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Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center

A Jewish Community Built on Caring, Prayer and Learning

210-10 Union Turnpike, Hollis Hills, NY 11364
(718) 776-3500

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Weekly Shabbat Message

Shabbat Shoftim

  • Posted on August 28, 2017
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Several weeks ago, when we learned about ‘arei miklat, the cities of refuge, we underscored how important it was to the theology of Biblical Israel to avenge all spilled blood. That makes the final topic covered in this week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, truly fascinating. It’s the ritual of the ‘eglah ‘arufah, which is a response to finding a Continue Reading »

Shabbat Reeh 5777

  • Posted on August 21, 2017
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For the second time already in his farewell discourse, Moshe instructs the people what to do when they inevitably encounter idolatrous shrines upon conquering the Promised Land. On the heels of 7:5, we learn this week in Parshat Reeh: “You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess worshiped their gods…Tear Continue Reading »

Shabbat Devarim 5777

  • Posted on July 28, 2017
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In just a few days, we will commemorate Tish’ah B’Av, a day of mourning for cumulative national trauma. Most notably, we remember the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem. The hurban represents not only the demolition of a building, but of the sovereign society at whose epicenter the Temple stood. But we are here to commemorate it, which means Continue Reading »

Shabbat Mattot-Mas’ei 5777

  • Posted on July 21, 2017
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In the ancient world, the spilling of blood was cause for spilling more blood. That’s why murderers were killed, either executed by the courts in capital punishment, or if they fled, by a relative of the initial victim in an act of blood vengeance. The institution of cities of refuge, ‘arei miklat, is mentioned in a Continue Reading »

Shabbat Balak 5777

  • Posted on July 7, 2017
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One of the Torah’s most entertaining scenes is the confrontation between the prophet Bil’am and his talking ass. Bil’am, a prophet considered to be the gentile prophetic equal to Moshe, Balak, king of Moav, to curse the otherwise unstoppable Israelites. As he rides his long-serving animal up the hill to get a better view of Continue Reading »

Shabbat Hukkat 5777

  • Posted on June 30, 2017
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To his credit, right after getting a pink slip from God, Moshe continues to lead the Israelites. If he can’t get into the Promised Land, he can at least bring them closer. His first action after being told his fate is to send messengers to the King of Edom. After reminding him of what Israel Continue Reading »

Shabbat Korah 5777

  • Posted on June 23, 2017
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When Moshe first hears the accusations of Korah, he has an extreme physical reaction: “He fell on his face” (Numbers 16:4). As the complaints mount up against him and Aharon, God has had enough, and warns the two leaders, “Stand back from this community that I may annihilate them in an instant” (16:21). What is Continue Reading »

Shabbat Shelakh-Lekha 5777

  • Posted on June 19, 2017
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The shootings in Washington this week introduced me to a phrase from American literature that I had never heard before. Bret Stephens quoted it in his New York Times column: it comes from Philip Roth, the great Jewish-American novelist. Roth, in referring to American violence in its many forms, called this phenomenon “the indigenous American Continue Reading »

Shabbat Beha’alotekha 5777

  • Posted on June 12, 2017
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After the idyllic, orderly details that dominate the opening chapters of Sefer Bemidbar, the Book of Numbers, all heck suddenly breaks loose in chapter 11. The Israelites begin to complain about the wilderness menu, and they are stricken by a plague. There’s a leadership crisis, and Moshe expresses abject despair in his ability to continue Continue Reading »

Shabbat Naso 5777

  • Posted on June 2, 2017
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Have you ever felt that living a religious life was a heavy burden on your shoulders? If so, you’re not alone. We all feel that way sometimes. Consider this nearly-concluded week: Tuesday felt like both a Monday (coming out of a weekend) and a Friday (it was erev Yom Tov). Friday feels like a Monday Continue Reading »