Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg will be Shomrei’s guest on May 8th and 9th, 2002. Programs and services are free and open to the public. Continue reading
Parashat Yitro (5780 – 2020)
Exodus 18:1 – 20:23
After we read of God’s direct revelation to Israel of the Torah at Mount Sinai we read that God continues to communicate to them by means of Moses, their representative. This is Israel’s desire, for they have been too overwhelmed by God’s Presence to bear it for too long. So they send Moses into the space that they open between themselves and God. Thus, God will no longer be in direct contact with the people.
From Captain Stuart Green:
Parashat B’shalah/Shabbat Shirah/Tu BiSh’vat (5780-2020)
Exodus 13:17 – 17:16
Our Torah reading opens with a play on words. The verse explains that, when Pharaoh expelled the Israelites, God, in leading them (naham), did not take them directly to the land of Israel, “lest the people regret (yinahem) it when they see war, and return to Egypt.” (Ex. 13:17) In this wordplay the Torah expresses the paradox of a God, All Powerful, Who leads the people, and Who, nevertheless, cannot control the people’s emotions and reactions to their experiences, for they have free will.
The word chosen to describe the people’s feelings – yinahem – has been used sparingly by the Torah before. Basically, it can have two possible meanings. One is “regret” or “have second thoughts.” This meaning is apparent early in Genesis, when God sees how badly human beings have turned out. “And God regretted (va-yinahem) having made the human being in the world, and God was saddened in His heart.” (Gen. 6:6) The other meaning is “to be comforted, consoled.’ Thus, when Isaac weds Rebecca, the Torah tells us that Isaac “was consoled (va-yinahem) after losing his mother.” (Gen. 24:67) Continue reading
From Captain Linda Ariel:
On the 15 of Shevat, corresponding to the 10th of February, we will be celebrating Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees.
Customarily, certain grains and fruits mentioned in the following quote from the Torah are eaten:
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill, a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and [date] honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8).”
These items are collectively known as the seven species and each has been given a characteristic.
Parashat Bo (5780 – 2020)
Exodus 10:1 – 13:16
Our Torah portion tells of the final plagues that befell Egypt until Pharaoh capitulated to God’s might and liberated us. What was the underlying conflict that pitted Pharaoh against God? What was this power struggle all about? (For one discussion see my Sparks for 2017.) Early in our reading God offers that it is-
For the purpose that you may tell your children and your child’s child that which I performed in Egypt, and all the signs that I did among them, so that you may come to know that I am the Ever Present One.
What does this “knowing” entail? Our great teacher, Maimonides, has derived from the Torah that our faith in God and God’s messengers cannot depend on the evidence of miracles. He writes: “Israel did not trust in Moses because of the signs he performed. For anyone who believes because of signs has falsehood in his heart, for they may happen through magic and the like.” (Mishneh Torah, Foundations of the Torah, 8:1) But if the miracles wrought by God cannot serve to make us believe in God, they can serve to teach us something about who God is.
From Captain Fern Heinig
At Congregation Shomrei Emunah, we value helping others and trying to make our communities better. I helped organize Shabbat Across Shomrei for the last three years. For this event, congregants sign up to participate for a shabbat dinner as either a host or guest. This requires people to open their homes to congregants they don’t know.