A Message from our Cantor
Towards the middle of last month, we read parshat Shoftim. In the third Aliyah, we read that before going to battle, the military officers are to address the soldiers and declare to them:
―What man is there who has built a new house and has not [yet] inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war, and another man inaugurate it. And what man is there who has planted a vineyard, and has not [yet] redeemed it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war, and another man redeem it. And what man is there who has betrothed a woman and has not [yet] taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war, and another man take her.‖ And the officers shall continue to speak to the people and say, "What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, that he should not cause the heart of his brothers to melt, as his heart."
We notice immediately that the first three categories are centered around the individual and how tragic it would be if such a fate were to befall him. The fourth, on the other hand, is focused more on communal well-being. We seek to protect the group from the potentially detrimental influence of one who is not whole-heartedly committed to the task. One might argue that the first three and the fourth are of a piece; in all of these a soldier might be sufficiently distracted that they do not bring their full dedication. Most commentators, noticing the division in the description contend that they are of different natures.
A Message from our President
Mazel Tov to Bozhena and the entire Samoshuk Family on her Bat Mitzvah! We had a wonderfully warm weekend. We thank you for sharing your nachos with us.
I would like to share the following story with you:
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (who lived in the 2nd century CE in the Holy Land) was possibly the holiest man that ever lived. Besides authoring the "Zohar," being a master of the oral Torah and a miracle worker, he was one of the few Jews in history who spent every instant of his time learning Torah; no casual conversations, coffee breaks and certainly no vacations--only Torah. So everyone was surprised when, the day after Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year's Day) he showed up at the door of his nephews' home and began to lecture them about the importance of giving charity to the poor. Although they didn't really have money to spare and totally didn't understand the urgency of what he was saying, they listened attentively; when Rabbi Shimon spoke everyone listened.
A Message from our Executive Director
This bulletin falls at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, a time of gentleness and reflection on the past year, giving thought to what changes we would like to make and how we can achieve what we aspire to.
Temple Beth El's September Calendar