Thursday, August 11, 2016

ON DEPENDENCY AND RESPONSIBILITY

9 Av 5776 / 12-13 August 2016
Parashat Devarim (Shabbat Chazon)
Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1 - 3:22
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27 (Third Haftarah of Admonition)

10 Av (9 Av observance deferred - Saturday night – Sunday)
Book of Lamentations
Torah:  Deuteronomy 4:24-40
Haftarah: Jeremiah 8:13 – 9:23

This Shabbat is Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat of Vision, so-called because we read on Shabbat morning the rebuking vision of Isaiah, then Saturday night and Sunday morning the horrifying vision of the Book of Lamentations. Sundown Saturday is the commencement of the fast day of Tisha B'Av, the Ninth of Av (deferred to the Tenth of Av because of Shabbat), commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, and numerous other calamities which have befallen the Jewish people on the same date. Please join us for a brief service, study and discussion on Saturday evening at 8:30 pm at Temple B’nai Hayim, 4302 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91403 (south of Ventura Blvd.). Have a meaningful fast.

Calendar of Events and Dedications follow. Full calendar and lots more info about our community available at: www.bethmeier.org 

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
--------------------------------------------------------------
ON DEPENDENCY AND RESPONSIBILITY

"These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel (kol Yisrael) in the desert east of the Jordan - in the Arabah, opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahav." (Deuteronomy 1:1)

The commentary Kli Yakar notes that the phrase "kol Yisrael" - all Israel - appears nowhere in the Torah except in Deuteronomy. Previously, the Jewish people had been identified as "b'nai Yisrael" - the children of Israel. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, has suggested that rather than vertical linkage through biological descent, the people are now linked horizontally, regardless of blood ties. Furthermore, they will no longer be dependent upon Moses, but upon each other, sharing responsibility. He says, "They would have to fight wars, defend themselves, institute systems of justice and welfare, and learn the necessity for, as well as the limits of, politics."

Rabbi Sacks knows whereof he speaks. And it doesn’t apply only to Jews. In Israel and the occupied territories, Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, are discovering, yet again, that while there may be limits to politics, political discourse and dispute resolution are still necessary, now more than ever. This is because the alternative, violence, does not establish peace between peoples, but the only the “Eternal Peace” of death and destruction. These peoples are, whether they like it or not, both dependent upon each other and responsible for one another.

Here in the United States, the two principal candidates for president and their supporters seem also to have forgotten, or perhaps never to have learned, Rabbi Sacks’ lesson. They hurl derogatory names and wild accusations – stupid, ugly, racist, idiot, treasonous, seditious, criminal, and murderer. They threaten and engage in violence. It’s an endless onslaught against the ears, the heart, and the soul. When the election is over, they and every other American will have to be reminded, if it’s not too late, that not only must the losers accept the verdict of the electorate, but that every one of them, winner and loser alike, is dependent upon every other, every one of them has responsibility to and for every other. That is what unites us. Failure to internalize Rabbi Sack’ lesson might well destroy us.

The Talmud teaches that the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem was caused by sinat chinam, baseless hatred between people. In the same way, sinat chinam could lead to endless war between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the end of the American Experiment.

If you needed any more reasons to observe the fast of Tisha B’Av, here they are.

Have a peaceful Shabbat and meaningful fast.

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier - Studio City, CA
Website: www.bethmeier.org 
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
---------------------------------------------------------
Candlelighting: 7:24 pm
Fast of Tisha B’Av commences Saturday evening at 7:41 pm.

Friday: Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows. Tisha B’Av deferred to Saturday night-Sunday. At 8:30 pm we will have a joint Tisha B’Av service, reading of Book of Lamentations, and learning at Temple B’nai Hayim, 4302 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91403 (south of Ventura Blvd.) Limited parking is available in the temple lot across Benefit St. Street parking is also available.
TuesdayNO Lunch and Learn – Rabbi attending High Holy Day conference, then traveling. Lunch and Learn will resume Tuesday, September 6.

