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Weekly Message 12.18.2020 Parashah Mikeitz

Parashah Mikeitz - (at the end) Genesis 41:1 - 44:17

HafTorah I Kings 13:15 - 4:1

Dear friends,

On this last day of Hanukkah, I hope you enjoyed this wonderful holiday and that it held much meaning for you and your family. I particularly enjoyed sharing the first candle lighting with you on Zoom and the added Hanukkah ritual during last week's Shabbat service.

So now we move on to the Torah portion of Miketz where we read more about the life of Joseph in Egypt and his rise to power in that nation. We are also witness to his first interaction with his brothers who had sold him into slavery and were now in Egypt to plead for sustenance as they are suffering from the worldwide famine. The brothers don't recognize him and Joseph proceeds to test their loyalty to and care for their youngest brother Benjamin.

This Shabbat weekend, we also are privileged to read the story of King Solomon's incredible wisdom in dealing out justice in our Haftorah. It is the famous tale of two women claiming to be the mother of the same baby, and how Solomon determined the real mother.

Please attend our services in person or on Zoom tonight at 7:30 pm and Saturday at 9:30 am.


JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Service

Time: Dec 18, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Saturday Morning Service

Time: Dec 19, 2020 09:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


As we end this joyous holiday of Hanukkah, we will now prepare to observe one of the sadder days of our calendar. that of the Fast of Tevet which this year occurs on December 25th, one week from today. We are taught that we learn both from happy and less fortunate situations, and by sharing them in our Jewish community, we form closer bonds and are able to emerge from both as a better people and a better congregation.

The 10th day of Tevet marks the "beginning of the end" of the destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian exile. In the 9th year of the Hebrew King Zedekiah's reign in 586 B.C.E. on the 10th day of the month of Tevet, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer's army surrounded Jerusalem and continued the siege for 18 months. Why didn't he just attack directly? Perhaps he knew about the immorality and depravity within the Hebrew nation and would just let the siege run its course? Eighteen months later, on the 17th day of Tammuz, the Babylonian army broke through the walls of the city and just three weeks later, on the 9th day of Av, the Temple was destroyed, and the Jewish people exiled to Babylonia.

Our calendar often lumps other unfortunate events into each fast day, and the 10th of Tevet is no exception. It is said that one of our greatest scribes Ezra, died on this day. Also, during the Hellenistic period, King Ptolemy of Egypt ordered 72 Hebrew sages to be quarantined in solitary confinement until they translated the entire Torah into the Greek language. At first glance, this appears to be a positive thing as it would spread knowledge of the Torah across the world. However, it is said that the real meaning of the words could not be adequately stated in language other than the holy Hebrew and that the Torah's meaning and its mystical qualities were diluted. Finally, yahrzeits are observed and Kaddish is recited for those whose date of death is not known, especially in memory of victims of the Holocaust.

So, we observe happy and sad times in close proximity to one another and by sharing these experiences together as a community and learning from them. The Hebrew calendar is one of our greatest assets. Shabbat Shalom! Ron

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader

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