Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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The new Mishkan HaNefesh mahzor offers us a variety of Torah and Haftarah portions for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. At Beth Hillel, we have begun to rotate through the various options from year to year. On Yom Kippur afternoon this year, our Torah text will be Genesis 50, the story of Jacob’s and Joseph’s deaths. This is an interesting passage for Yom Kippur, a day on which we are contemplating our own mortality and the meaning of our lives. In addition, the text has a great deal to teach about forgiveness and shalom bayit, making peace within the family. If the children of Jacob were able to heal the terrible emotional wounds that they wrought upon one another, surely we can too. “For sins between people and God, the Day of Atonement atones, but for sins between one person and the next, the Day of Atonement does not atone until they have made peace with one another.” It’s not too late…. Gamar Hatimah Tovah, May you be sealed for good, in the Book of Life.

This week’s Torah portion includes the Torah reading that the Reform movement uses on the morning of Yom Kippur.  (In traditional congregations, Leviticus 16 is used, which describes the ancient observance of Yom Kippur.)  In Deut. 30:19, Moses challenges us to “Choose life, so that you and your children may live….” In a commentary on this verse in the Mishkan HaNefesh machzor (High Holy Day prayer book), Rabbi Josh Zweiback says that this verse asks us:  “Do we live in a way that supports life in the broadest sense, or do we live in a way that serves only …our own narrow interests?”  As we inch closer to the New Year and the Ten Days of Repentance, one of the questions we should be asking ourselves is:  What life choices can I make that are not selfish, but that ensure a full and tranquil existence for future generations?  May it the New Year, 5778, be a blessed and life-giving year for us all.

A list of blessings and curses greets us in the middle of Ki Tavo.  They are to be pronounced after the Israelites settle the Land of Israel, which they will soon settle.  Among the curses, we find:  “Cursed be the one who subverts the rights of the “ger.”  The word “ger” is often translated as “stranger,” but a better translation is “sojourner” or “newcomer” or “one who dwells with you.”  The root of this word means “dwell.”  The people whose rights we are commanded to uphold are those such as immigrants and temporary workers in our midst.  The 800,000 “Dreamers,” young immigrants who received temporary legal status (through DACA) in the United States, are in this category.  This week the Administration announced that DACA is to be ended.  Will Congress act to protect those affected?  As Jews, it is imperative that we make our voices heard so that the “Dreamers” rights are not overturned.

November FOOD OF THE MONTH: Canned Tomatoes 

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URJ Weekly Torah Commentary

Saturday, November 25, 2017
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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
12:00AM
Nosh On!
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