Wednesday, February 15, 2017

LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT

Parashat Yitro
22 Shevat 5777 / 17-18 February 2017
Torah: Exodus 18:1 – 20:23
Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1 – 7:6; 9:5-6 (Ashkenazim); Isaiah 6:1-13 (Sephardim)

For more info about our community, visit our website:

Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page:

Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!
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Candle lighting: 5:20 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – NO Religious School or Adult Learning – Presidents’ Day Weekend
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – noon.
Friday, 24 February – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 25 February – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 26 February – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew class – 10:00 am. Game Day at Temple B’nai Hayim – contact Beth Meier or B’nai Hayim for details.
Friday, 3 MarchShabbat Across America Service and Dinner – A guitar-led family and learners’ service at 6:00 pm, followed by Shabbat dinner at 7:00 pm. Reservations for dinner a must. Contact the Beth Meier office for details.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of my aunt, Shirley Schack, whose yahrzeit falls on Tuesday, 25 Sh’vat. Y’hi zikhronah 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, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky (Serach bat Miriam), Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Beth Goldstein, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman (Shimon ben Serach), Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Bonnie Kleiger, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Carol Rosen (Tsharna Aliza bat Leah), Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina).

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

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

Yitro said to Moses (his son-in-law): “The thing you are doing is not right. You will surely wear yourself out, and these people as well. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me, and God be with you! You represent the people before God; you bring the disputes before God, and enjoin upon them the laws and the teachings, and make known to them the way they are to go and the practices they are to follow. You shall also seek out capable people who fear God, trustworthy people who spurn ill-gotten gain. Set these over them as chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, and let them judge people at all times…. Let them share the burden with you. If you do this – and God so commands you – you will be able to bear up; and all these people too will go home unwearied.” Exodus 18:17-23

In a way, this sounds like the establishment of an army, or a government, or any other type of human organization. It looks a bit like a model for setting up a synagogue – a rabbi, a board of directors and committees. The difference is that, usually, but not always, the rabbi does not choose the board of directors – the congregation does. And unlike Moses, the rabbi is not sent by God – the congregation, directly or through the board, chooses the rabbi.

Yitro sees a necessary separation of management and spiritual leadership. My colleague and friend Rabbi David Greenspoon wrote some years ago that the difference between leadership and management is that leadership is doing the right thing, and management is doing the thing right. Sometimes leadership, doing the right thing, requires going out on a limb. Management, he says, is the antithesis of going out on a limb. Doing the thing right requires management to be sure that processes and outcomes have consensus. It’s often about risk avoidance and shared responsibility. The modern synagogue is a bit more complicated – rabbis must be managers, and managers must be leaders. And always, everyone should share the burden!

Yet, the Israelites have problems. When the system breaks down, bad things happen. Sometimes Moses fails to lead, sometimes the managers go beyond their authority. When Aaron’s sons, the “managers” Nadav and Abihu, try to usurp Moses and Aaron, God punishes them – they are struck down. When Moses fails to rebuke the Israelites while the Moabite women are enticing them, the result is a civil war and a plague among the Israelites. But ultimately, they all manage to get through the desert together, because they take care of each other. They fight for each other, not with each other.

Leaders, managers, followers, workers – we all must join in the Jewish enterprise together, as a unified people – even when we disagree. This is how it is explained by Pirkei Avot. “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh” – All Israel are responsible one for the other. We either build each other up, or we tear each other down.

To tell you the truth, this sounds like pretty good advice for our society in general.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom Uv’rakhah – A Shabbat of Peace and Blessing.

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

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, February 9, 2017

FREE AT LAST – THE LONG SHORTER WAY

Parashat Beshallach
15 Shevat 5777 (Tu B’Shevat) / 10-11 February 2017
Torah: Exodus 13:17 – 17:16
Haftarah: Ashkenazim – Judges 4:4 – 5:31; Sephardim – Judges 5:1-31

For more info about our community, visit our website:


Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page:


Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Hash'kediya Porachat - The almond tree is blooming. Tu B'shevat Sameach!

