Thursday, September 29, 2016

ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER

28 Elul 5776 / 30 September – 1 October
Parashat Nitzavim-Vayeilekh
Torah: Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10 - 63:9 (Seventh Haftarah of Consolation)

Important note: If you have no place to worship for the High Holy Days, or any day of the year, or if you think you cannot afford tickets or membership, please, please join us for services. You can pay whatever you can afford later. No one is turned away! Ever!

Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday evening! Please submit your Membership/High Holy Day forms ASAP! Or call the synagogue office! And check your mail for our High Holy Day bulletin.



 


Congregation Beth Meier is looking for volunteers for the High Holy Days: to help set up/tear down for services, lead English readings, and, have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom at the synagogue office or by e-mail for details and to sign up!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

For our complete High Holy Day schedule, and lots of other info about our community, please check out our web site at: http://bethmeier.org

For this year’s Cheshbon Hanefesh worksheet, see: http://rav-rich.blogspot.com/2016/09/cheshbon-hanefesh-worksheet.html

An older, slightly different, version will be distributed at High Holy Day services.

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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ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER

These final few days leading up to Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe and through Yom Kippur ought to be a time of introspection and repentance. Jewish tradition teaches that during this time, we should repent and make amends for all of the wrongs we have done, to God, to our relatives, to our friends, to everyone with whom we have a relationship. The Hebrew word for repentance is "teshuvah". The root of this word, "shuv", appears seven times in our parashah, at Deuteronomy 30:1-10. The word connotes repentance, turning, returning, turning around, and recalling. It has active and reflexive forms.
"... and you shall recall (v'hasheivota) them to your mind ..." 30:1
"and you shall return (v'shavta) to the Lord your God ..." 30:2
"and the Lord your God will return (v'shav) your captivity and have compassion upon you, and will return (v'shav) and gather you from all the peoples ..." 30:3
"and you shall return (tashuv) and hearken to the voice of the Lord ..." 30:8
"... for the Lord will return (yashuv) to rejoice over you for good ..." 30:9
"... if you turn (tashuv) to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." 30:10

R. Shlomo of Radomsk once asked, if the Torah states in verse two that "you shall return to the Lord your God", implying repentance, why does it say so again in verse eight? He answers that before a person begins to repent, he doesn't even know what offenses he has committed - he doesn't know what he doesn't know. Only after the first steps of teshuvah, through the process of cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul) does he realize the enormity of his wrongs. So he begins to ascend, step by step, in his spiritual development. It's not a one-shot deal.

What R. Shlomo doesn't say, perhaps because it was obvious to him, is the role that God plays in all of this. It's a two-way conversation. We turn toward God; God turns toward us. We move closer to God; God moves closer to us. We repent; God draws us into greater repentance.

How do we start? The answer is found in the concluding sentence of "Etz Chaim", recited at the conclusion of every Torah service. "Bring us back (hashiveinu), Lord, to You, and we will return (v'nashuvah); renew our days as of old." Lamentations 5:21. We seriously ask God to help us repent, and we are on our way!

Shabbt Shalom! L'shanah Tovah Umetukah Tikateivu V'tichateimu - May you be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet new year!

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: 6:20 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 with Barry Glass and Lynda Foster – 10:00 am. Move and set up High Holy Day ark, Torah scrolls, books and other materials to First Christian Church – 1:00 pm – volunteer helping hands needed! Come on down!

Rosh Hashanah Services
Sunday – 6:30 pm – Candle lighting 6:17 pm
Monday – 8:30 am, followed by Tashlich – Candle lighting 7:10 pm
Tuesday – 8:30 am – Yom Tov ends 7:10 pm

Friday 10/7 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday 10/8 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of Shimon Peres, former Israeli Prime Minister and President, who passed away on Wednesday. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah – May his memory be a blessing and an inspiration.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of my grandmother, Cora Slome, whose yahrzeit is this Shabbat, 28 Elul. After 34 years, her memory remains and will always 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, Jackie Aaronson, 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), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), 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, September 22, 2016

EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY!

21 Elul 5776 / 23-24 September 2016
Parashat Ki Tavo
Torah: Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22 (Sixth Haftarah of Consolation)

Rosh Hashanah is one week from Sunday! Please submit your Membership/High Holy Day forms ASAP! And check your mail for our High Holy Day bulletin.

