SHAZOOM ONLY 6:30 PM Nov 10, 2023
PRAYER FOR PEACE – WE STAND WITH ISRAEL
Adonai oz l’amo yitën, Adonai yevarëch et amo vashalom.
May the Eternal One grant strength to our people;
may the Eternal One bless our people with peace.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/chayei-sarah
Chayei Sarah [חַיֵּי שָׂרָה – The Life of Sarah] – Genesis 23:1−25:18
Sarah lived to be 127 years old – such was the span of Sarah’s life. – Genesis 23:1
- Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah in order to bury his wife Sarah. (23:1-20)
- Abraham sends his servant to find a bride for Isaac. (24:1-9)
- Rebekah shows her kindness by offering to draw water for the servant’s camels at the well. (24:15-20)
- The servant meets Rebekah’s family and then takes Rebekah to Isaac, who marries her. (24:23-67)
- Abraham takes another wife, named Keturah. At the age of one hundred and seventy-five years, Abraham dies, and Isaac and Ishmael bury him in the cave of Machpelah. (25:1-11)
1 Kings 1:1-31
From The Haftarah Commentary, Gunther Plaut/Chaim Stern UAHC Press 1996 p.44
Connection of sidra and haftarah:
Sarah has been buried, and the aged Abraham wants to find a proper wife for his son Isaac, so that the future of the family, which is the bearer of God’s promise, will be secured. The haftarah tells us of King David’s old age and the way Solomon was chosen as his successor.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/chayei-sarah
By: Rabbi Kari Tuling
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
We will meet only for Shazoom at 6:30 pm this Friday evening, November 10, 2023. For the next year, we will meet every other Friday for Torah Study to read and discuss selections from Ketuvim, the third section of Tanach (Hebrew Bible), which follows Torah and Nevi’im. Please see the NEW Torah Study-Shazoom schedule below. NEXT week we will continue discussing Tehillim (Psalms). You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.23.1-25.18 and the Haftarah at https://www.sefaria.org/I_Kings.1.1-31
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
חיי שרה Chayei Sarah – Genesis 23:1–25:18
Contemporary Reflection – by Maeera Shreiber, pp. 129-130
“AND ABRAHAM PROCEEDED to mourn for Sarah and to bewail her” (Genesis 23:2). With this verse, our parashah invites us to consider the history of a significant yet often obscured tradition in women’s discourse, namely, mourning.
In this parashah we have the first account of mourning (even though death has figured prominently earlier). Here a woman, Sarah, is mourned, and the mourner is a man, Abraham her husband. Yet sources disclose that in the ancient world the act of mourning was typically associated with women. Margaret Alexiou’s landmark study, The Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition (1974), calls attention to the gendered characteristics of mourning practices and language. Throughout antiquity, in both Greek and Middle Eastern cultures, the lament–a standard feature of ritual life–belonged largely to women who gathered to lead the community in the rites of grief. In the Bible, just as in the Classical tradition, the lament was associated with the feminine. The book of Jeremiah lets us hear the bitter weeping of Rachel, mourning over her absent children (Jeremiah 31:15). That book also conspicuously presents songs of communal loss as a maternal legacy; because of disaster, the prophet instructs the women thus: “Teach your daughters wailing, and one another lamentation” (Jeremiah 9:19). When the world splits open, when history fails, the feminine voice is made audible.
The Bible does not preserve actual descriptions of mourning rituals or women’s laments. What we do have is the book of Lamentations, a national lament, in which–as is common in laments–the poet repeatedly appropriates a female persona, singing as if a woman: “My children are forlorn, / For the foe has prevailed” (1:16). Composed in response to the destruction of Jerusalem (586 B.C.E.) at the hands of the Neo-Babylonian army, Lamentations chronicles a nation’s effort to know itself in the aftermath of a profound severing of its relation to God–the divine principle that confers meaning upon the social order. And in this book, catastrophe is repeatedly gendered. The female is the subject reciting the lament; she is also the object of exploitation, since to the poet the feminine body represents the site of social disrepair. In this way, Lamentations provides yet another textual example of the widespread symbol of nation-as-woman, ever vulnerable to foreign invasion. Women are cast as the ideal speakers of loss and rupture, for that is a condition which they embody.
Lamentations opens with a cluster of images figuring Jerusalem as an abandoned woman; she is likened variously to a slave, a fallen princess, and a widow–an almanah, a term Alan Mintz points out “designates not so much a woman who has lost her husband as the social status of a woman who has no legal protector and who may thus be abused with impunity” (Reading Hebrew Literature, 2002, p. 24). Indeed, almanah may be etymologically linked to the Hebrew verb that means to be mute or dumb (with the letters aleph, lamed, and mem). This association deepens our sense of the widow as one who cannot speak on her own behalf. Focusing on the structures of meaning in the Hebrew Bible, Elaine Scarry identifies a crucial division between God manifested as a voice and humanity as embodied: “To have a body is to be creatable, …and woundable. To have no body, to have only a voice, is to be none of these things; it is to be the wounder but not oneself woundable” (The Body in Pain, 1985, p. 206). The distinction is central to Lamentations, where “daughter of Zion” is represented, especially in the first chapters, as virtually all body, broken and disabled.
