פרשת ויגש

Shabbat Parshat Vayigash

7th of Tevet, 5780

January 3rd-4th, 2020

Candle lighting: 4:21 PM     Havdalah: 5:23 PM

10th of Tevet - Tuesday, January 7th
Fast begins: 6:08 AM

Fast ends:   5:25 PM

What Is Commemorated on Asara b'Tevet?
The three events:
  • 8th of Tevet: the event with Ptolemy who forced the 70 chachamim to translate the Torah
  • 9th of Tevet: Ezra and Nechemia had died. 
  • 10th of Tevet: Siege around Yerushalayim

The tenth of Tevet is considered such a significant day for fasting and teshuva that even if it were to fall out on Shabbat, one would not push off the fast and the fast day would take place on Shabbat.  Since the establishment of the calendar, the 10th of Tevet can not occur on Shabbat.

The Beit Yosef in Orach Chaim, 550, quoting the Abudaraham, mentions that were Asara B'Tevet to fall out on Shabbat, one would fast.  The reasoning is due to the actual date that is mentioned in Ezekiel:  24:1-2.  It also appears in Jeremiah 52:6-7.
The Shulchan Aruch's final ruling, however, is that, as with all the 4 minor fasts, one would not fast on Shabbat.
 However, when the 10th of Tevet occurs on a on Friday, the 10th of Tevet is not postponed.  

Some have made this the general Memorial Day for those who perished during the Shoah and  Kaddish is recited. 

May the 10th of Tevet be a day involving 
Teshuva, Tefilah and Tzedakah 


After a series of shiurim and, as a result, an overwhelming communal interest, we are pleased to announce that participation for women during Tefilah will now expand. 
Women, as well as men, will now be called to the Torah for aliyot and will now participate in reading from the Torah. 

We look forward to your collective attendance and participation!
If you would like to read from the Torah on any given Shabbat, please contact Rosh Kehilah Najman directly at: 

The Kehilah will be meeting roughly every other week from January through June at the Society for Ethical Culture.
Below is a calendar of dates for the first half of 2020 when the Kehilah will be meeting: 

  • January 11
  • January 25
  • February 8
  • February 22
  • March 14
  • March 28
  • April 25
  • May 9
  • May 30
  • June 13
  • June 20
  • June 27

Please mark your calendars and join us early and often!

Finally, we also ask that you to consider renewing your membership for 2020 soon. 
Now more than ever we need your support.
In addition to our basic membership of $500, we are introducing a new Chai Membership of $1,800
If you believe in the mission of the Kehilah, if you are excited about the dynamic programming changes, we encourage you to support us. 

Thank you for your generous past support and we look forward to seeing you next on Shabbat January 11, 2020!

Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman
President Jonathan Konovitch


When anti-Semitism strikes our community, we stand up and stand together.

Please join The Kehilah of Riverdale as we gather with UJA-Federation, JCRC-NY, ADL-NY, AJC-NY, the New York Board of Rabbis, and people from all around the New York metropolitan area in a solidarity march this coming Sunday, January 5 at 11:00 AM. 

This march is for all New Yorkers who want to take a stand against anti-Semitism, both Jews and non-Jews. 

The 1.5 million Jews of our great city and region will not stand down.

We will not be intimidated.

We invite New Yorkers of every background to stand with us and say no to hate and no to fear.

Meet at Foley Square at 11:00 am

We will march across the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza

#JewishandProud #StandTogether



Subways to Foley Square:
1, 2, 3, A, C, J, or Z trains to Chambers Street
4, 5, 6, R, or W trains to City Hall

Once downtown:
March participants should arrive at Foley Square via the North side, at the intersection of Worth Street and Lafayette Street (also known as Federal Plaza).
Marchers who arrive via subway south of Foley Square must walk up Broadway or Centre Street until Worth Street, then proceed toward the intersection of Worth and Lafayette.

If your group is chartering a bus:
Drop off as close as possible to the intersection of Broadway and Worth Street. Marchers should proceed to Worth Street and then turn onto Lafayette Street (Federal Plaza).
Pick up after the rally from the Cadman Plaza West, between Tillary and Middagh Streets.



Let us march and stand together -
Proud, United and Strong.



January 11

January 25

February 8

February 22

March 7 (Shabbat Zachor)

March 9 (Purim Night)

March 28

April 4 (Shabbat HaGadol Luncheon)

April 25

May 9

May 28th-29th (Tikkun Leil Shavuot)

May 30 (Shabbat/Shavuot)

June 13

June 20

June 27


Wishes a Happy Birthday to...

