The FJMC Sefer Haftarah is at Temple Beth El, West Palm Beach, FL, this week.
The week of March 3rd, it will be at Temple Beth Torah, Ocean, NJ

The Unraveller is sponsored this week by Allan and Caren Gottesman, in Honour of our children and grandchild: Jared, Vivian and Mischa, Amy and Jared

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, was sponsored by Beth El, Cherry Hill, NJ
is not yet sponsored and still available.

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Editorial Board
Rabbi Wayne Allen
Rabbi Leonard S. Berkowitz
Rabbi Paul Drazen
Dr Rela Mintz Geffen
Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi
Rabbi Stephan Parnes

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Randall Smith

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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

February 27, 2010
Haftarah Tetzavveh
Ezekiel 43:10-27
Shabbat Zachor
1 Samuel 15:1-34

Shabbat Zachor
This is Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of remembrance. It is the second of the four special Sabbaths that occur prior to Passover. Shabbat Zachor always takes place the Shabbat prior to Purim. The haftarah forms a seemingly mythological link between the Torah and the scroll of Esther. It recounts a conflict that was fought over hundreds of miles and nearly one thousand years. The special Torah reading this morning is taken from the book of Deuteronomy and it briefly reminds us to remember what Amalek did to the children of Israel. It reminds us that in Exodus 17:17, Amalek attacked all the stragglers and the weary during the journey out of Egypt.

It is important for us to understand the mythological/historical sequence. The initial stage of this battle took place between Moses and Amalek. Two hundred plus years later shortly before the year 1000 B.C.E. King Saul, the spiritual successor to Moses fought with Agag King of the Amalekites. Samuel the prophet, judge, priest and Kingmaker instructed Saul to leave no prisoners, not cattle, sheep nor oxen but to wipe Amalek off the face of the earth. Saul disobeyed and admits to it in this morning's haftarah. He saved the spoils for his troops and takes Agag prisoner. This act of defiance leads to Samuel removing the mantle of Kingship from Saul and eventually bestowing it upon David. Finally, Samuel has Agag brought to him to be executed. He does it himself.

Apparently Agag must not have been totally destroyed because almost 900 years later, or approximately 500 years if you accept the chronology in the Book of Esther, Mordecai, the leader of his people, is challenged by Haman the Agagite. Was it possible that this enmity could continue for nearly one thousand years and across countless miles? Or is it like Frodo taking up the ring and fighting a rising evil that had been imprisoned many many years before and is once again exerting itself?

Historically our teachers have used the metaphor of Haman to serve as the incarnation of our ultimate enemy and the Jewish people as his intended victiom. I would suggest we would be better served if we concentrated more on the reasons for Saul's failure. Saul, like most of us, had tragic flaws. His failure to deliver was reflection of his inability to think things through. He took the easy road made himself popular by distributing the wealth of the Agagites to his troops and lost his kingship. There are times when we must take the hard road, which doesn't always appear to be the high road in order to achieve the desired results.

Ezekiel 43:10-27
This haftarah is one of three that was excerpted from Ezekiel 40-48. Like the other two it is a haftarah of restoration. Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon in 597 B.C.E. In 593 he began to prophecy. In the early years of his exile his prophecies consisted of rebukes to Israel challenging them to change their ways and warning them of the possible destruction of the Temple. In 586 his prophecies unfortunately were realized. The Temple was burned, much of the population deported and Jerusalem was destroyed. At that point the messages of his prophecies changed. He ceased being a firebrand and became a consoler. He offered comfort through messages of images of humungous wars where bones would be resurrected and an exiled nation would be returned to its homeland and the holy places would be cleansed and rebuilt.

Ezekiel's prophecies conclude with a series of visions of the future where family properties will be re-distributed in a more equitable manner, a future third Temple will be built. Within that Temple a great altar will be constructed and animal sacrifice will once again serve as a key element of Israelite worship.

The description of this altar and the manner in which it will be dedicated links the haftarah to the Torah portion of Tetzavveh. Just as Moses supervised the construction of the Tabernacle in the Torah, God speaks to Ezekiel and similarly instructs him how to build a dwelling place for the Lord in the haftarah. The specifics of the new Temple are dependent upon the repentance of his people. It is clear that Ezekiel is cognizant that all relationships, even those between a people and their God, are conditional and are dependent upon the way one treats the other. Ezekiel's message should touch all of us.

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/

The FJMC weekly haftarah commentary is one of the few haftarah commentaries available on line. The USCJ through its Fuchsberg Center in Jerusalem has also been posting a weekly haftarah commentary for a number of years. We highly recommend it. If you are interested you can find a link on the left side of our weekly commentary and click through.

In 2003 the FJMC commissioned a Sefer Haftarah, a scroll consisting of all the Haftarot which follows the Haftarah order that appears in the USCJ and Rabbinical Assembly Torah translation and commentary Etz Hayim. The FJMC Sefer Haftarah visits a different synagogue in North America every week.This scroll contains vowels and cantillation and allows the haftarah reader to experience the Haftarah in a more personal way. FJMC also produces individual personalized Haftarot for those who wish to recognize a special occasion. Scrolls of Haftarot have been in use since the early middle ages.

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Contact us today for details on this great program! 212-749-8100

The Unraveller wishes everyone a very joyous, Happy Purim!

Purim Torah Of Sushi Purim
What is Sushi Purim, why do we observe it, and what are its laws and statutes?

In Chapter 9 of the Mackerilla, the Book of Oyster, we read in v. 18 that "the Jews who were in Sushi had assembled both on the 13th and 14th days of the month (of Adar), and rested on the 15th day, making that a day of feasting and joy."

Our sages understood this verse to mean that, just as they feasted "in Sushi", they also feasted "on Sushi". As Sushi was a walled city, those who live in a walled city must also feast on sushi on this day.

What does it mean to feast on sushi? This means only kosher sushi, which may be vegetable or fish sushi, nigiri (on bed of rice) or maki (roll), and either cooked or raw. Some poskim say that sashimi is also sushi for the purpose of the mitzvah. What is the minimum amount of sushi to constitute a feast? The majority decision renders, at least 3 orders of nigiri and 2 of maki, per person. The Rambam disagrees, stating that there must additionally be at least one portion of salmon roe, colored purple to recall the cloak of white linen and purple which Mordecai wore when he left the king's presence (Book of Oyster, Ch. 8 v. 15). A lengthy explanation of this opinion, and related hilkhot, can be studied in his famous work, Guide for the Purple Eggs.

Most authorities agree that the sushi seudah is invalid without the requisite k'zayis of wasabi (blindingly hot green horseradish). However, we are cautioned not to say a b'rachah on the wasabi, as one must not say a b'rachah when ingesting substances which place one's health in jeopardy.

Each person who participates fully in the sushi seudah, including the required amount of wasabi, should also say Birkat HaGomel at the earliest opportunity.

Oyster Ha Malka
The SushiQueen

For more Purim Torah, visit the International Kiddush Club, Official Sponsor of Purim
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