I-Give

Hello Friends

Spring is finally here. To celebrate, l-Give will donate $5 per new member supporting The Foundation Stone through May 31. No purchase necessary.  In other words, for free.

All the new to iGive member needs to do is try the free and optional iGive Button through 7/15/15.

Please click on the link below to sign up.

Every member helps fund The Foundation Stone and allows them to continue their amazing work!

http://www.iGive.com/welcome/warmwelcome.cfm?c=71139&m=1033748
Thank You!

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The Flow of Time

Older children, born when their parents were beginning their life and moving around from one job to another, often envy their younger siblings who arrived into a more stable and mature home. The younger siblings envy missing the adventures experienced when the family was still forming and their parents were less established. Those who were present at the beginning often yearn to have been there at the ending. Those who were at the ending yearn for the experiences at the beginning.

We are in middle of the Counting of the Omer, which began on the second night of Pesach and ends on Shavuot. We count each day as an ending; “Today is the twenty- third day to the Omer.” We count what we have already accomplished. Yet, we see each day as bringing us closer to the day we celebrate the Revelation at Sinai. We see each day as a beginning and an ending.

This seems to take us all the way back to the first day of creation, when the verse says, “It was evening and it was morning, day one.” Evening is the end of the day and the beginning of the night. Morning is its mirror image. The first day was both a beginning and an ending.

Perhaps this is why the verse says, “He (Aaron) shall not come at anytime into the Holy,” meaning, he should not enter with any sense of time, beginning or end. We do not pray as if we are at the beginning or at the end of something. We enter the Holy status of prayer beyond time. We do not perform any of the Mitzvot as a beginning or an end, but as part of a constant flow, morning and evening, beyond time. We want to connect with God, Who lives beyond any physical limitations, including time. When we can connect to the flow of time, the first second of creation connecting with every moment until the end of time, we connect with God without limitation.

Hopefully, you recently received an invitation to a series of live Video conference classes on the Book of Ruth. There are still a few seats open, and I invite you to participate in this exciting series. Please note that you must register in order to participate. For quick register, click here. You can see the complete series here.

I wish you a Shabbat that is a morning and an evening, not just the end of one week and the beginning of the next, but a connection to the flow of time that allows us to simultaneously participate in the beginning and the end, and connect to the Eternal.

Thank you & Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg

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The Film Program at Lincoln Square Synagogue

Simcha Weinberg has provided rabbinical services for more than three decades. Prior to establishing The Foundation Stone, Rabbi Simcha Weinberg served congregations in various parts of the United States, including at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City.

New York’s Lincoln Square Synagogue offers a wide range of programs and services to its membership, including special programs focused on Women’s Learning, providing the highest level of Torah study under the guidance of world-renowned woman scholars from Israel and the United States.

Lincoln Square Synagogue has always been a leader in its social action programs reaching out to the poor, lonely, ill, and homebound, and numerous committees providing Jewish perspectives on the environment, poverty, the homeless, and numerous current issues in the news.

The synagogue’s film program has also hosted screenings of SRUGIM, Season Three. The popular Israeli television series involves the trials and tribulations of numerous young professionals living Orthodox lifestyles in modern times. SRUGIM screenings have been shown in their original Hebrew format and language, with English subtitles.

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Responsibilities of a Rabbi

Spreading the teachings of the Torah around the world, Rabbi Simcha Weinberg has visited destinations, including Moscow, San Salvador, Budapest, and Toronto. These travels have been met with opportunities for Rabbi Simcha Weinberg to serve as a guide and advisor for practitioners of Judaism.

By definition, a rabbi is a teacher of Judaism. A rabbi’s main goal is to serve as a guide for individuals practicing the faith. He or she will educate the community by leading spiritual services, such as those over the High Holy Days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, as well as offering the Sabbath sermon. In addition, a rabbi will conduct ceremonies related to life events, like weddings and bar mitzvahs, and serve as a spiritual advisor.

Among the most important responsibilities of a rabbi is interpreting the Torah. The Torah helps individuals carry out their mission of living by God’s word. It encompasses the five books of Moses as well as the Ten Commandments and more than 600 other commandments, also known as mitzvot. A rabbi will use a variety of methods to translate and communicate the scripture to the community, including peshat, remez, drush, and sod. Peshat is the literal interpretation of the Torah. Remez reviews the hints and allusions contained in the text, such as the numerical values of the Hebrew alphabet. Drush, also referred to as midrash, explains the deeper meaning behind words and text. Sod is used to clarify the mystical part of the Torah that incorporates God’s six emotional powers in the creation of words.

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The Foundation Stone

Rabbi Simcha Weinberg created The Foundation Stone. Prior to establishing the organization, Simcha Weinberg spent time as a rabbi in several locations such as St. Louis, Missouri, Saratoga Springs, New York, and Newark, New Jersey.

More than a website, The Foundation Stone is a comprehensive resource for those seeking a deeper meaning in their Jewish faith. By visiting www.TheFoundationStone.org, individuals can become members and register for various learning options. The Foundation Stone’s objective is to generate passion and excitement in the study of Torah. The Foundation Stone gatherings provide members with practical, real-life applications of their commitment to God while also allowing them to develop a more personalized connection to their faith.

Through this combined approach, The Foundation Stone fosters a deep, unwavering connection with God. In order to receive more information about various programs offered currently, e-mail info@thefoundationstone.org.