Next time you come to Beth Meier, please bring some non-perishable canned and packaged foods and personal items (no glass) for SOVA.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of my grandmother, Sarah Flom, whose yahrzeit is this Sunday, 10 Av. Y’hi zekherah liv’rakhah – May her memory be a blessing.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of Lynn’s grandmother, Martha Stern, whose yahrzeit is this Tuesday, 12 Av. Y’hi zekherah 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, Barry Glass (Berel ben Feigel), Myra Goodman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Carolynne Lavoie-Schwartz, Toni Linder, David Parkhurst, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Beatrice Weide (Bayla bat Malkah), 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, August 4, 2016

SPIRITUAL WANDERERS

2 Av 5776 / 5-6 August 2016
Parashat Mattot-Mas’ei
Torah: Numbers 30:2-36:13 (Chazak!)
Haftarah: Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4 (Ashkenazim); Jeremiah 2:4-28, 4:1-2 (Sephardim) (Second Haftarah of Admonition)

Calendar of Events and Dedications follow. Full calendar and lots more info about our community available at: http://www.bethmeier.org 

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

"These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went forth out of the land of Egypt according to their legions, under the hand of Moses and Aaron. And Moses wrote their goings forth according to their journeys, at the command (literally, 'to the mouth') of the Lord; and these are their journeys at their goings forth." Numbers 33:1-2.

The 17th century Rabbi Isaiah ben Abraham Ha-Levi Horowitz (aka the Shlah), in Shnei Luchot Ha-Brit (The Two Tablets of the Covenant), teaches that these wandering journeys are symbolic. He refers to Mishnah Avot 4:18, which says, "Uproot yourself to a place of Torah." He says that the Israelites wandered toward the Holy Land, "the mouth of God" - the true place of Torah - where they could study and fulfill all of God's mitzvot.

The wanderings of our ancestors were the physical manifestation of something else. I am referring to a spiritual wandering, one which many of us experience sometime in our lives. Before we can get to the Promised Land of spiritual fulfillment, we need first to be removed from our enslavements, from our personal Egypts. Whether it's an addiction, an abusive relationship, or a feeling of emptiness, the shackles must be broken. Then, and only then, can we begin the journey to a place we can call our own, where we can complete the connection with God.

Let the Torah be your guide in your breaking out and during your wandering, even as Torah is the goal. For Jews, learning Torah and living Torah help us to make that connection which we seek, that which we need in order to live lives of holiness and meaning. As Hillel taught: "Go and learn!"

Have a wonderful Shabbat!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier - Studio City, CA
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
---------------------------------------------------------
Candlelighting: 7:31 pm

FridayNO Shabbat Evening Service – Rabbi family function.
Saturday: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.
Friday, 12 August: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 13 August: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows. Tisha B’Av deferred to Saturday night-Sunday. At 8:30 pm, along with Burbank Temple Emanu El, we will have a joint Tisha B’Av service, reading of Book of Lamentations, and learning at Temple B’nai Hayim, 4302 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91403 (south of Ventura Blvd.) Limited parking is available in the temple lot across Benefit St. Street parking is also available.
Tuesday, 16 August: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.

Next time you come to Beth Meier, please bring some non-perishable canned and packaged foods and personal items (no glass) for SOVA.

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, Miriam Minya bat Alisa Batya, Sarah bat Devorah, Jackie Aaronson, Susan Arbetman, Connie Axelson (Raizel Sura bat Leah), 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, Barry Glass (Berel ben Feigel), Myra Goodman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Carolynne Lavoie-Schwartz, Toni Linder, Carol Mazo, David Parkhurst, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Beatrice Weide (Bayla bat Malkah), 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, July 28, 2016

ZEALOTS NEED NOT APPLY

Parashat Pinchas
Torah: Numbers 25:10 - 30:1
Haftarah: Jeremiah 1:2 - 2:3
24 Tammuz 5776 / 29-30 July 2016

Calendar of Events and Dedications follow. Full calendar and lots more info about our community available at: http://www.bethmeier.org 

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
--------------------------------------------------------------
ZEALOTS NEED NOT APPLY

"Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set over the congregation a man who will go out before them, and who will come in before them, and who will lead them out, and who will bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be like sheep which have no shepherd." Numbers 27:16-17

Rashi, quoting Tanchuma: "Appoint over them a leader who will be patient with each and every one according to his mind."

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk: When Moses saw how great Pinchas was, he was afraid that he would be chosen as leader, but he was not pleased with the prospect of having such a zealot as the leader of the Jewish people. He therefore asked God that the leader be a tolerant man and not a zealous one.

It seems curious that Moses would not want a zealot to lead the people after his death. This would seem particularly true in the case of Pinchas, who was, after all, "zealous for his God". (Numbers 25:13) What could be wrong with a man who is zealous on behalf of God?

