Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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This week’s parasha (Torah portion) contains the story of Korach and his supporters who mount a near “coup” against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Those who participated are killed in a dramatic event.  Nonetheless, God commands that the firepans, the very tools of their revolt, be used to make an altar covering for the Mishkan.  The Torah says that the fire pans “have become holy because they were offered before Adonai.” (Num. 17:3).  Commentators have puzzled over the meaning of this passage. How could symbols of sin and disrespect for leaders become holy?  One interpretation is that they are “mementos of the victory of truth over falsehood.” (Arama, p. 866 in Etz Hayim Torah Commentary.)  Much of the news cycle in America these days is focused around the difficult task of ferreting out truth over falsehood, especially in reporting on the FBI’s Russia probe.  When all is said and done and the truth is revealed, will we find a way, as a nation, to bring a sense of reverence back to our treasured institutions of Democracy? What “firepans” will we sanctify as a way of moving forward together?

“Yes we can” was the motto of President Obama’s 2008 campaign. Before that, it was the motto of the United Farm Workers, as in the Spanish: “Si se puede.” In this week’s Torah Portion, “Shelach Lecha,” Moses sends spies into Canaan to check out the land that the Israelites will one day inhabit. When the spies come back with their report, most of them seem overwhelmed by the task of settling the land. They convey to their fellow Israelites that the task will be too difficult. But two of those who went on the mission, Joshua and Caleb, have a completely different “take” on the experience. In an ancient version of today’s slogan, “Yes, we can,” Caleb says: “Yachol nuchal,” “We will surely be able.” (Num 13:30) At the Beth Hillel Annual Meeting on Sunday, I expounded on “Yachol nuchal” as a fitting motto for our congregation going forward. Read my full report at the BHT website, where you will find the entire Annual Report. It was also sent to you via Email at the end of last week.

This week is the 50th anniversary of the “Six Day War” that established Israel’s position as a major military power in the Middle East.  Those 6 days in June of 1967 gave our people great pride--to know that Israel could hold its own against hostile forces.  But, this 50th anniversary also marks the beginning of Israel’s role as an occupier of territory claimed by another people.  For many Jews, in Israel and in the Diaspora, this reality is very troubling.  In her commentary on this week’s Torah portion, Rabbi Mary Zamore pointed out that the Israelites in the wilderness were commanded to use silver trumpets for many conflicting purposes—from the announcing the waging of war to the celebration of holidays. (Num 10: 1- 10) She noted that this 50th anniversary is a mixed bag as well.  We celebrate Israel’s strength and vitality and also worry about its avalues and future.

January FOOD OF THE MONTH: Pasta

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URJ Weekly Torah Commentary

Saturday, January 27, 2018
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This Week at BHT

21 Jan 2018
12:00AM
Contribution Tax Letter
21 Jan 2018
09:30AM - 10:45AM
Introduction to Judaism
21 Jan 2018
09:45AM -
Forum on Immigrants, Detainees, Dreamers and the Dream Act
22 Jan 2018
07:00PM -
Book Club | The Book of Separation
23 Jan 2018
04:00PM -
Shalom Center Soup Kitchen
23 Jan 2018
06:00PM -
Ritual Committee Meeting
24 Jan 2018
05:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Beginner Class
24 Jan 2018
06:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Continuing Class
25 Jan 2018
06:30PM - 07:30PM
Taste of Mussar
26 Jan 2018
07:30PM -
Shabbat | New Member Shabbat | K-1 on the Bima | Lay Leader
28 Jan 2018
09:45AM - 10:45AM
Mindful Yoga | Posture and Breathing for Your Health
31 Jan 2018
05:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Beginner Class
31 Jan 2018
06:15PM - 07:15PM
Tu B'shvat Seder/Pot-luck Dinner
31 Jan 2018
06:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Continuing Class
31 Jan 2018
07:15PM -
Sabbatical Committee Meeting
01 Feb 2018
12:00AM
Achshav Deadline Spring
02 Feb 2018
05:45PM -
Family Kabbalat Shabbat | Grd K-2 (Giborim Class) participate on the bima
02 Feb 2018
06:30PM -
Potluck
02 Feb 2018
07:15PM -
Film: Voyage of the Damned
03 Feb 2018
09:15AM - 10:15AM
Torah Study
03 Feb 2018
10:30AM -
Learner's Minyan | Kitah Gimel and Dalet on the Bima
04 Feb 2018
09:30AM - 11:30AM
Great Decisions
04 Feb 2018
09:30AM - 10:45AM
Introduction to Judaism