Wednesday, November 30, 2016

DISEASE OF THE HEART

Parashat Tol’dot
3 Kislev 5777 / 2-3 December 2016
Torah Reading - Genesis 25:19 - 28:9
Haftarah: Malachi 1:1- 2:7

For more info about our community, visit our website:

http://bethmeier.org

Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page: Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

https://www.gofundme.com/saveourschul

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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DISEASE OF THE HEART

“And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing that his father had blessed upon (Jacob); and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’” Genesis 27:41

Rabbi Jonathan Eibeschutz (17th century) teaches that when a rabbi tells a butcher that a particular animal was improperly slaughtered and therefore not kosher, the butcher accepts the ruling, even though it costs him money. But when two men bring a monetary dispute before a rabbi, the loser will be angry and argue with the rabbi. R. Eibeschutz says that in the case of the butcher, nobody benefits from the ruling, but in the case of the dispute, the winner is awarded money – he gains a benefit. The loser resents the fact of the winner winning more than he resents his loss.

As between Esau and Jacob, he says that Esau is not angry because he lost the blessing from his father, because Esau didn’t want it. He actually got what he wanted – “by your sword shall you live.” Rather, he hated Jacob because Jacob also received something of value from their father.

This idea that we resent those who benefit more than we resent not benefitting is a difficult one to acknowledge, but it is all around us. We see often it in our political and “civil” discourse, couched in the language of racism or class warfare.

“Do not hate your fellow in your heart.” Leviticus 19:17. Failure to follow that simple rule can create a chasm that can never be bridged. Will we ever learn?

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
http://bethmeier.org
Blogging at: http://rav-rich.blogspot.com/
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b

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Candle lighting: 4:25 pm

Friday – DEADLINE for RSVP for Shabbat Dinner on 12/9. Please your reservation by noon. Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. 
Sunday - Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew class – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, 12/9  Early Family Shabbat Evening Service at 6:00 pm, followed by catered Shabbat Dinner at 7:00. RSVP no later than Friday, December 2.
Saturday, 12/10 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. 

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Hedy Woolf, and Naomi Zimmermann (Naomi bat Yorma).

Please let me know if there is anyone you would like to add to this list or if there is anyone who may be removed from this list.

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

THE GIFT OF FULFILLMENT

Parashat Chayei Sarah
25 Cheshvan 5776 / 25-26 November 2016
Torah: Genesis 23:1 – 25:18
Haftarah: 1 Kings 1:1-31

If you would like to add a bit of holiness to your Thanksgiving holiday, check out the following resources provided by the Rabbinical Assembly:


For more info about our community, visit our website:


Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page: Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

https://www.gofundme.com/saveourschul

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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THE GIFT OF FULFILLMENT

And this was Sarah’s life; the years of the life of Sarah were one hundred years and twenty years and seven years. Sarah died in Kiryat Arba, now Hebron, in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn Sarah and to weep for her. Genesis 23:1-2

Rashi: “The years of the life of Sarah” tells us that they were all equally good.

Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Ger, aka the Sefas Emes, offers the following comment on Rashi and the verse: There must be differences and changes during the years of a person’s life. There are special times in youth and in old age. But the truly righteous ones find fulfillment (shleimut) in all (or, in each) of their days. Since this is not natural, it must be a gift from God.  And this is the meaning of the verse (24:1) “and the Lord blessed Abraham in every way” – fulfillment that is found in every place and in every time. Thus, Rashi says, “They were all equally good.”

Sarah suffered much travail over the years. Uprooted from her home and moved to a foreign land; years of barrenness; conflict with her maidservant who was also Abraham’s concubine; the near sacrifice of her only son – this must have taken a heavy toll. And yet, the Gerer Rebbe teaches that Rashi was right - that all of her years were equally good.

