Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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We’ve just rewound the Torah to Genesis, and look how quickly we are moving!  We’ve already moved past the days of Creation, Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel. Now onto the Flood story and the Tower of Babel. At the beginning of this week’s  parasha (Torah portion), we learn something of the character of Noah.  We are told: “Noach ish tzaddik. Tamim haya b’dorotav.” (Gen 6:9) This is often translated as “Noah was a righteous man. In his generation, he was wholehearted.” But the word tamim, translated here as “wholehearted” can also mean innocent, pure, unblemished, and simple, as in the Passover Haggadah’s  “simple son.” At Friday night services this week, I will expound upon this theme, considering what the Torah may have been telling us about why God chose Noah and what this may imply for us in our time.

This week, both on Simchat Torah (tonight and tomorrow) and this Shabbat, we read from Bereishit, the first parasha of the Torah. Last Shabbat, at our first bi-monthly Torah Study class, we started with the very first word.  Everyone in the class was able to recite the translation of this word (also Bereishit) in English:   “In the beginning.”  But, surprisingly, we noted in the various Bibles and Torah commentaries we had before us, there are other translations:  “When God began (to create)….” “When God was about to (create)…”   What we had all learned was in fact just one interpretation of what “Bereishit” means.  Even translations are interpretations.  We had such a good time discussing the word “Bereishit” and its impact on the rest of the verse, that we will still be on Gen. 1:1, when the class meets again on Oct 21.  If this intrigues you, join us!  In the meantime, we will read from the end of Deuteronomy and the first days of Creation tonight and tomorrow morning on Simchat Torah.  Chag Samei’ach!

There are two different Torah readings for Sukkot.  On the first day, we read about the observance of Sukkot in biblical times from the Book of Leviticus.  On Shabbat Chol Hamo’ed Sukkot (the Shabbat during the festival), we read from the Book of Exodus a passage that has nothing to do with Sukkot.  Or does it? In this passage, Moses asks to see God’s glory, and God answers:  “I will make all of My goodness pass before you….” (Ex 33: 19)  God has Moses stand in the cleft of a rock so that “you will see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” (33:23) This passage was chosen because Sukkot is a festival on which we are invited to appreciate what God provides in the world by spending time outside in the brilliance of the fall harvest season and by experiencing joy in the Sukkah.   In so doing, we do not see God, but God’s goodness does indeed pass before us.”  May you find yourself enjoying nature and camaraderie in a Sukkah this coming week.  Chag Samei’ach!

November FOOD OF THE MONTH: Canned Tomatoes 

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URJ Weekly Torah Commentary

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This Week at BHT

23 Nov 2017
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24 Nov 2017
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27 Nov 2017
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28 Nov 2017
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Shalom Center Soup Kitchen
29 Nov 2017
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29 Nov 2017
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01 Dec 2017
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01 Dec 2017
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02 Dec 2017
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02 Dec 2017
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Learner's Minyan | Kitah Hey on the Bima
03 Dec 2017
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Introduction to Judaism
03 Dec 2017
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Great Decisions
03 Dec 2017
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Construction Has Begun | Let's Celebrate | Lox and Bagels Brunch