Turning to the post-biblical period, women continue to dominate in the mention of laments. Rabbinic tractates include a few such references. For example, in Mishnah K’tubot (4:4), Rabbi Yehuda rules that even the poorest husband must provide one lament-singing woman for his wife’s funeral, as a minimum display of honor. In the Talmud, we find a suite of poetic fragments which suggest that the lament, as a standard feature of ritual life, belonged largely to the women who gathered to lead the community in the rites. Attributed to the sage Raba, we read: “The women of Shkanziv say: ‘Woe for his leaving / woe for our grieving” (BT Moed Katan 28b). To this day, Yemenite and Kurdistani women living in Israel continue to assume a large role in mourning the dead in their communities. (See Susan Sered, Women as Ritual Experts, 1992.)
In Western culture, meanwhile, the genre of lament has become a useful frame for women poets. Dahlia Ravikovitch, who emerged as an important Israeli poet during the 1950s, has been described as a “lamenting poetess in the ancient biblical tradition” (Shirley Kaufman, et al., eds., Hebrew Feminist Poems, 1999, p. 13). A particularly beautiful and haunting example of Ravikovitch’s contribution to the genre may be found in her poem “They Required a Song of Us.” The poem begins with a line from another well-known Israeli poet, Lea Goldberg, who asks: “How shall we sing a song of Zion / when we have not even begun to hear?” Like Goldberg’s query, Ravikovitch’s poem meditates on Psalm 137, a famous expression of exilic despair in the Bible, where the speaker asks: “How can we sing a song of יהוה on alien soil?” Ravikovitch answers this ancient query by recognizing the need for a new kind of utterance: “Sing intimate songs / that the soul shies away from singing…” (Tal Nizan, ed., With an Iron Pen: Hebrew Protest Poetry 1984–2004, 2005).
Turning to twentieth-century Jewish American poetry, we find new variations on the lament in the work of Adrienne Rich. Wrestling with the expressive limitations of other forms of poetic mourning, Rich writes of her frustration in “A Woman Dead In Her Forties.” Here the speaker first confronts the genre of lament’s potential inadequacy, feeling “half-afraid” to write a lament for one who did not “read it much”–and then gropes for an alternative: “from here on I want,” she writes, “more crazy mourning, more howl, more keening” (Facts on a Doorframe, 2002, p. 255). This discontent compels Rich to reactivate the lament in her 1991 volume An Atlas of the Difficult World. In a later collection, written in the aftermath of the Gulf War crisis (1991–92), Rich longs to convey what she knows to be true: that poetry can be a powerful, socially constitutive force for reconfiguring community (What is Found There, 1993, p. xiv). Poets such as Merle Feld, Esther Broner, and Penina Adelman also explore the power of mourning. Their versions of lament, along with Rich’s, alert us to the reconstructive possibilities of an ancient biblical form.
ROSH CHODESH KISLEV
Kislev begins at sundown on Monday, November 13, 2023, and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. It is the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar and the third of the civil calendar. Rosh Chodesh is a minor holiday that occurs at the beginning of every month in the Hebrew calendar. It is marked by the birth of a new moon.
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.
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.376
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!
PRAYER FOR THE STATE OF ISRAEL p.552
O HEAVENLY ONE, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it beneath the wings of your love; spread over it the canopy of Your peace; send Your light and truth to all who lead and advise, guiding them with Your good counsel. Establish peace in the land and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen.
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, 27 Cheshvan through 4 Kislev, we lovingly remember:
Julius (Archie) Zalla
TKH Memorial Board
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
We will meet ONLY for Shazoom this evening, Friday, November 10, 2023. For the next several months, we will read and discuss selections from Ketuvim, the third section of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible). Please see the NEW Torah Study-Shazoom schedule below. NEXT week we will continue discussing Tehillim (Psalms).
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.
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Nov 10, 2023 06:30 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.
Happy Veteran’s Day!
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat/Gut Shabbos
PS – About Tehillim (Psalms) and the NEW schedule through December 2023:
From My Jewish Learning
From Jewish Encyclopedia
From Encyclopedia Britannica
NEW Schedule for Torah Study and Shazoom (Arizona Time Zone):
November 10, 2023 – Shazoom at 6:30 pm
November 17, 2023 – Torah Study at 6 pm and Shazoom at 7:30 pm
November 24, 2023 – Shazoom at 6:30 pm
December 1, 2023 – Torah Study at 6 pm and Shazoom at 7:30 pm
December 8, 2023 – Shazoom at 6:30 pm [Chanukah 2nd Candle before sundown]
December 15, 2023 – Torah Study at 6 pm and Shazoom at 7:30 pm [Chanukah ends]
December 22, 2023 – Shazoom at 6:30 pm
December 29, 2023 – Torah Study at 6 pm and Shazoom at 7:30 pm