Thursday is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. What better day for each of us to remember that we can, we must, find fulfillment in what we have, and to be at peace (shleimut comes from the same root as shalom – peace) with what we don’t have. This doesn’t mean we should not strive to improve ourselves, our lives and our society. But it does mean that, as the Sefas Emes says, fulfillment is indeed a gift from God. And for that, we should be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hodu l'Adonai ki tov; ki l'olam chasdo - Give thanks to the Lord Who is good, Whose lovingkindness is eternal. Psalm 136.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
http://bethmeier.org
Blogging at: http://rav-rich.blogspot.com/
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b

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Candle lighting: 4:26 pm

Thursday – Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday – NO Shabbat Evening Service.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. 
Sunday - NO Religious School NO Adult Hebrew class. Both resume December 4.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday 12/2 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm
Saturday 12/3 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.
Friday, 12/9Early Family Shabbat Evening Service at 6:00 pm, followed by Shabbat Dinner at 7:00. RSVP no later than Friday, December 2.

This d'var torah is offered in honor of our son, Robert Flom, celebrating his birthday on December 1. Yom huledet sameach! Ad meah v’esrim!

This d'var torah is offered in honor of my sister, Lorrie Flom Goodman, celebrating her birthday on November 29. Yom huledet sameach! Ad meah v’esrim!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Hedy Woolf, and Naomi Zimmermann (Naomi bat Yorma).

Please let me know if there is anyone you would like to add to this list or if there is anyone who may be removed from this list.

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simcha in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

THE EXAMPLE(S) OF ABRAHAM

Parashat Vayera
18 Cheshvan 5777 / 18-19 November 2016
Torah: Genesis 18:1 – 22:24
Haftarah: 2 Kings 4:1-37

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because LAUSD is closed all of next week, we will have No Religious School or Adult Hebrew this Sunday or next. Both will resume December 4.

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

For more info about our community, visit our website: http://bethmeier.org

Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page: Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.

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THE EXAMPLE(S) OF ABRAHAM

"And the Lord appeared to (Abraham) at the terebinths (trees used to make turpentine) of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day. He lifted his eyes and saw there were three men standing above him; he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowed toward the ground. And he said, 'My Lord, if I find favor in Your eyes, please do not pass away from Your servant.’” Genesis 18:1-3.

At first reading, one would think that God appeared to Abraham in the form of the three men. Therefore, he bowed and addressed them as "My Lord".  

However, a rabbinic tradition teaches that these are two separate events. God was visiting Abraham following Abraham's circumcision, and then the three men appeared. Abraham (in his pain!) literally ran from God to greet the men. He then asked God to wait while he attended to the needs of the men!

This might seem extraordinarily disrespectful to God. Not so, according to the Rabbis. "Rabbi Judah said in the name of Rav: 'Hospitality to guests is greater than greeting the Divine Presence.'" How can this be?

For one thing, if God is the Omnipresent, one can never leave God's Presence. Second, if God is the Eternal, then "waiting" is not in God's vocabulary - it's simply not a problem. Perhaps most important, God does not have physical or emotional needs, but human beings do; and they must be attended to. In taking leave of God in order to extend hospitality to three strangers who appeared out of the desert, Abraham was actually honoring God - by truly caring for those who are created "in the image of God".

But there’s more that we can learn from Abraham in this parashah – some by following his example, some by not following his example.

"Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? ... Far be it from You to do so, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that the righteous should be equated with the wicked! Far be it from You! Shall the Chief Justice of all the earth not do justice?" (Gen. 18:23-25)

Abraham's desperate bargaining with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah, and thereby the righteous few who might be dwelling there, is a truly powerful moment - a man standing up to God and telling Him to do the right thing. As noted last week, this is a shining example of speaking truth to power. And yet, it seems that nothing comes of it. God promises not to destroy the cities if ten righteous people can be found there, but ultimately the cities are destroyed – because there are not ten righteous persons. It is not because Abraham failed – and it is not because Abraham was wrong.

