Thursday, April 20, 2017

CRUEL KINDNESS

26 Nisan 5777 / 21-22 April 2017
Parashat Shemini
Torah: Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47
Haftarah: 2 Samuel 6:1 – 7:17 (Ashkenazim); 2 Samuel 6:1-19 (Sephardim)

IMPORTANT REQUEST: I and Lynn will be out of town Shabbat of April 28-29. Several CBM members have volunteered to conduct services, chant Torah and Haftarah, etc. If you would like to take an active role in those services, please let me know ASAP. And of course, please make every effort to attend one or both of those services to assure a minyan and a complete and meaningful service.

Dedications and a Calendar of Upcoming Events follow. For a full calendar and lots of other information about our community, visit:


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

“… They shall not be eaten…. the stork …” Leviticus 11:13, 19

The Torah refers to non-kosher birds as an abomination. Interestingly, Rabbi Yehudah taught that the stork is called chasidah (the kind one) because it acts with chasidut (kindness) toward its fellows. On the other hand, Rambam (Maimonides) taught that every non-kosher bird is naturally cruel. So, why is the stork considered not kosher?

Chidushei Ha-Rim ("Insights of Rabbi Yitzchak Meir", the first Gerer rebbe) says it is because the stork helps only “its fellows”, other storks, and no others. He continues, “One must help all others, for a person who helps only his own is not kind, but cruel.”

The Gerer’s teaching is a logical extension of the more familiar teaching of Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” (Avot 1:14)

Indeed, neither the quality nor the timing of our kindness should depend upon our attitude toward or our relationship with the one who requires kindness. The bottom line is taught in Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your fellow (human being, who is, after all) like yourself.”

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: 7:11 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am. Yom HaShoah Commemoration at Temple B’nai Hayim, co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Meier – 7:00 pm. Please attend and remember The Six Million.
Tuesday - Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, April 28 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, April 29 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, April 30 –Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Education – 10:00 am.
Tuesday, May 2 – NO Lunch and Learn. Resume May 9.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of The Six Million.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Susan Arbetman, Kyree Beacham, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky (Serach bat Miriam), Jerry Daniels, Byron Fendrich (Berel ben Chanah), Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Annabelle Flom (Chanah Bella bat Kreina), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Elaine Kleiger, Dena Kosche (Dena bat Sarah Emanu), Philip Kovac, Evan Kronzek, Philip Kronzek (Pinchas Yosef ben Sarah), Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Leo Pomerantz, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina).

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, April 13, 2017

THE SINGINGEST HOLIDAY

Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach
Torah: Exodus 33:12 - 34:26
Maftir: Numbers 28:19-25
Haftarah: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Additional reading: Song of Songs

Seventh Day of Pesach (Monday)
Torah: Exodus 13:17 - 15:26
Maftir: Numbers 28:19-25
Haftarah: 2 Samuel 22:1-51

Eighth Day of Pesach (Tuesday)
Torah: Deuteronomy 15:19 - 16:17
Maftir: Numbers 28:19-25
Haftarah: Isaiah 10:32 - 12:6

Dedications and a Calendar of Upcoming Events follow. For a full calendar and lots of other information about our community, visit:


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

On the seventh day of Pesach, the Torah portion includes the beautiful Shirat Hayam - The Song of the Sea - the Israelites' paean of thanksgiving to God for the destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army. When this section is read during the year (Parashat Beshallach), the haftarah is Judges 4:4 - 5:31. It comprises Deborah and Barak's song, celebrating their military victory over the forces of the Canaanite general Sisera. In a similar vein, the haftarah for the seventh day is a song of thanksgiving (a variant is found at Psalms 18), chanted by David.

Song of the Sea - Miriam and Moses and the Israelites

There is a lesson in these choices of public readings. In Shirat Hayam, the people as a whole thank God for the miracle of the sea. Just when they feared they were doomed, they were instead saved. In Shirat Devorah, which in many ways resembles Shirat Hayam, Deborah and Barak thank God for both the collective victory of the people and their own personal salvation. Shirat David is strictly personal, completely in the first person singular, reviewing a lifetime of blessings. In each case, pleas for deliverance were answered. This is all in addition to reading Song of Songs on Shabbat Chol Hamoed and the singing of Hallel (Psalms of Praise) every day of Pesach, including at the Seder.

