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 offers some thoughts about Parashat Terumah (“Gifts/Contributions”):
This week’s parasha opens with God speaking to Moses (so what else is new?) and God is saying: “Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is so moved... . And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:1-8)
With this Torah portion, we go deeply into a first set of instructions concerning the construction of the Ark. When I read this passage, I was struck by the instruction to Moses to accept only those sacred gifts, or contributions, that came from the heart.
I want your heart, God said. Bring only gifts that come from the heart. The Israelite community donated many gifts of the heart towards the building of the first Mishkan, the people’s sanctuary. If you were to ask me how we can bring such holy offerings in our time, I would tell you that it manifests in the gifts of love that we bring to our spiritual communities.
Think about it. We have people bringing gifts of wine and juice, and others bringing challah. Most of you bring gifts of food for the potluck. Many of you stay to help clean up before you leave. Some of you have contributed financial gifts to help keep us going.
These are all gifts of the heart, voluntary gifts. You give according to your means, abilities, and time. Communities like ours need all these kinds of gifts. There would be no communities without them. There are many costs associated with operating a spiritual community. We are so grateful for your gifts of the heart.
Where people give voluntarily to one another and to holy causes, that is where the divine presence rests. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks teaches that the unique word terumah that gives its name to this week’s parasha could be translated as “a contribution,” but it is actually is sourced in Aramaic and has a subtly different meaning for which there is no simple English equivalent. It means “something you lift up” by dedicating it to a sacred cause. You lift it up, then it lifts you up. When you lift up the community, in turn you are lifted. I hope you will help to lift up this community, and be lifted by us in return.
Rabbi Sherril shares another tidbit on parashat Terumah:
Our Torah verse is “Ve’asu li mikdash v’shakhanti b’tocham / Let them make Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among them.” The last word in this verse is b'tocham. Translated as "among them," it can also mean "within them." Many commentators pick up on this and focus on what it means for GD to dwell "within" the people. Aviva Zornberg points out that the word does not translate as "among the nation [as a whole]," but rather, "within [each of] them", within each person. The Mikdash - the Mishkan - is meant to represent the fact that Holiness is able to dwell within and among each and every individual.
Rabbi Schachar shares, in honour of the month of Adar, Dr. Alan Morinis' writing on joy in the mussar and chasidic traditions.
Rabbi Schachar shares Cantor Julia Cadrain's musical version of Ve’asu li mikdash:
The melody is now sung in many synagogues: V’asu li mikdash V’shachanti b’tocham. Va-anachnu n’varech Yah Me-ata v’ad olam! Lord, prepare me to be a Sanctuary Pure and holy, tried and true With thanksgiving I’ll be a living Sanctuary for You!
Rabbi Sherril shares a quote from the Clergy Coaching Network:
"Wanted: Encouragers [We have a surplus of critics already, thanks]" - The World
Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --
* Restorative Shabbat, March 6, 7-10 pm - 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, March 4.
Contact Rabbi Schachar for more info, firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Purim Comedy Improv, March 10, 6:30 pm, also featuring a potluck seuda, crafty cocktails and magnificent mocktails (cash bar), @5215 Grand Boulevard, Tickets: $18, subsidies available, limited space, reservations via MOS website required by March 6.
* Friday Night Service - Every Third Friday of the Month.
* New/Old-school service every fourth Saturday of the month.
* Cantor Heather will be raising money for Auberge Shalom by reading Megillah this Purim. Here is a link to pledge your support: https://shaarezion.crowdchange.co/12167/page/194965
*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.
PLEASE DONATE TO SUSTAIN OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR OFFERINGS