Wednesday, December 6, 2017

THE SECRET?

Parashat Vayeishev
Torah: Genesis 37:1 – 40:23
Haftarah: Amos 2:6 – 3:8
21 Kislev 5778 / 8-9 December 2017
Calendar and dedications follow below. For a full calendar of events and other info about Temple B’nai Hayim/Congregation Beth Meier, check out: www.bnaihayim.com
Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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THE SECRET?
"And Judah said to his brothers, "What advantage is there if we slay our brother and conceal his blood?" Genesis 37:26
A traditional understanding of this verse is that Judah sees an opportunity to get rid of Joseph and profit at the same time (while saving his life). That is why the brothers ultimately decide to sell Joseph into slavery. But Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Kotzk has a very different take on the verse.
The Kotzker focuses not on the profit motive, but on the idea of hiding the deed. He says, "If we are forced to conceal the matter and to keep it secret, that is a sign that it is wrong. Every secret is like a type of theft."
In the Kotzker's view, Judah is saying there is no benefit whatsoever in eliminating Joseph, since it will be a guilty secret among the brothers forever. Indeed, we see later in the Torah that the brothers become wracked with guilt and recrimination when they are confronted by the vizier of Egypt (the disguised Joseph), who seems omniscient in his penetrating questions and demands of them.
My father, z’tz'l, whose name also was Menachem Mendel, taught me a very simple lesson on the issue. "Don't ever say or do anything that you would not want on the front page of the newspaper."
There's no such thing as a secret.
Shabbat Shalom V'Chag Urim Sameach!
Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 88a
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Candlelighting: 4:25 pm
Friday – Shabbat Evening Service at 7:30 pm, followed by Oneg Shabbat.
Saturday – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am. Adult Game Day - 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Includes delicious lunch. Price: $15 - checks payable to TBH Sisterhood. Questions/RSVP to Gina Seeman - (818) 349-5301. Deadline December 6.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon. Hanukkah!! – begins at sundown. Light those lights! Spin that dreidel! Fry those latkes or sufganiyot!
Friday, December 15 – Shabbat Evening Service at 7:30 pm, followed by Oneg Shabbat.
Saturday, December 16 – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows. TBH/CBM Hanukkah Happening! - Havdalah, Light Dinner (with latkes, of course!), Communal Menorah Lighting (bring yours along!), songs, etc. No charge, but donations welcome. RSVP to TBH/CBM office by December 8! Sponsored by Linda and Tony Foster, and Gina and Bernie Seeman, in honor of their respective wedding anniversaries.
Sunday, December 17 – NO Religious School or Adult Hebrew until January 7 – Winter Break
This d’var torah is offered in memory of my uncle, Dr. David M. Flom, whose yahrzeit falls this Shabbat, 21 Kislev. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah.
This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Ze’ev ben Adeline, HaRav Chana Rivka bat Doronit, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Eilite bat Miryam, HaRav Tzvi Hersh ben Frimet, Sarah bat Devorah, Hiroe Andriola, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Bernard Garvin, Myra Goodman, Leah Granat, Simon Hartmann, Brandon Joseph, Gabor Klein, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Lyndia Lowy (Leah bat Sarah), David Marks, Debra Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Jonathan Woolf, and Meagan Yudell.
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.
Cyber Torah list management (no salesman will call!):
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail with the subject heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah” to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net
Send requests for dedications of Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah, in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net 
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail with the subject heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah” to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net

Thursday, November 30, 2017

DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!

Parashat Vayishlach
14 Kislev 5778 / 1-2 December 2017
Torah - Genesis 32:4 – 36:43
Haftarah – Ovadiah 1:1-21

Calendar and dedications follow below. For a full calendar of events and other info about Temple B’nai Hayim/Congregation Beth Meier, check out: www.bnaihayim.com

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!

'And (the angel) said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with humans, and you have prevailed.'" Genesis 32:29

Jewish tradition, going back to the opening chapters of Genesis, holds that names contain the essential being of the person, place or thing named. We Jews have been called the "Children of Israel" or the "People Israel" for longer than we have been called "Jews". The origin of the name is given in our verse. Does "Israel " describe our very essence?

Consider first the struggle with other people. In the course of the Tanakh itself, our people struggled with Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, and others. Since then, we have striven with Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Cossacks, Nazis, Soviets, and many others. We have not always prevailed, in the sense of military victory - quite the contrary - no significant military victories from circa 165 BCE until 1948 CE. Yet, to the extent any people or nations at all exist today using those names, they are quite different from what they were. And what about us? We are still here, so we have prevailed; but we are still "a people apart", still struggling to be "a light unto the nations", still fighting sometimes for the very right to be Jews.

