Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation

Beth Ha-Tefilah Headquarters Synagogue


25 Sivan 5775 (June 12, 2015) - present

Shabbat Nachamu (Shabbat of Consolation) 

Fri, 16 August 2019 at sundown (16th of Av, 5779)

Nachamu, Nachamu, Nachamu ami:

be comforted, be comforted, be comforted my people... 

(Yeshayahu (Isaiah): 40:1)

Tthe haftarah speaks of "comforting" the Israelite people for their suffering.

It is the first of seven haftarahs of consolation

leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Israelite New Year.

On Tisha B'Av 5779
"I have set YHWH before me always" (Psalm 16:8)

We Remember

A Day Of Synagogue Mourning.

8th of Tevet, 5764, Friday, January 2, 2004

(The break in that changed Commandment Keepers’ jurisdictional history)

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Commandment Keepers Fifteenth Year Anniversary - 8th of Tevet, 5764, Friday, January 2, 2004

Posted on December 31, 2018 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (1)

5764 – 5779 

January 2, 2004 – January 2, 2019

                                     Commandment Keepers  Fifteenth Year Anniversary - Year of Remembrance: Exodus and Emancipation  

Traditional Day Of Synagogue Mourning

8th of Tevet, 5764, Friday, January 2, 2004  

(The break in that changed Commandment Keepers’ history) 

The synagogue is not the playground for revenge!


We use YHWH throughout this account to denote G-d’s “Compassion.” YHWH, the four-letter name that was paradoxically termed the unpronounceable – is the core relational name in Yisrael. To put it simply, YHWH provides comfort, assistance, and empathy to Commandment Keepers. “YHWH the G-d of your ancestors, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, the G-d of Jacob “Yisrael” sent me to you.” (Exodus “Shemot” 3:5-7, 14-15) “And the L-RD said: 'I have surely seen the affliction of My people…”

In 1962 Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt”l “Chief Rabbi Matthew zt”l” and the congregation, rabbis, talmidim, Kohen, Levi, Yisrael, old and young, and morehs, to mention a few; collectively “Commandment Keepers congregation” entered 1 West 123rd Street, Harlem New York City a.k.a. 31 Mount Morris Park, New York, NY 10027 “the synagogue” doors to pray thereby attesting to YHWH’s dwelling place. Commandment Keepers congregation gave praise to YHWH; gave funds for heat and light; and devotedly involved themselves with the needs of Commandment Keepers congregation in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s; each “L'dor Vador” referring to continuity, to the responsibility of passing on spiritual knowledge and cultural traditions from generation to generation for the purpose of sustaining the customs, heritage, legacy and collective memory of Commandment Keepers - giving unselfishly in the generation that YHWH so granted them to give.

Therefore, it is in their memory that we painfully talk about the 8th of Tevet, 5764, Friday, January 2, 2004 (Gregorian calendar) “the 8th of Tevet, 5764” and the current year: 25 Tevet 5779, January 2, 2019 (Gregorian calendar), marking the 15th year anniversary of what we believe to be the most significant event in the annals of Commandment Keepers that changed the history of Commandment Keepers congregation and should be regarded as one of the saddest days in the Israelite calendar and it is thus believed to be a day which is being marked as a tragedy. It is a day befitting PaRDes: an acronym for the four basic levels of understanding Torah. In this account, we use these four basic levels to understand Commandment Keepers’ journey through the “Orchard.” Each layer of Commandment Keepers’ journey has been and is deeper and more intense than the last, like the layers of an onion.

We are saddened, but must remember and memorialize the 8th of Tevet, 5764, as the day that changed Commandment Keepers history. Ironically, as we mark a tragedy we also mark our 100th year anniversary celebration; a year of remembrance for both anniversaries, both symbolic of an Exodus and Emancipation for Commandment Keepers. We begin memorializing, a tragedy, a day when perpetrators used specified burglary tools to forcibly remove the lock and wrongfully tried to exercise dominion and control over the premises known as and located at 31 Mount Morris Park West, New York, New York, a.k.a. 1 West 123rd Street, New York, New York, 10027 “the synagogue”; and said perpetrators wrongfully seized the synagogue and displaced congregants in good standing on the 8th of Tevet, 5764; by revisiting excerpts of an article written by Rabbi Sholomo Ben Levy “Rabbi Levy” entitled, The Destruction of Commandment Keepers, Inc. 1919-2007.

Contrary to Rabbi Levy’s article, The Destruction of Commandment Keepers, Inc. 1919-2007, wherein Rabbi Levy compares April 2007 to Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, as the destruction of Commandment Keepers, April 2007 or to be more specific the 3rd of Iyar, 5767, Saturday, April 21, 2007 (Gregorian calendar) was not and is not, the destruction of Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living G-d, The Pillar and Ground of Truth and the Faith of Jesus Christ a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living G-d Pillar and Ground of Faith, a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living G-d Pillar and Ground of Truth, Inc., a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation – Beth Ha-Tefillah Headquarters, a.k.a. Congregation Commandment Keepers a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Congregation a.k.a. The Commandment Keepers a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, Inc., collectively “Commandment Keepers,” one entity and not two entities, not a non-existent shell corporation created to steal the identity of Commandment Pillar (as Commandment Keepers is 1 entity governed by 1 Constitution and Bylaws with 1 Spiritual Leader, 1 President, 1 Secretary, 1 Treasurer and 1 Board), as purported by a separate group of people posing as Commandment Pillar who are not legally the spiritual leader of Commandment Keepers nor members of the Board, nor members in good standing, or in compliance with the Constitution and Bylaws of Commandment Keepers, who without authorization broke, destroyed and replaced the locks when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing (Note: when Commandment Pillar is mentioned throughout this article it is specifically identifying those individuals who were involved with desecrating the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet, 5764); as Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living G-d, The Pillar and Ground of Truth and the Faith of Jesus Christ is the original name of Commandment Keepers.

Despite Commandment Keepers’ adversity from 1919 to 2007, the congregation prevailed and the name of the congregation continued to evolve to reflect the delicate balance between the influence of the community in which the Israelite congregation lived, legal requirements, Orthodox Hebrew culture and Israelite fundamental beliefs illustrating “continuity and change” of Commandment Keepers’ name as Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l developed Commandment Keepers and moved Commandment Keepers closer to an Orthodox Hebrew tradition. Commandment Keepers was founded in 1919 and on July 13, 1921, Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l filed Commandment Keepers' Certificate of Incorporation in the Office of the County Clerk, New York County and was incorporated under Article 12 of The New York Religious Corporations Law to “exist in perpetuity.”

Therefore, Rabbi Levy in writing his article The Destruction of Commandment Keepers, Inc. 1919-2007 was premature in writing his description about the 3rd of Iyar, 5767, as being the Destruction of Commandment Keepers. As a result, his article is replete with inaccuracies.

Rather than refer to the 3rd of Iyar, 5767, as Commandment Keepers’ destruction, the 3rd of Iyar, 5767 can better be described as an aftermath or spiritual Exodus and Emancipation, analogous to the departure of the Israelites out of slavery under Moshe Rabbeinu from Egypt. The reason it is an aftermath and not destruction is because on the 3rd of Iyar, 5767 at sundown, YHWH granted Commandment Keepers the miraculous experience of an Ancient Exodus and Emancipation. Notwithstanding all of the events that led up to the 3rd of Iyar, 5767 wherein Commandment Pillar illegally broke the locks to the synagogue and illegally entered the synagogue and illegally took possession of the synagogue not once but several times, yet, YHWH in His infinite protection blinded those who purport to be Commandment Pillar and provided Commandment Keepers safe passage from the shores of Harlem to across the waters to New Jersey in total safety without as much as one Commandment Pillar being present to disrupt Commandment Keepers’ safe passage and relocation to New Jersey.

Prior to the 3rd of Iyar, 5767, Commandment Pillar continuously patrolled the perimeter of the synagogue every Shabbat, from early morning to as late as 9:30 pm in the evening, or until Commandment Keepers left the synagogue after Shabbat services in an effort to prohibit peaceful ingress and egress to the synagogue by blocking the entrance to the synagogue. Additionally, Commandment Pillar promoted disruptive behavior, harassed, intimidated, cursed at and performed boisterous outbursts, thereby creating a hostile environment discouraging members, guests, and visitors from entering the synagogue for Shabbat Shacharit Morning services “Shacharit L’Shabbat” as well as events that had taken place during the week which had a direct impact on synagogue attendance. So, to speak about the Exodus and Emancipation, it is important to understand that the normal pattern of Commandment Pillar was to patrol the synagogue perimeter every Shabbat and create a hostile environment. But this pattern was abruptly changed sundown on the 3rd of Iyar, 5767; not by Commandment Pillar but by the hands of YHWH. It could only have been by the hand of YHWH that Commandment Pillar didn’t patrol the synagogue that evening. Commandment Pillar patrolled the synagogue perimeter earlier that day but at sundown, Commandment Pillar was nowhere to be found. The perfect stage was set for Commandment Keepers’ Exodus and Emancipation because YHWH granted Commandment Keepers safe departure out of Harlem from underneath the cruel, intimidation, cursing, boisterous outbursts and unreasonable harassment of those who purport to be Commandment Pillar. If you doubt YHWH’s hand; then explain how a synagogue could be moved from Harlem without detection? It wasn’t theft, destruction, or an act of deed and mortgage fraud as alleged by Commandment Pillar – rather, viewed as A Twenty-First Century miracle!

