THE TORAH PORTION FOR SHABBAT 12 TISHRI 5782 SHMITAH September 17-18, 2021
May we gain wisdom in our lives, overflowing like a river with understanding. Loved, each of us, for the peace we bring to others. May our deeds exceed our speech, and may we never lift up our hand but to conquer fear and doubt and despair.
Rise up like the sun, O God, over all humanity. Cause light to go forth over all the lands between the seas. And light up the universe with the joy of wholeness, of freedom, and of peace.
From “MISHKAN T’FILAH / A Reform Siddur” p.591
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/haazinu
Haazinu (הַאֲזִינוּ — Hebrew for “listen”) Deuteronomy 32:1-52
Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; Let the earth hear the words I utter! – Deuteronomy 32:1
- Moses sings his last song, a love poem to God and a chastisement of the people, who are not worthy of Adonai. (32:1–6)
- The poem recounts the blessings that God has bestowed on the Israelites, the wicked deeds they have committed, and the punishments that God then inflicted upon them. (32:7–43)
- God tells Moses to begin his ascent of Mount Nebo, from where he will see the Land of Israel from a distance but will not be allowed to enter it. (32:45–52)
The haftarah is II Samuel 22:1-51, the song of David, which corresponds to the Parsha and is almost exactly the same as Psalm 18.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
Abridged from Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haazinu
[According to the triennial cycle, all of Deut. 32:1-52 is read in 2021. Haazinu is the penultimate parsha of the Torah.] The parashah sets out the Song of Moses — an indictment of the Israelites’ sins, a prophecy of their punishment, and a promise of God’s ultimate redemption of them.
Professor Harold Fisch, of Bar-Ilan University, described the witness function of the song as “a kind of time bomb; it awaits its hour and then springs forward into harsh remembrance.” [And,] Israeli scholar Nahama Leibowitz noted that Deuteronomy 32:27 contains a “very daring anthropomorphism indeed, attributing to God the sentiment of fear.”
Some scholars who follow the Documentary Hypothesis find evidence of three separate sources in the parashah. Thus, some scholars consider the final counsel of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:45–47 to have been composed by the first Deuteronomistic historian (sometimes abbreviated Dtr 1) who wrote in the time of King Josiah of Judah, circa 622 BCE. Some scholars attribute the bulk of the parashah, Deuteronomy 32:1–44 to an insertion by the second Deuteronomistic historian (sometimes abbreviated Dtr 2) who wrote in the Babylonian captivity after 587 BCE. And then these scholars attribute the conclusion of the parashah, Deuteronomy 32:48–52 to a later Redactor (sometimes abbreviated R) who folded the Deuteronomic report into the context established at the end of the book of Numbers.
From Temple Sinai oaklandsinai-hhd.org “Machzor for the High Holy Days” p.7
We cannot pray to You, O God, to banish war, for You have filled the world with paths to peace, if only we would take them.
We cannot pray to You to end starvation, for there is food enough for all, if only we would share it.
We cannot merely pray for prejudice to cease, for we might see the good in all that lies before our eyes, if only we would use them.
We cannot merely pray to root out despair, for the spark of hope already waits within the human heart for us to fan it into flame.
We must not ask of You, O God, to take the task that You have given us. We cannot shirk, we cannot flee, avoiding obligation for ever.
Therefore we pray, O God, for wisdom and will, for courage to do and to become, not only to look on with helpless yearning as though we had no strength.
A Teaching on T’shuvah (Repentance) bottom p.27
You have to judge every person generously. Even if you have reason to think that person is completely wicked, it’s your job to look hard and seek out some bit of goodness, someplace in that person where he is not evil. When you find that bit of goodness and judge the person that way, you really may raise her up to goodness. Treating people this way allows them to be restored, to come to t’shuvah.
This is why the Psalmist said, “Just a little bit more and there will be no one wicked; you will look at his place and he will not be there” (Psalm 36). We are told to judge one and all so generously, so much on the good side, even if we think they’re as sinful as can be. By looking for that “little bit,” the place, however small within them where there is no sin (and everyone, after all, has such as place), and be telling them, showing them, that that’s who they are, we can help them change their lives.
SUKKOT – Festival of Booths – September 20-27, 2021
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/sukkot
Sukkot, [the last of the three biblical pilgrimage festivals along with Pesach and Shavuot,] is one of the most joyful festivals on the Jewish calendar. “Sukkot,” a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. The holiday has also come to commemorate the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt. Sinai.
Also called Z’man Simchateinu (Season of Our Rejoicing), Sukkot is the only festival associated with an explicit commandment to rejoice…. Another name for Sukkot is Chag HaAsif (Festival of the Ingathering), representing the importance in Jewish life of giving thanks for the bounty of the earth.
Current circumstances prevent us from gathering in person at Temple Kol Hamidbar to celebrate. Friday evening, September 24, we will use special Sukkot melodies and shake the Lulav and Etrog during our 7:30 PM Shazoom Service. In the meantime, the following website provided by Dr. Sam Caron, Congregational President, has some resources for families and individuals to make Sukkot more meaningful and celebratory. https://ejewishphilanthropy.com/putting-the-joy-into-sukkot-and-simchat-torah-on-zoom/
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 12th through the 18th of Tishri, we lovingly remember:
Memorial Board, Father of TKH Member Iris Adler
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 this Friday evening, September 17, 2021.
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. 32:1-52
Time: September 17, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: September 17, 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.
Tizku l’shanim rabot – may you merit many years – good and sweet!
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!
PS – an early Chag Sukkot Sameach!