What we learn is that we can and should thank God, individually and collectively, for all the miracles and blessings in our lives, great and small, personal and national. Only then can we truly appreciate the wonders of our lives.

Shabbat Shalom! Moadim L'simchah!

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: 7:05 pm

Friday – Shabbat Chol Hamoed Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Chol Hamoed Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – NO Religious School or Adult Education. Both resume April 23.
Monday – Passover Morning Service – 9:30 am at Temple B’nai Hayim.
Tuesday - Passover Morning Service with Yizkor – 10:00 am at Beth Meier. Pesach ends at 8:05 pm.
Friday, 21 April – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 22 April – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 23 April –Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Education – 10:00 am.
Tuesday, 25 April – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Susan Arbetman, Kyree Beacham, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky (Serach bat Miriam), 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), Elaine Kleiger, Dena Kosche, Philip Kovac, Evan Kronzek, Philip Kronzek (Pinchas Yosef ben Sarah), Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Leo Pomerantz, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina).

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, April 6, 2017

STUDYING MATTERS

URGENT TZEDAKAH/CHESED NEED – LOS ANGELES

Chaverim:

A member of our community is in urgent need of a place to live, as soon as possible. She is 70ish, relying on Social Security, looking for a one-bedroom or studio or in-law apartment or caretaker cottage. She would also be interested in shared housing. She is willing to perform light-duty services in exchange for all or part of rent.

If you are able to help, please contact me via e-mail at: ravflom@sbcglobal.net ASAP, and I will put her in touch with you. Thank you for your consideration.

12 Nisan 5777 / 7-8 April 2017
Parashat Tzav
Torah: Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36
Haftarah: Malachi 3:4-24 (Shabbat Hagadol)

My Annual Pesach Resources Guide is available at my blog:


Also at my blog is Congregation Beth Meier’s Pesach 5777 Bulletin, including a Calendar of Events for Passover:


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

"The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Command Aaron and his sons, thus: This is the law (literally, "the Torah") of the burnt offering ...'" Leviticus 6:1-2

Rabbi Simchah Bunem compares our verse with one from 1 Samuel 15:22: "And Samuel said, 'Does the Lord delight as much in offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Surely to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.'" To Samuel, "obeying" must mean something other than obeying the commandments to offer the sacrifices. Simchah Bunem attempts to reconcile the apparent contradiction between the two verses by citing the following passage from the Talmud: "All who engage in Torah study have no need for the burnt offering, the meal offering, the sin offering, or the guilt offering." BT Menachot 110a

One might think that the Talmud here means that while one is studying Torah, one is exempt from bringing the sacrificial offerings. Simchah Bunem says it means much more than that. According to him, the study of the Torah of the offerings is even better than actually bringing them!

But what about the obedience that Samuel referred to? The answer might be found in the notion that we are commanded to study Torah. Note the blessing in the daily morning service that concludes, "... and Who commands us to be engaged with matters (or, words) of Torah." (la’asok b’divrei torah)

Observing the commandment of study leads to practice. If we learn the Torah regarding how to treat each other, and put it into practice, we do not need to seek atonement, so we need not bring sacrifices. Study of the Torah of the offerings will not only suffice, it will be better than sacrificing. Hence the Rabbinic dictum: talmud torah k'neged kulam - Torah study is equivalent to all the commandments - because it leads to observance of them.

