Sermon: Haye Sara 5772

November 17th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Sermons

Shabbat Shalom.
Tonight, I want to do some comparative literature analysis: Torah and Shakespeare.
First, Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar: Two weeks ago I was in Rome with my wife and her 4 siblings and their spouses. I was the tour guide for the family – our system was I would explain in English, and Genya would translate into Russian for her family.
At the Forum, I began by telling the story of the assassination of Julius Caesar and the eulogy by Marc Anthony. What better way to do so than utilizing Shakespeare’s words from Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
…For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men -
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.
And, then, I paused and received a smattering of applause from some other tourists that were there, but, when I looked at my relatives – their expressions were blank.
And, so, I asked Genya, did you translate into Russian? Yes, she said. So, why no reaction? She replied, growing up we never heard of Marc Anthony’s eulogy. I said, how could that be, one of the most famous lines in all of literature – “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”
I was stunned – how is that possible? Her answer, back in the former Soviet Union, we never studied it. Wow, was William Shakespeare such a capitalist that his body of work was banned!?!?
Truth be told, we don’t really know if Marc Anthony actually uttered those words. Literary scholars Shakespeare crafted the eulogy as a subtle, seditious affront to the English monarchy. After all, why was Julius Caesar assassinated? Because the members of the Roman Senate feared he was using his popularity with the people to change the rule of the land from a privileged democracy to an all powerful monarchy.
This brings me to the opening verse of this week’s parasha, Haye Sara:
וַיִּהְיוּ חַיֵּי שָׂרָה, מֵאָה שָׁנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים.“Now Sara’s life was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years” (Gen. 23:1)
Our rabbis have long question the formation of this verse. Why not just state 127 years instead of 100 years – 20 years – 7 years; the thrice repetition of the word Shana – years?
The commentators primarily suggest that the repetition represents different phases in Sarah’s life. Again, truth be told, we don’t really know if Sara lived to be 127, we just have the literary expression of it in our Torah. And like our ancient rabbis, we too find it a bit incredulous that she lived to such an age. So why?
I believe that like Shakespeare, the ancient Masorites, our sages responsible for the final text of the Torah, had a socio-politico agenda; one that might surprise you.
What is truly unique about the specification of Sarah’s life-span is not how the years are listed, but that they are even listed. Sarah is the only woman in the Tanakh – the Hebrew Bible, whose age is given!
Az mah? So what? One of the strongest literary criticisms of the Tanakh has been that it is male-centric literature. For example, when the birth of the great hero Samson is described, the name of his father is stated; whereas the name of his mother is never mention – she is simply called the wife of Manoach.
Thus, the unique stating of Sarah’s age places her on the same level of our patriarchs Avraham, Yitzchak & Yaakov – she is important –she is the ultimate matriarch – she is the true genesis of monotheism via her womb –– the first woman to change a marital relationship from a monarchy to a democracy; thus, she is the original feminist.
Elana, tomorrow you will be called to the Torah as Bat Mitzvah, and yes, this is a ceremony that had it origins for girls only in the 20th century, but remember, it is Sarah, from your Torah portion, that made it eventually possible.

TTT: Haye Sara 5772

November 17th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TTT

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Haye Sara 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ
MINYAN ASSURANCE NEEDED
Sunday evening, 11/27, 7:45 PM & Monday morning, 11/28, 7 AM, Miriam Gershwin has a Yahrzeit

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IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW

PARASHAT Haye Sara
November 19, 2011 – 22 Heshvan 5772
Annual: Genesis 23:1 – 25:188 (Etz Hayim p. 127; Hertz p. 80)
Triennial: Genesis 24:10 – 24:52 (Etz Hayim p. 132; Hertz p. 83)
Haftarah: I Kings 1:1 – 31 (Etz Hayim p. 143; Hertz p. 90)
Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser

“Then Laban and Bethuel answered, ‘The matter was decreed by the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be a wife to your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.” (Genesis 24:50)
COMMENTARY:
“A Roman matron asked Rabbi Yose bar Chalafta: ‘In how many days did God create His world?’ “‘In six days,’ he replied. “‘And what has He been doing ever since?’ she asked. “‘God sits and arranges marital matches,’ Rabbi Yose told her. ‘It is as difficult as parting the Red Sea.’” (Midrash Bereishit Rabbah 68:3-4)
“When Resh Lakish began to expound, he spoke thus: ‘They only pair a woman with a man according to his deeds. Rabbi Judah has said in the name of Rav: ‘Forty days before the creation of a child, a Divine Voice issues forth and proclaims: The daughter of So-andso is for So-and-so.’” (Talmud Sotah 2A)
“Beshert is what you get after using your time to be loving and caring, after creating a true marital unit out of two individuals. It is true that everything is in the Almighty’s hands, but not necessarily in the way we initially think. If we do the real job necessary to make a marriage work, then the Almighty performs a miracle for us – we see that although we didn’t recognize it at first, we have married our beshert after all.” (Emuna Braverman)
“Providence is wiser than you, and you may be confident it has suited all things better to your eternal good than you could do had you been left to your own option.” (John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence)
“In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” (Maya Angelou)

