MOS 5-Point Parasha - Vayechi 5780

* Upcoming Friday night service, Jan 17.


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 is inspired this week by this teaching from Rabbi Alicia Magal:

This Torah portion, Vayechi, speaks about an end-of-life blessing to the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob’s spiritual name): Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Levi, Benjamin, Joseph (in Genesis and Deuteronomy Ephraim and Menashe are represented by their eponymous father, Joseph). You may wish to imagine a blessing that hasn’t been recorded for his daughter Dina, as well.

The twelve sons are given blessings regarding their destiny here (Genesis 49), and again by Moses (Deuteronomy 33), and again later in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5). It is interesting to see the differences in the descriptions of the qualities and fate of the tribes through comparing these blessings. Each of Jacob’s sons is gifted with an image, and in some cases a “spirit animal” – the unstable water of Reuben, the lion of Judah, the harbour of seafaring Zevulun, the strong-boned ass of Issachar, the snake of Dan, the warrior of Gad, the rich, fat, prosperity of Asher, the roaming deer of Naftali, the strong, wild ass of Joseph, and the hungry wolf of Benjamin. These images inspired Marc Chagall to create the stained glass windows installed in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. These are like shields or banners of each tribe and describe something of the energy of the sons and the fate of the tribes through history.

What kind of end of life blessing might we leave for future generations? There is a tradition of creating an Ethical Will (see Jack Riemer’s book “So That Your Values Live on: Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them”). What are your most precious messages and values that you wish future generations to remember? What do you see as the strengths of your children or young people whom you mentor? We make sure our property is apportioned in our will, but we should also leave a legacy of inspiration, wisdom and love. “Vayechi Ya’akov” – And Jacob lived. May it be said at the end of our life that we truly lived, and left a lasting legacy.

Hazak hazak v’nit-hazek! Let us be strong and strengthen one another as we come to the conclusion of the Book of Genesis.

Rabbi Sherril raises awareness about the Women of the Wall's recently confiscated Torah scroll: 

For info, see this article.

Rabbi Sherril shares concerning news about almond milk:

SI had no idea. Will need to explore alternatives to almond milk now. S

See this article in The Guardian.

I had no idea. Will need to explore alternatives to almond milk now.

“The bees in the almond groves are being exploited and disrespected,” says Patrick Pynes, an organic beekeeper who teaches environmental studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. “ They are in severe decline because our human relationship to them has become so destructive.”

Rabbi Sherril shares ways to help the Australian fire crisis:

Here is an excellent article, based on facts:…/australian-fires-everything-we-know…/

The end of the article provides ways of helping.

Rabbi Sherril shares a New Year's eve quote from the Clergy Coaching Network:

"Sometimes it feels like there are so many things in this world that we can't control. Earthquakes, floods, reality shows. But it's important to remember the things that we can - like forgiveness, second chances, fresh starts. Because the one thing that changes the world from a lonely place to a beautiful place is love. Love, in any of its forms, love gives us hope"

Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --

Friday Night Service - Every Third Friday of the Month

Jan. 17, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA, 5400 Av de Westbury, Montréal

Returning in January 2020 @ the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA 5400 Westbury Avenue

Date and Place TBA