In this regard, please note that Monday evening is the first Seder shel Pesach. From sunrise Monday until the Seder, it is traditional for first-born Jews (except Kohanim and Levi’im) to observe Ta’anit Bechorot, Fast of the First-Born. How might one avoid the fast? By studying and completing a section of Talmud, then celebrating with a siyyum, a feast, in honor of that completion. Take this opportunity, even if you are exempt from the fast, to study on Monday with me at 8:00 am at Congregation Beth Meier in preparation for your liberation from slavery!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Pesach Kasher, Sameach V’Mashma’uti!
Have a wonderful Shabbat, and a kosher, happy, and meaningful Pesach!

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: 7:00 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Sh’MA (Shabbat Morning Adventure) Service – 10:00 am. Guitar-accompanied sing-along service with Cantor Steve Pearlman. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Learning Program – “A Walk Through the Hagaddah” – 10:00 am
Monday – Fast of the First-born – Torah Study and Siyyum – 8:00 am. Sell or/and destroy chametz by 12:00 noon. First Seder at sundown.
Tuesday - Passover Morning Service – 9:30 am at Temple B’nai Hayim. Community Second Seder at Beth Meier – 7:00 pm.
Wednesday - Passover Morning Service – 10:00 am at Beth Meier.
Friday, 14 April – Shabbat Chol Hamoed Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 15 April – Shabbat Chol Hamoed Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 16 April – NO Religious School or Adult Education
Monday, 17 April - Passover Morning Service – 9:30 am at Temple B’nai Hayim. 
Tuesday, 18 April - Passover Morning Service with Yizkor – 10:00 am at Beth Meier. Pesach ends at 8:05 pm.

This d'var torah is offered in honor of my wonderful wife, Lynn Kronzek, celebrating her birthday this Shabbat. Yom huledet sameach, my dear! Ad me’ah v’esrim!

This d'var torah is offered in honor of my aunt, Helen Schugar, celebrating her birthday this Shabbat. Mazal tov! Ad me’ah v’esrim!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Susan Arbetman, Kyree Beacham, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky (Serach bat Miriam), 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, Evan Kronzek, Philip Kronzek (Pinchas Yosef ben Sarah), Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Leo Pomerantz, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina).

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, March 29, 2017

NO IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS!

Parashat Vayikra
5 Nisan 5777 / 31 March – 1 April 2017
Torah reading: Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26
Haftarah: Isaiah 43:21 – 44:23

My Annual Pesach Resources Guide is available at my blog:



Calendar and dedications follow below. For a full calendar of events relating to Passover at Congregation Beth Meier, check out:


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source
--------------------------------------------------------------
NO IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS!

"When (asher) a ruler a sins, and commits one from among the commandments of the Lord his God which may not be done - unintentionally - and is guilty; or if his sin is known to him, he shall bring his offering..." Leviticus 4:22-3

"Fortunate (ashrei) is the generation whose ruler directs his heart to bring an atonement for his unintentional error; how much more so when he repents of his deliberate sins." Rashi, based on the midrash from Sifra

Unlike with regard to priests, commoners, and the people as a whole, the Torah says "when" rather than "if". The commentator Sforno says this implies that sins by those in power are inevitable. This cynical view seems obvious enough to us ("power corrupts"), but it was equally obvious 3000 years ago. The prophet Samuel had warned the people not to have a king over them, because he would make their lives burdensome. They insisted that they wanted to be like "all the other peoples". And that is what they got.

Rashi, using word play, takes this cynicism, and points out that people are fortunate to have a ruler who sins and repents - not only if he atones for his inadvertent sins, but especially when he atones for his intentional sins. This seems to go against human nature.

If we act inadvertently, we tend to make excuses in order to avoid the punishment. "It was an accident." "I didn't mean to do it." But when we act with intent, we have no choice but to repent. We're busted, and there is no escaping it. Not so with those in power. Repenting for an unintentional act is easier for a ruler precisely because he has an excuse, and it makes him look good in the eyes of the people when he atones for something for which all agree he was not fully responsible. But for a ruler to atone for an intentional act, he has to admit that he acted arrogantly, that he was abusing his power.