DISCUSSION:
Laban is, understandably, viewed as less than a positive character. Even his name, meaning “white” – that is, without distinguishing features or characteristics – implies a lack of principle. Was his endorsement of God’s plan sincere and faithful? What ulterior motives might have impelled him to make this statement? Was he demonstrating trust in God, or was he duplicitously exploiting the religious fervor of Abraham’s servant?
If we are agents of God’s Providence – that is, if it is our job to carry out God’s master plan – when is it proper to say, “We cannot speak to you bad or good,” simply accepting events as a function of Divine will? How do we know when to act, when to intervene when events take a turn we judge to be unseemly, undesirable, or un-Godly? How are we to make such judgments, and when are we to bow to Providence?
Why is romantic love – and, more specifically, the successful marital bond – viewed as God’s handiwork? Is this a statement about the sanctity of marriage? A reflection on the mystery of what attracts any two people together as marital partners? The infinite influences, coincidences, choices, and other inexplicable factors that conspire to bring two people together?
Consider the debate between Resh Lakish and Rav. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of each sage’s position? Are there not examples of unfortunate people of good character with profoundly unworthy spouses? Does this unpleasant reality undermine Rav or Resh Lakish? Resh Lakish was a penitent former gladiator, who returned to Jewish piety and was married to the beautiful sister of Rabbi Yochanan; how does his theology of marriage reflect his view of himself?! How might Emuna Braverman resolve (or, at least, respond to) this rabbinic dispute?
Your thoughts as always are welcome…

REMINDERS:

A. Sunday, November 20:
1. 9 AM:
a. Religious School
b. Morning Minyan
2. 10 AM – 5 PM: Jewish Fair & Expo Green Lane Y
3. 7 – 8 PM: Step Up For Israel – 2nd in the series of films and discussion on advocacy for Israel
4. 7:45 PM: evening minyan

B. Thursday, November 17th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
C. Friday, November 18th:

1. 6:30 PM: Kids Kabbalat Shabbat program
2. 8 PM: late service

D. Saturday, November 19th, Bat Mitzvah of Elana Neher

E. Monday, November 21st , 7:30 PM: Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Service – hosted by Temple Shaa`rey Shalom

F. Thursday, November 24th – MORNING MINYAN TIME = 9 AM
G. 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
H. Friday, December 2nd, 6:30 PM: SHABBATis4U
a. Services led by Kitah Zayin & Vav
b. NO LATE SERVICE
c. December birthday blessings
d. Yahrzeit list is read
e. Shabbat dinner to follow the services – an RSVP is needed – contact the office: office@templebethahmyisrael.com

I. Saturday, December 3rd, 9:30 AM: Anniversary of the B`nai Mitzvah of Ari & Ben Scherzer

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/

Prvw 4 Shbt Vayera 5772 – Schlr in Residence Shbt 11/11-12/11

November 9th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Shabbat Preview

Thursday, November 10, 2011 – 13 Heshvan 5772
Preview for Shabbat Vayera

Shabbat Vayera – November 11 & 12, 2011:
1. Scholar in Residence Shabbat – Galeet Dardashti – IT WILL BE A PHENOMENAL PRESENTATION
a. Erev Shabbat, Friday night, November 11th, 8 PM: as a renown vocalist, she will lead the Kabbalat Shabbat section of the services introducing and teaching the melodies of the ancient Iranian Jewish community, plus a special Haskiveinu &Yigdal during the Maariv section
b. Shabbat, Saturday, November 12th, 9:30 AM: as an anthropologist, she will teach on the history of this ancient method of prayer from the Iranian Jewish community during the service as a Dvar Torah, and during the Kiddush Luncheon will present Jewish Liturgical Melodies from the Pulpit to Pop
2. Friday night services, November 11th will also include:
a. Special Blessing/Recognition of our Veterans – Veterans, please attend and where attire that signifies that you are veteran (if you have such) & a presentation of Colors by our local JWV chapter
b. Dedication of the Rabbi Rueben Levine Memorial Sculpture

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association’s Annual Thanksgiving Service
Monday, November 21, 2011, 7:30 – 8:30 PM

Donations Requested to Benefit the Springfield First Aid & Rescue Squad
& Non-Perishable Goods for the NJ Food Bank
Hosted by Temple Sha`arey Shalom

UPCOMING EVENT REMINDERS:

A. Sunday, November 13:
1. 9 AM:
a. Religious School
b. Morning Minyan
2. 7:45 PM: evening minyan

B. November 11 & 12, 2011:
1.
a. 6:30 PM: Shabbat Dinner – by prior RSVP
b. 8 PM: Services begin
2. Friday night services, November 11th will include:
c. Special Blessing/Recognition of our Veterans – Veterans, please attend and where attire that signifies that you are veteran (if you have such) & presentation of Colors by JWV
d. Dedication of the Rabbi Rueben Levine Memorial Sculpture