The 3rd of Iyar, 5767 was the initial step in a series of steps that led to the relocation of Commandment Keepers from Harlem, New York City to Newark, New Jersey under a cloud of protection from YHWH - NOT its DESTRUCTION as alleged by Rabbi Levy! The definition of destruction is: “the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired.” Accordingly, the definition of destruction does not describe what took place on the 3rd of Iyar, 5767. The 3rd of Iyar, 5767 was the relocation of Commandment Keepers which might be a bitter pill to swallow for those who desired Commandment Keepers to be DESTROYED but Commandment Keepers was NOT DESTROYED – it only RELOCATED! Yet, who are and where were the “members of the Israelite” community during this alleged April 2007 destruction? Who specifically was Rabbi Levy referring to in his article when he wrote “members of the Israelite community?” Perhaps, Rabbi Levy is referring to the people who have formed various planning committees outside of Commandment Keepers for Commandment Keepers’ 2019 100th Anniversary Centennial? Could these people possibly be, including but not limited to the following entities or committees: The International Board of Rabbis; The Rabbi Commemorative Committee; The Israelite Community Vision Council; the Israelite Centennial Celebration Committee; the Tabernacle; Historians; Tour Guides; and the 2019 Israelite Community Unity Shabbat, to name a few, members of these entities and committees that believe that Commandment Keepers, one of the oldest Israelite synagogues in North America and the Western Hemisphere, is DESTROYED or cannot be repaired and no longer exists because it relocated to Newark, New Jersey? Each committee or entity listed herein is separate and distinct from Commandment Keepers and is operating outside of Commandment Keepers’ congregation.

Instead of the 3rd of Iyar, 5767 being compared to Tisha B’Av, the 8th of Tevet, 5764 is more accurately the date to compare to Tisha B’Av and warrants observance by ALL Israelites because, unlike Tisha B’Av which centers around remembrance of major calamities and specific events, such as the Babylonian captivity, and the Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, Commandment Keepers’ alleged destruction, rather “relocation”, on the 3rd of Iyar, 5767 is different.

On the 8th of Tevet, Commandment Keepers’ proposed Day of Mourning, can be distinguished from Tisha B’Av in that the perpetrators, unlike the Romans who destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, were Israelites; not outsiders or foreigners but members of the Israelite community! Moreover, on the 8th of Tevet, the perpetrators were those who purport to be Commandment Pillar. Commandment Pillar illegally broke, destroyed and replaced the synagogue locks and illegally entered and wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers by trespassing and performing a devastating attack on the synagogue. On that day, Commandment Pillar, destroyed the synagogue’s integrity by forcibly breaking, destroying, replacing and removing the lock and subsequently after the initial wrongful exercising dominion of the synagogue, cut off the lock of the synagogue door with a BOLT CUTTER. Commandment Pillar publicly and privately; intentionally; maliciously; willingly; and knowingly, forcibly broke off the lock on the synagogue door pitting Israelites against Israelites demonstrating that Israelites are typically their own worst enemy.

Pitting Israelites against Israelites illustrates a level of self-hatred on Commandment Pillar’s part which did not begin with Commandment Pillar’s forcibly breaking, destroying and replacing the locks and wrongfully exercising dominion and control over the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet or when they subsequently cut off the lock with a BOLT CUTTER. Throughout our Israelite biblical history, we have had to face internal disputes that often erupted into full-blown wars. History is replete with examples of Israelites who hated their own people so vehemently that they dedicated their entire lives to its destruction. Commandment Pillar in their 8th of Tevet breaking, destroying and replacing the locks and wrongfully exercising dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seizing Commandment Keepers and it’s congregants in good standing of the synagogue, shown themselves to be no different than those Israelites who in the past vehemently hated other Israelites. In this case, Commandment Pillar has held on to hate for more than thirty years.

But, instead of a full-blown war, we go back as far as 1971, if not further back, when a seed of unauthorized authority was planted into the psycho-social, political, and cultural arena of Commandment Pillar. On the 8th of Tevet, 5764 the seed that was planted within Commandment Pillar over thirty years ago by people who failed to understand that Chief Rabbi Matthew, zt”l never appointed or named on documentation Commandment Pillar or any other person as his successor, finally erupted when Commandment Pillar without ANY authority from the synagogue, members of the Board of Trustees, or any congregants, forcibly entered the synagogue which has been occupied by the Commandment Keepers since its purchase back in 1962. Commandment Pillar on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 self-appointed themselves as a fictious alleged Executive Board and alleged governing body operating outside of Article 12 of The New York Religious Corporations Law. Moreover, Commandment Pillar on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 on many levels also demonstrated through their behavior the Willie Lynch syndrome “slave mentality” when they without ANY authority forcibly and wrongfully exercised the dominion and control over the synagogue, wrongfully deseized Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing and subsequently cut off the synagogue lock with a BOLT CUTTER. More importantly, we must not forget that from 1919 until the 21st Century, Commandment Keepers has fought many battles (i.e., in the civil and human rights arenas). However, none of those battles were so publicly displayed; frivolous and as replete with deception; lies; mudslinging; criminal activities, warranting disbarment of their attorney; as well as imprisonment of Commandment Pillar as the numerous lawsuits were filed in the Supreme Court of New York because of Commandment Pillar’s first of many wrongfully exercising of the dominion and control over the synagogue, and wrongfully deseized Commandment Keepers starting with the 8th of Tevet, 5764.

Ironically, not one of those who purport to be Commandment Pillar, their attorney, or those working in concert with Commandment Pillar herein collectively known as “Commandment Pillar” left the synagogue over thirty (30) years ago; or was never in attendance or were not members in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s or 2000s; or were terminated on or about July 24, 1996 and/or left on or about 1996 of which none of Commandment Pillar were members in good standing, or in attendance, in possession, or inside of the synagogue prior to their illegal breaking, destroying and replacing the locks, nor has been in attendance of services or been actively involved in the affairs of Commandment Keepers as far back as the late 1970s on the 8th of Tevet. Nor has Commandment Pillar paid for heat and light; insurance; or anything to maintain the very synagogue building that they planned and premediated to take over illegally by forcibly and wrongfully exercising dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seizing, destroying and replacing the locks and illegally being in possession and occupying the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 and subsequently breaking the synagogue locks with a BOLT CUTTER.

Commandment Pillar’s illegal possession, wrongful exercise of dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully deseizing Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 has a number of ramifications spiritually, psychologically and criminally. Insofar as the spiritual level, we speak about numerous desecrations.

On the other hand, on a criminal level, the State of New York has numerous criminal laws pertaining to burglary and other related crimes. Breaking and entering can be categorized in multiple ways in the State of New York. “Felonious breaking and entering” is breaking and entering into any building with the intent to commit a felony or theft, or with intent to injure or terrorize the building’s inhabitants. Commandment Pillar on the 8th of Tevet, 5764, as well as on subsequent break-ins after the 8th of Tevet, 5764, did not simply break in and enter into the synagogue without authorization, but once entering inside the synagogue made several attempts to break open the synagogue’s safe within a place designated for worship. Commandment Pillar who had no access to service accounts for the synagogue, including but not limited to oil delivery for heat to the synagogue were unable to properly produce heat to the synagogue to prevent structural damage by the possibility of bursting of pipes during the cold weather months, i.e., January when they illegally took possession, wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing.

Commandment Pillar comes before the Israelite community with “dirty hands.” Notably, Commandment Pillar held in their possession tools used to forcibly and wrongfully exercise the dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing. Furthermore, it is a crime to possess, without good reason, any lock, pick, key, or other burglary tool such as a “BOLT CUTTER.” Commandment Pillar’s choice of tool used in subsequent breaking, destroying and replacing the synagogue lock was the BOLT CUTTER. How do we know this to be true? Because Commandment Pillar’s actual BOLT CUTTER [shown in the photo] was concealed in a black garbage bag and Commandment Pillar propped it against another building, two brownstones away from the synagogue primarily for the purpose of breaking, destroying and replacing the lock and wrongfully exercising the dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seizing Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing of the synagogue. Commandment Keepers found Commandment Pillar’s BOLT CUTTER when Commandment Pillar left it behind after being arrested for attempted burglary. It was not a false arrest as alleged by Commandment Pillar. There is eyewitness account as to what led to the arrest of Commandment Pillar. Therefore, Commandment Pillar acted unethically and in bad faith with respect to wrongfully exercising dominion and control over the synagogue. Poignantly, all allegations written about Commandment Keepers by Commandment Pillar from 2004 until 2007 were actually mirror deeds that Commandment Pillar committed against Commandment Keepers and its synagogue. Commandment Pillar, Rabbi Levy, newspapers, etc. have but all failed to mention the most significant act committed by Commandment Pillar; the illegal breaking, destroying, replacing the locks when Commandment Pillar wrongfully and illegally exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing of the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet, 5764; followed by subsequent breaking, destroying, and replacing the synagogue locks when Commandment Pillar used their BOLT CUTTER to cut off Master locks on the synagogue doors that ultimately led to the 3rd of Iyar, 5767. In all of Commandment Pillar’s premeditated planning, they failed to realize that YHWH was at the helm not Commandment Keepers and that no man, including Commandment Pillar can divert the will of whatever YHWH has, does and will ordain!

