Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC Director of Programming,
Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
***Thursday, April 14th, 2022, Nisan 13,5782***
PLEASE NOTE THE RABBINICAL ALLIANCE OF AMERICA NEWSLETTER WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED DURING PESACH
FOLLOWING THIS ARTICLE IS MY RECENT REVISED ARTICLE WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
I have often written about the importance of not speaking loshon harah which Heaven Forbid could lead to sinas chinan, the importance of achdus, Shalom al Yisrael, caring for each other, being kind to all, no matter what one’s background might be. The importance of being sincere and doing gemilus chasadim for the mitzvos and not what a person might benefit from doing that chesed. We are all ambassadors of the Ribono shel Olam and of Klal Yisrael.
In this weeks Yeshiva World and Matzav was the following article.
“Seek Peace! Spread Peace!” A Letter from the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of London B” H. 29 Adar B. 2012, the London-Clinic Hospital (English translation)
“With respect to all of the Jews residing in London and around the world.
I feel compelled to write this, to bring awareness on the importance to increase shalom, peace, in our times. At first, I questioned whether it was appropriate for me to write this. However, now that I am in the hospital, I have had time to contemplate the awesome responsibility someone has when they are able to make a difference and influence others. I spoke with gedolei Yisroel and concluded to write this for the Jewish people, in the name of all Jews. For, everyone desires peace. And this letter is not meant to speak ill of anyone or a particular community.
It is even more critical and time sensitive to address this issue now, as we are once again seeing signs of Akivasa D’Mishichah. The seforim hakedoshim explain that there have been several times in our history when the world and the Jewish people were ready for the final redemption and the arrival of Moshiach. However, the Satan succeeded in delaying redemption by increasing disagreements, instilling division and baseless hatred in our communities, the very behaviors that destroyed the Beis HaMikdash.
We are grateful to Hashem for the incredible increase in Torah, tzedakah and other mitzvos that we have seen in recent times. However, the state of shalom, peace, and unity in our generation is terrible and it is diminishing every single day. We are at the point where some Jews rejoice not in the success and joy of their fellow Jews, but in their suffering. Some even are on the level of “swallowing their neighbor alive” (Pirkei Avos 3:2) and, through this spiteful behavior, desecrated Hashem’s name in public.
At such a time, there is a tremendous mitzvah for everyone, especially those who are influential, such as rabbis, teachers, community leaders, to condemn divisions and arguments, and praise peace and unity. There are countless teachings of Chazal, the sages, regarding this.
Talking is not enough. We also need to try to place this into action and fulfill the pasuk that says, “to seek peace and chase after it. (Tehilim 34:15).” And then, “Then the G d-fearing conversed with one another… (Malachi 3:16)”, to make a ruckus and noise in the worlds and to seek advice on how to do this with the many, the entire community, to bring salvation to our people.
Even with large disputes that have deep seated emotions, disputes that seem impossible to undo, we already know the reality that once you make the effort and start, Hashem helps with the completion. Nothing can stand in the way of a Jew’s will, and the greater light comes from amidst the darkness.
Typically, money is not required to observe this mitzvah. All that is required is that one changes their thought process and behavior.
This applies to any of the categories of arguments and hatred, which mainly are:
- Baseless Hatred (Sinas Chinam)
Most disputes are born from this baseless hatred, built upon rumors, gossip, false ideas, feeling one’s honor is slighted etc. Most of the time, when you start mediating and speaking to each side you quickly realize that the entire dispute is based on a simple misunderstanding. There is no real substance behind the arguments. Even when someone was actually harmed or hurt by another, if that person were to look at the other with an eyin tova, a favorable eye, and would give them the benefit of the doubt, they will immediately push aside that hurt and forgive the other person. As the great Tzadik, the Ahavas Yisroel ztz” l, taught that “baseless love” will bring the final redemption.
