4/24/2014

Shabbat Kedoshim

Mevarchin Rosh Hodesh Iyaar (Wednesday & Thursday)

Candles Friday 7:26pm
Havdalah Saturday 8.22pm

This week’s reading is the most significant in all the Torah for those who want to see Judaism as an ethical system. Here are some of the ethical laws we will read:

Don’t steal, deceive or lie.

Don’t oppress or rob your neighbor.

Don’t delay paying your worker’s wages.

Consider the needs of the poor.

Don’t curse a deaf person or put an obstacle in the way of the blind.

Don’t hate your neighbor in your heart.

Don’t take vengeance or bear grudges.

In justice favor neither the poor nor the rich, but follow the law.

Love your neighbor as you would yourself.

Yes, I think we would all agree that these are good moral teachings and we should abide by them. Most of us consider them more important than the ritual laws and customs, and yet the fact is that those who ignore one often tend to ignore the other.

I intentionally left out of this list another law that comes in the middle:

Do not tell tales about people or stand by when someone else is in danger.

We all hear every day of examples of people not going to help others, and I am pretty sure that most of us indulge in gossip to some extent every day. Why do we disregard these very important laws if we all agree that ethical rules are so important? Is it habit? A failure of education? Or perhaps that once we decide we will only do what we feel like doing, it’s a slippery slope!!!

4/17/2014

Timetable for Shabbat and Last days of Pesah

Shabbat Hol HaMoed

Friday 18th Candles 7:18pm
Havdalah 19th 8:14 pm

Last Days of Pesah

Sunday Night: Candles 7:20pm

Monday April 21st:
Shaharit 9:30am
Kriat HaTorah 10:15 am
Sermon 11:30
Candles 8:16 pm

Tuesday April 22nd:
Shaharit 9:30am
Kriat HaTorah 10:15 am
Sermon 11:30 am
Havdalah 8:17pm

4/10/2014

Shabbat HaGadol - Acharei Mot

Candles Friday 11th April 7.10pm
Havdalla 12th April 8.05 pm

Pesach Timetable

Sunday evening 13th April

Bedikat Hametz. After dark search for any left over Hametz.

(If you want to sell your Hametz please email me with the address and location before Monday morning.)

Monday 14th April Erev Pesach

Morning. Hafsakah 10.15 am when we can no longer eat Hametz

Monday Evening First Seder Night of Pesach

Tuesday Morning April 15th

Shaharit 9.30 am

Kriat Hatorah 10.15 am

Musaf 11 am

Sermon 11.45 am

Evening Service

Second Seder Night and Sefirt HaOmer

The Seder should not begin before 8 pm

Wednesday Morning 16th April

Shaharit 9.30 am

Kriat Hatorah 10.15 am

Musaf 11 am

Sermon 11.40 am

May you all have a joyful and memorable Pesach

4/03/2014

Shabbat Metzorah


Candles Friday 7:04 pm
Havdalah Saturday 8:00 pm

Why were the priests in ancient Israel involved in checking for leprosy and other infectious disease? Surely this was the job of the doctor. But then if you think of the term “Witch Doctor” you realize that it was common practice for religion and health to be interconnected. The priest reminded us that we need a spiritual dimension to lead a full and healthy life.

But what was the point of the Mikvah, the special pool or sea or lake that people who had become ritually separated, had to dip into before resuming normal intercourse? It had nothing to do with cleanliness. The Hebrew words “pure” and “impure” do not denote being clean or not. If one was not completely clean one couldn’t go into the Mikvah. So clearly it was not a physical thing. In fact it was the symbolic transition from one religious state to another. Just like Noah’s flood changed the world from a prehistoric state to a moral ethical one, or a convert changes from one religious state to another, so the Mikvah symbolized a new start.

Most of the laws we read this week about the Mikvah no longer apply because the change in status only applied to people who wanted to go into the Tabernacle or the Temple which no longer exist. In that sense every one of us is “impure” at this moment. Interestingly in much of Islam today you cannot pray if you have had sex before washing yourself.

In Judaism today the Mikvah marks the transition from a woman’s monthly period to resuming normal sexual activity. But many men, Mystics, Chassidim, go to the Mikvah at the start of every day, others before each festival to symbolize a new start.

The Mikvah nowadays is usually an elegant, modern spa often with facilities for beautification and salon service. Just google Mikvahs in New York to see how different they are to the old poor places our grandparents were familiar with.

But the main point is that we need to recognize the transitions in our bodies and in time, to understand how we go through different phases and to infuse a spiritual dimension into every aspect of one’s private life by doing an act that reminds us of change.

In preparation for Pesach and getting rid of Hametz on the 14th April if you want to sell Hametz please just e mail me with the location of the Hametz and I will sell it for you.