Notwithstanding spiritual ramifications, we mention the Willie Lynch syndrome because such syndrome psychologically evolved around William Lynch who purportedly delivered a speech to an audience of slave owners on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712 regarding the “secret” to controlling black slaves by SETTING THEM AGAINST ONE ANOTHER. Quietly as it was kept, Commandment Pillar’s calculated illegal possession and occupying the synagogue by breaking, destroying and replacing the locks when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue; hired and instructed security to stand guard in front of the entrance to the synagogue; submission of a letter to the police precinct; creation of two lists for those who could and could not enter into the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 is apropos, a perfect description of Commandment Pillar’s incredulous “slave mentality” OR “Willie Lynch syndrome” behavior. The Willie Lynch syndrome is a really DEEP intrusion of the Black American human psyche; and far reaching within the recesses of Commandment Pillar’s consciousness. Commandment Pillar was reckless, selfish, and callous in their continuous desecration of the synagogue. The basis of the Willie Lynch syndrome is the introduction of his method of controlling slaves by stating: “…I HAVE A FULL PROOF METHOD FOR CONTROLLING YOUR BLACK SLAVES. I guarantee every one of you that, if installed correctly, IT WILL CONTROL THE SLAVES FOR AT LEAST 300 HUNDRED YEARS… I USE FEAR, DISTRUST AND ENVY FOR CONTROL PURPOSES. I shall assure you that DISTRUST IS STRONGER THAN TRUST AND ENVY STRONGER THAN ADULATION, RESPECT OR ADMIRATION. The Black slaves after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for HUNDREDS of years, maybe THOUSANDS. Don’t forget, you must pitch the OLD black male vs. the YOUNG black male...” In this account, “Israelite being pitched against Israelite.”

On a deeper level, the Willie Lynch syndrome planted the seed of unauthorized authority– this was accomplished by relatives, members, friends and a host of people whispering into the ears of the Commandment Pillar that the synagogue belongs to Commandment Pillar, that Commandment Pillar’s grandfather bequeathed the synagogue to Commandment Pillar, or that I Commandment Pillar “AM THE SPIRITUAL LEADER! The Willie Lynch syndrome – what a deceptive device – yet, we haven’t escaped its indoctrination, because it is so deeply ingrained within us. An intrusion that continues to provoke Israelites even with Torah knowledge to perform incomprehensible and egregious actions against other Israelites. Biblically, the Willie Lynch syndrome parallels the biblical account in Genesis “Bereshit” 15:13, the L-rd tells Abram “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners ... G-d's plan included sending the Israelites to Egypt for four hundred years. Inside that four-hundred-year period Israelites and Commandment Pillar alike have gotten stuck in Egypt “North America” badly in need of liberation from a slave mentality, the Willie Lynch syndrome!

Spiritually, on the 8th of Tevet, 5764, towards nightfall on the eve of Shabbat, the synagogue building that was purchased in 1962 by Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l and the Commandment Keepers’ congregation was desecrated by Commandment Pillar. This desecration of the synagogue became the “turning point”, the single event that provoked a significant shift in the history of Commandment Keepers. What happened to Commandment Pillars’ Torah learning and humanity, that they should resort to “street” tactics like a common criminal by illegally taking possession and entering the synagogue; breaking, destroying; replacing locks and wrongfully exercising dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seizing Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing of the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet, 5764? This of course, was the first of many illegal taking possession and occupying the synagogue; which was criminal without justification, warranting disbarment of their attorney and imprisonment for members of Commandment Pillar. Commandment Pillar, by their own actions on the eve of Shabbat, desecrated the synagogue coupled with subsequent violations on Shabbat by making every effort to prohibit the peaceful ingress and egress of Commandment Keepers to the synagogue by blocking the synagogue’s entrance. Because of Commandment Pillars’ desecration, promotion of disruptive behavior, harassment, intimidation, cursing and boisterous outbursts, and creation of a hostile environment, Shabbat after Shabbat from the 8th of Tevet, 5764 up to and including 3rd of Iyar, 5767, Commandment Pillar is solely responsible for the redirection of Commandment Keepers synagogue on the 3rd of Iyar, 5767 . Commandment Pillar due to their slave mentality, crabs in the barrel, street and thug tactics, illegal possession, breaking, destroying, and replacing the locks on the synagogue doors, has no legal rights to Commandment Keepers, as the entity does not belong to a person or persons. Commandment Keepers is a Religious Corporation to wit: An “incorporated church” is a religious corporation created to enable its members to meet for divine worship or other religious observances. New York Consolidated Laws, Religious Corporations Law - RCO §2 The trustees of every religious corporation shall have the custody and control of all the temporalities and property, real and personal, belonging to the corporation and of the revenues therefrom, and shall administer the same in accordance with the discipline, rules and usages of the corporation and of the ecclesiastical governing body…” New York Consolidated Laws, Religious Corporations Law - RCO §5

Why would anyone in their right mind allow Commandment Pillar to continuously break, destroy, and replace the synagogue locks, wrongfully exercise dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully deseized Commandment Keepers and its congregation in good standing; harass and threaten bodily harm Shabbat after Shabbat? A reasonable and prudent person would look for alternative options to avoid such desecration, harassment and physical harm, and that is exactly what Commandment Keepers did; relocated from potential bodily harm and continuous harassment from Commandment Pillar!

Commandment Pillar under the “dirty hands” doctrine; acted unethically, and in bad faith, willingly and knowingly illegally took possession and occupied the synagogue; broke into, destroyed and replaced the synagogue locks when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully siezed Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing; on the eve of Shabbat; and subsequently used a BOLT CUTTER to cut and remove the Master locks from the synagogue entrance door not once but several times after the 8th of Tevet, 5764. Thus, gaining unauthorized entry, including but not limited to the crossing of the threshold of the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet, 5764, the 9th of Tevet, 5764; and subsequent attempts to break into, destroy, and replace the synagogue locks as they have done many times after the 8th of Tevet, 5764. How else could they have gained entry into the synagogue, rather than attending Shabbat services? Not one of the Commandment Pillars, collectively and/or in their individual capacity had authority, legal or spiritual, to bar any of the congregants in good standing, or any of the members of the Board, to engage religious services at the commencement of the Sabbath or otherwise. Nor did they have a key to the synagogue and/or attended any synagogue services prior to their 8th of Tevet, 5764 plan, or held membership or even maintained the synagogue. Many people through tireless labor and sacrifice contributed to the advancement of Commandment Keepers in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Had it not been for the COLLECTIVE generosity of ALL those members throughout those years, the synagogue would not have existed for Commandment Pillar to break-in, destroy, and replace the locks when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing on the 8th of Tevet, 5764.

Furthermore, at one point, the reason the synagogue would not have remained in the hands of Commandment Keepers is because the synagogue was In Rem (a lawsuit or other legal action directed toward the synagogue property) prior to and after Chief Rabbi Matthew’s zt”l death in December 1973. Commandment Pillar did not give a single dollar to prevent the synagogue from the court having in rem jurisdiction according to the records. Commandment Pillar were not members during the in rem jurisdiction and were not inside of the synagogue. Unfortunately, Chief Rabbi Matthew zt”l was unable to settle the In Rem issue before his death in December 1973 because no one had the funds, not even Commandment Pillar. So as much as Commandment Pillar has chosen to mudsling, or allege an illegal sale of property, or allege an illegal negotiation of a contract of sale and destruction of “Commandment Pillar’s real property” against Commandment Keepers; the bottom line is Commandment Keepers’ generous funds from the 1970s kept the synagogue within the hands of Commandment Keepers and not the government. If the In Rem issue had not been settled and paid by Commandment Keepers; and the government held jurisdiction, Commandment Pillar under some self-appointed notion that they OWN Commandment Keepers would not have had the synagogue building to allege ownership and allege an Executive Board in their numerous lawsuits. Commandment Pillar’s breaking, destroying and replacing the locks and subsequently using the BOLT CUTTER to cut the locks was for selfish motives that have absolutely nothing to do with the honor, glory and magnifying of the Holy One blessed be He. Commandment Pillar remained on the synagogue premises “unlawfully” when they were not privileged to do so. Their unlawful act in breaking, destroying, and replacing the locks when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully deseized Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing and subsequently gaining entry into the synagogue by cutting the lock with their BOLT CUTTER, desecrated the dwelling where YHWH’s name was placed. A Place for YHWH to Dwell!