And yet … If Abraham is willing to argue to save people with whom he has absolutely nothing in common, why then, at the conclusion of our parashah, does he march his son Isaac up the mountain to be offered as a sacrifice to God, with nary a peep of protest? Some attribute to Abraham his desire to fulfill all of God's commandments. But perhaps the reason is quite different. (Note: he was earlier “troubled” by, but acquiesced to, the banishment of his son Ishmael)

Perhaps Abraham felt beaten down. Maybe he thought that his inability to convince God to relent from destroying the two cities meant that he should no longer argue with God, not ever, not even to save the life of his own son – who was completely innocent! He gave up!

This would truly be a failure on Abraham’s part. If so, then this behavior of Abraham is clearly NOT one we should follow. Consider this: how could it ever be wrong to seek justice for ourselves and for our fellow human beings? So what if we fail once? If we do not demand justice, why should God, or any person in authority, act justly? Are we not commanded to zealously pursue justice? (Deuteronomy 16:20)

The proof is in the result. After the banishment of Ishmael and the near-sacrifice of Isaac, father and sons go their separate ways, and never see each other again – until the burial of Abraham. After Abraham’s failure to again demand justice, he and God go their separate ways, and never speak to each other again. We must not allow that to happen in our lives. The failure to seek justice for others may leave us all bereft of justice.

Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b

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Candle lighting: 4:29 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. 
Sunday - NO Religious SchoolNO Adult Hebrew class. Both resume December 4.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Thursday – Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday 11/25 – NO Shabbat Evening Service.
Saturday 11/26 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Hedy Woolf, and Naomi Zimmermann (Naomi bat Yorma).

Please let me know if there is anyone you would like to add to this list or if there is anyone who may be removed from this list.

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simcha in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

THIS IS A TEST …

Parashat Lekh L’kha
11 Cheshvan 5777 / 11-12 November 2016
Torah: Genesis 12:1 – 17:27
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 – 41:16

IMPORTANT NOTE: We tentatively scheduled an early (6:00 pm) Shabbat evening service followed by Shabbat dinner for November 18. However, we neglected to ask for reservations and payment. So, we are rescheduling to December 9 – you will receive complete notice via flyer and e-mail. Sorry for the mix-up!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

For more info about our community, visit our website: http://bethmeier.org

Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page: Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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THIS IS A TEST …

"Then the Lord said to Abram, 'Get yourself from your land, from your community, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.' .... So Abram went as the Lord had told him..."  Genesis 12:1, 4

Rashi:  "Go for yourself" - For your own benefit and your own good.

According to Rashi, God was convincing Abram to go to Canaan because of the benefit he would receive - to become a great nation and to be blessed (v. 2). But Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Ger, the S'fat Emet (his nickname means “The Language of Truth”), disagrees with Rashi. He says that this was the first of ten tests of Abram (later Abraham). It wouldn't be much of a test if he received a benefit for listening to God. Rather, Abram went solely because he was commanded to, without thinking of any possible benefit. Thus, the act of going to Canaan was not contaminated by selfish motives.

We Americans are about to enter a new land with a new president and congress. Some of us are greatly looking forward to the new land. Some of us are nervous and tentative. Some of us are being dragged unwillingly, kicking and screaming. Some of us are indifferent. Nevertheless, we are all going.

In a sense, we are all commanded to go into this new land – as at some level we do, truth be told, every four years! Just as the Jewish system of Torah, halakhah and ethics commands Jews, and their religious and political leaders, to behave in a certain manner, so does the American system of Constitution and laws command its leaders and its citizens to make this transition.

Abraham is the very model of how one responds to the test, the challenge of the new and the unknown. He accepts the command and he behaves as best he can within the boundaries of the system. He is a model in another way, too. As we will see next week, when Abraham realizes that God is about to act in an unjust manner, by possibly destroying innocent lives in Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham challenges God – he speaks truth to power and demands justice. Similarly, much later in the Torah, the daughters of Tzeloph’chad challenge an unjust law of inheritance – they speak truth to power, and the law is changed. All of our prophets did this as well, some at the risk of their lives. The Torah-rabbinic system allows for challenges to and changes in the law when justice demands it.

