MOS 5-Point Parasha - Nitzavim 5779


Here is our weekly "5-Point Parasha", a short list of what we are enjoying or pondering, as it relates to life and Torah.

A message from accomplished singer, vocal improvisationalist and composer, Ayelet-Rose Gottlieb, who will be leading us in "Vocal Tashlich" on Rosh Hashana:

I'm so happy to be joining Open Shul this Rosh Hashanah morning, for a VOCAL TASCHLICH. We will bring our voices together, and through guided-free singing, we will let go of all that we wish to discard from the passing year, to make room in our souls for what the new year brings.

Our voices are the doorways to our expression. Many of us are not used to making use of them beyond daily simple communications. But oh, how powerful is a silence, a scream, a hum, singing in full voice! How essential is breath, how healing it is to become aware of it... Come explore with us, what sounds will come out of you as you release all that you are holding?

I am vocalist and composer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb. Originally from Jerusalem, I moved to Montreal about a year and a half ago, after having lived in many parts of the world, including NYC where I collaborated with John Zorn, Lab/Shul and many more. I am so glad to find a beautiful, open and pluralistic Jewish community here, through Open Shul, and look forward to meeting you all in person on RH morning! Here is one of my videos.

This Shabbat, Rabbi Sherril is learning from Parashat Nitzavim:

Devarim/Deuteronomy 30:8: "And you will return and respond to Hashem’s voice, doing all the things I command you today."

I have heard in the name of Ha-Rav Ha-tzaddik Rabbi Shelomoh of Radomsk, author of Tiferet Shelomoh:

It has already been said earlier, in line 30:2, “And you return to Hashem, your God…,” implying that you made t’shuvah [tashuv/t’shuvah]. But if this be so, why then is “And you will return…” said here a second time? He said, answering his own question, that before a person makes t’shuvah, they do not even comprehend their own misdeed. Which is to say that we don’t know what we don’t know. And only after the first steps of t’shuvah do we begin to fathom the enormity of the damage caused by our misdeed: how we went astray, who we hurt and so forth. And in this way, one ascends from level to level. And on each level, we increase in t’shuvah.

The commentator is arguing here that there are levels to t’shuvah, to an eventual return to the Source, or to holiness. At first, you only have a vague notion of what you had done wrong. Eventually, as you work at it, the implications of your transgression become clearer to you. Thus, t’shuvah involves moving from level to level.

For this reason, it is said earlier, “And you turn to Hashem, your God…” but later on, once we have made a beginning and drawn near to holiness, then we come to the second rung of t’shuvah, “And you will turn….” (Deut 30:8). Each time we rise more, without interruption, ascending from one level to another level, through the heights of return/t’shuvah.

~ Adapted from Sparks Beneath the Surface: A Spiritual Commentary on the Torah by Lawrence S. Kushner and Kerry M. Olitzky

What Rabbi Sherril is reading this week:

We Are The Weather by Jonathan Foer


What gives Rabbi Schachar nachat (nachis):

Chana led the Avinu Malkenu prayer beautifully at selichot last Saturday night. More to come this Monday during Rosh Hashana!

Rabbi Schachar shares a quote on teshuva:

"Teshuva means returning to the eco-system of the soul" - Rabbi Shawn Zevit

Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --

Coming up on Monday...We have a nice registration. Don't forget to reserve your place. Shana tova!

Tickets and more info now available on our website.

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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: