Flatbush Park Jewish Center
Flatbush Park Jewish Center is a modern Orthodox synagogue in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, New York, founded in 1952.
We are a modern Orthodox congregation committed to Torah study and its observance; daily prayer, morning and evening; strong support for the State of Israel; charitable support of worthy institutions and individuals. Our membership is a mix of young and old; of American, European and Israeli birth, all sharing a deep commitment to Jewish life and community. We strive to build and maintain a vibrant, dynamic and cohesive Jewish community in Mill Basin, Brooklyn.
Our mission is to foster among our membership and the surrounding community an abiding commitment to halacha, kashrut and mitzvot, and bring them into a personal relationship with Hashem, which represents the essential foundation of any Orthodox institution.
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Message from the Rabbi
"AND YOSEF DIED, AND ALL HIS BROTHERS, AND THAT ENTIRE GENERATION." (Shmos 1:6)Self-respect leads to having respect for others and to behaving in a more elevated manner.
Ohr Hachayim explains that the enslavement of the Israelites by the Egyptians occurred in three stages. First Yosef died, the Israelites lost their power. Then the brothers died. As long as even one of the brothers was alive, the Egyptians still honored them. Even afterwards as long as the members of that first generation were alive, the Egyptians considered them important and were not able to treat them as slaves.
Rabbi Chayim Shmuelevitz, the Mirrer Rosh Hayeshiva, commented on this that there are two aspects here. One is on the side of the Egyptians. They were unable to treat the Jewish people as slaves as long as they considered them important. The other aspect is on the side of the Jewish people themselves. As long as they were considered important and worthy of respect by themselves, the Egyptians were not able to treat them in an inferior manner. Only when they personally considered themselves in a lowly manner could they be subjugated by others.
This, said Rav Chayim, is the way in which the evil inclination deals with people. First, the evil inclination tries to have a person feel inferior and guilty. Once a person feels a sense of guilt and worthlessness then he is an easy prey for being trapped by the evil inclination in many ways. What is the antidote? A person should strive to internalize elevated feelings about himself. When a person has those feelings of elevation, he will be careful not to do anything that will lower his level. If feelings of self-respect and importance are an inherent part of a person's self-image, they will prevent him from sinning.
We find this principle in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 37a) in reference to the manner in which the judges of a court try to motivate witnesses to refrain from giving false testimony. In capital punishment cases the witnesses are told, "In the beginning only one man was created. This is to teach us that whoever causes the death of one person is considered as destroying an entire world. Therefore each person is obligated to say, 'The world was created for me.'" Rashi explains the latter part of this statement: "That is, I am as important as an entire world. Therefore I will not cause myself to be destroyed for one transgression." This, says Rashi, will prevent him from delivering the false testimony. We see from here, said Rav Chayim, that the awareness of the greatness of each person - the greatness of being an entire world - will stop a person from transgressing. He will not want to be lowered from his high level. Even these witnesses who were about to kill someone by means of their false testimony, as soon as they reflect on the greatness of man will back away from committing this crime.
This, said Rav Chayim, is the most powerful message to influence someone to refrain from doing wrong. This feeling of self-respect will prevent a person from transgressing.
From this entire thought of Rabbi Chayim Shmuelevitz we see how crucial it is for parents and educators to build up the self-esteem of children. The more elevated they see themselves, as long as it is a healthy self-esteem and not arrogance, the more elevated will they behave.
SHABBAT SHALOM - Rabbi Perelson & Rebbetzin Perelson and the whole Mishpacha