Imagine watching Commandment Pillar through the sanctuary window on Tevet 9 5764 the Shabbat after the initial break in on the 8th of Tevet 5764, strutting like a peacock in the Rabbi’s purple robe and kippah; garments that didn’t even belong to Commandment Pillar. Yet, strutting like a peacock, with chest poked out and head held high invading the garments of another rabbi, surely is not the making of a SPIRITUAL LEADER or officer of the Court. In his Path of the Upright, Moses Hayyim Luzzatto has an amusing analysis of various forms of false modesty: “Another imagines that he is so great and so deserving of honor that no one can deprive him of the usual signs of respect. And to prove this, he behaves as though he were humble and goes to great extremes in displaying boundless modesty and infinite humility. But in his heart he is proud, saying to himself: ‘I am so exalted, and so deserving of honor, that I need not have anyone do me honor. I can well afford to forgo marks of respect.” It is YHWH’s dwelling place; and it is YHWH that is at the helm, not Commandment Keepers or Commandment Pillar, yet, Commandment Pillar struts with pride alleging ownership of the synagogue – Spiritually, we ALL walk through the orchard PaRDeS as parashat T'rumah, Shemot 25:1−27:19 eloquently expresses in Hebrew our "gift" or "offering" to YHWH: YHWH's instructions to make the Tabernacle; its furnishings; and the significance of the laws governing the design of the Mishkan - YHWH’s dwelling place:

Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts (t'rumah); “you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is so moved.” (Shemot 25:2) YHWH says of the Israelites: V'asu li mikdash v'shachanti b'tocham, “Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” There are two important aspects of the Tabernacle. First, it is part of a detailed system of law. These laws define the exact manner in which we serve YHWH. Halacha dictates every aspect of the sacrifices. The appearance and clothing of the kohanim offering the sacrifices are described by the laws. Every element of the construction of the Mishkan is determined by halacha. Halacha leaves little opportunity for the intrusion of PERSONAL interpretation into divine worship. The Torah is concerned with the possible intrusion of pagan worship into divine service. We must follow the prescription of the Torah. Adherence to the sacred laws of divine service assures that no pagan influences enter into our worship.

The second aspect of the Tabernacle is that its construction and structure reflected a profound system of wisdom. The Mishkan was not only physically beautiful—it also possessed an intellectual grandeur. The laws combined into a system of wisdom “chokmah.” The halachah not only dictates every aspect of the Tabernacle’s design and construction, but its structure also symbolically expresses various theological, scientific and philosophical ideas. The worshipper, in contemplating the structure of the Tabernacle, was inspired by its wisdom. The desire to serve YHWH resulted in a profound transformation in the worshipper. The worshipper was transported from the mundane to a spiritual universe of ideas. The objective of the Mishkan is to elevate our relationship with YHWH and is fundamental to the Torah.

But what gifts did Commandment Pillar bring to YHWH on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 when they so boldly broke into YHWH’s dwelling place breaking, destroying and replacing the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and subsequently used a BOLT CUTTER? Instead of gifts, Commandment Pillar brought an intrusion of paganism, embarrassment, desecration, and physical violence to a place where YHWH’s name was placed for divine presence or influence for the synagogue. Commandment Pillar thought that breaking, destroying and replacing the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing and subsequently breaking, destroying and replacing the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully deseized Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing using their BOLT CUTTER was against Commandment Keepers when it was really an action against YHWH!

The synagogue is YHWH’s intimacy with Israel mentioned in the context of building a worship space—the Mishkan. It is inside that Mishkan that YHWH dwells with Israel as noted in Parashat Teruma - Shemot 25:8: “And let them build Me a sanctuary that I may dwell in their midst”. The passage is stating that the influence of YHWH was evidenced in the synagogue through the “glory” of YHWH. The Torah commanded the creation of a sanctuary. This sanctuary takes different forms. In 1962 Commandment Keepers performed the mitzvah to create an institution of “sanctuary” for the dwelling of YHWH. Commandment Pillar’s actions on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 breaking, destroying and replacing the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing and by using the BOLT CUTTER was in violation of the creation of sanctuary and was and is an afront to YHWH!

Members of the Israelite community, in your infinite Torah (wisdom “chokmah,” understanding “binah”, and knowledge “da'at),” what would you have done if Commandment Pillar broke, destroyed and replaced the lock and wrongfully exercised dominion and control or used a BOLT CUTTER to unlawfully gain ingress and egress into: The International Board of Rabbis; Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation; Beth Elohim Hebrew Congregation; Beth Shalom Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation; B’nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael; Congregation Temple Beth'El, Philadelphia, PA; Beit Da'ath, Chokmah, Binah or Church of G-d and Saints of Christ – Tabernacles collectively “members of the Israelite community” to name just a few houses of worship who have been systematically lured into Commandment Pillar’s web of deception? Outside of conciliatory phone calls; letters of reconciliation and the proposed Bet Din (Rabbinic Court) all of which were not effective forums of adjudication for Commandment Pillar’s breaking, destroying and replacing the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing and subsequently cutting off the lock with or without a BOLT CUTTER. Moreover, what do you do with Israelites who have desecrated YHWH’s honor and glory? Even with all of Rabbi Levy’s analogies referenced to “warring camps” in his article, three decades of unresolved issues nonetheless led Commandment Pillar to cross the line and end up in a dark place setting off a three-fold spiritual desecration and violation against: (1) YHWH; (2) the Shabbat; and in addition, (3) the release of strange fire, “negative energy”, paganism into the dwelling where YHWH’s name was placed. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me" is one of the Ten Commandments found in “Shemot” 20:2 and Deuteronomy “Devarim” 5:6, which establishes the nature of the relationship between the nation of Israel and YHWH the G-d of Israel.

In this instance, negative energy/paganism was a catalyst. Negative Energy incorporating beliefs or practices from outside of practicing YHWH as ONE. Negative Energy which can be given names; names which collect particular attributes such as: (i) anger (a negative trait to be avoided whenever possible)[ Pirkei Avot: Ethics of the Fathers Chapter 4 states: "Ben Zoma said: Who is strong? He who subdues his evil inclination, as it is stated, 'He who is slow to anger is better than a strong man, and he who masters his passions is better than one who conquers a city' (Proverbs 16:32) Anger will cause a sage to lose his wisdom, a person who is destined for greatness to forfeit it.— The Talmud. The Talmud links anger to conceit, stating “One who is angry does not even consider the presence of YHWH important. One who becomes angry is as though that person had worshipped idols.— Moses Maimonides, Mishneh Torah "]; (ii) pride (humility is among the greatest of the virtues, as its opposite, pride, is among the worst of the vices. The Torah, say the rabbis (Taanit7a), is compared to water for just as water only runs downhill, never uphill, the word of YHWH can only be heard in a humble heart.); (iii) egotism (the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal importance. It often includes intellectual, physical, social and other overestimations.); (iv) illusion (there is nothing but YHWH. Everything that exists, whether physical or spiritual, is simply a highly limited expression of its Creator, somewhat like each of your thoughts and actions is a little expression of you.); and (v) greed (The effects of greed and the fear of uncertainty, which lead to economic crime and theft, may be limited by the understanding of YHWH’s role as the real provider of all the needs of His creatures. Pirkei Avot: Ethics of the Fathers Chapter 5:12: classifies one whose attitude to wealth is “What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours” as being a mediocre person. Such a person is not prepared to assist others, nor does he recognize a social obligation in view of the wealth in his possession. “Some say,” continues the Mishnah, “this is the mark of the people of Sodom.” The people of Sodom have been the archetype of an evil community deserving of destruction ever since biblical times, primarily because of THEIR SELFISH ECONOMIC BEHAVIOR.) Such attributes effectively became the negative channels through which Commandment Pillar’s negative actions operated when they planned; co-conspired; plotted; premeditated; and finally initiated their plan to break, destroy and replace the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing and subsequently used a BOLT CUTTER to cut off the lock of the synagogue. Each time Commandment Pillar illegally broke, destroyed and replaced the locks to the synagogue, their pride and ego fueled. Commandment Pillar puffed-up with pride easily placed themselves in the role as both Judge and Jury.

On the eve of Shabbat, where was the Commandment Pillar’s respect for the place where the name of the Holy One, blessed be He had been placed by Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l? Whatever fueled their intentions in the past, was even more certainly at the forefront of their mission on the 8th of Tevet, 5764. Commandment Pillar lacked fear of YHWH. Encouraged by the yetzer hara; the inclination to do evil, they violated the will of YHWH by making a willful choice to “cross over the line,” seeking their own individual gratification by breaking off the lock of the synagogue door. Such “Evil” inclination gave them a sense of reverence and invincibility. Woe unto them who have desecrated the Name of the Holy One blessed be He!

During the three Pilgrimage Festivals, “Shalosh Regalim,” as commanded by the Torah: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot; all Commandment Keepers gave thanks, united, and prayed for the continued abundance for Commandment Keepers synagogue and legacy. (Shemot 23:14–17); (Shemot 34:18-23). Each generation of devoted Commandment Keepers’ members, no member better than the next, gave according to their ability in the place where the Most High G-d’s Name Dwelled. Each Commandment Keeper member, because of their sacrifice, gifts, and generosity, enabled the continuity of Commandment Keepers’ legacy to continue for almost 100 years. No one Commandment Keeper: member, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, mother, father, great grandson or the like, was or is special; YHWH sees each mitzvot performed as under the union of the Nation of Yisrael. Together ALL of Yisrael has a need to come together; they ALL had and have a stake in the Redemption of Yisrael The Talmud (Shevuot 39a), in discussing the domino effect of sin, concludes with the Aramaic phrase, Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh, meaning all of Israel are responsible for each other “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh.” So, why the BREAK-IN?

I. Defilement and Desecration of “YHWH”

Commandment Pillar’s act of breaking, destroying and replacing the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing, where the name of the Most High G-d was placed, was so offensive that they too had total disregard for the holiness of YHWH and the need to honor and obey Him in solemn and holy fear – a Sacred space where YHWH Dwells, they desecrated it. Jacob “Yisrael” spoke and said to the twelve tribes: “Take heed that no dissentions spring up among you, for UNION is the first condition of Israel’s redemption.” Page 140, Legends of the Jews

As a nation, Israel achieved a profound level of unity and solidarity. Then, and only then, were Israel officially declared a nation. At that same time, they were also given the task to spread their method of connection to the world, or as the Torah states to be a light unto nations. Being a light unto nations means setting an example of unity and brotherhood. With this current hatred, Commandment Pillar is setting the opposite example.