- Monetary Disputes
Whenever there is a conflict or argument over a monetary issue, every Jew needs to think to themselves, and explain to others, that despite this dispute, the byproduct cannot be hatred and controversy. After all, each party only wants what they think is rightfully theirs, and nothing more. Since it is difficult to remain objective when a person has an inevitable bias for their own outcome, they must go together to a beis din and seek guidance and an answer to what belongs to whom according to Torah Law. They must adhere to that final judgment free of any emotions, just like when you ask a rabbi or beis din a kashrus question. The ruling must be accepted without resentment and without trying to find another “heiter” permissible way to rule in your favor. Even in case that the other party actually caused you to unfairly lose money, you should forgive and move on. Nothing is gained by upholding controversies for years.
- Disputes in Spiritual Matters.
There are times when Jews argue about spiritual matters, matters in halacha or Jewish philosophy, etc. In fact, this is how Torah is learned, and the Talmud is filled with disputes and disagreements. However, even when these arguments are necessary, they should never lead to division in our communities. Rather, we should understand that for each opinion there is a counter like we see with Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel. The Ahavas Sholem Ztz” l interprets the phrase when Hashem says, “it is difficult for Me to part from you.” It is difficult, hard for Hashem, when He sees division amongst the Jewish people caused by arguments regarding Hashem’s Will.
In order to increase Shalom into the world, you need to also observe acts of kindness. We believe in the words of Chazal that taught that nothing good, nothing positive, can come from a squabble. Even those who are involved in disagreement and division have an inner desire for peace. They have drifted into these behaviors mistakenly and now it is hard for them to find their way out. They feel imprisoned without an escape plan. However, if someone can overcome this temptation, if they can withstand the desire to enter into these disputes and arguments even within their family, they will dance with simcha and see positive outcomes even in their physical lives.
Joyful are those who have a portion in this work, in this effort, especially the leaders of the community who are the Talmidei Chachmim who bring peace and tranquility into this world. This is a tremendous merit for them and their forefathers. Bringing peace into this world is one of the mitzvos that a person merits to “eat its fruits in this world and a portion in the World to Come.”
I recently heard that my father the Rebbe zt” l, once told a prestigious Jew that managed to bring peace to a big argument, that he envied his portion in the World to Come.
These leaders and influential individuals – or anyone who is involved in this critical work of increasing peace in the world – also have a unique merit in helping bring the final redemption closer. I would apply to these Jews what I had heard from the Satmar Rav zt” l regarding another matter, that when the Moshiach comes, he will point with his finger and say that it was these Jews who brought the redemption.
May it be Hashem’s Will, that in the merit of this work, may you merit and receive all the blessings. Like it is taught that Hashem was unable to find a vessel to hold His blessings for the Jews except for peace.
May we receive healing and recovery from illness and salvations in this month when redemption and salvation is overpowering. This is alluded to in the prayer we say every morning that Hashem “Makes peace and creates everything.” The Hebrew word for “create” is rooted in the same word as health. Through making peace, we can bring recovery to all of the suffering and ailments of the Jewish people. And, as when we left the land of Egypt with miracles and wonders, may we quickly see wonders in our day, Amen.”
There are remarkable chasadim in many Jewish neighborhoods, distributing food, clothing and other important items needed for Pesach. In recent weeks, all kinds of food items were distributed to thousands of rebbe’s and moro’s of yeshivas throughout the USA by an organization called Chasdei Lev. There was a special Passover distribution by the Shomrim Society of the New York Police Department. It is a Jewish fraternal organization of Jewish police officers of all ranks. It was held on the Lower East Side of Manhattan this past Sunday. Before the distribution was a ceremony with presentations by the Chief Chaplain Alvin Kass of the NYPD who has the rank of a 3 Star Chief, the President of the Shomrim Society Police Officer Philip Weisbord and me.