Now consider contention with God. From Abraham until modern times, Jews have wrestled with God. Our people at times have refused to follow God's word, sometimes at a heavy price. More often, our people have listened to God, yet still paid a price. We ask, "God, what do you want from us?" "God, what do these words mean, why do you command us to do such and such?" "God, where were You when the Temple was destroyed, when our people were being slaughtered at Auschwitz, and all the other times?" "Shall not the Judge of the entire world act justly?" Sometimes, there is more than one "right" answer. Sometimes, there is no satisfactory answer. Sometimes, there is no answer, no response at all.

If we surrender to the forces around us, we give up the right to call ourselves Israel. It is not prevailing that matters; it is the very struggle with God and with man that defines the essence of being a Jew. Don't give up the fight!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 88a
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Candlelighting: 4:25 pm

Friday – A Cappella Shabbat Evening Service at 7:30 pm with Rabbi Flom and Cantor Steve, followed by light fish/dairy Shabbat dinner, sponsored by Price and Bruce Simon.
Saturday – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Sh’MA Service (Shabbat Morning Adventure Service), with Rabbi Flom and Cantor Steve – 9:30 am. It’s a GAS! (Guitar Accompanied Service), with torah discussion and haftarah in English. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am. Free CPR Class – 1:00 pm. Pre-registration essential! Call Esther at TBH ASAP!
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, December 8 – Shabbat Evening Service at 7:30 pm, followed by Oneg Shabbat.
Saturday, December 9 – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, December 10 - Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am. Game Day at TBH (sorry, kids - this is for adults) - 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Includes delicious lunch. Price: $15 - checks payable to TBH Sisterhood. Questions/RSVP to Gina Seeman - (818) 349-5301. Deadline December 6.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of Khorshid Assil, mother of TBH member Debbie Assil. The funeral will take place at Eden Memorial Park11500 Sepulveda Blvd, Mission Hills, CA 91345, today, Thursday, at 3:00 pm. A meal of condolence and minyan following the funeral will take place at 6509 Graves Avenue, Lake Balboa 91406. Shivah arrangements are pending - please look for an email update.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of Sandi Kronzek, who passed away far too young last week. Y’hi zikhrah liv’rakhah – May her memory be a blessing.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of Stuart Barth, who passed away last week. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah – May his memory be a blessing.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of my uncle, Daniel Flom, whose yahrzeit falls on Shabbat. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah – May his memory be a blessing.

This d’var torah is offered in honor of Price and Bruce Simon, celebrating their first anniversary. Mazal tov!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Ze’ev ben Adeline, HaRav Chana Rivka bat Doronit, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Eilite bat Miryam, HaRav Tzvi Hersh ben Frimet, Sarah bat Devorah, Hiroe Andriola, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Bernard Garvin, Myra Goodman, Leah Granat, Simon Hartmann, Brandon Joseph, Gabor Klein, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Lyndia Lowy (Leah bat Sarah), David Marks, Debra Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Jonathan Woolf, and Meagan Yudell.

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.

Cyber Torah list management (no salesman will call!):
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail with the subject heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah” to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net
Send requests for dedications of Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah, in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail with the subject heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah” to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

GIVING THANKS

Parashat Vayetze
7 Kislev 5778 – 24-25 November 2017
Torah: Genesis 28:10 - 32:3
Haftarah: Hosea 12:13 - 14:10 (Ashkenazim); Hosea 11:7 - 14:10 (Sephardim)

Calendar and dedications follow below. For more information about our community, check out our web site at: www.bnaihayim.com

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

"She conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'This time I will thank (odeh) the Lord.' Therefore she named him Yehudah (Judah) ..." Genesis 29:35

We Jews are called in Hebrew "Yehudim", i.e., the descendants of Judah. But it literally means that we are "the ones who give thanks".

On this Thanksgiving Day, and every day, Jew or not, we should give thanks for our families, our friends, our communities and our lives. We should give thanks that we are fortunate enough to live in a country founded on the Torah principles of justice and freedom, where we are free to practice our faith. We should give thanks - and mean it!

Thanksgiving Day derives from the harvest holiday of Sukkot. At your Thanksgiving table this week, you might wish to recite Psalm 100 (Mizmor L'Todah, A Psalm of Thanksgiving) or any of the psalms that are typically recited during Hallel (the Service of Praise sung at Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot and Rosh Chodesh). Or download and read one of the following resources from the Rabbinical Assembly:


Torah and Talmud study sheets, prepared by Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg:

A Prayer for the Thanksgiving Feast, by Rabbi Naomi Levy

Our Rabbis taught: know before Whom you stand. In a similar vein, know to Whom you should give thanks.

