Rabbi’s Corner

Parshat Pinchas

Learning

Parshat Pinchas

(Numbers 25:10-30:1)

As we get close to the end of the book of Bemidbar and approach the book of Devarim, we read this week about the beginning of the transfer of authority from Moses to Joshua.  After he is reminded that he will not enter the land, Moses asks God to appoint a new leader for the people.  When he addresses God with this request, he refers to God as “אֱ-לֹהֵ֥י הָרוּחֹ֖ת לְכָל־בָּשָׂ֑ר” “God of the spirits of all flesh.” Why does Moses use this uncommon name for God?  Rashi answers that this is Moses’s way of saying: “Sovereign of the Universe, you know the thoughts of each person and that they are not alike.  Appoint for them a leader who will tolerate each individual according to their character.”  Out of his love for the people, Moses wants to make sure that each one is individually seen and valued by their leader, just as they are by God.  How can we also live up to Moses’s expectation here and imitate God by understanding and valuing each unique individual we encounter?

A video d’var Torah from Rabbi Rose

First Haftarah of Admonition

(Jeremiah 1:1-2:3)

For the next three weeks, our haftarot are the תלת דפורענותא, the three haftarot of admonition leading up to Tisha B’Av.  God portrays the Israelites as guilty of idolatry and arrogance, but just a few verses later, God also reminds the people (through the prophet Jeremiah) of an earlier time, when they trusted and followed God through the wilderness.  Yet as we near the end of the book of Bemidbar, it seems that every week’s parshah contains complaining or rebellion.  According to the Torah, the Israelites did not exactly follow God lovingly and trustingly throughout all of their wanderings.  What moments in our past, both as individuals and as a people, do we remember nostalgically, perhaps more fondly than they merit?  What do we gain through that nostalgia, and what do we lose?

More resources for Jewish learning can be found here.

Prayer

Virtual Kabbalat Shabbat

Friday, 7/10 from 6:00pm

Contact Rabbi Rose for the Zoom invitation.

Join us for a virtual Kabbalat Shabbat experience on Zoom! We’ll prepare to welcome Shabbat with the melodious Kabbalat Shabbat service (including Mourner’s Kaddish), led by Juliana Sherer with backup from the rest of the Sherer family.  If you can, please bring your candlesticks and matches — we’ll conclude with lighting Shabbat candles and then wishing each other Shabbat Shalom while admiring the flickering flames. You’re welcome to bring a siddur, too, but we’ll also have the words of the siddur available on screen.

Siddurim on Sale

We’re happy to share that the Rabbinical Assembly is having a sale on Siddurim and Chumashim, including the ones that we use at Beth Shalom.  They can be purchased here.

Guidelines for Praying without a Minyan

When praying without a minyan, a few modifications are made to the service.

Friday night: Kabbalat Shabbat is recited in its entirety as usual, omitting Mourner’s Kaddish at the end.  In Maariv, we omit barechu, all kaddishes, and the bracha achat me’ein sheva (the blessing that begins after the vayechulu paragraph and continues through mekadesh hashabbat, pages 47-48 in Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals).  We add “El melech ne’eman” before shema.

Saturday morning:  We omit barechu, all kaddishes, kedushah, and the repetition of the amidah (both shacharit and musaf).  We add “El melech ne’eman” before shema.  The Torah service, from ein kamocha through etz chayim is omitted (except for ashrei), but you are encouraged to read the Torah reading and Haftarah in English or Hebrew from a chumash.