There is also a special Passover campaign for those in Ukraine. There are hundreds of Jewish organizations and of course the rabbonim and synagogues helping those in need. Unfortunately, due to the sad state of inflation, the cost not just of food, but the many items that are necessary for the preparation of Pesach and needed on Pesach are so expensive. The essence of Maos Chitim has always found meaning in the hearts of those who are able to assist those less fortunate financially not just for matza, macaroons, or borsht, but for many essentials. There are some who must decide of a co- payment for medications or purchasing other essentials for daily living let alone items needed for Pesach.
We all have memories of Pesach from the years of our youth. For many years, on the radio were announcements by Manischewitz, Shapiro, Kedem, and other wine companies. One company famous jingle about their wine so thick you can cut it with a knife. Pesach is one of the Jewish holidays celebrated by Jews throughout the world. For some, the Seder is following the basic rituals and customs and for others there are deep understandings, fulfilling mitzvos especially for the Seder. One of my son-in- laws, Ari Silverstein who is the manager of Judaica Plus in Cedarhurst of the Five Towns, Long Island, New York mentioned to me there are hundreds of Haggadah’s available with new ones being published each year. One of the most well-known Haggadah’s with the various measurements, minhagim and halachos for the Seder is by Rav Dovid Feinstein ztkl. I remember being in his office when he was working on the measurements. I also remember Rav Shimon Eider ztl who published his well known sefarim on various halachos including for Pesach. Rav Eider was one of many well known rabbonim who came to the Yeshiva Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem and Kollel seeking answers, advice, and clarity on many diverse halachos from Rav Moshe and Rav Dovid Feinstein. Those years when Rav Bluth ztl, Rav Felder ztl Rav Lopian zrl and the present Mashgiach Ruchni of MTJ Rav Ganzweig sol zein gezundt came to the Beis Medrash for shimush from Rav Moshe as did many other well know rabbonim. Today, the mesorah continues with Rav Reuven Feinstein and Rav Berel Feinstein.
I mentioned above that there are those who celebrate the Seder with the basic rituals and customs and there are those whose Seder is filled with the many halachos and minhagim. There is the Mishneh Berurah, the Shulchan Aruch, the Tur, the Aruch Hashulchan, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch etc. But even with all the sefarim, with all the Rishonim and charonim, Klal Yisrael still needs our present day rabbonim. Rabbonim who not only are knowledgeable in the many halachos and minhagim, but how to respond, answer and advise each person according to their abilities and their desire to observe the various laws and customs of Pesach. Giving the appropriate response is important. Rebbetzins are sought after for their advice and understanding of the needs of women. As, I mentioned in previous articles, the Jewish Chaplains in a healthcare setting can and are the vital persons to seek advice on a myriad of issues and concerns especially for Pesach. What is enormously important is having patience and being Mekadeish H. Having excellent diplomacy can make the difference in the care for the patient in any healthcare facility.
An interesting essay by Rav Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Kollel at REITS Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. “ Yizkor- A Deeper Form of Joy” “Many believe that the custom to recite yizkor during the holidays represents a solemn few moments of sadness in the midst of our joy, It is also commonly believed that those whose parents are still alive leave the sanctuary before yizkor in order to avoid “opening one’s mouth to the Satan”(al tiftach peh lasatan). As the recitation of yizkor is an act of mourning, those whose parents are alive should not be present during yizkor, as it would imply, G forbid, that they too are in mourning. Finally, many believe that the reason many shuls have the custom to make a “yizkor appeal” on behalf of a charity is because many more people show up for yizkor that on other days of the year, providing a large and captive audience, and a better opportunity for a successful fundraiser.
Though widespread, all three of these assumptions are incorrect! We always recite yizkor on yom tov when there is a mitzva of simcha-an obligation to be joyous! Mourning and joy are mutually exclusive, and so it is forbidden to observe any forms of mourning on yom tov.
Why, then, did the custom develop to recite yizkor on yom tov?
