After Birkat HaMazon Learning this Shabbat: "Were the Spies Death Eaters?" with Rabbi Menachem Creditor Shabbat Shlach Lecha, June 1, approx. 1:30 Congregation Netivot Shalom - netivotshalom.org The Israelite spies, sent into the land of Canaan in this week's Parasha, bring back reports of lush land and intimidating giants. What did they do wrong? Come explore Rashi's response! (and explore the secret connections between J.K. Rowling and the Torah!!)
Rashi asks about the beginning of this week's Torah Portion in juxtaposition with the end of last week's. He writes:
"Why is the story from this week's Parasha about the spies right next to the story from last week's Parasha of Miriam? Because she was punished for being involved in rumor-mongering about her brother, and these wicked ones [the spies] saw this and yet did not ascertain the lesson. (Rashi on Num. 13:2)"
Miriam and Aaron are involved in casting aspersions against Moses for one reason or another in Chapter 12 of Numbers. Miriam is stricken (presumably, Aaron ought to have been as well) with tzara'at, a spiritual skin ailment traditionally connected to the sin of evil speech. Ten of the spies in this week's Parasha bring back reports of Canaan that lead to distress and distrust within the Israelite camp. A close read of the biblical text might help us understand exactly…
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
See God in her eyes,
feel the compassion he seeks,
channel God within you,
don't forget to breathe.
He matters, not as helper,
but as helped.
Saving a life, she says,
but what of hers?
Sometimes not helping is help enough,
being together God's Holy Presence,
affirming with a glance,
...God in our eyes,
and yet they are human eyes.
God in my soul,
and yet I am limited.
(Don't forget to breathe.)
Legacy and Family: A Hadran for Harry PotterRabbi Menachem CreditorAuthor's note: This piece is deeply inspired by J.K. Rowling's final installment of the Harry Potter series. There will be no spoilers, but the emotionality of completing the book just now compels its own Hadran, its own traditional commitment to return and relearn its lessons.When my wife and I chose the names of our three precious children, we were committed to naming them after family members we had loved and lost. It struck me immediately, when our youngest daughter was named, that the pantheon of my ancestral family was whole again. My Grandma z"l, my Sabbah z"l and my great-uncle z"l were alive again. There are simply no words for the burn in my heart birthed by their names. Naomi Shemer wrote in "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" that saying Jerusalem's name is like experiencing "the kiss of a Seraph." A Seraph is a fiery angel. Shemer was so right.... continue reading here -…
Preaching as Sermon Communicationby Lori J. Carrell
I have a confession. I usually call preaching by another name. I refer to it by the odd and bulkier two-word phrase sermon communication. At best, this word choice raises an eyebrow and a follow-up question from pastors. At worst, the term creates defensiveness, misconceptions, and even distance between some clergy and me. Oh, the power of words! This past semester I witnessed this power at work when I invited a guest speaker to my Intercultural Communication class. The students were a highly engaged group on whom I could depend for lively dialogue. I bragged to the speaker about these eager learners, promising highly responsive listeners as the reward for donating his time and energy. The speaker had been asked to discuss language and race, and he titled his talk "The N Word." As this passionate black man and his white colleague pulled up their first slide displaying the title of their session, the room fell silent. Not …
Dear Chevreh,I have been in touch with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) about their gun violence prevention campaign, Zichronam-Livrocha: For Their Memory Shall Be a Blessing. Our teacher Rabbi Amy Eilberg has also been working closely with JCPA on this campaign to save lives.JCPA is currently reaching out to congregations throughout the country to ask leadership to sign on to JCPA's national sign-on letter, addressed to Congress. This national letter will not only show Congress that the Jewish community at large demands common-sense gun law reform, but will also be a resourceful tool for connecting and coordinating with other synagogues within the nation for continued local advocacy efforts. Please see the attached letter. That letter was sent in April and includes 24 national Jewish institutions as signatories. JCPA intends to send another copy of this letter (the text of the body of the letter will be exactly the same) but include as many local Jewish o…
Now available on Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/Peace-Our-Cities-Against-Violence/dp/1482333813PEACE IN OUR CITIES:RABBIS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCESecond EditionForeword by Rabbi Jill JacobsIntroduction by Pastor Michael McBrideAfterword by Teny Oded GrossEdited by Rabbi Menachem CreditorSecond Edition Afterword by Dr. Erica BrownCONTENTS1 FOREWORD: Violence, Jews, and JusticeRabbi Jill Jacobs3 Introduction: Seek the Peace of The City: The Moral Mandate for Gun ControlPastor Michael McBride7 A Letter That Changed My LifeRabbi Joseph B. Meszler 9 "And None Shall Make Him Afraid": The Jewish Legacy and GunsRabbi Steven Greenberg17 Where is Our Strength? Bearing Arms in Jewish ThoughtRabbi Sheldon Lewis23 I Live on a Quiet Tree-Lined StreetRabbi Shalom Bochner25 Becoming ActorsRabbi Nina Mandel29 A Prophetic Response to Gun ViolenceRabbi Menachem Creditor35 The Name on The Bull…