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Weekly Message 01.15.2021 Parashat Va'eira

Parashat - Va;eira (and I appeared) Exodus 6:2 - 9:35

HafTorah = Ezekiel 28:25 - 29:21



Dear friends,


As we begin the Martin Luther King Day commemoration weekend, we pray for better times for all especially in light of the pandemic that continues to rage and the political turmoil facing the nation.


In addition to praying, we have the opportunity to participate once again in the Martin Luther King Day commemoration events in Pasco County. This year, we will gather at 10:30 am on Monday, January 18th at the Union Missionary Baptist Church, 6235 Pine Hill Rd, Port Richey, FL 34668. We will then march (safely masked and socially distant from one another) down Pine Hill Rd. to the historic Booker T. Washington Schoolhouse right down the road---a 10- minute march.


In a normal year, we would then participate in a program of inspirational speeches, musical renditions, and theatrical performances by the youth of the community. This year, of course, is different in that we cannot meet indoors, so as an alternative, after the march, we will participate in by delivering backpacks stuffed with needed items to various locations for the homeless. There is no better way for our congregation to participate and to honor the memory of Martin Luther King, who fought so hard for change in a non-violent manner--something we so badly need from our leaders today. I hope that many of you will be able to participate as in previous years.


If you need a ride, please meet in the JCC parking lot no later than 10:15 am for the carpool. Otherwise, you can drive directly to the Union Missionary Baptist Church and we'll meet you there!


The weekend begins with services at 7:30 pm tonight (Friday) both in person and on Zoom.

We begin a new year during very troubling times in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century and horrific political turmoil. It seems only fitting that we begin a new book of the Torah (the book of Exodus) which details the struggles of our people during an even worse time, a time of slavery and strife. In this week's parashat, Vaeira, we learn of the first seven of the ten plagues. They are:


blood


frogs


lice


insects


pestilence


boils


hail


And of course, each time a plague is introduced, the Pharoh and people of Egypt relent only to harden their hearts when the plague is eased and go back to the oppression of their subjugated people. It is only when the most horrific plague (the death of the first-born males) that Pharoh releases the slaves. But even then, he changes his mind and sends an army after them.


As I relate this Torah portion, I realize that we too have already met seven plagues in 2020/21 C.E. That is, we have


viruses


floods


fires


earthquakes


extreme weather


locusts (yes even locusts!)


But most of all, today's seventh plague is that of hatred and disrespect of others so blatantly manifested this week.


So why do we need all these plagues, why not just one or two or three? The answer appears to be the same as it was in ancient Egypt. We are made to feel badly and maybe a little guilty as we receive each plague, but we soon forget and go on as we did before. It is not until the ultimate plague (in Egypt's case, mass death) befalls us that we finally take real action. Who knows what that ultimate plague might be in 2021? One can imagine many horrible consequences. If we can only rid ourselves of the 7th 21st century plague (hatred and disrespect of others) and learn to listen and compromise and treat all others with respect and dignity, we will have a chance to defeat the remaining plagues and help heal our communities and the world.


We will discuss the Torah portion tonight and again at services tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 9:30 am, also in-person and on Zoom. Looking forward to participating in services with you and to join you in the Martin Luther King Day activities.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Service

Time: Jan 15, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4979030958?pwd=YXJPT2FGVTdzVVV2bVQ3c1ZnS1lMZz09


Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA

Shabbat Shalom!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Saturday Morning Service

Time: Jan 16, 2021 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4979030958?pwd=YXJPT2FGVTdzVVV2bVQ3c1ZnS1lMZz09


Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader

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