KETIVAH VECHATIMA TOVAH – A GOOD WRITING AND SEALING!
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!)
- Show me Your way, O Eternal One,
and lead me on a level path because of my watchful foes.
- Do not subject me to the will of my foes,
for false witnesses and unjust accusers have appeared against me.
- Had I not the assurance that I would enjoy the goodness of the Eternal One
in the land of the living…
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/ki-tavo
Ki Tavo (כִּי-תָבוֹא — Hebrew for “when you enter” [the Land])
When you enter the land that the Eternal your God is giving you as a heritage, and you possess it and settle in it, you shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land that the Eternal your God is giving to you, put it in a basket and go to the place where the Eternal your God will choose to establish the divine name. – Deuteronomy 26:1-2
- The Israelites are instructed to express their gratitude to God for their bountiful harvests and freedom from slavery by tithing ten percent of their crops for the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. (26)
- The people are told to display on large stones God’s commandments for all to see. (27:1-8)
- The Levites are to proclaim curses upon those who violate God’s commandments. (27:15-26)
- The Israelites are told that if they obey God’s mitzvot faithfully, they will receive every blessing imaginable. They are also told that if do not fulfill their brit with God, many curses will descend upon them. (28:1-69)
- Moses reminds the Israelites of the miracles they witnessed in the wilderness and commands them to observe the terms of the covenant so that they may succeed in all that they undertake. (29:1-8)
The sixth haftarah in the cycle of seven haftarot of consolation after Tisha B’Av, leading up to Rosh Hashanah. A connection to the parashah appears in Deuteronomy 26:16-19, where God says that the Israelites are God’s special treasure, while in Isaiah 60, we read about the light of the people. This year Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of Friday, September 15, 2023. This haftarah corresponds to Parashat Ki Tavo.
From ETZ HAYIM TORAH AND COMMENTARY
Copyright © 2001 by The Rabbinical Assembly
THE SEVEN HAFTAROT OF CONSOLATION p. 1032
The Seven Haftarot of Consolation follow the Three Haftarot of Admonition (puranuta) that were recited on the three Sabbaths before Tish-ah b’Av. As the synagogue calendar progresses, these 10 haftarah readings are followed by one chosen especially for the Shabbat that precedes Yom Kippur. Thus we have a cycle of special haftarot for this period, each unrelated to the parashah that is read on Shabbat.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/ki-tavo
By: Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Deuteronomy that is read on this Shabbat, we will read Isaiah 60:1-22. You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.26.1-29.8, and the Haftarah at https://www.sefaria.org/Isaiah.60.1-22
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
כי תבוא Ki Tavo – Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Claudia Setzer, pp. 1210-1
Now if you obey (28:1). The Hebrew construction of this phrase gives double emphasis to the word “obey.” Midrash Sh’mot Rabbah 7.1 suggests that this apparent repetition refers to the double reward that obedience to God’s commandments in this world, such as synagogue worship and study, will merit in the world-to-come: “Whoever listens to the voice of the Torah in this world will be privileged to listen to the voice of which it is written, ‘The voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride’ (Jeremiah 16:9).” According to this Midrash, “Moses said to Israel: ‘Whoever listens to the words of the Torah is exalted in both worlds, so be diligent to listen to the words of the Torah.’”
Blessed shall you be in the city (28:3). According to Sh’mot Rabbah 7.5, “in the city” refers to rewards for precepts performed in the city–including challah (dough offering; see Numbers 15:18–21), tzitzit (tassels), sukkah, and the kindling of the Sabbath lights. While only men must fulfill tzitzit and sukkah, rabbinic Judaism considered challah and the kindling of Sabbath lights (hadlakat nerot) to be specifically female ritual responsibilities. Together with observance of the laws connected with the niddah (menstruating woman), these three women’s obligations were known in rabbinic parlance by the acronym ChaNaH, which spells the name “Hannah,” alluding to Samuel’s mother–whose supplication to God in I Samuel 2:1–10 is seen as the model of sincere prayer. According to Judith Hauptman, Mishnah P’sachim and its Tosefta both assume women’s knowledge of key home rituals like separating challah or baking matzah. Rather than supervising the women, or assuming the duties themselves, men relied upon women’s expertise in order to retain a state of sinlessness and ritual purity (Women in the Rabbinic Kitchen, forthcoming).