Candle lighting: 5:14 pm

Friday – Daven and Dinner! Musical, Guitar-Accompanied Shabbat Service – 6:00 pm, followed by Shabbat Dinner – 7:00 pm. Dinner reservations required – deadline has passed. Even if you can’t stay for dinner, please come for services.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School Tu B’Shevat Seder - 9:30 am. All members and friends are invited to join in celebrating the New Year of the Trees! Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – noon.
Friday, 17 February – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 18 February – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 19 February – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew class – 10:00 am.

This d'var torah is offered in memory of Shirley Kronzek, whose yahrzeit falls on Monday. Y’hi zikhronah 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, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, 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, Beth Goldstein, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Bonnie Kleiger, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Carol Rosen (Tsharna Aliza bat Leah), Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina).

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

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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FREE AT LAST – THE LONG SHORTER WAY

“Now when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was nearer; for God said, ‘The people may have a change of heart when they see war, and return to Egypt.’” Exodus 13:17

The greatest modern leader of African-Americans, and America generally, was the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement did not simply guide African-Americans to freedom – they led the entire country to a new paradigm in which all Americans were truly free and equal, through what can only be called a non-violent revolution.

The Civil Rights Movement was steeped in the language of Tanakh – the Hebrew Bible that Christians call the Old Testament. From the beginning, African-Americans identified with the Israelite slaves in Egypt. Through sermons, songs and more, they amplified that connection.

Not only was the movement led by Dr. King committed to the principles of non-violence taught by Mahatma Gandhi – he was also an astute observer of American law, politics and traditions. He and his followers used the democratic American system itself to bring peaceful change to that system. The movement could have advocated violence – after all, the United States itself achieved freedom through a violent overthrow of British rule. Alternatively, African-Americans could have left the US – going to Canada, for example, or at least moving from the South to the North where, despite much discrimination, they would have been able to vote and participate in the democratic process. Instead, they chose to stay and achieve their goals through the system.

In today’s highly polarized society, we hear of those who advocate violence because they do not like the result of an election. Others who are dissatisfied say they will drop out – no longer participate in the system. They should learn from Dr. King, who understood the genius of the American way. Freedoms of speech and press, the rights to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances, regulation of commerce, elections – all were utilized to set people free.

The “short-longer way” seems faster, but ultimately leaves one far from the goal.  The “long-shorter way” takes more time and energy, but gets one to the true prize more quickly (B Talmud Eruvin 53b).

“Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we’re free at last” – the long-shorter way.

Have a wonderful Shabbat of song and freedom! And a Happy Tu B’Shevat!

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

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, February 2, 2017

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

Parashat Bo
Torah: Exodus 10:1 – 13:16
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
8 Shevat 5777 / 3-4 February 2017

For more info about our community, visit our website:


Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page:


Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Candle lighting: 5:07 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Adventure (Sh’MA) Service – 10:00 am. A slightly abbreviated, guitar-accompanied service, with haftarah in English and a Torah discussion for adults and children alike. Led by Cantor Steve Pearlman. Kiddush luncheon follows. Attendance is expected for all Religious School students, in lieu of no RS Sunday.
Sunday – NO Religious School or Adult Hebrew class. Adat Ari El is holding a “World Wide Wrap” program from 9:00 am – 10:30 pm in the Deiber Chapel. A short morning service and educational program on tefillin. Send an email to Ronit Aranoff (raranoff@adatariel.org) to confirm attendance.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – noon.
Friday, 10 February Daven and Dinner! Musical, Guitar-Accompanied Shabbat Service – 6:00 pm, followed by Shabbat Dinner – 7:00 pm. Dinner reservations required – deadline Friday, February 3. Call or email the office please!
Saturday, 11 February – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 12 February – Religious School Tu Bishevat Seder - 9:30 am. All members and friends are invited to join in celebrating the New Year of the Trees! Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, 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, Beth Goldstein, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Bonnie Kleiger, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Carol Rosen (Tsharna Aliza bat Leah), 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.

