Please come and join us for our Chanukah/Hanukkah party on December 18, 2022 from 4-6 pm, sponsored by Sisterhood and Sgoolai Israel Synagogue. RSVP Shelley.firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be no charge this year and there will be song, dance and crafts and light refreshments. Please bring your menorahs for lighting 1stcandle.
Dear community, family & friends, shalom
Services this Friday evening will be at 6:00 pm in person and, in addition, on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84797846128?pwd=LzdzbURpbmpkNjNOY2dzeWkzemREUT09
On Shabbat morning we are going to have in person services, beginning with SHOCHEIN AD (page 404) at 10:00 am
Please join us to make a Minyan, so that we may be able to say Kaddish for the following people: Bernie Vigod, Joe Chippin, Mollie Velensky – Budovitch, Clara Freeman and Freda Appel, whose Yahrzeits are this coming week
This Shabbat, we read Parasha Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24). The Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) we read is from the Book of II Kings (4:1-37).
I always find it amazing that the weekly Torah Portion can be related to current events, in fact, in the Israeli media – whenever something “blows-up” (breaking news) – they frequently call it a PARASHA (for example, see Parashat Lavon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavon_Affair). The late Lubavitcher Rebbe said that this is one of the most incredible things in Judaism, and when the Young Chabbad Association wanted to start a weekly newsletter (Sichat Ha’Shavu’ah) – he gave them his blessing and included in it an instruction to make sure that they share a contemporary idea on the front page!
So, yesterday, in an American city that is supposed to be named for Brotherly Love (pathetic, in my opinion, that this is where it happened) – a woman was raped while people were watching and filming, without any attempt to stop this horrendous and evil act! Why are we so surprised? In this week’s Torah Portion Hashem says the following: “Shall I conceal from Abraham what I do… because he (or: will) command(s) his children and his household… that they keep the Way of Hashem, doing charity and justice” (Genesis 18:17-19). G-d decided to destroy Sodom & Gomorrah because they were evil! We are not sure what their evilness was, but the Torah previously says that the Z’AKA (outcry) of the city reached Heaven! That same word is used to describe rape in Deuteronomy: “Tza’aka ha’na’arah – ve’ein moshi’ah lah” (22:27). Hashem reveals this to his friend Abraham, because He knows that Abraham will not be silent in the face of such evil, and Abraham, who is helpless (in this case) – responds with prayer. He doesn’t ask Hashem to punish the evil-doers, he doesn’t ask G-d to forgive them, either; what he bequests Hashem is (I am paraphrasing): ‘are there enough good people in the city, who can do something about it’?! According to the simple (P’SHAT) interpretation of the following verses – he asks if there may be a MINYAN (10 righteous people) in each city – since there are Five cities – “I am asking if there are 50 righteous people who can influence the masses and make sure that this never happens again”. When Hashem answers that there aren’t that many – he goes down from 45 (Nine righteous people plus? Hashem, maybe), to Ten (save only one city of the Five). Of course, there aren’t that many, and, so, the answer is no! Was Abraham that naive? What was he thinking? I believe that if we look carefully at the end of the story – we can count Eight people who would be considered worth saving (just like it was before the Flood – Genesis 7:13), these were Lot & his wife and Two unmarried daughters, plus his Two married daughters and their husbands (Genesis 19:14), but they thought that Lot was being ridiculous!
Candle lighting in Kehillat Kodesh Sgoolai Israel this Friday will be at 6:09 pm (18:09)
Wishing you all a very good Shabbos, and may Hashem open our eyes to see where we can make this world a better, happier and safer place to live!
Parasha Lech Lecha
This Shabbat, we read Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27). The Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) we read is from the Book of Isaiah (40:27-41:16).
The main theme of this week’s Torah Portion is the “chosen-ness” (I know there isn’t such a word in English) of our Forefather Abraham, and many of the tests, trials & tribulations that Hashem put him through. I often wonder (and many of our Sages, as well) how Abraham felt with all this animosity that he faced; first from his family, then his city (including King Nimrod) and the entire population of Mesopotamia! All the Torah tells us is that “Hashem spoke to Abram, saying: go forth from your country, from your birthplace and from your father’s household to the land which I will show you”! In modern day terms – give up your family, citizenship and nationality, and become a nomad in a land that you will be treated as an “illegal immigrant”!!!
I feel like history always repeats itself. My take on the story of Abram leaving Mesopotamia, is that his new way of thinking, his new way of life, could not be tolerated by the people around him. What he was teaching & preaching was that G-d alone is the One to be worshiped, and that man-made ethics & morals don’t work – if they aren’t based on a true faith in the One and Only G-d! Not so long ago, there was a person who lost his right to be called human – because he lost what we call in Hebrew – TZELEM ELOKIM (G-dly image). Abraham tried to teach humanity that it doesn’t matter what your skin colour is, it doesn’t make any difference what your religious background is – as long as you teach (AND act) in a way that a human being should speak and act! The Nazis truly believed that they were superior! And, therefore, could commit crimes against humanity, and never be accountable!
At the end of the Parasha, Hashem asks Abraham to make a sign in his body to show his devotion and covenant with G-d. I truly believe that the reason this is done on a very private part of the body – is because Hashem doesn’t want it to be public! My skin colour (and, in the last 50 years or so – my sexual orientation) is NONE of anybody’s business besides G-d!!! For example, there is a certain person in the US today whose skin colour is not white, who teaches hate towards Christians & Jews; there was an animal in Germany 80 years ago who wrote a book about how his “race” is superior – they are BOTH so wrong that they’re not worth us talking about them! However, if we consider ourselves “sons & daughters of Abraham” (even spiritually, if not biologically) – we must make sure to state, like Abraham, that “ALL lives matter”. I am no better than anybody else, but I have a relationship with my Creator, and that’s why I must love all other human beings who are created in His image (excluding only those who behave like vicious/wild animals).
Candle lighting in Kehillat Kodesh Sgoolai Israel this Friday will be at 6:22 pm (18:22)
Wishing you all a very good Shabbos