In the United States, our system works in the same way. The political authorities have limits, and the people have the right and the power to challenge them when they act beyond those limits, as well as when their actions within those limits are nevertheless unjust.

We Jews know from experience what happens when governments act unjustly and abuse their power. We often refer to ourselves as the canaries in the mine. Therefore, we have another obligation, one that also comes from the Torah. And that is the mandatory duty to care for and attend to the needs of not only ourselves, but all of the vulnerable in our communities - the widows, the orphans, the poor, the sick, the disabled, all the strangers in our midst – all those Others - they too have rights that we must defend and enforce when the government fails to do so. Our sages teach us that silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent. That means speaking truth to power, for ourselves and for Others, and witnessing and acting upon that truth – even at risk and with no apparent personal benefit.

Can we be skeptical? Of course – the Mishnah in Pirkei Avot tells us to be wary of the authorities, even as it also says that without government, people would swallow each other alive.

This new land is a test – for our government and for us.

Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b

-----------------------------------------------
Candle lighting: 4:33 pm

Friday – Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm
Saturday – Sh’MA (Shabbat Morning Adventure) Service with Cantor Steve Pearlman – 10:00 am. A joyful, accessible guitar-accompanied (abbreviated) singalong Shabbat morning service. All religious school students and families must attend (please!). Kiddush lunch follows services.
Sunday - NO Religious School – that’s why we want the kids at services on Shabbat morning! NO Adult Hebrew class.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday 11/18 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm.
Saturday 11/19 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. 
Sunday 11/20  Religious School – 9:30 am. If you have or know of any Jewish children ages 6-13 in need of a warm and welcoming Jewish education in a small setting, bring them on down! Or call Rabbi Flom or Elaine Kleiger at the synagogue office. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of my zayde, Sam Flom, whose yahrzeit fell this week. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah – May his memory be a blessing.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of my uncle, Merwin Erenbaum, whose yahrzeit fell this week. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah – May his memory be a blessing.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Hedy Woolf, and Naomi Zimmermann (Naomi bat Yorma).

Please let me know if there is anyone you would like to add to this list or if there is anyone who may be removed from this list.

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simcha in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

SOMETHING OF VALUE

Parashat Noach
4 Cheshvan 5777 – 4-5 November 2016
Torah: Genesis 6:9-11:32
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-55:5

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

PLEASE NOTE:
1. NO Shabbat Evening Service this week – 4 November
2. Because of the inclement weather this past Sunday, the sukkah at the synagogue is still up. Volunteers to take it down this Sunday at 10:00 am would be greatly appreciated.

For more info about our community, visit our website: http://bethmeier.org

Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page: Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
--------------------------------------------------------
SOMETHING OF VALUE

"And they said, 'Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world."' Genesis 11:4

Because of its title, we know that this week's parashah contains the story of Noah and the Flood. What gets forgotten by many of us is the other story in our parashah, concerning Migdal Bavel, the Tower of Babel. More than a mere explanation of the origin of the multitude of human languages and nations, our Rabbis tell us it is a cautionary tale, one with particular significance even, or perhaps especially in modern times. 

In the Midrash, Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer, we are told, "The tower had seven ramps from the east and seven from the west. The bricks were hauled up from one side, and the descent was on the other.  If a man fell down and died, no attention was paid to him. But if one brick fell down, they would sit and weep, saying, 'Woe is us. When will another be brought up in its place?'"

Although the people had the intelligence and the technical skill to erect a great building, and knew the value of things, they were completely lacking in moral values when it came to applying their wealth and knowledge to helping each other. They sought only to make a name for themselves, to assert their superiority over the world and over God. They cared nothing for the individual human being - the individual's worth was measured, if at all, only insofar as a person could contribute to the idolatrous undertaking.

