MOS 5-Point Parasha - Behar/Bechukotai 5780

Join us for: a) ShabbaZoom: A Virtual Warm-up for Shabbat at Home, Friday, May 15, 6 pm

b) Havdala Late Night Open Mic, Saturday, May 16, 9:15 pm c) Omer Counting & Meditation, Mondays 7:30 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 riffs on the heart, as another book of Torah comes to a close:

This Shabbat we complete our annual reading of the Book of Leviticus. Prayer communities usually rise when the last words of the book are read, and then we declare: Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek! Let’s be strong, strong, and strengthen one another! Think about this: even as we acknowledge our immersion in a book of Torah, a channel for connecting with the Divine, we still turn to one another. We turn to one another, inviting and affirming our individual and communal capacity for caring. The capacity of the heart is astonishing. If you know me at all, you know that I regularly speak about the heart and the importance of knowing intimately its character and nature. Recently I came across a very old Midrash that compiled the breathtaking range of capabilities of the heart as reported in Torah (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 1:36). Here they are: “The heart speaks, sees, hears, walks, falls, stands, rejoices, cries, is comforted, is troubled, becomes hardened, grows faint, grieves, fears, can be broken, becomes proud, rebels, invents, cavils, overflows, devises, desires, goes astray, lusts, is refreshed, can be stolen, is enticed, errs, trembles, is awakened, loves, hates, envies, is searched, is rent, meditates, is like a fire, is like a stone, turns in repentance, becomes hot, dies, melts, takes in words, is susceptible to fear, gives thanks, covets, becomes hard, makes merry, acts deceitfully, speaks from out of itself, loves bribes, writes words, plans, receives commandments, acts with pride, makes arrangements, and aggrandizes itself.” Over the past three months, since the beginning of the pandemic and sheltering in place, we have had plenty of opportunity to experience and reflect on many of these qualities of the heart. Some of us have kept our hearts hidden and hard to protect ourselves, and some of us have felt the deepest grief and despair that broke open our hearts. Our hearts have led some of us to respond to calls for help, and some of us have also been the callers. These confusing and uncertain times require strength and courage, dear ones. It is not surprise that the word “courage” is derived from the French word, coeur, heart. I think the capacity of the heart is exactly where our strength as human beings lies: in our ability to have compassion and empathy and respond to the needs of other living beings. I learned from one of our teachers, Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein: Devarim ha-yotzim min-ha-lev nichnasim el ha-lev/Things that come from the heart go to the heart.[1] Our Torah chronicles the challenging journey of life, made more perilous in the epidemiological, environmental, civic, and leadership choices of our time. Claiming the path of love is at the heart of our shared sacred journey. Remembering the sources of our strength helps. Chazak, chazak, v’nit’chazeik — let us be strong, strong, and strengthen each other. [1] This phrase may be rooted in the teaching from Talmud Berachot 6b: Kol mi sheyesh bo yirat shamayim devarav nishmaim – whoever has fear/awe of heaven, those words are heard.

Cantor Heather shares a link to the song/psalm/prayer that she will be offering this Friday at Shabbazoom:

Tov Lehodot (Tehillim/Psalms 92:2-3) by the Nava Tehila community in Jerusalem

Rabbi Schachar shares the Shalom Alechem melody that he will be sharing this Friday at Shabbazoom:

Rabbi Shawn Zevit's Shalom Alechem

Rabbi Sherril recommends 1 of her favourite 7 books (for all 7 of her recommendations find her on facebook):

Radical Judaism: Rethinking God & Tradition by Rabbi Dr Arthur Green

Rabbi Sherril shares a quote from Dr. Lindsay Jernigan:

"Try this perspective: Instead of seeing 'social distancing' and travel bans as panic, try seeing them as acts of mass cooperation intended to protect the collective whole. This plan is not about individuals going into hiding. It's a global deep breath, an agreement between humans around the planet to be still. Be still in hopes that the biggest wave can pass, without engulfing too many of the most vulnerable amongst us."

Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --

Friday night (6:00-7:00 pm): ShabbaZoom with Montreal Open Shul: A sweet, nourishing, inspiring gathering to get us in the mood for Shabbat. Join us for song, learning, ritual, kiddush and kaddish. Bring your own candles, kiddush cup and bread if you wish.

Saturday night (9:15-10:30 pm): Havdalah Late Night with Montreal Open Shul & Mile End Chavurah: Mix yourself a drink and join us for relaxing Saturday evening with havdalah, an open mic, and schmoozing!

Instructions for joining us are below. Note that Zoom links are different for each night. Feel free to share this invite among your friends and families!

To join ShabbaZoom (Friday 6-7 pm):

To join with video: Meeting ID: 832 241 8968 Password: sccrac2020 To join by phone call (no video) via One tap mobile +16473744685,,8322418968# Canada +16475580588,,8322418968# Canada Or dial +1 438 809 7799 Canada Meeting ID: 832 241 8968 To join Havdalah Late Night (Saturday 9:15-10:30 pm):

To join with video: Meeting ID: 659 343 816

To join via phonecall (no video) by One tap mobile:

+17789072071,,659343816# Canada +14388097799,,659343816# Canada Or 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: 659 343 816 * Omer Counting & Meditation with Cantor Heather Batchelor, Mondays, May 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

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.