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

Pharaoh called to Moses and said, "Go - serve the Lord; only your flocks and herds shall remain; even your little ones may go with you." And Moses said, "... And our livestock will go with us; not a hoof will remain; for from it we will take to serve the Lord our God." Exodus 10:24-26

The Yehudi Hakodesh of Pshischa understands this conversation as follows: Pharaoh said, "One may serve God purely in one's mind, without any action. If in truth you desire to serve God, why do you need your animals? Go - serve the Lord, with pure heart and intention, and you will need no animal sacrifices." Moses replied, "Intention alone, with no action associated with it, is unimportant and meaningless. The whole point is the action, which makes the intention profound." The Holy Jew concludes, "It is through action that one is aroused to serve God enthusiastically and to adhere to Him."

Let me be clear - prayer is an important and wholly (holy?) proper way to serve God. That is why we call prayer “avodah” - service. On the other hand, words may be viewed as cheap - we give up nothing, we make no sacrifice, in uttering them. And truthfully, the passive nature of prayer may have no lasting impact on anyone, including ourselves - unless the words ultimately motivate us to action. It’s easy to talk the talk. But walking the walk? Well, that doesn't have to be hard, but it still needs to be done.

If we are to have a positive effect on the world itself (tikkun olam), if we are to truly improve ourselves - then it is through the observance of the physical mitzvot. Whether charity, deeds of loving kindness and promoting peace, or kashrut, teaching our children and lighting Shabbat candles - it is through these actions that we truly serve God. In the same vein, positive change in society requires holy action on our part – holy words are not enough! We can improve the world around us and our inner spiritual selves by going beyond ourselves. If you want God to act, you have to act. You too can be an action hero!

Shabbat Shalom!

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torahe-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, January 26, 2017

CHOLESTEROL OF THE SOUL

Parashat Va’era
Torah Reading: Exodus 6:2 - 9:35
Maftir: Numbers 28:9-15
Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1-24 (Shabbat Rosh Chodesh)

For more info about our community, visit our website:


Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page:


Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

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

“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, ...” Exodus 7:3

The notion that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart raises great difficulty. What does this say about free will? Rabbi Yochanan asks, “Doesn’t this provide heretics with ground for arguing that he had no means of repenting?” If God caused Pharaoh to refuse to let the Israelites go, if he foreclosed Pharaoh from repentance, if everything is preordained, then how can anyone be held accountable for their actions? To paraphrase Abraham, how can God, the judge of all the world, then claim to be acting justly?

For the first five plagues, “Pharaoh’s heart hardened” - he chose to act as he did. But for the last five plagues, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”. In the Midrash, Resh Lakish says, “Let the mouths of the heretics be stopped up. ‘If to scorners, He will scorn.’ (Proverbs 3:34) When God warns a man once, twice, even three times, and still he does not repent, then God closes his heart against repentance so that He should exact vengeance from him for his sins.” Still, why does God harden Pharaoh’s heart at all? Or does God really do that?

Interestingly, in the Talmud, Resh Lakish gives a different and more satisfying answer. He says, “What is the meaning of ‘If to scorners, he will scorn; and to the meek he gives favor’? If he tries to defile himself, he is given an opening; if he tries to purify himself, he is helped.” Note the lower case here. Not God, but man. If we turn to scorners, we will scorn. If we turn to the meek, we give ourselves favor. We always have the choice to open our hearts and souls or harden them to the cries of others. If we choose evil, God passively leaves openings, which we can choose to enter - or not. If we choose time and again to harden our souls, it becomes more and more difficult for us to change our ways. But the difficult is not impossible. Because, says Resh Lakish, if we choose goodness, God affirmatively helps us.

Unclog the arteries of your soul, and heed the cries of those in need.

Shabbat Shalom v'Chodesh Tov.

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 5:00 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew class – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – NO Lunch and Learn – Resume February 7.
Friday, 3 February – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 4 February – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 5 February – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.
Tuesday, 7 February – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, 10 February – Musical, Guitar-Accompanied Shabbat Service – 6:00 pm, followed by Shabbat Dinner – 7:00 pm. Dinner reservations required. Watch your mail for flyer!

