THE TORAH READING FOR 19 KISLEV 5781 December 4-5, 2020
DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Mazal Tov – Mazal Bueno to all those celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or significant event during the Month of December. 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 “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur” p.516
FOR OUR COUNTRY
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayishlach
Vayishlach [וַיִּשְׁלַח (Jacob) Sent] Genesis 32:4−36:43
Jacob now sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, in the countryside of Edom. – Genesis 32:4
- Jacob prepares to meet Esau. He wrestles with a “man,” who changes Jacob’s name to Israel. (32:4-33)
- Jacob and Esau meet and part peacefully, each going his separate way. (33:1-17)
- Dinah is raped by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of the country. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi take revenge by murdering all the males of Shechem, and Jacob’s other sons join them in plundering the city. (34:1-31)
- Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin and is buried in Ephrah, which is present-day Bethlehem. (35:16-21)
- Isaac dies and is buried in Hebron. Jacob’s and Esau’s progeny are listed. (35:22-36:43)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayishlach
Hosea 11:7-12:12 or Obadiah 1:1-21(Ashkenazim) or Obadiah 1:1-21 (Sephardim)
Connection to the parshah
The section from the Book of Hosea mentions the deeds of Jacob, including his wrestling with an angel.
The Book of Obadiah deals with God’s wrath against the kingdom of Edom, who are descended from Esau. At times Esau’s name is used as a synonym for the nation.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayishlach
Vayishlach (וַַיִּשְׁלַח — Hebrew for “And [Jacob] sent”) – Genesis 32:4-36:43
In the [complete] parashah, Jacob reconciles with Esau after wrestling with a “man” [who changes his name to Israel]. The prince Shechem rapes Dinah, whose brothers sack the city of Shechem in revenge. In the family’s subsequent flight, Rachel gives birth to Benjamin and dies in childbirth.
The triennial part of Vayishlach, Genesis 34:1-35:15, focuses on the “rape of Dinah”, Jacob’s daughter, Jacob’s lack of response, the treachery with which Simeon and Levi dealt with Shechem, who had violated her, and his father Haram after requiring all the men of Shechem be circumcised. Jacob and his family flee, and Rachel goes into a difficult labor giving birth to Benjamin and dying. Jacob buries Rachel near modern-day Bethlehem.
Genesis chapter 34
Noting the similarity between the actions of Simeon and Levi in Genesis 34:25–29, on the one hand, and the instructions in Deuteronomy 20:13–14 for killing the men but taking the women and livestock captive, on the other hand, Professor James Kugel of Bar Ilan University observed that it is almost as if Simeon and Levi were obeying the Deuteronomic law before it was given. Kugel reported that some modern interpreters deduced that the editor responsible for inserting the Dinah story in Genesis was particularly connected with Deuteronomy or at least familiar with its laws. These interpreters concluded that the Dinah story was a late addition, inserted to account for Jacob’s otherwise referentless allusion to the violent tempers of Simeon and Levi in Genesis 49:5–7 by importing [an] only slightly modified [and] originally unrelated tale, probably situated during the time of the Judges.
Chanukah (חֲנֻכָּה or חֲנוּכָּה ḥanuká) starts next Thursday evening, December 10, 2020 (25 Kislev) and lasts eight days. The name Chanukah comes from the Hebrew verb “חָנַךְ” (chanách), meaning “to inaugurate, to dedicate, to consecrate”. On Chanukah, in 165 BCE, the Maccabean Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple. It is also known as the Festival of Lights (חַג הַאוּרִים, ḥag ha’urim).
The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a Chanukiah (nine branched menorah) in a specific sequence, often followed by singing, eating and celebrating. There are a few interesting variations in customs between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, e.g., one Chanukiah or one per person, oil or candles, Shamash (helper candle) last or first, buñuelos/bimuelos or latkes, songs in Ladino or Yiddish, etc. Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday in strictly religious terms, but it has attained major cultural significance in North America and elsewhere among secular Jews.
Due to her upbringing, a friend who lives in San Francisco with her husband uses a Chanukah service written by American playwright, director and producer Isadore “Dore” Schary for the U.S. Military. In order, the candles each represent: Faith, Freedom, Courage, Love, Integrity, Knowledge and Peace. After the blessings and a reading about it, a discussion is held on the topic for that evening followed under other circumstances by singing, eating and playing games.
Whatever Chanukah means to you, and however you observe it, may each of us rededicate ourselves this Festival of Lights to struggling with Torah, reconciling with one another and Tikkun Olam – the repairing of our world.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence, and war; for all those at home alone; 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 AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, December 4, 2020. There are almost four weeks left in 2020.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Vayishlach (triennial part) Gen 34:1-35:15
Time: Dec 4, 2020 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Dec 4, 2020 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Being a part of, contributing to and connecting with Temple Kol Hamidbar helps us fulfill our three-fold purpose as a Beit Tefillah (House of Prayer), a Beit Midrash (House of Study) and a Beit Knesset (House of Community) – even virtually. Thank you to you who do so.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!