Videos with Mimi David — April/May 2020

In case you missed them, here are videos to my sessions during April and May:

Part 1 — Preparing for Shavous — Then and Now
Part 2 — Preparing for Shavous — The Little Mountain That Could

Part 1 — Superwoman!   Finding the Eishet Chayil in You
Part 2 — Superwoman!  Finding the Eishet Chayil in You


The Annual Mark Raiffie Memorial Lecture virtually presents Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 7:45 pm

The Annual Mark Raiffie Memorial Lecture invites you to join us virtually as we present Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, noted psychotherapist, speaking on What Should You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do? Rabbi Salomon will share 3 personal stories of difficult dilemmas that he faced, how he came to his decision and how it worked out.

This lecture is sponsored in loving memory of Mark by the Raiffie Family.  Mark Raiffie’s life was cut short, but his smile, charm and love will be with us forever. His dedication to his family and friends will live on as an inspiration to us all.   Meeting ID:  3740953378   Dial in:  13126266799, 3740953378

About Rabbi Salomon 
Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, LCSW, is a noted psychotherapist in private practice in Jackson, NJ for over 35 years. He is the author of five best-selling books published by Artscroll, and is a sought-after lecturer, speaker, and film producer who has appeared everywhere from Harvard to Broadway.


The St. Louis Jewish Speakers Series — Robert Walker video

We hope you enjoy Robert Walker’s video on HOW TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S MINDS ABOUT ISRAEL.  

Co-sponsored by Aish Hatorah of St. Louis and St. Louis Friends of Israel

“A Shul with a Story” — Aish Hatorah St. Louis: Changing the World, One Jew at a Time — by Judy Waldman, The Jewish Press, 23 February 2020

We hope you enjoy this story about Aish St. Louis that was written in memory of Kalman Packouz zt’l.

“While I considered Kalman a dear friend, I think everyone who ever met him probably felt the same way. That’s who Kalman was.  The Jewish Press has 100,000 subscribers. Hopefully our fellow Yidden reading about Kalman will elevate his neshama. Enjoy the article and please do just one more act of chesed today in memory of Kalman Moshe ben Avigdor” — Judy Kalman

Click to read the story, Page 1 and Page 2.


The Rabbi Noah Weinberg Memorial Lecture — Kivi Bernhard video

We hope you enjoy this video of Kivi Bernhard that was taken during The Rabbi Noah Weinberg Memorial Lecture, dedicated by the Axelbaum Family in memory of Jerry Axelbaum a”h.
His topic was Speaking of Jewish! The journeys of living loud and proud as a Jew while keynoting to Fortune 500 corporations across the globe and how they see us.  


Aish Hatorah Low Budget Productions presents Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald’s Yom Kippur Questions

Season 1, Episode 4
“Yom Kippur Questions that I’ve
been pondering”

Aish Hatorah Low Budget Productions Presents Opportunities for Insight & Growth with Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald (3)

Season 1, Episode 3
“Do You Have Questions About the
Rosh Hashanah Service?”

Aish Hatorah Low Budget Productions presents Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald’s Opportunities for Wisdom & Growth

Season 1, Episode 1                                        Season 1, Episode 2
“What We Are Praying For and                   “A Prayer and A Rocket”
Why We Are Addressed”




Shabbat Shalom Weekly

Torah Portion:  Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1 – 4:20)

