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!