Commandment Pillar had no fear of YHWH, no respect for the Courts, police or District Attorney Office, for not only once, twice, or even three times did Commandment Pillar forcibly broke, destroyed and replaced the lock when they wrongfully exercised dominion and control over the synagogue and wrongfully seized Commandment Keepers and displaced congregants in good standing but subsequently removed the locks with their BOLT CUTTER from the synagogue door. Repeatedly, over and over again, Commandment Pillar demonstrated their total disregard for the Most-High G-d’s name placed within the walls of the synagogue. It was through Commandment Pillar’s desecration and dissention that Commandment Pillar violated the first rule for Israel’s redemption!

In the final analysis, Commandment Pillar decided how to act. This notion is succinctly worded in the Babylonian Talmud (Niddah 16b): “All is given into the hands of heaven, except one's fear of heaven,” meaning, everything in man's life is pre-determined by YHWH—excepting that man's choice to be either good or bad; righteous or wicked. In this matter alone, Commandment Pillar decided to choose bad, or exercised their freewill; their egotistic indulgence to encourage their evil impulse to exercise free choice and “cross over the line.” Commandment Pillar sought only to gratify their EGO!

Blinded by their intentions, they undoubtedly, was consumed by their mission and lacked the reverence for the sanctity of YHWH’s Name, as Shabbat begun on the 8th of Tevet, 5764. 'In all your ways acknowledge Him' (Proverbs 3:6), [meaning], even in a matter involving transgression. In Shemot Chapter 31:16-17 it states:

(16) The people of Israel will observe the Shabbat, making the Shabbat throughout all their generations into an eternal covenant. (17) It will be an eternal sign between Me and the people of Israel, that, in six days, G-d made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day, He ceased working and rested. So, not only did Commandment Pillar disregard the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Name placed inside of the holy Ark inside of the synagogue’s sanctuary; but Commandment Pillar had total disregard for the sanctity of the Shabbat. Just as YHWH set strict borders around Mount Sinai, saying that whoever touched the mountain would die (Shemot 31:12). YHWH also sets strict borders around the synagogue, a consecrated space used for the purpose of prayer “Bet ha-tefillah.” The synagogue is not the playground for revenge!

II. Desecration of the Shabbat

Today, physical death is no longer the penalty for one who desecrates the Sabbath which is biblically commanded to the Israelite People and mandated in the Torah. Yet, just as the ancient Israelite would have been cut off from the camp of Israel, so too an Israelite who desecrates the Sabbath cuts himself off from YHWH and brings a type of spiritual death upon himself by willfully disobeying the commandment.

The 8th of Tevet, 5764 should truly become a day of mourning for Israelites because YHWH gave instructions to kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh. YHWH gave instructions to Yisrael at the foot of Mount Sinai to observe from nightfall on Friday and until nightfall on Saturday the Shabbat; the most important ritual observance for Israelites. Shabbat is the only ritual observance instituted in the Ten Commandments; and is more important than the High Holy Days. Shabbat, as one of the holiest times, empowers Israelites to demonstrate their covenantal relationship with YHWH. Shabbat is a time for Israel to demonstrate her promise to keep and remember Shabbat laws and customs. But, instead of keeping and remembering Shabbat, the premeditated break-in by Commandment Pillar was engineered and carried out during the holiest time; producing a domino effect of sin.

The community of Israel is commanded to remember “Zakhor” Shabbat and to sanctify it: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy - Zakhor et yom ha-Shabbat l'kad'sho” Shemot 20:7 It is further written in Shemot 31:13: “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying: Verily ye shall keep My sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the L-RD who sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; everyone that profaneth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” Simply by virtue of being an Israelite, one is responsible for the well-being of other Israelites, and vice versa. If one Israelite sees another Israelite at the verge of sinning, he has an obligation to step in and help. Who was there to help Commandment Keepers when Commandment Pillar broke off the lock to the synagogue on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 and subsequently broke off the lock with a BOLT CUTTER? What Torah guided Commandment Pillar to desecrate the Sabbath? It is incumbent upon Israel to ensure that all Israelites remember the significance of Shabbat and not be led by wickedness.

An intentional desecration of Shabbat on any level by any Israelite takes the name of the L-RD thy G-d in vain. Sabbath desecration is the failure to observe the Biblical Sabbath and is usually considered a sin and a breach of a holy day.

Therefore, is an Israelite knowingly and willingly violating the Shabbat by prohibiting another Israelite from observing Shabbat? Is Commandment Pillar’s hiring security services to stand guard in front of the synagogue entrance to prevent ingress and egress of Commandment Keepers and its congregants in good standing-a grave violation of the Shabbat? Is Commandment Pillar standing before the Bet ha-tefillah entry door on Shabbat, standing with fist balled in a fighter’s position, blocking the entryway in a fighter’s stance, intentionally provoking a fight with the Rabbi by obstructing the Rabbi’s entry into the Bet ha-tefillah, and preventing the Rabbi from entering the Bet ha-tefillah to begin Shabbat Shacharit worship servicea grave violation of Shabbat? Is Commandment Pillar’s provoking a fight by intentionally blocking the synagogue door; and causing the Rabbi to make use of his cell phone, an electrical device, to dial 911 for Police Assistance to remove Commandment Pillar from in front of the Bet ha-tefillah door on Shabbata grave violation of Shabbat? Is Commandment Pillar running in the street towards the President (“Parnas” of the Bet ha-tefillah who was carrying a tray of food in his hands for kiddush and intentionally kicking the Parnas, thereby forcing the food from the Parnas’ hands and causing the food for kiddush (Food served after Shabbat morning services for the congregation. The Shabbat morning version of the Kiddush focuses on YHWH’s commandment for Israel to observe the Sabbath and make it holy. “If because of the Sabbath thou turnest away thy foot from pursuing…My holy day…for the mouth of the L-rd has spoken it.”  Isaiah 58:13) to fall to the grounda grave violation of Shabbat? Parnas was a member of Commandment Keepers in good standing and was duly elected by its Board and congregants in good standing and not a “fake” officer as alleged by Commandment Pillar when they said: “In 1996…proclaimed himself as president of Commandment Keepers...continued this path of destructive acts to Commandment Pillar’s legacy and history.” Nor did Parnas wrongfully and forcefully takeover as alleged by Commandment Pillar. He was in good standing unlike Commandment Pillar who left the synagogue over thirty (30) years ago, or were not in good standing, or were terminated, or left on or about 1996. Is Commandment Pillar running up to the Rabbanit, and in a scuffle, hit the Rabbanit in her facea grave violation of Shabbat? Members of the Israelite community, until you are faced with such desecration, threat of violence and bodily harm, you should not be quick to write: The Destruction of Commandment Keepers, Inc. 1919-2007, unless you walk first hand in the shoes of Commandment Keepers.

The Prohibition Against Physical Violence

Surely, we don’t need YHWH to tell us that physical violence is not allowed, as all half-decent people could come to this conclusion on their own. What does this say about us as a people? Are we so far gone? Do we, with Torah training, resort to street behavior and thug tactics? 

Therefore, one who wounds or even hits another person actually transgresses one of the 365 prohibitions of the Torah. Although there’s no verse in the Torah that explicitly forbids hitting, the Talmud derives the prohibition from the verses that discuss the punishment of lashes. Commandment Pillar posed a real threat of bodily harm to Commandment Keepers.

In conclusion, sanctity of the Shabbat is biblically commanded as the fourth of the Ten Commandments given by YHWH to the Israelite People and was desecrated by perpetrators on Shabbat eve; as well as subsequent Shabbats. Unfortunately, the perpetrators were IsraelitesCommandment Pillar!

III. Releasing “strange fire” before YHWH

Commandment Pillar’s actions on the 8th of Tevet, 5764 is likened to Nadab and Abihu, who offered incense with “strange fire.”  Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the L-RD, which he had not commanded them… (Vayikra 10:1–3)

To understand Commandment Pillar’s actions more fully, let’s look at the book of Shemot. Just before YHWH gave His Ten Commandments, He told Moses that He soon would come to him in a thick cloud so that the people might hear Him speaking and believe (Shemot 19:9). To prepare for that amazing vision, YHWH commanded the people to consecrate themselves (Shemot 19:10). He also set strict borders around Mount Sinai, saying that whoever touched the mountain would die (Shemot 19:12). When YHWH came, “there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled” (Shemot 19:16). YHWH called Moses to ascend the mountain, but before revealing His law, YHWH sent Moses back down the mountain to repeat and expand the warning. He said:

Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the L-RD to look and many of them perish. Also, let the priests who come near to the L-RD consecrate themselves, lest the L-RD break out against them. (Shemot 19: 21–22)

So, at the very formation of the Nation of Israel, YHWH laid down the fundamental laws of consecration for the priests. He warned them that if they were not consecrated or if they violated their consecration, He would “break out” against them. Nadab and Abihu violated the holy law of the priesthood.

