I hope you had meaningful and happy seders in your homes last night, albeit different from any other Passover we have experienced. I am looking forward to greeting you virtually (as has become our new custom) at 7:30 this evening. Since I'm not a Facebook member, I have found that the easiest way for me to get access to our virtual Shabbat service is by going into our synagogue's website at https://www.jccwestpasco.com/
and then clicking on the "f" in the bottom right corner and finding the "video" there. Also, for those of you who do not yet have a copy of Siddur Likrat Shabbat in your home or if you don't read Hebrew, I have found a better transliteration that includes the Amidah. Thanks to Beth El Synagogue located in Durham, North Carolina, you can access it at
If you need any prayer books for your home (I have multiple copies of Likrat Shabbat and Siddur Sim Shalom), or a Chumash, please let me know, and I'll get them to you.
This is Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach, literally the Sabbath of the Intermediate days of Passover, the first two and last two days being full Yom Tovim (holidays) and the four days in between being semi-holidays or intermediate days. Still, this is an important Shabbat where we forgo our usual Torah reading and substitute the appropriate Passover reading for Chol Hamoed in the Book of Exodus followed by a special Haftorah from the Prophet Ezekiel known to many as the story of the "dry bones", literally bringing them back to life, a rebirth of the Hebrew nation not unlike the rebirth that was the result of the escape from slavery to freedom celebrated every Passover. You'll find the text below.
If we were together at the synagogue this Shabbat, we would also be reading Shir Ha Shirim (The Song of Songs) attributed to King Solomon. This is a beautiful love poem literally between a man and a woman, but interpreted to be between humans and God. You can read the full text at https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/shir-hashirim-song-of-songs-full-text
Looking forward to joining with you at 7:30 pm this evening and wishing you a continued happy, healthy, safe, and "zissen" (sweet) Passover holiday, Ron
Haftorah for Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach: Ezekiel 36:37 - 37:14
37 Thus said the Lord God: Moreover, in this I will respond to the House of Israel and act for their sake: I will multiply their people like sheep. 38 As Jerusalem is filled with sacrificial sheep during her festivals, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. And they shall know that I am the Lord.
1 The hand of the Lord came upon me. He took me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the valley. It was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many of them spread over the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, "O mortal, can these bones live again?" I replied, "O Lord God, only You know." 4 And He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus said the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live again. 6 I will lay sinews upon you, and cover you with flesh, and form skin over you. And I will put breath into you, and you shall live again. And you shall know that I am the Lord!"
7 I prophesied as I had been commanded. And while I was prophesying, suddenly there was a sound of rattling, and the bones came together, bone to matching bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had grown, and skin had formed over them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, O mortal! Say to the breath: Thus said the Lord God: Come, O breath, from the four winds, and breathe into these slain, that they may live again." 10 I prophesied as He commanded me. The breath entered them, and they came to life and stood up on their feet, a vast multitude.
11 And He said to me, "O mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed.' 12Prophesy, therefore, and say to them: Thus said the Lord God: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel. 13 You shall know, O My people, that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and lifted you out of your graves. 14 I will put My breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil. Then you shall know that I the Lord have spoken and have acted"--declares the Lord