Jeff Douglas
January 3rd

Ariel Groveman Weiner
January 4th

Esther Zimet
January 4th

Ruth Licht
January 10th

We wish them good health, fulfillment and joy,
ad me'ah v'esrim shana

Have a birthday, anniversary, mazal tov, announcement...let us know!!!
Sunday-Thursday night
7:00 - 10:00pm

Friday night   
40 minutes after candle lighting.
No appointment necessary

Saturday night 
7:00 - 10:00pm

Keilim Mikveh open during daylight hours only
An Environmental Message

Single or Double?

If you have single-pane windows, consider installing storm windows or replacing them with windows that qualify for the tax credit for home efficiency upgrades. Make sure to select windows suited for your climate and home by looking for a low U-factor in the north and low SHGC in the south.


A Short Vort for Shabbos:
Parshat Vayigash

In Parashat Vayigash, after Yosef reveals his identity to his brothers, he instructs them to return to Canaan and bring Yaakov, his father, to Egypt.  Since Yosef had risen to the esteemed position of viceroy in Egypt, he was in a position to support Yaakov and his entire family during the remainder of the famine years. 
Before the brothers leave, Yosef instructs his brothers to not divert their attention away from the path of where they are going:


וַיְשַׁלַּח אֶת-אֶחָיו, וַיֵּלֵכוּ; וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, אַל-תִּרְגְּזוּ בַּדָּרֶךְ.

This phrase "al tirg'zu baDerekh" is a difficult phrase with many different interpretations. 

Rashi raises two Midrashic interpretations:  
He begins with the Gemara in Makekhet Taanit (10b), explaining that Yosef is cautioning the brothers not to engage in complex halakhic discussions or debate during their travel.  In this way, they would not get side tracked and lose their way.
The second opinion in the Gemara explains that Yosef gave his brothers advice:  Travel patiently and make sure to stop over for rest before nightfall.

Yet, along with Chazal's perspectives, Rashi decides to offer his own explanation.  Rashi suggests that this statement should be placed within the context of what just occured moments earlier.  Yosef's brothers just found out about their brother being alive.  The same brother who they sold twenty two years earlier into slavery.  Perhaps, Yosef wanted to warn his brothers to make sure not to speak about the event of the sale of Yosef.  He was concerned that the brothers, feeling humiliation and regret after now speaking face to face with Yosef - the very same brother they planned to rid themselves of, would now start re-hashing that very event.  As the brothers make their way back to Chevron, these feelings of guilt and shame may cause the beginnings of pointing fingers who is to blame in addition to deep regret. Focusing on that episode may cause further strife or self belittling.  Yosef's advice is:  Don't speak about this matter at all.  Yosef urges the brothers to let the past rest.  The Teshuva they demonstrated will stand and they should not harbor resentment  towards one another or continue to bear the guilt of their wrongdoings.
This, of course, is easier said than done.  Perhaps this is one reason why Yosef is considered a Tzadik by Chazal.  A tzaddik is truly able to move forward and allow those who have wronged him to do teshuva and start a new.  Understandably, it is not always possible to forgive.  Yet, when a person engages in teshuva and the parties make room for forgiveness, like we ask Hashem when we engage in Teshuva - is the slate really clean?  It is one thing to bring oneself to forgive.  But, it is another to put those words into action. This articulation that Yosef would like his brothers to recognize that they have truly been forgiven will serve Yosef well for the future nation of Am Yisrael. Moreover, individually, it will enable Yosef to restore what he was missing in his life - his connection to his family: His Brothers.  This time, the relationship will be stronger.  This is not only a reinstatement of a family, but, through Yosef's forgiveness and request for the brothers to forgive themselves, we witness an actual birth of a family unit.  One that will be able to graduate to the next stage of forming the nation - the Am, which will become Am Yisrael.

This pasuk perhaps teaches us a simple lesson in the area of interpersonal relations: To allow oneself to be able to let go of hurtful events of the past.  More often than not, friends, siblings, spouses, and parents-children who have fought in the past and have since rehabilitated their relationship are best advised to find a way to move forward and set their sights on the future, rather than dwelling on the painful experiences of the past.
When there is rupture in our interpersonal relationships, may we merit to have the strength to restore Shalom Bayit within our homes,  find harmony and reconciliation among our friends and peace between each other within our community and create the space to move forward after there is repair.

Shabbat Shalom.

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