|August 31, 2012 / 13 Elul, 5772
Parshat Ki Tetze
Isaiah 54:1 - 10
This week's haftarah is the shortest of the year, a mere ten verses. But size can be deceptive. A short length does not necessarily mean a trivial message. Consider, for example, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Lincoln's short address of 270 words (according to his own, signed version) delivered in a few minutes were an afterthought to the formal oration of former U.S. Representative Edward Everett who spoke for more than two hours at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery in November, 1863. Yet it is Lincoln's address that by all accounts – even Everett's – was the far more memorable and important.
The reassurance that God offers in this brief, prophetic message is couched in terms of the eternal love of God for His people compared to the short duration of His anger. While Israelite disobedience may have resulted in punishment, punishment must never be construed as abandonment. The "little wrath" that God expresses in the moment cannot compare to the "everlasting kindness" that God grants to His people.
Those who are parents completely understand. When a child disobeys, a parental corrective is in order. Often, the corrective may entail a denial of privileges. In the moment, the loss of freedom of action or access may seem painful to the child. Children have difficulty in interpreting punishment as an act of love. But that is indeed what it is. Aloof and disinterested parents are the ones who give their children license to do what they please without consequence. But concerned and loving parents set limits and enforce them. Parents do not enjoy being disciplinarians but steadfast and enduring love demands that they become that which they dislike.
It is not without reason that our Israelite ancestors are called "Children" of Israel. More than a statement of genealogical origin, it is a description of emotional immaturity. Sometimes the people of Israel behave like children. And while enduring the punishment for their misdeeds, they cannot help but see God as cruel and unforgiving – even vindictive. Thus Isaiah delivers a corrective message. The exile – as painful as it has been – will end. And rather than obsess on the feelings of hurt in the moment, consider the immensity and intensity of God's love.
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Wayne Allen, Ph.D. Rabbi Allen has served as a congregational rabbi for 35 years, taking on postings in New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto. He is currently serving as the Provost of the Canadian Yeshiva and Rabbinical School. He is the author of Perspectives on Jewish Law and Contemporary Issues, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Israel, e-mail: Books@schechter.ac.il.
Visit Rabbi Allen's website for more commentaries and information: rabbiwayneallen.ca
Rabbi Allen is an editorial board member, The Unraveller.
The Canadian Yeshiva and Rabbinical School, a partner in the Toronto School of Theology and the University of Toronto, offers exceptional courses for adults as part of its continuing education program. Operating under the principle of "serious teachers for serious students," the Canadian Yeshiva is committed to expanding its offerings on campus and across the Greater Toronto Area. Classes are co-educational and open to adults of all ages. Faculty members cross denominational boundaries: all dedicated to teaching Torah guided by the highest academic standards. For further information, please consult the website: www.cdnyeshiva.org/
Leadership - Innovation - Community
|Understanding the Haftarot:|
An Everyperson's Guide
In this stimulating and unusual book Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of FJMC, provides the reader with the context to understand how the haftarot were organized, why they might have been selected and suggests reasons for finding meaning and value.
You can purchase it a number of ways.
Intermarriage: Concepts & Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders
If family members and community leaders wish to become engaged in the process of Keruv they often need to ask, "Does Keruv have an ideology and theology? And if so what is it?" Then they need to learn how to respond to intermarriage from the perspective of both gender and religion. This publication reflects the most current thinking about intermarriage to date and attempts to provide family members and community leaders with the needed understanding to effectively work with intermarrieds or potential intermarrieds.
You can purchase it a number of ways:
|It's time for Build-A-Pair
The best way to teach about tefillin!
The "Build a Pair" Program is a comprehensive and fun learning program to introduce 5th, 6th or 7th graders to the joy and mitzvah of Tefillin in Jewish life.
Multiple components interplay to explore the religious significance, the construction of, and the practice of "laying" Tefillin.
A comprehensive education program with videos helps the religious school teach students the meaning of Tefillin in Jewish life and practice.
Students practice writing their Hebrew/Jewish names and the SHEMA (first line) to insert into pre-made wooden Tefillin boxes.
Students decorate the boxes in any creative way they wish, allowing for personal expression.
Students either compete or cooperate in writing a "wRAP" song to sing at a Big Event.
The Big Event can be the World Wide Wrap (WWW), sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC), held annually on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. The WWW program is designed to introduce and re-introduce Jewish men [and women] to the significance of "laying" Tefillin.
The "Build a Pair" student program attracts the parents to see their children in their model Tefillin sing the "wRap" songs, allowing two generations (or more!) to join in the mitzvah together, and to let the students' sing their "wRAP" song for an appreciative audience.
World Wide Wrap is Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Bar Mitzvah Wrap!
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Contact FJMC Sponsorship Chairman Tom Sudow
for details and to reserve your week!