Congregation Beth Meier is looking for volunteers for the High Holy Days: to help set up/tear down for services, chant Haftarah, daven, lead English readings, and, have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom at the synagogue office or by e-mail for details and to sign up!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

For our High Holy Day schedule, and lots of other info about our community, please check out our web site at: http://bethmeier.org

For this year’s Cheshbon Hanefesh worksheet, see: http://rav-rich.blogspot.com/2016/09/cheshbon-hanefesh-worksheet.html

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.
---------------------------------------
EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY!

"This very day the Lord your God commands you to perform these decrees and statutes; and you shall observe and do them with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 26:16

Rashi (citing Tanchuma): Every day they should seem new in your eyes, as though on that day you had been commanded concerning them.

"Moses and the priests, the Levites spoke to all Israel, saying, 'Take heed and listen, Israel; this very day you have become a people to the Lord your God.'" Deuteronomy 27:9

Rashi (citing B.T. Berakhot): Every day it should seem in your eyes as though today you enter into the covenant with Him.  

In my view, one of the very wonderful aspects of Judaism is that one need not dwell on the past in order to live the good life. It is true that one must do teshuvah, repentance, with both God and human beings in order to ultimately achieve a life of goodness. Having done so, however, one is not required to continue beating oneself forever. Rashi tells us that the commandments and the covenant, and by extension, all of the Torah, are given to us anew, every day. That is a reason often given for the language of the blessings recited before and after reading the Torah - "Blessed are You, O Lord, Who gives the Torah." It seems to have almost a Zen quality to it - we need to live in the "now". The past is ... past. We remember it, we learn from it, we improve ourselves, we move onward.

What does not have a Zen quality is the Torah's view of the future. Year in, year out, the holy days come and go. Week in, week out, Shabbat comes and goes. "Thou shalt ..." "Thou shalt not ..." "And it shall be that on that day, you will ...." The Torah anticipates that at some point in the future, we will be better than we are now. We will be more learned, more observant, more experienced, more spiritual - closer to God and our fellow human beings in every way. And we will always have opportunities to become so - literally, every day.

The philosopher Franz Rosenzweig said that, when asked whether we observe any particular mitzvah, we should answer either "yes" or "not yet". What we do (or fail to do) now has implications for the future, but it does not necessarily determine the future. But when is the best time to start? You already know the answer to that - "this very day"!

Have a wonderful Shabbat!

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
----------------------------------------------------------------
Candle lighting: 6:29 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. Selichot Service with Rabbi Flom and Cantor Katz – 9:00 pm.
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 with Barry Glass and Lynda Foster – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – noon - a 90 minute discussion on a Jewish topic of interest. Everyone is welcome to participate. Lunch is provided - donation requested.
Friday, 9/30 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 10/1 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.

The congregation extends condolences to Deb Sigel, John McNeil and Elona McNeil on the passing of Deb’s grandfather/Elona’s great-grandfather Leon Sigel. Funeral is in Baltimore. 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, Jackie Aaronson, 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, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), 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, September 14, 2016

MEMORIES ...

Parashat Ki Tetze
14 Elul 5776 / 16-17 September 2016
Torah: Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10; 54:11 – 55:5 (Fifth Haftarah of Consolation, followed by Third Haftarah of Consolation – because the Third was not read two weeks ago due to Rosh Chodesh)

Rosh Hashanah is two weeks from Sunday! Please submit your Membership/High Holy Day forms ASAP! And check your mail for our High Holy Day bulletin.

Congregation Beth Meier is looking for volunteers for the High Holy Days: to help set up/tear down for services, chant Torah and Haftarah, daven, lead English readings, and, have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom at the synagogue office or by e-mail for details and to sign up!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

For our High Holy Day schedule, and lots of other info about our community, please check out our web site at: http://www.bethmeier.org

For this year’s Cheshbon Hanefesh worksheet, see: http://rav-rich.blogspot.com/2016/09/cheshbon-hanefesh-worksheet.html

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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MEMORIES ...

"Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt… you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven - don't forget!" Deuteronomy 25:17, 19

Ba'al Shem Tov: "Memory is the source of redemption; forgetting is oblivion."

