News From the Hills by Chanita Teitz

 Last motzaei Shabbos we were driving home and decided to stop at our daughter’s house. Over a good cup of coffee we got into a discussion with our grandchildren about the state of the world, particularly the U.S. at this time. We got into the technology that keeps advancing every day. We were pointing out to our grandchildren how different our lives were just fifty years ago, and my husband, Akiva, asked a question that he asks all the time, “Why are we getting so much knowledge now, in the last half-century?” It seems that every day something new is discovered or invented that makes what we already have obsolete.

We see it now because of COVID and the development of the vaccine. Along with the vaccine are the conspiracy theories and the hesitancy of some to take the vaccine until it is tested more. I remember standing in line at school to get a polio shot. Parents were enthusiastic about the vaccine and there were fewer anti-vaxxers then.

Technology and science rule us today. Is it all really new, or was the knowledge always available but mankind did not understand it? Just like a baby learns language, which is all around them from birth, yet it takes time for them to process what they hear and know how to use it, perhaps raw knowledge capacity is always there, but we have to learn to use it. Meanwhile, in Eretz Yisrael and here we are losing people every day to COVID, to other illnesses, and to terror. Just last week, four gedolim left our world in one day. This leads to the question: Why? We are being reminded with these losses how fragile life is and how grounded we must be.

Do we allow ourselves to be so wound up in science that we forget that all scientific knowledge comes from Hashem? Science moves us forward, but in itself it has no emotion. Our emotional connection to Hashem is what can keep us going even in difficult times. Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks, zt’l, said that when Moshe Rabbeinu raised his hands when Bnei Yisrael were fighting Amalek, he wanted them to look up and remember that Hashem is with them. Although they had to do the actual fighting, their faith in Hashem gave them the strength to win the battles.

So, too, we have to keep our emotional perspective grounded in Yiddishkeit. We are told to “follow the science,” but we have to look up and know that all knowledge comes from Hashem. It is that connection that takes us through difficult times with all our questions. Hashem is testing us and all mankind. Does the world succumb to science, devoid of G-d, or do we stand firm in our beliefs and show the world that science alone will not save us? While science will continue to advance, civilization without values will become more dangerous.

New Food Pantry

Chazaq and Met Council cut the ribbon on their new food pantry on 72nd Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills last Thursday. The food pantry is dedicated to the memory of the Chazaq rosh yeshiva, Rav Ahron Walkin, and Mr. Aharon Meirov. For more information about the food pantry, call 718-285-9132.

Photo credit: Israel Peskowitz
Photo credit: Israel Peskowitz

Photo credit: Israel Peskowitz

HaRav Noach Isaac Oelbaum affixes the mezuzah with R’ Yaniv Meirov at the new Chazaq and Met Council Lev Aharon food pantry in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. Also pictured are David Meirov, Lior Kleinman, and Avi Cyperstein.

Upcoming Events

Shiur HaChodesh for Women by Women, Wednesday, February 10 at noon. Shiur will be via Zoom from Israel and is presented by Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills. Dr. Chana Tannenbaum of Bar Ilan University, Emunah, and Matan, will speak on “Esther and Yosef: History Repeats Itself.” Men and women welcome. Please contact hwaxman@earthlink.net for more information and the link. 

Rabbi Judah Kerbel’s Shabbos Book Club, motzaei Shabbos at 7:30 p.m.

The Queens Jewish Center (MyQJC.org,  HYPERLINK “mailto:office@MyQJC.org” office@MyQJC.org) invites the community to come together over Zoom to discuss the assigned books. Schedule of book discussions is as follows:

February 13: My Rebbe by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

March 13: Glikl: Memoirs by Glikl bas Leibel, edited by Chava Turniansky

To join, visit Zoom.us or dial 646-558-8656; meeting ID: 937 1352 2296, password: 294175

(All books are available for purchase on Amazon. Dates and times subject to change.) 

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail chanita@astorbrokerage.com. Read more of Chanita Teitz’s articles at 5TJT.com.

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