Does this mean we hold our rulers to a higher standard? Well, yes, and it is precisely because we have given them power over us. This, says Sforno, is why it says "his God" - to remind the ruler that he is not really in charge, but that the Ruler of Rulers is above him. We know that the ruling authorities watch us. When they atone for their intentional acts, then we know that they too answer to a higher authority.

Shabbat Shalom uv’rakhah - Wishing you a Shabbat of peace and blessings.

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: 6:55 pm

Thursday – Deadline to sign up for Beth Meier’s Community Second Seder on 11 April – contact office for details and reservations.
Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am
Tuesday, 4 April – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, 7 April – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 8 April – Sh’MA (Shabbat Morning Adventure) Service – 10:00 am. Guitar-accompanied sing-along service with Cantor Steve Pearlman. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 9 April – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Learning Program – “A Walk Through the Hagaddah” – 10:00 am
Monday, 10 April – Fast of the First-born – Torah Study and Siyyum – 8:00 am. First Seder at sundown.
Tuesday, 11 April – Passover Morning Service – 9:30 am at Temple B’nai Hayim. Community Second Seder at Beth Meier – 7:00 pm.
Wednesday, 12 April - Passover Morning Service – 10:00 am at Beth Meier.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Susan Arbetman, Kyree Beacham, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky (Serach bat Miriam), 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, Evan Kronzek, Philip Kronzek (Pinchas Yosef ben Sarah), Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), and Jerry Smith.

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.

BETH MEIER PESACH 5777 BULLETIN

Spring 2017/PASSOVER 5777 Edition
 
PLEASE BE AWARE OF CHANGES IN SERVICE TIMES/LOCATIONS
 
Pesach Services at BETH MEIER and at TEMPLE B'NAI HAYIM
Temple B'nai Hayim: 4302 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91403
 
April 11 (Day 1) - 9:30 am at B'nai Hayim; April 12 (Day 2) - 10:00 am at Beth Meier
April 17 (Day 7) - 9:30 am at B'nai Hayim; April 18 (Day 8 - Yizkor) - 10:00 am at Beth Meier 
 
PASSOVER EVENTS AT BETH MEIER:

WALK THROUGH THE HAGGADAH - Adult education - Sunday, April 9 - 10:00 am
 
FAST OF THE FIRST-BORN - STUDY AND SIYYUM - Monday, April 10, 8:00 am
 
BETH MEIER COMMUNAL SEDER - Tuesday, April 11 - 7:00 pm
Elegant Affairs Catering (AJU) provides us a wonderful Seder, conducted by Rabbi Flom. 
$60 adult members; $70 non-members; $18 children; 6-12; <6 = free
Final day to reserve:  Thursday, March 30
 
INFORMATION FOR PASSOVER

Rabbi Flom's Annual Pesach Resources Guide is available at his blog:

http://rav-rich.blogspot.com/2017/03/pesach-resources-5777-edition.html
 
Search for Chametz: Complete cleaning of your house of chametz by the evening of Sunday, April 9
 
Selling Chametz: Chametz not disposed of must be stored out of sight and sold for the duration of Passover. To sell your chametz, complete and return the form below.
 
Fast/Redemption of the First-Born: All first born Jews (except Kohanim and Levi'im) must fast the day before Passover (from dawn April 10 until the Seder) or be redeemed by a donation or Torah study. To redeem yourself or another, return the included form and/or attend the siyyum on Monday, April 10 
 
Must Their Cup be Empty? MA'OT CHITIM / PASSOVER CHARITY: Make true the words of the Haggadah, "Let all who are hungry enter and eat, all who are needy come and celebrate the Passover" through your donation for those in need. 
 
PASSOVER YIZKOR: The Yizkor Service as part of the Pesach 8th Day Morning Service will be Tuesday, April 18, commencing at 10:00 am. To make a Yizkor Donation fill in and return the form.
 
PASSOVER CANDLE LIGHTING TIMES: Light candles on April 10 for the First Seder at 7:02 pm, for the Second Seder on April 11 at 8:00 pm, on April 16 at 7:07 pm and April 17 at 8:05 pm. Pesach ends at 8:05 pm on April 18.
 