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The Attraction Of The Mystical

fight“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God Who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” (Galileo, 1615) I agree with Galileo, however, I seem to be in a shrinking minority. I have recently been inundated with stories of chimneys that serve as doorways for demons, lit matches that bring angels, and eggs under the pillow that help people find their future spouse. I’m convinced that there are invisible spiritual forces and beings around us, but I choose to use my “sense, reason, and intellect,” to make my choices. I fear paying attention to these mysterious and unexplainable things lest I fall into the habit of forgoing the use of my mind.

Judaism has practices that are based on the mysterious, but it never asks that we suspend our reason. People are constantly searching for the logical basis of each mystery that has been formalized in Jewish law because we know that the Divine gift of intellect is the most precious and demanding of all.

We translate Kabbalah as Mysticism, although it is the opposite.  Kabbalah seeks to explain the spiritual structure of existence. It is sophisticated and complex, which is quite different from mystical. It is only mystical to those who are unfamiliar with it.

The Hebrew word for world is ‘Olam’, which derives from ‘H’elem’, or ‘Hidden.’ Of course there are all sorts of spiritual realities hidden in our world. Our job and blessing is to discover and reveal that which is hidden. It is not to worship the hidden at the price of the rational. The verse says, “Reishit Chochma Yirat Hashem,” “The beginning of wisdom is awe of God,” which means that we acknowledge there is an area beyond our comprehension, but what comes immediately after the acknowledgement is Chochma, wisdom.

A person approaching the Temple to make an offering has a choice. Will he focus on the mysterious powers of the offering to bring forgiveness and blessing, associating the Temple Service with a different dimension of existence? Or, will he approach the Cohen, in his most important role, as a teacher who will explain the process as part of the structure of life? The first person will not be able to take his Temple experience home with him. The second will have used his offering to continue to transform his life long after he returns home. I choose to be the second person.

We face the same choice before we take our three steps back when we finish prayer: Am I leaving the prayer behind because it is not part of my “real” world, or will I take my prayer experience with me? I choose the latter.

The mystical offers an escape from life. Judaism focuses on Torat Chaim, living this life with passion and meaning. The mystical is a release from our limitations. Judaism guides us in how to overcome them. Mysticism is often a search for the magical, what I call Cheating. Judaism is a demand to be practical. The Mystic celebrates the magical powers of the righteous. The thinker rejoices over their teachings, wisdom and insight.

Hopefully, things will turn out better for me than they did for Galileo, because I’m sticking with him on this one. I invite you to join me.

Favorites:
An Invisible Barrier & Since Adam and Cain I & 2
Last Monday, we started with our new Video conference classes on the Book of Ruth. Although we experienced some “birthing pains” for the first 10 minutes, we received very positive feedback and are trying to make the experience even easier. Please, sign up for class #2. Please note that you must register in order to participate. For quick register, click here. You can see the complete series here.
If you have not yet done so, please take two minutes to complete our Survey.

Thank you & Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg
President
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The Bacterium and The Frenchman

french Bacteria

“On the one hand there is the simplicity, on the other the endless complexity of the process,” writes biologist Maitland Edey about the basic structure of DNA. “It is that magisterial power that commands our attention. Its four molecules are absurdly simple. They are not alive, but they can do things no molecules ever dreamed of… Lo, there emerges a bacterium, a flower, a fish, a Frenchman.” (Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution)

Last week’s portion was a lesson in the magical power of a simple structure to be expressed in numerous forms: The twelve Princes of the Tribes all offered the same structure, the same offering, but each expressed a related but different reality. Aaron envied their role in the consecration of the Altar. He, the Prince of the tribe of Levi, was not invited to participate. God comforted him by saying that his service was greater than theirs because he would prepare and kindle the Menorah.

The twelve offerings of the Princes were the bacterium, so to speak, the less magnificent expression of the spiritual DNA of God’s creation. Aaron’s gift was the Frenchman. Aaron used the same basic formula, but voila! His service was expressed as a Menorah giving light every day for more than a thousand years.

Why were the twelve Princes not envious of Aaron? I suspect that Aaron’s gift was not possible without the more basic work of the Princes, much as the bacterium had to be possible before there could be anything as wonderful as a Frenchman. In fact, the name of the portion, Behaalotecha, means, “As You Develop;” it was a challenge to Aaron to raise up the work of the Princes and transform it into a higher level of existence. It was the same challenge that Moses presented to his father-in-law, Yitro; “now is your opportunity to take all your development to a much higher level.” It was the same challenge that God presented to the Manna Eaters, the Children of Israel: “Are you ready to acknowledge how much you have evolved from the people I took out of Egypt and rise to unimaginable levels?”

Yitro refused the challenge, as did the Manna Eaters. Aaron did not. His Menorah continues to burn in our homes each year on Chanukah.

We, too, are constantly presented with the same challenge: Are we ready to evolve even further? Are we prepared to grow and soar to ever greater heights? Are we satisfied with remaining a bacterium compared to the Frenchman we each can become?

Torah does not only teach; it nurtures. It challenges us. It pushes us to continue to evolve as human beings and as servants of God. It provides us with the opportunity to “do things no molecules, or human beings, ever dreamed of.”

I cannot wait to see how far we will go. Join me.We invite you to join in All For The Best -Part Two: A Fee Webinar in memory of Chana bat Avraham. Register Here. You can hear Part One Here.

Favorites: The Futurist & Finding My Place In Torah.

We are happy to add our newest column Beyond Twelve Gates by Rabbi Zev Smason, and a special series of Words Can Heal by Rabbi Irwin Katsof.
Thank you & Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg
President
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Join Our Mailing List
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The Foundation Stone
www.thefoundationstone.org
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