Yom L'Todah Sameach - Shabbat Shalom U'Vrakhah!
Happy Thanksgiving! Have a Shabbat of Peace and Blessing!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 88a
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CALENDAR
Candle lighting: 4:27 pm

Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday – Shabbat Evening Service at 7:30 pm, followed by Oneg Shabbat.
Saturday – NO Breakfast and Torah study this Shabbat. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush follows.
Sunday – NO Religious School or Adult Learning this Sunday.
Tuesday – NO Lunch and Learn – movers delivering Beth Meier items.
Friday, December 1 – Shabbat Evening Service at 7:30 pm, followed by Oneg Shabbat.
Saturday, December 2 – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, December 3 –Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.
Sunday, December 10 - Game Day (sorry kids, adults only) - 11:00 am -3:00 pm. Contact Gina Seeman for details and reservations - cost $15 - including delicious lunch

TBH Religious School and TBH Pre-school have open enrollment. Enroll your children now! Contact the TBH office for information.

And be sure to tell your neighbors, friends, and relatives about our warm and welcoming community and our programs!

We are looking for volunteers for services: chant Torah or Haftarah, daven, lead English readings, and have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom by e-mail for details and to sign up!

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

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

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Ze’ev ben Adeline, HaRav Chana Rivka bat Doronit, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Eilite bat Miryam, HaRav Tzvi Hersh ben Frimet, Sarah bat Devorah, Hiroe Andriola, Susan Arbetman, Stuart Barth, Ken Bitticks, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Bernard Garvin, Myra Goodman, Leah Granat, Simon Hartmann, Brandon Joseph, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Lyndia Lowy (Leah bat Sarah), David Marks, Debra Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Jonathan Woolf, and Meagan Yudell.

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, November 16, 2017

REDIGGING THE WELLS OF TORAH

Parashat Tol’dot
28 Cheshvan 5778 / 17-18 November 2017
Torah Reading - Genesis 25:19 - 28:9
Haftarah: Shabbat Machar Chodesh - 1 Samuel 20:18-20:42

Calendar and dedications follow below. For more information about our community, check out our web site at:

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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REDIGGING THE WELLS OF TORAH

"And the Philistines stopped up all the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of his father Abraham, filling them with dirt … Isaac dug anew the wells which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham's death; and he gave them the same names that his father had given them." Genesis 26:15; 18.

We often use the term "Philistine" to refer to someone lacking or opposed to cultural or intellectual values. However, the Philistines here are something else - they are opposed to ethical monotheism and the Jewish conception of God. A Midrash teaches that the wells symbolize the seven Noachide commandments which prohibit murder, idolatry, immoral sexual behavior, blasphemy, theft, and meat cut from a living animal, and which require the establishment of courts of justice.

A later Jewish commentator (Yaakov Zvi Mecklenburg [1785-1865], in “Haketav V'hakabbalah - “The Written Torah and the Received Tradition”) sees the Philistines' action as symbolic of idol worshippers trying to bury faith in God and the righteous behavior that comes from that faith. The very names of the wells (such as "Be’er-lachai-ro’i” – “the well of the living God that sees me") were used to tell people about God; and Abraham, he says, would tell the (physically and spiritually) thirsty people around him, "Let us go and draw water from the well of the eternal God."

The Philistines thought that Abraham's death meant the death of his ideas. Isaac proved them wrong, by redigging the wells and using the same names for them. So it is with us. The passing of our grandparents' or parents' generation does not mean the death of "the faith of our fathers", so long as we keep the faith. If we refuse to learn Jewish traditions and values, or to teach them to our children, we have surrendered to the Philistines. It is up to us to redig the wells.

Have a Wonderful Shabbat!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 88a
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CALENDAR
Candle lighting: 4:30 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service at 6:30 pm, followed by Annual Turkey Dinner at 7:15 pm. RSVP deadline for dinner has passed.
Saturday – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Sign up the kids and bring ‘em on down! Adult Hebrew with Barry Glass at 10:00 am! 
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 24 – Shabbat Evening Service at 7:30 pm, followed by Oneg Shabbat.
Saturday, November 25 – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, November 26 – NO Religious School or Adult Hebrew.

TBH Religious School and TBH Pre-school have open enrollment. Enroll your children now! Contact the TBH office for information.

And be sure to tell your neighbors, friends, and relatives about our warm and welcoming community and our programs!