We Jews are a people of memories. We are told to remember Shabbat in numerous passages, such as the Ten Commandments. Shabbat and the various Holy Days, we are told by the Torah, are in memory of the Exodus from Egypt. On many Holy Days, we have a special Yizkor (Memorial) service. Israel has established its own Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day. We are told to remember what our most dreadful enemies did to us, then to erase the memory of that enemy, then not to forget to remember to erase the memory.

Memory has power - the power to redeem, the power to generate incredible emotions, and the power to transform those with whom memories are shared. When you tell someone of your memory of another person, you bring the listener into the story - into your life, and into the life of the person you are talking about. In a very real way, you bring the subject of the memory back to life. This is the reason the Torah tells us to erase the memory of Amalek - so that Amalek will not live on in the memories of others. The way to finally kill a person is to forget that s/he ever lived. Regardless of how one may feel about life after death, few of us can disagree with the notion that people continue to live so long as they are remembered. In that way is memory the source of redemption - from oblivion.

God commands us to remember, and perhaps that is why the Amidah, the central prayer of every service, contains the following blessing - "Blessed are you, O Lord, who gives life to the dead." By remembering our loved ones, we act as God's agents in bringing them to life. Not magic - but what Lincoln called "the mystic chords of memory."

Even as the scientists try to figure out the bio/chemical processes which create and store memories in our brains, we are driven to create memories in our very hearts and souls. Ah, memories…

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
http://www.bethmeier.org
Blogging at:
http://rav-rich.blogspot.com/
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
----------------------------------------------------------------
Candle lighting: 6:39 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 with Barry Glass and Lynda Foster – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – noon - a 90 minute discussion on a Jewish topic of interest. Everyone is welcome to participate. Lunch is provided - donation requested.
Friday, 9/23 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 9/24 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services. Saturday, 9/24 – Selichot Service with Rabbi Flom and Cantor Katz – 9:00 pm.
Sunday, 9/25 – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of Lynn’s sister, Janis Kronzek, whose 15th yahrzeit was last Shabbat. I last published this d’var torah, in slightly different form, on September 1, 2001, just a few days after her death. Y’hi zichronah liv’rakhah – May her 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, Jackie Aaronson, 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, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), 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.

Mocha Truffle Cookies

Mocha Truffle Cookies
(Personally adapted from the L.A. Times—almost exactly 25 years ago!—September 12, 1991. Good Cooking column: “Sweet Jolts” by Abby Mandel, page H38.)

1 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
2/3 c. powdered sugar
1 large egg
About 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
About 1/4 tablespoon anise extract
1/2 c. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
2 generous teaspoons finely-ground dark roast coffee beans (OR, process
already-ground coffee to a finer texture)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ½ c. cake flour

Cream butter with brown sugar, powdered sugar, egg, extracts, cocoa powder, ground coffee, and salt until fluffy. Reduce speed and stir in cake flour.  Mix until well combined. Chill dough at least 15 minutes for easier handling.
Roll dough into balls, using a scant tablespoon of dough for each. Place on ungreased baking sheets, spacing balls 1 inch apart.
Bake at 350 degrees until cookies are set but still slightly soft to the touch on top, about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack.  Let them cool until just a bit of warmth remains, 15-20 minutes depending on room temperature. Place in an airtight container. Makes 40 cookies.  Cookies maybe stored this way for up to 4 days or frozen for as long as 3 months. They pair beautifully with chilled coffee drinks.
NOTES: The vanilla and anise proportions may be increased for those who like their desserts “spicy.” (Also, the original recipe only uses vanilla).  It also calls for placing wax paper under the wire rack and sifting (an additional) 2/3 cup powdered sugar over the warm cookies-- a step that I omit. Finally, the 1995 edition instructs readers to cool the cookies “completely.”  I think my method keeps them moister, but it’s all a matter of taste (and texture). Enjoy!

--Lynn Kronzek 09/14/2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016

THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

Parashat Shoftim
7 Elul 5776 / 9-10 September 2016
Torah: Deuteronomy 16:18 - 21:9
Haftarah: Isaiah 51:12 - 52:12 (Fourth Haftarah of Consolation)

Rosh HaShanah is three weeks from Sunday! Please submit your Membership/High Holy Day forms ASAP! And check your mail for our High Holy Day bulletin.