On the 8th of Tevet, Commandment Pillars gained illegal possession and occupied the synagogue and through their act of braking, destroying and replacing the locks and wrongfully exercising dominion and control over the synagogue and subsequently used a BOLT CUTTER their collective actions are symbolic of the “censer” used by Nadab and Abihu on the synagogue lock and expurgated the lock, forcibly removing it, and breaking into the synagogue. (Not as Rabbi Levy wrote: “…a locksmith to enter and temporarily occupy the building…”  No locksmith was ever used to gain entry into the synagogue by Commandment Pillar - a bit of information that so many members of the Israelite community were not privy to! The fact is, once Commandment Pillar broke in and gained unlawful entry and crossed the threshold of the synagogue, Commandment Pillar emitted strange fire (“negative energy/paganism” filling the walls, the floors, the ceilings and all that was within the synagogue with negative energy/paganism. Negative energy/paganism swept throughout the sanctuary, especially, in the domain where the name of the Most High G-d had been placed by generations of Commandment Keepers. The Hebrew word for “strange” means “unauthorized, foreign, or profane.” Therefore, by virtue of their act of breaking into the synagogue, YHWH rejected Commandment Pillar. Commandment Pillar stepped over the threshold (a symbol and extension of holiness) and in their collective actions of breaking, destroying and replacing the locks and subsequently using the BOLT CUTTER caused the synagogue to be infused with unholiness. And thus, it became to them a consuming fire, because they approached the Holy One blessed be He in a profane spirit. A fact buried underneath all of the lies, innuendos and disparaging information written about Commandment Keepers.

In judging Nadab and Abihu for their strange fire, YHWH made an example to all the other priests who would serve in His tabernacle—and later, in His temple—and to us, as well as in future generations. Since this was the first-time sacrifices were being offered on the altar and Israel was getting to know YHWH better, when Aaron’s sons were disobedient and profane, YHWH displayed His displeasure in no uncertain terms. YHWH was not going to allow the disobedience of Aaron’s sons to set a precedent for future disregard of His Law. YHWH in no uncertain terms will let Commandment Pillar escape their total disregard for the holiness of YHWH and the need to honor and obey Him in solemn and holy fear.

Commandment Pillar’s obsession with this internal battle reaches back into the 70s which after 30 years of anger has led them ALL to a dark place – the breaking, destroying and replacing of the synagogue locks and physical violence against Commandment Keepers. Their great pride, and anger has been expressed in several ways: disrespect of the Holy One, blessed be He; violation of the sanctity of the Shabbat; and their violation of the sanctity of the Shabbat caused them to remit negative energy/paganism, “strange fire,” to enter the synagogue, which was out of place.

They had no command from YHWH to enter the synagogue at that time. As a result, Commandment Pillar, believe it or not, is sitting outside. YHWH has Commandment Pillar sitting outside of the encampment as a penalty for having entered the synagogue improperly. How so? They first had to get someone to be their spokesperson, so they went to the International Israelite Board of Rabbis and got them as an upfront entity. Next, they went to Mount Horeb to ask for them to host a Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew Commemoration event; then went to Beth Shalom to host a Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew Commemoration event; then went to Beth Elohim, to host a Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew Commemoration event; went to the Tabernacle, host an event; on and on because they are without a synagogue due to their own unlawful actions. Commandment Pillar one event at a time lured the community of Israel into their web of deception. YHWH has caused them to wander just as the Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert, so too does Commandment Pillar wander in exile.

Just imagine a 100-year centennial celebration of the 1919 founding of Commandment Keepers synagogue by Chief Rabbi Matthew zt”l [not his birthday] which 100 years represents the actual date of the founding of the synagogue with parades; an exhibit at the Schomburg; event after event at synagogues under the guise of “unity”, yet, the winding down of all these events with the major lecture, perhaps, at Aaron Davis Hall or a synagogue venue other than Commandment Keepers synagogue, is a body without a HEAD!

The halakah “law” prohibits religious and civil authorities from validating the actions of a religious zealot either before or after the act. It is difficult for a zealot to justify his actions to himself unless he is assured of the approval of the legitimate authority figures of his society. It is more difficult for the would-be zealot to justify himself in his own eyes and in the eyes of society if he gains no moral support from those in authority in his society. The Talmud teaches us that the zealot, should be considered an outcast!  (See

Parashat Vayetzei - Jacob's Ladder "Sulam" and the Structure of Prayer

Posted on November 12, 2018 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Parashat Vayetzei / פרשת ויצא - Jacob’s Ladder “Sulam” and the Structure of Prayer (Pineal Gland - Transportation Device)

Bereshit 28:12

12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of YHWH ascending and descending on it.

Come and see, the ladder holds two worlds - the world above and the world below - everything goes through Jacob's “Yaakov” ladder, the foundation of the world.

Prayer “tefilah” is likened to the ladder in the dream of Yaakov. As the Book of Bereshit relates Chapter 28 verse12, in his dream, Yaakov saw “a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. The Hebrew word for “ladder”—sulam—is comprised of three Hebrew letters totaling 130: samach equaling 60; lamed equaling 30; and mem equaling 40. This is the same numerical value as that of the word Sinai: samach equaling 60; yud equaling 10; nun equaling 50; and yud equaling 10. This implies that the peak or ultimate experience of tefilah is the mystical union with YHWH, such as the Israelite people achieved at Mt. Sinai.

If the word sulam is spelled with an additional letter vav (equaling 6), its numerical value is 136, which is the same as kol meaning “voice.” This suggests that the means of travel on the ladder of tefilah is through the vocalization of our prayers. We need to include all levels of our being on this inner journey of tefilah (pineal gland - transportation device), most importantly our humanity, which is distinguished by our ability to speak, an ability not shared by any other creatures. The sages and commentators, have many interpretations for Sulam Yaakov but the simplest is that the sulam has to do with the encounter between the human soul and YHWH, an encounter which later generations have come to know as tefilah.

When Yaakov awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely YHWH is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of YHWH; this is the gate “Portal” of heaven.

The synagogue “temple” is the house of YHWH. Tefilah is the gate “portal” of heaven. And when we pray, the most profound result is that we too are conscious of the feeling: “Surely YHWH is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Our liturgy has a symmetrical three-part structure, 1-2-3, which has the following form: (1) ascent; (2) standing in the Presence; and (3) descent.

Four Stages of Prayer

The Midrash Tanchuma says that there were four steps to Yaakov’s sulam, and the Zohar teaches that these four rungs parallel the four main stages of morning prayer, beginning with earthly reality and slowly moving upward and inward to a higher, deeper level of connection and unity with YHWH. At the outset of tefilah, we begin by standing on the first rung, and through the course of the prayer service, we climb the sulam toward spiritual perfection and elevation.

The four stages of morning prayer with a threefold structure are as follows:

1. Morning Blessings (Birchat Hashchar), which reflect the dawn of our awareness: “Ki karov elecha hadavar mi’od bificha ubilvavcha la’asoso,” (Devarim 30:14) “For the matter of serving YHWH is very close to you, it is in your mouth and heart to fulfill it..” We thank YHWH for instilling Israel with the capacity to discern between night and day;

2. Verses of Praise (Pesukei DeZimrah), a series of psalms which constitute a preparation prayer which reduces negativity and awakens our emotions;

3. Recitation of the Shema (Keriat Shema), has three blessings that surround it, which internalizes our emotions; and

4. The Silent Standing Prayer (Amidah, also known as the Shemonei Esrei), which is a deep encounter with the Divine in a quiet space of union, ultimately reaching a place of oneness. It ends with a series of concluding prayers including Ashrei, itself a key element of Pesukei DeZimrah.

The basis of this threefold structure is found in a statement in the Talmud (Berakhot 32b) that “the early pious men used to wait for an hour before praying, then they would pray for an hour, and then they would wait for a further hour.” The Talmud asks on what basis they did so. It answers by citing the verse Ashrei itself: “Happy are those who sit in Your house.”

The structure of the Amidah has the following three-part pattern: (a) shevach, praise, the first three paragraphs; (b) bakashah, requests, the middle paragraphs, and (c) hodayah, ‘thanks’ or ‘acknowledgements’, the last three paragraphs. On Shabbat and Yom Tov, the middle section is replaced by usually one, on Rosh Hashanah three, paragraphs relating to ‘the holiness of the day’ claiming we do not make requests on days of rest.

Shevach is a preparation. It is our entry to the divine presence. Hodayah is a leave-taking. We thank YHWH for the goodness with which He has favoured us. Bakashah, the central section, is standing in the presence itself. We are like supplicants standing before the King, presenting our requests. The spiritual form of the first and last actions – entry and leave-taking – are dramatized by taking three steps forward, and at the end, three steps back. This is the choreography of ascent and descent.

The kedushah – verses taken from the mystical visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel – is said three times in the morning service (on Shabbat, the third is transferred to the afternoon service, because the morning service is more than usually long. However, its proper place is in the morning service). The first, known as kedushat yotser, occurs in the blessings before the Shema; the third, kedushah de-sidra, is in the concluding section of the prayers, beginning Uva le-Tzion. The middle kedushah is in the reader’s repetition of the Amidah.

The kedushah makes explicit reference to angels. Its key verses are the words Isaiah and Ezekiel heard the angels saying as they surround the Throne of Glory. We speak of the angels at this point: the Serafim, Cherubim, Ofanim and holy Chayot.