Zealots are, in the words of Eric Hoffer, "true believers" who are by definition intolerant of any view other than their own. Anyone who disagrees with them is “the enemy”. Intolerance all too often leads to hatred and war. Regardless of religious or political persuasion, all who worship at the altar of their particular god of hate and who destroy those with whom they disagree, are to be opposed – but within limits.

In the global fight against terrorism, we must nevertheless be careful to avoid extremism and intolerance ourselves, lest we become that which we fight against. Similarly, in our interpersonal relations, particularly in our discussions of the great issues of the day, we must avoid such zealotry. This past Sunday was 18 Tammuz, a deferred fast day from 17 Tammuz, associated with the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. We would do well to remember that the Talmud teaches that Jerusalem fell because of sinat chinam - baseless hatred. Rabbi B. Y. Natan, quoted in Itturei Torah, says, "It appears that the verse here hints that the way of peace is always better and more effective than that of zealotry and war." To which verse is he referring? "Therefore say, 'Behold, I give him my covenant of peace.'" (Numbers 25:12)

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier - Studio City, CA
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
---------------------------------------------------------
Candlelighting: 7:38 pm

Friday: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.
Friday, 5 AugustNO Shabbat Evening Service – Rabbi family function.
Saturday, 6 August: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday, 9 August: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.

Next time you come to Beth Meier, please bring some non-perishable canned and packaged foods and personal items (no glass) for SOVA.

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, Miriam Minya bat Alisa Batya, Sarah bat Devorah, Jackie Aaronson, Susan Arbetman, Connie Axelson (Raizel Sura bat Leah), 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, Barry Glass (Berel ben Feigel), Myra Goodman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Carolynne Lavoie-Schwartz, Toni Linder, David Parkhurst, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), Beatrice Weide (Bayla bat Malkah), 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, July 13, 2016

IS YOUR TORAH HEALTHY?

Parashat Chukkat
10 Tammuz 5776 / 15-16 July 2016
Torah: Numbers 19:1 – 22:1
Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow below. Full calendar and other information about our community may be found at: www.bethmeier.org

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IS YOUR TORAH HEALTHY?

"‘And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, "This is the chok of the Torah which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the Children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without spot, which has no blemish, and upon which there has never been a yoke.’"’ Numbers 19:1-2 

The Rabbis teach that a "chok" is a law in the Torah for which there is no rational explanation. And yet, Jews have struggled for millennia to make sense of this chok especially, for we might read this verse as, "this is the very ultimate chok in the Torah". Or, perhaps it’s a chok about Torah itself.

An anonymous teaching in Itturei Torah: “Since this is the chok of the red heifer, why doesn’t the Torah say ‘this is the chok of the heifer’ rather than ‘this is the chok of the Torah’? The reason is that the ashes of the red heifer can make ritually impure one who was pure, and make ritually pure one who was impure. That is generally true for all of the Torah: if one uses it properly, it is like an elixir of life, but if one abuses it, it is like poison.”

Torah may be used as a caress or a bludgeon. (See also BT Sukkah 49b, where Rabbi Elazar teaches that there is a Torah of lovingkindness and a Torah that is not of lovingkindness) One’s Torah learning and practice can improve and spiritually elevate the self; or one can use it to denigrate and dehumanize others. An elixir or a poison: not only for the practitioner, but for everyone around him. Choose your potion.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier - Studio City, CA
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
---------------------------------------------------------
Candlelighting: 7:46 pm

Friday: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows. Service conducted by Melinda and Warren Trauman.
Saturday: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Service conducted by Cantor Steve Pearlman. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday: NO Lunch and Learn – Rabbi Flom out of town.
Friday, 22 July: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 23 July: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday, 25 July: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.

Next time you come to Beth Meier, please bring some non-perishable canned and packaged foods and personal items (no glass) for SOVA.

This d’var torah is offered in honor of Ben Levitt and Brittany Allen, who are getting married on Sunday. Mazal Tov!

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, Miriam Minya bat Alisa Batya, Sarah bat Devorah, Jackie Aaronson, Susan Arbetman, Connie Axelson (Raizel Sura bat Leah), 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, Barry Glass (Berel ben Feigel), Myra Goodman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Carolynne Lavoie-Schwartz, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), and Beatrice Weide (Bayla bat Malkah).