In the times of the Tosafists, when the yizkor prayer was originally instituted, the same number of people would attend shul on the weekdays as on Shabbat and yom tov. (1) The yizkor appeal was not instituted “after the fact,” because so many people were reciting the yizkor prayer. Rather, the yizkor appeal was established as an expression of the “joy of yom tov” (simchat yom tov) a way to bring joy to the poor on yamim tovim.
Maimonides writes: “When a person eats and drinks [ in celebration of a holiday], he is obligated to feed converts, orphans, widows, and others who are destitute and poor. In contrast, a person who locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered, is [not indulging in] rejoicing associated with a mitzva, but rather the rejoicing of his stomach.” (Laws of Yom Tov 2:17).
The Torah defines true simcha as one who brings joy to others who are less fortunate, such as orphans, widows and converts. And so, the yom tov appeal was established to support and bring joy to the poor and needy, to fulfill the mitzva of simchah on yom tov. Only later on was the yizkor prayer introduced; once people were already giving charity, it was proper to do so as a merit for their parents, who had raised them to be kind and giving people who fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah.
Why do those whose parents are alive walk out of the sanctuary during yizkor? The Talmud explains that it doesn’t look right when everyone in shul is praying and one individual abstains, as it suggests the individual does not believe in the efficacy of prayer. (2)
Only last month we celebrated Purim, when we fulfilled the special mitzvot of mishloach manot and matanot l’evyonim. Maimindes writes that if one can afford to go above and beyond the basic obligation of these two mitzvot, “it is preferable for a person to be more liberal with his donations to the poor than to be lavish in his preparations of the Purim feast or in sending portions to his friends. For there is no greater form of simcha than to gladden the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the converts. One who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles G Himself…” (Laws of Megillah 2:17)
In recent years, some have started a new and most meaningful custom: when spending a lot of money their family bar mitzva or wedding, they enhance the simcha by sponsoring a bar mitzva or wedding on behalf of those who can not afford to make one on their own. This is the most glorious way to experience simcha. Chag sameach!
(1) This fact even affected observance of halachah. See Tosafot Gittin 59b s.v. aval.
(2) Berachot 20b. See Nefesh HaRav
A version of this essay was originally published at TorahWeb.org. HaMizrachi page 47 vol 4 No 14 Pesach 5782
May we all be zoche to fulfill all the mizvos of Pesach and may all the rabbonim, rebbetzins and Jewish Chaplains continue to be mezakein Klal Yisrael. May we be zoche to welcome Eliyauh Hanavi and the coming of Moshiach.
Thank you. Sincerely. Rabbi Yehuda Blank
REVISED ARTICLE WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Programming, Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
() *()* () Thursday April 7, 2022, Nisan 7,5782 () *() *()
Achdus -How important it is to recognize, accept, integrate, the many minhagim, customs, of Klal Yisrael at this time of year, especially regarding Pesach. What binds us and keeps Klal Yisrael together is our love of H, love of our Torah, love we should have for each other. Wonderful Shalom Bayis not just between husband and wife, but the whole family.
How mishpacha can integrate and accept a son in law with different minhagim for Pesach. If a son in law does not eat gebraks, and their daughter and son in law are coming for Pesach, are the parents willing to forgo their keneidels made from matza meal, delicious cake made from matza meal, tasty matza brei, or matza farfel to put in to the soup.? What about a son in law who is from a Sephardic background. How does a newlywed learn to acclimate eating rice or other kiniot items. By the way, similar thoughts about Cholov Stam vs Cholov Yisrael not just on Pesach. These are just some examples of whether it is going to be “my way or the highway”.
We now present to you a video of Rav Ovadia Yosef zkl renowned Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Posek, and spiritual guide to so many. He spent his life bringing the Sephardic community ever closer to Torah. His life and legacy continues to impact the lives of Sephardic and Ashkenazim across the globe. Enjoy this Growth Through Our Gedolim video by Rabbi Yaakov Moskowitz that truly captures the lessons he embodied and the message that we can take for ourselves and our communities.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF RAV OVADIA YOSEF ztk”l
Do we give advice to the asker or ourselves?