Iyar 29, 5780


The Guiding Light

The Value of Each Individual
by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen
The Torah Portion begins with a census of the Jewish people. Indeed, counting is such a significant aspect of the Book of Bamidbar that the Sages call it the Chumash HaPekudim (the book of the counts). Even the English term used for Bamidbar is the Book of Numbers. Bamidar goes through every single tribe, listing how many males above the age of 20 were in that tribe, and then at the end provides a final number: “These were all the counted ones of the Children of Israel, according to their fathers’ house, from twenty years of age and up, everyone who goes out to the army in Israel: All their counted ones were 603,550.”
The Torah then moves onto the account of the Flags. There were four Camps, each with 3 tribes. The Torah lists which tribe was in each camp. For each tribe the Torah tells us the prince of the tribe and the number of people in that tribe, even though the Torah just listed these exact numbers in the previous chapter describing the census. The Torah then, again gives us the sum total of all the camps: “These are the counts of the Children of Israel according to their fathers’ house; all the counts of the camps according to their armies, 603,550.”
We know that the Torah is extremely careful with its use of words, to the extent that, on occasion, important laws are derived from an extra letter. Why then, did the Torah deem it necessary to repeat the same numbers in two consecutive sections? The Midrash partly addresses this point, noting that the repeated counting indicates God’s love for the Jewish people. We are so precious to Him that He loves to count us again and again.
The Ramban gives a different explanation for the apparent redundancy. He notes that three weeks transpired from the time when the people were originally counted until the day that they actually set up the system of travelling with the flags. During those 21 days, miraculously, no one died from the entire nation; there were 603,550 people at the start of that period and they had the exact same 603,550 people three weeks later. This may not seem so newsworthy, but, according to actuarial tables, in 21 days, out of a population of over 600,000, it is inevitable that there will be deaths. As an example of this, Rabbi Yissachar Frand cites a statistic that every single day there are 100 military funerals in USA of veterans of past wars. Accordingly, the Ramban suggests that the reason the Torah repeated these numbers is to highlight the miracle that in 21 days nobody died.
This explanation seems difficult: Numerous open miracles took place in the period between the Exodus from Egypt and entering the Land of Israel. So why does the Torah particularly emphasize this miracle, that nobody died for three weeks, especially given it is a hidden miracle in that there was no obvious overturning of the laws of nature?Moreover, as mentioned, the Torah is usually very sparse with its words, so now in order to allude to this miracle, why did the Torah repeat Itself in such a seemingly long-winded way?
Rabbi Leib Rotkin offers an insight on this question that he heard in the Yeshiva in Kletsk. He writes that this miracle is so important because of a major principle of Judaism: Whoever preserves the life of a single Jew is considered as if he preserved the entire world. Life is so precious, that even saving one individual is like saving an entire world.
This concept is applied throughout Jewish law. For example, one must desecrate Shabbat to save a person’s life even if he there is a small chance he will survive, and even if he will only be able to live for a few more moments. As Rabbi Yissachar Frand puts it: “The Torah here is conveying to us how important Jewish life is by spending all these verses to tell us one thing: nobody died! Human life is so precious that this is a miracle that bears repeating repeatedly in an elaborate manner with redundant verbiage, as the Torah does in this Portion. Every life makes a difference. Every person makes a difference. Every day of living makes a difference.”

This lesson is extremely pertinent at this time. We have been bombarded with ever escalating numbers of people sick and dying from the corona virus, and it is easy to forget that behind each number is an individual human being who had a family. The message here is that we must strive to remember the lesson of the Ramban, and to not become immune when we hear of another tragedy. The following story demonstrates this point: It is well known that in the Gulf War, the Iraqis launched 39 scud missiles into Israel, and miraculously only one person was killed. This was clearly a great miracle, as in other areas, such missiles killed numerous people. I once read that a relative of the single person killed decried the fact that there was a stress that ‘only’ one person died — that person was a human being who is made in the Image of God and is of priceless value. This drives home the importance of the value of every single human life.

Brainstorming with Baars
The Head of the Family Tree
by Rabbi Stephen Baar
(This week’s parsha is based on an idea by Rabbi Moshe Chaifetz, as explained in “Growth Through Torah” by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin.)  “A fool and a wise man were walking together through a cemetery when they came upon a rather large tombstone. The stone told of the deceased’s long line of great and distinguished ancestors. The fool said how he, too, wished he had come from such a lineage. The wise man, however, desired for such a lineage to come from him.” When our children will reflect back upon their parents’ lives, what will they see?
Will they look to our lives for inspiration for solving their problems? Will we be for them a lasting influence, or rather just a quaint memory?
It would be nice to think that we could be sources of wisdom for our children — that they will bring to us the problems they face, that they will seek out our wise counsel; that in a crisis they will think back and ask, “How did Mom and Dad deal with that”?  On the other hand, what a depressing thought if our children would think of us as irrelevant.
Children do not go to their parents for advice when the parents aren’t perceived as really happy. If life is always “getting to you,” then your kids are not going to ask you how to manage life. In fact, they will probably give you the advice instead!
This week’s parsha begins with a command from God to Moshe to count the Jewish people. Moshe was also told to enlist the help of the heads of each tribe, “And with you (Moshe) shall be one man from each tribe, each man should be the head of his family.” (Numbers 1:4). Explains Rabbi Moshe Chaifetz, ‘the head of one’s family is someone who is the beginning of a new lineage. The ‘head’ is the start of a new line. In other words, someone the children will be proud of.  Instead of worrying what everyone else is saying about you, worry that your children will have something good to say about you, to everyone else.
The Torah tells us that Abraham would actually seek out guests, strangers, and offer them a meal. This was not the norm then and it’s certainly not the norm now. He was remembered for that. It affected his children and grandchildren. Even today, the Jewish people are known for their kindness to strangers. You don’t start a lineage by conforming.
We live in a very materialistic society. Many choose to spend their time acquiring objects rather than acquiring their children’s admiration. We tend to worry more over bills than morals. We tend to get upset with others quicker than we apologize.  Do we want to make these the values of our children? How we approach almost every aspect of life is going to be how our children will too.
When someone spills red wine on your favorite sofa, getting extremely upset may help you vent your anger, but it also shows your child what you think is really important in life. The sofa may be cleaned and the spot removed, but the spot in your child’s personality does not come out so easily.
We are willing to put in the effort to make our children richer and more comfortable than ourselves. How much more meaningful would it be to make them happier or even kinder than ourselves.
We are already going to spend a major amount of effort, time and even money on our children, why not spend a little more effort and transform them into our legacy. Be kinder than everyone else…. Be more forgiving than everyone else…. Be more giving and willing to help than everyone else…. Be more patient than everyone else….  Your own kind and generous actions are examples of giving to others which are more likely to create an exceptional child than any amount of schooling — no matter how high the tuition. Dollar for dollar, the things you give to others and the degree to which you run to help people will influence and sensitize your children to the value of life more than any after school activity.
With the high price of education and the small price of patience, charity, and kindness, shouldn’t we be more involved with the bargains?
What do you want your children to remember about you?
sk your children who their heroes are. Are they the kind of role models you would choose for them?
When things go wrong, do you panic, or do you realize that there is more to life than a dent in the car? Are guests more important than the color coordination of the carpet and drapes?
If you could write your own tombstone, what five praises or achievements would you like engraved on it?