There are obvious differences between the first and last, on the one hand, and the second on the other. The first and third do not need a minyan. They can be said privately. They do not need to be said standing. The second requires a minyan and must be said standing.

Maimonides explains the difference. In the first and third, we are describing what the angels do when they praise YHWH. In the second, we are enacting what they do. The first and third are preparation for, and reflection on, an event. The second is the event itself, as we re-live it.

There is a basic shape and depth of tefilah. It consists of ascent-standing in the Presence – descent. The inspiration for this is Yaakov’s vision.

Essentially, tefilah is a ladder stretching from earth to heaven. On this ladder of words, thoughts and emotions, we gradually leave earth’s gravitational field. We move from the world around us, perceived by the senses, to an awareness of that which lies beyond the world – the earth’s Creator.

The spiritual ascent or stages of prayer can be paralleled to the worlds of creation as well as the levels of our soul:

1. the world of action (asiyah) and the soul level of physical/functional consciousness (nefesh);

2. the world of formation (yetzirah) and the soul level of emotional consciousness (ruach);

3. the world of creation/context (beriah) and the soul level of intellectual/cognitive ability (neshamah); and

4. the world of unity (atzilut) and the soul level of transcendental consciousness (chayah), which is reflected as our inner most deepest will and desire.

Yet, on Rosh Hashanah, we have additional prayers. The prayer service is much longer than on Shabbat or other holidays, because the verbalization of these prayers is very important.

It is no accident that Rosh Hashanah celebrates the creation of the first human being—Adam (Adam ha Rishon—The Common Soul). In describing the creation of Adam ha Rishon, the Torah says: “And He [YHWH] blew into his nostrils nishmat chayim,” a phrase which can be translated as “breath of life” or “a speaking soul.” Our capacity to communicate and structurally verbalize our feelings or thoughts is fundamentally a human ability, and thus expresses our humanness. Speech is our means to communicate and it allows us to build our civilization; additionally, our individual humanness is expressed in our distinctive voice—as unique to each person as a fingerprint.

Therefore, on Rosh Hashanah we go about verbalizing holy words of tefilah; we demonstrate our uniqueness as human beings—by using the highest form of speech we know “tefilah.”

The Rungs of Yaakov’s Ladder “Tefilah”

#4 The Silent/Standing Prayer - Atzilut -World of Unity: Chayah Transcendental Consciousness;

#3 Recitation of the Shema - Beriah World of Creation: Neshamah Intellectual Ability;

#2 Verses of Praise Yetzirah - World of Formation: Ruach Emotional Cosnciousness; and

#1 Morning Blessings Asiyah - World of Action: Nefesh Physical Consciousness.

As we climb the four levels of prayer upward and inward, ascent and descent; we come more in touch with our deeper levels of soul, and they become our internal reality.

Therefore, Sulam Yaakov is a symbol that represents and links different worlds.

In his book Ruah Chaim (“the breath of life," Rabbi Haim of Volozhin (a student of the Vilna Gaon 1749-1821) writes:

“…a ladder stationed on the earth–that is Sinai; and its top reaches the heaven–which represents our soul’s life, which is in the highest sphere. A whole person is like a tree whose roots are above, and whose trunk extends downward, which is the body, and which is fastened to its supernal roots.”

Therefore, Torah learning is likened to a Sinaitic event, since Torah is what connects the heavens and the earth; and Tefilah through its four stages during the liturgy enables one to ascend and descend on the sulam between the two spheres above and below linking everything in the physical dimension to its paralleled spiritual dimension: “As above, so below; as below, so above.” Thus, through the system of tefilah, we ignite supernal energies that flow through channels or conduits attaching our souls to YHWH.

From sleep or 1/60th of death; when our eyes are closed to a silent meditation done before we open our eyes or say a single word “modeh ani” we begin our ascent on Yaakov’s ladder. This inner connection is defined through our (i) “yechidah” literally “singularity;” (ii) “chayah” life source; (iii) neshamah “breath;” (iv) “ruach” wind or spirit; and (v) “nefesh” literally living being “bloodstream” forming a chain link on the rungs of the sulam leading us through the four levels of tefilah energy which ultimately leads us to the Supernal Universe and ultimately to YHWH.

Chayei Sarah: Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century

Posted on October 30, 2018 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This week's Torah portion:  Chayei Sarah  (חַיֵּי שָׂרָה‬ — Hebrew for "life of Sarah")  constitutes Genesis "Bereshit" 23:1–25:18

(A Tribute to Martha Leah Poinsett-Williams A Twenty-First Centuray Sarah)

This week's Torah portion begins with the death of Sarah, but it is more about the legacy she left with Isaac to carry on through the Israelite people in the generations to come. Chayei Sarah is the only Torah portion named after a woman.  Sarah is the mother of only Isaac, giving birth in her old age. Sarah is the critical other half of Isaac’s birth and therefore our covenant’s parentage.  We know little about Sarah's characteristics.  However, if we tap into our imagination, we could probably envision Sarah to possess the valor, courage, and heroism of our beloved sister Martha Leah Poinsett-Williams who is featured in the article below: 


Living with Advanced Breast Cancer

How three women shine in the face of disease.

12 Min Read Cancer Care & Research

Elaine Schain, 76, looks forward to changing the floral arrangements at the soup kitchen where she volunteers every Friday. Lissette Montanez, 46, takes pride in making sure children in her Lower Manhattan neighborhood get to and from school safely each day. And Martha Williams, 68, tries to never miss a tai chi class, where she finds energy, spirituality, and a sense of well-being.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Health Matters spoke with these three vibrant New Yorkers who are living with or have faced advanced breast cancer. Each woman is thoroughly engaged with their communities, and grateful to their families, who have helped provide a foundation and support system from which they draw strength. Elaine, Lissette, and Martha are honest about their struggles with cancer but remain steadfast in their determination to lead fulfilling lives — in spite of the difficulties, setbacks, and lingering effects of the disease.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer in 2018. More than 150,000 women in the U.S. — like Elaine and Lissette — are living with metastatic breast cancer (meaning the cancer has spread to other organs), according to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The study also had good news, though. Women with metastatic breast cancer are living longer as a result of better treatments.

Here, Elaine, Lissette, and Martha share with us in their own words how their inspiring journeys, unique perspectives, and passion for life go far beyond cancer.

Elaine Schain

Long-term treatment hasn’t stopped this retired teacher from giving back to her community or staying active.

I just celebrated my 76th birthday. Having had cancer for 19 years, I am very happy to have another year. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast in 1999. It was treated with a lumpectomy, radiation, and medication, and it never came back on that side. Eight years ago, however, I had a different kind of breast cancer in the other breast. It was more aggressive and required a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years ago it metastasized to my liver, where it could not be cured, but it could be treated. I am now on my third chemotherapy protocol.

As long as my wonderful medical team, originally headed by Dr. Anne Moore and, since her retirement, by Dr. Tessa Cigler, has a treatment to offer, I will keep going. If it comes to a point where the treatment interferes with my ability to function, I will stop the treatment, whatever will follow. While that may sound pessimistic, I consider myself a realist. I have been functioning well, so I go on. I volunteer at the All Souls soup kitchen on Fridays; I volunteer in a hospital on Tuesdays and I speak to medical students about my experiences. I am out and about! My husband and I go to shows and movies, to museums and parks, and we take long walks to explore Manhattan. We are occupied. I believe staying active and engaged is the most important thing anyone can do.

The soup kitchen is my favorite volunteer activity. We serve nutritious food to 250 to 270 guests in need each week. Each table has an artificial floral arrangement, which I make and change for each season. The people there are gracious and do more for me than I do for them. When you do for others, it takes your mind off your own problems.

I swim and do water aerobics for most of the year. I used to ice skate and ballroom dance, which I can no longer do — not because of the cancer but due to a stroke I suffered in 2008 that has affected my balance.

We go to Florida in the winter. When I am there, I am a regular at the gym, exercising, and where I take a number of classes, including my favorite, Zumba Gold, which is very much like Latin dancing. I love Zumba. I love the rhythm of all Latin music. If I hear it in the street, I stop; it gets me, that kind of music.

I enjoy great support from my family and friends. Married over 54 years to my caring and devoted husband, Howard, we have three married children and seven grandchildren who are my pride and joy.

By and large, I am doing quite well. I have more side effects from the stroke than I do from the cancer. Since I can’t smile with the left side of my face due to the complications from the stroke, I wear a smile pendant so people know that I am still smiling. I have smiled all my life and I won’t stop now.

Martha Williams

The Brooklyn native is jumping back into life after facing a difficult diagnosis.

When my energy returned after cancer treatment earlier this year, I had a desire to do things, to interact with people. I wanted to spend time with my grandchildren and my family, and I knew I wanted to take tai chi.

That’s because, some years ago, I used to go to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn to have my car serviced. While I’d wait, I would watch seniors nearby doing slow, focused movements — what I later learned was tai chi. And I just thought, “That’s so beautiful, I wish I could learn that.”

I started to take classes in July. Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings I’m at tai chi, come what may. After class, I feel like I’m walking 10 feet off the ground. I walk faster, and I have more energy. It’s good for balance and for memory, because you need to remember the movements. It enhances my spiritual well-being, and makes me feel connected to the other people in the room. Our instructor, Sensei Derrick Shareef, tells us to use our peripheral vision to watch everyone else. The class is doing the slow movements in unity, and it makes you feel like you’re bonded spiritually. It’s like singing in a choir — everybody is a part of the whole chorus and all the melodies merge to make beautiful music.

