Thursday, May 18, 2017

WORKING THE WORK; LIVING THE LIFE

Parashat Behar-Bechukotai (Chazak!)
24 Iyar 5777 / 19-20 May 2017
Torah: Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14

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


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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WORKING THE WORK; LIVING THE LIFE

“If you walk in My statutes; and observe My commandments and do them.” Leviticus 26:3

Rashi: “If you walk in My statutes” - one might think this means fulfilling the commandments. But “observe My commandments and do them” already refers to fulfilling them. How do I explain “if you walk in My statutes”? That you should toil in the Torah.

Most commentators understand Rashi to mean that we should be toiling at Torah study. In a small segment of the Orthodox community, virtually all manner of gainful employment is eschewed in favor of full-time Torah study. However, this is not necessarily the way in which the Rabbis of old understood the verse.

Rabban Gamaliel, the son of Rabbi Judah the Prince, taught: “An excellent thing is Torah study combined with a worldly occupation, for the labor demanded of them both makes sin forgotten. All study of Torah without work must in the end be futile and lead to sin.” Pirkei Avot 2:2

Rabbi Moshe Elyakim of Koznitz understands the issue in the following way: we are not simply to be constantly studying Torah. Rather, the purpose of study is to affect the way we earn our livelihood and everything we do. All of our work and all of our lives should be guided by the Torah and conducted in the spirit of its commandments. When working in the field, if one does not mix seeds, and if one leaves the corners and the gleanings for the poor, then one is “toiling in the Torah.” If business people uphold the Torah’s standards of ethics in the workplace, they are “toiling in the Torah.” When a professional or home baker “takes challah” from each loaf, that is “toiling in the Torah.”

Any profession, any work, virtually any activity involves specific commandments. If you work and live for a higher purpose, if you incorporate the Torah’s values into each and every worldly pursuit, you are toiling in the Torah, and you will reap what you sow - a life of decency and spiritual reward.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"From the place where we are absolutely right, flowers will never grow in the spring."
"מן המקום שבו אנו צודקים לא יצמחו לעולם פרחים באביב"
Yehuda Amichai
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Candle lighting: 7:32 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am. Formal Friendship Tea – 12:00 pm – Sorry, reservations are closed.
Tuesday - Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, May 26 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, May 27 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, May 28 – NO Religious School or Adult Hebrew – Memorial Day weekend.
Tuesday, May 30 – Tikkun Leil Shavuot Study Session – 9:00-11:00 pm. With refreshments, of course!
Wednesday, May 31 – First Day Shavuot Morning Service – 9:30 am – at Temple B’nai Hayim
Thursday, June 1 – Second Day Shavuot Morning Service, with Yizkor – 10:00 am – at Congregation Beth Meier
Saturday, June 24 – Temple B’nai Hayim Women’s Rosh Chodesh Shabbat Morning Service. All women-led service – leyning, aliyot, other readings available. Contact Carol Herskowitz at (818) 708-1906 for details. Men, be there too‼ We will not have a separate service at Beth Meier on this date – we’ll be at B’nai Hayim!

This d'var torah is offered in honor of Emma Dryden Snyder, chanting haftarah for the first time this Shabbat. Mazal tov!

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

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

UNCLE SAM WANTS.... YOUR EXTRA FOOD!

17 Iyar 5777 / 12-13 May 2017
Parashat Emor                                                  
Torah: Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23
Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31

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

Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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UNCLE SAM WANTS.... YOUR EXTRA FOOD!

"When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not completely reap all the way to the corners of your field, and you shall not gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 23:22

In the Book of Ruth, which we will read in three weeks on the festival of Shavuot, we see this commandment in action. Ruth follows the harvesters in the field of Boaz, and gathers food for herself and her mother-in-law, Naomi. The requirement that the corners and gleanings be left for the poor to collect, rather than simply given to them, is important; it gives them the dignity of gathering it, and thereby providing for themselves. It also demonstrates that the food is not really the farmer's to give away. "For the land is Mine," says God, "for you are sojourners and residents with Me." (Lev. 25:23) God created it; God owns it; we are only workers in the Master's vineyard. And since that is the case, we should take seriously God's commandment to share with those who are less fortunate than we are.

Well, few of us are farmers today, but we reap God's bounty every time we go to the market, every time we open the refrigerator. And if we are not prepared to let strangers go picking through our pantries, we can at least give food to them, or to people who know how to distribute food to those who are hungry.

This Saturday, mail carriers throughout the United States will be "stamping out hunger", collecting cans, bags and boxes of non-perishable groceries. The food will be distributed to local food banks and soup kitchens. This is a no-brainer. All you have to do is leave groceries by your mailbox and the carrier will take them when s/he delivers your mail. One item or fifty, it will all help alleviate some people's hunger for a time.



But there are poor and needy people who are hungry at other times of the year, not just when we run annual food drives. So at home, or at your synagogue or church or mosque, or at school, set up a box, and put some food items in it once in a while. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. When it's full, take it over to the nearest community food bank or soup kitchen, and give people the corners and the gleanings of your field. Here at Beth Meier we have a box that is constantly filled and delivered to SOVA, which is also a local beneficiary of the Postal Service drive. We learned in last week’s parashah, “You shall love your neighbor, who is like you.” (Lev. 19:18) When you perform the dual mitzvot of “peah” (corner) and “leket” (gleaning), you fulfill the mitzvah of love as well, for then your neighbor can do as you do: eat and be satisfied (Deuteronomy 11:15).