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, 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, Beth Goldstein, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Bonnie Kleiger, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Carol Rosen (Tsharna Aliza bat Leah), 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, January 19, 2017

ONE WHO SAVES A LIFE …

Parashat Sh’mot
23 Tevet 5777 / 20-21 January 2017 
Torah: Exodus 1:1 - 6:1
Haftarah: (Ashkenazim) Isaiah 27:6 - 28:13; 29:22-23; (Sephardim) Jeremiah 1:1 - 2:3

This Sunday - Congregational Meeting – 2:00 pm. All members asked to attend or provide a proxy to the Board of Directors.

For more info about our community, visit our website:


Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page:


Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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ONE WHO SAVES A LIFE …

"But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, for they kept the male children alive." Exodus 1:17

Rashi - They would supply them with food and water.

Rabbi Nissan Puchinski - The implication is that had they not supplied them with food and water, they would be considered as murderers, because preventing someone from being saved is considered similar to murder.

Mishanah Sanhedrin 4:5 - "One who takes a single human life; it is as if he destroyed an entire world. One who saves a single human life; it is as if he saved an entire world."

In its classic form, the Kabbalistic concept of tzimtzum relates to God withdrawing or contracting in order to make room for the physical universe. However, according to Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg, after the Shoah, tzimtzum was necessary in order for human beings, no longer willing or able to operate only as God's servants under an imposed mandatory covenant system, to instead become God's partners in a voluntary covenant. God has "self-limited", he says, "contracting divine power in order to empower humanity." Under this theory, every Jew is a "Jew by choice". The purpose of the partnership agreement is tikkun olam - the restoration of a shattered world.

God may have withdrawn from visibly active participation in the physical world, but God is still present in healing shattered hearts and comforting the suffering. God acts through us, as we are told in Isaiah 43:12, "You will be my witnesses." Witnessing is NOT merely watching; it means undertaking action to fulfill the terms of the partnership and improving the world to its ideal state. It is our empowerment with independent action which makes every human being truly "in the image of God". 

Please, donate your time and/or money as generously as you can to organizations that feed the hungry, house the homeless, provide medical care to the needy – you get the idea. Now more than ever - join the partnership! Use your power to save life.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 4:53 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew class – 10:00 am. Game Day is being rescheduled. Congregational Meeting – 2:00 pm. All members asked to attend or provide a proxy to the Board of Directors.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, 27 January – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 28 January – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 29 January – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, 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, Beth Goldstein, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Bonnie Kleiger, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Carol Rosen (Tsharna Aliza bat Leah), 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, January 12, 2017

HOW AND WHY TO BLESS THE CHILDREN

Parashat Vayechi
Torah: Genesis 47:28 - 50:26 (Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazeik)
Haftarah: 1 Kings 2:1-12
16 Tevet 5777 / 13-14 January 2017

For more info about our community, visit our website:


Congregation Beth Meier has developed a GoFundMe page:


Please visit the page and consider a donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Dedications and Calendar of Events follow.

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
-----------------------------------------------------------
HOW AND WHY TO BLESS THE CHILDREN

And (Jacob, aka Israel) blessed them that day, saying, "In you shall Israel bless, saying, 'May God make you as Ephraim and Menashe'" ... Genesis 48:20

This is the beginning of the blessing over sons. For both sons and daughters, the rest of the blessing is the same - the threefold blessing of the Kohanim (Numbers 6:24-26). Why do we start the blessing of the sons this way? What's so special about Joseph's sons? Indeed, the blessing for daughters starts out, "May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah." Why not bless sons with "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"?

The Yalkut Yehudah addresses this, in part. He says that Jacob was a prophet who foresaw the exile of his descendants. He knew that their Jewishness was endangered. Therefore, he said that sons should be blessed to be like Ephraim and Menashe - the first Jewish men who were born, raised and educated in exile (Egypt), in spite of which they remained faithful Jews (Jacob says, "Like Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine." - Gen. 48:5) And here we are today, keeping the faith, though we are born, raised and educated outside of the Land of Israel.

