KETIVAH V’CHATIMAH TOVAH
SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Mazal Tov – Mazal Bueno to all those celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or significant event during the Month of September. If we were together at Temple Kol Hamidbar, we would extend a Tallit over you, recite a special prayer for you, and recite the following blessing (cf Num. 6:24-26):
- May the Eternal One bless you and protect you!
- May the Eternal One deal kindly and graciously with you!
- May the Eternal One bestow favor upon you and grant you peace!
KËIN YEHI RATZON (Let it be so!)
From PSALM 27 (Robert Alter translation)
- For [the Eternal One] hides me in [God’s] shelter
On the day of evil.
[God] conceals me in the recess of [God’s] tent,
on a rock [God] raises me up.
- And now my head rises
over my enemies around me:
Let me offer in [God’s] tent
sacrifices with joyous shouts.
Let me sing and hymn to the [Eternal One].
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/ki-teitzei
Ki Tavo (כִּי-תָבוֹא — Hebrew for “when you enter” [the Land])
[According to the triennial cycle, Deut. 26:1-27:10 is read in 2020.]
- The Israelites are instructed to express their gratitude to God for their bountiful harvests and freedom from slavery by tithing ten percent of their crops for the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. (26)
- The people are told to display on large stones God’s commandments for all to see. (27:1-8)
- The Levites are to proclaim curses upon those who violate God’s commandments. (27:15-26)
- The Israelites are told that if they obey God’s mitzvot faithfully, they will receive every blessing imaginable. They are also told that if do not fulfill their brit with God, many curses will descend upon them. (28:1-69)
- Moses reminds the Israelites of the miracles they witnessed in the wilderness and commands them to observe the terms of the covenant so that they may succeed in all that they undertake. (29:1-8)
Isaiah 60:1-22 is the sixth haftarah in the cycle of seven haftarot of consolation after Tisha B’Av, leading up to Rosh Hashanah. A connection to the parashah appears in Deuteronomy 26:16-19, where God says that the Israelites are God’s special treasure, while in Isaiah 60, we read about the light of the people. This year Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of Friday, September 18, 2020 – only two weeks away!
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
Ki-Tavo – when you enter
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ki_Tavo
The parashah tells of the ceremony of the first fruits (Hebrew: בִּכּוּרִים, bikkurim), tithes, and the blessings from observance and curses (Hebrew: תוֹכֵחָה, tocheichah) from violation of the law.
Some scholars who follow the Documentary Hypothesis find evidence of three separate sources in the parashah. Professor Richard Elliott Friedman, of the University of Georgia, attributed Deuteronomy 26:1–15 to the original Deuteronomistic law code (Dtn). He attributed Deuteronomy 26:16–28:35, 28:38–62, and 28:69–29:8 to the first, Josianic edition of the Deuteronomistic history. And he attributed Deuteronomy 28:36–37 and 28:63–68 to the second, exilic edition of the Deuteronomistic history.
The reading of the Parsha in the triennial cycle ends with (Deut. 27:10). Moses and the elders charged the people that as soon as they had crossed the Jordan River, they were to set up large stones on Mount Ebal, coat them with plaster, and inscribe on them all the words of the Torah. There they were also to build an altar to God made of stones on which no iron tool had struck, and they were to offer on it offerings to God and rejoice. Moses and the priests told all Israel to hear: They had become the people of God, and should heed God and observe God’s commandments.
As a reminder, Rabbanit Freundlich writes in The Times of Israel – The Blogs by Dena Freundlich https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-real-message-of-mount-gerizim-and-mount-ebal/
“In fact, the Torah highlights that the main bulk of this book is all one long description of the [covenant] — Brit Har G’rizim V’Har Eival — by beginning and concluding the description of it using virtually identical language, creating a kind of envelope or bookends.”
“Thus, all of what comes in between these two bookends, namely chapters 11-30 (20 of the book’s 34 chapters!) are all part of one grand narrative of the ceremony to be enacted on these two mountains upon entry to the Land….”
And so, we have two different perspectives. On the one hand, we see the Parsha as consisting of three sections, generally oldest to newest. A careful reading of the text seems to support this theory – and this even without understanding the Hebrew.
On the other, we have an interpretation based on the reading of the whole book as “… the covenant of Mounts Gerizim and Ebal….” And “…the second generation’s Matan Torah [giving of the Torah], the concretizing of their unique relationship with God….” What happens in this Parsha is thus a part of the ceremony that God requires.