Have a Blessed Shabbat!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 7:27 pm

Friday – Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. Guitar-accompanied sing-along service with Cantor Kerry Katz. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – L’ag B’omer. NO Religious School or Adult Education – Happy Mother’s Day!
Tuesday - Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, May 19 – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, May 20 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, May 21 – Formal Friendship Tea – 12:30 pm.  Everyone is invited! Reservations no later than May 16, please. Cost $25. Contact the Beth Meier office for details.
Saturday, June 24 – Temple B’nai Hayim Women’s Rosh Chodesh Shabbat Morning Service. All women-led service – leyning, aliyot, other readings available. Contact Carol Herskowitz at (818) 708-1906 for details. Men, be there too‼

This d'var torah is offered in honor of mothers!

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

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH!

Iyar 10 5777 / May 5-6 2017
Parashat Acharei Mot – Kedoshim
Torah: Leviticus 16:1-20:27
Haftarah: Amos 9:7-15

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


Please feel free to pass this on to a friend, and please cite the source.
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THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH!

"And you shall observe my laws and my rules; so that when man does them, he shall live by them; I am the Lord." Leviticus 18:5

The commentary Degel Machaneh Ephraim notes that the word "otam", meaning "them", is spelled here without the customary "vav-holem". This leaves the letters alef, tav and mem.  These same letters spell the word "emet", meaning "truth". He says that the secret of prolonging and fulfilling one's life is to acknowledge the truth, to tell oneself the truth, and to walk in the way of truth. One thereby makes truth the foundation of one's life. This is what it means by to "live by them".

He is not referring only to honesty to others, ala George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Rather, he means that one must live a life of sanctity, finding holiness wherever one is and in whatever one is doing; and that requires truth in every aspect of life.

It is noteworthy that, when we remove the Torah from the ark, we recite the following meditation: "Not in man do I put my trust, not upon angels do I rely, but upon the God of the universe, Whose Torah is truth, Whose prophets are truth, and Who abounds in deeds of goodness and truth.... May it be Your will to open my heart to Your Torah ..."

When we acknowledge the Torah as truth, we are able to live moral and holy lives. When we live lives of truth, we have no need to create or maintain falsehoods. If we always tell the truth, we never have to remember which lies we told to whom. It makes for an uncluttered mind and a pure heart. And that's the truth!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 7:22 pm

Friday – Shabbat Evening Service – 8:00 pm. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday – Religious School – 9:30 am. Adult Hebrew – 10:00 am.
Tuesday - Lunch and Learn – 12:00 noon.
Friday, May 12 – Family Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm. Guitar-accompanied sing-along service with Cantor Kerry Katz. Oneg Shabbat follows.
Saturday, May 13 – Shabbat Morning Service – 10:00 am. Kiddush luncheon follows.
Sunday, May 14 – NO Religious School or Adult Education – Happy Mother’s Day!
Sunday, May 21Formal Friendship Tea – 12:30 pm.  Everyone is invited! Reservations no later than May 16, please. Cost $25. Contact the Beth Meier office for details.

This d’var torah is offered in memory of my cousin Irvin Jacobsen, whose yahrzeit fell this week. Y’hi zekhero liv’rakhah – his memory is 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, Susan Arbetman, Harav Tzvi Hirsh ben Frimet, Kyree Beacham, Ken Bitticks, Elsbet Brosky (Serach bat Miriam), Jerry Daniels, Byron Fendrich (Berel ben Chanah), Maya Fersht (Maya bat Esther), Dr. Samuel Fersht (Shmuel Natan ben Gittel), Annabelle Flom (Chanah Bella bat Kreina), Leonard Foint (Eliezer Moshe ben Esther), Jerry Forman, Myra Goodman, Simon Hartman, Elaine Kleiger, Dena Kosche (Dena bat Sarah Emanu), Philip Kovac, Tonya Kronzek (Zlata Malkah bat Sarah Emanu), Toni Linder, Deborah Schugar Strauss (Devorah bat Chaya Feiga), and Helen Schugar (Chaya Feiga bat Kreina).

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to:  ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

CRUEL KINDNESS

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 7:11 pm

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

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

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

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to:
ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to:
ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

THE SINGINGEST HOLIDAY

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

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

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

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


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

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

Song of the Sea - Miriam and Moses and the Israelites

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

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

Shabbat Shalom! Moadim L'simchah!

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 7:05 pm

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

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

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

STUDYING MATTERS

URGENT TZEDAKAH/CHESED NEED – LOS ANGELES

Chaverim:

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

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

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

My Annual Pesach Resources Guide is available at my blog:


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 7:00 pm

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

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

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

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

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NO IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS!

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

My Annual Pesach Resources Guide is available at my blog:



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rabbi Richard A. Flom
Congregation Beth Meier
Studio City, CA
Visit me on Facebook
Twitter: @DrahcirMolf
"שתיקה כהודאה דמיא"
"Silence in the face of wrongdoing is consent.”
BT Yevamot 87b
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Candle lighting: 6:55 pm

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

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

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

My weekly divrei torah are available through free subscription to the Cyber Torah e-mail list. No salesman will call!
Cyber Torah list management:
To subscribe to Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net  with the heading “Subscribe Cyber Torah”.
To unsubscribe from Cyber Torah, send an e-mail from the receiving address to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Unsubscribe Cyber Torah”.
To dedicate a Cyber Torah in honor of a simchah in memory of a loved one or for a refuah shleimah, send an e-mail to: ravflom@sbcglobal.net with the heading “Dedicate Cyber Torah” and provide details in the message body.

WORKING THE WORK; LIVING THE LIFE

Parashat Behar-Bechukotai (Chazak!) 24 Iyar 5777 / 19-20 May 2017 Torah: Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34 Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14 Ded...