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Plainview Jewish Center, Plainview, New York
The FJMC Sefer Haftarah is at Plainview Jewish Center, Plainview, New York, this week.
The week of August 18th, it will be at Temple Ner Tamid, Peabody, MA

The Unraveller is sponsored this week by Myles and Gail Simpson, in honor of their 40th Anniversary

mazel tov

This week's portion in the FJMC Sefer Haftarah scroll, the travelling haftarah scroll that visits a different synagogue each week and contains all of the haftarot, is not yet sponsored and still available.
THE SEFER VAYIKRAH
is not yet sponsored and still available.


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sefer haftorah
Yasher Koach from the Unraveller to the Men's Club and the entire congrergation at West Suburban Har Zion, River Forest, IL, FJMC Mid West Region members, who recently completed the purchase of their own Sefer Haftorah from the FJMC.
The FJMC Sefer Haftorah is a wonderful addition to your synagogue's Shabbat service and also can be an incredible fund raising opportunity.
Call 212-749-8100 for details

fjmc
August 14, 2010
Parashat Shofetim
Isaiah 51:12-52:12

If our rabbis hadn't created this special cycle of haftrarah readings leading up to the High Holy Days, I think they would have inserted the story of King Josiah discovering a scroll (which was most likely the book of Deuteronomy, in 2 Kings 22) and the resulting changes he instituted in his government. The link between the Torah portion and haftarah would have seemed a natural one. But our ancestors changed the rules and challenged us to wrestle with the text for seven weeks in order to be fully prepared for the High Holy Days.

This week is the fourth of those seven weeks. Four out of seven and finally I hear a God who speaks to the individual. “I am He who comforts you!” “I have put my words in your mouth and sheltered you with My hand” “You are my people! Rouse, rouse yourself, O Jerusalem!”

Can you discern the personality in Isaiah's message? Can you imagine God's voice? Can you feel the tension?

It's troubling that we have to work so hard to hear God's voice in our Torah and haftarot studies and so many of us want to hear it. One thinks, shouldn't it be easier? Shouldn't anyone who wants to hear God's voice be able to do so?

Perhaps Torah study in the broadest possible sense is not the most effective way of learning to hear God's voice even though it was the study of Torah that replaced the institution of prophecy. Perhaps prayer would be a more effective, easier vehicle for one to employ? But our prayers are fixed. They are filled with images of the Creator and the Redeemer and are continuously linked to our national destiny. The God that I read about in our prayer books is beyond my comprehension. How could that God take a moment to listen to me? And how could I possibly hear that God's voice?

But wait, in the middle of all that cosmic stuff, don't we have the opportunity through the amidah, the silent devotion to pray as individuals and hope that our prayers will be heard? Yes, but even the blessings in the silent devotion are structured around ideas of Kingship, restoration of the Davidic line, and God's building of Jersusalem. Where can we find the opportunity to hear God's voice?

Perhaps we can hear that voice through deeds? The most constantly repeated theme found in the haftrarah cycle is that our national, and by inference, personal behaviors makes all the difference. Perhaps God's voice cannot be heard not through our ears but through our behaviors. Rouse yourself! I have put my words in your mouth and sheltered you with my hand! Now get off your tucheses and do something! Not just anything but behave in the manner that I have been telling you through the visons of my prophets all year and all your lives and through-out your history and I still haven't given up on you or forsaken you or stopped loving you.

It's taken me four out of seven maybe, just maybe I might be learning how to hear.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Charles Simon,
Executive Director of the FJMC and author of
"Building A Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish" Jewish Lights Publishing
.

Translation of the Haftarah may be found here: http://www.jtsa.edu/PreBuilt/ParashahArchives/jpstext/


Note from the Publisher:
The month of Elul, the last before the Yomim Norim, the High Holidays, marks the end of the regular cycle of haftarot and the beginning of a new direction for The Unraveller.
Those with sharp eyes would have notice that the masthead has changed from "Understanding and unravelling the Weekly Haftarah" to "Understanding and unravelling the secrets of Jewish Life."
We'll be changing scope a little bit and offer a new direction in this publication; one that will explain and enlighten you about the vast traditions, rituals and rules of Judaism. To that end, we're working with Jewish scholars and teachers to provide special insights that we will continue to send you each week in this format.
We need your help though. First, we welcome submissions for publication. If there is something you can teach us, please send it to us for publication. We're looking to include music, talmud and halacha, and if you can add anything, please send it to us at un-comments@fjmc-consultants.org.
Second, we ask that you forward this newsletter to your friends, colleagues and congregants, and ask them to join the list. The link is right here: http://www.fjmc-consultants.org/seferhaftarah-sign-up.html
Third, we ask that you consider becoming a sponsor of The Unraveller. It's easy, and sponsorships help us to continue the work of the FJMC. This publication is the product of volunteers and donors and we'd like you to join us. There's always room for you here.
In closing, thank you for making The Unraveller the success it has become, and let us be the first to wish you L'Shana Tovah!
Stan Greenspan
stangreenspan@fjmc.org

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