Here is our weekly "5-Point Parasha", a short list of what we are enjoying or pondering, as it relates to life and Torah.
* See below for our upcoming events: Human Rights Friday Night service and Hanu-cocoa.
Rabbi Sherril reflects on this week's parasha, Vayetzei:
He had a dream; a stairway was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of GD were going up and down on it. (Gen 28:12) Jacob went on his way, and angels of GD encountered him. (Gen 32:2) How awesome is this place! (Gen 28:17)
This week's parasha opens and closes with visions of angels, or messengers of God. In the first vision, the angels are moving vertically, going up and down. In the second, the angels are moving horizontally as they encounter Jacob. To me, the horizontal and the vertical suggest the six (or seven) directions, representing wholeness, completion, inclusion, and unity. The Sefat Emet (in Arthur Green, The Language of Truth, page 44) wrote that, in the place where Jacob found himself, “he contained all six directions.” He was in “the place that belonged to him.” According to the Sefat Emet (in Green, page 44), the whole purpose of humanity’s creation is for each person to find the place belonging to them. It is reassuring to imagine that each of us has a place in the world that belongs to us. But what if that place was not a physical location, but rather a place in relation to another being? And, on the spiritual level, a place in relation to holiness? Because I believe that we are in this world to be in relation. Actually, looking at it this way, if GD is The Place - Ha-Makom - then wherever we are is the right Place, the Place that belongs to us! When we understand that, that is when we are able to say with conviction, ma norah haMakom hazeh/how awesome is this Place.
Rabbi Sherril shares this gorgeous mystical rendition of HaMakom Hazeh by Yofiyah:
Rabbi Schachar shares a French version of Rabbi Menachem Creditor's Olam Chesed Yibaneh (Psalm 89:3):
We have been singing this powerful song a lot at MOS. I needed a French version for the Christian-Jewish dialogue group (of which Reb Sherril is the president) and came up with this:
Je vais construire le monde avec amour
Tu vas construire le monde avec amour
Si on construit le monde avec amour
Alors D!eu construira le monde avec amour
For the original Hebrew/English version, click here.
Our friend, Rabbinic student Kitty Hoffman shares:
Montreal turns into a winter wonderland
for more pics click here
Rabbi Sherril shares a quote on "Small Steps of Love" by her teacher (in books):
"How can we choose love when we have experienced so little of it? We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit ... all these are little steps toward love."
"Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey."
~ Henri Nouwen
Announcements & Upcoming @MOS --
Bonus - 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:
Awakening the Divine: A Pardes and Or HaLev Jewish Spirituality Retreat Dec. 31, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020:
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