How do we treat others?
What is our opinion of others such as those who go around collecting tzedakah?
Chillul H vs Kiddush H.
Chesed, Kindness and Truth.
As chaplains, rabbis and rebbetzins the importance of being sincere to all kinds of people no matter what they look like, sound like, smell like, think like in any ways.
What is our – your chius in life?
Though Parshas Acharei Mos is after Pesach I am sharing the following. In Parsha Acharie Mos from Rav Pam on Chumash by Rabbi Sholom Smith Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd pages (136- 138) ‘Kiddush H’ ‘Do not profane the Name of your G. I am H”(Vayikra 18:21). In regard to Chilul H vs Kiddush H. “Rabbeinu Yonah in Shaarei Teshuva (1:47) also offers a method to repair the damage caused by Chillul H. He writes that this can be done in two ways-by acts of chesed, and the pursuit of emes, as expressed in the study of Torah. He infers this from the pasuk, Through kindness and truth will sin be forgiven(Mishlei 16:6). The two great attributes of H-chesed and emes- are the hallmarks of the Jewish people, and their performance brings kiddush H in its wake. This rectifies the sin of chillul H, which usually caused when Jews do not behave kindly or honestly in their interaction with others, whether fellow Jews of non-Jews”.
In Parsha Achrei Mos Shabbos with Rav Pam by Sholom Smith, Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd (pages 160-162) “Mitzva Abuse” “ He shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth (17:13) “While the concept of “H’s commandments should not be treated with contempt” is usually applied to inanimate ones like the mitzvos of kisuy hadam, esrog, or succah, the Beis HaLevi extends it to the manner in which one must treat a poor person. He says that when one gives a poor person tzedakah, he fulfills a number of mitzvos. At that moment the poor person is a cheftzaw shel mitzva, a precious mitzva object., because through him that one performs these mitzvos. The pauper is surrounded with a special sanctity and holiness just as an esrog and s’chach have when they are used for the mitzvah. How careful one must be not to insult the poor person or treat him with contempt as he collects money or solicits a donation. The Beis HaLevi says that to mistreat him is a violation of a Torah commandment similar to performing kisuy hadam in a disrespectful way by using one’s foot. It is unfortunate that there are those who look down at “collectors” who make the rounds of shuls and yeshivas asking for assistance. Instead of considering them “shnorrers,” they should be looked at as opportunities to fulfill the Torah obligations; the manner in which the poor are treated is an integral part of the mitzvah itself”.
In Parshas Acharei Mos from Rabbi Frand on the Parshah Artscroll Series, Mesorah Publications Ltd (pages 171-173) “The Stuff of Life” “And you shall keep My decrees and My laws, that a person shall do them, and he shall live by them, I am G( 18:5) “ The Talmud (Sanhedrin 74a) derives these guidelines( regarding chillul H )from the verse, “And you shall keep My decrees and My laws, that a person shall do them, and he shall live by them, I am G.” The Torah wants the Jew to “vechai bahem, live by them,” not to die by them. If you have to eat chametz on Pesach in order to survive, do so. If you have to desecrate the Shabbos to save your life, do so. If you have to eat non kosher food to avoid starvation, do so. Your first priority is to “live by them, “ not to die. (skip) Accordingly, Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igros Mosh sees the Talmud as telling us something totally different. On the contrary, the most precious thing in life is mitzvos because we “live by them”; they bring us to the World to Come, to eternal life. Therefore in case of danger it is better to violate a prohibition of the Torah if by so doing one will survive to fulfill many more mitzvos for years to come. The Talmud tells us (Yoma 85a), “Desecrate Shabbos for Him once in order that he should observe Shabbos many times.” For the Jewish people, mitzvos are the stuff of life.
