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The Rabbi's Desk

03/15/2019 12:07:02 PM


My Derasha this Shabbat, Parshat Vayikra Shabbat Zachor
will be delivered in the Straus Main Sanctuary. Topic:

Normalized Hatred
from Haman to Today

Following services, my daughter Ayelet will speak and make a Siyum in honor of her Bat Mitzvah.
All are invited to attend and join us for Kiddush.

Inside: (no longer linked, please scroll down)
•  Matanot L'Evyonim
•  My Derasha from this past Shabbat 
•  Reaching Out to Muslim Clergy
•  For This, Hashem Made the Internet: Liturgical Purim Parodies


Matanot L'Evyonim
Haman observed the disunity of the Jewish people of his time. He described us to Achashveirosh as “a nation spread out and divided”. Our Rabbis see this as one of the primary spiritual weaknesses that left us vulnerable to the wicked aggression of Haman. This is why the Mitzvot of Purim are meant to strengthen our connections between one another and combat disunity. The optimal way to hear the Megilah is all together in shul, not in private homes (unless one is infirm), to counter Haman’s accusation and publicize the miracle to as great a number of people as possible. We join together in festive meals and add to each other’s enjoyment with Mishloach Manot. Most importantly, though, is the Mitzvah of Matanot l’Evyonim which not only supports those who lack but strengthens our bonds with those less fortunate as well. To fulfill your mitzvah of Matanot l’Evyonim please click here to make a donation online to our Charity Fund or bring a check to the shul office made out to Ahavath Torah Charity Fund and marked ‘Purim’ in the memo. Matanot l’Evyonim will be distributed on Purim day to those struggling with financial hardships locally and in Israel.


My Derasha from this past Shabbat
in the Straus Main Sanctuary

Paradise Found


Reaching Out to Muslim Clergy

I am honored to be a member of the clergy group of Mayor Michael Wildes' new Cultural Affairs Committee. This has presented me with the wonderful opportunity to get to know better the leadership of the other faith communities in Englewood. In particular, I was privileged to meet Br. Sultan Karamali who has been a religious leader in the Muslim community in this area for many decades. I sent him a brief note this morning expressing my thoughts following the horrific terrorist attack in New Zealand which claimed the lives of 49 innocent people of the Islamic faith.

Dear Br. Sultan Karamali,

I was horrified and heartbroken to learn of the vicious attacks on the two mosques in New Zealand. As a member of the clergy, I am sickened that those children of God who were murdered were struck down while engaged in worship. I am reaching out to you in a spirit of brotherhood to express my solidarity with you and all those of the Muslim community. Standing together I know we can communicate God's true message of love and understanding, appreciating how each community is different and deserving of respect.

May God comfort the bereaved and provide healing to those injured. I look forward to having the opportunity to speak with you and discussing ways to honor the memories of the victims and delivering a message of peace and hope to our communities.

Please accept this note on behalf of myself, my family, and my entire congregation.

Chaim Poupko

Senior Rabbi, Congregation Ahavath Torah of Englewood, NJ

For This, Hashem Made the Internet: Purim Liturgy

Thanks to the Internet (and by extension, Hashem), one can find some wildly creative Purim versions of well-known tefilot. Indeed, there is a whole literary genre of Purim parody compositions. Here are just a few...

A Purim Version of Aanim Zemirot entitled Aanim Zemorot (get it?) by Elli Schorr. More info can be found about it and the author here.

Purim Versions of Aishet Chayil and Kol Mekadesh Shevi'i (as well as other parts of Friday night zemirot) that were transcribed into an online forum from a book called Sefer Zemirat Tziyon.

A very old piyut (liturgical poem) about Purim which scholars debate whether it is paroday or an actual piyut to be recited.

And of course there are many Purim Kiddushes that have been composed over the years. Here's one version.




Mon, December 6 2021 2 Tevet 5782