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, July 7, 2016

SHOW SOME RESTRAINT!

Parashat Korach
3 Tammuz 5776 / 8-9 July 2016
Torah: Numbers 16:1 - 18:32
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 11:14 - 12:22

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow below. Full calendar and other information about our community may be found at: www.bethmeier.org

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

I offer this d’var torah as a lesson (especially) to myself, as well as to everyone else, to be more issue-oriented, and less personal-oriented.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SHOW SOME RESTRAINT!

"And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households, all Korach's people, and all their possessions." Numbers 16:32

In the Talmud (Chullin 89a), Rabbi Ila'a teaches, "The world exists only on account of one who restrains (boleim) himself at a time of provocation, as it says in Job, '(God) suspends the earth upon restraint (b'limah).'" Rashi says that b'limah (literally, "nothingness") and boleim are related words. One who considers himself as nothing is able to keep his mouth shut and restrain himself in the face of provocation.

The commentary Harei Bashamayim says this is why Korach and his followers were punished in this way. Not only did they not restrain themselves, they used their mouths to challenge Moses and God, and in a sense, the natural order. They were provocateurs, and the earth could not abide by it.

There are ways to challenge that which we perceive to be wrong. If we publicly attack someone and stoke the passions of others against that person, if we let our desires eat at us, we risk being swallowed up. Show some restraint!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier - Studio City, CA
Blogging at:  www.rav-rich.blogspot.com
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
---------------------------------------------------------
Candlelighting: 7:49 pm

Friday: Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch in honor of Leonard Foint’s 90th birthday follows.
Tuesday: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.
Friday, 15 July: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 16 July: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday, 19 July: NO Lunch and Learn – Rabbi Flom out of town.

Next time you come to Beth Meier, please bring some non-perishable canned and packaged foods and personal items (no glass) for SOVA.

This d’var torah is offered in honor of Leonard Foint, celebrating his 90th birthday. Ad meah v’esrim! Mazal tov!

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, Miriam Minya bat Alisa Batya, 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, Barry Glass (Berel ben Feigel), Myra Goodman, Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Carolynne Lavoie-Schwartz, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina), and Beatrice Weide (Bayla bat Malkah).

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, June 30, 2016

UNSPOKEN TRUTH

Parashat Sh’lach L’kha
26 Sivan 5776 / 1-2 July 2016
Torah: Numbers 13:1 – 15:41
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24

Dedications and upcoming events follow below. Full calendar and lots of other info available at: www.bethmeier.org

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

The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in kindness; forgiving iniquity and transgression; yet not remitting all punishment, but visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and fourth generations. Numbers 14:18

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed: “The Lord! The Lord, a God who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness (emet – truth), extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment, but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children’s children, upon the third and fourth generations.” Exodus 34:6-7

Ramban (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, aka Nachmanides) teaches, “Now Moses mentioned among the [Divine] attributes ‘slow to anger’ and ‘abounding in kindness’, but he did not mention ‘truth’, for according to the attribute of truth they would have been guilty.”

Rabbi Yitzchak in the name of Rabbi Hiyya said, “Why is ‘truth’ missing here? Because they (the spies) themselves caused it to be removed from here, for they were liars, and a person is treated in the same way he behaves.” Zohar Sh’lach L’kha, 161b

When God displayed His glory to Moses, He described his attributes as indicated in the Exodus text. However, when in our parashah Moses asks God to pardon the spies, and the people generally, he reminds God of only some of those attributes, omitting “truth”. Ramban says that Moses did not mention it, because if God applied “truth”, they would be sternly judged. Perhaps Moses was hoping for less anger and more kindness, ignoring some of the facts – i.e., compassion (which he also did not mention!).

Rabbi Yitzchak implies that Moses omitted “truth” because the spies lied about the Land of Israel. Their very action prevented Moses from arguing for any form of truth as a defense (their fear, their history as slaves, maybe the Canaanites truly were giants, etc.).

Whatever the case, the spies and every other Israelite over the age of 20, except Joshua and Caleb, were punished by not being allowed to enter the land – they died in the desert. It’s not nice to lie. And that’s the truth!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier - Studio City, CA
Website: www.bethmeier.org
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
---------------------------------------------------------
Candlelighting: 7:50 pm

Friday: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am – Bar Mitzvah of Jaxon Malcolm – Mazal Tov to Jaxon and to his parents Jeffrey and Lisa Malcolm! Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday: NO Lunch and Learn – Rabbi Flom serving on bet din
Friday, 8 July: Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 9 July: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday, 12 July: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.

