Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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D’var Torah (A bit of Torah study from Rabbi Feingold) Bo

In Torah portion Bo, the exodus finally occurs: “At the end of the four hundred and thirtieth year (of the sojourn in Egypt), to the very day, all the ranks of the Eternal One departed from the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:41)  Recall that our Israelite ancestors came to Egypt as refugees, fleeing famine in their homeland of Canaan.  In Joseph’s time, they were welcomed, but the Pharaoh of Exodus feared our ancestors as an internal threat. (Ex. 1) Today’s America reverberates with echoes of this story.  A fear of foreigners has already caused our nation to reject many seeking refuge here.  Fear is a powerful force.  It is crucial that we rise above xenophobia, lest our nation become a modern-day Egypt that embraces wholesale a worldview that allows the oppression of newcomers and leads to a modern day exodus.

D’var Torah (A bit of Torah study from Rabbi Feingold) VA’EIRA

At the beginning of this week’s parasha (Torah portion), Moses reports back to God about his effort to convince the Israelites that God would free them from slavery.  The text tells us that the people were unable to hear Moses’ hopeful message because their spirits were “crushed by cruel bondage.”  (Ex. 6: 9) How do we respond when local, national or world events crush our spirits?  Do we begin to tune out anything that provides sparks of hope in the darkness?  Recent events have brought a sense of despair to many in the U.S.  In truth, this happens almost any time that there is a significant shift in the political landscape.  In response to America’s recent transition of power, a nonpartisan group of 100 religious scholars have chosen to speak their minds, to America’s new leaders, but also to each of us, during the first 100 days of the new Administration.  To subscribe to these daily, inspirational letters, go to http://www.valuesandvoices.com

Rabbi Feingold is on Sabbatical until January 24, 2017.  For Torah self-study please go to: www.reformjudaism.org/learning/torah-study

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