But what about daughters? Why are they blessed in the names of the four ancestral mothers? I believe it has to do with two points. First, they also were born outside the Land of Israel, in Haran. Second, Jewish tradition teaches that mothers are the ones who instill religious practice and belief in children, because they are their first teachers. The Midrash teaches that it was the women who kept the men's spirits up during the days of slavery in Egypt. Finally, according to tradition, it is the women who maintain the Jewishness of the home, particularly with regard to kashrut and Shabbat observance (e.g., Sarah was the first to kindle Shabbat lights). So our daughters are blessed in the names of the Matriarchs.

Of course, all of this is irrelevant - unless you make it a regular practice to bless your children on Shabbat and Yom Tov evenings, and to follow the teaching of the Yalkut Yehudah! Whether you are like Ephraim and Menashe, or like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless your children Shabbat evening - keep the faith, baby!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 4:47 pm

Friday – Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. A song-filled, guitar-accompanied service with Cantor Kerry Katz. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew class – 10:00 am.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, 20 January – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 21 January – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 22 January – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am. Game Day is being rescheduled.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, 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, Beth Goldstein, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Bonnie Kleiger, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, Carol Rosen (Tsharna Aliza bat Leah), 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”.
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Friday, January 6, 2017

DISHONOR BEFORE DEATH?

Parashat Vayiggash
Torah: Genesis 44:18 - 47:27
Haftarah: Ezekiel 37:15-28
9 Tevet 5777 / 6-7 January 2017

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DISHONOR BEFORE DEATH?

"And Joseph could not restrain himself before all who stood by him, and he called out, 'Remove everyone from before me!' So no one remained with him when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers." Genesis 45:1

Rashi - He was unable to bear that Egyptians should stand by him and hear the humiliation of his brothers when he revealed himself.

A modern commentator, Z. Ron wonders how Rashi could possibly know what Joseph was thinking. Since he was the viceroy, maybe he did not want to embarrass himself before the Egyptians when he began crying. I might add that perhaps he would not want the Egyptians to know that this disheveled band of starving shepherds was his kin. The answer, according to Z. Ron, is in the next verse - "And he wept loudly, and Egypt heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard." Thus, he says, Rashi is right - Joseph chose to embarrass himself rather than his brothers.

Jewish tradition teaches that publicly embarrassing another person is a form of murder. That's why we have the phrase "character assassination". Words, like arrows, cannot be recalled once they go forth. Joseph chose to suffer whatever dishonor there might have been in displaying weakness, rather than have his brothers suffer the "death" of public humiliation.

As it turns out, there was no embarrassment for Joseph at all. That Joseph's brothers had come "... was pleasing in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants." (45:16) Sparing others from humiliation, and risking it for oneself, reaps respect, not dishonor. We gain respect by respecting the dignity of others.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
-----------------------------------------------
Candle lighting: 4:40 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows. Our guest Torah reader and darshan will be Rabbi Gary Charlestein – Barukh haba!  
Sunday – NO Religious School or Adult Hebrew class – both resume 1/15. Movie, Pizza and Ice Cream Bar Night – 7:00 pm. We’ll be showing “Defiance ”, the true story of the Bielski brothers during WW II.
Tuesday – Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, 13 January – Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. A song-filled, guitar-accompanied service with Cantor Kerry Katz. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, 14 January – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, 15 January – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.

The congregation extends condolences to Dena Kosche on the passing of her father, Richard Guerry. May his memory be a blessing.

This d'var torah is offered for a refuah shleimah for Avi Shmuel Yosef Hakohen ben Bella, Yaakov Rani Ben Margalit, Sarah bat Devorah, Zehavah B’rakhah bat Leah, Susan Arbetman, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky, Jerry Daniels, Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Beth Goldstein, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Fouad Kay (Yehoshua ben Salima), Bonnie Kleiger, Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek, Toni Linder, Roy Miller, 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.