Passover Participation & Donation Form
 
Fill in the form below for all Passover related activities and return by April 7 (except Seder Reservations MUST be received by March 30:
 
 
Name: ___________________________
           
Address: _______________________________________________
 
Phone: ___________________________
 
Credit Card: Visa___ MasterCard___    Number:  _________________________
 
Expiration: ______________                 Check(s) Included:   Y   N
 
 
COMMUNAL SEDER - Tuesday, April 11 at 7:00 pm:
 
Number of Member adults ($60 each): ___   Non-Member adults ($70 each): ___   Children 6-12 ($18 each): ___   Children <6 (free): ___        
Number of vegetarian meals (if any): ___ (Order Deadline:  Thursday, March 30)
 
 
YIZKOR REQUEST - Yizkor Service on Tuesday, April 18 at 10:00 am:
 
My donation is: $______    Names of those to be remembered: ____________________
 
__________________________________
 
__________________________________
 
 
SELLING CHAMETZ - I authorize Rabbi Flom to sell my chametz:
 
My donation is: $ ______   Location(s) of chametz: _________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________ 

 
I WISH TO REDEEM MYSELF / FIRST-BORN:
 
My donation is: $ ______   Others to be redeemed: _________________________
 
______________________________________

_______________________________________
 
 
MA'OT CHITIM / PASSOVER CHARITY:
 
My donation is: $ ______
 
 
TOTAL FOR ALL PASSOVER CONTRIBUTIONS AND SEDER RESERVATIONS:
 
$___________
 
Please make your check payable to "Congregation Beth Meier." Or call the synagogue office at: (818) 769-0515 with your credit card information.

PESACH RESOURCES – 5777 EDITION

PESACH RESOURCES – 5777 EDITION

Chaverim nichbadim - Dear friends:

It’s almost time for Pesach! You know, the “Festival of Freedom”, the holiday on which we celebrate our release from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt by abiding by the very strict dietary and ritual rules created by the Rabbis and Jewish Tradition, including eating the hardtack called matzah for eight days. Freedom, you say? God said, “Send forth My people, so they may serve me.” That’s how it is typically translated. But the Hebrew word for “so they may serve me”, “v’ya’avduni”, might easily be translated as “so they will slave for Me”. The root for “serve”, “avad”, is also the root for “eved” – “slave”. So, how do you manage Pesach in such a way as to avoid complete slavery?

Here are some simple rules:
1. Accept that you are not perfect – and neither is anyone else! You don’t have to do it all! You can’t do it all!
2. Prepare the house by cleaning and removing the chametz. A short but very useful guide to kashering your kitchen and home and identifying foods that are or are not kosher for Passover can be found at:  www.rabbinicalassembly.org/pesah-guide
3. Prepare the food for the Seder.
4. Prepare the food for the remainder of the holiday by shopping for it before Pesach.
5. Prepare yourself and your family spiritually.
6. Prepare yourself and your family intellectually.
7. Do not drive yourself or anyone else crazy – see number rule #1.
8. Remember that Pesach really is about freedom; freedom is fun; have fun! See rule #7.
9. Any questions? Ask a rabbi!



Are you looking for ways to make your Seder more meaningful, more accessible, more involving for children, more interesting, shorter, etc.? Then check out these resources on-line:

a. The Rabbinical Assembly’s Pesach Guide 5777 can be read and downloaded at the following site:


b. Additional Pesach resources from the Rabbinical Assembly may be found at:


c. Pesach kitchen kashering from a strictly Orthodox perspective can be found at:


d. MyJewishLearning.com is, IMVHO, the best Jewish educational resource on the web, and has material on virtually everything you might ever want to know about Judaism, but don't know how or whom to ask. The homepage is easily navigable. For Pesach, explore this page:


e. The Conservative Yeshiva, in Jerusalem, has a number of text resources for study before the holiday and for discussion at the Seder. See the many Passover links at:


f. Passover Gateway, a Pesach resource from an Orthodox perspective, also with good general Jewish resources on its main page:


g. Passover according to Chabad in a straightforward manner. Follow the links on this page:


h. Especially good for beginners, National Jewish Outreach Program’s extensive and accessible collection of how-to’s, background materials and videos, from the folks who bring you Shabbat Across (also has Shabbat and other holiday resources):


i. My colleague Rabbi Gabriel Botnick has a short video guide on shopping for Pesach, available at:




One of my seminary teachers suggested that, in addition to whichever Haggadah of choice you use for your Seder, you should every year acquire a new Haggadah with commentary and illustrations to help you prepare and make your Seder more enjoyable. Ask your local Jewish bookseller, consult with a rabbi, explore the web – there are beautiful and accessible Haggadot available. Here are some of my favorites for getting ready:

1. Passover Haggadah – The Feast of Freedom. The Rabbinical Assembly, 1982. Clear spiritual commentary.

2. A Passover Haggadah – Go Forth and Learn. Rabbi David Silver. Jewish Publication Society, 2011. A new classic.

3. The Haggadah Treasury. Rabbi Nosson Scherman. Artscroll, 1978. Midrash and traditional teachings.

4. From Bondage to Freedom – The Passover Haggadah. Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. Shaar Press, 1995. Tradition blended with insights relating to addiction and dependency.

5. A Different Night – The Family Participation Haggadah. Noam Zion and David Dishon. Shalom Hartman Institute, 1997. Difficult to use at the seder, but lots of great ideas - especially in the leader's guide.

6. Studies on the Haggadah from the Teachings of Nechama Leibowitz. Urim Publications, 2002. Deep Torah from a great scholar.

7. The Hirsch Haggadah. Samson Raphael Hirsch. Feldheim Publishers, 1993. The 19th century voice of Orthodoxy.

8. A Feast of History. Chaim Raphael. Steimatzky’s, 1972. (Out of print but available used) The lengthy historical essay is interesting and useful.

9. The Origins of the Seder. Baruch Bokser. JTS Press, 2002 (Paperback edition). Not a Haggadah, but for those interested in an academic treatise that opens the eyes to history.

10. Passover – The Family Guide to Spiritual Celebration. Dr. Ron Wolfson. Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010 (2d edition) A straight-forward how-to guide with explanations and insights for the table.

Some other important reminders about Pesach and the lead-up to the holy days:

1. All first-borns (except Levi’im and Kohanim) are obliged to engage in a fast,calledTa’anit B’chorot, from pre-dawn until the seder on the 14th of Nisan, this year on Monday, April 10, in recognition of the 10th plague. To avoid the fast, the custom has become for the firstborn to engage in Torah study and then have a festive "meal" (a siyyum) at the completion of their study. I will be hosting Torah study and siyyum (complete with the last chametz you will eat until the end of Pesach) on Monday, April 10, at 8:00 am at Congregation Beth Meier (CBM). All are welcome, not just first-borns. If you wish to join us, please let me know by e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net by Sunday evening, April 9, so I will have enough coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts.




2. CBM is holding a Community Second Seder on Tuesday, April 11, beginning at 7:00 pm. Reservations are due no later than 3:00 pm, Thursday, March 30, by leaving a phone message at the CBM office - (818) 769-0515. We need to order from the caterer no later than March 31. Sorry, late reservations cannot be accommodated.

I guess it's time to start thinking about Pesach!

Wishing you a Chag Pesach Sameach, Kasher v’Mashma’uti – A Passover that is Happy, Kosher and Meaningful!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier 
Studio City, CA

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

FINDING MEANING IN THE MUNDANE

Parashat Vayak’hel-Pekudei
27 Adar 5777 / 24-25 March 2017
Torah reading: Exodus 35:1 – 40:38
Maftir: Exodus 12:1-20 (HaChodesh)
Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:16 – 45:18

The Rabbinical Assembly’s Guide to Pesach is available for downloading and/or printing at:


IMPORTANT CALENDAR UPDATE FOR THIS SUNDAY!

