Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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The word “toldot” means “generations,” but also often means “family history.” In Torah portion Toldot, we learn the family history of Isaac and Rebekah’s children, the twins Esau and Jacob. By the end of the parasha, they have gone in separate directions, Esau living in Canaan and Jacob heading to the ancestral homeland, Padan Aram, where he ends up settling for 20 years. The story of our people throughout history is one of pulling up stakes and moving to a new place, by choice or by force. This weekend of Toldot at Beth Hillel we will have two special events related to this theme: On Friday night, we will listen to a program about immigrants who wish to make a new life in the United States, only to be confronted with challenges at the U.S./Mexico border. On Saturday, we will have a cross-continent conversation with our “twin” congregation in Tivon, Israel, and we will share about our own family histories that have brought us to the places we now reside. Join us!

Each week our Bar/Bat Mitzvah students study one verse from the week’s parasha in Hebrew class.  In this week’s lesson, they read about the death of Sarah (Gen 23:2) and then looked at some laws about death and burial.  A passage from the Shulchan Arukh code of law is presented:  “A dying person should not be left alone because… a person learns something important from witnessing a death.” (Yoreh Deah 339.4)  It is not always possible to be at the bedside of a loved one when s/he dies, but when it happens, it is unquestionably a profound honor from which we learn and grow.  It is a moment of sadness and loss, and yet it is deep and meaningful to help to usher another soul from this world into the world beyond.   About a month ago, many of our members had the opportunity to be with our dear friend, Marge Block, in her final hours.  We thought we were coming to a birthday party, and unexpectedly ended up at her death bed.  What a mitzvah it was for so many to observe the Jewish custom mentioned above.  The “something important” that each of us learned that day may be very personal, but Marge and her family learned how much we all cared.  May her memory always be a blessing in the Beth Hillel community.

“You go, guy!”  is my current preferred translation for the name of this week’s parasha, Lech L’cha.  “Lech” from the root meaning “to go” and “l’cha,” which means “to yourself” or “for yourself” combines a bit awkwardly in English, but this common contemporary idiom (usually stated in the feminine- “You go, girl!”) seems to be a good fit.  The words are spoken by God to Abram (later renamed Abraham), indicating that God is sending Abram on a great adventure, spiritual and physical, to leave home for an unknown land and to found a great nation based on a new idea:  Monotheism, belief in one God.  In the same way that “You go, girl!” is both a command and a phrase of encouragement, God’s “Lech l’cha” to Abram is stated with authority, promise, love and conviction that Abram is the right person for this special mission.  Because Abram accepted this challenge, we all are Jews to this day.

November FOOD OF THE MONTH: Canned Tomatoes 

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This Week at BHT

23 Nov 2017
12:00AM
Thanksgiving Office Closed
24 Nov 2017
05:45PM -
Shabbat
27 Nov 2017
07:00PM -
Canceled-Book Club
28 Nov 2017
04:00PM -
Shalom Center Soup Kitchen
29 Nov 2017
05:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Beginner Class
29 Nov 2017
06:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Continuing Class
01 Dec 2017
05:45PM -
Family Kabbalat Shabbat | BD Blessing | Home | Gershtenson
02 Dec 2017
09:15AM - 10:15AM
Torah Study
02 Dec 2017
10:30AM -
Learner's Minyan | Kitah Hey on the Bima
03 Dec 2017
09:30AM - 10:45AM
Introduction to Judaism
03 Dec 2017
09:30AM - 11:30AM
Great Decisions
03 Dec 2017
10:30AM - 12:00AM
Construction Has Begun | Let's Celebrate | Lox and Bagels Brunch
05 Dec 2017
06:00PM -
Ritual Committee Meeting
06 Dec 2017
05:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Beginner Class
06 Dec 2017
06:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Continuing Class