MOS 5-Point Parasha - Beha'alotecha 5780

Join us for: * ShabbaZoom: Friday, June 12, 6 pm Note new zoom instructions below!

* Chanting & Chocolate: Sunday, June 14, 7:30 pm

* Monday Meditation & Middot, Monday 7:30 pm

* Remembering Reb Zalman, Tuesday, June 23, 7:30-9 pm

(See full 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 reflects on clouds, from this week’s parasha:

In this week’s parasha, Beha’alotecha, we are told that on the day that the Mishkan – the portable sanctuary in the wilderness - was completed and erected, it was sheltered by a cloud during the day and a fire by night. And whenever the cloud raised itself up, the Israelites would de-camp and set out, following the cloud. When the cloud descended, they would then camp in that place where the cloud rested.

So we have several striking images in this passage: One is the Mishkan, and the other is the cloud by day and fire by night that covers the Mishkan. And in our imagination we can see the movement of the cloud – for it rises up when it is time to move on, and settles down when it is time to rest. As long as the cloud rested, the Israelites would stay put.

Moses studied the cloud for signs, and the students of Moses studied both Moses and the cloud. Like Moses, we can be guided on our journeys by cloud and fire. It is said that the cloud is transformative: its secret is the power of the Divine to transform darkness into light. When cloud lifts, we can discern the path before us with clarity, as if we were led that way and we know it is safe to travel. But when that cloud rests, protecting us and shadowing time and space, it is a time for not travelling, for dwelling and being in that place and dealing with the uncertainty, the daily routines, and the ordinary beauty of our lives. What would it take for us to recognize that there is benefit in the “gray zone,” the shadow time, for it offers a place of refuge, a place of rest, a place of introspection and reflection?

The lesson of this parasha is for all of us who are yearning to learn and to discern when it is time to move on with a plan, project, vision, task, mission, or desire; and when it is time to just stay put, reflect, be in it, and rest. If you are wrestling with making important decisions and setting priorities in your life right now, this is the lesson you can take away from this week’s teaching. My blessing for all of us is that we be able to see and acknowledge the movement of the clouds in our lives, and to know when it is time to stop and listen for the messages that are flowing to us through them.

Shabbat shalom.

Cantor Heather shares a personal reflection about the situation in Minneapolis:

I have been humbled this week.

As many of you know, I am from Minneapolis. My closest family members all live in the heart of the neighborhoods most effected by the rioting that has followed George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police. After the first few nights of rioting my mother and sister told me how they had been kept up all night by the sounds of gunshots, explosions and shouting. While peaceful protestors marched daily, the evenings and nights devolved into arson and destruction. Beyond the looting of stores and businesses, strange unlicensed vehicles cruised the city’s neighborhoods carrying groups of white men looking to terrorize the community. Residents took shifts patrolling their neighborhoods at night and scoured streets and alleys for cachés of flammable materials. The police and fire department were either unable or unwilling to respond to emergency calls.

As you can imagine, I have been beside myself over the past week, helplessly watching as my family and hometown were terrorized by arsonist extremists, as the police absented themselves and the national media seemed unfazed or uninterested. How could this happen in the United States? 

…And then I realized this has happened so many times before: the anonymous white men and their incendiaries, the hostile police, the indifferent media — African-American communities have endured these and many other torments for most of our history. Perhaps now we can finally open our eyes and truly see? Open our hearts and truly feel? Perhaps now we can finally recognize what should have always been obvious — that if humans are created in the image of Hashem, then it is our responsibility to make sure that every person is treated with reverence to the spark of holiness they embody. It should be that much to expect from ourselves, should it?

Cantor Heather shares a link to some new Minneapolis art:

With so many local businesses boarded up, Minneapolis artists have set about beautifying the broken city with their work. Here is a of the mural that have been painted

Rabbi Schachar shares an exciting discovery from the University of Tel Aviv:

Could Atmospheric Water Vapor Be a Renewable Energy Source?

Rabbi Schachar shares a quote from Rabbi Michael Lerner's book, Revolutionary Love:

“Gradually disband police forces and replace them with neighborhood  security committees,  trained in de-escalation  and empathic intervention.  (These committees will be backed up in emergency situations by local community forces (neighbors trained to meet violence effectively).” (page191, published by University of California Press in 2019)

Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --

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

Friday, June 12, 6-7 pm

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

To join with video, you must have a password. 

Email Rabbi Sherril for the password at

1) Log into Zoom (

2) Click on Join meeting

3) Enter Meeting ID: 514 489 7121 4) Enter password that you received by email

To join by phone:

One tap mobile +17789072071,,5144897121# Canada +14388097799,,5144897121# Canada

Dial by your location         +1 778 907 2071 Canada         +1 438 809 7799 Canada         +1 587 328 1099 Canada         +1 647 374 4685 Canada         +1 647 558 0588 Canada

Meeting ID: 514 489 7121

* Chanting & Chocolate

(Chocolate when we're together again)

You are invited to join in the weekly Cross-Canada Chanting & Chocolate* from 7:30-8:30 EDT Sunday, June 14 with chant leaders from Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. R' Schachar will be leading a chant this week. We hope to see you there.  This is the Zoom link: Meeting ID: 880 0417 6254 One tap mobile +15873281099,,88004176254# Canada +16473744685,,88004176254# Canada Dial by your location: +1 587 328 1099 Canada +1 647 374 4685 Canada +1 647 558 0588 Canada

Organized by Lorne Malin * Monday Meditation & Middot with Cantor Heather Batchelor 7:30 pm via Zoom.

Weekly sessions focussing on meditation and mindfulness skills, as well as development of personal virtues ("middot") as defined by the Musar tradition of Jewish ethics.

All are welcome. Suggested donation.

Please register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Initial registration will automatically enable attendance to full series.

Click here for more info.

* Remembering Reb Zalman... our beloved teacher, scholar, friend and visionary. Come and learn! An inspiring evening of classic Reb Zalman teachings, songs and stories. Tuesday, June 23, 7:30-9 pm.

Register in advance for this special gathering honouring Reb Zalman's yarzheit:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting

* Israeli Film Festival by the CSUQ runs till June 21. Facebook info here.

* 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

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

* 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.