Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Beresheet 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ
The Release of Gilad Shalit: A Prayer of Thanks
על שחרורו של גלעד בן אביבה ונעם שליט
אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵינוּ, בְּיוֹם גָּדוֹל וְקָדוֹשׁ זֶה, זְמַן שִׂמְחָתֵנוּ, אָנוּ נוֹשְׂאִים לְבָבֵנוּ אֶל כַּפַּיִם אֶל אֵל בַּשָּׁמַיִם בְּגִילָה וּבְשִׂמְחָה בִּרְעָדָה וּבְהוֹדָיָה עַל חַסְדְךָ הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ עִם גִּלְעַד בֶּן אֲבִיבָה וְנֹעַם שֶׁהֲשִׁיבוֹתוֹ בְּשָׁלוֹם מִשִׁבְיוֹ לְמִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ וּלְאַרְצוֹ וּלְעַמּוֹ בִּדְּמֵי חַיָּיו.
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ, יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁבְּיוֹם זֶה וּבְכָל הַיָּמִים הַבָּאִים יֵדַע הַשָׁבוּי שֶׁנִּפְדָה שִׂמְחָה בַּלֵּב וְשַׁלְוָה בַּנֶּפֶשׁ וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו, יַחַד עִם אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו, עִם אֶחָיו וְעִם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל.
רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים, אֵל שִׂמְחַת גִּילֵנוּ, יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ שֶׁעֵקֶב פִּדְיוֹנוֹ לֹא יְאֻנֶּה כָּל פֶּגַע אוֹ רָעָה לִבְנֵי עַמֶּך לֹא בַּשָּׁנָה הַזֹּאת וְלֹא בְּכָל הַשָּׁנִים הַבָּאוֹת עָלֵינוּ לְטוֹבָה, אֶלָּא בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים פְּרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת רַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם.
וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.
Our God and God of our ancestors, on this great and holy day, the season of our rejoicing, we raise our hearts to God in heaven in joy, happiness, trembling and thanksgiving for the great kindness that You have shown Gilad the son of Aviva and Noam Schalit that You have restored him safely from his place of capture to his family, his country and his people. May it be Your pleasure, God and God of our ancestors, that this day and in the future the redeemed prisoner may know joy in his heart, peace of mind and success in all his endeavors together with all his family and all Israel his brethren. Sovereign of the Universe, God of our exultation, may it be Your pleasure that this redemption not bring in its wake any harm or mishap to Your people, neither this year not in years to come; but in Your great compassion spread over us the sukkah of compassion, life and peace. May this be Your pleasure and let us respond Amen.
IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW
PARASHAT BERESHEET – BIRKAT HAHODESH
October 22, 2011 – 24 Tishrei 5772
Annual: Genesis 1:1 – 6:8 (Etz Hayim, p. 3; Hertz p. 2)
Triennial Cycle: Genesis 2:4 – 4:26 (Etz Hayim, p. 12; Hertz p. 6)
Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10 (Etz Hayim, p. 36; Hertz p. 21)
“And God saw all that He had made, and found it very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)
1. “For consumers of art and culture, one simple way to sift out ephemerality is ‘time-shifting’ – i.e. delaying one’s experience of a cultural product long enough that any undue hype surrounding it has dissipated…. If you want to see whether something is great, leave it on a shelf for seven days, or seven years, or seventy.” (Bill Wasik, And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture)
2. “In the Torah of Rabbi Meir, it was found written: ‘Death is good’ (tov mot, rather than the very similar sounding traditional text, tov me’od – very good), indicating that death is becoming for the righteous, who find peaceful rest from their struggles, and it is becoming for the wicked, who will thereby cease their sinning.” (Midrash Rabbah)
3. “It was the sixth day, the day God created adam (humankind), that gave His intended meaning and value to Creation. Only then, therefore, could God consider His Creation tov me’od, very good. Indeed, the very letters that spell me’od (very) – mem-aleph-dalet – also spell adam (humankind) – aleph-dalet-mem, for only humanity’s presence allows Creation to fulfill its destiny.” (Rabbi David Feinstein, Kol Dodi)
4. “God would not have created the world if among all possible creations it had not been the best.” (Gottfried von Leibnitz, Théodicée)
5. “A pity for the world, which, like other self-made things, was reckoned by the Lord to be so excellently good.” (Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gynt)
Questions for Discussion:
Wasik’s statement suggests that the lessons of Shabbat – here, judicious perspective, patient deliberation, skepticism at the seductiveness of the faddish – are urgently needed in the twenty-first century. In what other ways has Shabbat become increasingly compelling for contemporary Jews? What fads and trends – very much the subject of Wasik’s book – are countered by Shabbat observance?
Midrash Rabbah and von Leibnitz affirm the ultimate goodness of Creation while implicitly recognizing its imperfections. How might these insights be helpful to those who are bereaved or are otherwise experiencing personal adversity, and to those whose task it is to comfort and support them?
If humankind alone of all species is capable of moral evil, how is it that – as Rabbi Feinstein has taught – adam is the very meaning of me’od… that which lends God’s “intended meaning and value to Creation”?
Is there indeed a peril to avoid in the assertion that humankind is inherently exceptional, God’s crowning glory?
Your thoughts as always are welcome…
A. Thursday, October 27, 6:30 PM: Women’s League Paid-up Membership Dinner
B. Friday, November 4, 6:30 PM: ShabbatTis4U – followed by a Shabbat Dinner – NO LATE SERVICE
C. Friday through Saturday, November 11th & 12th – Scholar in Residence Shabbat – In addition, Friday night, 11/11, we will honor during the 8 PM service all of our VETERANS
D. Sunday, November 13th, 11 AM: Kristallnacht Commemoration Program
E. Thursday, November 17th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
F. Friday, November 18th:
1. 6:30 PM: Kids Kabbalat Shabbat program
2. 8 PM: late service
G. Saturday, November 19th, Bat Mitzvah of Elana Neher
H. Monday, November 21st , 7 PM: Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Service – hosted by Temple Shaa`rey Shalom
I. Thursday, December 1, 8 PM: Coffee & Clergy Corner – Springfield Barnes & Noble: Rabbi Mallach & Reverend David Knecht, Holy Cross Lutheran Church – will lead a topical discussion on issues that we all face – OPEN TO ALL
NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR
There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. Currently exploring departure dates for the end of June, 2012
2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum
3. Having a chairman to organize
If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN MANY RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)
For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/
You can also visit my website at http://ridinrebbe.com/