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Weekly Message 12.10.2021 Parashat Vayigash

Parashat Vayigash-(and he drew near) Genesis 44:18 - 47:27

HafTorah Ezekiel 37:15 - 28



Dear friends,


I hope you had a good week and now we anticipate a peaceful and inspirational Shabbat experience with your JCC.


First, I would like to thank all those who helped make this such a happy and meaningful Hanukkah. Beginning with our visiting the Atria Senior Center and the Windsor Woods Rehab Residence on the 1st night, continuing through the exhibition/gift shop displays and sales, and through the Havdalah/7th Hanukkah Candle Lighting/Boat Parade experience at our house, it was particularly joyous week for all who participated. I hope that more will join us in celebrating this important holiday next year.


This week's Torah portion is Vayigash, the next-to-last sedrah in the book of Genesis (Bereshit). We continue to read and study the third triennial of each portion. This week, we begin with Jacob and his sons and their families joining Joseph and settling in the land of Egypt. Several interesting developments that are worth some extra attention. Despite his assimilation into Egyptian society, Joseph makes certain that his people will be kept separate from others by declaring themselves to be shepherds, a profession looked down upon by Egyptians. Thus, they settle in Goshen and are able to prosper and multiply there and remain intact as a holy nation blessed by Hashem and not tempted to assimilate. Another is Jacob's strange encounter with Pharoh who appears to be considered at least his equal, likely because he is the father of Pharoh's trusted Joseph. In response to Pharoh's question regarding his age, Jacob replies:


"The years of my sojourn [on earth] are one hundred and thirty. Few and hard have been the years of my life, nor do they come up to the life spans of my fathers during their sojourn"


Why does Jacob present such a negative accounting of his life? There are many possibilities, one of which is that his life certainly was a difficult one beginning with the deception of his brother Esau causing him to flee to his uncle Laban who in turn deceives him multiple times. And despite his accumulation of wealth and a huge family, he lives through what he is led to believe is the death of his favorite son, the rape of his daughter, and the brutal revenge taken by his sons. But Joseph despite his own vanity during his youth, breaks the generational chain of family dysfunction and favoritism (from Cain and Abel to Isaac and Ishmael, to Jacob and Esau, and to Joseph and all his brothers) by forgiving his brothers and instilling brotherly love and devotion to his own sons, Menashe and Ephraim. His ultimate acts of kindness resets the history of the Hebrew nation and enables it to set a moral example for all the nations.


I am looking forward to seeing you all at the synagogue and on zoom tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow morning at 9:30 am.


Looking to the week ahead, I would like to thank all those who will be joining me at Metropolitan Ministries next Thursday, December 16th to volunteer as we help feed the hungry at the Holiday Tent. Finally, please mark your calendars for next Shabbat December 18th when Mark Land will mark the anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah by chanting his Haftorah. All are encouraged to do so as well, and I am here to help!


Shabbat Shalom!


Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader

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FRIDAY:


JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Services

Time: Dec 10, 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

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SATURDAY:


JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Saturday Morning

Time: Dec 11, 2021 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting

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


Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA

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