Last Shabbat morning, after Temple Sinai’s online Torah Study, one of the members led us in a half-hour guided meditation on compassion. He asked us to sit upright with our feet planted on the floor, and to breathe deeply and slowly. Then, referring to the Ahava Rabah (Great Love), Sh’ma (Hear), and V’ahavta (You Shall Love) parts of the liturgy, he spoke of receiving complete love, hearing of oneness, and giving love. He asked us to sense ourselves held from behind by someone or something that we felt had loved us fully and completely (Ahava Rabah); then to feel that love in every part of our body and being one with it (Sh’ma); and finally sensing ourselves holding someone whom we had loved easily and freely, and passing that love onto them (V’ahavta).
The importance of compassion and its role in forgiveness as we prepare for the High Holy Days needs to be underscored. In these days of “introspection and reflection” leading to “transformation and self-refinement”, we must gently and caringly examine our thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and how we act in the world of our creation. We then need to make amends to any who we have wronged (living or dead).
We are required to forgive some things and not at all those which only God can forgive. To learn more, you may want to access ReformJudaism.org, My Jewish Learning.com and other websites about the Jewish views on forgiveness. In the meantime, consider the following “Three Levels of Forgiveness” by an Orthodox Union rabbi.
From Orthodox Union https://www.ou.org/holidays/three_levels_of_forgiveness/
Three Levels of Forgiveness
Rabbi Yaacov Haber June 30, 2006
(based on a “Tomer Devorah” class by Rabbi Yaacov Haber)
There are three Hebrew synonyms: “Selichah,” “Mechilah,” and “Kapparah,” all related to the idea of “forgiveness.” What does each mean?
“Selichah,” usually translated as “forgiveness” is the first step which must be taken if someone has committed a sin, whether it be against G-d or against Man. To ask for forgiveness is to say to the “injured” party, “I am sorry for what I did; I sincerely regret having done it, and I will never do it again.” The appropriate response to this request is to believe that the petitioner is sincere and “open the door” for him or her to “come in.” A person who refuses to do this is considered a cruel person.
“Mechilah,” usually translated as “wiping away” is the response to the request “Can we put our relationship back on the level which it was on before I sinned against you?” A positive response to this is difficult, but within the G-dly powers given the human being, and is required.
“Kapparah,” is usually translated as “atonement,” as in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is the response to the person who says, “My conscience will not let me live with myself, because of what I did to you and to our relationship.” To respond positively to this is beyond human capacity. It is only G-d Who can reach inside a person and say “Be comforted.” “Kapparah” is the climax of this three-part process, and is accomplished on Yom [ha]Kippurim.
HIGH HOLY DAYS
As previously explained, Temple Kol Hamidbar has decided this year to forego providing either in person or online Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services.
As announced, we will have a Shazoom Service for Shabbat Shuvah on Friday, September 25, 2020, and a special Zoom gathering after Yom Kippur to Break-the-Fast at 6 PM on Monday, September 28, 2020. The Break-the-Fast online event will include sounding a Shofar recently donated in memory of Samuel Klein, a Havdalah service, and a chance to schmooze and nosh virtually with members of our community.
To help make the High Holy Days as meaningful as possible, the Union for Reform Judaism and various congregations within the Reform Movement are providing free online services and resources during the month of Elul and the High Holy Days to anyone interested in participating. As a result, Temple Kol Hamidbar is providing the following websites for individuals to access. You may need to visit their websites more than once for their latest information.
Temple Emanu-El in Tucson, AZ https://www.tetucson.org/
Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA https://www.oaklandsinai.org/
The Union for Reform Judaism https://urj.org/
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence, and war; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, disease, natural disasters, war and violence. We remember, too, those victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year and have us to say “Kaddish” for them. “Zichronam liv’rachah” – May their memories be for blessing.
TORAH STUDY – 6 PM
As recently notified, starting this Friday evening, we will meet for an hour and fifteen minutes before our weekly Shazoom. Using the JPS 1989 edition, we will read and discuss Deut. 26:1-27:10, the portion of Parsha Ki Tavo for this year of the triennial cycle. Those wishing to join us may do so by using the same link or meeting id and password as for our regular meeting. We will then break for fifteen minutes to allow attendees to either leave, rest and/or join our regular Erev Shabbat Service.
SHAZOOM: ONLINE SERVICES – 7:30 PM
All joining us for Shazoom are greatly encouraged to have on hand Shabbat candles, wine/grape juice for Kiddush, and Challah for Motzi for the blessings during the Service, hence making Shabbat a bit more tangible. During Elul we will continue to hear the Shofar sounded at the beginning of the Service to welcome Shabbat.
Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study
Time: Sep 4, 2020 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Sep 4, 2020 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Zoom Meeting click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]:
Or from Zoom go to join meeting and enter the following information:
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Or you may also access Erev Shabbat Services directly through the Temple Kol Hamidbar website at https://templekol.com/
Ketivah Vechatima Tovah,
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!