MOS 5-Point Parasha - Devarim 5779

"Shabbat Hazon" - The Shabbat of "Gazing"..."Hazon" in English became "Gaze" according to Mozeson, The Word


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 thoughtful and thought-provoking d'var Torah from Rabbi Jill Hammer. In this parasha, Rabbi Jill explores the text from this Shabbat's parasha, Devarim, which she calls "the first midrash":

Devarim. Words. This is the human tool I’m about to use, and it’s also the name of our parashah. But Devarim also means “things,” and there are things behind the words, things before the words. The book of Deuteronomy or Devarim is the first midrash, the first interpretation. It is a retelling of much of the Torah, and it adds and takes away and changes, just as midrash does. As our parashah begins, Moses is giving a speech to the new Israelites, the ones born during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Moses is telling history, and, like any historian, Moses is changing history as he tells it. The Exodus and the revelation at Sinai that Moses relates in Devarim are not the same as they were a few books before. This is why the book is called in Greek Deuteronomy, second telling: that’s what it is. In Hebrew, the book is called devarim, words. History is words, with all the beauty and all the possibility for omission that words have. 

Continue reading here:

As Tisha B'Av approaches, Rabbi Sherril invites you to listen to Reb Zalman chanting Nachamu (from Rabbi David Seidenberg' website):

The first words of this chant come from the Haftarah read after Tisha B'Av, words of comfort after destruction. They also echo the words we say to mourners: Hamakom m'nacheim etchem (Ashkenazi) or Min hashamayim t'nachamenu (Sefardi) – in English, "May the Place comfort you," or, "May you be comforted from Heaven." The verse is Nachamu nachamu ami, anokhi anokhi hu m'nachemchem, "Be comforted My people; I, yes I, am the one who comforts you." (Isaiah 40:1, 51:12) In the communal mourning period leading up to Tisha B'Av, the words of this song take on their more universal significance as uttered by the prophet Isaiah. 

Listen here:

Other resources from for Tisha B'Av are available here:

A quote that helped Rabbi Sherril reflect about Montreal Open Shul's mission and vision:

"In my experience of helping communities apply optimism to their own formation, I have found that the higher a community’s aggregate measure of purpose (AMP), aggregate sources of knowledge it draws from (ASK), and amount of wondrous experiences it shares (AWE), the more it consistently can achieve big things. In turn, it’s the power of big things to foster AMP, ASK and AWE that helps maintain a community’s sustained commitment to the small things as well. That’s what happened with the Apollo 11 mission. It inspired an entire generation to believe that there was a greater purpose to humanity’s existence, that the boundaries of scientific exploration could be pushed, and that the wonder of seeing a person walk on the moon could spark millions of imaginations." 

From by Seth Cohen

What Rabbi Schachar enjoyed listening to this week:

Lots of great podcasts from Judaism Unbound, including this one on American Mussar --

Rabbi Schachar shares a Tisha B'av prayer excerpted from Rabbi David Wolfe-Blank z"l:

For the resultant discouragement to our collective sense of engagement with the world; the deterioration of our moral fiber which came after all this [9 Av] trauma -- may we renew our strength. And for those parts of our world, later, land, and air which are stricken with poisons, may they find correction and rebalance; may lost species find their way back to rejoin the world's creativity. May all who have suffered as a result of homophobia, sexism, racism, prejudice, and neglect find healing and transformation.

G!d who lives within us, within our dreams and hopes, our minds and bodies, who strengthens our courage and enlivens our faith in a better future, help us to stand up for and heal ourselves and our neighbours. Help us to support those who stand up for others; for Jews who are persecuted; and for any human being who is oppressed, even though this may mean taking risks. Teach us to heal ourselves, to heal each other, to struggle against all those who oppose what is best, those who are now hurting and destroying creatures needlessly. Let our voice within your voice grow stronger. May the destructive forces which initiated the tragedies of Tisha B'av be transformed to forces of gladness and joy, of redemption and transformation, and in proportion to our suffering may we rejoice in an evolved world, and let us say, Amen.

Upcoming @MOS --

Live streaming available

We will focus primarily on Biblical Hebrew reading practice. You can make a small contribution for a session or the series by getting a ticket online.

Save the Date: Refresh, Reflect, Renew -- An Urban Retreat @ Shaare Zion. Sunday September 22. Featuring the MOS Team and Rabbi Aubrey Glazer.

Tickets now available on our website.