MOS 5-Point Parasha - Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5780

Join us for ShabbaZoom: A Virtual Warm-up for Shabbat at Home, Friday, May 1, 6 pm and/or Omer Counting & Meditation, Mondays 7:30 pm (See announcements below.)


Here is our weekly "5-Point Parasha", a short list of what we are enjoying or pondering, as it relates to life and Torah.

Rabbi Sherril shares this very special teaching for parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim:

Acharei Mot literally means “after the death of” and refers to the death of Aaron’s two sons. Kedoshim means “holy ones.” Our Sages have said to us, "Holy ones (yes, you!): we want you to understand that after a deep loss - even one that is unexpected or comes without warning or preparation - healing is possible when you dedicate yourselves to holiness, to making the world a more meaningful, more loving, and more compassionate place."

In some ways, the world we live in at this time seems to be replete with all kinds of loss. The following teaching came to me today via Facebook, and it was precisely what I needed to connect these challenging times to our holy text. I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.

Grandma, how can I live this quarantine?

The child asked me, “Grandma, how can I live this quarantine?”

"My daughter, quarantine is a special, mysterious and sacred period. In my days, newborn children could only leave the house for the first time after their 40th day of life. It is a period of waiting and preparing for a new life. It is the period that produces a great change."

“And how do you prepare for this change?”

"With simple, genuine and loving actions. Every morning comb your long hair with dedication and untie all the knots, even the most hidden ones that you have always neglected. It is time to put all the knots in the comb. Then dedicate yourself to untangling even your beloved ones’ skeins. With patience and you will try to find the end of the skein, the exact starting point of the thread. Already with these simple but powerful actions you will create order outside and inside of you. Undoing physical knots with your hands you will begin to touch your internal knots."

“And after undoing the knots, what can I do, Grandma?”

“Remove all parts of you that are no longer fertile. In many funeral rites of ancient peoples it is believed that the deceased leaves the body entirely on the 40th day after their death. In these 40 days, my daughter, cut your hair, eliminate clothes that you have not worn for a long time or that you no longer want use, open the windows of your home well to let the stale air out, cultivate new thoughts by abandoning the old, dedicated to creating new habits, new customs, new traditions."

“Grandmother, I'm afraid that after this isolation nothing will change. Humans quickly forget...”

"How others will react to this quarantine is none of your business. Make a commitment to change and not forget. Make sure this storm shakes you up so much that it completely revolutionizes your life."

Teaching by Elena Bernabé, Indigenous Peoples Cultures. April, 2020

Cantor Heather shares an inspiring article:

Orthodox Jews are donating plasma by the thousands to fight Covid-19

What Rabbi Schachar is reading:

Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World) by Elliott Horowitz. An eye-opening account of the history of Jewish violence, it reveals some fascinating and troubling ways in which the Purim and Passover holidays have been shaped.

What soothing music Rabbi Schachar is listening to:

Rabbi David Zeller's "This too shall pass" Gam zu ya'avor. Do these words come from Persian culture?

Rabbi Schachar shares a quote from Rabbi Daniel Siegel:

"We were raised to a spiritual place in which the question of survival need not be asked for we became too busy being Jews to question whether we would continue to be Jews." - The Jewish Western Bulletin, 25 February 1976

Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --

* ShabbaZoom: A Virtual Warm-UP for Shabbat at home

Friday May 1, 6-7 pm

Join Montreal Open Shul to welcome in Shabbat online with a virtual pre-Shabbat gathering over Zoom.

Download the Zoom app in advance, and then Please Note: Due to current health concerns, 3rd Friday Shabbat and New/Old-school service will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

* Omer Counting & Meditation with Cantor Heather Batchelor, Mondays, May 4, 11, 18, 25, 7:30 pm via Zoom.

A simple gathering to share space, meditate and mark the spiritual passage from the Passover holiday towards Shavuot.

Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

* Friday Night Service - Every Third Friday of the Month...stay tuned for new dates

* New/Old-school service every fourth Saturday of the month...stay tuned for new dates

* Are you (or is someone you know) facing a food shortage at this time due to the pandemic? Montreal Open Shul participants may be able to receive help from MOS, thanks to support from the Jewish Community Foundation and FederationCJA. Please get in touch with us by email at or contact Rabbi Sherril directly at

And, if you are in a position to help, we ask and encourage you to please support FederationCJA's Community Crisis Response effort by donating to the community CrowdFunding campaign. Visit

Finally, FederationCJA has established a "helpline" for anyone in the community to ask for help. Call 514-734-1411.

* Let us know if you have something that you would like us to include in the 5-Point Parasha (by Wednesday of the week)

*Did you know that you can donate to MOS and receive a tax receipt from Aleph Canada? Go to the Aleph Canada page on Canada Helps and us the drop down menu under "APPLY YOUR DONATION TO A SPECIFIC FUND SET UP BY THIS CHARITY" to select Montreal Open Shul.