We see this attitude all around us. Nations build nuclear weapons while their people starve. And who can forget the neutron bomb, designed to kill people but not destroy infrastructure? We conduct cost-benefit analyses and determine that it is better to continue building dangerously defective cars and pay settlements for the dead and injured than to spend money on building safer vehicles. We treat "human resources" as if they were fungible goods, like so many widgets or ten-a-penny nails, and dismiss thousands of people from their jobs with the stroke of a pen, all to meet analysts’ quarterly earnings expectations.

When human life is at stake, we should respond, "When will another be brought up in its place?" Otherwise, we neglect at the peril of our very souls the teaching of Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 - "one who destroys a single human life, it is as if he destroyed an entire world; and one who saves a single human life, it is as if he saved an entire world".

Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b

-----------------------------------------------
Candle lighting: 5:39 pm

Friday – NO SHABBAT EVENING SERVICE
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. Turn back your clocks Saturday night!
Sunday - Religious School – 9:30 am. If you have or know of any Jewish children ages 6-13 in need of a warm and welcoming Jewish education in a small setting, bring them on down! Or call Rabbi Flom or Elaine Kleiger at the synagogue office. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to take down the sukkah – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – NO Lunch and Learn. Resume 15 November. Don’t forget to vote!
Friday 11/11 – Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm
Saturday 11/12 – Sh’MA (Shabbat Morning Adventure) Service with Cantor Steve Pearlman – 10:00 am. A joyful, accessible guitar-accompanied (abbreviated) singalong Shabbat morning service. All religious school students and families must attend (please!). Kiddush lunch follows services.
Sunday 11/13NO Religious School – that’s why we want the kids at services on Shabbat morning!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben
Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Hedy Woolf, and Naomi Zimmermann (Naomi bat Yorma).

Please let me know if there is anyone you would like to add to this list or if there is anyone who may be removed from this list.

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

FUTURE PERFECT

Parashat Bereishit
27 Tishrei 5777 / 28-29 October 2016
Torah Reading - Genesis 1:1 - 6:8
Haftarah - Isaiah 42:5 - 43:10 (Ashkenazim); Isaiah 42:5-21 (Sephardim)

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

For more info about our community, visit our website: http://bethmeier.org

Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page: Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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FUTURE PERFECT

"And the heavens and the earth and all their hosts were finished. And by the seventh day God finished all God's work that God had done, and God rested on the seventh day from all the work that God had done. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it God rested from all the work of creating that God had done." Genesis 2:1-3.

The above verses are chanted in the synagogue and at the Shabbat evening table as the lead-in to Kiddush. In their book, "Five Cities of Refuge", Rabbi Lawrence Kushner and playwright David Mamet point out that work and Shabbat observance go together – they are inseparable. Like God, we can truly bless our work only by refraining from it for a day, and reflecting on the work we have done.

They also point out that the chapter and verse structure of the Torah is a construct, which artificially separates Shabbat (Chapter 2) from the rest of Creation (Chapter 1). This is symbolic, they suggest, of our broken world. And it is a reason why we silently say the concluding words of Chapter 1, "and there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day", before chanting Kiddush.

I would note that the Jewish mystics have taught that a way to repair the world is through "yichidut", the Unification of God's Holy Name. One way we can “repair” Shabbat, then, is to reunify Shabbat with the rest of the week - not by working on Shabbat, or resting all week, but by realizing that our work, which is never done, can have meaning for us only if we take time off to contemplate that which we have not created - and understand that we play a role, however minor, in perfecting that Creation.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 5:45 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services
Sunday - Religious School – 9:30 am. If you have or know of any Jewish children ages 6-13 in need of a warm and welcoming Jewish education in a small setting, bring them on down! Or call Rabbi Flom or Elaine Kleiger at the synagogue office. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to take down the sukkah – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon
Friday 11/4NO SHABBAT EVENING SERVICE
Saturday 11/5 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Hedy Woolf, and Naomi Zimmermann (Naomi bat Yorma).

