MOS 5-Point Parasha - Passover/Tzav 5780

Join us again for ShabbaZoom: A Virtual Warm-up for Shabbat at Home, Friday, April 3, 7 pm (see 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 reflects on parashat Tzav:

I know that the rabbi is supposed to bring you words of inspiration and comfort on Shabbat. I know that we are supposed to provide a safe space for you, for at least one day a week, a sort of spiritual time out of time, where you can rest, reflect and regroup. I know all this and yet, …

…and yet we are living in challenging times right now. This has not exactly been an easy week, a week that inspires words of comfort. The toll that the Covid19 virus is taking on us is on the grandest scale most of us have ever seen. It has been challenging for me to find words of comfort to share at this time.

The parasha this week is called Tzav – Command. Most of this parasha is an instruction manual for the priests, directing them in how they should carry out their sacrificial duties. How wonderful it would be if we too had instruction manuals – manuals for how to live our lives, for how to get along, for how to cure the coronavirus. The problem is we don’t; that instruction manual has not been written.

And so, in times like these, when words fail me,

when I am unsure about how to express the thoughts of my heart, I often turn to my teachers, both living and those who have passed on. This morning I turned to my spiritual mentor, Abraham Joshua Heschel, the great theologian who believed it was important to pray with one’s feet, to do concrete actions with all one’s being in the name of social justice. It is from Heschel that I managed today to find some measure of comfort, at least temporarily.

Heschel wrote a "little" book called The Sabbath. In it he says that Shabbat can be a kind of 25-hour refuge in time for us – a time out of the day through which we fight, he writes, we look to the Sabbath as our homeland, as our source and our destination. It is a day in which we abandon our pleibian pursuits and reclaim our most authentic state. It is a day in which we may partake of a blessedness in which we are what we are, regardless of whether we are learned or not, of whether our career is a success or a failure; it is a day of independence of all social conditions. Shabbat as homeland, Shabbat as a place of refuge.

Shabbat is no time to remember sins, to confess, to repent or even to pray for relief or anything we might need.

Rather, it is a day for praise, not for petitions.

On the Sabbath it is given to us to share in the holiness that is in the heart of time. Even when the soul is seared, says Heschel, even when no prayer can come out of our tightened throats, it is the clean, silent rest of the Sabbath that leads us to the realm of the World to Come, or at least to the very beginning of an awareness of what eternity might mean.

There are few ideas in the world of thought which contain so much spiritual power as the idea of the Sabbath. Millenia from now, when only shreds will remain of many of our cherished customs, that cosmic tapestry called Shabbat will continue to shine.

May it be so, and may it continue to be a refuge for us for all time. May we all feel some measure of peace this Shabbat.

Rabbi Sherril shares "The Sabbath Day":

Music: Terry Ysrael Rielly; selected text from The Sabbath, A. J. Heschel

May our life be a pilgrimage

unto the seventh day.

As we approach this holy hour,

may our songs be with praise.

Accepting sacred moments when

our spirits are so raised,

with praises for the Blessed One,

Whose love lights up the way.

Our labour is a craft for us;

our rest it is an art.

May we become the hands of GD,

and so discern our part.

And may we hear GD’s call to us,

and listen with our hearts,

to craft our labour carefully;

make perfect rest our art.

May we mine the precious ore

within the mines of time,

to illuminate the seventh day,

GD’s palace within time.

May we prepare with awe and prayer

so we may sanctify

the seventh day, the Sabbath day,

GD’s gift to space of time.

Cantor Heather shares some reliable Covid 19 info:

There is so much information (and misinformation) regarding the Covid 19 virus, that is easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. You may want to pick a few reliable sources you can depend upon for information. Here are a few that are highly recommended:



Johns Hopkins:

Cantor Heather shares a magnificent animated "Chad Gadya":

On the lighter side I hope you enjoy this lovely stop action animation version of Moishe Oysher’s Passover classic “Chad Gadya” as much as I do.

Rabbi Schachar shares a quote from Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center:

"The Plagues we suffer, like the Plagues of old, are not only dangers; they beckon us to transformation."

Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --

* ShabbaZoom: A Virtual Warm-UP for Shabbat at home

Friday April 3, 6-7 pm

Join Montreal Open Shul to welcome in Shabbat online with a virtual pre-Shabbat gathering over Zoom.

Download the Zoom app in advance, and then Please Note: Due to current health concerns, 3rd Friday Shabbat and New/Old-school service will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

* 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

* Ways to help others at this time via Federation.

* Cantor Heather continues her Meditation & Middot class on Zoom this Tuesday at 7:30:

If you are interested in participating, please take a moment to fill this online survey, so that she can have your scheduling and interests in mind:

* 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.