C. Thursday, November 17th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
D. Friday, November 18th:

1. 6:30 PM: Kids Kabbalat Shabbat program
2. 8 PM: late service

E. Saturday, November 19th, Bat Mitzvah of Elana Neher

F. Monday, November 21st , 7:30 PM: Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Service – hosted by Temple Shaa`rey Shalom

G. 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

You can also visit my website at: http://ridinrebbe.com/

For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/

II. November 11, 2011 – 15 Heshvan: Shabbat Vayera – Scholar in Residence Shabbat – Galeet Dardashti – IT WILL BE A PHENOMENAL PRESENTATION

A. Candle Lighting Time: 4:24 PM
B. 6:30 PM: Shabbat Dinner with our scholar – prior RSVP needed
C. 8 PM Shabbat Services – Kabbalat Shabbat led/taught by Galeet Dardashti
1. Kiddush Soloist: Lesley Brooks
2. Sermon Theme
a. Special Blessing/Recognition of our Veterans – Veterans, please attend and where attire that signifies that you are veteran (if you have such)
b. Dedication of the Rabbi Rueben Levine Memorial Sculpture

3. L`kavod Shabbat – Special Honors
a. Responsive Readings:
b. Open Ark for Aleinu:
4. Bima Officers: Pam Kornspan & Sue Blanco
5. Oneg Shabbat: Sponsored by the Women’s League

II. Saturday, November 12, 2011 – 15 Heshvan: Shabbat Vayera

A. 9:30 AM: Shaharit L`Shabbat in the Sanctuary:
1. Shabbat Coordinator: Doug Chester
2. Baal Tefillah Preliminary Service (Prayer Leader): David Glass
3. Baal Tefillah Shaharit: Lesley Brooks
4. Dvar Torah: Galeet Dardashti
5. Baal Koreh (Torah Readers): Len Hausman
6. Baal Maftir (Haftorah Reader): Ken Melman
7. Gabbayim (Torah Proctors): ?
8. Baal Tefillah Musaf: David Glass
9. Special Aliyot

IF YOU WOULD LIKE AN ALIYAH, PLEASE LET US KNOW!!!!!
a. Congregational Aliyah:
b. B`nai Mitzvah Anniversary Aliyah:

10. Bima Officers Scheduled: Pam Kornspan & Sue Blanco
11. The Kiddush luncheon following services is sponsored by the Adult Education Committee
B. 10:30 AM: Youth Services ARE NOT in session
1. Grades 4 – 6 are in the Chapel
2. Mini-Minyan, grades K – 3 are in classroom # 2
3. 10:30 AM: “BABYSITTING & BLESSINGS” IS IN SESSION

Next Shabbat: Shabbat Haye Sara & the Bat Mitzvah of Elana Neher

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… it is looking better & better, but REALLY do need a chairman…)

Shabbat Shalom!

TTT: Vayera 5772

November 8th, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in TTT

Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Vayera 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬
IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW

PARASHAT Vayera
November 12, 2011 – 15 Heshvan 5772
Annual: Genesis 18:1 – 22:24
Triennial Cycle: Genesis 19:1 – 20:18
Haftarah: II Kings 4:1 – 37

“I thought,” said Abraham, “surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.” (Gen. 20:11)

COMMENTARY:
Rashi: When a stranger arrives in a city, do people ask him about what he would like to eat or drink, or do they ask him about his wife?
a. What question is Rashi answering here?
b. How can we compare this to our own cities?

Answers:
a. How did Abraham know that there was no fear of God in the place?
b. People often get a first impression of a city determined by whoever they first have to deal with.
So, what would a 1st time visitor to NYC think if their 1st encounter is at OWS?
Your thoughts as always are welcome…

REMINDERS:

A. Sunday, November 13:
1. 9 AM:
a. Religious School
b. Morning Minyan
2. 7:45 PM: evening minyan

B. November 11 & 12, 2011:
1. Scholar in Residence Shabbat – Galeet Dardashti
a. 6:30 PM: Shabbat Dinner – RSVP needed
b. 8 PM: Services begin
2. Friday night services, November 11th will include:
a. Special Blessing/Recognition of our Veterans:
1) Veterans, please attend and where attire that signifies that you are veteran (if you have such)
2) Presentation of Colors by JWV
b. Dedication of the Rabbi Rueben Levine Memorial Sculpture
3. Saturday, November 12th:
a. 9:30 AM: Shabbat morning services – Dvar Torah by Galeet Dardashti
b. Kiddush Luncheon
1) Galeet Dardashti will present a program on Jewish Liturgical music – from the Siddur to Pop
2) Luncheon is open to all
C. Thursday, November 17th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
D. Friday, November 18th:

1. 6:30 PM: Kids Kabbalat Shabbat program
2. 8 PM: late service

E. Saturday, November 19th, Bat Mitzvah of Elana Neher

F. Sunday, November 20th, 7 – 8 PM: Step Up For Israel – 2nd in the series of films and discussion on advocacy for Israel

G. Monday, November 21st , 7:30 PM: Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Service – hosted by Temple Shaa`rey Shalom

H. 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/