THE TORAH READING FOR 26 KISLEV 5781 December 11-12, 2020
Al Hanisim – עַל הַנִּסִּים [for/about the miracles]
WE THANK YOU for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds and saving acts, brought about by You, and for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in the days of old, at this season.
Hanërot Halalu – הַנֵרוֹת הַלָּלוּ [these lights/candles]
WE KINDLE THESE LIGHTS because of the wondrous deliverance You performed for our ancestors. During the eight days of Chanukah, these lights are sacred; we are not to use them but only to behold them, so that their glow may rouse us to give thanks for Your wondrous acts of deliverance.
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/vayeishev
Vayeishev (וַיֵּשֶׁב — Hebrew for “[Jacob] settled”) – Gen. 37:1-40:23
Jacob now settled in the land of his father’s sojourning, in the land of Canaan. – Genesis 37:1
- Jacob is shown to favor his son Joseph, whom the other brothers resent. Joseph has dreams of grandeur. (Genesis 37:1-11)
- After Joseph’s brothers had gone to tend the flocks in Shechem, Jacob sends Joseph to report on them. The brothers decide against murdering Joseph but instead sell him into slavery. After he is shown Joseph’s coat of many colors, which had been dipped in the blood of a kid, Jacob is led to believe that Joseph has been killed by a beast. (Genesis 37:12-35)
- Tamar successively marries two of Judah’s sons, each of whom dies. Judah does not permit her levirate marriage to his youngest son. She deceives Judah into impregnating her. (Genesis 38:1-30)
- God is with Joseph in Egypt until the wife of his master, Potiphar, accuses him of rape, whereupon Joseph is imprisoned. (Genesis 39:1-40:23)
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayeshev
Vayëshev (וַיֵּשֶׁב — Hebrew for “and he [Jacob] lived”) – Genesis 37:1-40:23
The [complete] parashah tells the stories of how Jacob‘s other sons sold Joseph into captivity in Egypt, how Judah wronged his daughter-in-law Tamar who then tricked him into fulfilling his oath, and how Joseph served Potiphar and was imprisoned when falsely accused of assaulting Potiphar’s wife.
[The triennial part of Vayëshev, Genesis 38:1-30, tells the story of Judah’s daughter-in-law, Tamar, the death of her first two husbands sons of Judah, and her becoming pregnant by Judah who has failed to give her in marriage to his third son as required.]
The story of Tamar in Genesis 38:6–11 reflects the duty of a brother pursuant to Deuteronomy 25:5–10 to perform a Levirate marriage (יִבּוּם, yibbum) with the wife of a deceased brother, which is also reflected in the story of Ruth in Ruth 1:5–11; 3:12; and 4:1–12.
In Modern Interpretation:
Genesis chapter 38
The early 20th century German scholar Hermann Gunkel argued that what he called the legend of Tamar in Genesis 38 depicts in part early relations in the tribe of Judah: The Tribe of Judah allied itself with Canaanites who are reflected in the legendary Hirah of Adullam and Judah’s wife, Bathshua. According to Gunkel, the accounts of Er and Onan reflect that a number of Judan-Canaanitish tribes perished early. And the accounts of Perez and Zerah reflect that finally two new tribes arose.
At the Temple Sinai Tuesday Morning Minyan this week, the Darshan (דַּרְשָׁן or דַּרְשָׁנִית – Hebrew for “deliverer of the d’rash”) focused on the story of Tamar and the significance of her father-in-law, Judah. It is through Tamar and her son Perez, (and through Ruth and her husband Boaz), that King David is descended from Judah. Interestingly, this vignette comes in the midst of passages mainly about Joseph and his story. But as the Darshan stated, our people are named after Judah (literally meaning “thanksgiving” or “praise”), not Joseph.
Apparently, Judah “moved away” and married a Canaanite woman after he suggested they sell Joseph rather than kill him. According to some commentators, Judah was unable to bear his father Jacob’s sorrow at losing Joseph and the guilt he felt for having tricked his father. (Note that Jacob had tricked his father Isaac with the meat of a kid.) In the incident with Tamar, Judah ends up being tricked by her whom he has treated as an object or possession for his children, and admits that he is wrong.
The rabbis credit Judah for this as being the first one in Torah to admit that he is wrong. They point out that Tamar calls Judah to account without publicly shaming him – not publicly shaming someone is extremely important in Judaism and of upmost value in Jewish ethics and practice. And so repentant Judah and the more righteous Tamar are the chief progenitors of the Jews.
ROSH CHODESH TEVET
Begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 and ends at nightfall on Wednesday, 16 December 2020. Tevet is the tenth month of the Hebrew calendar and the fourth of the civil calendar.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
ROSH CHODESH – FOR THE NEW MONTH p.519
Our God and God of our ancestors, may the new month bring us goodness and blessing. May we have long life, peace, prosperity, a life exalted by love of Torah and reverence for the divine; a life in which the longings of our hearts are fulfilled for good.
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, Friday, December 11, 2020. Chanukah, also called the Festival of Lights (חַג הַאוּרִים, Chag Ha’urim), started last evening Thursday, December 10, 2020 with the lighting of the first candle and ends at sundown on Friday, December 18, 2020, 3 Tevet 5781.
At 7:30 PM we will light the Chanukiah and welcome Shabbat. In place of the D’var Torah, we will sing Chanukah songs as our “Sermon in Song” starting with an original song composed by Dr. Sam Caron and Ben Caron, his son.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online Friday evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Vayëshev (triennial part) Gen 38:1-30
Time: Dec 11, 2020 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Lighting the Chanukiah and Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Dec 11, 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.
Please join us this evening with your Chanukiah ready to light the candles. In this season of light, may we all rededicate ourselves to uplifting the world.
Chag Ha’urim Sameach! Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!