We are looking for volunteers for services: chant Torah or Haftarah, daven, lead English readings, and have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom by e-mail for details and to sign up!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Ze’ev ben Adeline, HaRav Chana Rivka bat Doronit, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Eilite bat Miryam, HaRav Tzvi Hersh ben Frimet, Sarah bat Devorah, Hiroe Andriola, Susan Arbetman, Stuart Barth, Ken Bitticks, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Bernard Garvin, Myra Goodman, Leah Granat, Simon Hartmann, Brandon Joseph, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Lyndia Lowy (Leah bat Sarah), Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Jonathan Woolf, and Meagan Yudell.

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, November 9, 2017

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER!

22 Cheshvan 5778 / 10-11 November 2017
Parashat Chayei Sarah
Torah - Genesis 23:1 - 25:18
Haftarah - 1 Kings 1:1-31

Calendar and dedications follow below. For more information about our community, check out our web site at:

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER!

“And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rebecca, she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother.” Genesis 24:67

Rashi: He brought her to the tent, and behold, she was Sarah his mother! That is to say, she became like Sarah his mother. For as long as Sarah was alive, a candle burned from one Shabbat eve to the next, a blessing was found in the dough and a cloud was attached to the tent. When she died, these things ceased, and when Rebecca came, they resumed (citing Genesis Rabbah 60:16).

According to the Midrash, Sarah was the first to kindle Shabbat lights and to take challah (a symbolic offering) from dough. In doing so, she caused the Shekhinah (the Divine Presence, symbolized by the cloud) to descend to her home. Isaac and Abraham either could not or would not do these things. It was Rebecca, the wife who replaced (became?) the mother, who reinstituted the practices, and brought about the return of the Shekhinah.

There are several ways to look at this. There is a rather obvious oedipal reference. There is the female viewpoint that men are clueless when it comes to certain matters. However, I am more interested in mystical cause and effect.

Simply by kindling Shabbat lights, Sarah and Rebecca (and any of us!) could bring God’s Sheltering Presence into the home. What’s the mystery? Take a mundane act, lighting candles, infuse the act and yourself with holiness through kavannah (focused intent) and by reciting the appropriate blessing, and you have instant Shalom Bayit, a peaceful household. This Shabbat, perform this simple mitzvah; then look at the light, marvel at the Creation it symbolizes, and bring the Shekhinah home for dinner!

Have a Wonderful Shabbat!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 88a
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CALENDAR
Candle lighting: 4:34 pm

Friday – Cool Shabbat Evening Service with Steve Pearlman and Rabbi Flom (It’s a GAS! – guitar accompanied service) – 7:30 pm (Oneg Shabbat follows).
Saturday – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Sign up the kids and bring ‘em on down! Adult Hebrew with Lynda Foster at 9:30 am and Barry Glass at 10:00 am! 
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, November 17 – Shabbat Evening Service at 6:30 pm, followed by Annual Turkey Dinner at 7:15 pm. RSVP deadline November 10 – Adults $25, Children 5-12 $10, under 5 no charge.
Saturday, November 18 – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, November 19 – Religious School – 9:30 am. Sign up the kids and bring ‘em on down! Adult Hebrew with Barry Glass at 10:00 am.

TBH Religious School and TBH Pre-school have open enrollment. Enroll your children now! Contact the TBH office for information.

And be sure to tell your neighbors, friends, and relatives about our warm and welcoming community and our programs!

We are looking for volunteers for services: chant Torah or Haftarah, daven, lead English readings, and have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom by e-mail for details and to sign up!

This d'var torah is offered in memory of Jack Hirsch, who passed away earlier this week. His obituary may be found at:

We extend our condolences to his wife, Diana Hirsch. Y’hi zikhro liv’rakhah – may his memory be a blessing.

This d'var torah is offered in honor of America’s veterans. Please observe Veterans’ Day on Friday and Saturday.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Ze’ev ben Adeline, HaRav Chana Rivka bat Doronit, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Eilite bat Miryam, HaRav Tzvi Hersh ben Frimet, Sarah bat Devorah, Hiroe Andriola, Susan Arbetman, Stuart Barth, Ken Bitticks, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Bernard Garvin, Myra Goodman, Leah Granat, Simon Hartmann, Brandon Joseph, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Lyndia Lowy (Leah bat Sarah), Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Jonathan Woolf, and Meagan Yudell.