Candle lighting: 6:49 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – TOUR OF KOSHER MARKET CANCELED – unfortunately, Ralphs kosher section will not be fully converted to KP until after April 3. Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Thursday, 30 March – Deadline to sign up for Beth Meier’s Community Second Seder on 11 April – contact office for details and reservations.
Friday, 31 March – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 1 April – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 2 April – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew Class – 10:00 am
Tuesday, 4 April – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, 7 April – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 8 April – Sh’MA (Shabbat Morning Adventure) Service – 10:00 am. Guitar-accompanied sing-along service with Cantor Steve Pearlman. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 9 April – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Learning Program – “A Walk Through the Hagaddah” – 10:00 am
Monday, 10 April – Fast of the First-born – Torah Study and Siyyum – 8:00 am. First Seder at sundown.
Tuesday, 11 April – Passover Morning Service – 9:30 am at Temple B’nai Hayim. Community Second Seder at Beth Meier – 7:00 pm.
Wednesday, 12 April - Passover Morning Service – 10:00 am at Beth Meier.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of my father-in-law, Abraham Kronzek, whose yahrzeit falls on Tuesday, Nisan 1. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah – His memory is a blessing.

This d'var torah is offered in honor of Melinda and Warren Trauman, celebrating their wedding anniversary this Shabbat. Mazal tov!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Susan Arbetman, Kyree Beacham, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky (Serach bat Miriam), 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, Evan Kronzek, Philip Kronzek (Pinchas Yosef ben Sarah), Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), and Jerry Smith.

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.

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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FINDING MEANING IN THE MUNDANE

“Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled upon it (alav); and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:35

Etz Hayyim: It is unclear whether entry is literally blocked or is not permissible or that Moses dared not enter.

The writer David Mamet asks an interesting question. “But is there something in the notion that Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud rested on him?”(reading the word “alav” as “upon him” rather than “upon it” - the Hebrew is ambiguous) He goes on to suggest that when Moses was filled with the Holy Spirit, in direct communion with the Divine, he was thereby unable to act as a servant to either God or the Israelites.

There has lately been a quest by Jews and non-Jews alike for “spirituality”. These searchers want a connection with God that is uplifting, meaningful, emotional, etc. And often, they want it immediately - they want a moving personal experience when they want it. This is a difficult proposition for rabbis and cantors, clergy of all types, who cannot always deliver spirituality on demand. One also must wonder whether God takes orders in quite this way - or in any way at all!

I am not in any way denigrating the spiritual needs of people. I also desire that connection, however ephemeral or short-lived it may be. But whenever I am having my individual experience with the Divine in a way that is not through any physical act, such as meditation or even singing, or when my spiritual moment is divorced from the world around me (something that I do seek from time to time), I am not then able to fulfill the Divine will. That is to say, we are commanded to act in this world through gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness), through tikkun olam (repairing this broken world), and through tzedakah (justice or charity). One might argue these are only ordinary acts. But I think they are extra-ordinary. We all know that there can indeed be joy in performing these mitzvot, as well as joy in the results. By acting as God’s servants, by feeding the hungry and burying the dead and cleaning up the Earth and loving the stranger, we make the spiritual connection that God wants, even if it is not necessarily the connection we want when we want it.

If indeed God is Hamakom, the One That Is In Every Place, then in a narrow sense, God is within us as well. Although we may seldom if ever experience an ecstatic connection with God, we can nevertheless have an emotionally satisfying connection whenever we want - by finding meaning in the mundane; in ordinary, everyday Jewish living. You want to find God?  Go - perform an act of chesed or tikkun or tzedakah and save the world! One small piece at a time.

Shabbat Shalom v'Chodesh Tov! Nisan and Pesach are right around the corner!

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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CRUEL KINDNESS

26 Nisan 5777 / 21-22 April 2017 Parashat Shemini Torah: Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47 Haftarah: 2 Samuel 6:1 – 7:17 (Ashkenazim); 2 Samuel 6:...