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, say 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/nitzavim
Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים — Hebrew for “You Stand [this day])”
You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God–you tribal heads, you elders, and you officials, all of the men of Israel, you children, you women, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer… – Deuteronomy 29:9-10
- Moses tells the assembled people that God’s covenant speaks to them and to all of the generations who will follow. (29:9–14)
- God warns the Israelites that they will be punished if they act idolatrously, the way the inhabitants of the other nations do. (29:15–28)
- Moses reassures the people that God will not forsake them and that they can attain blessings by following God’s commandments. (30:1–20)
Isaiah 61:10-63:9 concludes the cycle of seven haftarot of consolation after Tisha B’Av, leading up to Rosh Hashanah and the Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe). It features God’s salvation, redemption, mercies and compassion. This year Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of Monday, September 6, 2021 – in a few days!
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
Nitzavim – ones standing
According to the triennial cycle, all of Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 is read in 2021.
Abridged from last year’s email and Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitzavim
In the parashah Moses told the Israelites that all the people stood before God to enter into the covenant, violation of which would bring on curses, but if they returned to God and heeded God’s commandments, then God would take them back in love and bring them together again from the ends of the world. Moses taught that this Instruction was not beyond reach, and Moses put before the Israelites life and death, blessing and curse, and exhorted them to choose life by loving God and heeding the commandments.
[According to the “literary” outline of Deuteronomy by Canadian scholar John Van Seters, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina], Chapters 29–30: [are Moses’ concluding] discourse on the covenant in the land of Moab, including all the laws in the Deuteronomic code (chapters 12–26) after those given at Horeb; Israel is again exhorted to obedience.
Professor Robert Alter of the University of California, Berkeley, read the words of Deuteronomy 29:14, “but with him who is here standing with us this day … and with him who is not here with us this day,” to state an idea paramount for Deuteronomy’s theological-historical project — that the covenant was to be a timeless model to be reenacted by all future generations.
Noting numerous connotations of the word “Torah” (תּוֹרָה) in the Pentateuch, Professor Ephraim Speiser of the University of Pennsylvania in the [mid-20th] century wrote that the word is based on a verbal stem signifying “to teach, guide,” and the like. Speiser argued that in Deuteronomy 29:20, the derived noun refers to specified sanctions in a covenant, and in Deuteronomy 30:10, it refers to general instructions and provisions, and in context it cannot be mistaken for the title of the Pentateuch as a whole.
Alter saw in Deuteronomy 30:15, “life and good and death and evil” an echo of “the tree of knowledge good and evil” in Genesis 2:17. Alter taught that the point is that good, which may lead to prosperity, is associated with life, just as evil, which may lead to adversity, is associated with death. Alter wrote that the Deuteronomic assumptions about historical causation may seem problematic or even untenable, but the powerful notion of the urgency of moral choice continues to resonate.
Professor James Kugel of Bar Ilan University [near Tel Aviv] wrote that the words of Deuteronomy 30:15–20 resounded in the ears of generations of Jews and Christians. Kugel taught that in a sense, all Jewish and Christian devotion — religious services, prayers, the study of Scripture, and dozens of other acts intended to carry out God’s will — find at least part of their origin and inspiration in these words.
REFLECTION – YEAR OF RELEASE (the following bears repeating)
There are various online resources that explain the Shmitah (Year of Release) including a comprehensive article at Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shmita
From Congregation Ner Shalom in Cotati, California https://www.nershalom.org/
In this shmitah year,… deeply explore the idea of letting go of patterns that bind us. What of our investments must be questioned? What sense of permanence released? What has come of over-working, over-harvesting the planet and our own lives? What debts need to be forgiven; what obligations do we still owe? The shmitah laws of Torah remind us that the land does not belong to us. How might we be better stewards of the Earth and of our own lives if we let go of our need to control?
May this new year, this Shmitah year, be for each of us, one in which we release what no longer serves us. May we reflect upon the mark we make upon our world and one another. May we foster in ourselves and those around us the ideals we desire.
HIGH HOLY DAYS – 5782 – Shanah Tovah uMetukah – Anyada Buena i Dulce!
As clearly explained in Dr. Sam Caron’s email of 8/16/21, due to new issues with the pandemic Temple Kol Hamidbar has decided to forego providing either in person or online Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services. The wellbeing of our members and friends is of utmost importance. However, we will have 6 PM online Torah Study and a 7:30 PM Shazoom Service for Shabbat Shuvah on Friday, September 10, 2021.
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 resources to anyone interested in participating in services. As a result, in addition to those listed in Dr. Caron’s email, you definitely need to visit beforehand the following websites for their latest information on the High Holy Days and how to access them. Some are requesting a donation from non-members.
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/
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
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 abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence especially against all minority communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; 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, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, the 27th of Elul through the 4th of Tishri, we lovingly remember:
Relative of Temple Kol Hamidbar Member
Father of TKH Founding Member Simon Rosenblatt
Jus. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Jewish Woman of Valor
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
Al sh’loshah d’varim ha’olam omëd – The world is sustained by three things: Torah, worship and loving deeds. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom led by Dr. Sam and Mary Caron this evening, Friday, September 3, 2021. NOTE: The meeting link, id and passcode below are DIFFERENT for this week.
All 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 bringing Shabbat into your presence a bit more tangibly. Although traditionally four blasts are sounded only on weekdays after morning services, during Elul we will continue to hear a blast of the Shofar before the Shazoom Service to welcome Shabbat.
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 – Triennial Reading Deut. 29:9-30:20
Time: September 3, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: September 3, 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]:
Or from Zoom go to join meeting and enter the following information:
Meeting ID: 812 0189 2400
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!