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, November 2, 2017

PUTTING GOD SECOND

Parashat Vayera
15 Cheshvan 5778 / 3-4 November 2017
Torah: Genesis 18:1-22:24
Haftarah: Kings II 4:1-37

Calendar and dedications follow below. For more information about our community, check out our web site at:

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

"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, 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 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 caring for those who are created "in the image of God".

This implies that if one must choose between fulfilling a “mitzvah bein adam lamakom” (a mitzvah between a person and God) or a “mitzvah bein adam l’chavero” (between one person and another person), we should attend to the mitzvah involving another person first. (See, for example, the Mishnah at Peah 1:1: “These are the things for which a person reaps the fruits in this world, and gets a reward in the world to come: honoring one's father and mother, acts of lovingkindness (gemilut chasadim), and bringing peace between people.”) When we treat others to our hospitality (or feed them or clothe them or house them or provide them with medical treatment), we do indeed find favor in God's eyes.

There remains perhaps the greatest mitzvah of all, one that does not require choosing between God and human beings. We do it after we are dead – by registering as organ donors while we are alive. Indeed, virtually all rabbis agree that organ donation at death is a positive mitzvah - an obligation of pikuach nefesh - saving a life. This idea represents everything that Judaism stands for.

Next weekend, November 10-12, is National Donor Sabbath, a project of the US Department of Health and Human Services. More information is available at the web site: https://www.organdonor.gov/awareness/events/donor-sabbath.html  
Last year, about 30,000 organ donations were performed in the US. This is impressive, until one realizes that there are over 120,000 Americans on the waiting lists for various organs. Every day, 80 transplants are performed in the US, while 18 people die waiting for organs they needed to survive. You can alleviate the pain and suffering of others, literally give them life, merely by completing an organ donation card available from your motor vehicle department or at the web site above.

Does it work? Of course! Most of our parts are “recyclable”. And don’t forget, there are ways to save lives while we are still alive – through blood, platelet and bone marrow donations. Go ahead – perform an act of chesed or pikuach nefesh – God won’t be offended!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
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Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 88a
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This d'var torah is offered in memory of my zayde, Sam Flom, and my uncle, Merwin Erenbaum, whose yahrzeits fell earlier this week. Y’hi zikhronam liv’rakhah – may their memories be a blessing.

This d'var torah is offered in honor of David Marks, celebrating the first anniversary of his conversion to Judaism this Shabbat. Happy Birthday!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Ze’ev ben Adeline, HaRav Chana Rivka bat Doronit, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Eilite bat Miryam, HaRav Tzvi Hersh ben Frimet, Sarah bat Devorah, Hiroe Andriola, Susan Arbetman, Stuart Barth, Ken Bitticks, Stana Cooper, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Bernard Garvin, Myra Goodman, Leah Granat, Simon Hartmann, Brandon Joseph, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Lyndia Lowy (Leah bat Sarah), Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Jonathan Woolf, and Meagan Yudell.

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.

CALENDAR
Candle lighting: 5:40 pm

Friday – A Capella (no musical instruments) Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm (Oneg Shabbat follows).
Saturday – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows. End of Daylight Saving Time – turn your clock back tonight before you turn in.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Sign up the kids and bring ‘em on down! Adult Hebrew with Lynda Foster at 9:30 am and Barry Glass at 10:00 am! Farewell Get-together at Congregation Beth Meier – 2:00 – 5:00 pm. We’ll share memories, look at pictures, take pictures, and bid fond farewell to that sweet little domed building. All are invited! No charge, but RSVP essential to Elaine at: office@bethmeier.org
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, November 10 – Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, November 11 – Breakfast and Torah study - 8:45 am. Shabbat Morning Service – 9:30 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, November 12 – Religious School – 9:30 am. Sign up the kids and bring ‘em on down! Adult Hebrew with Lynda Foster at 9:30 am and Barry Glass at 10:00 am!
Friday, November 17 – Shabbat Evening Service at 6:30 pm, followed by Annual Turkey Dinner at 7:15 pm. RSVP deadline November 10 – Adults $25, Children 5-12 $10, under 5 no charge.

TBH Religious School and TBH Pre-school have open enrollment. Enroll your children now! Contact the TBH office for information.

And be sure to tell your neighbors, friends, and relatives about our warm and welcoming community and our programs!

We are looking for volunteers for services: chant Torah or Haftarah, daven, lead English readings, and have aliyot and other Torah/bimah honors. Contact Rabbi Flom by e-mail for details and to sign up!

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.

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Parashat Vayeishev Torah: Genesis 37:1 – 40:23 Haftarah: Amos 2:6 – 3:8 21 Kislev 5778 / 8-9 December 2017 Calendar and dedicatio...