Please let me know if there is anyone you would like to add to this list or if there is anyone who may be removed from this list.

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah, in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

WHAT EXACTLY ARE SUKKOT?

20 Tishrei 5777 / 21-22 October 2016
Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot
Torah: Exodus 33:12 – 34:26; Numbers 29:26-31
Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18 – 39:16

22 Tishrei 5777 / 23-24 October 2016
Sh’mini Atzeret (The Eighth Day of Assembly)
Torah: Deuteronomy 14:22 - 16:17; Numbers 29:35 - 30:1
Haftarah: 1 Kings 8:54-66 (some add 9:1)

23 Tishrei 5777 / 24-25 October 2016
Simchat Torah (Joy of the Torah)
Torah: Deuteronomy 33:1 - 34:12 (V’zot Hab’rakhah); Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 (Bereishit); Numbers 29:35 - 30:1
Haftarah: Joshua 1:1-18

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

For more info about our community, visit our website: http://bethmeier.org

Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page: Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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WHAT EXACTLY ARE SUKKOT?

We read this past Monday, on the first day of Sukkot:

"So that your generations will know that I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 23:43

There is an interesting dispute among the Rabbis concerning the nature of the sukkot in which our ancestors dwelt. In the Talmud (Sukkah 11b), Rabbi Eliezer says the sukkot were "the clouds of glory" (ananei hakavod) that surrounded the Jews in the desert. But Rabbi Akiva says, "They built for themselves actual booths" (sukkot mamash). One might understand from Rabbi Eliezer that the Shekhinah, the Divine Presence, surrounded them in the desert - that is something truly spectacular! Rabbi Akiva is a realist - they lived in flimsy structures, just like we build today.

What makes the discussion more interesting is that in the midrashic text Mekhilta D'Rebbi Ishmael (Pischa 14), Rabbi Eliezer says they were actual booths and Rabbi Akiva says they were clouds of glory! Which text is correct and which rabbi is correct?

The answer is - they all are! Sukkot are physical and metaphysical. It comes to teach us that when we spend a week fulfilling the mitzvah of residing in a flimsy hut, we surround ourselves with the Shekhinah. Spend some time in a sukkah, and get your head in the clouds!

BTW, whether or not you have been in a sukkah this year, you are invited to “Pizza in the Hut” at our home this Sunday, October 23. The evite link with necessary information is at:


Please let us know if you are attending by 3:00 pm Friday, to make sure we have enough pizza!

Chag Sukkot Sameach! Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City
, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"From the place where we are absolutely right, flowers will never grow in the spring."
"מן המקום שבו אנו צודקים לא יצמחו לעולם פרחים באביב"
Yehuda Amichai
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Candle lighting: 5:53 pm

Friday – Shabbat Chol Hamoed Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Chol Hamoed Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services
Sunday - Religious School – 9:30 am. If you have or know of any Jewish children ages 6-13 in need of a warm and welcoming Jewish education in a small setting, bring them on down! Or call Rabbi Flom or Elaine Kleiger at the synagogue office. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am. PIZZA IN THE HUT at home of Rabbi Flom and Lynn Kronzek – 1:30 pm – see evite link above. Sh’mini Atzeret begins at 5:51 pm.
Monday – Sh’mini Atzeret Morning Service – 10:00 am. Simchat Torah Evening Service – 7:30 pm – Dance with the Torahs!
Tuesday – Simchat Torah Morning Service – 10:00 am.
Friday 10/28 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday 10/29 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.
Sunday 10/30 – Religious School – 9:30 am. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to take down the sukkah – 10:00 am. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am. 

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Monte Mazo (Mottel ben Minnie), Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Hedy Woolf, and Naomi Zimmermann (Naomi bat Yorma).

Please let me know if there is anyone you would like to add to this list or if there is anyone who may be removed from this list.

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah, in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.