The Gerrer Rebbe offers a chassidishe interpretation of this phrase. vechai bahem, that you shall live by them.” What do we call “living by them”? In the yeshiva world, one often hears the question, “Where do you get your chius?” Literally, this means, “Where do you get life?” The question touches on a profound issue. Where do you find the spark of life? What brightens up your day when you get out of bed in the morning? What excites you? What gives you the zest for life? For some people, it is the prospect of learning Torah. For others, it is the opportunity to do some good work in Jewish outreach. And for yet others, it is the prospect of a good steak or a good game of baseball.
This the Gerrer Rebbe, is what the Torah is telling us. A person should “live by the mitzvos.” His chius , his zest for life, should derive from the prospect of doing mitzvos. These should be the entire raison d’etre for his existence in this fleeting material world.
Before you turn around, your life in this world is over, even if you were blessed with a ripe old age. It is all a dream, an illusion. You cannot look for the meaning of life in this world, only in the eternal World of Truth, and only mitzvos will bring you there, Only mitzvos will give you an everlasting, meaningful life.
You should never seek to accumulate money for its own sake. What will it get you A little pleasure in this world? Is that life? Is that where you are expecting to find your chius? You should work as you have to in order to provide a livelihood for your family, but you should seek your chius from doing mitzvos and chessed with your wife and children, your family, your community, all the Jewish People. You should seek your chius in the Torah, You should seek your chius in building a close relationship with the Master of the Universe. That is the key to eternal life.”
Having been a rabbi of a shul, community, chaplain, social service organization and other positions, have often come across men and women who were disheveled, had odor problems, serious abilities keeping their living quarters clean and in good shape etc.
There were several cases I will share with you. One was about an elderly woman who was a hoarder. It was almost impossible to find spaces in her apartment to move freely. Another case of a single man who was incontinent. His apartment reeked with urine smell so bad, the odor seeped into the apartment hallway and the residents were up in arms. His clothing reeked from such a strong odor, you could smell him “a mile away” and his clothing was disheveled. In these and other cases. I was able to work with the social workers involved and convince the management not to proceed with evictions. I spent time with each person and eventually with the social workers were able to convince the individuals to accept the assistance of others. Special cleaning crews were accepted into their apartments, fully cleaned, fumigated, for insect and rodent infestations. The mans clothing was cleaned or discarded and in a friendly convincing way to encourage taking a shower of bath. What was helpful was being sincere and willing to give whatever care was needed in a friendly, respectful way. It was not easy, but manageable. This man who made every effort to attend minyan, but with no one wanting to sit near him, was as clean as can be. He truly felt so good about himself. There was a long story about this person. He was witness to his brother being shot and killed during a robbery This person had lost his ability to speak clearly and had other emotional concerns as well. After many years, I was able to make an impact in his life and also was able to find a relative of his who now took an interest in him. He died a few years ago. I worked closely with social workers on various situations. The woman who was a hoarder and very disheveled was another person who management wanted to evict. She was another person who no one wanted to have any relations with. When I was doing my clinical pastoral work in a hospital, came across diverse men and women who the average person would have no difficulty in wanting to stay away from, for many reasons. Yet, a chaplain must be able to offer care to one and all.
When I was working in hospice, I had patients and family members who were of different Sephardic backgrounds. I learned a lot in my travels and gained the respect from their families. I attended and participated in different Sephardic funerals, religious, tefilat and different simchas including those from the Bukhari communities. I remember the first time visiting a family observing the shiva. Their minhag of making many berachot in the zechut of the departed and how important to do so. At one time I was even requested and expected to join them at their dinner which I did. I gained the respect from their Sephardic communities. and meeting with their Chachamim and Rabbonim. There is much to learn from others. I remember how special Rav Moshe ztl and Rav Dovid ztl related to and received other’s from the wide spectrum Jewish communities. It was not unusual to see their hands being kissed or after shaking the hands of Rav Moshe or Rav Dovid they would kiss their own hands. It is an honor to present to my readers the video of Rav Ovadia Yosef which originally was presented on his Yartzeit.