Congregation Beth Meier is looking for volunteers for the High Holy Days: to help set up/tear down for services, chant Torah and Haftarah, daven, lead English readings, and, have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom at the synagogue office or by e-mail for details and to sign up!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow. 

For our High Holy Day schedule, and lots of other info about our community, please check out our web site at: http://www.bethmeier.org/ 

For this year’s Cheshbon HaNefesh worksheet, see: 


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.

I originally published this some years ago, but it seems especially relevant in this US presidential election year.
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THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

"Thus (the king) will not act haughtily to his fellows or deviate to the right or to the left from the commandment ..." Deuteronomy 17:20

In the verses preceding the above, the king is instructed to always have a personally written copy of the Torah at his side and to study it all his life. It is to serve as a constant guide to him, to keep him from straying off the path that is commanded in the opening verses of this parashah ("Justice, justice you shall pursue" - 16:20 - found at the entrance to the US Supreme Court)

The past few years have seen an increasing coarseness and shrillness in our “civil” discourse. Whether discussing candidates, political or economic issues, matters of war and peace, local or international concerns, we seem to have lost our way in the manner in which we treat each other. “Respect” has become a word without meaning, or at best, something demanded but not offered. Those in power, those who seek power, and those who support them, at any level of society, more and more often treat those with whom they disagree as the evil enemy of all that is right and good. Extreme rhetoric begets extreme positions beget extreme conduct – it is a dangerous path.

It is worth remembering that the Torah has a different approach to how rulers ought to exercise their authority. Staying between the lines of right and left, traveling down the middle of the lane - that is the way to go. What happens when a driver goes too far to the right or to the left? A wreck!

The staking out of extreme positions to placate a "base" is the exact opposite of what the Torah instructs. Look at the road - the lanes are wide - the boundary lines at the edges are narrow. This is why Rambam teaches in Hilkhot De'ot (Laws of Character Traits) 1:3 - "The two extremes of each trait, which are distant from each other, do not make a proper path. It is improper for a man to follow them or to teach them to himself." This applies not only to our rulers, but to each and every one of us!

Extreme moderation - that is the rule of the road.

Shabbat Shalom!

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

http://www.bethmeier.org
Blogging at: rav-rich.blogspot.com/
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
--------------------------------------------
Candle lighting: 6:49 pm

Friday – Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.
Sunday - first day of Religious School – 9:30 am! If you have or know of any Jewish children ages 7-13 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 with Barry Glass and Lynda Foster – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – noon - a 90 minute discussion on a Jewish topic of interest. Everyone is welcome to participate. Lunch is provided - donation requested.
Friday, 9/16 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 9/17 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows services.
Sunday, 9/18 – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.
Saturday, 9/24 – Selichot Service with Rabbi Flom and Cantor Katz – 9:00 pm.

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, Jackie Aaronson, 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, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), 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.

Monday, September 5, 2016

CHESHBON HANEFESH WORKSHEET

Cheshbon Hanefesh Worksheet 

A Personal Inventory for the High Holy Days – 5777 edition

Traditionally, cheshbon hanefesh, literally an accounting of the soul, is undertaken during the Aseret Yamei Teshuvah – the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The entire month of Elul is even better, but in truth, any time is a good time.
With openness and honesty, giving the benefit of the doubt to yourself without being extravagant, being self-critical without beating yourself up, evaluate the following on an appropriate scale of your choosing. Many questions require much more than a mere score. Please feel free to add any topics you wish to evaluate. Consider both quality and quantity. Don’t forget to answer the most important questions of all: In what areas do I need to improve? What are my goals in those areas? What will I do to reach them? Of course, there is no right answer to any of this ….. is there?

