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Weekly Message 02.19.2021 Parashat Terumah

Parashat Terumah ( Gift or Offering) Exodus 25:1 - 27:19

HafTorah I Samuel 15:1-34

Dear friends,

Time is flying and we are now only a week away from the celebration of Purim.

As part of our preparation for the holiday, we now observe Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembrance. On this Shabbat, our final Torah reading (Maftir) is the section of Deuteronomy that commands the children of Israel to remember Amalek. As we recall, it was the Amalekites who attacked our people from the rear in the wilderness shortly after leaving Egypt and crossing the Sea of Reeds.

By doing so, they rendered the weakest among the people helpless: the elderly and the children. It is said that all tyrants who have attempted to destroy us are descended from Amalek including the evil Hamen (boooo) who we read about (and make lots of noise when his name is mentioned) in the Megillah on the night of Thursday evening February 25th. So, it is totally appropriate to be observing Shabbat Zachor immediately before Purim.

Indeed, the Holocaust era Torah (as are all Holocaust Torahs displayed throughout the world) in our synagogue's sanctuary is deliberately rolled to this very passage (remember Amalek) to remind us of the destruction faced by Jews during World War II and all other past atrocities.

Our main Torah portion this week is Terumah where we read about the minute details of the construction of the portable Tabernacle that was carried by the children of Israel throughout their journey to the promised land and which contained the Ten Commandments.

Ultimately, it was replaced by the Temple in Jerusalem, but not before many generations. If this were a normal Shabbat, we would read a Haftorah from the Book of Kings which detailed the building of the Temple in Jerusalem by King Solomon, the perfect companion to the Torah reading concerning the building of the Tabernacle. However, this being Shabbat Zachor, we will read from the Book of Samuel instead. This Haftorah tells the story of King Saul who is ordered to attack and completely blot out the Amalekites, but he disobeys God's command and spares the choicest livestock and even their leader. As a result, Samuel prophesizes that Saul's reign will end with him and with defeat, a prophecy that later materializes. So, we are left with the command to at least symbolically, blot out Amalek, i.e. blot out tyranny and hatred wherever we see it.

Terumah marks the anniversary of my own Bar Mitzvah. Nearly sixty years ago, I stood up before my small congregation made up mostly of Yiddish speaking immigrants who suffered from but survived the Holocaust. These including my own parents and nearly all of our relatives and friends. So, Terumah has a very special meaning to me and those who were with me on my special day. "Remembering Amalek" had a very personal meaning for them.

So, please help me celebrate my Bar Mitzvah anniversary and attend our services tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 9:30 am. And of course, join me on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm to hear the Megillah being read and helping to blot out the name of Amalek, Hamen (boooo), and all those who harm our world.

Remember that all services are held on Zoom only.

Shabbat Shalom! Ron

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader


Friday Night:

JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Service

Time: Feb 19, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


Saturday Morning:

JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Saturday Morning Service

Time: Feb 20, 2021 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


Links for Friday evening and Saturday morning services here.

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