And she who is most tender and dainty among you (28:56). Particularly horrific in this passage is the reference to the woman whose desperate hunger leads her to devour her own children. This image of the loving mother who turns deadly is a staple of folk literature; it appears in the Bible as a symbol of the world turned upside down by war and famine (II Kings 6:25–29; Lamentations 2:20). It also fits with the broader prophetic portrait of the nation as a formerly beautiful and prosperous woman now degraded and suffering (Amos 4:1–3; 5:1–3; Lamentations 1:1).
The Jewish historian Josephus underscores the depth of suffering during the war against Rome in 66–70 C.E. with the story of a wealthy woman of pedigree, Mary the daughter of Eleazar of Bethezuba, who roasts and eats half of her nursing baby: “She proceeded to an act of outrage on nature. Seizing her child, an infant at the breast, ‘Poor babe,’ she cried, ‘amidst war, famine, and sedition, to what end should I preserve you?… Come, be food for me, to the rebels an avenging fury, and to the world a tale such as alone is wanting to the calamities of the Jews.’ With these words she slew her son, and then, having roasted the body and devoured half of it, she covered up and stored the remainder. At once the rebels were upon her and, scenting the unholy odor, threatened her with instant death unless she produced what she had prepared. Replying that she had reserved a goodly portion for them also, she disclosed the remnants of her child” (The Jewish War 6.3.4 §§ 205–213). Even the Roman soldiers shrank away in horror from this sight, and the whole city shuddered at the abomination.
The same motifs appear in BT Yoma 38b and Midrash Eichah Rabbah 2.23 in a story about an infant named Doeg ben Joseph: “Every day his mother would measure him by handbreadths and would give his [added] weight in gold to the Temple. And when the enemy prevailed, she slaughtered him and ate him; and concerning her Jeremiah lamented, ‘Shall the women eat their fruit, their new-born babes?’ (Lamentations 2:20). Whereupon the Holy Spirit replied: ‘Shall the priest and prophet be slain in the Sanctuary of יהוה?’ (Lamentations 2:20).” For the Rabbis, the horror of the mother’s actions parallels the divine outrage at the murder of Zechariah ben Jehoiada in the Temple, referred to in II Chronicles 24:20–22. Rabbinic attitudes toward women and their bodies are symbolic: the tender mother who cares for her child stands for the world as it ought to be, while the baby-devouring mother shows the world gone mad.
HIGH HOLY DAYS
Please watch for emails from Dr. Sam Caron, Congregational President, regarding Temple Kol Hamidbar’s plans this year for observing Rosh Hashanah (evening of Fri, Sep 15 – Sun, Sep 17, 2023) and Yom Kippur (evening of Sun, Sep 24 – Mon, Sep 25, 2023).
In the meantime, various congregations within the Reform Movement are still providing online resources to anyone interested in participating in services. In some cases, registration is required. You may want to visit the following websites for their latest information on the High Holy Days and how to access them.
Kol Ami (formerly Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Or Chadash), Tucson, AZ https://katucson.shulcloud.com/
Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA https://orami.org/hhd/
Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA https://www.oaklandsinai-hhd.org/
The Union for Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/rosh-hashanah/how-find-high-holiday-community-wherever-you-are
SELICHOT – nightfall Saturday, September 9, 2023
In Sephardic tradition Selichot (penitential prayers) are recited every morning starting the second day of Elul. In Ashkenazi tradition Selichot are recited starting with a special service beginning the Saturday night immediately before Rosh Hashanah. If the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on a Monday or Tuesday, then the service is held the Saturday night one week prior. This ensures that Selichot are said at least four times. In the Reform Movement generally, the Saturday Selichot Service begins at nightfall. Sadly, we are unable to provide this beautiful service which highlights the 13 attributes of mercy, please check the internet for any online services.
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 of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific 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, 16 Elul through 22 Elul, we lovingly remember:
Temple Kol Hamidbar Memorial List
Friend of TKH member
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
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, September 1, 2023. During Elul, Mary Caron will sound the Shofar before the start of Shazoom.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Haftarah Tavo: Isaiah 60:1-22
Time: Sep 1, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Sep 1, 2023 07:30 PM Arizona
To join 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.
Ketivah Vechatima Tovah – A Good Writing and Sealing!
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat – Gut Shabbos!
PS – About the Book of Isaiah:
From Jewish Encyclopedia
From My Jewish Learning
From Torah.org (includes Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel)
From Wikipedia (refers to Proto-Isaiah, Deutero-Isaiah, Trito-Isaiah)
Timelines from Wikipedia