Family Parsha
Singing a Different Tune
by Nesanel Yoel Safran
Not everybody is the same. Some people are more interested in one thing and some in something else. God made each of us special with something unique to contribute to society. In our Torah portion, God tells Moses to count the people by making a census. He says to be sure to count the people according to their individual tribes and families, and not just lump everyone together. This teaches us the important lesson of the uniqueness of each group within the whole, and how everyone has something special to offer. God doesn’t want or expect everyone to be the same.
“A Different Drum”
Lance came from a family of football stars. He was the youngest of four brothers, all of whom had been football stars. They all expected him to follow in their footsteps.  But Lance was different. He just never really loved football the way his brothers did. What he did love was music. When his brothers were out of the house, and he knew they wouldn’t tease him, Lance used to sneak up to the attic in his house, and spend hours practicing on an old flute that he had found up there in a dusty corner. He kept it up all summer.
But now school was starting again and Lance was old enough this year to try out for the football team. And, of course, all his family assumed he would. But Lance sure wasn’t looking forward to it. He felt even worse when, the day before tryouts, his dad came home with a big package and said, “Well son, I always bought your brothers their football equipment, so I guess I owe you too.”
Lance cringed. How was he going to explain to his Dad he didn’t want any football equipment. That he didn’t even want to play football!
Just when he thought he would burst, his dad unwrapped the package and took out a brand new … flute!
“Dad, you got me a flute?” gasped Lance.
His father smiled and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, “Listen Lance, I know you love playing your mom’s old flute more than playing football. And you’re good, too. I want you to succeed at what you love. It’s okay that you’re different from your brothers. Everyone was created differently and you owe it to yourself to be who you are and not just who everyone things you should be.”
“Thanks Dad!” cried Lance.
His dad handed him the new flute and said, “Son, just keep being yourself and you’ll always be a star in my book.”
Discussion Questions
Ages 3 – 5           How did Lance feel when he thought his family wanted him to play football?
Ages 6 – 9           Do you think if Lance decided to play football in order to please his family, he would be happy? What if he became a star?
Ages 10 + up     The Sages quoted in the “Ethics of the Fathers” say that a wise person learns from everyone. Do you think everyone has something to teach? Why?

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“The Three Loves:  Love of God, Love of Torah, and Love of One’s Fellow — are truly one!”
                                       —Baal Shem Tov

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Shortly before David and Suzy’s 25th wedding anniversary, David, trying to work on his romantic side, sent Suzy 25 long-stemmed yellow roses. A few days later, Suzy plucked all the petals and dried them. On the night of their anniversary, Suzy decided to make a romantic candlelight dinner with delicacies that she’d been working on for days. For decoration, Suzy spread the dried petals over the table.
As hoped, Suzy got a reaction out of David.
“Babe that’s Amazing!” said David. “You decorated the table for me with potato chips!”

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Send a Tribute! A great way to send a greeting and support Aish!  Send a mazel tov, condolence or simply show your appreciation to a relative or friend with an Aish Tribute. It’s easy  — just call the Aish office at 314-862-2474 or email us at Donate any sum (we suggest $18) and we will send a card to your designated recipient and publish it in our newsletter.

Jewish Women’s Society Programs

Dear sisters,

Please join me for these Zoom classes this month (except for Mamas in Pajamas that is still via conference call; Zoom link is below)

Each Friday in May  (except May 29th, Shavuos) 6:30 pm   Light the Fire of Shabbos with me to introduce Shabbat candles and Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald on the how to’s of Shabbat

Monday, May 18th    8:30 pm Live Conference Call (via phone as usual) Mamas in Pajamas from the comfort of your own home.  Dial:  605-472-5814   Access code:  126-753-373

Friday, May 22nd   10:00 am   Virtual Challah Baking at Home
Get all your ingredients ready to bake Challah with me at home

Wednesday, May 27th  11:00 am  Pre-Shavuos Brunch 
Bring you own Brunch to this enlightening discussion that celebrates our receiving our Torah at Mt. Sinai

ZOOM login:      Meeting ID:  9699216346
Dial in: 1_3126266799, 9699246316#

For more information about The Jewish Women’s Society of St. Louis, contact Mimi David at