A Shabbat Prayer for Healing in the Era of Coronavirus
by Rabbi Leah Doberne-Schor
Dear God,
We ask that You be there for us,
as you were for our ancestors,
a pillar in our midst.
Help us to turn to You, O God,
for guidance during these troubled times.
Give us strength for the weeks ahead.
Help us to reach out in love and compassion to one another,
to support those who are ill,
unable to leave their homes,
or who are struggling financially.
Be with our doctors and caregivers,
our nurses and scientists,
as they are working to develop a cure
and care for those who are ill.
Be with all who are ill and their families,
offering them Your compassion.
And, we pray, Your healing.
Be with our leaders.
Guide them to wise decisions
in these troubled days.
Be with us O God.
Help us to find the inner strength
to be patient when our nerves are tested.
Be our Still Waters
when we are surrounded by fear
and anxiety.
Be our Rock, to Whom we can turn
and give our worry and fears.
Be our Shelter.
Guide our steps
and keep us safe.
Help us to feel Your presence in these times of change.
As we light the candles this Shabbat,
each in our own homes,
may our kindled lamps,
each its own point of light,
join as the stars in the heavens —
a community together
welcoming Your Shabbat Peace
Your Shabbat Love
Your Shabbat Joy
into our homes,
Your day of rest that together we welcome
more than ever before.

A Memorial Prayer for Victims of Racial Violence

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים, שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְרוֹמִים, הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה תַחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וּטְהוֹרִים כְּזֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים, אֶת נִשְׁמוֹת כָּל אַחֵינוּ בְּנֵי אַרְצֵנוּ, אֲנָשִׁים נָשִׁים וְטַף, שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ, שֶׁנִשְׂרְפוּ, שֶׁנִתְלוּ וְנֶחְנְקוּ מִפְּנֵי גִזְעֲנוּת וְשִׂנְאַת חִינָם, בְּגַן עֵדֶן תְהִי מְנוּחָתָם. אָנָּא בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים, הַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפֶיךָ לְעוֹלָמִים וּצְרוֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם. ה’ הוּא נַחַלָתָם, וְיָנוּחוּ בְשָׁלוֹם עַל מִשְׁכּבוֹתֵיֶהם. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.

God full of compassion, dwelling on High, find perfect rest beneath the sheltering wings of Your Presence, among the holy and the pure who shine with the light of the heavens, for the souls of our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, men, women, and children, who have been killed, burned, and lynched because of racism and baseless hate. May the Garden of Eden be their resting place. Oh please, Master of compassion, keep them in the shelter of Your wings for eternity and bind up their souls in the bond of life. The ETERNAL is their inheritance; may they rest in peace, and let us say, Amen.

A Prayer in place of Kaddish

From Siddur Kol Koreh

From a halakhic perspective, the mitzvah of preserving life supersedes the mitzvah of reciting kaddish as a mourner or in commemoration of a yahrtzeit.  Yet the fact that the technical requirement is overridden does not provide the emotional or spiritual fulfillment that many people receive by reciting kaddish in the presence of community.  To help fill that gap, here is a Kaddish LeYachid, a kaddish prayer for an individual to recite alone, without a minyan.  It is attributed to Rav Amram Gaon (a 9th century Babylonian sage).

Livestreamed Options

While Beth Shalom is not streaming Shabbat services, if it feels comfortable for your practice, here are links to some Conservative options in our time zone.  Please check their websites to confirm times:

Celebration

Here are just a few suggestions of ways to bring a sense of joy and celebration to Shabbat while we’re physically separated:
  • Sing joyful songs at the Shabbat table
  • Read a good book
  • Take a walk (and look for the beautiful flowers that are beginning to blossom!)
  • Invite a few guests, to the extent that you feel comfortable
  • Play a game
  • Take a nap

Connection to Community

  • As you prepare for Shabbat, you might consider cooking and freezing some extra food that you can deliver to someone who may need it later.
  • Please check in on your friends and neighbors, especially those who are at higher risk.  In addition to concrete needs, many people are feeling the emotional effects of being socially isolated- even just a phone call to say hello and Shabbat Shalom goes a long way.
  • If you are experiencing acute financial difficulty as a result of the current situation, please reach out to Rabbi Rose or Carol Benedick. King County Council has also produced a helpful list of resources.
  • As always, your rabbis are here for lifecycle emergencies and pastoral care.  If you need support, or are concerned about other members of the community, please do not hesitate to contact Rabbi Rose.

BimBam Video Parsha of the week:

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