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Weekly Message 11.11.2022 Parashat Vayera

Parashat Vayera (and he appeared) Genesis 18:1 - 22:24

HafTorah Kings II 4:1 - 37

Dear friends,

Hope you had a good week which was punctuated by our nationwide and local elections and concluded with a rare late fall tropical storm!

Our Torah reading, Chapter 18 from the Book of Genesis, Parashat Vayeira first trienniel reading, is particularly relevant as our patriarch Abraham attempts to save the inhabitants of Sodom from annihilation. There are several ways to interpret Abraham's intercession with Hashem on their behalf especially in light of the Akeidah (Binding of Isaac) which follows. As Rabbi Michael Dolgin of Toronto's Temple Sinai explains,

"Abraham sees Sodom as the home of his clan, not as an abstraction to be written off. And despite the fact that Sodom does not share his values, he seeks to support and save its inhabitants. Despite their problems, these cities were inhabited by fellow human beings created in the image of God. We can reject their evil behaviors, but where there is life, we must seek the hope of repentance.

Abraham does not judge these communities but rather challenges the Divine One to find any righteous inhabitants and to save the entire populations of both cities on their account. Abraham’s powerful, challenging moral focus is clear in Genesis 18:23,25:Abraham came forward and said, “Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?...Far be it from You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty, so that innocent and guilty fare alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”

Abraham teaches us that we cannot write off our fellow humans because their behavior troubles us; we must even be willing to call out God if that will help rebuild our society’s moral fiber without condemning our fellow human beings. While we are compelled to judge behavior, we must leave judging people to the Holy Blessed One. Even though the destroying Angels had aleady arrived in Sodom, Abraham continued to seek mercy and to defend the innocent".

During this particularly contentious election season, we must strive to not judge other people's characters despite differences in politics and outlook. We should take Abraham's example and seek to find good in others and always negotiate in good faith.

I am looking forward to sharing these and other thoughts with you at our services tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow morning at 9:30 am in-person and virtually on Zoom as always!

Shabbat Shalom,

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader



JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Service 11/11/2022, 7:30 pm

Time: Nov 11, 2022 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA



JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Saturday Service 11/12/2022, 9:30 am

Time: Nov 12, 2022 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA

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