APRIL BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Mazal Tov – Mazal Bueno to all those celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or significant event during the Month of April. 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 ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/yom-shvi-i-shel-pesach
Yom Sh’vi-i shel Pesach (יוֹם שְׁבִיעִי שֶׁל פֶּסַח — 7th Day of Passover) – Holidays Exodus 14:30-15:21
Thus the Eternal delivered Israel that day from the Egyptians. – Exodus 14:30
As the observance of Passover draws to an end, the Torah portion includes the dramatic recounting of the splitting of the sea in this poem known as “The Song at the Sea.” Written with great emotion, this poem attempts to convey the power of “God’s mighty hand.” So powerful is the imagery that verses of this poem have become part of the Jewish liturgy [e.g., Mi Chamocha]. The poem comes to a climatic finish with Miriam, the prophetess, picking up her timbrel and leading the women in dance.
II Samuel 22:1-51
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover#Seventh_day_of_Passover
Seventh day of Passover
Shvi’i shel Pesach (שביעי של פסח) (“seventh [day] of Passover”) is another full Jewish holiday, with special prayer services and festive meals. Outside the Land of Israel, in the Jewish diaspora, Shvi’i shel Pesach is celebrated on both the seventh and eighth days of Passover. This holiday commemorates the day the Children of Israel reached the Red Sea [or the Sea of Reeds] and witnessed both the miraculous “Splitting of the Sea” (Passage of the Red Sea), the drowning of all the Egyptian chariots, horses and soldiers that pursued them. According to the Midrash, only the Pharaoh was spared to give testimony to the miracle that occurred.
SHIRAT HAYAM and PESACH
In Sephardic tradition, at Chanukah celebrating the Maccabees’ victory over Antiochus, we usually sing “Ozi V’zimrat Yah”, which is composed of Psalms 118:14 and 24:8. Psalms 118:14 echoes the first half of Exodus 15:2 exactly. Psalms 24:8 proclaims God’s might in battle – which the Song of the Sea, as a war poem, describes.
On the seventh day of Pesach, Nisan 21, Sephardim sing a liturgical poem in Ladino called the “Ketubá del Seten Dia de Pesah” (the marriage contract of the seventh day of Pesach), describing Pharaoh’s defeat at the Sea of Reeds. Traditionally, this is the day Pharaoh’s army drowned and the Israelites sang the Song of the Sea in gratitude. It is called a “ketuba” because the relationship between the Jewish people and God is thought of as a marriage, the splitting of the sea is an important event leading to that marriage which takes place at Mt. Sinai, 42 days later.
There is a midrash attributed to Exodus Rabbah that when God split the sea, fruit trees bloomed in the way between the waters, and birds perched in the trees sang in joy for the freedom of the former slaves. In the Gemara, there is another midrash that when the Egyptians were drowning in the sea, the angels wanted to sing before God. God said to them, “My creations are drowning, and you are singing before me?” (Megilla 10)
REFLECTION – Song of Songs – שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים – Shir HaShirim
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_Songs
Also [known as the] Song of Solomon, Canticle of Canticles, or Canticles, is one of the megillot (scrolls) found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim (or “Writings”). It is unique within the Hebrew Bible: it shows no interest in Law or Covenant or the God of Israel, nor does it teach or explore wisdom like Proverbs or Ecclesiastes (although it does have some affinities to wisdom literature, as the ascription to Solomon indicates); instead, it celebrates sexual love, giving “the voices of two lovers, praising each other, yearning for each other, proffering invitations to enjoy”. The two are in harmony, each desiring the other and rejoicing in sexual intimacy; the women of Jerusalem form a chorus to the lovers, functioning as an audience whose participation in the lovers’ erotic encounters facilitates the participation of the reader.
In modern Judaism the Song is read on the Sabbath during [Pesach], which marks the beginning of the grain-harvest as well as commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. Jewish tradition reads it as an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel,…
The Song was accepted into the Jewish canon of scripture in the 2nd century CE, after a period of controversy in the 1st century. It was accepted as canonical because of its supposed authorship by Solomon and based on an allegorical reading where the subject-matter was taken to be not sexual desire but God’s love for Israel.
KUMI LACH RAYATI – Songs of Songs 2:10-12
From Sefaria.org https://www.sefaria.org/Song_of_Songs.2
My beloved spoke thus to me, “Arise, my darling; My fair one, come away!
For now the winter is past, The rains are over and gone.
The blossoms have appeared in the land, The time of pruning has come;
The song of the turtledove is heard in our land.”
COUNTING THE ‘OMER
We are in the intermediate days of Passover called Chol HaMo’ëd Pesach. Most Reform Jews observe Pesach for seven days, as in Israel, ending the evening of Saturday, April 3. Others observe eight days ending Sunday evening, April 4, 2021.
We are also in the 49-day period of Counting the ‘Ómer, which began Sunday evening, March 28 and continues until Shavuot, which starts the evening of Sunday, May 16. The ‘Ómer is counted each evening.
Today, Friday, is day 5, and day 6 begins this evening at sundown. Before the ‘Alëinu, after stating that one is ready to count the ‘Ómer, the following blessing is said:
Baruch atah Adonai Elohëinu Mélech ha’olam, asher kid’shánu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivánu ‘al S’firat Ha‘Ómer.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the ‘Ómer.
After the blessing, one recites the appropriate day of the count. For example:
“Hayom chamishah yamim la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is the fifth day of/in the ‘Ómer.”
“Hayom shishah yamim la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is the sixth day of/in the ‘Ómer.”
After the first six days, one also includes the number of weeks that one has counted. For example:
“Hayom sh’loshah ‘asar yom, shehëm shavua’ echad v’shishah yamim la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is 13 days, which is one week and six days of/in the ‘Ómer.”
https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/how-to-count-the-omer/ and other websites have more detailed information on Counting the ‘Ómer. Some emphasize the Kabbalistic and mystical aspects of this practice.
PIRKË AVOT – Ethics of the Fathers
From Pesach to Shavuot on each Shabbat some study a chapter a week from Pirkë Avot. Following are a few selections from the first chapter.
From Sefaria.org https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.1
2: Shimon the Righteous was one of the last of the men of the great assembly. He used to say: the world stands upon three things: the Torah, the Temple service, and the practice of acts of piety.
5: Yose ben Yochanan (a man) of Jerusalem used to say: Let thy house be wide open, and let the poor be members of thy household.
7: Nittai the Arbelite used to say: keep a distance from an evil neighbor, do not become attached to the wicked, and do not abandon faith in [divine] retribution.
14: [Hillel] used to say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am for my own self [only], what am I? And if not now, when?
18: Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel used to say: on three things does the world stand: On justice, on truth and on peace, as it is said: “execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates” (Zechariah 8:16).
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
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.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence especially against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and all other minority communities, 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, pandemics, natural disasters, war and gun violence.
This coming week, the 21st through the 27th of Nisan, we lovingly remember:
Sherry R. Levy
TKH Memorial Board
Those victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“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 evening, April 2, 2021. For Torah Study, instead of the weekly Parsha, we will discuss Pesach.
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 – Discuss Pesach
Time: Apr 2, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Apr 2, 2021 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.
Shabbat Shalom v’Chag Sameach – Buen Shabbat i Pesach Alegre!