Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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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.

“You go, guy!”  is my current preferred translation for the name of this week’s parasha, Lech L’cha.  “Lech” from the root meaning “to go” and “l’cha,” which means “to yourself” or “for yourself” combines a bit awkwardly in English, but this common contemporary idiom (usually stated in the feminine- “You go, girl!”) seems to be a good fit.  The words are spoken by God to Abram (later renamed Abraham), indicating that God is sending Abram on a great adventure, spiritual and physical, to leave home for an unknown land and to found a great nation based on a new idea:  Monotheism, belief in one God.  In the same way that “You go, girl!” is both a command and a phrase of encouragement, God’s “Lech l’cha” to Abram is stated with authority, promise, love and conviction that Abram is the right person for this special mission.  Because Abram accepted this challenge, we all are Jews to this day.

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.

February FOOD OF THE MONTH: Oatmeal

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URJ Weekly Torah Commentary

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This Week at BHT

20 Feb 2018
07:00PM - 09:00PM
Israel's Milestones and Their Meanings Class
21 Feb 2018
05:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Beginner Class
21 Feb 2018
06:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Continuing Class
22 Feb 2018
12:00PM - 01:00PM
Lake County “Lunch and Learns”
22 Feb 2018
06:30PM - 07:30PM
Taste of Mussar
23 Feb 2018
07:30PM -
Shabbat
25 Feb 2018
09:45AM - 10:45AM
Mindful Yoga | Low Back Pain-Try Yoga
25 Feb 2018
10:00AM -
Carnival Pur
27 Feb 2018
04:00PM -
Shalom Center Soup Kitchen
28 Feb 2018
05:15PM -
Dinner
28 Feb 2018
06:30PM -
Erev Pur Family Service/Megillah
02 Mar 2018
05:45PM -
Kabbalat Shabbat
02 Mar 2018
07:00PM -
Share Shabbat Dinner
03 Mar 2018
09:15AM - 10:15AM
Torah Study
03 Mar 2018
10:30AM -
Learner's Minyan | Kitah Gimel and Dalet on bima
04 Mar 2018
09:30AM - 11:30AM
Great Decisions
04 Mar 2018
09:30AM - 10:45AM
Introduction to Judaism