Next time you come to Beth Meier, please bring some non-perishable canned and packaged foods and personal items (no glass) for SOVA.

This d’var torah is offered in honor of Jaxon Malcolm, becoming a bar mitzvah this Shabbat. Mazal tov!

This d’var torah is offered in memory of all those murdered in the Istanbul Airport terrorist attack. May their memories be a blessing.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of 13-y-o Israeli Hallel Yaffa Ariel, murdered in her bed by a Palestinian terrorist. 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, Miriam Minya bat Alisa Batya, Sarah bat Devorah, Jackie Aaronson, Susan Arbetman, Scott Beatty, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Beverly Erenbaum (Blimah bat Sarah), Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Barry Glass (Berel ben Feigel), Myra Goodman, Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Carolynne Lavoie-Schwartz, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Beatrice Weide (Bayla bat Malkah).

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, June 22, 2016

THE CHILDREN OF AARON

25 Sivan 5776 / 18-19 June 2016
Torah: Numbers 8:1 - 12:16
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14 - 4:7 (This is also the haftarah for Shabbat Hanukkah)

Dedications and upcoming events follow below. Full calendar and lots of other info available at: www.bethmeier.org

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

THE CHILDREN OF AARON

"Speak to Aaron, saying, 'When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the menorah (the candlestick).'" Numbers 8:2

The Midrash, Bamidbar Rabbah, says that Aaron was upset. The heads of all the tribes, except Levi (the tribe of Aaron and the kohanim, and he was the head of Levi) had offered sacrifices (see last week’s Parashat Naso). He feared the Levites were being punished because of his sins. Rather, teaches the Midrash, Aaron and his descendants were given a greater honor - the lighting of the menorah in the tabernacle. Sacrifices would be offered only so long as the Temple stood, but the lamps would always give light in front of the menorah, and all the blessings God instructed the kohanim to bless the Jews with (see Naso, Numbers 6:22-27) would never be abolished.

Ramban (Nachmanides), in his commentary, wonders what this really means. After all, the menorah was not lit after the destruction of the Temple - it didn't exist either. He says the reference is to the menorah of Hanukkah, for that would go into exile with the Jews after the destruction, just as the blessings offered originally at the dedication of the desert tabernacle would be given to the Jews forever.

The interesting thing about all of this is that, just as every Jew can (and should!) offer the blessings of the kohanim over his/her children, so is every Jew obligated to light the menorah of Hanukkah every year. The real comfort to Aaron is not simply that his descendants get to light the menorah. It is that all Jews are in a sense his descendants, for we are a "kingdom of priests (mamlekhet kohanim) and a holy nation (goy kadosh)." (Exodus 19:6) We are all Aaron's children - so long as we keep the lights burning and bring blessings to our people.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier - Studio City, CA
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
---------------------------------------------------------
Candlelighting: 7:50 pm

Friday: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am – Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday: Lunch and Learn – 12:00 Noon.
Friday, 1 July: Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 2 July: Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush lunch follows.
Tuesday, 5 July: NO Lunch and Learn – Rabbi Flom serving on bet din

Next time you come to Beth Meier, please bring some non-perishable canned and packaged foods and personal items (no glass) for SOVA.

This d’var torah is offered in honor of Myra Goodman, celebrating her 97th birthday. Ad meah v’esrim! Mazal tov!

This d’var torah is offered in honor of Alan Morinis and Judith Zaruches of the Mussar Institute, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Rabbi Brian Strauss, Rabbi Carie Carter, Rabbi Dan Shevitz, Rabbi David Cantor, Rabbi Ilan Glazer, and Rabbi Mark Fasman. Thank you for sharing the light of your Torah this week!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for  Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, HaRav Yisrael Shimon ben Liebah Breina, Berel ben Feigel, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Miriam Minya bat Alisa Batya, Sarah bat Devorah, Jackie Aaronson, Susan Arbetman, Scott Beatty, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Beverly Erenbaum (Blimah bat Sarah), Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Stephanie Kane, Philip Kovac, Carolynne Lavoie-Schwartz, Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Beatrice Weide (Bayla bat Malkah).

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.