Before I’d found tai chi and started going to Rochdale Village Community Center in Queens for classes, I’d lost my energy to cancer. When I found a lump on my breast in July of 2014, I had already lost two friends and two first cousins to breast cancer, and I decided to seek alternative means of treatment — I had my doubts about traditional therapy. The tumor eventually grew bigger, and I knew I needed to find out what I was dealing with. A friend recommended her primary care physician, Dr. Jeffrey Vieira at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, who I went to see in 2017. He arranged for me to see oncologist Dr. Alan Astrow, who asked me, like other doctors, why I wasn’t doing traditional treatment, and I told him it was because of those I had lost. Though he wanted me to begin treatment, I was not ready, and we agreed I would come back in two months. In the interim, my family was putting pressure on me because I had lost a lot of weight. I had no energy. I would just sit on the couch and turn the TV on. I wasn’t opening mail; I wasn’t functioning. I prayed about it and something told me to go to my appointment, and that I would know what to do after that.

At the appointment, Dr. Astrow said to me, “Ms. Williams, we are going to …” and then he stopped, and he said, “Ms. Williams, what do you want to do?” What doctor does that? I told him I wanted to see a radiologist and have a PET scan. He got on his cellphone and called Dr. Hani Ashamalla, a radiation oncologist, and he agreed to see me that same day. Dr. Astrow’s nurse walked me across the street to Dr. Ashamalla’s office. He examined me on a Thursday and said of the tumor, “This has to come out by Saturday.” Well, that got my attention. I agreed to see a surgeon, Dr. Raffaele Borriello, and he got on his cellphone and they admitted me. I had triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive type. At that point my cancer had spread to form a mass under my right armpit.

I went through with the surgery in January, and my appetite immediately came back. The nurses were incredible. I never had to ring a buzzer and wonder about where my food or medication was. They were superb. I went through chemotherapy and radiation, and am currently free of disease. I’m also grateful to my plastic surgeon, who did a phenomenal job with my breast reconstruction.

I traveled to my family reunion in Williamsburg, Virginia, this year, and to my cousin’s 30th anniversary celebration, where he and his wife recommitted to their vows. I visited friends in North Carolina. I love to travel nationally and internationally, and intend to plan some trips going forward.

I believe that there is more God has in store for me to do, that he is not ready to call me yet. I am trying very hard to live life as fully as I can as a tribute to my friends and relatives who were trying to do the same thing, who wanted very much to survive, and didn’t. So I talk to them all the time and say, “This is for us.”

Lissette Montañez

This crossing guard is tackling cancer with courage.

I started work as a crossing guard in September 2017. I enjoy everything about this job — the people, being in the community, and especially the children. They put a smile on my face. They’re really special to me. I work in Lower Manhattan, where I grew up, so I’m comfortable here. When tourists ask for directions, I can help them out. I’ve built friendships doing my crossing guard duties too.

I chose to be a crossing guard because I was looking for a purpose. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2008, back when I was living in Florida. I immediately started intravenous chemotherapy and had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor in my left breast. Then I did radiation, and, according to the doctors, I was in remission. In October 2015, after I’d moved back to New York, I discovered my breast cancer had returned, and it was now stage 4 and metastatic. It had spread to other areas of my body, my bones in particular. They started treating me right away. I currently take medication and oral chemotherapy, as well as chemotherapy and hormone injections.

I have the foundation of a very strong family, and that is the reason I’ve had courage in facing my illnesses. My mother, who unfortunately is no longer with us, faced a lot and had remarkable courage; she was who I always wanted to be. I wanted to learn from her strength, and I’d like to think I’ve made my mother proud. Sometimes I amaze myself and think, “Wow, I am Mom.” It helps, too, that I have a wonderful medical team at NewYork-Presbyterian — my oncologist Dr. Ok-Kyong Chaekal is amazing, and the entire team is incredible.

Like any illness, it sucks. But it is what it is. All I can do is my treatment, and pray for the best. It’s difficult, especially on days when I am immobile due to treatment and have to stay in bed, or when other illnesses come, like a cold. I’m used to being an active person, so when I’m knocked on my rear, I feel useless, and I start doubting myself. But then I think about my family, and I get myself out of that funk. When I get down and depressed, I think of my family, and I force myself out of bed and jump in the shower. I cry for a little bit, and once I come back out, I might still be a little depressed, but maybe not as much as before. I get dressed and tell my boyfriend, “Come on, let’s go for a walk,” and then we’ll go out, even if it’s just for 10 minutes to sit in the park and do nothing.

My boyfriend got me into fishing. We’ve been sharing different new experiences, and it’s been great. Once in a while we go out to Long Island, but we usually go to Canarsie Pier or Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. It’s peaceful and quiet and nobody bothers you. You forget about everything, even if it’s just for a few hours.

I like people to hear my story. And if they can get anything out of it, even if it’s just a little bit of courage, I feel like my place here on Earth has had its purpose.

Learn more about cancer treatment at New York-Presbyterian. 

A Woman of Valor: An Interpretation for the 21st Century - By Stacey Zisook Robinson , 3/07/2018

She doesn't feel brave,
except sometimes she does.
She feels the weight of rubies
and gold twist on her fingers;
she prefers a crown of flowers
in her hair to cold metal
and the straight-edged lines
of rocks.

She doesn't feel brave,
except when she does
in her heart -
the heart of a wife
and daughter
mother, perhaps
Or not - childless,
by choice or
unseen circumstance.

Weaver of tales, spinner of
fine linen that snags
sometimes, and she smooths it
with supple fingers -
slim fingers -
crooked and thick-with-age fingers.
She pulls the threads
that pulls the cloth.
There is beauty in its folds.

She doesn't feel brave,
but she laughs,
and it sounds like water
and light; and she knows goodness
and sometimes pain,
and the law of kindness
is on her tongue.

She doesn't feel strong,
but she rises when she falls,
because there are bills to pay
and dinner to fix
and papers to grade
and sometimes write.
There are knees to bandage
and meetings to endure
and the clock just keeps ticking.
And there are friends to love,
and family to love,
and self to love -
yes: self to love,

She rises, exhausted.
She rises, in joy.
She rises, trembling.
She rises, fearless.
She rises, bruised.
She rises, alone.
She rises, lonely.
She rises.

She knows nothing of valor
or the value of rubies.
She rises, and does not feel strong,
but sometimes she knows blessings
and a stumbling bit of grace.

This poem is an interpretation based on Proverbs 31:10-31, which is also known as "Eshet Chayil," A Woman of Valor.

In closing:  Tehillim to heal the sick

Psalm 20

This chapter ranks among the most familiar Psalms given its inclusion in the daily prayer service. The reason for its inclusion, perhaps, is that this Psalm provides hope and encouragement during times of crisis, assuring us of God's ability to assist even under the direst circumstances. As we all confront difficult situations on one level or another each day, we recite this chapter as an appeal to the Almighty for assistance.


Psalms Chapter 20 תְּהִלִּים


א לַמְנַצֵּחַ, מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד. 1 For the Leader. A Psalm of David.

ב יַעַנְךָ יְהוָה, בְּיוֹם צָרָה; יְשַׂגֶּבְךָ, שֵׁם אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב. 2 The LORD answer thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high;

ג יִשְׁלַח-עֶזְרְךָ מִקֹּדֶשׁ; וּמִצִּיּוֹן, יִסְעָדֶךָּ. 3 Send forth thy help from the sanctuary, and support thee out of Zion;

ד יִזְכֹּר כָּל-מִנְחֹתֶךָ; וְעוֹלָתְךָ יְדַשְּׁנֶה סֶלָה. 4 Receive the memorial of all thy meal-offerings, and accept the fat of thy burnt-sacrifice; Selah

ה יִתֶּן-לְךָ כִלְבָבֶךָ; וְכָל-עֲצָתְךָ יְמַלֵּא. 5 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

ו נְרַנְּנָה, בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ-- וּבְשֵׁם-אֱלֹהֵינוּ נִדְגֹּל;

יְמַלֵּא יְהוָה, כָּל-מִשְׁאֲלוֹתֶיךָ. 6 We will shout for joy in thy victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our standards; {N}

the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

ז עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי-- כִּי הוֹשִׁיעַ יְהוָה, מְשִׁיחוֹ:

יַעֲנֵהוּ, מִשְּׁמֵי קָדְשׁוֹ-- בִּגְבֻרוֹת, יֵשַׁע יְמִינוֹ. 7 Now know I that the LORD saveth His anointed; {N}

He will answer him from His holy heaven with the mighty acts of His saving right hand.

ח אֵלֶּה בָרֶכֶב, וְאֵלֶּה בַסּוּסִים;

וַאֲנַחְנוּ, בְּשֵׁם-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ נַזְכִּיר. 8 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; {N}

but we will make mention of the name of the LORD our God.

ט הֵמָּה, כָּרְעוּ וְנָפָלוּ; וַאֲנַחְנוּ קַּמְנוּ, וַנִּתְעוֹדָד. 9 They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen, and stand upright.

י יְהוָה הוֹשִׁיעָה: הַמֶּלֶךְ, יַעֲנֵנוּ בְיוֹם-קָרְאֵנוּ. 10 Save, LORD; let the King answer us in the day that we call.