Every so often, I receive phone calls about chaplaincy positions, chaplaincy courses, my opinion about chaplaincy positions, request to enlighten what is chaplaincy all about and if it is good enough to be a rabbi and become a chaplain by taking a course or training. I will spend time answering as many questions as possible, then do a computer job search and chaplaincy opportunities. I will also discuss other job opportunities and classes to attend or register for. I will also review job requirements and what education would be helpful.
I have sometimes found individuals who were under the impression all it takes to be a chaplain in a healthcare setting is to be a rabbi. In fact there are members of the Orthodox Healthcare Chaplaincy List serve who are not rabbis. Jewish Chaplains in the US Military must have a recognized smicha. If any of our readers would like information about CPE Clinical Pastoral Education, requirements many healthcare facilities request from potential applicants, or suggestions about other types of employment can contact me at my email or phone listed above. Here is an example of a phone call I recently had. This was from a married man who was learning in a world renown Kollel for a number of years. He wanted to know if the RAA gives a certificate or document stating someone who was a rabbi or learning in Kollel is also a chaplain which I replied no. I shared some of the responsibilities of a chaplain in a hospital or snf/rehabilitation center. It is not impossible for a snf to hire a rabbi to give classes, provide religious services etc. to the Jewish residents and to provide religious and spiritual care to residents (patients) of diverse background’s. I gave him some suggestions to be in contact with another chaplain, to Google information about chaplaincy and what CPE is all about. I recommended putting together a resume and also if he is seeking a parnassa, to contemplate other options. I also recommended contacting someone with a background in job placements and job opportunities including Agudas Yisrael which has a job placement ,counseling as well as advice on job opportunities. I mentioned there are educational courses, many which do give a certification upon satisfactory completing a specific course. There are also courses that are geared for the Orthodox Jewish students, many that offer stipends or scholarships. I always try to find hope and give practical and realistic suggestions that are meaningful. I am not the only person who can offer advice, or information about professional chaplaincy. There are some who I have spoken to did not anticipate hearing how intense CPE is and what being a professional chaplaincy is all about. Being a professional chaplain is a meaningful profession and is to be taken seriously. Is it possible for a snf/rehab to hire a rabbi without CPE or chaplaincy training? Of course anything is possible. Everything is up to the Ribono shel Olam. However, just as a person who is contemplating going into the workforce, should explore many options and what is most suitable for that person including deciding about taking courses for a specific employment opportunity, taking college courses towards a specific degree leading up to being qualified for certain professions including accounting, medical, social work, teaching special education, becoming a paramedic, physician, social worker, guidance counselors, psychologist, law, mental health and so many other fields of opportunities. There are courses leading up to receiving various types of certifications. Then there are job opportunities working in different types of businesses. They might not sound the same as a profession, but whatever is helpful in finding the right fit for parnassa should always be explored. Of course there are other variables to consider such as financial, travel, insurance coverages, and what qualifications does one have. There is also a very important consideration what is best for ones family and making sure there is always Shalom Bayis with open, honest but with sensitive and caring discussions between husband and wife if married and if single, what is best for that person. Never give up hope, don’t be discouraged, always be mispallel for the right direction and decision making.
Amongst the many gemilus chasadim organizations helping with food, clothing and financial assistance for Pesach is Chasdei Lev. This is a volunteer organizations with distribution areas in many locations in the USA and Canada. I visited one of their distribution sites located at the Aviator Field in Brooklyn. Over 3,000 parcels of items were distributed to Rebbe’s and Moro’s. Rav Reuven Feinstein shlita also visited this site giving his encouragement and good wishes to all the young and older volunteers.
May we be zoche to fulfill all the Taryag Mitzvos, to learn from each other, to enhance Kiddush H for Klal Yisrael. May we only have Shalom Bayis, with much simchas hachaim’s happiness, and achdus. Thank you. Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank
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