kollel bids a hopeful farewell to Rabbi Dovid and Talya Rose. The Rose family has set out to Germany to work for the Beis Medrash of Berlin. Dovid will be teaching and will be acting as the assistant director for the Beis Medash's various programs which includes the Yeshiva, the Kollel and many outreach programs in Berlin and throughout Germany. May they harvest fruit from the ashes.

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