The People in My Life
How are my relationships with parents, children, spouses/life partners, other family, friends, neighbors, strangers, employers, employees, customers, teachers, et al.?
Who did I injure? Who injured me? How? Why? Does blame matter?
What did I do to make amends? Was it enough?
What did/can/will I do to assure it doesn’t happen again?
Did I apologize?
Did I ask for forgiveness? Was I forgiven? How do I feel about that?
Did I forgive those who asked for forgiveness? How do I feel about them?
Is our relationship the same – better – worse? Reconciliation?
What did I do to heal the people in my life?
Did I help others reconcile with each other? Am I a rodef shalom?
Are there patterns, habits, addictions in my life I need to change? Are there good patterns and habits in my life that I should exercise even more?
Do I really hear and understand other people – their needs, hopes and dreams?
Do I accept others for who they are, even if they aren’t what I want them to be?
Lashon Hara – Slander, gossip, offensive speech
            Did I speak it?
            Did I listen to it?
            Did I prevent others from speaking it?

God in My Life
Is God in my life?
Do I ever contemplate the Divine?
Do I ever contemplate holiness? Can I be holy? Do I see the holiness in other people?
Do I engage in regular prayer and/or meditation?
            Tefillin
            Daily prayer service/private worship
            Bedtime Sh’ma (teach your children well)
            Blessings for Mitzvot
            Blessings for food/drink
Can I really imitate God?
Did I do teshuvah?
Did I forgive God for what happened to me?

Jewish Ritual/Jewish Observance
Kashruth
            Biblical
            Halakhic
            Home
            Out
How are my Shabbat and Holy Days (general)?
            Know the stories/reasons
Candles
            Kiddush
            Family Blessings
            Zemirot – table songs
            Guests
            Refraining from Work
            Attending Services
            Torah Study
            Reflection
            Havdalah
            Fulfilling/meaningful/involved/indifferent
How are my holy days? Specific
            Rosh Hashanah
                        Tashlikh
                        Shofar
            Yom Kippur
                        Fasting
                        Contemplation
                        Teshuvah
            Sukkot
                        Built/ate/studied/slept in a Sukkah
                        Ushpizin – honored visitors
Lulav and Etrog
            Shemini Atzeret
            Simchat Torah
            Chanukah
            Tu BiShevat
            Purim
                        Megillah Reading
                        Shlach Manot
                        Tzedakah
            Pesach
                        Bedikat Chametz
                        Seder
                        No chametz during holiday
            Yom Hashoah
            Yom Ha’atzma’ut
            Shavuot
            Tisha B’Av
Mitzvot – Mitzvah means commandment – or is it a good deed?
            Have I taken on more mitzvot?
            Have I improved my observance of mitzvot I was already doing?
            How?
            Why?
Judaism - Do I preach it, teach it, live it?

Study
Do I engage in regular Torah study?
Do I read Jewish books and/or periodicals?
What do I know about Judaism generally?
            History
            Holy Days
            Texts – Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, etc.
            Culture
            Zionism
            Personalities
            Beliefs/tenets/philosophy
            Practices
            Halakhah
            Hebrew language
Israel
Travel – ever; recently; soon
Support (in the way one sees fit)
            Israel Bonds
            JNF
            Israeli products
            Rallies
            Letter writing
            AIPAC
            J Street
            Peace Now
            New Israel Fund
            What do I think about the settlements?
            What do I think about peace with the Palestinians?
            What do I think about the rabbanut?
Events

Tzedakah/Gemilut Chasadim/Volunteerism
Feed the hungry
Clothe the naked
Hear the cries of others
Charitable donations
            How much tzedakah? (according to Torah and halakhah, tithing [10%] expected)
Donations of Time/Volunteer work
            Congregation
            Other organizations
Donations of Self/gemilut chasadim
            Bikur cholim
            Comforting mourners

Jewish Community

How active in congregation?
            Affiliates
            Religious school/teaching
How active in other Jewish groups?
Reaching out to other Jews
Captive Jews

My Body, My Self
Exercise
Diet
Self-abuse (drugs, alcohol, tobacco)
Self-control
Care of the body
Care of the soul
Care of the mind
What did I do to heal myself?
Take reasonable advantage of the pleasing things in this world – art, music, good food and drink, travel

The Physical World Around Me
The environment – b’al tashchit – do not destroy; cleanup; conservation; global warming
Kindness to animals
Stop and smell the roses/meditate on the wonder of Creation?
Tikkun olam?

A Few Final Thoughts for Your Consideration

Do I deserve another year because I have been good?
Do I deserve another year because I will be better? I promise!
Am I prepared to do teshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah?



© Rabbi Richard Flom - 2016