PRAYER FOR PEACE – WE STAND WITH ISRAEL
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur” CCAR, New York 2007, p.258
SIM SHALOM tovah uv’rachah, chën vachésed v’rachamim, alëinu v’al kōl Yisrael amécha.
GRANT PEACE, goodness and blessing, grace, kindness and mercy,
to us and to all Your people Israel.
DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Mazal Tov – Mazal Bueno to all those celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or significant event during the Month of December. 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 Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayishlach
Vayishlach [וַיִּשְׁלַח (Jacob) Sent] Genesis 32:4−36:43
Jacob now sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, in the countryside of Edom. – Genesis 32:4
- Jacob prepares to meet Esau. He wrestles with a “man,” who changes Jacob’s name to Israel. (32:4-33)
- Jacob and Esau meet and part peacefully, each going his separate way. (33:1-17)
- Dinah is raped by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of the country. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi take revenge by murdering all the males of Shechem, and Jacob’s other sons join them in plundering the city. (34:1-31)
- Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin and is buried in Ephrah, which is present-day Bethlehem. (35:16-21)
- Isaac dies and is buried in Hebron. Jacob’s and Esau’s progeny are listed. (35:22-36:43)
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayishlach
Hosea 11:7-12:12 (some Ashkenazim) or Obadiah 1:1-21 (Historic: Sephardim and many Ashkenazim)
Connection to the parshah
The section from the Book of Hosea mentions the deeds of Jacob, including his wrestling with an angel. The Book of Obadiah deals with God’s wrath against the kingdom of Edom, who are descended from Esau. At times Esau’s name is used as a synonym for the nation.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayishlach
By: Rabbi Kari Tuling
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For the time being, 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. THIS week we will continue studying Tehillim (Psalms). You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.32.4-36.43 and the Haftarah at https://www.sefaria.org/Hosea.11.7-12.12 or https://www.sefaria.org/Obadiah.1.1-21
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D., Women of Reform Judaism/The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods and URJ Press New York 2008
וישלח Vayishlach – Genesis 32:4–36:43
Contemporary Reflection – by Laura Geller, pp. 204-5
AFTER TWENTY YEARS, Jacob is coming home. Anticipating that the reunion with the brother he cheated all those years ago will be disastrous, he sends messengers laden with presents ahead to his brother. But just to be on the safe side, he divides his camp in order to minimize the losses should he come under attack. The story continues: “That same night, he got up, took his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, and crossed at a ford of the Jabbok [river]…. Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him” (32:23–25). The nocturnal wrestler wounds and blesses him and gives him a new name–our name: Yisrael, one who wrestles with God.
Jacob’s wrestling with God is a powerful image and legacy. We never know with whom Jacob is wrestling: is it himself, his conscience, his brother, God, or all of these parts of himself and of his life? Jacob names the place Peniel, meaning “Face of God,” for, as he states, “I have seen God face-to-face” (32:31). Somehow, alone, separated from his “two wives” and his “eleven children,” Jacob discovers the face of God in his adversary–and Jacob is blessed.
Eleven children cross the river? But Jacob already at this point has twelve children. What about Dinah, his daughter? What happened to her? Rashi, quoting a midrash, explains: “He placed her in a chest and locked her in.” While many commentaries understand that by locking Dinah in a box Jacob intends to protect her from marrying his brother Esau, we know the truth of the story. Hiding Dinah–locking her up–is a powerful image about silencing a woman. And that silence echoes loudly through the rest of the Torah.
What happens next? Dinah gets raped (Genesis 34).
In an ultimate act of silencing, the commentaries understand Dinah’s rape as Jacob’s punishment for withholding her from Esau. Dinah’s rape is Jacob’s punishment? What about Dinah? What has she done? How does she feel? Our text is silent. We only know what her brothers and father think: that she has been defiled (34:5–7), that she must not be treated as a whore (34:31). No one in the Torah or the midrashic accounts asks her what she wants, what she needs, or how she can be comforted.
Her silence is loud enough to reverberate through the generations. We hear it in the reports of other fathers who perceive their daughter’s rape as their dishonor, their punishment. Fortunately for Dinah, in Genesis the blame and punishment fall entirely on the perpetrator and his people, not on her. Other women are not as lucky. In 1998, in Pakistan, Arbab Khatoon was raped by three men in a village in Jacobabad district. She was murdered seven hours later. According to local residents, she was killed by her relatives for bringing dishonor to the family by going to the police. In 1999, Lal Jamilla Mandokhel, a 16-year-old mentally retarded girl, was reportedly raped several times by a junior clerk of the local government department of agriculture in a hotel in Parachinar, Pakistan. The girl’s uncle filed a complaint about the incident with police–who took the accused into protective custody but then handed over the girl to her tribe. The elders decided that she had brought shame to her tribe and that the honor could only be restored by her death; she was killed in front of a tribal gathering.
Similar stories are reported not only in Pakistan but also in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan [sic], Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda–as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. No wonder women are silent!
This outrage is only part of a much larger problem of violence against women. For example, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than five thousand brides die annually in India because their dowries are considered insufficient. Widney Brown, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, says that “in countries where Islam is practiced, they’re called honor killings, but dowry deaths and so-called crimes of passion have a similar dynamic in that the women are killed by male family members and crimes are perceived as excusable or understandable.” The practice, she said, “goes across cultures and across religions.” In the few cases when public outcry around the world and international pressure were used, a woman’s life was spared. But stories that capture the headlines do not begin to address the scope and range of the problem.
Another form that violence takes is sexual slavery and human trafficking, which even happens in Israel. According to a recent Knesset report, thousands of women are illegally smuggled into Israel and sold into sexual slavery. These young women–typically in their early twenties–are raped, abused, incarcerated and threatened, “servicing” 15–25 clients over 14–18 hours a day, 7 days a week. The women become indentured slaves with an ever-growing debt to their owners. Israeli men from all walks of life pay approximately a million visits to brothels per month and the profits from this illicit activity are estimated at $750 million annually. Sexual slavery and human trafficking remain a global problem, taking place in nearly every corner of the world. It is estimated that 600,000–800,000 people–mostly women and children–are trafficked across borders worldwide every year. (For ways to get information–and to get involved in this issue–please contact the Task Force on Human Trafficking through its Web site.)
We hear Dinah’s silence as well in the challenges to reproductive rights happening right now in the United States. If Dinah were raped and became pregnant while living in South Dakota in 2007 she might not be able to get an abortion.
What happens to Dinah in the aftermath of her ordeal? We do not know. We never hear from her, just as we may never hear from the women and girls in our generation who are victims of violence and whose voices are not heard. But the legacy of Jacob as Israel, the one who wrestles, demands that we confront the shadowy parts of ourselves and our world–and not passively ignore these facts. The feminist educator Nelle Morton urged women to hear each other “into speech.” Dinah’s story challenges us to go even further and be also the voices for all of our sisters.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
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.
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 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, 19 Kislev through 25 Kislev, we lovingly remember:
Mother of Rachel Harris
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 both Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, December 1, 2023. For the next few sessions, we will read and discuss Tehillim (Psalms) found in the third section of Tanakh, Ketuvim.
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 – Ketuvim: Tehillim
Time: Dec 1, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Dec 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.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat/Gut Shabbos
PS – Chanukah is less than a week away. This year, Chanukah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 7, 2023, and ends at nightfall on Friday, December 15, 2023. Prior to the Shazoom service on December 8, there will be the lighting of the Chanukiah (second candle) before lighting the Shabbat candles.
PSS – 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):
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