Rabbi Howard Finkelstein

Chazan Yair Subar

President Howard Nadler

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Parashat Vayetze    – November 24 & 25

Candle Lighting: 4:06 pm

Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat: 4:10 pm

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Sefer Torah Sponsor:

Maxine & Arthur Rabinovitch

Junior Congregation this Shabbat,  downstairs from 10:30 (ish) to 11:15.
There will be healthy snacks, stories and games. Ages 3-8
(3 year old’s should be accompanied by a parent).

From the Rabbi’s Desk -Parashat Vayetze:      

Perhaps the two most difficult phrases in the English language are, “I’m sorry” and “thank you.” Not difficult obviously in terms of pronunciation but in terms of sincerity and appreciation. The latter phrase receives prominent mention in this week’s Torah reading when Leah declares on the occasion of the birth of her fourth son, Judah, “this time, I will thank G-d.”

The Talmud in Massechet Berachot declares that Leah is the first to thank G-d, while others express their appreciation to G-d by offering prayers, the wording of which omits any references to gratitude. They bless G-d, and by extension, people, in the traditional community say, “Baruch Hashem,” rather than “Thank G-d.” While Leah is credited by the Talmud for being the first to enunciate specific words of thanks to G-d for the birth of Judah, two questions come to the fore:  Why do others who precede her neglect to express gratitude to G-d, and what does Leah mean when she says that  “this time” she thanks G-d? Why does the Torah not record that she thanks G-d for her previous births?

There is no doubt that Leah is not the first to thank G-d. However, her expression of thanks is recorded in our Torah reading this week. In fact, the Torah Temimah quotes a source citing Adam’s thanks to G-d for having been created referring to Psalm 139.  Interestingly, the terminology referring to thanks is not found in that chapter, although the implicit understanding is that Adam is thankful for coming into this world.

In regard to Leah, the normative commentaries such as Rashi, Ibn Ezra and others refer to her feeling confident that she has gained Jacob’s love even though they have had prior to the birth of Judah three sons, Reuben, Levi and Simeon.   While others who preceded her have undoubtedly thanked G-d for various reasons, the Torah attributes thanks to her because she recognizes her precarious position, and admits to her that under other circumstances, Jacob would never have tolerated her and kept her as his wife.

The word for “thanks” in Hebrew is “todah” which actually refers to “confession and admission.” It is an acknowledgement of lacunae in one’s own actions or behaviour that requires the intervention of another to effectuate positive change. Leah is well aware of her shortcomings, of her poor relations with Jacob, and her desire to reach out to G-d to help her in her state of despair. She hopes with the birth of her first two sons, Reuben and Simeon that her husband responds to her positively, and she sees that response develop with the birth of Levi and eventually, Judah.

In effect, Leah is saying that she has reached the point with the birth of Judah that she can safely say that she and her husband can have a loving relationship. That is why she emphasizes the wording, that  “this time”, she can thank G-d without any reservations for not only Judah’s birth, but with the realization that her previous unfortunate issues with Jacob can now be resolved favourably. Giving thanks is not a perfunctory act, but a gesture and statement that one needs the other, and especially G-d, to live and to function healthfully and spiritually.


Mishna Berurah – 7:30 Tuesday nights
Starting this week … Blessings and Prayers

This week’s challenge questions:
1.      May a person who is blind say the blessing “… Who opens the eyes of the blind”?
2.      May a convert say the blessing “… Who has not made me a non-Jew”

   Donations:
* General Donations: $18
* Siddurim: Koren/Artscroll $50
* Koren Talmud Bavli: $100
* Wall of Honour/brick: $118

* Yahrzeit Board:  $300
* Eitz Chaim/Leaf: $180
* Eitz Chaim/Acorn: $300
* Eitz Chaim/boulder: $360

COMMUNITY CORNER – NEWS TO SHARE:

CHANUKAH GIFT FAIR: Sunday, November 26th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm SJCC

Celebrating the Contributions of Canada’s Jewish Scientists: As the SJCC continues to celebrate Canada’s Best at 150, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Professor of Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal and Director of the McGill Office for Science & Society, will discuss some of the monumental achievements and contributions of a number of Canadian Jewish scientists. SJCC, November 26 from 1:30PM – 3:00PM Cost$ 10.00.

KIDS MEGA CHALLAH BAKE: Tuesday, November 28th OJCS Gym. All Kids Welcome! 3:45 magic show, 4:30 Challah bake. RSVP to www.chabadcentrepointe.com or rabbi@sympatico.ca. Suggested donation: $5 per child.

15 Chartwell Avenue, Nepean, ON K2G 4K3
Phone 613-723-1800 / Fax 613-723-6567 
Rabbi Howard Finkelstein rabbihoward.finkelstein@gmail.com
Howard Nadler, President howardnadler@rogers.com
Elisheva Brantz, Office Administrator shul@cbto.org

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