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Weekly Message 06.18.2021 Parashat Chukat

Parashat Chukat (Decree) Bamidbar-Numbers 19:1 - 22:1

HafTorah Judges 11:1 - 33

Dear friends,

This weekend is marked by three special occasions. Tomorrow Juneteenth is observed, and anniversary of the liberation from slavery in the United States. From the Torah, we read the portion Chukkat in the Book of Bamidbar, which details the painful lessons learned in overcoming the habits of slavery in the wilderness. And finally, on Sunday we celebrate Father's Day, a wonderful day for families to get together and reconnect.

Beginning this year, Juneteenth (the 19th of June) is to be celebrated by all as our newest federal holiday. We should look upon this special day as the equivalent of Passover, the season of our deliverance from slavery. Just as we suffered in the wilderness before we learned how to be truly free, African Americans suffered huge indignities and attacks on their freedom through the Jim Crow era and beyond.

In this week's Torah portion of Chukkat, our ancestors continue their practices of expecting their well-being to be handed over to them. When Moses's sister Miriam dies and the availability of drinking water which was associated with her dries up, the people complain and rebel rather than mourning the death of the most important woman of their community. In his anger, Moses strikes the rock and is condemned to die without the opportunity to cross over into the land of Israel. Later in the Sedrah, Moses's brother Aaron dies, and we now know that none of Moses's siblings will enter the land. The Sedrah began with the sacrifice of the Red Heifer associated with cleansing oneself after coming into direct contact with the dead and ends with the conquering of several of Israel's enemies.

Our Haftorah from the Book of Judges, Chapter 11, describes a similar period in the days of immorality and disbelief in the early days in the land of Israel and ultimately resulting in repentance and the conquering of enemies who would re-enslave us. So, in the wilderness as well as in the land of Israel, as much as the people complain and rebel, Hashem although losing patience at times, always provides the tools to recover from the slave mentality and ultimately, to become a holy nation.

Please join us in person or on zoom tonight at 8 pm and tomorrow morning at 9:30 am to pray, read the Torah, and further discuss its application to our lives. And if you haven't already marked your calendars, please join us next Saturday morning, June 26th, for our first baby naming in a very long time. We are privileged to call the Shapiro family to the Torah for an Aliyah and to give Marcy and Gary's daughter/Lucy and Elliot's granddaughter, her Hebrew name. It is important for us to participate in happy as well as sad occasions in the Jewish life cycle and to share it with our congregation. With that thought, thanks again to all who attended the unveiling of monuments at our cemeteries the last two Sundays and thus providing the families the opportunity to memorialize their departed loved ones and have a minyan to say Kaddish.

Happy Father's Day to all and Shabbat Shalom.

See you in shul or on zoom!

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader



JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Service

Time: Jun 18, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Saturday Morning Service

Time: Jun 19, 2021 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


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