MOS 5-Point Parasha - Beshallach/Tu Bishvat 5780

* 2 TuBisvhat Offerings this Sunday, February 9.

* Reminder for those already reserved: Restorative Shabbat Experience, Friday, February 7.


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 is looking forward to Shabbat Shira and Tu Bishvat!

This Shabbat, Shabbat Shira, is a special one that is dedicated to singing. And when we sing on this special Shabbat, along with communities all around the world, we are reminded that song is at the heart of human expression and creativity. 

Song is found in our prayer services - with magnificently diverse melodies depending on the Jewish culture (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrachi, Abayudayan, and Ethiopian, for example) or denomination (Orthodox, Reform, Chabad, Renewal, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Humanist, for example). 

Many of us know, for example, the key phrase from Shirat Ha-Yam, the Song of the Sea, that appears in every prayer service in the blessing after the Shema: “Mi kamocha ba-elim AdoShem – who is like You among all the powers? Who is like You, awesome in holiness, maker of wonders?” Do a search on YouTube and you will find dozens of different melodies for this blessing alone!

Song may also be found in nature itself. Reb Nachman wrote this beautiful teaching about the song of the grass:

Know that every shepherd has a unique niggun [melody].

Know that every grass has a unique song.

And from the song of the grasses comes the niggun of the shepherd.

How beautiful and sweet, when one hears their song.

It is so good to pray among the grasses,

and with great joy to serve the Holy Blessed One.

And from the song of the grasses, the heart becomes full of yearning.

And when the heart is full of this song, and yearns for the holy land,

then a great light is drawn from the holiness of the land upon it.

And from the song of the grasses comes the niggun of the heart.

The Shabbat of Song is always connected to the holiday of Tu Bishvatwhich falls on the full moon of the month of Shvat, this year beginning on Sunday evening, February 9. Tu Bishvat is one of four new years in our calendar, described in the Talmud – this one is the New Year for Trees. It is the time in our calendar where we pause to celebrate and consider our environment and our impact upon it. We reflect on the beauty of nature and this precious planet that has been entrusted to our care.

Two of our great Jewish mystics, the Ba’al Shem Tov and Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, teach that every plant, tree, flower and shrub has its own song, sings its own unique melody. The voices of the plants then join together in a beautiful harmony and the song they sing together, circles the world, resting gently upon us all. At Tu Bishvat, we take the time to listen for the song, to hear the harmony flowing through nature and to connect ourselves to that aspect of the world.

So, this Shabbat Shira, Shabbat of Song, may we all hear the song of the universe, celebrating the beauty and wonder around us, and may we all add our own notes to create an even more wonderful and lasting harmony.

Adapted from:

Cantor Heather is looking forward to Tu Bishvat inspired by this lovely video on Shomrei Adamah and Hampshire College’s Tu bishvat seder.

Cantor Heather shares some Tu Bishvat tunes:

Looking for musical inspiration for the holiday? 

Skip forward to 0:50 in this video to hear a lovely version of Naomi Shemer’s setting of the words of Rebbe Nachman.

Ottawa native Bruce Cockburn’s “If a Tree Falls”

Naomi Shemer singing Chorshat Ha'ekaliptus

Rabbi Schachar shares some more Tu Bishvat musical inspiration:

I attended the Lab/Shul in NYC last Shabbat and was blown away. Among the melodies they introduced to me is this one.

Rabbi Schachar shares a powerful Tu Bisvhat quote and link:

"Plant trees while you search the web" - Ecosia (over 83 million trees and counting...)

Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --

Friday, February 7, 7-10 pm

Location: 5215 Grand Boulevard, just south of Cote St Luc Road

Shabbat is an opportunity to rest deeply and receive. We will do some deep restorative yoga which will allow you to let go of tension. Followed by a tasty vegan dinner.

$40 offering includes provided Shabbat dinner.

Space is limited. Reservations required via website by Wednesday, February 5.

Contact Rabbi Schachar for more info,

* BRANCH OUT...An Experiential Tu Bishvat Seder! Sunday, February 9th | 7 - 9 PM Brought to you by Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA, Moishe House, Montreal Open Shul, and Diller In the spirit of sustainability, please bring your own reusable cup and plate to this event. Tu Bishvat snacks will be served. Four worlds of relationships to experience and explore: Stop 1: Relationship to Food Stop 2: Relationship to Water Stop 3: Relationship to Trees Stop 4: Relationship to the Wider World

* Venez fêter Tou Bichvat chez la CJRS! Come celebrate Tu BiShvat at the SSJC! Brunch-conférence / Bagel Breakfast “From the Inner Tree of Life to the Huon Pines” Rabbi Schachar Orenstein mène une célébration musicale et interactive. Rabbi Schachar Orenstein leads an interactive, musical celebration. Dimanche 9 février, 10 h Sunday, February 9, 10 a.m. Communauté juive de la Rive-Sud / South Shore Jewish Community Place La Citière - 50, boul. Taschereau - La Prairie, QC Entrée : 10$ / Admission: $10 (Dons acceptés / Donations accepted)

* Friday Night Service - Every Third Friday of the Month. New/Old-school service every fourth Saturday of the month. Interested in reading Torah or Haftarah for our next New/Old-school services on Feb. 22? Contact

* Rabbi Dr. Shaul Magid speaking on "Domesticating Hasidism: Neo-Hasidism, Neo-Haredism and Romantic Traditionalism" @ McGill University, Department of Jewish Studies, Thursday, February 6, 2020, Leacock 110, 4 pm, and then guiding us through the neo-Hasidic underground in a lecture on "Jewgrass" with Appalachian Banjo, moonshine, sweet tea, corn cakes & Torah, 7-830 pm at Shaare Zion. to reserve.

* Moishe house is looking for a young adult housemate to help influence and lead their AMAZING inclusive, pluralistic and LGBTQ+ friendly house.

*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.