Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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At Shabbat services last week, we used sections of Chapters 7 and 8 of the Book of Esther (The Megillah) as the Haftarah, an option suggested in the URJ Torah Commentary. Most Torah commentaries use an excerpt from First Samuel for Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat before Purim. But both Esther and First Samuel mention descendants of the arch-enemy of the Jewish people, Amalek, so both are fitting Haftarot (concluding readings) for Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat on which we are commanded to "Remember Amalek." Tonight we will hear an abbreviated version of the "whole Megillah" in English and read one chapter in Hebrew. In Chapter 3 of Megillat Esther, the evil Haman's full lineage is given, linking him back to Agag, the evil king mentioned in Saul's time as a descendant of Amalek. "After these things, King Ahashueras promoted Haman, the son of Hamdata, the Agagite..." (Esther 3:1) Therefore, Haman is also a descendant of Amalek. Join us for the Megillah reading tonight at 6:30pm and help blot out his evil name!

When I was first ordained, it was still customary for rabbis to wear robes weekly on the bima. This practice was borrowed from Christian clergy style. But soon robes went out of style. They were thought by many to super-humanize the rabbi, making him/her seem like a special class of being—not human like everyone else. I stopped wearing the robe except on the Days of Awe when the theme of the season is purification and white the color. Most of Torah portion Tetzaveh is devoted to detailed descriptions of the beautiful garments worn by the ancient priests. They were amazingly colorful and decorative, including "a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe." (Ex 28:34) It must have been a feast for the eyes to see the priests dressed for their duties. But the priests were clearly meant to have been elevated above regular Israelites. With the destruction of the Temple, the sages determined that rabbis would lead the Jewish community-- teachers and scholars, who were like Israelites in every way, except their greater knowledge of text and tradition. For this, special garments were not needed.

Exodus 27:20−30:10

In this week's parasha, Moses receives from God instructions for building the Mishkan, or portable Tabernacle, for worshiping God during the wilderness journey to the Land of Israel. Because a great amount of detail is given regarding dimensions, materials, utensils, and more, many commentators have attempted to explain the symbolism of all that went into the Mishkan. The great Jewish historian of the Roman era, Josephus, explained that the 12 loaves of bread symbolized the 12 months; the 7 lamps, the sun, moon and 5 planets known at that time; and the four materials in the curtain, the four elements, of earth, fire, wind and water. (Antiquities III 7:7)

Exodus 25:1−27:19

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
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
05 Dec 2017
06:00PM -
Ritual Committee Meeting
06 Dec 2017
05:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Beginner Class
06 Dec 2017
06:30PM -
Adult Hebrew Continuing Class