Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

scroll

As we continue to live through an avalanche of sexual harassment and sexual impropriety accusations and admissions among the most powerful men in American society, Torah portion Vayishlach comes to remind us that the “me too” hashtag is as old as time.  Not only does the parasha contain the story of the rape of Dinah in Gen. 34, but also the implied rape of Bilhah by Jacob’s son Reuben in Gen 35, and the continuation of Jacob’s simultaneous relationship with 4 women,  Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah, that we first encountered in last week’s parasha, Vayeitzei.   These stories are written from the vantage point of men, and the women’s account of what has happened to them is virtually non-existent.  Granted, different mores existed in ancient times.  But we are now only beginning to understand how society has successfully muted the voices of women  up to the present time when it comes to power and sex.  It is only because our mores have changed, even in the last two decades, that some women have acquired the courage to speak out.  May such courage be granted to all who have been wronged.

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.

January FOOD OF THE MONTH: Pasta

click for more information

 

URJ Weekly Torah Commentary

Saturday, January 27, 2018
Read more...
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Read more...
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Read more...
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Read more...

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