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 was inspired by this teaching from Rabbi Miles Krassen on Elul and tshuvah:
In this month of Elul, it is customary to work on doing tshuvah, the process of returning ourselves to alignment within ourselves and with our divine source, and to the condition in which we can again receive directly the flow of the sacred in our lives.
We can explore doing tshuvah through contemplating the letters of the name of the month Elul, Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed. These are also the first letters of the verse, Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li / I go to my Beloved and my Beloved comes to me. (Song of Songs 6:3). Ani L’dodi: through tshuvah, through prayer, and through tzedakah (support of righteous causes) during the month of Elul, I make the effort to reach my Beloved. V’dodi Li: and my Beloved comes to me on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur.
Rabbi Sherril was inspired by this teaching on this week's parasha from Rabbi Irving Greenberg:
This parasha has the largest concentration of mitzvot of any portion; 74 out of the traditional 613 commandments are found in it. Of all these commandments, one stands out. “If [walking] along the road, you chance upon a bird’s nest…and the mother is sitting over the fledglings or on the eggs, do not take the mother together with her young. Let the mother go and take only the young, in order that you may fare well and have a long life” (Deuteronomy 22:6).
The Talmud labels this mitzvah the “lightest” (the most insubstantial) of all the commandments, probably because it takes little effort to perform. Sending away the mother might well involve merely making a loud noise. Indeed, just walking close (or advancing menacingly) might induce the mother to fly away.
Commentators in every generation have wondered why there is so extravagant a reward (a good, long life) for so “trivial” an act! Indeed, one Talmudic commentator points out that the same reward is specified in the Torah for honoring parents. Yet fulfilling that commandment takes a lifetime and often involves money, emotion and effort without limit. He concludes that the equality of reward is the point. The “lightest” of commandments rewarded as much as the “weightiest” to teach us to treasure and observe all commandments equally–for the reward of any mitzvah is incalculable.
Through this commandment, the Torah teaches that every act is of immense significance. Therefore, no act is inherently trivial. When you eat, you can choose food and prepare it to express reverence for life or commitment to being a Jew (kashrut). When you speak, you can say a word of encouragement, truth or love or you can say a word of malicious gossip, falsehood or degradation. The next action you do–however trivial–can tilt you and the whole world toward the side of good or the side of evil. It’s your choice.
Cantor Heather shares a Mitzvatunity & Jewish Culture about town:
Got leggings? Chez Doris is calling on you to help them fill their current clothing shortage. Shelter residents are especially in need of leggings, and under-garments.
Eli Batalion of Yidlife Crisis has a new film coming out:
The Museum of Jewish Montreal will be opening a new vernissage Les Voix juives d’Irak/ Iraqi Jewish Voices:
The person (aside from Rabbis Arthur Waskow & Phyllis Berman) that Rabbi Schachar is excited about coming to Montreal :
Teen climate activist, Greta Thunberg, will be in Montreal at a Global Scorching protest on September 27. She has inspired so many others including Rabbi Daniel Siegel (click here for his blog post about her.)
Rabbi Schachar shares a climate change quote from 16 year-old Greta Thunberg:
"I am here to say, our house is on fire... I want you to act as you would in a crisis."
Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --
We will focus primarily on Biblical Hebrew reading and singing practice.
Pre-requisite: Familiarity with the Hebrew Alphabet.
You can make a contribution for a session or the series via paypal on our website.
Save the date:
Musical Selichot Service
with Cantor Daniel Benlolo, Rabbi Schachar and Chana
Saturday, September 21, 2019 • 21 Elul 5779
8:00 PM - 11:00 PM at Shaare Zedek Congregation, 5305 Rosedale Ave
MOS needs High Holiday Torah readers! If you are interested please contact us so we can get you set up with a reading and all necessary preparation materials.
Cantor Heather shares:
Looking for ways to amp up your Jewish spirituality in the new year? In addition to great classes from our MOS clergy coming your way check out some of these great online and retreat learning opportunities:
Hadar’s Rising Song Intensive, Dec. 22-25:
R. Jonathan Slater’s month-long prayer intensive sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality — starting Oct. 27th:
Awakening the Divine: A Pardes and Or HaLev Jewish Spirituality Retreat Dec. 31, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020:
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