Rabbi Fabián Werbin

Impatience- The oyster

As our country and the world are moving toward “reopening” I wanted to share the following reflection.
According to the Chassidic interpretation, the three greatest sins of humanity involved impatience.

• First, Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge that was forbidden to them. They were created on the sixth day; had they waited, that incredible fruit would have been available for them to delight on Shabbat according to one Kabbalistic explanation.

• The second sin was the golden calf. Moses was six hours late descending Mount Sinai and in that short time, the Jews decided to build, worship and dance around a statue.

• The third great sin involved the story of King David and Bathsheva. According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 107A) Batsheva was destined to David from the time of creation but he didn’t wait the right time to marry her. Instead of waiting, David sent Batsheva’s husband to the battlefront so he would be killed and took Batsheva as his wife. Continue reading →

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Who screamed BINGO?

American author Louise L. Hay (1926-2017) wrote “Life is a lottery that we’ve already won. But most people have not cashed in their tickets.”

It is powerful to notice that in the main two readings of Yom Kippur the word lottery is present. The high priest “raffled” which goat will be sacrificed to God and which goat will be sent to the desert. In the book of

Jonah, the sailors cast lots to confirm who was responsible for the storm.
With this spirit of forgiveness, I want to invite you to play a community game of Bingo. We know that gambling games and houses of worship should not “hold hands and “walk together.” But, in this case, we want to connect with you in a different way.

Continue reading →

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Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut

This is the fifth week of the month and allows for another outside blog. This week the blog is written by Tal Greenberg.

Tal Greenberg has been Beth El’s shlicha since August 2018. Following the stay-at-home order and closing of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, she returned to Israel.

I arrived in Israel six weeks ago. For the first two weeks, I was in complete quarantine, not going out at all, not even throwing the trash away. Two weeks later, feeling well and not infected with the coronavirus, I was finally able to go home and hug my family, after eight months of being apart. Shortly thereafter, I spent the first night of Passover with my immediate family, just six of us, in front of the computer screen, with 100 more family members from five different countries, together remotely. Continue reading →

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For some mysterious reason, this year, the Yachatz, the fourth step of the Seder, has caught my attention more than in previous years.
My sermon, tomorrow morning, will be focused on one aspect of that step.
I also shared on Facebook that I believe this year we should have partitioned the middle matzah in the Seder as even as possible, symbolizing that we need to be mindful of others and make sure we all have our needs covered on this pandemic time.

Continue reading →

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Your last name

Turn on the television, read the newspaper or go to just about any web site. You can’t escape Cononavirus coverage even if you want to. I’m well aware of the virus and its global (not to mention, local) impact. Before getting to my main point, I do want to address that as we face global challenges, individuals in our community are struggling. The anxiety associated with these changes is not easy to manage. Rabbi Harris, Chazzan Fradkin and I stand with you and we are available to help address your needs.

In an attempt to address a different topic that is also front-of-mind, I want to share a message that may help you connect with your families in these unprecedented times.

We all have last names. The use of last names varies according different cultures. Some claim that their culture has been using last names for more than 1200 years. Continue reading →

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The flu season this year has been a tough one. In addition to that, the coronavirus is making headlines and worrying all of us. I decided this week to share with you a different approach to one aspect of these viruses that I hope will make you think.

All of us sneeze – and so do some animals. A mysterious and fascinating thing happens when we sneeze: we close our eyes. Nobody can sneeze without closing their eyes.

Many people have automatically say “bless you” or “gesundheit” when someone sneezes. In Hebrew the term we use is “libriut” לבריאות (good health).

The custom of wishing someone well after they sneeze probably originated thousands of years ago. Continue reading →

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The cow doesn’t give milk

The cow doesn’t give milk.

Both of my grandfathers Z”L were cowboys. The lived in a small town in the rural Argentina called Moises Ville. They spent most of their lives riding horses, taking care of their cattle and working hard. Their hands were not smooth at all and I think that as I grow older, I appreciate their rough hands more and more.

The cow doesn’t give milk. I learned this lesson from my beloved Jewish cowboy grandparents and from my parents as well.

Yes, this is not what you may have learned when you were younger but it is the truth. The cow doesn’t give milk. You need to milk it. In order to milk it, you need to wake up very early, walk through a field, usually filled with excrement, tie the cow’s tail and its legs, sit down on a low stool, place the bucket in the appropriate spot, and then do the right movements (because you do not know how to do it, it takes longer, much longer). Continue reading →

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Lost ten days

Imagine that the highest religious authority in the world (Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Chief Israeli Rabbi?) announces tomorrow that ten days of the 2020 calendar will be wiped out. Instead of having 365 days, we’d only have 355. Think about the turmoil this would create… Instagram, Facebook and Twitter would buzz; traders at the stock market wouldn’t know what to do; conspiracy theories and governments would point fingers accusing each other. Don’t even mention physicists and astronomers. It would be chaos!

Whatever you imagine, this scenario is not new for human beings. It already happened in history.
In the year 1582, the world changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, the one we use today. Continue reading →

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A new Iphone or my first tefillin?

The conversations and interactions we have throughout Beth El are often fascinating and thought-provoking.

Some weeks ago during my Wednesday morning Torah class, we talked about the price of tefillin and why they are so expensive. I took advantage of the conversation to spend some time learning about tefillin. I explained briefly the rabbinical approach and gave my spiel about how the tefillin are the connectors with God. Like small “walkie talkie” devices they “connect and carry” our

prayers to God.

I showed the class my old tefillin; I opened them and showed the inside, the compartments, the tendons used to sew, the parchments and the different types of tefillin.

Then I posed my class a question: “Why do we question the price of tefillin that we will use for a life-time but have no problem spending lots of money on a mobile phone that will be good for one or two years until a new operating system will make them slow?”

Continue reading →

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All of them

There are books that can make a great impact on people. I read one such book some years ago –Like Dreamers by Yossi Klein Halevi.

In the book, the author describes the lives of several paratroopers who liberated Jerusalem in the Six Day War. The book focuses on their lives after that milestone event in Israel’s history. According to the author, they reunited Jerusalem and divided a nation.

I want to share with you a short story the author highlights in the book that I believe is a beautiful message, especially at this time of year.

Continue reading →

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